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)