Monday, April 25, 2016

A new quilt on the wall

A few weeks ago I wanted to start something new. I pulled out piles of fabric, put my design wall back up and started experimenting. I came up with this block which is similar to a geometric design I saw elsewhere. I used the Quick Curve Ruler to design and cut these blocks. I'm undecided as to how big it will be or if I'll incorporate any additional colors . We'll see where it goes!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Scraps Inc. Vol 2

This is a new Scraps Inc. book! It was just released this week!

I had the opportunity to contribute to the first volume, and was thrilled when I was again asked to contribute to the second volume. Lucky Spool Media does a great job on their books, and it is always an pleasure to see my work next to projects by so many other amazing quilters. Volume 2 is even better than Volume 1!

My quilt in this book is Confetti!
Photography by Nydia Kehnle
 My goal with this quilt was to put together a project that appeared random with an improv feel, but with the order of a reproducible pattern. As per my usual style, I stayed away from crazy scrappy and went with orderly scrappy. I love a scrappy project with a color palette. The color ideas for this quilt hit me one day while I was cleaning out my purse. I have a navy purse with tan straps and gold hardware, a bright pink wallet, mint green water bottle and pink lip gloss. They were all sitting there and together it was perfect! I adore the gold accents in this quilt. Luckily for me, the metallic fabric craze was really getting going about the time I made this quilt for the book. The selection of metallics is even better now. It adds such a fun twist to any quilt to incorporate these fabrics.
Photography by Nydia Kehnle

Photography by Nydia Kehnle

Photography by Nydia Kehnle

Through Tuesday, February 16 Scraps Inc. Vol 2 is 30% off (use code Scrap30)!

I have one copy of the book to giveaway courtesy of Lucky Spool Media! Head on over to my Instagram account today and leave a comment to win! The winner will be announced Tuesday, February 16th!

If you haven't seen the other stops on the blog tour this week, check out the other contributors posts! You also have so many additional chances to win a copy of the book through their blogs as well! Feel free to enter each time. We all have a copy to give away!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Katie Jump Rope-- My love affair with a fabric line

Is there one particular line of fabric that you have always adored? For me it was Katie Jump Rope. Unfortunately, it came out about a year before I started quilting. I was able to get my hands a few prints before it was entirely gone, but I have never been willing to pay the exorbitant mark ups. I would use the few pieces I have sparingly, scattered through various projects, but always horded them a bit.

When it was announced that there were be a Katie Jump Rope reprint, I was instantly on board. Although, when I actually had the chance to buy it I wasn't sure I was still in love with it. Do you ever have that experience--you desperately want something until you can have it, and then you aren't so sure? Considering I haven't been sewing nearly as much lately, I really thought this purchase through. Do I really want it? I asked myself this question so many times. I have tried to be much less frivolous with my fabric purchases--only buying something if I have a specific need for a project. 

When Pink Castle Fabrics had 20% everything the weekend after Thanksgiving, I decided to splurge. I've liked this line for eight years and have loved pretty much every project I've ever seen made with it. 

It arrived today! It's really pretty. I'm glad I splurged. 

The only thing I'm sad about is the fact that they took away some of the really great colored prints prints. I think the reprint is a bit too heavy on the brown. I intended to make a quilt with only the KJR prints, but I'll likely incorporate some other DS prints into the mix to add more color. I feel like it especially needs more red and orange. 

I still have about a FQ of this print from the original line which will certainly work it's way into my quilt. This was one of my absolute favorite red prints ever. I'm sad this one didn't make the cut for the reprint. 

I've missed sewing, and it's fun to be back with a project! I've decided to make this lovely stack of fabrics into a quilt using the Shimmer pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew. I think it will be the perfect compliment for these prints!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Every once in a while I crave the precision of paper piecing. It's fun to work on a project like this (at least for a little while). I felt this way a while back and started a new project. I had a bin full of scraps from a previous project that needed used.

I opted for a pattern that has been floating around Instagram a bit. This is a variation on Grandma's Surprise from Then and Now Quilts by Joyce Giezler. This little guy is just 18" finished. I recently completed the quilting and am currently considering a binding. I'll likely go with navy to frame it. 

Mini quilts are a great way to try out a new technique or get something out of your system. I personally wouldn't ever want to paper piece an entire quilt, but I love it for small projects. It would never finish a whole paper-pieced quilt. This mini alone took me a couple months to actually complete. Now that I've done a little paper piecing, I'm ready to get back into a project that's more satisfying for me and a little less rigid.

Friday, September 4, 2015

New Pouches!

Just a few new pouches!

I made these framed clutches using Diane Stanley's (random or di) pattern. I went a little light on the interfacing. Next time I'll certainly use something with more body.

These are both made with velveteen from Anna Maria Horner. It is perfect for these clutches.

I've been itching to use some of my selvages I've been saving for years. I finally pulled out some of my Cotton & Steel pieces and made this wide open pouch.

I sewed the selvages to cotton duck. The base is navy linen with some metallic accent stitching.

It goes perfectly with my new Super Tote!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A New Super Tote

I caved about a month ago and started a new Super Tote. I wasn't intending to to make a new bag, but I really wanted to give it another go. I don't use it all the time, but it's a great large back for certain occasions.

It was also a bit of a test run for my new machine. Because I used quilting cotton on the exterior, this bag has layers and layers of interfacing. My machine handled it like a champ! I again used faux leather on the gusset and strap. This certainly complicated things a bit, but I love the functionality of this material. It's easy to wipe clean and holds up so well.

One of my greatest frustrations with the first bag I made were the interior pockets. I followed the pattern and disliked how they came out. They are puffy pockets with elastic at the top (similar to those in many diaper bags). It wasn't functional for me. I found all they did was hide the bottom of the bag and make it difficult to find anything. They also got in the way when I attempted to put larger items like a binder or my laptop in the bag. This time around I chose simple panel pockets and cut them the same shape as the lining pieces. They are approximately the same height as the pattern pockets. I like these pockets so much better! I sewed dividers in each panel to fit my personal needs--pens, lip gloss, phone. etc.

I used all Cotton & Steel fabrics, with the exception of the lining. I've found I prefer a simple, light colored lining fabric for large bags. It's hard enough to find things in a deep bag, but it's even harder against a busy, dark background fabric. Everything seems camouflaged. I used Essex linen in flax for this lining.

I added a couple pops of color inside like this green zipper and green key fob (neither of which are included in the original pattern, but I find them completely necessary). 

The evening I was working on the front pocket snap, I realized my stash of magnetic snaps was depleted. Luckily, I had one pink one left from a previous project. I wouldn't normally have chosen this, but it really worked out perfectly!

I was working only with fabric and materials I already had on hand to make this bag. I had exactly 1/2 yard of the outer viewfinder fabric. I would have preferred extra fabric to match the fabric pattern better. Next time I will order extra to allow for this.

Love it! It's already been used multiple times.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A new sewing machine!

I bought a new machine! After the disaster with my old machine, I finally invested in a new one. I debated and held out as long as I could, but even though I'm sewing less, I really couldn't be without a functional machine.

Here is my new machine:

This is my tiny little sewing space where my machine lives. It's nothing fancy or perfectly decorated, but my kiddos do create all sorts of drawings and switch out my artwork every now and then.

I was looking for some fairly specific items with the new machine. When I purchased my previous machine, I had only been quilting for about six months. I knew I wanted to stick with quilting for a while and wanted something that would make this hobby easier, but I didn't really understand exactly what I wanted or needed from a sewing machine. After six years of quilting, I'm much more clear about what I need and what I don't need.
  • I needed it to be fast. I can fmq fairly fast. I was constantly frustrated with my last machine because I could quilt faster than it could.
  • I wanted it to be sturdy and solid.
  • I didn't care about a computerized machine.
  • I didn't want any fancy stitches. On my old machine I only used straight stitch and zig-zag. Fancy stitches aren't my style.
  • I needed it to be able to handle heavy fabrics.
  • I needed it to quilt well.
I knew I wanted a straight-stitch machine. I still have my very first machine, and while small, it is a great back-up for zig-zag when I need it. I also have a serger for finishing edges when needed. I knew a straight-stitch would meet my sewing needs 95% of the time.  Because I have these other two back-up machines, I knew they would fill that extra 5% when a straight-stitch wasn't adequate.

I narrowed my search to the Juki 2010Q and the Brother 1500S. They are essentially the same machine. They look nearly identical, and I've been told by a couple people in the industry that many of their parts are manufactured in the exact same place. There are two main differences. the Juki has speed control while the Brother does not, and the Juki costs an extra $400 coming in at around $1000. The Juki definitely has a following and everyone swears by theirs. The Brother obviously sells fewer machines as there is less of a following, but everyone I know who has one loves it. I ultimately went with the Brother. Basically, speed control wasn't a deal breaker, and it wasn't worth $400 to me. Price was a big factor for me this time around because prior to a small person pushing my old sewing machine off my desk and breaking it, I wasn't planning for this purchase.

After sewing on my machine for a couple months, I love it. It's fast, sturdy, sews through leather an vinyl without any problem at all, and it quilts wonderfully. The tension tends to be a bit finicky. I'm constantly having to adjust it, and this has taken some getting used to since my last machine was fully computerized and did all the thinking for me.

I love the pressure foot adjustment. I didn't have this option on my last machine, and it's wonderful to be able to adjust how fabric feeds with this feature.

I also really like the pin feeding system. Basically, a pin pops up from the bottom while sewing to help heavier fabrics like leather and velvet through the machine. 

Overall I'm completely happy with my new machine. It is a pain to pull out another machine when a straight-stitch won't do, but generally it meets my needs perfectly. I'm a bit sad I didn't realize what I needed when I bought my "nicer" machine six years ago. It was nearly triple the price and had so many extras I never used. Hopefully, this one sticks around for many years.