Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coupon code!

I've already mentioned that 2010 was the worst year of my life. Financially anyway. Coincidentally it was during that year that couponing became so very popular. Everywhere you looked, you would see ladies with their binders full of coupons studying sale papers and comparing coupons to products.

Well, I'm here to tell you, couponing is a great hobby for the unemployed. Now that I'm working, I don't have time to coupon like I used to, but it was a lot of fun and it did allow us to eat and groom much better during our financial setback than we would have otherwise.

So in honor of couponers everywhere, I'm offering a coupon code of my own. This week only, make any purchase in my shop, and use the coupon code freeship to get free shipping on any item.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Work on The Secret Project continues.

I have 2 tips for you regarding flying geese. One is to not use cheap fabrics. Most of the fabrics I chose for this project were Kona or a similar quality, but one was just a bit thinner. I can tell a big difference in the outcome of my flying geese based on the quality of fabric.

The other - don't wait and clip all your dog ears at one time. Not fun.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My daughter's latest quilt

I have loved this quilt since it was a stack of fabrics.

I love the colors, I love the designs in the fabrics, I love the pattern I chose to use, and I love the hand quilting. All over blogland, the quilting thread of choice is pearl cotton size 8, but I can't seem to find any in my stores, other than a few neutral colors. Hobby Lobby had some nice crochet thread in size 20 that matched the blue in this quilt and I decided to try it. I'm really glad I did, because I think it made this quilt. I tried to machine quilt it in white, but that was nothing but boring.

I knew it would all but disappear on the blue

I like it just fine on the green and pink

But I LOVE it on the orange

The back was pieced. I thought I'd have enough of the word fabric, but it ended up being a few inches too narrow and too short. The cross shape on the back wasn't planned from the beginning, but was just a happy accident.

The binding is stripped and very colorful, which is right up my daughter's alley.

But the real shot we need of this quilt is this

Because if I know my daughter, that's how it's going to look most of the time.

As long as we keep it away from this dog

we'll be ok. Very innocent looking, isn't she? I could do something about that cold leather couch - if she could be trusted.

I'm linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it up Friday series. Don't you love that rug? I think we need a tutorial on that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Non-quilting thought

Quilting, alas, is only my hobby. My day-time, and sometimes night-time job is a graphic designer. I work from home which has it's ups and downs. Oddly enough, those ups are sometimes the same thing as the downs.

For example, I've always hated the morning rush to make myself look like something, gather up everything I'm going to need for the day, and commute to an office. So most mornings, as I waddle into my office, I'm very thankful that I don't have to get a shower & go thru all that before I can start working. But now, here it is after 2 in the afternoon, and I'm thinking how lucky those work out the house type people are for being guaranteed a shower before work.

Another example is that I can have my daughter home with me while I work. She's 4. I don't have to explain that sometimes that is not a good thing.

The plus of being here sometimes means I can unload a dishwasher or start a load of laundry. Other times it means I'm sitting here, surrounded by my own mess, but unable to do anything about it because I have too much work to do.

No point. Just rambling.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The secret project

I've started on what we're going to call The Secret Project, a gift for a friend that I don't think reads my blog, but I don't want to show any pictures or reveal too much just in case. It's KILLING me! This is the prettiest fabric I've worked with to date, and the prettiest pattern I've done to date and I want to show it off and talk about it every step of the way.

The only thing I can say right now is that I shouldn't have been so afraid of flying geese. I rock flying geese.

In other news, I've pieced the back of the double hourglass and am ready to baste that, and I'm making good progress on hand quilting my daughter's lap quilt.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My new motivation method

I guess if you want to accomplish something, you need to declare it an official UFO.

If you find the cuteness of the girl too distracting to even see the quilt top, here's another pic without her:

I had no intentions of assembling this quilt top today. It wasn't even on my radar. But when I woke up, I thought I should put the two green blocks into one 4 patch & the two purple in another, making the assembly easier. So I made the 4 patches and by then I was just too close to stop. I like how it doesn't look like a checkerboard at all - the white in each block I guess.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Look what I did today!

A few months ago, I found this lovely fabric on the clearance rack at Joanns.

And I'd always admired the quilt made from striped fabric in the banner on Red Pepper Quilts (bottom row, in the middle), so I started searching for other stripes every time I'd go out.

I was pleased and surprised to find so many with that peachy/pink color.

I'm not sure about the one on the far right, and the latest addition, the second one from the left, is introducing a couple of blues that I'd love to see more of in the quilt, so this is not the final stack. But I've been wondering since I started how hard it was going to be - if I was going to be able to do it all.

My power went out today, right in the middle of me working, so instead of sitting in a dark house with nothing to do, I gathered these up and headed to my friend Mandy's house. Somehow, we managed to share an iron and a sewing machine while I worked on these and she pieced rows of a quilt she is making for her son.

The fruits of my labor:

Aren't they stunning? I just love them! And getting the stripes to line up was much easier than I was expecting. I had read that you might want to use a walking foot, and somewhere someone suggested temporary glue rather than pins - I just stuck a few pins in, sewed very slowly and didn't have any problems at all. I can't wait to find a few more fabrics with the blue and make more of these. I think it's going to be a beautiful quilt. I have no idea what size I'm aiming for, or even where it will live when I'm done - I'm just making it because it's fun. Isn't that what it's all about?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I just can't leave them alone

I had previously declared this project a UFO. But the blocks are all made - can you even do that - abandon a project after the blocks are already made? Is that legal?

Whatever. I'm in no hurry on this one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When you don't feel like doing much else

you can still muster the energy to bind a small quilt.

A cold has hit our house, and if you're the mother of a pre-schooler you can appreciate this - it's been 2 weeks since we were last sick, so it's time. I've gotten sick more since my daughter was born than the rest of my life combined.

I started out the day wanting to baste her quilt, but just never got the energy. So I sat and bound the little bug quilt instead.

I think the whole quilt turned out very nice. I used a pre-packaged batting that turned out to be a good bit lighter in weight than warm and natural, my usual. Sometimes, a light weight blanket is just what you need.

And I always love seeing the quilting lines on the back, don't you?

It's for sale in my shop.

Still not wanting to baste a quilt (never a favorite, is it?), but wanting to do a little something else, I decided to replace this:

Yes, my dog has been at it again. This is the first time she's gotten a pillow, or any part of one, and I'm just glad she only got the pillow case. Currently, there is nothing on my couch at all and I don't see a time in the forseeable future when there will be.

I love making pillowcases, though. Such a quick and satisfying project.

I picked up these fabrics at Hobby Lobby, specifically for this project, and I am so glad I did! The roses are so very pretty, and the fabrics themselves are so very nice. They did not feel at all like 'standard' quilting fabrics, much more like designer quality.

As soon as I got the last stitch in, and every since, I've just been searching for justification to go buy more.

Edited to add: Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Up Friday. I think she should change her name to Quilt Rescue, don't you? I shouldn't pretend to know her character, but I think it says something that someone who can make such beautiful quilts out of the most modern, delightful fabrics available not only takes the time to finish someone else's project, but finds a regular, loving use for it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two small finishes this week

Yesterday I found myself with 3 extra hours in the day, thanks to my friend Mandy watching my daughter Mandy while I worked (yes, that gets confusing).

I knew the strip quilt was going to be quick and easy, but I didn't expect it to be THAT quick and easy. I ironed, cut and pieced this quilt in my little 'ole 3 extra hours:

The bugs are adorable!

And upside down in this shot...

I guess next week will be devoted to quilting as I have this, and my daughter's lap quilt ready to quilt.

I'm linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish It Up Friday series.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I haven't been completely forthcoming about my WIP's. For one thing, this is different from your standard WIP, and for another I'm embarassed.

You see, I have a dog that likes to chew on quilts. (Since this quilt was made, I have gotten my machine serviced and those horrible tension issues fixed.)

Why does that little spot of damage embarass me? It doesn't.

It's this one that embarasses me:

And this one:

 And this:

Here's another - not sure why the color is so off balance:

 And - oh my - did I accidently wash the stupid thing in beef broth?

So what we have here is a beautiful new quilt completely in tatters because I'm too lazy to pick it up off the couch when I'm done.

Here are some pics taken before the damage:

Beautiful quilt. My husband just wants me to patch it, but I love it and I'm determined to take it apart, remove the damaged pieces, and put it back together someday. Someday. The only good news in all this is it's bigger than I want it to be anyway - I made it for my couch but didn't realize how far my prints would stretch in this pattern and it ended up being 72" x 90". It can easily stand to have a row shaved off both the width & length.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I love it when things go together as planned

This is my daughter's newest lap quilt, or it will be when I actually quilt it.

Some close-ups of the prints:

And then there is the word print that I probably should have just saved for the back. Not my favorite.

I wish I could remember on which blog I saw the tutorial for these blocks. It was soooo easy! You start with squares - mine were 8 1/2 & they used a layer cake - you layer 2 prints & 2 solids, cut the stack of 4 into 3 pieces vertically, then cut the center strip into 3 pieces horizontally, rearrange the center square so that the solid squares have a print center and vice versa, and then sew it all back together. You'll have to trim the top & bottom of the squares when you're done, but it was so much easier than how I cut out and sewed SD1. And it allowed for as much variation as you wanted in the style of the blocks. I'll definately do this one again.

I had previously said I wasn't going to use the striped fabric in the blocks, only in the binding, but as you can see, I did use it for 2 blocks. I ran out of fabric and it was either use that, or have a smaller quilt and pretty much waste 4 blocks. I think it looks ok, but I do think it would have overpowered a bit if I'd used much more of it.

I had said my next quilt was going to be for my friend, but look what I found in the remnant bin at Hobby Lobby:

Aren't those bugs adorable! The yellow is Kona Canary, and there's 60" of it! At half price. I know - I'm a dork.

But look what I just happen to have leftover from other quilts:

Kona black, red and lagoon. And look what I just happened to find at Hancocks in the clearance stack for just $2 a yard:

I couldn't have picked out a better binding if I'd tried. So, I think I'm going to have to whip all this into a quickie strip quilt first. It's too cute, and it will be a quick and very satisfying project.

Monday, February 6, 2012

There you have it

The reason I'm selling quilts. The short answer, obviously, is that we need some extra money. For crap like this - mangled, broken glasses. The long answer is a combination of a girl named Mandy, a remodeled house, a poor economy, and the year 2010. The first three served to put us in a no-reserves-left situation and the last one just about killed us. The last one being a year in which I was unemployed more than I was employed and my husband was under-employed. Despite both of us working steadily all of 2011, we just haven't quite caught up. Because life just keeps happening.

I'm not saying a bit of this in a whiny, poor-me tone of voice. After 2010, I don't think I could possibly whine about about money again. Not as long as it's still coming in week after week. My husband and I are both pretty frugal and pretty industrious. Which is why Pieces of Cotton was born. If the money we have isn't quite covering it, well then, we'll just have to make more.

In happier news, I have a stack of blocks ready to be assembled into a quilt.

  I could be all coy & say this is a sneak peak or something, but that's not really my style. What this is is a carefully paired stack of fabrics waiting to be pieced, and I don't dare rearrange them for a better picture or I'll never get them back in order again. So, this is all you get to see right now. Sorry.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The twins are done.

Finished the pink one up last night.

It has the same backing as the blue.

Both of these quilts turned out very nice. While I hate, hate, hated all the turns & stops of the quilting, I'm so very glad that I did it this way. I love how the echo quilting accents the pattern.

This is makes 3 kaleidescopes I've made, and I just love the pattern more every time I make it.

In the 'what I learned' department, if I ever do appliqued octagons, or probably any shape, again, I will allow for more than 1/4" seam allowance. I originally thought my best plan of attack was to cut the octagons out of the fabric, cut 1/2" smaller octagons out of freezer paper & use the freezer paper to help me iron under the seam allowance crisply and neatly. By the time the fabric wrapped around the freezer paper, it was much smaller than 1/4" and I ended up abandoning that method all together. That was the trickiest part of this quilt.

I know I shouldn't care, but I do hope these go to twins. Don't you think they belong together? They are both in my shop now - the pink one here & the blue one here.

Now I'm ready to start my daughter's latest quilt. The red didn't make the cut. More for the fact that it was darker than the other colors than for whether it could stand to be next to pink. I'll get that cut out sometime this weekend, and hopefully it will be a quick piecing and assembling. Isn't that what we always hope at the beginning of a quilt?

I'm linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can we get along?

What are your thoughts? Can the pink and red co-exist peacefully in this quilt?

I only have to attach & hand sew the binding on the pink twin quilt and then it will be done, freeing me up to work on this. I have since changed my mind (not an uncommon thing) back to the concentric squares I first decided upon when I bought the fabric. I think I'm going to reserve the stripe on the far left for the binding only. Then I think the rich solids (and the green almost solid) will be in sharp contrast with the rest of the light patterns. I think it will be very striking out of this pattern, except I have since discovered a stack and whack method that will not only shave hours of cutting time, but will also enable me to easily put the center square in different positions - it won't be quite so symetrical. Which normally I insist upon, but this being so very bright and for such a young girl, I think I like the idea of that center square being all different sizes & in all different places within the larger square.

It was never my intent to stall quite so badly on the string X quilt, but when I realized it wasn't going to be a quick and easy finish, despite the fact that I only need to assemble the top - I think I got a little discouraged. I've spent soooo many hours on it already. I think we need a break from each other.

And after I get this little lap quilt made, I have a very special friend still waiting on a Christmas present. I started to whip up a wall hanging in December, but that wasn't really what I wanted to do. I'm going to take my time and if it's not done until July, well then, it will be a birthday present.