Monday, January 31, 2011

Sew Fresh Fabric Bee Block

SFF Bee scrap choices1

Here are the fabrics I had to choose from. Given the In the Kitchen Willow Wren print from Alexander Henry, I thought I would try my hand with fussy cutting. I couldn't decide if it should be wonky or straight. My photo is a little off, but the seams should be straight!

SFF Bee Block

I toyed with using the pink and white oval print as the background/sashing. But it includes a directional line, that I thought might not be right to work with and I thought the orange and red line might be a bit took busy (and I couldn't tell if I had enough...). So, I added the pin dot from my Sugar Pop Quilt accident.

SFF Bee detail #1

I love the humming bird. Too cute.

SFF Bee detail #2

I'm so happy to be a part of this charity bee. My block will find its way into a quilt for a girl who might need a quilty hug through Project Linus. I am excited to see the other blocks for both the girl quilt and the boy quilt. I hope mine goes with its partners in the girl quilt! 

Thanks Peg and Becca at Sew Fresh Fabrics - this is a tremendous idea! Visit their shop here and their blog here!

Block-a-Palooza, Block #2

Block #2 Word Search

Elizabeth's contribution to Block-a-Palooza: Word Search. Definitely a challenging block for this simple sewist. When I saw it, I was kind of disheartened, actually. I am not a precision piecer. If you have seen any of Rita's work at Red Pepper Quilts you'll understand precision quilting. It is amazing. And Elizabeth is clearly no slouch. If you have seen her Tokyo quilt, which I believe is 1600 individual 2" squares (!!), you will understand what I mean! But me! The closest I am going to get to a Tokyo quilt is if someone makes one and gives it to me. I was completely flummoxed at being faced with 81 squares :)

I toyed with not doing it. Elizabeth also mentioned in her post that all the blocks would feature flying geese or 9-patches, which are not my favorite. I thought, "there are a million other projects that would be great for my special Nicey Jane FQ bundle." But in the end, I said, "self, don't be ridiculous - get off your duff and keep going. Broaden your horizons and learn something, why dontchya?!"

In the Flickr group, someone mentioned that they strip pieced their 9-patch blocks. I thought that it sounded promising and I resolved to finish the block by stip piecing. That way, I could still be involved in the quilt-along. Then, when I thought about it some more, I decided to follow the directions. I know, me, follow directions, what the what?!

Block-a-palooza audition

This is a mock-up. It was going to be all green and yellow/gold. But part of the design in the block is that the three diagonal 9-patches are supposed to contrast a little with the others. So, I decided to take a white/pink/yellow print and swap out the yellow floral. It's still pretty subtle. I like the blocks in the Flickr group that are a little more pronounced. But I am really happy that I followed the directions. Most of my seams even match - quelle surprise. Still, I can't imagine doing an entire quilt this way!

Blocks 1 and 2

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Flimsy Finishes

In an unprecedented move, I finished five (FIVE!) flimsies this month. I started two at the very end of December
Dream On Stars

This is the Charming Stars pattern from Moda Bake Shop. It calls for three charm packs and accompanying fabric. I had a layer cake of Dream On by Urban Chiks (love it!), which gave me 168 - 5" charm squares. I did a lot, a lot, a lot of math and calculations and scribbles and who-knows-what and when I went to put it together, I was still convinced that I was short blocks!

In retrospect, I think I should have gone with white as the solid, rather than Snow, as it would have made the stars pop a little more. After a consultation with my layout consultant (thanks, mom!), I decided to go with the rainbow effect.  There are two mistakes - one is that I had to make a square from scraps, so one blue square is really two rectangles and the green block, second from the left is actually half yellow. But that's how the colors shook out. The backing is a smal yellow flower on white print from the Soiree line.

Here's my Verna Floral Bouquet. Kate Spain is a genius.

Floral Bouquet

The solid is Snow and I think that worked really well with the softer white of the fabric. This may be my first quilt on point... I had to do a little ripping and re-sewing on some of the setting triangles, but it came out OK in the end. I ended up not quite following the directions for cutting the solids because I thought there was a way to consolidate some of the cuts and have left overs. Lots of calculations, tho. Some of them wrong :) I think this finishes at 60"x88" or somewhere in there. The backing fabric is a lovely Jennifer Paganelli magenta print.

More Kate. Wonky 9-patch with a Central Park layer cake. I'm having trouble getting good photos of the quilts. A lot has to do with lighting and a lot has to do with the photographer (guilty!).

Central Park 9-patch

9-patch detail

This is the backing - I used the six left over layer cake pieces to make sure the backing was wide enough. The dot fabric is from Prints Charming and it is so amazingly soft!

Backing for Central Park quilt

Disappearing 9-Patch (it's like I have a thing for 9-Patches, but I really don't).

Modern Disappearing 9-patch

And two bad pictures of my Sugar Pop quilt. I'm still working out the kinks of how sharp my photos should be for posting. The real quilt is not quite as high intensity as the picture below shows. The colors are probably closer to the bottom photo, but in both the red block in the bottom right looks really harsh and it's actually a little more muted.

Sugar pop quilt2

Sugar Pop quilt top Jan '11

So - that's what you get from three layer cakes, two charm packs, a jelly roll and assorted solids!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fabric Foto Friday

Moda Scrap bag


Many of us are fabriholics because we love beautiful things. Something about the color, design, or soul of a piece of material calls to us. (OK, sometimes it's the siren song of "sale," too...). Fabric Foto Friday celebrates fabric love in all its glory. New, swapped, stashed, or stolen (never!) - Friday is for celebrating fabric!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Here!!

It's Here!

It's here - my package of scraps for the Sew Fresh Fabrics Scraps Bee! Let's peek inside, shall we?

SFF Scrap Bee scraps

Ooooo, pretty!

SFF Scrap Bee scraps

Yes, I photographed each stage. Why? I don't know - this is my first bee, I'm excited about it!

SFF Scrap Quilting Bee!

Lookee there, some Tufted Tweets, a little birdie fabric from Alexander Henry, some Michael Miller dots, some Free Spirit stripes, a yellow and a turquoise solid.  Wow!

Now that I have it and I've looked at it and arranged it and rearranged it. I'm not sure what to do. I have some really early ideas... I've been looking over at Quilting Bee Blocks for inspiration, but a lot of those Bee contributors are a bit above my talent level...

What to do, what to do...? Stay tuned!

Modern Nine Patch Finished!

Modern Disappearing 9-patch

Here is my disappearing 9-patch, all finished! Well, the top, that is. I'm amassing flimsies. I have a Grace frame that I plan to set up once we move to our final destination. I have a Juki sitting in storage that will go on the frame and then I'll just focus on quilting sandwiches rather than piecing. Of course, I'll still do piecing, but I'll want to get some of my projects in the finished column and off to their new homes! 

This quilt was almost two years in the making and it has really grown on me. I obviously liked the fabric when I purchased it. I initially had planned to make something like this from the tutorial at Snippets of a Quilter. Once I had cut up my nine-patches, I had second thoughts. So it sat in a ziplock baggie for a year and a half. But now that I see it all together, Im back to liking it again :) It's small, maybe 50x60? 

D9P Block 2     D9P Block 1D9P Block 3

This is only the second quilt that I have really made up myself. I have mostly been working off of patterns. So, I haven't had need to name any quilts. I'm just going to go with Modern 9-Patch, since I can't think of anything better! 

What do you think about that yellow/gold paint on the wall? Pretty intense - it's like Kona Corn Yellow. It's in my parents' house in the bedroom that used to belong to my sister. It's not great.

OK - I'm thinking about adding yet another quiltalong! The fantastic Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts is doing a small Kona cotton quiltalong and I'm thinking about joining up!

Cherry House Quilt-Along

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday


My work in progress this week and next is moving :)  We are moving from Minnesota to Wisconsin and I need to pack up. I will probably do block 2 for Block-a-Palooza and maybe some smaller projects but other than that, the sewing machine and fabric avalanche have to get packed!

I'll have some quilt tops to share later in the week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Block #1

Block-a-Palooza Block #1

Block 1, Flying Over Fields, designed by John over at Quilt Dad!

I'm also thinking about joining the Single Girl Quilt along. I may have just enough Nicey Jane left over to do 

But I probably won't join the Single Girl Support Group on Flickr because the ladies who are leading this group want serious quilters only who will commit to completion of their projects (I'm hoping to do a twin size). Since I plan to be living in three different states between now and May, I'm not sure I can make that commitment. But I'd like to follow along. We'll see. It doesn't start till February 14, so I have a chance to waffle a little bit till then!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Joining Up

Quilt Dad

I'm signing onto the Block-A-Palooza quilt-along.  My first quilt-along! Block 1 is up at Quilt Dad. Let's see if I can follow thru - two blocks a week is ok, right?

I'm cutting into my Nicey Jane. It's always hard to make that first cut. (The first cut is the deepest!) But I'm going to do it right now...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabric Foto Friday

Neptune Honey Buns


Many of us are fabriholics because we love beautiful things. Something about the color, design, or soul of a piece of material calls to us. (OK, sometimes it's the siren song of "sale," too...). Fabric Foto Friday celebrates fabric love in all its glory. New, swapped, stashed, or stolen (never!) - Friday is for celebrating fabric!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I found this video on BurdaStyle and wanted to share.

Jacquie over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio asked her readers why they make things and there are many wonderful responses. Here's the post.

I don't know why I make things. It's fun. (Well, I don't think ripping seams is fun, but most of the time it's fun!) I see a great pattern or fabric and I want to make something out of it. Time-wise and resource-wise, it sometimes doesn't make sense. It's almost a compulsion. I like that I make useful things - I currently live in Minnesota and I have four quilts on my bed. We can always use more blankets here!

When I'm out and about, I see tiled flooring and I see a quilt. I see the pattern in a bridge and I see a quilt. I see bricks on a building and I see a quilt. Flowers in a garden, arcs and angles at a playground, the blurred black and yellow of a school bus, denuded trees frosted with snow, sunlight streaming through a window cutting through the shadows on the floor.

Creation is all around us, just waiting to inspire us!

Of course, creation will have to wait today because I have to go to the grocery store and do some cleaning!

Here is a not-so-great photo of my Sugar Pop quilt. Photographing at an angle to the window is preferable to having the light hit straight on. Live and learn.

Sugar Pop quilt top Jan '11

It's about 60x60 and I am considering a Snow border, but I kinda like it like this, even if it is on the small side. The solids are Kona burgundy and Kona Snow. In retrospect, I wish I would have done thinner white strips (they are 1" finished) but I like it anyway. It's a far cry from what I initially envisioned (white pin dot sashing between all of the blocks), but I think it works alright.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Disappearing 9-patch blocks

Here's what I'm working on this week!

I dredged up these disappearing 9-patch blocks. I bought two charm packs of this line (I don't remember what it's called) about 4 years ago. I pieced them two years ago and I thought "Yowza!" They are a bit out there. I'm going to tame them with a little black sashing and go from there. They are growing on me again.

Disappearing 9-patch blocks

(And yes, that's my total Type B design wall - a flannel back tablecloth with holes cut into the top and 3M hangers. That's a $5 deal right there!)

I also have a Moda Hoopla jelly roll and this Star Burst print from Prints Charming for backing, which goes perfectly with this line. I'm pairing the jelly roll with Kona White. I haven't decided on the pattern yet. Possibly something from one of the Lintott books - Jelly Roll Quilts or Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts

WIP Wed Jan 19

Or the ever reliable Moda Bake Shop. Possibly Avignon Picnic, Random Reflections or Lawn Chair Quilts. Hideaway Girl has a great quilt HERE that would be great in Hoopla.

It's a playful line, so I want a playful pattern. 

As for my Sugar Pop quilt, it has undergone quite a transformation. I have never ripped out more stitches on a project than on this one. I can already see where I should have made a small tweak, but I decided to just move ahead with it and it's turned out ok.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mistakes Are Opportunities


Here are my Sugar Pop blocks all sewn together - the individual blocks are sewn together, that is. The un-sewn stacks were my WIP Wednesday pic. In my initial quilt design, I wanted to do some off-set sashing between the blocks (1" on one side, 2" on the other). I had some white on white pin dot fabric from The Fat Quarter Shop in my stash that I thought would complement the the graphic prints without being too busy. I had just a smidgen less than I thought I needed, but I decided I would just go ahead and go for it.

All was going well, I had the top and bottom of each block done. I was pressing seams. It was lookin' good.


But THEN..  bahm, bahm bahhhhhm...


I noticed a leeee-tle mistake. The lighter colored blocks + the white on white pin dot = Major Bummer! OK, maybe this is a Minor Bummer, but I didn't like it. 

It bothered me. It irked me. It was an itch I couldn't scratch.

I tried to be Type B about it - laid back, go-with-the-flow - blah, blah, blah. To make matters more annoying, I just so happen to have some Kona Snow in my stash which matches perfectly with the off-white of the Sugar Pop fabrics. If only I had used the Snow from beginning (smacks head on sewing table)...


After some inventive and more traditional cursing and hopping around, I took a good look in the mirror and I said to myself, 'Self, here's a little lesson from the school of hard knocks - sometimes you have to make the choice between doing what's right and doing what's easy. Do the right thing.' I could leave it, after all, I've already cut the pin dot fabric for this project and it's already half sewn to the blocks. And no one will know. Whoever owns this quilt in the end may never notice!

But I can't do it. I can't leave well-enough alone in this case. And so, I'm going to do the right thing. I'm going to spend some quality time with my friend and your's - Mr. Seam Ripper! 


I'm looking forward to it so much that I noticed my little color anomaly over an hour and a half ago and I haven't taken a single stitch out. Instead, I decided to watch a couple episodes of 30 Rock and write a blog post.

In fact, I have a mind to just put my blocks in a bag and pretend they're not there. And then, I can just start a new project. 

No, no! I'm going to do this. I'm going to get this done. I'm going to take this opportunity to change up my design a little bit, too.  We'll see what happens.  

To be continued...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fabric Foto Friday

Nicey Jane FQs

Many of us are fabriholics because we love beautiful things. Something about the color, design, or soul of a piece of material calls to us. (OK, sometimes it's the siren song of "sale," too...). Fabric Foto Friday celebrates fabric love in all its glory. New, swapped, stashed, or stolen (never!) - Friday is for celebrating fabric!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Here's what's on the chopping block this week.

Sugar Pop WIP

Sugar pop layer cake stacks cut and shuffled. Love this fabric line.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WIP Wednesday*

*This post was previously posted on my personal blog, but I've moved it over here and filed it under WIP Wednesdays.

As I said, I've been trying to produce some items, rather than just dreaming about them, doing calculations, purchasing supplies, purchasing supplies, and purchasing supplies. (I've had two dresses on the back burner since this summer!)

I have my little black book, seen above, where I scheme and plan and keep notes.

Here's my list of projects - the left page is "to do" and the right page is "done"...

Tells the whole story right there, doesn't it? "Done", of course, just means a flimsy - the top of the quilt. All the flimsies still have to be paired up with a backing fabric, and then quilted. But I'm saving that for when I get to where we're going and I can put up my quilting frame.

Like most retail stores, online fabric stores are having end of the year sales and I grabbed up three layer cakes and a jelly roll recently from fantastic Burgundy Buttons. These are all earmarked for projects.

I love the designer Kate Spain and her latest line is called Central Park, which is inspired by... Central Park, if you can believe it! It even has some of the animals from the zoo (it's missing the Alice in Wonderland mushroom, tho...). I love, love, love it. And I am using the layer cake (pre-cut 10" blocks) to make a quilt of "deconstructed 9-patch" (also called a "wonky 9-patch" or a "stack and whack 9-patch") blocks. A really forgiving block for a beginner. This is a nice how-to explanation. Here are my planning notes for the quilt:

It's a lot of math. I hate math. I once read that men are better at spacial manipulation than women and since then, I've acted like I've had some sort of mental handicap. I can't just use my brain to shift and manipulate the blocks, I have to write it down and sketch it out a million times!

Here's the work in progress:

The finished quilt will have 2" sashing between the blocks, which should alleviate some of the busyness.

This next one I really like, as well. I literally poached the pattern off the interwebs and worked out the math for myself. Is that illegal... I'm not sure. (Probably.) A good person would just buy the book and give the money to the publisher and the creator of the pattern. A sly person just finds the basic construction measurements on Google Books...

It just needs two corner triangles and one more border. It's from Jelly Roll Quilts and it is called Floral Bouquet. The fabric is another Kate Spain - purely coincidental - called Verna. Not a name you hear much any more, but could it make a comeback? You be the judge.

And because I can't throw anything away, I'm making tiny half-square triangles with the leftovers from the flower points.

Also, leave it to some bloggers in California to teach me something about Minnesota. Dunn Bros cafes, local coffee purveyors, roast their own beans daily. As a result they have an overabundance of food grade burlap sacks with awesome prints on them. Of course, the coffee is raw, so the bags smell like burlap, rather than the rich aroma of coffee.

But at most stores, the one in Eagan for sure, they give the bags away for free, as there aren't any recycling facilities or processes available (this is true in many cities for local roasters). Every crafter loves free fabric! (I did pay $1 for one at the Apple Valley Dunn Bros, tho.) Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Here's the beginning of my table runner.

I made some cutting mistakes, so I'm sad that I used up my Sumatra and Columbia, but the Congo still looks good. I can always take it apart and start a-fresh with nicer bags. Since it is the inaugural coffee bag item, there are lessons a-plenty to learn!

After several weeks of waiting, Jerahmie finally found a Costa Rica "Pura Vida" bag, which I had been hoping for. Unfortunately, I decided to try to wash the bags because I read that it makes them a bit softer. However, it just made them so much smellier and the paint faded quite a bit. Interestingly, the African bags (Tanzania and Rwanda) held up much better than the Central/South American and Asian bags.

Like I said, there's a seemingly never ending supply, so it's OK if a few get axed in the process. Jerahmie suggested a laptop sleeve and I've found a couple good tutorials, like this one. I think they are also good for gardeners for covering plant beds or bushes for the winter. So much more colorful than just a plain burlap sack! And...

Dogs love them! Well, Moby loves to sit on them, so maybe I should make him a little bed out of the backs of the bags. Doesn't seem too comfortable to me, but dogs don't make a whole lot of sense, do they?! Nothing like wet golden retriever smell mingled with burlap. Eau de stank, a new frangrance, sold exclusively at Walgreen's.