Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday: xplus quilt progress

Since it takes 30 days to form a new habit, I started my New Year's Resolutions now so that they are already ingrained by Jan 1. Two of those resolutions are going to be be: spend at least 30 minutes every day sewing something, and start taking blog pictures on the weekends when I actually have sunlight (haha!).  My biggest obstacle to blogging lately has been lack of time, space and light to take quality pictures.  I would really like to start blogging more regularly :) 

That's me, sewing at work!
Despite my absence from blogging, I have been sewing quite a bit.  In November, my department at the library started a program called "Hand Maker-space" where all crafters are welcome to join us every-other Friday for snacks, fellowship, and of course, crafting time!  It's been great to have an excuse to make during work hours, since I help facilitate the program, I can bring my sewing and play along.

The nice thing about my slow speed of quilting is that I can use new lines when they are released!
The majority of my sewing room is still packed in boxes (this will be changing soon!), so I've had limited access to WIP's.  I could dig them out, if I really wanted to, but I'd rather just work on things that are handy at the moment.  Since we moved back in August, I've been working on my Japanese X and Plus quilt. 

This project has been languishing for a while because the blocks are pretty time consuming (since I sew one block at a time), but it's one project that has been easy to get to, and bonus: the majority of the pieces were already cut which allows me to just sit down and sew a few pieces together here and there.

I've been plugging away at sewing these blocks together, I have 33 sewn so far, and need 56 for a queen-sized quilt.  Ryan says he wants the quilt finished for Christmas... Will I finish it?  Probably not.  But I'm going to try :)

Linking up at WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

100 quilts for Kids finish!

I finished attaching the binding to my Sock Monkey Jigsaw Puzzle quilt for 100 quilts for kids on Monday night after work.  Unfortunately I missed the link-up because I couldn't get any good pictures yesterday due to heavy storms last night, oh well.

I think this quilt turned out so cute!  The novelty prints really aren't my taste at all, but I think it will make a child really happy :)

I wanted something quick and easy for quilting so I chose to do organic wavy likes long-ways over the entire quilt.  I started quilting over the seam lines (every 3 inches) then went back and added a wave in between each.  In hindsight, I wish I would have used yellow thread (like I used to attach the binding) instead of white to make the quilting stand out a little bit more

I really need to seriously look into getting a heavier machine for quilting because even wrangling this small lap sized quilt through my little brother moved it all over the table (even though I have sticky shelf liner under it!)... Christmas is coming up ::wink::

The backing is the blue dots from DS Quilts at Joann's, it was on clearance for $7 a yard, so I finished off the bolt even though I only used about 2 yards on this quilt.

I had a little less than a half yard of the white banana print so I added a strip of that to the backing just for a little variety :)

The binding is a combination of Riley Blake and Robert Kaufman yellow dots that just happened to be the same shade as the solid yellow in the quilt!  I had a very serendipitous romp through my scrap bin and managed to find two different but very similar fabrics... You can't even tell they're different in the grand scheme of things.

I machine attached the binding using the tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew.  I must be getting better at binding because I only had to go back and hand stitch over the section where the binding ends meet.  I ended up with a measly 15 inches of binding scrap, so it really worked out perfectly.

I'll be turning this over the Heather at our DCMQG on Saturday where our batch of quilts will be donated to Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria, VA.  I hope the bright colors and happy monkeys can help bring joy to a child in need :)

Finished Size: 54"x45"
Fabrics: various scraps including Erin McMorris Funky Monkeys for Moda and Robert Kaufman Kona Solids; backed with DS Quilts for Joann's
Quilted with Gutterman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: 100 Quilts for Kids Edition

100 Quilts for Kids
Happy hump day friends!  Welcome to my stop on the DC Modern Quilt Guild 100 Quilts for Kids blog hop.  Last Saturday member from the DCMQG met in Alexandria, VA to sew up some quilts that will be donated to a shelter in the Alexandria area.  100 Quilts for Kids was started several years ago by Katie Blakesley, the 2014 drive runs through September 30, so you still have time to donate a quilt!  If you're interested, you can find details on Heather's blog.  I would also encourage you to check out the other stops on the blog hop:

About a year ago, I received a giveaway prize from Erica at Kitchen Table Quilting.  The medium flat rate box was generously stuffed with tons of fabric, including several large scrap cuts of Erin Michael's 5 Funky Monkeys for Moda.

Not being a novelty print kind of girl, I wasn't really sure what to do with these cute little monkeys, but when I received the email about the 100 Quilts for Kids drive these seemed like the perfect fabrics to use.  For those who are regular readers of my blog, you all know I quilt at a glacial pace, so I wanted something quick and easy but not just basic patchwork.  So I did a couple Google searches and came up with this adorable jigsaw puzzle block pattern.

Here's the layout as of the Sewing Day last Saturday, I forgot some fabric so I had to fill up the blank spaces when I got home.  I certainly got a lot more accomplished than I would have at home though, and managed to complete more than half of the quilt top at the sewing day!

Since the complete stash is still not unpacked, I had to resort to chopping up the scraps of sock monkeys along with other scraps to have enough for the entire quilt.  I threw in some red, lime, and yellow solids and was able to come up with enough for a lap sized quilt.  I decided to go with the 9" block so I had less sewing to do :)

As is my normal fashion, I finished the quilt top last night.  Despite the fabrics not being my taste, I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I just noticed taking the pictures that I sewed one of the strips on upside down (can you spot it?) so I'll have to fix that!  I have a larger cut of the white banana fabric to use for backing, and I was thinking of picking up a few yards of a DS Quilts Fancy Free plaid to complete the back (its on clearance for $7/yard!).  Hopefully I can get it quilted and bound in the next week or so!  I really need to start quilting on a deadline more often ::wink::

I also participated in making a few blocks for the group quilt.  DS Quilts donated a bunch of fabric for the Charity Drive.  Heather had us turn the fabrics into hourglass blocks. 

They turned out so cute, don't you think!  Keep and eye on the DC Modern Flickr Pool, and blog to see our finished quilts!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 SpoolsWell Hello!  It's been quite a while since I've blogged.  We (finally) bought a house back at the end of April, closed on it at the end of May and have been moving and getting organized ever since.  Work has also been absolutely insane since May... I won't bore you with the gory details, but blogging has been pretty much last on my list.  Now that we're somewhat settled in, I'm starting to get back into a routine.

I thought I'd ease back into blogging by joining up on the 10 Quilty Little Secrets linky party that Amy over at 13 Spools is hosting.  I've really been enjoying reading everyone's, so if you haven't seen them, click on the button to go over to Amy's blog and check it out!

1) I sew over pins all the time.  When I took home economics in middle school, the teacher said it was perfectly OK... I've only broken a needle maybe twice and it's certainly never flown into my eye or caused any safety issues (the thread keeps the broken tip connected).  **this is my personal experience, don't sue me if you get impaled by a flying broken needle**

2) I don't really like "wonky" or "improv", I find it way more difficult to purposefully make something look crooked than to precisely piece things.

3) I don't change needles or rotary blades until I absolutely have to.  Mostly because I can't find my replacements while my sewing stuff is still packed in boxes, and I'm lazy and cheap.

4) I have more WIP's and UFO's than finished projects (quilter ADD...)

5) It completely floors me when I see people practically giving their quilts away on etsy.  I agree with Molli Sparkles' post (original and follow-up) about how quilters (and crafters in general) drastically undervalue themselves.  I doubt I will ever actually try to sell my handmade goods because of this, and the fact that the general public expects low prices for handmade goods.

6) I don't buy quilting books (or books in general)... I borrow them from the library (and get to "suggest purchases" because I'm a librarian ::grin::)

7) I generally don't like Art Gallery Fabrics --go ahead throw rotten vegetables at me-- don't get me wrong, their designs are beautiful and I have purchased some and use them... but... a) I don't find the feel of the fabrics to be luxurious at all, I think they feel thin and cheap and my machine doesn't really like sewing with them.  b) I find their marketing tactics to be off-putting.  AGF designers are the only ones I have seen that exclusively sew with AGF fabrics and that makes me sad... see next point.

8) It really bothers me when bloggers "sell out" and only promote their fabric or sponsors' fabric.  I liberally un-follow blogs that only blog about sponsor's or giveaways, or their own fabric line/patterns.

9) I am terrified of the actual quilting process.  I love piecing and binding, the quilting scares me though and I dread it... probably why I have so many WIP's and UFO's.

10) I don't like making blocks that produce a lot of waste, and I don't like purposefully making extra large blocks just so I can square them up.  If the blocks are "close enough" that's fine by me.  I do however find trimmings so pretty :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday

It's been a while since I've done a WIP Wednesday post... sadly there hasn't really been much in-progress until this month.  My main project goal for Mid-Atlantic Mod was to work on my Briar Rose Sawtooth Stars quilt for my niece.  She will be 3 in June so I want to have it finished for her birthday.
--apologies I always seem to start off with crappy IG pics!--

I tried to get the majority of my fabrics cut so that I would be able to sew, sew, sew at the retreat, but at 2am on Wednesday before I left for lancaster I realized that wasn't going to happen.  As I was cutting I realized I was going to need more solids as well.

Since I knew I needed 4 flying geese per star, I sewed up a few test blocks using the no-waste-flying-geese method.  The article even had cutting instructions for common block sizes, so I didn't even have to do quilt math for a 6 inch finished geese!

pretty stacks of solids :)
Between more cutting, and socializing, I only managed to get a few blocks done on the first day of the retreat.  I got down to business and sewed more Friday and Saturday and ended up with 18 blocks by the end of the retreat.... not too shabby considering all the other things I got up to :)

I've been sewing them piecemeal here and there as I have time.  I need 35 blocks total and plan to do a skinny border of Essex Linen in Flax to bring it up to twin size.  I'm not sure how I want to quilt it, but maybe I can get up the guts to try a loopy FMQ meander...

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  What is on your sewing table?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Mod

So I am just now unpacking and catching-up from an amazing weekend at Mid-Atlantic Mod.  Yup, it's been a week since I returned but I have been scrambling at work from those two extra days of being off.  I did take my nice camera, but I was having so much fun that all I managed to take was IG pics on my Nexus (sorry!)

Mid-Atlantic Mod was a joint venture put together by Andrew from the Philadelphia MQG, Jess from Central Jersey MQG, and Katie from the DCMQG, and wow did they do a fantastic job!  65 quilters from the Mid-Atlantic region got together at the Doubletree in Lancaster PA for a 4 day quilting extravaganza :)

These are just the projects I packed.  I had a laundry basket with interfacing, an ironing board, ott light and other stuff... PLUS my clothes, lol!
After packing up way too much stuff, I headed off to Lancaster.  It's a really convenient, straight shoot via Rt. 30 and took a little over 2 hours because of traffic congestion in York, PA.  Since this was my first quilting retreat I had no idea how much I could realistically get accomplished.  I guess I overestimated since I figured I could get a TON of sewing done without having to worry about dishes/laundry/vacuuming/work, etc. etc.

It was so great getting to meet other quilters whom I had only known through the online community that I ended up socializing the majority of Thursday and only managed to get two of my Briar Rose blocks constructed (more on that on Wednesday!).

Shopping for Kona solids at Burkholders.  Photo from @jtlevitt 
I got a little bit more done on Friday... especially SHOPPING!  Jess S., Jess L., Rachel and I took a trip to Burkholder's which was about a 40 minute drive (you can see more pics of our trip on Jess's post linked at the bottom of this post).  Burkholder's was giving Mid-Atlantic Mod attendees a generous 25% discount so I walked out of there with quite a bit of fabrics, some out-of-print and hard-to-find.

Sassy Tassel Pop Shop
When we arrived back at the Doubletree, the proprietor of the Sassy Tassel in downtown Lancaster had set up an amazing pop shop in the ballroom.  She had some great out of print fabrics: Tula's Parisville, AMH Innocent Crush, DS Hopevalley... /swoon.  The Sassy Tassel was also offering an awesome 25% off, AND buy 4 get on free on all pre-cuts.  Needless to say, I bought more fabric :p

Fabric Haul from Burkholder's and the Sassy Tassel.  Check out all those OOP beauties!
Kona: Cloud, Alegria, School Bus, Camellia, Sour Apple, Cerise, Kale
I really went to Burkholder's for solids, which I legitimately needed for my Briar Rose blocks.  But as you can see I came home with way more.  But at such great deals and so many OOP fabrics, who could resist?!?!

Saturday, I took two workshops: Piecing Gentle Curves with Andrew, and Modern Log Cabins with Jess L.

Piecing Gentle Curves fabric pull and results
Modern Log Cabin Block
I really don't have definite plans for these blocks yet, but it was nice to break out of my comfort zone and try new techniques.  One thing I discovered that I do really love working with solids so I'll have to be sure to keep stashing them!

Besides working on the Briar Rose quilt for my niece, I wanted to make a divided basket for a friend who just had a baby (to match the quilt I made for her).

Silly me, I decided to start the divided basket around midnight on Saturday... it's definitely hard to follow directions after a few beers and an exciting day.  I did end up finishing it on Sunday morning but unfortunately didn't get to stop by and see my friend after the retreat as planned... it came in handy for toting my fabric haul home though!

All-in-all it was such an amazing experience to meet people that were previously bloggy friends, and to make many many new friends.  Hopefully I can start attending DCMQG meetings regularly even though it's a not terribly close to my house.  The entire weekend was so inspiring, even if it wasn't terribly productive.  I will hopefully be able to return next year, and hope you'll join us too!!!

Things to remember for next year:

  • participate in a few of the activities
  • a cushion for the hotel chair with a fancy cover of course
  • shoes with more arch support
  • veggie snacks 
  • more travel handmade items :)

Kickass SWAG!
There are so many things that I didn't cover in this post, so you should check out some other great Mid-Atlantic Mod recaps!  And the #midatlanticmod hashtag on Instagram :)
Jess @ Quilty Habit
Rachel @ Like to Sew (part 1) (part 2)
Miki @ Sparrow Quilts
Linda @ I Finally Have Time

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes: Aeroplane Bag March Finish

My Button Well ladies and gents, I finished myself a piece for #travelhandmade.  In the eleventh hour last night I was finished... too bad I finished it too late on March 31 to take satisfactory pictures and post to the link-up.

March really was just a whirlwind of activity... Lots of Master Gardener stuff gearing up... where the heck did the month go???  Lucky for me, the weather was super crummy and I had two glorious days of pretty much nothing to do except sew this past weekend.

Part of my goal this month was to make myself an Aeroplane Bag by SewSweetness so I would have something to tote my sewing machine with me to Mid Atlantic Mod.

I am so pleased with how it turned out!  And, with the exception of the AMH Dowry print and interfacings, I had all of the other fabrics on-hand.

Since I sew mainly at night, it's difficult for me to get good "in-progress" pictures, but I did end up posting a lot of my progress on my instagram

I pulled the fabric on our very rainy and gloomy Sunday afternoon, and started cutting around 4:30.  I kept sewing until around 11pm and got both outer and lining panels completed.  On Monday night after work I attached the zipper and finished the entire bag around 10pm.  So from start to finish the bag took me about 11 hours (including breaks)... not too shabby.

I still consider myself a "confident beginner" when it comes to projects, especially non-quilting projects.  This bag was definitely a challenge for me, but I wouldn't say that it was difficult, it just forced me to try new things (zippers still intimidate me).  I will definitely purchase more of Sara's patterns in the future.  Her instructions are amazing and made the whole process much easier.  The splitting zipper made installation  a breeze and also helped ease the assembly process.  I did end up having to do some hand stitching around the zipper ends, but I think that's more because of my lack of experience than anything else.

As I mentioned before, the outer main fabric is Anna Maria Horner Dowry "Postage Due" in Berry.  This is the only fabric that I purchased for this project.  The straps and bottom fabric are made from Anna Maria Horner Field Study "Fine Feathered" in Denim, and the yard I had in the stash is sadly now reduced to scraps because I made a booboo cutting the first time.

The lining is Kona Kale which coordinates pretty well with the green on the main print.  I was originally going to use a different Dowry print for the pocket lining, but settled on the cute navy dots from DS Quilts Blossom Reel collection at Joann's.

Since I chose to make the large size, it fits my sewing machine perfectly, with spare room on the the sides for my extension table, cord and foot pedal.  I may use some of the leftover Peltex to make a more stable bottom just to support the weight of the machine.  I don't think this is absolutely necessary, the bag construction is sturdy, I'm just not as confident in my bag-making abilities to trust my seams, lol.

I purchased this pattern and all fabrics with my own funds and did not get compensated in any way for this post.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes: March Goal

My ButtonDoes anyone else feel like February went by way too quickly?  Between work, bad weather, and being sick all last week... I really don't feel like I got much done (except buy lots of fabric... but that's a story for a different post, lol).  I have to say, I'm glad it's March, because Mid-Atlantic Mod is only a month away!!!  This will be my first quilting retreat and I'm really looking forward to having 4 solid days of quality time with my machine and other quilters :)

I am a little embarrassed that I call myself a quilter and I don't have any travel handmade products to take along with me to the retreat.  So my March Goal is to make myself an Aeroplane Bag to tote my sewing machine, and maybe a little caddy for my supplies.

I really should make it out of fabric that I already have, buuuuuut... I want it to be more durable so I'm thinking I'd like to use Charley Harper and Bark and Branch canvases.

blocks in various stages of completion
I would also like to finish my Scrapper's Delight quilt.  I have a lot of the blocks made, or in progress, so I'm close to having a finished top.  I can't say for whom I am trying to finish, because I'm not sure if she reads my blog or not... but I would like to give a little lap quilt for her office.  

Since 72x72" is way larger than a lap size, I decided to copy s.o.t.a.k. Handmade's idea and increase the block size to 15.5" (which will produce a 60x60" quilt instead).

With all the colors and pretty scraps, I can't wait to see it together.  I just hope it's not too busy for it's intended recipient :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Scrap-bee-licious March Queen Bee

I am SO EXCITED to be Queen bee for the Scrap-Bee-Licious Bee this month :)  The hive is composed of 13 amazing ladies, and you should check out beautiful work!

Ashley @ Wasn't Quilt in a Day (IG)
Gwendellyn @ the Rainbow Revolts (IG)
Cath @ Wombat Quilts (IG)
Alyce @ Wonderland by Alyce (IG)
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft (IG)
Rachel @ Lets Begin Sewing (IG)
Nanette @ Yeah I Made That
Robin Sue @ Robin Sue Quilts
Stephanie H. @ Simple Sewendipity
Stephanie A. @ Quarter Incher (IG)
Michelle @ Factotum of Arts (IG)
Laura @ Little and Lots (IG)

So now that you've gone and checked out all of these talented ladies' blogs (and hit follow!), on to my March Block choice.  If you're like me, you have bins literally overflowing with scraps.  That's the whole point of this Bee right?  Hopefully this block will eliminate your smallish squares :)

Holy Scraps, Batman!
This month, I'd like two 12.5" Star Value Blocks by Melissa at Happy Quilting.  I've been eyeing this block for a while and was glad that nobody in the bee has picked it yet :)  Before you look at the tutorial, and get mad at me for asking you sew SO MANY tiny 2" squares, just look how pretty the blocks turn out ::wink::  Also, you can check out this post to see how the blocks will come together

For color selection, the scrappier the better!  Try to choose as much variety in fabrics and colors as you can.  The only change I'd like to make to Melissa's Tutorial, is that I would like black or charcoal instead of gray squares.  That way you can mix the lighter grays in with the Low Volume squares.  I made both of these blocks with scraps that were laying on my dining room table, I didn't even dip into the scrap bins!  I also ended up cutting down charm squares from swaps for the Low Volume and Dark pieces to make things a little easier.  

Cutting Instructions per Block (There is a great chart on the tutorial page, but I'll put it here for easy access):
  • For the Star quadrants: choose 8 colors (preferably different prints) -- from the first print cut 1 2" square, from the second print cut 1 2.5" square.  Repeat for each color for a total of 8 squares of each size.
  • For the Diamond Pieces: choose 4 more prints (any color, or multi-color) -- cut 1 2.5" square from each
  • From a mixture of Low Volume scraps -- cut 16 2" squares, and 16 2.5" squares
  • From Black or Charcoal scraps -- cut 12 2.5" squares
Helpful hint: Chain-piece these suckers! lol

If you need any scraps for variety let me know, as you can see, I have more than I know what to do with.  Also, I know the block looks like a pain, but it's really not.  The tutorial has some great tips and tricks for making assembly easy.  Thanks gals, you rock!  I can't wait to see what you come up with :)