Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cracker

A friend invited me over for a sewing day on Monday. I didn't have a project ready to piece {well, I actually did, but I wasn't in the mood for it}. So I went to my 2015 project list and decided to start on a traditional block called Cracker.


It was block I had pinned on Pinterest and there's a great tutorial at Simple Girl, Simple Life.

I used my typical method of choosing fabrics for a quilt - so I thought I'd walk you through it today.

I started with a line called Wildwood by Elizabeth Olwen. I love her art and had purchased her earlier line Grey Abbey. So I added some of those. I also found that she is designing some fabric for JoAnn's, so off I went and found a couple of additional prints. Also scored a backing with a coupon!


Then I pulled some fabrics from my stash to add to the mix. I was looking for similar colors and a similar feel. I didn't want the pieces that I was adding to dilute the look of the original designs. So my additions tend to be very basic and geometric. Dots, stripes, tone-on-tones.


And here is how they all looked together...


I made a few blocks to be sure my measurements were correct and that I liked the size and scale...


And it turned into a productive day! Fun too!!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Flowering Snowball Quilt finish!

I finished my Flowering Snowball quilt this week! You may remember that I started hand quilting it and then changed my mind. I'm so glad I did. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.


You may also remember that I was struggling with the thread basting stitches getting caught up in the foot. Well, one of you geniuses suggested I remove the basting stitches as I prepared to quilt each section. That helped tremendously! Such a simple solution. Why didn't I think of it?

I really loved the straight lines in the background that I was hand quilting and was able to do it by machine with no problem. I did these straight lines with my free-motion foot (drew them with a disappearing marker first), sneaking along the seam between the lines. They turned out really well. I was worried about how straight they would be - but not too bad. And, really, I don't think my hand quilted lines would have been perfectly straight either.


Here's a full shot in the soft afternoon light. Such a great pattern!


You can learn more about the pattern, the templates and making the quilt in my earlier post!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Someone asked me the other day if I ever make something that I don't like. I had to think about it but the answer was a resounding "yes"! And today's WIP post is a testament to that! Here's what's happening in my sewing world this week...

Yesterday I started one of my 2015 new projects. Bring Me Flowers, a pattern by Jen Kingwell. My first block turned out pretty well, but not without some resewing. I had the stems positioned all wrong - they didn't even touch the "flower" motif. So I unappliqued them and resewed. They're still not perfect, but I'll get better.


My Flowering Snowball Quilt... My plan was to hand quilt this. I basted it together for hand-quilting, started quilting and decided I didn't enjoy the quilting or love the look to do the whole thing.  Hand quilting for me is definitely for smaller projects. So off to the machine I went. My mistake was to leave the basting stitches in. In hindsight, I should have pin-basted it and removed the thread basting. My machine foot is annoyingly getting caught up in the threads, but I'm now more than half-way done so I'll continue. Take my advice - no thread basting for machine quilting!


So now I'm in the middle of machine quilting 2 quilts. A common mistake for me here - I quilted a motif in the squares that I didn't like at all. After 3, I ripped the stitching out and found something new. We're now on a roll...


And this project is back on track. My original plan was to make the blocks with a Heather Bailey print and a variety of solid colors. Four blocks looked great (you may have seen them on Instagram), 8 blocks looked like a chaotic mess. So back to the drawing board and I'm going with a soft look of prints and white. Liking this much better...


And just for the fun of it one night, I made this little Dresden from a Day Sail 2 1/2" pack. No problems here - I love it! Just not sure what to do with it!


Something I know for sure - changing your mind and unstitching are just part of the process. Honestly I don't even think about it much!

Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Charley Harper Quilt

First up, I really want to thank all of you for your feedback on my blog's future. Your comments really meant a lot. And whether you comment or not, it gives me the assurance that someone's out there!

My Charley Harper Quilt is finished and ready to hang!! I first blogged about the blocks here. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had attempted a couple of ideas with this line and knew pretty quickly that those first ideas were not my vision for the fabric. One of those ideas was an improvisational pieced block using the fussy cut motifs in the fabric. One block made and I knew the busyness would detract from the beautiful artwork. That's what sparked this idea - artwork. Treat it like art; frame each piece; and hang them similar to a gallery wall.


I got lots of feedback from others who have struggled with what to do with the line. Here's how I did it! Feel free to copy away!

The quilt is made from two simple 13" finished blocks which are mirror images of each other.



For each block you need the above finished size squares and rectangles and the following strips {unfinished size} one 1 1/2" x 13 1/2", one 1 1/2" x 4 1/2", one 1 1/2" x 8 1/2".

I made my squares and rectangles by fussy cutting the motifs in the fabric and adding various size strips until it was a bit oversized. I then trimmed them to the unfinished sizes: 4 1/2" square; 8 1/2" square and 4 1/2" x 8 1/2".

When fussy cutting the rectangles, I tried to keep the proportions even. A 3 1/2" x 7 1/2" center required a border that finished at 1/2" on each side.

A 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" center required a border that finished at 1" on each side.



The blocks are pieced by sewing the squares and rectangles together with the 1 1/2" strips as pictured.


I made 9 blocks and sewed them together with 1 1/2" unfinished strips for sashing, alternating the two mirror image blocks.


I struggled with a quilting design, but ended up doing organic lines with my walking foot horizontally from edge to edge. I'm really happy with the way it turned out!

My quilt was made with 2 fat eighth bundles of Charley Harper fabric {the earlier collection and the newest collection "Nurture} that I got from Westwood Acres Fabrics.

Hope that helps you make your own! Let me know if you have any questions! I have the perfect spot to hang mine!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Well, Hello 2015...

I think for many of us today is the start of the new year. Vacations are over, kids are back to school and it's time to put those 2015 plans into place.

I may be weird, but I actually love this time of year. I'm a very reflective person and it seems the right time to look forward, make life adjustments, and set some goals.

One of the things that has been on my mind is the blog. Have you noticed that blogging has changed over the past couple of years? Blog posts are less frequent, comments are fewer and, what began for many bloggers as a platform for journaling their creativity, has become a place to promote their business. I'm not implying at all that this is a bad thing - certainly the internet and a blogging platform have given many creative talents the opportunity to get noticed. They're now designing fabric, writing books and providing some fabulous products for all of us to work with and I love seeing that. How I wish all of this was available when I sat down to submit my first book proposal.

And I have to admit, my blogging schedule has slowed. The ease of social media sites like Instagram has created quite a shortcut for posting and commenting. In the past month, I've been thinking about stopping my blog and simply continuing to share on Instagram. I spent several evenings reading through my blog from the beginning and I knew pretty quickly, I couldn't/shouldn't quit. Even if it's for me only, I enjoy my quilting diary and I love that writing a blog post makes me stop, appreciate and reflect on what I've made. I recently read this book, a sequel to Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.


This quote from the book really struck me:
"good work isn't created in a vacuum, and ... creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of minds connected to other minds." ...page 11

Also:
Creatives are always "supporting each other, looking at each other's work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas." ...page 11

So although I'll be posting regularly on Instagram - I'll be here too. A blog is a place to get more in-depth, share the process, talk about inspiration and peek a little closer into the work/life of the blog writer. And I don't want this to become a place of "here's a new finished quilt", which I think it has in the past several months. I've decided to go for a weekly post {maybe more some weeks}, which will certainly include my finished projects, but will also include what's happening that week in my creative world - good and bad. Hope you'll join me!

I also had fun this past week making a list of what quilts are on my radar. It a long one, but that's what happens with all this creative sharing and I couldn't be more excited about it!

In 2013 and 2014, I did a year long project. I so enjoyed that and feel I'd love another for 2015. I haven't bought the pattern yet, but I'm ready to hit the button and start Bring Me Flowers by Jen Kingwell.

I've wanted to do a Houndstooth quilt and was reignited when I saw Allison's from Cluck Cluck Sew. I'm think of doing mine scrappy with just two colors, probably white and aqua. There's a slick method on Youtube by Missouri Star Quilt Co that I'll try.

I browsed my quilty Pinterest board and found several I'm putting toward the top of the list:
Cracker
Fireworks
Flying Geese
Refresh
Diamond Ring Quilt

Have you seen the new book Vintage Vibe? I love several of the quilts, but I may start with this one:


I always like to try something new and I think it will be the Glam Clam Quilt. I love Clamshells and I'm excited to try this method.

And finally, I've admired this quilt at Urban Outfitters and really want to make it after seeing Rita's version. I'm going to need to make it my own and I'm thinking of some kind of ombre version like this.

I started drawing a bit in 2014 and I hope to continue that and make it a habit in 2015.


So those are my creative plans! I've been piecing here and there over the holidays and have a few things to get quilted first. I also finished up my Charley Harper quilt and will share a tutorial later this week.




I feel excited and optimistic for 2015! I wish all of you the same!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review

I love spending a few hours this time of year looking over the quilts I've made in the past twelve months. Since my life and my sewing are so intermingled, I find it a nice reflection on what was happening in life.

In no particular order, some collages of 2014...

 2014 was definitely the year of the mini for me.

And keeping up with the UFOs.


I did some curved piecing and an appliqué quilt.

I think my favorite one to make was my Sampler Quilt!

So what's up for 2015? Well, that's next!
Happy, Happy, Happy New Year to each one of you! Thank you for spending a fun quilty year with me!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Some year end projects...

It's that time of year when all the normal routines fall away and the busyness of the season takes hold. I have been sewing and finishing up some projects, but haven't taken the time to share here on the blog. Maybe some of us Instagrammers are getting a little lazy on the blog front. And it hasn't helped that there's been so little sun here for picture taking in maybe a month?

So I'm dropping in today to share a few photos of some recent finishes.

Cheerio pattern by Thimbleblossoms, quilted by Crinklelove.


Peppermint Float in Cotton + Steel, quilted by me...



A mini quilt made by me for a Christmas exchange. Tutorial found at Modern Handcraft...


I love the Cotton + Steel Feather print binding on this one...


After you make something for someone else, do you end up making another for yourself? More Hexagons...


And that's a wrap on the sewing for this year!  I'll be back with some year end collages and some thoughts on the future of the blog {and there is a future}.


I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. Enjoy every single little minute!
Blessings...