Friday, March 31, 2017

One Monthly Goal :: March 2017 Update

March was a strange month for us: 70 degrees on day. Snow the next. An anticipated blizzard that left us with a dusting, and an unexpected storm that gave us a few inches. Only to be followed by more 70 degree days. Needless to say there were more than a few colds being passed around my son's school. He gets his immune system from his daddy, and is usually only down for a day or two at most. We are currently on the last day of his spring break, and we haven't left the house since Tuesday, when we went to the doctor. My immune system seems to think I should share this cold, but I have remained strong...until this morning. But I'm not sick because the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo is tomorrow!

So, let's recap the month, shall we?

My March OMG was...

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. I was delighted to find part of a log cabin quilt created.

And I finished the quilt by...making two quilts! One for my son's friend and one for his sister. Here's a picture of the front of one and the back of the other. Read more about Nana's Last Gift here.

As for my other goals...

  • Auburn quilt: I just finished it yesterday. I should have a post up in the next couple days.

  • Stella's quilt: still procrastinating...
  • Charity quilt: still cutting...
  • Charity quilt: fabric bought...
  • Wedding quilts: design quilts for J&T and E&J, and maybe M&J....still noodling
  • quilt for Dare to Be Square...nope.
  • Bee Hive 2017: done!
  • Milky Way Quilt along: done!
  • Hexies: up to 35
  • Start free motion practice blocks - nope
I did however also finished the pattern I tested, Intertwined by Sarah Ruiz

  • Weighted blanket for Niels - still waiting for his fabric
  • Make second magnetic fidget - nope
  • Sketch out rocket blanket- nope
  • car poncho- nope
  • make a sewing apron- nope
If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Quilts #78 & #79: Nana's Last Gift

About a month ago, I got a text from the mom of one of my son's classmates. Her mom. Dorothy "Dot" Dowdell passed away in December. Dot was a quilter, and since no one else in the family quilted, her daughter asked if I could give her supplies a good home.

I'm part of a quilting group at church, so when I saw how much I was gifted, I knew I'd have plenty to share. As I sorted though this generous gift, I hoped I would find something I could use to make something for the family. I was SO excited to find this among her stash.

She didn't have any notes or a pattern to let me know what she had in mind, but it appears that she ran out of some of the fabric, and as we quilters are wont to do, set it aside as a UFO (unfinished object).

I played around in EQ7 with different formats, trying to find the best pattern to stay true to vintage of the prints (which I estimate to be from the 80s) and is workable with the fabric I had, which was cut into strips and small pieces. I had enough to make 3 more blocks.

One of my friends, who knows the family, suggested that since I didn't have enough fabric to make a full quilt in any of the designs I liked, that I make two lap quilts for the children. I loved the idea!

I picked apart the blocks so I had a nice stack.

I ironed out the decades of wrinkles and replaced a few strips that had unraveled or ripped.

After the blocks were repaired and ironed, they went together very quickly. I had four different quilts going on at the time, so I had to get creative with my design wall space.

Some of the prints were very fragile. All of the strips were ripped, not cut with a rotary cutter or scissors so they were pretty stringy after all these years and it was a bit of a challenge to sew them together. There were several places where I had to go back and creatively stitch blocks together because the 1/4" seam was literally strings of thread.

I made the two quilts similar but also slightly different.

The blocks were 14.5" unfinished, so at this point the lap quilts were 56" x 42", just a little smaller than I wanted for 8 and 11 year olds. I added a 2.5" border to bring the size to 61"x 47".

Dot had several yards of the blue fabric, which would have been perfect for a solid backing if I had made one quilt, but was just a little shy for making two. I had two blocks left over, so I wanted to include them on the back. I only had a few strips of the rest of the prints to work with, so I came up with this.

I liked that the back turned out a little more modern. It's a challenge to finish someone else's work, especially when you've don't know her and have never seen any of her work. I want Charlie and Annabelle to think of their nana, not me, when they see their quilts, so I think this was a good compromise, to have a touch of my style in the back.

For quilting, I used a spiral to soften the lines of the log cabin blocks, which didn't always align perfectly. The quilting is hard to see on the front, but I love the way it looks on the back.

As I was quilting, I started to fret about the binding. My pile of scraps was getting pretty small.

At first, I thought I would need to alternate between the prints to make a scrappy binding, but my math (thank you, Mrs. Prigge!) showed that I could make enough with the lighter burgundy print. I made all the binding for both quilts at once. As it turned out, I had just enough!

This was the second time I used the magnetic seam guide. It makes such a difference!

I don't always wash my quilts before gifting, but this fabric was quite musty. I actually had a pretty nasty allergy attack while working on this project. Once I figured out what was making me sick, I opened the windows  (even on 30F days and moved my diffuser to my craft room). That helped a lot. I wanted to make sure I got the smell out before the kids cuddled the quilt, so I put in the washer on the gentle cycle and dried with a wet rag spritzed with lavender essential oil and a couple of color catchers.

Relieved that the reds didn't bleed, I added the labels.

On our way from school, I saw this branch in the undeveloped part of our neighborhood. We went home, I grabbed the quilts and clips and came back for an impromptu photo shoot.

Finally, I wrote a card, including the care instruction cards I've made.

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

Updated: The family sent me the sweetest pictures of the kiddos with their quilts. And then, after spring break, my son came home from school and delivered this to me.

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 historic flight director console for the Apollo missions.
Reading an authentic 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, Intertwined. 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.

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
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