I decided to join in the super fun sew along, Zakka 2.0 that is currently being run by Debbie over at A Quilter's Table and Lindsey over at LRstitched. The sew along is working through all of the projects in the book, Patchwork, Please! by Ayumi Takahashi. It started up this week, and is going through each project in the book, in order, one project per week. Before I start talking about this project, I just want to mention that I love this book. It is the first in a while that I literally love all the projects and honestly do want to make them all, OK, maybe with the exception of one or two, but even those are super cute, just not very functional for me personally. So needless to say, I am excited to get started with these projects!
This week, or first up are the Bell Pepper Coasters. I think they turned out precious, cute idea, great construction method, super easy and pretty quick. I turned these four out in an afternoon and honestly the hardest part was choosing the fabric. Ayumi's instructions called for 5.5" fabric scraps, but I easily fit these onto charm squares, which was great because I have a LOT of charm squares. I followed all of the instructions with the exception of one, the stem called for a piece of brown felt, which I had, but I wasn't in love with the color, so I opted for a stem of twill tape measure. I thought it was fitting, especially since they are fabric bell peppers.
I accidentally cut out one of the centers upside down, thus having to sew it on upside down also, but I think it looks just fine and you probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't said anything. Would you?
I don't think I will be making every project in the book, at least not in keeping with the sew along, the week for each project deadline is just too stressful for me, but I do plan to make a good bit of the projects and look forward to it. If you want to follow along, just click on the button below and it will bring you to the Flickr group where you can find so many awesome projects from the book made by others and you can find more information there too!
Whew....just in the nick of time, I finished it up. What started out as these simple 8.5" x 8.5" string blocks made entirely out of Heather Bailey fabrics, seen in the photo to the left. Twenty-two of these blocks were made by my Always Bee Learning Bee mates in the first round of this group, eight were made by yours truly. Were then transformed into the roughly 13" x 13" blocks below, still featuring Heather Bailey fabrics, but with Kona White added in there too for a bit of contrast. It was a lot of sewing and constructing of blocks, 30 in total. I didn't think I would meet my deadline, but in the end these blocks were constructed into a throw quilt, and now she is together and transformed into a pretty cheerful quilt, if I do say so myself! I love how she turned out. So bright, happy, random and yet structured, such a nice combination of things. It looks as good in person as it did in my head, and I just love when that happens.
This throw quilt measures 62" x 75" and is a great size, not too big, not too small. I did something a bit odd with this quilt, and constructed it a tad bit differently than I normally would. I sewed the finished blocks together with 3/8" seam allowance. I did this for several reasons. The main reason is that when you construct string blocks on paper as a foundation, like these were, when you tear off the paper, the edges of these blocks tend to get un-sewn a bit in spots. Some of these blocks had strings that didn't quite go all the way to the edge once they were trimmed either. Thus the 3/8" seam allowance fixed all these issues. Any raw edges were totally sewn in and encased, and any unraveling ends aren't really an issue anymore. This also explains why I left these blocks roughly 13" x 13", I was sorta (without any math involved) allowing for the extra seam allowance, which worked out great.
This was the type of quilt that as I was making the blocks I started dreading the process of sewing the blocks together in the end. All these strings, so many seam allowances and the fear of the bulkiness involved. Honestly, it wasn't bad, at all, in fact it went together so smoothly I was really surprised. I stitched all these blocks together, yesterday, in about 2 hours, maybe not even that long. I think that since the strings aren't supposed to match up, that the majority of the seams don't line up, thus the bulk I was so worried about, never really happened but in one or two places on the quilt. That was a nice surprise that I did not expect.
I have the backing fabric, so I just need to get it ready, baste and quilt this one. I am looking forward to quilting it, but am still unsure as to how I will quilt it. I think I will sketch things out, but I do know that I want to free motion quilt it, and hopefully I will be able to use my recently cleaned up and restored vintage Singer 15-91that I have set up and dedicated to free motion quilting. I have been dying to use this machine on a larger quilt, so I plan to quilt this one sooner than later! So exciting for us quilt nerds! HA!
This quilt top is my entry into the Festival of Strings over at Stitched in Color. Make sure to stop by and see all the other beautiful entries.
I know I have mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again, I belong to a Flickr group that swaps Postage Stamp Blocks. Well, I haven't posted pictures of my finished blocks. The first set of 10 above are for me to keep and add to the 10 or so I already have. I strip/chain pieced these blocks to save time and these 10 are actually duplicates of 10 that I sent to swap. The 20 blocks pictured below are the ones that I sent to FairlyMerry (the group leader and swap mama) in order for her to swap them with the other members and then send back 20 different blocks to me. After this swap is finished I am hoping to have enough to put my quilt top together, Excited to get this one laid out and finished up. I am really looking forward to seeing what this one will look like finished.
Oh, and before I forget to post this...I have a winner for the fabric bundle and book from Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day! Random.org picked number 198, which ended up being Michelle Smith! I have already contacted Michelle, and since she has already returned my response, giveaway day is officially over. Congratulations Michelle, enjoy your fabric and new book!
Laying out a quilt, of course, what were your thinking? Trash, that is what you were thinking! Shame, shame....
With the children tucked into their beds, I spent some time on the kitchen floor auditioning layouts. I think this one won! Hope to sew her up soon. This picture is terrible and does not show off the true beauty of these fabrics, but this quilt will be stunning, if I do say so myself.
P.S. To all you hard working, self sacrificing lovely mamas out there, Happy Mother's Day a tad bit early!
A while ago, maybe a month or so, Threadbias announced a contest designing a quilt pattern using Heather Ross' newest fabric line Briar Rose. I was interested, but then I read that you would have full access to their Quilt Design Tool in order to design the quilt. What? I'm so in! I had been dying to try out the full version, so this was the perfect opportunity.
I played around quite a bit, the program is really easy to use, I read no directions, watched no tutorials, just dove right in. So fun. If I ever get extra funds, I will so subscribe to this tool, it makes designing quilts so easy. After playing around for quite a while, I decided on my final design and you can see it here, below. I titled it Modern Portal and my description of it is as follows, "A simple geometric pattern that showcases the lovely feminine prints in this collection. Each "portal" focuses on the fabric design and can be appreciated on its own accord." I am quite happy with the final design, and truly hope to make this quilt on my own, maybe once I get a little more caught up on those Wips!
Oh and before I forget, the Quilt Design Tool calculates the amount of fabric that it will take to make the quilt that you design. This quilt which measures 60" x 75" will take roughly 4 yards of the white and 1/4 yard of all the other prints. How cool is that?
This is a contest, and voting is open now through Friday. If you are a member of Threadbias, you can vote. I would love for you to vote on mine, but even if you don't, please take a moment to check out the other entries. So many beautiful designs, so hard to pick one favorite for sure! You can go vote HERE, and remember, you have to be logged on, in order to vote.
Thank you to all the sponsors of this contest, it really was fun to play around with great digital prints from Heather Ross and to use the Quilt Design Tool at Threadbias.
Giveaway is Closed! Thanks to all who entered!
It is that time of year again, Sew, Mama Sew! Giveaway Day! Welcome to my blog and website and I do hope you like the giveaway I have lined up for you today!
This giveaway consists of two prizes! First up is a fat eighth bundle of the lovely Cut and Sew fabrics by Robert Kaufman. This bundle consists of 10 super cute prints that I think are so appropriate for the occasion! Every sewer needs some sewing themed fabrics, don't you think?
The second part of the giveaway is this great book, Inspired to Quilt by Melanie Testa. This book covers a variety of very interesting techniques and would be a great addition to your library, if you would so happen to win it!
How do you enter? It is easy, just leave me a comment, answering this question: "What is your favorite current television show?" Currently, I am loving Nashville, which is funny because I'm not really a fan of country music! If you would like a second entry, either be a current follower, or become a new follower of my blog via Bloglovin or your favorite reader, just leave a comment letting me know how you follow my blog!
This giveaway is open to US residents only, the cost to ship internationally is just too high, I'm sorry! The giveaway will close Friday, May 10, 2013 by 5 pm PST, and a winner will be picked via Random.org and announced by May 12, 2013. Please make sure to leave your email address, so that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner! Thank you for visiting and have fun blog hoping during this Giveaway week!
I'm down to just one quilting bee presently, which is good for now, taking a break, finishing up projects of my own. The problem is I forget to show what blocks I have made! That being said, here are the blocks that I made for February and March.
If you haven't seen this type of block, where have you been hiding? The Scrappy Trip Around the World, tutorial found HERE was all the rage late last year in the online quilting community. Though I didn't participate when everyone was making these quilts, I can now say that I have made the blocks, and I do enjoy them, a very clever method of constructing a quilt block. These blocks were constructed a tad differently with 3" strips instead of 2.5", so the finished size is much larger. These are for Hettie K in Always Bee Learning and were shipped off to her quite some time ago. I certainly love all that Anna Maria Horner fabric!
The month of March ended up being an "open" month and Leanne over at She Can Quilt graciously volunteered to put together a donation quilt for Siblings Together. She chose the Octagonal Orb Block, tutorial found HERE. I can honestly say that pictures do not do these blocks justice. They are stunning and large, and roughly measure 17"x17." They might look complicated, but really aren't, though I will say time consuming. I decided to make two and about halfway through thought, "What in the world have I gotten myself into?" Though I will say that when I sewed that last seam and those centers came together so perfectly, I was darn proud of myself. It doesn't take much to make me happy, obviously. I know I say it a lot, but I can not wait to see what Leanne does with these gorgeous blocks, and I sure hope she likes them too!
The first quarter of the year has come and gone. Where does the time go, I know you feel it too! With a new quarter comes a new list of goals. I only finished one of my listed goals last quarter, you can see it HERE. Though in self defense, I finished and started a ton of things. I actually feel quite accomplished, so no worries about just one finish, this quarter will be more productive towards the list, I can feel it! So here it is...
Finish-A-Long Quarter Two Goals (Month by Month):
1. April - Cosmic Burst Quilt, I don't have any new pictures because I don't want to take away the surprise, but this one is already quilted and just awaiting binding. It should be my first finish. This quilt was carried over from the first quarter, I could have rushed to finish in time, but decided not to stress and just finish it in my own time.
2. April - Two pair of Goodnight, Sweetheart Pajamas from the "Sewing for Boys" book. I did make a tad bit of progress and have the two pair of pajamas cut out and ready to sew. I hope to finish these in conjunction with Kids Clothes Week Spring (April 22-29.) These pajamas are the last thing I will carry over from the first quarter.
3. April - String Blocks! Rachel at Stitched in Color is currently hosting a String Fever Event, so these blocks moved up on my list. You just have to have a finished quilt top, so really that is all I am aiming for, but having it totally finished would be great! I have a plan for these and am excited to get it laid out. These blocks were from a bee and have been dragging around for about two years. Crazy!
4. May - Wonky star blocks from a bee that I was in last year, these haven't been hanging around that long but the quilt will be for a special someone later this year, so I really want to get it done ahead of time. I am possibly thinking of turning these on point and maybe adding in some larger wonky stars, I guess we shall see.
5. May - Bloom Bloom Pow, a quilt I started last quarter, this quilt-along wraps up in May, so I would like to finish on the same time schedule. Right now I am currently piecing this one! I love all that Flea Market Fancy Legacy!
6. May - Strings Christmas Quilt, yes, I have two uncompleted string quilts. I may try and get the top done on this one to enter into Stitched in Color's contest. This is my big "maybe" project, but at least if I can get the top done, then I can just quilt it around Christmas time. I only have 12 blocks finished, so unfortunately I think I have a lot more work to do with this one. The odds of this one getting "finished" this quarter are slim to none, but heck, why not throw it in there.
7. June - Y Seams Quilt, this is another Christmas present later this year, I have 12 completed blocks from a bee round last year. This will be a throw quilt. I am still debating as to if I will make more blocks or add in solid hexagons in between. Who knows? I can't wait to see how it will materialize, I love these blocks so much.
8. June - Dancing Stars Table Runner, started in January, I currently have 6 blocks done (I think?) and need to have 14 total. I can only tolerate paper piecing in small doses, so a few blocks each month, hopefully by June I can wrap this one up. All the fabric is cut out, just have to piece it.
9. June - Oh these postage stamp blocks have been hanging around for a while, and recently I found another Flickr swap, swapping more of these blocks, so I joined in and just finished up making 30 more. 20 to swap and 10 to keep. Currently I have 20 blocks and after the swap I should have 40, which I believe will be enough to put this quilt together. This one is last on my list because I'm not sure when the swap will wrap up and blocks will be received, but if I can, I would love to finish it this quarter!
I know this list is totally ambitious and maybe not possible, for me anyway, but it feels good to put them all out there and see what I can actually get done!
Linking up with the following motivators:
I decided to join the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along hosted by Freshly Pieced. As soon as I saw the pattern I knew I wanted to make that quilt! I also knew that I wanted to use fabric totally from my stash. So I started digging and stumbled across some hoarded Flea Market Fancy Legacy by Denyse Schmidt. Oh I love the colors in this collection. I also added two prints that aren't from that collection, but ones that I love and match, I figured, why not? So I pulled out the stack, set it aside and waited for the first post about design strategy.
Once Lee had posted the first step about design, which primarily took advantage of light, medium and dark fabrics, I realized that wasn't exactly going to work for me. This line of fabrics is primarily mediums with some slightly darker prints, but nothing stood out as light. So then I started rethinking things. Determined to use this fabric, I decided to stick with it for the main petals, and for the lighter background part of the petal, I decided to use solids, and in most of the cases solids that were slightly lighter. I know going into it that the quilt won't exactly have the same effect, but I am hoping that it will create its own unique take on the pattern.
This past week, Lee posted the cutting instructions, so I took the time this weekend to cut it all out! Oh my, it took way longer than I thought it would, but I am happy to say that I am done and ready for the next post this Thursday! This is the first time participating in a quilt-along that I have actually been keeping up each week, which is really fun and I'm really excited to start piecing this week!
I also did something that is rare for me, I thought ahead to the backing fabric and when one of the online stores recently marked down fabrics to $3.00 a yard, I ordered enough of the above print (praying that it matched) for the backing! I am happy to say that it does match and I really think it is a beautiful print. One of those that looks so much prettier in person than on the screen.
Anyone else quilting-along?
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog post by Rachel of Stitched in Color announcing a contest using the fabric Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt. The contest was to use at least one print from the collection and make anything you want. I took a look at the fabrics, which by the way is a beautiful collection, and chose a print that would easily work for my little baby boy, who isn't really a baby anymore, but rather a big ole' toddler. Once I ordered and received the fabric, I went to our local fabric store and found a nice linen and a zipper that coordinated beautifully.
I had a pattern in mind the whole time, one that I have owned for a few years and never used, Simplicity 2264. Opposite to many in blog land, I am actually a big fan of the major name pattern companies. I learned and grew up using them, so I never have had a problem with them in general, with the exception of a few over the years, heck, everyone makes mistakes. Too bad this was one of them. Nothing was wrong with the pattern itself, but rather the instructions or manner in which they wanted you to construct this fairly straight forward baby romper. My main complaint being that in the pattern instructions, they had the ends of the zipper tape totally exposed in the back neckline. Who wants their precious baby to have those darn rough tape ends rubbing on the back of their neck? Not me! Thankfully, I have enough sewing experience to know how to remedy that and rather enclosed the zipper tape ends into the bias tape binding that you can see in the above photo. I wasn't too happy with that treatment either, and would have preferred regular facings, so next time I will probably do that instead. The zipper installation was odd, doable, but odd, and the leg band installation was far from perfect too, not my fault, but rather the weird instructions. Even with the faulty instructions, you can totally make a great little romper with the pattern, I just think the pattern could have been written better and with a baby in mind.
I do think in the end that it turned out pretty precious, and my older son referred to it as a "gentle dandy outfit, that he did not want to wear." Obviously I found this hysterical. I love the little details of this romper and instead of doing an applique (like the pattern called for) on the front pocket, I used three little simple buttons. It has a long zipper in the back for easy dressing and snap tape in the crotch for easy access diaper changing. This was my first time using snap tape, and I will admit it was pretty wonderful. I might be a convert. It is rather expensive, but I used my JoAnn coupon and got 50% off, so then it was more reasonably priced. It was so nice and easy to just stitch on those snaps rather than installing them all afterwards with a hammer.
I had every intention of this little outfit being for my son to wear on Easter day, but alas it was way too unseasonably chilly, so instead I am saving it for him to wear this summer. I can't wait to see him running around in it! It is a little large, but I am happy that he will get quite a bit of use out of it during the year.
This is my entry into the Shelburne Falls Contest hosted by Stitched in Color. Go visit the entry page and you will see quite a few beautiful projects!
A feisty mom designing, sewing and blogging her way through everyday life!