Works (not) in progress Wednesday

I’m feeling unproductive.  I’m on day 3 of a nasty cold, and I’ve gone to bed earlier than usual the last couple days, which means no sewing time.  I’m also feeling completely deflated by the fact that I have now deemed it impossible to remove black dry erase marker from white quilting cotton.

Here’s The List from last week:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: quilt that baby!
2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
3.  Quilt for Brian.
4. Gathered clutches.
5.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
6.  Ba{M}S mini quilt: remove stain or come up with a creative alternative solution.  Sigh.

The only things I managed to make any slight progress on were the Road Trip Quilt Along quilt and trying more ways to (unsuccessfully) remove the stain from my lovely mini quilt.

I bought Leah Day’s class on, Free Motion Quilting a Sampler, and I’ve been watching the videos on her website.  I’m attempting to learn free motion quilting, but I have a long, long way to go.  However, I do love that I decided to go ahead and FMQ the names of the states each block represents in the sashing.  Can you see it?  

As for my poor, sad little dry-erase-markered mini quilt, here is the list of things I’ve used to try and clean it which DID NOT WORK:

Resolve carpet cleaner
soak in oxyclean
Mr. Clean magic eraser
extra concentrated oxyclean
rubbing alcohol
bleach pen
paint thinner (100% Mineral Spirits)

I did, however, manage to take some of the finish off my dining room table with acetone, despite the fact I had laid down several layers of towel to protect it.  My husband is not happy, and frankly, neither am I.  Add “refinish dining room table” to my project list this spring (perhaps after “bring third child into the world” and before, possibly “move half-way across the country”).

Suggestions I did not try: rotten milk, hairspray, WetOnes baby wipes.  But seriously, if straight up Mineral Spirits cannot remove it, I don’t have a lot of faith in the stain removing power of rotten milk.

Stayed tuned to see what I come up with to creatively cover up the damage.

Here’s The List today:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: quilt that baby!
2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
3.  Quilt for Brian.
4. Gathered clutches.
5.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
6.  Ba{M}S mini quilt: remove stain or come up with a creative alternative solution.  Sigh.
7.  Nancy Drew project.  I’ve jumped on board with the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop.  The “assignment” is to create any project we desire, we just have to use Moda’s new Nancy Drew fabric as part of the project.  I’m super excited about mine.  The Nancy Drew fabric is not available yet, but I just got some other fabrics for my project in the mail today.

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday!

Welcome to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday on Sewing by Moonlight.

My name is Em and I have far too much on my mind. Sewing is my release! I just recently opened my Etsy store (with all of 6 items) and now have a Facebook page. I would be delighted if you came by to Like Sewing by Moonlight on Facebook!

This week, I had hoped to show you this little mini, all quilted and bound, since last week it was all quilted (one would think I could accomplish 96 linear inches of binding in one week).
 But, alas!  Horror of horrors!  There was an attack by a tiny, marker-weilding terrorist and this happened:
 So instead of binding this lovely mini this week, I spent a lot of time trying to (as of yet, unsuccessfully) remove dry erase marker from white fabric.  (insert sobbing)

I did give you a sneak peek last week at a quilt I was ambitious about finishing this week, but life happened, and quilting did not.  However, I finished the back of the quilt, and the quilt sandwich is completed, so that is definitely significant in my book!  I’m going to quilt this myself, and I’m admittedly a bit nervous about it.  This is a bed-sized quilt (72 x 90) and it will be the largest thing I’ve quilted on my home machine.  I would appreciate any words of encouragement you care to offer on that front!

This is the Road Trip Quilt Along quilt, which came together as a result of the 16 weeks of Road Trip Quilt Along tutorials I posted this summer and early fall.

I added the strip pieced sections to the top and bottom of the quilt because I wanted it to be rectangular rather than square.  And then two borders finished it off.

I am trying to decide if I should attempt to add the name of the state each block represents in the quilting so I don’t forget.  That’s Virginia, in the upper left corner, the block I completed first on the Road Trip Quilt Along.  Right below it is South Dakota, which gave me some trouble the first time I attempted it, but turned out to be one of my favorite blocks.

The back of the quilt is mostly Kona coal, but I pieced the back with extra fabric from the blocks and few blocks that were rejected or redone.

There are two Pennsylvania blocks here, one deconstructed and rearranged, and the other that I just decided to redo because I didn’t love it.  You can also see my first attempt at the interior of that South Dakota block, which turned out too small.

I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this week!  If you’re in the U.S. did you accomplish stuffing yourself with turkey today?  I did, but just a little because I wanted to save room to stuff myself with PIE!

Works in Progress: Occupied by other things

I didn’t have a particularly productive sewing week this week.  My time has been occupied by organizing a silent auction fundraiser for my older daughter’s preschool and trying (as yet, still unsuccessfully) to remove dry erase marker that my 2-year-old decided to use to decorate my beautiful mini quilt, which is for a swap.  First time I have cried over a quilt.  Sigh.  This is how the worst of it looks after oxyclean, rubbing alcohol, acetone, higher concentrations of oxyclean, and hair spray.

Meanwhile, big news regarding my biggest non-sewing WiP: our third child, due end of March …
Baby Girl #3!  Whatever will we do with ourselves?!

Here’s what I did manage to accomplish from The List last week:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: create back.  Finished.  This is a pretty big deal for me; this quilt has been a long time in the making.  Now to quilt it.  I’m very nervous because it is a bed sized quilt and I have never attempting something that large on my home sewing machine before!
2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top.  Minimal progress.  I did manage to cut a few scraps that I will use in the outside border.

3.  Quilt for Brian.  Minimal progress.  And no progress by me.  I did receive a few blocks in the mail from my mom.  Thanks, Mom!

4.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial.  Finished!  This was a bit of an undertaking.  I put a lot of time into putting the photos together for this one.  I’m calling the block “Multiples of 3”, and the tutorial is now available if you want to try this block!
5. Gathered clutches.  No progress.  
6.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote.  No progress.
7.  Ba{M}S mini quilt.  AAAUUGH!!!  Wish I were telling you that this was finished, but I got it all done except for the binding and then the marker-weilding tiny terrorist attacked.  So, no, it’s not finished, but it is causing me a lot of angst.

Hmm, now that I wrote that out, I’m feeling better.  I actually did more than I realized last week.  Moving on.  Here’s The List now:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: quilt that baby!
2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
3.  Quilt for Brian.
4. Gathered clutches.
5.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
6.  Ba{M}S mini quilt: remove stain or come up with a creative alternative solution.  Sigh.

(Hey!  Look how short my list is!  There are actually at least 3-4 projects in my head, or way on the back burner, but until I begin them/pick them up again, they are staying hidden from the published List.)

There’s a lot happening in the sewing world.  Go see what’s going on at Freshly Pieced!


Multiples of 3: quilt block tutorial

This is the “Multiples of 3” Quilt Block
3 x 1 = 3: This block is composed of 3-sided triangles; each triangle is made from 3 pieces
3 x 2 = 6: 6 triangles are used to make up the 6-sided hexagon in the block
3 x 6 = 18; The hexagon is made from 18 identically shaped pieces
3 x 8 = 24; Add in the background pieces and this block used 24 pieces of fabric

Multiples of 3 Quilt Block Tutorial

Make a template for your “kite” pieces

Each triangle in this block is an equilateral triangle with three 6-inch sides (and 3 60-degree angles).

Begin by drawing a line, 6-inches in length on a piece of paper.  Line up the 60-degree line on a clear ruler with the line you just drew and draw a 2nd 6-inch line at a 60-degree angle from the first.  Complete the triangle by drawing a third 6-inch line.

Mark the center point of each line.  Split the interior of the triangle by connecting the center point of each line with the opposite corner of the triangle.

The “kite” template that will be used for this block is formed by two adjacent interior lines that extend from the center point of the triangle to the middle of exterior edge.  This triangle is composed of three of these “kite” shapes.  Choose one of them and add 1/4 inch seam allowances on all sides of your template.  Cut out the paper template.

Use the template you just made to cut out 18 “kite” shapes from fabric.  My preference is to use 6 different fabrics and cut 3 kites from each fabric, but you could use as few as 2 different fabrics, or go really scrappy and choose 12 different fabrics.  (Actually, this block would be a great scrap buster block because the individual pieces aren’t very large.)

Arrange your kites to make up a hexagon composed of 6 triangles.  Each triangle will have two identical fabrics to form the base and a different one for the apex.

Begin by sewing the two base pieces of one triangle together.  All seams will be 1/4 inch.  Mark 1/4 inch from the center point of the triangle.  Sew from the outside edge of the triangle to the point you just marked 1/4 inch from the center edge.

Fold down the top edge of the fabric you just stitched together.  This will expose a second unsewn edge of one of the kites that compose the base of the triangle.  Lay the kite that will be the apex of the triangle on top, right side down.  You will have now have a stack of three pieces of fabric: 1. the bottom, right side facing up, which is already sewn to 2. the middle, with one edge folded back between the layers and 3. the top, right side down.

Flip the stack over so you can see the first line of stitches.  Again, sew from the edge of the triangle and stop where your previous line of stitches stopped, 1/4 inch from the center point of the triangle.

Two of three interior seams are now completed, and just one remains to finish the 3-parted triangle.

Match the two un-sewn interior edges.  The two kites that still have these un-sew edges will stack on top of one another.  The third kite will be folded in half.  Line up the two interior seams that have already been completed.

Once again, sew from the edge of the triangle and stop where the other stitches stopped, 1/4 inch from the center point.  I like to put in a couple back stitches here to hold it in place.

Iron the triangle open.  Now make 5 more!

To get the best results when you make your hexagon, you will need to trim your triangle so the edges are even.  I have tried this without trimming and ended up with a hexagon whose two halves wouldn’t match up correctly.

Trimming the triangle, Method 1: faster

This is the easiest way to trim your triangle.  You simply line up the 60-degree line along one edge of the triangle and use a rotary cutter to trim the adjacent edge.  Rotate the triangle so that the edge you just trimmed lines up with the 60-degree line on the ruler and trim the adjacent edge.  Repeat one more time and you’re finished trimming.

Trimming the triangle, Method 2: more accurate

This trimming method involves making a triangles template of the size the triangle is supposed to be.  It takes a little extra time upfront to make the template, but goes just as quickly as the previous method after that and it more accurate.  I made my template on heavy card stock so it would hold up well.

Begin by drawing an equilateral triangle with 6-inch sides, just as you did to make your “kite” template in the beginning.  This time, as I mentioned, I used card stock.  Add a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around the triangle.  Draw another triangle to the interior, about an inch from the outside edge.

Cut around the outside of the seam allowance line.  Cut out the middle of the triangle.  Add a line perpendicular to each edge at the half way point.  This will help you line up the interior seams of your fabric triangle.

Line up the fabric triangle under the template and place your ruler along the edge of the template.  Use a rotary cutter to trim off the excess.  Repeat for the other 5 triangles.

Arrange your triangles how you want them to appear in your block.  Sew three triangles together into a half-hexagon.  Repeat for the other half hexagon.

Place the two half hexagons right sides together and line up the center seam and the interior seams.  Sew the two halves together and iron the hexagon open.

Completing the “Multiples of 3” block

I prefer to cut my background fabric larger than needed and then trim the block down later.  From your background fabric, you will need:

(2) rectangles, 6.5 inches x 2 inches
(2) rectangles, 6.5 inches x 8 inches, cut on the diagonal to make (4) triangles

First sew the two thinner triangles to opposite edges of the hexagon.  Lay out the triangles around the remaining four edges of the hexagon.  Sew the upper triangles to the hexagon. Iron open.  Sew the two lower triangles; be sure that your fabric extends beyond the edge of the piece already attached to the triangle.  Iron open the final pieces.

Trim the block to 12.5 inches.

Want to see how this block looks in other colors?  Here ya go!

I know it’s Tuesday, but since this is a modern block, which I made for the 4×5 Modern Bee, and I began writing this up on Monday, I’m linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday (while there’s still time!)

Quilting Conundrum: SOLVED

I am working on a mini quilt for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  When I showed it to you a couple days ago, I had finished the top, but was debating about how to quilt the part around the bird without quilting over the bird.

Then I saw this mini quilt on Flickr, and I knew that was just what I needed to do!  Swirls!  I love that there is such an array of creativity and talent online that can inspire.

So, swirls around the bird, plus some lines echoing the wing and tail.  Sierra declared the quilting looks like wind.  She also asked me what foot I used to make the swirls, which is AWESOME that question would occur to her!

I did a chevron pattern with the quilting in the outside of the quilt, plus another swirl in each corner to carry that pattern to the outside.

I’m going to link up with Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday this week.

Though, this still needs binding, so it’s really Thank Goodness it’s (not quite) Finished Friday Saturday.  😉

Speaking of TGIFF: Guess who’s hosting next week?  Oh yeah, ME!  Think I finish this bad boy by then?

The process of bringing it all together

I joined a mini quilt swap for Bee a {Modern} Swapper.

I looked at my partner’s inspiration mosaic and sketch out a design.

Then I put together a pile of 6.5 inch squares.

But they were just a small part of this quilt.  The center is the shining star here.  I started by adding a bird in a tree with raw edge appliqué.  Those little leaves were a bit of a challenge.

Poor blind, legless birdie got an eye and legs with some embroidery.  And she needed a colorful song!

Then I put it all together and made a scrappy back.

Now I need to figure out how to quilt it.  I’m thinking zig-zags, making “x”s through the outside blocks.  But I’m totally stumped about that center …

Works in Progress

I’m feeling productive this week.  Trying to finish up some projects on The List so I have more sewing time to work on some creations to stock my Etsy store.  I’m currently a little disheartened by that endeavor, but I’m hoping I can find some business with the upcoming holiday season.  Time will tell, I suppose.

Here’s The List from last week:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: create back. No progress.

2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top. Some progress. I added a thin purple border along the outside to pull out some of the purple elsewhere in the quilt.  I am going to add a wider, scrappy, wonky diamond border on the outside, and then I can work on finishing this one!

3.  Quilt for Brian.  Some progress.  I finished two more blocks.  I need to count up those I’ve made + those others have made and see where I am on the road to 42 blocks.

4.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial.  Progress.  I finished the block and took photos along the way, now I just have to write the tutorial and post it!

5.  4×5 Bee Blocks.  Finished!  YAY!  Though, I forgot to take photos.  You can see how they looked before I added the background.

6. Gathered clutches. No progress.

7.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote. Minimal progress. I finished the specific bag below.
7a. Gracie tote. Finished.

8.  Ba{M}S mini quilt. Progress. Applique bird on the inside, small blocks for the outside complete, now I just have to put it together.

Also completed but not on the list: two spider web quilt blocks for November Bee a {Modern} Swapper.

PLUS, writing a tutorial for a 12.5 inch spider web block with less fabric waste!

So, yeah, busy week.  Next week, perhaps, less sewing and more sleep?  We shall see …

The List looks like this:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: create back.
2.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
3.  Quilt for Brian.
4.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial
5. Gathered clutches.
6.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
7.  Ba{M}S mini quilt

Now, go see what others are working on this week!


Spider web block tutorial

Have you seen Heather’s excellent spider web quilt block tutorial from House of a la Mode?  She uses a fabric foundation to create the block, which finishes at 12″ square.  This tutorial is great if you’re going to make an entire project from her tutorial.

However, if you are making a block or two for a quilt bee, or for a sampler quilt, the 12 inch block size is just a teensy bit too small.  You want your block to be 12.5 inches square.  I also wanted to eliminate the fabric foundation and create a template for the center of the block so I wouldn’t end up with so much wasted fabric.

Here is how you can make a template for your block centers and for trimming the quarters of the block, and finished 12.5 inch spider web quilt block.

UPDATE: I made a printable pdf template for the center portion of the spider web block, as well as one for trimming the 1/4 block to the correct size. 

CLICK HERE: Cutting template PDF for spider web quilt block

If you have printed your template, skip to the section called “Cut out your block centers.”  If you’d like to learn how to make your template, keep reading.

Draw a 12-inch square on a large piece of paper (I used freezer paper).

Divide the 12-inch square into quarters by drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an “x” across the square.

In one of the quarters, mark the center of the square’s edge.  Also make a mark along the diagonal lines 6-inches from each corner.

You will end up with 3 marks, each 6 inches from their closest corners.

Connect the mark on each diagonal line to the mark in the center of the square’s edge.  This is the center portion of your finished block.

To finish up your template, add a seam allowance of 1/4 inch all the way around.

Cut out the shape around the seam allowance and you have a template for the center portion of your spider web block!

Make a trimming template

To ensure your block ends up the correct size, you are going to need to trim up each quarter block before sewing them together.

Guess what?  You already made your trimming template!  It’s the quarter square directly across from the one you used to make the center piece template.

All you have to do is add 1/4 inch seam allowances all the way around and cut it out.

Two templates – easy!

Cut out your block centers

Lay your center template on the fabric you will be using for the center of your block.  Align a ruler with the template and use your rotary cutter to cut out the centers of your block.

(No rotary cutter?  No problem.  Just use a pencil or a fabric mark to draw around your template and cut out with your scissors.)

And since you have this handy template, you can turn it the other direction, lay it along the line you just cut, and cut out the rest of your pieces.  Very little waste.  Yay!

For each block, you will need four (4) center pieces from your template and a pile of strips.    Your longest strips need to be 6 inches long, and I like to cut mine 1-2 inches wide.  You will need between 40-65 strips per block, depending on how wide you cut your strips.

Construct the block

Take one of your center pieces, and align a strip with one of the long edges, right sides together.

Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Open the strip away from the center piece.  (Gross.  Ignore my yucky ironing board cover, which clearly needs to be replaced.)

Align your next strip with the edge of the first, right sides together.

Again, sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then open the strip outward.

Continue in this manner until you’ve attached enough strips to reach the edge of your trimming template.

You’ll need 6.5 inches of pieced strips from the center point to the edge, but if you’re not sure, just hold the template up to to check.

Add another series of strips for the other side of the quarter block.  If you have not yet pressed your seams with a hot iron, now is the time.

Align your trimming template with your quarter block and place a ruler along the edge of the template.  Trim around all sides.

Now, make three more quarter blocks in the same way.

With a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew pairs of quarter blocks together.  Press the seam open.

Align the center seams of the two halves, as well as the seams at the edge of the block center.  Sew the halves together with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Trim the block to 12.5 inches.

Then, go make some more.  Because the beauty in this block is in how it comes together with its friends.  I only made two blocks since they were for a bee, but you can see how the spider web shape begins to appear where the blocks meet.

{Sew} Modern Monday and a pretty little patchwork pouch

My friend Kim encouraged me to reach out in bloggy land a little bit more and share some project on link-ups, like today’s {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations.

I’ve been meaning to show you this totally adorable patchwork zip pouch I made for my friend Kimber’s birthday.

I used a little bit of Kate Spain on one side and framed it out with solids in a mini log cabin.

The other side is a simple patchwork, 1.5 inches finished in yellow, green, orange, and pink.

And on the inside, this pretty little print from Dear Stella.

You’ve gotta love a pretty little pouch!  Holds your keys and credit card and chapstick, or discretely keeps your “girl things”, or makes it easy to find a hair tie for your little girl, or even a sweet little snack pouch for on the go.

AND!  I just decided that since I’m trying to increase my social media presence, I’m going to give away a sweet little patchwork pouch when I get to 150 Facebook followers.  So help me out, and head on over to Like Sewing by Moonlight on Facebook!


Two mei tais for twins

After a long hiatus from making mei tais, I found myself with four on my list.  I love making them because I know they will be used to snuggle a baby close to mom or dad, but they are definitely high on the “time and effort” scale.  These two went out in the mail to Canada this morning, so now I will move on to finishing up some other things on The List, and working on some things to stock my Etsy shop!

A friend asked me to make two mei tais for a friend that is having twins.  I love the fabrics that they chose; the fabrics of both carriers have been long time favorites of mine, especially the Michael Miller Birds of Norway.  So beautiful.

Green straps were requested for this one, and I used an absolutely delicious green brushed denim.  So soft!

The new parents wanted the reverse of the carrier to be brown.  I suggested this diamond print from the Michael Miller Heaven and Helsinki line.  Still “manly” enough for Daddy to be comfortable wearing it, but it adds another dimension to the reverse side.

The other mei tai is Timeless Treasures owls cream, another print I have loved.  This one had brown twill straps.

The reverse is Ann Kelle Bermuda stripe.  When you see these two prints together, they are perfect.  You wouldn’t know they were from the same fabric line!

I love these carriers for twins.  They have many of the same colors in the fabrics, so they coordinate nicely without being too “match-y.”  I hope the little babies enjoy being snuggled in them and the parents enjoy being hands free while baby is close!

What are you happy to have finished this week?  Go share at Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted this week by M-R at Quilt Matters.