Jelly Roll Race (fail/win)

If you’ve been quilting for a while you’ve probably heard of the Jelly Roll Race. A Jelly Roll is the name Moda (a fabric company) gives its 2.5″ strip sets. The Jelly Roll Race quilt has been around for a while but I think this YouTube video really made it popular. Basically you take all your strips from the Jelly Roll and sew them together for one long (really long!) strip. Then you fold that strip in half and sew the long ends together, clipping when you get to the end. Repeat over and over and ta dah! A quilt top. This is what I did but decided to add more strips to make it bigger. Well it turns out you can’t just do that. Which is how I ended up with two quilt tops instead of one!

It ended up being a “happy accident” (as my printmaking professor would say). Tuesday has a sweet friend who is always swooning over my work. Well he only had to say how much he loves it so many times before I had to make him his own quilt. This was a lot like one he had book marked in one of my quilt magazines so it was a great fit. His (with the blue and green background) has his named stitched in it and then lots of random patterns. I did more of the same for our quilt (this will go in our living room) and also stitched our names and “2017 love mama” in it.
I used Cloud 9 organic cotton solid for the backing. I am so in love with this material (available at Jo-Ann’s. It washes up as soft as a cloud! I am finishing up a quilt for Bennet right now and am using the same material (in pink).
The final size of each of these is approximately 51×64. If you did want to customize a jelly roll race to a size you want I found a handy PDF (after the fact of course).
This was a really fun fast project and I would do it again, just paying more attention to how much fabric I was using!

Copy Cat Blanket – my go to mindless knit

I love having a simple knit I don’t need a pattern for to take with me and knit all over the place. This is that pattern for me. I found a blanket I loved on Ravelry and modified the pattern a bit. I cast on in the middle and knit around and around. Every other round I switch colors for a truly scrappy look.

Here are the details for this blanket. It finished at about 34″ square. And links to the first, second, and third blankets. Like I said I love these blankets. They take about a year for me to knit so if you’ve gotten one from me I must really love you!

Rope bowls – revisited

I think my rope bowl post might be one of my most popular, based on the comments I’ve gotten. I’m glad you find it so useful. I thought I would update you with a some new bowls I whipped up last night.

Instead of using a store bought rope, cord or twine I made my own. I used this tutorial from My Poppet Makes to make twine out of scraps too skinny to sew with. I like using this technique because I sew a lot and when squaring up and taking off salvages there is a lot of waste that I hate throwing out.
If you want to make some bowls using this recycled twine I have some tips for you. The twine you’ll make will be more thick and thin, but for me that didn’t matter too much. Using a wider zig zag stitch allowed me to catch each side and really cinch it together. I didn’t need to use a jean needle like I do for the rope baskets, a universal worked fine. Because the twine you make is so much more malleable you can either do a flat coaster shape and then tilt up or slowly tilt up for a very round bowl. I used neon green bobbin thread for the smaller bowl (this is the thread color that ends up on the outside) but I ended up like white the most. I think it shows off the color variation. Monofilament thread (“invisible thread”) could also be a choice but I really dislike using that stuff.
The bowl that is 9.5″ in diameter on the top used 4 ounces of recycled twine. The small one (about 6″ across) used about 1.6 ounces of twine. I was surprised how much this little spool of recycled twine made. I had packed the bobbin (a vintage one that was a gift) full over various car rides and kid activities, using a giant zip lock full of scraps. Last night when I went to make the bowls I was going to use it all up… but I still have a lot as you can see. The twine making process can be a bit fiddly at first but it becomes easy. Try to make enough for a small bowl and see if you like it.

My little Brownie

Tuesday was so lucky to join a Daisy troop right when she turned five. The troop started in a January so she joined a wee bit early (grade wise), and to keep her with the group she’s bridging to Juniors this weekend (can’t belive it, seriously). I volunteer for our Service Unit and tonight she came with me to recongnize girls bridging to adulthood (something I did 18 years ago!). Since she was all dressed up in her full Brownie uniform I wanted to get some pics. She chose some of the poses.. guess which. I made vests for her and her whole troop because 1). I’m crazy and 2). My mom did it for me when I was a Brownie. I made the skirt because I’m not a fan of the skort uniform thing. She also has a vintage Brownie jumper from the 70s/80s that I have got to get more pics of. She’s asking for me to make her a Junior version of the jumper and I am 100% on board with that because how long is she going to want mom made jumpers?!?

Ya, I made myself a patch jacket from my favorite jacket (I wore it in my engagement pics!). I’m so proud of my Girl Scout. I’m proud of everything I did as a girl with Girl Scouts and it’s fun to be involved again as a parent and volunteer. Earlier this year Tuesday and I went with a friend of hers and her mom to New York City. We were toured the Girl Scouts of the USA headquarters. Amazingly the CEO came out of her meeting when she heard the girls reciting the Girl Scout Promise. She handed them her personal patch and explained how she chose what she did on it because she’s a rocket scientist. It was amazing and I cried. Tuesday has learned so much about friendship, community, and leadership through Girl Scouts. I absolutely can not wait to see what she does as a Junior. In the fall we’ll have another Girl Scout in the house; Bennet will be a Daisy! And I’m going to be the leader. Wish me luck!

Scrap quilts – random pulls

My friend Sarah and I had a wonderful sewing day a few months ago. We each donated lots of scraps to a few paper bags and went to work pulling out random scraps and making wonky log cabin blocks. This is a method I’ve heard as the Denyse Schmidt method. I’ve never gotten to take one of her classes, but she describes this method in various interviews. I’m not sure if we did exactly what she would do but we did have fun pulling random bits and sewing them together. These two quilts are for sale.

This is my first with absolute random pulls. Making myself use each bit. I sashed it all in an older Cotton and Steel print. for the quilting I did big loops. I’m going to be honest, it’s not my favorite quilt. It was hard to let go this much! Measures 39 x 36″ $125

This second one I like much better. I still did it pretty randomly, but if I really didn’t like something I would pull again. I feel like I was better able to balance the values this way. I also think the sashing I chose sets the blocks off much better. And to me the backing and binding are just right for it. 41 x 52″ $150
If you haven’t tried this method yet I highly recommend it. Even if you just do a few blocks it really gets the creative juices flowing! method

I’ve been quilting….

I recently realized that I had a LOT of unfinished quilt tops. I decided to do something about it and in a little over a week I basted, quilted and bound nine of them! Since I’m not going to keep them all I thought it would be a good time to resurrect this blog and make notes on them here.

Trailer Log Cabin 45″ x 45″
This quilt I think I am going to keep, at least for a bit. It’s special to me because I started piecing the top over a long weekend in our trailer. The girls and I were alone in it during a few rainy days while my husband took the car, leaving us at the campground. It was such a cozy fun time. I only brought a basket of scraps with me, including a large remanent of a Carolyn Friedlander print I love that ended up being the center of each block. After the orange criss cross I chose colors I had on hand and slowly added to the quarter log cabins. Once home I got them up on the design wall I decided not to square up the centers.
I used a walking foot with my Juki to quilt this (which was easy with low loft 100% cotton batting). I machine stitched on the binding. I’m doing this for almost all my quilts now. I’ve gotten better at it and it is so much fast. A good thing when you’re finishing nine quilts! This one is going to live on the big reading chair in our bedroom for now.

Baby quilt

Oh my goodness my blog is dying one of those slow blog deaths, oops. I still want to put some projects on here though, for myself to remember. It’s actually what I use my blog for the most, to check out when or how I did an archived project. Remeber the wedding quilt I made my friends? Well they had a baby and I made her a quilt!
My friend Rachel made a quilt similar and walked me through the top. The back was so fun because I found this awesome panel when I was in Japan this summer. I love how it turned out. Of course I waited until the last minute to finish the quilt so these pictures are from before I put the binding on (which I knew would happen after the sun went down!).
Bennet wanted to jump in (haha) the picture. And oh hey we added a whole new section to the yard. Maybe I’ll share that soon… 🙂

The Garden – early April 2016

I haven’t done a garden update since fall of 2014, I owe a lot of that neglect to our awesome trailer. Last year we just wanted to go, go, go! This year I came at the yard with a big deficit since I didn’t do enough weeding, and no mulching. This ment so much of my garden was being taken over by weeds! I also knew I needed to move a few bigger plants last year and didn’t do it. This year I have to or things are going to get too crazy and crowded. I managed to snap some photos of my front yard last night as the first rain in days blew in and started sprinkling. After a few weeks worth of work it is looking much better.
garden early april-18 copy
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I love that my Princess Irene tulips are finally taking a foothold in my garden. I love them.
I’m addicted to making plant markers! I have had no success with the many, MANY other kinds I’ve tried. Our combination of rain, rain, rain, plus sun in the summer makes any kind of marker just fade away. I knew imprinting into metal was the only way. I ordered this inexpensive set of metal punches, along with block steel (important, it makes it work so much easier), and used a sledge hammer (the little jewelry hammer I got did nothing). You have to use cheap or silver plated flatware. Let me know if you want more info on them and I’ll throw up a tutorial. If I have multiple plants of the same variety I have been doing one in the common name and one in the scientific name, as I’m trying to learn more of those.
Tuesday has moved her fairy garden to the front right when you walk in. She has more plans for it.
Right in front of the porch I moved a neighbor’s hydrangea. Last year this place was a riot of color as I grew flowers for a friend’s wedding, but the rest of the year bare, bare, bare. I’m going to move two more hydrangeas from the back and got a few other plants to tuck in there. Plus I think I’m goign to grow sunchokes, as Bj wants to cook with them, and they would complement the sunflowers I always grow here. Maybe in a pot…. they do scare me a little (they spread).
I’ve added some early spring color in the form of perennials to the my front garden; while it is a riot of color later in the summer right now it’s quite plain. I’m especially taken with the checkered lily, they look pixelated! These, along with a few other new things I’m working on getting into the backyard, are from an awesome nursery called Wild Ginger. It’s very out of the way, but oh so worth the drive if you’re anywhere in the valley! The woman there walked me through the hoop houses and helped me with some problem areas I have in the backyard (like my shady swamp by the play area).
The area to the left of my porch is waiting for a special delivery, a bareroot apricot tree! I am so excited about the tiny little dwarf I ordered. It’s actually on micro dwarf rootstock so it should stay really tiny, be protected in that area, get lots of sun and give me lots of apricots, which I LOVE. Yum, yum, yum. Also spring blooms right in front of my picture window, yes please!
The area around my vine maple I took everything out of. I had been scared to divid my lady’s mantle and as a result it got woody and took over. I divided it, shared some with friends, and put a little back in the bed, along with a few other plants. I may add some poppys for a splash of later summer color, we’ll see.
My dogwood is blooming now and it makes me so happy. It is such a beautiful flowering tree. I really, really wish I had room in my yard for a lilac, I see them around town and love the deep purple plum color so much, and the smell! But the dogwood has such a pretty shape and stays so small, I’m glad I went with it.
The girls came in with me and helped me start some seeds. Tuesday had some parlsey from Burgerville she reallly wanted to start. I love that they give seeds as the prize. She did spinach a couple years ago and they turned out great. I also started a few flowers and some herbs. I’m contemplating a light and heat mat set up (this and this). I don’t know where we would set it up though! I do like the idea of starting plants for myself, and everyone I know.
How does your garden grow this year?

Dolly Love

I remembered that my favorite thing to do is just post photos about the projects I’ve been working and writing a few words about them. So here is what I’ve been working on. A little Etsy shop with clothes for American Girl Dolls (or other 18″ dolls like Our Generation from Target). In conjunction (and because I’ve been having way too much fun with my doll collection) I made an instagram account for said sewing and adventures, you can find it here.
58-358-4first batch-2hair things-2second batch-7second batch-10second batch-15wrist and hair-5second batch-20
It turns out it is really, REALLY fun to sew this small (if somewhat a bit tricky at times). Also super fun to pose the dolls (and very hard to get them to look like they are moving!). Is this a profitable business venture? Let’s just say 18 inch dolls and shoes are not free, no matter how many clothes you can sew them. My seven year old remains very attached to Tootsie and is saving up for another baby doll, so for now I’m the only one playing with them much. Though Tuesday and I do enjoy planning outfits to make for her friends. And she loves making miniture versions of things like Cold Stone Creamery (yes we made that one).
So check out my store if you or a smaller person in your life needs some trendy new clothes for a loved doll. And I’d love to see pictures on instagram!
P.S. This blog just turned 11, how crazy is that?

Rope, clothesline, piping bowls (updated)

Yes, I drank the koolaid! I love this project, it’s quick, easy, customizable, and USEFUL!
rope bowl from 1/4" piping BIG SIZE
A BIG bowl I made from 1/4″ piping.
I’ve made these small and large, with and without handles, colorful thread, and more subtle.
I have found this post by Amanda to be a great resource (and some eye candy! Look at all those beautiful vessels!). She links to this Creative Bug class, but I don’t have a subscription there so I used a free online tutorial. Here is a video of a popular vessel maker, Gemma Patford, in action if you want to see more than pictures.
Comparing materials and costs for rope bowls.
I’ve found clothesline to be the most popular material for making these online, but it is not the only choice. If you want a higher cotton content I would suggest trying some other materials. Here is a breakdown for you of things I’ve tried:
rope bowl from clothesline
Clothesline, 100′ ranges in price from $5.49 on Ribbon Jar and up. My local hardware store had it for $6.79. These are all reinforced cotton, they are usually about 60% poly and 40% cotton. To me it feels like cotton, and I like the stiffness (the clothesline on Ribbon Jar actually is 100% cotton). It’s 3/16″ which is right in the sweet spot for thickness on these bowls. This is going to run you about 17 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 1/4" piping
Cotton piping, 1/4″ natural $4.49 on Ribbon Jar. This is a 33 yard bundle. I like that it has natural specks on it. The cotton material is held together with stitching wrapped around it. This blends really well after you sew the bowl together. It is a poly/cotton blend (83% cotton 17% poly). It also has a bit of a thick and thin look to it. This is going to be about 14 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 100% American made cotton braid
You want something American made? We finally found it and I bundled it up for my mom’s shop. Cotton solid braid $21 on Ribbon Jar. It is SUPER sturdy, the most sturdy of any product and the finished look is so nice. A very consistent product. This is going to be about 64 cents a yard.
rope bowls from organic cotton and spindle cord
Another option is to buy cord by the yard. These materials are not bundled specifically for making bowls, but work great.
Organic cotton cord is $1.85 a yard at the Ribbon Jar. Very beautiful, and expensive, as organic things tend to be. It also comes in a toast color. What a beautiful gift it would be to make a basket out of this for a new baby. I love doing treasure baskets for little ones who like to touch, explore (and eat!) everything!
Spindle cord is something I use a lot for bags, but is esspecially fun for bowls because of it’s vibrant color! Sprindle card is 75 cents a yard at The Ribbon Jar. I used this amazing green color for the bowl above (that’s a five yard bowl).
I hope all of this was helpful. I haven’t had my mom order very many things at the Ribbon Jar since she bought the business from me, but I really had trouble finding what I was looking for with these bowls. I love that she was willing to try these new materials, thanks so much mom! And thanks for the free samples!

I added a new post with details about trying this project with recycled twine. Check it out here.