Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Frills and Fluff

tutu detail

This weekend was dedicated to tutus! We are giving our niece some dress-up clothes for her 2nd birthday and she's really into fairies, especially Tinkerbell. I had some pink chiffon and satin already, so I thought I'd whip up (yeah, right!) another pettiskirt and then I grabbed 4 rolls of green tulle at Joann's the other day to make a Tinkerbell-esque no-sew tutu (many, many tutorials out on the interwebs, just do The Google).

I had intended for the pettiskirt to take a long afternoon, but you know what they say about the best laid plans (and frankly, I wouldn't say they were "the best" to begin with!). I started early afternoon on Saturday, but by 8pm, I was pretty frustrated. Sooooo, I took a break and decided to work on the no sew variety. And here it is!  Very simple, very fast, very fun. (Practically) Instant gratification!

No Sew Tutu

The precut rolls (6" width) made it even easier than cutting from yardage. I wrapped the tulle around a legal pad the long way and then cut across the bottom and attached those strips to 1" elastic (I've seen ones made with an elastic headband as well). I bought some green ribbon, as well, to wrap around the waistband, but I decided to leave it off since I made the skirt pretty full and the waist was already pretty thick. I'll report back on whether it meets the high Tinkerbell standard :)

On Sunday afternoon, I dove back in with the pettiskirt. And here is the ruffle monster:

Pink Pettiskirt

Yea! (I think it was 10pm when I finished!) So ruffley and fluffly. I hope she likes it! I used pink and white chiffon for the ruffle around the bottom. This time around I did a buttonhole and made the waistband adjustable, since I didn't get my niece's measurements beforehand. It seems a bit fuller than the previous one I made, but to be honest, I have no recollection of making that one! Looking at the older photo, I think I made the first one a little longer but it's hard to say.

I tried to use the ruffler foot, but I couldn't find the happy medium between the tightest ruffle and the next setting, which was more of a pleat. Theoretically, with the ruffler, you should be able to gather the top layer while affixing it to the bottom, but it just wasn't meant to be for me and I was sick of messing around with it. So I ended up just adjusting the tension on my machine, as Ashley of Make It and Love It suggests and then making the ruffle, then attaching it, and running gathering stitches for the tiers. I would have saved more time if I had just ditched the ruffler.

I think I've mentioned before that you really do need to get the nylon chiffon. Polyester will fray like nobody's business. I've never seen nylon chiffon in a bricks and mortar store and ordered mine from www.fabric.com. One nice thing about ordering from them is that it comes in 108" width, so you're dealing with fewer strips. The downside is that there are only five colors. Hopefully, they'll get more soon but I can see the advantage of paying more and getting the spools of already-cut chiffon at other online shops and they have two dozen or so colors.

Short break
For the past few months I've been having some thumb, wrist, radiating-up-my-arm, discomfort and I can't tell if it's from sewing, rotary cutting, or surfing (the internet, that is). Probably a combo. Anyhoo, I took a sewing hiatus Monday and copied and cut out the templates for the Single Girl quilt instead.

Single Girl pattern & templates

Not sure when I'll get to it. I have fabrics picked out, but they are kind of rainbow-ish and I wonder if that makes it seem a little more juvenile... Not sure. So I'm holding off from actually cutting out fabric for it. I've read a lot from the Single Girl Support Group and though it's probably the most ambitious thing I've done, I'm excited to start.

I will probably do some sewing today because I just can't stay away! I want to get my Block-a-palooza top constructed and my Parisville top done so I can move on to something new! And I just got my April TwitterB fabric in the mail, too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grey Days and Sun Rays

4-patch detail

I finished my grey/yellow flimsy, which I'm calling Grey Days and Sun Rays.

Grey Days and Sun Rays flimsy

It is about 60" square, so just large enough for a couch quilt - my favorite size. The yellows are - buttercup, sunflower, lemon, maize, and banana! My in-house color consultant (and spouse) wants to make sure that he gets credit for choosing to have the yellow as the first ring, instead of the centers (which I had planned originally). I think he was right on.

I am happy to have a finish (well, a flimsy) but I'm not sure if I'm into it, now that I see it. Maybe it will grow on me. I bet I'll love it by the time I get it quilted (whenever that will be!). But like all my un-quilted quilts, I just hope I can eventually pair it with just the right recipient!

On the design wall
I have all my components cut out for my Parisville quilt (pattern here). My color consultant chose Coal over Snow (he's very on-trend for being a non-quilting electrical engineering PhD candidate!) and I think it will look great.

Parisville block components

Here's a mock up of some of the blocks. Jera made hers in Riley Blake's Rainy Days and Mondays, so she aptly calls it "Rainy Days" (and she blogs at Quilting in the Rain AND she lives in Seattle, so it works all around!) Most of these fabrics are from the Parisville Mist colorway, so maybe Misty Days, or Paris in the Mist, or just Parisville quilt! :)

Rainy Days mock up

I finally trimmed my Fandango scrap bag scraps down. They range from 1.5" to 2.5" and are 31" in length. I'm going to add on strips to either side in Kona Bone. I was going to use Snow, but I happened to have some Bone and I think that the slight ivory shade fits in even better with these prints.

Fandango scrap strips

This weekend, I'll be taking up these fabrics:

Pink Pettiskirt fabrics

Not for a quilt, but for a pettiskirt for my girlie girl almost 2-year old niece. Evidently, this is my go-to 2 year old present, as I made one for her older cousin this past November. Here's my color consultant/model showing it off.

Cow pettiskirt


I made this one based on the following tutorials:
And a helpful PDF "booklet" at:

I have a ruffler foot this time around, so I'm interested to see how that changes the process. Either way, it's a bit putzy, but really worth it in the end!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Blocks #15 and 16 (and Miscellany)

We're nearing the finish line!  And what do I have for you - a blurry photo (and the crowd goes wild!!).

Block #15

Kerri at lovely little handmades brings us Block #15. Great design, poor execution and even poorer photography :) This is the only block that seems to deviate from the overarching 9-patch/flying geese motif. The effect is supposed to be a double pinwheel - the center one radiates out into a larger pinwheel. Unfortunately my fabric choices don't really accentuate the larger pinwheel. Oh well, moving on!

Block #16

Last block (Mary Catherine Gallagher style)! Vanessa at V and Co brings us Pinwheel Parade, Block #16. I thought about this as a companion piece to Block 14 with the geese and the white background. It turned out great, except (there's always an "except") my pinwheels aren't all blowing the same direction. Let's chalk it up to a "design choice" shall we?  I pressed the seams open for these but I am still not sure how one properly manages the bulk issues at the center point. (Also, not all of my points meet in the middle - que sera, sera.) I have to say - I am not a huge pinwheel fan. Supposedly they are on-trend right now and maybe I'll come around. They're kinda cute, but they aren't my fave. Just a personal preference.

Blocks 1-16 mosaic

Tadah! Here they are! Even with the somewhat crappy photography on some of these, the standouts for me are still Block 5 (I think I commented on almost every participant's Block 5) Block 6, Block 9, and Block 11. And Block 14. And... OK, I do like most of them. How many will I do again, ah there's the rub.

We are all anxiously awaiting Julie's instructions as to layout. John posted a photo of the final layout which includes all of the original blocks from each of the participating bloggers:

Final Block-a-palooza Layout

The focus fabric for this quilt along has been Moda's Sunkissed by Sweetwater. Of course, we have been invited to do use whatever works for the fabrics we've chosen, so I am definitely not going to do the floral applique in the center, but I'm percolatin' some ideas... The end is in sight. Must. Stay. Motivated.

Speaking of Sunkissed - I received my Block-a-Palooza prize in the mail! Thanks, John! I can't wait to find a project for these!

Block-a-Palooza prizeBlock-a-Palooza prize

On a completely different note, I've been ruminating about the post from Sandi over at Piecemeal Quilts entitled The Dumbing Down of Quilting. It's clearly a provocative title and she's doing a follow-up survey, in case anyone is interested in checking it out. It's a general response and critique of a contributor's post on SewMamaSew about current trends. I've been debating whether to post a comment or not. On the one hand, anyone can say whatever they want on their own blog. On the other, it was put forth as a discussion and what kind of discussion can there be when everyone is just nodding in agreement with the original premise. On the mythical third hand, it's really none of my business (actually, maybe that's just the first hand, re-worded...).

In other news - whoever tweets for Robert Kaufman Fabrics (@robertkaufman) tweeted about my grey and yellow blocks! I got such a huge kick out of that!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the Design Wall

On the Design Wall

I have all my blocks for my grey and yellow quilt. After picking two patterns and sketching several improv versions, I went with wonky log cabin style blocks. I am really happy with this so far. I'm going to do 2" sashing in ash between the blocks. Haven't decided yet whether I'm going to sash the interior of the two 4-patch blocks.

Grey Days and Sun Rays blocks

Can't wait to get this one put together! The greys are ash, medium grey, and coal. The only other Kona grey is much darker - Charcoal and then there's Slate, which is beautiful, but on the bluish side. But I wish there were more shades of grey. (I can't remember the yellows right now, but one is buttercup, I do know that...)

In fact - if you have any ideas about new Kona colors...

Over at The Swatch and Stitch, Robert Kaufman Fabric is asking YOU the quilter - What color or colors are missing from the Kona Cotton Solids line? Answer that question by the end of the day tomorrow (St. Patty's Day!) and you will be entered into a contest for 5 solids charm packs!


I also picked out some of my precious Parisville fats for a new project.

Parisville fats new project

I'm going to do Jera's Rainy Day Quilt. It's a great design that looks like it will come together quickly. And I think it's perfect for prints that you don't want to slice into tiny pieces and directional prints.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the three Cameo print fats in the set.

Parisville Cameo Mist

Because they are only 18x22, there are maybe one or two salvageable motifs/tiles and several partial/cut off heads, which is ironic given that Parisville was inspired by Marie Antoinette's court. (Maybe not ironic, just coincidental?) Maybe I'll leave them as fats and use them for a pieced back? I'll have to mull it (mullet) over. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

March TwitterB

twitterB

As with any new endeavor - motivation is greatest at the beginning. I received Jenni's fat quarter for the TwitterB last week (I think...) and I already have my blocks done! I ended up making two because I threw in a purpley fabric ("Morning Sarah, that's a very nice purple dress, it's very purpley."~Buddy Elf) and she did mention that she was more into the turquiose/aqua/chartreuse colors. That and I couldn't decide whether her focus fabric should be a ring or the center.

Reminder - here's the focus fabric from Patricia Bravo's Bazaar Style line:

March TwitterB

I felt like I followed Elizabeth's directions and I used both 1.5" and 1.75" strips, but my blocks did not come out 12.5"... I ended up trimming a little and adding a fifth ring to one and then leaving the other at 12.25".  Jenni said she didn't mind.

Here's the one with the purple (it's called Plumberry):

March TwitterB Block 2


In the block below, the wider solid is Kona Lagoon and the thinner solid ring is Kona Peacock. The Lagoon is a little deeper than this photo shows. It's pretty close, though not exactly, a match for the focus background.

March TwitterB Block 1


It has a little mistake, which I didn't notice until I was packing them up. )Is it wrong to point out the mistakes you made on a bee block? Not sure of bee etiquette...) The second log/hedgerow (Peacock) from the top should go across the width of the block. But it doesn't. I figured Jenni can decide if she wants to make it a humility block or bury it on the back or something. 


Now, just to get them in the mail - that's the real test!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Blocks # 13 and 14

Block #13 - option A

Tia brings us Block 13 over at Camp Follower Bags and Quilts. I ended up making two. The pink/gold one was the first. I kept thinking that I needed a hint of gold and I like this one, but I don't love the big white rectangles... I made the center 9-patch out of 1.5" squares and the added a 1.5" border and trimmed to 4.5". I should have just done the math, but I didn't :)

Here's the blue version:

Block #13 - option B

The quilt is predominantly green and pink, so I'm trying to keep a decent mix with the accent colors, but not have those blocks stand way out. On the other hand, maybe it's just the nature of a sampler. Either way, it's a pretty fun "dilemma" to have!

Block #14

Follow the Leader is a really fun block from Ryan over a I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts. I really love the block, despite having my points off a little bit. Again, I'm concerned with whether it really fits in with the rest of the blocks because of the white background (did I learn from block 13? No.). It came together pretty quickly, so may do one with a busier background. I think I'll just use my extra blocks on the back, or if I end up making three more, I can do a 4x5 layout.

Last week for blocks, coming up! Maybe the big final layout will be revealed then, too!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To Bee or Not to Bee

TwitterB March

Ha! That's a silly blog post title, since I'm already bee-ing, baby! Yes, I have joined my first quilt bee - the TwitterB, which is being administered (is that the word?) by Jenni of All Things Fabulous fame. I'm excited and a little nervous, given the blocks I've seen people make on Flickr Quilting Bee Blocks group. But, I'm going to give it my best go and hopefully learn some new stuff and meet some new people.

We have each been assigned our month (I'm September - woot, woot!) and we're starting with Jenni. Before our assigned month, we send a fat quarter to each of the member, along with a questionnaire describing our preferences and the block we would like. We use the fat quarter and scraps from our own stash to build the block. Then we send the block back to the person whose month it is and we keep the remainder of the FQ!

Jenni has sent this beautiful jewel-toned fabric. Turquoise, blue, and purple is one of my favorite color combinations.

TwitterB March
Actually looking at this picture, I think I amped up the blues a little too much on this photo, but it's close. 
She has decided to go for the Hedgerow block, so-named and demonstrated by Elizabeth at Oh Fransson. I think traditionalists would probably refer to this as a log cabin block, but let's not quibble about names. I think I'm going to do the non-scrappy version, since I don't have my full stash here.

Jenni said that she likes the aquas and turquoises a little more than the purples and prefers solids, graphic prints, and polkadots. And so - I am off!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Blocks #11 and 12

Block #11 detail
Don't adjust your monitors - it's my photo that's crooked :)
Well, I finally got caught up on blocks, just in time to get started on Tia's block. Can't believe we're up to 12 already! Well, 13, as of today.

Block #11
Block #11
E-Magazine, Fat Quarterly brings us Block #11! Yes, mine is more of a St. Patty's Day homage - I call it the leprechaun block, a conscious decision to embrace the green. I had some construction issues (per my usual :)) - there are a lotta points in there! But overall I like how it turned out. I like the grungey X in the middle.

Block #12
Block #12

Block #12 comes to us from Jennifer over at Sugar Stitches. Her original design called for the diamonds to be two flying geese blocks. I perused the Block-a-Palooza Flickr group and noticed that some people were fussy-cutting the diamonds and making them a square in a square. (For my non-quilty relatives and friends who read this blog - you should check out that link because people are doing some amazing things with their blocks, and fabric choices make a big difference!) Anyway, I liked the look of those un-cut blocks and decided to follow suit.

This was originally a pink/white block, then I decided I would try to draw out some of that pesky gold/yellow/orange-y color, reversed myself again, and then settled on adding in green. I'm still cutting off points and I have a wobbly goose in there, but I like it, warts and all.


It's so funny, not sure if I've mentioned it before, but these are not colors that I am ordinarily drawn to. I love deep, rich colors - reds and blues, jewel-tones, purples, set off by black or dark grey etc. I just happened to see some other Nicey Jane projects (photos of other people's quilts) and thought how lovely the fabric was and when I saw it on sale at The Fat Quarter Shop, I scooped it up. It happens to me all the time where I'll say, "I don't really like [insert color]" and then I'll see something with an accent or motif in that color and I'll do a 180.  And now, there really isn't a color that I can say I don't like; there is always some project or some fabric out there that changes my mind. That's the main reason I really like this quilt-along. I'll see a block and think, "I'm not sure about that" - whether it's the design, my skill, or the fabrics I'm working with - then I'll do it and, lo and behold - love it!

And, as icing on the cake - I won one of the mid-way giveaways! A layer cake of Sunkissed fabric, which is the banner fabric for the quilt-along! Very springy, just what we need during the seemingly endless midwest winter! (We often get snow in May - I know, right?!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quilt-o-Rama 2011, part 2

Avignon detail

While I was home, I was able to get together with some friends and family. Tuesday, my girlfriends graciously agreed to meet at the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis, home of the Juicy Lucy (well, there's a debate between the 5-8 and Matt's as to which one is actually the home of the Juicy Lucy - a hamburger with cheese inside the hamburger), because of its proximity to Ikea. As a non-hamburger eater, I rocked the walleye basket, which included 20lbs of jojo potatoes (that's what it seemed like!) - delish!

You recall this fabric? Well, I wanted to stop and get the other patterns in the line. And, as luck would have it, it was on Ikea's version of clearance (aka Last Chance). So, for $5.99 you get over 3 yards of cute, soft kid fabric. Unfortunately, they didn't have the blue and red fabrics, but at least I got the other two.

Ikea Fabler fabric

Ikea Fabler fabric

Here is the first fabric I bought last month, above one of the fabrics I bought this past week.
Ikea Fabler fabric

The motifs in the new fabric are a little larger.
Ikea Fabler fabric

Ikea, is the den of temptation, of course. So I came home with more than just the fabric I had intended to buy. While I was there, I also found these fabrics from a great new home dec line called Susanna:

Ikea home dec Susanna
Ikea home dec Susanna
Like my sock monkey slippers? Yes, the right foot is one-eyed...

So cute, right? They are 100% cotton and feel like canvas. My cousin has made some cute tote bags out of this weight of fabric. I will probably make these into more cushions.

My sister wants me to make her some cushions, but bigger. (My nephew loved his, by the way! He kept laying on them and carrying them around - perfect for a 19 month old!) I was trying to think of what to put in them to give them more density, instead of fiber fill because I want to make them into foot stools. I was thinking about using whatever they put into a bean bag chair or maybe packing peanuts? Not sure where you get that kind of thing, though. But Google knows - Google always knows.

Finally, although I didn't do anything with my grey/yellow fabrics, I did come up with the design I want to do. I decided to save the lattice quilt for another time. I'm going to try some improv/wonky columns. I'm not going to do that curvy piece on the right, that was just a doodle. We'll see what happens!

Yellow/grey quilt design

I also came up with an idea for my Fandango scrap bags.
Fandago pieces

Yes, I purchased scraps. I have a serious fabric problem. And I really wanted some Fandango and the great Burgundy Buttons had them on crazy sale and they actually list which bags they have - just a little hint there if you have the same fabric problem that I have! :)

More on these two quilts as they move forward.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quilt-o-rama 2011, part 1

IMG_0916

Longtime no blogging! Well, I spent Sunday thru Thursday at my mom's house for Quilt-o-rama 2011. I brought four projects with me - my Block-a-Palooza fabrics, an Origins jelly roll, the grey/yellow solids and my jelly roll rug that needs a binding. I almost finished the Origins Avignon Picnic top and cut out block #12. Alas, I was easily distracted, so that was all I got done.

Quilt-o-Rama 2011
My stepdad felt we needed some serious lighting!

Just need to sew up three seams and tadah (I love the show Modern Family and I can only think about Jay saying "tadah!") - and it'll be finished:
Avignon

I really love this pattern and it comes together quickly. The whole quilt is basically 256 two-rail blocks. You only need 29 strips for this quilt, so I have 11 left over for binding. I did have a couple SRMs - Seam Ripper Moments, but I suppose that's just a given. You really need to keep your S blocks and Z blocks clear.
Avignon Z blocks
Z blocks ready to be put together

I didn't lay out the blocks beforehand. I went for a random look. But, I still got two matches.
Avignon detail

As luck would have it, the two matching pairs are in the same strip. It's one of those things that I notice but hopefully the recipient, whoever that will be, won't notice!

I also cut out my block #12 for Block-a-Palooza but I decided to piece it at home on my own machine. I think I have finally found the settings on my machine for a proper 1/4" seam and I didn't want to monkey around with half-square triangles on my mom's machine.
Block #12 pieces

My mom was working on the American Jane pattern Popcicle Posies using pin dot fabric. The pattern seemed like a complicated one. She went over it with my aunt and laid out each of the fabrics on a card table.

Popcicle Posies in Progress

I love the movement of it, even though there are no curved pieces. The pin dots read solid, but close up they have that great dotty texture.
Popcicle Posies in Progress

My mom texted me today to tell me that she has all the rows sewn together and she's just looking for a border!

My aunt was sifting through the scraps of a quilt that she and my cousin had made to raffle off for Kaleidescope Place, a community childcare program in Minneapolis. And this is what she came up with:

Aunt's scraps

Beautiful! Some lucky baby is going to get these blocks. They were pretty small, maybe 3" square.

What distracted me from my projects? Stay tuned!