Caramel mug rug

I continue to be amazed by the kindness and friendship I find in the online quilting community.

This winter, a friend posted a photo on Instagram of some caramels she was making. I left a comment about sharing with me, and then she messaged me and asked for my address. A few days later, I got a package in the mail filled with homemade caramels. They were delicious!

In return, I made this caramel candy mug rug. It was a quick little project, and a good chance for me to practice a little bit of free motion quilting as well. I did a little lava flow quilting in the background (my 3-year-old saw it and said “worms!”) with some pebbles in the candy.

Caramel candy mug rug

The back is just a bright bit of happy flower fabric. I like that you can see the candy shape from the quilting.

Caramel candy mug rug

I did a quick machine sewn binding with the edge plate on my walking foot.

Caramel candy mug rug

And then it was off in the mail. I really should make a mug rug for myself. I’ve sent plenty to others, but they are a great little project to have a fun bit of handmade goodness in your life everyday.

Caramel candy mug rug

St. Louis MQG Cares

Another I-actually-finished-this-awhile-ago-but-haven’t-posted-it finish.

My local Modern Quilt Guild participated in a charity sewing project at the end of last year and the beginning of this. We made pillow covers and gave them away to people receiving treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center sites here in the St. Louis area. You can read more about the project on the STLMQG Cares page.

We wanted to use high quality, beautiful fabrics and finish them in a way that would make the covers last.

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The envelope backs are double layer on each side and the pillow covers are finished with French seams.

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Members of our guild gave the first round of pillows away on Valentine’s Day and another round a little later.

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Check out more great finishes!

Crazy Mom Quilts

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday

Mini seat back pocket

 

I found this post in my drafts and thought that I might as well share it.

When my daughter’s kindergarten teacher learned that I was an avid seamstress, she asked if I would be willing to take on a project for her classroom. I agreed and she purchased the fabric.

Sh wanted to have a seat back pocket for each of her students so they have their desk space open but still have their work and pencil boxes close. I measure the chairs and made a couple of prototypes. This is my first prototypes:

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It’s a straightforward concept. One piece of fabric is folded over to create the sleeve that goes over the chair.

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The second piece of fabric is cut shorter and wider than the first to create a pocket with a gusset.

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In this first example, I sewed bias tape on all three exposed edges. Ultimately, though, I changed the construction a little bit. I sewed bias tape along the two side and then finished the bottom with a French seam. This made a nice, sturdy finish and it was less fiddly than attaching the bias tape around the corners and not eliminating the effect of the gusset.

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I ended up making 19 for a class of 17, so my daughter’s teacher would have a couple extra. I have some extra fabric, and I will be making a few more. My daughter’s teacher tells me that she will have a larger class next year.

Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge

This has been finished for some time, actually (as you might have guessed based on the SNOW on the ground in the photos!), but I’m just now getting around to posting about it.

This quilt, which I’m calling “Twisted Triangles” was my entry into the Modern Quilt Guild‘s Riley Blake Challenge. Seriously, I don’t know how it didn’t win the prize, as it is clearly awesome!

In all honesty, there were innumerable stand-out entries. I was blown away by all the talent displayed and it was really fascinating to see how the same fabrics inspired such a wide array of projects.

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I was amused by the process of making this quilt in particular:

1. Whip out rotary cutter and slice up pretty fabric.

2. Sew fabric back together in a triangle.

3. Slice through the fabric I just finished sewing.

4. Insert white strip and sew back together again.

5. Repeat.

It just seemed completely counterintuitive to cut up something I had just sewed together!

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The back is a Riley Blake print I had purchased for another project and ended up not using, along with some coordinating solids.

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I attempted to repeat the twisting triangles in the quilting.

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Even though though this isn’t a recent finish, I’m sharing at Crazy Mom Quilts. Lots of great projects linked; go check them out!

A big thank you and a sad farewell

Several weeks ago, I told you that my dad had cancer and that I wanted to make him a quilt for his birthday. I had less than 6 weeks to have it completely finished, and I asked for your help because I didn’t think that I could complete the project on that timeline by myself.

Well, I am happy to report that we succeeded! I was overwhelmed by the response from my quilting friends. I received blocks or fabric from members of my local St. Louis Modern Quilt guild, from around the country, and even from around the world. I am blown away by the kindness of this community. I had three long arm quilters volunteer to do the quilting for only the cost of shipping, and another offered just recently when she learned about the project.

I picked up the last of the blocks at the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild meeting on April 12th. I actually ended up with more blocks than I needed for this quilt, so if you sent me blocks and you don’t see them here, fear not. I’ve decided that I will make the remaining blocks needed for a second quilt and pay your kindness forward by donating that quilt to Quilts of Valor.

After the April guild meeting, I put the blocks together and made the back of the quilt. I mailed it to Melissa of Melia Mae Quilting the day after Easter. She did the beautiful long arm quilting with stars and mailed the quilt to my parents’ house to make sure that it was there when I arrived May 1st. I used my mom’s sewing machine to finish the binding and the surprise was almost spoiled when my dad peeked in to see what I was doing. Luckily, I had shoved the quilt under the sewing table and pretended I was fixing my daughter’s pants.

My girls presented the quilt to their Grandpa for his birthday, and he was so pleased. My dad is not the type to show a lot of emotion, so I consider it a big deal that he brought it up and thanked me more than once. My mom even said that when she was heading out to her own guild meeting on Monday evening after we left, my dad said, “Well, you’d better take this one to show.”

It brings tears to my eyes that I had so many of you offer to help me with this. If not for you, my dad would never have received this gift. I would not have finished it on my own before he died. I wish he would have been able to enjoy his quilt for years to come, but I’m happy it was finished in time for him to have this gift for a week. My dad passed away on Sunday, May 11th, 2014.

His obituary can be seen here if you’d like to know more about him. He was an active member of his community, a loving dad and husband, a good friend, and he was just awesome as Grandpa. The fact that my girls will not have more years with Grandpa Bob is what crushes me with sadness. He will be missed by many.

 

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The two oldest grandkids hold up Grandpa Bob’s quilt

 

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Close up of the quilting, some blocks, and the flag stripe binding

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I like how the chain blocks create diagonal lines across the quilt

 

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The back of the quilt

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This boot print fabric was perfect for this quilt

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Sunday Stash and Giveaway

Tap, tap, tap …

Ahem.

Is this on? Anybody out there?

Oh, hey, there! It’s been awhile. I’m here to host Sunday Stash, so welcome, if you’ve hopped over from Molli Sparkles.

Molli Sparkles

I’m also considering this my “welcome back to blogging after an unintentional hiatus” post. Sewing by Moonlight, the blog, it seems, is a casualty of @moonlightsewing on Instagram. It just so simple to quickly share what I’ve been working on in the sewing room and to check out the latest from my sewing friends. I can do it on the go. In the sewing room. Often in bad lighting. I don’t have to upload photos to my desktop or login to WordPress or even write words because, you know, a picture is worth a thousand.

But stick around after today, or follow on Bloglovin’ because I have some actual blog posts lined up to share in the very near future. And meanwhile, come on over and say hi on Instagram. Go ahead, enable my addition. It’s not yet bad enough that I need a 12 step program!

I am a member of the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild and this month we are having a fabric swap. Last month, if we wanted to participate, we shared an inspiration photo with our partner, who was to use the photo to select fabric.

My partner chose this photo from design seeds:

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I went shopping and decided to stay pretty literal to the palette in the photograph. My partner gets a fat eight bundle and another one will go to one of you! I purchased half yards of most of these, so the remaining fat quarters will find their way into my stash. Don’t you just love how this is a stash addition and a giveaway all in one?

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Have you made any fun additions to your fabric stash lately? Or do you have something from your current stash you want to share? Leave your link for a chance to win!

Minion Pinion

 

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A friend posted a picture of a minion in her Instagram feed, wondering if anyone had seen a pattern for one. She commented that she thought it would be great to have a minion in her sewing room with her.

I thought that if one were going to have a minion in one’s sewing room, the minion should do something. Like hold pins.

And I was thus inspired to make her a minion pin cushion: A PINION!

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I used felt for the body and the hands and raw edge appliqué to add the overalls, goggles, and eyes.

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I used a tight zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to add details: the goggle strap, the shoulder straps of the overalls, and the middle of the eyes.

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Now I think *I* need a PINION to help out in my sewing room!

Cancer sucks and I need your help

My dad has cancer.

It’s not a secret, I just don’t talk about it because it makes me sad and angry and frustrated and a whole host of other emotions that don’t even have names. There aren’t words to describe how unsettled and out of sorts it makes me feel to know my dad has this disease which he maybe, someday could recover from. Or it could take his life. We don’t know. I can’t begin to imagine how it makes him feel.

Here’s the short version: My dad was diagnosed as having a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). He was on chemotherapy medication for almost a year and then, in September, he had surgery to remove a very large tumor and a dozen or so smaller tumors from his abdomen. About a month ago, a scan revealed the cancer had spread: stomach, liver, kidneys. His case was transferred to another hospital and he started some different chemotherapy drugs. There are a lot of unknowns ahead.

I just returned home from visiting my parents for a few days. My dad gets around, but the disease and its treatment wipe him out quickly, so he spends a lot of time in his recliner. Apparently, my mom was watching a show that featured Quilts of Valor. My dad made some comment along the lines of “Those guys get a quilt and their wife isn’t even a quilter.” At least cancer hasn’t made him soft!

I could apply for a quilt from Quilts of Valor for my dad. He’s a Vietnam veteran. On top of that, it’s possible (probable?) that exposure to agent orange during that war caused the cancer. But, I told my that I wanted to make him a quilt, and drew up three color schemes using Ohio Star blocks and 4-patch chain blocks (modified Irish Chain? Does this block have a name?)

He picked this one. It’s made of a 5×6 grid of 12-inch blocks to finish at a large throw size of 60×72 inches.

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I would love to have this finished by his birthday May 5th. That’s exactly 6 weeks from now. I don’t think I can complete this quilt on that timeline by myself, but I was hoping you would help?

The color scheme is “red, white and blue”: think deep blue and bright red, like the American flag.

These are the blocks I need:

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I will post a quick tutorial for these in the next day or so, but here are the quick fabric requirements:

Chain Block:
white: (2) strips, 2.5 x 10 inches; (4) squares, 4.5 inches
blue: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches
red: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches

Step 1: Sew one long white strip to the long blue strip along the long edge. Sew the other long white strip to the long red strip.
Step 2: Cut the strips apart every 2.5 inches (You will have pairs of red or blue + white that are 2.5 x 4.5 inches)
Step 3: Sew the short red and blue strips together along the 5-inch edge.
Step 4: Cut the red and blue piece in the middle to make two pairs of red + blue for the center of the block.
Step 5: Use pairs and white squares to assemble the block as seen above.

Star Block: 
For the center: 3.25 inch square, white or low volume with red or blue print
For the corners around the center: (2) 3-inch squares (red or blue, depending on the block), cut on the diagonal to make (4) triangles
–Sew the long edge of each triangle to a side of the center square. Trim the unit to 4.5 inches.
Quarter square triangles: (2) 5.25 inch squares, white; (1) 5.25 inch square, red; (1) 5.25 inch square, blue
Block corners: (4) 4.5 inch squares, red or blue, depending on the block

If you’d like to help, I would be forever grateful. Here’s how:

1. Make a block or two and send it my way. Leave a message, or email me at em@sewingbymoonlight.com and I will send you my address. I’d like all blocks in hand by April 16th at the very latest (3.5 weeks from now).

2. Send me some fabrics in “American flag” colors of deep blue and bright red. Both of these colors are severely under-represented in my stash. A 2.5 x 15 inch strip or a 9-inch square in these colors would go a long way! Again, send me an email if you can help out with this and I’ll send you my address.

3. This is a long shot, but if you are a longarmer, or know of one would would do this project on the cheap the week after Easter, let me know. I can certainly manage a quilt of this size on my Bernina, but a long arm would be quicker!

Bill’s Star

My friend Bill wanted a handmade quilt for his bed. I can’t argue with that. If you are lucky enough to know a quilter who will make you a quilt for your bed (or you ARE a quilter), just know that you own a treasure because there are a LOT of hours that go into making a quilt that large. (I think that you should read this post on the value of a quilt.)

Bill is a dear friend, and when his Facebook status asked if anyone knew a quilter, I was more than happy to volunteer my own skills.

Bill sent me this photo as an example of the colors he wanted. Rather than go with all solids, I found the Michael Miller Krystal prints at The Fat Quarter Shop. Ivory, burgundy, and teal (which is really more “spruce”, I think) were perfect!

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I found this pattern for a Single Star Wreath on Serendipity Patchwork. The pattern was for 6-inch blocks and a finished quilt of 42 inches. I modified the idea to make 14-inch blocks and a quilt that finishes at 98 inches on a side!

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I love how the angles of the blocks give the illusion of a star in a circle.

Bill's circle star quilt

I made some huge templates to get the isosceles triangle blocks and worked with oversized half square triangles. It was a fun challenge to make blocks of this large scale.

Bill's circle star quilt

The next photo shows the color a little more accurately and you can see the quilting, which was done by Pat Cole on her long arm machine. The size of this quilt was more than I was comfortable attempting on my little domestic Bernina!

Bill's circle star quilt

I kept is simple with the back and used a single length of 108″ backing fabric with a subtle tone on tone ivory print.

Bill's circle star quilt

Bill, I hope this keeps you cozy and happy. It was joy making this for you, friend.