Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quilt #75: Weaver First Year

There's something in the water at my son's school. Another teacher is expecting a baby! I knew she was due in March, but since last time I blinked it was November, somehow time got away from me. When I learned last week that she was leaving on maternity this week, I jumped into gear. 

I have a list of quilts on my "to do queue" that is a mile long. For some of my quilts, I know the recipient, but it takes months (or, gulp, years for the right design to show itself). On the other hand, I also have pattern I want to try, but am just waiting for the right time or inspiration to hit. As I start to think about publishing my own quilts and start pattern testing for others, I'm beginning to repeat some patterns I've done in the past. 

Last month I made my first milestone quilt for another teacher at D's school. I love the idea and feel a bit bad that I didn't know how to sew when my son was a baby because I wish I would have done something like this. 

I was really happy with how my first milestone quilt turned out, but wanted to make another with a slightly tweaked design. When I knew I had less than a week if I wanted to make a quilt for Mrs. Weaver, it didn't take long to decide to make another milestone quilt. 

With the first quilt, I made each block one at at time for the most part as I figured out sizes and colors. Because I always take lots of notes (and pictures!), this time I approached the project as a pattern tester. First I cut out all my pieces.

Then I chain pieced the non-number blocks. They went together really quickly. I've never made a log cabin quilt, but the process was similar. This may seem obvious in hindsight, but I realized that by cutting all the pieces to the proper size at the start, I was able to keep my squares more...square. I was very pleased that most of squares were pretty spot on and I did very little trimming.

I love the print that has been hanging out in my stash. Rather than make it a focus like the first quilt, I opted for a more serene look by  highlight it in the small squares and borders, and emphasizing the pink tonal instead.

Inspired by my friend Sarah at, whose awesome Intertwined quilt I pattern tested. I took lots of pictures of the order I used to make each number. This will help a lot if I decided to write up this pattern for other quilters. 

I'm usually a one-at-a-time quilter, but at this point I have quilts everywhere. I have my En Provence sandwiched and ready to quilt, you see the top to Intertwined hanging outside my closet, and I have another quilt blocked and ready to piece on my design wall. I look forward to a lot of finished in the next week or two.

I pulled the fabric for this quilt from my stash. I was really happy when I realized that the yellow I pulled for the color, was a nice match in design as well. 

I was especially happy that I had just enough to make the back large enough!

I am in a spiral phase of quilting. I like how the round stitching balances the square blocks. I'm feeling pretty good about how even my stitches turn out. Glad to know that after 75 quilts my quilting is getting better!!

D hasn't had Mrs. Weaver as a teacher, but his school is very small (about 120 students K-4). All the teachers know all the students, and vice versa. My heart melted the first time I saw Mrs. Weaver greet my son by name and I realized that not only did she recognize his face and know his name, but she also knew enough about him to know his interests, too. Our school is pretty special so I can't help but look for opportunities to let the staff know how much I appreciate them.

Because it's a milestone quilt, I also made a taggie that doubles as a frame for each month when the milestone photo is taken. She can use either the print side or the minky side.

I forgot to get a picture of D with the quilt. He puts the extra love in it. But he will be giving it to Mrs. Weaver today, so hopefully I"ll get a picture of them together. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #weaverfirstyear on Instagram. If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quilt #74: Russian Spinning Squares

A few years ago, as a new quilter, I made a Bears quilt for my nephew. It was the first time I wanted to showcase a larger print, so I needed to avoid small pieces and triangles. I went through several design ideas before coming up with this one. 

I knew I wanted to revisit the pattern at some point, I just didn't know it would take this long. The Bears quilt was the 18th quilt I made. The quilt I'm showing today is my 74th! I liked this pattern even more the second time because I was able to complete the whole thing in 5 days thanks to the magic of chain piecing. 

I bought some of this Matryoshka doll fabric a couple years ago before our family went to Russian camp. I had planned to make a pillowcase before we went, but ran out of time. 

When I learned that our church's quilt ministry would be making quilts for an orphanage in Russia, I knew I could finally put this print to good use. I didn't want the dolls to get too chopped up, so this pattern, which I finally named Spinning Squares, was perfect. 

The print is so colorful, I had a hard time deciding what three colors I wanted to highlight. 

I'm still working on my En Provence mystery quilt. All the units have been made so now I'm starting the blocks. SO many little pieces, but I'm on a mission to finish it this month

Once I added the teal border it was just the right size.

I used simple straight line quilting. 

I had planned to use a black solid for the binding but found this colorful polka dot at Joann when I was there for something else. 

Speaking of binding, I save all my leftover binding. Eventually, I'm going to use all the bits and pieces for a "oops" quilt made of all my messed up blocks and extra units. I bought some slap bracelets from Amazon to hold them together. They work perfectly!

The other idea I put into practice while making this quilt is that I bought a piece of ironing board cover fabric large enough to cover my entire craft table (80" x 36"). The 36" by 36" piece I have been using since building my craft table 3 years ago was getting pretty ratty. By having the whole table covered, I could more easily iron larger quilts by removing my cutting mat.

The labels we use for our charity quilts are pretty simple, but knowing that this one is going to Russia, I reached out to one of my friends from camp to add "You are loved."

I didn't get a fancy photo shoot for this one--unless I have time in the next few days!--but I don't I can improve on this one of my little guy giving the quilt the snuggle test.

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for  #RussianSpinningSquares on Instagram. If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

One Monthly Goal: February 2017

February marks my third month participating in Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal. Even though this is a shorter month, I'm hoping that it will be more productive now that the holidays, travel, and my brain is being nice again. On to my goals...

  • Mystery quilt: finish Bonnie Hunter's En Provence mystery quilt
  • Auburn quilt: start and finish 
  • Stella's quilt: finalize design and start
  • Charity quilt: Russian orphanage 
  • Charity quilt: Brutus
  • Wedding quilts: design quilts for J&T and E&J, and maybe M&J.
  • Bee Hive 2017: complete February month block
  • Milky Way Quilt along: complete February block
  • Pattern test for Sarah
  • Hexies: total of 100 
  • Make magnetic fidget 
  • Sketch out rocket blanket
  • car poncho
  • NICU baby wrap
And my One Monthly Goal is...

Source finish the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. I've seen several other quilters list this as their OMG. I don't like to have unfinished projects so it will feel good to have this one done. I'm on step 5 of 7, so this is a doable goal. Especially because I'm making a smaller version of the quilt. It's a fun scrappy quilt, so it will also be nice to have one ready to donate to our local quilt group. We are currently making quilts for a Russian orphanage and for local charity.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January One Monthly Goal Update

I'm back to report on my One Monthly Goal for January. My goal was to make a first year quilt for my son's teacher and I'm happy to report that the quilt is finished and gifted! I didn't get to make the delivery in person, but I know mom did receive it.

I wrote a separate blog post about this quilt already, but to recap for those just joining in, my goal for January was to make a quilt that mom (or dad) can use as a background for each month of baby's first year. I also liked the idea of using numbers because mom is a dance teacher (...5, 6, 7, 8!) I was surprised how few number quilts I found out there on the interwebs, especially given the popularity of alphabet quilts. I usually try to include a coordinating taggy blanket with my quilts. With this one, I cut out the center of the taggy so it can be used to frame the number of each month.

My newly 8-year-old son pointed it out that the quilt works for big kids, too. 

As far as the rest of my goals...meh. It wasn't a super productive month in the craft room. The first week of January was spent driving from Arizona to Ohio, and then recovering from said trip. The second week of January was spent hosting our new Korean son, Joong Ho, who stayed with us for his first week in America before settling into his apartment near campus. Joong Ho is the second Korean student we've hosted, so D was able to put the flag shirt I made for him last year to good use again. 

On the 15th I turned 45, and on the 21st, I "celebrated" the 13th anniversary of my brain injury with a headache, vertigo, and brain fog that keep me in bed for most of the week. I didn't even step into my sewing room. On the plus side of my health issues, the finger I sliced with my rotary cutter is completely closed. I'm still hoping to regain feeling on the thumb side of my finger, but so far it's still rather numb. But it's so nice not to have to change that bandage!

So here we are at the end of January and I was rushing to finish a few things on this list.

  • First year quilt: DONE!
  • Auburn quilt: start and finish - didn't do a thing
  • Stella's quilt: design and start - worked up a design that may work
  • Mystery quilt: catch up and keep up - I only finished step 5.

  • Milky Way Quilt along: January block. I finished my Sirius block with a trippy metally black from RJR Fabrics and two prints of Moda Grunge.

  • Charity quilt: Russian orphanage - design is sketched and fabrics are selected
  • Hexies: total of 100 - didn't do a single one!
  • Replenish fidget supply. I did this out of necessity, I had several post-Christmas word-of-month sales. I made duplicates so I have a few ready for future orders.
  • Make magnetic fidget - nope
  • Sketch out rocket blanket - negative
  • Car poncho - nix
  • Open Etsy Shop. - My brain injury reminded me why I keep my sales low key. I'm not going to create an Etsy shop. 
  • Put craft table on casters. - We bought some casters, but that's as far as we got.
Now head over to Elm Street Quilts OMG January Finish link up to see what other quilters have finished this month. 

As far as my February goal? Check back soon for a new post!

Linked to:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Trunk Show

In November of 2016, I stumbled upon Soma of Whims and Fancies, who had the brilliant idea of hosting an online trunk show so bloggers can virtually display their quilts and other sewn items. I put together a trunk show of my 2016 finishes, and now I'm going to get a start on my 2017 trunk show by posting photos and links to posts here.

My first finish of the year was made for a little guy born the day (shy of eight years) before my son. Zeke was adopted by D's dance teacher at school and her husband. She has instilled a love for dance in my son I didn't think possible is such a science and math obsessed kid, so I had to make her a quilt! I had the idea of making a quilt that could be used for monthly photos, but the numbers were a perfect fit for someone who counts to eight all day! 

Quilt #74: Russian Spinning Squares

My second finish of the year is a charity quilt I was able to put together quickly for our church quilt ministry. I was able to use the Russian nesting doll fabric I bought before we went to Russian family camp. This quilt will be making it's way to an orphanage in Russian where I pray it will bring comfort and cheer to whoever claims it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Quilt #73: Zeke's First Year Quilt

A few months ago, I made a baby quilt for my friend Erin's baby. I was typically slow so Immy was a few months old by the time I got started on her quilt. In the mean time I was stalking her page for inspiration. 

She posted monthly photos of her baby on a muslin swaddling blanket like this one from Batzkids
Please don't pin this image from here. Pin (and buy!) from the source
I thought the idea was so clever. I knew I had to make a milestone quilt, but wanted to change up the look a little bit. One quilt that keep popping up in my searches is this one from the talented Kitty at the Night Quilter. She made a quilt block for each month of her son's first year, then took pictures with the blocks each month. Such a cute idea. I wish I had known how to quilt when my son was a baby. And now I want to make a turquoise and black log cabin quilt!

Please don't pin this image from here. Pin from the source.
As I browsed Pinterest, I saw lots of alphabet quilts, but numbers seemed to be left out of the fun. All the more reason to make a number quilt! 

I have a few baby quilts in my queue for littles who may be one by the time I finish their quilts. That's part of the reason I don't tell anyone I'm planning to make them a quilt because it may take years for me to get around to it. (Just ask my brother!) Plus, I just don't have the time to make quilts for everyone I think deserves a quilt! For this quilt to work as a milestone quilt, I had to finish it before a baby turned two months. (I figured if I gifted the quilt a little after the first month, mama could still get the picture taken). All I needed was a new baby!

When I learned that our son's dance teacher at school adopted a newborn, I knew just who would get this quilt. The fact that it was for a dance teacher's son was absolutely perfect. As I started playing around with a design I think I was subconsciously inspired by the playing platform of Dance Dance Revolution!

My initial design looked like this, with alternating blocks using royal blue for the numbers and frames.

I thought the frames might be mistaken for zeroes, so I played with a few other options. 

After deciding on the navy outline, I second-guessed my fabric choice for the inner square.

I love, love, love the heart print and think it's perfect for a boy quilt, but I realized it's too busy to go with main print.

All vacillating complete, I was able to quickly make the blocks. My housekeeper, who is also a quilter, made me this 12" x 12" mini-design table that is just right for moving pieces from my cutting area to my sewing table.

In no time, I had all 12 number blocks up on my board. 

Once I saw the numbers on my design wall, I had another idea. If I placed the numbers like a clock, then baby could be placed under the appropriate number to indicate her age in months.

I superimposed a photo of my now-eight year old on my design to see how it could work. I may have gotten something in my eye at this point.

Once the blocks were pieced, I opted not to put a border on it because it was already 45" x 45".

My backing fabric was not quite wide enough on its own so I added a few stripes. 

I quilted a giant spiral starting in the center block. Quilting is still the part that I need to improve most when I don't use straight lines, but practice makes perfect. (Seems there's a dancing analogy there, too)

I made my binding while I was finalizing my fabric choices and layout. I've been using my second spool holder for a while now to hold my binding as I attach it. This time, I had the idea to wrap it around an empty spool. Not only does it work great on the spool holder, but it didn't unravel or get tangled before I used it.

For the label, I added the adoption symbol. The points of the triangle represent the birth mom, child, and adoptive family, all connected by love. (I love the way Jane from They Call Me Jane explains what the symbol means to her).

If I'm able, it usually make a taggie blanket to go along with my baby quilt. In this case, it was the perfect way to provide a frame for this milestone quilt. 

When I trimmed the backing, I had the perfect design for a little pillow. 

While we were taking photos, D, who always wraps his love in each of my quilts as we pray a blessing over the recipient, wanted to make sure I point out that the quilt works as a milestone quilt for big kids, too. 

All the self-doubt aside, this was a fun quilt to make. I've already started thinking of how I can make another one. I made a quick template with fabric from Falling for Alex

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for  #ZekesFirstYearQuilt  on Instagram. If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

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