Monday, June 20, 2016

Pillow challenge - take 2

The Seattle MQG is in the midst of a pillow-making challenge right now that I organized with Me+You/Hoffman fabric. I love their modern Indah batiks and wanted to give our guild the chance to play with them. Me+You was super generous in sending over tons of bundles for us to pass out to interested members, who are then to make a pillow cover with Me+You fabrics and any other Hoffman fabrics they want to add. They are going to be displayed at the Pacific Fabrics Northgate store for about a month starting July 15th.

I had a few ideas for what I'd like to make but finally decided on using the Meridian quilt pattern by Alison Glass and Jessica Beaudet. This is one of many patterns I have that I would love to make but have not found the time yet. All those curves are a little daunting as well so a pillow is the perfect place to start.

I cut up the provided fabric along with a few others (so happy I won some of their solids at Quiltcon!) to make 4 blocks from the pattern. I was not loving my creation. My 4 blocks didn't really look right to me but I could not figure out exactly what needed changing. I think they would be fine if I was making a whole quilt and all of the colors were incorporated into other parts of the quilt but not so much for just the 4 sections alone.

Yesterday, I cut pieces for 4 more blocks from a different section of the quilt pattern. I planned it out a little better this time and I think I like it better. Now I've just got to find some time to sew it together in the next few days and finish this pillow up! Although looking at it here, I may need to change out a piece or two before sewing. We shall see.

However it ends up, this has convinced me that I DO need to make a full quilt of this pattern. It shall be added to the never-ending to do list. Also, the original block (above, with the green) is now growing on me. Maybe it will be a 2 sided pillow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of poppies

I was delighted when Amanda Herring asked me to join in on the Desert Bloom blog tour for her newest line with Riley Blake. She has made so many great fabric collections and this one had some prints I was seriously crushing on.

Desert Bloom is inspired by Amanda's love of Utah, a state I'd like to visit sometime, and she even sent along a sweet little Utah care package. Did you see the amazing cookies she had commissioned to match the fabric? Adorable!

The blues in this line are my favorite so I really wanted to make something to take advantage of those. I've been playing around with designing some paper piecing patterns in EQ7 and decided some clouds and rain might be cool. Even the Utah desert needs a little rain sometimes, right?

The clouds are 10 x 20" and were fairly quick to piece despite the amount of tiny sections. I may have to work on that... The rain blocks are also 10 x 20". How perfect are those geometric stripes for rain? I love them.

I kept the quilting pretty simple with horizontal waves for wind, vertical curvy lines on the rain, and some cloud-like echoes in the clouds. I was able to use the longarm at my local store, Sewing Machine Service, which made it go super quick and easy!

I couldn't leave out the red prints altogether and what better for the back of the quilt than a whole field of poppies that have been well watered with all of this rain? My friend Kenzie approves.

The quilt finishes at 60 x 70", a great size for snuggling on the couch. Just as soon as this ridiculously hot Seattle weather passes, that is!

Be sure to check out all of the other stops on the tour. There has been some great stuff so far with even more to come.

6/6 - Fabric Mutt
6/8 - Allison Sews

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewtopia Virtual Challenge

I really love a good quilt finish, don't you? A few months ago I signed up to participate in the Sewtopia Virtual Challenge. They would send us some Me & You fabrics and we were to make something with them. The prizes are pretty great and I seem to work better with good motivation (and a due date!) so of course I was in. Not to mention I was already building up a stash of these beauties on my own.

I decided pretty quickly that these would make a cool Chaos quilt. I had just taken a class with Libs Elliott through Seattle MQG and loved her method that allows you to make up your own pattern with her technique. You should definitely take the class from her if you get a chance.

The black and white prints wanted a little pop of color so the yellow print was added in, along with the yellow and white solids and a little more of the arrow print. It was a bit overwhelming trying to plan out where the different prints would go on my coloring page so I made the blocks completely at random fabric-wise. I knew how many I needed of each different block and that was it. Thankfully I had access to a design wall to tweak the layout here and there when the blocks were done.

All of the quilting was done free motion on my Juki TL-98Q, even though it's mostly straight(ish) lines. I like the organic nature of the not-quite-perfect nature of the quiltingin lines compared to the fine points and crisp angles of the piecing. I even threw in a few spots of curved quilting to keep your eyes moving around the quilt.

A cool quilt of course needs cool binding and what better way than extend the yellow parts out into the binding. I used Debbie / A Quilter's Table tutorial and am mostly happy with how it came out. Those angles are tough to match up in just the right spot! I'd like to say they got easier with each angle done but let's be real - they did not. I think the whole quilt turned out pretty great though!

Now for what to name it.... let me know if you have any suggestions. Naming quilts is not my forte.

Stats for me:
Fabric: all Hoffman Me + You Indah batiks and solids
Batting: Hobbs 100% cotton
Quilting: FMQ Superior Magnifico top and bobbin, 90 topstitch needle
Size: 36.5 x 42.5"

This one was also on my finish along goal list for the quarter so yay me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rainbow Mini Swap

I think it's about time I share a little about this project that I completed back in March for the Rainbow Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram. I've done many swaps but this was my first official rainbow swap. It was so fun! Definitely check that hashtag for a ton of rainbow inspiration.

I started by pulling a bunch of pretty fabrics to cover a wide range of the rainbow. I wanted at least a few for each color and I ended up with 21 different fabrics! My partner Joanna was more a fan of prints than solids so I wanted to pull fabrics I thought she would be happy with. I went with a low volume fabric for the background, again for my partner's preference for prints over solids.

After seeing Jenn Rossotti's beautiful Ephemera quilt, I knew I wanted to try something similar but feared I might pull all my hair out with all those tiny curves so I went with bias binding strips instead. I made both 1/2" and 3/8" finished single-fold bias of each fabric. I drew out a 4" clamshell template to trace onto the background with frixion pens. This is the same method I used for my Valentine's swap.

Now for the hard part - getting that bias tape where I wanted it and making it lay flat. Much easier said than done. I laid it out as best as I could, stretching the outer curve while trying not to stretch the inner curve at all. I stitched down the inner curve first and that seemed to help a little with the outer. I think the pins worked a little better than the glue I used last time.

However, once I had sewn on all of the strips, I was disappointed to see that the background was now super wavy.

Pressing it helped a little but it still was not flat. Time to quilt it and hope for the best!

It worked! All quilted and now nice and flat. I started in the center and held the top taut while quilting each little section. It was fun using the clamshell shape as a starting point for all kinds of different quilting motifs.

I had fun playing around with the background space at the top too, giving it some clouds and windy swirls for this rainbow in the sky.

Knowing this mini would likely never be washed, I printed a fun label with my inkjet printer.

I ended up with extra strips of all the fabrics and I wanted to do something fun with those too. A pouch it is!

Add in some fun rainbow extras (and a few Quiltcon goodies since she was not able to attend) and off it went.

I was totally AMAZED to get this beauty in my mailbox a few days later. It is so gorgeous!! Jennifer designed this Seattle skyline herself and I could not be happier. The design, the fabrics, and totally fantastic graffiti quilting. It is perfect and was promptly hung above my machine. She also paper pieced a super cute matching butterfly mini mini quilt and included some thoughtful extras.

I would definitely recommend you join in this swap the next time it opens up.

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oakshott Lipari blog hop

Welcome to the first stop on this month's blog hop to show off Oakshott's newest line of gorgeous shot cottons, Lipari. I'm so happy that Lynne and Michael let me join in! These colors - oh my goodness - they are so rich and yummy. I had the hardest time deciding which was my favorite. I have this thing where too many choices are a bad thing. So I'll just take a yard of everything! I finally decided on Salina for my main color.

Lipari is made up of 18 colors woven with black thread on the warp and a color on the weft. It makes them shimmery and iridescent. You can see close-ups of each on the Oakshott site  and find out more about the inspiration for this collection here.

These fabrics definitely have a shimmer that makes them look different when they are turned different ways. If you're having trouble figuring out which color is which (the differences in some are very subtle!) here's a trick I learned - the bundle picture above shows them top to bottom in the same order as you'll find them here.

All the heart eyes for those weft colors!
I expect that you'll see some pretty wonderful quilts over the next few weeks from some amazing quilters. I love making quilts too but when Lynne mentioned the 54" width of fabric, the first thing that came to mind was apparel. It just so happens that we're getting in the swing of Me Made May right now too so, a Washi dress it is!

I've been wanting to try a woven Washi with a patchwork band around the hem and this was the perfect opportunity. I drafted this outlined plus block and went to town.

Maybe you'd like to make something similar? Here's how I did it.

Start with a pattern you've already adjusted and fitted if needed. There's nothing worse than wasting time and good fabric on a garment that does not fit you when you're done! Prewash your fabric while you're at it so there will not be any shrinkage surprises. When I prewash my wovens I like to serge the edges beforehand to keep them from fraying in the wash.

Now measure the width of your hem, remembering to double the measurement for anything cut on the fold. My dress hem length was 32" in the back and 36" in the front. My block finishes at 4.5" and I'll be adding some sashing so I divided the measurements by 6" to calculate how many blocks to make (11 total). It doesn't have to be exact as we will square up the pattern later.

Make your blocks. Take advantage of strip piecing where you can. Measurements can be printed out from here. I was able to make all 11 blocks with 2 fat eighths and some of the main fabric for background but you could also mix and match the colors.

On each seam, I went back and stitched a second line in the seam allowance to make sure there would not be any unwanted fraying. Zig-zag stitching would also work but I'm using my straight-stitch-only Juki. Once you have all your blocks, sew them into strips for the back and front, adding 2" x 5" sashing pieces between each block and on the ends of the rows.

Next up, cut your dress pattern pieces from your main fabric. On both the front and back, cut it 8" shorter than you normally would. I simply folded that part of my pattern up out of the way so I would not need to cut and tape it back together.

Cut 4 more pieces from your main fabric - 2 that are 5" by length of your patchwork sections and 2 that are 4" by just a little longer than the patchwork sections.

Lay out the folded front pattern piece with the patchwork strip (folded in half) below it and the additional 5" plain strip below that. We're going to sandwich the seam so the raw patchwork edges will be enclosed all the way around.

Matching the center of the dress to the center of the patchwork, pin them right sides together. Pin the plain strip to the wrong side of the dress piece. So your sandwich is: plain piece right side up, dress piece right side up, patchwork piece wrong side up.

Sew these together, adding a second seam as before. Press the patchwork and the plain piece away from the dress, hiding all of those pesky raw edges.

Pin the 4" strip right sides together with the patchwork section. Make sure you're also catching the plain strip in this seam so as to completely hide all patchwork raw edges on the inside of the dress. Sew or serge - this seam will be exposed on the inside of the dress so you'll want to finish it with a zig zag stitch if you don't have a serger. Press the strip down away from the patchwork. The thickness of it will naturally go that way anyhow. Your front dress piece is complete, you just need to even up the sides to where they should be.

Carefully fold the front dress piece in half and get your pattern piece back out. Line the pattern up carefully with the part you've already cut out and then go ahead and finish cutting the along the pattern.

Repeat these same steps for the back of the dress.

Finish sewing the dress and hem as you usually would. Voila! I love the way the Oakshott gives the dress a little body in the way it drapes.

Whew, you made it to the end! You still with me?

Make sure to visit all of the other stops on the tour - I am definitely looking forward to seeing what they've made! Until then, I'll just be twirling around in my pretty new dress.

5 May     Allison Dutton       that's me!
10 May   Nicholas Ball 
12 May   Helen Purvis
17 May   Lynn Harris  
24 May   Jessica Skultety 
26 May   Karin Jordan 
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan
2 June     Kitty Wilkin 

I almost forgot - this was also on my finish along list for the quarter. Oakshott dress: check!
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