Anlichan’s new tumblr

Bonus post this week!  And this one doesn’t contain any quilting-related angst at all!

Anlichan has a new tumblr where she posts pictures of all the amazing origami she does.  I had to share it so you can all enjoy her beautiful origami artwork.

She is so talented.  I send her emails telling her my favorites, and they are basically lists of every single post.

Look at these gorgeous stars:

How amazing are these?

Her butterflies are gorgeous.


I LOVE the penguin.

She made this for her mother for Mother’s Day.  What an amazing gift!

So I’ve basically just linked to half of her blog.  Go check it out and enjoy!




Charity quilt – part II

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you’ve all had a lovely holiday weekend.

I know I haven’t posted about either of my big quilts in a while.  It’s because I have so much to say – and so little time to draft my posts – so instead I’ve been writing short little posts about presents I made for people.  Don’t worry, though, I haven’t been neglecting my charity quilt or the Hunter’s Star quilt!  I’ve been working on both of them, as quickly as I can.  I wanted to post about my charity quilt today because I did so much work on it this weekend.

The charity quilt has been giving me agita.  There are several issues at play here:

1. I have two months to complete this quilt, from mid-April to mid-June.  Two months is enough time to make a twin-sized quilt, but not when I’m out of town five of the weekends in between.  I should not have committed to this quilt, although at the time I don’t think I realized what my May and June would look like, and I was really excited to participate.   On the upside, the last weekend before the quilt is due will be my quilt retreat, so I’ll have time to work on it then.  However, I wanted to have the quilt top done this weekend and the quilt assembled before I went to the retreat, so I can focus on the quilting and the binding on the retreat; it’s increasingly looking like I not only won’t have my quilt sandwich assembled but I won’t necessarily have my quilt top done before the retreat.

2. I chose too complicated of a design, given my time constraints.  I love hexagons and I really wanted to do that, but hexagons require a lot of cutting and piecing.  I should have chosen something simpler, like a strip quilt.  It wasn’t until this Saturday that I realized how much trouble I was in due to the complicated pattern.  Over and over this weekend I bemoaned to myself the fact that I didn’t choose a simpler design.

3. I probably could have finished the quilt top this weekend, even with the complicated design, had I spent the full three days sewing and done nothing else.  However, I had some plans with friends and with Z and I lost about a day of sewing there.

Anyway, enough griping.  To the quilt!

I think I mentioned in my last post that I cut triangles for the hexagons and then at some point figured out that I could use my Hex’n’more tool to cut half hexagons, which would be faster.  So I ended up with a big pile of triangles and a big pile of hexagons.  I’d had some time to think about the design I wanted (because I had two travel weekends in between cutting and sewing) and I decided for to make a big block in the center with the triangles.  I decided to make stars with them – six pointed stars, made from a hexagon and then an additional triangle on each spoke, like this:

I made my stars and then filled in around them.  I ended up making six stars: a light grey stripe, a grey and orange stripe, a dark grey, two dark oranges, and a light orange kind of check.  In the picture above, I’ve already laid out three stars (which I later moved around) and the dark grey and dark oranges are still piled up.  I used a different light orange check and the remaining grey and orange stripe as filler.

I used up almost all of my triangles.  I have a few left over – they’ll be reappearing in some charity project or another in the future.  I sewed them into rows and added the blue triangles to the ends to square off the edges.  (They are also cut from a 4.5″ strip, just like my triangles and half-hexagons.  I cut the strip into 3.5″ pieces and used my Hex’n’more tool to cut two of the triangles from each piece.)

I don’t know if you can tell in the above picture, but the bottom row in the picture has a mistake.  The orange half-hexagon in the center is upside down.  Luckily I noticed it before I attached all the rows together and added the bottom three rows. (My bed wasn’t long enough so I waited to do the last three rows until the end.  The last three rows mirror the top three rows so I was able to follow that design.  It may not show up well in pictures; the light falling on my bed distorts the colors at the end near the window.)

All better!

Below is the finished center section.  This picture has even worse glare issues.  I managed to drop my camera while I was trying to take photos, and now the lens won’t open properly, so I switched back to my phone.  Hopefully I can get the camera fixed this week.

I’m pretty happy with the center.  I don’t love the color scheme but I do really like the star pattern.  I’ll be using that again.

The center measures approximately 30″ by 70″.  Since this needs to be a twin sized quilt, I pulled out my half-hexagons to figure out a design surrounding it.  My thought was to add a thin blue border matching the edge triangles, and also use the same triangles on the half-hexagons.  I haven’t done that yet – sadly I’m not at that point!

I started with the sides, which I wanted to be approximately 18″ by 70″ (they can be a little smaller because I’ll add the inner border and probably an outer border).  I wasn’t thinking about color combinations when I cut the pieces, and I really was not happy with layout I came up with.   This caused me additional stress on Monday afternoon, when I was already worried about timing.  I’ve never made anything that I thought was ugly, and I didn’t like what I’d put together.

I even went back to my remaining fabrics to see if I had enough to finish the quilt with just wide borders.  (I didn’t.)  So, unhappily, I put this section together – it will be to the right of the center.  (Or to the left – it doesn’t matter.)

Once I put it all together and added the blue triangles to the edges, I felt so much better about it.

Doesn’t that look better?  The blue really complements the orange nicely and it looks cool and modern, instead of “Halloween-y,” as my roommate put it.  I’ve stopped fretting about it.

I sewed those rows together and sewed each of the rows for the left side section, although I haven’t put them all together yet.  Note that the left and right sections are mirror images of each other.  (Do you ever count how much more you have to do by seams you have left to sew?  I have 17 seams to sew on the left side panel.)

So here’s what I still need to do:

– Come up with a design for the top and bottom sections. (Each section needs to measure approximately 10″ by 66″. I already have some idea of how I’ll use the rest of my half-hexagons, but I need to lay them out to actually see what they’ll look like.)

– Sew the top and bottom sections.

– Calculate how wide of an inner blue border I need in order for everything to line up (and hope I have enough of the blue to do that) and sew all the sections together.

– Assemble the quilt sandwich.

– Make my scrappy binding.  (I cut leftover scraps while I was cutting out my triangles and half-hexagons but I’m not sure there’s enough.  I’m planning to worry about it when I actually get to that point.)

– Quilt it.

– Bind it.

That’s a lot more to do!  I don’t usually sew much in the evenings after work because I don’t get home until pretty late, but this week I’m going to try to devote more time to that.  I think I can do those 17 seams tonight after work!  (I should add that I still haven’t finished my Hunter’s Star quilt, although I’ve done quite a bit of quilting on it and I might make that my post for next week.  I do want to share it!)  It’s a busy couple of months here.  I’m doing the best I can to finish everything.


Moose apron for my sister

I wanted to make an apron for my sister for her birthday.  I still have moose fabric floating around, so more moose for her! (To my chagrin, I couldn’t find all of it, which I’m sure means that it’ll all pop up in four months when I’m looking for something else I can’t find.)

I chose this moose fabric, plus these coordinates:

I have made a couple of aprons before, so I feel sufficiently confident that I don’t need to go from instructions.  In this case I went off of the apron I made myself a couple of years ago ( and I kind of eyeballed the measurements.  My sister is taller than me, but not so much taller that the measurements had to be drastically adjusted.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to use the three fabrics to best effect, and I finally decided to use the moose fabric for the torso/bodice of the apron (what’s the word for that?), the metallic-y brown for the bottom half of the apron, and the trees for the border and straps.  I didn’t make a pocket this time.

I cut the tree fabric into strips. I was careful to match the directionality of the trees when I was sewing the strips to the rectangles of the top and bottom.

I folded over the edges and sewed them down.  I took the top part of the apron and folded it under the top edge of the bottom part of the apron and sewed that down.

I cut wider strips to make the waist ties and the neck strap.  I folded each strip in half, right sides together, and sewed along the long edges.  For the waist ties, I also sewed one end of each strap closed.

Here are the ties for the waist:

I took the open edges of the straps, folded them under, pinned them where I wanted, and sewed them down.  The neck strap is a little long, but I always err on the side of too long because I worry about getting it over your head.

Here’s the finished apron.  I think it came out so cute!  It matches the pot holders I made for N at Christmas (

Embroidered pillow for my grandmother

My grandmother just turned 84!  We celebrated her birthday at Easter and I decided to make her a pillow out of the following piece:

In February my quilt guild had their “members teaching members” meeting – they have it every year, but last year it was snowed out.  This year I signed up for a class making roses out of silk ribbons.  The lady teaching it does embellished quilts (and I learned that super embellished quilts are called “encrusted”) and she had designed a little sampler for everyone with flowers and a bumble bee.

I didn’t finish the sampler at the guild meeting; I completed it later.  (I don’t have in-progress pictures from the meeting; I only took pictures when I was at home, so I can’t show you the beginning stages.)  The lady who taught it provided all of the fabrics and ribbons we needed and even the needles and the green embroidery thread – how amazing is that?  I really enjoyed the session.  I was apprehensive at first because I don’t really do embroidery and I was worried, but I was able to handle everything she taught us.  We each drew the line to be the stems of the flowers and embroidered it in green embroidery floss.  She gave us a heavier thread to make a kind of five point star, which served as the basis as each rose.  The silk ribbon gets wound under and over each point, around and around, until it makes a full rose.  I learned that it’s hard to thread the needle with the silk ribbon and how to knot it, but I’m not sure I could repeat it for you here.  I think I could do it again…

The other kind of flower she taught us to do is this blue one.  It’s made with fake silk fabric.  We cut the fabric into six little circles and then folded them into quarters.  Then we took thread and sewed along the open edges of each little piece so they were all sewed in a row.  We pulled it tight to make the circle with petals.  When I got home I sewed a piece of yellow fabric into the center to cover the rough edges and be the center of the flower.  I then sewed the flower down to the sampler.

The last piece was the bumble bee.  It’s made with silk ribbon again.  The lady also included these little pieces of gauzy kind of ribbon for the wings.  She had very specific ideas about how they should be sewn like this – I would have made more wing-looking things, but this is cute too.

Note that in the above picture you can see the five-point star that will form the base of the yellow rose.

I decided to finish the pillow using pieces from the Chinese fabrics that my friend N gave me.  I used the pajama pants for the back.  I had trouble with the envelope closure and I had to rip it out, re-pin, and re-sew it at least twice.

My grandmother really liked the pillow and she told me that everyone who sees the pillow compliments it.


Charity Quilt – part I

My quilt guild does a lot of charity work, and right now they’re having a charity competition.  They got a big donation of leftover shirting fabric from Van Heusen.  I paid $5 and got a bag of fabric to make a twin sized quilt.  The quilts are going to underprivileged city kids who go to a summer camp in the summer a summer camp for kids with cancer.  I got the fabric in April and it’s due in June. I’m really excited about the competition, but I’m a little bit afraid that I’ve taken too much on – I’m very busy this spring. I decided when they announced the competition that I would make a hexagon quilt.  I love the look of hexagon quilts, and now I have this new Hex N More tool.  (One of the ladies at the quilt retreat recommended it to me.) Here are the fabrics.  They’re very nice quality but the colors aren’t quite what I’d choose.  (I love orange but a couple of these oranges are kind of garish.)  I figure it should make a pretty masculine quilt, though. I started cutting triangles for the hexagons.  At some point I realized it would be faster to cut half-hexagons, only the striped fabrics would look cooler if they were cut as triangles and sewn with all the stripes going into the center.   Also, I’d already cut a bunch of triangles.  I decided to switch to half-hexagons, though.

I decided instead of making a design of all hexagons that are one size, I’ll use the triangles to make a center.  (They’ll come out slightly smaller than the hexagons made of half-hexagons.) I’ll make a narrow border and then fill the rest of the quilt with the hexagons made of the half-hexagons.  I think it’ll look really cool, assuming I have time to finish it!