Monday, November 24, 2014

The Woven quilt from Scraps Inc.

Do you ever have a design that forms in your head over years and finally comes out even better than you'd hoped. That is the case with this quilt:

Photo Credit: Lucky Spool Media, Photographer Lauren Hunt

I had the chance to contribute this pattern to the newly-released Scraps Inc., published by Lucky Spool Media. This is a really great book! (I promise I'm not just saying that!) I was thrilled to be included in this project with so many amazing quilters. The great part about compilation books is the variety of designs. Everyone contributed such great projects. There are several I want to make.

Photo Credit: Lucky Spool Media

This quilt was so much fun to create. I sketched out this design a few years ago and hadn't found the right opportunity to make it. It works perfectly for scraps or that stack of fat quarters you don't know what to do with. Several years ago I made a table runner with the same concept of this quilt. I've always wanted to turn this design into a full quilt.

Photo Credit: Lucky Spool Media

The quilting was done by my wonderfully-talented friend, Barbie Mills at The Quilting Mill. Barbie does beautiful long-arm work, and I am thrilled with the results on this project.

Photo Credit: Lucky Spool Media, Photographer Lauren Hunt

Photo Credit: Lucky Spool Media

I love this one a lot, although I'm debating on starting a new version--maybe mixing up the design a bit or using only solids. I love the strip blocks. They are perfect for scraps. 

This book is out just in time for the holidays and would be a perfect gift for your favorite quilter. Until December 1 you can purchase the book at 30% off the original retail price. Use the coupon code "SCRAP30" at checkout for the discount

Check out other page shots from Scraps Inc. over on the Lucky Spool website.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Twirly Skirt and 60-Minute Skirt Pattern Update

Several years ago I made lots of skirts for my girls and even developed my first couple patterns back in 2010. Those patterns are free downloadable tutorials which have been difficult for some to access due to my use of Google Drive.

I have now moved these two tutorials to Craftsy! These are free downloadable patterns and much easier to access than they have been previously. They are fun skirts for little girls. Feel free to use this pattern and tweak to your own needs. I provide fairly loose guidelines for the skirts, and both patterns also include a pattern for matching skirts for your favorite 18" dolls! I'll be doing plenty of sewing for dolls in the coming month as we prepare for Christmas, and I will be sharing a few of those projects here.

I loved looking through these old photos I took for the original skirt patterns several years ago--not because they are stellar photos, but because my girls were so tiny and their feet were so little. I miss that! My other model is my niece who is probably too old for twirly skirts at this point. Why do they grow up so fast!

Have a wonderful sewing weekend!

Here are the Craftsy links:
Download the Twirly Skirt Pattern

Download the Sixty-Minute Skirt Pattern

Disclosure: This post contains Craftsy affiliate links.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Metro Twist Quilt

I finished!

I have been working on this project for a while. It wasn't one I felt the need to rush through. I had all the curved pieces sewn and trimmed when I headed to Sewtopia two weeks ago. I just needed to piece it all together. I was able to finish the quilt top while at the retreat and get it basted. I chose to bring it home to quilt rather than attempting it there. We didn't have enough table space to deal with a quilt this size. I prefer to quilt on my kitchen table giving myself the whole table to hold the weight of the quilt. So during the week following Sewtopia I slowly worked on quilting this guy. I was able to get it bound this past weekend and can't wait to show it off tonight at MQG!

I used the Quick Curves Ruler and Metro Twist pattern (both from Sew Kind of Wonderful). The original pattern is for a quilt 40" x 55", but mine kept growing until I ran out of fabric. The final size of my quilt is 60" x 77" which is great for a throw.

I used a FQ bundle of Field Day from Alison Glass. I have come to adore Alison's fabric because of the richness and saturation of her colors. I am not a purple person, but I couldn't help but use her large scale purple print from this line for the back. I had excess from the backing and chose to cut that up for one additional row. The purple row doesn't excessively stand out. I love how it's difference is relatively subtle. The background is made up of a mix of low volume prints from my stash. I chose only very simple ones as I didn't want them to compete too much with the Field Day fabric. I love the end result. I feel it provides texture without distraction.

The backing print is pretty amazing. This print is the reason I bought this line in the first place. Because my quilt kept growing my backing was too short. Luckily a friend at Sewtopia had a bolt of yarn-dyed Essex in black on hand and I was able to lengthen it without too much trouble.

The quilting was a challenge. I wanted to do something custom, but considering I do this on my standard machine, I struggled a bit. I am starting to get frustrated with my quilting ability because I want to do more yet feel very constrained by using a domestic machine. I need to start renting time on a longarm and give it a try.

I matched my seam for the backing. I glue basted the sections to match everything up before stitching. It's a fantastic method. I'm a convert!

Have a great Thursday!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Handmade Christmas Blog Hop

I have a confession. I'm addicted to washi tape. Do I ever use it? Rarely. Do I have a ton of it? Absolutely! Plus, I'm so tempted every time I see a cute roll or two. I just can't pass it by. It's as bad as fabric!

I was contacted by F&W Media to participate in a fun little Handmade Christmas blog hop featuring projects from several holiday books they have out right now: Washi Tape Christmas, Crochet your Christmas, Handmade Scandinavian Christmas, and Kids Make Christmas. I chose to review Washi Tape Christmas by Kami Bigler and received a free e-copy to browse.

Source: F&W Media
This book has some fun ideas that got me a bit out of my washi tape comfort zone. My typical use for washi tape is slapping it around the edge of something such as when mailing an envelope or decorating a simple take-out box as below.

I pulled out my holiday tape that has been sitting in my box for nearly a year and made a few cards! again, really simple, but a fun way to use my overabundance of tape. I'm not generally a card maker.

I also pulled out some non-traditional colors like the black with red to mix it up a bit. I love how quickly these little cards came together. 

Finally, I made one decorative washi ball. These are fragile and easily smashed, but my youngest daughter loves this. I see more of these in the future. To make this project easier with kids, scrapbook paper could be used rather than adding the washi tape as embellishment. Either way would be so cute. My finished project was a bit on the larger side. I will use shorter strips next time.

Washi Tape Christmas has some very fun ideas to use that stash of tape! Check out the other cute ideas from all four books on the blog hop this month! Head over to F&W's blog for the full list. Thanks for stopping by today!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Washi Tape Christmas for this review.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival--Autumn Improv

Today I'm entering my Autumn Improv Quilt in the Original Designs category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I've supported the quilt festival for several years because I feel it's a great way to see some amazing projects others have created that I otherwise might not get a chance to see.

Yesterday I posted a tutorial on this quilt for the Oakshott Cottons blog hop. Today I'm sharing a bit more detail about the actual quilt itself.

I love fall. It's my favorite season. The colors are amazing and the weather is perfect. I've wanted to make a new fall quilt for a while. The Oakshott Cottons worked perfectly for this design.

The finished size is about 55" x 68". There is at least one leave in every color from the Oakshott Autumn bundle. I used about 20 different low volume prints. Everything is randomly improv pieced. It's quilted in a simple loopy design.

I intend to eventually add hand stitched quilting detail to each leaf. I started on this orange leaf, and as you can see, the perle cotton I used is a little too similar in color. I'll use more contrast on the coming leaves.

I do love how it is looking on the back. I chose a very simple backing so the leaf outlines will stand out. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oakshott Blog Hop-- Improv Autumn Quilt

The Oakshott Autumn Blog Hop

I am thrilled to participate in the blog hop for the new new Autumn colourshott fat eighth pack from Oakshott. I received this beautiful bundle of fat eights to create something fun. I have worked with Oakshott cottons previously on my Unraveled quilt. I love the look and feel of them. The colors are beautiful and wash up so soft. 

For a couple years now, I've been interested in making a Modern Maples quilt. Something has always held me back. Perhaps it's the structure of a pattern or making something that so many others have already made. I knew shot cottons would make a wonderful leaf quilt. Since I will likely never actually make Modern Maples, I did my own take on that idea: Autumn Improv.

Like all of my improv projects, this quilt began as a simple idea and slowly evolved. I first made the leaf blocks. Next I added layers of low volume fabrics around them to create blocks. I really enjoy the free-flowing nature of improv projects and feel it's well suited to the leaves in this case. 

The leaf blocks are fairly simple even though improv piecing may seem intimidating at first if you haven't attempted it before. Today I'm sharing a quick tutorial on how to create these improv leaves.

Begin by cutting out the leaf shape. Simply freehand this with the rotary cutter. My leaves are all different shapes--some long and narrow, some short and round, others somewhere in between. This leaf shape in now way needs to be perfect.

Next overlap the leaf with a large piece of fabric for the right section of the block.

Carefully cut the background fabric to match the leaf shape. Essentially we're making puzzle pieces that will fit together. 

Remove excess background fabric and save for scrap projects or for piecing the quilt later. Mark the approximate center point of the leaf and background and pin. 

Sew from the pin outward on one half of the seam. Repeat with the other half of the leaf to complete the seam. I found sewing in this manner reduces the risk of distortion. The fabric shifts more when sewing the complete seam end to end. 

The leaf should look reasonably smooth once pieced. Then press the seam toward the leaf. Do not stretch the fabric, particularly the leaf fabric. This will cause complication later. 

Finally repeat the whole process with the left background section of the block. Press well. If at this point the block is not laying flat, use a light amount of starch to force it flat. 

Piece blocks together as desired. I loosely used a log cabin style--building the rows of the blocks around my leaves. I pieced my blocks together using the same basic technique shown here with the leaves: overlap sections of the quilt to be joined and cut raw edges to match up. I make matching small dots with a removable marking pen on either side of the seam allowance to guide me and I stitch longer seams. 

I had full intention of creating a very large red leaf on the back of this quilt and requested extra yardage to do so. As I worked on this quilt I  decided to add hand quilted detail in each leaf. As such I wanted a very simple backing to allow the stitching to show up on the back. Although this will take me a while to complete, I'm excited for the ongoing project and love the effect.

I did my first leaf with far too similar of a thread. Generally I think the stitching needs more contrast. Although, I left it as is because I also like the idea of one or two that don't stick out.

It shows up perfectly on the back. My backing is difficult to see in this photo, but it is Branches in Ash from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander.  It gives a really nice subtle texture while still allowing the quilting to show.

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog hop! The last one is tomorrow!

October 21: Sonia Spence--
October 22: Rossie Hutchinson--
October 24: Mary Menzer--
October 28: Alison Dutton--
October 29: Nicholas Ball--
October 30: Kati Spencer--
October 31: Wynn Tan--

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Colorful Stitchery Winner! selected our winner this morning, and lucky #6 will receive a copy of  Colorful Stitchery: 65 Embroidery Projects to Personalize Your Home by Kristin Nicholas.

And just who is #6?

Tamie, I'll be sending you an email!

I hope you all have a great day!