Thursday, March 9, 2017

Quilt #77: Intertwined

Back in 2014, as a new quilter and mom of a space-obsessed kiddo, I was excited to learn that astronaut Karen Nyberg was quilting in space! To celebrate her out-of-this-world sewing, NASA and the International Quilt Festival invited quilters to submit star-themed quilt blocks. I had so much fun making mine with the help of my then-five-year-old. But the real highlight was when we went to the Quilt Festival and discovered that my block was pieced onto the same quilt as Karen's!

The other really cool thing that came out of the challenge is that I got to meet Sarah Ruiz, first through our blogs, and then in real life. In addition to being an active blogger and talented quilter, she also works at NASA, making her a rock(et) star in my son's eyes--see what I did there? When we were in Houston, she treated us to a private tour of Johnson Space Center and made all my son's dreams come true.

At the authentic flight director console for the Apollo missions.
Reading a mission manual.
Me (L) with Sarah after our fun day
Which brings us back to the quilt I'm sharing today. As you may have guessed, Sarah designed this beauty, which she aptly named. When I saw the mini she created in January, I fell in love.

When she put out the call for pattern testers I was happy to volunteer. It was my first time pattern testing, but it's something I've wanted to do as I'm starting to consider writing up some of my own patterns. When I showed the top to a local quilt shop, they asked if I would be interested in sewing samples for them. I'm excited to see where that leads.

As a pattern tester, my job is follow the draft version of the pattern exactly to make sure that the fabric requirements and cutting instructions are correct, that the piecing instructions are clear, and generally helping the designer make the best version of their pattern. In my pre-TBI days, I was a writer, copywriter, and editor. I didn't realize until I started how my past work made this work so appealing to me.

Since this is just a draft, I won't give away too much about how the quilt was actually made, but I will show a bit about the process. I loved that Sarah included a chart to keep my fabrics straight. I rarely use the same colorway as a pattern I'm making, so I appreciated having this to keep a complicated-looking colorway straight!

One way in which I messed up is that I pulled fabric from my stash and didn't follow the fabric requirements exactly. This was all on me. I kept track of where I was short and Sarah's pattern was spot on. As for me, I had to work a little magic for some of the pieces.

Like all good pattern makers, Sarah is offering more than one size option with her pattern. I volunteered to make the lap size version, which is 60"x60".  But I couldn't resist making the mini, too.

I decided to put the mini into the back of my quilt. But now I think I want to make another to put up on my craft room wall.

I purposely changed the way the lines were woven to make a cross on the back because this quilt is going to someone in our small group at church.

I did straight line quilting. I'm always experimenting with different ways to make my lines. I often use masking time, but this time I used my ruler and a Clover hera marker. I found this too be much faster. The hera maker makes an indentation on the fabric which you then sew over. No tape to adhere and remove!

The real game changer for me with this quilt came when I tried out my new Dritz magnetic seam guide. It kept my stitching much more even as I attached the binding and for the first time in 77 quilts, all of my binding was caught with my initial stitches and I didn't have to go back and attach little parts that didn't attach.

Look how pretty! (Disclaimer: it's not all this even, but much more than usual!)

This quilt was made for Melissa and Paul, friends from church who have led our small group since we joined last year. They are taking a break to deal with some stuff. When I started working on this quilt, I knew it was made for them as a reminder that we are all in this life together and we love and support them whether we see them each week or not.

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #HadnettIntertwined on Instagram. If you search the hashtag #IntertwinedQuilt, you'll find projects from the other four pattern testers.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

I'll update this page when Intertwined is available for purchase.

Linked to:

Friday, March 3, 2017

IG Quiltfest

I'm mixing up my social media a little bit here. For the last few months I've set a goal of being more of a social quilter: being more consistent about writing posts about my finished quilts, making more charity quilts and blocks, participating in my first mystery quilt, and joining  a quilting bee. I've also starting posting more often on Instagram and meeting lots of awesome quilty folks.

At the start of the month, I came across a fun new way to be social with the #IGQuiltFest sponsored by Amy Ellis (#AmysCreativeSide). As you can from the image above, each day quilters from around the world are posting to Instagram based the day's theme.

Today's theme is "where the magic happens." I posted this picture, which is the state of my craft room at the moment.

For those visiting checking in from the quiltfest, you can see the full tour of my craft room here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Quilt #76: A Team en Provence

I have another finish to share with you! This was my first quilt along since a few months after I started quilting. This is Bonnie Hunter's 2016 mystery quilt, En Provence. Unlike my previous quilt along, with the mystery quilt, I didn't know the final design. (As a side note, that previous quilt along was my 5th quilt. I have learned SO much since then!)

The mystery clues were revealed starting in November. I blogged about the early steps here, here, here, and here.

I made this finish my February One Monthly Goal. It,feels great to have it finished. When I started it, I wasn't sure who would receive this beauty. But as I got to the end, the person who kept coming to mind is one of my fellow December 08 mamas. I met this amazing group of ladies when we were all expecting. In the past nine (nine!?) years, we have discussed everything together. These women are are some of my closest friends, even though I've only met a few of them in person!

Angie is one of the few I have been lucky enough to meet in person. She is mom to two gorgeous girls, talented crafter, and overall awesome person, who is, unfortunately, going through a bit of a rough patch.

Angie came to mind for this quilt for two reasons, both having to do with all the scrappy pieces that make up the pattern. First of all, we mamas are quick to support our own. Whether death, divorce, illness, or financial troubles, we've faced it all together. I like the idea that this quilt represents all of the mamas and kiddos in our little group. I hope that she feels all our love when she snuggles under it.

The other reason is based on something Bonnie Hunter said. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of, "If the fabric is still ugly, you haven't cut it small enough."  I liked all the fabric I used in this quilt, but the idea that God can make something beautiful out of even the ugly things is comforting to me, and I hope it is comforting to Angie, too.

For quilting, I used straight line quilting in the center of the blocks. I used my regular ruler for the first time rather than masking tape. It took a little practice to hold it down so that it didn't move. A friend commented that I should use a free motion quilting ruler. Good thing I have a quilt show to check out this weekend! (I should say, for anyone worried, I didn't have any trouble with my foot skipping over the ruler because I wasn't doing free motion).

I have mentioned before that as I work on a quilt, I pray for the person who will receive it. With this quilt, I was able to do something special. I brought it to my quilt group for show and tell and my lovely ladies prayed for Angie with me.

One last thing about making this quilt. If you follow this blog or my Instagram, you may recall that it was while working on this quilt that I sliced my finger with my rotary cutter. 

It's been nearly 3 months, and I was looking forward to sharing that my finger is fully healed and that my feeling has completely returned. Alas, my accident has one last gift for me. Because I sliced my fingernail as well as my finger, I've been watching the line on my nail move up as my nail grew out. Turns out that it sliced all the way through and now that the sliced part of the nail has grown up to the edge, the fingernail cracked off. Mama, does it hurt! So now my finger is wrapped again until it stops being so sensitive!

So, other than my injury, I really enjoyed doing the mystery quilt. I look forward to making it an annual event. I was too late to join the completed quilt link up, but you can see other En Provence quilts here

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

Linked to:
Craftastic Monday @ Sew Can Do
Creativity Unleashed @ Practically Functional
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hand Quilts
Linky Party @ Tweety Loves Quilting
Linky Tuesday @ Free Motion by the River
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
NTT @ My Quilt Infatuation
Off the Wall Friday @ Creation, Quilts, Art, Whatever
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

One Monthly Goal: March 2017

February was a pretty productive month, especially considering that it's a short one. Will March be as productive? We shall see! Here's what's on my to do queue:

  • Auburn quilt: piece and finish 
  • Stella's quilt: finalize design and start
  • Otto's memory quilt
  • Charity quilt: Brutus
  • Charity quilt: campers
  • Wedding quilts: design quilts for J&T and E&J, and maybe M&J.
  • quilt for Dare to Be Square
  • Bee Hive 2017: complete March block
  • Milky Way Quilt along: complete March block
  • Hexies: total of 100 
  • Start free motion practice blocks
  • Weighted blanket for Niels
  • Make second magnetic fidget 
  • Sketch out rocket blanket
  • car poncho
  • make a sewing apron
One Monthly Goal is...

To finish the Otto's memory quilt. The backstory on this quilt is that the grandma of one my son's classmates recently passed away. She was an avid quilter. As her family went through her things, they generously asked me if I could put her sewing supplies to good use. Of course, I said yes! I was able to share fabric and notions with friends and my quilting group. As I pored through her stash, I hoped I would be inspired to make a quilt for the family. Imagine my delight when I found this completed log cabin top!

She had some additional fabric, so I'm going to look through it again to see if I can make some more blocks to widen the quilt, or if I'll use it for the backing as is. I'm so happy that I'll have the opportunity to give a grieving family one last gift. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February One Monthly Goal Update

February got off to a great start and its ending with me in bed with a double ear infection. But I want to play with the kids at  Elm Street QuiltsOne Monthly Goal so I'm writing up a short and hopefully coherent update.

So, how did I do this month?

My official goal was to finish

And for my other goals. Quilting:
  • Auburn quilt: start and finish: all blocks are made. 

  • Stella's quilt: finalize design and start--I have a few ideas...
  • Charity quilt: Russian orphanage - Done!

  • Charity quilt: Brutus--still cutting squares
  • Wedding quilts: design quilts for J&T and E&J, and maybe M&J.--didn't do a thing
  • Bee Hive 2017: complete February month block--done!

  • Milky Way Quilt along: complete February block--done!

  • Pattern test for Sarah--front and back done.

  • Hexies: total of 100...erm...I made one. BUT, I am going to start meeting with some crafty friends on Fridays and I WILL make more.
I also made an unplanned quilt for one of my son's teachers, another milestone quilt. 

  • Make magnetic fidget--I made one, and if I can get my son to lend it to me for a second, I'll post a photo. 
  • Sketch out rocket blanket--nope
  • car poncho--nada
  • NICU baby wrap--Not only did I make the wrap, but I made a crib cover and blanket, too.
And with that, I'm back to bed!

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.

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