Monday, September 22, 2014

The Out to Sea Quilt, or, How to Stress Yourself Out Right Before Vacation

Truth be told, I love this thing. Like a fat kid loves cake. Or, like I love donuts. It was such a crazy time-consuming labor of love. To be honest, the inspiration came entirely from the fabric. As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to become a beach blanket. Seeing that I'm a brandy-new quilter, I decided to keep things simple and stick to squares. A lot of them apparently.

Six inch squares that I pieced together in blocks of nine, and then kept attaching them together until I had a top piece and a bottom. That's where you can see the shifting blocks and not everything matched up, but I don't mind too much. I didn't have that much of a plan with this, so when I had my large blocks all sewn together, I decided to add a 3" border all the way around. I wanted this as big as I could go with the piece of batting I had, but I didn't have quite enough fabric left from some of the prints so I had to compromise and check my stash for coordinates. The end size is around 5.5' by 6.5'. It fits nicely on top of a queen bed as an extra blanket but would probably be better on a twin.

For the back I decided to use a vintage sheet from my stash. I've been wanting to use it for something fun, and this project was perfect. I mean, it already had enough pink in it to embarrass my husband, so why not just go for it? The sheet is soft and worn which I love, making it the perfect choice. The binding was a bit daring for me but that being said, it might be my favorite part. Its cheery and bright, and for some reason it makes me think of pirates.

In the end I really fell in love with this project even though I stressed myself out trying to complete it before vacation. And although it was a lot of work, I would gladly do it again! (In about three years. Or when my children are in school.) It really got so much use on our trip. We snuggled up in it to watch sunrises and sunsets, it kept us warm over our bed on chilly nights, and it made a great floor blanket for a baby who's just about to crawl. I'm proud of my first non-baby quilt, and I think it'll stick around our family for a long long time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

DIY: A needle minder tutorial

So as it turns out, I really love embroidery. It's a very calming craft, and easily accessible for relaxing on the couch. But what to do with those pesky disappearing needles?! Time to buy a needle minder! What? No! You can totally make one! And it's a great use for all those teeny scraps of fabulous fabric that you just can't seem to toss. (You fabric hoarder, you.)

First things first: supplies.

You'll need a button kit. I found mine at Joanne's. It came with the tools (white and blue bits there) to pop the buttons together. Use buttons large enough to hole your magnets. I used two different sizes here.
Buy some strong or ultra strong magnets. I found these at ACMoore but I know they have something similar at just about every craft store.
Scraps of fabric from your collection.
Some E6000 glue. I found a pack of these four small tubes at Walmart. These are nice because the large tube is expensive and tends to get all dried up before you use it all.

Okay, make your buttons according to the directions. (The really easy-to-figure-out directions. But if you need explanation, let me know!)

Now add the magnet to the back, using a dab of your E6000 glue. (In a well-ventilated area, it's stinky!)

Let it dry for a few hours, then hold a plain magnet behind your hoop fabric and attach the fabric button magnet to the front. They'll stick together no problem! Now you have a cute little button to stick your needle to when you need to take a break! (Or fix dinner, or take a shower. You know you have to eventually.)

Hope you enjoy making your own cute needle minders! I made a few of my own just for good measure...

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