Kay’s Cross Stitch Quilt

Last Spring I had the privilege of custom quilting another of Kay’s cross stitch quilts.

Kay is actually a neighbor from our former neighborhood in Omaha, but we actually met during a Sit & Knit I hosted for a time.  While knitting I learned that Kay had cross stitched two queen size quilts back in the 80s & 90s, but never got around to having them quilted.  Lucky for her she met me 😉

I finished her beautiful gold quilt a few years ago & shortly after we moved here I got an email from her saying she found her purple quilt!  She shipped it out East & last spring I got to work.

Kay's Cross Stitch quilt, custom quilted by Ormond Beach Quilts

She wanted the quilting that was pre-printed on the fabric, which was mostly gorgeous feathers.

Kay's Cross Stitch quilt, custom quilted by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was so much fun to work on & came out beautifully!  I love how the custom quilting really accented her hand work!

Kay's Cross Stitch quilt, custom quilted by Ormond Beach Quilts
So, kudos to Kay for finishing this quilt!  It will surely be loved!

Quilts from the Bluffs Fundraiser

People always ask me if I’ll make them a baby quilt for them to buy & 90% of the time my answer is no.  This is for many reasons, but since I’m not making quilts to sell, I wanted to share that Quilts from the Bluffs currently has four 36″ baby quilts for sale!

These are the cutest Dinosaur quilts with an adorable flannel backing!

dino quilt 2 dino quilt 3 dino quilt 4 Dino Quilt1

They are a STEAL at $50/piece & on top of that it’s a 100% tax deduction!

Flannel backing
If you want one of these I highly recommend emailing Jeanine at qftbluffs@gmail.com right now!

Quilts from the Bluffs is a wonderful, volunteer run ministry.  They have given away over 300 quilts to date in 2015 & focus their quilts for those in need in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area.  They are completely funded by donations & the sweat of their quilters.  Can we help them out folks?

Tuesday Tip: Coffee Filters for Thread Bits

Hey! It’s a Tuesday Tip! It’s only been about 2 years since I posted one of these, but I recently discovered a great way to keep your thread bits contained.

Tuesday Tip: Use a coffee filter to keep your threads contained as you work

I used to use one of those pin cushion/thread catcher things, but you know what- those dangling thread catcher bags are at the perfect height for toddlers to pull down.  Ask me know I know 😉  So now I’m terrible about just throwing threads on the ground.  And since the studio is carpeted, it’s difficult to vacuum & just a mess to deal with really (but that hasn’t kept me from changing my habits any!)

I was recently given a bag of trims, etc for my classes & in there where some coffee filters. My original thought was to use them for my collage classes, but I saw them as I was about to clip a bunch of threads from a quilt that was on the longarm. Bingo! I can put all the threads in a filter & just throw the filter away!

I’ve even started using them for those tiny fabric bits that happen when you trim a bazillion half square triangles for a Bear’s Paw block :)

So now I wonder what else I can put in coffee filters to contain small messes.

July Do.Good Stitches Block

Another month for the do.good stitches project!

July do.good stitches for the Believe Circle

This month we were asked to make Bear Paw blocks from a free pattern through the Fat Quarter Shop.

The colorway was a beautiful palette from design seeds I think?  I love the programs where you can upload a photo & they give you the color scheme- it’s a great way to put together ideas for a quilt & it helps give specific guidelines when working in a group project like this one- much better than saying “yellow & gray.”

For as traditional as the Bear’s Paw block is, I think it was the first time I’ve made one!  It went well & I was able to use scraps.  The only thing I changed was the pattern called for you to cut 2 7/8″ squares for the Half Square Triangle “Claws” & I cut 3″ squares, then trimmed them down to a finished 2 1/2″.  This is actually a huge pet peeve of mine- HST’s cut exactly at the 7/8″ line need to be sewn with a very precise scant 1/4″ seam allowance to come out perfectly- there’s no room for any error.  However, if you just cut your squares 1/8″ larger to the next “whole number,” you can trim down your HSTs & pretty much ensure the HST will come out exact.  Basically, cut it a little larger & give yourself space rather than stress.

Aside from that it was fun to make, but sheesh there are lots of HST’s in one block!  Very glad I only had to make one!

A Quilt for Maribeth (or Lessons in Giving)

Sometimes you start a quilt & are unaware of what it will become.

Random Reflections by Ormond Beach Quilts
I began this quilt back in 2009?  2010?  I can’t remember, but it was a class sample for a class that never came to be.  I used the Moda Bake Shop pattern “Random Reflections.”  I pieced this at a quilting retreat in Kansas & wow, there were a lot of issues with this quilt.

Random Reflections by Ormond Beach Quilts
For starters, I used a precut batik collection from somewhere (can’t remember exactly where, but it wasn’t a name brand.)  I went ahead & just cut the white from yardage & cut 2.5″ strips.  Come to find out, the precut strips where slightly larger than 2.5″ & instead of cutting new white fabric, I steamrolled through forcing the fabric to fit.  (Side note here, this is bad quilting.  Don’t do what I did.)

After piecing the top, I wasn’t thrilled with how it came out.  It didn’t look “bad,” but it also didn’t speak to me.  So it sat in the “to be quilted pile.” (which really has grown to almost hilarious levels.)

Random Reflections by Ormond Beach Quilts
Fast forward to the summer of 2013 & I wanted to practice some custom quilting, so I dragged it out & got started.  Immediately I cursed my bad piecing & honestly, I wasn’t thrilled with the quilting choices I chose.  Then I found out I was pregnant & we were moving & it sat in a box.  I did work on it some after we moved, but not enough to really say I made any progress on the quilt.  Finally after we moved into this house & I was face to face with all my quilting projects, so I loaded it on the longarm & finished it in less than two hours one Sunday night.

Random Reflections by Ormond Beach Quilts
I couldn’t believe it.  All that procrastination & it could have been done in 2 hours!  After finishing the quilting, I was in love with the quilt!  It was beautiful!  The binding was already prepped, so it was finished quickly.  But there was a reason for the wait.   At the same time, a very good friend from college mentioned that her sister was moving into her first apartment.  I was down in the studio when I read this online & I turned around & saw the quilt & immediately knew this was for Maribeth.  It was her colors, style, everything!

So the quilt that I was ho-hum about in the beginning turned out beautiful & has found it’s home in California.  It just took six years for me to learn that wasn’t meant to be a class or a piece to show off my custom quilting- see, it wasn’t about me at all.  It was meant to be loved by a 20-something in the first place she can call her own.

I wonder what more lessons I’ll learn in the pile of unfinished quilts.

Piece of Cake Dress

Occasionally I get the urge to sew clothes.  It seems to come & go in waves, so I try to pounce on it when it comes around.  For me it’s about being a maker & aware of what you have & appreciating a few well made items instead of having 100 poorly made ones.

Anyways, I saw Anna Maria Horner’s “Piece of Cake” dress pattern back in the spring & fell in love with it!

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(Confession, when I have to get some work done I’ve been known to give her a box of fabric to play in.  Fabric goes everyone.  It’s chaotic.  We both have a great time!)

I used some cotton fabric from a big box store (honestly, Teapot grows too quickly to justify using expensive fabric) & had a great time making the dress.  It’s a free downloadable pattern that came with excellent directions & required few skills/tools.

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(I was trying to get a picture of the bias casing, but someone was having too much fun taking selfies!)

It was the first time for me to make a bias casing for the elastic around the neck & it came together well.  I did use my serger to finish the edges, which I’m glad I did since this dress has gotten a lot of use.

The only step I didn’t follow was to make a blind hem.  For some reason it wasn’t working so I just made a folded hem about 1″ from the edge.  Again, it’s a dress for a baby/toddler so who really cares about the hem- as long as it’s durable, it’s fine.

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(Why yes, that’s an ice pack to the side & some advertisements above her head that she was playing with while eating a cheese straw on the kitchen floor. Some days are like that around here.)

The only downside was that the pattern only goes up to 12 months!  I love this dress & want to make this for Teapot again & again!  (I guess I could draft a larger size, but really, that’s not going to happen.  Anyone have a recommendation for a larger size pattern I can buy?)

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
Afternoon adventure in the sand box! 

Foster Teen Quilts, Part 2

As promised, here’s part 2 of the Foster Teen Quilt Project!  If you missed Part 1- here you go!

I wanted to take this time to share some facts about kids in the foster system while I share the four feminine quilts we made.

On any given day, there are approximately 402,000 children in the foster system in the United States.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
The City of Alexandria on average has about 100 children in foster care. About half of the children are a part of large sibling groups, almost half are middle –school age or older.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
The amount of time a child stays in foster care can vary from as little as a few days to a number of years.

The average time and Alexandria child spends in foster care is one  year.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Youth who age out of the foster care system are more likely than their non–foster care peers to be involved with the criminal justice system, have low educational attainment, become pregnant, and experience homelessness.

Foster children attend an average of seven to nine different schools by age 18—80% are held back in school by the third grade. Less than half of foster youth in the nation will graduate from high school and only 2% graduate from college or higher.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
 Thank you for sharing in this journey.  It was a wonderful experience for our moms group & an incredible joy for us to give quilts so freely to these teens.

Lastly, I want to invite you to think about how you can help foster children in your town.  Get in touch with a local social worker & chat about how your skills, whatever they are, can help foster kids.

Many thanks to Kathryn Coneway for helping me photograph the quilts & Krystal Fenwick, social worker for the City of Alexandria who provided these facts.  And of course, to my mom’s group for coming along on this crazy adventure with me!

Foster Teen Quilts

About three months ago I came across an email asking for donations for graduating foster teens.  It was more than your typical monetary solicitation, this woman was asking for umbrellas & wastebaskets for these teens.

See, when teens age out of the foster system, one day they in the custody of the state, the next they are on their own.  They leave with mostly the clothes they are wearing & that’s it folks.  They don’t get to go shopping to decorate their new apartment paid for courtesy of their parents, they don’t even get a set a sheets.

In Alexandria however a social worker is trying her hardest to give them a start.  She has arranged a graduation ceremony to recognize this huge milestone in their lives & is working with the community to give them a wastebasket of basic items.

I read the initial email & immediately knew I wanted to give them quilts.  But truly I had no idea how I would pull it off.  Granted it was only seven quilts, so it seemed possible in theory, but Teapot was in between crawling & walking, & I wasn’t getting much sleep.

I knew several women in my mom’s group quilted & I was familiar with the string quilt project Quilts from the Bluffs runs where the blocks can be sewn by many different quilters.  I took this idea to the women & to my surprise they were excited & anxious to start!

We sewed & sewed & sewed.  Those who didn’t know how to sew contributed by cutting & pressing strips as we sewed.  We sewed during nap times, after bedtime, while babies crawled around our legs, together at meetups, alone in our homes.  I longarmed all the quilts & then led a class in machine binding for the women.

There are seven graduating foster teens this year, three men & four women.  These are the masculine quilts.

On the red quilt I used a freehand square meander pattern that I love for men’s quilts!
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

On the blue quilt I used the “Square Spiral” pantograph that works up nice & quickly while adding interest.
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

On the green quilt I used “Zebra” which is fast becoming a favorite.
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was an empowering project for the moms.  We all have babies under two years old & the most surprising realization for me this first year of Teapot’s life is how all your life becomes this child & much of what you used to do is impossible to do anymore.  Through all of us working together & supporting each other, we were able to make seven quilts in ten weeks with babies.   This was no small feat, but our love for these teens they’ve never met gave us the determination to finish.

In my next post I’ll share pictures of the feminine quilts & also share some data about foster children.

*also thank you to Kathryn Coneway who help me photograph these quilts!  I learned a lot about photography from watching her work those two mornings as we documented these quilts!

An Afternoon of Sewing

This past week I had a large project for a customer & to ensure I got in done in time, I scheduled a babysitter for two afternoons.

To my surprise I finished the project in one afternoon!  (It’s amazing how productive I can be when I’m not working in the evenings exhausted from a full day of chasing after Teapot!)  So instead of cancelling the sitter the next day, I decided to use that time for myself (& make things for Teapot, but whatever, I was still making & I wasn’t working!)

First up were 3 wet bags:

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
I had bought a package of 3 large PUL squares from the big box store back when I had the great idea to make diapers.  Since I quickly realized that was not for me, this package had been sitting around unused.  I opted to make some wet bags for our swim suits, cloth diapers when we’re out & about, who know what I’ll use the third for, but it’s nice to have available.

I used the 10 minute pencil case tutorial, but increased the size to 15″x24″.  While the first didn’t take 10 minutes, the third definitely did & I highly recommend this tutorial.  I chose this one because it had french seams which I like for wet bags.

On two of the bags I used some black grosgrain ribbon, so we’ll see how I like using it.

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
Then I made a second wet bag for Teapot’s diapers:

Diaper Wet Bag by Ormond Beach Quilts
So we do cloth diaper part time (Kawaii diapers with liners & disposables at night) & I made this pattern before & loved it, we just needed a second to have available when the first is drying.

I used some of the fun Sake fabric I won when I participated in a contest sponsored by Kona Bay Fabrics.  Three cheers for using stash!

I also finished binding a quilt, but I can’t show that quite yet.  Well, ok.  Here’s the back:

Longarm quilting by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used a new pantograph Moxie by Leisha Farnsworth- I love her style & can’t wait to get more of her designs!

Moxie

Moxie

It was a wonderful afternoon- Teapot had a great time with the babysitter & I actually made stuff!  Luckily for all of us, our new favorite teenage babysitter is available for the rest of summer!

do.good stitches for June

My do.good stitches bee is done! I finished them this past Saturday morning during an open sewing meetup for my mom’s group in my studio.

June do.good stitches by Ormond Beach Quilts

This month we were instructed to use the Quarter Log Cabin blocks tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts.

We were also instructed to make 3 blocks & to add one additional row to make them 8″ square.

Our color palette was yellows, oranges, reds and pinks .  From my strip scrap bins I dug out enough for a pink, yellow & red block.

I used white on white prints in the blocks as I discovered I didn’t have any fabrics that were mostly white with bits of yellow, pink or red.  I think the effect is still there though & it’s a scrap quilt, so while this is a controlled scrappy quilt, I think it still works.

I can’t wait to see how the quilt comes out with everyone’s blocks!

You can check out May’s final quilt on our group’s Flickr page!