Thursday, June 19, 2014

Links to Making Birds and Balls...and journal quilts

     Seasonal fun! Two journal quilts reference my recent obsessions: stitching birds. baseball and soccer balls. I made another bird for Hannah's recital, the baseball for David's graduation and the soccer ball for Erika's performance. Serendipitously, it is the time of the World Cup. Be sure to check the links that interest you after reading the blog.

     A mad determination hit me to stitch a soccer ball and a baseball after Hannah bought one at the quilt show. Could I interest the grandchildren? I found several tutorials on-line:  Mitali Ruths' and Lorie Hanson's. First, I made the "baby soccer ball" using hexagons and! 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. This former medical student at Baylor College of Medicine is into details. She had a quite a helpful diagram to follow to sew the pieces. Wanting to make more balls, I realized it might be fast to make a 12 hexagon ball from Lorie's blog. I printed up Tim van de Vall's pentagon templates to freezer paper and ironed these to fabric for easy cutting out.

     For Lorie's 12 hexagon ball, I used a pencil to mark each side 1/4" from all the five sides, stopping 1/4" from each edge! I did not pin or use papers, but was careful in the stitching (wrong sides together. The two sides of the ball came together fast, except I made a big mistake to the children's great amusement. In sewing the two halves of the ball together. I misplaced the points and as I stuffed it with fiberfill, the ball turned out to be a star. I was glad the fabric had stars. Quickly, I made another easy soccer ball.

    How to make the baseball! On to print a pattern for the baseball and stitching technique, again finding both on-line. I used fleece and a crochet thread. It helped to mark the holes 1/4" from the sides and use a curved needle. I used Hub Pages for a terrific baseball pattern and then searched for another sewing stitch. Maribel was clever to find one example at an aviation manual site. There are several versions on line. Typically, I did the opposite. I sewed from top down everywhere Maribel goes from bottom up. Hannah caught on immediately and we shared a big laugh when I demonstrated the stitch sewing the two ends of the fabric together...No, she finally convinced me, they have to be placed ends to centers to make a ball.

      The journal quilts speak for themselves. The bird quilt was collaged. I chose the striped fabric and spray-glued the birds, leaves and stars to attach, finally, with a machine blanket stitch and invisible thread. The backing  is the same stripe, folded over on the edges and hand sewn for a border.

       The second one is a fragment of a grandmother's garden quilt I found from my grandmother. I appliqued the hexagons! onto a more modern fabric. The hand-sewn hexagons were so sad and worn looking I added white rik-rak cheer up the piece. I used muslin under the batting and left the sides unfinished with a pinking shear edge. It was a UFO, unfinished object in Big Mom's chest. I am so glad to have this memory.

        I made another bird in her chosen colors to take to Hannah the evening of her violin recital. I used a hot glue gun to attach the bird to the branch.

Hooray... I just figured how to re-enable my Comment section after losing it.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Birds on a branch make me smile

     Every time I walked from the study into the front hall today I almost laughed, or certainly smiled big. Joe as well. Last night he hammered a branch in the top of the door and I hot glued three birds to the clean, washed branch (one bird for each of the grandchildren, fabrics chosen by each of them) . I had found this Spool Bird pattern on-line at and thought the children might have success sewing their own bird. So...when they were leaving the house the other evening, I told them to run upstairs to my sewing room to choose two fabrics for their bird from my fat-quarter stash. Of course, after they left,  I just had to cut out the pieces and then sew them together.

    Abby Glassenberg posted a story about the Spool Bird. The Spool Bird was a free pattern designed by Michael Fulkerson around 2008 for Spool Sewing, a fabric store which no longer exists. His pattern ended up on the Internet and many copied the pattern to sew colorful birds by hand or machine. He won an award from Martha Stewart. I had never seen the bird or the pattern, but I thought my grandchildren would like the softee project. I follow or subscribe to Abby's rich blog. She is a friend of my daughter-in-law and was the person several years ago who encouraged me to blog since it stimulates productivity!

     I was having so much fun and frustration sewing the bird and mounting them, I did not take photos of the process. I printed up the pattern I found in Abby's blog (perhaps Copy and Paste or Drag) and reduced and enlarged the size. The only thing I would add to the instructions is to iron down the tail's 1/4" seam allowance to make closing the bird's tail easier .

     In the meantime, Joe is having a success of sorts with his cactus...a real yellow flower bloomed from one of them (it opens more when the sun hits) and the octopus cactus (please let me know the name!) keeps growing and producing babies as well. As usual, click on the photos to enlarge!