Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Little Things...

Quilts are my thing. I rarely make bags, pincushions, or many little projects. But it seems this month I've strayed from my usual sewing to make some fun littler items...

The Gatherer Cross Body Bag ~
I made 2 of these one - for each of my Granddaughters. Seems they like carrying a purse and this is such a cute style and size for two young girls. And to keep all the change they manage to charm from their Grandfather, I added a small Coin Purse {pattern here and here} {frame from here}

I saw this pincushion on Instagram, beautifully made by Erin aka @mommy2lu. It's from the book Sew Organized For the Busy Girl and was a fun little project.

I've love embroidery and haven't done it in years. Have you seen the Buck Forest fabric by Bonnie Christine and the embroidery that's been added? Yes, that idea came to me from Instagram too!

I made a case for my embroidery a few years ago, but decided to remake it in some "me" colors. The pattern is from Patchwork Please and I added a bit of embroidery to the front using a pattern from Heather Bailey. The floss is the new set by Bonnie and Camille.

The inside...

This is the Maker's Tote by Noodlehead. She designs the most professional looking bags and writes some of the best pattens for construction. This went together really well for an unexperienced bag maker like me. Lesson learned: don't use fusible web over your basting stitches {it makes them quite difficult if not impossible to remove!}

I opted to leave off the outer pockets because I just love the exterior fabric {Curiosities by Jeni Baker}. I love how the bag stands on it's own and opens wide. I think it will be great to carry busywork when traveling.

And finally a simple iPad case. My old one was a bit big for the newer iPad and I just love the simple pattern from fancy Tiger Crafts.

The great thing is that all these projects were made from fabrics in my stash!

I've included links for all the patterns. Let me know if you make any!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Squash Blossom Quilt

I have a new quilt finish! The block is a traditional one called Squash Blossom. There's a brief block tutorial at the end of this post...

I started the fabric selection with some half yards of Aneela Hoey's newest line called Foxglove. And as you can probably guess I added my touch with some coordinating prints and solids from my stash.

The machine quilting was done using the Serpentine Stitch #4 on my Bernina. I always love the way it looks and the long vertical lines about an inch apart seemed perfect for this design. I adjusted the length and width to make it pretty zig-zaggy this time and love how it turned out.

For the backing I chose the aqua print with the foxes from the line. It's so adorable!!

 As far as a pattern is concerned, I searched the web and found 2 really good ones. One from Holly Gets Quilty  and the second from Tales of Cloth. Both are very good, but break the trapezoids into squares and triangles. I wanted to recreate the same block with fewer seams and came up with my own version.

Here's a brief description of how I did it:

The trapezoids are cut by cutting a rectangle and using the 45 degree line on your ruler to trim the end or ends. Note that when only one end is trimmed, you'll need mirror images of each piece. If you place 2 layers wrong sides together and cut them together, you'll get the mirror image of each shape.

Background (white):
4 - 2 1/2" x 6 7/8", trim one end at a 45 degree angle to get 2 sets of 2 mirror image trapezoids
4 - 2 1/2" x 4 7/8", trim one end at a 45 degree angle to get 2 sets of 2 mirror image trapezoids
4 - 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares

Accent (navy):
1 - 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" square, cut in half twice diagonally {you need only 2 of these triangles}

Main (aqua):
1 - 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" square, cut in half twice diagonally {you need only 2 of these triangles}
4 - 2 1/2" x 6 7/8", trim one end at a 45 degree angle to get 2 sets of 2 mirror image trapezoids
2 - 2 1/2" x 9 1/4", trim both ends of these rectangles at 45 degree angles going in opposite directions

Sewing: Refer to the block diagram above.
1. Use the 4 - 2 1/2" background squares and draw a line from corner to corner on the wrong side. Place a marked square on the square end of each of the 2 1/2" x 6 7/8" main fabric (aqua) trapezoids with the drawn line going parallel to the 45 degree angle on the opposite end. Sew on the drawn line, press and trim seam allowance to 1/4". (Use the 2 center rows of the block diagram for reference).
2. Lay out the units from step one and the remaining pieces following the above diagram.
3. Sew the pieces into rows.
4. Sew the rows together to complete the block.

Tip! You'll be sewing 2 - 45 degree angles together. To line them up properly, use the photo below for reference. The sewing line should fall in the "V" created by the 2 angles.

Hope you give it a try!

Monday, June 20, 2016

City Tiles Quilt

I've mentioned my love of Instagram before and I've really found some amazing quilters there and tons of inspiration. One of them is Emily Dennis who blogs at Quilty Love. Emily is just one of those people whose style I really connect with. Clean, modern, and a bit traditional all at the same time.

My most recent finish is one of Emily's patterns called City Tiles. I love the simple graphic design and thought it would be perfect to showcase the gorgeous line called Lavish by Katarina Roccella.

I used an Art Gallery solid called Icy Mint for the background and had a hard time photographing this beautiful color. It really is pretty and a nice, fresh neutral for this colorful line.

It's quilted with straight lines 1" apart and backed in one of the great prints from the line. The binding is a pretty, and dark floral.

It is such a great pattern! And super easy to follow. I'm actually working on another of Emily's patterns right now called Triangle Hexies Quilt. It's another goodie!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tumbling Spools in Handmade

If you've been around for a while, you know I'm a lover of Bonnie and Camille fabrics. Their newest collection that was introduced at Spring Market last month is called Handmade. Although I love all the collections, there are always favorites and this is looking like one of them. They introduced a soft black color and it's a winner in my book!

{There's also coordinating embroidery floss - I'll show you my little embroidery project soon!}

I ordered a fat quarter bundle from Amanda at Westwood Acres. She has one of the best shops for bundles as they're generally hand cut, so you never get a skimpy fat quarter. As an added bonus Amanda sent out packs of 3 1/2" squares of the entire collection for free with a preorder! I always feel a need to make something when I receive a collection early and wanted to come up with a project that didn't waste any of the 3 1/2" squares.

Here's what I came up with!

Several years ago I did a pattern for Moda Bake Shop called Tumbling Spools Friendship Quilt. I thought the Spool block would make a perfect mini quilt for the sewing room!

The original pattern uses 2 1/2" squares, so I changed the dimensions a bit to utilize the entire 3 1/2" square. For this version the print squares are 3 1/2", the white background is 3 1/2" x 1 3/4" and 1 3/4" x 1 3/4", and the colored solid is 1 3/4" x 6". the block finishes at 5 1/2" or 6" unfinished.

I had some Scrumptious in my stash and the dot and stripe worked great for a backing and binding.

It's a really pretty, fresh line - Handmade - will be available in September!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Broken Dishes Quilt

I forgot I had a blog! Not really, but the last month has flown by...

I've been sewing but only completed one quilt in the past month. I have several others in the works - you know I'm always sewing something - but none complete.

Except this one...

I made this mini quilt/wall hanging 5 or 6 years ago. It hung in my kitchen for a while until something new came along. I had actually made another little quilt using the same design many years ago in blue and white for my more traditional kitchen.

I've always wanted to make a bigger version. The pattern is Broken Dishes and is an old traditional block, easy to find with a Google search. For the bigger quilt, my half-square triangles finished at 2 1/2" making the block 5" finished when 4 of them are sewn together. I alternated 5 pieced blocks with 4- 5" finished (5 1/2" unfinished) white squares to make a 15" large block.

The quilt has 4 - 15" blocks across and 4 blocks down to make a 60" square quilt. I started with 2 charm packs of Vintage Picnic by Bonnie and Camille, then added B&C stash fabrics.

It took me a while to make this small quilt as I fell in and out of love with it many times. But I persisted and ended up loving the fresh result!

Sorry I don't have too many pictures this time - I accidentally deleted several. I guess I'm out of practice!

Thanks for visiting - hope to see you sooner next time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bourbon Street Quilt

I'm still in the process of sewing my stash this year and this was a really fun one to make!

The pattern is Bourbon Street by Sassafras Lane Designs. I went for a soft vintagey color scheme of yellow, green, coral, pink, aqua and gray.

I rummaged through my scraps and small pieces to find favorite prints...

making it a fun album of favorites from the past few years. The aqua solid is a Cirrus solid from Cloud 9.

This is a big quilt for me, so I quilted it on the Bernina longarm at my local quilt shop. The back is one of my favorite Anna Maria Horner prints - it's a winner with all the colors and found on sale at Hawthorne Threads.

We took it on an outing at a local nursery while shopping for plants. Seems to fit nicely in the garden, don't you think?

I don't immediately wash all my quilts, but this one is going in to get all crinkled up. I think it will be a good snuggler!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Photographing Your Quilt...Depth of Field

In this last post today, I’m going to share a “cool trick” with you.

You’ve seen photos that have a nice blurry background and one object in focus, right?  Perhaps you want to know how that’s done.

Well, there are a few factors that play into the “blurry” background look.  One is called aperture, which simply refers to how wide the lens opens when you take a photo.  But, we're not going to get that technical today.  Instead, I'm going to share an easier way for you to get that blurry background.

Before we get into the “how”, let’s dig a little deeper into the “what.”  When we are talking about the blurry background look, we are referring to “depth of field.”  Depth of field tells us how much is in focus from the foreground to the background of our photos.  A photo with a large depth of field will show everything in focus from front to back.  A photo with a shallow depth of field will have only a slice of the photo in focus.  

See in the photo below how only Ariel (post-human Ariel) is in focus.  The rest of the photo is blurry (and in fact gets blurrier as we move further away from the focal point).  This photo has a shallow depth of field.

The next photo has a large depth of field.  We can see that everything from the foreground to the background is in focus. (Including my upside down kid.)  This photo has a large depth of field.

Our depth of field exists on a plane.  This means everything that is an equal distance from our camera as the focal point will be in focus.

Here is the cool trick....the closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth of field.

In these next two photos, you can see the difference.  In the first, I was really close to my subject.  This resulted in a photo with a very shallow depth of field.  My focal point fell on that flower in the middle.  Notice that the branch and flowers right behind it are blurry.

 (Note here: if you get too close to your subject, your camera won't be able to focus at all and won't take a photo.  If this happens, just move back a bit.)

In the next photo, I moved further away from the subject.  You can see that more of the photo (again, from front to back) is in focus.  My focus was on the same flower, but you can see more of the branches and flowers behind it.

The depth of field extends a certain distance in front of the focal point and a certain distance behind the focal point.  As a result, another way to create that blurry look is to move the subject further away from the background.  You'll see in these next two photos, the background is blurrier in the first.  This is because I moved my subject further away from the background.  As a result, the background was out of the depth of field and blurry.

Why do we care about depth of field and how can we use it?

There are several reasons we want to use depth of field purposefully in our photos.

1.  We minimize distractions.  Remember in my first post, I shared that we want to remove distractions in our photos.  We can get rid of those distractions with a shallow depth of field.  If there's something we don't want people to see in the background, we can make that distraction out of the depth of field and blurry.

2.  It can help us draw the viewer's attention to a certain spot.  This can be especially useful when photographing quilts or sewing projects.  Maybe you want to draw the viewer's attention to a certain fabric in the quilt or to a particular seam.  You can put that spot in your depth of field, making that spot clear and the rest blurry.  One of the benefits of taking your camera off of "auto" mode is being able to select your focal point.  I write more about selecting your focal point here.

3.  It just looks cool!  Often, we find a blurry background pretty, aesthetically pleasing. You can use depth of field to add artistic appeal to your photos!

This wraps up my series on photographing your quilts.  You can find me on my website, Facebook, and Instagram.  I teach a beginner's photography workshop and the next one starts April 18.  Registration ends April 11.  I'm offering $10 to quilters with the code "quilts" at checkout.  Get all the information you need here.

If you have any questions or want to get in touch, feel free to e-mail me at  

And as a last fun little bit of information, as someone interested in both quilting and photography, you are keeping your brain strong!