Friday, October 29, 2010

The Practical Guide to Patchwork

I was so excited to hear the UPS guy pull up to my house yesterday afternoon. My copy of Elizabeth Hartman's (the mastermind behind the Oh, Fransson! blog) book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, had arrived!

We went on a tour of my father-in-law's work last night and I was able to read through a good chunk of it on the 45-minute drive down. And can I just say that it is excellent?! Elizabeth gives some really great advice for beginners (and those of us who need refreshers). Her projects are fantastic. I'm especially excited to try her Kitchen Windows quilt. I'm making a couple quilts for two of my sisters for Christmas and I'm really tempted to use the Kitchen Windows design for one of them.

If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy of this book yet, I highly recommend it. You can follow the blog tour and try to win a copy, or if you're like me and totally impatient, you can get one at Amazon (with free shipping with Amazon Prime).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sewing Summit - October 2011

Have you heard about the Sewing Summit yet?! I am so stinking excited about this, I can't even tell you.

The Sewing Summit

Erin from Quilting Bee Blocks and Amy from Amy's Creative Side have announced today their plans to host a Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2011 (my home state - yay!). You can check out the details here (more still to finalize), but I can tell you already that I'm going to start saving my money and blocking out my calendar so I can attend this event. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to wrangle Erin into letting me volunteer at it too.

There will be lots of classes on a variety of topics, awesome lectures from some amazing sewists, and so much fun to be had that you'll want to join us all there. Since they're still making plans, fill out their survey and add your two cents on what you'd like to see at the summit. Afterall, this is a conference for us!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Remember this stack of fabric from the other day?

Well, it turned into this:

I used Heather's tutorial (part 1 and part 2) from {House} of A La Mode. I love, love, love how it turned out.

It took me about 3 and a half hours (cut, fold, press, and sew) to make this square, which measures about 13 inches. I used 10 and a half inch squares of fabric to start with and a 9 inch template. I thought I would get closer to 15 inches finished, so I'm not sure if my math was off or what.

This will become a pillow cover. The pillow form I'm using is 20 inches so I'm going to add some ivory, grass green, and navy colored borders to frame the design.

I'm not sure what the back of the pillow cover will look like, but I don't want it plain blue. I'd like to use some of the green and ivory to echo the front at least in color.

But isn't the back pretty on its own? It makes me think of this.

I may be crazy, but I'm somewhat tempted to make an entire quilt out of this and just put batting into each individual window. I think it would be amazing to have something like this to pass on to my kids (and hopefully, grandkids). Hmmm...perhaps 2011 will be the year of the Cathedral Quilt?

I found Heather's tutorial really easy and straight-forward. The Sometimes Crafter also has a tutorial as well as links to several more.

I'm linking up to:

Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Works in Progress Wednesday

I ordered some fabric from Hawthorne Threads and was so impressed with the quick shipping. I placed my order Wednesday morning, had confirmation of shipment about an hour later, and got the package in the mail on Friday. Awesome!

Here are some of my other purchases for soon-to-be works in progress.

I found a shirt pattern that I like (McCall's M6120) and decided to try my hand at making a couple. You can't beat on-sale knit, enough for four shirts for $11! I also got some linen-blend fabric to make a skirt.

Joann's had their Kona cottons on sale for $3.99 a yard. I grabbed some navy, grass green, and ivory for a project I'll show you on Friday.

This bunch of fabric is for a Christmas gift so mum's the word on this for a couple months (Kona khaki and some Joann's FQs and black with white dots).

Some Kona solids to have in my stash: rich red, turquoise, grass green, coal grey, orange, crocus purple, and candy blue.

This bunch of fabrics is for a quilt for my sister for Christmas. The Divine Damask in Gray (Retro Mod, Michael Miller) and the Kona rich red will be pieced for the top. The Nap Sack in Lake (Modern Meadow, Joel Dewberry) will be the backing.

I'll be using these Metro Kitchen fabrics (Robert Kaufman) to make some new hot pads and dish towels for my kitchen. (The mister and I still use the ones we got when we got married seven years ago...It's definitely time for an upgrade.)

I LOVE these bikes (Weekends, Erin McMorris)! I don't have any specific plans for them yet. I just wanted to get some so I can stare at them whenever I want.

So, there you have it, the start of an occasional series of Works in Progress Wednesdays.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pillow Talk Swap

I've been wanting to branch out a bit and decided to join round 4 of the Pillow Talk Swap. Here's my inspiration mosaic. (I seriously had to set a time limit for myself on Flickr. I could look at quilts and pillows all day.)

1. Scrap Happy Quilt Top, 2. The Pillow Talk {swap} 3 Received!!!, 3. pillow talk swap finished, 4. DQS9 - Sneak Peak, 5. Angel Pillow on It's Way, 6. Modern Times Quilt folded on crib, 7. Your Parents Are Cool, 8. Finished Nine Patch Quilt, 9. Pacman, Red Letter Day Style, 10. Quilt for Mrs Z, 11. Double Wedding Ring - Finished Top (Modern Meadow & Hope Valley), 12. Sultry Squares, 13. Star Light Star Bright, 14. mod mosaic quilt, 15. Quilt Front Using "1974" Moda Fabric, 16. project improv quilt top, 17. Log Cabin Baby Boy Quilt - Orange - Detail, 18. modern quilt, 19. That 70's Girl, 20. Scrappy Happy

I'm so stinking excited for this! Although I have a ton to do before Christmas (gift-wise), I know this will take priority since I'm so excited to participate. I know there are others in the group who are pretty much professionals so it's a bit intimidating, but I know if I want to grow, I have to stretch myself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finished Coins for Clara Quilt

I had another quilt-related marathon this weekend. I finished the Coins for Clara quilt. I wanted to try straight-line quilting on a larger scale - since I've only done a little bit on one quilt and a nametag - and I love how it turned out. I thought it would take way more time than it did (I think it was only about an hour and a half's worth of work).

I upped the stitch length to 7 and I think the longer stitches are the look I've been trying to get when I've attempted this in the past. I sewed two seams down each white sashing strips, about 3/4" apart, then turned the quilt and made a grid pattern that mostly outlined each coin section. I then added a few more lines to the middle sections.

I didn't worry about marking the quilt at all. I just let my lines be as straight as they wanted to be. It's a bit organic-looking and I love the non-rigidity of the not-perfectly-straight lines.

The quilting really accents the stacked coin design. Although I want to improve my free-motion skills, it's nice to have a quilt with quilting that looks decent.

In lieu of a separate label that I attached to the quilt back, I opted to write directly on the backing. But then I accidentally stitched right through my name. Oops.

I had some solid green in my stash and it happened to match the fabric collection perfectly so I used it with the brown print for the backing.

I tried a new binding method this time. (I've done the binding differently on every quilt I've made.) I've settled on the width that I like (3 inch strips), but haven't decided on the attaching method. This time, I tried Red Pepper Quilt's machine method. It made the front look pretty good, but I didn't catch the binding underneath a couple times so it looks a little funny. I guess if I had pinned the binding down I wouldn't have had that problem.

So far, I think the binding method I like the best is to attach the first part of the binding to the back of the quilt, then I fold it over to the front and topstitch it down. I've gotten pretty good results with even/straight stitches the last couple times I've used it so I think I'll stick with that method. I want to try hand stitching sometime, but my problem is that I'm too impatient. Even though I think hand stitching looks great, the thought of spending hours doing something by hand that I can do much quicker by machine makes me a little crazy. I'm making a doll quilt for my quilt group's color challenge so maybe I'll try hand sewing the binding on that small quilt.

The quilt measures about 43 inches square, before washing. My washing machine decided to go kaput this weekend and not spin the water out of the clothes. The new washer won't arrive until Friday. I love the washed look so I'm antsy for Friday to get here.

Do you wash your quilts after you've finished them, but before gifting them? There's a good discussion here that I'm totally on the same page with.

Make sure to check out Sew and Tell this week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Purse Week Entry

A Lemon Squeezy Home hosted Purse Week last week. I wasn't going to enter anything, but Friday afternoon I had a rare moment of a still napping child while the older one was still at school. I had finished work for the day and wanted a project to work on. My friend asked me to make her Oh Fransson's Margaret Bag so I whipped up a test bag first (no reason to cut into my friend's fabric without making sure I knew what I was doing beforehand). I wonder if Elizabeth removed the link for her bag tutorial because I can't find it on her website anymore.

For the outer part of the bag, I used some brown stacks fabric from Jessica Jones that I had in my stash. For the lining, I used the canvas cotton curtains that I have used on pretty much every bag I've made this year (great way to repurpose). I didn't use all the layers that Elizabeth suggests because I'm lazy like that. The bag feels sturdy enough for me, but I'm sure the extra layers of interfacing and fleece interfacing would provide better structure and be more heavy duty.

I used a decorative leaf stitch when I topstitched around the mouth of the bag and around the handles. I really like how it turned out. I used the same stitch across the top of the inside pockets (but I won't show you those since I didn't pin one of them and I sewed it on crooked).

So my favorite part of this bag is actually the button.

Isn't it cute?! My sister made it out of polymer clay to mimic the design of the bag. Isn't she clever? She's been making and selling diaper bags lately. She started making her own buttons to match the fabric (color and design) and personalize the bags more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coins for Clara Quilt Top

My SIL had a baby back in July. She's the first baby born in the family since I've started quilting so I thought it'd be fun to make her a quilt. I was going to give her this one originally, but I gave the mama a choice between Freebird and Tweet Tweet. My SIL wanted fabric that was a little more juvenile (this is her first girl after having three boys, after all), so she opted for Tweet Tweet. I had bought a couple charm packs a while back to make Crazy Mom Quilt's stacked coins quilt, but then opted to do something more similar to Oh Fransson's charm square baby quilt.

(As a side note, I folded the top up last night and really should have pressed it before taking pictures this morning, but I'm lazy and this will have to suffice. Just squint and try to pretend there are no wrinkles.)

I made six rows of the coins, separated by one Moda Bella Solids jelly roll strip. To frame the rows, I cut two jelly roll strips in half lengthwise and made a narrow border. Then I took some of the remaining half charms, sewed the short ends together and made a final outer border.

Thanks to my daughter for being such a good helper in her jammies. (She turned two last Friday and we chopped her hair Saturday. She looks so grown up now!)

I think if I were to make this quilt again, I would use fewer fabrics so it's not so busy. Or maybe I would just pick a charm pack that had better contrast throughout. A lot of these fabrics kind of run together and make the quilt a bit busy. But, it should be good visual stimulation for Baby Clara, right?


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