Improv-pieced trivet/hot pad

My cousin likes to cook and bake, so I decided to make her a trivet/hotpad for her birthday. I had been playing around with leftover cream and pastel scraps from the bee block I made for Carla in August (see here).  I ended up with two rectangular pieces, blocks that were about the right size for a trivet.

I sandwiched them with two layers of batting between them to protect a table or countertop. I picked a side to be the “top” and quilted straight lines in the different sections, leaving the blue and white print unquilted.

In most sections I used white thread (or maybe cream? I can’t remember now but it looks white to me in the picture) and for the outer sections – the lavender and the pieces that complete the “square” I used lavender thread.

Here’s the back:

I bound it with a semi-scrappy lavender binding (because I ran out of the polka dot).  C likes purple.

I was worried that it might be too improv – maybe that’s not her style, you know? – but she liked it, so we were both happy in the end.



Baby gifts

Hi habibis!  It’s still technically winter but it’s finally starting to feel just a bit spring-like, isn’t it?  I’m so ready!

A few of my friends are having babies or had babies, so I’ve been making some baby gifts/baby-themed gifts. Here are a few of them:

Here are mom and dad mug rugs – for a pair of new parents-to-be. I hand embroidered “Mom” and “Dad” in stem stitch. Then I pieced the tops and backs from scraps. The mom one is machine quilted with a freehand heart and then a wavy box surrounding everything.  I used bright green thread.


The dad one is machine quilted with concentric rectangles.  I filled in the remaining space with other geometric shapes using dark blue thread.

Here’s an uncle bookmark for an academic and bibliophile. Again, “uncle” is hand embroidered in stem stitch and then I machine quilted rectangles around the center rectangle. The blue book print is from the same line as this bookmark and mug rug.  The back is the same print.

A grandpa pillow for a baseball lover: I saw a tutorial on sew mama sew handmade holidays for a pennant pillow and loved the idea. (I didn’t actually follow the tutorial.)  I hand embroidered “Grandpa” on the light blue fabric and then added a darker blue border to get the size I wanted.

I chose baseball fabric for the back because this grandpa is a huge baseball afficianado.  I added the blue to the back side, too.  I sewed them right sides together, stuffed it with loose batting, and handstitched it closed.


Christmas Presents: Apron

I cut the fabric for this apron over the summer when I went on a major cutting spree and cut fabrics for a bunch of projects. My plan was to make it for my dad’s birthday, but that never happened. So I pushed it back to Christmas.

I have a lot of dog-themed fabric. Some I bought in bundles a long time ago and some I must have bought separately. I used different prints for the top and bottom of the apron and the straps and pocket.

I was going to make it one sided and fold the edges under, like I’ve done with the last couple of aprons I’ve made, but I don’t like having the rough edges you get from the seams. So I decided to make it two-sided. I pulled out this cute border collie fabric. My parents have border collie mixes so the fabric is perfect. I used this plaid for a pocket and sewed it all together.

Blurry picture of one side:

Picture of the other side:

I didn’t quilt it.  I also didn’t take any pictures of me modeling it.  The neck strap is too long, even more so than usual.  I made it long with the understanding that my dad or my brother might end up wearing it at some point, but the rest of us would need to knot the neck strap.  I think the apron is super cute, and Mom and Dad really liked it.

Shoe Bags and a Project Bag

Hi habibis!  Happy Wednesday!

Today I’ve got more bags to show you.  First, I made some shoe bags.  I saw this post on Kellita Makes and I thought shoe bags would be a great idea for traveling.    I went back to the post a couple of weeks ago and clicked through – in October Kellita posted links to several tutorials and I chose this one.  I didn’t follow her instructions 100%.  When you fold the top down to sew the space for the ribbon, she sewed two seams, one at the very top to form a tube.  I skipped the top seam and simply sewed the one bottom seam.

One of these bags was a present for Spry.  I used this cute red check print – gifted to me by our mutual friend Nikki – and rather than ribbons I used (no joke) the straps from my bridesmaid’s dress for my brother’s wedding.  We never used the straps, and when I went to throw them away I thought perhaps I could use them instead.  I ripped the little garment hooks off the straps and threaded them through.  I love the pop of blue against the bright red.

I made two shoe bags for myself, using leftover green fabric from my brother’s wedding quilt.  I made a third bag that’s extra big, for boots or for laundry.

I made a slightly more complicated bag for my projects.  I’m slowly progressing through an embroidery sampler T-Rex gave me, and I wanted a bag large enough that I could just slip it in, with a pocket to carry around my embroidery thread and other little notions that go with it.  I decided to use the leftover green fabric, as well, but I wanted to use a lining just in case, on the off chance that the dark green might bleed onto my projects.  (Paranoid?  Probably.)   The bag is lined in a cream print with little crescents and the pocket is lined in scraps of yellow I’d used to back my grandma’s yellow and orange quilt.

I used batting scraps to make it sturdier.  I quilted the layers to hold them together.

I made this little pocket for notions and I used ribbon and the buttons from my Aunt D for closures.


Wine Bags

Hello habibis!  Today I’m going to show you some wine bags I made for Christmas, and a modified one I made for a bottle of maple syrup for Z’s grandpa.  Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you some bags I made for shoes and the project bag I just made myself.

I made the wine bags basically the same way I’ve made them in the past.  See here.  I love this wine glass fabric.  I think this is the second time I’ve bought it.  I couldn’t find my wine bottle fabric – that popped up in my stash later, so I’m saving it for next time I need to make wine bags.

For Z’s grandpa I shortened the bag to better fit the maple syrup bottle.  I used more of the green fabric from Aunt D’s stash – it’s such a nice rich green, don’t you think?

I used cream ribbon for the ties for all the bags.

Cute, right?

Coasters for T-Rex

Hi habibis!  Today I’m going to be showing you the coasters I made for my cousin T, AKA T-Rex, for her birthday.

T-Rex’s favorite color is green, so I chose all green fabrics in similar shades – nice and bright.  I cut up strips and sewed them together, then squared them up.  I think they’re 5″ finished.  I used the peacock fabric from the potholders I’d made her last Christmas (because who doesn’t need coasters that match their potholders, right? but really because it’s so pretty) for the back.  I made little sandwiches with batting, sewed around the edges, then flipped them right side out and hand-sewed the opening.

I quilted spirals in green thread.  I think it looks really cool.

Here they are, in “order” (with the fabric going from lightest to darkest).  (It was supposed to be a progression of five fabrics with two prints per coasters, but I didn’t like my fifth print, so instead I used four prints.  I still wanted each one to be different, so the second from the right has three different prints in it.)

Here’s a shot of the back:

Cute, right?

PS T-Rex will be guest posting next Wednesday!

P.P.S. Tune in tomorrow to see my magnum opus!

Quilted Napkins

Hello habibis! It’s been a busy week – I had computer issues (miraculously fixed by a tech savvy coworker) and then work got crazy, which culminated in me working quite late Friday night and working again for most of Saturday. (That was a big change from my plans, which were to go to the gym and quilt both days and run some errands – most of that didn’t happen, although I squeezed in a little quilting and my social plans Saturday night fell through, so I did make it to the gym twice this weekend.)  I managed to do some sewing on Sunday, but the weekend wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

What have I worked on? The magnum opus, some charity work for my guild, and some hemming that I’d been putting off.   (I finally hemmed a pair of Z’s pants that’s been sitting on my pile for weeks, but I didn’t do the rest of my hemming. Oh well.) Still, I’d hoped to make some bindings and do more on the magnum opus than I actually did. What can you do? Sometimes life gets in the way.  I did manage to submit two quilts to the quilt bloggers festival though! Read my posts here and here, and check out the rest of the submissions here. (Voting begins November 1!)

One more thing: I believe the 2015 Stash Bee is still accepting sign ups.  You can sign up here if you’re interested!

Today I want to show you the wedding present I made for anlichan’s sister J. I finished these up a couple of weeks ago but I had to mail them out and by the time they arrived it was a little late for me to draft my Tuesday post, so you get to see them today instead.

Anlichan’s sister J and xyr fiance (also J) are getting married next month but unfortunately I can’t make it to the wedding. (Boo!) I knew I wanted to make them something special and I thought quilted napkins would be lovely. J loves crimson/red shades and is planning to decorate xyr kitchen with reds. Also, xe’s wearing a dress in shades of gold (I’ve seen a picture – so pretty!) and I thought red and gold would make a lovely combination for napkins – good for holidays but not Christmas-specific, plus they’ll match the decor. Anlichan consulted on the red fabric – who knows J’s taste better than xyr own sister? We picked this lovely red with little stars.  It’s called Itty Bitty Stars in Cabernet, part of Connecting Thread’s  Hometown Summer collection by Jenni Calo.

I had plenty of options for the gold! I have a lot of gold scraps (yardage actually) from a project I’m working on that I can’t post about yet. (I bought enough fabric to make a larger size than I ultimately ended up making.) I also had other pretty golds in my stash.

I knew I wanted to make 8 napkins and I wanted them to be about 16″ square. I chose the Hopkins square block out of my 501 quilt blocks book. I liked the geometric look of it. I thought it was pretty and striking.  The block is 12″ so I knew I’d be adding a border.

I started cutting the pieces for the backs of the napkins at 17″ square. My original plan was to have the outer border match the back, four in red and four in gold.  I cut all my red pieces but I didn’t have enough for both red backs and red borders, too, so I put that idea on hold while I cut my gold pieces.

I cut pieces from these two gold fabrics, which are both from the project I can’t show you.

However, I didn’t have enough fabric for the gold borders to match the gold backs, either. I could have done it scrappy but I decided I didn’t want to.

I changed my design idea to all red borders and all gold backs. Once I cut up the red backs into strips I had enough for the borders. For the gold backs I cut two each of four fabrics. I added a third from the other project and then the cranes (the only one that’s not a scrap from the other project). The crane fabric is so pretty I almost couldn’t bring myself to cut into it. I’d just had a conversation with someone last month about fabrics that are almost too pretty to use and I forced myself to. It’s for J! Xe deserves pretty fabric!

When I went to do my piecing I saw that I’d cut more than I needed – of course. I always make a math mistake. Better to do more than less, right? Since I had enough of the medallion gold fabric (above left), I used it only for the block, rather than using half of that and half of the darker gold. That way all the fronts match and there’s two of each back.

The quilting: I did diagonal lines in gold in parallel to the center line of the patch and I thought it looked really cool.

I also quilted on the border. My original plan, when I first decided on napkins, was to bind them. Then I realized I don’t have time for that. So I decided to sew them right sides together and then flip them right side out. The idea behind having the borders match the backs was to hide where I’d had to sew the gap closed. Since I didn’t have that option, my quilting had to compensate. I knew I’d have to sew all the way around very close to the edge. So I did that, as well as sewing around the inner edge of the border.

Here are the backs, which show the other two gold prints I used.

Voila! Finished napkins. They came out a bit smaller than I’d wanted – some of them are only 15.5″ square – but I’m very happy with them and so is J. I sent them early – why wait? – and xe opened them immediately!  🙂  I’m so glad xe likes them!