Share a Past Project Thursday: Hex quilt

September 28, 2006 at 4:48 pm | Posted in games, Quilting | 2 Comments

ogre-giant robots quilt

I made this quilt a couple of birthdays ago for our friend Brad who is a big-time gamer. Board games, video games, role-playing games: you name it, he plays it. For this project, I narrowed the content down to two games that are played by laying down hexagonal tiles to create a playing surface. That’s seriously about all I know about How to Play. I’m not sure whether my playing pieces are placed or spaced correctly, but I like the way it turned out.


When it came to design and construction, I just made it up as I went along; you just can’t find quilt patterns for tile-laying games on eBay. The hexagons are cut from fabrics that suggest different terrain: ice, mountains, grasslands, plains, river, ocean, desert, and forest. Lots of inset seams to sew, but they weren’t as hard as I thought. The practice served me well when I learned how to make patchwork puzzle balls. I printed the game pieces on Miracle Fabric Sheets (fabric pretreated with Bubble Jet Set), then used double-sided fusible interfacing to iron them on. I didn’t know how to bind a quilt correctly yet; the corners aren’t even mitered. That being the case, I certainly wasn’t up to binding around hexagons on the edge, so I just hacked ’em off straight.


Giraffe invitation

September 26, 2006 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Cards, Papercrafts | 5 Comments

Here’s a prototype of the invitations I’m making for my sister’s baby shower. She’s looooved giraffes since she was a child, so of course I had to include one.


  • They measure 5″x5″.
  • The mane is fringed with scissors.
  • The eyes and horn tips are little punched out holes.
  • The spots are regular sized hole punches.
  • The body, head, and snout are done with a little egg shaped punch (I trimmed the head and snout after punching).
  • The horns and the tail are just drawn in, but I couldn’t find my brown art marker (I just saw it around here somewhere…

Luckily, there’re only about 30 people coming, so I’ll be able to get these done by Halloween!

Modern Quilt Along

September 21, 2006 at 2:28 am | Posted in Quilting | 10 Comments

When I joined Kim’s Modern Quilt Along a few months ago, I’d planned on making a quilt from the Once Upon a Time pattern for our nephew. With three baby quilts to make (yes our friends are a fertile lot), I decided that quilt might make a better Christmas present now!

Lauren's quilt: completed Proud papa Jim

Today I finished the first of those three quilts, this one for month-old Lauren Alice. I used the Plain Spoken pattern from  The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs From the FunQuilts Studio by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, the good folks over at Fun Quilts in Oak Park. The instructions for the quilt were very well written and easy-to-follow. I was surprised at how little fabric I needed for the top.

The colors were selected to coordinate with a rug in the nursery from Lauren’s Grandma and Grandpa.The quilt’s intended to be made up in solid fabrics, but I thought prints were a little more practical, babies being the little stain-making machines that they are. I think at a distance, most of them “read” solid anyway, except for that…is it a “foulard?” The cadet blue menswear print.

Lauren's quilt: blocks

Here’s a shot of my lovely Harvest Gold linoleum in the kitchen, oh, and the blocks being laid out. I think I rushed thru the layout step, but you learn something with every project, right?

Lauren's quilt: Rows

Here are the rows all sewn together. I really dig ironing the seams open, as recommended by the book’s authors. It makes for a much flatter top, and much easier seam matching. Look at all the fabric I have left on the right side of the sofa! I told you I didn’t use much!

Lauren's quilt: top

Completed top. Hm. At this scale, I definitely see some blocks I would have rearranged. All in all, I like the about-half-improvisational piecing. My “random” layouts have always stressed me out so much! I chose not to mark the quilt, since I planned to use the width my sewing machine foot to estimate 1/4 inch quilting along the wider rectangles.

Lauren's quilt: backing

Here’s the backing fabric.

Lauren's quilt: layering

Okay, for you non-quilters out there, next you put the backing face down, then smooth batting (cotton-y padding stuff) over it, then place the quilt top face up on top of the whole sandwich. I do my layering on the floor and attach the backing to the floor with masking tape to make sure it stays flat while you pile on the other pieces.

Lauren's quilt: pinned

Next, so the layers don’t shift and make wrinkles while you’re sewing them together, you have to baste the whole thing with a needle and thread…or! safety pins. I have this tool that helps with the pins.

After I completed the quilting…I found I wasn’t done after all. The quilting along the outside of the wide rectangles wasn’t quite enough for me, so I marked lines dividing the wide rectangles in two (not fun on a squishy quilt; much better to do this before it’s layered, much less sewn). I quilted on either side of these lines. Much better!

Lauren's quilt: completed (quilting)

I love to bind quilts. As I work through the earlier stages of cutting, piecing, layering, basting, and quilting, the final product still seems so elusive, no matter how close I am to completion. Attaching that little strip along the edges makes the sad little floppy thing suddely become a quilt, in my eyes. “Oh hey! I made a quilt!” I finished binding it on the train this afternoon, then ran downstairs when I got home to wash and dry it. I love love love crinkly, wrinkly cotton quilts.

How many times can I use the word “quilt” (or a form of it) in a single post? Apparently, at least 22.

Yo-yos sent and received

September 18, 2006 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, swaps | 2 Comments

Completed yo-yos for swap

Last week I finished and sent my yo-yos for Crafty Piggie’s swap. I ended up sending a few extras, since my recipient was Crafty Piggie herself, and I wanted to thank her for organizing the fun swap.


Jenna Z. sent me a packet of my own from downstate. Hi, Jenna! (waves) I love the cool fabrics and colors you chose. Thank you for doing such a beautiful job on them.

I am itchin’ to get more so I can start putting them together already. Hurry, yo-yo swap #2!

Renegade Craft Fair 2006

September 18, 2006 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 2 Comments

Ryan and I went into the city for our first Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park. I was too busy looking my eyes out* to take many pictures. No pics at all of the cool glass and screen printed goods. Not even any of the handmade booth signs that I oohed and aahed over. Rats.

arch with eyes

Ryan spotted this arch on the way to the park. Very fitting!

I met Brandy from, the first blog I ever read. She was super nice. Her designs are so clever: check out her site and shop. Heidi from My Paper Crane had a booth there, too, but she was swamped with admirers, so I didn’t get to introduce myself. Her plush items are even cuter in person than they appear online. I know! It’s hard to believe. I think my fave remains the bruised banana. It even slips out of its peel. Augh!


Speaking of cute plush, I met the peeps from Shawnimals. Who knew Shawn was such a hottie? His doll designs have always been among my faves online. I loved being able to see them fer real.


Kitty Genius was also there. Ashley is a genius. I love her work. Apparently, so does everyone else, as I couldn’t even fit into the crowded booth.

countdown poster

I thought this Election Day countdown calendar was great. It’s like an Advent calendar, with a little window to open for every day of the month before elections. The flaps covering the windows each had a little factoid about the democratic process or election history.

renegade swag

We were in window shopping mode, as I’m still on the job hunt, but the giveaways from the kind Renegade vendors and sponsors helped to alleviate the case of the gimmes I usually experience at such events.


My one purchase was the striking event poster. I obviously had a hard time setting it up for the photo. Third time’s the charm!

*credit: mother-in-law Annette

Share a Past Project Thursday – Quincy’s Quilt

September 14, 2006 at 10:51 am | Posted in Quilting | 2 Comments

I’m busy working on three baby quilts at once (!), so not a lot of other crafting is going on right now. I thought I’d post some pictures of one I’ve completed, to remind myself that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel all three tunnels.

Quincy whole quilt

I think this was my second quilt ever, made in 2004 for our nephew Quincy. It’s a simplified version of a traditional quilt block called “Storm at Sea.” I designed it in Microsoft Publisher, of all things, a desktop publishing program. It was fun changing the color scheme over and over before ever cutting any fabric. I also used Publisher to print paper-piecing foundations.

Quincy quilt design

My mother-in-law helped me piece the dark aqua squares-within-squares. I felt really domestic that day, churning out quilt blocks for a family quilt with her one sunny Sunday afternoon.

Quincy's backing

Lest this quilt appear too calm and soothing (although those aren’t bad traits for a baby quilt), I decided to use this fabric for the backing. It’s a Michael Miller dot with a not-usually-for-babies color combination that includes orange, black, yellow, sage green, and aqua. Mostly, it’s dark, so Mom and Dad could throw the quilt on the floor without a second thought. I still have some of the fabric left and have been in search of the perfect project for it. Purse lining, maybe?

Anyway, as with all projects, I learned a lot from making this little quilt. I machine-quilted it, but I instead of going in straight lines, I rotated the quilt aroundandaroundandaround under my sewing machine arm (the “circular” shapes defined by the large white diamonds, and then smaller squares within the yellow diamonds). To quote niece Payton,* “I’m not doing that again!” Even a small quilt was too bulky to do that easily. Also, I didn’t figure out to adjust my tension, and the black bobbin thread showed up pretty regularly on the quilt top. Luckily, after I washed it, it came out of the dryer all crinkly and hid most of the worst parts.

*upon being questioned about a fat lip she’d accidentally given brother Quincy.

Fabric for Lisa, from Lisa

September 10, 2006 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | 1 Comment

fabric from Lisa C.

Lisa Congdon over at A Bird in the Hand was cleaning house and graciously offered some of her extra fabric to her blog readers. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end. Thanks, Lisa! I feel some more owls coming on…

Fabric pictured atop a page from The Almost Everything Book (illustrated by Joelle Jolivet), which I picked up yesterday at a local used bookstore (Frugal Muse in Downers Grove). It’s a gorgeous thing, and huge!

WIP Friday: Yo-yos!

September 8, 2006 at 10:26 am | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, swaps | 10 Comments

Not the Smothers Brothers, shoot-the-moon kind, but fabric yo-yos. I’m in a swap this month, so here are the first of many yo-yos to be made.

WIP yo-yos

This is also a show and tell for my sister, who didn’t know what a yo-yo was, so I’m killing two birds with one stone.* Hi, Jenny!

There are great instructions over on Heather’s site. And there’s another yo-yo swap on swap-bot in case you missed this one and are interested in joining. They’re a great way to plow through your scraps.

*Or, as Mom says, “Killing two birds with one stick.” This close, Ma.

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