Thursday, February 1, 2018

A bright & happy garden

Spring is coming (well, it will be in a few months) and that has me thinking of bright, happy flower gardens. For this month, the Emerge circle of Do. Good Stitches will be creating a happy little garden quilt of our own.

I've always loved Cori's Bloomin' Quilt As You Go tutorial and even made a pillow with this method once or twice. My scrap bins are overflowing and these are a great way to use up some of them.

For our blocks this month, please use Cori's method (minus the QAYG part) to each make (2) 12.5" blocks. Each block should be a monochromatic bloom in any color you might find flowers in your garden. If you'd like to include a smidge of greenery in a corner or two, that's fine too. It will look like little bits of leaves peeking through.

Start each block with a 13" square of muslin. I tried to use the wrong side a quilting fabric I don't care for but it was showing through the yellow fabric, so muslin it was. I pulled fabric from my bins and laid them out somewhat in order of saturation, started with the lightest in the center of the square. All flowers are different - you could certainly start with the darkest in the center if you prefer. If you'd like to work from stash instead of scraps, cut 1.5-3" wide strips of various fabrics.

Please trim off as much of the excess as possible after attaching each piece so that it will be easy to quilt once fully assembled. I snipped a few little holes in the muslin when trimming excess pieces but that's fine - it's just the base to sew to. Continue adding strips around the bloom and try to vary the angles a little each round.

Once you've covered all the muslin, go ahead and trim to 12.5" or send to me and I can trim as I assemble. I made a time-lapse of sewing the pink flower if you'd like to see it here.

Again, do not use batting or do any of the quilting. I'll piece the whole top and then quilt it as one. This should be a nice and cheery quilt when we're all done!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SWAK quilt

Welcome to my stop on the Piece and Quilt with Precuts blog hop! There have been some pretty great quilts so far and a ton more coming. I was delighted that Christa asked me to join. Have you seen her new book yet? I highly recommend you get yourself a copy ASAP so you can make all of these quilts too! Stay tuned, there just might be a copy up for grabs at the end of this post.

All of the quilts in the book use precuts from charm packs up to fat quarters. As is turns out, I have fat quarters coming out my ears and the SWAK quilt was a great way to show off a few! I picked a bundle of Joel Dewberry's Wander to work with - choosing the prints that would best contrast from both of my background fabrics.

There were still quite a few prints left in the bundle so I used a few to make a scrappy binding and a few more to coordinate the back with the front. This pattern uses only 7 fat quarters to make all those X and O blocks which leaves me with more than enough to make a second quilt. That might be kind of neat - two of the same quilt with different colorways.

Christa has this quilt in the walking foot quilting section of the book but you know me, FMQ is my BFF, so I broke the rules and changed it up. I flipped through other sections of this book and The Ultimate Guide to Free Motion Quilting to get some ideas. In the end, I kept it simple but interesting by densely quilting back and forth in the background sections to flatten those and let the prints pop out a bit. Then the prints got a loose figure eight for a little texture and that was it. I posted a short FMQ video on Instagram if you'd like to see and a time lapse FMQ video as well.

Would you like to try making SWAK or one of the other quilts in the book? Leave me a comment about your favorite - or scariest! - part of free motion quilting. I'll draw a random winner at the end of the hop to win an e-copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts. **Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you. And for those of you with scary tales to tell below, my advice is to practice, practice, practice!

Be sure to visit Sherry and Michelle to check out their SWAK quilts today and definitely hit up Christa's blog to keep up with the entire hop, win prizes galore (no seriously, so. many. prizes.), and purchase a signed copy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The summer of Helena

Growing up, my mom made tons of matching dresses for my sisters and me - and we loved wearing them! She said she did it because it was cheaper than buying dresses but I think she actually made them so she could use the fabrics and trims she liked.

As an adult who sews now, I love sewing little girl dresses too. Let me tell you, they are SO MUCH easier than adult dresses - you don't have to worry about fitting curves or darts. Lately I've been following along with all of the adorable patterns put out by Simple Life Pattern Co. So much so that I've been making quite a few of their Helena dress lately! The first two were for my niece, the third for a friend. And then the fourth for the niece again but somehow I did not get a picture yet.

When you are turning 6 years old and your favorite color is purple, everything must be purple! I love making dresses for my little niece and though I love purple as well, I had a harder time finding bigger pieces in my stash to use for dresses. Luckily it all worked out.

This first version uses an Art Gallery print by Frances Newcombe and went very will with a pink and blue crossweave linen I had on hand. The niece was particularly fond of the buttons down the back. I, on the other hand, am a little concerned they might poke her when she sits down. Time will tell I suppose. She's very tall for her age so I made a bigger size - it's a bit too big for her now but will fit her for awhile.

The bodice on the second dress gave me a little trouble. I started by using a rayon spandex for the bodice and it was difficult to work with but I made it through. I was really unhappy with the waviness of the waist seam so I threw it in the wash to see if it would go back to it's original shape. It did not. The washing also highlighted a few tiny holes in the fabric that were now much bigger. Crap.

I ended up cutting the bodice and skirt apart to redo the bodice with a heavier weight cotton lycra knit by Art Gallery. I changed the gathered skirt to be pleated instead, hoping that would make the waist seam look a little nicer. I think the final version ended up pretty cute! The skirt is a cicada print by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton and Steel.

The third dress was this cute little number for my redheaded friend. I let her choose from a few fabrics I had in my stash and the pink was her favorite. It's from Amy Sinibaldi's Playground line for Art Gallery and the 1 yard I had was just barely enough to eek out the outer pieces in size 4T. I used something else for the bodice lining and embellished the front with some ruffled ribbon. Ahh, it feels good to use some of my stash!

The fourth version is a tunic for the niece our of the cutest mermaid fabric! It's a Michael Miller print but I don't know the designer - sorry. This tunic is going to be adorable with some leggings or jeans. I made the back neckline a little more modest too so it will be appropriate for back to school.

Now, let's tackle that pile of finished and nearly-finished quilt tops...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sleepy Sloths

I've been working on this one awhile, possibly procrastinating because it's just so cute to look at. But now it's complete and has gone off to live at it's new home.

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Sleepy Sloth pattern and altered the layout a little to suit me - I wanted both sloths to be hanging out on the same tree. This quilt is for a baby boy so I was a little worried at first that the body fabric might have too many girly designs but it turned out just right. This was my last bits of the Whimsicol print from Jeni Baker's Nordika line for Art Gallery Fabrics a few years ago.

Quilting this was a lot of fun and was all done with Aurifil on my Juki 2010. The tree definitely needed a bark-like motif and I knew I wanted some type of leaves in the background. Flipping through Christina Cameli's Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting, I found several designs that would work and this is the one I settled on.

The sloths themselves were a little harder. I thought about trying to make it look like fur but that seemed like it might get complicated. Instead, I went with the swirls I've been practicing a la Vicki and Angela. I do love a good swirl. The backing is from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis.

I think they all work pretty well together in the end. Plus, all that texture will be fun for tiny hands. It's now washed, dried, crinkled, and gifted!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June do. Good Stitches blocks

Once again it's my turn to lead the Emerge circle in our quilt for this month. As someone who could barely stand to plug in my iron this past week due to a ridiculous heat wave, I'm keeping it easy this month. We'll be making a scrappy black and white plus quilt.

Instead of the usual 2 blocks, I'm asking each member of the circle to make one larger block and one strip, all from 5" squares.

(15) 5" square white/cream low volume or solid fabrics
(5) 5" square black/dark grey fabrics
* Please make sure you are using modern quilt-shop quality fabrics.

Arrange and sew per this picture - you will make one 4x4 block (measuring 18.5 x 18.5" when sewn) and 1 1x4 strip (measuring 5 x 18.5"):

Please press your seams open to avoid bulk and ship to me when you're ready.

In the meantime, I'll finish up my May blocks and get quilting the other two Emerge dgs quilts I have in the works.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quilt-It Modern

Welcome to my stop on day two of the Quilt-It Modern blog tour featuring Riley Blake Confetti Cottons and Crayola Colors. I'm happy to show off this mini quilt that I've been working on just for today.

Riley Blake has always has solid fabrics of course, but they have changed them up and added a whole bunch of new colors - over 100 now! And they are so, so soft, almost like a brushed cotton. I just wanted to pet them the whole time I was sewing them up.

It is fantastic to have so many colors and shades to choose from but for me that can be too much of a good thing. Where would I even start narrowing them down!? I took the rainbow road and chose to work with the Crayola Colors as they already went together beautifully. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the fabric with the matching crayons but they really do match and the colors are so vibrant and pretty! And soft - did I mention soft? Also, the Crayola colors can be purchased in super adorable crayon box fat quarter sets.

I used EQ7 to design a paper piecing template to use for this project. I used freezer paper piecing (see my tutorial on that here) to make things easier. Those skinny strips and sharp points would have been a major paper-removing headache otherwise!

Originally, I was going to make all of the columns the same height but my plan evolved as I went. Who knows, maybe I'll end up making a second version with my original plan.

The straight line quilting was a no-brainer when looking at the finished design. I wanted to let the colors and shapes stand out and for the quilting to keep your eye moving. Same goes for the white binding.

And here are a few more pictures because look at those colors! I'd like to thank the local elementary school for having this fun mural too - I'll definitely have to come back here for more quilt photos.

I hope you are inspired to sew up some of these solids yourself now. Trust me, you'll love them! There is much more to come on this blog tour so do make sure to check in with the others. I've seen some sneak peeks and there is great stuff in the works!

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!
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