Monday, February 19, 2018

The legacy of Hawaiian shirts and their subsequent quilts

Back in 2011-12, I was out in my in-laws storage shed with my mother-in-law as she was going through boxes of dress up clothes to send home to our house with us.  She pulled a box of fabric off the shelf and I asked her what it was.  For several years she had asked me how to make a rag quilt and I didn't realize that the reason she wanted to know how was so she could use this fabric she had been storing for several years and make one for her bed. The box of fabric were left over pieces of fabric from her mom's own stash of Hawaiian shirt making.  If you want to read that whole story, you can click HERE to read my post last month on the legacy of this fabric and it's importance in my husbands family.   

I wish I had the pictures I took during that time still.  But they were lost in a computer crash many years ago.  The picture of this massive Tupperware box (2 feet by 3 1/2 feet and 2 feet tall) full of all the scrap fabric from her mom's sewing adventures.  We brought the box back into the house and I sorted through it as she asked me if it was enough fabric to make a quilt for her California King sized bed.  I knew it was especially if she was going to make a rag quilt.  It was just a matter of what size to make each of the squares so that I could use more scraps than less in the stack.  I had her get out her rotary cutter and cutting mat and I cut out a few squares to show her how to make it.  After one day of my vacation I realized that I really just needed to take the box home and make the quilt up myself.  So, we headed to JoAnn's, purchased the batting, I packed the box in our truck and headed home. 

I was probably 6 months pregnant with my second child at the time and I knew that I would need to really spend some serious time working on it so that I could finish it before our own life changes happened.  I spent many many many nights pulling out the scraps, ironing them and cutting them into squares and strips.  In the end I made the squares 5 inches like a charm pack size and I also made all the strips in 2 1/2 in strips like a jelly roll.  It was A LOT of squares and in the end a lot of batting as well. I spent a week sewing all the square together, and another week putting those squares into rows.  I used my bed to lay them out to make sure that nothing looked weird in the layout and I just kept sewing.  I used the kitchen floor in the rental unit upstairs from us the day that the people moved out to lay out and spray and pin the second quilt I made to get it ready to machine quilt.  I was 8 1/2 months pregnant so yes, me crawling around on my hands and knees putting in all the pins was surely just crazy!!  

I was at my in-laws this weekend on vacation and finally all these years later, got pictures not only on my phone (which I have done and lost several times over the years) but also, got on my computer to make sure they made it here to my blog.  It was such great timing since I have been systematically going through and posting all my old projects to be able to see these quilts in person again and also, sleep in a bed that had one of the quilts on it.  

I end up making not only the California King sized rag quilt, but a queen sized jelly roll strip quilt.  They turned out awesome.  The queen sized quilt was a surprise but we were able to get them to my mother in law that year for her birthday when she came up to see our newborn son when he was born.  I had so much fabric left over and I did another post of that fabric and the quilts I have made from that fabric HERE.  

Here are some close ups.  I hope that you enjoyed!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Summer dresden in progress

I didn't just spend the last month catching up on posting all the different quilts and projects I have worked on through the past 4 years.  I have also been sewing a ton.  When I cleaned out my fabric shelves in my storage room, I found a bunch of unfinished quilts.  So, I put them in a box and brought them into my kitchen to work on.  This dresden quilt is one of the ones that I found.  I had finished sewing the pieces together on 3 of the 4 dresdens but I had not attached them to the backing and I had not decided on the border fabric or center circles.  I took them to my husband's grandma's house during a visit and I whipped stitched them to the backing.  I think that their progress is turning out super awesome.  Since I took these pictures I have actually added borders and got the backing fabric cut.  I will post pictures when I get some batting and get it quilted. But here is the progress.  The fabric was a line called Riviera from Connecting Threads back in 2008.

Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Organizing my fabric

Last Friday I went to find a fabric I knew I had to finish a quilt.  I walked into my storage room and about lost it throwing fabric off the shelves trying to find what I was looking for.  This was the 4th time last week I had done it looking for something and I had had it.  I had the morning off work so I ran to walmart to buy some cheap baskets that I also use in my deep freezers to organize food.  I wasn't sure how many I would need so I just purchased a bunch of various sizes.  (I went back hours later to get more and someone else had apparently needed the same thing that day because they were sold out of one size that had had 20 on the shelf and at least that many on the top of the shelves that I had seen.)  I took every piece of fabric I had in boxes, in my storage room, on my sewing table, in my name it and I put them all in a basket.  After 3 hours, I had finally figure out how to organize it...some with holiday fabrics, some with large prints and the rest into colors and I put them in the storage room and labeled the baskets.  It was TOTALLY worth it!!!!!  I went to find something this week and I was able to find it quickly.  I just wish I had done this years ago.  



No, I don't think it is ideal that there is a row behind the front row.  However, in the next few months I will be taking some of these baskets and adding them to the cupboards my husband is putting in a sewing area for me.  I was able to take and put the baskets in those cupboards before filling them so that I knew that they would fit well at that time.  So, this 2 rows thing is not long term which makes it even better and more exciting.  I already organized for the moment that the big move happens.  So exciting.  

Hope you enjoyed!!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sewing Machine Review, for Kids

Back in 2015, my daughter was 5 and had really taken and interest to sewing.  I had found a found a used, small craft sewing machine at the thrift store for $2.  After a couple months of trying to put the bobbin back on the little thing, I was ready to be done!!!  However, she couldn't use my machine because I was always using mine.  So, I did some research on sewing machines to purchase a machine for her for Christmas.  At 5, I think the main thing I was concerned about were the speed and having a foot guard.  I end up buying this cute Janome machine.  Janome 001Graceful Portable Sewing Machine.

Here are my pro's and con's:


1. It is super light weight, 5 lbs.  It is easy to transport and store.
2. It has a foot guard.  I love that I am not concerned that my child is going to get her fingers caught in the needle.
3.  It has all the basic necessary stitches.  Here are the specs right off amazon's website.

4 Stitches with 6 stitch width and length variations:
  • 5 Straight Stitch variations (A – E) - Basic sewing, inserting zipper
  • 3 Zig-Zag Stitch variations (F, G, H) - Basic mending, garment construction
  • 1 Crescent / Scallop Stitch (I) - For embellishment and applique
  • 1 Multi-Stitch ZigZag Stitch (J) - Stretch fabrics like knits

4.  It is the perfect sewing speed for a young child.  It is a medium-ish speed..doesn't go faster.
5.  Threads the same as my Bernina sewing machine, so my daughter is learning exactly how to thread that when I give her permission to sew with my machine.  There are easy to follow arrows on the machine itself.
6.  It fits my bobbins from my normal machine.  Probably not a big deal to anyone else, but if I have a bobbin of one color already somewhere in the house, I don't really want to create a second one.  Laziness and hopefully thriftiness.
7.  If you are into having a fun color....there are a million of options of color.  I bought this machine on Amazon and got an amazing deal on it that Christmas.  Always make sure to check current, past and lowest prices on for all Amazon products so you can see the overall trends through time.
8.  With the small complaints that I have below, I honestly think that this machine is going to last a really really long time and get a lot of good use.  The manual is easy to understand and follow.  When my daughter forgets how to do something when threading the machine, she pulls it out.

1.  #4 above--not a good machine for an adult looking for a take along small machine on a quick get-a-away.  You will want to pull your hair out at the slowness of the speed.  It can't be adjusted.
2.  There is NO light.  When I bought this, I thought, that won't be a problem.  We will always be sewing in a well lit room.  But it absolutely sucks.  You can't see the needle to thread it without picking the machine up and putting it in the light or shining a flashlight on it.  Also, it turns my daughter off from sewing.  She will think she is sewing straight but can't see it really well and then gets frustrated when she has to unpick it.  (However, I found a solution to this problem that I have posted down below)
3.  The bobbin holder, while easy to open, a little hard for my daughter to thread and pull out in the right place.  It has to loop around twice and she usually forgets the second one.
4.  The thread holder in the top back of the machine has fallen off the machine twice.  Not only that, over time it slowly falls backwards so the spool of thread almost won't stay on.  When I see this I can pull it off the machine and pop it back in, but I think that if my daughter were to do it, she might break the part.  I might just have a faulty one, but it is annoying.
5.  There is no on-off switch.  So, if you don't want it to accidentally push the foot, you need to unplug it from the wall.
6.  The foot pedal: tiny.  I think I should maybe put that as a pro for a little child, but even my daughter finds that it is so small and light weight that it really moves around and she has a hard time pushing it down.  But, I would also expect with a lighter weight machine to have lighter weight parts.  I just wish this one had a bit more weight or substance.

Here she is threading her machine.  She is 7 1/2 in this picture and it comes easily now, just takes time like I would expect it to take for a younger child.

Her jealous brother watching her use her machine. He just needs a power tool...but what to give him, I have no idea.  He is just toooooo young!!

You can see in the picture above that she is really bending over to see what she is doing.  You can also see just how dark it is in there.  I got on Amazon to look for some kind of light to attach to her machine.  I found the following.  It is amazing!!!  Look at the light that it produces.  Yes, I used the sticky attachments and permanently attached it to her machine.  Obviously, I am not going to be taking it off since it was meant for the machine and also we can't handle the machine without the light.  I am sooooo excited.  (I purchased this light Jan 2018.)

(Before attaching)

What the light looks like close up

Madalynn checking out how I was attaching it

The bright LED's

From the front.

LED lights are bright, and these pictures make them look even brighter, but they are not as florescent as they appear.  Now that the light problems is handled, it really is such a good machine for her.  I am glad that I purchased it and I am grateful I found a fairly cheap solution to my major problem with it...even if it took me 2 years to do it.

Hope you enjoyed!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Madalynn's first quilt....when she was 5!!

Back when my daughter was finally old enough that I felt like I could leave her with my machine for a few minutes and she wouldn't kill herself, I pulled out a rag quilt I had cut up many years beforet never finished.  It was the perfect combination of pink and purple fabrics.  It was also the perfect beginning quilt.  The lines don't have to be straight to make the x's across the center of each block and it doesn't totally matter if all the blocks are lined up straight.

I was thinking about this quilt when I was sewing earlier this week.  I had given my daughter a bunch of fabric that I have that I won't use and she was sitting on the table sewing.  The next morning while she was at school and not next to me, I really felt lonely while I was maching quilting a UFO quilt from 2008 and looking at her doodle/sketch book and her unfinished project.

But, it got me to get out the picture of her first quilt and it made me so happy that I have spent quality time helping her sew.  She not only finished cutting the batting for the rag quilt, but she sewed each square together, laid them out in the pattern you see in the quilt and then I helped her bring the rows one by one into the kitchen and keep them in order while she sewed them together.  But, except sitting and watching each square as she sewed to monitor...since she was still only 5 nearly 6, I did nothing else.  Man, I love this girl.  I can't wait to see what she creates over the years.  She is quite the artist in her own right.

The final quilt.  I put it out each year now on the back of my couch and it is so perfect.  I love her and I love the quilt.  

Her 3rd old brother trying to help. man, they were so small!!!!

Hope you enjoyed!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Coral, Blue and Orange mini quilt

Let's be honest.  While I typing up this post, I have 13 scheduled posts and about 15 more pictures worth of posts I need to finish.  But, this is so far, one of the most recent quilt I have made.  I purchased the fabric for this quilt as one of my few fabric purchases at a local quilt shop in the past 4 years in Spring of 2017.  However, I didn't pull it out to work on until Oct 2017. 

1st.  I have wanted to purchase new fabric for a LONG time.  However, I was determined that I couldn't buy anymore fabric until I finished the stash of unfinished quilts and at least 1/4 of all the fabric in my storage room.  When I purchased this fabric, it was to refreshing and greatly cherished.  Even though I just picked out some matching fat quarters I thought would be great together, I was very aware that I was being conscious of my budget and yet thoroughly enjoying the chance to buy something that would forever make my heart happy. 

2nd.  I have been wanting to make fun quilts that are not holiday themed for a LONG time.  However, that was the fabric I originally purchased so I plugged away at using it.  When it comes to summer, except my 4th of July quilts, I really don't have any other quilt to really put up, so it was time to remedy that situation. 

3rd.  Since I started sewing, I have always wanted to make a quilt with circles or round points in the quilt top.  They are just so beautiful to me.  This quilt really did satisfy that need. 

4th. On my list of things I still want to do is make a yellow and grey themed quilt, take a break from Hawaiian fabric for a little while and make all the mini's in ..... book.  That is the book that I used to make this quilt.

Isn't it just so pretty!!!  I can't get enough of it.  I really really love the border fabric I found to compliment the other colors and I used it as the center small square on all the blocks to pull it into the quilt itself.  I LOVE big borders.  Hence the huge turqoise border. 

When I brought it by one day to show my best friend, I knew that she really loved it.  I was concerned that I would have enough fabric to make a whole new quilt and I needed a couple Christmas presents.  So, I made 6 blocks but split it up into a set of 3 blocks for this table runner for my best friend and 3 pillow covers for me, my husbands aunt and my own aunt.  I drove out to my best friends new house which is now an 1 1/2 away from my home as they recently moved and dropped it off before Thanksgiving.  I was slightly proud of myself for not waiting until the last moment this year!!!  Hurrah!!   I think that I might have just enough fabric left over to make myself a table runner here in the next couple months.  That will be a fun fun project!!

I have found that I really really enjoy white borders with white binding lately to really help the other colors and shapes of the quilts really pop.  This one made me super happy.  

 Hope you enjoyed!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Finished Christmas Dresden Quilt

Is it true?  Am I coming back to post a finished picture of this quilt?  Yes, yes I am.  Here it is!!

I think that I will post the picture backwards in this post.  Ha!  From finished project to the finished top..

From a finished dresden that needs to be attached to backing...

To trying to decide if I should do a white center on the block or a Christmas colors center circle....

To the beginning where I have no idea what to say next.  Haha! But I have so much to say.  I purchased an acrylic dresden ruler when I started this project.  I have used it many times and it was totally worth it.  I knew that I had always love and had a fascination with dresden's so it was super fun to have a great tool to use to make them.  I don't care for attaching the centers of the blocks.  It is definitely not my favorite part.  However, I learned to make a cardboard center piece, sew around it like an English Paper piecing piece, iron and pop out the middle to get the exact shape.  

In the end I did decided on the white interior.  When the Christmas fabric was there it seemed just so muddled and hard to see the outside shape really well.  I tried to machine quilt the middles with a continuous circle.  Yep, that was a total fail.  I don't really care for how it turned out and there definitely must be a better way to do it than I did, but it was fun to try.  

The border fabric is some of my favorite Christmas fabric I have ever sewn with.  When I found it at JoAnn's one year, they didn't have a full yard.  It was the first time I have ever asked them if they could find a place that had a few yards.  I knew then that I would just cherish it and use it for everything.  It just had the right amount of deep red with a small gold print that it would go with most Christmas fabrics with more traditional colors.  They found a place with a whole bolt....all the way in Salt Lake city on Redwood Road.  I had some errands I needed to run that direction, so I packed up my child, drove up and got the rest of the bolt.  Now what..probably 5-6 years later, I am glad I did it.  I still just love it each time I cut it and attach it to something.  

Hope you enjoyed.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Fall 2017 Springville Art Museum Quilt show

Every year the Springville, Utah Art Museum has a quilt show.  I try and go every year because they are just so much fun.  For a long time in our house, we did Friday Museum days.  We are surrounded by hundreds of free, family friendly museums.  It is so fun.  I would take my kids to a variety of art shows, cultural museums, children's museums, history museums, old villages and buildings, forts, etc.  We loved it.  I couldn't keep up after my daughter Kindergarten year because I had to work a friday afternoon class the past year.  However, we do make special trips to see the things I am most interested in.  This years quilt show had a whole floor of red and white quilts on the children's exhibit floor.  They had the opportunity to create quilt blocks with shapes on paper.  It was so much fun!!  I got to walk around taking pictures and enjoyed the quilts while they had a great activity to do. 

They finished right as I finished looking at and admiring the 30 plus quilts.  It was a super fun day.

Then we headed up stairs to the 10 or so galleries that were full of quilts upstairs and the kids each picked their favorite quilt to take a picture with.

It is so inspiring seeing the artistry of these various quilters.  I hope that I can enjoy many more years of creating and being inspired by others.

Hope you enjoyed.