Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Smile for a Friend

Some people might be wondering why I've started making quilting themed miniatures all of a sudden, with no project idea mentioned.  I couldn't say before, in case a friend stumbled onto this blog, but they were gifts for a dear friend who is slowly loosing her battle with cancer.

She's both a miniaturist and a fine needlewoman, and she belongs to the same stitching guild that I'm a member of.  When I saw her in May, she told me she was thinking about making a quilt shop.  That's when I decided to create a tutorial on mini fabric bolts to share with other members of our guild so they could have some fun making bolts for her.  The plan was to also create a few other tutorials like: bags of batting, rolled fat quarters, quilt rulers, and maybe even a few tiny quilt blocks.  We'd spend all summer making her little things and then give everything to her in September.

However we were all given the bad news... the chemo isn't working.  So I sped things up by quite a bit and focused on the basics: fabric bolts and fat quarters.  The first group of ladies went to work two weeks ago on bolts.  That's when a friend came up with the adorable fat quarter bundles.

I spent the next several days basically kitting up the supplies for more people to make bolts and glued/folded close to one thousand (or more) mini fat quarters to be made into bundles.  FH helped lots with the fat quarters.  He even made two bolts of fabric.

Here is the result of this labor of love:  221 bolts of fabric (many are signed by the ladies who rolled them), 107 fat quarter bundles, a basket of fat quarters and scrap basket (made by me), and a "store sample" quilt and mini hanks of fibers for embroidery (made by the friend who created the first bundle).  The collective work of 21 people is in these pictures.

Another mutual friend who is both a stitcher and miniaturist made some lovely minis on her own, but I didn't manage to get pictures.  She did 12 fabric bolts, 12 rolls fat quarters, some adorable storage boxes, several quilting magazines, and three "store sample" quilts.

Most of the fabrics we used came out of my stash... or I went and bought some, but seven other ladies raided their stashes or went and purchased fabrics after seeing examples of what would work.  Two more offered to scour their stashes as well, but the quilt shop will already be overflowing.

Everyone had a wonderful time making the minis, and our friend was so happy and surprised that we thought of her.  I will admit she got a bigger smile on her face when I told her that two of our stitching friends now want to make their own miniature quilt shops.  So I'll be coming up with more tutorials after all.

I'm hoping to get them started on their shops soon, so our friend can watch their progress.  She's having a hard time seeing fine details now and can't use anything sharp (x-actos and saws), so I'll be helping her build her newest dollhouse kit on the days she feels well enough to order me around.  I'll also be working on my own quilt shop.  Something will need to be done with the results from creating the tutorials.

I also need to buckle down and finish the Panda Nursery, even though it's future is unknown.  I stopped working on it when my dad fell and broke his hip... followed by my mother needing emergency surgery... resulting in many trips down south to help them take care of things.  Then Tempie passed away and I started falling into a deep depression.

To make things worse, Shirley informed me that her daughter-in-law, the baby's mother, was divorcing her son and was preventing her from seeing the baby.  I honestly didn't know how to proceed after that point, in fact I was unsure of even asking Shirley about the project for fear of upsetting her.  Enough time has passed now that her hurt is less raw and I'm in a better mental and emotional state to handle finishing everything up.  It bothers me seeing the unfinished room and the boxes filled with the wonderful minis from people all over the world just sitting there.

I'm not sure what Shirley will want to do with the nursery when it's done.  But I'm going to finish it anyway.

So the projects on the horizon will be:
- creating tutorials for more quilting miniatures
- the Panda Nursery
- my own quilt shop
- helping three ladies with their quilt shops
- gifts for my StL mini group folks' birthdays and Christmas
- the Black Bear cross stitch
- the Aragon Blackwork
- whatever else strikes my fancy

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fat Quarter Bundle Tutorial

I thought I'd post this, even though it's Saturday. It makes up for last weekend's post being late.

This week I worked on more fabric bolts, but I also started doing something with all the mini fat quarters I've been accumulating.  Some friends of mine were over and one of them came up with a cute idea for using the fat quarters.  I thought I'd share for those who might be interested.

You will  need:

- a set of 4 to 6 coordinating miniature fat quarters (for measurements, click here to go to the earlier post)
- glue and a tooth pick
- a clothespin
- a thin scrap of fabric or a piece of pearl cotton
 Step 1: Run glue along the longer side of the fat quarter and fold in half.
 Step 2: Put a dab of glue on one end of the fabric and fold in half again.
 Step 3: Put another dab of glue on one end of the fabric and fold in half again.  You might wish to put a dab of glue inside the folds of the cut ends, to help the whole thing stay folded.
 Now you have one folded fat quarter.  Whilst you're folding/gluing the other fat quarters, you might want to stick this on in the clothespin for safe keeping.
 Step 4: Arrange your folded fat quarters in a stack and secure with the clothespin.
 Step 5: Tie your fabric scrap/pearl cotton around the stack, knotting tightly.
 Step 6: Trim the excess from the ties and also snip any loose threads that might be lurking.
 You now have an adorable bundle of fat quarters!
 As you can see, my handsome assistant was present whilst I worked.  He likes laying on the clothespins.
I hope you enjoy making your own bundles of fat quarters.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Booties and Blackwork

Hello everyone!  I hope lots of fun and crafting has happened for everyone in the past week.  I've managed to have some fun in between housework and cleaning up the yard.

I finished two more pairs of booties this week.  The first is lacking the coordinating ribbon to really be "finished," but the crocheting is done.  No rush though, because this pair is more my stash o' baby gifts.  I'm not entirely pleased with the crooked placement of the hearts on the instep.  I'll have to figure out if that was my goof or a misprint in the instructions.

The second is already on its way to the recipient on the east coast, via the baby's grandma.  I hadn't worked this pattern up before, but I believe I'll make more.  They were lots of fun!

Then I got more work done on the Aragon Blackwork piece.  I still haven't gotten to the actual blackwork portion of the chart, but I'm happy with my progress.  Last time I posted about it, it looked like this.
That's all for this week.  I'm beat after a full day of yard work followed by a day of crocheting.  I'll hopefully have the fourth motif of the blackwork piece done by next weekend and at least one pair of booties.  I may be late in posting next weekend... later than today.  FH, Gus, and I are headed south for Father's Day.  Artie and Pixel will be guarding the house, with a little help from our neighbors.

See you next time!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Three, One, and One

I mentioned last week that I was working on cross stitching while taking care of Pollux in his final days.  However I don't have any pictures of my progress and since I'm running late as it is, I think I'll just skip ahead to what I've been doing this week.

FH informed me twelve days ago that we were going to a baby shower for one of his gaming friend and his wife.  Of course that meant I wanted to make something handmade for the baby.  And another friend is due any day now as well, so more presents!

First, I crocheted three pairs of baby booties.  The first two were for the shower today, the third is for my friend who is pregnant.

I'm still working on things for my other friend, including a hat in the same colors as these booties.

Then I found some yarn I'd stashed two years ago and thought it would be fun to make hats from it.  I've only made this one so far, but more will come.

Lastly I was trying to fill up the large gift bag we bought, so I grabbed this pony toy I'd made a while back and embroidered a face on it.

The party was lots of fun and I'm tired.  Plus Gus believes he's starving to death, so I will see you all next week.