Hand-Quilted Mug Rug

hand quilted mug rugAt the February meeting of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, Dana presented an education segment on hand quilting. I have hand quilted before, but it was good to get her take on hoops (which I’ve never used but got to try at the meeting), thread (including pearl cotton, which I’ve always wanted to try), and needles. Our challenge was to try hand quilting and bring our work to the March meeting.

I didn’t get on it until just a few days before the March meeting. So I went through my pile of orphan blocks and found this one that I had made at the Heather Jones workshop last year. It’s small (about 8″ x 8″) so quilting would go quickly, and I really like the colors and wanted to finish it somehow anyway. Perfect!

Less perfect was the fact that I didn’t have any pearl cotton or a quilting hoop. So I just quilted it like I’d done in the past: in hand, with my regular sewing thread. It turns out that holding it in hand while quilting causes the piece to bunch up a bit more (a hoop keeps it flatter), but for my purposes, the bunchiness was fine.

My stitches are nowhere near the “ideal” of ten stitches per inch. Mine are about five per inch, occasionally six. But I certainly didn’t see a need to go smaller for a mug rug. And I’m not entirely sure I could go much smaller anyway. Ten stitches per inch is a lot!

hand quilted backOn the back, I just used a piece of pin fabric that I’d had for a while. It was surprisingly confusing—a couple of time I actually thought they were pins as I was working on it.

I have to admit I didn’t get the sense of relaxation that many people do when they hand quilt. Maybe it’s because I wanted to finish it by the meeting date. But I do still want to try pearl cotton sometime—maybe even tackle a whole quilt with it. We’ll see . . .

Spring Paper Crafts

Chrissy egg2

We had out-of-town visitors this weekend, including two sweet little girls ages six and two. So, of course, I had to plan a craft project. I looked around Pinterest for a while and came upon a craft I remembered fondly from my school days—the old opening egg with a chick inside. Perfect!

I went to Target to supplement my stash of supplies. I picked up a pair of safety scissors, the paper fasteners (they had them in silver and gold!), and some springtime stickers.

Abby, the six-year-old, is a born crafter. She jumped right in. Like any good six-year-old, she included her last name on her egg, so I ham-fistedly covered that up.

Abby egg edit

Marin, the two-year-old, made one, too, with the help of her mom and dad. She kept telling them to add “art,” much of which she then covered with stickers. But you can’t beat the upside-down chick placement.

Marin egg

Abby and I just kept at it once our first eggs were done. Abby made another one that she mounted on a piece of paper. The egg top still moves, though. She knows what she’s doing.

Abby egg2

And she made this pocket and glued it to a background. She used a hole punch to make the frame and then added paper behind some of the dots. Crafty!

Abby pocket

I asked Abby what else would come from an egg, and she immediately answered, “Dinosaur!” So I asked Greg to draw the dinosaur of his choice for my next egg.

Chrissy eggI borrowed Abby’s hole-punch technique on the bottom half of the egg.

I love sharing crafts with other people, and these two girls were great fun to make stuff with!


Latest Charity Quilt

Each year I try to make a few quilts to give to charities. I’ve made quilts for Ronald McDonald House, Project Linus, and Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky. If you’ve noticed, there’s a bit of theme there: I make quilts for kids. These quilts normally aren’t huge, and I can use my stash of brightly colored fabrics.

But 2016 is the year I’m going to make a quilt for Quilts of Valor. This organization gives quilts to veterans and service men and women around the country. The quilts need to be about 60″ x 80″, appropriate for an adult, and preferably in a patriot theme. To me, that translates to large, not girly, and includes reds. You can see why I have been dragging my heels.

Last week, my green, orange, and gray quilt hit a roadblock as I waited for an online fabric order to arrive. So I started going through my stash for fabrics appropriate for Quilts of Valor.

Somewhere along the way, I purchased several yards of this star fabric, especially for this purpose.

QofV star fabric

And I bought a few yards of this navy and white checked fabric, too.

QofV navy block

I looked around online, and found this quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew. She used a simple star pattern, and I really liked the way she mixed up her fabrics.

I pulled some blues and grays from my stash, removed the flowery ones, and made a few blocks.

QofV blocks

So far, I really like where it’s going. I do think it needs a little red to punch it up, but I haven’t decided how I’m going to do that yet. And I have all that star fabric that I might decide to use in big pieces around the blocks. We’ll see . . .