Monday, November 2, 2015

Goodbye Darling

Earlier this year, I had the fortune of having one of the most pleasant ladies I've ever met stumble into my ETSY shop to order a simple table runner and she has shouted my praises every since. I've been very blessed with the people I've worked with, especially considering they are complete strangers, but this one went far above just a pleasant transaction.

She contacted me again to make her daughter a lap quilt out of the Hello Darling line. Her daughter sent me a picture of a quilt that I couldn't immediately find the pattern for, but in my process of looking, we stumbled upon this quilt and both liked it better anyway. I contacted Ms. French to see if she ever made it into a pattern as she suggested she would, but she hadn't. I was on my own, and that, I believe, is where the troubles started with a very unpleasant quilt for a very pleasant person. I'm not going to bore you with the details, but I will say if it could be added wrong, or cut wrong, or sewn wrong, I did it all in this quilt right here.

Somehow, despite all my efforts to destroy it, I do still think it looks right cute. And with the closely spaced quilting lines, it feels amazing - my favorite type of quilting. You can tell by looking, it isn't a particularly difficult pattern. The only aspect I would consider challenging is narrow strip that serves as the "string" the pennants are hanging from, so I guess I'll have to accept all the blame for its difficulties.

Even the back gave me problems.

It looks fine, and I guess that's all that matters, but I made two errors that made it harder than it should have been, and the company I ordered the fabric from wasn't able to include one of the prints despite showing stock at the time I placed the order.

Seriously, one headache after another during the entire process. So, I've named it Goodbye Darling. I was so glad to mail that thing off yesterday!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on the blog, but my step-daughter is pregnant. So I'm off to sew lots of cute baby things! We're very excited to have another grandbaby join the family!

Edited to add: Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series. Love those coffee mugs she has this week!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Cargo Duffle Bag, by Noodlehead

Last week, we celebrated a friend's birthday and that friend is a bit hard to shop for. She's a bit of a work-a-holic and those are the hardest types, aren't they? But her job does require some travel, so I thought maybe a cute carry on type bag would be nice.

I'm going to admit, I struggled some with this. The making of the parts was ok. The assembly of the parts was only slightly harder, but the binding of the inside seams almost got my friend a gift card instead. That was my experience. I'm sure someone with actual bag sewing experience would have different results.

One comment I saw on another blog was that she chose a zippered pocket instead of the cargo pockets because they always seem to look homemade. Yep. It's not huge, but when you want someone to carry your gift from Tennessee to California, you don't really want sloppy details making it look "homemade."

You can see from the above picture that somehow my flaps are a bit more narrow than the pockets, and also on the right is a piece of pocket showing that shouldn't show:

And common sense should have told me to buy the kind of snaps that go through the fabric, so my stitches wouldn't show.

I just don't happen to be very big in the common sense department.

So, here are some of my "wish I'd done it differently" tips:

1. I would make the sections larger and then cut them down to size after quilting.

2. I'd have choose different snaps.

3. I'd spend a lot more time, and probably some fabric glue, making sure those pockets were perfect. They are the focal point of the whole bag, after all.

4. I'd line the whole bag rather than binding the seams.

One thing I did that varied from the instructions was to sew the bottom accent fabric on and then quilt over it. Her instructions were to iron the side under and just quilt over it - I liked sewing it down first.

Oh, and the other thing I did differently was to use headliner fabric - the stuff that goes in the roof of your car. I know, weird, right? I'd read on another blog that was the product of choice for all her bags, but when I checked it out at Hancock, not only was it not that much cheaper, but it was noticeably thinner than the Pellon foam interfacing. I was on the fence as to whether to use Pellon or fusible fleece when I noticed some headliner fabric in the remnant bin for just a couple dollars. So I snatched that up and gave it a try. It was perfect! I might have gotten even more frustrated with the thicker Pellon, and the headliner fabric sewed and ironed just as well. So, if you don't have ready access to the Pellon, or find some headliner fabric on sale, give it a try!

Minor imperfections aside, I do like the bag, and I really love my fabric choices for it.

My daughter has requested one in pink and purple. No matter what I sew, my daughter requests one in pink and purple, but this might be a practical make for her since she does spend every Friday night with her Grandmother.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

And the winners are...

Using the super scientific method of asking my daughter to pick two numbers between 1 & 17, I have determined the winners of the magazine issues to be Judy@quilt paradigm and stitchinpenny. Congratulations! I've sent e-mails to the winners and will mail those issues out as soon as I have addresses.

In the meantime, here's a pretty picture of my quilt, courtesy of McCalls. It's not often pictures of my quilts look good, in fact, this may be a first:)

I'm also guest blogging at McCalls today. You can check that out here.

If you make a quilt from my pattern, I would be thrilled to see it. Please either hashtag it #TwistedZags on Instagram, or just e-mail it to me, piecesofcotton @ And if you'd like to follow me on Instagram, I'm piecesofcottonquilting there.

Friday, August 7, 2015

This is happening

You may recognize the snippit of quilt you can see as being similar to the one I made for my grandson when he arrived in Chattanooga.

This one was made about a year ago and will be in the October/November issue of McCall's Quick Quilts.

If you don't want to wait until it hits the stands, I have a couple copies to give away. Leave me a comment, and I'll pick two random commentors to mail a full copy of the issue to.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Quicky finish

I'm in the middle of another large project, and as is typical of me, I needed a break from seeing the same fabrics and doing the same things.

I admire those who start something, and then finish it.

Of course, my method of starting something, stopping to make a baby quilt, going back to the first project - for a while - also has its benefits.

That binding fabric was a Christmas present from my daughter. What other than purple polka dots can you expect from a 7-year-old?

The other prints in this quilt were a Christmas present from my friend, Mandy. I love it all. This quilt is in the shop, but whatever I make next from these fabrics will be for me.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Another lattice quilt

One of the first quilts I made this year was this beautiful lattice quilt out of Petal by Tanya Whelan. And it almost wasn't. I was in the process of making a lattice quilt out of Paris Flea Market when I cut the side triangles too small. And my typical process is to cut all my pieces first and then sew them all together, so that meant a whole quilt's worth of too small triangles. Not wanting to throw them away, I spied my jelly roll of Petal and decided to make it a lattice too. Loving the fabrics like I did, it was naturally the first to get completed.

Eventually I did get around to cutting larger triangles and finishing this one out of Paris Flea Market:

I made this one to sell, but it's a good thing I already have the Petal one or that just wouldn't happen. The lattice pattern must just be my pattern to love. I'm already considering another, masculine, one.

I quilted it on each side of the diagonal seams. Each time I do this, I'm sure I'm going to add some hand quilting in the white squares, but I haven't yet.

The backing is a gold that complements fairly well. I found it on clearance at Joann's a few years ago and immediately made it into a backing. I've auditioned it with many quilt tops, but it seemed to fit this one best.

I did want to share one tip with you that is different from how every tutorial I've seen does it, and that is to iron your fabrics all in one direction.

Most tutorials have you iron both triangles away from the center strip, which means instead of nesting seams, you are fighting the bulk of having your seams ironed the same way when trying to put the blocks together.

Not every seam was this spot on perfect:

But I feel like I received better results and more easily than I would have otherwise.

This quilt is in the shop and ready to find its forever home.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish It Friday series.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sew Demented

Sew Demented - I always assumed she chose her name to be funny, a little self-depreciating humor.

But now, after making her famous bag, I realize it is us - we are the ones demented.

We put 4 zippers in one project.

We wrapped that side panel around three different things, and then we defied the laws of nature, physics and fabric to attach it to the base without distorting the inside pockets.

And like just about everyone else who has made one, I am now planning my next one. Yes, we are the ones demented. We're on our way to the padded rooms, you realize that don't you?

And the scary thing, they don't allow rotary cutters in those padded rooms. I think they're afraid we'll cut the padding off and use it in a project.

I'm sure you figured out by now that this is for my friend, Mandy, who recently graduated nursing school. The fabric is Calling all Nurses by Windham fabrics. My favorite is this text fabric:

Full of puns, but I love it anyway. I bought extra of this and I'm thinking of making something for my sister-in-law as well.

I also love the hats, mostly for the pretty blue background:

I really didn't like the band-aids - I'm not even sure why I bought them, but I did, so I relegated them to the inside of the pockets.

I think the next one will be easier. I think. If not, I will gladly surrender my rotary cutter to the men in the white coats.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A couple of little distractions

I mentioned at the first of the year that one of my only two goals for the year was to make a quilt for my bed. I actually have the top done, but I haven't decided how I'm going to quilt it, and I haven't gotten any pics of it yet. But it was a pretty tedious process, being such a large quilt, so I thought I'd show some of the weekends I took off from working on it.

One was this Backyard Baby plus quilt:

I love Backyard Baby! This was the first plus quilt I'd ever made and I really liked the process. I'm sure I'll make more of these.

The other was just one of those times when you start and don't really have a plan. I started putting some 4 patches together, and then I cut some larger squares and framed them. Moved them around until they made sense, and that was that.

I bought these fabrics at Joann's a couple of years ago and got tired of them sitting there. I just wanted to do something whether it was the "right" thing or not. They're really cute fabrics:

Both of these quilts were quick, weekend quilts. Just what I needed when I was so tired of looking at the same fabrics for so long it was in danger of all being put in a drawer somewhere.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Another memory quilt

I mentioned in an earlier post that some things were changing for me this year, but I didn't go into details. It's a somewhat controversial topic, with everyone not only having an opinion, but seemingly feeling free to judge you if your opinion doesn't match theirs. We made the decision over Christmas break to homeschool our daughter. With this semester almost behind us, I'm feeling more sure than ever that it was the right decision. Not every child is made for the 7 hours at a desk lifestyle that traditional classrooms require. And not every child can take the medication that is required to force them into that environment. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

So my days are a little bit more full, and my time a little bit less my own. Honestly, it hasn't slowed my sewing down all that much, but the blogging has obviously taken a hit:) I think I've finished 4 quilts since my last blog post. The one I want to talk about today is maybe not the most attractive, but I think the most special of the group.

After the commissioned memory quilt I made, my husband mentioned a cousin, still struggling with the grief of losing her husband, and how she might be comforted by a memory quilt. I don't even know this cousin, other than reading her facebook posts, but without even thinking I said I'd make her one for free. She was delighted with the idea and sent me quite a selection of his shirts to make it from.

I used a Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial to make the blocks. It's a pretty quick, easy, and fun way to make a block that I think is pretty darn cute. But the method - making a large block, cutting it in pieces, and rearranging the pieces to sew back together - isn't the most accurate way to piece. Where this is most noticeable in this block is the little pinwheel center. Sometimes it's a bit off.

But unless you're zoomed in on it, I don't think it ruins the overall block:

Amongst all the manly shirt blocks, I wanted there to be something pretty & floral. The quilt is for a woman after all, so I added a print from my stash that I thought coordinated with the overall feel, and liked it so much that I used it on the back as well.

And I offset the blocks in the rows because I love the shapes created in the negative space.

The background is Kona stone, and the binding is a stripe that coordinates with the backing. It's a nice, snuggly size for an adult - I think 55" x 65". I can't imagine the pain of losing your husband. I think this is a beautiful way to honor his memory and keep a part of him close to you. Despite the materials not being as pleasant to work with as designer quilting cotton, I think I'd like to do more of this for people.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday. And now I'm going to get back to my machine while I have the chance for tonight I get to see my dear friend Mandy graduate from nursing school!! She did it, and I am over the top proud of her!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The well behaved quilt

You know how something always goes wrong when you're making a quilt? Either the seams are hard to match, or there's a pucker during the quilting, or you run out of a needed print - something always goes wrong.

Somehow, nothing did with this one. It all came together so very smoothly.

Even this - check this out:

The solid I'm using is Petunia by Kona. It's a violet that is so light it's almost pink. Almost. Have you ever tried to find almost pink violet thread? It doesn't exist in Chattanooga, so I can save you some time there. But then I remembered a chart I had downloaded from Pile O Fabric that matches Kona colors to Aurofil colors. You can download yours here. And you should - you just never know, and what wonderful information to have! I ordered Aurofil Light Orchid from her chart and I just couldn't believe how perfect it was.

So I'm calling this my well behaved quilt. The prints used are Waterfront Park by Michael Miller. And it's bound with a print from that line.

The back is simply more Kona, some charcoal, some black, and one little strip of the Petunia. The backing actually altered my quilting plan. I was going to go with vertical straight lines all the way across. My friend Mandy wanted me to echo the chevron shapes, but I just did not want all the stopping and the pivoting and the rearranging - I wanted it to be so much easier. But as I laid the backing down to start basting, I pictured how much nicer it would look with zig zag quilting lines and I just had to do it.

Such the right choice.

The batting is warm & natural, my typical batting. The measurements are 61" x 87". And it's available in my shop.

I'll be linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday post, assuming she does that today. Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm!

Friday, January 23, 2015

My new favorite pattern

In the "It's mine, you can't have it" category, we have my recently finished lattice quilt.

The quilting was simple, and only took an evening. Just straight lines echoing the seams of the patterned fabric, which is Petal by Tanya Wheelan. The "white" in the top is Kona Snow.

I just love the little way a square forms at the intersection, framing the points where the different fabrics meet.

For the back, I just used some fabrics I had on hand, mostly solids, but I found a red gingham and threw some of that in too.

The colors in the back are darker than the colors in the top, but they blend well.

I don't remember the name of the blue, or the light neutral, but the dark neutral is stone, and as you can see, I've used it for the binding as well. I think it frames all the lighter fabrics beautifully.

This quilt finished at 49" x 64", which is perfect for an extra quilt on my side of the bed only. It would also make a great quilt for the couch, but this dog is only allowed supervised visits with quilts:

Somewhere along the way, she developed quite a taste for them and we've been unable to break her of it.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series. I love those project bags she's putting together - I may need to make some of those myself.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My seriously bad day

It started Friday night, actually. I was walking across my den towards my sewing machine when I heard a loud pop in my left knee and felts lots & lots of pain. I did some google research on knee pops followed by intense pain and determined I had sprained it and I just needed to rest it a while. So I took the weekend off from laundry and just sat around all day Saturday. My husband bought me this:

And probably this in connection with all the rest made everything all better. Maybe a little weak feeling, but virtually pain free. So Sunday was back to life as usual. I had to run to Joann's for thread, I needed to pick up some things from the grocery store, I did some cooking, went back downstairs to sew some more - typical day. I felt so good, in fact, that I made the decision not to wear the brace to sleep. A decision I immediately regretted when I rolled over in bed last night. There was no pop this time, but there was the same sudden onset of pain, only worse. I couldn't put the first bit of weight on my leg. I literally couldn't walk.

So I get up this morning & it's a tiny bit better - I can walk in tiny steps if my knee is bent almost 90 degrees - are you picturing that? All hunched over, grabbing walls for support, shuffling along?

It was right after I got to the couch that I heard it... You know how you're supposed to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when the time changes? And if you don't, it lets out a loud beep every 30 seconds to annoy the crap out of you until you do? That's what I heard. I can barely make it to the bathroom, climbing on a chair to change a battery in a smoke detector is out of the question. So I just get to hear it - all. day. long. My husband is on overtime. Won't get home until around 6:30. I can't guarantee my sanity by then.

But let's make it more interesting. Let's add a tiny dog that is scared of the beep and even after 6 hours, just will not become desensitized:

The shaking and the whining and the getting under my feet. Wow.

While I regret all the activity yesterday that probably allowed a recurrence of the sprain to happen, I'm very glad this was one of the things I chose to do:

Cream of broccoli soup. Folks, this is some of the best soup you'll ever taste. I took a basic recipe from The Pioneer Woman, but I used half chicken stock & half milk, and I only had less than a cup of cheese. I mean, if you have to be stuck at home, unable to even walk well, this is the food you want to have.

So, lest the most attractive picture I leave you with be a bowl of green soup, I'll show you what I did while I rested all day Saturday:

This is a twin sized quilt made out of Paris Flea Market fabrics that I decided to hand quilt. I hesitated for the longest, because I was so sure I'd regret taking on a hand quilting project of this size, but I haven't regretted it for a moment. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is now necessary for me to have a hand quilting project going at all times. I'm nearing the end of this one, and I just love the way it looks. Hand quilting adds something that just can't be replicated with a machine.

I hope you're having a less annoying day than I am, but I doubt your lunch is as good:)