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11  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Placemats for Grandma! Picture heavy on: December 29, 2011 10:42:34 PM
So this Christmas I undertook an extraordinary challenge. I decided to not only make homemade presents for everybody on my list but I also decided to make some homemade quilted placemats for my exacting crafter-and-homemaker-extraordinaire Grandma-in-law. She is a very special lady, she's needed some new placemats for ages, and I really love her. But she intimidates the heck out of me. She throws out batches of cookies if they are a shade of brown on the bottom. Eeeeep! Nevertheless, I did what any crafter should do: raided my stash, brewed some tea, and got to work.

I made up the design myself and kept it very simple. I had some panels of birds in ~8" squares and lots of blue fabric. Behold the resulting combo:

I made a set of six placemats using one of each bird design.

I kept the quilting simple. First, I outline quilted the bird. Then I quilted the outline of the square and finally the edge of the entire placemat. By doing a narrow edge I was able to catch the gap I left to turn the placemats right-side-out after initial assembly, thereby circumventing both having to hand-stitch and having to use binding. Mwahahahahaaha!  Grin

Here are some more close-ups:

And here is the backing fabric I used:

I assembled the placemats using chain-piecing which really expedited things.

I was so nervous when I took the box over. My in-laws were nervous too because they knew how long I'd been working on these and how  difficult Grandma can be about accepting presents. More breath was held than just my own on Christmas Eve when she opened the box. I am very happy to report that Grandma loved the placemats. Huzzzzzah!! She has been using them all week. Smiley

Comments and critiques would be appreciated; I hope you enjoy the placemats.

12  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / TARDIS Christmas Tree Ornaments. Fantastic! on: December 29, 2011 07:51:21 PM
I am singularly blessed to have three people in my life besides myself who love Doctor Who. Earlier this fall I discovered Spoonflower and on Spoonflower I discovered a wonderful array of Doctor Who fabrics. As a quilter and a sewer this resulted in lots of happy dancing. When some birthday money rolled my way I picked up some pieces to use in a Doctor Who quilt. Now, I haven't made the quilt yet BUT this Christmas I used some of this fabric: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/638622 to make Christmas ornaments for my fellow Who nerds.


That is the front. I used puff glow-in-the-dark paint on the light at the top so it glows in the dark.

The backing fabric is this great space fabric I got at Jo-Ann's a few years ago.

Here is a close-up of the front. You can see I fussy-cut the TARDIS design, used a space fabric for the sides, and then quilted it simply using blue thread. The batting is just some scraps of fusi-boo I had from another project.

Enjoy! Smiley
13  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Butterfly Sleeve for Laptop and Camera on: October 23, 2011 02:16:21 PM
Earlier this fall I got a new laptop. There was much rejoicing and rejoicing always calls for some crafty fun with fabric. In an effort to protect my new technological treasure I put together this laptop sleeve.

I didn't use a pattern. I didn't take pictures of the process, unfortunately, but I will describe for you what I did. All I did was measure the dimensions of my laptop, calculated the width and length of fabric strips necessary to cover it, and I added about half an inch to that measurement. I sewed the strips together to form the "front," or visible portion of the sleeve which looked like a giant rectangle. For the interior, I cut from a brown fabric remnant a rectangle about 2" bigger around than the front. I layered the two sides with fuss-boo batting (btw, I have had little success using fusi-boo as directed--it never fuses for me and I wind up using copious amounts of safety pins anyway. I probably won't buy it again) and quilted it. For quilting I did stitch in the ditch and outlined rough squares around certain butterflies so they have a stamp effect. After I folded over the brown interior fabric to cover the batting and bind off, the piece basically looked like a table runner---one long quilted rectangle with brown binding. I wrapped the quilted piece around my laptop and marked the folds to see where I wanted to stitch the side seams. Then, with the interior (brown in this case) fabric facing out, I sewed the side seams as I had marked them. I made sure to reinforce the corners. I turned the sleeve, which looks like an envelope, right-side out so I could see the butterflies and voila! It was almost done. I added self-adhesive velcro circles to the edge of the flap for closure plus buttons from my stash for decoration. Unfortunately, the adhesive prevented my hand sewing the velcro circles down (I ruined three needles trying) but it wasn't strong enough to last. I'm going to reinforce the circles with tacky glue. Hopefully that works. Even without the velcro, my laptop sleeve does the job of protecting my machine from insult & injury--plus it makes me smile, which is just as important.  Smiley

I liked the color combination so much that I used extra fabric strips to make a mini-version for my much loved and very beat up point-and-click digital camera.

I used the method described above basically. The camera sleeve is a little on the baggy side but that works great for carrying extra batteries and memory cards.

C&C welcome. Enjoy!
14  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Quillow Craziness with Lots o'pictures on: June 26, 2011 03:17:58 PM
In the past couple of weeks I finished several quillows for wedding and anniversary gifts. I cheat and use store-bought microfiber blankets instead of making a throw quilt, I just concentrate on making the quilted pockets but people seem to love them all the same. I just mailed some off and I have three more to finish for other people but until then I thought I would post some pics--I don't think the recipients are in danger of seeing the pictures here.

My friend and colleague, Whit, got married over Memorial Day weekend. She studies some adorable little turtles so of course I had to quilt her a set of turtles.

That is the first quillow I made. I made my own turtle pattern and pieced them together. I zig-zagged them down to the pieced foundation and top-stitched the pattern of the shell. I embroidered the eyes and nostrils using black embroidery floss. I outline quilted each turtle and the squares.

This is the backing I used for each quillow I made her.

This is the second quillow I made Whit. On this one I also outline quilted some of the animal designs in the other squares to give it more texture. In the background you can see the blue storage sack I made her to keep the pair in. It's basically a glorified pillowcase but I think it will come in handy for her.

Some turtle close-ups. :-)

Two of my friends eloped to New York, New York last year. For the wedding/one-year anniversary I made them a New York, New York quillow. It took me forever to choose the fabrics but I had fun making it.

Here is the quillow. I love how the couple in the center look reminiscent of my friends. The groom is tall, dark, and handsome and the bride actually got married in a black evening gown that was similar to the lady in the fabric--very old Hollywood and classic.

That's the backing I used. They both love old Hollywood and movies in general so this was perfect.

I had the "brilliant" idea of using all the other NY/movie fabrics I had to do fun applique shapes on the blanket side of the purple throw I bought them. This was a bad idea. I used glow-in-the-dark thread. This was an even worse idea. The thread raveled and kept snapping, the shapes moved and bunched so they don't look as polished as I wanted and overall I'm not sure I like the effect. Maybe that is just the effect of the cursing though...I lost patience with the glow thread and switched to nice rational white on the last three flowers.

I put a yo-yo in the center of each flower to make them look more like a flower and less like an irregular blob. The groom loves the Beetles so I thought the flowers would be cute. Lots of swearing involved but I think they look okay.

Finally, this is a quillow I made last year for my father-in-law for Father's Day and I finally got around to taking a picture of it.

He is a very enthusiastic fisherman. This was my first foray into outline quilting with the center fish. I think it turned out pretty sharp. The back of the quillow pocket is that blue fishing lure fabric that borders the fish. 

I hope you enjoyed the quillows! Cheesy
15  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Blue chair fairy fun flower pillow! (pic heavy!) on: June 03, 2011 06:36:45 PM
So this is a pillow I made using scraps from other projects and a piece of upholstery from my college dorm recliner which fell to pieces. I hope I'm putting this in the right forum. I finished the pillow a year ago after dragging the pieces, pins and all, around for 3+ years and I'm just now getting off my duff to post pictures. I wrote about the story behind this pillow on my blog http://technicolorlilypond.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/my-blue-chair-pillow-o-fun/
but basically I just used fusible web to iron all of the pieces down. Then I stitched each piece to the blue upholstery fabric foundation using a straight stitch on my sewing machine. I left all of the edges raw and for the grass I actually snipped it so it has a bit of a raw grassy fringe above the sewing line. I like the texture.  
The rest of the pillow is made of cotton duck from my stash. It raveled like crazy so I zig-zagged every edge and basted all of the pieces together by hand before stitching it on my machine.
Now for pictures! Smiley

Hope you enjoy! c&c always appreciated. Cheesy

16  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / April showers bring May Yo-yo flowers! on: May 11, 2011 08:53:25 PM
Hello! I wasn't sure where to put this project but it is a wall hanging I made using four different kinds of yo-yos. I've never posted a project here before but I've been lurking for years. Without further ado: My blooming flower basket of fun!

I basically hand sewed each yo-yo to the pre-quilted fabric in the arrangement you see. I machine sewed the ribbon binding but everything else is by hand. I stuffed the top of the basket with polyfiberfil and sewed it down using embroidery floss and a running stitch so the basket would have a 3-d effect. I put more details on my blog (http://technicolorlilypond.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/april-showers-bring-may-yo-yo-flowers/) but what you see is pretty much what you get with this project. I like how it turned out and I hope you do too. Comments and constructive criticism would be appreciated. Enjoy!  Smiley
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