Friday, October 20, 2017

brianne's socks and a tiny little zip pouch

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
My friend brianne had a birthday this week and I knit her a pair of socks! I totally guessed on the size and I'm so relieved that they fit her perfectly the first time around. Hurray!
I ventured out and used a new to me pattern which can be found here. The contrast toe and heel are pretty fun!! (Many thanks to my friend Suzanne for the pattern recommendation.) The main sock yarn is by Madelintosh and I'm fairly certain the colorway is called Cosmic Wonder Dust. The pink yarn is Baby Wool by Coats, which I found at my local quilt (and yarn!) shop.
This is my 21st pair of hand knit socks that I have finished to date! I have 3 more socks on the needles at this time, so hopefully I'll have a few more finished pairs to share soon. Many thanks to Brianne and her son for taking the wonderful photos for this post!

I also have one more little finish for the week....
Yesterday I made a tiny wide open pouch for my friend Kristin. (There is a tutorial here, although this one has been sized down considerably. hahaha!)
I squealed over this so much when I made it!!! Tiny is so much fun, but now I want to make a larger version. I have a feeling it would be much easier to make! And maybe just a touch more practical. Ha! :)

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks so much for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a GREAT weekend!



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Myrtle's broken dishes quilt

This is one of the quilts that I made to showcase the prints in my Emma & Myrtle fabric line. I finished the quilt back in May, so that's why there is green grass and green leaves in my photos! :)
This quilt is based on the traditional broken dishes block pattern. I even added borders to this one....something that I don't do very often! It's good to change it up once in awhile.
The background fabric in this quilt is a solid Ivory by Connecting Threads. For a few of the blocks I used a light print from the line instead of the background print, just for a little more variety.
I found this cute (and oh-so-perfect) backing at my local quilt shop. I was tickled at how well it matched, and I was especially happy to find it the first day I went looking for a backing, since I was under time pressure to get it done. No time to shop around or wait for sales. Ha!
I quilted this on my Juki with a simple loop-de-loop pattern all over using cream colored Aurifil thread. I really ought to wash and dry the quilt now so it crinkles up nicely! The quilt is a nice lap size, measuring 66" x 88". Perfect for snuggling under with a good book or a knitting project. Or both!

There are kits available for purchase here, if you are interested. I have the pattern on sale here, for a limited time. (Sale price is $6.00, regularly $9.00.)

I looked back on my list today and the last quilts I finished were in May....I think that's a new record for me. Not one that I want to continue, either. I better get back to finishing some quilts....and quick!

Monday, October 16, 2017

show and tell bag pattern winners

Thanks to everyone who entered my pattern giveaway last week. I loved reading your comments! The winners are Deb and her friend Candy!

I hope your week is off to a great start! Happy Monday to you!

Friday, October 13, 2017

biased quilt top complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I had the chance to sew a fair amount this week and it felt soooo great!
I finished my biased quilt top! (There is a tutorial here, if you'd like to make one of your own.) The blocks were constructed by foundation piecing onto phone book paper, which, I think, is lots of fun. I'm one of those weird people who actually likes ripping off the paper backing after the block is complete. ALL of the fabric used in this quilt was from the scrap bin. I made a significant dent, but I think I will still have plenty to use for my series of 10 solid quilts. I really enjoyed the process of making this quilt. I also love that it is 100% scraps!!!
The quilt top measures approximately 60 1/2" x 76". (Block size is 6" x 10" unfinished.)

Once I figure out a backing, I plan to send this one out to the quilter. I think I'll be glad that I did!

That's it for me today! Now it's your turn to link up your finishes. Thank you SO MUCH for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend. xo

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

show and tell bag in Emma & Myrtle fabric

My new fabric line, Emma & Myrtle, (available exclusively at Connecting Threads) has been out for a several weeks, so I suppose now would be a good time to share a little bit more about it!
The collection was named after two of my great aunts: Emma and Myrtle. Emma was my grandpa's sister, and Myrtle was my grandpa's sister-in-law. Their names should give you an idea of the era in which they lived. :) Originally, I wanted to design a line of fabric based on my memories of them, but the collection evolved into more of a nod to things from that time period. I think that's pretty normal-to start with one idea and land in another place. The prints were inspired by retro kitchen towels, radiator covers, vintage aprons, an ironing board cover, gardens, bed sheets and an old spool of thread. I love how the collection came together! Many thanks to the folks at Connecting Threads for their expertise in developing a line of fabric. There is a lot that goes into it!
Picking out the colors for the line is one of my favorite parts! This was the original color scheme that I selected when I was starting out. It's fun to look back and realize that we didn't veer too far from the original palette.

Along with designing the fabric, one of the parts of the process is coming up with quilts/projects to make using the new fabric. That part is fun, but also challenging for me, as I'm more of a jump into a pile of fabric and start sewing to see what happens. (I'm usually not much of a planner in that aspect.)
The show and tell bag (pattern available here) was designed for taking your quilts to show and tell at a guild meeting or for hauling projects to a retreat. When I wrote the pattern, the fabric was not yet printed, so I made all of my samples from different fabrics from the stash. You can see those bags in this post. The pattern comes with instructions for bags in 3 sizes: Medium, Large and Jumbo.
The bag shown here is the large size. I folded up a few quilts (a lap size and a twin size) and this bag holds them both easily.
The pattern is charm pack or layer cake friendly. There is a kit available here, if you'd like to make one of your own!
(Full disclosure: in my version I took out the 4 fabrics shown above, which were included in the kit and I still had enough to make the bag as shown.)

I thought it would be fun to do a pattern giveaway today! If you'd like to win a PDF copy of the Show and Tell Bag pattern, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment, tell me about a friend who you would like to win a pattern for. If I pick your name, you AND your friend will each win a PDF copy of the pattern. International entries welcome! I'll pick a winner in a few days. Please make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Thanks!

I hope you are having a great week!

Friday, October 06, 2017

home again

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Yesterday I arrived home from a 10 day teaching trip to Florida. I visited 4 different guilds while I was there and it was a fabulous trip, but I am so happy to be home! I haven't sewn anything in about 2 weeks, so today I'm going to highlight some of the work of my wonderful students and a few things that people brought for show and tell. I hope you enjoy the inspiration!

All of these are photos of the students' work. Each one of these projects is based on quilt patterns from my book No Scrap Left Behind:
 Rene's start to a black and white subtle quilt. It's going to be a beauty!
Mary's blocks for a scrap happy rails quilt made with Minnesota fabrics. (The pattern is charm pack or layer cake friendly, so if you don't have scraps, you can still make the quilt!)
 Alissa's oversized ring me quilt made from mini charm packs. Another great use of pre-cuts!
Jenny's slopes quilt blocks made from Kaffe scraps. This is going to be stunning!
Jodie's teeny tiny (and oh so cute!) ring me blocks.
Linda's mash up two different quilts: hot & cold blocks using the ring me pattern. I love that she is mixing two ideas in one!
Pat's calm colored remainders quilt. I tried to talk her into making the pieces bigger, but she was smitten with the tiny ones. She definitely made the right choice!
Alejandrina's chain of diamonds blocks using leftover scraps from making quilts for Pulse. This quilt will have such a special meaning for her and I love that!
Joey's bright and cheery scraps that will be a part of a scrap happy rails quilt. I love how her fabrics match her cutting mat. :) I could share about 25 more photos, but I don't have time to edit them all!

I also wanted to share some quilts or quilt tops that people brought for show and tell. It's such a treat to see people sewing up patterns from the books!
Here is Betty's Nap Like an Egyptian quilt top. (Pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts.) This was part of a block exchange among friends. I love that idea and I think the colors are fabulous together!
Donna's Missing U quilt. (Pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts.) This was a group project among friends. Several ladies made blocks and Donna won them, so she turned the blocks into a quilt. Her quilting was wonderful, too.
Dee's checkerboard quilt, made mostly (if not all?) from Bonnie and Camille fabrics. (Pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts.) I really wanted to wrap up in this one! It's absolutely wonderful!
Jane's chain of diamonds quilt top in blues. (Pattern in No Scrap Left Behind.) It reminds me of a comfy and perfectly broken in pair of jeans. I love seeing this quilt sewn up using just one color family. So good!
This one blows my mind! Selina's version of the remainders quilt from No Scrap Left Behind. I love it sewn up in brights and whites. I totally want to copy this, since I wasn't going to steal it. Ha!
This is Karen's absolutely stunning version of the All sizes quilt from No Scrap Left Behind. Rather than setting the triangle blocks all in one direction, as the pattern shows, she turned them into chevrons. It's so soo good!
This is Linda's scrap vortex quilt from the quilt along I did a few summers ago. I've seen photos of her quilt, but there is nothing like seeing it in person! The quilt is huge and stunning! (All of the instructions for the scrap vortex quilt along can be found at the bottom of this page, if you care to make one of your own!)

Many thanks to each and every one who came to either my lectures, classes or both. I appreciate it more than I can say!
My puppies were pretty excited to see me yesterday, too! They are growing up too fast!
 
Well, that's it for me today! It's time to get reacquainted with my sewing machine!!!! It's been too long.
 
(A small disclaimer: I did my absolute best to keep the projects that people were sewing straight, but it is entirely possible that I have mis-labeled some. I apologize in advance if there are any errors or if I spelled any names wrong.)
 
Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 29, 2017

washi dresses 4 & 5

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I recently did some garment sewing and I'm happy to report that I finished two more dresses! These are becoming a staple in my wardrobe and I'm very happy about that! (You can see version 1 here, version 2 here and version 3 is at the end of this post.)
The pattern is called the Washi Dress and it's by Made by Rae. I can't recommend it enough! I'm very lucky to be able to sew up a size medium with no adjustments whatsoever, and it fits me perfectly. I realize that's rare...thus multiple dresses with the same pattern!
The dresses are versatile. I wear them to church, out shopping and when I teach and speak. They are comfortable and can be dressed up or down. I love that!

The fabric for dress #4 is Chambray Union Indigo by Robert Kaufman, which I purchased here. It's really lovely for a garment!
The orangey red fabric for dress #5 was picked out by my friend Brianne. (It's pretty great to have a personal shopper! Haha!) The print is called petal from the line Vignette, designed by Aneela Hoey for Cloud 9 Fabrics. It was purchased at SR Harris.
The fabric is double gauze, which means that this dress is dreamy!!! I was worried about it getting super wrinkly after wearing it, but I had no problem. Yay! It's a fun dress for warmer fall days.

I think my favorite part of constructing the dress is sewing the shirring on the back, which is made by sewing with elastic thread. I was so afraid of doing that part the first time, but it's like magic, I tell you. It's so satisfying.
I purchased the geranium dress (similar pattern, but for girls) for my daughter last spring, but I haven't made her one yet. I think that's next on the garment sewing list! She's excited about it and I am, too.

Do you sew garments at all? If so, what are some of your go-to patterns? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Monday, September 25, 2017

aqua goes with everything

One of my goals for this year was to do some designing and collaborating with my daughter. It's nearly October already (!!!), so it's good to take a look back at those goals from January and see what still needs to be done for the year. Hahaha!
This project started out pretty innocently, which I love. My daughter was playing with my bin of 2 1/2" squares and she started arranging them on the design wall. This is a design that she came up with and I absolutely loved it. She was delighted that I loved it enough to sew it up!
I encouraged her to arrange another one, and yellow was next color she chose.
And the green one was the third block that she designed. I helped her do some editing on the second two blocks, which actually went ok. (Phew!) We've been having fun making one block at a time. She designs, I sew. While it isn't a quick project, it's been a great one to work on together. She told me that she really doesn't like sewing, she'd rather just come up with the ideas and do the designing. (Hahaha! Gotta love her honesty!) She and I share the same love of aqua, obviously.

My plan is to come up with a second block pattern to combine with these blocks, so I can avoid doing any sashing in order to make a complete quilt top. At the rate this quilt is coming together, there is no need to rush to come up with that second block idea...and I'm totally fine with that!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 22, 2017

marmalade quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Boy, that came around fast, didn't it?
I pieced most of the blocks for this quilt at a retreat this past summer. A few weeks later, I assembled the blocks together. This week I added the borders on the right and the left, increasing the size just enough to make it a twin size quilt. Woohoo!
I used a much hoarded layer cake of Marmalade fabric from my stash...it's old, but it's so good! It was finally time to use it! (Fabric was designed by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.) Background fabric is Kona snow. The seams are all pressed open, which isn't my favorite method, but it will make quilting it easier at least!
The FREE pattern is called Cartwheels and you can find it here. You can see my first version made from Strawberry Fields fabric here, if you care to. I'm excited to get this one finished up!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

biased-a quilt block tutorial

One of the quilts that I'm working on for my solids challenge is my biased quilt. I have had so much fun making the blocks, so I took some photos along the way that explains my process. I hope you find this tutorial useful. I can imagine this quilt stitched up in prints, too. I think it would be pretty fun!

Supplies needed:
A phone book (or other lightweight paper) for foundation piecing
Scraps!
A rotary cutter, mat and ruler
A glue stick
A scissors is optional, but helpful.
An iron.
Spray starch.
Also, a working sewing machine. :)

Before you get started, you need to choose a block size. My unfinished block size is 10" high (because it was the height of the phone book) x 6" wide (because it is the width of my ruler). No need to make it complicated!

Cut all your papers to desired size. I'm making 88 blocks, so my quilt will measure about 60.5" x 76" finished.

Please note, in most cases I used strings of fabric that measure between 1 1/8" and 1 3/4" wide.

Let's get started....

Take a glue stick and draw an angled line on the paper. (Sorry that you can't see the glue. It's transparent.) If you use enough glue to see it, that will be bad news for your quilt! You only need a bit to temporarily hold the fabric in place.
Place the fabric on the glue line and trim the extra fabric length with a scissors. I like to trim my scraps straight, rather than at an angle, because I'm more likely to use the little bits that way.
Choose a second string of fabric that coordinates with the first one. Cut to length.
Align the edges of the fabric on one side and sew a 1/4" seam, using the edge of the fabric as a guide.
TIP: Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam where the paper edges start and stop. This will prevent the stitches from coming apart when you are removing the paper later. (It's a lifesaver!)
Press the second string of fabric away from the sewn seam with a hot, dry iron.
Select another string of fabric and cut to length. Make sure that it extends from the edges of the paper about an inch on either end.
Repeat steps above to attach the third string to the block.
Continue to add strings to cover the entire corner of the paper, pressing after each addition. Remember to backstitch.
Once the paper is half covered, flip it upside down and add strings to fill in the remaining corner.
Once the block is completely pieced, give it a good press.
I like to use a little spray starch after the block is pieced to help stabilize it a bit.
Now it's time to trim the block down to size. Place the block face down on a cutting mat and use the ruler to measure the block when trimming, rather than using the paper to measure. I've found that the paper shrinks up a bit when piecing, so this is a good way to get an accurately sized block every single time.
Here you can see that the paper shrunk a bit...about 1/16 of an inch. Not a huge deal, but it sure is nice to sew blocks of the same size together.
Once the block is trimmed down to size, carefully remove the paper backing. Your block is complete!


Troubleshooting (or avoiding trouble):

Sometimes a strip gets a little wavy, for one reason or another. If that happens, it's not too difficult to fix.
Flip the block face down and fold the paper back.
Use a ruler and rotary cutter to straighten out the fabric.
Fold the paper back into place and continue to add strings and strips to the block. Having a straight edge makes it much easier to add the next piece.
TIP: When aligning a light fabric over a dark fabric, be careful to place the fabric on top ever so slightly over the edge of the dark fabric, to prevent shadowing.
Conversely, if you place the fabric as shown below, you will get an unsightly line showing through the lighter fabric after pressing, also known as shadowing. (It's a little thing, but also the kind of thing that drives me crazy in a finished quilt. Might as well avoid it if you can!)
This block had a little bubble issue....the pink fabric shown didn't lay flat when I added the next strip. Rather than press a crease into my block and leave it....
I removed the paper before trimming the block down, then gave it a good press to remove the wrinkle/crease. I was sure to use spray starch, too.
Then I trimmed the block down to 10" x 6".
In most cases, trimming the blocks before removing the paper is the way to go, although it is nice to have a way to fix it if things go awry.
 
I had a few questions about how I select colors for my blocks, so I'll touch briefly on that. Generally, when I am piecing blocks like this, I try to use a mix of lights, mediums and darks. I do a lot of auditioning for each block. As far as what goes next to what, I try to let go of my preconceived color ideas, but I find that I do place the same colors next to each other over and over at times. (I'm soooo not ready to blindly chose scraps out of a paper bag! I have too many control issues for that. ha!) My rule of thumb is, if the colors don't make me cringe when they are placed next to each other, sew it up! In this quilt, I found I had to keep cutting more and more lights to balance out the darks, because I didn't want the quilt to get too heavy and dark. So far, so good!
 
I think I'll leave it at that! I hope that you give this block a try! If you do, I'd love to see photos.