Just wanted to leave a note to let you know that I’ve moved over to blogging full-time for my company, Play Crafts. I’ve been quilting and sewing a lot, so please come say hi!
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Just wanted to leave a note to let you know that I’ve moved over to blogging full-time for my company, Play Crafts. I’ve been quilting and sewing a lot, so please come say hi!
I promised a better photo, and I was able to get outside today and take a few pics. We had the sun break out for a little bit, so Mishka (my St. Bernard) joined me outside for the shoot.
I’m really pleased with how this came out, and I definitely want to make another. I was taking photos to get that stained glass effect, and Mishka kept wandering into the background. Or in this case, into the foreground!
So I stopped to take a picture of her, too. She is usually panting (St. Bernards pant…and drool..a lot) which gives her a comical, goofy look. But the few times her mouth is closed she looks so serious and sad! Love this big goofy love bug!
I finished working on my daily dissertation allotment early today, so I was able to go visit our guild mate, Susy, who is having a stay in the hospital. We brought her flowers matched to her current “fabric crush”, the cheater quilt print for Malka Dubrawsky’s Stitch in Color line. It was a lot of fun picking out the bright tulips and daisies that match this super pretty fabric! It was equally great to see that Susy is feeling better and should be out of the hospital soon!
Back on the topic of the experimental swoon, I originally thought the festival of scrappiness ended tonight. As this was a piece I did entirely out of scraps, I really wanted to enter it. I happened to be browsing through some of the other entries last night when I saw that actually I had TWO HOURS to finish my swoon block! I’d already sewn all the HSTs together, and I just needed to sew all the squares together, but then I needed a border, and then I needed to take photos, and then post to the blog, and basically I ended 15 minutes before the deadline with a rather large headache.
It turned out to be worth it though, because it won a door prize! Look at this super cheery fabric headed my way from the sponsor Swell Cloth!
Thank you again to Rachel at stitched in color for such a fun festival, and a reason to finish my block!
I’m finishing up my challenge quilt (just need to hand stitch the back of the binding) so I should have another post up about that soon!
I’ve been seeing the swoon blocks all over the place, but never felt moved to make one. There was just something about it that didn’t grab me. It bothered me, a little, as I’d seen so many pretty swoon blocks, so I studied the swoon group on flickr to figure out what it was about that block that I just didn’t “get”.
I finally realized that the thing holding me back is that it only used 3 fabrics. I love mixing and matching and so it was taking away a intrinsic part of my enjoyment as a quilter! So I decided to fashion my own, made from HSTs, to see if I liked it better doing it color-coordinated scrappy style.
I am not a prolific quilter, and haven’t been doing it for long, so I don’t actually have a lot of scraps left. I know, woe is me. However, for something this experimental, I wanted to just use scraps. I went through them all, and I had the most of green and yellow, so I decided to do that color combo. I used 2.25″ squares (weird number due to math error on my part) and ended up with this.
I will take a better picture of it tomorrow, but I had to share it as I just finished it tonight! I’m going to quilt/bind it and make it a small hanging for my craft room. There are things I would definitely do different next time (more contrasting colors) but overall I really love it! I can now say with certainty that I am a fan of the swoon.
I don’t post here very often, I admit. I also haven’t been sewing very much lately. But I have a good reason!
I am aiming to graduate this spring, which means that I need to write this whole dissertation thing, which turns out is kinda hard. Not that the writing is particularly hard (some of it is) but mentally, this thing is like facing a brick wall and being told to disassemble it with a toothpick. It’s a bit intimidating.
However, to keep my sanity I HAVE been sewing a little bit. I am working on a log cabin quilt for my housemate/colleague/friend who was recently married. Hopefully this sucker will get done before their first anniversary. :O I’m still working on cutting out the 1088 1.5″ square red pieces for the hearth of each log cabin block. Ha ha ha ha! *thud*
In other news, I was recently surfing the blog-o-sphere when I ran across a paper pieced star that I just HAD to try. I’ve wanted to try paper piecing for a while, but hadn’t been moved by anything yet. When I saw this star, I printed out the template that very night. The template I’m referring to is the Lone Starburst. That link takes you to a blog post that includes the template.
Paper piecing is a little mind bend-y. A few tips:
#1. The first piece goes face up. Every other piece goes face down, and so by the time I’d get to the next block, I’d automatically put the first fabric piece face down. I can’t remember how many times I did this, but it was a lot. Seam ripping with paper in the mix is kinda a pain.
#2. Just cut the piece of fabric overly big. Every time I’d try to fit it closely, I’d end up under somewhere. It was really annoying. Again with the seam ripper.
#3. Seams should either start by being reinforced or sew a bit before and past the actual line. Yah, I won’t be giving this to anyone, some of those seams are not reinforced at all.
On the whole though, I absolutely LOVED it!
I think I’m going to put a border on this, do a bit of hand quilting, and make it into a mini. There’s enough mistakes in the seams that I don’t want to give it to someone else, which means I get to enjoy this lovely thing myself! YAY.
In other news, I’ve been learning arashi shibori. Shibori is the Japanese style of tie-dye, and arashi shibori involves string tying the piece around a cylinder. When left to dry, it creates this beautiful pleated pattern, with the underdye still showing in the base of the pleats (where the string resists the overdye) and the overdye at the peaks. I am learning a lot, but have thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is my favorite piece so far. It is underdyed the deep red color, and overdyed with black which ended up looking a bit purple-y because I didn’t make the black super concentrated.
Hopefully as my dissertation wraps up, I’ll have more time to update my blog as well as do things to update my blog with. And after I graduate, I’ll be creating a startup focused on quilting, more details on that as things get finalized!
A friend of mine had a baby shower this weekend, so I am able to post pictures of her quilt now!
I followed the Moda tutorial here, and as usual, had a few things to learn as I went along.
I used Kona snow for the neutral, and a Lily & Will charm pack that I’ve had since before I quilted. Back when I thought you had to pre-wash charm packs… It turns out that to do something as fussy as a pinwheel, you need to have consistent sized pieces, and it generally helps to cut a slightly bigger block and trim down to size after sewing the HSTs. Starting from pre-washed somewhat wonky charms is not EXACTLY the right way to go about it if you want things to line up!
Also about halfway through I decided I hated the color scheme. Actually, I think I decided it about a quarter of the way through. And I hated it pretty much until I finished the entire quilt. Now I like the calm colors although it is still not colors I would choose for myself, I can admit it’s probably appropriate for a baby. And I don’t hate it anymore!
I backed it in a pale yellow flannel, which is super soft and shows off the quilting lines. I should probably learn free motion at some point, but I love the look of straight line quilting, so it makes it hard. I used almost 3 bobbins of thread to do the straight line quilting on this (and the quilt isn’t that big!) so I can’t imagine how much FMQ must take up!
I also love prairie points. The ones on the end got sewn into the seam (oops) a bit, but I still love them. They’re so fun! I wish it was appropriate to have prairie points on a grown-up quilt. Anyway, here are pictures of my slightly wonky pinwheels & prairie points baby quilt.
I’ve jumped on the bandwagon, I just couldn’t resist! Quokka Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop are running a contest to find the next set of Blogger Choice bundles. I had loads of ideas, but was having trouble finding the fabrics I really wanted to pair.
Then today I was looking for fabrics at the local quilt shop, and noticing how much I loved their fabrics with letters/numbers/type/handwriting/whatever on them, and my brain went back to that old teaser, “What is black, white and red/read all over?” It works better said aloud, obviously, but I came back home and immediately started pulling every writing fabric Fat Quarter Shop had. They had way more than 12, so I pared it down and ended up with this bundle. It’s fun and quirky, and I am kind of in love with it.
So here it is, the Black, White, and Read All Over bundle:
The fabrics are:
1. Hometown Stop Sign Town Square Yardage - SKU# 5460-11
2. Writer’s Block Black Symbols Yardage - SKU# 11860-2
3. Always & Forever Romantic Red Love Script Yardage - SKU# 19521-12
4. Perk Me Up Brown Coffee Words Yardage - SKU# C8693-BROWN
5. Cupcakery Tan Words Yardage - SKU# 22564-Tan1
6. Cool Cats Brown Feline Phrases Yardage – SKU# Y0780-15
7. Etchings Slate and Parchment Script Handwriting Yardage - SKU# 3728-36
8. Lost and Found Red Worn Dots Yardage - SKU# C2605-RED
9. Lost and Found Cream Labels Yardage - SKU# C2601-CREAM
10. Hall of Fame Red Game Jersey Yardage - SKU# DC5363-REDX-D
11. Circa 1934 Black Garbo Yardage - SKU# 37001-14
12. Circa 1934 Cream and Red Chaplin Yardage - SKU# 37002-15
13. Michael Miller Vanilla Cotton Couture Solid Yardage - SKU# SC5333-VANI-D
14. Michael Miller Taupe Cotton Couture Solid Yardage - SKU# SC5333-TAUP-D
15. Michael Miller Cranberry Cotton Couture Solid Yardage - SKU# SC5333-CRAN-D
That was far too much fun. Thank you Quokka Quilts for such a fun contest!
Yep, it’s the end of the year, and the time to look back at what we’ve done and where we’re going!
This year, I learned how to quilt. And then I got a little bit addicted!! Here are the projects I made this year:
First I made a double-sided doll quilt for my niece’s new doll. This was my first time doing diagonals, and there are all sorts of little gotchas in there. The book I was using (Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts) didn’t give a lot of guidance, but I managed to figure it out. I probably should have looked up a tutorial for it all, but I was far too stubborn for that!
The back strips are a bit straighter than they look in this picture. In retrospect, I should have put the white border on the top and bottom, but I was a little rushed to get this done in time for Christmas.
I also made the second of the quilts for my vet. They use essex linen for the sashing, and I really like working with that material. It just feels so sturdy! I used the tutorial from Film in the Fridge, and the quilt pattern is called Rectangle Squared.
The back was made with leftover pieces from the front, and it managed to use up a good number of my scraps. And of course I embroidered a paw print. I tried to make it the same size as my St. Bernard’s paw, but she wasn’t being very helpful when I tried tracing…
Not shown up there, because it’s technically not a quilt, I painted a swoon block of flea market fancy prints onto a plate at our local pottery place. I gave it to my good friend and president of our local chapter of the modern quilt guild. She was really happy with it! Yay!
Finally, also not shown, I created an inspiration box for a friend of mine. It’s full of inspirational quotes written on decorated matstack (used in scrapbooking), and the two bags include little goodies. It’s all in a bamboo recipe box. The bags used the pattern going around by In Color Order. You can find a tutorial for one of the sizes here or buy the pattern for loads of sizes.
So that closes out this year.
What is in store next year? I graduate with my PhD in June, so this year is all about new things. I have an idea for a startup, creating online tools for crafters. It’s an exciting possibility, to say the least! I can’t wait to see where I end up this time next year, that’s for sure!
And with that, I wish you all a safe and happy new year!
Dear Kona solids,
First, I need to tell you that I love you. I love all the colors you offer. But unfortunately, I think it’s time we saw other people. While you have over 200 colors to choose from, it feels like you favor some colors a bit more than others. And maybe sometimes, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, your colors aren’t as bright as they could be.
So I hope you understand why I felt compelled to purchase these new Dear Stella solids. They have a beautiful sheen to them, and the colors are so whimsical and fun. And it feels like a slightly thicker cotton than what I’ve come to expect from you.
But Kona, I still do love you and what you offer. I assure you, it’s not you, it’s me. And I hope we can still continue to see each other.
Hrm, it seems I got so busy that I forgot to post a couple of finishes I had over the summer.
First off, I finished that sliced coins quilt.
I have since added some paw print embroidery to the back.
A friend of mine was also due to have a baby girl, so I made my first baby quilt! I’ve been excited by the Garden Fence quilt pattern since it first started making the rounds, so I jumped at a chance to make this one.
I’m currently working on another quilt that uses the Max & Whiskers line that the sliced coins used, and I am ready to baste that one. And then I’m in the design stages for two other projects for Christmas. Hopefully they will take much less time than the pillows did!
I am very pleased with how these pillows came out, and they’re super pretty in person. There is a bit of a story that goes with them, however!
It all started when Rachel at Stitched in Color posted a Celebrate Color autumn extravaganza back in September. I love the colors of autumn, so I knew I’d have to enter something! And the event went on for three months, so maybe I could even enter THREE somethings. So I went through my pinterest board to see what inspired me. It was there that I was reminded about the cathedral window pillow tutorial on Moda’s Bake Shop by Angela. I thought this would be a great time to try it out, since the window shapes reminded me of leaves. I immediately envisioned autumn colored petals/leaves with aqua/blues for the diamond shapes. It’d mimic the sky starting to show through the leaves as the trees got more sparse, and it’d be a nice way to capture the changing of the season. Awesome. No problem. Let’s do this!
So, as anyone who knows me will be happy to tell you, I’m a little picky when it comes to pretty much anything visual. Fabrics are no different. Colors especially so. Here’s the problem. This idea I had involved a LOT of colors and a LOT of fabrics. And worst of all, I had to pick a solid background/sashing color. I stood at our local fabric store, comparing Kona Espresso to Kona Snow until I started feeling pretty guilty for taking so much of my friend’s time. Finally I realized that I was going to have so much leftover fabric, I could just make the same pillow twice, each with a different solid! And if I made it the same setup, I’d know at the end which I liked better! Brilliant!
So that’s what I did. Armed with my new fabric, I started following the tutorial (which is really well written!) and got to work. Except that I have the world’s lamest iron, and the first step involved a LOT of ironing. (Seriously, my iron is a small travel iron that is over 15 years old. It’s steam setting means that it dribbles water and then heats it up when the iron hits it. This is the designed functionality, not just poor workmanship.) So I decided to wait until my quilt guild meeting to bust out all the ironing prep work for the squares. No problem.
I got three done. Because it takes. freaking. forever. Of course, there’s not a lot of quilting time at the meetups, so I figure I’d do it at my friend’s house during one of our bi-weekly get togethers. By the time I finished ironing the snow colored blocks, we’d moved into October. Well, i still have two months left, no problem! But then it turned out I didn’t have the right aqua fabrics, so I ordered some online. And then I had to wait. And then I was gone for a couple of week for conferences, and before I knew it, we were into November, and I hadn’t even finished the first pillow, let alone the second one!
I’m fairly stubborn though, so I decided that even though my schedule is a bit beyond hectic, I was going to finish these things. So I started actually sewing, and suddenly everything sped up tremendously! And it was so fun when it came time to sew open the petal parts! And of course, being the engineer that I am, I had to figure out the traveling salesman problem of the optimal path so that I wouldn’t have to start and stop the sewing. I sewed up the backs (my first time trying envelope backs, I learned a few things there…) and added the borders until 2a the night before Thanksgiving. I finished hand sewing the binding on one pillow while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to cook. And then I tried machine binding for the first time on the second one after dinner. (Much faster, but I’m not that great at it yet)
So now, with one day to spare, I present my two cathedral window pillows, made with the same layout and the same fabrics, featuring different solids (and backs). The difference of the solid is incredible, even more than I thought it would be. I am not sure I could pick a favorite, I love them both for different reasons. The espresso brown one is dramatic but the snow one reminds me of a watercolor. They are so colorful and in the end, I really loved the way the color scheme came together. I think it really captured the look I was trying for of the fall sky and autumn leaves. And I still can’t believe *I* made them.
I shall end with a ton of photos that I took. Most of the sewing happened late at night, so please forgive the cell phone progress pictures.
Thank you Rachel for the creative nudge required to make these!