This weekend's goal ...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Is to quilt this queen size top ...
On this standard sewing machine ...

[note the 7.5" opening].

I've had TONS of advice from quilters on Flickr with tips and tricks to getting this accomplished ... I am full of optimism!  Stay tuned ...

Happy New Year!

All the best

Tutorial for Jenna

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Thanks to Sarah for letting me know that it would help people to know how much material to purchase!
I used: 
  • 12 quarter yards of different fabrics to cut the large and small squares from (when I was finished, I had about 25% of the quarter yards left (you could used FQs, but this came off the bolt, so I had them cut 1/4 yards for me). 
  • I used ~ 1.5 yards of the solid for sashing
  • The back was made from the remaining sashing and 2 extra pieces that I had in the stash.
Jenna was nice enough to offer me advice on this quilt when it was just a couple of blocks on a drawing board.  So when she asked for a tutorial ... how could I say no?

This quilt is based on blocks comprised of (1) 7.5" (5) 3.5" squares with sashing.  The basic block layout is reflected below:
The following diagram represents the pieces of the block.

So here's what you will need:

A = (1) each 7.5" x 7.5"
B = (5) each 3.5" x 3.5"
C = (3) each 3.5" x 1.5"
D = (1) each 7.5" x 1.5"
E1 = (1)each 11.5" x 1.5"
G = (1) each 11.5 x 2.5"
H = (1) each 13.5" x 2.5"

First, lay out the squares for the block the way that you want them. 
Next, connect the smaller squares (B) together with the small sashing pieces (C) creating a pair and a triplet piece.
Using strip D, connect the pair of small squares with the larger square.
Attach E to the left side of the triplet piece and then sew the two pieces together.

Finally, sew the 2.5" pieces to the top and left.

Here's another block I made (note:  I added some sashing on the bottom and right as I am going to use this as a block on an improv quilt).

If you make the block properly (e.g. without the extra 2 strips that I used in the last photo), you will end up with a block that is 13.5".  In my quilt, I went 4 blocks tall x 4 blocks side.  After you determine how you want to lay out your quilt, you will need to sew an extra 2.5" strip to the right and bottom of the quilt (see the sashing in the image below in a slightly darker blue).

On my quilt, I chose to add some 1.5" squares around the perimeter before adding another 1.5" piece of sashing and then the binding.

It was a fun, and relatively easy, quilt to make.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions ...

My corner and stash

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It has been so much fun to see other quilter's studios and their stash cabinets ... in fact, I often show photos to my husband to show him how 'easy' he really has it ...

I thought you might get a kick out of seeing where and what I sew from.

When in Seattle, I sew in this little corner of the family room ... wedged in between the piano (my staging area) and the built in desk that comprises the 'home office'.  We purchased this sewing table on Craigs list last summer (it has a Singer base, though I am not sure that the top is original).  There is a pull out shelf under the sewing machine ... I'm thinking that it was added on at some point for a keypad to make this a computer table, as I couldn't imagine putting a sewing machine on it.  I use my piano bench as my seat. 

My fabric stash is even more pathetic ... here it is ... all 2.5 shelves of it.
Yep ... that's it.  The basked on the bottom is scraps of solids, the bottom shelf are my remnants that are 1/4 yard or less, the next shelf up has my solid stash on the right and my print stash on the left.  The top shelf has my whites and a couple of pillow forms.  That's it ... you would think that after 18 months of quilting and 50+ quilts later I would have a little more to show for it in terms of a stash ... but i still continue to quilt pretty much hand-to-mouth when it comes to material ;-)

What does your 'studio and stash' look like?

All the best

One for me!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It didn't start out as mine ... but I am so happy it ended up as mine! 

After I made this one, I decided to go to the LQS and pick up some fun holiday prints and make a Christmas quilt for my mom.  I designed and made a few of the blocks during the week, with the plan of finishing it up at the cabin over the weekend.  My folks are off to spend Christmas with my sister-in-law and her daughter while my brother spends the holiday in Iraq, so we had planned to stop by their house on Sunday night and exchange gifts on our way back to town from the cabin. 

Well ... the best of intentions.  On Saturday, in the midst of a "Pineapply Express" (think a storm front with a lot of high temperatures and 6" of rain), we lost power at the cabin.  After waiting an hour, I knew I had to head back to Seattle to finish it.  John decided to stay at the cabin ... fine with me ... totally uninterupted quilting time!

A 2 hour drive took 3 hours ... but even with uninterupted quilting time, it became apparent I couldn't get the quilt completed in time to drive back out to the cabin, pick up John and then still arrive at my parents house at a reasonable time for the gift exchange.  So I wrapped up the Christmas quilt I made several weeks ago for mom and headed back out to the cabin to pick up John.

That was a trip ... hitting two parts of the road along Hood Canal where there were landslides over the road.  I actually got to use the 4-wheel drive on our FJ Cruiser ... John was so jealous ;-).

Back to the quilt!  Completed and washed, it measures 56" square.  Each block is comprised of a 7.5" block surrounded by 3.5" blocks with sashing.  I used Moda Fruitcake, Alexander Henry Sew Christmas and a little Twelve Days of Christmas by Sharyn Sowell sashed with a teal solid I picked up from JoAnns.  I bound it in Alexander Henry's Sew Christmas Buttons.  The back is pieced with some Kona solid and the collection of fabrics from the front.

My mom is thrilled with the cross quilt that I gave her and I am delighted that I ended up with this one.  The colors are really rich and I love the idea of having it to pull out each year!

Hope your holiday projects are all close to getting completed!

All the best

Some Moda color

Friday, December 17, 2010

It feels good to be working on something that's not holiday focused !!!

And I am definitely in LIKE!

All the best

Christmas pillows

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Canada packages had to be mailed before the rest of the pillows were finished ... so I am not going to be able to get the group shot I wanted ... but here are the ones that get mailed tomorrow (the material on the pillow on the left is printed, not pieced).

These were quite fun to make ... at least the first 10 ... there will be a total of 20 when I am finished. Each gift is a pair ... a solid and a print. My inspiration was this photo.
I straight-line quilted the pillow covers over a 14" pillow form.


Isn't the little button holding on the bow the cutest ?!?!?

Well ... back to playing "Christmas elf" ... if only I could mail everything on Christmas eve ... I would be all set!

All the best.

101 is a good place

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This is my one-hundred and first post!  I started this blog in mid-January 2010 ... which by the way, feels a lot further away than it really is ;-).

I got my first Christmas package off in the mail today ... December 4th is the date for sending packages to our troops over in the Middle East, so my brothers little Christmas tree hit the mail today, with a few extra goodies packaged in there for him to enjoy.  Our next deadline is for those Canadian packages late next week.

This quilt is made entirely of scraps from the Christmas pillows I am making for Christmas presents this year (that post will hopefully be next week when they are all finished and I can get a group shot).

I found some great inspirations here and here and decided that I too was ready to create this pattern.  I particularly like how the strong solids stand out. 

The back is a cute print I found at 50% off at JoAnns this morning, by Debi Mumm and I'm quite smitten with it.

And the binding was something that I had bought eariler in the year and didn't quite like in large scale ... but it's perfect for a binding. 

The squares were cut 3.75" and the quilt is 15 squares by 19 squares.  I quilted with a red thread about 1/4" on either side of the seams.

I liked it so much ... I actually went to my LQS this morning to buy Christmas fabric to make one for me!  Stay tuned.

I am off to Chicago on business for a few days next week ... but then it's right back to Christmas sewing!

All the best

A Charlie Brown-ish Christmas tree ...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I believe this represents my first major disappointment in a project ... guess it had to happen ... just wish it hadn't happened on my brother's Christmas present.

Patrick is currently stationed in Iraq and I decided that I was going to make him a Christmas tree to hang on his wall.  I found this fabulous inspiration and then used I'm Just a Guy Who Quilt's tutorial which I found from this photo posted on Flickr.

I have been making Christmas decoration pillows for family holiday presents this year and have been saving the scraps to give this a whirl.  So last night on the way home from work I stopped in to JoAnn's to pick up the 'Steam a Seam 2' that Ryan recommends in his tutorial.  They don't carry it, but I was assured that Heat'nBond would work equally well. 

I then set out to make my circles ...

Next, I laid put a painters-tape border for the tree as a guide for where to place my circles.

I finished it this evening ... and was thrilled!  It was delightful and exactly what I wanted!  Unfortunately ... I didn't take a picture of that ...

I bound it ... and even put some loops on the back for him to hang it with.

The Problem:

As I was binding it ... I noticed the issue.  The circles were starting to come off ... all of them.  Now I can't actually say that the Heat'nBond doesn't really work as well as Ryan's recommended Steam a Seam 2 as I have never actually used the SS2 ... but let's just say that Heat'nBond didn't actually do much 'bonding'. 

That's not the disappointing part.  The disappointing part is my fix.  Ryan's tutorial suggests stitching the circles in place ... so I decided to see if that would fix it.  But my stiching is just not that good bad.  The 1" circles are sometimes cut down to half that size and I just wasn't to spin the fabric and keep the stitching evenly spaced within the cirlces.  I used a seam ripper on the red circles and re-sewed them with red thread to mask the stitching ... it helped a little.

But overall ... I feel like I took really great product and, while I didn't completely ruin it, I am SO less satisfied with the outcome.

If I had the time, I would remake it ... but it still has to go half-way around the world ... and it needs to go in the mail this week.  So I am going to send it as is ... it's not perfect ... but it came from the heart ... with the right intention ... and I want my 'not so baby' brother to have a Christmas tree ... even if it is a little Charlie Brown-ish.
All the best

A bargain just the same ...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it me ... or do the prices at Value Village seem to be creeping up?  Maybe they are figuring out they were too much of a value?

I picked this heavy cotton table cloth up at VV about 2 months ago for $4.99.  At first I thought I might use it for some of my holiday pillows, but when I got it home and inspected it ... it was in perfect condition.  Then when I laid it on the table at the cabin ... well ... it just fit the space. 

So while it looks a bit holiday-ish ... it's been gracing my table now for a few months and will take us through the holiday season in style.

What's your favorite "find"?

All the best

Fresh Modern Bee 2 -- November 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This month, Amanda at Scissors & Thread was looking for pinwheel sampler blocks.  Having never done any before, I turned to her suggestion of following the instructions from ps i quilt blog where Rachel has a Quilt Along for pinwheel samplers.

The material is Tanya Whelan's Dolce collection (I think I'm in love ...) with the Kona Medium Gray for the solid. 

I enjoyed trying something new ... and think there might even be a pinwheel in my future!  Am also pleased that I finished them before the end of the month AND they will actually be in the mail before December too (I believe a first for me ;-).

Happy sewing.

All the best

Whirls of color

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm not sure if this is called a whirlygig, windmill or whirlwind ... but I do think like how it came together. 

I've been admiring this pattern from afar for awhile and finally attempted it (with a little help from Michelle Sews tutorial). 

I finished it last night and had visions of using our recent snowfall today as a backdrop for the photos (and the resulting reflection of light).  But that just didn't pan out ... too much grass and not enough snow.

So my dining room table (and bathroom shower rod) it is ...

The blocks are made from 5" squares for the print fabrics and 5" x 6" rectangles for the white squares (see Michelle's blog for the scoop on why the different size squares), resulting in blocks that are ~8.5" before sewing.  

I added a border, comprised of all the fabrics (less the binding fabric) which are cut 1.25" and 2.5" long.  

Now ... back to that Christmas pillow making ...

I know many of you here in the U.S. are busy this evening planning for Thanksgiving tomorrow ... I am lucky to be married to the cook (the chestnuts are being peeled for the stuffing as I type).  And further grateful that, this year, we are off to my cousins for the big dinner.  A very safe and happy holiday to all of you here ... & a lovely rest of your week and great weekend for those of you in the rest of the world!

All the best.

Reclaimed ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

His mom made this ... many many years ago.  I never got to meet her ... she passed away the year that I met my husband. 

After she passed, John had some of her belongings brought over from England to his cottage in Canada.  We closed down and sold the cottage several years ago, and this pillow cover got packed up and put in a box at that time.  I found it in the back of a cupboard this weekend as I was cleaning out some linens destined for Good Will. 

After a little repair work, a few of the 1" hexagons needed a little extra stitching, and the addition of a new pillow form, I brought it up to show John.  When he saw what I had in my hands ... I saw the biggest smile I have seen in a long time appear on his face ... it made my week!

It will go out to the cabin with us on Friday where it will sit on our bed ... at John's request ...

Hope you're having a good week.  We are emerging from a Seattle winter storm ... while we only had about 2" of snow, it's the ice and sub-25F degree temperatures that have really shut the city down.  They aren't anticipating it warming up until Thursday ... so it may be another 'work from home' day tomorrow.

All the best

Thanks for sharing your creations ...

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is why I am so appreciative of all of the talented people who share their photos, tips and techniques on blogs and Flickr.
As I posted over the weekend ... I found an inspiration on Flickr and some instructions on creating the actual blocks on another blog. 

But what I really get from the plethora of great work out there is ... confidence.  After 17 months of quilting, I believe I do a decent job on piecing, getting my points pretty close and am brave enough to try some interesting color combos (but then again ... what doesn't go with white ;-).  Where I am still growing ... a lot ... is the actual quilting.  That's where I really appreciate what people share.

I am willing, with in reason, to try new things, even new quilting techniques ... but invariably, I get part of the way through a project with a new technique ... like this one ... and I get disappointed.   I am still learning to envision what a finished quilt will look like ... and new quilting techniques throw me for the biggest loop.  In part, because it's the combination of the 'quilting' and the 'washing' that create the feel that I really like in a quilt ... and when I am quilting it, I only get to see 1/2 of the effect.

When someone compliments me and/or uses one of my quilts as an inspiration ... I am totally thrilled!  In my 17 months as a quilt viewer, I've seen that not everyone has the same positive feelings.  But for those of you who do ... thanks!  Thanks for sharing, thanks for offering advice, thanks for getting excited when someone gets inspired by your fabulous work!

I had an inspiration ... and I know in the end, that this quilt will turn out as lovely as that one and it will provide joy to the new parents of a little girl.  But for all those crazy moments in the middle ... thanks ... to all of you ...

 All the best.
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