Hooked on Needles

Monday, July 30, 2012

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting Started

While keeping the laundry going after we returned from our vacation recently, this is what I started working on in my sewing room, which happens to be on the same floor as the laundry...

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting StartedThis panel is part of the Animal Alphabet line of fabric by Cheri Strole for Moda. It is so bright and cheerful! I started by pressing it and then cutting it into strips. I had also cut 2 inch strips of the coordinating fun striped fabric for framing each block.

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting StartedI sewed a striped strip onto each side of each block strip and pressed the seams...

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting Started...then opened the seams and pressed again.

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting StartedThen I cut the blocks apart...

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting Started...and sewed them onto more striped strips to complete the frame around each.

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Getting StartedAfter cutting apart the blocks then pressing and laying them out, I had to decide what to do next. I knew I had to make two more blocks to fill in the two corners, but some sort of sashing was in order here, to separate all those stripes from each other!

More pictures to come!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Vacation ~ 2012

It's been a whole week and more since we returned from our vacation up north in beautiful New Hampshire, so it's about time I share with you my visits to two lovely quilt shops. First take a look at what my view was for the week...

Summer Vacation ~ 2012Ah yes, lovely Lake Winona! This picture was taken from the deck of our place that we rent each summer for a week. It's a little slice of heaven for sure! The house is perched up on a small hill and we have our own private beach right there just below this picture. That is our dock, and the kids spent most of the week swimming out to it, climbing the stairs and then jumping back into the water! Such fun!

But of course I had to take a little trip or two, while the kids were frolicking in the lake, to my favorite quilt and yarn shops up in Center Harbor. They would be Keepsake Quilting and Patternworks of course! This year nothing at Patternworks jumped out at me, but this is what I found at Keepsake in their clearance room...

Summer Vacation Fabric ShoppingYardage of Sweetwater's Pure fabric line in both canvas and quilting cotton. The brown and blue are the canvas and the white is the quilting cotton. I also found some yardage of a few prints that I thought would make great aprons or tote bags. I love how they fold up the fabric after it is cut at Keepsake...

Summer Vacation Fabric Shopping...a nice way to show it off! I also love that they cut a few inches past the yardage that you ask for. Nothing worse than paying for 36 inches and only getting 34 or 35 inches of squared fabric!

Summer Vacation Fabric ShoppingOn the front porch of Keepsake Quilting, there is always lots to look at. I found these baggies of jumbo ric rac, each holding over 3 yards, for 59 cents a bag! It's a delicious buttery yellow too, so I'll have to think of something fun to do with that!

Summer Vacation Fabric ShoppingI was on the hunt for some new rulers this year and had googled where I could purchase one particular Creative Grids ruler for a friendship braid pattern I had recently bought. In that search, I discovered a quilt shop that is just a stone's throw from where I do my grocery shopping while we are on vacation. So I stopped in there and bought these two rulers. The Binding ruler has proven the perfect tool for the friendship braid, although not the one that I was originally looking for. And the other ruler is the 60 degree triangle ruler which I will use for another pattern I will be trying soon.

Summer Vacation Fabric ShoppingCountry Heart Quilters in Plymouth, NH was a fun little shop to poke around in. Loretta had a huge variety of patterns, notions and rulers, lots of samples of bags and quilts and other items, and a nice selection of fabrics. She even gave me a little demonstration of how to use this binding ruler to achieve the perfect join for the beginning and end of binding. It was shop hop day there too, so things were really hopping, but she took the time to help me with my needs and got herself one happy customer. If you're ever up that way, her shop is only a few minutes off the highway right on a main road. Be sure to stop in and say hi!

It seems like we've been home much longer than a week, but I guess time really does fly when you are having fun. And I've been having some fun this week, let me tell you! Coming soon, I'll show you the quilt top and back I have finished, and also the new one I am working on, and a fun and easy crocheted bag that I made during vacation and its mini mate made with the leftover yarn. Lots of fun things happening here with hooks and needles, just not a lot of computer time!

I hope your summer has included some good sewing or crocheting too! Just a month left until my kids go back to school, and lots to get done in that time!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!

As soon as this pattern was introduced, I bought it! Click HERE to take a look at this darling tote bag pattern for dolls. I just knew my little Gracie would love a bag made just for toting her dolls and their stuff around. She's been asking me to make it since the day I got the pattern, and I finally cleared off my to-do list to the point where I could focus on making this bag for her. It only took a couple of days, working on it when I could, and now she is the happiest little doll owner in the world!

Here is Gracie's bag...

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!Is that not the funkiest fun fabric combination you've ever seen? Of course Grace picked it out herself and was absolutely certain that these fabric would go together perfectly! Who was I to argue?

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!All the fabrics used in the making of this bag were purchased from Mandy over at Whimsy Dots where she sells the most fabulous vintage sheets. I had purchased a few cuts a while ago but had not used them until now. It is very different using vintage sheets as opposed to new quilting fabric, but I really loved it! The fabric is thicker and more sturdy, so perfect for tote bags like this. And Grace just loved the prints!

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!These two dividers come out of the bag and separate from each other so they can be used together in the bag, one at a time in the bag, or taken out of the bag altogether...

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!...like this...

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!...leaving you with a wonderful tote bag for lots of stuff.

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!Peltex is used in this bag to make it very stiff and hold its shape. There's a flat pocket on one side...

Grace's American Girl Doll Bag ~ A Tote for Two!...and a 3 dimensional pocket on the other side, to hold thicker things like the doll glasses or hair brush or other accessories.

So that is my latest finish and it has already been used and loved! If you are looking for patterns for American Girl dolls or other 18 inch dolls, be sure to check out Melissa's original patterns over at her shop. And for some great vintage sheets and other fun sewing stuff, visit Mandy at Whimsie Dots.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!

Finally, finally, I can show you pictures of the finished Fandango Cartwheels quilt! Whew! This one is definitely in my top 5 favorites for quilts I have made. I love the design, the fabric, the backing, the quilting, the binding, the size, everything about it! Take a look...

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!Kate Spain's Fandango fabric was so fun to use in this design. The colors and patterns in her fabrics are always so lovely and happy.

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!The Cartwheels pattern is from AmandaJean over at Crazy Mom Quilts, and it is one of her many Moda Bake Shop recipes which you can find HERE.

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!I pieced the back of this quilt with the leftover blocks and squares from the front and from cuts of Fandango yardage that I was able to find at different online shops. I love shopping for fabric online!

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!The quilt had not yet been washed when I took these pictures so it does not have the crinkly quilty quality about it that happens after the first washing.

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!It is also perfect for a twin size bed, as you can see. It is plenty long enough even to go over the pillows and plenty wide enough to go down each side. It measures about 64 by 88 inches.

Fandango Cartwheels Quilt ~ Complete!I put this quilt on Grace's bed because it is the only stand-alone twin size bed in the house just to show how it fits on a twin size bed, so sorry for the messy room! But you know, it is summer vacation and she is only 7! The white with blue squares showing beneath the quilt in this picture is the fitted sheet I leave on the trundle bed. It's not part of Grace's real bedroom decor!

So that's it for my finished quilts for now! Since finishing this batch, I have actually pieced two more quilts so I'm gearing up for another little quilt fest on the long arm! How fun!

This quilt is available for purchase and will be listed in my Etsy shop soon for $350 plus shipping, but if you are interested in owning it, let me know before I list it and I'll do a custom listing for you for $325 and free shipping, US customers only please!

Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am enjoying mine! The days seem to go by so slowly, but I know before long, it will be time to get the kids ready to go back to school, and this time, I will be going too! Yes, I've decided to go back to college, and I'm very excited about it! More on that later though!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sudoku in Central Park ~ A Fun Quilt

Quite a while ago, I discovered this online fabric shop called 1Choice4Quilting where I found a Moda item I had never seen before. It was a Sudoku Quilt Kit and it was, at the time, available in two different fabric lines. It also happened to be on sale. Being the bargain shopper that I am, and also being in total love with Kate Spain's Central Park fabric line and a fan of sudoku puzzles, I purchased the Central Park Sudoku Quilt Kit.

Isn't that the cutest little package? It's only about a half inch thick and just big enough to fit two charm packs, so five inches by ten inches.

As part of the instructions, there was a sudoku puzzle on the front that had to be completed before the sewing could begin. I did that right away, and then put the little package away...until just a few days ago.

I really had intended to finish binding the last of the four quilts I recently long armed, but my bobbin was full of white thread, and I needed natural to do the last stitching of the binding, so I decided I should just use up the white thread on something else. How's that for justifying starting a new project before finishing another?

So I took out that cute little package once again, and the cuts of Central Park I had been collecting from great sales here and there. Ooooh, I was in love all over again! Time to see what was in those two lovely little charm packs in that cute little box.

Nine charms each of nine different fabrics in the line. And as it turned out, I actually got one extra of that orange up on the top row! I tossed that into my pile of swap charms!

Then I numbered each pile...

...and got to work piecing the 9-patch blocks according to the puzzle I had completed. I checked and double checked the placement of each charm as I sewed the blocks, then pinned a sticky note to each finished block, numbering them one through nine. All that was in the instructions!

To help keep track of the blocks, I pinned the puzzle on my bulletin board which hangs just over my sewing machine, and used sticky notes to cover each block as I finished it.

Then I laid all the blocks out in order and double checked again. My kids did some checking for me too, just to make sure there was only one of each fabric in each block, row and column.

Pretty, huh?

Sudoku in Central Park ~ A Fun QuiltI think I had to refill my bobbin before this point, but I just couldn't see putting all this away and then trying to get it reorganized again later. Imagine if I had gotten something out of order! Oh, the tragedy! I simply had to keep going! So the sashing went on...

Sudoku in Central Park ~ A Fun Quilt...and then I pieced the backing. Isn't that center panel just glorious? I really wished I could have gotten more of that fabric!

Sudoku in Central Park ~ A Fun QuiltAnd I made the binding. So now my bobbin is full of natural color thread and I'm ready to finish that last quilt! But at least now I have another one all ready for the long arm again! I feel obliged to keep this addictive cycle going!

Pictures of the finished fourth quilt coming soon...really!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Reverse Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!

Here's the reverse twin of the Plus Quilt I showed here yesterday. This pattern was included with the Plus Quilt pattern from CluckCluckSew...kind of a two for one deal!

Plus Quilts ~ All Finished!As with the first one, this plus quilt was made using charms from the many charm swaps I have enjoyed recently. I always take two spots in a charm swap so I will get two of each charm. This quilt required two charms of each print to make the reverse plus block.

Reverse Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!Isn't that just the cutest baby quilt? All that contrast and color!

Reverse Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!I made a few extra blocks and pieced them into the backing, along with the rectangles also leftover from making the blocks.

Reverse Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!So this is quilt number 3 from my recent dates with the long arm machine. I have one more to show, and then on to some new projects!

I hope your summer plans include some productive and satisfying sewing, quilting, knit or crochet!

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!

Seems like I've been making and stitching binding for weeks! It was so nice to have a collection of quilts all quilted and ready to bind, so that I could just line them up and get them done! The first one of the batch that I finished was my red and aqua quilt which I showed already. Next up is the Plus Quilt I made using charms from some recent charm swaps and the pattern from CluckCluckSew. And here it is...

Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen the first pictures I took of this quilt and its reverse twin hanging from my deck. I discovered that a bright sunny day is not the best for taking pictures of quilts fresh from the dryer! Too many crinkles and too many odd shadows! So these pictures were taken later in the day when the sun was not quite so high.

Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!This quilt pattern was fun to put together, and a great way to use a few of my colorful charms from the swaps I've been enjoying recently.

Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!I had one leftover block that got pieced into the back. Piecing a quilt back like this is a great way to use up odd big scraps of fabric from other projects, making the quilt reversible at the same time!

Plus Quilt ~ All Finished!I just can't resist a good binding shot!

Next up will be this quilt's reverse twin and then another fun project that would also be great for using up swap charms, so stay tuned!

Happy Stitching!

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