Friday, February 28, 2014

Babies and Quilts Go Together Like...

I don't know what!!!  It just sounded like a good title at the time.  LOL

I'm not THAT old, but I have 8(9) great-nieces and nephews.  Babies NEED quilts.  Especially, quilts from great-aunts who happen to be quilters!

Therefore, 5(6) out of 8(9) have quilts from me.  The first 3 came along before I was much of a quilter (and never expressed an interest in having a quilt, anyway.)   1(2) out of 8(9) actually got their quilts when they were babies!

Hey!  It's NOT a requirement.  Kids still need quilts when they are one, two, and three years old.  Right?!  :P


I don't normally make what most would consider to be "baby" baby quilts.  I like to make "kid" quilts.  Bigger than normal baby quilts, in less baby-like colors and themes, that won't be "outgrown" by age 1.  Which is good because since I tend not to get the quilts done before the baby is 1 or 2 (At minimum!)

Baby A got her quilt when she was a baby.  It just happened that I was inspired by her mom's choice of colors and had a quilt retreat coming up at the same time.  I'm not sure if she still uses it, but she got it.

You can read more about Baby A's Quilt and see a picture here:

Baby J wasn't so lucky!  He has had to wait 3(4) long years for his quilt.  First, I made a quilt that didn't seem to fit him.  Then, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt the one that I ended up making for him.  And then he had a sister...

Baby J's Quilt:

Baby N had to wait for her quilt for over a year.  So long that she ended up with ANOTHER sibling in the ranks.  Baby F's Quilt is still in the works...just like Baby F!!!  LOL

Baby N's Quilt:

Baby M was born around the same time as Baby N and she had to wait for her quilt, too!  A new sister came along before her quilt was done.

Baby M's Quilt:

Baby E didn't have to wait long, at all.  They both got quilts made from the same fabrics.  Mom wanted "neutrals" for both girls (and there were strips left over from Baby M's quilt, anyway!)  Can you say "Instant Quilt"???

Baby E's Quilt (The Same But Different):

Please disregard the odd pulling.  It's one of the hazards of quilting using polyester batting from your stash without pinning enough.  I'm pretty sure the baby won't be judging the quilt.  She will probably be doing a lot of other things to it, but NOT judging it!!!  :o)

Thanks to Gayle S. for providing the last piece of fabric needed to complete the top and to Ruth S. for bringing a selection of fabrics after the snow.  I'm sorry to say that I'm not sorry the quilt top was already done.  I do appreciate the thought.

That's it for this post.  Please don't tell my nieces and nephews that I blogged about their quilts.  It would spoil the surprise.  I'll post a photo of Baby F's Quilt as soon as it's done.

Until then...
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Bargain Basket

I've been on a bit of a basket kick lately and for the price of 2 fifteen inch squares (that you probably have laying around in your sewing room), you can have a new storage container that you made for yourself (or for a friend!)

I found a FREE tutorial online last year by Christina Lane at and gave (fabric) basket-making a try.  She made the process REALLY easy and I left out the stabilizer and made it even easier!  I considered using some sort of stabilizer, I really did, but then I decided that my basket didn't NEED it.  Afterall, how sturdy of a container does one need to be able to store small bits of fabric?

Anyway, I made one (and then I made another... and another.)  Then I determined that I needed one in EVERY COLOR!!!  I'm a quilter.  Remember?  It's ALL about the color!  :o)

Baskets in (most) of the colors of the rainbow:

In my quest to make one in every color, I ended up giving away two of the first three that I made.  How did that happen???

Well, when a friend comes down from up north to visit another friend and she says that she's bringing you a gift... you have to scare up a gift, FAST!!!  Anyway, I couldn't give one friend a gift and NOT give the hostess a gift, could I???

So... there went two baskets and they HAD to be replaced.  And there was the quest to make one in every color.  You know that I just HAVE to coordinate my fabric scraps with the basket that they will live in.

Here's one of the replacement baskets:

(Don't tell my friend, but I like the replacement better than the original!!!)

Months go by, and I'm still making baskets.  So, I take a few to Quilt Bee to show that I have been sewing SOMETHING... even if I hadn't finished a quilt in quite some time!  The ladies liked them so much that they asked if I would teach them how to make fabric baskets of their own.

Who could refuse?!

Certainly not me.

Even YOU wouldn't have been able to, if you had seen the excitement on their faces at the thought of this new item that they might be able to create.

Trust me on this!!!

Well, that class was today.  (A number of students even came prepared!)  Anyway, I told my story, showed my samples, and then walked them through an abbreviated version of the process.  Everyone ooo'd and aah'd at the appropriate times.  To me, that means class was a success.

Two of my "students" went home with completed baskets.  Two others went home with nearly completed baskets and several others (who couldn't bother with gathering class supplies BEFORE class) were anxiously awaiting their return home so that they could make their versions, too.

While, I hope to post an update when those are done, I came home with THREE MORE (partially completed) baskets!!!  What?!?!

The "teacher" just HAD to have samples of the various steps in the process.  Right???  That meant that I had basket fabric and lining fabric partially assembled to demonstrate the methods for making the basket.  Without further delay, I give you the class samples:

As well as some finishing options that my students and I came up with:

Faux Piping (Mine):

The Fold Over (Theirs):

A couple of students even tried to turn their baskets into "pill box" hats!  I didn't manage to get pictures of that, though.  :o(

Until next time...
Happy Quilting!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The "Britt Bag" Adventure

Back in November 2013, my quilt bee hosted a workshop for an "Off-Set Bag."  One of our members is in love with the style and agreed to show us how it was done.

Those "students" who had made bags in the past were given a modified set of instructions (as the "teacher" had revised the plans that she had found somewhere on the net) and went off to do their own things.  The others plodded along step by step while NeedleB tried to coax bags into being.

The "leader of the pack" went away with a completed bag.  She is an absolute speed demon when it comes to piecing!  Another friend and I managed to finish our bags not long after everyone else went home.  The three of us made big, Big, and BIGGER bags.  We changed the cutting measurements to suit ourselves.  That's what is so great about doing things as a group!  Everyone has their own ideas about how to follow instructions.  LOL

The result of that "class" yielded 6 different bags.  Bags of 6 different sizes.  My two bags are shown below:

Expanded "Britt Bag":  Made using decorator samples that have been sitting in my fabric stash for YEARS, waiting for the "perfect" project.  This is an extra-large tote that I use to carry all sorts of stuff to meeting and to work.  It's big enough to hold my latest completed quilt or a number of knitting projects.

Britt Bag Revisited:   Made using my stash of worn out and outgrown jeans, this bag is perfect for "dress down" days!  It incorporated everything from Size 5 jeans to size 5T!  Photos show views of the front, back, side, and inside of the bag that I designed using the "Off-Set" Bag as a jumping off point.  It's easy to carry and just the right size to hold my E-Reader device and other necessities.

I wanted to make sure there were PLENTY of pockets on this cross-body bag.  On the front, the pocket even has a (back) pocket!!!  The side (back) pocket was supposed to hold my cell phone, but I didn't allow for the generous seam allowance that this bag's construction calls for.  It worked out because each side now has a "pen pocket" so I don't have to dig for something to write with.  The final (back) pocket was sewn inside the bag.  I absolutely LOVE that I was able to (re)use so many denim pieces while making this bag!

Dig through your stash and give bag making a try.  You will LOVE it!!!

Oh, speaking of love, Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you get to do something that makes you happy today.

I'm off to sew!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

MTS Meets the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXV

The members of the Art Bee of Durham-Orange Quilters Guild are happy to announce the next stop on the MTS Tour.  We hope you will visit the show, if you find yourself in the Hampton, Virginia area at the end of February.

From the Show flyer:


Mancuso Show Management

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXV

February 27 – March 2, 2014All under one roof at the
Hampton Roads Convention CenterHampton, VirginiaGreater Chesapeake Bay / Williamsburg Area

Join us as we celebrate our 25th year!  Explore an American art that has developed and grown with the nation. The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival is a compilation of quilting, fiber arts, and wearable arts.  It's the perfect place for quilt enthusiasts and textile artists to meet, shop, learn and explore their art.

Included among the Special Exhibits:

Mountains to Sea Trail - ArtBee of the Durham-Orange Quilt Guild

  Mancuso Show Management writes: 
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail stretches almost 1000 miles across North Carolina from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic. It winds its way across North Carolina through ancient mountains and small Piedmont farms, coastal swamps and colonial towns, changing textile villages and barrier islands. Each panel of this quilt depicts a different place along the Mountains to Sea Trail from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks.