Friday, February 14, 2014

Brrrr! It's cold outside. Time for scarves.

We have been experiencing a unusually cold and snowy winter here in NoVA.  I should be used to all the snow and cold, having grown up in NW Pennsylvania….. but I'm not!  I would be happy if I never saw snow again.  Since it is so cold, it is a great time to wear all those amazing scarves.  Let me share a few of my favorites.

My favorite winter scarf is the chunky Infinity (or Loop) scarf.  This scarf is so soft and warm.  You can wear it long or double it into a cowl (as shown in picture).  This particular scarf was crocheted using Homespun yarn.  Love that red!

This is an example of the Infinity scarf worn long.  This particular scarf is a two-tone scarf.

I love this chunky scarf!  The traditional winter scarf is jazzed up by the variegated yarn.  Very modern!

Another scarf I love is the combination hood and scarf.  Sometimes it is called a Scoodie.  A particular pattern I like can be found on Ravelry.  The pattern is called Taylor's Hood from the shop Snappy Tots.  She designed the hood to look like a lion's mane, or you can modify it to make it plain.

Another big trend this year is the light weight infinity scarf.

These silky scarves really dress up your solid tops and blouses.  Perfect accessory if you don't feel like wearing a necklace.  Like the chunky Infinity scarves, you can wear this in a long loop or doubled as a cowl. Perfect for any time of the year.

The final scarf I would like to share is the ruffle scarf.  I picked the red and silver scarf in honor of Valentine's Day!  So dressy and fun!   The yarn is a special netted yarn.  When knitted, the yarn gathers causing the beautiful ruffles.  

I hope you have enjoyed sharing some of my favorite scarves.  Please feel free to comment below.  Let me know which is your favorite, or share a new scarf.

I hope you have a crafty adventure today!  Happy Valentine's Day!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Murphy's Law

Good afternoon!  It has been such a long time since I have had a chance to share with you.  Do you ever have a project that almost everything goes wrong?  I call it "Murphy's Law"!  My latest finish was one.  I belong to a wonderful group on FB called "Sew Swapit".  It is a group of fabulous quilters that sign up to "swap" projects with one another.  I love getting the little surprises in the mail from my swap partner!  It's better than Christmas!

The latest swap was a Fall themed swap.  I decided to use the disappearing 9-patch block from an earlier tutorial in my swap.  The fabric I chose reminded me of all the beautiful foliage I remember when I was growing up in NW Pennsylvania.

I decided to make 2 additional blocks and make a table runner.  Easy, right?  Well I thought so.  Enter Murphy.  I allowed plenty of time to make the table runner.  Then a few other deadlines snuck in.  Such is life.  Then, WHAMMY!  I was bending over, trying to add basting pins, and I threw out my back.  No sewing for me.  Ouch!

I went to the doctor, and rested my back.  I was so worried I wouldn't have my swap ready in time.  After about 4 days my back started feeling better.  Time to quilt.  I decided to give my table runner a little modern flair while practicing my FMQ (free motion quilting).  What do you think?  Is it too much?

I chose a different FMQ patterns for each section.  All the large squares had a meander pattern, the small squares a concentric square, etc.  I began quilting, when Murphy struck again.  I turned the runner over, to check my stitches, and lo and behold there was a huge fold in the backing fabric!  Ugh!  Time for the seam ripper.  I really like all the quilting, but it took such a long time.

Finally, I was ready to bind the runner.  I decided to try the easy binding method.  I trimmed the batting and folded the backing fabric to the front to make the binding.  I should have known that anything that said it was "easy", was too good to be true.  Good ole Murphy again!  As I was trimming, I accidentally sliced a small hole in the binding.  I had to decide if I wanted to cut it off and add a traditional binding, or try to patch it.  Luckily I could patch it.  Whew!  What an ordeal!  I hope my swap pattern likes it.  Maybe if I send her a lot of chocolate she will forgive me.  ; )

Thanks for letting me share my story.  Please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear your stories!

Have a crafty adventure today!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Special memories

Good morning!  It has been a long time since I have shared an adventure.  The end of summer and beginning of a new school year is such a busy time.

I had the privilege of helping a friend save some special memories while learning a new technique.  A friend of mine lost her father last year.  She received some of his ties.  She picked out a few special ties to keep, gave some to her children and husband, but didn't know what to do with the rest.  She asked if I could make something out of the ties to give to her mother.  I was so honored to help her with this process.

This was my first experience sewing with ties.  I was a little overwhelmed!  A member of our local quilt guild suggested a pattern that used foundation piecing to construct the quilt.  Ties are usually made of a slippery material, such as silk.  The material tends to stretch or can be tricky to handle.  The foundation (in this case, muslin) would make the ties easier to manage.  Off to the drawing board!

My friend wanted something special to give to her mother.  She didn't have a lot of ties to work with, so we both decided a wall hanging would be perfect.  I wanted the design to be unique.  I decided to strip piece the ties in the shape of a heart.  How would I cut out the shape of a heart without any raw edges showing? My friend, Laura, suggested pillow casing the heart.  Brilliant!  I sewed the strips of ties to the muslin, added another piece of muslin on top, sewed a heart shape through both pieces, cut off the extra material, and flipped it into a pillow case.

The next step was to appliqué the heart onto a background.  My friend loves the color blue.  Off to the fabric store!  I needed to find a blue that wasn't too fussy, wasn't too dark, or wasn't too overpowering.  I really needed the heart to be the showcase.

I loved it!  The background fabric is from the Stonehenge collection by Northcott Fabrics.  I appliquéd the heart onto the background fabric using a satin stitch.  I had to make sure that heart stayed put!

The next step was choosing a border.  I chose a piano key border with cornerstones.  I love how the various ties added another dimension to the piece.

Finally, it was time to quilt.  My friend requested that I quilt the names of her mother and father in the center of the heart.  I also quilted the names of her siblings and the grandchildren around the heart, adding swirls and hearts throughout.  Very subtle, but all the members of the family are included in this memorial.  Very sweet!

I was really pleased with the finished product.  My friend was also pleased, which is all that really matters.  She will be giving the wall hanging to her mother on the anniversary of her father's passing.

Thank you for letting me share this wonderful story.  What an honor it was for me to hold so many special memories.  Would you like to share a special memories project of your own?

I hope you have a crafty adventure today!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My new favorite accessory, the Infinity Scarf!

Good morning!  I wanted to share my new favorite accessory, the Infinity Scarf.  I love, love, love these!  "What is an Infinity Scarf?", you may ask.  Let me share with you.

The infinity scarf is a scarf that has no beginning or end.  It is a continuous loop.  Infinity scarves may also be referred to as Loop Scarves.

The material is sewn end to end to form a loop.  The first two pictures are infinity scarves made with light weight material.  The first, or light gray, scarf is made using a polyester-knit blend.  The second, or geometric block, scarf is made using a chiffon-like fabric.  Aren't they fun?

The third infinity scarf is perfect for winter.  It is crocheted using a chunky yarn.  This particular scarf was crocheted with Homespun yarn manufactured by Lion Brand yarn company.

I think I love these scarves so much because they are really versatile.  You can wear the scarf long, or you can double it up like a cowl.  Twist the scarf into a figure eight shape and you have a cowl.

Infinity scarves can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt, a work outfit, or a dressy outfit.  Who doesn't love that?  I know I do!

Thank you for visiting with me today.  Please leave me a comment below, and share with your friends.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To sash or not to sash revisited

Good morning!  Today I am updating my progress on my scrap buster quilt that I featured in "To sash or not to sash".

I really like the sashing!  What do you think?  

The next step is to add the borders.  I would really like this to be a bed size quilt.  The quilt pattern is featured in Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville's Quips and Snips, under the free patterns tab.  The pattern is called, "Pineapple Blossom".

Bonnie Hunter chose a thin white border in her first example.  The white fabric really accentuates the white triangles and center squares of each block.  The second example features a thin black border.  The black border showcases all the different color fabrics in the quilt.  Hmmm.... Two very different options.  Which should I choose?

Another bonus to this pattern is this little HST (half square triangle) block.  The block was made from trimming the corners of the block after each addition of another small white square.  The trimming of the corner results in the white diagonal triangles in the blocks.  This gives the block it's "pineapple" feel, like the crosshatch markings on an actual pineapple.  I simply sewed the remaining white triangle to the trimmed color strips, as suggested in Bonnie's instructions.  

These bonus blocks will make a great additional border!  I love Bonnie Hunter's method of using up all the scraps.  I will post new pictures when I decide which borders to add.

In the mean time, I hope you have a crafty adventure today!


Please leave me a comment below.  I would love to hear your opinions.  Also, please share this blog with your friends.  : )

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tips of the Trade

Good morning!  I love learning new tips that make quilting, crafting, storage, or my life in general, easier.  I would like to share a few of those tips with you.  : )

The thing I love the most about crafting is the sense of community.  I love meeting other crafters and sharing ideas with them.  Most of these tips I have learned from others.  I would like to pass along their wisdom.

The biggest problem I have is storage.  Ugh!  Where do you keep all your supplies?  I am always on the look out for easier ways to store my craft items.  The first one is the coffee can!  My MIL first introduced me to this method.  She has a ginormous coffee can full of buttons.  When she finds a loose button, it goes into the can.  The only drawback is digging through the endless supply to find the right color or size button.

I have 2 coffee cans.  (Can I still call them cans if they are plastic?)  One is for buttons, and the other is for a stamp I use on shipping envelopes.  Look how nicely they stack on my shelf!

The second storage selection I find useful is the Ziploc heavy duty dry bags.  My friend, Liz, shared this with me.  If you have a project and want to keep the materials together, put them in one of these bags.  I don't have to search through all supplies to find what I need.  Perfect!

I love to reuse things for a new purpose.  What is the saying..... Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?  Love it!  I am reusing this vinyl table cloth as a design wall.  My husband hung the table cloth using 3M strips.  The vinyl side is against the wall.  The back, or flannel side, is perfect for hanging quilt blocks.  Pins are not required!

Here is the close up of the 3M strip.  I also use these strips to hang wall hangings.  (Another tip my friend, Liz, shared.)  The 3M strip is easy to apply and doesn't damage the quilt or the wall.  Please make sure to check the package for appropriate weight.

My final tip deals with quilting.  I love to use straight line quilting on geometric blocks, such as the disappearing 9 patch from my previous post.  No matter how diligent I am with the quilting guide on my machine, it is never straight.  Introducing the blue painter's tape!  Another quilting friend, Donna, introduced me to this nifty little trick.  When you line up the painter's tape across your block, you can use it as a guide for a straight line without marking your quilt.  It is similar to using a ruler, but the tape can remain on the quilt during quilting, and picked up and moved to the next block.  No marking, no residue.  Just be careful that the tape is placed correctly.

I would love to hear about any other tips you would like to share!  Please leave a comment below.

As always, if you like what I have to say, share this page with your friends!

I hope you have a crafty adventure today!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Disappearing 9 patch tutorial

Good afternoon!  I love to share my quilting with others.  I decided to share one of my favorite blocks with you!  The Disappearing 9 patch.  I love the geometric shapes in this block.  There is enough interest to keep your eyes busy, but not so much that it is overwhelming.  Don't worry!  This is a beginner level quilt block. : )

I love to use this block for table runners and other small projects.  Today I chose Fall colors.  I separated my fabrics into 4 groups.  Greens, browns, light neutrals, and warm colors (yellows, maroons, and oranges).

I have a ton of 6 inch squares that were sample fabrics.  Sample fabrics are a way for a fabric company to give you a taste of their new fabric line.  These are the fabrics I chose.

I chose 9 squares of fabric to for this block.  I like to alternate my squares by color value.  The top row follows the pattern light, dark, light.  The middle row is opposite; dark, light, dark.  The bottom row mimics the top; light, dark, light.  (Even though the green squares can be considered dark, the color looks light next to the maroon.)  I also like to place a neutral color in the center of the block.  I will explain why later.

Next, I sewed my squares together in rows, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I made sure I pressed my seams toward the center square, or the dark.

When I sewed the middle row together I pressed my seams toward the outer squares, also toward the dark.

This is a very important step!  When I sew all the rows together, the seems will be "nested" or pressed in opposite directions.

This allows the seem to lay flat and line up between the rows.

My 9 patch is complete.  I can stop there, but I would like to make this block more appealing to the eye.  

Time to rearrange my block.  I begin by measuring my center square.  The center square measures 5 1/2 inches.  I find the half way mark (2 3/4 inches) from the left edge of the center block.  I center my 2 3/4 inch line of my ruler on the seam between the left column and center column, and cut the entire block down the center.

Next, I turn my cutting mat, find the 2 3/4 inch mark on my ruler, place that mark on the seam between the left and center squares, and cut the block in half.  The block is now cut into fourths.

Almost finished!  I now take 2 diagonal pieces of the block and rotate them.  (I chose the pieces with the green square).  The small white squares are now facing the outer edges of the block.  This is why I like to choose a neutral color for the center.  The contrast of the neutral color always makes the block "pop"!  Much more interesting, in my opinion. 

I think the block is so much more interesting in this configuration.  Do you agree? 
Hang in there!  One more step, I promise.  Now it is time to put the block back together.  I sewed the top two pieces together, pressing the seam toward the green square.  I sewed the bottom two pieces together, again pressing toward the green square.  The seams are pressed to opposite sides of the block, allowing for the "nesting" to occur.  Finally, I sewed the two rows together.  Wha-La!  A finished Disappearing 9 patch block.  Isn't it interesting?

I hope you have enjoyed learning something new today.  I know I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Remember to share my blog with others.  If you get a chance, please leave me a comment.  Let me know if I explained things clearly, or if you have any questions.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!