Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tanzania-Inspired Baby Quilt

What quilter doesn't love making baby quilts? I had so much fun making this one for my nephew and his wife. We have been obsessed with African animals since last fall, so we were thrilled that the parents-to-be chose animals as their nursery theme. Lorna McMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts launched her Elephant Parade Quilt Along at just the right time! 

You know I couldn't just follow the pattern. I had to tweak it just a little and add my own details. I pieced fewer blocks and added a cute border. 

Our memories of our Tanzanian safari were stitched into this baby quilt. There's nothing sweeter than a mama and baby elephant!

I had done all the piecing of this quilt on my vintage Featherweight. When it came time to embroider the eyes, I didn't want to switch to the Bernina, so I tried free motion embroidery on the FW. It worked! I'll show you how I did it very soon.

I went with yellow for the birds because I was already planning to use it in the border, and because we saw these cute birds everywhere.

By the way, the blue elephant below was pieced from fabric leftover from the wedding quilt

I simplified Lorna's flower pattern (and used orange fabric from the wedding quilt)...

... to mimic the fireball lily.

The leopard tortoise makes an appearance.

 The border print is Peek-a-Zoo by Timeless Treasures. After cutting the directional borders for the front, I didn't have enough left for the back.


Since I had to piece the back anyway, I figured I may as well make this a 2-sided quilt. I super-sized Lorna's adorable giraffe. One of the leaves is the label, with a space left blank for the baby's name.


When I saw the picture of Lorna's design, I told her it reminded me of my favorite view of giraffes on safari. They are so funny and beautiful!

Heidi is a beautiful mom-to-be. Mark is ready to go with his new burp cloths.

Great Grandma crocheted a beautiful baby blanket. Mollie is thinking, "Hey, that looks just like mine!"

They had a surprise for us, too! Great Grandma cut into the gender reveal cake to find she'll be 6 for 6 with girls. No great grandsons yet.

So there you have it. Washed in Ivory Snow, all crinkly and soft.

Elephant Parade
 Started 4/9/15
Completed 4/16/15
43 X 52" (after washing)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mark & Heidi's Wedding Ring

 It's time for the big reveal...

Last June, I invited my nephew Mark and his fiancee Heidi to a quilt design consultation party. We looked at patterns and took a field trip to the LQS. We didn't find the focus fabric we were looking for, so we jumped online and found Kate Spain's Sunnyside line. Heidi wanted blues, and Mark wanted a bit of orange (note the Syracuse hat). I happened to have a mini charm pack of Sunnyside in my stash, and we decided on the main print from that 2.5" square!

Quite a few of the other prints in the quilt are from Sunnyside, but I needed to add in more blues for the gradation. I think I traveled to five or six quilt shops until I was happy with the fabrics.

If you've visited my blog before, you know I love paper piecing. Judy Neimeyer's patterns just make me happy! I love her methodical process and perfect patterns. This was my third time making a wedding ring star and I just love it. 

It's hard for me to complete a pattern without making some modifications. This time, I designed a border to echo the curve of the rings and added some simple applique. It took some time and consultation with my friend Maria to figure out a process for adding the scalloped border with bias edging. (I love Maria! We speak the same quilting language.)

The backing fabric was Plan B. My first purchase was a white on white that was just boring. I love this more modern option. (If I find the receipt, I'll add a link to the shop.) Oh, the binding! I cut up a whole yard of fabric into 2.25" strips. Overkill. I have extra, so you'll be seeing it again! I spent a few nights on the couch watching listening to TV while I hand stitched.

I'll step back and let the machine quilting by Pat Harrison speak for itself...

The queen size bed in Pete's room is dwarfed by this massive quilt.

My brother put me in this photo for scale! The portable quilt rack is just barely big enough. We had to bring it out on the deck for photos because our ceilings aren't high enough.

Mark & Heidi's Wedding Ring
Started June 2014
Completed April 2015
Working Time: 140 hours
Size: 112" square
Machine pieced and hand appliqued by Tina Craig, Seaside Stitches
Professionally machine quilted by Pat Harrison, Ocean Waves Quilting Co.
Original border design by Tina Craig

Process blog posts:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Catch Up

Has it really been two weeks since I've posted? It's easy to fall off the blogging grid when Instagram is so quick and easy. My apologies to those of you who follow along here, but not there.

I've been quite busy, stitching up a storm! I'll give you a sneaky peak of the two quilts that will be gifted tomorrow. Many more pics coming soon!

The wedding ring star for my nephew and his wife is done and it is massive!

The same couple is having a baby in July, and their baby quilt is done, too! Stay tuned for more, including a tutorial for free motion embroidery on a Featherweight.

I always like to do something extra for baby showers. This time, I made burp cloths using this tutorial on Made. I've been wanting to try them for a while, but couldn't find terry cloth that I liked. One day strolling through JoAnn's, the baby terry caught my eye. The gray chevron flannel matches the sheets on the baby registry. I strongly recommend pre-washing both fabrics as the flannel shrinks like crazy. They are super soft and cuddly. It's a good day when I remember to add my labels!

This week, I've been working on the center medallion for a guild raffle quilt. Since it was my bright idea to put a mariner's compass in the center, it was only fair that I should piece it. 

Julia was home last weekend to attend the ROTC military ball with boyfriend, Fred. She lucked out and found the dress for $19 at Marshall's. It took longer to find the shoes ($59). Not my best hemming job (somehow the lining was 1" too short) but it works. Her best friends did her hair, makeup and nails while I was at a quilt class. (FTW) They are a great couple and so happy together!

Yes, I did take that job. I will be training as a dental assistant, working two days a week. I spent way too much money at the uniform shop, but I love my fancy new scrubs. I'm going to try sneakers for a while. I'm not ready for Dansko clogs just yet. Yes, I'll probably start making my own scrub tops soon!

OK! That's all for now. It's time to get ready for a fun family weekend packed with a concert, baby shower, and first communion. Can we squeeze in a quick birding hike?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sew Random Thursday

 Hello, Friends! I'm still here, sewing away the days. So many projects, not enough time to blog.

Let's start with the finishes. My sister texted me a few weeks ago and asked for a drawstring bag for her granddaughter's magnetic letters. Why use a plastic baggie when you can have something so much cuter! I had to use the scrabble print that I bought for "Sis" a few years ago. I used Jeni Baker's tutorial for a lined drawstring bag, and it was just perfect.

 I was able to finish another charity quilt last week, despite thread breakage issues. I have been in contact with Superior's thread techs. I'll let you know what we figure out. And I'll show you more of this quilt soon.

These three quilts are ready to be delivered to a Habitat for Humanity home dedication this Saturday. The one in the middle is my Bears in the Suburbs. The other two were pieced by other guild members. It just worked out that I quilted this whole batch.

Last week, I delivered this t-shirt quilt to a friend and Girl Scout leader. Julia and I helped her troop make this traveling quilt. They are seniors in high school, and plan to pass the quilt to each other when they go off to college in the Fall. We used up most of my remaining Girl Scout fabric stash. My friend was able to acquire donated backing and batting which brought their cost down to zero. The girls sewed the sashing around their shirts and tied the quilt. It is super cozy and fun!

There are lots of projects in progress...

The wedding quilt came home from the quilter on Monday. The binding was made on Tuesday, attached yesterday, and is being hand stitched while I watch TV at night. I was able to get one full side of this king-sized monster done last night. Stay tuned for the big reveal!

There's a baby on the way, so a quilt must be made! I'll be using Lorna's Elephant Parade pattern, but have modified it so I can add this fun print as a border. It needs to be done for the family party/shower at the end of April.

I started a stacked squares quilt for a cousin who is battling cancer. I'll get back to this one as soon as possible.

 When I'm not binding at night, I'm working on these Patchwork of the Crosses blocks. They make me happy!

Oh, and I have to hem a gown for Julia to wear to the ROTC military ball. It will be a challenge. The dress is lined and has a slit up the back. Wish me luck!

Lastly, I was offered a part-time job in a field I never imagined myself working in. I'll be making a decision next Monday, after a few hours of shadowing. It's exciting and scary and just plain weird all at the same time.

I'm off to piece some elephants. Have a great day!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bears in the Suburbs

 This poor quilt sat in the UFO pile for years and years. Six years, to be exact! When I finished the top a year ago, I posted this recap of the project. You can hop over there if you are interested.

I'm in quilting mode, getting a few quilts done for upcoming Habitat for Humanity home dedications. It was easier to get this done after I had an idea of which family it will live with.

I did an overall stipple through the blocks in a medium tan thread. I'm having some trouble with Superior So Fine threads breaking or skipping stitches. This may be due in part to low humidity. Who knew?

I wanted to play a little in the borders, so I treated each one to a different design.

Even though I used a lot of mauve from the 90's, I still like the overall effect. I love the stripe that pulls all the fun colors together. What's not to love about a bear's paw?

Bears in the Suburbs 
 Bears in the Farmhouse Quilt Along by Judy Laguidara
Started February 2009
Top completed January 13, 2014
Quilt completed March 24, 2015
72" X 87"

Monday, March 16, 2015

Great Escape #30

 I'm unpacking from a terrific retreat weekend. I brought waaaay too much stuff! What was I thinking? For Julia and myself, I brought about 9 different projects (only touched 3) and 3 machines (never took out the Bernina).

Here's Julia with our quilting idol, Barbara W. Barber. At last year's retreat, Barbara was telling a story about the "illness" she suffers when she finishes a quilt and doesn't know what to do next. Julia diagnosed her with "Between Quilts Syndrome" and a quilt was born! If you click on the photo you can read the first panel of the comic strip.

Since there's not a really good picture of us together, I thought I'd go with this one that made me laugh.

Julia and I have wanted to make a NY Beauty quilt together for a long time. Last year, my LQS was kitting up block of the month blocks and I couldn't resist. I almost never work from a kit, but I knew we would never make this quilt without one. Julia pieced all the points after a little refresher and some new tips from mom. She sewed the curves on two blocks, and I sewed the other two. Please pretend that the blocks are perfectly square. They have been starched into submission! After we make the rest, we'll trim them up.

Our Saturday workshop was the Sunset pattern by Julie Popa. We did some prep work in advance, so many quilters were able to finish the top during the day. This is mine on the left and Suzy's on the right.

 I used my stash of orange, pink and red. Surprisingly, I did not use a white background. It is a cream with green dots that softens the whole piece.

One of the instructor's friends had pieced all her cut off scraps for the border, which I loved, so I did it too. I was able to get it finished just in time for workshop show & tell before lunch on Sunday.

It's time to start planning for 2016!