Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kids Art Quilt: Fabric Building Blocks

This quilt has been finished for a while but I was trying to find a hanging solution for my larger quilts to make photographing them a little easier. (I should of used more quilt hangers but I only had 3 picture hooks at this time.)

This was such a fun quilt to make. I loved that I didn't have to do any designing and my two girls laid it all out for me. To learn about how they designed this quilt you can read more here.

I quilted all the buildings with various straight lines in different directions.

I quilted the 'sky' or negative sky space at least in a pattern I thought might be original - but then I discovered the wonderful and very talented LuAnn Kessi.

The sun is pieced from lots of little bits of orange scraps.

My favorite bit of the quilt is the quilting showing the flight path of the airplane. 

The cars are lightly quilted and I tried to make different textures for the road surface. A miniature square stippling and an edge to edge free hand lines with some bumps & stones in places.

They have both had their birthdays recently and they are now 5 & 3. Do they realize what an amazing job they did with this design for their age? 

Here is my middle bunny looking like she is doing a very professional and through job of inspecting my tension.

I truly love this quilt.


Our other kid painted fabric projects have included:
Kids Art Quilt - Spin Art (WIP)
Kids Art Quilt - Sharpie Art Quilt
Kids Art Quilt - Fabric Building Blocks

Technical Info:
Batting: Hobbs 100% Wool Heirloom Batting & Quilters Dream 100% Cotton Batting (together)
Backing Fabric: Climbing Vine 108" Sage
Top: Scraps from scrap bin & Essential Dotty Waves 108" Wide
Binding: Scraps from scrap bin
Thread: SoFine!#50 by Superior &; Fil-Tec Monofilament thread in bobbin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kids Art Quilt: Sharpie Art Quilt

This is an easy project to do with your little ones. You could make a simple quilt or jazz it up with free motion quilting, embroidery add notions etc. We went with something down the middle of these options.

What you will need:

White fabric squares
Sharpie Permanent Markers - we went with a set of 80's Glam sharpies
Extra fabric for borders, binding & backing
Quilt batting (appropriate size for however big your quilt becomes)

It is as simple as this.

- Ask your little artist to draw on the squares.
- Sew together as desired.
- Quilt, adorn, decorate as desired.
- Show your proud little artist.
NOTE: The sharpies will not wash out when you wash the quilt - but they might bleed a little - we found the light blue to bleed the most. I did prewash our drawn squares before sewing the quilt together - but I think this would be optional - I just tend to wash everything before working with it.

I actually quilted this on Bernie - I did what I guess must almost be thread painting (perhaps thread scribbling?) over the drawn lines and then I added some basic quilting in and around the drawn panels. The great thing about this sort of project is that it doesn't matter how good (or bad) your additions to the blanket it - your little one will love their first art quilt.

Lets take a closer look at some of that art work.

Jack & the Beanstalk

A Pirate on a ship


Our teepee

Princess & the Pea

Rapunzel (beautiful isn't she!)

A sad moon

What struck me most as I rushed to finish this up was how much Bunny #1's art has improved in just 6 months. Sadly the completion of her art quilt got thoroughly & rudely interrupted by the arrival of Freddie my longarm. Her drawings now are so much more mature & detailed - only one thing for it ... another art quilt??


Our other kid painted fabric projects have included:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Quick Quilt

The church contacted me to let me know there was a baptism coming up for 7 year old boy. Thinking that a 7 year old boy would not appreciate a playmat - I decided to make  a quick Twin sized quilt to welcome him into the church community.

The front of the quilt is very simple. Soft deep blue flannel with his name appliqued on the front in a bright green fabric. The quilt has a contrasting orange cotton binding.

I quilted the quilt with a simple swirly pattern. Putting together the quilt (not including the binding) took only 5 hours. And for someone who usually spends a great deal of time & effort on quilts I felt nervous that the result would be lacking. 

Although simple this quilt feels gorgeous - the wool batting, flannel & light quilting design gives is a warm yet very flexible feel. I hope the little chap will enjoy wrapping himself in it.

The bit I am really pleased with though is the back. I pieced the back out of colorful fabric from my stash. The wonderful thing about Freddie is that the quilt leaders have measurements marked along them - which enabled me to get the backing totally lined up - the strips came out perfectly horizontal. The colors remind me of lego somewhat.

I have been asking a lot of people about their opinion on patchwork seams and if they should be pressed open/flat or pressed to one side. There seems to be some debate about this regarding this in the quilting world. But I have decided that pressing your seams open on the backing does make a huge difference. Just look how flat & cleanly that backing sits - even with such light quilting. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Diary of a Longarm: Month 3 - Black & White Blindness

I've working with another of Andrea's quilt tops. I was excited about this quilt because Andrea said she was over it and didn't like it anymore. All I saw was lovely white negative space and I was hopeful I could do something that might make her love this piece of work again.

I really enjoyed quilting the white areas. I learnt a lot during the quilting process. Things I should do again and things I should not.

The black areas were problematic. I found the black thread more than hard to see on the black fabrics. It was like I was quilting blind.

I practiced (sadly a bit blindly) lots of ideas I have wanted to try. Some of them I liked a lot and I will be using again in the future. Even after the quilt has been finished I feel like the quilting in these black areas is invisible and lost. I need to find another solution for black areas in future. If you have any insights or ideas I would love to hear from you.

A huge thank you to Andrea again for letting me practice and learn on her quilt tops!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Quilt Hanging Solution

My husband humors my quilting quite well and how much it takes over our home. Fabric is everywhere in heaps. Snipped threads trail after me around the house like I'm Hansel & Gretel. My 12ft longarm currently lives in our bedroom (on his side of the bed!)

When I try and take photographs of my quilts I have recently found myself constructing more and more bizarre and dangerous ways to get high enough to be able to take a picture of them flat on the floor. Worried that I might end my existance by falling off a tower of stacked furniture - splat onto the quilt below. I've been trying to come up with a way that I can hang my quilts up to take pictures of them - without having to put a hanging sleeve on the back of every quilt and without wrecking the house anymore in order to preserve my marriage!

So I was looking for a way to hang quilts that was semi permenant, does not mark the walls, does not require death defying feats that even circus contortionists and jugglers would be proud of. I have been thinking about this solution for about some 6 months now - determined to find the ideal solution.  Here is what I have come up with.

These are wooden Quilt Hangers (packet of 2) that I found on ebay.  These quilt hangers hang on a nail or screw that you can put into the wall. (They come with screws & drywall anchors.) You can see the YouTube video here. They measure 3" high by 1" wide - but they are surprisingly sturdy. They come in a variety of colors - they look attractive AND they do not mark your finished quilt.

We have picture rails in our house - so I purchased some white picture rail hooks and hooked them into the hole where your nail or screw might go.

And voila - I was able to hang my quilt, take pictures - without making a single hole or mark in or on the wall & without stitching a hanging sleeve in. The kids had a riot running behind the quilt and back out again - so they really held the quilt well.

I am so thrilled to have discovered this solution. I really hope it helps someone else too.

Here would be my suggested number of hangers for common quilt sizes. Note: 1 packet comes with 2 hangers. I would put at least 1 hanger to every 30" or less. Small - 2 hangers, Baby or Crib - 3 hangers, Twin or Full - 4 hangers, Queen or King - 5 or 6 hangers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Sewing/Craft Room

I've seen so many things recently about sewing rooms & creative spaces. And is it awful of me that I can't imagine many of them are really used. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE SO CLEAN!!!

Is it just me who ends up with a sewing room that looks like this by the end of a busy week? Am I a sewing slob?

My husband despairs of my 'creative mess' - which I like to think of as an organized chaos. (Believe it or not it is rare that I ever lose anything - even in this deep mess!)

After a morning of tidying the space can look a little bit better. (My eldest walked in and stated 'it looks so different - it is so clean')

Storage shelves line the walls with various bins in them. Storage bins are everywhere. On the table at the back you can see bins on bins. When a project begins it is designated a bin and there all the bits stay when I am not working on it until it is completed and then the bin moves on to house the next project. The shelves are Billy Bookcases from Ikea, the tables (which are on wheels - I can move them around easily if need be) are just plain white tops on Krille leg casters - the chairs are surprisingly comfortable at $20 a chair - it couldn't be better value.

It is a pretty small space in our attic - but it is my private little room. "Mummy's Room" as it is referred to often.

When we first moved it it used to be a storage space ....

... so you can see it has always been a space that was supposed to filled with organized chaos!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Superhero Party Capes

This month I feel like I have been slowly loosing my mind. My eldest asked for a Superhero Birthday Party. You might remember last year I got overexcited with her Princess Tea Party - well this year I tortured myself again by deciding to make 19 superhero capes, 19 superhero belts, 38 superhero bracelets/cuffs & 19 super hero masks. I didn't realize how much all this effort was weighing on me - because after the party ended I felt a deep need to sleep for 2 days.

Each cape has a contrast lining & and emblem on the back (lighting bolts, diamonds, snowflakes. flowers, butterflies etc) all with a bit of bling of course. I worried that the superhero belts look like something from the WWF - but the kids LOVED the belts. As the girls arrived they were allowed to pick out their cape, belt, mask & cuffs.

I made everything adjustable by placing the velcro like this on the belts & cuffs.

It enabled me to make everything one size but ensure that they would fit everyone.

I recycled our pink satin chair covers which we got last year for $2 each. This year we rented some kid sized chairs and I found the covers fit perfectly over two chairs put together. I used twin flat sheets from our linen closet for the table cloths. The tulle pom poms are from last year too. The streamers, balloons, plates, cups etc were all from the Dollar Tree (love love that store - you can color-co-ordinate a birthday party for just $10!) I used 24" balloon sticks this year instead of helium balloons - much cheaper and just as cute - and the sticks are reusable for years to come as well.

Here is my middle girl all dressed up and ready for the party to start. 

Supergirl came and put the little superheros through superhero training school. 

There were no goodie bags instead the girls got to take home their new superhero costumes.

Here are some things that helped me make all the costumes:
McCalls Pattern (MP245) Boys Girls Superhero Costumes - really great & fun pattern ideas if you don't want to make your own cape patterns
Thermoweb Heat'n'Bond Ultra Iron On Adhesive - amazing product for when you need to stick things on quickly (not at all suitable for any sewing over or applique etc)
Glue on plastic gems - the 1lb bags may seem expensive but they have lasted us for years and (they are still going) not to mention the huge array of fun projects we have used them for
Slipper Satin from - felt amazing - great weight & shine - and nice selection of colors. It was really easy to work with, iron etc. 60" width allowed me to get maximum number of super hero capes from it.

There are many many superhero cape tutorials out there - but this quick list will help you work out the options:
Super Hero Cape by How Does She?
Repurpose a T-shirt into a Superhero Cape by The Southern Institute
No Sew Superhero Cape from Little Pink Monster

I can not believe that my first bunny has turned 5. It seems unbelievable to me. Sad even. How quickly they grow. Too quickly. I am so lucky to have such amazing little people in my life!

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