Thursday, June 16, 2011

Almost There!

It seems as if we've been here, there, and everywhere this past week! Between driving my little girl to soccer practices and tournaments, as well as dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon appointments (Och! My sweet R. Has to have 8 baby teeth removed to make room for her permanent teeth...poor thing!) I've had little time to do anything else. But I did manage to get the Single Girl cot quilt top and back finished for my newest niece Brooke!

When my husband D. saw it he asked if it was for a baby because it was "very babyish" with the ducks and lambs etc. Humph! R. Is ten and is totally in love with it! Those husbands, I'll tell ya!

Now to find the time to get it quilted...

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fresh Sewing Day

Fresh Sewing Day

Thought I'd play along with the Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily Quilts and show what I was working on in May...where did the month go?

1. DSCN0637, 2. DSCN0631, 3. Not available, 4. FMQ on my Willow cushion, 5. Love Bird mini quilt for Gran, 6. Wild Imagination Mini QT for ~~alissa~~

Hmmm...let's hope I am more productive in June!

Happy quilting,

Oh Yes!

Have I mentioned how much fun I had making my Single Girl Mini Quilt with the Single Girl Support Group on Flickr??? Oh yes, probably at least a thousand times right ;D

It makes me really sad when I hear people say that they hate sewing their quilt tops, that they just like the finished product. For me, its all about the process.
I just love fussy cutting the fabrics, making the arcs, and sewing the curves for this pattern...sigh. I wonder how many more of these Single Girls I'll make? Fun, fun!

Earlier this spring I won a little giveaway over at Kerri's blog Lovely Little Handmades, which included a fat quarter of Rabbits Trellis and Lambs in Park from Laurie Wisbrun's Etsy Shop Scarlet Fig. Thanks Kerri! When I opened Kerri's package I was thrilled with the gorgeous colors of these fabrics! Poking around in my stash I found a couple of Ann Kelle and Saffron Craig prints that looked lovely paired with them and then I thought to myself, "Self, these would be so sweet made up as a Single Girl baby quilt for your soon-expected Niece Brooke!" Off to Kerri's Etsy Shop Sew Deerly Loved to find some more fabrics for the arcs and let's just say she has no shortage of inspiring fabrics and I ended up with more than I actually needed, ha ha. Using my Kona color chart (only the best thing ever!) I decided to go with PFD White for the background.

To pin or not to pin was the question with these curves...ultimately I ended up going with pinning. I must be odd (or a perfectionist, ha ha) because I actually enjoyed pinning these.

Quarter 1 of my rings are almost complete and don't they look sweet? Now I just need to get working on those other three quarters so that I might get this finished before Brooke's birth day. (Not likely since she should be arriving in the next couple of weeks, but a little motivation never hurts now does it?)

Happy quilting,

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finding My Style

I've officially been quilting for over a year now! I feel like I have struggled over the past year to define my quilting style, asking myself where exactly do I fit in? Finally I feel I have the answer to that, thanks to Sarah Fielke and a recent post on her blog, I guess I am considered a traditional quilter who likes to use modern fabrics. Yes, that description fits quite nice.

Material Obsession was the very first real quilting book I purchased and I fell head over heels in love with their quilting style and all of their quilts! As soon as Material Obsession 2 came out I just had to grab it and it is now my favorite quilting book. I dream of making each and every quilt in there...sigh!

Of course I've been following Sarah Fielke's blog The Last Piece and was thrilled to bits to find out she has released a new book "Quilting From Little Things" and had to order my copy from The Book Depository because it will not be released until August here in the US and I just couldn't wait until then ;D BTW it is FANTASTIC and filled with so many lovely and inspiring quilts!

And then I discovered she had a gorgeous quilt pattern in an Australian Quilters Companion special issue "Quilts From Precut Fabrics" (also a cute pattern from Kate Conlkin is in there) and I went on a desperate search to find and order one...disappointingly I was unable to find a retail source ~ drat! So how is it that I have one you ask? My sweet "Flickr Friend" Susan was kind enough to answer my plea (an email begging her really, ha ha) and she quickly ran and purchased a copy from her newsstand and mailed it off ASAP. In return I sent her a couple of magazines ~ swap fun! I am seriously drooling over half a dozen quilts in to find the time and energy (oh and lets not forget the $) to make a few of them up. My quilting cue is already bursting!

Oh and I mustn't forget the heat. My sewing loft is upstairs and it has been crazy hot here. What is a girl to do when one is not motivated to go upstairs and quilt in a sweat shop? Why try hand sewing blocks of course!

Here is a little sneak peek at a project I have been working on...

And I love this little tip ... cut a square of quilt batting and pin your pieces to it so you can roll it up and take it wherever you go. Genius right? You will find me lazily stitching away today in my nice cool bedroom, and the best part of the project is that it will be going with me to all of R.'s soccer practices and games, piano lessons, etc.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! And happy quilting too!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bird Brain?

Finished just in the nick of time, allow me to introduce you to this delightful mini quilt, "Love Bird", made with love for my Gran's birthday.

This sweet little birdie quilt (made by ruthiequilts) was my inspiration. As soon as I saw it I just knew my Gran would love it to pieces. The center block is a paper-pieced pattern from Paper Panache. It looks extremely difficult...admittedly I was a trifle intimidated...but in the end it was really NOT so hard as I imagined. I photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper (for ink jet printers) and it worked extremely well at holding all of those little pieces of fabric. Just make sure you check your block for accuracy (that is, to make sure all of the quadrants line up good and proper) before squaring it up, wink wink. Lesson learned!

That lovely pink fabric used both on the front as well as on the binding is Moda Grunge Basics in Duchess. I can't tell you just how gorgeous this fabric really is! All but one of the blues for the bird are from the Greenfield Hill collection from Denyse Schmidt. Those brightly fantastic greens are from Kaffe.

I absolutely love the Lecien Flower Sugar fabric I used on the just makes we want to get dressed up and have a tea party!

And a little sneak peek of what I will be free motion quilting over the next few weeks...

Oh look at that...more birds! I guess you could call me a bird brain, ha ha, or rather I'd prefer to say that I have birds on the brain! When I get around to finishing it, this lovely cushion will be for R's room. After showing her the four and a half hour BBC mini series "Emma" (Jane Austen) she is decidedly set upon redecorating her room "Emma style". She is sooooo my daughter ;D

Happy quilting,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wild Imagination

This bright and fun dresden plate mini quilt "Wild Imagination" is on its way to its new home in Australia. And yes, I joined another swap despite my promise not to, because I just couldn't pass up the Mini QT Swap April theme "Circles and Curves".

The great thing about this swap is that it is NOT a "blind swap" swap. It was super fun because you get paired with your partner in the beginning and you each get to create a mini quilt for the other and share sneak peeks.

After searching through my swap partner's "favorites" on flickr, I came up with my design idea, the Dresden plate, and chose these lovely fabrics. This photo was her first sneak peek.

I only recently discovered the fabulous line of Creative Grids rulers and had the Water Wheel House Quilt Shop order this Dresden ruler for me. The thing I love most about the Creative Grids line is the sticky little feet (or rather circles) on the bottom of the ruler that grip your fabric and prevent the ruler from slipping while you cut. When I cut the petals for this quilt I used the ruler, an 8" rotating cutting mat, a 28mm rotary cutter, and a charm square, and all 20 pieces were cut in a jiffy.

Shelley over at the Water Wheel House Quilt Shop is super sweet and helpful, and is happy to find, order, and ship any Creative Grids Ruler you'd like :D Ha ha, I had her searching for a ruler just from a photo in my favorite quilting book Material Obsession 2! Ok, I was really naughty and had her order me 5 other rulers too ~ yes, I love these rulers that much!

After choosing the rainbow spectrum of colors for my dresden plate, I simply followed the instructions that came with the ruler and voila my dresden was ready to be hand appliqued to the text background fabric! You could of course machine stitch them on instead. The instructions were super easy and I loved the technique they suggest for turning under your petal edges. You take a dull embroidery needle and sort of emboss the curve using the round ruler and you have a perfect little curved line to turn under.

I couldn't quite decide what to do with my flower center and spent several days playing around with ideas when I came across this lovely old dresden on Pinterest that was from a post on Design Sponge and thought the center was genius. I love how inspiration will find you if only you sit and think on it awhile :D My flower center was also hand appliqued and then I did a decorative blanket stitch around both center fabrics. That same floss was used to do a single line 1/4" around the petals on the background fabric.

And can you see that little decorative border of FMQ I did around the edge of the quilt? Probably you can't see it on the front ... it comes across as a nice texture though ... but you can definitely see it on the back. Some straight lines of quilting also were added to continue the line from each petal segment.

And to top it all off I added a double heart label that was fused raw edge to the quilt using Steam-a-seam 2. Again, I used a blanket stitch around both hearts.

I hope she loves this little cutie as much as me! Maybe someday I will get around to making myself one??? The petals for another one were cut when I made hers ... but the funny thing is, I don't think I'll need too, because from my sneak peek it looks like she made me a dresden too! Yippee! Its been shipped and should be here soon :D

Happy quilting,

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Single Girl is FINISHED

Remember this Single Girl Mini Quilt I started here and here? Well, this single Girl is FINISHED!

It is even hand quilted! So yummy! I used these tutorials here and here to get me started.

This quilt was marked using Golden Threads Quilting Paper and Quilt Pounce...I'll definitely be using this technique (video here)to mark my quilting patterns in the future. I used yellow Gutermann hand quilting thread (color 758), a John James Big Eye number 11 quilting needle (its really short and easy to rock back and forth), a leather thimble, and a 17" Q Snap frame (in place of a hoop).

It was a bit tough getting the hang of it at first, but after completing the first two sections I was able to feel pretty confident in my stitching. I love the texture that the hand quilting brings to this quilt. I think I am a bit addicted to the hand quilting actually ;D

For the back, I used my favorite Japanese fabric for the middle strip and found a beautiful tea stained muslin at my LQS to use for the top and bottom pieces. I love how the hand stitches are so subtle on the back!

Now I just need to get it hung up in our bedroom so it can be admired often :D

This is a really fun quilt little quilt to make and I in fact I do have a Single Girl baby quilt in the works (in some very different fabrics) for someone very special!

Happy quilting,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Rainbow Ocean!

I am so excited to share with you the "Rainbow Ocean" quilt I made for my longtime childhood friend Jen! She just had two precious twin girls and of course I had to make a quilt to celebrate their "birth"day!

The pattern is "Baby, I Do" by Cherry House Quilts and the fabrics are a mix of Ann Kelle and Kona cotton solids.

Now Jen is obsessed with all things sea related (we've been besties since I was 12 and we shared an apartment steps from the ocean when I was in college) and when I saw this Ann Kelle Urban Zoologie Whales in Garden fabric I thought it had Jen's name written all over it.

And how perfect is the "Baby, I DO" pattern with it's circles that look like ship portholes? I picked up this pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

I finished the quilt top a while ago but was lacking in inspiration on how to actually quilt it. I came across this post HERE over at "Film in the Fridge" and knew when I saw it that it would be perfect for this "Rainbow Ocean" quilt. I ended up marking every single line with a green fabric pencil before quilting ~ phew was that ever A LOT of work!

I wanted to go a little more simple on the back and ended up using this lovely Ann Kelle fabric from her Remix line, zigzag stripe in bright. Both Ann Kelle fabrics were purchased from Hawthorne Threads.

I love this very happy rainbow and "sunshine" (yellow) pieced backing ... as bright and sweet as Jen herself :D

Well I have to rush off to the post before it closes so I can send it on it's way to the sunny and warm California coast. Hope she loves it as much as I do!

Happy quilting,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who Would Have Thought?

Totally swooning over this fat quarter stack of batiks I put together last week. Who would have thought that I would be buying batiks? I know, right? Ha ha, in all of my swaps under "dislikes" I have ALWAYS listed batiks. Not my usual style, but these are soooo lovely!

A friend of mine has been working up a quilt using batiks and swears that they are fabulous to work with. She took me on a little trip to her LQS and I was amazed by all of the color/print varieties. I prefer the more subtle tone on tone prints rather than the loud and bright ones.

I just love LOVE love the pale shades of cream, blue, yellow, and gray ~ my favorite new color story. In fact, I am going to redecorate my house this summer and these are the colors I plan on designing around. This little stack will be a throw quilt for my living room. Oh and just a little side note -- my Husband is a fan of batiks so this one will be made especially for him :D

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caribbean Dreamin'

For Mary's month (March) of the Not Your Grandma's Quilting Bee, she chose to have us make her beach themed blocks and was inspired by this quilt below made by oh-cherry-sew. I love LOVE love this quilt!

Tiny Town quilt

Drawing is not my greatest strength, so I went on flickr to find some inspiration photos with simple lines that I could manage to draw. Being that it is still freezing (yes, literally) here in New England, I thought I'd do a little Caribbean dreamin' and this is what I found:

Beach house, Mexico 2008

Aren't the colors and lines of this house just FANTASTIC? Here is my very simple interpretation:

And I just adore this boat:

Carribean Boat

And here is what I created:

Mary sent us two 4.5" white center blocks and a few scraps of brightly colored batiks with Wonderunder fusible web attached. She simply asked us to make a raw edge fused beach cottage or any other beach themed design and then finish the block (using our own white fabric) to 12.5" using log cabin or any other style block we would like.

I used Kona PFD White and kept it very simple by adding white to the sides and then top and bottom. What a fantastic idea Mary! Sending out fabric for bees can be very costly and I didn't mind one bit adding some white from my stash to her blocks. I actually made the white blocks up before I added my fused fabrics.

There was no need to applique the fabrics to the block because she plans on quilting over the entire top, but I did do a little free motion drawing on my boat block in a light gray.

I have to say it is a little bitter sweet, as these are the last blocks I had to make for the Not Your Grandma's Quilting Bee! I am officially bee free ~ woohoo! Hmmm...I know I said I was done with bees, but I just might have to join one more to make one of these beach quilts! Ha ha, it is probably just a matter of time before I join another bee ;D

Happy quilting,


I HEART this mosaic bee block I made for Heather for the Not Your Grandma's Quilting Bee! This 13" improvised block was made using this Oh Fransson tutorial.

My little girl, R., totally flipped for the bright Riley Blake fabrics with the black sashing and really wants me to make her a pillow like it. We'll just have to see about took me hours to make this one little block. Sheesh! And let me just add that this block is a fabric hog, oink oink! I did have fun making it though :D

This April block if technically the last block for this bee, but I still have yet to make my March blocks...

Happy quilting,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Single Girl Mini Quilt Top

Sorry for the prolonged absence from this blog! We took a short trip to the West Coast to visit family and friends and we've had a rough time getting back on East Coast time and back to our regular routine. I did manage to get some quilting in this week though and I finally got around to piecing my "Single Girl" mini quilt top (pattern by Denyse Schmidt)!

Ha ha, this was the first picture I snapped yesterday when the sun popped us a very short visit as we were on our way out the door. I love how R. is holding the quilt top upside down and the Q1 sticky note is still on it ;D

I made this single block for the flickr "Single Girl Support Group" quilt along. Its not too late to join if you are interested.

The Japanese fabrics used (including the SCRUMPTIOUS lilac linen background with the most gorgeous iridescent sheen) are all from Superbuzzy.

This will be just a one block mini quilt to hang in my bedroom to coordinate with my Echino bed quilt. I had so much fun making this that I plan on making a 4 block baby quilt soon :D

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mod Girl Pinwheel Pillow

So last week R. asked me what I was making her for Valentine's Day this year and I quickly replied, "Well, its a secret!" Apparently because I made her and D. these fabric Valentine's last year, I have started a new tradition and MUST make her a Valentine's gift every year. I really did not plan on making her anything, but since I really didn't get around to making her anything for Christmas this year (guilty sigh here because last year I made her this sweet Waldorf Doll "Chloe"), I figured I better step up and get to sewing.

My first thought was that I might be able to whip out a small doll quilt to match the quilt I just made her (Drat! I should have saved her quilt for Valentine's Day, right?) but I wasn't going to be able to pull it off quickly enough, as these circle blocks take a while to complete.

Then I came across this fantastic pinwheel pillow tutorial over at Sew Mama Sew and knew I had to whip up one for R. in the leftover Sis Boom (Jennifer Paganelli) scraps from her Pinwheel quilt and Mason's quilt.

My friend and I usually get together once a week to craft while our kids play, so I sent her the link to see if she might want to make up the tops together. I can't tell you how much fun we had playing with fabrics and design options. She thought she might make one for her Grandson to match the quilt she just made him, and because he is only a year old she did not want to use a button as suggested in the tutorial, but came up with idea of using a yo-yo instead. BRILLIANT idea!

R. likes to sleep on her decorative pillows (and she has such cute pillowcases that we have made!) so I thought the yo-yo would be perfect for her pillow as well. This was my first time making a yo-yo and I have to say that I am addicted! Clover makes a little (actually, I used the "large" size) yo-yo maker that is easy and super fun to use. The yo-yo was glue basted to the pillow top and then stitched down using a blanket stitch (with two strands of white DMC floss).

The binding is another Sis Boom fabric that I had in my stash that R. loved, and I think it sets it off the appliqued pinwheel beautifully. The tutorial pillow does not have a binding, but I used three 2 1/4 inch strips of fabric to make it. As for the tutorial's machine applique technique using starch, it is truly GENIUS! I used my FMQ foot and some lovely variegated quilting thread in pink (King Tut thread) to do the machine applique.

And how fun is this pieced back? I used Kona snow along with two of the Sis Boom fabrics. I always make my envelope backs open to the side rather than the top to avoid the "droopy drawers" look. I used my zipper foot to machine stitch the 1/2 bias (not cut on the bias though) tape to both raw edges of the back. This pillow really needs a 20" pillow form to fill it out nicely, but I only had an 18" one on hand.

All in all, I am quite pleased with how this pillow turned out and R. is too! Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Right!

This sweet little quilt for R. is FINALLY finished and is just right to suit her personality...

a little bit of sweetness (girly)

a touch of tomboy (had to add blue, couldn't be too girly)

and a bit sassy (she insisted on that Zebra Print)

This actually started off as a quilt for my shop (someday I'll actually get around to making a few quilts for the shop!) and after I finished the pinwheels R. decided that it HAD to be for her. "You've been promising me a quilt since my Birthday last year (April) and you have made quilts for everybody else and not me!" Pouty expression and arms crossed, ha ha. So I let her take over on choosing the border, binding, and backing fabrics (It was so SO so hard to give up artistic control and let her choose...such a different direction than I was heading!!!) and I have to admit that this quilt really came out quite lovely and spunky, just like R ;D

The pattern is "Cowboy Baby" from the book "Material Obsession". The fabrics are from Sis Boom (Jennifer Paganelli), Tanya Whelan, Amy Bulter, and Joel Dewberry.

I ended up using this Quilter's Dream FABULOUS wool batting from Alewives Fabrics that I can't rave enough about! I quilted this using just a simple stipple and that little poofs created by the stippling on the wool were nice and fluffy. Also, the wool makes for a nice warm, but lightweight quilt. I'll definitely be using it for more quilts in the future.

Now R. is begging for a coordinating quilt for her doll bed, which will make for the perfect Valentine's Day gift!

PS - did you spy all of that SNOW???

Happy quilting,