Monday, March 28, 2011

Fabric Friday: My Heather Bailey Obsession

I am thinking about starting a regular posting tradition of blogging about fabric on Fridays. I will try it for a few weeks and see if I like it. You all know I love fabric even more than sewing! I have talked a bit to my modern quilter friends about how I have way too much Heather Bailey fabric. They have bugged me to reveal how much I really have - so here it is! It all started with Freshcut. I stumbled upon Freshcut on my favorite etsy store's site - SewLoveFabrics. It had been released for ages but I had never seen fabric like it before - it was gorgeous! I spent quite a bit of money on many yards and ended up making a curtain, bumpers, and a quilt out of it (in anticipation of the birth of my first child- I made another nursery bedding set for a boy- crazy, I know). Later, I made another quilt for a grad school pal. This is what I have left: There are large scrap pieces, fat quarters, and a few yardage pieces. It's honestly not as much as I thought I had. Now here comes the mother-load. I went a little CRAZY for Heather Bailey's second fabric collection, Pop Garden. Even though I do have too much, I have to say that I still love it and I am not planning on parting with any of it anytime soon. It is the perfect collection for me because I love large scale prints, it's bright, and it's appropriate for adult projects. I love bright fabrics and it's easy to find bright colored children's prints, but when it comes to making stuff for adults - a lot of collections are quite subdued. So far I have only made one quilt and two bags out of Pop Garden - but I have many more projects planned. My favorite print is the red peonies print - I am planning to back a quilt with it. Upon this recent assessment of my PG stash, I have to confess that I feel a little panicked that I only have two yards of the pink peonies print - I will have to get more of that eventually :)
Initially I was disappointed by Nicey Jane. The color palette felt too pastel and some of the prints I didn't care for at all. It has grown on me now. My stash of Nicey Jane is mostly fat quarters - received at Christmas and subsequent swaps.
The way I purchased my Heather Bailey stash is not the way I would purchase fabric now. I honestly went into hoarding mode - feeling like Freshcut and Pop Garden were the only modern fabrics ever to be produced. Years ago, when I saw a fabric I liked, I would buy two yards. Now I almost always limit myself to half a yard and any purchase over 1 yard is usually quilt backing fabric. I have learned that when quilting, a little bit of fabric goes a long way.

I have also learned that most fabric collections stick around for a while, most companies reprint (and if they don't, it must not be in demand anyway - so it's not going to be hard to find), and almost EVERYTHING goes on sale eventually. I feel that Free Spirit collections are especially ubiquitous, so there's really no need to go into panic mode.

I am looking forward to Heather Bailey's next collections - she is so talented and I love her color choices. I did hear a rumor that she is coming out with a home dec line but there is no sign of it yet.

Just Wing It!

After all the illness that hit our family, it was hard to get back into the "groove" of quilting and sewing again. I just didn't feel like returning to my old projects, had enjoyed all of my leisure reading time, and I didn't even know where to start. I am 7 blocks behind on my Blogger's Palooza quilt-along and I have three packets of fabric waiting for me to do bee blocks. So in order to kick my butt in gear, I went ahead and started a new project for a friend who's having a baby girl in May (nevermind that I still have two homeless baby girl quilts sitting in a pile on my dresser). I recently won two "Just Wing It" charm packs at a recent NEMQG meeting from SewFreshFabrics and I decided to put them to work to do a quilt I had recently seen on Cluck Cluck Sew. Here is the result: I did try to put an appliqued flower on it like the tutorial suggests, but mine looked so horrible that I ended up ripping it out.
I bound it with a Riley Blake dot from my stash and backed it with a FMF copy-cat fabric also from my stash.
This quilt was a cinch to make and seems a little more interesting than just sewing the squares together. Cutting fabrics is my least favorite part of quilting and nearly eliminating that step was awesome.

I have to say that I really like the fabrics designed by Momo (Wonderland and It's a Hoot are GREAT!) but I think it's time to move on from all of the birds and butterflies. Who is Momo anyway?

I actually finished four (!) quilts this past week but I am going to stagger my postings so that you might actually hear from me more than twice a month.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PJ's, Long-Arm quilting, and my fabric hiatus

This blog has been quiet for a while due to constant illness at my house. After three emotional meltdowns, two rounds of antibiotics, and lots of Tylenol - I think we are finally on the mend. It was miserable! The only good thing about it was that I had an excuse to revisit my first loved hobby, reading. I have read a lot of good books lately; like this, this, and this.

Right before virus-ville 2011 visited us, I finished these pajamas for Gregory. If they look familiar, that is because I already made them in a 9-12 months size that didn't fit him at all (even though he was maybe 6 months old). This pair is 3T, so I am thinking he will be wearing them this summer, just before his second birthday. I arranged for a bunch of friends and I to take a long-arm quilting class on March 5. Despite still dealing with the plague, I went (BIG MISTAKE!). I was too comatose to even think about taking pictures, so I will have to refer you to my friend's blog post to see what the class was like. Despite feeling like death, I scheduled with Laurena to come back a week later to quilt my first quilt. Here are a few pictures:

I thought that starting my long-arm career with doing a pantograph would be the best way to go. Next time I feel more keen to try free-motion quilting. Overall, it was a good experience. The only problem was that this quilt top had thick fusible web on the border flowers and ric-rac - the machine didn't like either of those elements.

I will show the completed quilt once I am able to bind it.
The only thing I really sewed within the last few weeks was an apron for my future sister-in-law. I loosely followed a Joann's $1 sale "Sewing For Dummies" pattern and chose fabrics from my stash.

I think the pear fabric is adorable and I still have a yard left - maybe I will make an apron for me at some point. I was really thrilled with how well the Michael Miller Brown Henna Garden fabric went with the fruit fabric.

Finally, I am proud to report that I have not bought fabric in about a month. The last two things I bought was this awesome Ugly Duckling (and gender neutral) fabric from Lizzy House (pictured below) and I bought a few yards of this versatile dot by Jennifer Paganelli at a LQS. I have unsubscribed from most email fabric newsletters and I am simply trying to save my pennies for fabric I really want. I am excited for Sherbet Pips, Aviary 2, and 1001 Peeps. Having too much fabric can feel like a big "to do" list and it feels good to focus on what I have instead of acquiring more - always in fear that things go out of print or won't go on sale again.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

UFO's - Another completed one!

This black/white/yellow quilt is my oldest "UFO" - I think I started it over 2.5 years ago. I finally basted it this past Saturday during our NEMQG sew-in. Basting in a big gym is awesome! So much easier than clearing out my tiled living room after my son has gone to bed. I am going to try and quilt it on my own machine - wish me luck! Thanks to Jill and Melissa for helping me get a better picture of this big quilt. It is for my sister - over the summer she chose the fabrics from my stash. I used up a TON of greens and blues - most of them purchased from various trips to Marden's. I also pieced the back from my stash- so it was a great "stash-buster."

I made her matching pillowcases too:

A funny thing about these two quilts is that if you combine their two color schemes - you get the exact color scheme of my African dresden plate quilt. I am missing my other favorite colors - red, pink, and orange!