Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quilt As You Go: the New Hobby

I think I mentioned that I have like so much creativity bottled up inside me lately that it's hard for me to settle down and actually complete a project.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my new love of sewing!  Let me begin by saying that my mom is this phenomenal sewer.  In fact, she can do anything.  But for her birthday in March, I determined with myself that I would make a quilt for my mother.  Not a full-size quilt, but a lap quilt.

I found a lovely pre-cut pack of squares at a small fabric store in Jackson, MI, called Country Stitches.  (Who wouldn't love a store called that!??)  Then one day while waiting for my favorite deli Hillsdale Filling Station ( I walked over to the sewing machine store there in downtown Hillsdale and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had the little square packs, too!  A treasure, in my own backyard.  I had no idea!!  In fact, Trevathan's had TONS of different fabric CHARM PACKS, but this one from MODA just spoke to me.  So I bought some and headed home.

I was terrified to begin....
Am I really going to try this?

But I knew I had to do it.
For better or worse.
And since I am already poorer,
I dove in.....

I sewed my mom's quilt top.  


We received this iron as a wedding gift in 1993. I loved that I was ironing every single seam with the same iron I'd used for almost 20 years.
I thought of my mother each time I ironed a seam.  How she toiled and cared for us growing up, never complaining even one time.  How she spent countless hours at her own sewing machine to create the most beautiful and custom-made clothing for her little girls.  How she could design and sew anything my heart could imagine!
But I realized very quickly that I didn't know how to actually quilt.  Time ran out and I had to wrap it as it was.  Still, it was beautiful, and I loved creating it.  (I hope she loved it as much as I loved making it.)

That project inspired me to make one for my daughter, who was soon moving away.  But this time around I was determined to do the WHOLE THING.  So I squared my shoulders and decided to make a lap quilt using the QUILT AS YOU GO technique!

It was UH-MA-ZING!!!
I was addicted from the start!!
I made a third quilt before I finally hit pause!  (I'll post pictures of that gem below.)

For Vanessa's quilt, I first began by sewing together the charm pack blocks that I wanted to use, and also chose a coordinating fabric to add more contrast to the quilt.  I cut those into strips, and was ready to begin assembly--the step before sewing begins!  

Step One:  layer the backing fabric, the batting, and the quilt top together.  It's important to line up the top of the quilt.  The sides don't have to be even because you can trim them up later on.

Use lots of pins!

 Step Two: You make your first seam across the top, using a 1/4 inch allowance. Sew all the way across.  Add your next strip on top of the first strip, right sides together.  Pin all the layers together, then stitch this all the way across.  Take the layers to your ironing board and on the right side, press down the second strip of fabric.  Add your third strip, right sides together and repeat until the quilt is the size that you want.

Not a problem!!

Step Three:  Trip up the edges so that all four sides of your quilt are even.  You can see in this photo that the edges are even.Like magic, your quilt is almost complete!

Step Four:  Apply binding.  I chose to make my own.  THIS TOTALLY ROCKED!!

Using the scissors that my sister gave me about five years ago for the very first time, I cut fabric out and sewed it into strips.

 Pressing it half then sewing the raw edges to the quilt.

Final Step:  By hand fold over and blind stitch the binding to the front of the quilt. If you do it right, you won't even see your stitches.  I did not do it correctly.

With each stitch I took I thanked God for the precious gift he had blessed me with so many years ago.  My baby girl.  Born with personality and confidence and a joyful heart.  She has blessed and touched so many lives.  What a gift that was!


And here's a quick peek at the quilt I made for Lynn.  She asked me to make her a lap quilt for an upcoming trip, picked out the fabric herself.  I was nervous to make something requested by someone else.  Especially using a fabric I'd never used before, but it was great.
So sassy!!  Sew Sassy!!

In my hands you can see the fourth quilt I made.  This is more of a receiving blanket--no batting involved.  It's super-fast.  I love love loved it and can't wait to get some gorgeous flannel and try one for real.  This one was for her dogs.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Days ago, I was sitting at my craft table, trying to chat with my cousin when an ant runs across my table. The little bug! I smush him with a business card. 
Take that!! 

A little more chatting with Sandra and along comes that bug's brother! 
I tape him to a piece of Scotch tape. 

Which gets me to thinking about bug spray, as I'm pretty sure that I wasn't invited to the family reunion that's going on somewhere in the nether-lands of my craft room.  And when I crash that reunion, I want to be prepared!

So I'm sitting here, and what I want to know is where my son left the bug spray. He's at his grandma's, about 90 minutes away.

So I call him.

"George, do you know where the bug spray is?" I ask.

He said, with total confidence, "Next to the microwave." 
Nope, not there.

Confidence again, "In the broom closet."
Nope, not there.

"Is it in the coat closet?"
"On the shelf, maybe."
"On the bookshelf."
Nope, nope, nope.

Finally, I say, "so what you really mean is you don't know where you left the bug spray."
And he says, "that is right."
With confidence.

AHHHHHH!!! He's not even a teenager yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!