Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Cutting and Pressing Table

Here's a few things I've been working on.  First, a Yankee Swap gift.  In honor of my niece being home before her deployment we had Christmas in February, including our traditional festive Yankee Swap.  I made this little gender neutral pouch and inserted a little something.  I love Anna of Noodlehead's open wide pouch tutorial.
 A MAJOR improvement to the new sewing room is this cutting and pressing station.  

We had an Ikea base kitchen cabinet delivered to us, added four locking casters and a plywood top.   A layer of batting and heavier home dec fabric finished off the top.  It is important to ensure the fabric cover can be changed so right now the plywood is just sitting on the cabinet.

The height at almost 36" is a perfect working height for me.

The little folding ironing table near the sewing machine also got a new cover to match.

I have (finally) started to quilt the 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month.  As a follow up, Craftsy offered a Leah Day class to quilt the top.  I am really enjoying the class and learning some new FMQ'ing designs.

Lastly, a picture of our strange winter.  Last weekend the ice houses were pulled off the ice due to the warm temperatures.  This next weekend record breaking low temps are forecasted.  I love New Hampshire.

Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Finished - Bunk Bed Quilts and Family Bedroom

Finishing the bunk bed quilts was a wonderful way to get my sewing momentum back.  And I am quite pleased with the results!
I used this tutorial to make these simple Irish Chain quilts and chose the fabrics to coordinate with the  queen quilt in the bedroom.
Quilting with an easy, large loopy meander was very relaxing and creates a lovely, comfy quilt.

Before today, it was like spring here in Northern New England.

The bunk bed quilts are slightly different sizes to allow for just enough over hang for each bed.
The family bedroom is in the lower level and natural lighting is limited.  We selected a light, happy wall color and white window treatments and linens to brighten things up.

The quilts were key missing ingredients needed to finish the family bedroom.  A couple of fun pillows were not part of the original plan for the room but why not?

Elizabeth Hartman's hedgehog and fox add some personality to the room.
I am still in search of something interesting to add to the wall to the left of the window but I love how the room looks now.  My husband says we need to charge our guests more now for this room!

We had a beautiful snowy day in New Hampshire today. Sunset was quite nice.

On to the next room in the house!

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Making Progress Decorating

In July we moved back into the renovated house.  We proceeded to empty boxes, set up beds and minimally decorate because it was the summer at the lake and there were much more important things to do!  Then came a beautiful fall in New England that included some travel.  Right after that we jumped into the holiday season.  During all this time we enjoyed a constant stream of visitors who  loved our new home.
Indeed we love the "new" house and still can't believe we live here but it needs a little decorating effort to make it feel more like a home.  Right now we have many blank walls, no window treatments in bedrooms and neat rooms that lack personality.  I have a plan to work room by room to jazz up the place before the summer begins.  Fortunately for this plan, so far our first full-time winter here has been extremely mild with negligible snow fall (quite a contrast from last winter!).  Therefore instead of snowshoeing out my back door, I am sewing in my new sewing cave.  Even with the lack of snow, some days the view from the sewing machine isn't too bad (most of this snow has melted).
The first room on the list is the family bedroom as it is a favorite with guests.  A queen bed and a set of bunks makes this a fun room for families to hang out in.  Although I immediately had shades installed, window treatments of some kind were needed to soften the look.  Store bought panels were enough but geesh why are they never the right length?!  Hanging the rod wide and high of the window, I needed to take off a few inches.  As much as I love to sew, heming window treatments is drudgery.  I'd rather make the window treatments from scratch.  So, this seems like quite an accomplishment!
The quilts for the bunk beds are finished.

I've also had a fun adding some personality to this room.

The room is almost complete and I promise a post soon with the full room reveal.

In other news, I have been published.  OR at least my back side has!  Yes indeed, that's me in the black outfit admiring the detail of a quilt at QuiltCon in Austin.  Can you imagine my surprise when I saw this picture in an ad for QuiltCon in Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine?

Moving onto the next room, this pile of goodies is for the next room on The List:  the sunporch.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced (perhaps last) WIP Wednesday and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts Let's Bee Social linky parties.  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dusting Off The Quilting Machine

It has been months since I've sat down at my quilting machine.  Thanks to the frigid weather and having three newly basted quilts, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon playing with my neglected machine and enjoying the view.

Quilting with a large meandering (or stipple) stitch will keep the quilt soft and has the added advantages of being really fast to quilt and, honestly, so relaxing to stitch.

I don't believe I have shared with you my current set up for my quilting machine.  Here is my very special Sweet 16.

Even though the throat space on this machine is significantly larger than under my regular sewing machine, managing the weight of larger quilts is still a challenge.  After doing a little web searching, I saw a few people who have successfully used these dog grooming arms.

These clamps are amazing.

Unlike other clamps I have used in the past, these do not depend on the strength of your hands to squeeze the clamp close or open.  They easily close and have a release to open the clamp (note the red handle).

What a lovely way to spend a beautiful, cold day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quilter's Planner Cover

I love my new Quilting Planner!  So of course I needed to make the cover to protect it from the physical abuse associated with being with me constantly.  A pattern for the Zipper Planner Cover came with the Planner.   You've probably seen some beautiful covers like this one or this one.

Now to plan my quilting time for the rest of the week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Busy Basting

I love almost everything about quilting.  Selecting the fabric and pattern, cutting, piecing, pressing and, most especially, quilting are so enjoyable and rewarding.  Basting, on the other hand, is a hurdle that needs to be overcome before I can begin quilting.
Basting used to involve crawling around the floor.  A painful process for my knees and hips and one that often required serious furniture movement to find adequate floor space.

But since I discovered a method for basting on a table (choirs of angels), my quilting life has dramatically improved!

Over the last few days I have made all the quilt backs and cut batting to size.  In one session I basted both of the bunk bed quilts and the one old carryover quilt.

Now, I have to decide how to quilt all these!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Pillows Post

In addition to the finishes I shared in my last post, I also finished a few fun pillows at the end of the year.  Do you remember the very adorable Tucker and his pillow that I made in connection with Lorna's Dog Gone Cute blog hop?  Well, I had to play with this pattern more for the other two special pups in the family. This is Winnie and Holly.
Of course I couldn't overlook the cats, that would be rude and they would never forgive us!  Meet Meg and Jack.

Their colors were chosen to match the quilt that was gifted to their humans last year.  I look forward to making more of Elizabeth Hartman's Kittens.

Last fall I decided a small project would be a good way to reintroduce me to my sewing machine. These two pillows allowed me to play with some of my favorite scraps in the green and blue scrap bins.

The tufted cushion is Vivika Hansen Denegre's pattern from the Spring 2013 Modern Patchwork magazine.  I love the shape of this pillow.

The quilting can be seen better from the inside (of the cake).

For the rectangular scrappy pillow I used Malka Dubrawsky's pattern in the Winter 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork.

New techniques from this little project include a new way to install a hidden zipper and binding on a pillow.

These two are going to the designer who did an amazing job squeezing everything on our wish list into the renovated house.  It also happens she is a big fan of limey green.  Very brave of me to give something handmade to a professional designer don't you think?

Now, off to baste two or three quilt tops!

Linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday.

PS  As an extra bonus here are some pictures from our trip to Maine yesterday.  First my mother-in-law's spectacular amaryllis plant.

The gorgeous sunset as we drove the backroads of Maine and New Hampshire.

And finally, quilt blocks decorating the porch at the charming Cornish Inn (highly recommend by the way for the cozy Lincoln pub).
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