Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday

This coral and mint Pop Flowers quilt is like a huge iceberg, and what you're seeing here is just the tiny tip. But below the surface of this bit of progress is hours, days, weeks of much indecision, doubt, and frustration that absolutely sank my titanic. I just had to put it away for a bit.

And now my niece, who will be the recipient of this tear-stained quilt, is 11 days overdue. I think it may be my fault. Either she's already a spoiled princess who will not even arrive until she has a quilt waiting for her, or she's the sweetest little thing who is giving her poor ol' aunt the chance to come through. Yes, because it's all about me.

So, anyhow. With that set aside, I did what any good quilter does and started a new WIP. 


But... you guessed it -  I don't feel right about this one either, yet. There is something about it that I don't like but I just can't put my finger on it.

Maybe it's just that I don't do scrappy very well? As in, it doesn't feel natural to me to throw random fabrics together no matter what they look like next to each other. I love almost every scrappy quilt I have ever seen but when it comes to creating one... it just feels uncomfortable.

But I am forcing myself to finish it, as I suspect that I will love it once it quilted, washed, and drawn up in the dryer. It is a pattern by Lady Harvatine, and let me tell you - it's no joke! 13 template-cut pieces per block, each one taking me at least an hour. Only 44 left to go:) 

And here's a pic to prove that I actually do finish some things. Sometimes. Small as they may be.

You can find me on Instagram at @mandyloon!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pop Flowers

My little brother's lovely wife is having her second baby next month - the first little girl in our family. She chose coral and mint for her nursery colors... yum! I did have to get over a little disappointment that I wouldn't be making a pink quilt, but as soon as I got my fabric in the mail, I was over the moon with this gorgeous color combination.

Deciding on a pattern has been agonizing. I have been scouring Pinterest and racking my brain to come up with the "perfect" quilt design. Although I have two nieces on my husband's side, this will be my parents' very first granddaughter - this is important! I had a vague idea of what I wanted but nothing seemed just right, until I found these adorable coasters. The moment I saw them, I knew. They are modern, sweet, girly, subdued, and not too frou-frou, which sums up how I see my SIL. I think there will be at least one other design element in the quilt, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I hardly ever have an entire quilt design worked out in my head before I start piecing. And yes, that often comes back to bite me in the backside.

I decided not to use Steam-a-Seam to attach the flowers as I wanted this quilt to be soft, so I chose this tutorial for turning under the edges of my shapes. As you can see in my first block on the left, I had some trouble getting the edges nice and round, even with clipping the curves. So I decided to try using pinking shears instead and that worked much better!

I start back to school in two days and I have so much I need to do to prepare... but I'm way too excited about this quilt to set it aside just yet! The boring stuff can wait.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Quilt For Mom

 I managed to finish a couple more handmade Christmas gifts, including a quilt for my mom that I'd been working on for a few months. She loves blue and white and Delft pottery, so when I saw the Ravena line by Dear Stella I knew it was perfect for her.

Taking inspiration from the famous Delftware plates, I used this print with circular shapes for the block centers.


I didn't have to finish it until New Year's Eve, my mom's birthday, but I still barely got it done. I opted for easy cross-hatch quilting through the center of the 16" squares, but still only got that done at 2am the night before.


So the next morning, I got up and bound it using Amanda Jean's tutorial for machine binding. I was so pleased with how this turned out! I highly recommend this method for quick-but-neat binding. I had already bought my thread before I decided to go this route so it stands out a bit too much, but I was still happy with the results.

Since then, I've been on quite a sewing kick and I've completed one WIP, and I'm almost done with this little one with the scalloped edge. Don't let its sweet and innocent appearance fool you - it is from the darkest corner of hell and will steal your soul.

Today is my boys' first day back to school so my older son (who is homeschooled) and I decided to ease back into it. We watched Cast Away with Tom Hanks, then I googled some discussion questions and edited them to suit our needs. I was surprised at the abundance of supplemental materials for movies! It's a great time to be homeschooling, with all of the free resources just a click away. I was worried about starting my 6th grader back in August because I'm in nursing school full time, but with a bit of planning it has been quite easy - and he's doing SO much better academically. Next year his younger brother will join in and I just can't wait. There's nothing quite like having "class"while warm and cozy under a well-loved quilt. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I have conquered another semester of nursing school. My final was 10 days ago and I've already forgotten everything. (Not really. I hope not.) 

Since then, I've been working my third and last Christmas season at a local bakery where we sell baked goods and make gift baskets with fresh bread and muffins. Very early mornings, long days, and sometimes even going back in the evenings to prepare for the next day. Brutal schedule, but somehow so much less stressful than school.

So I haven't had much time to sew. As always, my Christmas to-do list was long and almost none of it has happened. Oh well. But I did get an idea in my head to make each of my friend's kids a stocking.

I barely had any time, and had so much else I wanted to accomplish, but I just couldn't get it out of my head. So I gladly caved and went digging in my scraps and stash.

I'm so glad I did because this project was so much fun!

I was guided by these two tutorials, but tweaked each stocking a bit to suit my skill and taste. For example, this one has a cuff that encircles the top of the stocking, but I found it difficult to sew on without it bunching up due to cutting or seam allowance inaccuracies. I need lots of room for error!

So for this one, I simply made the cuff on the front only and you can't tell the difference at all.

And I felt like this one didn't need a cuff because of the Christmas tree.

I love how each one is constructed differently in some way.

The pink one has no batting or quilting, and the one with owls has hand-quilting.

When they were finished, I took my boys to the dollar store and we filled them up with goodies for our little friends, who received them with such adorable excitement.

Time definitely well-spent! And now I've narrowed down my handmade Christmas gift list to one quilt - but it is a huge quilt and I'm barely half done. So yeah, I'd better get on that.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Tube

I'm still alive and well, just preoccupied with school. I figured if I had some free time, it'd be better to sew than to blog about not sewing. I have been trying to sew more for my own house, just little things here and there, so today I decided to make a grocery bag dispenser. I looked at several tutorials, but ended up just winging it.I decided to go with my yellow scraps...

with an orange scrappy strip.

I see some old fabrics in there! I can't believe I still have some of that Katie Jump Rope, that's my favorite.

I even lined it, which took some brain-twisting and recalling the few purses I made a million years ago. My mind just doesn't think well in 3-D.

Here it is with bags in it, just in case y'all couldn't imagine what that would look like. ;) Yeah, I know, it's just a tube with a handle, but hey... I finished something. That's big for me.

This is something I started a couple months ago for my jewel-toned dining room. Not sure if it will be a table-runner or what, but I always love having a hexie project going.

I made this pillow out of my High Street charm pack for my aunt's birthday.

And these blocks are for a secret quilt with a Christmas deadline that I seriously need to be working on, instead of making tubes with handles for myself!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Black & White X Quilt

My little quilting tangent is over and I'm now dutifully back on track with my WIPs. This little X quilt was worth it, though.

It's very hard to photograph, and the fact that my iPhone is my only camera does not help matters.

I hand-quilted in the X-es with black crochet thread, size 10. It was difficult to pull through the quilt layers but I love the chunky hand-quilted look.

I had a bit of a setback when I had the bright idea to use super glue instead of fabric glue to keep one of my too-small seam allowances from slipping out. Yeah... NEVER do that. It became a hard mass and I ended up having to cut the whole corner off and completely re-do it.

As I mentioned before, the bottom right X is a very subtle light blue. Love that little off-beat detail.

I made this quilt for my Etsy shop, which is currently empty so I won't post a link just yet. I had in mind the developmental benefits of a baby staring at black and white graphics. It's a small quilt, but perfect for a wall hanging over a crib, a play mat, or those unexpected little naps in random places. Although, I must admit that I also really love how it looks in my living room!

Linking up to CrazyMomQuilts for Finish It Up Friday. By the way, I LOVE her little connections quilt top!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Math: 9-2=11

One of my goals for the summer was to finish as many WIPs as I could. I had a list of nine and I've already completed two. But then I got sidetracked by the idea of this:

Black and white is hard to photograph! You can't really tell but in the photo above, the bottom right X is actually a very light blue, just a tad of subtle color.


As you can imagine, this quilt became boring to piece very quickly so I had to stop every once in a while and work on other things. But instead of going back to my list of seven remaining WIPs, I started three new ones. Of course I did.

Apparently I'm not through with black and white X-es. This one will be a bit different, though, with each block having a different black and white print. 

Then I moved on to my new mini charm (candy) pack of High Street that I recently acquired from my LQS. I've said before that I'm usually several months to several years behind on noticing and/or buying new fabric lines, and this is one of those times. Love this new-to-me line and hope to get some yardage soon!

And for the final product of my distraction from the X quilt, I grabbed a little stack of fabric that was peeking out at me from my cabinet and put this Broken Wheel block together. I thought it was perfect for the center print as it looks just like those little gears.

 So now my WIP list is up to eleven. I never was good at sticking to a plan:/ 

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday.