Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two cute (and quick!) pillows

Wow, finishing these two pillows feels monumental to me! I'm feeling motivated to sew again. This is because I'm starting to feel better after a couple months of nausea. But, it's the best reason in the world to feel drained and sick: I'm pregnant. Woo hoo for the beginning of the second trimester!

I'm happy to be giving these two pillows to my nephews later this week. I hope they like them. The blue/red/trains one is for my 7 year old nephew. The orange/greeen/robot one is for my 3 year old nephew. 

I found the tutorial for this pillow on Pinterest. Here is the direct link.

I'm going to be making more of these for sure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Modern Mini Challenge entry

Here is my entry to the Modern Mini Challenge hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts. I'm so excited to finish up such a little cutie. The quilt has a vintage modern vibe, from the layout to the fabric choices. It's quirky in the fabric and color choices, giving it a lot of personality. Each side of the hexagon measures about 8", and each little triangle has less than 1 1/2" sides.

The patterm: I've never seen this block before although surely someone must have done it before. I drafted my own foundation piecing patterns for it after doing a sketch of what I wanted. Those triangles are itty bitty! There is no way I could have done it just with regular piecing and been this accurate. I plan to make it available on my blog soon, if anyone is interested.

The fabrics: all of them were from my stash. (Woot woot!) There are a lot of Denyse Schmidt and American Jane prints mixed in with others that were a nice complement. Three of them are from a couple precious fat quarters I got in Australia. Over all, the prints are heavy on polka dots of various sizes. I love mixing lots of dots together. None of the fabrics in the scrappy little triangles repeat.

The quilting: I wanted it to be a little looser and curvy, but to still play up the structure of the quilt.

Now I just need to figure out where exactly to put it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Big bold prints vs. basics

I just pulled these fabrics for a new quilt and realize how much I love them—small prints, many one or two colors.

Anyone else gravitate towards big, graphic prints on the bolt, then not know what to do with them in a quilt? Sometimes I have this problem.

On one hand, they look fabulous in big pieces and can make for a quick quilt. (Living Large and Living Large 2 are books with some of my favorites, Swoon is another pattern that can work)

On the other hand, I'm starting to realize that many of my favorite quilts or blocks use medium to small scale prints.

I would say it is time for stash enhancement of basics and small prints, but my wallet says otherwise.

Anyways, time to get cutting! Some of those fabrics have been patiently waiting to see the light of day for years. I think there is some Sandy Klop fabric in there from 2003. Funny thing is that I only want one tiny triangle of each fabric for this particular quilt. Don't you think they're just begging to be used in another bigger project too? If only there were more hours in the day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Swoon blocks: 4 & 5

I had a fabric fiasco. I was going to use the blue/aqua dotty beans for the center of every block. I miscalculated how much yardage I had of it and I only had enough for 8 out of 9 blocks. Aaack! I searched etsy and eBay with no luck. I decided to do 5 of the blocks blue and 4 of the blocks green. I have to say I think I like it. What do you think?

Lots of things have been keeping me busy lately so it took me a while to get to these blocks. Actually, one of them was done a week ago but I didn't have time to blog. One of these days, I need to get a shot of them in better light. The sun is always setting when I finish one. That's because I always finish one during my daughter's afternoon nap. I've got it down to one block per nap. Hopefully I'll finish another 1 or 2 this week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Swoon block: 3

That took me an hour and a half, but I had all my fabric cut and the 8 half square triangles already sewn. Whew!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Swoon block: 2

I could have gotten a lot more done if we'd just be a little more healthy around here! Until this weekend, I'd never had a raging head cold AND the stomach flu at the same time. Let me tell you, it isn't fun. Hopefully the next few blocks will be getting done a little quicker.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pin addiction

One of my favorite boards: Quilts!

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of Pinterest by now. I have to say I LOVE it. I'm finding a way to bookmark all my favorite tutorials, project inspiration, recipes, home decor and fun little tidbits of whatever in a way that works for me. Really, the at a glance with the photo is perfect. The networking aspect of it just makes it all the more fun. It is so much better than my list on the right of my blog, which may disappear or move, depending on time and/or willpower. (You know how that is!)

In case anyone is interested, you can find my boards here.

Please let me know in the comments if you have one! It's great to share inspiration!

Also, how do people make those Pinterest collages that link out? I tried to google it but I ended up with boards of photo collages. <<< Edit: so apparently I live in a fantasy world where I *swear* I saw this. I was probably confusing the collage like this from Flickr with the captions sourcing images from Pinterest like this. Thanks, Melissa!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Triple wrap bracelet

Making this bracelet was so much more fun than watching the Broncos game Saturday night. Not that I don't enjoy watching a football game once in a while, but that was hardly a game. Better luck next year, Tebow and friends.

My best beading friend and neighbor (and Patriots convert--should have waited another year!), Deb, showed me how to make it. It takes a bit of time but it is really easy.

I'll be making more for sure! They would make great birthday/Christmas gifts.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

First block for the Swoon quilt

I started doing the Swoon Along and discovered how to construct that block in a way that is much more simple.

In a nutshell, you don't need to make the Swoon block out of so many pieces. The way I did it also allows you to not cut up some of the fabric so much. In my sample block here, you can see I fussy cut many of the pieces.

This is an overview for those that have the pattern: 
You don't make so many half square triangles and flying geese and you will SAVE TIME—yipee! You do use more fabric, but that is a good trade off in my book.*

Start with a big square—the same size as the square at the very center of the block—and sew smaller background and contrast squares off of its corners to start creating the units in step 7 and 8. Those smaller squares are the same size as the small squares used for the flying geese. You only need a 8 half square triangles and 4 flying geese for each Swoon block.

Sorry that I'm not writing this out more clearly. I'm trying to share what I know in a way that doesn't basically re-publish the pattern in the exact same size. 

*WARNING: The big caveat is that you cannot do this block construction with only a fat quarter of the fabric I fussy cut (I'm not talking about fussy cutting—just having enough to make the block in the most efficient way possible). You have to have a half yard of that print. It would be better to have more than a fat quarter of the other print (the one in the center star) although I did the math and it can be done. I think the original pattern also cuts it pretty close, so that if you are a person that pre-washes, you might consider getting more yardage too.

As an interesting aside and inspiration for colors:
As I was looking around, I did find out that the block is a known under a couple different names:
• variation of Carpenter's Wheel
• Rolling Star
• Star of Bethlehem
Here are some vintage examples of similar quilts. Aren't they fun!
LOVE the use of black and quirky block layout  ::  Well loved vintage quilt  ::  Gorgeous vintage version from the 50s out of solids  ::  Burnt Orange from the late 70's  ::   Worn one from the 50's  ::  Not sure the date on this one  ::  My fave: Solids from the 80's  (LOVE the block on the lower left)  ::  The more typical Carpenter's Wheel instructions and a version Marci Girl made with the same instructions (looks just like the block on the Swoon quilt)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Loving the local Modern Quilt Guild!

I had so, so much fun at the FRMQG (Front Range Modern Quilt Guild) meeting tonight. I needed that! Absolutely everyone I have met through the guild has been someone I just truly enjoy to be around.

Tonight was especially a treat because Lisa and Karla of Sweetwater gave a presentation. Yes, THAT Sweetwater! Those gals really know how to design fabric. I have loved their lines and am hoarding a bunch in my stash. Guess what happened when they did a drawing for a copy of their book, Sweetwater's Simple Home? They called out my name! I've had permagrin ever since. I made sure to have both of them sign it. I really hope they don't think I'm a freak because I had "fabric groupie" all over me, gushing over their fabric designs and probably acting like a fool. I really have no gauge whether or not I embarrassed myself. I was on a quilters high. THANK YOU, SWEETWATER!

I have a funny point to share about this quilt. I kind of busted my butt to get the thing quilted and bound because I wanted to share it at show and tell at tonight's meeting. I was looking forward to having something to share all day. (Yes, I know I'm a dork.) I was so bummed to find that I'd left it at home in my rush to get out the door in the morning--halfway through my morning commute to work. I called my hubby (who  thankfully works the same place but was driving separately) to see if he was still home. Unfortunately he wasn't, but he did swing back by home and brought it to work for me. What an awesome guy! Then at the meeting, Melissa was hurrying as fast as she could to get through it all before Sweetwater spoke. The show and tell started, but time was out right as it was my turn. I didn't even get to share my quilts. Oh well! At least I'm prepared for next time.

'Twas two weeks AFTER Christmas

I just finished this quilt on Sunday. Obviously too late to put out for this Christmas, but at least I'm ahead for next Christmas. After I made the table runner, I decided that I didn't want to put the fabrics back in the stash and I had already decided I would make this pattern as a Christmas quilt sometime. I went into it knowing that it would be all but impossible to finish up in time. Between holiday parties, shopping for presents, wrapping and baking, I didn't get in too much sewing.

My free motion quilting is improving too. I had fun quilting those flowers. This is the most applique I've ever done.

I'm proud of myself for exercising the principle of make do or do without. All fabrics are from my stash. It was a stretch with a couple of them. One of the dark circle backgrounds had to be pieced together. I used every last bit of that striped fabric. The middle sashing strip is going in the opposite direction of the rest, but I had no more to cut from. The binding only overlapped by 3 inches in the end. That's cutting it close! I even pieced the batting and did a two tone backing. I already had the thread too. (The reason I could do this is probably because I've totally over indulged in fabric buying in the past. Something I need to be much more mindful of. Money doesn't grow on trees, after all.)

Quilt details:
Pattern: Soulful Blossoms from Living Large 2 by Heather Peterson
Size: 48"x48"
Fabrics: started with the leftovers from the table runner, added all from my stash

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fabric Haul from Christmas

fat quarters from Mom and Dad

I can hardly believe all the fabric my parents gave me for Christmas. What a great way to start off some new projects! I know my mom got a great deal on them, but they are awesome. Many of them fill in some gaps I had in a couple different projects. I think all of them came from Isabelle Originals and Ivy Threads. (It's a very cute shop. If you happen to be in central eastern Iowa, it is well worth a trip to go there.)

yardage: seriously big pieces on the bottom two!

There are so many possibilities. I really like all of them. The yardage will be great for a back or some borders, or both. I think that stripe will make a great binding too.

even more goodies!

They even gave me a neat quilt stand that I had hinted I wanted, a nice calendar with patterns, a huge set of thread and an Amy Butler halter pattern. Mom even threw in some scraps from the scrap bin when we went back to the quilt store.

A little splurge on myself

I did a little spending of some Christmas gift money on myself too. I found some wonderful fabrics, including some Flea Market Fancy. I bought all of the fat quarters I could find of the one on the upper left. I love that print!

With all these new additions, I should have no trouble making some quilts or other projects this year. Now, my biggest challenge for the year, to use my stash.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thank you, Linda Lum deBono!

I was lucky to win these two books from Linda Lum deBono right before Christmas. (My sympathies to her too, having just lost her grandma. Linda, if you ever read this, I hope the curve balls have stopped coming.) She was even kind enough to autograph them for me!

I didn't have time to start any of the projects but they are both full of wonderful projects for the holidays. The row by row book has festive ideas for all year round. I'm thinking of making some smaller quilts using the designs and techniques in this book too.

Thank you, Linda!

A couple of Christmas finishes to share

Soho Table Runner

I did get a couple projects done in time for Christmas. The table runner is highly due to a sewing day with the FRMQG. (I need more of those days!) I had the top pieced by the time I left that day. Amazing how productive I can be without a million interruptions. I free motion quilted it in another day. I don't really want to put it away.

Market Bag

The bag is to store my daughter's new wooden train tracks and cars. We gave it to her for Christmas along with the train stuff. I got the pattern out of a book, but I see that APQ also has it for free on their site. It is very substantial and will definitely hold up to wear and tear. My daughter actually helped me pick out the fabric although she didn't know what it was for.

Table runner details:
pattern: Soho Table Runner from Busy Bee Quilt Designs
fabrics: all stash! A lot of them are Basic Grey Figgy Pudding or Fruitcake

Bag details:
pattern: Market Bag in the large size (free instructions here)