Friday, January 30, 2015

Finish it up Friday: A New Project

Last night someone asked me a question every quilter dreads hearing, "Can you make this dress into a skirt?"  But that's a story for another day.

Lately I have been accomplishing a lot of swap sewing.  It's been a lot of fun.  But I can't share it yet.

I can share this start of a new project that I hope to work on at a retreat I am attending next weekend:

You all knew I was going to keep going with these Swoon blocks!  This first block was going to be a mini, but I just had so much fun with the unique color scheme, I decided to dive into my stash and see if I could make it queen sized.  Here's what I came up with:

This next week I will be doing a lot of cutting.  Coming to a retreat with all your cutting done is a great strategy, in my opinion.  You just get to sit and sew.  I am also hoping to bring a book and handwork and just enjoy the weekend without being too much of a workhorse.  We'll see how it goes.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 19, 2015

January Catch Up

Another blogger termed her recent hiatus from blogging as a, "Christmas hibernation."  That's how I feel too.  I had a fair amount of company over until just a few days ago and my husband had quite a bit of time off from work.  I tried hard to stay focused on my family instead of being glued to the computer or constantly sewing.  It was a nice break and I was sad to say goodbye to my family who visited.

I did sneak a little bit of sewing in.  There were a few days when we had no guests and Nick was back to work.  That is when I put together all of my "Girlfriends" blocks and put this massive border on it:

I am pretty happy with this top, I just wished I planned to make it a smaller size instead of being so focused on using up all of the solid I had ordered for the project.

It's so big, I definitely want to long-arm this.  I am not sure when I will get to it, but it's not like my daughter is urgently needing this just yet.

I did a little quilt math and made a swoon black without so many half square triangles.  This was an idea that was focused on at a FRMQG meeting over the summer by Kari of Craft Happy.  Her demo was about making quilt blocks differently than the given directions, where desired.  The major point of doing the swoon block like this, is that the yellow print in the four corners is just one piece and not cut into four pieces (via half square triangles).  I love it and I am sure that my piecing was more accurate with so many less seams.

I had so much fun with the Swoon block, I decided to do it again for the "Creatures Mini Quilt Swap" that the FRMQG is hosting.  My partner had super easy guidelines for me, "Elephants, cool colors, and clean lines."  All of the fabrics were from my stash: it was so easy!  I am so happy I knew about making the swoon black differently, because there was no way I would've done this block if I had had to cut up those elephants!

The first swoon block is an addition to my ever-growing DYO Sampler quilt.  My next plan is to do a row of "Pow-Wow" chevrons/triangles.  If anyone has any suggestions of modern-ish blocks to add to this, I would love to hear it!  I am running out of ideas.

Finally, while my mom was here for a visit, I decided to finally make a maternity shirt with the "Waterfall blouse" pattern.  I had had the fabric on had for a while- it was just intimidating to make clothes other than pajama pants for myself.  I am very happy with how it came out- I've worn it four times already.  My mom helped me a bit- she doesn't sew too often but she always is helpful if I get stuck.  The fabrics include a Japanese black double gauze and a RK London Calling print purchased in MA almost two years ago.

This picture was taken today, I am 22 weeks along.  I tried to act all laid back about what I want to accomplish before baby comes in this post, but now I am panicking a bit!  There is so much I want to do and it's hard to feel like I will never sew another stitch once I have 3 children under the age of five.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

Today I am in the throes of yet another attempt at potty training my youngest.  You might think that a bathroom accident is unpleasant, but what happened after her accident, in the bath, was much more unpleasant.  I am hiding in the basement with a piece of fudge and I will use this time to write a 2014 personal "review" of my sewing accomplishments.  

The theme of this year seems to be paper piecing.  This mosaic represents several paper pieced projects I have been working on in 2014.  The arrows quilt (middle) was the start of it all and a great project for a beginner.  I definitely found the deer and the horse to be the most challenging.  (The hexagonal flowers are "English" paper pieced and just filled in a gap in the mosaic.)

This past year, I finished twelve quilts and have four in progress.  I definitely did a lot more sewing of "little projects."  After going through all of my blog posts from 2014, I am amazed at all the things I've  made: 16 pillows, 10 bags/purses/totes, 14 zip pouches, 10 toddler dresses, 10 flower pincushions, two sets of curtains, 25 Christmas ornaments, and several other miscellaneous items.

My favorite non-sewn/fabric related project has been the voile windows of my sewing room.  I was so hesitant to do it, thinking I might get sick of it or it wouldn't work correctly.  But it was so easy and I LOVE it.  I am already wondering how I will feel when we move eventually because it's so pretty!  The next house better have a set of French doors!

Here's a finish I couldn't share until Christmas was over: a Sew Together bag for my mom:

I chose the fabrics to go with this needlework tote I made her last year:

I am also happy to report that I've given away about a dozen quilts to friends and family.  I've really tried to be more generous and not let a few previous bad experiences of giving away sewn items prevent me from reaching out and giving a meaningful gift.  Moving made me realize how much I had and that it's not doing anyone any good by having so many quilts sitting in storage.  I am not saying this to brag at all, I am actually embarrassed that it's taken me this long to be more giving.

My goals for 2015 include finishing several quilt WIPs:

I also want to make a diaper bag and two baby quilts: one for our family's newest addition as well as one for my SIL who's due just two weeks before me.  After my baby comes, I am looking at a life consumed by a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a newborn.  I make no promises for what happens after that!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Stash: Christmas Presents

I've tried to stay away from "fabric only" posts for quite some time- my family used to tease me that this blog was only about fabric and not enough about what I was actually making with it (they were right).  But I am going to make an exception for today to be able to share some fun additions to my stash.

This year, I planned ahead and saved up some money for the Black Friday sales.  If you buy fabric no other time of the year, waiting for Black Friday is so worth it!

Here are some of my choices from some recent Art Gallery collections: Priory Square, Utopia, and Geometric Bliss (plus a random Architextures print):

I bought most of the prints from Anna Maria Horner's Honor Roll line, but these four are my favorites:

I have been trying to stay away from complete FQ bundles but it was unavoidable with Mimosa.  A lot of the individual prints were sold out at Pink Castle and the bundle was 30% off, making the fabric average to less than $7 per yard.  I was a little skeptical about my choice, worrying that the prints might be too large scale or the tone of the colors might be too creamy, but I had a hunch that Mimosa was going to be special.  Now that I have finally seen it in person, I am in love and I can't wait to use it.

Out of all the fabrics I have received, this next picture shows my absolute favorites.  The prints on the left are smaller versions of the well known Wallflower print in GORGEOUS, hard to find colors, by Amy Butler for her True Colors collection.  The tiny whales are simply impeccable and will probably show up in dozens of my projects for years to come; a find from Pink Castle during their Japanese clearance sale.

Just when I had spent all my Black Friday nest egg, I learned that Craftsy was selling these Kona bundles for a song and free shipping.  A nearby LQS had these for $36 more!  I emailed the link to my mom as a Christmas idea for me and she came through.  I am thrilled- I think these are so fun and useful.  I received a Kona Sunrise bundle last Christmas and it's already been mostly used up in my Feathers quilt.

There is one more special Black Friday deal I indulged in, but I will save that for another day.  Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash linky.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Finish: Dala Horse Pillow

I was very cocky  proud that I had finished my son's marker tote before Christmas Eve but I really ate my words when I was sewing binding on to this pillow at 1:30 in the morning on Christmas.  Oh well.  Things got so crazy with preparing to have company over, endless grocery shopping trips, and all of the other preparations for Christmas.  But here it is: a 24" Dala Horse pillow made in honor of my husband and his love for Sweden.

Constructing the horse took me a while- I am not extremely proficient at paper piecing still.  But the hand quilting was definitely more time consuming.  I used some DMC perle cotton to outline the horse, the paper pieced square, and 30+ tiny squares 1" squares framing him.

It took quite a while to cut and piece about 320" tiny 1.5" (1" finished) squares for the patchwork border.  I knew the math was easy to go bigger with 2.5" squares but I wanted this to be special and help highlight the horse.  I struggled a little with finding the right shades of green in my stash- I wish modern fabrics were a little more diverse in their color ranges!

I used my long hoarded Happy Holiday print of these adorable Santa knomes for a zippered back closure.  

It was difficult to decide whether this guy should be a pillow or a wall hanging but I decided that the pillow might be more "useful," I wasn't sure of where I would hang a seasonal mini quilt, and I already had the 24" form.

A big thanks for this awesome pattern by Julianna at Sewing Under the Rainbow for sharing her talents in creating this Dala Horse design.  

My husband was happy with it and probably especially pleased that the madness of trying to complete this was finally over.  For several nights, I literally sat in a small hallway in the living room away from him (while we watched a movie) to be able to complete all of the hand quilting without him catching a glimpse.

Linking up with Julianna's blog:
Christmas QAL

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marker Tote Part II

Just a quick post to share the second "marker folio" I made for my son.  I know I said I might not revisit this project but I just had to: my son loves to draw and it didn't seem fair to make one for his sister and not him.

Luckily, this one was far easier than the first one, it took about three hours instead of six.  I didn't touch the seam ripper once, I was able to refer to notes and measurements from my first one, and I cut the large peltex for the body of it an inch longer (lengthwise) and that helped a lot.

The far right pocket is tacked down on just the right corner to enable a coloring book to slide in the side and the sketch pad to hang over top.  I brought these $1 sketch pads to a copy store and had them spiral bind them on the top because the weak glue was coming apart on top really quickly after brief handling.  This was a much more affordable option than buying those expensive artist's sketch pads.

Here are the two folios together.  Despite ample procrastination, I am so happy I achieved my goal of making two handmade gifts for my children and it's not even Christmas Eve yet :)  I am especially hopeful that these will serve us well during church- quiet activities are a lifesaver there.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Finish it up Friday: Christmas Sewing

I am amazed at the talent and generosity of Julianna of Sewing Under the Rainbow for creating the Last Minute Christmas Sampler series.  The paper pieced designs she has created are simply lovely.  I waited patiently for her to share the 16" version of the Dala Horse.  The Dala Horse is closely connected to Sweden, where my husband served an LDS mission for two years.  I am trying to make something for him for Christmas.  I am not sure if I want to turn this guy into a mini wall hanging or a large pillow cover.....

While I have been thinking about this, I took a break from that project and made a simple wall hanging for my sister.  This picture makes it look SO wonky but I promise it's not that bad.  It's a Harry Potter thing.  I used the alphabet on my sewing machine to embroider, "Expecto Patronum."

I decided to go the extra mile for teacher gifts at my son's preschool.  These nativity ornaments are just too perfect for the Catholic program Gregory attends.  I can't emphasize enough how much those teachers and that school have eased our cross-country move within the last year.

Here's a cute picture taken after the Christmas program we attended at the school.  I am so looking forward to Christmas and seeing them enjoy their presents- they are at the perfect ages to really enjoy it all.

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

P.S.  I did have to draw a new name for the Tula Pink fat quarters for the SMS Giveaway and lucky Sarah from Canada was the winner.  They'll be in the mail shortly.  Thanks to all who entered.