Category Archives: Custom work

Fiesta Fun – A Whole Cloth Baby Quilt

I have such a bright, cheerful quilt to share with you!  This is the second time I have made a whole cloth baby quilt for a customer. The first time was last fall, when I did the elephant quilt.  Check it out here for the details. I very much enjoy making these. This quilt was a simple project because there is no piecing involved. My customer really loved the Mexican Dress fabric from Art Gallery Fabric’s Fiesta Fun line. This is actually the second time I have used this fabric line in a baby quilt.  The first time was when I made the Knock Knock quilt while pattern testing for Sarah Goer. The colors in this line are a fantastic mix of brights and pastels against a pure white background. It is a lot of fun for a baby quilt. There is much for baby to look at!

My customer and I emailed back and forth numerous times one night as she selected the backing and binding fabric. After having two boys, she is expecting a girl.  She wanted bold and bright colors so she went with a Ta Dot polka dot fabric from Michael Miller.  The polka dots were used for both backing and binding. I really think this was an excellent choice.

Rather than put the dots right up against the floral fabric, I suggested using a flange in a solid deep orange (Pure Elements in Tiger Lily from Art Gallery also).

 I think it is good to have a break between the bold orange dots and the busy floral fabric.

Quilting this was a lot of fun. For the most part, I outlined bits and pieces of the floral design. As I moved from one part to the next, I would add a loop or two.  Having this busy print was like having a stencil for the quilting. I didn’t outline everything though. For a baby quilt, I like to have some space between the quilting to keep the quilt soft.

The quilt finished at 40″ x 40″ and I gave it one trip through the wash before packaging it up to send to Texas. Hopefully Baby Camille will get lots of use out of this quilt for a long time to come!

Just in case you are in need of some gorgeous color in your sewing room, I do have all of these fabrics in stock in the shop.  🙂  I will be linking up this week with a few of my favorites. Check the tab at the top of the page for links!

Also, I want to let everyone know I drew two names for the giveaway of Carrie Bloomston’s book!  Congrats to Susan S. and Nancy H.  Here are their comments:

Susan S. said: “I would like to design a house that perfectly fits my life style and compliments it’s surroundings.”

Nancy H. said: “Great interview, Bernie. At one time, and not too long ago at that, I would have said that my one wish was owning a cozy, welcoming quilt shop where people felt as though they were home. Now, it’s a tough choice. The simple answer would be to finish my quilt in time for the show in two weeks! But I think it should be more substantial than that. You’ve really stumped me!”

It was so interesting to read the responses to my question, ” what would you try if you were guaranteed success?” There were lots of interesting ideas put forth.  Thank you for joining in!

Treasure Bags

Several weeks ago, a friend asked me if I would do some custom work for her. She has two grand daughters and they frequently spend the night. They have bunk beds – actually I think it is like a loft bed since both girls sleep up on top. She wanted to be able to hang a bag on the railing of the bunk so they had a place to put their books, stuffed animals, or maybe a water bottle at night. Since they are up on top, they don’t have a nightstand available or the floor right there to put their books on. My friend, Joy, had seen the clothespin bags that I sell on Etsy and thought if I modified that idea, the girls could hang a bag from their bed. Her only request was that I use lots of pink and make some way for the girls to differentiate the bags; so they knew which one was “their bag”. Sounded fun!

For fabric, I went straight to Hawthorne Threads. I wanted to get a twill for the outside so the bags had some body. (For the clothespin bags, I generally use upcycled burlap or upcycled denim, which gives the bag some shape.)  I found a hot pink polka dot twill by Riley Blake. I knew what I wanted to use for the lining. Wee Wander’s “Wander Woods” in Petal.  The print is sweet and girly, perfect for these two sisters.

Sarah Jane - Wee Wander - Wander Woods in Petal  Riley Blake Designs - Home Decor Basics - Medium Dot in Hot Pink

I made a mock up with some muslin scraps to figure out the size. I knew I wanted to put three straps across the top of the bag as the girls are likely to put some weight into their bags. After playing around with it a bit, I decided on the sizing. The bags finished out at 9″ tall, 14″ wide, and 3″ deep.

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The three straps fold toward the inside of the bag so that the buttons are easily accessible from the railing of the bed.  I double stitched them to reinforce the straps. When I first made them, I didn’t have that stitching that is between the first two straps. The bag hung open too far so I ran a stitch vertically which created a compartment for the bag and kept it from gapping open.

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I boxed the corners at the bottom of the bag to create width in the bag.  Also, with the help of my quilting buddy, Sophia, I was able to add their initial to the front of the bag. Sophia has an embroidery machine which made quick work of this. I stitched a circle around the initial to set it off.

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I love how these turned out and hopefully, the girls will love them as well! Plenty of room for books, stuffies, and any other treasures they might want to have nearby at bedtime. I am debating offering these as a custom item in my Etsy shop. If I pre-make them, I won’t be able to add the monogram. Maybe I will make one or two up and see how they do in the shop.

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Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict,  Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts as well as Lorna at Let’s Bee Social. Links to all to these wonderful sites are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

The Plan for May

OK, May is going to be busy. We have my daughter’s 14th birthday (yikes!). I have a family trip planned that lasts nearly one week and we have my daughter-in-law’s graduation from medical school (double yikes!!)  Lots of activity going on so I am trying to be reasonable.

My main goal for the month  (which will by my ALYOF goal for May) has to be the completion of my Allison Glass Mini Quilt. The swap has to be mailed out in the first part of June so this needs to be at the top of the list. It shouldn’t be a problem as the top of the mini is done. I need to make the back and quilt it up. I want to make the quilting shine and as I still consider myself a newbie, I need to spend some time with this. I also want to make an “extra” giftie to include with the mini using some of the Allison Glass scrap.  Here is what I have left to make the backing with as well as an extra. I should have plenty of fabric.

IMG_20150504_3260 Second to the Allison Glass Mini is a custom order I am doing for a friend. She frequently has her granddaughters for the night and they sleep in bunkbeds. She asked me to make two hanging bags so they can have books and stuffies up on the bunk with them. The bags will hang from the rails of the beds. These are already cut and 1/2 way done so I shouldn’t have any trouble finishing them up. Hoping to do that this week. I am using a polka dot twill by Riley Blake and lining the bags with the lovely “Wander Woods” print from Wee Wander.

Third on the list is to make this month’s row for my Classic Stitches Row Quilt that I am doing with Mari over at Academic Quilter as my RSC15 project.  Tomorrow she will post the block that is to be made for this month. Luckily May’s color is green – I love green and have a bundle of scraps for it.

That is it for goals. Anything that is accomplished beyond that is a bonus.

This weekend was our local quilt show. It was great fun and so inspiring. I want to share the quilt that won Best of Show. This local artist, Sandra Bruce, is amazing. I posted about a class that I took with her last spring to learn her process called “Material Matrix”. It is a great process that takes a photo and divides it into patchwork squares by overlaying a grid on it. Sandra is an excellent teacher and a brilliant artist. Her portrait of Clair is approximately 4′ x 5′. Really striking, it is a perfect portrait of this sweet girl. When I was oohing and ahhing over the portrait, Sandra pointed out Clair to me. I asked her to pose for a picture and, while she probably thinks I am some sort of stalker, she did it for me.

IMG_20150503_3257Below is a closer look at the quilt. Sandra’s ability to create the human expression with bits of fabric never ceases to amaze me. If I remember correctly, she used 2 1/2″ squares to create this. Click on the link above if you want to check out her gallery. She does travel and teach so you never know, maybe she’ll be in your area some time. If she is, it’s totally worth your time to work with her for a day or two!

IMG_20150503_3258Finally, have you seen the list for some of the instructors at 2016 Quilt Con??? This was in today’s issue of the Modern Quilt Guild  Newsletter. Absolutely. Amazing. I am so excited and am considering whether this might be my first time attending. It is in Southern CA in February of 2016 so it would be fairly easy for me to attend.

quilt con teachers

Big question is, how would a person even choose which one(s) to take a class with??? Most of my quilty heros are in this line up. It’s too good to be true!!  Are you going?  C’mon, you have a nearly a year to figure it out!

Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday, FreeMotion by the River and ALYOF at Sew Bittersweet Designs.

 

 

 

Custom Work

Over the summer I opened an Etsy shop. Kind of scary because it means putting yourself out there and hoping that someone likes your work enough to buy it. So far it is going well.  I have sold a number of items, certainly not enough to make any sort of living, but enough to make it rewarding. It feels good to have someone look at an item I created and purchase it. Also for some reason, I get a kick out of knowing that I am shipping something I made to someone in another part of the country. I have sent things to South Carolina, Alaska, Oregon, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia. This week I received an Etsy email from a woman telling me that an item I made was on her sister’s Christmas List. I loved that! The same item had sold the day before I received the email. Luckily I had enough fabric to duplicate it and it was simple item. It felt great to make my customer happy.

Over the past two weeks I had two requests for custom orders. I have been making cozies for Chemex coffee pots and sold a number of them as Christmas gifts through Etsy. The first custom request I got was from a woman who wanted me to make one for her using her fabric. She had a gorgeous African Ankara fabric that she thought would work. We chatted back and forth a bit and she sent me a picture of the fabric. Seemed like a good idea so we came to an agreement and she mailed the fabric to me.

It turned out so pretty. She is gifting this to her sister for the holidays. (Excuse the horribly wrinkled sheet that was used as a backdrop! I mailed off the project before looking at this picture. Ick!)

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It was a great surprise to see how the green pattern matched so well where it joins with the buttons. Totally happened by chance as I didn’t think to check that when I was cutting. I was more concerned with how to fit the most of that bold blue and purple stripe in the piece. I got lucky!

20141202_2284I had these pretty a brass buttons that added nice touch. I quilted it along the white lines that delineate the pattern. Overall, a good finish. The best thing is now I have some experience with Ankara fabric and plan to buy more. Ankara fabric actually originated  with the Dutch. It was made with the intent to be sold in Indonesia but quickly gained popularity in West Africa. It is a very dramatic use of bold colors and prints and is usually made with 100% cotton fabric. The piece that I worked with washed well and was easy to sew on.

The second custom order came around as a result of a request from a woman in Pennsylvania. She wrote me and said that she liked my work but wanting to gift a Chemex cozy to her guy, she hoped for something less feminine. This forced me to take a look at the fabric choices I have been making and yep, most are rather feminine. It is interesting because when I make a new Chemex jacket to put up on Etsy, I always post it on Instagram with various hashtags. I get a pretty good response and guess what, they are predominantly male responses. But those responses haven’t led to sales on Etsy. It follows that I might be more successful in that market with some covers that are less floral! My customer specifically asked for denim, twill or flannel. This is what I came up with.

The denim is from my husband’s massive pile of old levi’s. The flannel is actually a piece leftover from pj’s that I made for my boys about ten years ago. Talk about lucky, I didn’t even have to make a run to the store!photo denim-crop

photo 4The buttons were purchased in Lancaster, PA during my amazing fabric hunt in Amish country. (That trip was a blast and you can read about it here.)

photo 2It was a win for the customer and some new perspective for me. Question of the day: If you are selling product on Etsy, do you charge extra for a custom order? In these two instances, I did not. The items were ones that I make regularly, the customer just wanted me to use a certain fabric. However, it does mean setting aside my current project and sewing something different for each of these customers. I am not sure and would love to hear what others are doing.

As an aside, I am loving the comments I have received on my post about the giveaway for Sew Mama Sew. What a sweet group of comments. Today is the last day for the giveaway so if you want to join in, check out this post.

Enjoy your weekend!  Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts. Find these links and more, at the top of the page under Link-Ups.  (That sounds like a commercial!)