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Posts Tagged ‘christmas crafting’

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Unfortunately I don’t have a full picture of the last quilt I made in 2010. The one my nephew E is sitting on was actually made for his dad. As you can see in the photo the quilt uses a lot of Echino fabrics and a simple black and white color scheme. I really love how it turned out and at 72 inches by 90 inches it is the largest quilt I’ve ever made! Even more impressive was that I started it on the 20th of December “gifted,” it unbound on Christmas eve, and finished it on the 28th! I spent hours the week of Christmas pushing to get this done. My only regret is that I don’t have a better picture of it! It was shipped to Italy on the 30th so maybe once my brother gets settled in he will take a picture of the whole quilt for me.

The second to last quilt I finished was for E and I would happily have kept both these quilts for myself!

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Looking back on 2010 I completed quite a bit! Here are most of the things I’ve done. Almost all of it was for Christmas so I didn’t get pictures of everything or everything completed….but I’m still proud of myself. Now I just need to finish the stack of WIPs I have from 2009 AND 2010 ;)

2010 Completed Projects!

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I put my presser foot to the floor this week and finally got this quilt top done! Even though I sketched it out and planned the dimensions I can’t believe how big it is. It’s almost twin sized and will be a roomy nap quilt. I considered going “all the way” and making it twin sized but I doubt my brother would use it as a comforter anyway.

I planning on doing a tan/brown solid on the back and a yet to be determined print for the binding. All of that will go on hold for awhile until I can make it down to my Dad’s where I have a wood floor large enough to make the quilt sandwich on. I’ve tried doing this on my carpeted floor but I get crazy puckering on the back so I would rather just wait.

In the meantime I think I’m going to assemble the quilt top and back for my Tokyo Subway Quilt. Originally I was going to wait for Oh Fransson but she showed a preview of her plans for the back and while I think it’s cool it’s not my style, besides she won’t be publishing directions until mid-November and I need to get the top and back done before then. That way I can take the Tokyo Quilt, Flying Geese Quilt, and Modern Cross quilt down to my Dad’s and turn them all into sandwiches at the same time. Then I’ll just need to quilt them all before Christmas…

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Plenty of people view modern cross quilts as those with wonky crosses but to me this bold and colorful version is just as modern.

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I made it for my nephew, Edward, and it has quite a different aesthetic from the baby quilt I made for my nephew, Emmerson, who was born three weeks earlier.

emmerson's baby quilt

Neither quilt is designed to coordinate with their respective nurseries since I knew I couldn’t make them match enough to please their mothers, it was easier to not even try.

I’m not sure how I’ll quilt my modern crosses, I think I will follow the lines for every 2nd or 3rd cross to make certain ones appear to pop. The back is mostly the guitar fabric with an intermittent strip of the colored squares that I had left over arranged like tile. I REALLY love this quilt and seriously considered keeping it but hopefully my nephew will love it just as much. If not I may take it back, I mean he’ll only be six months old at Christmas, he won’t know the difference… right??

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You can find this project for free here on The Mother Huddle.

After making two other aprons as Christmas gifts I had to take an apron making break! I have a bit of sewing ADD and I can’t do too much of one thing without getting bored. Since I try very hard not to have a large stack of works in progress I don’t start things if I don’t think I will see them through immediately. It also worked out that in the interim I had purchased the red and white polka dot fabric for another project thats adds a much needed punch of color to this apron.

Stylistically it isn’t much different from the other two aprons I’ve made recently but the overall look is very different as is it’s functionality. I purchased the bike fabric a year or so ago in an attempt to add more boy friendly prints to my stash but I’ve never really loved it and it has languished in the fabric closet since then. I am attempting to use fabric from my stash for all my gifts this year and I decided to focus on the random fabrics that I have purchased that don’t coordinate with anything else. Since most of my Christmas projects will be small it is actually a perfect use for these 1/2 yard and 1 yard pieces. Now before you accuse me of foisting off substandard prints on my sister-in-law I should tell you that it is her style. It is also the most functional apron I’ve made. The dark blue fabric is perfect to hide stains and the built in hot pads mean she doesn’t have to hunt around for a hot pad or oven mit when she is cooking. The red, white and blue color scheme is also reminiscent of her 4th of July wedding to her husband years ago. So while it isn’t my favorite apron I know it will be well loved and well used by her. After all crafting presents isn’t about making things that I love but things that the recipients will love.

I didn’t have any real trouble figuring out the instructions or making this apron but the pleats were a bit tricky at first. The pictures in the tutorial are very close up but some wider shots would help make it easier to understand and then execute. I would also suggest making this apron in one sitting. I created the pleats, ironed and pinned them but then didn’t work on the project for a couple days. In the interim my cats had removed some of the pins and it took a bit of finagling to get the fabric back into the pleats and folds so that I could sew it all in place. All together it only took me about two hours to make this apron so it’s an easy project to complete in an afternoon.

I only made one alteration to the pattern. I sewed the hot pads to the apron on three sides instead of sewing it together on two and then tacking it in one spot on the third. This made it easier to use the hot pad as a mitt and with my dark fabric and all over print you don’t really notice it.

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You can also check out my version of the Twirl, Girl from “A is for Apron” here and my version of the Kitschy Kitchen Apron from “One Yard Wonders” here.

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whether I want to or not…

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I’m not a big fan of moving between various projects,at most I’ll be working on three things at the same time. Usually I’m only working on one and make myself finish it before I start anything else. But occassonally I will get stuck on a project and just won’t want to finish it. While this tree skirt may look sweet and innocent

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I assure you it’s evil! I first saw this when mamacjt posted it on flickr

Tree Skirt

Carol created the tree skirt and after so many people expressed interest in it she also created a pattern which can be purchased directly from her. Simply contact her through flickr at the link to her above.

I was really excited to make this tree skirt and readily shelled out almost $50 for 12 different fat quaters in shades of reds or greens. The pattern only calls for 1/8 yards but I don’t have a quilt shop that sells cuts that small. You could also use scraps to make a more interesting tree skirt but I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work.

Where the love affair ended was all the tiny strips. The pattern calls for strips 1 1/4 in or 1 1/2 in wide but piecing those thin strips to make a 7 inch thick rectangle is tedious. Eventually I just cut mine wider 1 1/2 in – 2 in wide. By the time I had pieced my red rectangles and my trees I was done! The skirt got set aside for a week or so before I gathered up the energy to start working on it again. After the pieced portions are done the top actually goes together pretty quickly. You sew white strips on the sides of the trees and then sew the tree to the red rectangle. There are only two pattern pieces- one is the tree and the second is the section. You lay the pattern piece for the section over your work and trim off the excess. Then you sew the trimmed sections together. Until this point the directions were concise but detailed and my only frustration was personal (I don’t like sewing thin strips together over and over and over again). But at this point I have a real problem with the pattern. Perhaps you will understand when I quote step 11 for you “Layer and quilt as desired.” If this was a square or a rectangle I wouldn’t be complaining but it’s not. And even patterns that use squares or rectangles will tell you how much fabric and what dimensions the backing should be. But this is worse because it’s a hexagaon with curved ends. What size backing should I use? What size batting? Should I cut it in a circle, if so how large? Should I cut it in a square, if so what size? I used a square for the record and it wasn’t brain surgery but this is a pattern and I personally believe a pattern should walk you through all the steps. I also have a problem with step 12 which tells you how much “BIAS” binding you need but not how to attach it. Again this isn’t a square or a rectangle, you have to bind curves with points, I’ve never done that before. Feeling really frustrated at this point I contacted Carol and asked for assistance. I didn’t specifically ask how to get the binding around the points where the curves meet, I figured when i asked how to bind it that she would understand what I needed. Her response was a reminder that I needed to use “BIAS” binding, to ease it around and go to a local shop if I needed more assistance. I was tired and frustrated at this point, really frustrated and I put this project on a high shelf out of sight for a day. Because honestly if I didn’t I think I would have thrown it away. I was that frustrated and really the only thing that stopped me wasn’t the time I had put in but the cost of the fabric itself. I’m not throwing out $50 plus dollars of fabric over a temper tantrum. But again I believe a pattern should equip me with the knowledge I need to complete a project from start to finish.

The next day I turned to my old standby- google. And for one of the very few times ever it failed me! The sum total of advice I could find on the various blogs and websites was “ease it around.” In desperation I bought (sight unseen) a book referenced in a blog post about binding curved edges. The tree skirt went back into the closet for three weeks until the book arrived and it too was pretty useless. The book was supposed to be about binding and borders but it was more of visual option book versus a practical how-to. At this point I just needed this tree skirt done and out of the way so I sat down to channel my inner Tim Gunn and “make it work.” The binding is not pretty but it is done so at least I can check it off the list.

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When I started this project I was going to keep the tree skirt but about half way through I decided it would be a gift for someone else. Now that I’m done I’ve decided to give it to a good friend who’s taste is a bit more traditional than mine. Because time and frustrations aside after making this I realized it’s just not me but hey it sure looks cool. And she loves me enough not to look to closely :)

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Addicted to Two Inch Squares, originally uploaded by Make it Modern.

I’m loving the Tokyo Subway Map Quilt Along that I’m starting to look for other excuses to use these tiny two inch squares- they are addictively sweet. I’ve been planning to make one of these fabric baskets for quite a long time but had never gotten around to it.

This one was destined to be a gift basket for the spa themed Christmas present for my step mother but now I’m not sure. The basket is a lot smaller than I imagined. The two apples are each smaller than my fist! Now I think it will fit a couple things and I’ll have to make a bag or something else for the rest… Don’t get me wrong I love it, I’m just not sure how functional it is.

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Originally I’d planned on making one for myself to hold the fabric scraps that will end up in the trash during a project. I usually end up piling them on the counter until I make it over to the trash can and my cats LOVE pushing these piles over the edge and playing in them. But having made one I realize it’s not big enough for that unless I double the size and maybe use an additional stabilizer. Hmmm

I loosely followed this tutorial from Pink Penguin. She offers clear instructions and lots of pictures. Pink Penguin only used three different fabrics but for more interest I used six. I also had some issues with the fabric dimensions she gave. When I sewed my two inch squares together the base piece was two big so I cut it down to fit to the squares and subsequently had to cut the lining piece down to make it fit. I also used iron in fleece because that’s what I had lying around. In case you are wondering the fabrics are mostly from Joel Dewberry’s Modern Meadow but I also used Hope Valley and Arcadia. The lining fabric is from Michael Miller and the solid fabric is an organic cotton I found at Jo Ann’s.

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2010270801 037, originally uploaded by Make it Modern.

I’m in love with my new pouch and broach set!

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The set is the “wrapping” for my sister in law’s Christmas present. She is a big Vera Bradley fan and while I found those bags too expensive for my Christmas budget I thought these twp prints by Timeless Treasures and Alexander Henry were very evocative of the Yellow Bird print from Vera. I considered using fleece interfacing to add some puff and quilting but I didn’t want to make it a Vera Bradley copycat. I wanted to make something useful that I know she would love and using her favorite purse as inspiration seemed like a smart move.

After making the pouch I thought it needed some adornment, the broach serves this purpose beautifully and was a breeze to make. And she can take it off and put pin it on a sweater or jacket.

My goal is to turn this into a free tutorial but it needs a little tweaking first to perfect it.

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I worked so hard yesterday to get all the quilting done on my birdcage quilt that I think I strained a leg muscle! But I managed to get it all done and while most of this quilt has been frustrating I really enjoyed designing the quilting for it. My plan is to bind it and bury all the threads today so I can check this off my Christmas crafting list before I start anything else.

In anticipation of the finish I pulled a stack of fabric for my next quilt. When I was growing up my mom always stressed the importance of giving back and being thankful for all the gifts and priveleges I’ve been given. Every year we gave presents to local charities and its something I’ve carried into my adult life. But for the past couple of years I’ve regretted that I didn’t have the time to donate handmade gifts. It’s in fact part of the reason I decided to start my Christmas crafting in July. Not only does starting early allow me time to give all of my love ones a handmade gift, it also allows me to time to make gifts to donate. I’m not sure how many items or what kind I will end up making but I figure a quilt is a good start. It’s also a good way to use up fabric from my stash for a good cause. I don’t have as impressive a stash as some but I’ve been feeling like it’s getting out of hand. Since the fabrics aren’t hard to find I can’t swap them and I don’t do enough crafting to use them up for myself or friends and family so this feels like the perfect solution.

Do you ever do any crafting for charity? Do you plan on donating any items this holiday season?

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Cruising on the high of finishing my miniquilt in a day I decided to go back to this quilt and try to knock it out.

The top is completely pieced.

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But now I need to hand applique the fussy cut birds. There are twelve of them and since I plan on raw edge appliquing them it won’t take me too long but I’m still not looking forward to it!

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I know it isn’t Monday but this is my first work day of the week so does that count? I’m sure you will forgive me for getting distracted by these two.

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I spent the weekend visiting my two nephews (only three weeks apart!) and visiting one of my favorite quilt shops. I started to feel guilty when I got home about the amount of money I spent ($50 on fabric for a tree skirt to start) and about being behind on my Christmas presents. I wanted to do something with my new fabric and check another present off the list but I wasn’t motivated to start another major project since I’m actively working on three large quilts already. I had planned on making a mini quilt or pillow case cover for my in laws and since they live in the Pacific Northwest this fabric seemed perfect :).

The quilt is the size of a fat quarter (the lazy way to decide on the size) and I used three fat quarters of the Melimba & Beccabury Rainy Days and Mondays in White along with Kona Cotton Basil to make it. At least the Kona cotton was from my stash…

I taped a couple of pieces of regular paper together and freehanded the templates.
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I’ve been wanting to make an umbrella quilt for awhile and originally had intended to piece it but today applique seemed a better choice.

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Since it’s a miniquilt the back will rarely be seem so I kept it simple.

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When I asked my husband what I thought his mother would like he didn’t really know. He did remember that she really liked the quilting work that we saw when visiting Lancaster County, PA a couple years ago. So I tried to make the quilting lines a bit more interesting. I used two different colors and three different designs. The umbrella has quilted lines to mimic the look of an actual umbrella. Above the umbrella are diagonal lines in light gray to mimic rain and below the umbrella the lines go straight up and down and are done in a dark green thread.

Overall I really like it and it only took about three hours including hand sewing the binding.

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