Monday, March 30, 2015

Mini Quilt Monday :: Rainbow Mini

Isn't this just the happiest little mini?! I love it.
Pattern is by my friend Diana of Fabricate Studios.
It finished at 23" square.

I used a charm pack of Michael Miller solids for the stars and some Cotton + Steel Netorious in Kerchief for the background and it's bound with Kite Tail by Alison Glass.
I did a little straight line quilting to accent the stars and voila! Done!
Heading to my swap partner this week who I hope likes it as much as I do.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Finish It Up Friday :: Spring Mini

This week I feel like sewing is my super power! I'm always amazed that you take a pile of fabric and thread and create something so much more than the sum of it's parts.

So my good friend was involved in a mini quilt swap on Instagram that was poorly organized and had a HUGE number of flakers who never sent anything at all. It was a complicated project that involved a number of choices that all included paper piecing, english paper piecing, hand sewing and embroidery. Honestly it was the kind of thing I would NEVER have made for a complete stranger because of the amount of work involved and the uncertainty of what you'd receive in return (if anything).

So my friend received nothing.
Can you imagine?

So I decided to fix that.

This is the exact mini she made her partner and so I made it for her.
It was a labor of love.
And I loved doing it knowing she would really value the time and effort I put into it.
And I LOVE how it turned out.

Vintage 5" charm squares were machine sewn and then the bee was hand embroidered on top. 
It was hand-quilted with perle cotton and bound with HAND sewn binding.
(I love machine binding and haven't hand sewn a binding in about 5 years ;-)

I'm hoping this makes her as happy as it made me to make it.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Friday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mini Quilt Monday :: Cotton + Steel Hexies

As I've joined several mini quilt swaps on IG that are coming up I'm bringing back Mini Quilt Monday. I'm even considering turning it into a link-up so if you have any interest in sharing your own mini quilts let me know in the comments and thank you :-)

So this is my Cotton + Steel Hexies mini - made using this tutorial from Nicole at Modern Handcraft. Hexies have never been my thing but I think this method might have changed that forever. 
I used all C+S fabrics as well as Netorious in Cloud Silver for the back ground. I'm loving this print in both the sparkly and white color ways for back ground fabrics - they add a little interest without overpowering the design. 

This was for a one-on-one swap with a new member of our West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild (Rachel) and I'll share the mini she made me in a post all it's own. It's a stunner.

I followed all Nicole's directions to a T and they worked great.
This finished at 21" square and I was thrilled with how it turned out.
Don't be surprised to see more hexies done with way around here!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Patchwork Basket :: One Hour Basket Tutorial from KelbySews

So Kelly made a bunch of cute baskets and had everyone on Instagram drooling over them and begging for the tutorial so she whipped one up (of course she did, she's basically superwoman) and it's awesome. It really does take about an hour to sew (mine took a bit longer because I made the patchwork panels) and it will make a great gift or gift for yourself ;-)

I used 20 charm squares (5") with one row cut in half after I sewed them together to attach to the 8 charm panels on the bottom of each. I used 2 charms sewn together for the handles - trimmed to be the right length (9") after I sewed them together.

I ended up with panels a bit bigger than what Kelly's pattern calls for - mine were 18.5"x 11.5" but I wasn't about to trim off any Good Folks so I just used them as they were with all her other measurements kept the same and they turned out fine.

I used fusible fleece on the exterior panels and quilted them a little after fusing the fleece on - next time I'll put ShapeFlex interfacing on the interior pieces if I'm using all quilting cotton just to make it a little sturdier.
Overall two thumbs up! Quick, easy and cute!
Well done Kelly.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Finish It Up Friday :: Twisted Strings

Of course today is the day it's actually raining because I needed a quick quilt photo - it seems like the Murphy's Law of quilt photos, it can be gorgeous, perfect, amazing weather and as soon as the camera comes out it's rain and/or gale force winds. So porch photos it is!

I had so many strings left over after my Desert Strings quilt (and truth be told I'm still so in love with them) that I decided to make another version. I was also really missing my block-a-day habit I'd gotten into - it's just such a great way to get the work going without too much thinking, which is usually the thing that keeps the work from happening. I have the materials all ready to go (decisions basically eliminated = procrastination eliminated) and I just get up and sew a little while my child watches PBS kids. It works for both of us.

So I wondered what would happen if I did wonky strings at angles NOT corner to corner, just hand placed without any measuring. So It turned out that I put all my strings in almost the EXACT same place for the first six blocks - so much for wonkiness. 
Apparently my brain just wants ORDER. SO then I laid out the last six blocks ahead of time and put the strings on the last six WITH A PLAN for wonkiness, making sure they did NOT line up. 
Are you feeling that irony?!

Then I ended up with basically slightly wonky string diamonds. And I didn't love it.
At all.
But then I had the idea to turn every other block and voila, the magic happened!
I have many more "what if's" about string quilts so I expect you'll be seeing more of these.


15.5" blocks all with a 2.5" Kona white center string

45"x60" with flannel back

Straight line quilted to echo the strings by me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Formula for No-Waste Flying Geese

Hi everyone! Hope your saturday is off to a lovely start, no matter what your weekend holds.
I finished up my March blocks for That Stash Bee and I'll be honest, it was WAY more of a struggle than it should have been. We were asked to make 12" Sawtooth Star blocks - easy right?
I would have said yes before I decided to use the no waste method of making the flying geese blocks, which I had used before and loved but this time made me want to cry.
It was really a simple mistake and I wanted to share it with you in case anyone has the same math impaired brain that I do, perhaps I can save you some struggle! 

So I was using this formula from Patch Pieces for figuring out the sizes I needed for my flying geese construction. I looked at the sizes for all the traditional pieces and thought it seemed like it would be a snap to convert to no waste - I labeled the sizes in the photo above of the individual pieces before the block was assembled.
The traditional FG units were each made with one 6.5" rectangle and two 3.5" squares.

This is the block with all pieces sewn together 12" finished/12.5" unfinished. 
So where was my problem?

I was using the measurements from the first photo in the formula, which clearly calls for the FINISHED sizes. Somehow my brain felt like the flying geese units in the first photo were "finished" because I had constructed (finished) that portion. 
But that was wrong. 
Just because that one building block of the entire block was indeed finished the overall block was not.
It seems so obvious now but I promise it had me near tears this week. 
My husband was kind enough to look at my quilty dilemma with an objective eye and he pointed out that the FINISHED size of the flying geese units are actually 6"x3".

So if you are doing the math on your own to come up with the correct cutting sizes for no-waste flying geese make sure you project all the way to the truly finished size of the whole block and use THAT in your formula. 

Formula for no waste flying geese:

Fabric A: (rectangle part of FG unit) FINISHED HEIGHT of unit + 1.25"
cut one square

Fabric B: (star points of FG unit) FINISHED HEIGHT of unit + .875"
cut 4 squares

I know there are loads of good tutorials out there for no-waste flying geese blocks - I used and really liked this one from Patch Pieces.

And voila! My three finished Sawtooth Stars - two I love and one that looks a lot like a "squint your eyes" and find the hidden picture game. Teehee.
And how lucky am I to have such a kind, helpful husband who doesn't laugh at my problems?! 
Love that guy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Campfire Messenger Bag

I had the pleasure of testing the Campfire Messenger Bag pattern for Anna Graham before I went to QuiltCon and I love how it turned out! This pattern is the March bag for the Bag-of-the-Month club over at Sew Sweetness. Sara has a stellar set of bag designers lined up and it's a great value if you like making bags (and you guys know I do ;-). I think it will be available as a stand alone pattern from Anna in the summer (July-ish).

So this is a cross-body style messenger bag that finishes at about 9"x12"x2.5" - it's a good size to use as a purse, hiking bag or even camera bag. It uses Soft & Stable on the body so it's a nice sturdy bag and seems like it would provide some protection if you did want to use it for camera stuff. Aside - am I fooling myself here thinking that anyone still carries around a camera? I know I've pretty much gone to iPhone photos except for blog posts which I mostly shoot at home. Just curious. 

Back to the bag, it has great pockets (I love pockets - the more the better) as well as an inset zipper on the front which is nice if you want to keep anything really safe. I love the binding closure around the top edges too - so much easier than turning a bag inside out, plus that additional pop of color looks great. This pattern is fairly involved but none of the steps are difficult, you just need to be organized. 

Which leads me to this: I write the name, size and what I need to cut for each piece on a sticky note and keep it on top of the pieces as I work. I can't finish a project like this in one sitting thanks to child, dinner, laundry, life - you get the idea - so this helps me keep everything straight in between working on it. I would also say make sure you read through all the steps and can visualize what you're doing. Each step is building one part and if you understand that part and go slowly you'll be amazed at how well your bag turns out. I try and break up the steps like this: 

Day 1 - iron and cut out all fabric pieces 
Day 2 - cut out all interfacing pieces
Day 3- Fuse/baste all interfacing to fabric
Remaining Days: Bag assembly

That's just what works for me - if you have the uninterrupted time to sit down and sew then yay for you and I'm a little jealous.

I changed very little from the original pattern - I left the top zipper off, I just find I never zip them and they scratch my arm while I'm inevitably digging around for something (totally personal preference). I moved my snap tabs up slightly (about a half inch) from Anna's placement because I know I'm going to jam PACK this bag full of stuff. My last change was to not interface the snap tabs - I just found it easier to insert the snaps through the layers of fabric without the interfacing. I have no idea if that will significantly change the durability of the snap tabs but I always know who I can get to replace them if need be ;-) 

I used Cotton + Steel arrows for flap, Essex yarn dyed Linen in Flax for the body, a navy Kona for the accent and a seafoam Painter's Canvas from Laura Gunn for the lining. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll be happy to provide any other info that I can.

NOT that I need another project but how cute would this bag be in this Little Red Riding Hood fabric?! I know, I know but still...

Thanks again to Anna Graham for the opportunity to test another great bag pattern.

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