Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 4: Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along

Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along

Well, I'm not exactly keeping up this this little block-along like I intended. I decided to give the Riviera and Dakota Star blocks from week 4 a go yesterday while the mini destroyers were at preschool. I struggled a bit getting my points in the center to meet on both of these, but finally decided it was good enough for me and finished for the day. Now I need to work my way back and do the blocks from week 2 & 3, although the group is already on week 5. I'm hopelessly behind. As I am constantly telling my kids, "It's not a race," despite the fact that they feel the need to race at everything from getting dressed to eating to being the first one in the door.

Riviera Block

Dakota Star
With a few more blocks in the mix, I'm liking this project more. I always panic when I make samplers because I never like them when there are just a few finished blocks. As I finish more blocks, the project grows on me. I'm definitely feeling more comfortable with my decision to use some blue in there now that I have two blocks with it. I might need to do a little shopping to find a few more FQs of blue that match.

A reader asked this morning what fabric I'm using for my background. I'm using Yarn Dyed Essex in Flax by Robert Kaufman. It has become my absolute favorite background fabric. The lighting in these photos looks a bit off, but the color is most true in the Riviera block photo above.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Jumbo Star Revisited

One of the aspects I love most about writing this blog is hearing back from others who have used my tutorials and patterns to create something they love. Last year I created my Jumbo Star Quilt and posted tutorials on my process (tutorial 1, tutorial 2, tutorial 3).

Anne from Play Crafts took that tutorial and made something AMAZING! I love it. And then she had the guts to give it away to a great cause. I know how much work this quilt is, and I'm so impressed by her generosity. Wisely, Anne created her templates in Illustrator vs. my hand-drawn ones. I need to do that next time around. Check out her full post about this quilt! It really is fantastic. It makes me want to make a new one.

If you have created something using one of my patterns or tutorials, I'd love to see it! Please post it in my Flickr group! I'll be posting occasional spotlights here.

Source: Play Crafts (used with permission)

Source: Play Crafts (Used with permission)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

RJR Supreme Solids Winner!

Thanks to all of you for participating in the RJR giveaway for the Supreme Solids FQ bundle.

Our lucky winner this cold morning (for me at least) is #160! That lucky person is Emily who blogs over at the cute blog, Sew E.T.! Congrats Emily! I'll be sending you an email.

Have a great Wednesday to all of you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaching Prep

It's been quiet around the blog lately. There are several reasons for this, but mainly it is due to my prep for my class I'm teaching next month at Sew South.

My desk has frequently looked like this as I prepare samples of the various improv piecing techniques I'm planning to teach:

One problem I've discovered with improv piecing is that it's messy. I tend to just throw scraps everywhere as I create. It's been so fun to actually dissect my process of improv piecing to share distinct techniques I use when creating a project. I'm excited to share a few of my creations with you all after my classes.

If you aren't heading to Sew South next month, consider signing up for my class at the Small Town Quit Show this summer. I'll be teaching another improv piecing class in Midway, Utah on Saturday, June 28. I'm very excited for this chance to teach locally. I'd love to see you there! The cost for the class is only $40. There are many other fantastic classes available from amazing teachers running through the weekend show.

Friday, February 7, 2014

RJR Supreme Solids Blog Hop & A Giveaway!

A while back I was contacted by RJR Fabrics to participate in a blog hop featuring their Cotton Supreme Solids.

When choosing colors for this project I searched through my Pinterest folder for color combos and decided on this image. I originally intended to make a baby quilt with these fabrics, but the quilt grew a bit as I changed my design. I compared the RJR color card with this swatch and finally decided the following colors for my quilt: Bora Bora, Proud as a Peacock, Wimbledon, Matcha, Rhododendron, Hot Pink, Orchid, On the Rock, Turks & Caicos, Pink Sapphire, Riviera, Optical White, and Silver. (Most of the colors I selected are available at Pink Castle Fabrics. Links are provided for colors available.)
Source: Photo Card Boutique
RJR Fabrics kindly sent me a pretty bundle of solids.

Originally I intended to do some 1/4 circle piecing with these fabrics, but once they arrived, I really wanted to keep it simple. I ultimately decided on stripes.

This is a wonderfully simple quilt and perfect for new quilters. I simply cut my 1/4 yard pieces into strips of various widths and sewed them together until my quilt front was 54" and my quilt back was 57". The challenge is lining up the front and back precisely when basting. My skinniest strip is 1/4" finished. The widest is about 7". The quilt finished up at 40" x 54". It's a nice lap quilt. To make your own version of this quilt you'll need about fourteen 1/4 yard fabric pieces (not fat quarters) depending on how many strips you cut.

The back is the same style, although I did the stripes a bit wider overall.

I quilted swirls on this one to soften the lines a bit rather than accentuating them with some type of straight-line quilting.

My trusty photography sidekick loves the snow. I think Pixel would be happy if it snowed year-round (I, on the other hand, would not).

The Giveaway! CLOSED

RJR Fabrics is offering one of you a fat quarter bundle created from my selected colors. Simply leave a comment. To make it a bit more interesting, please tell us your favorite color combo. I'm always looking for new ideas. The giveaway will close on February 12.
**This giveaway is only open to US and Canadian residents.

Disclosure: The fabric for this quilt was provided to me by RJR Fabrics. The giveaway is sponsored by RJR Fabrics.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Messenger Bag

My sister asked me recently to sew a new messenger bag for her for work. She takes the subway to work and always has a number of extra things to tote along. She needed a new hands-free bag.

She chose the fabric and had it shipped to me. Because she didn't want the bag to show dirt, she choose Alexander Heath in Gray for the exterior. This fabric is not what we expected. It is not gray. When it arrived I thought they had shipped the wrong fabric, but after some research realized that other shops listed this fabric as gray/taupe or gray/natural rather than just gray. It's very much natural/taupe/tan. Gray would never come to mind when looking at this fabric. The unfortunate reality of shopping online is that some things don't arrive as expected. It was still usable, just not exactly what she was hoping for. The quality is excellent and will hopefully hold up well over time.

I used my messenger bag tutorial. I messed up a couple things because I didn't follow my own directions. It's funny how you seem to make more mistakes when you're sure you know what you are doing. Luckily they were all fixable.

I changed up the key fob for this one, making the strap longer and skinnier so the keys rest on the bottom of the purse rather than pulling on the back of the bag. My sister reports this works great for her as she doesn't even have to take them off the key fob to open the door. She also slips her metro pass into one of the front pockets and doesn't have to remove it to get through the turnstile. She simply puts her bag in front of the scanner, and she is able to pass right though. It makes me happy that the bag turned out to have added benefits for her that I didn't even think about.

I'm in the process of making myself a new version of this bag as well. It is still my favorite bag pattern, although I plan to make even more improvements in my next one.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sewtopia Retreat

Although the online quilting/sewing community is a wonderful way to connect, there is nothing like having the opportunity to meet in person. Sewing retreats are starting to pop up all over the country, which I think is fantastic.

Sewtopia Retreat 2014 is happening in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 6-9! Sewtopia is a bit different from other retreats. No classes are offer, but there will be plenty of chances to learn from each other as well as creative challenges throughout the weekend. The focus of this retreat is simply a chance to just come sew. After attending Sewing Summit twice, I realized that by far the highlight of those weekends was simply interacting with others as obsessed as I am. The open sewing sessions at night are the best part. Sewtopia provides a full weekend of open sewing! Machines will be provided. Breakfast and lunch are also provided on Friday and Saturday.

Registration begins in just one week!