Monday, February 27, 2012

Can't. Talk. Quilting.

We were out and about this past weekend playing on mopeds. We took part in an endurance race with 46(-ish?) teams of 4 who raced around a track for nearly 4 hours. I am so proud to say my team of boys came in 8th overall and 4th in their class! I am so pleased for them. Here's one out just messing....

Anyway, I played photographer all weekend and didn't stitch one stitch.

We arrived home 2 hours ago and I had a listen to Rhonda's podcast. Rhonda and I had a great time recording it, but this was the first time I could listen. (Thank you all for such kind, warm comments after hearing out interview!  You guys are the best!) I heard your kick in the bum, Rhonda. I heard it! You will see that Community Quilt finished sooner rather than later.

I'm spending the night quilting. It's a huge quilt (90x90 ish) so I feel like I am wrestling a whale or walrus or something ridiculous.

I'm quilting basic straight lines so it's easy enough.  I think, though, that is why it is taking so long to finish.  There's nothing interesting here to keep my brain occupied.  Just straight line after straight line...

I am off to quilt, then.  (I will show that Rhonda....)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chatting with Rhonda

Quilter in the Gap Podcast

Now you know I usually spend most of my weekend stitching away.  Well, not this weekend!  Instead I am traveling over to the Gap to have a chat with Rhonda on her Quilter In The Gap podcast.  Want to hear what we're talking about?  Click here to go to her podcast page on her blog, then page down to the bottom of the list to click on the link, or you can head directly to her podomatic page to listen directly.

Rhonda, it was so nice to finally chat with you, to get to know you better and to share a good laugh.  Thank you so much.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sew Bee Blissful: Test Blocks

Thank you all so very much for your enthusiasm around my Sew Bee Blissful fabrics and ideas.  It's so nice to share my excitement with you all.

I did a little test run last night making three blocks.  It was incredibly freeing not having a pattern and just piecing what ever fabric seemed right at the time.  I hope my bee mates will have a great time playing with color and creating something they think is beautiful.

So, test block one went generally pretty well.  It took a while to figure out what I was doing, but once I was in the swing I was unstoppable!  It was a bit of a learning experience, though, because I had started with a rectangle which then grew and grew, making it hard to finish at 14.5 inches.  I tacked on the little scraps on the side to just finish it off, but now that they are part of the block I really like them!  It's the dark boarder that gives a bit of definition, I think.

Test block 2 was much along the same lines as test block one.  It came together much faster (being the old pro that I am) than block one.  I wanted to play with color in this block.  How thick do you have to make a strip to make that color dominate the block.  It's interesting to mess a bit with no consequences.

Finally, I thought I was a bit short on the pink and my blocks were getting very rectangular, so I started with a central square.  Although I like the concentric squares, I think I like the rectangles a bit more.  There's more to keep your eye interested.

You'll notice in my last post that I had a dark green and brown fabric included in the bundle.  These are not at all my favorite colors, but they were part of the inspirational bracelet.  I had to include them.  Anyway, to "punish" them I bought much MUCH less yardage of these colors than I did the bright pretty colors.  Can't have left over brown, can I?  Well, of course, I really punished myself.  I split up what little I bought into the bee packages leaving very little for me.  That's why in test blocks 1 and 2 it is very central....using very little fabric.  But in block 3, I really miss the dark colors.  It's too light or flat or something.  I think the darks add a bit of depth.  So, I stopped at about 12 inches square so that I can get more of the dark colors and add them in along the edge.  I can't believe I'm paying special postage for stinky brown and decaying leaf green.  It seems they're really important after all.

Next I'd like to try something WAY off center.  This quilt will be 25 blocks finished.  20 will be from the bee, so I will make 5.  Two more to go!  I can't wait :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sew Get Started: Notebook Cover

I am happily stitching away with Sarah at Fairyface Designs today.  We're making notebook covers like these cuties....  Come over and give one a try!

FairyFace Designs

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sew Bee Blissful: Miss March

It's my turn!  It's my turn!

As you well know by now (and are most likely tired of me still talking about it) I am a part of Sew Bee Blissful.  March is my month to choose our blocks and fabrics, so I am spending some time this week getting myself organized.

AGES ago I decided on the fabric colors I wanted based on a music festival bracelet that you can see here.  So, I pulled out the old Kona card and made a few purchases.  This is what arrived....

Yes, this quilt will be done entirely in solids.  I am over the moon at the idea.

The last bit arrived yesterday, so I now have my fabric all cut and ready to ship.   Lots of little packages to get into the post!

What blocks will we make?  I have been interested in log cabin or square in a square quilts.  I think I became fascinated with the huge variability of such simple traditional designs; how you can play with them by making them slightly wonky or altering your fabric colors. That will be our bee's theme this month.

Here is my inspirational mosaic that might better explain what I mean

1. Lots of polka dots QAYG baby quilt, 2. log on, 3. improv, 4. Leftovers=table-runner!, 5. Finished Little Apples quilt, 6. So much you can do with solids!, 7. wonkysolidlogcabins2.jpg, 8. IMG_0449, 9. Stage 3 - finished, 10. Pint Size - 6.5" x 10.5", 11. New fish baby log cabin, 12. Martinas Puzzle Box Quilt Along, 13. Too {Jazz Hands} for Jerry, finished, 14. TATB Bee Block January, 15. DSC_0051, 16. boy quilt

Aren't they gorgeous?  So I am asking folks to make a block in any way they choose that somewhat mirrors this quilt by Gee's Bend.  I think this is simply spectacular.  Here's hoping my bee mates are as enthusiastic.

That's the news, ladies.  I am off to try to make my first "test" block.  Here's hoping it turns out as well as it appears in my imagination! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birdies Have Flown The Coop

As you might remember, I have recently finished my Birdie Stitches top.  Although I was completely happy with the colors, fabrics, stitching in this quilt, it just was not singing to me.  I could never figure out why it did not make my heart flutter.  The plan was to finish it off and donate it to Project Linus as it's a lovely quilt...just for someone else.  

That is...until I saw this:  

You're on, Miss Elisa!  Everyone wins!  Elisa gets a top she likes, I am THRILLED it will be wanted and cared for and Project Linus gets a donation.  Fantastic!  I happily packed up Birdie Stitches and popped it into the post.  Well, it arrived at Elisa's recently and it seems to be settling in nicely.  I can't wait to see where you take this, Elisa.  Thank you so much for giving it a warm welcome to a happy home.  Pop on over to Postpartum Quilter later today (due to the time difference) and you can hear all about our Birdies' migration and new family.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Little Hexies

I am new to making hexagons, but I can already see how we will become fast friends.  I do not have a plan for these little guys.  I only started making them because it was high time that I learned how.

I have a little pouch of scraps, thread, needles and paper templates next to the couch, so when we are watching TV or I just have a quiet minute, I start stitching hexies.  It took a while to get the hang of the first two or three, but after 10 I was hooked.

These are little 1.5 inch hexies, so I can not imagine making enough for a quilt.  Maybe for a pouch or a notebook cover?  I don't know.  I am open to suggestions if you have an idea to share.  For now, I think I'll just keep adding to the collection....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Christmas (?!?!) Table Runner Finish

Do not adjust your computer screen.  Indeed it is Christmas fabric that you see in February (gasp!).

My brother and sister in law have recently moved to a house that is large enough for them to really celebrate Christmas with all of the decorations and hoopla.  So, this past Christmas they bought their first tree...and very quickly realized how many decorations you need for it to look full.  They need a serious influx of decorations to make this next Christmas extra festive in their new home.

When I made a Christmas table runner for my Mom this past Christmas, my SIL asked for one as well.  I am so happy to have been asked; of course I will make one!

I did not want this to be her Christmas gift for next year because by the time she received it, the season would be too late to enjoy it.  So, I wanted to make it now for her to tuck away over the next 10 months, then pull out in late November.

I used pretty non-traditional Riley Blake fabrics in oranges and light blues, but finished it off in swirling green and a red and white polka dot binding to bring a little holiday spirit.  It's filled with snow flakes, Christmas trees, snow men and awesome stripy and dotty fabric.  I am in love with the colors and prints in this line.

This is my first attempt at hand quilting anything. I really like how it brings out the "home made-ness" of the runner, but I need to work on my stitch quality before trying it on a larger quilt.  Anyway, it will be packed up and shipped out over the weekend. Guaranteed it will be a great surprise when it arrives in their home!  I can not wait to hear their reaction.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mouthy Stitches Pouch: Finished!

I hope my partner likes it.  I hope my partner likes it.  I hope my partner likes it.

I think I finished my Mouthy Stitches pouch...that is unless my partner sees it on Flickr and has a suggestion for me.  Is this part of a swap nerve wrecking for everyone?  I think I created something she will like. It's something that I would like to receive.  But now I wait on pins and needles hoping to hear she likes it too!  Anyway, I'll show you where I am for now:

I think my partner likes scrappy, brightly colored pouches with a neutral background. She seems to switch between greys and natural linens, but I thought on the grey the colors would really pop.  I made a paper pieced star using the Solstice Stars tutorial and then quilted a grid around it.

 She also has several bold, geometric blocky pouches in her mosaic, so I made a scrappy back that is also quilted in a grid pattern.

Both sides have batting to give them a bit of softness, but rigidity.  They are quilted with dark grey thread that is a little darker than the Kona so it kind of is visible, but doesn't steal the show.

Inside is an Echino print that runs the full length of one side (by my thumb) and is partly visible on the other side that also holds a pocket.  The pocked is Joel Dewberry Aviary print that is split into a large and small pocket.  The large pocket has a matching fabric covered button above it and a silky orange ribbon to hold it closed.  The bottom is boxed to stand on its own, which I think is just great.

And, of course, the pouch will come filled with scraps! My partner seems to like quirky Japanese prints, bold colors, bright patterns.  I hope she likes these!  There's a bit of Echino in there, Moda, Heather Ross, Monaluna, Erin McMorris, etc.  She's sure to find something to make her smile, right?

Well, partner, it was fun tracking you!  I hope I created something you like!  xx

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Small Zip Obsession

The Mouthy Stitches Swap has put me onto a small obsession with both pouches and zips.  It's a whole new world for me and I am THRILLED to have joined it.  This weekend I made two pouches that just make my heart flutter.  Both will be gifts to friends, so I hope my friends like them as much as I do.

The first was inspired by pouches I saw in several Mouthy Stitches mosaics that play with color tone.  You can arrange these little HSTs in a variety of ways, but I liked the deep center to focus the eye and the repeating diamond to give a little 3D effect.  It's quilted with concentric diamonds using invisible thread.   It is backed with one of my favorite prints (and I still don't know the name of the designer/mfg) that was quilted in vertical lines 1/4 inch apart and topped with a little pink zip.

It measures an adorable little 6 inches square, so perfect to hold a few hexies for when you are stuck in traffic or waiting for an appointment.

The second is a cathedral windows pouch.  I have wanted to try cathedral windows for AGES, but 1) they look very hard and 2) they take a LONG time, so I don't want to commit to a larger project filled with windows. A pouch seemed like the perfect solution.

There are 4 cathedral windows blocks that are placed together with a Woodlands boarder.  I kind of adapted the Moda Bake Shop tutorial to suit my needs.  It's very well written if you're curious to give these windows a try yourself.  I just love the splash of color on the front.  Isn't it cool how your eye makes a circle between blocks?  I love that.  The front is not quilted and does not contain batting as there was a TON of stitching to hold these little suckers beauties together.  They're each about 4 layers of fabric thick, so batting and further quilting would have been overkill.

The back is an orange print from the Spring Street line by Carolyn Gavin.  It holds batting and is vertically quilted with orange thread in about 3/4 inch rows.  I guess I have been hanging out with Hadley enough that her love of orange has finally transferred.  It's a new happiness for me, so I'm tossing orange in everywhere I can.

Finally, it's lined with It's a Hoot fabric as it just gave a nice splash of blue inside and joined together the red front, orange back and yellow zip.  All told, it's about 10 inches square, so you could easily fit a hand stitching project in here or use it to travel.

I am thrilled with these pouches.  I hope my friends are too!  Enjoy, guys!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Table Runner Finish

Woo hoo!  A finish feels great, doesn't it?  Well, this one is special as it is a gift for a friend.

I made this table runner from a Tweet Tweet charm pack, one of my favorite Moda lines in the past few years. When I saw Laura Jane's table runner from the Modern Christmas Table Runner swap, I was super inspired and wanted to make something similar.  Laura's was a bit different than mine (read: more organized) as she had matching halves of the charm squares on either side of the lattice.  I went for a super scrappy look and had charm squares scattered all over the place.  

It's quilted in double lines along the white lattice strips.  The back is one solid sheet of a red Tweet Tweet print that I can't find the name of....

I wish I remembered to take a photo f the back when it was out on the line.  Too late now :)

That's the news.  I'm so very happy to have a nice little finish like this.  I love the pattern (thanks, LJ!) and I hope my friend is super surprised when it arrives at her house.  Enjoy it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

First Try At A Zip

Well, I gathered up my courage over the weekend and dove in.  Yes, I tried to put in a zip.  For most things, I can see how they fit together or how piece A would be added to piece B, but the zipper just baffled my brain.

Using a fabulous pattern by Kat, I tried to make a little pouch for myself as a trial run.

I love these little froggies, but couldn't figure out how I would use them in a quilt.  This seemed like a great chance to give them a happy home.  Now, I over estimated the possible size of the "feature" fabric, so there is a little strip of the cheery under the froggies that is lost.  Next time I will adjust my measurements a bit so the froggies are framed a little better.

The zip.  Humm.  It works.  It fits.  The little tabs look cute.  It's puckered on one side, but I think I know how to fix that moving ahead.  Normally I would not have used a blue zip with these fabrics, but with the poor selection of haberdashery shops around here that was my best choice.  Never fear, though, my Zipit zips just arrived!

Inside I lined it with a gold/yellow Aviary print that picked up the flowers next to the frogs.  I used the same fabric for the little zip tabs too.  There is room in here for a pocket.  I'll work on that as well.

The pouch is about 9 inches square, so you can easily fit in a rotary cutter or embroidery hoop.  I boxed the bottom so it stands up on its own.  At least it did when it was new.  It has been living in my bag the past few days and the interfacing is loosing its crispness.  I think next time I will try a batting to give it a bit more structure.

Ah, live and learn.  My first pouch.  My first zip.  I learned a WHOLE lot and have a bit of confidence to give it a try (tonight?) for my Mouthy Stitches partner.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Bee Blocks (Part 2)

Have you been following the Solstice Stars Series on Fresh Lemons Quilts?  I have!  I am truly enjoying the idea of a new star to try each week.  There will be five stars all together, but we are only three weeks into the tutorials, so I have three stars to show you.

Week 1 was the Ribbon Star.  This was very basic and to the point; a great way to kick off a series.

Week 2 was the Whirling Star.  This was new to me, so it was very interesting.  I liked the shape and could see myself using it in a quilt.  Now, here's the's paper piecing.  I had never paper pieced before so I had to build up a bit of courage.  That being said, the tutorial was so well written I could easily follow along with minimal unpicking.  It was a great way to learn a new technique!

And week 3 was the Another Star.  I don't know if that's the real name or if Faith was tired of looking at stars.  Either way, I jumped on the bandwagon and made another.  I wish I flipped the star points so the green triangle does not merge with the green center strip.  Live and learn.  Still, I am happy with the final block.

Theses three blocks are off to Judith to be included in a Bee Blessed quilt.  I hope she doesn't mind receiving the next two Solstice Stars in March's bee!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February Bee Blocks (Part 1)

This weekend was just fantastic!  I spent a good bit of it focusing on my bee blocks for this month.  Want to see what folks are asking for?

In my Sew & Bee Happy bee, folks request a block that each hive member makes from their stash alone.  Kat had requested a monochromatic block with a little white wonky star for her picnic quilt.  She gave us a list of colors to choose from so we're not all making similar blocks.  I chose dark/royal blue for my block:

Over in Sew Bee Blissful, Sarah had requested a scrappy rainbow starflower design using a fantastic tutorial by Ellison Lane Quilts.  The great thing about this tutorial is for very little additional effort you get two blocks instead of just one.  So, Sarah will get a pair of these:

And finally (for the Part 1 of this post) I made two blocks for the Care circle of Do.Good Stitches.  Dolores was looking for a pair of complementary blocks in a green (olive, lime, teal, avocado) that were made with matching fabric.  For this, we used a sawtooth star tutorial by Purl Bee.

Stars are big right now apparently :)  I loved making each and every one of these.  In Part 2 of the bee catch up there will be....wait for it....more stars!  Eeekk!  This is so exciting :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Modern Quilt Guild Launch

Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland

It is with ridiculous excitement that I announce the launch of the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland.  Sarah  and I have been chattering on about this for several months now, but finally FINALLY we have ourselves organized.

We have two organizations in Ireland that support quilters, the Irish Patchwork Society and the Quilter's Guild of Ireland.  They are both very active and a great way to meet other quilters, take classes, get involved in the community.  Sarah and I are both members of these organizations.  However, we wanted to create something specifically for modern quilters.

What are my hopes for this guild?  Well, I love the idea of a group of people with a similar passion getting together and sharing ideas, enthusiasm, support and knowledge.  I want for us to have regular gatherings that are filled with giggles and fluttering over each other's projects.  I want to host workshops to share ideas and techniques.  I would love to have a bee or block swap to have a little bit of each other's craftiness in each of our homes.  In the end, I want a modern quilting community where we are all welcome, supported and thriving.

So, will you join us?

To read about our hopes for the guild, you can go to the blog or the facebook page.  Please become followers of one/both to be sure you get regular updates of our activities.  To join the guild and/or the email list, please complete the registration form here.

If you would like to learn more about modern quilting, please head over here to see our interpretation.

Sarah and I are completely thrilled with the opportunity to foster the modern quilting community in Ireland.  We hope you join in and become a part of it too!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do you know a good tutorial?

I am going to blow my cover a bit early, here, but I could use your help.

I am Miss March in my Sew Bee Blissful bee.  For several (six!?!?) months I have known that I will ask my bee - mates for a Square in a Square "sampler" quilt.  I am open to both traditional square in a square blocks as well as log cabin - type them straight and aligned or wonky.  Either makes me happy.  It is going to be made in all solids.   

You see, I like the idea of each person putting their personality into the bee blocks instead of being my "stitchers" and making exactly what I tell them to.  I will send them fabric and links to tutorials (this is where I am stuck) and let them create the block(s) that best reflect their "likes".  To get them started, I made this inspirational mosaic:

Now here's where I am hoping you can help.  Do any of you know a good tutorial for a square in a square or for a log cabin?  I found the few I listed below, but I would love to have a greater variety.  Any suggestions guys?  I'd be entirely grateful!

Tilted Squares
Scrappy Squares
Square in a Square
Square in a Square
Six Types of Square in a Square

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