Thursday, January 31, 2013

Anyone have Low Volume Scraps and willing to trade?

My design for the Emerald Challenge requires some low volume scraps in the background (here's a post from Lily's Quilts about low volume fabrics). I'm looking for gray and/or white (you can see some of the fabrics I'm using in the background of this picture).

Sneak peek...

Does anyone have some low volume white/gray scraps they'd be willing to trade (solids included, text prints if you have any, etc.)? If there's a color your short in, I'd be happy to send you some scraps, too. I'm looking for scraps 2 inches and up for this mini quilt. Please leave a comment if interested - thanks!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January Goal Complete! - Snowflake Strip Quilt Top

I finished my snowflake strip quilt top. Phew!

I used Laurie Wisbrun's adorable "Brr" line (I love the Scandinavian feel), as well as fabrics from my stash (a little okay a lot of Pearl Bracelets of course, Art Gallery scraps, solids, Riley Blake chevron in red, etc.). I wanted to feature the cute little polar bears in the centers of the snowflakes. :) I'm so happy with how it came out! I'll explain more of my thought and quilt process once it's completely done.

This quilt top has been in WIP status all winter. It took a while to make all of the blocks (there are 48 strip blocks) plus I had to figure out the applique. Thanks to your suggestions, I "half-sashed" (this is a new word/style, you heard it here first) the snowflakes instead of leaving it be.

------>REASON: I have always thought of them as snowflakes, and I felt they needed even just a bit of separation. I still love how they play together even with half-sashing. Not sashing or bordering at all would have meant too small of a lap quilt (in my opinion), and I didn't want to make any more snowflake blocks... so there you go! Also, I chose teal/blue (not green or red) because I want this to be a wintery quilt, not a soley Christmasy quilt, when it's done!


I definitely would NOT have without all the finish-along parties going on in blogland... so thanks! I meant to have this tutorial ready THIS winter but I'll be working on it this summer, and I plan to publish it as soon as you are wishing for snow again ;) Or, maybe a "first snow" photo shoot is in the cards... hmm...

In terms of the quilting... I want to wait for my new machine. The current plan is to get one with our tax return, so that leaves me possibly doing the backing soon, but not the basting/quilting/binding. I'm thinking some kind of snowflake FMQ - maybe. Maybe. I have time. (if you have suggestions, let me know!)

Starting to think about my February goal. Haven't decided yet. Probably won't until at least a couple days into February :)

Linking up to:
Never Too Hot to Stitch!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A day of sewing

I think every month I should make sure there's an entire day of sewing. Like, an uninterrupted 12 hours or so - well, okay, there was food in there, also an episode of Doctor Who with Mike, and I browsed fabric for at least an hour - but overall, I got so much done that it was quite freeing!

Heroes Helping Heroes block for my wonderful friend Val - wonky improv circle. I contributed last year and was eager to again. This is the first time I had done an improv circle and I'm obsessed (she has a great tutorial here)! Though, if I ever make blocks this size again, I'll need to get some big cuts of solids. I have a lot of fat quarters and luckily, just enough yardage to get by with the biggest parts! I dedicated mine to all those women who have suffered or are suffering from breast cancer (the pinks were intentional). You can see the other blocks in the flickr group. I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

January Sister's Ten BOM block (Grandmother's Frame). My HSTs are getting so much better! Sorry the lighting is bad - I took the picture at night and even Picasa couldn't fix it. I'm using some of my favorite fabrics in this quilt and can't even convey my excitement. More soon!

Thanks so much for all of your feedback on my snowflake strip quilt. It was hard at first to decide, and then more and more people said that no sashing would be better. However, looking at it again, I remembered my original intent for this quilt - SNOWFLAKES. And to me, the snowflakes need to be separated, at least a little bit. But, I'm still deciding, haha - because I sewed on a thin sashing but not I'm not sure if I like it. So, the seam ripper might be my best friend today. We'll see. I'll make a decision soon and take your comments into account! It's my January goal and it needs to get done!

Linking up to Let's Get Acquainted at Plum and June, and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilt SOS - sashing, or no sashing?

 I've reached an interesting predicament with my snowflake strip quilt - sashing, or no sashing?

I picked up this beautiful solid from Pennington Quilt Works (Michael Miller, I believe) and I fully intended to use it to sash each snowflake (all around the whole square).

But now I love how the strips look as they interlock. If I keep if like this though, the quilt will be much smaller than I hoped. I also haven't decided how big I'm going to make the sashing. UNLESS, I put a big border around the whole thing. I'm not sure, though.

What do you think? Help me! You've never failed so I figured I'd ask! I have all day on this unexpected snow day to figure it out... in the meantime, I think I'll work on a BOM block.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monthly Sew-along and Quilt Kit Giveaway at 1 Choice 4 Quilting

1 Choice 4 Quilting, which is headed by the wonderful Nicole (we had the pleasure of Skyping for an hour!), is revamping their former book club and making it a monthly sew-along. Nicole is partnering up with bloggers who have created quilts and small projects, and she is offering kits in her shop to go with the tutorials and patterns!

"Easy as Pie" - isn't it pretty?!
Image from Busy Bee Quilts

The first month's project by Jamie at Busy Bee Quilts. You can find her tutorial posted in 4 parts throughout February, and enter the quilt kit giveaway here (you can also buy the kits from the 1 Choice shop!)

The reason we were Skyping: a quilt I've designed will be featured in March! I'm SO excited. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Birds of A Feather": Mini Quilt for the Madrona Road Challenge


When I first received the Madrona Road fabrics at the Central Jersey MQG's December meeting, I was inspired. But I didn't know what to make... yet. But, luckily, I had seen Anna Maria Horner's fabulous Feather Bed Quilt pattern, and, in January, had even seen some of my fellow CJMQGers try it out.

Our guild's challenge was "details," so, besides using all of the fabrics given in the feathers, I quilted in random lines following the feather pattern, in yellow, white and gray. All of the yellow quilted lines stretch out to the end of the feather block.

 This kind of quilting was very freeing and relaxing, and I happened to quilt the whole thing and sew on half the binding at our recent Saturday Sewcial!

I also added a navy and coal solids to the mix. I'm especially in love with the text and herringbone prints of this line!

When you're working basically full time and don't have all that much free time, you know that sometimes a mini quilt can satisfy all of your quilting needs and wishes. And that is what this little quilt has done for me :) Still deciding where to hang it though!

I will definitely be using the feather pattern again - it is so unique and pretty. However, be aware to cut/sew long strips if you are making a lot of feathers, otherwise you'll potentially have a lot of fabric waste and be doing a lot of extra sewing (if you look at the pattern, you'll see what I mean).

Check out all of the Madrona Road projects in this Flickr group, and the finished ones for consideration for the Michael Miller booth in this Flickr group. I also posted some from my guild here and here. Inspiration abound!

Also - I'm a little behind on blogs, so forgive me! I plan to catch up this weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pearl Bracelets Flickr Group and Madrona Road Progress

I was shocked to discover, among all the great Flickr groups that exist, that there wasn't one to share projects featuring Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelet fabric (if you didn't already know I'm obsessed, now you know!). I've created one! Please feel free to join and add your sewing, quilting, or home decor projects - so we can all bask in the loveliness :) Join me!

Meanwhile, I completed the quilt top and backing for my Madrona Road Challenge mini quilt this week. I worked for a couple hours each night on it, and I'll be quilting it up hopefully at our guild's sewcial tomorrow night! That is, unless we don't all just end up talking and eating for hours instead. Which is possible.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My husband, the quilt expert

Me, sewing my Madrona Road mini quilt: How does this look? Should I add a white stripe, or stick with black? I feel like that's too plain.
Husband: *shrugs* You always say that. I like the black.
Me: Alllllright.
Husband: Let's watch Doctor Who and eat Oreos.

And so they did.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A no-sew week

Pretty much every day this week, I got home from work and tried to sew. I really did! One day, decided to try turned edge applique for the tutorial I'm writing. Realized I need spray starch to continue... which I need to buy when I get to the grocery store.

Then, I decided what I wanted to do for the Madrona Road challenge - halfway through cutting fabric and pattern, scratched that. On second thought several days later... might try again.

Time to try a BOM block. Maybe sewing just wasn't in the cards this week! Has that ever happened to you?

I leave you with pictures of the iPad cover I made for the CJMQG's Secret Quilter swap last week. Funny story - I got the name of the president (and my friend) Jessica in December. I was SO excited, because she had told us about possibly getting an iPad for Christmas - I was going to make her a linen and Anna Maria Horner cover.

Then, there was a miscount, so we had to turn our names back in and redraw. I obviously didn't get her (though, I found out later one member got the same person both times! How's that for odds?). So, I emailed her later and told her that I HAD had her, and what I was going to make.

THEN, two weeks later, she emailed all of us with more details for the swap, and announced that one member had dropped out. So, the person who had her now had Jess. I read the email and thought, "don't I have that person?" And I did. So I had Jess again. Needless to say, I was more than excited to give her the swap package and tell the story at the January meeting.

I followed this great Freckled Whimsy tutorial, but altered the patchwork design to make my own improv block. I included Jess's favorite colors mentioned on her sheet: some chartreuse, purple, gray, and red. I also quilted both sides with purple, gray, and green thread. I suggest cutting for an oversized pouch as KarrieLyne suggests - mine fit perfectly with just enough room to spare! Also, I used fusible fleece on the inside to give it some shape and stability (and to protect the iPad). This was my first iPad cover, and it was super quick and easy! Kind of wish I had one myself so I had an excuse to make another :)

Fabrics used: picks from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study, Loulouthi, and Innocent Crush,  Robert Kaufman's Metro Living Circles, Ty Pennington's Impressions, Essex Linen in Natural.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Butterflies for Emilee" - A Finished Quilt

"Focus" is my word for the year. Some people make resolutions, but I think one word works better for me. I was inspired by other people in blogland to think of a word that fit my goals.

"Butterflies for Emilee"
Focusing on one quilt at a time (okay, unless it's a BOM, right? :) ). Focusing on FINISHING one project at a time. Focusing on the gym when I'm there. Focusing if/when I get my new job. I've always been good at making goals for myself, but sometimes I'm too ambitious - it's time to be honest with myself and make every moment count with something productive.

"Butterflies for Emilee" close up
I focused on finishing this butterfly quilt over winter break. Before Christmas, these blocks were just half square triangles (mind you, badly cut HSTs from when I wasn't being as careful) so I had some fixing and a lot of piecing to do.

Close up butterfly2
This butterfly block came from a brainchild I had about a year ago... about how HSTs could make a butterfly. There have been some really great butterfly quilts and blocks in the last year (Nero's Post and PatchRed Pepper Quilts), and I was inspired to continue working when I saw them (though other things got in the way, as they so often do!).

Close up butterfly 3
This one is my favorite butterfly :)
 I purchased Cocoon fabrics from the Intrepid Thread a few months ago because my now 5-year-old niece loves butterflies, pink, and purple. Plus, I took the extra time to embroider the antennae onto each one - I love the look up close, so it was worth it!

Close up butterfly

She was very taken with the pretty Cocoon butterfly fabric on the back, and the extra butterfly. The blue fabric is a pretty butterfly-filled vintage sheet that I received in the traveling stash once - I knew the right project would come along.

Back -  "Butterflies for Emilee"
Pink binding, of course!

Binding  - "Butterflies for Emilee"
I named it "Butterflies for Emilee" a la "Ladybugs for Bailey," and gave it to her just in time for her birthday. She loved it!! Now, all four nieces have quilts. Thank goodness. I guess it's time to make the youngest one another though, since hers was made for a newborn.

Happy niece! :)
The color scheme was right up my alley, so it was hard to let go of this one. I'm pretty sure that if/when I have a daughter someday, she will be getting a butterfly quilt. Oh, and fair warning, it's safe to say almost every project I do this year will have some Pearl Bracelet in it. All hail Lizzy House :)
P.S. A butterfly block tutorial is to come this spring, so stay tuned.
P.S.S. Thanks for all of your feedback on the BOM color - the votes are in, and I agree - medium grey wins!

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story, Made by Me @ JAQS Fabric, We Did It Wednesday @ Sew Much Ado
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Background color help! - Sister's Ten BOM

I'm officially joining the Sister's Ten BOM at Gen X Quilters! I've actually resisted traditional block formation since I began quilting, so I want to practice. The layout is really unique and modern, so that sets it off as well. I also love the concept behind the quilt - each block stands for a special woman in your life. It's going to be an important project for me this year, and I can't explain fully why until December!

Sister's Ten BOM Fabric Pull

Anyway, I made my fabric pull, and I'm just in love with these colors together. As I said on flickr, I want to stay away from using white as a background again. I'm thinking Kona Ash or Medium Grey - which one do you think? (I'm worried one is too light, and the other is two dark, but I've never worked with either before - just Kona Coal, which is a super dark gray).

Ash, then Medium Grey - pictures from Hancock's of Paducah website

Please help! Opinions greatly appreciated :)
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

January Goal... ready, set, go!

I've been invited, tempted, and finally just given into joining the Lovely Year of Finishes with Melissa and Shanna (join us?), and my friend Lynne's Year of the Finished Project. It's a worthy cause - set a goal, work on it, and finish at the end of the month. I need to set goals and follow through - something I'll be blogging about more this week.

A Lovely Year of Finishes 

Never Too Hot to Stitch!

My goal for January is to get a quilt top out of my strip blocks. This is the quilt I'm writing a tutorial for, so I would like to get it done this winter! The blocks are almost all finished, so the rest should be fairly simple... but we'll see if I can do it WHILE writing a pattern for another quilt. It's on. :)

Short post for today - it's been a busy day! And a sad one - another quilt given away. :( But I assured my niece that I'm glad it's going to a special home.

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