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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 fabric.com - 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!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Memorial Quilts from Kilts & Coats

When ever a family comes to me and asks for help making some quilts from their memories I feel utterly honored. I have been asked to make 4 quilts from a collection of wool kilts & coats and various other dresses etc. This is a big big project.

These clothes are from the families mother's attic - whom sadly passed last year. She had saved these beautiful coats & clothes from the children's childhood years as well as every kilt that their father had brought back from Ireland. There are some amazing details on these clothes that I am really excited about.


I took apart all the quilts and washed them with some special fabric softener. They washed up really really well - a HUGE amount of fabric for me to work with.

I have been dismantling, cleaning, ironing, prepping & cutting this fabric for weeks now. I'm excited that now it is finally time to start sewing!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

School Auction Quilt

Our kids go to a lovely preschool. Every year they have various fundraisers and I donated a quilt for their silent auction. After speaking to the family who won the bid they decided they wanted a 'purple, modern quilt with flowers'. I do not have a whole ton of modern designs on tap so I consulted my bookcase. This design is based off of the Peacock Blue quilt that can be found in Brave New Quilts. Though I replaced the tear drop peacock motives with flowers.

This is the quilt that I had quilted with roses, leaves & ribbons in week 7 of my Longarm diary. I really hope that the family will be happy with the result.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Camouflage Broken Bar Quilt

I've had some military material sitting around in my workroom for a while now - I got it so that I could start to experiment with how much material I can squeeze from various uniform/clothing items. When I saw this quilt - Broken Bars by Rebecca Roach - sent to me through the Modern Quilting Guild - it screamed army stripes to me.

I set about taking apart one army short sleeved army dress shirt. I used EVERY possible piece of this shirt - apart from button holes & buttons. I used a bright yellow cotton for the yellow arrows/stripes.  I didn't have enough material for the last two rows of the original design - perhaps this is one reason I'm not in love with this piece. You can see here how I pieced all the scraps together to make more material.  You can also see the serial number of the shirt printed on the fabric at the bottom left.

The quilt measures approx 56" x 56". While I am not blown away by the look of the quilt - and I am not sure that I chose the right quilting designs for the materials & look of the quilt top. I am happy with the technical aspect of the quilting I did. Here is the back of the quilt. I used spiral feathers, leaves & pebbles. I like the way the back looks!!!

Back to the front and yes - we are now in the 2nd week of March and we still have a substantial amount of snow (well really ice now) in the garden.

For me this was great practice and I did learn a lot from both the piecing part & the quilting part of things. If you have any opinions on how I could have improved the result of this quilt I would love to hear your input.

I have been wondering how the quilt would look rotated .....

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Longarm Quilting: My First Client

At the moment I am practicing my free motion quilting on Freddie on some quilt tops given to me by a lady at my guild - NYC Metro Mod Quilters. Andrea blogs on The Beyondness of Things - her quilts are really pretty and I can not wait (in a terrified sort of way) to do some work for her. She doesn't like quilting and I'm not a big on piecing 'just for fun' - so it seems like a good match!

This quilt top was made for a 2 year old little boy - it is crib size.

I started. Panicked. Then unpicked.

Then finally got myself together and here is the end result. (Quilt has only been trimmed - not bound.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bee Purposeful: Navy and Aqua Chevron Striped Quilt

Back in July 2013 Little Miss Shabby asked for participants in a quilting bee that would fundraise for her churches mission work.

I am simply floored and humbled by how much I have learnt through the process. 

In August we made Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks. I thought this would be a piece of cake - simple squares - but I was made to eat my words! Here are the blocks I contributed to September's Quilt.

How cute does the final quilt look?

In September we made Churn Dash blocks. Toni was the quilter for October.

Again I learnt how little I knew about piecing. My blocks are above and the finished quilt is below. 

In October it was my month to choose a pattern and be the quilter.  I hummed and haa'd and bugged Corey with lots of silly questions. I finally decided on a Navy & Aqua Chevrons. Here is the finished quilt.

I quilted each white chevron in a different design. 

And here is the back. Using up 3 left over strips. I am really working on making my backs a bit more interesting. I see lots of quilts out there which have clever backs - and I will be putting a lot more thought into my backs from now on.

In November we made Flying Geese for Carla.  My blocks (below) have been lost in the post somewhere and have yet to make it to Canada.

But here is the quilt that Carla put together.

And January was our last month - and we made these 'Not Quite a Sawtooth Stars' and sent additional fabric along with this block (see mine below) that Jody is going to make into a larger medallion for the center of the quilt.

My biggest disappointment was obviously my geese not flying all the way to Canada. But I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this quilting bee and I hope to be part of more in the future too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Diary of a Longarm: Week 8

I have loaded a little chevron quilt that I have made as part of the Bee Purposeful which is being hosted by Corey who is the very talented lady behind Little Miss Shabby.

I thought I knew what I was doing with this quilt top so I began with repeating ocean waves along the chevrons but after running the waves 3 times I wasn't convinced. 9 whole hours of unpicking later. I began again. I had found this quilt by Linda of L & R Designs Quilting and I loved it. Every chevron stripe is done in a different design.

At the moment I am working on the white chevrons and I'm loving how the blue & aqua stripes are standing up all puffy (not sure my photographs are showing this!)

I'm tempted not to quilt the blue & aqua stripes and leave them - we will have to see how this one works out.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Line Dancing at the Longarm

I've been told for a while now that it is good while you are free motion quilting to listen to music that has good rhythm and makes you happy and relaxed. I've been searching for that music (I usually listen to NPR talk radio) and I think I might have found it. Can you guess what it is from these photos (and the subtle post heading?)

Yes - I have been in America for more than 10 years now and I've finally discovered Country Music. Both in its upbeat groove and its hysterical lyrics. For example 'Truck - yeah!' and 'I want to sleep with my best friends fiance' and other such themes about corn, beer an girls. I am finding it a total riot - but I'm not sure the other people in the house are appreciating the smiles I am getting from it!