Friday, May 31, 2013

Cross Stitch Gifts

My sister keeps cranking out adorable cross stitch pieces for my kids.  I love it!  Unfortunately she's had some health issues lately and relaxing with a movie and some hand sewing is resulting in lots of fun pieces for my kids.
Here's some princesses for Charlotte:
And I am more than thrilled with this superhero alphabet.  Gregory is obsessed with it - I hope to finally frame it this weekend:

I am super excited to soon get started on some Gera! projects - patterns I received as a gift recently.  You can get these adorable Japanese-esque fairy tale/samplers at

But first, I am tackling this dala horse pattern.  It's pretty difficult for me so far - but I like the challenge.  I am going a little cross-eyed with the 28 count linen.  It was only a $2 pattern at  (This photo is a picture of the finished project from the website- I am not that fast!)

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherries.

This baby quilt was like an obsession for me over the past week.  A big reason for making this is I wanted to know if I could handle making a queen size - templates scare me - but I am happy to say that I really enjoyed making this and I plan to attempt a larger version in the future.
I didn't cut the pieced feather parts exactly right but I am still happy with how it came out and I didn't want to waste some of my most favorite bits of fabric by redoing them.  Sometimes I get a little too confident when I am following a pattern and I don't study it closely enough.

This pattern is just so striking - I really, really like it!  I also continue to be smitten with one of my favorite color combinations: red, pink, and aqua (the chocolate brown addition helps it not to be so sickeningly sweet, don't you think?)  This was all made from stash except for the Kona Espresso 1/4 yard I needed for the stems.

If you are considering making this pattern - please be warned that I think the background fabric requirements are quite "generous."  The pattern calls for two yards but I think I used a little less than one.  The queen size calls for 8 1/4 yards - and that's enough to back the quilt - so I am sure that is a bit too much. 

I am linking this up at the Festival of Strings at Stitched in Color.  Be sure to check out everyone else's beautiful creations:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Awesome weekend!

My mom and I went to the MFA over the weekend to take in the "To Boston with Love" efforts.  The line was clear out the door to get in,  Saturday-Monday was free admission.  

I just loved all of the flags and the whole experience of taking the "exhibit" in. 

People put a lot of effort into their flags and it was neat to see some that were obviously from far away countries. 

Kudos to Amy and Berene for putting this all together!  I love the whole project.

On Friday, my mom and I also spent time together making a trip to Marden's.  She wanted to find a specific fabric that she needed more of for a project.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to tag along.  Right now, they have fabrics from a new manufacturer that I haven't seen there before - a company called Blend. 

I used some of my Marden's fabrics to make my first few City Sampler blocks:

These have been a little difficult for me so far but I think it's going to be a great exercise in precision and patience.  There are a lot of tiny pieces and I admit that I tend to be more "consistent" on my own projects rather than executing that perfect scant 1/4" seam.

I caught up on the Woodland Sampler.  Sewing on the tiny linen grid has presented a bit of a learning curve for me but I am getting the hang of it. 

Finally, I made a lot of progress on my Crackle and X Plus blocks but I needed a break from all the mindless piecing.  I decided to start another project: a baby-sized feather quilt.  This is the first block I put together last night - I am not sure if I will be able to get away with trimming my obvious mistake or if I will have to redo most of it.  I will show more progress soon hopefully!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I am plodding along with my Crackle and X Plus quilts - I make blocks for both at the same time.  I need 132 blocks for the Crackle and 72 for the X Plus, so these definitely will not be quick finishes.  I've made more since this picture was taken but the end is still far off!
I like to give myself a break on the constant piecing by doing smaller projects.  Over the weekend, I made three "To Boston with Love" flags.  I found free heart paper pieced blocks via Pinterest and I had a good time using some scraps.  I am looking forward to seeing the flag display at the MFA soon.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 20, 2013

City Sampler QAL: Choosing the Fabrics

I have had Tula Pink's newest book, City Sampler, on my brain for a while.  I spotted it as an Amazon pre-order quite a while ago and I was excited.  A BIG sampler quilt with no y-seams, applique, paper piecing, or templates - sign me up! 
But still, I was hesitant.  My only other experience with a sampler produced this Hushabye quilt and I am less than thrilled with it.  I like the block patterns but my biggest mistake was my choice of fabrics.  I like the Hushabye collection but using it all together was too much pastel for me. When I look at other Blockapalooza quilts - I love them because other people made more appealing fabric choices than I did. 

I love the rainbow version of the City Sampler on the cover of the book - but I think I have had my fill of rainbows for now.  I made two rainbow quilts this past year - one with Lizzy House fabrics and another  one with Anna Maria Horner fabrics.

Am I the only modern quilter who has trouble defining my own style and preferences?  I think the issue for me is that I like SO much out there.  I love reproduction-ish fabrics like City Weekend and Hello Betty.  I always appreciate beautiful fabrics by such diverse artists as Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Laurie Wisbrun, Tula Pink, Ann Kelle, Heather Ross, Erin McMorris and so much more.  I even like the darker/more masculine lines by Parson Gray, I love Japanese fairy tale prints, I swoon for Creative Thursday, and the newer lines by Camille Roskelley are to die for.  By naming all of these designers - I am not trying to sound like a label/brandname snob - I am just trying to share how diverse my tastes are.
Of all of the quilts that I have made so far - my favorite ones tend to have a "controlled scrappy" look.  When I make a quilt that has only one collection - it often ends up in the giveaway/"meh" category.  I am trying to stop buying full FQ bundles of one line - but if I can't avoid it - I am trying to make myself split them up. 
This quilt, made for my nephew last year, is a good example of the kind of quilt I like best.  It's very simple but I like the way I have mashed together a whole lot of prints from all different collections.

Here's another example of a "controlled scrappy" quilt that I made (with the help of 2 great bees):

SO - after attending this weekend's BMQG meeting - I came home and started to pull together a color pallette from my stash:

I know, whether consciously or subconsciously, I was influenced by seeing lots of beautiful Quilts for Boston blocks and quilt tops at the meeting- as I decided to go with a very similar color pallette.  I was also influenced by spotting this adorable new DS print (2nd from left) at Joann's following the meeting.  I love that shade of aqua and the pops of bright orange prompted me to add a bright orange to my stack.  Instead of yellow - I am aiming for more "mustard tones"- that scrap of AB Wallflower is my only piece of it (they keep reprinting old AB lines - PLEASE let them reprint that one!). 

This color pallette is a big departure for me - no pink or red - (maybe my husband will be grateful?), but I am excited.  I have thought and thought about what fabrics I would use for this QAL for weeks.  Am I the only one who gets a little paralyzed when it comes to choosing fabrics for a long-term project?  What about style?  Are you sure of yours and what you definitely do and don't like?

Sew Sweetness

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Circle Circus

I am published in the May/June issue of Quilty.  I submitted my Urban Circus quilt for consideration last winter and I found out it was accepted within a week.  It was very exciting.

I used the AMH "Super Circle" technique to apply the circles onto the quilt.  I am already scheming to make a girl version out of the pink Urban Circus fabrics for Charlotte.  Urban Circus is easily my most favorite kid's fabric collection.  I also used lots of prints from my stash.

Here's the cover of the magazine:

And here's my feature:

I was tickled that they even diagrammed my quilting motif too:

Happy quilting and thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sweet Tote

I made this cute little tote bag as a gift for a birthday party my son went to.  The birthday girl was turning four years old and I thought a "Little Red Riding Hood" bag would be a fun gift to give.  I had a mini charm pack of "A Walk in the Woods" and I used it for both front and back patchwork panels for the bag.   I used the needle turn applique method to put the heart on the front and then I outlined the heart with an embroidery stitch.  

I used some batting scraps to give the bag some body and structure - I enjoyed not having to deal with interfacing. 

I only had one mini charm pack square left at the end of this project- it used most of them up quite efficiently.

I used stash fabrics to complete the bag.  It was a little more "grown up" present then I would've liked- I think my error was in making it too big.  Oh well.  Overall, I was happy with how it came out and I would make one again for sure!

Monday, May 13, 2013


This post is a brief description of my recent organizing efforts - but first I had to share a funny anecdote on why it's important to have friends who sew - and even the importance of participating in a guild.  I love my husband and he helps support my sewing habit in many ways.  But I really had to have a good laugh when he asked me if the two main projects on my design wall were for the same quilt.  He also thought it was a "given" that the Boston blocks and Liberty X Plus blocks were definitely the same project because there are a few X Plus Boston blocks :)  I had a good laugh.  

Anyway- I spent some time this weekend dealing with the overflowing mess of my fabric stash.  It went from this:

to this.  It's still not as pristine as a lot of the beautiful sewing studios you see on many blogs - but at least it's not all about to fall on the floor.  As you can see, I have a lot of blue but I hardly ever use blue - I need to remedy that!
I also finally organized all of my DMC floss- I had SO much because I have picked up a lot at yard sales over the years.  I had so much in addition to what you see in this picture that I am giving 3 containers to my sister and I still have two big bags of extras (if you are local and want some - just let me know!)

Finally- if you haven't noticed yet - I finally organized my blog to look a little more crafty and not so plain.  I had been so intimidated by reading about lots of bloggers paying people to "beautify" their blogs - that I thought I wouldn't be able to figure out how to improve mine- as I am definitely not a computer expert.  So if you are seeing this in a reader- click on over and check out my swanky new banner and my links on the side.  The only thing I want to add is a tab for pictures of my finished quilts - if anyone knows how to do that - please let me know!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I finally made the cute Star Wars cross-stitch my sister sent into a pillow for Gregory:

I have a whole lot of cutting going on for my X Plus quilt.  It was a little hard to cut into my most precious Liberty Lifestyle fabrics but I know it will be worth it!

I've made a few more blocks - these are so addicting!

It took a while, but I cut up my own stash-made layer cake into the triangular pieces needed to make a giant Crackle quilt.
This is the result when you sew all of the pieces together.  Isn't it striking?  I honestly think this pattern has the potential to catch on like a lot of the popular patterns out there - it's so fun and easy.

I scored some vintage fabric and completed tiny cross stitch pieces at a yard sale.  So sweet!

I've listed a few fabric bundles in my etsy shop.  I've fallen hard for Shelburne Falls- I ordered a half yard set and cut it in half - it's much cheaper than buying the pre-cut bundles released by Free Spirit.  I also finally splurged on some Little Folks - I missed out on the recent $6 yd. sales (darnit!) but figured I better buy some before it's all really gone.  I am trying to stick to just fat quarters lately - so I also listed a Little Folks FQ bundle too.

I am finally actually linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced- I feel more motivated to connect with other bloggers and I am excited to do this more regularly.

Monday, May 06, 2013

it's happening

I couldn't help but make another Boston block using the X Plus block pattern.  This morning I cut for maybe an hour and sewed the first block of my Liberty B&W quilt - I have been talking and thinking about this quilt for weeks - I figured I'd better utilize my excitement for the block/process and get going on it! 

It cheers me up a bit on this Monday morning.  My husband was gone most of the weekend with a Boy Scout campout and I didn't get much rest.  Add to several spots of poison ivy all over my body (including my face!) and I'm a woman wishing to take a "sick day" today....

Thanks for all of the love on the Hexie String quilt - I should probably quilt that thing before I start piecing something else - but you know how it goes!