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Quilt Review Review

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I recently had the privilege of meeting Lauren, a client of mine via my Etsy shop, How Dear. In my shop I sell quilts, some of them of my own creation, lots of them baby quilts, most of them custom baby shower quilts that are used in lieu of a guestbook that people can sign and give to the mother-to-be as a keepsake to commemorate the day. Lauren was throwing a shower for a friend (Tim Burton themed) and asked if I could help her out in exchange for a review for my quilt on her lovely blog, Shooting Stars Mag:  where ” We are a group of people who write about the things we love, and the lifestyle that goes with it. “

She wrote a very sweet and flattering article about this quilt I made for her:

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Lauren was so sweet and kind to work with, I wanted to return the favor! When she contacted me, she asked if I could make her a quilt in return for a review. She was so lovely to work with and very gracious, I would recommend checking her out and seeing other items she has reviewed and if she can help support your business. Please check out her blog and the very generous article she wrote about the quilt.

If you are interested in having a quilt made, you can contact me via my Etsy shop. Here are some other samples of ones I have made in the past for clients or that are available now in my shop. 

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Easy Mitten Quilt and Tea Staining Fabric

ImageQuilting as you go is a really popular way to quilt it seems these days, which absolutely thrills my soul! With two businesses to try to keep afloat, two girls to keep after, errands to run, a house to keep in order, murals to finish painting, custom orders to keep up with, youth group activities, church functions, upcoming showers and parties, Christmas presents to be made…..(you get the idea) I am so happy when I see something that helps me to shave off some time on my projects. I have sold my quilts in shops in the past (real storefront stores, not online) so I have to have an inventory of quilts on hand ready to be shipped out. Fall is just around the corner, and Christmas and snow shortly to follow, so lots of stores are already carrying winter items (which is terribly depressing to me, but that is for another day).  Anyway, I came up with this mitten quilt that is an applique quilt-as-you-go quilt that literally took me just a little over three hours to make, start to finish (minus tea staining the fabric). 

Here are the supplies you will need:

* 2 pieces of fabric measuring 48″x36″

*Batting measuring 48″x36″

*Fabric scraps of your choice for the mittens and binding (I found this adorable cotton fabric that looks like it’s knit, but I think using real salvaged sweaters would be cute, too)

*Rickrack

*Fusible webbing

*Thread

*Tea bags (if you intend to tea stain the fabric first)

Pretty simple list, right? 

First, I tea stained the fabric by boiling some water on the stove with a few tea bags, then I turned the stove off and let the fabric soak in it for a good hour, then rinsed and rung it out and hung it out to dry.  Don’t toss the water or bags yet because they will come in handy later.

102_2205After it had dried, I dipped it in the water a few times, then rinsed it out and rung it out really well, the put it in my dryer to really set the stain. DO NOT PUT IT IN WITH OTHER ITEMS!! It will stain other clothes, so I don’t recommend it and you might want to run a rag over the barrel once you are all done with this process. It has never left residue on future cycles for me before, but it probably doesn’t hurt to use this precaution.  You can always hang it up to dry again if you want to.  After it was dry again, I took just the tea bags and would put them in the fabric and squeeze for a very highly concentrated staining.  I have found that it’s always better to make sure the fabric is completely dry when you do this. 

102_2206Then I toss it in the dryer once more for good measure, pull it out and it’s good to go!

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I love anything vintage or antique, so I love this method because it makes your fabrics look “aged” quickly.

Once the fabric was tea-stained, I went to work cutting out mittens. I traced around my own hand for a pattern (very scientific 🙂 ) and then cut out two pairs of mittens out of each of the fabrics and webbing I had, totaling six pairs of mittens. Then, I sandwiched my three layers together (backing, batting and front fabric) and pinned it all together nicely as you would any other quilt.  Then I went about pinning and ironing the mittens in place. This part was fun to me, because I liked putting them around a little haphazardly like mittens strewn about after a morning sled riding and building snowman, discarded in the haste of warming hands on a mug of hot chocolate.  

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After I had the mittens where I wanted them, I pinned on some matching red and green rickrack to connect four out of my six pairs of mittens. I love rickrack! It adds a vintage touch to any project.

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*Note: I know one if dark brown and not red, but I was going to use the brown until I found I had some red after I took this picture. 

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Starting from the middle of the quilt outward, I went about quilting the three layers using a free-motion stitch, and sewing around each of the mittens and across the rickrack. 

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Once it was completely quilted (which took only about an hour total time) I cut out 1/2″ strips for the binding from different fabrics, just to keep things interesting. 

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Last but not least I attached the binding by machine. I know, I know…..that’s the lazy method. But, doing it this way is the difference between 30 minutes and three hours. So, I will take the easy method, please.

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Aaaaaaand (drum roll please) there you have it! A cozy quilt for the upcoming winter chill.

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Now all that is missing is a hot cup of cocoa, a crackling fire, Dean Martin singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside”, and snow sticking to the window outside. 

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Quilted Pet Portraits

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I get restless very easily. My creative brain is always working overtime to help keep the rest of me sane during the mundane day-by-day of everyday living.  I specialize in custom party/signature/wedding/shower quilts, and to be honest with you, I get a little bored sometimes and like to try new things. So, hence, here we are. I am a HUGE dog lover. My dog, Henry, is a very big part of our family and well….I am very attached. I have seen some very cute pet portrait quilts, and since I know there are many other dog/pet/animal lovers out there, I thought I would try my hand at it! This is my first attempt and I am sort of learning/teaching myself as I go by trial and error and I thought some of you might enjoy fumbling through this process with me. First of all, I picked out a picture of Henry that I thought might work best for this-one that had a nice frontal view of his darling face. As you can see, I had quite a few to choose from:

ImageIn the end, I chose this one:

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To start this project here is what I used:

*Tracing paper

*Image on computer

*Fabric scraps, different colors/patterns for shades/variations

*Interfacing

*Scissors

After choosing my image, I zoomed it in on the computer to make it the size I wanted (I ended up putting “Henry” on a 14″x14″ block, so I made it to fit that well). Then I traced over it with tracing paper, tracing over anything that I felt would be significant in the final product (i.e. shading on the ears/face, the different parts of his eyes) being careful to label what everything was and what color/pattern I wanted to use for each piece so that it would stand out (i.e. for the shading on the ears I chose dark gray fabric, for his eyes light blue, etc.). The pattern looked like this.

100_2146I chose black and white polka dot for the main fabric, so I traced around the pattern and cut it out of the fabric. For the other pieces, I traced them on top of this pattern to make separated pieces, then cut those out of the fabrics I had chosen for them as well. This was very helpful to keep the original pattern intact, because I could then place it on top of the black background I had used and then used it to make sure all of the other pieces were in their proper place.  I will say all of this was exceptionally tedious, but fairly simple.

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100_2139I pinned everything in place and was ready to go!

100_2136Once I had his whole face together, I pinned it to interfacing and cut out around it so the fabric wouldn’t bunch when I appliqued it all together. I then picked out another background-background fabric, this time white with black polka dots and cut it out into a 14″x14″ square and pinned Henry to this. Then I set about appliqueing him on with my trusty machine, being careful to start in the center, just like when you are quilting anything (i.e. the nose on out).

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100_2140I just did raw-edge machine applique because for 1) it’s much quicker and easier and 2) the little fringe makes your portrait look a little “furrier” which I thought was fitting. 🙂 And, here is the finished product:

100_2145 Isn’t he cute? I think I’m going to add a border to this and either do a wall-hanging or a throw quilt. The girls suggested I use it to make Henry (the real Henry) a bed. Hmmm….that would look a little something like this:

100_1588Probably not….but look for it soon on my Etsy shop!

xo

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Cancer Quilts

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I am going to do a shameless plug right now for my Etsy shop, but it is for a good cause. Most of the orders I get in my shop are for custom quilts. Because I spend so much time communicating back and forth with my clients to make their quilt exactly what they want, I have developed some very good relationships and true friendships with a number of my clients. In September, I met Tiffany who was ordering a quilt for her niece who was about to have a baby. During the course of our conversations back and forth, I learned that Tiff had spent the last 15 months in the hospital and was dying from cancer that had spread to every part of her body.  I want to take another message sometime to tell you more about Tiff because I have never met such a special, inspiring person in my entire life.

I specialize in signature quilts, mostly for wedding and baby showers in lieu of a guestbook, but around Thanksgiving I sent Tiff a cancer quilt to snuggle up with during chemo treatments and for people to sign to encourage her as she battles cancer.  I have heard that they call her “Linus” because she takes it with her everywhere and is very protective of it, making sure it never gets dirty. That makes me smile. She is so special that every inch of it is covered with signatures, Bible verses and words of encouragement to remind her of how loved she is. Since then, her health has declined considerably and at this point the doctors are trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.

In my life, I have seen so many people battle cancer and have lost loved ones to it myself.  When I was nine, I lost my grandfather to cancer.  He was only 59 and my hero, and twenty-three years later, I miss him so. Also, a little over three years ago, I lost my mother-in-law, Ruth, to cancer at the age of 56. She was an amazing woman as well and spent the last two years of her life using her illness as a huge ministry to lead others to Christ.  She truly knew what it meant, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In the last few months of her life she talked so much about heaven and couldn’t wait to meet her Savior face to face.

I have started offering cancer quilts in my shop because this is such a special thing to me. If you cannot afford the price I have listed, I am more than happy to work with what you feel you can afford. I am also willing to do donations. Also, I portion of what I make from these quilts will go to a cancer research center that is based where I just moved from in Erie, PA.

Cancer has touched so many of our lives that I really want to be able to encourage those who are going through this to help support them and their families as they face such a difficult time.

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