Friday, August 31, 2012

At the end of the Hallway for August

What special projects do you have hanging at the end of your hallway this month?  I finished a new quilt the other day that I'm excited to share.

This quilt is for my nephew.  My SIL commissioned me to sew quilts for their three kids.  The first was the bubble quilt for their daughter.  Now their middle guy will have his own quilt.  My SIL wanted to keep this really simple so we just went with stripes.  She didn't want it to be too kid-ish as she wanted it to last for years.  The little brother will get a coordinating quilt later this year or early next when I can squeeze it in.

I quilted the stripes differently.  It was great practice for FMQ.  I'm loving the squares on the orange rows.  A few of my ideas came from the FMQ book by Angela Walters.

Here is the back.  I just used up what I had leftover from the stripes, and added the horizontal orange stripes for length. The finished size is about 66" x 90".  The fabrics used in this quilt are all Kona colors--Iron, Marine, Orange, & Lime.  I used coordinating thread colors for quilting.

My different quilting designs show up much better on the back.

Now it's your turn.  Link up your favorite finished project for the month!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A couple fabric bundles for sale

A good friend of mine (who is also addicted to fabric) moved to Italy last year.  She has a friend visiting her in a month and sent me fabric shopping recently to send over with her friend.  I wasn't sure what she might want and she wasn't either.  I have a few bundles leftover that she didn't choose.  I'll list them on Etsy in a few days, but if anyone is interested in the meantime, shoot me an email at fromthebluechair at gmail. 

Ruby-- (11 FQs) $26.40 + shipping  Sold

Red and  Brown bundle-- (5 FQs) $12.00 + shipping Sold

Domestic Bliss Bundle-- (16 FQs)  $38.40 + shipping Sold.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 8.22.12

We're wrapping up the summer around here.  Just a few more days until school starts.  I think we're all pretty excited about that.  The hubs has been super busy at work recently, but we were able to sneak away for the weekend.  We stayed at my mom's cabin and visited Yellowstone Park.  It was our first family vacation with just our little family--no extended family.  It wasn't as idealistic as we had hoped.  This picture pretty much sums up the weekend.

Yes, they are all screaming, and this was on the way to Yellowstone from the cabin.  We planned to stay until Tuesday, but instead came home a day early and spent Tuesday at the children's museum and ate at Cafe Rio.  It was definitely the best way to wrap up our "vacation".  Another sad part about the trip was that my DSLR started having serious personal issues.  It died on me and will soon head back to Canon for a make-over.  Hopefully they can fix it.  That meant I was stuck with my camera phone (which is less than stellar) for our little trip.

The standard bison picture from the car.  This guy block traffic for several minutes while he just walked down the center of the road. 

On the sewing front I have a few fun WIPs to share.

I cut into the Oakshott Rubies stack and have just a tiny bit left.  I won't be sharing pictures of this project for a while, but I am loving it.  I'll be quilting it up soon--as soon as I can commit to a quilting design.  In the meantime I'm thinking of making a couple pillow covers with my few tiny scraps.  I LOVE these fabrics and need to buy more.  They were so fun to work with. 

With the Rubies project off the design wall, I had room to put these beauties on the wall!  I don't know when I'll actually start sewing these, I just had to see how they look together.  Almost every bee block has arrived.

Finally at the sewing machine this week:  I'm working on quilting this twin quilt for my nephew.  My SIL requested this quilt for their little guy.  It's a very simple quilt--just a strip quilt of orange, blue, lime and grey solids.  To add some texture I'm quilting each strip different.  I plan to use about six different quilting designs.  I want to mix it up, but don't want it overly crazy.  So far so good.  I finished the grey strips last night.

Finally, in quite possibly my most exciting news of the week, go check out the cover for the first issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited that they just posted on Facebook.  That may just be my quilt on the cover!! 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tutorial--Cutting Accurate Hexagons without a Template

Festival of Hexies

I’ve had hexagons on the brain lately.  I'm in the process of preparing for my Sewing Summit class I’m team teaching with Faith from Fresh Lemons Quilts.  I was excited with Ali asked me to participate in her Festival of Hexagons because it fit perfectly with a tutorial I was already planning to provide for all the attendees of my class.

A couple months ago I wanted to cut large hexagons.  After searching for a tutorial I found nothing.  The math doesn’t work out nice and simple for hexagons, and I couldn’t find the info on cutting them accurately.  Since necessity is the mother of invention, I decided I had to figure it out.  With the help of the hubs (who remembers trigonometry far better than I do) we figured out how to cut hexagons with reasonable accuracy without templates or a special ruler. Being the Excel pro that he is, he also put the equations into a little spreadsheet, and we came up with the measurements in the following chart.  The key to success is cutting these accurately as possible.  The measurements are rounded to the closest 1/16”.  In order to sew these hexagons together and still achieve great corners, cut the beginning rectangle as close as possible to the recommended measurement. 
The first number on the chart refers to the width of the block or corner to corner.  The second number refers to the actual height of the hexagon.  The final number is the rounded number for cutting.  Use the numbers on this chart for the following steps in cutting your hexagons.  All increments are in inches.
  1. Cut the beginning rectangle to the recommended size.  
  2. Fold in half along the long side.  Finger press.  
  3. Place ruler along the corner of the of the fold with the 60 degree line along the fold.  Cut from the very point of the fold to the upper edges.  Repeat with the other side without moving the fabric.  
  4. Open the hexagon and check accuracy of all sides and diameters before cutting many hexagons.  Make sure that each side and diameter is nearly the same. 
  5. Don't forget to save the scraps!  The extra triangles make perfect half-rectangle triangles.  This technique works best with larger hexagons.  
  6. Although I've provided measurements for smaller hexagons, when cutting smaller hexagons (under 6” or so) for machine piecing I would still recommend using templates or an acrylic ruler for better accuracy.
These very large hexagons were for the back of this quilt.  They have a 12.5” diameter (or a 6.25" side).  This was a great idea until I started trying to piece these with the 100% linen.  I realized this wasn’t a great idea. Luckily it worked out. 

For smaller hexagon templates, feel free to download this pdf from Google Docs I created in Photoshop.  There are two pages for this template and provide hexagons from a 3" diameter up to an 8.5" diameter.  Just trace them onto template plastic to make your own hexagon templates.

If you have a 60 degree ruler, I did find this video tutorial via a post from Little Bluebell that will help you out when cutting hexagons from strips.

Don't forget to enter your hexagon project into the Festival of Hexagons.  There are some great prizes!  Also, check out all the other great posts!

Monday, Aug. 13
Ali from a²(w)
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Amanda from A Crafty Fox
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Kelly from Kelbysews
Thursday, Aug. 16
Terri from Sew Fantastic
Friday, Aug. 17
Jeni from In Color Order
Monday, Aug. 20
Lindsey from LRStitched
Tuesday, Aug. 21
Wednesday, Aug. 22
Michelle from Super Orange Sewing (formerly I Like Orange, Too)
Thursday, Aug. 23
Sara from Sew Sweetness
Friday, Aug. 24

Saturday, Aug. 25
Aug. 27 - Sept. 2
Link Party
Sept. 3 - Sept. 5
Friday, Sept. 7
Winners announced

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A giveaway winner

This morning I headed over to to find our giveaway winner and pulled up #29.

Then I went through the post comments to #29 and laughed a bit.  Then I debated for an hour about actually awarding the Art Gallery stack to #29.  You see #29 is my adorable SIL.  In the end I decided Camille gets the stack.  I never said family couldn't win.

I know she will make something fabulous with it.  She is an amazing seamstress and makes wonderful outfits from thrifted items all the time.  To me she is the queen of all clothing sewing.  Currently she is doing a 6 for $16 challenge.  She is making six new outfits over the next six months for an average of $16 each.  I am always amazed at what she comes up with.  The really amazing thing to me is that she comes up with all of this on her own and the details are always perfect.  She creates her own clothing patterns.  Here is what she has done so far in her challenge.




I'll be sending you some fabric Camille!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 8.15.2012

I find myself avoiding WIP Wednesday sometimes because there just isn't that much to show.  Either I've already shown pictures in other posts of ongoing projects or they are projects I'm saving for later.  It's often fun to unveil a project when it's completely finished.  Today is just a WIP Wednesday of life.  

Some of the accomplishments for the week:

Exploring a farm. 

Taking some photos of my cousin's brand new beautiful boy.  I stayed up way too late last night getting them all edited.

Miss A posing during a break in said photo session.  I rarely get photos of her sitting still.

Finally, there has been quilting too.  Or at least basting.  I basted three quilts yesterday.  I like to save them up and do several at once since it means cleaning up the over-spray only once.  Now to find the time to quilt them.  I'm thinking I might start tonight when everyone is finally asleep.
Current WIPs...
  • I'm waging war on the ants who think my kitchen is now their home. 
  • I'm trying to keep this disaster of a house clean when three little mini-destroyers can wreck it 10xs faster than I can clean it.  I usually surrender until after they are all in bed.
  • I have officially won the war on laundry for today.
  • I'm getting ready to send Miss C off to kindergarten in a couple weeks.  I'm terrified and excited for her at the same time.  She is so dang excited for "5-year-old school".  
  • My twins will start preschool in less than two weeks.  I will be kid-less for 2.5 hours three days a week.  I'm kind of excited about that, but at the same time sad.  They are all just getting so big. 
  • I'm debating on chopping my hair short again.  It's currently longer than it's been since I was four years old, and I'm a bit tired of having so much hair.
  • I have a very fun quilt pattern in my head that I'm planning to develop into my first PDF quilt pattern for sale.  I'm excited to try this new venture.
  • My 5-month-old smart phone died last week.  My replacement arrives tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to getting it back.  I have missed going through Google Reader while listening to Pandora when I exercise on the elliptical in the morning.  Although,  not having it for a week has made me realize I need to stop taking so many pictures with it and pull out my DSLR more.  There is no comparison in quality.
  • I'm going to Wicked tomorrow with the hubs!  It was my Christmas present, and I have been looking forward to it since December.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A new outfit for Miss C plus a giveaway!

A couple months ago I received a little bundle of eight fat quarters from Art Gallery.  I chose fabrics from the Poetica line.  

My original intent with these was to sew a make-up travel bag, but then I had a realization.  I don’t travel.  I don’t need another bag, but Miss C needed a new skirt.  Then I decided she needed a matching shirt so I ordered an extra ½ yard of fabric for the shirt. 

We had a super fast "Mom are you serious?" photo shoot the other day.  At least I didn't have to bribe her with anything this time.

Miss C LOVES pink and purple so this fabric was a hit.  She is hard on her clothes so I didn’t want to put a huge amount of time into this project, and I wanted to stick with just the fabric I had.  I used a pattern for the shirt that I purchased a couple years ago, but the other projects were just ones I came up with using that little stack of 7 fat quarters (one fat quarter was used for the sleeves on the shirt).  I put together a few very simple tutorials on her little outfit.  

Tapered Strip Skirt
Here is a quick rundown of how I made the skirt.  Prewash all fabrics.  I used 7 different fat quarters for this project (2 strips of each fabric).  For a fuller skirt just use a few more strips.  Cut fabric to desired length.  After prewashing and trimming, my strips were 17.5” which was a perfect length for her. 

  1. Cut 14 strips 5” x 17.5”
  2. On one short end, make a mark 1” from each edge.  Trim the long sides of the fabric from the bottom corner to the 1” mark at the other end creating a tapered strip.  This makes one end of the strip 3" while the other end remains 5". 
  3. Sew all strips together along the long sides using ¼” seams, short ends on the top, wider ends at the bottom.  Finish raw edges using a serger or zig-zag.  My friend Barbie over  at The Quilting Mill has also put together a couple great tutorials on finishing seams.  Check out her tutorials on French seams and finishing gathered seams if you don't have a serger.
  4. I chose to serge my edges and then edge-stitch to keep everything in place.  
  5. Hem base of skirt.  I used a ¼” hem, although I’m tempted to go back and sew on a 2” ruffle hem to make the skirt a bit longer.  Miss C would love the ruffle. 
  6. Finish the waist.  I went a bit of a lazy route on this and just attached 2” white elastic to the waist.  I may go back one of these days and add a fabric casing instead of the elastic, but for now the elastic works fine.

Reversible Headband Cover

Next up is the headband.  I have a few ½” plastic headbands I bought about a year ago with the intention of making removeable headband covers.    Download my little hand-drawn pattern here. You’ll need two strips of fabric 16” x 2.5” as well as some fusible interfacing.

  1. Cut the fabric and interfacing using the pattern.
  2. Attach the interfacing.
  3. Fold and press short edges under ½’. Edge-stitch in place.
  4. Sew fabric along one long side seam.  Press seam.
  5. Press raw edges of fabric in ¼” on other long sides.  Edge-stitch each long side together about 1/8”. Leave short ends open to insert headband.  Finished!

Reversible Mini Tote
Finally, Miss C needed a little bag to go with her outfit.  

I used the remaining fabric to make a little reversible tote for her.  You’ll need two pieces of fabric 12” x 18” for the bag and lining, and two pieces 4” x 18” for the handles.  Cut interfacing as well: (2) 12” x 18” and (2) 3.5” x 18”.  

  1. Attach interfacing to bag pieces and handles as directed.
  2. Make handles.  Press each piece in half along the length then press each edge to meet in the center.  Edge-stitch along each long side to seal seams. Set aside. Leave short ends unfinished.
  3. Fold each bag piece in half and sew ¼” seam along each side.
  4. Box corners of both bag pieces and measure a 3” line as shown.  Pin and stitch across line.  Trim corners 1/4" from the stitch line.
  5. Attach handles.  Measure 3” in from each seam for handle placement.  Baste handles to the right side of one bag piece.  Make sure they are not twisted. 
  6. Place right sides of bag pieces together matching side seams.  Pin in place and sew around the top of the bag. Leave 3-4” opening to turn bag.  Turn bag right side out, press top seam, edge-stitch 1/8” from edge to finish and seal seams.  Press.
There you have it!  From eight fat quarters and a 1/2 yard she has a fun little new outfit.  Plus I still have enough fabric to make little sis a bag as well.  I might have to make another skirt and shirt from my stash. 

Now for a little giveaway! (Giveaway closed)
Art Gallery sent me an extra set of fat quarters to give away.  Just leave a comment.  I'll announce the winner on Thursday.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Jewels Quilt

Fat Quarterly Issue 10 was released the other day.  I'm excited that it includes my first official pattern.  I put this little quilt together during the Fat Quarterly Quick Curves Ruler challenge, and they asked to include it this month.  As always there are lots of fun patterns in this issue!

I made this quilt months ago and finally get to share it.  It uses (42) 10" squares and finishes about 52" x 54".  We call it the Jelly Bean quilt, but since this issue is all about London and the UK, it's official name for the issue is Jewels.  I used a 10-inch stack from the Pick A Bunch fabric line by Nancy Mims for Robert Kaufman.