Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday 9.17.14

 How are you all this fine Wednesday?  The weather here couldn't be more beautiful.  As a family, we've been taking climbing lessons at our YMCA, and last night, the third night, I found out why its considered exercise.  Boy are my arms sore today!  Its fun, too, and the challenge is totally what keeps you going.  Wanting to get to the next grip, or go faster, or a different route.  I totally see the appeal.  We've got 5 more lessons to go.  I think I'll have to start doing pushups!
 Over the past week I've pieced four tops from the leftovers of the Blessings Quilt.

I picked up a new roll of batting this past Saturday, so hopefully I'll get these quilted up and out of the house sooner than later.
I did a bit of shopping for the igminiswap.  Some purples and grays with a shot of lime.  Now to find pencils or crayons to match and do some coloring and planning.

I've also been making some skirts for E for school.  Four are done, so far.  I'll hopefully get her to model today.  She requested "short and stretchy".  Short is relative, because at school, they have to be below her knee cap!  And so far, none of them have really met her requirement.  She did wear one to school today for pictures.
Completely unrelated to sewing; we had a monarch in the house for about a week.  The boys had found a chrysalis, which we brought in to watch.  6 days later the monarch emerged.  We let it go in a sunny and flower filled location.  It flew directly to a goldenrod plant and ate for the longest time.  I hope it makes the trip south!

Tomorrow we start celebrating birthdays.  There are four birthdays within 10 days on Mr. Riley's side of the family.  Two of them are our kids!  Let the cake making begin!

Linking up with Lee.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Making a 100 Good Wishes Quilt

Now that the craziness of putting the 100 Blessings/Good Wishes Quilt is over and it has been gifted - I thought I would put together some thoughts and suggestions in case someone else was thinking of making one.

 In northern China there is a centuries old tradition of creating a "Bai-Jia-Bei" otherwise known as a "100 Good Wishes Quilt" to welcome and celebrate a new life into the family. One hundred family and friends donate a piece of fabric along with a written wish for the child. The wish can be anything: a quote, a poem, a saying, a story, a verse or a simple wish from the heart.

This practice has been adopted by many families who are adopting children from China as a unique and special way to welcome the child into their family. What we did for my friends and their new little girl is create a quilt with donated fabric and a book filled with the blessings to accompany the quilt. Each page of the book has the blessing written on it, a piece of the corresponding fabric attached to it, and the names and pictures of the people who donated the fabric and wrote the blessing. This way their daughter will always know which square came from whom, and what blessings and prayers were meant for her with that particular square.

1. Announcing the idea:  I used both Facebook and an announcement at church to let family and friends know about the project.  I wrote up instructions on a single sheet of paper that could be handed out.  I also put the information up on a special page on the blog.

2. Timing:  Plan on lots of time, as much as you can get away with.  First, give people who are participating lots of time to turn in the fabric.  Give them at least a month and plan on getting fabric even after your deadline has been reached.  You will eventually have to be firm on when you will no longer accept fabric because you will need to have enough time to actually construct the quilt.

3. Instructions: Be clear about how you want people to participate: What kind of fabric? How big of a piece? Where can they purchase it? What kind of fabric won't work? Are you working from a color scheme, or can people submit what ever they want?  Where can they mail it?  Also, you will need instructions regarding the Wish or Blessing. 
 **No matter how clear you think your instructions are, people will still have questions!  Be prepared to answer the same question many times.

4. Fabric: Be clear on what kind of fabric you will accept.  For instance, I asked for 100% cotton, quilting cottons, novelty prints, or fabrics from the baby section.  I still ended up with a couple of knits, two home decor weights, and a couple of flannels.  It will be up to you to decide how you want to deal with those.  I interfaced the flannel and home decor fabric, and returned the knit.
Also decide on a minimum size.  I asked for 10" square, knowing that I could definitely get an 8" square to work with out of it and a 2" square for the scrap book.   (most people gave much more than the minimum)
 **Be prepared to work with fabrics you would never in 100 years purchase.  I often say I've never met a piece fabric I didn't like, but there were a couple submissions I don't think I'd ever willingly purchase.

 5. Quilt Design: I did a simple square blocks with white sashing and red corner stones.  The white helped off set the many different fabric blocks and the corner stones helped pull the quilt together visually.  As I was working, I was formulating other design possibilities: Perhaps circles or hexagons, or if you were doing something smaller, balloons tied together.  I chose the square blocks because I didn't want to cut up the fabrics, so they were easily recognizable.  Each square of donated fabric finished at 7.5", so with the sashing and border the quilt ended up fairly large - 74" x 84".  Keep this in mind when asking for fabric, if something smaller is what you are planning, ask for smaller pieces of fabric!

 6. Scrapbook/ Memory Book: For this project I created a standard page for people to fill out and attach a picture.  I did the attaching of the fabric (in the upper right hand corner) as I cut the squares for the quilt.  Each page was then put into a plastic sleeve and they were all put into a binder.
 If anyone has any questions - please feel free to leave a comment or email me and I'll be happy to respond.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Temperature Quilt August Update

August was busy around here with lots of sewing for other projects, so the Temperature Quilt got put on a back burner.  I spent an evening cutting and piecing all of August.
 August 1st is at the top.  It has been warm around here, but I can't really say 'hot'.  Not one day even got over 86 degrees F.  Pretty amazing for August in Wisconsin.

I've had to order extra fat quarters for the four temperature ranges between 65 and 85.  Three I got perfect (or close enough) matches,
 but for my 71-75 range, this is the best I could do.
 The difference is actually worse in the photo, I don't think it will be as noticeable in the quilt.  The best I can figure is because Fossil Fern is winnowing down to just 100 colors, so my original fat quarter color must not be made any more.
 January through August all sewn together.  The grass really brings out those greens.
 A fun back side shot, everything is a little more muted.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday 9.10.14

Happy Wednesday!  We are having a rainy day here in the Upper Midwest, which apparently will be ushering in Fall-like weather later today.  Love it!
On to the WIPs for the week.  After the major finishes for the 100 Blessings quilt, I'm doing some quick and easy projects.

 I'm using up the left over pieces from the blessings quilt to make up some charity quilts.  Many people gave me way more than I needed.  I'm pretty proud of getting the binding ready for the one on top!
 This fishy-beachy one is still in progress.  Needs some borders to enlarge it a bit.
 I worked on my baby hexagon quilt at my small stitch group Monday.  Hexies are my only hand project right now.  Look, its almost done!  Really, a half hour of concentrated stitching would get it finished.  Then I have to pull papers and figure out how in the world one finishes a hexagon quilt.
 And finally, I'm working on a pattern for the ig mini swap.  I'm thinking I can do this with a combination of EPP for the center and paper piecing for the diamonds.  I need to do a clean drawing and get the lines thinner and lined up better.  Then time to pull fabric.

Linking with Lee.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Scrappy Left Overs - A Finish!

 Yesterday I talked about the finish of the 100 Blessings quilt.  This is a finish of some of the scraps from that quilt.  In the picture below you can see how I cut each donated fabric.  They started as 10" squares.

 The 2" corner square was for the scrap book the 8" square was for the quilt and that left me with two 2"x8" rectangles.
 I didn't have quite as many rectangles as squares from the Blessings quilt, for a few reasons, but I started playing around with a scrappy design and ended up with this layout.  140 rectangles.
 Plugged the hole with the red from the Blessings quilt.
 Added a border to tie it all together.
 I did some loose wavy quilting along every other rectangle.  I tried to not over quilt it since it is supposed to be a love-y quilt and should be more soft.
 The back and bindings are a fun turquoise from my stash.

This one finished up at 41" x 48"
I'm having fun using my machine to embroider labels.  The thread was probably too thick, but its legible, at least.

 And because I just couldn't resist, I also made a dolly quilt :).
 16" x 16" with flannel for the batt.
Quick, fun and easy!  And you could play checkers on it!

Monday, September 8, 2014

100 Blessings Quilt - A Finish!

 This finish has been a long time coming!  Way back at the end of March, I put out a call for fabric   to friends and family for this 100 Blessings Quilt.  Friends of mine are adopting a little girl from China, and when I came across this idea (I think on Pinterest) I thought it would be a wonderful idea to welcome her.
 I gave people quite a long time to get the fabric turned in.  Partly so I could have as many participants as possible, and partly because I didn't have a firm deadline until about a month ago. 
 I was given a total of 76 different fabric squares from 72 individuals/families.
 This worked out nice for an 8 x 9 grid on the front.  I put the extra four fabrics on the back.
 As you can see, I got quite the variety of fabrics!
 The back is mostly made up of a Brother Sister design I picked up at Hobby Lobby.   A little solid yellow to finish up the back.  There is a hanging sleeve at the top, since the parents thought they may hang it up.  If they do, it will take up an entire wall since it measures 74" x 84".
 I confess, I wasn't sure that I could pull off all these different blocks together in one quilt, but the white sashing and red/coral tone on tone helped pull them together.
 The quilting was all done by me on my domestic machine.  The seams were done with a wavy stitch that is built into the machine.  I did a free-motion flower in the center of each block.  The whole quilt was pieced and quilted with Aurifil thread #2026.  With so many different colors, the cream Aurifil really went with everything!
 The binding is attached by machine.  Partly for durability, but also so I could use the wavy stitch to complete the design.
 It was truly a blessing for me to make this quilt - and the best news, is that my friends leave this Friday morning to go get their little girl!  I can't wait to meet her!

The stats:
74" x 84"
Fabrics: A huge variety
Thread: Aurifil #2026
Batting: Pellon Cotton
Quilted on a Viking 870 Quilt

Linking up with Amanda @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Friday

Friday, September 5, 2014

See & Sew B5480

 I didn't end up putting any effort into my outfit for the Renaissance Faire this year.   I just wore a variation of last year's.  Instead of the under dress, I wore a white top.  I wore the skirt on its own.  I did have to take the vest in a couple of inches (yay!) from last year, and I should have tightened up the skirt, but it was good enough.
 I had intended to make a peasant shirt for the day, but didn't take the time before hand.  I went ahead and finished it a couple days after, because I already had the stuff out.
 It is an easy pattern, just as it says.  However, I thought it was pretty funny that the very first instructions are about making French Seams.  They are not hard, but if you've never done one, it can sound pretty intimidating.  I thought perhaps I'd wear it as a regular top, but it doesn't hang quite right, its still rather poofy.  I might take it in on the sides, but probably, I'll just save it for next year's costume.

On a completely random side note: French Seams are how I found out all about sewing and quilting blogs almost 5 years ago when making a dress for E.