Saturday, February 26, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Blocks #9 and 10

Block-a-Palooza Block #9

(I meant to post this before the February small projects post, but oops!)
Block #9

Here is Scott's block: Lemonade Stand.  He blogs over at Blue Nickel Studios.

I really liked this block and at first, I wasn't really sure if I would. I wanted to add in more of the deeper pink fabric from the first block. It sort of is a color cousin to John's Block #1, with the darker pink in the corner and the blue/green hop dot.

This is a detail of the center 9-patch.  The geese were 1.5" x 2.5" unfinished! The tutorial called for piecing three triangles, but I did the basic square-on-rectangle method, because I knew they'd have a better chance at coming out pretty close to the way they were supposed to.

Block #9 center detail

The colors in the photo above are wrong, but there seems to be something happening between Photoshop and Flickr and I can't be bothered to make them agree.

Block #10
Block #10

Amy from Amy's Creative Side contributed Turned Geese to Block-a-Palooza. I love this design!  It's very modern, there are 16 geese in this block!  Amy uses the no-waste method in her tutorial, as Kay did.  I really like it, though, I still may do the best with the waste method...  Gotta practice more. I wanted to make a blue block. But I didn't want to use the strong stripes in this, since I couldn't work out whether my stripes would end up going the right way with the no waste method. and because the stripes tend to take over any block I use them in. I have another one that is lovely, but I think this design was better for smaller prints.
Random comments about the Bloggers Block-a-Palooza experience:

I love it! I'm having a great time following along. I'm excited to see the new block every Monday or Thursday. I have enjoyed each one for different reasons. I have also definitely looked at blocks and said, "That is incredible and I don't think I can do that!" But taking it one block at time, each component at a time, lo and behold I have kept up. 

Block #9 above was one that I looked at and said, "hmmm... I'm not sure if I'm into this one." But then after I made it - I really liked it. I love the tiny, delicate geese in the middle. It's one of my husband's favorites. His other favorite is Block #10, which I also like. Even though it is made up of the same components as all the other blocks, it manages to look really different. I'm not sure I want to go so far as to say this (but I guess I will), but it seems like the most modern-looking of the bunch.

I really love Kaye's Block #5 and Monica's Block #6. I found them quite challenging. I remember seeing them and thinking - "oh, my version is going to be terrible." And true, my construction of Monica's is not stellar, but when I look at them, I am so happy because I think they are such great designs and I'm happy with the choices I made for them and the fact that I actually put them together. (Run-on sentence much?!) I'm even thinking of doing a riff on Kaye's block as a whole quilt!

I think that Cherri's Block # 4 and Angela's Block #8 are the most traditional looking. That being said, I love the simplicity of Cherri's pinwheel. And I think the basket applique makes Angela's block unique.

(Isn't this typical Type B behavior that I didn't start from Block #1 and go in order from there?)

I think John's Block #1 was THE perfect starting point. I wish that I had made my diagonal a little more pronounced. I know from the Flickr pool that these geese were firsts for a lot of us and I love that it set the tone for the whole quilt-along - 9-patches and/or geese. I think Amanda's Block #3 was another great one and really complemented John's.

The last two are Elizabeth's Block #2 and Heather's Block #7 - the square blocks. Heather's block is one that I might re-do (but probably not because I'm too lazy) - due to my choices, NOT her design. With the simpler blocks, I think I needed to take more care with the fabric selection because I couldn't rely on a complex design to carry the block. I also did not add enough contrast to the diagonal in Elizabeth's block. And even though I think it's going to stick out as a Packers' block (green and gold - I'm actually a Minnesota, so I can't really cheer for the Packers) in the final quilt, I thought it was a  great block to construct, from an experience point of view.

My only other note is that this has been a great exercise in choosing fabrics. I am choosing within a set cohort of fabrics - the Nicey Jane collection, Grunge fabrics in Poplin and Duchess, and Kona Snow and Corn Yellow. But I try to be deliberate in the fabrics I choose for each component. I think this quilt-along lends itself to smaller scale fabrics. I do have several FQs that have larger 5"-7" motifs and they don't really fit in this concept. Some are getting chopped up smaller and some are just getting passed over.

I am really, really enjoying this and learning a ton. I am really enjoying seeing everyone else's blocks. Check them out at the Block-a-Palooza Flickr Group. And I really, really like to say really.


February - the Month of Small Projects

Floor cushions
Last month was a quilting/piecing frenzy! This month, with the move from Minnesota to Wisconsin, I changed my focus to smaller projects. It just so happened that a number of them caught my eye, so it all worked out!

My sewing space is mostly set up now. The only issue is that we are moving to New Mexico some time this spring (fingers crossed!) and I don't really have a place to set everything out (and I don't want to unpack everything). So smaller projects were right up my alley this February.

Then I made two and a quarter cushions. (I grabbed two packs of piping but it turned out that one of them had been mis-filed, so I had to get back to get the right color.)
Cushion 3

The is my super-embarrassing attempt at putting a zipper in the smaller cushion. It's an invisible zipper - it was on sale! It got the total Type B treatment.
Floor cushion - zipper detail

Here's my jelly roll rug, ready for the binding to be sewn to the back.
Jelly Roll Rug

The only problem was that I couldn't figure out how to stitch with the non-skid backing. Since it was non-skid - it didn't want to skid along under my sewing machine foot and it kept getting caught.
Rug detail

So, the binding won't really be consistent but I like how it turned out and I'm happy I found a place for my Blushing jelly roll. I used gold thread to do the zig zag stitch, which goes nicely with the accents in the line.

I made this Giant Pincushion from, also from Moda Bake Shop.
Giant Pin Cushion

I had a little measuring issue. It's supposed to be a diamond, so all the sides have to be equal. I realize this is completely self evident. But when I was doing it and following the directions, I cut it to 4.5" because that was the width of two jelly roll strips sewn together. So, then my diamonds were off and I had to trim. But I think it still worked out ok. I used fiber fill, but I read somewhere that crunched up walnut shells are the best filling... Maybe next time.

Also, Missouri Star Quilt Company's Deal of the Day a couple weeks ago was an Origins jelly roll for $14.95! So I couldn't pass it up.  I'm thinking about making the Avignon Picnic quilt with it and some Kona white.

I'm going to Minnesota for Sunday-Wednesday for Quilt-o-Rama 2011. Basically, it is my mom, my aunt, and my cousin getting together to sew for a weekend each February. If I am in the state, I usually stop by and say 'howdy' but this is the first time I will be "participating" which basically just means I'll be there the whole time :)  So, I'm going to work on the Avignon Picnic quilt and then I am considering starting my grey and yellow quilt. I was going to do kind of an improv sort of thing. But I may do the Lattice Quilt from Me? A Mom? instead. I'm not sure. I'm going back and forth on it...

News from Quilt-o-Rama coming soon...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Abandoned

Produce containers

Yes, I am abandoning WIP Wed and Fabric Foto Friday. Why - because I just don't think it's working out between us. It's not them. It's me. I know it's only been a month, but it's enough to know that I don't really see a future for us :)

I really have no need for dedicated features on this blog. Any post can be (and usually is) a WIP post. Any post could be a celebration of fabric. I think I got starstruck by other blogs that have features and routines. But I like to blog willy-nilly. And I'd like to post two or three times a week, rather than a four or five+ posts a week. (Plus, I still try to post to my personal blog at least once a week, too!).  I want to focus on sewing and making stuff. Blogging is simply a record of my projects. So, features-be-gone, for the moment, anyway. It was a nice idea, but perhaps too ambitious :)

I added these photos because I saw this great post on Sew We Quilt @ Stash Manicure and I thought it would be great to share/re-post. These are just salad containers from the grocery store. I've been using them for a couple months and it has worked out great! These are my Nicey Jane FQs that I am using for the Bloggers Block-a-Palooza.

Another thing that works great are those plastic things that sheets and comforters come in. No need to run out and buy storage - there's probably some in the fridge right now!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Block #8

Block #8 auditions
Audition fabrics - scraps from other blocks

Angela brings us Block #8 - Basket of Geese, introducing applique. I really don't have much experience with applique. I've tried it, I usually make really large holes in my fabric. And I really like the blanket stitch, but turning the corner can be tricky. But I decided to just go for it.

Block #8

I did end up eating some corners. But I think it turned out OK. As usual, I did the left-handed thing and made my sashing fabric go counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. Oh well. I also used Venus de Hilo's  block as inspiration and used the small triangles as feet for the basket. Jerahmie said that it made it look more like a basket. A lot of folks were having trouble getting their small triangles all in the handle, so I just used 6.

And here we are at the mid-point.

Block-a-Palooza #1-8

Block 1 is pretty high contrast and block 2, well... But I have 8 more chances to incorporate the dark pink/red and the deeper green and gold. But I do like the little peaks of blue. Can't wait to see where this all goes!

Here's the Cherry House Quilts Quilt Along quilt (how many times can I say "quilt" in one sentence?!).
CHQ Quilt Along

I'm working on enlarging it a little bit. But it was a fun, fast quilt-along. All the steps can be found at Cherri's blog - Cherry House Quilts, so go ahead and make one for yourself (great for beginners!).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Projects

Floor cushion

I made a really fun project this weekend. So fun that I went out and got fabric for two more! You can find the fantastic tutorial at the blog Living with Punks Land of Nod-Inspired Floor Cushion

Some people would just follow the pattern the first time and make alterations on the second pass. But oh no, not me. I made this one a couple inches larger than the original and I just fudged the part that goes around the sides of the cushion. Of course, I picked a directional fabric, so not everything quite matches up, but I didn't really try too hard.

Cushion for C

I have a nephew that loves to take the pillows off of the couch and sit on them and carry them around. So I thought this would be great - especially since it has a handle. This is my first time working with home dec/canvas-weight fabric and my first time working with piping. I love it! The piping gives such a nice finished look.

Lime piping

This is the second fabric (another directional...). I made this one the 17" from the pattern but then in misguided zeal I decided to try to add a zipper. Not a great idea. I mean, the zipper is in there, but it's not in there very well. It caused the rise to be shorter than the 9" the pattern advises. I'll have to post a finished picture later. I just like the one above because I love the Lime pre-made piping.

Cushion canvas

This is the fabric I picked for my own. I just love it - it has a very tapestry-style to it. I have it prepped except that I purchased what I thought was two packages of piping, but lo and behold, they were two different shades of brown. Instead of rolling with it, I decided that I'd shoot over to Joanns and pick up the proper color. It's five minutes away (I know - dangerous!).


I also picked up a ruffler foot for my machine. Awesome! I just did this little sample piece to see if it would work in my machine. Should be really helpful when making pettiskirts! (I made the one below last fall for my niece who lives on a dairy farm, just using a long stitch and adjusting the tension on my machine.)

Cow pettiskirt

Another weekend project I started on late last week: a jelly roll rug from this Moda Bake Shop tutorial.
Fabrics for rug

The Blush line from Moda. When I bought it I really liked it. Then it sat in my stash for a long time. I've really enjoyed seeing some of the aqua/red/pink projects from others, but I don't think it's really my palette. So, I haven't really known what to do with it. When I saw this project, I decided to give it a try. If it works out, it could be a great stashbuster. Plus, I already have a lot of that anti-slip shelf liner!

Fabrics for rug

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fabric Foto Friday

CHQ-QA detail

CHQ-QA detail


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, February 17, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Block #7

Block-a-Palooza Block #7

Look ma, no geese :) The first geese-less block since #2. Block #7 - Orange You Glad I Chose a Nine Patch from Heather from the House of a la Mode. This block came together very quickly and there are definitely so many things you could do with it.

The hardest part was picking the fabrics. I knew I wanted blue and pink. But it was tough to find a common fabric to bind them together. The Picnic Bouquet in cream seemed the best choice. I have been trying to use the Welcome Road (stripes) print sparingly because it is strong in a block, but I really love it. I switched up the four patches a little bit so the grunge fabrics and the stripes create diagonals. I am thinking that maybe it may be a little busy... Maybe, I should've used a solid for the larger blocks.

Oh well. Onward and upward!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Cherry House Quilt Along (CHQA)

I have finally had a chance to start on Cherry House's Quilt Along. Ignore the fact that I haven't finished unpacking and that there are boxes of stuff lying about all around. We have to have priorities, people!

I have a grey/yellow quilt in the germinating stage in my notebook. But, I thought I would use some of the same colors in the quilt along, to see how they work together (or not).

CHQ-QA detail

Yellows: Kona Maize, Ivory, Sunflower, and Banana. I auditioned Corn Yellow and Mustard, too but they weren't quite right.  And all of these, from my stash (huzzah!). (Notice how I didn't iron before I cut - typical me...)

CHQ-QA detail

I went with a modified strip piecing. I cut these into 1.5" segments and stripped those into the rows the pattern calls for. Not sure I saved any time, but it made sense in my head at the time :)

CHQ-QA detail

The finished quilt is smallish 34x36, a nice wallhanging size. I did some calculations and crappy drawings to see if I wanted to modify it into more of a lap size quilt. I haven't fully committed yet. I might like a small quilt with Cherri's signature spin on it to hang in my quilting space (whenever I get a quilting space - I'm sewing in my bedroom currently).

CHQA prep

My husband is an engineer and he just looks at my random quilt calculations and my drawings and shakes his head. Most of the time once I've jotted things down, I have NO idea what the mean when I come back to them. It's like when you watch a football game and they use that pen on the TV screen to circle players and draw arrows going every which way. I never know what they're talking about either...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Block #6

Block-a-palooza block 6 auditions

Fabric auditions for block #6 from Monica over at The Happy Zombie, called You Are Here. The block design was inspired by those maps in the mall that tell you where you are and where you want to go. This was, for me, the most challenging block of the series so far. But it is block 6, so we kind of ramped up to it.

I am trying to introduce a little blue and keep the pink and gold present. I have no idea what it will look like with all 16 blocks but I just know that Block 2 is going to standout with so much gold and so little variation in . But you know what? I'm not going to re-do it! I'm just going to roll with it - it's my first quilt-along and there are lessons around every corner.

Block-a-palooza #6 - You are here

The main problem here was determining where to press my seams. There are a few intersections where there is a ton of fabric coming together, so it's a bit lumpy and the quilting process might be challenging. Some of my seams are to the side and some are open. I'm pretty happy with it. I didn't cut off too many points and though my center block is not matched up to the points on the sides, I'm ok with it. I think the fussy-cut distracts from that (except of course that I just pointed it out :)).

Anyhoo, beautiful block design. A whole quilt of this block would be lovely. Not sure I'm up for that yet. When I'm working one block at a time it doesn't seem so hard but envisioning a whole quilt...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Block-a-Palooza, Block #5

Block-a-palooza block 5 auditions

Fabric audition for Block #5 from Kaye at Miss Print, the wonderfully-named Geesey McNinePatch. This block used the no-waste method for making geese. Of course, before this quilt-along, I was completely new to making flying geese, so I was happy to learn a new technique. Not sure which I ultimately like better, yet. Have to make some more!

Here's my finished block!

Block #5 - Geesey McNinePatch

I did a bit of seam ripping on this one and here's why:

Block #5 detail

I looked and looked at the center nine patch and just didn't like how I'd set up my stripes. In deconstructing the block, I had to take almost all of it apart because of the way my seams landed. In retrospect, it would have been nominally easier to change the left and right stripe to go veridically instead of the top and bottom to horizontally, but I didn't. Oops.

Block #5 detail finished

Here's the finished block. I just like that better and I knew it would irk me if I left it. Weird the things we get fixated on... Beautiful block by Kaye - very versatile.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Won!

OMG, I am so excited - so excited that I'll use the stupid OMG text lingo. Did you participate in the Moda Bake Shop Progressive Dinner? Well, I won the grand prize! I want to shout it from the rooftops! I've been trying to tell my family and friends, but they don't really get how exciting it is.

When I was going thru blog posts on my google reader today (Sunday) and I got to the post announcing the grand prize winner, I was stunned. Then I read it and re-read it and went to the actual website to check. Then I started yelling, "I won! I won!" and my husband, who was downstairs, said "what did you win?" And I said, "Fabric and a book" and he said, "Oh." I tried to explain that it was a big deal to me :)

You can check it out the big announcement here: And the Winner Is

MN2NM - that's me! What a STUPID screen name. (I just changed it to Taya@TypeB this past week, but I changed it back to MN2NM so I could comment on the MBS post and they'd know it was me.) But maybe it's so stupid that it's easy to recognize - Aha! Maybe it is a clever screen name... Nah.

I'm sure you know about it already, but the new book is called Fresh Fabric Treats and has a publish date of mid-June 2011. It's already available for pre-order at a number of sites, including (I love Amazon!)

Here are some of the projects from the book:

Hope you have a winning week, too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Finished Baby Items

Baby set

For my husband's cousin's baby due next month.

Here are a few baby projects I finished up in the last week, first blogged about here (with links to patterns). The receiving blanket above was made with flannel from Joann's. I pre-washed it and it is OK. I think you can definitely tell the difference in quality between the quilt store burp cloth flannel and the Joann's but I had to use what I could and I just love those whales! I wanted to use bias binding on the blanket, but I just didn't have time. I had to get them in the mail, so I just sewed around the four sides, turned it and topstitched. Easy, peasy. These types of blankets and the burp cloths get a lot of wear, so you can never have too many!

Diaper Clutch for Baby Radder

Diaper Clutch for Baby Radder

The diaper clutches were so easy and fast to put together. I did interface the lining so that there would be a little more structure to the bag. I didn't have any of the proper fusible webbing for my attempt at appliqued letters, so I just used what I had, which was the supposed no-sew kind of heat and bond. I think it works best after you've washed your fabrics, but for the diaper clutches, I hadn't done that and I find that sometimes the web does not really adhere. So, I added some stitching for decoration and to keep the letters attached.

Diaper Clutch for E

Diaper Clutch for E

After failing miserably with the numbers of my advent calendars, I was a little bit happier with these letters. At least I didn't have to glue them down! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fabric Foto Friday


Tula Pink's Parisville - incredibly beautiful. May surpass my love of Neptune. (May.)

Parisville Cameo Mist
Incredible detail


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!