Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jacob's Ladder Progress

On Monday, I went ahead and put together four blocks before I return to all of the strip piecing for my Jacob's Ladder quilt.  I am really happy with the results!  This is probably one of the most time consuming quilts I have ever attempted, but I think it will be worth it.  I am making this from all stash fabrics but I am not noticing any discernible dent in the stash because I am just taking small pieces off all sorts of fabrics.  Linking up with WIP Wednesday:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Productivity in Fort Collins

I went up to Fort Collins for the weekend to spend time with my sister and Cassie.  I wanted a break and needed a reminder that I didn't move away from all of my family.  Fort Collins is a cool town- it feels much less "intense" than Colorado Springs and feels more green and has more trees.  (I should've brought my camera!)

Since I knew I would have the chance to sew with Cassie, I came prepared with tons of sewn strip sets for my Jacob's Ladder quilt.  I almost had a major crisis when I found that all of the strip sets were almost a 1/4" too small.  I had ironed all of the seams to the side, in hopes of "locking" the seams together when I made the nine patches.  I decided to try ironing the seams open and it made the strip sets much more accurate.  Accuracy in my quilting is not my strongest skill, so we shall see how this all ends up.  I am questioning my sanity in attempting to make a quilt that has 53 pieces per block.  This has helped me decide to not go queen-size this time.

After I ironed all of the seams open- I did the tedious task of cutting them into 1.5" strip sets.  I am so glad I got this completed among friends- it lessened the drudgery.  (Unfortunately, I still need to make a lot more though!)

I also started stitching the Once Upon a Time sampler.  It's so intimidating to start a big cross-stitch project, but once I get going- I really enjoy it.

Cassie and I visited two quilt shops: Mama Said Sew and Fig Leaf Quilts (which also doubles as a furniture store- surely it's a husband/wife team that came up with the concept?).  I was pretty conservative in only choosing a few 1/4 yd cuts but then went for a large cut of some old AMH that was on sale for next to nothing.  It will be a great backing for the Constellations queen-sized quilt that is next on my to-do list.

When I came home to my family last night, there was a mysterious package waiting for me.  My amazing friend Jen, made me the most adorable pillow.  I can't think of a more thoughtful gift that I have received.  Hand sewn detail?!  Adorable fabrics?!  Thoughtful sentiment?!  Way to make a girl cry!!!!  (But seriously, it is perfect and it's a very creative idea!)

P.S. I discovered a quilt shop that rents Gammill's in Ft Collins at an affordable price without requiring the extra cost of an expensive class!  I think I will be returning to Ft. Collins quite soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Jacob's Ladder and Cross-Stitch

I am starting work on a Jacob's Ladder quilt, following this tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches.  It is a project I began, rather weakly, in February, and now I am ready to return to it.  I went to a FRMQG meeting on Saturday and stayed after the sew-in.  I was pretty productive in being able to cut and pair all of the Thangles I needed as well as lots of skinny strips for the 9 patches:

I am also dying to start the FPS pattern, Once Upon a Time (OUAT) sampler, I am just waiting for 2 skeins of the border/outline floss from an online order to arrive in the mail.

At the FRMQG meeting, there was a great presentation on quilt photography.  It was inspiring and I had to try the idea of using foam-core posterboard to create a white background for craft pictures.  This is a picture of the OUAT supplies I gathered:

Not bad, right?  I am also intrigued to try this "free course" about shooting in manual mode with a DSLR.  I will let you know how it goes.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Baskets: Divided Basket Pattern

 Despite my trepidation, I went ahead and made two divided baskets for my children for Easter.  I got in a little bit of a funk this week (missing family and friends back in New England) and used this new sewing challenge as a way to focus and feel better.  Sewing can be a great coping skill, right?!

I used some precious stash: two Laurie Wisbrun favorites.  This year, I am trying to not hold back when it comes to using my favorite fabrics.

The pattern was pretty straightforward and I like their structured look.  The donkey one looks a little better because it was my second one.  I found that using a free-arm is pretty essential to make the top look neat.

Requiring a full yard of the interfacing and fusible fleece is quite generous - expect to have a lot leftover. having such a surplus didn't bother me though, as it meant one less repeat trip to Joann's.

I lined the baskets with some Madrona Road and a nursery line called Little Things.  Aren't those grey raindrops perfect with the donkeys?!

A head cold and a very early wake-up resulted in Nick staying home from church with the kids, so no cute dresses or suit picture this year.

I hope everyone else had a nice weekend and lovely Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Feathers Quilt Complete

The Feathers quilt is completed.  It's the first major project I have completed in CO from start to finish!  I love it and my son really loves it too.  

We took a quick trip to Red Rock Canyon to go on a walk and get some pictures of the quilt.  It was a windy afternoon, but I think we did okay.

I can't believe how dramatic the solids are- it definitely makes me want to make another solids-only quilt again soon.  I used a Robert Kaufman Kona "Sunrise" bundle and lots of Kona Pacific for the background.  It measures 55" x 66".

I quilted squiggly lines in all of the feathers and did some straight line quilting on a lot of the blue background.

My son was disturbed to see I had hung it on the wall but I promised it would come down soon.

I used a little Kona and some Countdown fabric for the backing.  I found some Architextures for the binding.

I am happy I took on a challenge early in the year to do a paper pieced quilt- I am definitely enjoying that technique more and more.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and SewJo Saturday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Road Trip Case

I finished the Road Trip Case last night.  I figured out the pleated pockets without too much fuss.  What really ended up being challenging was attaching the double founded bias binding.  It didn't help that my cover fabric was extremely thick and vinyl isn't forgiving at all when you've already sewed through it.  I was mad at myself that it was so difficult for me!  Previously, I have attached binding to three other cases a lot like this, with no problem!!! 

Anyway, I used all stash fabrics- a little Washi, Summersville, Comma, Architextures (binding), and the blue bird fabric is something random from Japan.  Lots of bright fabrics, which was my plan for entering it into this month's Le Challenge.

Unfortunately, it's a little small for the project I had in mind to use with it but my daughter has been carrying it around all day- so maybe I will let her keep it.  It is a really great project and well written pattern for sure.  I think I may try those "divided baskets" (also by Anna of Noodlehead) hopefully in time for Easter.  Wish me luck.  

 photo LeChalleng

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thread, Hexies, and a New-to-Me Serger

Good morning!  I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  We got a lot accomplished and endured a short sickness, nothing too earth-shaking.

I recently completed my Feathers quilt and G. is enjoying it but I still want to take some fun Colorado-esque pictures of to share on the blog.  The weather hasn't cooperated when we've had the opportunity, but I will share soon.  My thread collection increased significantly as I wanted a tone-on-tone look for free motion quilting the feathers.  Very yummy sherbet-y colors, right?

My hexie pillow is coming along - I am not at the stage of sewing eight blossoms together.  I love basting the hexies, sewing the blossoms, but putting them all together is proving tedious.  Maybe I won't be attempting a Hexy MF quilt after all.

Last night, I began the Noodlehead Road Trip Case and have had lots of difficulty figuring out the pleated pockets.  I even had my husband weigh in, to no avail.  I am hoping to figure it out sometime today.

Having moved recently, I have been perusing Craigslist quite often.  We've needed dressers, toy organizers, and other household items.  But I have to admit that I have also been perusing long-arms and sergers too.  All of the sergers in my budget were crummy brands with bad reviews but finally a cheaply-priced Husqvarna Huskylock 905 popped up.  The lady lived about an hour away but actually commutes to the AFB that my husband works at.  I waffled a little about purchasing it: the price was right and there are nothing but good reviews online, but I have to admit that the learning curve of a serger scares me a little. A new guild friend gave me wise advice, "When you really want or need a serger, you probably won't find as good a model for such a good price."  The lady selling it kindly met with my husband at work and he brought it home on Friday.  I will let you know how I like it.

Stay tuned for some finishes very soon!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Penny Sampler top

My queen sized Penny Sampler is complete and I couldn't be happier with it.  Because of the large size,I had to lay it all out on my design wall in two sections and I am so thrilled with how balanced the colors are.

 I used all stash fabrics: lots of Lecien Flower Sugar and black and white fabrics, with a few other stash favorites.  I think the low-volume b&w's really tone down the sugar-sweetness of the Flower Sugar really well.

One of my favorite fabrics that I used was a fat quarter I won in a giveaway- it has news headlines and ads on it and it's very random.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Fabric Tuesday: Hexies

I have been craving some hand sewing lately and my latest cross stitch project was feeling particularly boring this past weekend.  I decided to start a hexagon project using the 1.5" paper templates leftover from my Little Apples quilt.  Deciding on fabrics took me forever because I wanted saturated colors without completely relying on Anna Maria Horner fabrics.  Turns out my stash doesn't lend itself really well to mixing like-prints with her genious-ness.  I finally gave in and let myself choose lots of her fabrics with one or two Amy Butler and Tula Pink pieces.  

I am leaning towards making a giant pillow cover for that pesky 24" pillow form I have had for ages.  I may have cut too much fabric though- which makes me wonder if I should attempt a quilt.  I love Katy's flower garden (Hexy MF) and would love to have my own version.....  I always feel so torn when it comes to choosing projects: like I've said before, I prefer more time consuming designs but I also know how limited my sewing time is - but isn't it that way for all of us?!  When I participated in a quilt forum with Mary and Marianne Fons a few years ago. someone quoted Gerald Roy as saying, "'Quilt in a Day'?  What's the point?"  I think I will reevaluate after I have made the pillow cover.

Yesterday I started quilting my Feathers quilt.  I am doing some straight line quilting as well as free-motion.  I hope to be binding it by the end of the week.

Linking up with Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday:

Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, April 04, 2014

Finish it up Friday: Courthouse Pillow

Happy Firday friends!  I finished this pillow over the weekend.  I decided to omit the borders I had contemplated adding.   I quilted free motion spirals within each of the nine squares.  

I used one of my border options as the backing.  I made a zipped closure and my own pillow form.  As you might expect in a household with young children, this pillow is rarely on the couch where it belongs.

This beast is covering my design wall.  I am loving the look of it so far.  I was skeptical about this pattern because I have been thinking that my most favorite quilts I've made are usually require more complicated piecing.  But sometimes you just need to let the fabrics and colors "sing," right?

Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Kim for Sewjo Saturday:

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Bow Pillow Tutorial

the bow pillow tutorial / ann kelle

Hi friends!  My bow pillow tutorial is finally here.  Working on this amidst a cross-country move made me question my sanity more than once but it all came together eventually.  I am grateful Kelle had lots of patience with me!  I am also especially grateful to my friend Annee, whose blog post here, started it all. I did mine a little differently and she gave me her blessing to pitch this to Kelle. (Don't ask me how I feel about meeting a new friend who I have tons in common with, only to move a few months later!  BUT- she owns a home in CO Springs and the rumor is that she will be here in a few years!!) 

I am also grateful to my pattern testers; Sarah (who didn't email a picutre), Tina, and Rachel.  Here are their versions:

Here is Tina's version:

Here's Rachel's version:

And here's one of the three that I made for Kelle:

Check out the pillow tutorial here (where her pictures are much better!!) and please let me know if you decide to make one!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday: