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2017 New Quilter's Blog Hop Introduction!

Oh boy, the New Quilter's Blog Hop has officially started again!  I followed along a little bit last year and jumped at the chance to participate this year when I saw signups.  I'v learned lots already just by going through critiques (shout out to SnowyDayQuilting and InquiringQuilter!) and I'm excited to learn even more!  I've been blogging for about 2 years, but I signed up for the blog hop because I'm ready to treat this blog and my approach to quilting seriously.

So without any further ado, let me introduce myself!

I'm a twenty-something stay at home mom with three kiddos, (Goose is 4, M is 2, and Little Man is 6 months).  I've been married to my awesome husband for 7 years this July!  After two weeks of dating I knew I was going to marry him and then the jerk broke up with me, but that's another story.  

Lunch at Qudoba last week! M, Goose, Little Man, and Handsomepants

Lunch at Qudoba last week! M, Goose, Little Man, and Handsomepants

Handsomepants is a financial reporter for the State of Colorado and I pursued more interesting topics in college like Medieval History and International Conflict Management, but those degrees don't really pay the bills...  so besides raising the kids and quilting I have a couple side hustles: I'm a children's karate instructor, a Norwex consultant, and a theology teacher at church, my quilting circle meets Tuesday nights, and I make a fool of myself every week at my Friday night soccer league.  Life is busy, and that's the way I like it!  Some other things about me:

  • Jane Austen is my favorite author (There was a time when I tried to convince Handsomepants that we should name all of our kids after her characters.)
  • I'm a candy addict
  • I'm not terrible at snowboarding 
  • I love to play board games
  • I believe in Big Foot 
  • My favorite color is gray

I took my first quilting class 7 years ago.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have both quilted since they were little, and I wanted something that we could share in common.  I bought a $20 sewing machine meant for paper and scrap booking, signed up for a 3 hour class, and I was hooked.  Quilting has been the only hobby I have stuck with longer than 6 months and it has consumed more hours of my life than I can count.  I decided to convert my quilting to blogging for a couple of reasons, but you can click here for my very first every blog post that covers it all.

What I'm Working On:

Aside from a couple of quilt-a-longs that I'm currently participating in, I've been working on a number of quilts.  I need to work on finishing one quilt before I start another one.  

I thought I knew what my quilting style was, but now I'm not so sure.  I suppose my tastes lean towards traditional, but there is also something to be said for minimal quilts!  Modern quilts are hit or miss with me depending on their design.  I almost exclusively make baby or lap sized quilts too.  My Instagram has more updates on my quilting, but here's a taste of what I've been up to lately.

This is my first finish of the year, it's a baby quilt for a coworker in Handsomepant's office.  I picked out a few fabrics from some charm packs of Apricot & Persimmon by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake Designs.  This is probably one of my favorite baby quilts.  Even though I make a lot of baby quilts, I stay away from designs and patterns that scream "BABY!"  I prefer baby quilts that baby can grow with.

Goose asked me if she could have a new quilt to go with her new bed, (the girls got bunk beds when Little Man was born) and it's not like I'm going to turn down an excuse to start a new quilt!  She helped me search Pinterest for a pattern she liked, and we found this one here.  I call it the Half Moon quilt, and it was my first ever attempt at curves, I was a little surprised at how easy the technique was!  I used Cotton & Steele fabrics from a 50 fat quarter box I found on super clearance from Craftsy a while ago.  I haven't decided on a binding for it, but I'm leaning towards red.

 This fish scale quilt is for Handsomepants.  Around Christmas he asked me why I had never made him his own quilt since I've made them for the kids, for family members, for our friends kids, but not for him.  Blue was an obvious choice since it's his favorite color, but the pattern was a little more difficult.  I find that a lot of quilt patterns feel feminine, so I went with something simple and geometric.  I'm thinking this will make a nice Father's Day gift!

This cathedral window quilt (awesome tutorial from Missouri Star here) is for one of my very best friends.  She's having her second baby in June, a girl this time!  Her son was born 11 hours after M, in the same hospital, and they were three doors down the hallway, partay in the maternity ward!  His baby quilt is the red and white air plane quilt in my gallery!

I'm planning on finishing this quilt with a flannel backing and no batting.  There are seams in this pattern that are very thick, and I think those seams plus  batting layers would seriously test the strength of my sewing machine.

 

Leanne, the host of my blog hive suggested finishing our first post with 4 items, so here they are:

  1. Blogging Tip: Use Canva.  It's easy to navigate and free to use.  You can edit photos, add watermarks, and create banners for all your blogging and social media needs.
  2. Quilting Tip: Measure twice, cut once!  It's an oldie but a goodie.  If you're new to quilting, pay attention to accurate measuring and cutting.  These basics will give you more accurate results, and you're more likely to be pleased with your finished products when there are minimal mistakes.
  3. Blogging/Quilting Question for the Readers:  What do you look for in a quilting blog (community, how to's, quiltspiration?)  What would the prefect tutorial look like?
  4. Dream Vacation Spot: When I was younger I would have said someplace remote and off the beaten path like Vietnam or Chad.  But now that I have children, I want an all inclusive resort someplace tropical.  I don't want to have to worry about anything except my sunscreen and flight times.  To sum it up, I would want to be comatose on a beach while the kids are at Grandmas.

I also added the lineup for the blog hop in case anyone wanted to snoop around.  

Here's the links to some of the leaders of the Blog Hop this year:

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl

Leanne at She Can Quilt

Beth at Cooking Up Quilts

April 10

Samantha Dorn at Aqua Paisley Studio

Andrea Hokanson at Goofin' Off Around the Block

Emily Leachman at The Darling Dogwood

Vivian Gutierrez at Quilting With Vivian

April 17

 Nancy Bekedam at Grace and Peace Quilting

Kathy Bruckman at kathyskwiltsandmore

April Adams at JANDABendQuilts

Gail Sheppard at Quilting Gail

May 1

Amy Gerlich at AmyScrapSpot

Nicole Hannah at Handwrought Quilts

Barbara Bremner at Crazy Red Quilts

Gina Smith at Quilts and Cakes

Kara Zevchik at Sunshine Kwilts

May 8

Sharon Denney Parcel at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

Becca Fenstermaker at Pretty Piney

Gwen Sager at Tillalili

Wendy Tuma at Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life

 

I'm looking forward to your comments and getting to know everyone!

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

March 2017 Recap

March in Denver was beautiful!  Temperatures were in the 70's, spring was in the air, the grill was pulled out from the depths of the garage, and it rained the last week of the month!  It rains so little here in CO that the pitter-patter of rain drops is a treat for me.  Plus, any extra moisture on the ground helps postpone the start of forest fire season, which is kinda important!  

To me, rain and spring means open windows and fresh air, tulips and trees in bloom, and laying on pretty quilts spread over new grass.  I definitely was in more a quilting mood in March than I was in February, and I got a lot more done because of it!  Here's my monthly recap to see how my New Year's resolutions are keeping up:

Resolution: Blogging

I was more consistent with blogging this month, I published several posts and I did some serious housekeeping on the blog in preparation for the 2017 New Quilter's Blog Hop hosted by Yvonne over at Quilting Jet Girl.  I am very excited about how this is going to work, and things should start picking up the second week of April!  Stay tuned to see more over the next couple of weeks!

Resolution: Joining 3 QAL's

The Quilter's Planner Quilt-A-Long has been awesome and challenging to say the least!  I was a bit reserved about paying so much for the planner, but I justified the purchase with cost analysis of the number of patterns that came with the planner.But let me tell you that planner is worth every penny!  I have learned so much by participating in this QAL, and my skills have improved noticeably (Handsomepants can vouch for that) that I will certainly be pre-ordering the 2018 planner in the fall!

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Because the whole family was so sick throughout February, I almost missed a couple of deadlines.  I prepared a head of time and sewed a few extra blocks, I'm hoping to give myself some breathing room to meet future deadlines in case life gets a little crazy again.  Here's all of the blocks I've made so far.  I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I like the quilt, because I don't normally like black and pink paired together, but that color choice was a something I challenged myself with when I started this project.  I have to admit that I'm starting to get nervous about the finished size of the quilt.  I knew the blocks were large (12"), but this is only about half of the blocks.  I'm thinking that I won't have a backing to this quilt, instead both sides will be the "top."  I've also been thinking about the finished lay out of the quilt, I can't decide if I want to set the blocks on point or not, but I do know that I want to use black sashing.  

Some more exciting news regarding the Quilter's Planner QAL, Miss Angie at GnomeAngle was generous to feature one of my blocks for the second time!  Every week, she showcases 9 participants she thinks her readers would benefit from following on Instagram.  She featured me last month too!  If I'm not careful I might start to get a big head!

Click on the picture to AngleGnome's blog to find links to other lovely ladies where featured here, there is some serious talent to be found on their Instagram accounts! 


The Sewcial Bee Sampler hosted Maureen over at MaureenCracknellHandmade has been agony, and I mean that in the best way possible!  I know that the point of a QAL is to work a bit at a time, but man oh man is it hard to be patient waiting every week for a new block to be released!  I'm kicking around the idea of starting a second quilt in some kind of monochrome variation too, but I should probably finish some of my WIPs first.


I've also been working on a wedding quilt for some friends (who got married in September) and I am soooooooo close to being done with the top stitching.  I'm just one of those people who looses steam on a project once the novelty of it disappears and I just need to muscle through it.  I also need to stop watching K-drama when I work on it, because I honestly spend more time reading subtitles than I do quilting!  I'll update on this quilt once it's finished, hopefully by next week!

How're you keeping up on quilting?  Have you met any New Year's resolutions yet?  Share them below and we can celebrate together!

 

Happy Quilting!

-  Rita

Matroyshka Pin Cushions!

A while ago I saw the cutest pin cushion on Pinterest.  It was a Matroyshka doll (a Russian nesting doll) that had been turned into a pin cushion, and I was in love the moment I saw it.  Making my own version has been on my to-do list for a while, and this week I finally did it.  Here's a quick tutorial on how I made mine so you can do the same!

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To make one for yourself you are going to need:

  • a Matroyshka doll
  • a piece of paper
  • fabric
  • batting scraps (I used batting scraps to fill the cushion. You can use stuffing, I've added some recommended diretions if that's how you plan to make your pin cushion.)
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • hot glue gun + glue stick

step 1

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On a piece of paper, trace the smallest circle of the bottom half of your Matroyshka doll.  This will work as a guide for how large the top of your cushion will be.  Cut out the circle and pin it onto a larger scrap of batting. If you can have several layers of batting, even better!  More than one layer will help the top of your pincushion to "bubble" up, I used 3 layers. 

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Using the paper circle as a guide, sew the layers together on the inner circle, using small stitches.  Cut the circle 2/8" outside of the stitches you made (In the picture to the right, I stitched the inner circle, and cut along the outer circle.)  This is the top of your pin cushion.

* If you're familiar with yo-yo's you're going to make a stuffed yo-yo.  If you're not familiar, follow these instructions: Cut a large circle from your fabric and place basting stitches around the edge.  Lay a ball of stuffing on the center of the fabric circle and pull the basting stitches tight, bringing the fabric over and around the ball of stuffing.  Adjust the amount of stuffing and the tension of the stitches until the fabric/stuffing ball fits nicely into the bottom of your doll.  Skip to Step 3.


step 2

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 Lay the batting circle on the wrong side of your fabric and cut out a circle in the fabric, giving yourself a generous "seam" allowance.  Working slowly to avoid pleating, dot hot glue along the edge of the batting circle and fold the fabric over the glue, secure be lightly pressing down onto the glue.  Do this all the way around the batting circle, and trim any extra fabric if there is any long enough to stick out over the edge of the batting circle.


Step 3

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Place stuffing in the bottom of your doll.  More is better in this case, I find that firm cushions are easier to to place and remove pins from so put in lots of stuffing!  Put drops of hot glue along the rim of the doll and press the sides of the top of your pin cushion against the glue.  Work slowly so that you can avoid mistakes in the first place, and you prevent stuffing from sticking to the nozzle of the glue gun.  If you need, use a pin to hold back the top of your cushion when you apply the glue drops, and to push down any extra fabric that might stick up between the rim and the top of the cushion.  Glue around the entire rim to attach the top of the cushion and let the glue dry. 

Viola! You now have a cute little Matroyshka pin cushion to brighten your sewing space!  Share yours on Instagram with #PosterityQuiltCo

 

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

February 2017 Recap

Holy Spamoni, where did February go! It seems to me that the second month of the year literally disappeared overnight! February was a month of change and mess in our household.  Handsomepants has been working his butt off, he's financial reporter for Medicaid for the state and he's had major deadlines recently.  I started 2 jobs (because, ya know, why not?) as a personal Norwex consultant and as a children's karate instructor.  The girls are just crazy awesome as usual, and Little Man has started cutting teeth so everyone is sleep deprived, and I was diagnosed with pink eye... for three weeks straight! 

Needless to say, my quilting resolution accomplishments were not as spectacular as they were last month.  

Resolution: Blogging

FAIL! I think I posted once in February and it was probably my January Recap.  This is definitely a resolution where I need to pick up the slack.

Resolution: Join 3 QAL's

So far I have been doing quite well with keeping up with my quilt alongs, which seems to be the only quilting I've been doing lately.  

The 52 Week Quilter's Planner quilt along hosted by Angie at Gnome Angle was been awesome!  In January when I decided to join the QAL, I decided to challenge myself and I gave myself two restrictions: 1. I can only use what fabric I already have to make the blocks, 2. I can only use a color pallet that I wouldn't normally choose.  That means that my color pallet is largely based on black and pink.  Not that those aren't great colors, but I'm not a fan of that combination, and to my surprise I am very pleased with how these blocks are turning out!

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I've also been following along with the Sewcial Bee Sampler by Maureen Cracknell and I'm having a blast!  Tuesdays can't come fast enough when I have to wait for the new blocks to be released every week.  I suppose that's how QAL's are supposed to run, but oh the anticipation!

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Exciting News!

For as poorly as I've been performing in quilting lately, I do have some exciting things to share!

First, and this is completely a point of hubris, is that one of my blocks for Quilter's Planner QAL was featured on Angie's blog!  You see the proof for yourself here!

Second, I am very humbled and very excited to have been selected to join the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Hop hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl! OMG what have I gotten myself into!?! I'm hoping for some fun!

Maybe this will be the kick-in-the-butt I need to be more consistant with my blogging, finger's crossed!

Happy Quilting!

- RIta

 

New Obsession: Coasters!

I have a new quilting obsession, well two new obsessions combined into one.  Coasters and paper piecing.

 For Christmas I made my sister a set of Kitty Coasters, cute little 4x4" blocks.  You can find the tutorial here.  I really liked how quick the project was, and the blocks are so small and adorable!  They make great gifts, they're nice to have around the house, and I'm hoping to make a bazzilion sets in order to get a jump on holiday gifts this year.

Kitty Coasters!

Kitty Coasters!

My other new obsession is paper piecing.  This is a technique I had been interested in for a while but was always a bit intimidated in trying.  And then I was forced to learn how to paper piece when one of the blocks used it in the 52 Week QAL with the Quilter's Planner.  OMG I can't believe I never tired it before! I think all of my projects might have to be pieced according to this method.  There is the potential for extra waste when paper piecing, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case, and the results are amazing!  Accurate points, smooth curves, wonky shapes, and tiny pieces are all possible with paper piecing, your projects can make you look way more talented than you actually feel! (that's what happened for me at least)

Since I'm new to paper piecing I chose to use simple patterns.  There are tons of patterns floating around on Pinterest, here's my board for paper piecing patterns and ideas.  There are some patterns that I absolutely love, like Mariner's Compass, and I'm working my way up to making them.

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I've been making coasters in sets of 6, each coaster is 4x4".  They've been great to use up scraps.  A while ago I really splurged and bought several Cotton andSteele 50 fat quarter bundles from Craftsy when they were on super clearance.  (I may or may not have put them and several other hundreds of dollars of fabric on Handsomepant's credit card, and then I may or may not have received a frantic phone call from said husband telling me his credit card information had been stolen.  That was an awkward conversation.  Good thing he loves me, and I really was going to tell him at dinner that night!  P.S. if you value your marriage, learn from my lesson!)  

 So far I've just been making the tops of the coasters, I'm planning on dedicating a day to a marathon of quilting and binding these babies.  

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The yellow one reminds me of queso and chips for some reason.

The yellow one reminds me of queso and chips for some reason.

I'm trying to make each set a different pattern.  As you can see I need more practice with this sail boat pattern.  I think I'm going to redraft the pattern so bits of it are pieced separately and then sewn together.  I'm definitely going to have to do some more research on how to complete more advanced patterns. 

I am really excited with how easy and neat the pineapple blocks have turned out.  For the longest time I've had pillow covers on my quilting to-do list.  I've decided I'm going to use the pineapple block for them.  Now all that's left is to find some fabrics that match the couch.

Have you made any coasters? What about tips and tricks on paper piecing? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy Quilting!

- Rita