Monday, September 29, 2014

Craft Book Month: Dresden Flower Tote

This project, the Dresden Flower Tote, is made by following the pattern in the book Quilt Color Workshop by the Fat Quarterly team.  This project caught my eye because of the clever fabric choices and the dresden plate (of course).  

It was fun to find similar fabrics in my stash to make this project a lot like the book version.  I rushed through making this though- next time I'd like to try a totally different color scheme.

Applque is definitely not my strongest sewing skill, I considered omitting the petals all together.  I am glad I persisted but I know I need more practice with the technique.

The pattern is written very clearly but I did find one mistake: when the directions refer to the measurements of the interfacing for the handles, it changes from 1.25" to 1.5", I went with the latter.  I wish they had just given a template for the flower center and petals- drawing my own wasn't ideal.

There are other projects in Quilt Color Workshop I would like to try- I think it is a great book to have in one's library.  I tend to be pretty picky about what books I own- I don't just buy books for "inspiration" - it's got to have at least 2-3 projects I plan to do.

Check out the other linkups for September Craft Book Month at Craftbuds.

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Just Keep Sewing

My parents are here and we are having a lovely time enjoying some touristy places in Colorado together.  We made it to the top of Pike's Peak (via the Cog Railway) and visited the zoo.

The girls and boys went their separate ways over the weekend and I ended up in Ft. Collins to visit my sister.  I was able to reserve the rental of a longarm at the last minute and quilted my Halloween quilt:

I basted my Jacob's Ladder quilt in preparation for some serious hand stitching:

I am thrilled with these affordable beauties I spied at Joann's after feeling frustrated at the very dull choices they had with the solid Perl Cottons:

We're all pooped from so much traveling and late nights- I have also been able to work on a project for the Craft Book Month over at Craftbuds.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Red Letter Day Halloween Blocks

Thanks to everyone who chimed in about my first RLD block disaster.  It was helpful to have friends pinpoint what went wrong with it and what to avoid.  Thank you!  I decided to throw that crazy block into the scrap pile and I am not looking back.

In only one week, I have managed to make all nine blocks.  I have pulled some late nights recently to get these all done, as an opportunity to rent a longarm has come up for this weekend.  Here's a (poor) picture of eight of them together on my design wall:

This one is my favorite:

These cats kill me (an old Alexander Henry print):

I am making this post brief today- my parents are flying into Denver as I write this and there is a lot to do in preparation for their visit.  I am so excited!  Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Few Finishes and Purge Finale

My giant star quilt is quilted and bound.  Everything came from my stash, although I did have to buy some yellow thread and batting to finish her up.  

The focal fabrics on the front are souvenirs from my time volunteering in Uganda.  I have so much precious fabric from that trip and I had originally planned to make this quilt really scrappy with lots of different African prints- but I am so glad I went simple.

I am planning to give this quilt as a surprise to two of my favorite people we met in Uganda: Joann and Mark Forbes.  They were an LDS missionary couple we met there and sharing our African experience and volunteer work together was a true sanity saver.  I haven't seen them since we left Uganda- but I love and miss them a lot.  Joann is also a quilter, so I know she will be excited to receive this.

I have to admit that I really rushed through quilting this and it's probably not my best work.  At 64" square, it is about as big as I want to go on my domestic machine.  I know that renting a longarm has surely spoiled me.

I bound the quilt in an older Peacock Lane print:

This was the first "Purge" project I did this past summer: I used pieces of blue fabrics that have been languishing in my stash for years for the backing.  Basting it felt a little more tricky than if I had only had two pieces for the back, but I know it was worth it and it saved me some money.

Finally, as my final "purge" project, I made some pillowcases for the 1 million pillowcase challenge.  I dug into my girly novelty fabrics that are hard to use as well as some "scaley" multicolored fabrics that is as old as my 8 year marriage.  This project was fast and fun and helped me make peace with my serger- it seems to periodically become un-threaded in one place or another- is that normal?

All told, I used up about 17 yards of fabric through participating in Stitched in Color's Purge.  This blog activity was right up my alley: I do a decent job of getting rid of fabrics I truly don't like and know I won't ever use - but I hang onto a lot of fabric that is nice quality and usable - it's just not my favorite or easy to use.

Thanks for reading.  Linking up to Stitched in Color and Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Red Letter Day Halloween Quilt

I am not a huge collector of novelty Halloween fabrics but over time, I have acquired quite a few favorites.  My son is nuts about Halloween- he was born in October and it really just seems to be in his blood.  So I decided it's definitely time to make a fun kids Halloween quilt we'll see if it actually gets done in time for the holiday this year.

Even though I had plenty of fabric to get started, I went ahead and ordered some Halloween Parade from my BMQG friend, Hema.  She waited till after I moved from Massachusetts to start selling fabric online!  The nerve.  Thankfully- receiving it in the mail is almost as fun as getting it from her in person.  (A little bundle of Jungle Ave slipped into my order too- LOVE it!).

Anyway, I am seriously in love with this Halloween Swoon quilt by Amanda at Hey Porkchop.  It has juvenile fabrics but it is designed in such a stunning and "mature" way.  Inspired by that beauty, I am trying to make a Halloween quilt with another Thimble Blossoms pattern: Red Letter Day.    

Monday morning- I was just floored by one of the Sewvivor entries for the Hexie challenge.  I love her use of a unique color combination: teal, olive green, and black- but I especially love that she used all prints (no solids) to make something so unique.  

I decided to try to make a Red Letter Day block with only prints - I debated combinations of fabrics for over an hour- it was annoying!  I finally just went for it, but after all of that effort, it looks like a hot mess to me:

I think the picture makes it look better in person but it's way too busy, right?!  I feel sad that such good/cute fabrics may be wasted (I am still debating with myself if I can salvage any of it for this project) but I keep trying to tell myself that it's good to experiment and the wasted fabric is minimal in amount and cost.

So I decided to try again, using a neutral along with two prints.  What do you think?  I feel like it's world's better than my first attempt:

I would seriously love any opinions!  Thanks in advance.  Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Bedtime Story Pajamas

The p.j.'s are completed with a little blood, sweat, and tears.  This pattern could be completed by a grade schooler- but my problem was my inexperience with my serger.  I accidently cut a nice sized hole in an armpit of the shirt in an effort to finish the seam.  I ended up patching it with a scrap and some Wonder Under.  Not cool.  I was already feeling less than enthused because the thread was really loose and playing with the tension dials wasn't fixing it.

I am going to take a break from clothing and finish up my Giant Star quilt before I attempt to use my serger again.

The pajama top is really big on Charlotte but the pants fit a little better.  My 2.5 year old is tall for her age but isn't truly a 3T yet.

At least she likes the pajamas- she threw a fit when she couldn't wear them the other night when they weren't yet finished.  She doesn't know or care about the patched up armpit- so I still call this project a "win," despite the mishap.

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

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Sew Together Bag

Labor Day weekend was such fun!  We squeezed in the Denver aquarium, a visit to some family, a hot air balloon festival, and a hike in the mountains.  Somehow- I still squeezed in a little sewing with friends.  On Friday night, a few people got together to make Sew Together Bags.  I am sure you are familiar with the ubiquitous pattern.  

I have to admit that I really wasn't sure what cut pieces would become what part of the bag, so I decided to go simple and stayed with a simple color pallette:

Patience is required for making this bag but it really feels worth it.  It's such a unique and clever design!  I also think it makes a great gift and I am still debating who to give this to.  It may be set aside for someone special at Christmas.

I keep meaning to blog about my severe obsession with this notion: Wash Away Wonder Tape.  It has completely erased all of my fears about zippers.  I use it instead of pins to keep my zippers in place and it works perfectly.  I have noticed that my zipper foot has become a little gummed up- but it all came off easily.  This stuff costs about 3.49 when notions are 50% off at Joann's.  You can also find the same thing in different packaging in the quilting section of a craft supply store- it's supposed to help with applique I guess.  If you are afraid of zippers- I really urge you to try this stuff out.

Now I am off to make more bags- stay tuned!  Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.