Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stained Glass Windows

The doors of my sewing room are French doors, which doesn't accommodate much privacy or the ability to hide a mess.  I stole the idea to cover the windowpanes with AMH voile from this post on Tickle and Hide, I wish I could claim it was my own original idea.  I followed this tutorial to apply the voile to the glass- so simple and cheap- using hot water and corn starch.  

For several weeks, I debated with myself on whether I should do this at all.  Westwood Acres had voile Field Study bundles on sale and I finally pulled the trigger when I noticed they had only one left.  I don't have a lot of voile in my stash and I love the saturated and bright colors of these fabrics.

I was thinking today about how I have been gravitating to non-giant-quilt projects and it feels good to do some different things lately.  I am also enjoying the prospect of decorating my home the way I like it: I don't want it to look like a giant modern fabric explosion but I am not going to worry about what other people might think either.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Rollerskate Dresses

Sewing clothes for kids hasn't been a huge priority for me because I have been pretty satisfied with bargains at various stores, yard sale finds, and gifts and hand-me-downs from friends and family.  When my son was much smaller, I actually sewed him a lot of pajamas and cute toddler pants but haven't done too much for my daughter.  I think I was overdue to finally try and sew my daughter some sweet dresses but I think I went a little overboard:

I already shared the shoes and duck versions here.  I had Charlotte look at a few one-yard cut stash fabrics and she chose the "piggys" pretty quickly.  It's a weird Japanese print that has small pigs on it with the text, "Marry Poppins Boo." 

Here she is wearing it on Sunday morning.  Getting siblings to pose together is not easy, this was the best I could do.  (She's actually said, "Hi buddy.  I like your earring."  He wasn't wearing an earring!):

I couldn't resist an Anna Maria Horner print:

I've had this Amy Butler print (a design released before grey was "in") for ages and have loved it but never known what to do with it.  I think it makes a cute dress:

I may be giving away at least one of these dresses, as five is probably overkill.  I am going to take a break from sewing clothing but will return soon to a different dress pattern.  For any of you quilters who are interested in trying some clothing sewing, I really recommend the Oliver and S Rollerskate dress pattern - it was so easy for me and making it without a serger worked out fine.  Linking up with WIP Wednesday:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Courthouse Steps

When I saw this post on Blue is Bleu, I wanted to drop everything and start making a Courthouse Steps project.  It's amazing how such a traditional block can look so fresh with some bright fabrics.

For my version, I worked with scraps and stash to make a large pillow-sized top composed of 9 blocks.  I used low volume fabrics with colors instead of grey or black.  I opted for the paper piecing route using this template from The Littlest Thistle.  Piecing it traditionally wouldn't have been that difficult but I was kind of in the mood for paper piecing and Tula's Sampler kind of made me tired of teeny pieces for now.  

I think I will stop piecing blocks for this project and make it into a pillow.  I am considering adding a thick border to make it fit a 24" square pillow form.  In the picture below, you can see the border fabric choices that I am considering.

I am leaning towards skipping the border idea and just making it into a 20" pillow.  Any votes or thoughts, dear readers?

Linking up to Quilt Story and Sewjo Saturday:

Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Sewing Weekend Fun

This past weekend all of my dreams came true.  My sister came to the Springs from Ft. Collins and brought her friend Cassie.  Cassie is a talented quilter and seamstress.  She's working on her PhD, so she doesn't have a lot of time for her hobbies but she has spring break this week and came for the weekend with sewing supplies and her machine.  We hit it off and stayed up till two a.m. Fri-Sun.  

This picture is taken at the Garden of the Gods, we had to take Cassie there since she'd never been:  (my sister Emily is on the left, Cassie is in the center, and that's me on the right):


Cassie liked the zip pouches I had made the previous week and I gave her reign over my scraps to make one for herself and Emily.

On Friday night, I decided to tackle the Oliver and S Roller Skate dress:

I didn't hardly have any trouble making this.  It was one of the easiest articles of clothing I have ever made.

Charlotte wore it to church on Sunday and she loved it.  When we had her try it on, she was running around saying, "I wearing shoes fabric!"

On Saturday night, I decided to make another and dug out one of Charlotte's favorite fabrics.  I think it's called the Ugly Duckling by Lizzy House.

This one went more quickly than the first.  It ended up being a rough night though because after going to bed at two a.m., I took my sister to the ER at five a.m. for a horrible headache.  She's had health problems for a while now but received a treatment that night that helped considerably.  Here's hoping that things really improve!

I had such a ball all weekend, being holed up in my sewing room with Cassie and my sister (who was our convalescing cheerleader).  On Sunday night, I decided to cut and prepare more Roller Skate dresses (the idea is to try making a few assembly line style) and will hopefully have those to share soon.  I also returned to my Penny Sampler quilt and finally did task of beginning the small four patch units:

As I am sure my readers would agree, sewing with good company is the best- it's especially helpful for completing tedious tasks that you've been putting off, getting advice and help, and just reveling in your shared interests.  It was such a treat to use my sewing room in that way - I could actually host! - instead of being the benefactor of someone else's sewing space.  It was also a much needed boost, as I will admit I have been a little homesick and missing good friends in Massachusetts lately.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Zip-Pouch Palooza

The Front Range Modern Guild hosted a simple zip pouch swap: make one to share and you come home with one made by another guild member.  I dug into my Liberty Lifestyle scraps and my "Perfect Zip Bags" pattern and made this:

Since two is almost always better than one, I made myself another:

The neutral fabrics were scraps from previous projects and I already had the zippers on hand.  It's so satisfying to complete a nice project without a trip to the store!

This is the pouch I came home with from the guild meeting.  It's by Marti (I had to do a little internet sleuthing to confirm this, as she didn't include a note and wasn't at the meeting).  Isn't it darling?!  I love the zipper pull.

Since I had enjoyed making the zip pouches, I decided to make a quilted scrappy box bag, via this tutorial, by Pink Stitches for my sister's birthday. This little pouch kicked my butt and I blame only myself.  Before I started QAYG on the scrappy panel, I put decor bond interfacing on the back of the piece of batting- I always love lots of structure but this made the whole project way too stiff.  I also had difficulty with the "sports" zipper - it's just that those wimpy polyester zippers make me nervous.

Lesson learned: do a tutorial exactly as prescribed at least once before you opt to make changes.

 Thanks for reading!!!  I can't wait to share my sewing adventures from this past weekend!  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Wave Quilt Finish

This quilt was finished just before we moved out of Massachusetts, about a month ago, so it feels like old news now but I wanted to take this chance to blog its completion.

It's my New Wave quilt composed of mostly Amy Butler's Lark line, a little AB Cameo, and some Joel Dewberry with lots of stash basics framing the larger pieces.  Lark was a line that I thought I didn't like until I saw it in person at Quilt Market in 2011.  I bought lots of it on sale at, back when their prices were awesome..... sniff, sniff.....

The New Wave pattern is a great choice for using large scale prints that you don't want to cut into tiny pieces.

I brought it to Laurena's in Burlington and used the Statler Stitcher to do a pattern called "Dew Drops."  It's hard to see the detail of the design in the loud and busy fabrics.

It measures about 90 x 98.

I bought the Lark Kasbah backing on Hancocks of Paducah for about $5 a yard- it's such a dramatic, pretty print.  I bound the quilt in Ann Kelle's Remix stripe.

My mom emailed me this picture of the Statler quilting my Tula Pink sampler quilt.  I gave my mom the money to have it quilted at Laurena's since I already knew which Statler pattern I wanted to use on it and I have yet to find a decent longarming option here in Colorado.  I can't wait till she visits again and brings it to me, although I may just have her mail it to me if I feel too impatient.  I miss Laurena and her quilting studio so badly- I knew I had a good thing going there!!!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feathers Quilt Top Complete

Last weekend, I finished my feathers quilt top.  It is made from all Kona Solids, I think it was "Pacific" that I used for the background, along with a Sunrise bundle.  It is my first "all solids" quilt top and I am pretty excited about it. I've always loved other people's solids quilts but have been so hooked on fun designer prints.  I totally get the appeal of using only solids and I am sure I will do this again.

I am so happy with how it came out and it was honestly a joy to sew.  I had a few issues: completely cutting off the seam allowance of the most time consuming block at the retreat (!) and redoing 45-60 mins of sewing after discovering my son had drastically turned the tension dial on my machine (there will be a lock on the sewing room doors ASAP!).  But overall, this project really did not give me a lot of trouble at all and I definitely credit this to a well written pattern.

I plan to back the quilt in this Alexander Henry Countdown fabric.  I am psyched about how perfect it is for this quilt.  I am also flattered that my four year old son has already claimed the quilt: he's never shown such excitement for any one of my projects before.

This is one of the smallest non-baby quilts I have made, I feel comfortable quilting it on my new-to-me Janome, which I haven't used much for quilting yet. Wish me luck!

Linking up with the Feathers QAL and WIP Wednesday:

Feathers QAL- Show time!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Order: Le Challenge Entry

When I blogged my sewing room, you may remember this picture showing the corner with the cutting area and design wall.  The curtain was here when we moved in and it took me about two seconds to decide it had to go.  It was about one foot too long and there were paint drips on it (now that's what I call laziness! It was just on a spring rod, how hard can it be to remove the curtain when you are going to paint the room?)

It was a difficult decision to decide what stash fabric to use for the curtain.  I ended up choosing these cute matroshkya dolls and some other blenders to go with it.  It's a little juvenile I guess, but I like it and we all know the whole room is soon going to be a riot of fabric and color.  In a sewing room, anything goes, right? 

Sorry for the bad picture, but this was the best I could do:

This whole house needs new curtains- the previous house owner left all of the window treatments and most of them are pretty terrible, so this is probably not the first time you will see a blog post from me about making curtains.

I am entering this into Le Challenge this month for their theme "order."  It is my goal to continue establishing order in my sewing room and throughout the whole house via my sewing skills- but I will admit it's going to take some self discipline to make myself sew more curtains, as it's not exactly the most riveting project......

Le Challenge

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Quilting with a Modern Slant: My Feature

Quilting with a Modern Slant is a book written by my friend Rachel May.  She was there with me and the others in the early days of the New England Modern Quilt Guild (which soon became the Boston MQG).  She was brave enough to host the first sew-in at her Arlington home and she was part of the excitement that we all experienced together: it was so awesome to finally meet a bunch of local people who liked the same fabrics, blogs, and quilts as I did.  

I was psyched for Rachel when the opportunity to write this book arose.  She has the perfect kind of knowledge and experience for this type of project and she loves quilts and their makers.  Her sense of community is especially refreshing and you can get a perfect feel for this throughout the book. 

The book is a collection of profiles of big names and not-so-famous names of quilters throughout the world.  Tutorials, patterns, and directions on quilting are also included.  The book is aesthetically pleasing- the photography is gorgeous and I love the cover: I really want that Lizzy House Scrappy Trips quilt!

I know I am biased because Rachel is my friend and I am in her book: but I really think there is something to be said for the value of a quilting book that is not the typical collection of patterns.  It's so nice to have material that goes beyond the "how to" and shares stories and background of the creators.  Her strong voice of inclusion and heart-felt passion for the power of creating and creativity are nothing short of inspirational and I think it's an important book for our time.  For a really nice, informative review of the book, please see this post written by Thomas Knauer.

I had the opportunity to submit a quilt for the book and I also helped Rachel recruit interviews and fabric sponsors at Quilt Market in 2011.  She surprised me by including a picture of the pincushion I made her for as a hostess gift for that first sew-in (pg. 11).

My profile is towards the end of the book and I am happy that I can finally share the quilt that I had made for the feature:

I used some fabric from my time in Uganda as the central focus of the quilt.  I used a lot of DS Joann's fabrics and other stash pieces to do the "stack and wack" technique for wonky stripey blocks that run down both sides of the quilt.

I am proud of this unique design and the unusual color combination.  It's a relatively "quick" quilt.  The most difficult aspect is probably getting the courage to make that long cut down the focus fabric and hoping it comes out straight.

I did very minimal quilting on the quilt, employing vertical wavy lines down the whole quilt.  The fabrics are so busy, anything more intricate would have been lost anyway.

It measures 80 x 90.

Rachel came to Denver this week for some publishing events and I went to her book signing at Fancy Tiger on Tuesday night.  I forgot my camera, so I can only show you the fabric I came home with (the Liberty on the far left was half off!):

(A lot of you know I professed that I would go on a fabric diet but obviously this was a big relapse- oh well, I have been through so much lately, I don't even feel bad!)

We had dinner afterwards and started to snow a bit.  I wasn't too worried- I should be used to driving in snow, right?!  Well, after white-knuckling the drive for 10 miles, I ended up meeting her at her hotel and we had even more time to chat and I came home on Wednesday morning.  It was fun and I am glad I didn't continue that crazy drive all the way to the Springs.

If you're still reading, thanks for hanging in there. If you are interested in what today's quilters are creating, I encourage you to check out Rachel's book!  (Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of the book because I was featured, but I am not receiving any compensation for this blog post).