Friday, April 27, 2012

Back to Reality

What a wonderful time we had in Florida.  We haven't had much one-on-one time with our grandson since he was born 10 months ago, due to the distance between us (PA to FL) so a five-day visit was awesome.  We really had the time and opportunity to get to know this little guy, and we loved every minute of it.  We kicked our feet and splashed in the pool together, went for walks, played games, sang songs, and just hung out together getting to know each other.
As you can see in this picture, his mom and I even introduced him to quilting fabric!  He was really eyeing up this pretty bundle of Amy Butler Lark fat quarters!  Wonder if he'll be a quilter when he gets older...
 And we did our best to get a picture of him modeling the new bucket hats I made for him for Easter.  But this little guy HATES anything on his head right now.  He'd pull it off just as soon as it touched his head.  We even tried double-teaming him with two hats at once.  While he was pulling off one, we'd be putting the second one on him, but we still couldn't win.  He's fast!!!  But it kept us all entertained for a few minutes and we all got a good laugh out of it.  Maybe he'll get over it someday, but for now he's going hatless.
Now it's back to reality as I get back to work on all the unfinished projects I left behind a week ago...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - sunny Florida!

What's on my Tasting Table today?  Nada!!!  That's right - hubby and I are in sunny Florida visiting with this little guy - and his parents, of course!  Hope to have some great pictures to share when I return.  Have a wonderful  week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing a Quilt

The quilt is growing!  My DIL made this quilt for her young niece several years ago, and now she is moving up to a bigger bed and the quilt was too small.  I found a youtube video by Sharon Pederson demonstrating how to add borders to a quilt that has already been quilted, and it's working pretty well.  Here's a pic of the quilt as it started...
 ...and here' the back...
...and here it is with the new borders attached, but not yet quilted.  Fortunately, my DIL still had lots of scraps left from the original quilt, so I was able to piece them all together to make a 10" border all around.  I think I'll quilt the outline of a star on each corner block, then do an all-over meander to fill in the borders and around the corner stars.
 I didn't have any more of the backing fabric, so I just picked a Moda Essential Dot that coordinated with it.  The binding will be bright pink, similar to the original binding.  Now this little girl will have a Big Quilt for her Big Bed!
By the way, for anyone who has been using Picnik to edit photos, I'm sure you've realized that they're done now.  No more Picnik.  However, I just used to edit these photos, and I'm happy to report that I give this one a thumbs up!  It's very similar to Picnik, so it's easy to navigate, and I actually think it's even easier!  So if you're looking for a new photo editor, check this one out.  I'm impressed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - one of those days...

It's going to be one of those days... I can already tell...

First of all, I woke up this morning thinking about what I might write for my Tasting Table Tuesday post today, when I suddenly realized it's Wednesday! What happened to Tuesday??? Once again, I'm a day late.

So I got up and poured my cup of coffee, then discoverd my husband heading for the basement with buckets and a pipe wrench. Not a good sign - the drain line from the bathroom sink & tub was plugged. Needless to say, my coffee got cold, and half an hour later, wet & dirty, we (mostly he) had it fixed. I was just the bucket holder.

I was planning on getting an early (well, earlier than normal maybe) start on my sewing today. So much for that! Hopefully the rest of the day will go better, or I'll be drinking my evening glass of wine for lunch!

So - what's on my Tasting Table on Wednesday? Lots of odds and ends, but nothing worthy of photographs just yet. I altered a prom dress on Monday, and yesterday I started "growing" a quilt. A little girls quilt is too small for her new big bed, so I'm removing the binding, adding another border, quilting the border, then re-binding it. I've never tried this before, but found an excellent video here. Looks pretty easy, and I hope to finish it today, or tomorrow.

So, without any pictures of my own to post today, I decided to share something I found on Etsy yesterday. One of my Gadget Pouches was featured in an Etsy Treasury List and one of the other featured artists caught my eye.Patti draws one piece a day, and they are all little drawings on tea bags! Amazing, and so unique! You can check out Missouri Bend Musings by clicking here. Hmmm - I'm starting to see a pattern here - last week's post was about Zentangle drawings, now drawing on tea bags - my "inner-artist-self" who used to whisper in my ear from time to time is finding her voice!

Now I'm off to sew those quilt borders. Hope your day goes better than mine started! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to make a T-shirt Quilt, the Cotton Cellar Way!

After posting the pictures of the T-Shirt quilt I just finished, I received an interesting question in the comments section:

Jean asked:

Stupid question. Did u use interfacing on the underside? If so, what kind? Fusible? Sew in?

First of all, your question is not at all stupid, Jean - it's a very good question! In fact, I thought it deserved more than just a quick one line reply, so I've decided to answer it here in a blog post devoted just to answer your question.

Yes - I definitely use interfacing on the back of the T-shirts. I use Pellon 906F Sheerweight Fusible. It's the lightest weight I can find, which is perfect because while you want to stabilize the stretchy t-shirts, you don't want to add any more bulk than is absolutely necessary, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

Everyone has their own way of making T-Shirt quilts, and there's no right or wrong way - but here's how I make one. Feel free to use or share the information any way you'd like, and I'd love to see how your quilts turn out!

So here's how to make a T-Shirt Quilt the Cotton Cellar way...

Once you've gathered together all your t-shirts (freshly washed, of course!), start by cutting off the neck bands, sleeves and hems, so you're left with a flat piece of fabric. Don't cut away any more than necessary at this point, until you decide what size your blocks are going to be.

Study the graphics on all the shirts, and measure them all to determine which one is the largest design you'll use. You'll probably find that a block size of somewhere around 15"/16" is about right for large adult shirts - maybe 12"/13" if the shirts are kids size.

Now cut squares of interfacing slightly larger than your largest graphic. An inch or two bigger is fine. Fuse the interfacing to the back of the rough-cut shirts, centering the interfacing under the design as closely as possible. You don't have to be real accurate because you'll be trimming them to size after fusing. This way you have a good solid fused edge and you can cut the blocks more accurately.

Using a square ruler and a rotary cutter, cut out each of your shirt blocks, keeping the graphic centered. When a block is smaller than your maximum block size, simply add strips of quilting fabric to the four sides to bring it up to match the size of your maximum block. I usually try to keep all my measurements to an even 1" increment, just to make the math easier to calculate, but you could do it all freehand and make them all larger, then trim to size after adding the fabric to the sides. In fact, it might even look cool if you cut them "wonky"! Now there's an idea!

Once your blocks are all made, just add sashing, cornerstones, and a border - if desired.

One important thing to note - if you stretch your t-shirt fabric, you'll find that it's very stretchy from side to side, but not so stretchy from top to bottom. The interfacing also stretches more across the grain, than it does along the lengthwise grain. It's very important to rotate the interfacing 90 degrees before fusing it to the shirt, so the stretch on both pieces does NOT line up. If the stretch of the shirt is side to side, then you want to place the stretchy dimension of the interfacing top to bottom. This stabilizes the shirt, and minimizes the stretch when sewing. Make sense?

You can quilt a t-shirt quilt like any other traditional quilt. This one was done on a long-arm, and you'll see that she meandered all over the quilt, even through the graphics. This is fine, but remember - if you have to rip out, the needle holes will show in the painted graphics. I was a little nervous about this in this previous t-shirt quilt that I quilted on my domestic sewing machine, so I purposely avoided the graphics and only stitched around them - not through them.But this is all personal preference - you can quilt it any way you'd like. Just like the patterns say - "Quilt as Desired".

I hope this takes some of the mystery out of T-Shirt quilts. They're really not difficult, and if you have any questions, I'd be glad to help if I can - just ask!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The T-Shirt quilt is finished, boxed up, and ready to go out in the mail first thing in the morning. My local Longarmer did a super job of quilting this one. It's the first time I've had her quilt for me and I'm very pleased! Thanks Sue! (I know the picture's not the best, but I don't have a large enough space anywhere to get far enough away, and the weather wasn't good enough to go outdoors, but you get the idea anyway...)

I hope the recipient enjoys the quilt as much as I enjoyed making it for him.

The rest of the weekend was spent listing new items in my Etsy shop. Several iPhone Pouches and Eyeglass Pouches - and some of them are matched sets! Click here to view.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Zen Style

I won't bore you with pictures of my projects today, because I'm busy binding (ho hum) the two commission quilts you've already seen, although I'll post pics when they're completely done in a day or two.

But I do have something exciting to share with you. Have you heard about the art of Zentangle? I was recently introduced to it by my friend Diane, and I'm hooked. It's a form of doodling, but SO much more than that! When I first saw some examples, I was amazed at its similarity to free-motion quilting. I've been watching instructional YouTube videos almost every day, and even see zentangles in my dreams (and I wonder why I have trouble sleeping!).

The other day, I decided I needed a Zentangle book, and lo and behold - look what I found on Amazon! A Zentangle QUILTING book!!!

My book is on it's way, so you can bet that I'll be drawing Tangles at my Tasting Table by this Time next Tuesday. I wonder if I doodle better before, or after, that glass of wine??? Hmmm...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wall Pockets Finished

Thanks to all of you who gave me your opinions on how I should finish these wall pocket blocks. (previous post here).
In the end, I decided to finish them as a series of four individual wall quilts, or wall pockets. Each has a split hanging sleeve on the back, so whoever purchases them can buy one, two, three, or all four, and hang them in whatever configuration fits their space.

You can see the Etsy listings here. The link will take you to the first listing, but that listing is linked to the other three as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Basting Technique

Yes, I realize it's Wednesday, and I didn't post anything for my Tasting Table Tuesday segment yesterday. It was a super busy day, and before I knew it, the day was over. So here's my Tuesday post on Wednesday.

I'm trying out a new basting technique, and so far, I think it's going to work great. I don't have any floor space big enough to baste a quilt and I don't really want to move all the furniture out of my living room every time I have a quilt to baste. I normally baste on a large table, but my quilts are usually slightly bigger, so I have to baste, then shift the quilt, then baste some more. It's hard to keep a consistent tension on the backing fabric, so it's not the best solution. So here's what I came up with, although it will only work for quilts no bigger than 72" x 80".

Remember the old fold-up cardboard dressmakers pattern cutting boards? (here's a link to a new one if you don't know what I'm talking about). I happened to have two VERY old ones laying around, unused. Mine are 40" wide x 72" long, and I taped them together to make one large board that is 80" wide x 72" high, then hung them on the wall. These boards are made of fairly thick cardboard so you can pin directly into them like a cork board. I pinned my backing fabric down first, making sure it was nice and flat. Then centered the batting on top, and tacked it lightly in place with a few pins as well, then pinned my quilt top in place all around the outside edge, pinning straight thru into the cardboard every 4" to 6". Now that it's all smooth and flat, I can go back and pin baste with safety pins every few inches. (I see that I have a little adjusting to do on the bottom edge of my quilt - there's a little extra bit of fullness that needs to be worked in before I start the basting - isn't it amazing what we see in pictures?)
While I prefer pin-basting, this technique would also work well with basting spray. Here's a closeup of one corner so you can see each of the layers pinned in place. You can also see a little bit of the hanging mechanism I came up with. I punched a metal grommet in the center of each board, piggy-backed a pair of those little hooks that you find on zipper pulls or lanyards, which I then hung on a Hercules Hook in the wall. You can do whatever works for you, but that's what I had on hand to work with, and it works for me!

I'll let you know how the basting process goes, but so far - so good! At least I'm upright, instead of kneeling on a hard floor, or bending over a table. So much more comfortable!

Update - I just finished the pin-basting and it worked like a charm! Knees and back are still good! Time to quilt...