Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: DYO Sampler

You guys- I haven't touched any holiday sewing.  I claimed that would be my focus, but it's just not been happening.  This DYO Sampler project- something I started on because of a whim- has been an obsession.  It's so much fun.  I get to try things out without committing to numerous identical blocks.  
Here are a set of three feathers.  I have made a baby quilt out of this pattern but I cut half of the feathers wrong- so it was nice to visit this again with more correct piecing:



I also dug out my copy of Word Play Quilts and did some improvisational piecing to create this:


There are several reasons why I chose this phrase:

  • It was a practical choice.  There are many quotes that I love but I didn't want to choose something that was quite long.  I want the stag to be the focus.
  • It reveals my connection to New Hampshire, where I grew up.  It's the predominant phrase on NH license plates that makes me laugh: while so many states go with something light-hearted like: "the peach state," "vacationland," and "birthplace of aviation" - NH is all about making a bold political statement.  I am sure there is some interesting history behind this.  
  • I identify with "Live Free or Die" - I feel pride for my country, I have lived in other countries and I am grateful for my freedom. Without getting into a long political discussion, lets just say that I lean towards the "Ron Swanson" type of feelings about government. (The irony of my husband working for the government is not lost on me!)
I encourage you to pick up a copy of Word Play Quilts.  I did this entire phrase in one evening- I'd say it took me about three hours.  It was easy and fun.  I found that "v" was the most difficult but it only took me one try.  Care had to be taken to have similar sizes for each word and I was also very attentive to my fabric choices- striving for high contrast so that it would be easy to read.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Finish it up (Saturday): A New Baby Quilt and a Citrus Zip Pouch

I can finally share a project I've had to keep secret over the last month or so.  A good friend from Massachusetts is having a sweet boy after three girls.  Definitely a good reason to make a baby quilt!  She told me she likes bright colors - so I decided to go with a bunch from my stash with a bike print that I love and have had since my five year old son was a baby.  The pattern is from an older issue of Quilty: Nov/Dec 2013.


I followed the quilting suggestion from the magazine: wonky zig-zags, using my walking foot, all over the quilt.  It was pretty easy and was a welcome break from stippling or simple straight line quilting.


I used a transportation themed fabric for the back as well as leftover binding pieces from other quilts to bind the quilt.  The quilt measures 40 x 40.


I enjoyed making this quilt so much that I am going to do another one for my daughter, hopefully in time for Christmas.  Every time she sees me making something in my sewing room, she asks me, "Are you making a quilt for me?"  Of course she has about ten quilts already but I can't resist her enthusiasm.  I am going to use these adorable Ann Kelle Girlfriends prints as the focal points for the blocks:


Finally, here is another simple finish: a Citrus Zip Pouch from a tutorial on the Liberty London blog.  It's such an adorable idea but I was most intimidated by the curved piecing- which turned out to be really easy.  The part I struggled with was putting it all together and making the intersections near the ends of the zipper become somewhat neat: I did and re-did it three times before it was somewhat acceptable!




Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Purse Palooza 2014: My Own Design

The tedious task of paper piecing sixty 1"x2" flying geese has paid off:


I have always had a goal to create my own purse design, I have sewn so many and I thought it would be fun to incorporate the many bag making techniques I have learned over the years.  I also used knowledge from quilt and clothing making too.  It was quite the learning process to figure out appropriate measurements and the best methods and order to proceed with every aspect of the bag.  This experience has definitely given me a new appreciation for all of the many talented pattern writers out there.


The bag measurements are approximately 13" x 15."  It features an interior zippered pocket, a recessed zipper closure, leather handles, and some fun fabrics from Cotton and Steel, Anna Maria Horner, and Juliana Horner.  It has some of the strongest interfacing attached to the exterior pieces but it's not a super sturdy bag that is really rigid- I think I hit that balance just right.


It was tough to get a good picture of the interior, I will try again tomorrow during daylight hours:


As part of sharing this process, I must confess that two days ago, the bag was a bit of a disaster for me.  What I had begun to create was a boxy tote bag (see picture below).  This was not my original intention and I felt that it didn't match the style I was aiming for.  I spent a good hour seam ripping it apart- I honestly didn't abandon it altogether only because those dang flying geese represented too many hours of precious sewing time!  I didn't want to let them to go to waste.


I am happy I persisted and created something much more to my liking:


Linking up to Finish it up Friday and Sew Sweetness for Purse Palozza 2014:

pursepalooza2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Bags

I've been busy, I will have a baby boy quilt to show you in about a week (after the recipient receives it in the mail).  I made a super cape as a birthday party gift.  If anyone has suggestions for other handmade gifts for preschoolers- please let me know.  I know I've been predictable in this department:


I've decided to take the plunge and make the Weekender.  I've been braving endless lines at Joann's to get the supplies.  I've dug into my stash and am thrilled to finally be using this awesome Echino buck print.  I've also been dabbling in a some paper pieced equilateral triangles but I am not sure exactly what direction I'm going yet:


But before I am allowing myself to dive into the Weekender, I wanted to try designing my own bag in time for the wrap up of Purse Palooza over at Sew Sweetness.  The hardest part is over (hopefully!)- I assembled four pairs of fifteen tiny flying geese.  I've made so many bags- I am excited to use techniques I've learned to create my own design but it's not been easy.  I've heard lots of people say, "I hate following patterns," but I am definitely in the opposite camp: it's so much easier when someone tells you exactly what to do!


I know I really should be working on more holiday sewing- I need more bags like I need a hole in my head- but I just can't help it.  Sometimes I just need to be creative in specific ways and then I can get back to "to do's" and deadlines.  Linking up at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Book Club Door Prizes: Hedgehogs!

Since moving across the country, I have had to make a lot of effort to try and get to know people.  I've joined two guilds and two mom's groups.  One of the mom's groups is trying to put together a book club and I eagerly signed up.  I love the idea of a well functioning book club and I even volunteered to host the first meeting.  One of the advantages of our move is that I can finally have more than two people over at a time!  I've been dying to have a little party, so I decided to go "all out" for this event.

We all voted unanimously to first read The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  I wanted to force myself to read fiction (I almost always read nonfiction for pleasure reading) and we'd all "heard it was good."  Well, I have to admit that the first half of the book was agony.  I procrastinated and read two other books.  I put in a library request to reserve a copy of the movie based on the Hedgehog book.  Luckily I talked to a fellow book club member and she encouraged me to press on and it did get better.   But as far as the ending goes, let's just suffice it to say that I threw the book after I'd finally finished it.  

So while I didn't enjoy the book very much, I had a lot of fun making these door prizes:


I had to order the green hedgehog fabric because although I do have a lot of fabric- I only had one fat quarter with a few hedgehogs on it in my stash.  Making this library tote happened in just one evening- mostly thanks to Nick taking over with the kids after work yesterday.  I didn't use a pattern.  I used wool felt to make the "read" on the front of the bag and I couldn't believe I had some apple-colored webbing on hand for accenting the handles.


I lined the exterior pieces with some thrifted pre-quilted fabric instead of interfacing.  This Stof red/white fabric is so pretty and added some grown-up charm to the project:


Finally, I made two pouches.  The first patchwork pouch was made using this tutorial.  I like how it turned out but I wish I had finished the zipper ends differently- there is no way to make the two top corners not look kind of lumpy.  The other pouch is the famous "Open Wide Zippered Pouch" by Anna - I am very late to that party but I love how it came out and can't wait to make more!


Book club is on Friday and I plan to finally break out my crepe makers for the refreshments.  Can't wait!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Purse Palooza 2014.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Penny Patch

My second entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival is this queen sized Penny Patch quilt I completed earlier this year.  It measures 90" x 108."

I've really challenged myself recently with trying new techniques: intense paper piecing, curves, precise piecing for a 100 block sampler, etc.  Doing all those new things has been a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, I really love basic patchwork.  This quilt works for me because I really appreciate the colors, the use of black, and the simplicity.  I am glad I made it so big, as I've enjoyed using it on my bed frequently.


Linking up Amy's Creative Side for the Large Quilt Category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

AmysCreativeSide.com

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Mini

Before all of the Halloween craziness and fun begins, I wanted to enter the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  For me, 2014 has been the "year of the pillow."  I've made quite a few for gifts, a giveaway, and several for my own family to enjoy.

This pillow is 24" square and the hexagons are English paper pieced and appliqued to the front.  I chose lots of bright colored fabrics from my stash to compose the flowers.



The pillow is made of one of my favorite black and white prints from Summersville.



Linking up at Amy's Creative Side for this year's Blogger's Quilt Festival in the mini category:

AmysCreativeSide.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Forest Abstractions Stag


I think this guy is a keeper, I am pretty proud of him.  I am not much of a paper-piecer- all of those amazing creations people create just blow me away.  I've been doing paper piecing with the Union Jack blocks- but those are straight lines and squares- this stag is all about angles.  I also had a significant struggle towards the end that was due to a minor pattern error and poor copies of the pattern.  (If you are planning to do this quilt- shoot me an email and I will be happy to share some advice related to the troubles I encountered).   But he's done and I am thrilled.  He's going to be the centerpiece of my DYO Sampler and it's really motivated me to make more and more blocks for that quilt.  I think AMH feathers are next.

I was drawn to this pattern because I think the design is so striking.  I also think it's a nice personal nod to my move to Colorado- we see deer all. the. time.  Once a fawn and a local cat took a nap for hours near each other in our backyard!  I think they like our yard because we are the only house on our street without a dog (don't get me started about the dog mania that exists in this state!)

I probably won't be posting as frequently within the next few months because I am going to start working on gifts for the holidays.  This space won't be totally silent- when I have something I can share- I will definitely be here.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.