Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Thrill of the Pull

What's your favorite part of the quilting process? For me, hands down it's pulling fabrics for a new project. I've always been drawn to intriguing patterns and strong colors, and thinking about how fabrics might mix, match, and compliment each other... well, you just can't get any better than that in my book!

I've had this vibrant little stack of fabric in my head now for months! I've always loved a rich jewel tone palette, and once I had seen this quilt, I knew I had to embrace it. Of course, I had to go pretty heavy on the green tones. Let's just say that you will be seeing a lot of these snippits sewn into several upcoming projects!

Without giving everything away, let me just say that these are the colors that I've picked for my bee blocks, which is one of my four secret projects in the works right now. I won't be able to hold it much longer, and get to share next week!

if you're thinking right now... yeah, yeah, nice fabric stack, but show me something made with these jewels, then I'm afraid all I can leave you with is a small side project that I will tell more about later... it really has it's own story too.

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Busy As A Bee... No, Really!?!

There's really so much going on right now, that I almost don't know where to begin. Let's just say that the majority of things that have been tying up my time these past weeks are essentially secret and behind the scenes projects... not to mention that I am about to have a major life change...

Before imaginations start going wild, let me just simply say that we are about to move. My husband and I have been talking about this move since we have been married, and it would seem that now is the time. I've not talked about it here, but just a little heads up might explain some future missing-in-action time here.

So, I've essentially been working on TWO Quilty Circle of Bees projects at one time. Firstly, Mell is up with her Wanta Fanta blocks. This is a great, free paper pieced pattern from Better Off Thread, as found on Blossom Heart quilts.

She asked for lots of pinks and reds with accents of oranges, yellows and purples - all in really bright and juicy shades... a really nice color combo, don't you think? Mell even came up with an additional template for the snowball unit, so the whole block can be paper pieced. This really helps with accuracy... just ask her, and I'm sure she'd be glad to pass her template along!

The second bee project has not officially been introduced, but perhaps I can whet your appetite and let you in on at least one secret... it's MINE!!!...  I'm up next as the "queen bee" and you'll get to see my bee blocks in July! 

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dreaming of Summer

Do you find yourself dreaming and yearning for summer all year long?... especially those moments at the beach just soaking up the warm sun, being cooled by the fresh salty air, and curling your toes up in the sand while settling into an inner calmness lulled by the soothing constancy of the waves crashing onto the shore. Such summer memories were the inspiration for my latest projects for Lena's Patchwork Magazin.

One of my favorite beach time activities as a child, next to building sand castles, was collecting seashells. Still to this day, I am fascinated by their beauty and uniqueness. These pretty little free motion applique mussels can be used in a variety of ways for fun summer decorating from table runners to vase covers, or even adorn a favorite picture frame.

The complete pattern and instructions, as well as more summer crafting ideas, can be found in the June issue of Lena's Patchwork Magazine. (German) For my other projects as featured in both Lena's Patchwork and Anna Magazin can be found here, here, here, and here.

 Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Penny Quilt FINISH!

It's no secret that I'm a project jumper. While it was my original goal to work on a quilt that I could turn out quickly and easily, I'm still pleased with how long it took to finish this charity baby quilt (story here)... especially considering all the in between sewing. Yeah, another quilt checked off my 2016 FAL list for this quarter! If you're curious about all those other in between projects, I added a "Finished Quilts" tab to share how far I've come... not too bad for just two years of quilting, huh?

This quilt is packed full of favorite fabrics... come on now, who didn't fall completely in love with Heather Ross' Tiger Lily fabrics when they first came out?!? I waited for this bundle for a really, REALLY long time (too long of a story to go into), so it's fun to see it finally made up in this quilt!

Remember this pretty little stack of Lizzy House and Heather Ross Spoonflower additions from last summer?... you might recognize several of these prints.

"Becoming Frog" is one of my favorites... not only the print, but the color is the absolute perfect shade of pink, with just a hint of coral in it.

For the quilting, I decided on straight line quilting (of course), radiating from a focal star. I'm glad that you can't see from the pictures how croooked my stars got as they radiated out. Please note: this not my way of fishing for a compliment... I really was frustrated at how wonky they had gotten along the way. But I suppose washing and the magic of the crinkle should help, right?

The backing is, as always pieced, with the addition of Cori Dantini's Daisy Chain fabric and a few others in the mix.

The layout of this quilt was actually the first one that I got to put my Christmas present to good use. It's been part of my ongoing/yearly goals list, to learn the ins and outs of the EQ7 program. Obviously there are a few things off, but this really gave me a good idea about color placement. I've been experimenting more recently, and hope to share some secret sewing sooner rather than later.

Quilt Inspiration: "Super Star" from V and Co. 
Blocks: "Simple Star" from Farm Girl Vintage book, in both six and twelve inch blocks. Additional flying geese arrows.
Started: December 2015
Fabrics: Heather Ross, Lizzy House, and various stash fabrics. Low volume background fabrics. 

Backing: Cori Dantini, Heather Ross, Cotton & Steel, Blend Fabrics
Finished quilt size: ca. 48 x 60 in. (122 x 152 cm)

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Quilting to Cardigans

Do you remember when you first learned to sew? There are handfuls of people out there that a big part of their life story began with creating at a young age... and I am no exception to that rule. I cannot say that I remember when I first started sewing, although I imagine it was around seven or eight, but I do know that clothing was one of the first things that I learned how to sew.

Just because I started out sewing garments, does not mean that I enjoyed it. Almost after every clothing piece that I completed, I was always frustrated because it either didn't look right once I tried it on, or it simply didn't fit and needed adjustments way beyond my sewing abilities. So, I started sewing other things... until recently.

Generally I am pleased with the way my Julia Cardigan turned out, although I have to admit that I had that same sinking feeling when I finished and first tried it on. The sleeves were way too big and there was extra material on the sides, so of course my first thought was... "Note To Self: THIS is the very reason why you don't sew clothing!" It ended up that I did have to make several adjustments, but at least I can live with the end result.

One fun new discovery on this project was using a twin needle. Since I've not sewn with jersey before, I never needed one.  I stupidly didn't buy enough fabric to make the doubled over/no hem version (eeekkk!! grumble, grumble), but I stumbled on this alternative solution, and love the look of the finished hem. Nancy's Notions has a great how to tutorial here.

Even with all the clothing items that I whipped up way back then, I never made anything with Jersey. And despite what your feelings are about pre-washing or not pre-washing fabrics, with my quilting fabrics, it's just a no go with me. So, needless to say, two big "firsts" with me on this one.

Do you have any garment sewing love/hate stories to share?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Size Surprise: Chrurnstile Quilt Top Finish!

Don't you just love it when you carefully and gently pull all the finished blocks from your quilt wall to assemble them into your long awaited quilt top, and realize once it's together, that it appears that it is now half the size? (please note the obvious sarcasm)... the wonder and the mystery of "the great Shrink"

If you've been around here since I've been quilting, then you know that I'm a quilt size debator... usually battling the back and forth if I should make it bigger. (I suppose I figure that if you're going to do it at all, you might as well do it big) Even for this quilt, I seriously contemplated adding more blocks, because I had calculated that it would be a mere lap quilt after "the great Shrink".

So once the top was together, I quickly ran upstairs to take advantage of the bright, sunny day, and the fact that the kids were out of the house. I excitedly threw the quilt over my son's twin size bed and had my first surprise... it was too big and too long for the bed! (hardly a lap quilt!) Then I even more excitedly ran to my bedroom and threw it over my queen size bed... and much to my astonishment, found that it was almost big enough to fit my bed! (not quite, but again… not a lap quilt!)

Well, don’t you just love it when you over estimate, and are later pleasantly surprised with more than what you had originally calculated? 

Quilt pattern: Churnstile from Stitchery Dickory Dock, Curn Dash block from the January Sugar Block Club
Started: February 2016
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, Lizzy House, and various additional prints from my stash. Low volume with color background fabrics
Finished quilt top size: ca. 66 x 82 in. (168 x 208 cm)

What are your “the great Shrink” experiences?

Linking up this week with Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making Connections

Once all the blocks of a quilting project are finished, one is all a flurry with excitement having reached the top of the first mountain. The next up hill climb is connecting it all together, where it can sometimes be slow moving.

After much debate about what size to take my Churnstile quilt, and some really good advice like "go with your gut", "consider the recipient", and probably the best advice from Kate to "let the quilt decide"... I actually decided to go for it and work on connecting the blocks! If it still feels like it needs more once it's all together, then I can keep going, right?

I've decided on using some of the same low volume fabrics that I used in the block backgrounds for the connecting sashings. I have fallen in love with using low volumes with a hint of color... Alison Glass has several in her Abacus series that I just adore, and Erin Michael's fabric Preakness from her Purebread collection, has reached favorite low volume status with me.

I've also been working on connecting the leaves on my Green Smoothie quilt. Once all the individual drunkard's path blocks are made, they have to be stitched together to make the beautiful leaf shape.

... and then a white strip to the top of each leaf before joining them all together.

What are you working on? Linking up the week to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How Do You Know When It's Finished?

Size, size, size? It's always a matter of size isn't it? But how do you know when you've reached the right size with a quilt? I suppose it really is quite simple, isn't it... simply follow the pattern, right?

Well, I would have to say that I'm the kind of person why places like Burger King came up with the idea to "make it your way". Everything on my burger is ok except for ketschup, but I like to add mustard... so I have to customize it! Well, that same need to adjust, modify, change, and make it my way doesn't stop at burgers... 

My version of the Churnstile quilt has developed, though quite unintentional, like many of my other quilts... making the rules up as I go. My first debate was whether to set the blocks on point or straight... the pattern is on point, but my gut said straight. The confirmation that I was on the right track was the feedback that I got on Instagram. Second decision was where to set the cornerstones... again going with my gut. And of course the never ending debate with myself... size.

I started out with eight different color combinations for the blocks, and repeated several, but with its current size, not all blocks are repeated. Without a particular recipient in mind, I also don't have a particular size planned either. Do I stop now or let it keep growing with each block being repeated twice? Hmmm, I guess I'll be thinking about it while I am quilting this quilt.

When it comes to your own quilts, do you make it up as you go, or do you go by the book? If you do make up the rules as you go, do you struggle with issues like size and layout?

LInking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Color Poetry: Green

Are you the same as me, that you almost feel as if you are walking just a little bit lighter when you first start seeing those spring buds appear everywhere? It's no secret that green is my favorite color, or that spring is the season where I feel the most alive. I would say that it is more than obvious where my color affections lie when you look at the projects I've been working on this week.

Backing for my Penny quilt? Check. I'm hoping this will go rather quickly... especially since I am using this method to baste it.

So far I have been able to sew all the leaves for my Green Smoothie quilt either from scraps or fabrics in my stash. I realized that I needed to add some additional prints to really give it the depth and variety that I am wanting. And besides... adding more greens to my already green heavy stash is just so much fun!

It's been helpful to me to lay this out on the bed to see the progress that I've made.

It's been on my wish list now for far too long to make some new curtains for our bedroom.... why does it take so long to motivate me to do a little practical sewing?!? Tja, I guess because it is not very creative, but wow... did these light colored curtains ever make a huge difference in the room.

April showers bring May flowers... what are your spring projects?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday
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