Monday, November 29, 2010


I whipped up Rebecca's block yesterday for our NEMQG bee. She asked for log cabin blocks that were predominantly neutral with a large, print center. My block is not a true log cabin - so I hope it's okay - Ijust thought it would be interesting to add row upon row towards the completion. I LOVE that Amy Butler print in the center bytheway - I think our whole guild is in love with "Water Bouquet in Midnight." I have finished all but 6 of my Tufted Tweets blocks - I ran out of Medium Grey again! So I have been doing a few little projects here and there until I can manage to run to my LQS for some Kona. In the meantime, I am also gearing up for another quilt I have planned in my head for a long time. My only stumbling block has been trying to find a print that will match these fabrics:

I have a TON of blue fabrics in my stash, but nothing "royal" or a really bright "primary blue." I have scores of aqua, teal, (some) navy, and sky blue - but nothing like this. I have checked out 3 stores in my area with no luck and now I am turning to my online swap group. But if you have any suggestions for a print that is like the above fabrics - please, please let me know. I only need about a 1/2 yard.

It has also come time for me to prepare packets for people to make me blocks for the NEMQG bee. I am using that little girl/Thumbelina print I purchased in Colorado a few months ago as the focus print. I am going with a plum/gray theme and have been surprised at how much of this I have in my stash. Gray is definitely all the rage this year. I am working on making a block before I sort it all out and feel confident that I like the result.
I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. Our festivities are continuing today as I head into Boston to see Nick get sworn in as an officially licensed attorney. The plan is to go to the Museum of Science afterwards, for Gregory's benefit, should be lots of fun!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is what our house looks like this morning before we are off to NH to spend Thanksgiving with some of my family. Gregory is obsessed with being read to and it's been lots of fun.

The delay in receiving the fabric for the Tufted Tweets quilt forced me to work on the UFO guitar quilt - I should finish the binding today. I also have been working on some items for the December NEMQG meeting but I can't reveal them yet.

Today I am thankful for YouTube because I was able to find a video that helped me improve my binding skills. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Better view of the whaley pj's

We've been getting decent use out of the whale pajamas. I simply love the pants with just a onesie sometimes - I should make more of just the pants! He's still very attached to his store-bought blankets, but sometimes shows enthusiasm towards the whale quilt.

I love my baby so much!
I recently read that Ann Kelle (designer of the whale fabrics and the retro 80's Remix line) has a new line coming out geared for little boys: a transportation theme with trains, cars, and planes. I just know I am going to love it even though I haven't seen any kind of picture of it. I just love how clear and crisp her designs are with such bright colors.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tufted Tweets Quilt

I have been slowly working on a Tufted Tweets quilt this week. Progress has been hampered by colds, necessary errands, and a really annoying delay in the shipment of some Kona Medium Gray I ordered a week ago. I am using the pattern, "Playing Along Quilt" by Anna Maria Horner, out of her Seams to Me book. I have finished the log cabin blocks:

I love being able to do the "super circle" technique:

Applique square on square blocks: (she recommends hand-sewing them, but I am not doing that!)
On another note, I finally cleaned out my Google blogger - so many of the popular modern sewing blogs out there have started to read like ads for one thing or another. I am happy for people if they've reached a level of success where the are able to have sponsers and such; but it becomes cumbersome when you are constantly assaulted by plugs for this or that fabric or book - I am really just interested in what people have made and don't really care if they have something to sell.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

OOPS- I accidently published this post in the New England Modern Quilt Guild blog! Sorry guys!
So in case you missed it, here's the post again:

Nick brought Gregory to my parent's for half the day this past weekend to receive help from my dad in a simple repair on the car. This resulted in me having the house to myself. It wasn't long before I was finally able to put together my Urban Circus quilt top. I am really happy with how it came out but will do a full reveal once it's completed.

Here's a sneak peek:

In preparation for the NEMQG meeting, we all made a tree block to applique patchwork leaves to. Joanna has a great tutorial here. I loved out meeting and appreciated the personal instruction on how to do needle-turn applique but I have to admit I found it challenging!
I rescued another vintage quilt from a thrift store. It needs a wash but for $10 I think I received a great deal!

I love it's scrappy look!

While I was photographing the vintage quilt, I thought it would be fun to photograph two of the first quilts I have ever made: This quilt was from a pattern out of Country Quilts in a Day by Fran Roen. That book was my introduction into how to quilt- it's pretty quirky with deplorable color/print combinations, odd black and white illustrations, and zillions of typos. Still, the book is a bit sentimental, as it introduced me to the craft I really love today.

I have always been drawn to patchwork quilts, so it is not surprising that one of the first ones I made is a bunch of large squares sewn together.

Though I am proud that I have taught myself how to quilt, I wish someone had told me some of the basics - I ended up learning "the hard way" in a lot of cases. I wish I would've known why you shouldn't use Joann's and Wal-Mart fabrics in quilting, the importance of a 1/4" seam, how to quilt a quilt, the importance of quality batting, etc.
What is a sewing/quilting tip that you wish you had known?
(Okay- that was not fun writing the same post twice - why does blogger not allow "cut and paste"!?)

Friday, November 12, 2010

November Bee Blocks

For the NEMQG swap, Jen asked for a 12.5" block with a star. She sent lots of fabric and a "grunge" white background. I hope she likes it! (The little block on the side is a signature block). A while ago I was asked by a swappy buddy to join a bee through Flickr. It was quite a while since I had heard anything about it, so I figured it must be cancelled. But almost out of nowhere, a little package came with a few fabrics and the instructions to make a block with "bubbles" and "circles." I had a lot of fun making this block and was able to add a few of my own pieces. I also did a bit of simple emroidery.
Participating in these bees is a lot of fun so far. I don't understand how some people sign up for 10 bees at a time, but it is fun to learn something new and play with someone elses fabric!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Projects with Spoonflower fabrics

This week and last week, I have been working on some projects for a friend. She recently watched my baby for 3 whole days and I promised her I would make her a few things in exchange. She is an artist and enjoys getting her designs printed on fabric via Spoonflower.

First, I made her two "brainy balls" for her niece and nephew. I really liked her designs and I think they worked well with the brainy balls. (The airplane print is paired with a Michael Miller Ta Dot).
I found the Spoonflower fabric a bit difficult to work with for these balls- mostly when I was sewing the wedges together with the citrus-themed fabrics. The texture of the fabric is kind of coarse and it literally hurt my fingers to do the hand-sewing.
Finally, here is a purse she asked me to make. Now I have made this purse seven times! I think I love the pattern so much because it has a "patchwork" element that can be modern/young looking. I was quite happy with the way it turned out.

Natalie is very happy with these things and I couldn't be more grateful to her for taking great care of my kiddo.
Now I need to vent about an issue I have been having this week: sewing issues! I keep running into problems lately:
1) Every Joann's in the area has run out of a pre-quilted solid I always use to make the above bag. I even had my mom pick up a piece of the fabric at her Joann's - it turned out to not be the right one (it was not my mom's fault - apparently the sales associate thought that "off-white" meant "an ugly, cheap imitation of linen")! I ended up having to improvise and make a substitution.
2) In preparation for this weekend's opportunity to use my church's gym to baste a large quilt - I bought backing fabric without bringing the quilt top to the store. I figured I would be safe considering there are about 100 colors in the "Good Folks" collection. I came home with 4 yds of Kona Cotton solid "Midnight" which turns out to be much more purple than blue.........
3) I borrowed an emroidery hoop to do some embellishment on a flickr bee block. It was awesome when I took off the hoop only to discover that it had left streaks of dirt on my bee block!
I know we all have these sewing debacles - but three in a row has been a bit much!

Monday, November 08, 2010

A Quilter's Gathering, Nashua, NH

Thank goodness I found out about a quilt show to attend last week. It had been a LONG week as I didn't schedule much in order to encourage my son to get back to his twice a day nap schedule. Anyway, by Friday, I HAD to get out of the house! My mom came with me to a quilt show in Nashua, NH: A Quilter's Gathering.

After having attended two major shows in Manchester and Lowell this summer, this one in Nashua felt very small and I definitely felt that it was more about vendors than being a quilt show. But I still had a lot of fun and really appreciated my mother's help in watching Gregory while we browsed.

This quilt was my favorite one displayed - it's whole cloth with very intricate quilting. The other side was completley white with different colors of thread in the same design. Very impressive! There was a nice display of Amish quilts - all hand-pieced and often made from scraps. This star one was my favorite.
Of course I was drawn to a hexagonal quilt, I couldn't believe when I discovered that this quilt was made entirely out of chicken and egg fabrics!

The use of solids in this quilt was very eye-catching.

This quilt was my mother's favorite - it was made using a fabric folding technique.

Of course, I ended up breaking my fabric diet and found a few goodies. The Joel Dewberry chocolate woodgrain is one of my FAVORITES! I bought all that they had (only 2 yds) for $5 per yard! I heard a rumor that this fabric is going to be reprinted by the end of the year - the fabric company would be wise to do so, as this fabric is highly sought after.
I also couldn't resist the little bikes - I had never seen that print before and it's a fun boy-ish fabric!

I promise I have been doing lots of sewing lately - right now I am working on some promised projects for a friend. I will post very soon with the completed results!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hexagonal flowers

(I decided to sash the flowers in charcoal - a decision I was anxious about but it really does make the colors pop, no?)

(I finally bought a $3 organizational container to carry around my hexagonal supplies - definitely beats a ratty ziploc bag!)

I have 27 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks completed - I figured out that I need to make about 72 for a queen sized quilt. I only make these when "on the go" or when I am just too tired to sit at the sewing machine but still want to make something.

When I show these to people, they often think I am crazy because it looks like a lot of work. I really don't think they are "that bad" - and people have to understand that I think it is essential to always have a sewing project that is portable. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you use little chunks of time here and there to make something!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Blogger's Quilter Festival

My friend Meaghan inspired me to enter the Blogger's Quilt Festival:

Pictured in this post is a quilt I made just as I was attempting to cross the bridge of traditional quilting to more modern quilting. I had so many "traditional" and restrictive quilting rules in my head that I thought I had to follow: always use a pattern, use fabrics only from the same line/designer, have a border, back the quilt with a print, etc. And here is the result: I have a love/hate relationship with this quilt. I am proud of it because I love the fabrics it showcases (Park Slope by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit), it is well made, it is HUGE, and I stitched the last stitch on the binding maybe 2 days before my son was born (October 2009).
I hate it because it is way too busy - I guess that is the main thing that bugs me about it. It needs a neutral or two!
Even the long-arm quilter who quilted it for me had to make several derisive comments about it's craziness (she did lack tact, I have to say). But that leads me to another thing that bugs me: it really was expensive to have someone else long arm quilt it - which is partly why I have 7 unquilted tops sitting in a box (I have had a fear of doing my own machine quilting and thought that I would always have to send quilt tops out in order to be quilted but I haven't been in a position to pay someone to complete all those quilts for me!)
I barely put this quilt back on my bed, on top of my liberty quilt. I needed a break from it and now I am loving it again.

The pattern is Yellow Brick Road Pattern for Atkinson designs. It measures 93 x 102. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fabric Love

[Photo above is Weekends fabric by Erin McMorris - not as wonderful as Park Slope, but world's better than Wildwood.]

My SIL recently congratulated me for finally creating a sewing blog as opposed to a fabric blog. Scroll back to some of my older posts and you will soon see that most of my entries were pictures of fabric - nothing created out of them. It was laughable - but hey - I am the first one to admit that I like fabric more than sewing!

Anyway, I wanted to write about fabric I have been drooling over lately:

First, the Far, Far Away 2 roses by Heather Ross. I purchased quite a bit of FFA2 from a fabric co-op, but I neglected to get very much of the roses. I hadn't realized that while Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and the Owl and Pussy Cat are adorable, the roses have a certain kind of sophistication and can definitely be used for more grownup projects. I have seen FFA1 be on sale for as low as $6 per yard, so I am sure the time will come when we can get FFA2 at clearance prices. The word is that Heather Ross is releasing a new fabric line in the spring (everyone is praying it's neither double gauze nor linen - just give us some more affordable and easier to work with cotton please!)

All Star 2 recently hit the shelves. It seems like a great collection of boy fabrics and definitely not babyish.

Finally, everyone in blogland seems to be going nuts for Innocent Crush. I particularly like the blue/purple line. But I am on the fence on ever making a quilt out of any of it - I already have a Good Folks quilt top and a small stash of her earlier collections - Bohemian and Garden Party. How many really crazy/busy AMH quilts does a girl really need?

I don't have a picture of it, but you should really check out this upcoming line from Moda: Sherbet Pips. It is incredibly adorable and especially appropriate for a little girl. It doesn't come out until April 2011.
I have been thinking lately that a lot of the "modern" fabrics I am drawn to are often kid-oriented. I can't really think of a collection that is out right now that I would use to make a blanket for say, my mom. I don't really think she would appreciate something with big bright owls or fairy tale characters. She likes modern fabrics and colors - but wouldn't appreciate a major rainbow from Remix or bees and hummingbirds like Flora and Fauna. Am I missing something out there in the market?
Fabric pictures courtesy of FabricShoppe.