Monday, September 30, 2013

City Sampler Blocks 43-54

Thank goodness for QAL deadlines, without them, I might still be curled up in a fetal position after a very busy weekend filled with a trip to the Deerfield Fair, 11 hours at the longarm quilting studio, 6 hours of going to yard sales, a church women's conference, and a toddler who has been screaming herself to sleep 5 nights in a row (seriously, she's been working herself up so badly that she starts gagging and nearly throwing up).  I had a little meltdown on Saturday night that had a little to do with something that happened but was more closely related to my exhaustion!

When I brought 7 quilts to the Chelmsford Quilt Guild meeting for show and tell (this was the first meeting of their "new year" and it was focused on members showing all they'd accomplished since the spring) - people were incredulous that I "got so much done" and they kept saying, "you have little kids."  My response was, "Sewing helps me stay sane."  I spent yesterday home from church with my sick little girl and sewed like crazy to catch up on my Tula Pink Sampler.  I am feeling much better now - even though these blocks are far from perfect:














I am so happy that I only have one more "triangles" block left - I think I am going to sail through the remaining sections after having survived some of these tiny HST and flying geese.

Linking up with Sew Sweetness.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

UFO Completed!

Nick took Gregory camping on Friday night and I had a glorious evening to myself to sew (Charlotte went to bed quite early due to skipping her nap that day).  I appliqued my hexie slab to a fat quarter from my stash. This project is coming along quickly thanks to my obsession with some Netflix shows in the evening and my love of hand sewing.  

I've been a little frustrated with the hexie project due to concerns with contrast, so I set that aside and completed a UFO.  I made this quilt top in the spring and left it on the "to be quilted" pile for a while.  Quilting it was so quick and easy - why did I wait so long?

I used two different colors of thread from my stash - a light pink and light blue- but you really can't tell.  I did "organic lines" over the whole top by using my walking foot on my domestic machine.  It measures 45" square.

Charlotte approves of my work- she really does love quilts!

I backed the quilt with some leftover fabric from the front.  It's a green solid that has quite a yellow hue to it - it's like a shot cotton but much sturdier.  I bought a big chunk of it at a yard sale for $1 -score!  The blue floral fabric is a splurge from my trip to Colorado last fall - a Nani Iro print.  The rest of the fabrics are scraps from my stash.  I bound it in one of my all time favorite fabrics - an older Joel Dewberry baby pink woodgrain print.

Linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday at Better off Thread:

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Finish it Up Friday: Feathers and Harry Potter

I finally quilted my AMH Feathers baby quilt.  It took me a while to do this because I couldn't find the right shade of blue thread.  I really wanted it to be a tone on tone look.  For the first time, I used some fancy Aurifil thread that I purchased at a recent quilt show.  It worked well.

I was attempting Angela Walter's swirls and hardly came close but I am fine with how it came out.

I backed it with one of my favorite Loulouthi prints and bound it with an FMF Legacy print.  I have a friend who just had a baby girl but I am not sure it's her style.  I may show her a few girly quilts I have lying around and let her choose her favorite.

I put together this Harry Potter quilt top really quickly.  Originally I was going to approach the project improvisationally but nixed that idea after realizing that that might make me waste a lot of fabric and also would be more difficult to finish it at my desired size.  With some really simple math, I figured out how to surround the panel in an organized and efficient way and I still achieved the "scattered stars" look that I was aiming for.

(the top is not as crooked as it looks- it was just difficult to hang on my design wall by myself) 

This is definitely the first time you will see fabric with glitter on my blog and probably the last.

I am concerned about the quilting: I kind of want to use the computerized longarm at Laurena's but sewing really dark thread on Harry's face would probably not look so good.  I am also not very confident about my ability to free-motion quilt this either- I know someone with serious skills would have a blast with this panel but I am such a novice at these things!  Any suggestions?

And if I can ask my readers one more favor: what are your thoughts on using a new flat sheet as the backing for this quilt?  Normally I never use bedding sheets as quilt backings but I have nothing else in my stash that matches and after fessing up to recent purchases, I really am on a serious fabric diet now.  I could use random stuff from my stash that has no resemblance to this Harry Potter theme (it would be "quilt shop quality" but we're talking fabric like rainbow stripes, whispy grey flowers on a pink background, etc.) or go with the sheet.  Which is the worst quilting sin?  It's not like this is going to be a treasured heirloom but I hate to pour time and energy into something I may be very unhappy with.

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fabric Monday: Online Fabric Shopping

Accomplishing much sewing lately has been slow going.  My children's sleep schedules have drastically changed - I used to be able to steal up to 5 hours a day (admittedly neglecting housework) with their synchronized nap schedules and didn't feel guilty allowing my son to watch some PBS every morning while I sewed and his sister slept in.  Now they are both waking up a little later in the morning and my son is not napping at all.  He's nearly four years old now, so I know I've had a good run.  They both go to bed at a decent hour, but evening and late night sewing has eluded me. 

The fabric shopping hasn't accomodated my slower sewing pace and it needs to.  The above picture shows my recent acquisitions from Fat Quarter Shop and Pink Castle Fabrics.  I bought these after destashing some fabrics in my etsy shop.  Sometimes it's a weird cycle: I sell fabrics I kind of like (or "extras" of them) to be able to buy different fabrics. 

I recently referred a friend to my post, written about a year ago, that details the fabric shops I like in the Boston area.  I have to update that list and say that I have had recent success at Bits 'N Pieces in Pelham, NH.  If you get on their email list, it is very easy to hear of some great deals. Last Friday they had a 13 fat quarters for $13 sale.  Over the weekend they had "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" of yardage in their sale section.  Here's a picture of my haul.  Overall, I bought about 14 yards for $57.  She has a lot of Moda that I don't often buy online because it disappears so quickly and often doesn't go on sale (you all know I am cheap frugal, right?)

I promised a post about my favorite online shops a while ago, people often ask me what sites I like the best.  My main objective is always to get a great price on the fabrics I like.  Here's a list with highlights about my favorites:

Pink Castle Fabrics:  Brenda has great taste, awesome sales, and impeccable customer service.  I recently made a very small order on a Friday and then they restocked something I had been eyeing on Saturday.  When I asked if they'd combine the two orders to save on shipping, they also added an extra discount for me because I hadn't had the option to use two discount codes.  I will say that her shop is so popular, you've got to jump on what you like fast.

Quilt Home:  They stock major lines from Michael Miller, Free Spirit, and some Moda.  I wait until a particular line is 25% off (this also happens when it's newly released or you can check their website where they have a different code every day) and buy half yards of my favorites.  I often destash fat quarters from these orders to offset my own cost.  They ship really fast and also have great customer service. 

Delray Fabrics:  Pam has an awesome "specials" section and ships so fast.  Echino often ends up at $10 per yard (as opposed to $18-22) and that's how I have afforded those pricey fabrics.  She often has a lot of "hidden treasures" that can't be found elsewhere.

Hawthorne Threads: They have almost everything, restock often, and ship really fast. This used to be where I got most of my really great deals but their prices haven't been as competitive lately.  I also have enjoyed the "free shipping on orders over $35" but was sad to see that that is changing soon according to their website.  Shipping is slow and mistakes on orders do have often but I have been happy overall.

Etsy:  I like to use etsy to find specific fabrics and sales.  I have only had one problem with one seller- but that was definitely the exception to the rule.  I like that most of the fabric sellers are quick to communicate and will answer my questions about color and scale- which is definitely something that you won't find with the bigger companies. 

That's it for now.  I would love to hear anyone's favorites that I have missed.  I don't have any sponsors, so please be assured that my opinions are my own. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

September Craft Book Month Club: Hexa Go Go

I know I said I was going to blog a different quilt today, but I completed this one last night and I can't wait another minute to share it!  It's my "Little Apples" scrappy, hexie string quilt.  What else can I call it?  It was made following the pattern, Cat Tails Quilt, from the Hexa Go-Go book I received last Christmas.  It measures 70 x 92. 

Since booking time to longarm can be difficult with two children and sometimes pricey, I decided to quilt this one at home.  Big mistake.  It took me months to find the time!  Free-motion quilting on my home machine can be very noisy and I usually can only sew when my children are asleep- so I basically could only attend to this project when my husband was around to watch the kids.  We've had a very busy summer and allocating time for this has not been a priority.  Finding time for the hand quilting wasn't as difficult and truly enjoyable  and I love the look of the pink pearl cotton.

I used a fat-eigth Little Apples bundle as well as stash and scrap fabrics to make this quilt.  Initially I wasn't very sold on the sour green in the "Little Apples" collection but I really think it's genious now.  I love the whole look.

I backed the quilt out of about 5.5 yards of a Ric-Rac Rabbits fabric I had originally planned for another fabric.  It was super cheap a while ago - maybe $3 a yard?  I bound it with a aqua/red favorite - a print from the Moda Bliss collection. 

I chose this project from the Hexa Go-Go book because I loved the look and it was one of the few projects that didn't have gazillions of hand pieced hexagons.  It was something I felt I could manage and complete in my lifetime.  The directions were decent but I did wish that there was more wording on how to line up the outlines that surround the hexie flowers. I pretty much gave up on trying to line up the scrappy string squares.  Imperfections and all, I do love this quilt and I am pretty proud of it!
I finished this project just in time for the Craftbuds September Craft Book Month linky party as well as Crazy Mom Quilt's Finish it Up Friday.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lots of Hand Sewing Projects

Both of my kids are sleeping right now.  It is almost paralyzing to choose the best way to spend this rare time.  I do enjoy blogging, so here it goes:
A little while ago, I blogged about this cute plaid dress that I bought for Charlotte with the intention of eventually cutting it up to make a birth announcement quilt.  I have also been asked to submit a quilt (or quilts) to the Manchester quilt show, A Quilter's Gathering, for their special exhibit on the theme of  "celebrations."  I am hoping to finish Charlotte's quilt in time for the show.
I chose fabrics from my stash to match the dress:

I tried to find pieces that weren't totally monochromatic - such is the case for so much of my stash. I do have to say that I am a little surprised that I went with such a pastel palette - I prefer brights in general - but this works for a baby themed quilt, no?

I chickened out, a little, when it came to cutting up the dress.  So far, I have only cut up the bloomers.  I keep trying to tell myself that fall is coming and she won't be wearing such a "springy" dress anytime soon.  But baby clothes are just so precious and it's hard to put the scissors to them! 
I am nearly done with this long-standing WIP.  I am doing some simple pearl cotton quilting around each hexie flower.  I have loved this!  It's so therapeutic and looks SO much better than the free-motion wack-job I attempted on my home machine (remember I mentioned that I did 2 hours of seam-ripping at LQF?).......

I also did more hand sewing when I attached the binding to my Feathers baby quilt.  I will do a grand reveal on Friday.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday: X Plus Top Finished

I had hoped to do a lot more outdoor activities over the long Labor Day weekend, but the weather has just been horrible.  We stubbornly went to Walden Pond on Monday but spent half the time out of the water due to thunderstorms.  Everyone keeps talking about being so excited for fall, but I am just not ready for summer to end!
I have made the best of all the indoor time we've had lately.  I finally finished my X Plus top!  It's 96 x 108, and I've finally decided to give up on getting a full picture of the top.  I will do a full reveal once I quilt and bind it at the end of this month.  I am really happy with how it came out but a bit frustrated with how so many intersections just don't line up as they should.  You can't tell from this picture, so I guess that's a good sign.

I am not really ready to dive into any big new projects - I have quite a few WIP's that need quilting and I am excited to work on some smaller items.  But I decided to put this next project on my design wall: a Harry Potter twin-sized quilt for my sister.  I bought this panel on eBay last year for a steal - the owner had spelled the listing, "Harry Poter fabric" - and so no one was bidding on or seeing the listing because it was misspelled.  I have seen it sell for up to $75 and I got it for $15 with shipping!  Anyway, the star blocks are from a quilting yard sale I went to in Maine ages ago when Nick and I were on our last kid-less getaway-  I have had them stashed away for over four years!  They were from an old bee a woman had participated in- most of them were made by women in New England and Europe.  I am glad I waited so long to use them, as I think they are a perfect addition to scatter around the panel using some starry black fabric as the background.  I don't think this project will be too difficult and it really needs to get done.  I almost tried to complete this last year before Christmas but I only had a few weeks.  Hopefully I can complete it in time for December 2013!

When Gregory saw this on my design wall, he stared in amazement and said something like, "Wow!  I haven't never ever seen seen that in a couple a whiles ago!"  It might be tempting to save this for him but he already has quite a few quilts and my sister is truly a die-hard HP fan.  I can thank her for teaching my 18 month old to say, "Dumbledore" a-la this classic video
Linking up at My Quilt Infatuation Needle and Thread Thursday:
My Quilt Infatuation
  Thanks for reading!