The Lilly Quilt

Well it seems like it’s just been forever since I blogged. But even though my fingers weren’t moving across the keyboard, I have been busy! This summer was consumed with the Lilly quilt project.

Image

I decided to make a quilt for my bestie for Christmas and the trek to make that happen started in June (yes, June!) when I found the inspiration fabric.

Well, it had to be Lilly Pulitzer fabric because she loves her some Lilly. It wasn’t easy to acquire enough with pattern variety and the right colors, but after much searching I was able to piece together what I was looking for from the We Love Lilly shop on Etsy. So an unmentionable amount later, I had my fabric and now I needed my design.

Lilly fabric is bold and large print and I wanted a quilt design that would feature the fabric. I was fortunate to stumble upon Spanish Tiles by Heather Mulder Peterson from her Living Large 2 book which features all large print fabric quilting patterns. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the one! I loved her story of how she was inspired by the Alhambra – I love that place and think this pattern really echoes the beauty of the palace. So I set to work cutting my fabric. Lilly fabrics

I paired the fabric with a bright green accent – the lady who cut my fabric said, “Wow, that’s a bold choice” when I laid it on the cutting board and asked for 3 1/2 yards. In my head I was thinking, you should see what it’s getting paired with!

The assembly was pretty straightforward, though I did feel as if I was working on little bits forever and not seeing any progress. Steps one and two in the pattern call for assembly of strip units which will be cut into sections and used to assemble the sashing. One thing I needed here was a recommendation on how to cut the strip units since there are two different section sizes. If you cut the strip unit in all one section size, you end up with quiet a bit of waste. With a bit of math I came up with my cutting pattern to maximize the strip units. Of course this left me with two spare strip units. If you are making this quilt in the smaller size, I don’t think you would have this much waste, but the scale is different when you make the queen size version.

The second area where I stumbled was the assembly of these little sections. I thought I was following the directions for the triangle orientation, but found if I turned it I got better finished results.

Triangle direction matters!Once all the sashing pieces were finally assembled, the quilt started to come together quickly. The Lilly Quilt

And then I couldn’t leave well enough alone on the backing, I just had to add a giant monogram. It was a lot of pink polka dots without the monogram in place. And this quilt really called out for a monogram.Lilly Quilt Monogram

After a furious night of hand appliquéing (and thanks to a lot of hand sewing help from my Mom!) I was able to get the back wrapped up in time to drop it with the quilter on the first weekend in October.

Angela McCorkle of Quilts with a Heart provided the expert quilting help. She did an amazing job of outlining features in the fabrics to really highlight the ‘Lilly’ of the quilt. I highly recommend working with Angela!

Lilly Quilt QuiltingAll that was left was add on the green binding and get it shipped off to Virginia. I was so down to the wire that I didn’t even get to take a picture of the quilt with the binding before it went out the door! But it arrived just in time on Christmas eve and was happily opened on Christmas day by a very excited recipient.

–Martta

 

 

Doggie Sleep Sack

Oscar Party has meant tons of trips to the local Jo-Ann’s. I’m cool with this because there is a brand new Jo-Ann’s right next to my house, OP just gave me an excuse to explore it.

It’s amazing how many things can jump into your cart when you are looking for things on your shopping list. One of those items was some beautiful new Waverly fabric – Panama Wave in Adobe. The colors are perfect for my house and I have been in the market for some fabric to create some new poufy dog beds. And it was on SALE. And I had a COUPON. There’s really no reason not to get it :)

But time was short and I was really supposed to be working on all things Oscar Party so I decided to make a sleep sack/dog cave/sleeping bag rather than a dog bed. Doesn’t my baby look adorable in it?!Doggie Sleep Sack

I took some very exact measurements by draping a tape measure over my dogs while they were sleeping on their current collection of blankets. Doggie Sleep SackThey were not amused at me disturbing their slumber. I came up with a size of 20″x24″for my finished dimensions. For reference, my dachshunds are 12 – 14 pounds each.

I paired the panama wave with a brown soft and cuddly fabric that is a giant pain-in-the-butt to work with but oh so comfy to sleep in. Because that brown fabric is such a pain-in-the-butt, I went with half inch seams to hopefully cover any sins.

I cut two exterior pieces from the panama wave and two interior pieces from the brown fabric, all 21″x25″. Doggie Sleep SackI wanted my sleep sack to have a flap style opening to hopefully make it easier for the girls to sneak in there. I decided the flap opening should be 4 inches. I then pinned the right side of the exterior fabric to the right side of the interior fabric on the narrow end and pinned down the sides 4.5″. Doggie Sleep SackStitch, using a half inch seam, from pin to pin. Clip corners and turn right side out. Repeat on the second set of exterior and interior panels.

Then, take the two pieces and pin them right sides together. Yes, it will be difficult to deal with the flap area that you have already sewn.  Do your best to tuck in the completed corners.

Doggie Sleep SackSew around the piece leaving a 4 inch opening for turning in the center bottom of the interior fabric. Clip corners and turn. Hand stitch closed the opening in the interior fabric. You may also need to add a few corrective stitches where the piece transitions to the flap opening.

To complete the sleep sack, edge stitch around the opening. Insert snuggly dog. Enjoy.Doggie Sleep Sack–Martta

Oscar Party Decorations: Red Curtains for the TV

The first year I hosted my Oscar Party, I grabbed a length of red fabric, draped it over a curtain rod hidden in my TV cabinet and had the most fabulous red curtains on my TV for my party. Oscar Party TV Curtains

It was so effortless, so easy – no sewing – and what a fun impact. The TV immediately looked more dramatic.

Fast forward and these dang curtains have become one of my Oscar Party banes. I have spent forever fussing and futzing trying to get them to hang just right. So this year I declared, no more screwing around! (I declare that a lot, it usually doesn’t mean anything) I’m going to actually sew a  curtain that I can just drape on there and not have to worry about.

First of all, yes, I have a TV cabinet. I like to roll 1996 style in my house. Get over it. It’s beautiful, it’s solid wood and one day, when a 42″ television just isn’t enough anymore (remember when we were little and we thought we were cool if our TVs were 20 inches even though they weighed about 300 pounds?), I’ll convert it into a fab wardrobe by just adding a proper curtain rod. Until that time. I have a TV cabinet.

Now, if you’re a cool kid and your house is decorated all 2013-style and your TV just hangs on the wall you can make curtains for your TV too. All you need to do is install a curtain rod or depending on the size of your TV, just hang those curtains from the ceiling!

So I don’t have a proper pattern for these curtains, just a method. In reality, it’s all going to be done to your taste, so you’ll have to futz with it a bit when you’re planning it out so it will be perfect for your party.

Ok, here goes. The curtain is made in three parts: There are two equal length panels and one center swag.

To create the panels, measure from your curtain rod to the floor and add 8″-12″ depending on your puddling preference. Cut the two panels to length, keeping the width at just the width of your fabric (or narrower if you don’t want as much bulk). Hem three sides of your panels (->Lazy option, just hem the two long sides and fold the bottom under your puddled fabric….this has worked for me for years, but you feel free to hem if you are classier than I am).

Now for the swag. Measure the width of your curtain rod – this will be your top measurement. Add 6-24″ to the top measurement – this will be your bottom measurement.  For the math nerds out there, we’re creating a trapezoid for the swag. The addition to the bottom measurement depends on how deep and drape-y you want the swag so play with it to figure out it. For those with super large TVs, you may want to break this up and create multiple swags to cover the width of the screen – it’s up to you. Again, I’m keeping the height of the trapezoid at the width of the fabric – decrease the height for less drape.

Gather the top of each of the panels and the slanted sides of the swag.

Now, think about how you want to connect the panels and the swags because they are about to become fixed to each other. Do you want the panels touching?  Do you want some space in the middle? Figure it out then lay the panels right side down. The panels should be placed such that measuring from outer edge to outer edge of the panels is the width of your curtain rod.

Lay the swag right side down on top of the panels (The right side of the swag will lay on the wrong side of the panel). Pin the sides and top of the swag to the top of the gathered panels. It will be a mess of fabric, just do your best – this isn’t intended to be super accurate sewing here. Sew across the top of the panels,

Excellent! Now you have a panel swag-y thing. Drape the swag over your curtain rod, tucking all the yucky edges underneath and you’re almost done!

Now, since I have a TV cabinet (you’re jealous now, right?) I take a little piece of wire and thread it through the hinge on the door and then use that to hang a curtain tie back – in gold cording of course. But if you’re just workin’ with the wall, I think a few strategically placed Command adhesive hooks could work for you.

Tieback the curtains, futz, drape, swag, adjust and voilà!  Instant party presence.

I hope your TV curtains turn out just as spectacular!

–Martta

The Baby A Quilt

Well what to do with all that left over pink fabric?  Hilary to the rescue!  Thank goodness she had beautiful baby Audrey, who has already been the victim of a homemade gift (see the buttoned-up baby wrap).  But I couldn’t let the baby wrap be her only present (seeing as I think that’s a one time use kind of gift), so a quilt is perfect!

The quilt inspiration board on Pinterest is just overflowing with ideas.  But there was one that I pinned early on and I’ve been itching to make!  It’s the Color Block Quilt from Bijou Lovely Designs.  Just perfect for all the leftover pink I’ve got – I only needed to pick up the sashing, and two other colors to come up with my version:

Color Block QuiltAnd I super duper love it.  It covers all my obsessions of modern clean design, ombre, and adorable baby size (Ahem, Race for the Cure quilt, this is sooooooo much easier than king size!).  But as much as I love it, after I made the top, I just couldn’t leave it at this…..Color Block Quilt

No, I felt the need to come up with something spectacular for the back as well.  I mean, who says you can’t piece the back too?  And I still had tons of pink!  So I set to work on a monogrammed design that has me flashing back to the pixelated graphics of the video games of my youth: Monogrammed Pieced Quilt Backing

The back actually took me longer to make than the front!  That’s a lot of little squares to sew together.  But it’s the perfect pair to the fabulous front and now there can be no stealing of this quilt!  It’s all Audrey’s! Color Block Quilt with Pieced backing

–Martta

 

Race for the Cure Quilt

Regular followers of the blog might have noticed that we didn’t have too many posts over the Summer and into the Fall.  And why was that you ask?  Well, Heather’s computer died which made photo editing difficult….and I was covered up by a massive project.

What project you ask?  Well, in the category of “how do I get myself into these things?” I was making a gianormous quilt for the Race for the Cure.  Race for the Cure Quilt Top

You see, last year in the photo booth we were a bit off in our fabric measurements.  So this year I was thinking ahead and in our August planning meeting I said I was going to sew a backdrop that would be the right size.  I even had an idea that I could use past race t-shirts in it.  That’s when Deb said “oh wouldn’t it be great if you could make it into a quilt that we could then auction off at the Perfectly Pink Party in May?”

Don’t let those doe eyes fool you folks, that Deb Davis Groves will go after what she wants.

I instantly regretted mentioning that I was taking a class on quilting and working on my first quilt as I gave her a somewhat blank stare and someone, apparently me, uttered “Uh, yeah, sure”.

WHAT.  Who goes from making a BABY sized quilt to a KING sized quilt?  Apparently this girl.  Because Deb and Kheira produced the t-shirts I needed with AMAZING speed.  Well, shoot, now I really gotta do this.

So I did what every sane person does and took the t-shirts home, folded them up and then ignored them for WEEKS.

I got to the point of no return and I HAD to do something.  See, what was dragging me down was my design of the quilt.  Race for the Cure Original Quilt Plan

When it got down to brass tacks, I just didn’t like it, it was too traditional for me.  So I finally sat my butt down and designed something new.  (Woah, pretty close to how it turned out right?!)Race for the Cure Quilt Inspiration

I even went to the trouble to check out the proportion of the quilt by putting in fake people from last year’s photo booth – I’ll spare you that photo.  So I ran right out and picked up 17 yards of fabric.  Yes.  17 yards.  Those long pink stripes with no seams do not come without a lot of fabric.  Thank goodness for JoAnn’s coupons!!!  Prewashing and 17 yards of ironing ensued.

I got the top assembled pretty quickly with a bit of help from The BunkHouse on how to prep the t-shirts.  That took a whole weekend.  (And it was a good thing I had 16 t-shirts and only needed 15 because I immediately cut the first one waaaay wrong!) Race for the Cure Quilt in Process

After that, the top went together quickly and it looked wonderful!  I admired it on the wall, instagrammed it, sent pictures of it to my friends and, in general, loved it.

But all good times have to come to an end, and I need to get to the actual quilting part of this quilt!  So I took it down off the wall and started to tackle pinning and quilting of this mighty beast.

We wrestled.  We fought.  There was smoothing and re-smoothing.  It took up the entire floor of my living room – The quilt is 117″ by 97″!! (or about 10 feet by 8 feet).  It took my entire collection of 300 quilting pins and I felt like that wasn’t even enough!  So I just started quilting.  (Not to mention, but squee!  Look at that adorable ribbon fabric I found for the backing – I bought the entire 8 yard bolt to make it!)Race for the Cure Quilt BorderI will say it was quite and effort – I was just doing a few basic lines across the quilt with some wavy ones through the pink bands.  It took up the entire dining room table and then some.  I had systems of chairs set up to “catch” the quilt as it came off the machine – I didn’t want it to drop to the floor and pull the stitches I was working on with the weight of the fabric.

Then, how to quilt the t-shirts themselves.  I really wanted to quilt around each ribbon, but I don’t own a long arm quilting machine and cramming a king size quilt through my tiny machine was a serious effort.  I broke three needles on the first two ribbons.  Then we came to an understanding, this quilt and I.  With a complicated set up of rolling, turning, stitching, twirling, re-rolling, stitching some more, I was able to quilt each of the ribbons – just BARELY in time for the race.

In fact, I hadn’t even finished quilting all the ribbons when I just said “Dang it!  I’ve got to get this binding on!” It was the weekend before the race and I needed that on the quilt in order for it to be ready for Race day – I’m a slow hand sewer so stitching over 35 feet of binding was intimidating with only seven days to go.  I took that darn quilt with me everywhere!  It went to packet pick up, it went to work during lunch hours, it spent a long time with me in front of the TV just sewing.  I’m still not really sure how it got done.  But, boy, it did, thereby allowing me to finish the last ribbon the NIGHT before the race.

When I arrived at the Survivor’s tent on Sunday at 4:30am, the first order of business was to take off the quilting pins…I still think we missed a few.  It was still dark so you can understand how we missed ‘em!

But what a smashing success!  Thanks to the photobooth props from last year and a wonderful augmentation from Jill D we were slammed for the entire event.  I LOVED these pictures of survivors and their families having a blast – it made all the pain worthwhile.  Race for the Cure Quilt

And now, I get to pass the quilt on.  Komen Austin is hosting the Perfectly Pink Party on May 4th and this quilt will be one of the items auctioned!  Check out events details at:  komenaustin.org/perfectlypinkparty and go place your bid!!  It all goes to a good cause!

–Martta

Knitting the Super Easy Baby Blanket

You know, for a post that doesn’t have a lot of words in it, this project sure took me a looooooong time to complete.  I decided that this would be the year I learned to knit.  (I make these kinds of royal decrees all the time, thankfully usually only the dogs are around to hear them….) I had a long road trip coming up and I thought I could pick up an easy project and make some serious progress on the drive.  This pattern from the Purlbee seemed like just the ticket – I mean it’s got the words “super easy” right in it!  Super Easy Baby Blanket

Let’s just say that I did not make tons of progress on my road trip, in fact, it took me SEVERAL months to tackle this monster.  But it got done.  So no welcoming of the baby, but in time for baby’s first Christmas!

Here’s what I learned:

  • I am a slow knitter.
  • Driving while knitting a first project = lots of dropped stitches.  Only I didn’t know what those were at the time, so I just called them delightful holes.
  • Ripping out 20 rows of stitching and then trying to remember how to cast on was a good idea in that I accidentally cast on fewer stitches so it made my blanket almost pattern width (rather than 50 stitches too wide)
  • I am remarkable efficient at adding stitches to my work accidentally.  How do you think it got to be 50 stitches too wide?
  • Knitting a wool blanket on planes is a great way to pass the time and an excellent way to ward off the plane chill unless you are in a middle seat sitting on the tarmac in Dallas in the middle of August when they decide to cut the air conditioning.  Then it seems like a TERRIBLE idea.
  • Everyone on a plane wants to know when you are knitting.  Best guess I heard was scarf (When I was on my last skien of yarn.)  Really dude?  That’s one hell of a giant scarf.  Make nice with these people anyway, you will need their help when you drop your ball of yarn.
  • I did get faster as the project went along, but I still wasn’t fast enough to start a row when the plane landed and finish it by the time we got to the gate in Austin.
  • I hate stopping in the middle of a row.
  • Two seasons of Downton Abbey = tremendous progress on the knitting project.
  • The internet is a terrible place to look for knitting help when you don’t know the name of the stitch you are doing.  It’s garter stitch.  And it’s now my favorite.
  • The best gift of all is giving a gift to a friend who you know will appreciate it.  Laura, you have my permission to steal this blanket from your child on use it for yourself.

With all that, I will say this project is super easy.  You know, after I figured out what the crap I was doing.

Full details on yarn and the project on my Ravelry page Super Easy Baby Blanket

Here are some pictures of the in process work because there is no greater joy than celebrating the start of a new color…..especially when you have like four more colors to go after it. Knitting Progress

–Martta

Pattern Review: Insulated Wine Tote

I found this adorable wine tote pattern made by Kathryn Goodman on the Bernina site a few years ago when I was just learning to sew.  It made for a quick homemade project that was spot on with my skill level.

So that Christmas, it was ‘Wine Totes for Everyone!’

Even after making over a dozen of these totes, I still love the pattern.  So when I was searching around for a gift idea for a volunteer board that I head, I immediately thought of this project.  Who doesn’t like a little wine as a thank you for all the hard work you do?  Don’t they look cute all sewn up? 

Just a few tips on this project.  Be generous with the pins in step two when you are basting the exterior fabric to the Insul-Brite.  Otherwise the exterior fabric has a tendency to shift a bit. 

Also plan to be generous with the pins when you attach the interior and exterior. The only issue I have with the pattern is on the handle – and it’s not a deal breaker of an issue.  The pattern calls for a 3″ wide cut on the tote handle.  After sewing the long edges together and pressing opposite edges in 1/2″ the picture in the step shows that the long edges of the fabric are touching but they should be an inch apart if you cut the piece 3″ wide.  I think it’s just a type-o and that you should cut the handle 2″ wide, but if you prefer a wider handle, then keep it at 3″

Happy Sewing!

–Martta