Saturday, June 30, 2012

Slash the Stash--June Edition

It's the end of another month.  I did a decent amount of stash busting this month.  Although a lot of it resulted from destashing on Etsy rather than actual sewing.  I've come to realize that having too much of fabric just makes me overwhelmed (I know this sounds crazy to a lot of quilters).  It was nice to purge those fabrics I didn't see myself using.  My sewing style and tastes have changed over the past couple years.  I feel as though I'm in the process of refining my stash and making it more usable for my quilting style.  I did restock my collection of Pure Elements including some half yards of a few new colors.  I was getting pretty low on some of my favorite colors.  Other than that I didn't add much to the stash. 

I had a couple stash busting projects this month.  First off, most of the bubble quilt was made from my stash.  I bought 1/4 yards of 6 new pinks, but other than that it was all stash.

I also began some Christmas/gift sewing.  When going through my stash again this month, I pulled fabrics to make some Jane Market bags.  I also cut out a few bags using the Oh Fransson's Perfect Zip pattern.  I want some bags on hand for gifts including Christmas gifts.  I didn't get farther than cutting all these out, but that alone took a lot of time.  It was a good sewing related activity when my little guy was recovering from his tonsillectomy. I didn't get much sewing done during his recovery.  I'll slowly start working on these as I get time.  Pretty soon I'll have about 10 bags on hand when I need a quick gift for a friend.

So what have you been sewing from your stash this month?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Operation Wood Hollow

I was contacted on Monday by Julie from Having Fun Quilting. Currently there is a huge wildfire in her area.  I'm sure it's just the beginning of a horrible fire season here in Utah (and much of the west).  My quilting buddy Colleen was nearly evacuated due to a wildfire last weekend, but she was actually out of town.  We were ready to recruit the quilt guild to save her fabric if her town was evacuated. Luckily, they were able to put that fire out relatively quickly. 

Those affected by the Wood Hollow Fire have not be so lucky.  So far about 25-30 homes have burned, but the fire is only 15% contained and with 70 miles burned.  Julie herself was evacuated yesterday but is back at it coordinating an effort to collect quilts for the families who have lost their homes (and those who still may lose them). She is working with local churches and the Red Cross to distribute donations.  Julie posts about her effort she is calling Operation Wood Hollow and shows a few pictures from their own evacuation which I've copied below. 

If you are interested in donating a quilt please contact Julie.  I know there are many more basic things these families will need as well, but I believe there is something very comforting about having a new handmade quilt when you are starting over with basically nothing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some new quilt books

I love quilting books, which is ironic since I've only made one quilt from all the books I own.  I love looking through them and getting ideas.  I recently added four new ones to my shelf and have really enjoyed them so far.

I admit that Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman from Oh Fransson is my new absolute favorite book.  It was on my Amazon Wish List for a while, and I finally added it to the cart the other day.  I was so excited to receive it.  I love almost all the quilts in the book and actually plan to make a few of them.  They are all great and very much my style. Elizabeth's patterns are perfect as always.

Love Quilting Modern!  It is a very close second as my favorite quilting book.  Again this one was on my Amazon Wish List and mysteriously made it's way into my cart one afternoon.  I love Jacquie and Katie's style.   Jacquie's blog was among the very first quilting blogs I discovered.  Her work helped me realize that quilting could be modern and designs could be non-traditional.  Such great ideas and inspiration.  I have plans to make one of the quilts and even know what fabric I'll use for it. 

Shape Workshop for Quilters is a fun one too, but a little less my style.  Many block designs are included that would so very fun in quilts.  There are some great ideas, but I will probably only use one or two of them.  Still, some very fun things to look at and projects for inspiration and a great addition to my shelf.

Finally, Amy brought Free-Motion Quilting by Angela Walters back for me from Quilt Market.  It's been really fun to browse through.  It's changing the way I think about my quilting.  One of these days I might break out of my quilting rut. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Twin Bubbles Quilt

My SIL asked me to make quilts for their kiddos.  My niece is just a few months older than my Miss C.  I have it on good authority from Miss C that her cousin will love this quilt.  I hope so.  We'll pass it off soon as they are in town for a few weeks to escape the horrible heat where they live.

I created this quilt using the same method as my last bubble quilt.  

I used two flat sheets for the top and bottom of the quilt and appliqued all the bubbles using pebble quilting.  First I spray basted the quilt sandwich.  Then I arranged the circles to get an idea of placement.  I gathered them back up and started working on just a few circles at a time.  I spray basted these as well, but only about 8-10 at a time.  I used almost 2000 meters of thread on this guy  I did have some eyelashing on my back quilting.  I normally don't have this issue with my machine and can't decide if my machine just didn't like quilting through two sheets or if my tension is a bit off due to my way overdue visit to get my machine serviced.  I cleaned and oiled my machine twice during the quilting process as well as changed my needle twice.  I did the quilting in short sessions--usually just 2-3 bobbins at a time. 

I rarely use applique, but I do love the texture created by all the raw edges.

The final size is 60" x 85".  It's a bit more narrow than I planned.  I used twin sheets and should have used full size sheets. They shrunk more than I planned after washing.  I would have preferred a width of about 65".

I actually have a lot of the 5" and 3" circles left over.  I way overestimated how many it would take to make the quilt.  I'm still debating on keeping them or selling them on Etsy.  I'm not sure I have another bubble quilt in me.

We tested it on Miss C's bed.  A pillow case came with the green sheet set I purchased so I appliqued some circles on the hem just because. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday 6.19.12

I got out of the habit of doing WIP Wednesday for a while, but it is fun for me to look back and see the progress of certain projects.  I'm officially breaking into the fabrics I've been hoarding or planned to hoard.  I recently started a simple FMF project as well as settled on a plan for my Heather Ross fabrics. 

On my design wall today:

Last night I made my bee block for Tiffany for the Stash Trad Bee.  My little guy was not a happy kiddo and was up three times by 10:30 pm.  Rather than go to bed, I worked on this little project and wrote blog posts since I knew he would inevitably wake again soon.

I also finished the Bubble Quilt!  I finished the night before my little guy had surgery.  Full post on this one soon.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Monday

Admittedly, it was not a very productive weekend.  I spent most of my time trying to keep Little Dude happy after his surgery.  Getting a very stubborn three-year-old to drink and take his medicine after losing his tonsils is not an easy thing.  We've had a few fights, but I think we're finally over the hump today.  Yesterday we were barely able to get him to drink anything, and he didn't eat at all--including homemade ice cream, Popsicles, slushies, juice and anything else we could come up with.  Today we've had some special treats and he tried them all.  We had yummy muffins for breakfast, and he ate one.  For a treat after lunch we made smoothies, and I was elated when he drank almost a 1/2 cup.  For an afternoon snack I made pretzel bites, and he had three. Things are looking up.  Hopefully we'll be back to a semi-normal level of crazy around here soon.

We had to bribe the poor kid yesterday with stickers and glow sticks to get him to drink anything at all.  Here he is showing off his collection of glow sticks aka "flashlights". If he took several sips of water he got a new "flashlight".

 Yummy pretzel bites from this afternoon.  A favorite around here.

On my sewing table today--I'm thinking of cutting into this stack.  Commitment is hard sometimes when it comes to actually cutting the fabric though.

Finally, have you heard about the new Quilt Along over at Happy Quilting? Melissa is hosting a Tetris QAL which sounds pretty fun.  Along with that she is hosting a charm swap.  Everyone is swapping four yards.  You will receive 4 charms of 56 different fabrics in 8 main colors.  This way you can create each individual Tetris piece in the quilt from the same fabrics.  Head on over to her flickr group to sign up.  She still has slots for the charm swap.  (Sorry, US residents only this time around).  She also has a great discount lined up for everyone in the swap to order their fabric.

Hope you are all having a happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday 6.13.12

Another week!  It's been busy around the blue chair house.  Our Saturday was spent working on this project. We redid the pantry a bit.  We took everything out, cleaned, removed the gross contact paper from the shelves, and painted.  Then the hubs installed some lights that he engineered.  The pantry has never had lighting and it drove me nuts.  It was like a cave in there.  We didn't want to hire someone to actually install lights and run electricity.  The hubs created a system using some Ikea lights.  The switch activates when you open the door.  I can't believe how excited I am about a clean, organized pantry that I can actually see. 

This was the disaster zone on Saturday.  I'm amazed at what that small closet can hold.  It was a nightmare keeping the kiddos out of this mess.

Here is a view of the lights.  It's an LED set from Ikea.  None of the wires are visible unless you are actually standing inside the pantry.

Here is the switch he ordered and attached to the lights.  We had to drill a small hole in the pantry wall to run an extension cord behind the fridge (which is also out of view completely).  The system works perfectly.  

In my quilting world, I've been working on this fun quilt.  My SIL asked me to create a quilt for her daughter similar to the Bubble Baby Quilt I made earlier this year.  It's turning out really fun.  Every time I spread a quilt out to take a progress shot, the kiddos have to run and jump on it without fail.  

Miss A was trying to pick the circles off.  They are well attached with a mile or two of thread.  I am guessing I'll go through about 2000 yards of thread with all the pebble quilting on this one.  I'm doing it in very small quilting sessions--usually 2-3 bobbins at a time.  I'm also only attaching about 8-10 circles at a time.  It's going much smoother this time despite the fact that this is a twin.

In other news, this little guy is getting his tonsils and adenoids out on Friday as well as tubes in his ears.  It's something we've been expecting for a while, but not looking forward to at all.  We're hoping it alleviates several issues he has been having.  It's going to be a rough week. 

Finally I did another round of destashing.  Unfortunately, everything sold lightning fast and my destash category on Etsy is once again empty.

Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday this week!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Destashing Again

More goodies from my stash are listed in my shop!  I've estimated shipping and will refund overages more than $1, especially on combo orders. Sorry, all listings are sold out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Retro Flowers Quilt--Finished!

For this quilt I sort of played along for the QAL of the Retro Flowers quilt pattern by The Sometimes Crafter.  Despite the fact that these curves were killing me, I was motivated once I decided who this quilt should belong to.  I shipped it off to my cousin and his wife for their new baby coming next month. I was so happy to hear that she adores it.

This is some of my favorite fabric ever.  I love the little elephants.

By the way, check out the sad corner of the blue chair.  I think my chair is in need of a face lift one of these days.  The poor thing is wearing out.  I'm debating on just recovering it with the same fabric, or I might upgrade to Laurie's new line Perfectly Perched.

I added the green border because I felt like it need something to tie in that one lonely green flower.

I'm not sure I'll be doing another quilt like this for a while, but I'm so glad I tackled it.  I admit the thing that made this doable for me was watching Leanne's video from She can Quilt.  I've always tried to pin my curves because that is what you are supposed to do, right?  Well, after watching Leanne's video I stopped pinning my curves cold-turkey, and surprisingly, it's way easier to sew curves without pins.  NY Beauty blocks--no pins.  Retro Flowers blocks--no pins.  Improv curves--no pins.  It took a bit of getting used to.  I have learned to much more carefully ease the fabrics together as I'm sewing and am much happier with the results.  Thanks Leanne!

Friday, June 8, 2012

EZ Dresden Winner

Thanks to all of you for humoring me with the Rafflecopter attempt.  I figured it was best to test it out with a little giveaway like this.  Our winner is Alli!  I'm sending you an email.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Currently I'm lounging on the deck watching the kiddos enjoying their new "pool" (if it can be called that).  It was $10 and holds some water so we're all having a good afternoon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Seeing Stars

July is my month for two bees I participate in.  I've started working on getting things ready.  I'm really excited about this round.  I'm asking both groups to make the same type of blocks for me.  I think it will be a very fun quilt and something quite different from what I've made before.

I've fallen in love with the grey and yellow color scheme.  It matches nothing in my house, but it's just so pretty together.  This photo was my inspiration for my quilt colors.

Source: Photo Card Boutique

I'm requesting that the bee members make a 12" paper pieced star block.  They are free to choose any block.  I've made two blocks so far for this quilt. For the background fabric having bee members use Pure Elements in Light Grey, Kona Snow, or a grey near solid fabric. Most of the stars will have a grey background, but I wanted to mix in some white as well. 

My blocks came from the book 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars.  The patterns come together easily.  One thing I do dislike is the fact that there is no 1/4" seam allowance on the pattern pieces.  Most of the paper-piecing patterns I've used in the past have a dotted line around the pattern to mark the seam allowance.  It is easier for me to visualize the actual size of the pattern with that dotted line there.  Also, some of the pieces on her cut lists are just a bit too small for me.  Several of the pieces are quite precise, and I had to redo a couple because I didn't get them exactly right.  I would rather use an extra 1/4" of fabric and have a little wiggle room.  I added a little extra to the cuts when I did the second block, and it was much easier for me.

 She also recommends sewing the entire block together before removing the paper and even recommends waiting to remove the paper until all blocks are joined.  I've always removed the paper first, but this actually worked really well.  I'm dreading ripping out all those tiny papers, but my blocks came out quite nicely because of it.

Here are my stacks of fabric to divide and mail.  I'll only be sending fabric to the members of the Sew Beautiful Bee.  The members of my Stash Trad Bee work from their stash on blocks.   I am also thinking of doing just one blue star to mix things up a bit. 
I can't wait to see what these ladies come up with.