Friday, August 1, 2014

Finish It Up Friday :: Really Late or Pleasantly Early?

Sooooo I may or may not have started this for last Halloween...but at this point I figure rather than saying how long it took me and how late it was, I'm just going to go with "YAY! Early finish for this year!" Way more positive, right?

St. Louis 16 patch with loads of Halloween goodness going on. I will admit though that the combinations of warm browns and stark black and whites  never completely came together for me. I loved all the components but I loved them a little less all together. Plus the cat print from Spooktacular turned out to just be too large a scale to work cut up at this size. I'm not the only one who spends the time working on finishing and simultaneously thinking about what you'd do differently the next time, right? And then bam, another quilt top has been born in my head, so don't be surprised if a new and improved Halloween quilt shows up here.

But back to this baby: I quilted across from side to side (you guys must know by now how I love my straight line quilting) and it pleased me. It just seemed really quilty and good.

Fun orange and white chevron flannel on the back that I found at JoAnn's. Again, backing *everything* with flannel from now on. I know it's the South and it's almost 100 degrees in the shade all summer but personally I'm dreaming of cooler weather. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sewing Lesson

So this happened last week. My child had been *begging* me for a sewing lesson, on a real sewing machine (we had a brief terrible experience with a toy machine, so she really knows the difference) and I finally felt like she was ready. So we set up her little table with the Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine and got to work.

We practiced on some scraps so she could get a feel for the foot pedal and I sat next to her and helped her guide the fabric (when she let me). She seemed like a natural but she does come from a family with many generations of sewing women. The most important thing to me was that she had fun and felt like it was her project, along with learning to sew safely and we met all those goals!

She picked out all the fabrics herself and I cut them into strips that were 6", 9" and 12" x WOF and then she laid them out and rearranged them to her heart's content. She sewed all the strips together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Then she went for an Anna Maria Horner flannel for the back and because she's my only child and I love her dearly I let her have it. I sandwiched it, she helped sew around the edges and then we turned it inside out. I topstitched around the edge and added quilting along the ditches so the batting doesn't shift and voila, her first quilt! It finished at 39"x46" - perfect size for her to snuggle under on the couch.

She was genuinely thrilled with herself and the quilt - which of course made my mama heart happy. She feels like she "made" it an she did and I love helping start her on her own maker's journey. It's going to be awesome to watch.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A catch up!

Well hello friends! July has been a *busy* month and I can't believe how quickly it flown by. I thought I'd take a quiet minute this morning and catch you up on what I've been doing. After I finished my mini quilt for the S&B swap (last post) I actually finished a ton of sewing! First up was this Massive Maples in different Denyse Schmidt prints. The top was done and sitting in that sad WIP pile so it just needed a back and quilting. Still one of my all-time favorites.

I'm still amazed at how much faster quilting is going on my Juki. It's actually making me dread the quilting part a lot less, which will hopefully cut down on my "finish procrastination"...that thing I do where I get a quilt top done (and sometimes even sandwiched) and then let it sit. And sit. And then sit some more. I'm not the only one with this shame am I?!

I made and finished this Scrappy Star quilt for a wedding gift. The wedding was July 5th and I'm hoping this will work for the happy couple as a summery picnic quilt. This was from Jeni's free tutorial and it sewed up super fast - I'm sure I'll be making more of these, especially when I need a good gift.

I used a lightweight denim for the back that I though went well with the color scheme. Truth is I'll probably be making another one of these for our family to use as a summer quilt too. The sign of a good gift is when you really want to keep it, right? ;-)

My last project was testing a new pattern for Caroline over at Nightingale Quilts and I'm keeping it under wraps until she's ready to release it - but I think it will be soon. And it is a STUNNER. Not bragging, just in love and so excited to show you the finished quilt! I even took it on vacation with us to get some good pictures and even though I felt a bit silly dragging a quilt around Yellowstone it was completely worth it. Stay tuned.

Up next I have another mini and a large gift quilt I'd like to get done in the next couple of weeks (wish me luck). We've also started sewing lessons for the junior quilter in the house which has been ridiculously fun. So how's your summer going?  Time for a little relaxing and play I hope!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

July already?! It happens every summer and it still surprises me, how fast the time goes. If you're on IG there's no way to have missed this round of the S&B mini quilt swap - there have been so many amazing mini quilts being made that it's been an avalanche of inspiration. I tried out a few combinations for my partner and none felt quite right, then I decided and cut my fabric only to see that she'd posted the exact same mini that she'd made for herself. That day. Blerg! But I figured it showed I was on the right track as far as figuring out what she liked. 

Then I realized in looking through her IG feed again, that she is an amazing crocheter and I decided to use that as my inspiration. Using Katy's granny square tutorial and some Flea Market Fancy seemed like a natural fit after that. I even got out my precious original FMF. Then I decided that I liked these little blocks so much that I went ahead and cut almost all (gasp) my FMF to make myself a large version of this! Yup, this year is "use it or send it" year around here. Katy's method of strip piecing went so quickly that I was able to cut all my strips for about 96 (!) blocks in a couple hours. I've put them aside for now because there are a few more pressing projects on my list but how summery and fun is this? I'm so excited to come back to it.

I always feel like my criteria for a good swap item is whether I want to keep it and I SO want to keep this one! I hope my partner loves it as much as I do :-)

I did straight line quilting in the ditch and on each side of the ditch, you can really see it on the back. I had a hard time not washing this and getting it all crinkly but hopefully it's new owner will so I can see it in it's crinkly glory! It finished up at about 22" square and it's headed on a looong trip today.

I've been on a tear getting stuff done - due to a sick kid who laid on the couch and watch tv for a couple days and a quilt that I'm completely avoiding as it was about to eat my brain. Funny how avoidance can be such a great motivator, right? Anyway, I'm off to bind a quilt then cut out another one that I'm determined to finish so we can take on vacation and photograph. What, you don't plan your quilt photo ops to coincide with your vacation? ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Finish It Up Friday :: Scrappy Star Quilt

Happy Friday! I feel like I have a million different project in progress right now but I felt like since this is at least a completely finished top it would be ok to share it - I needed a win, so matter how small. This is from Jeni Baker's Scrappy Star Tutorial over at In Color Order. This took me about 3 hours to get all the fabric ironed, cut and blocks made and then about another 1 1/2 hours of extremely relaxed slowing to assemble the blocks. Definitely a winner if you're looking for something relatively quick and completely striking when done.

The one change I made was to make the HST's in pairs instead of cutting each square into two triangles and then sewing the triangles together - I was using half yards and so I had enough to double the fabric requirements. If you make this change you'll actually end up with enough blocks for TWO tops - bonus quilt! And it really didn't add any time to the ironing/cutting/sewing. The blocks do end up slightly smaller than her original 18" ones but not enough smaller than it significantly changes the finished quilt size. Still seems plenty big enough to snuggle under or picnic on!

These are all Denyse Schmidt fabrics for JoAnn's that I've been collecting since 2011! A family wedding on July 5th seemed like the perfect reason to use them and I am delighted with how it turned out. I'm not normally drawn to red, white and blue but these just seem so summery and picnic-y together that I love them. I have a lightweight denim for the back and another print (red and blue plaid) for the binding but I may just go with a solid red. I'll be sure and post another picture of the really, truly all-the-way finished quilt ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finish It Up Friday :: Scrappy Trip Around the World

Super proud of this finish! My first (I'm sure there will be more) scrappy trip, inspired by the IG phenomenon. Quilted by my friend Diana and all it needed was the binding and I won't tell you how long it sat it it's sad so-close-to-done state but now it's done! Could not love it more. Diana even quilted Harper's name in it - aaawwww.

Here's a real life action shot, messy room and all. This made my heart swell for about 37 seconds as she proclaimed her LOVE for it and then my dear daughter said "but I don't have to SLEEP under it, do it?!" Sigh. Not tonight kiddo, but hopefully someday.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Creative Bug Log Cabin class with Susan Beal

Summer sewing! I always forget that even in my least favorite season (sorry you guys, but it gets way too hot in the summer for my comfort) there are some fun sewing projects. Have you taken any of the amazing classes over at Creative Bug yet? My daughter and I did the Lisa Congdon drawing class together and loved it. Then I saw that they were having Susan Beal teach a log cabin class and I was giddy with anticipation.

If you have Susan's book Modern Log Cabin Quilting you have a taste of what this class is about but it's so much more enjoyable than just reading the book. It's like Susan has invited you into her studio to hang out and share her sewing expertise. There have been four great projects and this was one of those instant gratification type sews - quick and easy.

I used some of Denyse Schmidt's first line for JoAnn's (2011 I think) and while I'm not usually a fan of red, white and blue I absolutely loved these fabrics. They just say summer to me and I love how this sweet runner turned out. I found a little picnic table for the kiddo and this fit it perfectly! It even made the ugly cushions look better ;-)

I used some large red and white gingham that I found at IKEA last summer for the back, so it looks great on both sides. If you're looking for some summer learning that's fun and easy I'd recommend Creative Bug (nothing received for free here, just my own opinions).