Hooked on Needles

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prayer Flag Quilt ~ Finally Quilted!

The day the Animal Alphabet quilt went on the long arm, it was joined (quite literally) to this Prayer Flag quilt that I am showing you today. When I have two quilts that won't take too much time to quilt alone, I like to sew their backings together so I only have to load the backing once, and then I can quilt two quilts in one trip. Animal Alphabet and Prayer Flag were quilted one after the other instead of side by side, like the Sudoku and Love U quilts were. This is for two reasons: Animal Alphabet and Prayer Flag were too big to go onto the long arm side by side, and the thread color and quilting designs were different for each. Sudoku and Love U are both smaller quilts so they fit side by side, and white thread and the bubble quilting design were perfect for both. So if you are renting time on a long arm machine, keep that in mind when planning your appointments, especially if there is a minimum number of hours you have to pay for anyway!

So keep on reading to see how Prayer Flag came out...

Here it is, all quilted and ready for the binding pile. It will be in good company this summer, as I've had the opportunity to quilt four other quilts recently.

In this picture, you can see the green thread I used for the quilting design which was called something like Fluffy Clouds or Puffy Clouds, or something like that! Anyway, the design had lots of swirls and puffs and swoops that were so fun to stitch!

The original design for this quilt was based on the friendship braid pattern that uses a special ruler which I purchased on vacation last summer. You can see the special binding ruler HERE. And you can see the beginnings of this Prayer Flag friendship braid quilt HERE and HERE, and also find out why this quilt ended up being blocks instead of braided strips!

You can see the backing fabric I used here which is just the fabric with nothing pieced into it. So once this quilt gets its binding, it will also show up in my Etsy shop for purchase.

Are you busy making lots of fun projects this summer, or just relaxing and dreaming up stuff for the cooler weather?

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Animal Alphabet Quilt ~ Finally Quilted!

Here is another quilt fresh off the long arm machine. This time it is the Animal Alphabet quilt that I used for a little tutorial on how to cut up a fabric panel to make a quilt. You can see that tutorial by clicking HERE and HERE. This quilt will be the perfect addition to any baby or child room...just look at all those fun colors!

So what do you think? Lots of fun color, or a little bit of over stimulation?

I just love the graphics and the colors on this quilt...too cute!

The quilting on this is just a free-hand loose zig zag using variegated thread with all the same bright colors that are in the quilt. I figured this quilt needed even more color!

Have you ever seen a cuter frog?

The backing was pieced with leftovers of the sashing and border fabrics, and yardage of the cute green animal word fabric. So this one is in the Waiting For Binding pile too, and will make its appearance in my Etsy shop as soon as it is finished sometime this summer. Any new babies coming into your life soon?

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quilted Leftover Fandango Cinch Sack

After Laura got her fresh new summer tote bag, I got started on my own new bag, since my old one has been on its last leg for some time now. You might remember THIS bag as a fun purse made using a pattern from a magazine and leftover Frolic fabric from THIS baby quilt. My new bag is also made from leftovers and my own original pattern for a fun cinch sack which is available for purchase in my Etsy shop so you can make yourself one too! The fabric is leftover from THIS quilt which just came off the long arm a few weeks ago. I had some triangles and some end pieces leftover, along with a little yardage, some fusible fleece that I pieced to fit, and the only thing I had to purchase new was the drawstring. So it's almost like getting a free bag! Right? Anyway, here it is...

The fabric is Kate Spain's Fandango line which is one of my favorites. The colors are fabulous! The triangles and half triangle end pieces went together so nicely into a rectangle, then I added some scraps of the blueish/greenish circle fabric around it to get the size I needed for the outside.

The lining is made from the extra fabric from the backing of the zig zag quilt, and the pockets were pieced from the leftover binding fabric.

The back panel of the outside is fabric leftover from piecing the backing of my first Fandango quilt, THIS Cartwheels quilt that has an awesome pieced backing with leftover pieces from the front and some yardage. Can you tell I like to use up leftovers?

So there it is, all fresh and new and as yet unused. It will be great for our summer outings since it holds a lot of stuff and leaves my hands free for summer shopping, ice cream eating and picture taking!

Happy Summer!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Laura's Twirl Tote Bag

There is no such thing as too many bags, wouldn't you agree? My friend Laura P. seems to as well! Take a look at the quilted tote bag she ordered recently. It is so her!

The outside of the bag was made with a charm pack of Twirl by Me and My Sisters Designs for Moda. Have you ever seen happier fabric? I just loved working with it!

This is the other side of the bag with no pocket, but just as happy!

How about that lining fabric? I just might have to hunt down a couple yards of that gorgeous fabric to make my little Gracie a summer dress. Yum!

Do you change bags frequently, or use one until it falls apart? I'm more of a Use One Until It Falls Apart kind of person, and my current bag is in desperate need of a replacement. I hope to accomplish that next week! And after looking at the pictures in the post I did over a year ago for that bag, I simply must make a new one very soon! I didn't realize just how bad it was until just now! Ugh!

Our two youngest children completed their 4th grade and 2nd grade school years today, so we are officially on Summer Vacation now. Grace has picked up crocheting and is becoming quite an expert at chain stitch, and Sean began his next latch hook project which is a Very Large Macaw parrot in gorgeous colors. Hopefully they will stay interested in their projects for a while each day so I can get some of mine done too!

Happy first day of summer!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Central Park Sudoku Quilt ~ Finally Quilted!

Do you Sudoku? I do! I love logic puzzles, word searches, crosswords, sudoku puzzles too! Check out this fun quilt that came off the long arm last week. It's a sudoku puzzle in fabric...Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda in fact! Look it over and make sure I pieced it correctly!

For the quilting pattern, I used the same Bubble design as on the Love U quilt shown HERE. When long arming smaller quilts, it can be very efficient and cost effective to stitch two backings together and load them onto the machine side by side and then quilt them at the same time. Of course this only works if the same color thread and the same pantograph design will look good on both quilts! In the case of Love U and Central Park Sudoku, it worked and only took about three hours to quilt both of them.

How do you like that pieced backing? The center panel of the backing was such a gorgeous print that I couldn't bring myself to cut it up into smaller pieces, so I just pieced two coordinating prints around it and let it be the star of the backing. I searched long and hard for yardage of that print, and could only come up with barely a half yard! I guess I'm not the only person out there who liked it!

This quilt is now in my binding pile which will be picked at over the summer, then it will be added to my Etsy shop. If you are interested in purchasing this quilt, just let me know and I can put it at the top of the pile and contact you when it is ready to go.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Love U Quilt ~ Finally Quilted!

Who doesn't love a cheerful and cozy baby quilt? This one is made using the Love U fabric line by Deb Strain for Moda, and is it ever cheerful! Not quite finished, but cheerful nonetheless! Take a look at this happy quilt in its 'all that's left is the binding' stage...

I guess it still needs to be trimmed too!

C is for Cupcake! That's what the cute little cupcake square says.

Even the backing is a happy fabric! Don't you love those flowers and butterflies?

The quilting design I used is called Bubbles and it was so fun to stitch!

Five quilts are waiting for binding now that I've had a few days of fun on the long arm machine. Mad About Quilts in Mansfield, Massachusetts is where I go to rent time on their machines, and it's always such a pleasure to spend a few hours with Mary Ann and Dora, and then leave with one or two finished quilts.

If you've ever thought about giving long arm quilting a try, you should find a shop close to home that rents time, and then take their training class and see for yourself how fun and rewarding it is to be able to do your own quilting in practically no time at all.

More pictures will be coming soon, and all these quilts will eventually be available for purchase in my Etsy shop which will be getting a much needed updating this summer!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crocheted Hexagon Granny Circles

These little crocheted circles are so fun to make and work up so quickly, I can whip up eight or ten in an evening. Take a look at my hexagon granny middles in progress...

Aren't they just darling? They are about 2 1/2 or 3 inches across at this stage, and will have another two rounds added to them in two other shades of the same color.

This Waverly yarn I am using is just wonderful to work with too.

With a project like this in the works, I find myself looking forward even more than usual to sitting in my cozy chair in the evenings! It's a nice reward for a good day's work!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Impromptu Quilt-Along ~ I couldn't resist!

Have you ever participated in a Quilt-along? I've done a few, but my favorite was the Postage Stamp quilt-along that Rachel hosted a few years ago. You can read about it HERE and see pictures of my final project. I really was not looking for another project to do this summer, quilting or otherwise, but I came across Katy's post over at monkey do asking if anyone was up for a summer quilt-along. Wouldn't you know it? This quilt along is using another of Rachel's patterns that I fell in love with as soon as it came out, called Impromptu. I had to do it! I just had to! But lest you think I was a careless spender and just went out and spent lots of money on more fabric, here's the exciting part of this whole thing...all the fabric (for the top anyway) is from my stash! Totally! Isn't that great? So it's almost like I will be making this quilt for free! Well, that's how I'm justifying it anyway, so work with me, ok? Take a look at my fabric choices...

This pattern calls for twelve 10-inch squares of fabric and 60-something 5-inch squares, and then a bunch of background yardage which I just happened to have still on the bolt leftover from a previous project. So I went through my stash and picked out twelve pieces for the big squares. Then I went through my pile of 5-inch squares acquired from the many swaps I did over the past many years and picked out about eight squares each from eight different color families. So every print fabric will be different, kind of like the prints I chose from the swap squares for my rainbow quilts.

I've been spending some time in my sewing room over the past few days and have made quite a dent in this project, so stay tuned for more pictures. I love how all the mixed up colors and prints and the white background make for such a happy quilt! Of course Rachel's pattern helps with that too!

Feel like a fun summer quilting project? Join this quilt-along!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Yarn for Hookie Summer Fun!

Summer crocheting is a delicate matter. Two nieces are getting married this summer and I want to make an afghan for each of them. Right now, the weather is comfortable and the evenings, my usual crochet time, are even quite cool still. But the hot weather is coming, I just know it! In fact, we had a little taste of it last week with over 90 degrees and humid for three days straight! Too much, too soon, if you ask me! But no one asked me, which is ok because we are back to cool and sunny for now!

So back to the delicate matter of summer crocheting. One of the afghans I am going to make is a pattern where you start to crochet, crochet for a long time, cut the yarn, weave in the beginning and the end tails and it is done. This one will be in a solid color called Thistle and will be just perfect for my niece Mary. But here's the kicker...knowing that the hot weather is coming, I don't want to start a big one-piece afghan and have to work on it at its largest size in the middle of the hot summer. See where I'm going here? She might not get her wedding gift until fall!

Now my other niece who is getting married this summer, Susan (Mary's sister), expressed a liking for this hexagon granny afghan pattern I found over at Polka Dot Cottage. It has intrigued me since the first time I saw it many months ago. So I got to thinking that it would be the perfect summer crochet project, making all the middles first and then putting it all together later when the weather is more comfortable for having a big cozy pile of yarn on my lap.

So I ordered my yarn. What a big beautiful box of yumminess! Take a look...

I found this yarn over at Knitting Warehouse in lots of different colors. It is a Bernat yarn called Waverly, worsted weight and 100% acrylic for easy care, and just wonderful to work with, especially with my newly covered crochet hook that you saw HERE.

Susan said she liked greens and blues, so I stuck with the same color scheme that Lisa over at Polka Dot Cottage used for her afghan, only I just chose nine colors instead of eighteen.

So my plan was to spend most of the hot weather months crocheting all the light colored middles and medium colored rounds on all 90-some-odd blocks. It was a good plan too, until I discovered how fun these middles are to crochet and how fast they work up! If I really get cranking on these, I may just be able to finish the whole afghan before the hot weather sets in!

Pictures of my lovely stacks of middles will be coming soon! What are your summer hooking plans?

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fandango Zig Zag Quilt ~ Finally Quilted!

This past Monday, I finally had the chance to load a quilt onto the long arm machine and quilt my Fandango Zig Zag quilt at last! Finding another quilt shop that offered rental time on a long arm machine took a bit of time, but I finally found Mad About Quilts in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Mary Ann and Dora are the owners and such nice ladies. To save myself rental time, I purchased my own set of zippers so I could pin my quilt backing and top to the zippers before arriving at the shop. Once there, a few quick zips, rolls, and thread checks and I was on my way to having a beautifully quilted zig zag quilt! It's such a fun way to spend a few hours too! I do love heavy machinery and power tools of all kinds!

So here's what my Fandango Zig Zag quilt looks like now...

It still needs binding, but that will have to wait a while.

Here's the backing which you can see is also from this same fabric line by Kate Spain. I just love her fabric designs!

The quilting pattern I used is a pantograph called Tickle, a sort of paisley-ish, swirly, flower petal type of design that seemed to mimic a lot of the elements in the Fandango prints in the quilt.

So that's one thing off my list of Things To Do Before Summer Ends. I have several more long arm appointments in the next few weeks before my kids get out of school, so I will be able to get all my other quilts quilted and ready for binding. A quilt-along for Rachel Griffith's Impromptu quilt pattern caught my eye recently, so that has also been added to my list. It will be a great way to use up some of my fat quarters and swap squares and end up with another fun and colorful quilt! Any excuse, right?

Do you have grand plans for the summer months that include pretty fabrics or luscious yarns? I sure hope so!

Happy Stitching!

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