Bird Watching on the Kaw

blackbirds

I mostly design my own quilts, but there are times I’m browsing Pinterest and see a quilt that just makes me green with envy. Lorna McMahon’s Black Birds quilt pattern was on of those. I mean, look at this quilt to the right – is it not the cutest thing you’ve seen today?

I purchased the pattern last September intending to make a version pretty close to hers, maybe in different colors, but mostly the same. Then, one day, I’m looking at her design and it hits me – if those birds had shoes they’d be Jayhawks!

jayhawk-currentIf you don’t follow college sports, the University of Kansas mascot is a made-up bird with a yellow beak, red head, blue body and BIG yellow shoes. I graduated from KU in 19?? (like I’m going to give my age away) and I’m still a proud alum.

With just a few additions, I was able to turn the black birds I already loved into Jayhawks, making a unique and personal quilt just for me! birdwatching

KU’s campus is located in a city called Lawrence near the Kansas River, which is locally called the “Kaw”. Having spent a number of lazy afternoons in a local park watching the river flow by, I choose this quilt’s aqua background fabric so I could name the quilt “Bird Watching on the Kaw.” (I know the river is actually a muddy green, but, hey, watery blue worked with my color scheme 😀 )

The birds themselves are scrappy and I had such a good time picking out various blues and reds and yellows. The quilting was super easy – just wavy lines from side to side to give the impression of water flowing by; since the quilt is backed with Minky plush, the simple quilting keeps the nap from being crushed, too.

I LOVE this quilt. It’s fun, it’s warm and it’s finished just in time to do some ‘bird watching’ during March Madness 2017. I’ll be snuggled up – and cheering the KU men’s basketball team on!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk – go KU!

 

It’s a Tea Cozy on Steroids

I’ve had my long arm sewing machine since mid-2012.  That means for 4+ years I’ve been saying to myself, pretty much daily, “Hmm, it’d be nice to have a cover* for this to keep the dust out.” But, while I’d identified the problem long ago, I never did anything about it.  Until now…

contraptioncozy

I bought 2 yds of the seam ripper fabric for another project that never materialized (heh, heh – get it? the “fabric” project never “material”-ized. I crack myself up.)  Given the size of my long arm, I needed a minimum of 2.5 yds, so that’s how the orange got added.  Now I’m super happy I didn’t have enough to work with – that accent is the perfect touch!

An online search found directions from HandiQuilter to create a dust cover for a Avante 18 (my model) but they really weren’t that helpful, except as a jumping off point.  The Quilt Kisses tutorial for creating a sit down machine cover was great (many, many thanks for posting that!) though I still had to figure out my own measurements.

I’m calling it a tea cozy on steroids because it ended up so big.  I mean so big that it just sagged under it’s own weight when I first placed it on the long arm.  So, while you can’t see it, there’s actually a corrugated plastic support structure along the top to keep it from drooping (it’s held in place with Velcro dots.)

If I had to guess, I’ve probably spent 24 hrs of my life just cleaning dust off my long arm.  It might not sound like much in total, but every minute spent cleaning is one minute less quilting!  No more!  Now I can just whip the cover off and get to the fun stuff right away…

 

*I searched online occasionally to see if HandiQuilter sold a cover, but they never have.  Seems a missed opportunity.

A Purr-fect Quilt to Start the Year

Nothing like starting the year off right… please welcome the first completed Whimzie quilt of 2017!

purrfectquilt

I love it when a client lets the child a quilt is meant for be part of the custom quilt creation process.  I usually provide 3-4 designs for a customer to choose from when they are first thinking about having a quilt made.  When it’s a kid making the choice, they  gravitate to the brightest, happiest, most-est fun option.  Every time, without fail.  Kids are the best!

Which is how I ended up working on this super cute quilt.  Little Katherine wanted a cat themed quilt in her favorite color.  She fell in love with the whimsical  cats on the feature fabric and I pulled the purple 1, purple 2 and purple 3 colors (with a blue accent) directly from it.  The repeating block  is a mix of a traditional four corners block and a classic four crowns block that I christened the FOUR PAWS block, just for her design.

I included a coordinating sham as a thank you for this order. Together, the set turned out “purr-fect”.  I hope she enjoys cuddling up with them all through her childhood – and beyond!purrfectpillow

My Newest Sewing Machine!

I have wanted a Lego sewing machine for years, ever since I saw Carrie Bloomston’s fantastic tutorial on the web.  Finally – finally! – I found the time to order the special Lego bricks required and my husband put it together for me last night.  I’m so excited!

legosewingmachine

I totally want to create a teeny-tiny mini quilt with the Whimzie Quiltz logo to display with my finished Lego sewing machine.  Wonder how many years that’ll take me 🙂

A Little Organization to Start the Year Off

I have two sewing spaces in my home – the sewing room upstairs and a little cart downstairs.  It’s a nice set up because I can work on small projects in the evenings while watching TV without having to disturb my regular Whimzie Quiltz activities. But as I started work fresh in the new year, I noticed both areas had gotten messy. (Oh, we’re all friends here, I won’t lie… things were out of control!)

For upstairs, the solution turned out to be a washi tape organizer (on sale at Michaels!) Turns out that 100+ small thread spools (most of mine are Sulky and Gutermann) which had been just tossed in a drawer, fit perfectly.  Now all my appliqué thread options are easily viewed and color coordinated.

threadholder

For downstairs, the problem was I had amassed a large collection of secondary quilt tools.  They, too, were just randomly tossed on the cart. To organize everything, I decided to make a wooden display.  It has holes drilled on top, one for each tool, and a wooden “pocket” on the front to keep my smallest Omnigrid ruler.  (The metal “inspire” embellishment coordinates with the galvanized steel chicken feeder pincushion I made two years ago.)

deskholder

Even though these were just two small organization efforts, I’m feeling much more together now and ready to face 2017’s quilting projects.  Bring ’em on!

 

Stick a Fork in 2016… Done!

Thank you all for another warm and whimzical year filled with Whimzie quilts!

2016 was a year of BIG quilts for me – I finished 1 king and 1 queen, 2 twins and 4 almost twin sized, as well as several lap and baby quilts.  And when you consider a king quilt is equivalent to 4 lap quilts, you really start to understand how much quilting I have been up to…

2016quilts

Quilts were not my only creative outlet this year, either.  You can check out 27+ WINQs (When I’m Not Quilting) projects finished in 2016 on my Stick a Fork in it… Done! Pinterest board.

Next year will be my 13th year in business – lucky 13!  Can’t wait!

Friends Call Me Quilt Miser… I’m Too Much!

“The Year Without Santa Claus” isn’t the best animated holiday special, but like all the Rankin-Bass productions it has it’s classic moments.  For instance, the Snow Miser / Heat Miser signature songs have definitely stuck in my husband’s head since their first airing in 1974 and I get regaled with them every Christmas – repeatedly.

So this year, I regaled him… with a Miser Bros. quilted pillow set.  He says it’s his favorite gift this year (and I don’t think he’s lying!)

miserbros

I’m Mister White Christmas
I’m Mister Snow
I’m Mister Icicle
I’m Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser,
What ever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch
I’m too much!

I’m Mister Green Christmas
I’m Mister Sun
I’m Mister Heat Blister
I’m Mister Hundred and One
They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I’m too much!