Thursday, October 29, 2009

discharging fabric

I've been doing a little playing with discharging fabric, which is just a fancy way of saying I threw some of my fabric into bleach water. I would love to try to dye fabrics someday, but for now, this is a good experiment to tide me over. It's pretty fun.

After discharging on the left, originals on the right

From what I've found, the best candidates are high quality fabric. The cheap stuff seems to just get ruined. I chose some fabric that I had scraps of that the color was a bit challenging to work with. A trip through the bleach water yielded good results. At least on these.
left-discharged, right-original
This yellow/gold piece was something that I found in a scrap bin at a quilt shop I visited. It was one of those deals where you fit all the scraps you can in a bag and you pay a flat fee. It has a weird brown thing going on, but I thought I might be able to use it for something. I like it a lot better after a bleach bath. The rest of the piece will be in my next batch.

This one I just bleached the whole piece. It only softened the pink parts. The red is pretty much the same.

Some fabrics I tried came out unchanged.
One last thing I learned...don't leave it in for too long. I threw in a small piece, got distracted, went back to my fabric the next day. No color left whatsoever. Oops.

Have you ever tried discharging fabric?

edited to add: There has been some great discussion on this in the comments. Linda brought up a good point about the bleaching process needing to be stopped. Needled Mom helped me out by telling me that she soaks the bleached fabrics in a mixture of vinegar and water to stop the bleaching process. (I'm using a mix of half water & half vinegar.) As far as how much bleach to water ratio, I would guess that i used about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bleach in about 1/2 gallon of water. Any other tips would be appreciated as I'm just a rookie at this. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

spare change

spare change quilt
This is a coin quilt that I made with the leftovers from the filmstrip quilt. The fabric is Nouveau from Moda. I used an IKEA sheet for the sashing. Sheets are perfect for a quilt like this because you need long pieces, so if you cut it right, no piecing strips! It's so handy. I do love the way the sheets shrink up and crinkle, too. Although if you are making a bed sized quilt, it works well if you remember to add a few inches to the overall size ahead of time. Don't ask me how I know. :)

For the back, I used half of a duvet cover, also from IKEA. Yes, I'm a junkie! Isn't that a great pattern? The best part is I still have the other half of the duvet for another quilt back.

I love this fabric as binding, especially next to the white outside borders. I think it finishes off the quilt quite nicely.

The final quilt measures 50" x 67".

For some reason, I always forget that I do not like piecing coin quilts. I think because of the pieced strips, there is so much room for error (I do not have a perfect 1/4" seam allowance) and the length gets quite stretchy. I always do love the results, though.

A side note, today is grey, grey, grey, which makes photographing quilts quite a pain. But today, for the first time, I edited my photo in picnik. (though flickr.) What a nice discover that was! I know, I'm probably the last one to try it, but woo-hoo! I finally did. :)

Oh, and one more thing, in case you didn't see, there is a little tutorial for the ticker tape quilt here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

mini quilt monday

tiny ticker tape quilt, 16" x 20"

and it's for my girl. :)
the cradle was a $1.oo garage sale find this past summer.

and this is what happens after washing.

there is something so satisfying about using up every last bit of fabric. (each piece measures about 1" x 2".) i think i could make about 100 of these.

if you are interested in making one of these yourself, there is a little tutorial here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow. I had 3 of these bibs already made and stashed away, so I just had to finish making the last one. I love how they turned out and I think they make a nice set. My kids don't want me to give them away. I guess I'd call that success. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

building blocks

building blocks
This is what I came up with for the log cabin quilt along that Quilt Dad hosted over on flickr. I only made 3 blocks. I know, lame-o. The layout has been in my head ever since I saw this quilt, which was 27 months ago. No joke. It's so nice that flickr keeps track of things like that for me.
It's pretty simple, but I love simple. In place of my usual stippling, I switched to swirls. Daring, aren't I? Quilting the swirls was really fun, especially since I had just fixed my darning foot. The only thing I don't like is that the tread is too dark for the pieced blocks. It detracts from the design. I guess now that I've made that mistake, I can move on and make new mistakes on my next quilts. :)

I picked out a lime green fabric from my stash for the binding. I think it suits it really well. I was disappointed, because I'm on a fabric diet and I really wanted an excuse to go on the hunt for the perfect binding fabric. Sad, I know.
For the back, I used a solid blue. Someday I'd like to make a quilt like this, but without the pieced blocks- just two solids, quilted, with a fun binding. I guess that's why it takes me 27 months to get around to quilt making. Finish one, add one to the list. :)

The quilt measures 41" x 57".
In an unrelated note, I have received 149 blocks for the quilts of valor project. AMAZING!!! Thank you! In all I have 150 blocks, which evenly makes 5 quilt tops. Wa-hoo!!! I can't believe it worked out so perfectly! Since that is the case, I will no longer be accepting quilt blocks for this project, in case any of you were procrastinating.

Monday, October 19, 2009

a winner and a new project

The giveaway winner is Jessica from Idaho. Thanks for playing along. I enjoyed reading each and every comment. I sure learned a lot! I'm excited to give some the suggestions a try, starting with quilting gloves. I've never tried them, but I'm not sure why.

Over the weekend, I did a fabric pull from my stash for Katie's Values quilt along. (Which is also why I needed my new design wall.) I'm not holding back for this one. I'm going to be using my most hoarded fabrics. You know, all the goodies that I normally save for "some day". I keep reminding myself what good is fabric if it's sitting in a drawer, right? This one is going to be a stretch for me, as it's not in keeping with my normal design process, but I'm excited to be expanding my horizions. In the back of my mind I think, if I mess up all this gorgeous fabric, at least I can make a scrap quilt from the leftovers. How's that for confidence? :)

Good day to you!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

again with the sheets

Flannel sheet set from Target. Price: $19.99.

Fitted sheet goes on the bed. As do the pillow cases.

The flat sheet becomes...

a design wall. For less than $10. Plus the cost of a few staples.

When I told my sister I was making a design wall, she said, "Amanda, you're in deep."
I think that's quite obvious.
I will be picking the giveaway winner (see previous post) on Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

i feel the need to celebrate

For months now I've been having some problems with my free motion quilting. My darning foot was not floating over my quilt as it should. Rather, it was smashing the quilt, even with the presser foot tension at the highest level. The quilt layers distorted and it was making anything with plenty of seams difficult to quilt. I always got by, but as time went on, it became more of a struggle. Quilting is supposed to get progressively easier, not harder, right? I was about to take my machine in to have it serviced and adjusted. I had had enough.

THEN....yesterday, I got an e-mail from Deb pointing me to this website. I read through most of it. When I read this post (specifically check out the photos, not the videos), I knew I had the answer to my problem! Yipee! Did you know that you can modify your free motion foot? I didn't break any pieces off my foot (eeek!) but I did place a few layers of corrugated cardboard in order to compress the spring on the foot a bit. Now my machine glides over the quilt top with ease! I can't tell you how much easier it is to quilt now. Amazing, I tell you. AMAZING!!! I quilted an entire baby quilt yesterday afternoon and the cardboard didn't shift a bit.

In honor of this exciting event (trust me, it made my week!) I am going to be giving away some flea market fancy fabric. One half yard of each of the green and the orange pictured below.

No need to become a follower, no need to blog or twitter about it. Just leave me a comment with your name, where you are from and your favorite quilting tip or your favorite quilting gadget. If you don't quilt, you can let me know what your favorite color is. It will make reading the comments much more interesting than reading, "pick me!" over and over.

As always, thanks for reading. xo

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

getting ready

I've been working very hard getting ready for the quilt retreat. I've been having dreams about not being prepared, so I know it's getting close. :)

Here's a peek of the most recent sample I made for the retreat. I was excited to work on this piece because I actually worked out of my (neglected) stash. I've been working with almost exclusively scraps, so actually cutting into yardage excited me a little bit. It felt good to be back to working with solids, too. I love them.

While working on this quilt, I raised my machine up on two stacks of books so I could stand and sew. Otherwise I would sit and sew a seam or two, swivel to iron, then I would have to stand to trim up my blocks, then sit again to sew the next two seams. It got tiresome, so I just stood and sewed the entire time. It was so efficient! I had my ironing board to the left, my cutting mat to the right and the machine in the middle. It wouldn't work for quilting but once in awhile, for piecing, it's just the ticket.

Monday, October 12, 2009

a run on post

Last week my sister and her husband went to Sweden. While they were gone, their little guy, Adam, stayed at our house. He is soooo cute and such a little honey. He would occasionally come up to one of us and say, "I need a hug," in just the slightest whiny voice. It melted my heart every time. His parents came back last night and picked him up. We miss him already.
My sister brought back this fabulous fabric for me. Isn't it fun? It will go great in some of my future quilts.
Also, it is SNOWING today. It's gorgeous. Early for snow, but gorgeous. I love the light that reflects into the house because of the snow. My kids were VERY excited to see the snow again. I'm sure they will get their fill. As will I. :)
I'm going to be meeting up with Diane today. She volunteered to quilt some of the quilts of valor quilts for me. I'm so grateful for the generosity of her and all of you who are helping me in this project. Thank you once again to each and every one of you who have contributed. It's amazing what we can do together!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

my favorite quilt

Amy is hosting an amazing quilt festival and is asking people to share their favorite quilt. It's so hard to choose a favorite quilt...I would have an easier time listing my top 5. TODAY, I would say, my favorite is my plain spoken quilt. I blogged about it way back here.

I love that it's only made up of solids. I love the quilting, which was fun but intense. It was one of the first quilts that I quilted that had no puckers in it. That was an extremely big deal to me. I love that it matches my house so well. I just pulled it out of the quilt cupboard again last week during my seasonal quilt rotation. I love that it's versatile-it's a twin size but I also use it for a lap quilt.
This quilt marks the beginning of my journey into modern quilting. I remember when I first came across the book The Modern Quilt Workshop, where this pattern is found. That book rocked. my. world. I can't tell you just how much. Before seeing that book, I didn't know that quilts could be modern! It seems a little funny now, with modern quilts all over blog land. But at the time, I was astounded and thrilled at the concept. It was a far cry from the very traditional quilts that I had seen up until that time and it excited me to no end. And as you can tell, I've pretty much been hooked on modern quilting since.
Oh, and one more fun thing, Bill Kerr, the co-author of the book actually commented on my blog post that featured this quilt.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

3 of 5

each quilt measures about 60" x 72"

It looks like I will be making 5 quilts for Quilts of Valor. I'm very pleased with how these first 3 came together. Aren't they fun? I'm loving the randomness and the scrappy nature of the quilts. So much goodness. :)
I'm so thankful that we finally have a sunshine makes photographing quilts much easier.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

circle time

circle time
Well, here is my circle quilt. I chose to attach the circles to a plain white piecing! The circles are attached with a zig zag stitch and the edges are left raw. I'm loving the two pink borders...not sure about the pieced borders on the sides. I'm mulling it over. They may stay, they may go.

This quilt is made up of half a sheet, two charm packs and about 1/4 yard of fabric. All from my stash. It measures 48" x 62". It feels SO good to make something smaller than a twin size quilt.

Monday, October 05, 2009

9 patch, round 2

9 patch, round 2
66" x 90"
I was considering making 3 versions of this quilt (one for each of my sisters and one for me), but I don't think I have another one in me.

It's 100% scraps, except for sashing. :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

thank you!!!

So far I have received 108 blocks (plus my block brings the total to 109), several yards of backing and a few rolls of batting. This quilts of valor undertaking has been AMAZING! I'm overwhelmed, in the best possible way, by your generosity. thank you. thank you. thank you!

In the spirit of giving and helping, I want to mention a little about Margaret's Hope Chest. They have a goal to collect 400 quilts in October to give to the needy and hurting in the Grand Rapids, MI area. You can read all about the organization and the Hope Squared project specifics here. It's a project that touches my heart. Here's a brief story why. When my mom passed away I was only 5. The community that we lived in poured out their support to our family and it was overwhelming. I still remember how the food covered the counters in our kitchen. Ladies from the local church brought over a stack of quilts. I believe they brought 5 of them. Each of us kids got to pick a quilt for our own (except my youngest brother) and we literally loved those quilts to bits. Even though I was quite young, I still remember the generosity of those who reached out to us while we were deeply hurting. It is for that reason that I am happy to contribute to a cause like this. And I hope that you will consider to do so as well.