Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent Calendar with Let it Snow


This is the view I have while working on a little Christmas gift project.  The 2 colors of trim on the shed are me testing paint colors, we will be painting our house this spring and we all know that picking colors is the hardest part.  I love this view especially with the colors on the leaves that are soon to drop, giving me something else to do the next nice day we have.

IMG_0348I am making a couple advent calendars that I thought up in my own little head which means that sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as when you can just follow someone else's directions and there are a few back to the drawing board moments, but this project is making me happy.  I bought a stack of fat quarters of Me & My Sisters fabric line called Ready, Set, Snow and it is such a fun fabric to work with.  I am loving the cheerful colors.

I am also working on a few more of those scarves from my last post and I just keep thinking of more people who would enjoy these so I think I need to make about 6 of them.  I bought 2 yards of Minkee so I might be able to squeeze that many out of them.  I can’t seem to find the directions on the scarf so that I can give credit here, but the original had a zippered pocket to keep your cell phone in and I chose to not do zippers and made a pocket on each end because I found that a 60” scarf put those pockets at just the right spot to put cold hands in.  I lined the pockets in minkee so they were soft to boot.  I have a few more sewing projects for the holidays that I would like to get to, but we will have to see how it goes…everyone knows how the holidays get busy and homemade gifts don’t always get done, but I have some good intentions and if the weather stays like this I will have a lot of time inside for sewing…

IMG_0349Let the count down begin!

Enjoy the process…



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Piecing with Minkee Tips


A few months ago I bought a bag of scraps at a local quilt shop and it had several pieces of  Minkee in it.  I saw this cute scarf pattern that I thought would be perfect for giving it a try, but I was not prepared for how difficult it could be to sew small pieces of Minkee together.  Suddenly I was having flash backs of sewing some bridesmaids dresses years ago from velvet…not fun.  So I am going to share some tips that I learned as I played around with this project. 

IMG_03401.  Look closely at the nap.  You need to know which direction it is going and make sure that when you put your pieces together the nap is going the same direction in each piece. I did this by rubbing it and seeing which way was smooth and which way resisted my touch.  No amount of pins will hold it in place if the nap is not going the same direction on each piece.

2.  Use pins.  I don’t use pins very often and when I do I tend to only pin at crucial meeting points because I find I can ease the rest of the fabric in easier this way, but on this project I was sewing a mere 8 inches across and I used 3 pins the first one right in the center and then 2 about 1/2 inch in on each end.  You could do even more, but this worked for me as long as I first made sure the nap was right.

3.  Cut your project larger than you will need it to be by an inch or two.  It is so hard to get this precise so you will want to have room for a fudge factor.  I could have made things easier on myself and just used one solid piece of Minkee, but I really wanted to use those scraps and the colors all went well with my front fabrics.

IMG_0338 I am also working on a table topper for the holidays that I bought at the quilt show in Iowa.  The project came in a metal cup with all the fabric, very cute.  I somehow couldn’t wrap my mind around the directions though and it was a simple log cabin, must have been all the excitement of the trip.  I made it at night in my hotel room.  I am playing around with the quilting on this and having some fun.  I need a lot more practice on my free  motion quilting so this is adding to that.  I quilted ear muffs on the snowmen and I will add some buttons fIMG_0339or the eyes later.  I have a pattern for free motion that I am practicing drawing first, it has mittens and snowflakes in the design so after I draw them a few more times and practice on my practice piece I will add them in.  I am using a yellow variegated thread because I like the way it shows up on these dark colors, but that also shows mistakes.  I am finding though, that after I wash my pieces the quilting always looks good like it washes out the mistakes and the long stitches.  I am having fun learning this technique and it is helping me to get my quilts done.  This will be the third project I have finished this month and I have 3 more sitting waiting to be quilted.  It would be nice to have everything I have pieced this year finished for the new year and all done by me!  I have a problem sending my tops out to be quilted by someone else, I just want to be able to say I made it all the way from beginning to end.

I ordered some Christmas fabric from the Fat Quarter shop that is coming tomorrow so I will be busy with some holiday sewing that want to share next week I hope.  I have an advent calendar idea that I have been working on in my mind and paper and I can’t wait to share it.

Happily I sew along…