Randomly in November

  1. I saw the sign-ups for the Bee Hive Swap in time this year, and got in!  :::happy dance:::  So excited!
  2. My own swap group that I’m running liked it so much that a bunch want to do it again next year!  So, busy with setting that up at the moment.
  3. Yeah, two year-long swaps…talk to me at the end of next year.  🙂
  4. I wrote up an exhaustive inventory of the many works-in-progress taking up space in my craft room, and then hammered out a plan to plough through almost all of them in the next year.
  5. The first WIP that will reach completion as a result of my awesome new plan is probably a pair of socks that I started back in Australia.

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  6. A newly-finished pair of socks right now is kind of perfect, given that the snow has started.  I was actually thinking the socks would be a Christmas present for someone dear to me, but my feet are freakin’ freezing, so I’m going to keep them.  Mwa ha ha.
  7. The second WIP that will probably get finished is a baby boy quilt I started almost eight years ago.

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    The kid in this photo is Penguin, who is now nine years old.  She’s drinking from the mug I received after giving birth to Junebug, who is now seven-and-a-half years old…

  8. It’s funny how you can start a project with so much excitement, but with each passing year of not completing said project how much that excitement turns into resentment and shame.  So much so that I definitely don’t want to keep the quilt when I’m done, but fear the repercussions of giving a new life an item infused with so many negative feelings from myself.  The act of giving wipes off all the bad juju, right?  Right?

  9. I’ve also fleshed out a “Baby Gift Flowchart” to help me decide what to make for tiny humans on my radar.  In this age of social media, I find that I’m inundated with the awareness of many a pregnancy, and the baby-lovin’ crafter part of me really wants to make something for every one of them.  However, given the physical limitations of time, I can’t.  So I came up with a way to shrink the pool a bit and ease my conscience.  A line had to be drawn somewhere, or I’d never be done with making baby gifts.

    Baby Gift Flowchart

  10. I’m currently aware of nine pregnancies, and of three women trying to get pregnant.  That’s twelve impending births in the next year.  My flowchart narrows the gifts down to five recipients, which is still a lot, but gives me back a bunch of time.  I am raising four children of my own…
  11. My son broke the teeth off of the zipper of his winter parka the first day he wore it.  Of course.  Even better, he broke off enough teeth that the actual zipper pull fell off, too.  So, instead of working on WIPs, my time is needed to repair a zipper in a parka.
  12. Once again, making plans is a dumb idea.

Tutorial: Trapunto Quilting

Trapunto Tutorial by That Crafty CaraAs promised last week in my unveiling of the Snowflake Trapunto pillow, here’s a tutorial on how to do trapunto quilting.

Trapunto quilting, or “stuffed” quilting, is super simple.  In fact, you’re probably just going to smack your forehead with the palm of your hand after reading through this tutorial.  Long story made short:  You quilt something in your normal manner, and then go back and stuff a little more fluffy stuff into parts that you want to puff out more. Continue reading

Snowflake Trapunto Pillow

Forget Me Not Rollie PollieIf you’ve been following me on Instagram (@thatcraftycara), you saw my announcement a few weeks ago that I was asked to be a “Fabric Ambassador” for Calico Cat Fabrics.  My first “assignment” arrived a few days after the announcement:  a rollie pollie of the “Forget Me Not” fabric collection by Sue Daley and made by Penny Rose fabrics.

My knee jerk idea for the fabric was to add a little red and go the patriotic route, but I knew I couldn’t get something made up fast enough for the approaching Fourth of July weekend, so I didn’t want to spend my time making something that would then sit in a box for a year.

So I sat that little roll of fabric on my cutting table and we had a showdown.

The fabric won.

Exasperated, I went to bed.

But the next morning…ah, dear readers, the power of the early morning walk.  I had too many ideas, and I eventually had an epiphany regarding how to deal with these cuts of fabric that will be making their way to me:  Forget that it’s an assignment and act like it’s a gift.  THEN make something that I’d want to make, rather than what I thought others wanted me to make.  I mean, I was selected for the role based upon the things I was making for my own amusement, so it’d probably work out well to keep up with how I was already doing things, right?

I asked myself what I would make if no one was ever going to see that roll of fabric ever again, and a vision flashed through my mind.  The blues of the fabric collection made for a good snow-themed project.  Never mind that it was June, the fabric wanted to be used for wintertime purposes.  So I listened to the fabric, paired it with a fat quarter of white-on-white snowflake print, found a quilt block with a large chunk of negative space in its center (“Star and Chains” from The Quilter’s Cache), and plunged forward.

Close-up of That Crafty Cara's Snowflake Trapunto Pillow

I’d seen mentions of “trapunto” quilting, or “stuffed quilting,” in random corners of the blogosphere, and I’d always thought it was pretty, and I thought the technique would make for some extra prettiness on this particular project.  It wasn’t hard at all, and I’m totally planning on using this technique to beef up some of my future quilting projects!

I chose a simple snowflake shape for the trapunto portion of the pillow:

Trapunto quilting

Snowflake Trapunto Pillow featuring

Patchwork pillow featuring

This pillow used five of the fabric strips from the roll, leaving sixteen left over, so I have a second project in the works using up the other sixteen strips.  I thought I’d make a second pillow at first, but I’d used up most of the dark strips on this pillow alone, and I didn’t want a pillow with less contrast.  So, I’m dusting off a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a year and giving it a go with the leftovers.  Two projects from one little rollie pollie!

Thank you so much, Calico Cat Fabrics, for allowing me the opportunity to work with you and to stretch my creative muscles a bit.  I’m looking forward to our future projects together!

And, yes, I’m writing up a tutorial about trapunto quilting that I hope to share with you next week!  See you then!

Linking up with:
Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Junebug’s First Quilt

11216585_10153421784701670_7238221019505939422_nI shared a picture on Instagram a few weeks ago of Junebug holding up her completed quilt top.  It was supposed to have its binding by that time, but my back had flared up earlier that week, so the binding had taken a back seat.  Ever since that day, Junebug has “reminded” me that her quilt needed binding. Continue reading

I’m Not Quite Dead Yet

11204480_10153294678271670_662218685506031893_nYes, it’s been rather quiet for, you know, two months, but I’ve been here, stitching and stitching amongst the chaos that has been my life.  My kids have been a bit of a handful for the past two months, which has left zero time for blogging.  There was a broken foot, then an infected toe that went unreported until it was very bad, a 2 a.m. mad rush to the emergency room for croup…and then all the fun of “end of the school year” happened, and now it’s all about summer art camp, a suspected case of appendicitis for one of my kids this morning (turned out to be a stomach virus from…yeah), and softball all the time.  But that’s life with kids, right?  It all just kind of caves in on you sometimes, and you just keep your head above the water the best you can.

But the crafting still happened behind the scenes, and I was able to post bits and pieces of it on Instagram, which has garnered a little bit of notice in recent days, much to my delight.

I’ve been working away on my Farm Girl Vintage quilt blocks:

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Country Crossroads quilt block from Farm Girl Vintage, sewn by That Crafty Cara

And I’ve gotten a start on my Sleighbell Sampler Quilt from the Winter Wonderland book:

Winter Wonderland Basket quilt block, sewn by That Crafty Cara

I’m also in the homestretch on the Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt, which hit its first year mark on Memorial Day.  Softball season affords me a lot of “sitting around” time to work on it, and it’s growing steadily through each game.

English Paper Piecing by That Crafty Cara

My softball girls!

My softball girls!

Here’s hoping that the children have gotten all this daredevil craziness out of their systems so that I can resume with some regular posting, like, NOW.  Happy summer!

What Do You Think of When You Hear “Patriotic, American, Fourth of July?”

I’ve been spending more time with the Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt, and I’m running out of white prints for the stars.  More fabric cutting was obviously in order, and I am getting rather tired of the white prints I have been using this past year, so I called Miss Junebug down to the craft room to pick out some new, interesting fabrics for her quilt.

You think I’d learn to stop asking for her input…

The "Patriotic Snowman" star unit for the Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt

 

…although, truth be told, I am rather pleased that she stuck to the color theme this time.

Her reasoning for picking the snowman fabric, delivered with one hand on her hip and the other hand waving in the air as she explained:  “It’s my quilt, and I like snowmen.  Besides, you’re Canadian, so that means I like snow a lot more because I’m your daughter.”

[Insert image of me making my “I’m trying to look serious while dying inside from laughter” parenting face]

This quilt is ridiculously unique.  Just another reason to keep on with the handmades.

Junebug Brooke hugging her Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt-in-progress

She likes it.

 

Scrappy Snowman Pillows

That Crafty Cara's Scrappy Snowman Pillows

My first finish of 2015!

Quarter Square Triangles

Quilting on Scrappy Snowman PillowsThese were made with the insane amount of snowman fabric that I found in my stash during the great stash re-organization a couple of months ago, and I thought I’d be clever and use it up in a project.  Ridiculously, I have continued to find more and more of this fabric as I continue to unpack.  I’m drowning here, people.

The pattern is Sherri McConnell’s “Sugar Pine Pillows” from her Fresh Family Traditions book.  I followed the pattern exactly, even down to the quilting.

I didn’t have any pieces of the snowman fabric large enough for the backing, so I ordered some cute Dear Stella Tinsel Town fabric for the backing and binding, which was wonderful because the cute little snowman fabric has been catching my eye for months.

Pillow backing on Scrappy Snowman Pillows
I’m not sure if I’ll keep these or if I’ll give them away.  My kids think they’re pretty awesome, and they’re rather festive…so, we’ll see.

Linking up with:
Scraps Monday @ A Quilting Life
Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Hearts
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Finish It Up Friday @ crazymomquilts
Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday @ TGIFF
Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday @ SoScrappy

Uniquely Yours Quilt Block Swap 2015

I thought I would be brave this year and join an online quilt block swap, but every single one that I went to sign up for had already closed its registration.  So, I posed the idea to my friends on Facebook–anyone wanna do a quilt block swap with me this year?

Happily, seven other women thought it sounded like fun, and so here we are in our first month of our swap.  Our members range from not knowing how to thread their sewing machines to blue ribbon winners at the local Fair.  It’s pretty awesome–we’re all sharing what we know, and we’re asking questions when we don’t know what we’re doing.

Seeing that we have such a range of experience, our swap is starting with the easiest types of skills and blocks and then taking it up a notch each month.  By the end of the year we should be masters of half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles and corner piecing; but first we’re starting out with straight square patchwork.

This month’s “Queen Bee” chose the “Streak of Lightning” block from QuiltersCache.com, but with a twist:  she wanted each colored block to be different, and to tell something about the creator of the block.  I made my block, plus one extra for a friend who doesn’t have time this month because she’s moving, and settled back to bask in my awesome “I’m all done”-ness.

But then I went to square up my block to 12.5″ and found, to my horror, that my block didn’t even measure in at 12 inches!  Sigh.  I ripped out all the seams and tried again, taking extra care this time to get my seam allowances to be truly scant.  My second attempt measured in at a near perfect 12.5″.  Whew!

I won’t post a picture of the swap blocks just yet, so as to keep their appearance a bit of a surprise for the recipient, but I have decided that I’m going to make a Swap Sampler Quilt with some Michael Miller “Spring Couture” precuts that have been waiting patiently in the stash for such a thing. and I will show those blocks to you:

Springtime Streak of Lightning quilt blocks by That Crafty Cara

I was feeling rather springtime-ish when I started making these up, so I went with some fresh greens.  Upon further consideration, I probably should have gone with some pinks and purples, seeing that this was February’s block, which would suggest Valentine’s Day.  Oh well, I’ll try to remember that for next year.

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I ran into some seam allowance problems with these as well, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them.  Turns out that my 2.5″ strips are actually 2. 625″ strips–a full 1/8″ larger than they’re supposed to be!  Ugh.  Oh well, now I know, and I’m just going to keep them as is as a “sweet” memory of all the seam allowance problems I had with this particular block.  They’re still pretty.

I’ll post the Queen Bee’s block once I know that she’s received them.  Happy Swapping!

 

 

Star Spangled Diamond Quilt, Back in the USA

English paper pieced sixty degree diamonds in progress

The Star Spangled Diamond Quilt continues to grow, albeit at a much slower rate than it did in Australia.  It’s funny how shaving two hours off of your kids’ school bus commute and having them be in sports again will do that, huh?  I’ve “lost” about four hours each weekday now that we’re back, which is twenty hours a week that I no longer have for crafting.  I’m glad they’re able to do sports again, so I try not to stew on the topic.  Ha ha.  My main job right now is raising my children, so it’s all OK.  Just think of all the EPP I can do at tournaments in the future, right?  😉

Alright, so I have thirty-six star units attached to each other, and I sewed up a strip of seven more star units to attach to one side in order to make things symmetrical.  (No idea why I did seven…I guess I was stressed about the impending move back to the States and it hampered my ability to count?)  So, that strip still needs to be attached.  Forty-three units right there.  My quick counting in my head of how many I’ll need to complete the top, now that I had to add that extra column, is eighty-eight units.  Oh, hey, look at that!  Almost exactly half right there in that photo.

Star Spangled fabric line by Riley Blake Designs, english paper piecing

I did uncover six more completed units, so to date I have made forty-nine of these things, with thirty-nine left to go.  Ha ha, I originally thought I would finish this in six months.  What an innocent.  And let’s not even think about the filler units that I’ll need to pop on the ends of those shorter columns and all the way up the sides, K?  Oh, this quilt.

Sixty degree diamond, English paper piecing

I’m quite pleased with this little unit; Junebug picked out a little fat eighth of the main fabric in Australia and so I think there will only be one that looks like this, and I love it dearly.  So cute!

Alright, the rundown:

February count:

  • 50 units made
  • 36 units attached
What I hope to have done by the time I talk about this again in March:
  • 54 units made
  • Attach as many units as possible to main body of quilt

 

Linking up with:
Monday Morning Star Count @ Life Under Quilts
Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Hearts
WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
WIPs on Wednesdays @ Esther’s Blog
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation

Scrapping Happy

My family and I just moved back stateside after a five month stay in Queensland, Australia.  All the boxes we packed up were stored in my craft room, which means I haven’t been able to get to my sewing machine until today, almost a month after getting back into our home.  With the task of unpacking, I’ve taken the opportunity to re-organize my craft room and make it a little more user-friendly, which included finally finding a permanent eye-pleasing way to store my fabric:

Oh, I like rainbow order.  The two big bins on the bottom of each cart hold a specific color each, with the pieces being larger than fat quarter-sized.  I’ve organized the bins into pink, red, orange/yellow, green, aqua/turquoise, blue, purple, multi-colored, gray/black, and brown/white.  The middle bins hold fat quarters in any combination of the two lower colors (i.e. orange, yellow and green in the second cart), and the upper bins hold scraps–the top holds anything 2.5 inches or thinner, and the second from the top holds anything larger than 2.5 inches and smaller than a fat quarter.  The carts used to hold construction paper for my kids, but I’m taking a sabbatical from homeschooling this year and decided to re-purpose the bins for my own personal use.

One bin won’t close easily:  the “larger than 2.5 inches” aqua/turquoise & blue bin.  This tells me that I need to start working from that bin, and it turns out that a large portion of that bin is a bunch of snowman prints from a epic failure of a project many years ago.

What a great place to start!  I decided to whip something up out of the snowman fabric to give away, partly because I know someone who decorates heavily with snowmen during the winter months, and also because just seeing the fabric reminds of my epic failure, which isn’t a whole lot of happy-making for me.  Take the failure and make it into something that blesses the life of another!

Since Sherri McConnell over at A Quilting Life inspired me to start working with my scraps with her “Scraps Monday” series, I decided to take a quick look through her book, Fresh Family Traditions, and came across her “Sugar Pine” pillow pattern, which I think will work smashingly for this fabric.

I’ve got the first bit of sewing done, and I’ll work on turning these HSTs into some QSTs in the upcoming week.

I did go ahead and turn one of the HSTs into a QST, just because I wanted to see how it would look.  They’re at the top of this next picture:

I think it’s going to turn out rather well.  I’m planning on making two pillows, because I’m a “pillow set” kind of gal, and I’m rather certain that the recipient is as well.  Or maybe I’ll end up liking them and being able to overlook the “epic failure” memories, and just keep them for myself.  We’ll see…

Linking up with:
Scraps Monday @ A Quilting Life
Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Hearts
WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
WIPs on Wednesdays @ Esther’s Blog
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Scrap Happy Saturday @ SoScrappy