Friday, December 31, 2010

yummy new Christmas treats!

No of course I'm not talking about the crazy amount of candy and food that was consumed in the last week (not to mention wine too...) I'm talking about my new fabric treats!
I got Malka Dubrawsky's new book and I want to make almost everything in it. This is kind of rare for me, but I found her projects really inspiring. My aunts gave me these kona bundles (to go with my new Kona cotton color card!).
And some gifts to myself....
Z and S fabrics had a one-day 50% off sale. As much as I was mad at my friend for telling me about this (not really) I made out big with some Early Bird, Dolce, Nicey Jane and a few other assorted prints. I got the delivery yesterday and Buddy goes, "I'm so proud of you buying prints instead of just solids!" Well, there was a yard of Kona Kelly in there too. haha.

Merry (belated) Christmas and happy new year!

Thanks for looking!

p.s. New Year's resolution - blog more!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quilting bee

I'm so glad that I joined the quilting bee organized by the New England Modern Quilting Guild. It's been a great way to stay connected and to share ideas with each other even though I don't get to see those guys any more. This month was Rebecca's and she was inspired by an Ingrid Press quilt, asking us to use neutral solids around a print "center" and using some other prints/solids as accents. I really, really enjoyed making these blocks and can't wait for Laurie's next month!

It might be hard to tell in the pictures, but the fabrics are mostly neutrals - shades of tan, light blue, light yellow, I added a very pale pink, and then I used a deep purple for an accent strip in the top one. I hope you like them Rebecca! :)

I saw this sewing machine in the National Museum of American History in DC over Thanksgiving weekend. It's amazing to see how basic these machines were in their origins compared to how they are now!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Project Modern entry

I am really excited to share with you my entry for the Project Modern competition run by The Modern Quilt Guild! We were to make a quilt inspired by something we could provide a photograph of. I decided to do a fall themed quilt because I have been missing fall in New England since moving to Seattle. I found this photograph by Eric Valentine through a google image search and used it as inspiration for my quilt (with his permission)!

His version:
My version:

I quilted it with mostly straight lines, but didn't beat myself up when they were crooked. I wanted it to look and feel as organic as possible. You can see I've left the edges of the fabric raw for the same reason. The watery background is made entirely from my stash - with Konas and one medium gray pin dot fabric.

The patchwork for these leaves was also made entirely from scraps in my stash, using Heat 'n Bond and then cutting out the shapes free-hand. I fused them to the background, but stitched them on as well, to resemble veins.

Because I quilted it before attaching the leaves (so the leaves would really pop) you can see the vein stitching on the back. Eh, all in all I love the back - especially these fabrics from Alexander Henry's Farmdale collection. The gray is Kona Ash, which has a tendency to show up in quilts I make... haha.

Winners are announced on December 15th - wish me luck! I'm just looking forward to finding out what the next challenge is! :)

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas came early for Patrick!

This past weekend I finally got to meet my new nephew and finally got to give him his quilt! Funny, the quilt is so big it's more his daddy's size, but Patrick will grow into it for sure!

This is one of our first pictures together!

All snuggled up with mommy and his new quilt!

It was a great visit to DC with my family and a great chance to bond with our newest family member! I have finished my quilt for the Project Modern competition and will post pictures of that soon too!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on spray basting a quilt

I love every step in the quilting process, but I'd like to get some steps over with as quickly as possible (i.e. basting and binding). Spray basting is quick, but I find it can make the quilt feel stiff until you wash it and dry it. Maybe this isn't a big deal, but one thing I love about working with fabric is the soft, natural feel of it and for some reason having glue involved makes both the fabric and the process feel very synthetic to me. I think there's a similar debate to be had about pre-washing too in terms of how the fabric feels in your hands while working with it. Eh, we'll see. Not having to use ten thousand pins for a big quilt is also very nice...

This is the first quilt that I spray basted, and also the first large quilt that I stippled (I finished this quite awhile ago, but just recently got around to photographing it.) This is Oh Fransson's Paintbox quilt pattern which was a really fun way to mix prints and solids from my stash.

It was very flat and stiff before washing it, as you might be able to see in this picture. I also learned a good hard lesson about the importance of using good quality cotton fabric - this medium gray ain't so great and I think that adds to my mixed feelings about the look and feel of this quilt.

I think I like the backing of this quilt more than the front! I made the backing from scraps left over from the quilt top. I love the effect it creates on the back and also the fact that it uses so many narrow strips that might otherwise have been tossed!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Speedy Delivery!

I finally bit the bullet and bought the backing fabric for the quilt for our bed. I'm so glad I did because now I can finish this baby up and put it to good use! I bought this fabric blind online, knowing that I like Amy Butler's prints, but not knowing if it would coordinate the way I wanted it to. I've definitely been burned by online fabric purchases in the past. I was very happy when the 6 yards arrived that work perfectly! In retrospect, what was was I thinking??? I had to throw a few other items in my order too - including 2 fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's new line. Love them, but have no idea what to do with them yet.

Last night I was toying around with all these ideas, really wanting to cut into some fabric. I was getting a little frustrated not knowing what to do with myself and said "I'm in a total block!" To which Buddy replied, "Maybe we should make a quilt out of you then!" - Get it? Quilt made out of blocks? Yeah, it was that bad. And that good.

Speaking of amazing quotations, my friend texted me while I was writing this post to tell me that "Parsley is the new black." LMAO. I love people who love Konas as much as me and I just really miss all my quilting buddies back in MA!

I made this stocking and a few others that are on sale on my small, but slowly growing etsy site. I need to spend some more time on my shop. This is a whole new world to me!

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Practicing some new things...

I made this wonky star block at a class taught by Katie a few weeks ago and wasn't sure what to do with it. I decided to just finish it off and make it a mini mini quilt. I tried pebble/bubble quilting on it, which I hadn't done before and I'll say it looks better from far away than up close. It was fun and quick and has a cool overall effect.

I also tried for the first time machine binding. I found a few different techniques for doing it and I don't like the one I chose or how I did it. I think next time I need to change the width of my strips or something. Anyway, I always put off doing the binding because the hand stitching is so time consuming, so I feel like practicing this technique will be a good investment over time...

This is what's on my sewing table right now. Going to turn into some Christmas stockings! I love these bright colors!

This morning I was up fairly early and caught the sunrise over the Cascade mountains as I was coming down my street (I pulled over to take the picture, don't worry). Of course it looked better in real life, but still pretty nonetheless. I also realize I'm developing a habit of putting Seattle scenery pictures in my quilting blog in every post. Not sure how I feel about that... :)

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Benefits of sunny days in Seattle!

They're happening less and less these days, but in the past week we've had some great sunny days - good for photographing quilts on my little lawn and great for seeing the amazing views that Seattle has to offer. A few new friends showed me this park in Queen Anne and I took Buddy there to check it out.

Amazing view of the space needle, otherwise unrecognizable Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier. Every time I see Mt. Rainier I just can't even believe how beautiful it is! Most of the time it's too cloudy to see it - it's pretty far away, but so big that on a clear day it's a pretty major sight!

I made this Christmas baby quilt last week. I've been practicing my half-square triangles since my first attempt went so poorly and I learned some better techniques for doing it.

This is made from a charm pack of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas and Kona bone - a new fave of mine! I used yardage from this line for the backing and binding, with a Kona red thrown in there too - not sure the name of the color... As unoriginal as it sometimes feels to use pre-cuts, it also feels good to actually start and finish a project in a reasonable span of time.

I quilted it with a beige thread in an all-over meandering pattern. It was sooo much easier to quilt this small quilt after doing Patrick's ginormous quilt! I love how crinkly and warm it looks after going through the washer and dryer!

I love this fa la la la print on the binding! I have posted this on etsy - my first item for sale ever!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

This is my first time entering a quilt into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival and it's very exciting! This is a quilt that I made for my brand new nephew Patrick. I'm going to meet him next month and I can't wait to give it to him - well, he won't know the difference, but I think his parents will like it! :) At 68"X73" it's a pretty big quilt for a baby, but I want him to have it forever, and considering that he's already 2 feet tall I think he'll grow into this quilt just fine! I still have to hand stitch the binding, but I love it and didn't want to have to wait to post it on here!

A close-up on the blocks and the stippled quilting. I wrote about the process of making this quilt in a previous post, but pretty much all of the prints in the quilt top came from my stash, which works well for my very small fabric-buying budget... I feel like I'm finally getting a feel for free-motion quilting and getting a lot fewer aches and pains from doing it!

My neighbors might have wondered what I was up to dragging our dining room chair outside onto the lawn...but I think this shot shows the quilt more "in action" than lying flat on the grass, which is definitely not its natural state!

I pieced the back, as (almost) always, and like the way it looks with the blue polka dot binding too. My friend Laurie turned me onto these whales and I'm so in love with them! The whales and the argyle are both Ann Kelle prints, from the Urban Zoologie and Remix lines respectively. The solids are all Kona, but I'm not very good about remembering the names of the colors...

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quilt for baby Patrick!

Warning: if you are one of Patrick's parents, stop reading. I want you to be surprised. :)

Well, big news! I'm an aunt! And as a New Englander "aunt" rhymes with "flaunt," not "pant." Just saying. I found out almost 9 months ago that Patrick was on his way and it was such a big secret to have to hold in for those first few months! My brother called me at work and asked me if I could make a baby quilt. I thought this was weird because my sister in law also quilts, but then it all came together in my (slow) head and I started crying, so happy!

I started his quilt when we first got to Seattle. I know this because these first photos were taken in my then-"studio" before the neighbors told us it was right above their bedroom. So because I like to sew late at night I now have a permanent setup in the living room. I'm not bitter or anything. Okay, blah blah, let's get to some pictures.

I decided I wanted his quilt to be scrappy, but I don't really have enough scraps, so I cut strips from my stash. I only bought a few fabrics for this quilt - sashing and fabric for the backing, which I'll show later - so I felt good about really using fabric from my stash. I used a few solids, which I sort of regret now, but all-in-all I like how it came out.

Even though I hand selected this palette of fabrics, I still wanted it to look random, so I put all the strips in a bag and picked from it to determine placement of the strips. I allowed myself a few vetoes, though. I can't give up all the control!

I considered laying it out like this with no sashing, but I decided it would be too small, or would require way too many blocks and might be a little crazy. I added navy blue sashing and this thing is HUGE! Granted, Patrick is already almost 2 feet tall, but he could probably take this thing to college. I'll show finished pictures once I finish the binding.

You can see a photo of the quilt pre-basting "by the hearth" in this posting. I got real photo-happy that day and showed too much too fast. I thought I'd go a little more into the process of making this quilt in this posting. Looking at this picture right here I think I do want to do a nice scrappy log cabin quilt with no sashing. Maybe I'll add that to my ever-growing quilting to-do list!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy bee!

Now that I have time on my hands I have been so busy sewing! I was very sad to leave my friends at the New England Modern Quilt Guild, but am really happy about the new friends I've made in the Seattle branch! To stay connected, I'm participating in a bee with the New England folks and I wanted to post pictures of my blocks here.

Jill asked for blocks based on the Friendship Star block and sent some great old Amy Butler prints. I just had to make 2!

And Jen wanted a star block on this white grunge fabric I hadn't seen before and sent along these jewel-toned fabrics for it:

This is my first bee and I think it's really fun figuring out a block that the person will like but that also has a bit of yourself in it too.

The wonky star block that I made for Jen is a block I just learned the other night at a class with Katie. It's easy and a fun way to use different scraps together! Being the first to arrive at her class I even got to take a goodie bag of scraps away with me! How lucky am I! I have decided I love Amy Butler now that I have a good chunk of her fabrics in my stash!

Here are some of my fave new scraps!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quilt "to remember me by"

I showed a little bit of this quilt back in the summer before I moved and now since my mom has received it I can show more of it! This pictures are from when I gave it to her at our going away party. She bought me a gift earlier in the summer and said it's to "remember her by" when I am living far away (like I could forget about her!) so I joked with her that this quilt held the same purpose. The funny thing about this is that she had sort of seen it before because it was folded up in my old apartment and every time she came over she would say "Oh, I LOVE that one!" (even though she could only see one row of blocks) Well, that made me feel more confident that she would love the whole real thing - even though she's absolutely the type of mom who loves anything I make for her!

The fabric is all from the Nouveau by Sentimental Studios line for Moda. I don't usually make quilts all from one line, but this was an online purchase from way back when and the fabrics really go well together. I pieced the back, as usual, and I did add in a light green polka dot not from the line (also from my stash! Don't ask me why I had almost 3 yards of anything "on hand."). I used the no-triangle zig zag technique and although it took a lot of space to lay it all out, it was super easy to piece together. I will say it was difficult to predict how large it would be. I ended with a fairly narrow quilt that was freakishly long. I had to hack some off the end and it will still be plenty long enough to cover toes on the couch.

I quilted it by following the zig zag lines with the outside edge of my walking foot. Quilting was minimal for a few reasons - one I wanted it to be really soft and sometimes a lot of quilting makes it feel stiff to me. And two, I was under a bit of a time crunch since I was about to move!

I miss my mom! (Can you tell we both like green?!)

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So I have moved to a new city where I don't really know anyone and don't have a job. Well, day to day that is really scary, but overall I'm trying to look on the bright side. When else in my life will I have free time, with a (dwindling) savings, in a beautiful city, with a giant stack of fabrics in my stash. I have bought some fabric since I got here, but pretty much only to finish projects - maybe a fat quarter or two just to treat myself... Since I arrived in Seattle a month ago I have finished a quilt top for me and Buddy's bed....

started and finished a quilt for my brand new nephew Patrick (only a sneak peak here until he receives it)...

And I started my project to submit to the Project Modern competition.

I have done a few other things that I might blog about later. Considering I pop up on here so sporadically I should probably spread it out a bit.

Anyway, I thought unemployment would give me all this time to quilt and blog and be free. Turns out the blogging part has been missing, but I'm going to try to do better. I wonder what percentage of my posts involve a sentence or two about me committing to blogging more. haha. Well, to my 3 readers out there, you might have something to look forward to in the coming days.... Might!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting in the mood...

For Christmas, that is! Get your mind out of the gutter! I bought some Christmas fabric awhile back, and also last Christmastime, and actually, to be honest, I have a separate box of Christmas fabric because they don't really go with the rest of my stash... I just saw this giveaway over at Stitched in Color that is making me excited for Christmas (especially as the days are starting to get a little shorter, this is the next big thing to look forward to!) and because every Christmas I realize that if you are going to make gifts for people you really need to start before December 1st. Being that I'm unemployed for the next unknown period of time, I think it would be pretty smart of me and non-procrastinatory of me to start now. (p.s. I know that's not really a word) I always like to include a picture, so I guess I'll show some of my favorite Christmasy fabrics from my stash. I have so much I think I better start cutting and stitching soon! Yikes! I think these dots could make an awesome binding!