Friday, October 31, 2014

It's All About the Kids! Day 5 and a giveaway!

Welcome to Day 5 of SewCalGal's  It's All About The Kids Blog Event!  Lots of inspiration for kids and a few giveaways too. Head over to SewCalGal's to see the full list of blogs participating.

Did you sew as a child? I did... my mom started teaching me to embroider and sew at a young age. She guided my sister and me as we embroidered pot holders as gifts for family and later on as we learned to make clothing for ourselves. She made most of our clothes, so we fell into it naturally. There has never been a time in my life that I haven't sewed.

Because I enjoy it so much, I think it's important to make sewing available for kids. I spend some time every summer holding Kids Camps in our local fabric store. I think I have as much fun as the kids, though I have to keep moving to keep up with them!

Over the past few years, the kids have made pillows, kleenex covers, pajama pants, quilts, and bags. Most of the time I design a pattern for the classes, so I have control over the difficulty of the project.
Kids are open to trying new things and really have fun. Even when they are having problems, they stay focused when they are really interested. As we all know, there is something very satisfying about making a project on your own and they feel it too. They don't fear making mistakes as much as adults and are very creative with their fabric choices.
These pictures are from last summer's camps. I taught two different sessions, the Topsy Turvy Pillow and the Carry-All Bag. The Kleenex covers were a bonus project for the Pillow girls, as they finished early.

When I use purchased patterns for the classes I try to stick with the Learn to Sew section of the pattern catalog....the kids used the Simplicity pattern 2164 last summer to make these cute bags. I chose it for its simple structure and purchased webbing for handles.
Here are some tips if you want to help your child begin to sew.

Pick out a project that is simple enough for a child. If they are overwhelmed, it won't be fun and they won't want to finish.

Take breaks. They have lots of energy, but it is hard to stay focused on most projects for more than a couple of hours.

Don't be too picky. If it holds together and there are no holes in the seams, it is ok, even if the seams aren't perfectly straight. You can guide them to try harder but don't discourage them by making them take out every seam. If it seems too hard they won't want to do it.

Help when needed. Even sewers with some experience need help occasionally, so don't worry that if you help with a tricky seam or  turn handles right side out that they aren't making it themselves.

You can see from these pictures that they were very happy to have a finished project that they could use after these classes. Were they all perfect? They were in their eyes!

To help in the celebration of kids and crafts/sewing, Fat Quarter Shop  has donated a $25 gift certificate! They really do know how to celebrate.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. You have until Monday to enter and win this wonderful prize! What would you  buy? They have so many beautiful fabrics, it would be hard to choose, but it will be fun to try!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for joining me for this blogging event. I hope you are inspired to start a new project soon with your budding crafter/sewer.I'd love to hear about it when you do!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's work on finishing some projects!

I hosted UFO Saturday last weekend and you can see that there was lots of sewing going a little chatting and laughter!
Dianne and Jane were working on their Cobblestone Path quilts....lots of vibrant colors for both.
Brenda was working on blocks for a local quilt shop's monthly challenge. She was whipping those out like crazy!
Laura worked on some 4 patch mug rugs for gifts for friends. She got a lot done as well.

Barb worked on her Ruby Shadow quilt pieces. She didn't get anymore blocks finished, but she got all of the hst and hourglass sections made so she is ready to start making blocks again. I can't wait to see this beauty finished.
Jane got all of her Cobblestone Path quilt sewn together. It just sparkles, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I like it...tumbling along....

I was excited Sunday as I had time to get this Tumbler quilt loaded and quilted. I ordered a couple of new pantos recently and have been dying to try them. They both push the limits a bit on how wide I can quilt with my midarm. I have a range of about 9" when I start, but then as I quilt and the quilt rolls up in the throat space, that decreases my range. So I usually use pantos that are 5" - 6.5" so that I don't run out of room for my design. 
Starburst is 7.75" but I loved it and decided I had to get it. After all, not every quilt is a queen! I had made this 52" x 55" Tumbler but never got it quilted, so it was a great one to practice on. I used white thread, so it's hard to see the quilting, but this gives you an idea.
I was getting close to the end of my limited space by the end, so will make a note of it for future reference.
I had pieced the backing last week, so it was ready to go! I will try to get some better pictures after I finish the binding.
pieced backing
This is my binding fabric, another leftover fabric from another project. I worked on getting the binding sewn on last night before class, but didn't get it quite finished. I have a class again tonight, so hopefully I will finish it. (When I have a night class I usually go straight to the shop after work, as there isn't much point in going home. So I have about an hour of sewing time if I take something along to work on.) I like sewing bindings on there as I can push a couple of tables together to help with the weight of the quilt and keep it off the floor.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Which Way Is Up? Blogger's Quilt Festival

My entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side this fall is a new version of Which Way is Up? that I made last summer.

I made the original quilt about a year ago. I had so much fun making the different sizes of geese in these cute, bright fabrics.
I finished the top at our quilt retreat in Feb. 2013
 I loved the idea of having some of the small geese flying into the border. But I was never sure about my color choice for the border they were in. I debated it and asked for advice. I waffled back and forth between a few ideas.  I finally chose a teal blue, but was never entirely happy with it

 After I taught the class on it, I was excited to see Barb's rendition, as she had used white in the border and I liked it so much! White was one of my original choices, but I worried it would be too much white! Wrong again! I wish I had time to make multiple versions of each of my designs, but part of the fun of teaching classes is that I get to see them made up in different colorways.
Barb's version of Which Way is Up?
When I decided to make another version of this pattern, I wanted to make it without borders. So I had to make more blocks and used batiks this time. For those who know me, you know I love batiks and love to use as many as possible for a scrappy look.  I love this version too, even though it has a completely different look with the batiks and without the border. I need to rewrite the pattern now to include this version as's always something, right? It will get done one of these days!

 Which Way is Up? is in the Original Design category of the Festival.  Beginning on Nov. 1, you can vote for your favorite quilt in this category, as well as each of the other categories. You can vote for the Viewer's Choice Award quilt at any time, voting for your three favorite quilts in the entire show. Have you visited any of the Festival  blogs yet? Are you joining the Festival?
I took advantage of the sunny, gorgeous day here in Iowa yesterday and took some new pictures of both quilts. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do you ever?

Do you ever feel like you have been working but have nothing to show for it? That's how I feel this week. I did get the binding sewn on a new quilt, but I'm not ready to show and tell it yet. Need to get some good pictures and figure out when I'm going to teach it.

I've also been working on a new sampler design, but that has been very frustrating as I haven't come up with a setting I like yet. I try to use a different setting for each one and I have designed 19, so feel like I'm knocking up against a brick wall to come up with an original setting.

I started a new Beginning Quilting class last night...they learned some basics and did a little cutting...they are excited to be learning how to make a quilt. Next week they will have something to show!

I have a UFO Sat. class tomorrow, so that will be fun. I usually help where I can as they get caught up on a quilt, or start something new. Sorry there are no pictures to share today! Happy Friday!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Piecing a back...and voting still open

A few years ago I made this scrappy Tumbler's about 54 x 58, just right for a baby quilt or a throw for just about anyone.  I didn't have time to quilt it at the time. I taught a class on it and put it away.

I got it out last week for the quilt show as someone was doing a demo on tumblers, so I thought they might want another example. So it's been in the back of my mind all week....I have some new pantos to try out too so it would be perfect to try one out on this small quilt. 

After catching up on some cleaning and straightening of the quilt room, I decided to see if I could find something to use for a backing for it so I could get it quilted. I had a nice blue plaid fabric but only had enough for one length and 40" isn't wide enough. I dug around in my fabrics to see if I could find something to pair it up with and came across some scrappy strips that I sewed together a few years ago, just because I had them and thought they would be handy to have sewn together for a piano key border or something. I had enough pieces to fit the length of the quilt and after squaring them up to 17" wide, it would work with the blue plaid to make a wide enough backing. 
 I cut the blue plaid down the middle, so I had two pieces 22" wide and sewed them onto each side of the stripped piece. The stripped section looks really good with the front too.

Close up of the blue plaid.
 I prepped the top as well and they are both ready to be loaded on the machine. I'm excited now to get it finished. I have a class tomorrow night, so maybe I can start it Tuesday after work.

Hopefully you are not getting tired of looking at this quilt!
Voting is still open for viewer's choice at SewCalGal's Red and White Challenge: Show IT... a virtual quilt show featuring red and white quilts that quilters designed and made. Go take a look at the eye candy! To vote, you put your curser over the quilt link you like, and click on the gray heart. When it turns red, you have voted!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lots of class lovelies!

Part of the fun of teaching classes is when someone brings in a finished top to show. George finished his Carpenter Wheel Spin Sampler and showed me pix of it at the quilt show last weekend. (He also emailed it to me!) I love the richness of the colors and his piecing is wonderful.
I have been meeting with an old friend, Kate, for the past few weeks. She wanted to learn how to make a quilt and was here on vacation, so she started with the Cobblestone Path a few weeks ago.  Last week we met to layer, pin and tie it.....
and Monday night she learned how to make and apply her binding. I love the vibrant colors and she is thrilled to be off on her quilting adventures. She is going to Italy soon for work and is already excited that she knows where to find fabric there.
The Ribbon Quartz Sampler club made a pp Crossed Canoes block during class this week. Paper piecing is usually a learning process for most but they did a great job. Deb's quilt is so sunny!
Marilyn had finished her large setting half square triangles, so we had fun placing them on the design wall with the blocks. Laura had been on vacation, and didn't have her blocks with her so she worked on a different quilt.
Tuesday night's Sunbonnet Sue Sampler club made the Lover's Knot block as well as getting the directions to start cutting and adding the sashings.
Marsha's happy block
This group has a great variety of color in their individual fabic choices. That always makes seeing the final quilts really interesting.
Kathy's rich reds and purples

Shirley's bright and playful florals

Nancy's happy blues and greens

Sunny 30s prints
Debbie's soft pastels
Deb's luscious earth tones

Deb finished her block in time to cut and start attaching her sashings.

It's been a busy week of classes and I have my Bookfair going on at school right now too. So part of each day I have the library open for book checkouts and part of each day I have just the Bookfair open for student purchases. It's been going well and tonight is the Family Bingo Night with the Bookfair open as well.

Voting is still open for viewer's choice at SewCalGal's Red and White Challenge: Show IT a virtual quilt show featuring red and white quilts that quilters designed and made. Go take a look at the eye candy! To vote, you put your curser over the quilt link you like, and click on the gray heart. When it turns red, you have voted!