Amber’s Quilting Sheet of Greatness

Oh hello. I’m not even going to try and recap the last few years. Instead I want to share something awesome Bj made me: A quilting sheet of greatness! I found these awesome spreadsheets from Generations Quilt Patterns, but they were limited to bed sizes, and not editable. I asked Bj to make me one that I could edit for smaller sized quilts and he came through with the coolest spreadsheet ever!

In this sharable template you are able to change the words (“baby”, “small throw”, etc.) and your desired size. Then it will automatically calculate how many blocks you need to make. I feel like there is no way I’m the first one to want a sheet like this or make one, but I couldn’t find a calculator for block amounts exactly like this so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

Quilting sheet of greatness

Oh and the quilt above? It is pieced from a bag of triangle scraps I’d saved for years. I haphazardly sewed them to a 5″ square block and then trimmed them down to 3.5″. A very satisfying use of small scraps.

A spinning mat like this Fisker’s one (affiliate link) is a must. I also like using little repositional marking strips (this tape is as close as I can find) to make sure I don’t have too big of a corner on the block. With my bag of triangle scraps and spreadsheet I decided to make a small throw. I made 340 blocks and it will finish at 51 x 60.

Random Quilting from 2018

None of these sewing projects warrants a whole post (what does these days??), but I wanted to have a record that I did sew a lot in 2018. I made some minis, working on some improve skills (I love The Improve Handbook for Modern Quilters). I tried to finish some of my many, MANY UFOs (unfinished objects!). I finally quilted up my Moda Building Blocks for charity. I took a bunch of Christina Cameli classes (online and in person, she is a member of our PMQG guild).

I made my friend Carmen the biggest quilt I’ve ever made and the largest I can make in my house and baste here! I had to move my dining room furniture to fit this beast, I think it ended up at 92×92. I just started sewing scraps together (a la Crazy Mom Quilts) and Carmen said she liked it so I asked her if she wanted it. She did and requested this size. Now you would think after this I would be out of scraps, sadly, no.

To date I think I have made 8 or 9 rainbow picnic blankets. I’ve actually lost count! I did start an Evernote doc to keep track of all my quilts I’ve made and where they are. But I went through a few phases of making a handful of picnic blankets at a time so I honestly can’t remember how many I’ve finished. I know I still have a stack of blocks to make even more!

I finally made a scrappy trip around the world. I finished this one for a friend and then helped another friend make one all out of blues and greens. Oh man, I can see why so many people were obsessed with these. Very fun and addictive way to use up scraps. Hmm looking at this makes me want to start another! My Juki continues to be my BEST sewing purchase. With 1,500 stitches a minute it’s no wonder I finish so many quilts! Bj and I are hoping to have time to get a hole cut in my desk for it so I can quilt longer in a better posture.

2019 saw more quilting, but not as many finishes. I guess I still have a few months to do that! With the weather I should be inside more, so we’ll see how much I can get finished!

Mind the Gap quilt finally finished


I started this one when Bennet was a newborn. And I don’t know if the pattern is off, my cutting was off, or my seam allowance but I pretty quickly realized that things were not matching up. So I set it aside. And I was going to just give up on it all together but  a friend convinced me to trim up the pieces I had done and finish it. I’m so glad I did! I did pebble quilting in the sashing and some big stitch hand stitching in the colored areas. Here is a link to the pattern (a free one by Moda called Mind the Gap). I did change the colors a bit and used a mix of solids from different brands (can’t remember which now, sorry!). I haven’t seen many of these quilted so I thought I post to show how I did it. This is roating between my girls’ beds now, they love it.

Raspberry Kiss Quilt

I am part of two quilt guilds: Portland Modern Quilt Guild, of which I’m a founding member, and Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild. It’s no secret that traffic around Portland has gotten bananas. That makes it harder for me to get up to that guild every month. I like Corvallis because it’s an easy drive and one of my best friends lives there, and is in the guild! It reminds me of when Portland was really small, and not the largest Modern Quilt Guild in the world! We made 8.5″ raspberry kiss blocks for our guild president in Corvallis when she was expecting her first sweet baby! I quickly because obsessed with the blocks and made too many. They sat for a while but finally I whipped up some more to make this baby top. I used Quilter’s Dream cotton (affiliate link). I pretty much only use Quilter’s Dream battings now, they are consistent and so easy to work with. They hold up great and I have had great results with all I’ve tried. I gifted it to my kids guide. I’m still homeschooling the girls but we work with a charter that oversees their work, gives us some funding, has field trips, does the testing, etc. It’s a great combo for us. And one thing that makes it awesome is our wonderful guide, but we won’t have her next year as she takes a leave of absence for her third sweet boy! I decided this quilt was a perfect send off for her since I’ve rarely remembered a “teacher’s gift” or anything (props to those of you who do!). She LOVED it! Woot!

I am really trying to make myself buy more low volume prints. I love the contrast with the bright colors, which I have a hard time passing up at the quilt shop!

Scrap Happy Quilt

Love, love, love how this one turned out. I was highly inspired by this quilt (as you can see!) so the idea was not mine. I loved digging through my scraps and hacking away at them ruler free for an evening or two. I did use a ruler to square up the blocks. The whole thing went together quickly. I used Dream Puff batting (affiliate link). I’m a late convert to poly batting. It took me a while to figure out that I must baste very well to make this an easy quilt. But it’s worth it. The batting is a crowd pleaser! In fact I forgot about this quilt because my older daughter has squirreled this away to her bed. I guess that means I need to make another. Luckily I have plenty of scraps, I even buy scrap packs from shops, they’re my favorite!

Polaroid Quilt

I am realizing that I really need to put all my projects on the blog – otherwise I forget about all the details. I have recently started a list in Evernote of what quilts I’ve made and where they were given. But it’s woefully incomplete! I must to better. To that end, check out my Polaroid quilt! My friend Sarah and I made it for our friend who just had her first baby.

I used my normal tag and added a more complete tag since this quilt was an epic amount of work and I felt the need to be credited for all eternity, hahaha. I reached out to the couple I made this quilt for and they said this type of tag with the button has held up well. I really, really love the gel fabric pen (affiliate link) I use, it doesn’t bleed at all.
I used this tutorial for the “shadow” and really like how it turned out. 1,581 pieces is a lot though. So Bj wants one and I think I will stretch it out to be a multi year project!

Craft “office” refresh

It has been a long time since I shared my craft room. I love seeing little glimpses that tell me I had a toddler at the time! Now that I have a 9 and 5 year old I don’t need that baby gate or little basket of baby toys. I’ve also changed the way I work and what I work on. Plus I’ve accumulated more crafting stuff, of course. Also there were things that never worked well, like the curtains on hooks. It may have looked neat but climbing on my desks to close them at night was so annoying. My mom and I were fabric shopping and I came across this beautiful double gauze. I bought the whole bolt to make these curtains and doing that made me revisit everything in the room. I ended up going through every single drawer, box, cupboard. Every little container filled with bits and bobbles. I packed up things I thought a friend would like and sent them off. I went through old charger cables and CDs with who know what on them. It felt so good and I’m really hoping I can keep it like this so that it’s ready for me to work in it at a moments notice. Enjoy these photos of my craft room and the little video I took at the end!










 

Sisters!

Have you heard of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show? It’s not a bunch of relatives hanging quilts together but a town called Sisters in Central Oregon that one day a year goes crazy and puts over a thousand quilts all over town outside! It’s super awesome and this year I was lucky enough to go check it out. Not only that but earlier in the week I took a class by Carolyn Friedlander in a coordinating event called A Quilter’s Affair. Somehow I just found out about this even though it’s been going on for forty years! In addition to all this awesomeness I stayed with a group of awesome women at a legitimate RANCH and sewed all weekend. So pretty much THE BEST THING EVER. Want to see what I worked on?

First of all the light in this place. THE LIGHT. I would challenge you to find people more in love with light than those living in climate’s like the valley in Oregon where there is so little light to be had in the winter (and fall and spring). WE LOVE IT. I whipped up this #RainbowPicnicSewAlong so quickly. I changed it a little bit. I had a 6″ (finished) square die for my Accuquilt so I used that. Making the quilt 10 x 12 blocks (60 x 72). I’m excited for Rachel to post the next steps, I bought my canvas backing today!
Hand-sewing outside. Yes please! I’m making little sweet patches for a much loved thrifted quilt with my new found needle turn appliqué skill.
The Moda Building Blocks was fun for a while (it was a local shops block of the month club) but I had such trouble with my seam allowance. I decided to call this good after making a few filler blocks and will be quilting this and donating it this fall.
Swoon Quilt! I had a bunch of these blocks cut out since the last Craftcation so I made myself sew them up. It actually wasn’t so bad once I got going (and read the directions!). And I really love how it turned out so there might even be more swoon blocks in my future.

Easy quilts to highlight a favorite block

I have been making this style of quilt for a while to highlight a favorite or orphan (leftover from another quilt) block. Sometimes I use four blocks as in this quilt I sold on Etsy. I love the simplicity of these quilts and the ability to showcase large prints (isn’t that alphabet fun??).

Alien Alphabet quilt 41 x 53 for sale on Etsy here.

Elephant quilt 54 x 64 made for my friend’s son.
These simple quilts make trying new things such as quilting techniques (the loop pattern on the elephant one above), different batting (playing with Dream Puff), and different fabrics (I used a “minky” type on the elephant one) less intimidating. If something goes wrong you haven’t spent a ton of time working on a top, and stitches are easier to pull out with less piecing.
This is also a good go to for charity quilting as these tops whip up quickly. I’m working on another type that also pieces so fast (and uses only 9 fat quarters!) that I’ll share soon. It feels so good to bust through the stash and participate in my guild’s charity work.

Burda 6735 shorts (modified)

I have a pair of Hanna Andersson shorts I love so much. I got them at the little outlet near me and of course they are no longer made. I found a pattern I thought I could modify to be similar (Burda Style 6735) and have been working on it for a few days trying to get it right. This is the closest I’ve come to the fit and look being right (the colors are a little crazy on these – the actual shorts were a kind of denim).

I changed quite a few things. First of all my measurements had me at a size 18 (remember pattern sizes are a lot different than ready to wear). I got about halfway through that one before I realized it was going to be way too big. I sized down to a 14 with the length much shorter. Those shorts turned out pretty good but the rise was still too much.
On this version I stuck with the size 14/short length (FYI I’m small/medium depending on fit, 5′ 4″ and 135 lbs). I used this tutorial to add a side slant pocket (only instead of diagonal I wanted a slight curve so I used a flexible curve ruler to make one). I haven’t done this kind of pocket before and I LOVE IT. Very easy. I couldn’t really find anything about making a mock fly so I kinda figured it out myself by looking at a pattern of an actual zipper fly. I did read something about basting the fly in and then stitching around and later pulling out the basting stitches. That worked but then when I walked around the fly looked “open” (even though this was technically not possible since it was a faux fly). I solved this by tacking down the inner layer (invisibly) but I feel like there has to be a better way. I’ll do more research/practice on this and let you know if I come up with something genius.
Adding my tag was a fun touch (I have a thousand after all!). I love them (got them at this etsy shop; GREAT customer service).
I’m calling this a win and will for sure wear these a lot this summer. I have been collecting lots of apparel fabric over the years and really am itching to sew with it. I love having things that fit me and the girls just right. I’m even thinking of a cover-stitch machine to get that professional finish look. Have you ever tried one? Kinda like a serger but doesn’t cut.
***edited*** forgot to say I made the pockets extra deep (all the way to the hem). Ladies my phone goes in and does not fall out! Reason enough to make my own clothes!