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Monday, August 10, 2015

E is for Emma

About two months ago, I had the privilege of attending a party to celebrate sweet little Emma's first birthday.  It was a low-key, family and friends affair, but it was absolutely perfect.

Now my husband and I are best friends with Emma's parents, so of course, she was getting a handmade gift for her birthday.  I spotted a softie alphabet project in Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, and I immediately knew I had to make it for her. 

These were designed by Manda McGrory and they're quite simple to make.  You print your desired templates, use fusible fleece and scraps, and stuff them with polyester toy filling. 

So I cut out my templates and got started.  I got through the A, B, and C, before I realized I made them waaay too small.  Redo. 

Here's a sample of what they look like (and how I felt when I was finished):

Then I had to play with them:

I only made one of each letter, so I was surprised to discover that you can spell Lady Schep without repeating any letters!
What really makes this project stand out is the linen drawstring bag to store the letters in:
Next time, I'll applique the letters farther down on the bag, like Manda did on her bag. 
You can't really tell, but the bag says Emma!
It's still pretty cute, though!

This was my first time using the blanket stitch on my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960:
I used a high contrast thread to pull it all together, so I was stitching super slowly to it just right.  Not bad for my go-round with the machine blanket stitch!  I have to admit, though, that I stitched so slowly it would have been just as fast for me to blanket stitch the letters on by hand. 
I learned lots of things during this project, namely that you have to know when you will save more time by ditching what you've finished to that point and starting over, rather than trudging through a project that will only cause pain and suffering in the end.   Fortunately, I did that early on in this project, so I cut down on the agony part.  I'll have to make one of these for #babyschep, but I'll have to make them much larger for ease of turning. 
So what do you think?  I think it turned out super cute!  It was fun watching her pull the letters out of the bag, especially the letter T, which she immediately shoved in her mouth!  So cute! 
Until next time, God Bless!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 MQG Riley Blake Fabric Challenge Complete!

I've been agonizing over this project for quite a few months now.  I find fabric challenges to be very, well, challenging, because it's never a collection of fabric I would have purchased on my own. (Not to mean they aren't awesome!)  Check out the beautiful bundle of fabrics generously provided by Riley Blake at no cost to me through the Modern Quilt Guild:

 These prints are from the Cottage Garden Collection designed by the Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs.

The rules were simple: make something quilted using the Cottage Garden Collection and matching Riley Blake solids/blenders, and try something new.  Being a brand new quilter, it wasn't very difficult to challenge myself for this project. 

I got to see Nancy Zieman in person at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in March of this year, so I picked up her Dresden templates after being wowed by her fabulous Dresden quilts.

The bundle I received consisted of fat eights, and I was determined to only purchase solids and blenders, so I had to play with Nancy's template to figure out the best way to construct the blades of the plate.  It's a flexible plastic template, so you mark the shapes with a pen, then cut them out, or you risk cutting your template with a rotary cutter.

My hubby helped me lay out the blades in a "random" pattern.  He's so over-analytical!

I ordered the solids and blenders from the Loopy Ewe.  My experience with them was great, and I really love these Riley Blake colors. 

I decided to hand embroider the center circle.  Good thing the Tampa Bay Lightning made it to the Stanley cup Final, because it gave me plenty of couch time to get this all stitched up. 

Here's the completed embroidery.  I found the sparkly cotton floss at the same Expo back in March.  It sure does stitch up pretty, but it's a bit of a hassle to deal with due to the metallic filament that runs the entire length of the floss. 

Here's my Dresden, ready to stitch down!  You can't really appreciate it in any of the photos, but the background blender I chose is called Snowshade from Riley Blake.  I regret not buying more of it when I did! 
I'm not the most adept at machine sewing yet, so that in and of itself is a challenge to me.  I even managed to make my machine mad at me by sewing through a pin! 
In the end, I think it turned out okay.  I chose the offset design after seeing a similar quilt made by Nicole Calver in Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  I ended up getting very frustrated with this quilt in the end due to my less-than-stellar machine piecing skills.  I am, however, rather proud of my handwork on this mini. 
What do you think?  Do you participate in fabric challenges?  Let me know!  Until next time, God Bless!

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