Friday, December 28, 2012

Anniversary Triangles under construction

This is the start of a quilt that I hope to have completed by August 2013.  More than enough time, right?  

I downloaded this set of log cabin patterns from Quilter's Newsletter last year (2011) with the intention of working through a log cabin quilt.  Life happens, the log cabin quilt didn't.  I made excuses: my scraps don't match for a log cabin; my scraps are too matchy for a log cabin; I don't really feel like cutting all those strips out.  

This past August 2012, my brother finally got married.  I made a fabric wreath for their shower, which used way less fabric than I planned.  But guess what?  Now I had all these 1" to 1.5" strips left over that are perfect for a log cabin quilt.   The other perfect part about all these fabric strips is the colors coordinate! 
Strips, strips, and more strips!  This is only half the amount....


Without really having a design plan into place, I've started the foundation piecing process.  I had to switch out my newer HP printer for my older HP printer to run the foundation piecing paper through, but I finally printed out 40 of the triangle pieces.  After I started piecing, I realized it was a good thing I picked the triangle, because I have exactly 10 prints to work with - 6 blue and 4 yellow/orange.   

8 completed pieces in 2 weeks.  
I don't have enough of the pieced pieces to try out a large pattern yet.  

I debated about using a coloring sheet, but realized that for me, it's easier to move them around on the floor.  

My only issues so far:  
  • While I need 10 strips per triangle, I only have 10 different fabrics to work with at this point.  I think though that in the end, having only 10 will help pull it together.
  • This fabric is very thin.  I cut the strips from the fat quarters you buy at Joanns.  They are not the best quality even though they are 100% cotton.  
  • Some of my strips are a little bit short or not wide enough, but I'm making it work.  
Really, even though the fabric is very thin, it's working well with the foundation paper. I will probably leave the paper rather than tear it off to help give the fabric a little more support.  

This is start.  Looking forward to the finish! 

Collegiate Quilts - University of Arizona


My husband is a die-hard University of Arizona fan, possibly more so than I am a huge Texas A&M fan.  He spent four wonderful years there getting his undergraduate degree, and visits the university when the opportunity presents itself.  (In fact, 2012 was the first year we did not take a vacation to Tucson.)   So when I found this University of Arizona quilt kit at the 2008 International Quilt Festival in Houston, I snapped it up immediately. 

The original pattern in the kit
The quilt kit was put together by Varsity Quilts. All of the lap quilt kits include four fabric squares embroidered with various school logos and the fabric needed to piece the front.  You can choose to purchase coordinating backing or by your own.  The University of Arizona logos in the kit included the big ‘A’, Wilbur (the mascot), ‘Arizona Wildcats’ and a basketball with the ‘A’.  (At one point, the school held a regular spot in the upper NCAA March Madness brackets.)  

Making the quilt took a little longer than planned – almost a year after purchasing.  Considering it is made up of larger blocks and a fairly simple pattern, it was almost embarrassing in how long it took me to get it together.  
My notes and measurements for the pattern change.
Haha!  That's my camera strap making an appearance.

The original design included with the kit showed the top and bottom boarders being the same size blue and red squares as the inner nine patch blocks.  I thought it was too repetitive and kind of boring, so switched to a large white square set on point with a primarily red fabric with little blue boxes on it.  These two fabrics were left over from a baby quilt I’d prepared for my niece that summer - must have been serendipitous because the fabrics matched the kit fabrics perfectly. 



Perfect for my husband's Arizona obsession!


Due to size of the quilt, I sent it to be quilted with a long arm machine through a local quilt shop that is no more.  I choose to keep it simple since the focal point of the quilt is the larger embroidered block.  

  • The quilter did a simple diagonal straight stitch in each of the embroidered blocks.  
  • In the nine patch, you can see a simple 'X' design.  
  • In the smaller white blocks, it looks like a simple sunburst or star pattern.  


MY next university quilt is an Aggie Quilt (a quilt for myself!)- I have the pattern and all the fabrics picked out and lined up.  I just need the motivation to get it done!  

Have you made a college inspired or themed quilt for someone?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thoughts about my Process Pledge

When I can't sleep, I play on this app called "Pinterest"...not sure how many of you have heard of it, but it's pretty freaking fabulous :)

I've noticed that a lot more people are pinning quilts and quilt patterns.  This is very exciting.  I've found some new projects for the future, and some great new blogs because of these pins.  

My recent find (last night) was this blog: r0ssie blog.  The entry was from May 2010, but the idea is a good one.   She writes about blogging not only about one's finished quilts, but how one got to that finished quilt.  She came up with the idea of the "process pledge", which she describes as this:

"The goal of the process pledge is to create a new sensibility in quilting blogs where we don’t just show finishes or occasionally confess about our moments of indecision, but chat openly and often about our works in progress, our inspirations, and our moments of decision."
Typically, when I start working on a new quilt, I do this part with my mom.  Now as a blogger, I can share it with the world!  So this is my pledge:
I, Rebecca Miller , pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear. I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there!
When I post about current projects, this will be my mantra.  When I post about past projects....well, what you see it is what I have on hand to share.  Like this photo of one of the ovarian cancer quilts I pieced in 2007-2008:
Pieced for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project through MD Anderson in Houston. 
This blocks were not mine, but were picked out to coordinate for this quilt top.

I'll be posting later about my current two projects - one is at the last stage of piecing and the other is just started.  Keep an eye out!


 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Sea Creature Baby Quilt

Much like a new parent, I'm enjoying first blog posts about various things.

This is the FIRST blog post about a QUILT!  Woot woot!  

Note that this is not the first quilt I've made; that's another post for another day.  Nor is this the first baby quilt I've done, but it is one of my favorites.  

Why?  Because of the colors and pattern involved in the quilt.  

I made this one earlier this year (March 2012) for a coworker's son.  

The pattern I used is "Baby's Fancy" found in this book, which is a variation of the "Gentleman's Fancy" block.  

Almost finished! 

I fussy cut the sea creatures out of the sea creature fabric, using a lime green with blue spots for the rectangles around the sea creatures, and a bright yellow and orange stripe for the sashing.  The backing was a green swirly dot pattern, which I also used for the binding.  Side note:  My OCD kicked in while working on this one; originally there were the same number of each creature and it allowed for me to put a different one on each row where none of the same were touching.   BUT then I forced myself to allow for randomness - scary, I know.  



 Up-close before the quilting begins.

My mom allowed me to test out her new Janome machine.  Since I was in a hurry to get this done and delivered, I just did 'stitch in the ditch' around all of the seams.  I felt like with the colors, too much quilting would overwhelm the block.  I used a 'wave' stitch on the Janome to help set the block: 
The thread is a variegated blue by Coats & Clark....

 I must admit this was one of my favorite baby quilts so far!
 Final product turned out too cute! 

Unfortunately, I didn't write down the final measurements, but if you look at the first picture, it fit perfectly onto a crib sized batting piece.  

While one of my favorites at the end, piecing it turned out to be not one of my favorites.  One of the triangle pieces in the block (the smaller ones) were about 1/4" too short.  Will remember that for the next one.  

What quilt pattern and/or color combination is your favorite?  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Peeps

A secret about me:  
I love Peeps.  


(Not sure what a Peep is -> see this page)

Not just any of the holiday Peeps, specifically Easter time Peeps.  We don't even celebrate Easter, but it's quite possibly one of my favorite times of year because of the bunny and chick Peeps.  I love them so much that my mom buys me at least one package, while I buy the rest on sale after the holiday.  

How do I eat my Peeps?  I open the carton, letting it sit out all day, so the Peeps are stale hard on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Yum!  Nice to know I'm not the only one who enjoys them this way....

This past Valentine's Day 2012, I decided to make my own chocolate dipped heart shaped Peeps for EllaBell's class.  I love me some Peeps and decided to share this love with her toddler class.  Get 'em started early is my thought on it.  

The process went something like this:

  • Put down some wax paper.  Open up the Peeps.  
  • Melt down a bag of chocolate chips with a little butter added.
  • Quickly dip the Peeps in the melted chocolate and then lay them on the wax paper.  

This was my final product for the kiddos:

Ta-Da!

For the larger hearts given to the teachers, I stuck in a lollipop stick to make little heart bouquets.  

What the teachers received. 

It was a pretty quick process, as the chocolate set up pretty fast.  Wrapping them was the hardest part.    

I put two of the little hearts in a bag for her classmates and wrapped the larger hearts separately to make the little bouquet.  
  
Would I do this project again?  Yeah, but with the chicks or the bunnies.  I can just see the bunnies with only the ears dipped! I know you can buy already dipped (completely covered) Peeps, but I like the option of picking what type of chocolate and how much covers the Peep.

Have you made a recipe using Peeps?    

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It figures that my first post about a project is related to food.  

It began as I was going through our pantry.  It's a hot mess in there, partially because of me, and partially because of my toddler.  Helping hands do not always help ME out.  

I found a tub(?) of Quaker Oats one day, along with several bags (yes, bags) of brown sugar and raisins.  Why so many bags of brown sugar? That one's easy - I forget I have it at the house and end up buying more each holiday season.  

The raisins on the other hand.... I'll admit that I'm one of those parents that will bribe reward my daughter for going along on the shopping trips by giving her a bag of raisins off the shelf at the store.  Which she consumes, like two, before informing me that she's done.  At least we make it through the shopping trips.  

So, onto the cookies!  Googled 'oatmeal raisin cookies' and the second link from Food.com shows five stars.  

Surely this recipe cannot be THAT good.  Going through the reviews, all of the reviewers were raving about these cookies.

I followed the recipe below, which includes a few tweaks of my own. 

Whisk together and set aside
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Cream wet ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Then stir in
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups raisins  (I soaked mine in hot rum for about 30 minutes)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Whisk together dry ingredients; set aside.
3. Combine the sugar and the butter in a stand mixer on low for about 2 minutes.
4. To cream, increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy and the color lightens. I let mine go for about 5 minutes at this speed.  Then I added in the remaining wet ingredients.  
5. Combine the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible.  
(Over mixing develops the gluten, making a tough cookie.)

6.  Now add the oats and raisins; stir to incorporate.
7. Fill a #40 cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop) and press against side of bowl, pulling up to level dough (to measure 2 tablespoons of dough).
8. Drop 2-inches apart onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray (or use a Slipat).
9. Bake 11-13 minutes (on center rack), until golden, but still moist beneath cracks on top.
10. Remove from oven; let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.


This is what I ended up with:


Not too shabby, if I do say so!  Took them to work and they disappeared in about 10 minutes.  They were very moist, and the raisins had a nice bite to them.   

If you try these, leave a comment and let me know how they turned out!  

First Post!

Short and Sweet!

Welcome!  

This is the very first post on the CraftyQuiltyCool blog.  

First things first.....

Visit my 'About this blog" tab to find about more about me and this blog.  

Hopefully, each of the post will find their way onto the correct pages.  

The first several posts will be throw backs.  Not sure yet from how far back, but definitely not my current projects :) 

After that, it's on to the new stuff.  I'll post as often as I work on projects. No guarantees on how often that will be, but follow me through google+ or the rss feed to keep up.  

~Rebecca