Friday, March 17, 2017

Finished - Shimmer Quilt!

In my slow progress to add quilts to my home decor, I finished a quilt for the family room!  The quilt is intended to accompany a bunch of pillows I made last year.
The fabrics are from a collection of dark blues, aqua, turquoise, mustard yellow fat quarters that I have been collecting. The room is wall to wall greige so some pops of color are needed.
After piecing the quilt top I was so fortunate to attend a class at QuiltCon with Angela Walters experimenting with different patterns. Coming home, I stared at this quilt top considering my normal course of an all-over quilting pattern and decided to take a different approach to FMQ'ing this one.

Circular feathers in the middle, diamond outlines, pebbles, orange peels and loops combined to make quilting this top so much fun.  A little slower than an all-over pattern but a lot more fun!

I quilted the colored sections in a soft minty green Aurifil  2845 and the pebbles in the white space with my go-to Aurifil 2021.

I love, love this backing fabric.  I had originally purchased it as the backing for my Tula Pink City Sampler quilt but found that it wasn't really the white background I wanted.  For the family room this greige color background will be perfect!!

The backing fabric is Story News Print by Carrie Bloomston.

The pattern is Shimmer by Cluck Cluck Sew and I loved making it!

Friday, March 10, 2017

A New Tote Bag for QuiltCon 2017

Of course I needed to make a new bag for this event!  As it turned out, when QuiltCon came around I still needed one crutch for getting around and a bag with a long strap for cross body wear was essential.
 The pattern is Anna Graham of Noodlehead's Gingham Tote Bag from her amazing book Handmade Style.

The fabric is an Essex linen and Yoga is For Everyone by Willow Creek.  I couldn't resist the subtle humor of this print!

Like all of Anna's patterns (and I have made many!), her instructions are clear and the finish is very polished looking.  I used iron on fleece for the body of the bag for stability as well as in the straps for extra padding.  In the future, I will not put the fleece in the handle as it made the straps a bit too thick for my sewing machine and four needles were sacrificed in the process!

I love the look of the leather straps and the metal zippers.

The tote bag worked just as I had hoped at QuiltCon, allowing me to carry a bag large enough for shopping (!) and navigate with the crutch!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

State #34 and QuiltCon!

We crossed off State #34 - Georgia! This is what our 50 State Challenge puzzle looks like now.
My husband and I just returned from QuiltCon in Savannah, Georgia.  We had a wonderful time touring this beautiful city (and tasting the food!) between visits to the Convention Center.

By now you've seen pictures of many of the impressive quilts on social media.  I arrived at the show first thing on the opening day and was admiring the Best in Show quilt Bling when someone came up to me and asked if I would take pictures of her with the quilt.  It was the maker, Katherine Jones, just minutes after finding she had won Best in Show.  I took several pictures with her camera (and a few with mine) and listened to her story of how she made it.  Just one of the special moments for me at QuiltCon.
I took my time strolling amongst the impressive quilts, absorbing the talent and inspired by the stories.  Meeting some wonderful quilting friends was great fun.  This lovely pouch was given to me by the incredibly sweet Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty. Look at those teeny, tiny squares of gorgeous fabric!
I attended some great lectures and one class and even managed to squeeze in a little shopping.  This is what I dumped out of my suitcase back at home.

I demonstrated great restraint in my shopping, particularly fabric.  A few gems had to come home with me.  Gee, what do all these Japanese fabrics have in common?  On the left is from Studio Choco and the other pups are Trefle from Kokka Fabric in two color ways of course.  More fabric that will be "too special" to use.  Oops.

The city maps from Les Fleurs was long overdue to come home with me.

This prolonged recovery from surgery has reignited my interest in handwork including cross stitch, embroidery, even another attempt at knitting. I picked up these embroidery items from the French General booth.

I really love to free motion quilt and am continuing to improve my skills. In several of the FMQ'ing classes I have taken over the years, the use of stencils and pounce chalk has been suggested.  I'm not sure how good I am going to be at following the lines, but I did give in and purchase a starter package with some fun and more complex patterns to try.  I'll let you know how this goes!
I've heard so many wonderful things about these rulers, I brought one home!  This is the newest version that is not as wide as the original Stripology ruler but includes marking for squaring up blocks.
I'll end with one more quilt picture.  I laugh every time I see "My Cat is a Jerk"by Monica Solorio-Snow.

I've got a few more QuiltCon stories but this post is too long already!  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Baby Shower - Everything Else

Last week I shared the shower gifts for my future first grandchild.  This week is about all the other sewing projects that I finished for that day.

The future parents are going to be surprised at birth to learn the baby's gender.  They are working on a gender neutral gray nursery with pops of color.  A few weeks before the shower, I just happened to drag them down to my sewing room and got into a casual discussion about my Kona solid color chart.    "So what colors are you thinking about for accent colors for the nursery?" Using the colors they selected, I made some decorations for the shower.

First, a couple of buntings.  I cut 6.5" WOF and then to add a little sturdiness to the bunting, I ironed on a light interface to the back of one side of the 6.5" WOF and used a triangle ruler to cut out the flags.  After I quickly sewed up each side, my husband (who often gets dragged into my schemes) pinked the edges.  A quick sew into the fold of double bias tape and voila...buntings! One is plain, without lettering, and one welcomes the baby.  For the lettering I typed the words in a large font on word processing software and printed using a bold font.  With the light box I traced the letters in reverse onto Heat n Bond, cut and iron onto the flags and finished!

Then I made this little table runner.

I tried a new method for machine sewing down the binding.  I still prefer to hand sew binding, but for fast projects like this one and quilts where I know there'll be a lot of use and washing, machine binding makes sense to me.  For this I sewed the binding strip (2.5") on the front, wrapped it around the back and sewed right up to the edge on the front.

This caught the binding on the back most of the time and leaves a barely noticeable line of stitching on the front.  I think with a little practice this might be my go-to machine quilting method.

 Isn't that diaper cake made by the future mom's sister adorable?

Speaking of her sister, she is also expecting!  Her second child is due one month after my daughter-in-law!  I made her this little diaper bag that will hold a few diapers, wipes, ointment, etc. using this tutorial by Anna of Noodlehead fame.

For Christmas I made the girls zipper pouches with Gilmore Girls fabric.  Knowing that some of my daughter-in-laws friends would be at the shower, I used up a little bit more of that special fabric and made some Lil Cutie Pouches, also thanks to Anna's tutorial.
Time to start packing for QuiltCon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Second Finish for Jean!

Do you remember this quilt I finished for my very talented mother-in-law?  Here's another quilt top that I helped her finish by quilting and binding.
I kept the quilting simple just be stitching in the ditch around the borders and on both sides of the pink rail fences.

Quilting this was a great chance to practice sewing straight without using rulers.  I know I need to practice quilting with rulers, but FMQ'ing a straight line seems like something I should be able to do. Let me tell you, this gal does not make small quilts!!  This one is a large full size quilt!

Isn't it a lovely?!  She's amazing!!

I also have a quick finish to share.  A friend of mine is a landscape designer and needed a pouch to hold some of her key design tools.  I used a very special home dec weight fabric that I purchased some years ago during one of my first fabric shopping trips with my son in Chicago.

I sort of designed this bag as my friend had a pretty good idea what size (height, width and depth) bag she needed and I couldn't readily find a pattern to fit.  I followed this tutorial to draft a pattern for the perfect size pouch.

She reports that it is working great...stands on it's on, fits all her tools and looks great on her workbench!  Hooray!


Monday, February 13, 2017

The Final Splendid Sampler Blocks!

I can't believe I finished all 100 blocks! Certainly the recent snow and a stretched out recovery period helped improve the odds of finishing!

Just to catch you up, here are my final blocks:

# 95 - Sunshine
 #96 - In the Sunshine
#97 - First Purse
#98 - Fleur de Lis
#99 - Four Corner Pinwheel
#100 - Centered
This is the first time I have attempted to participate in such an intense quilt along; two blocks every week is a commitment!  I worked at this at my own pace with periods of being current and periods of having multiple blocks in the queue.

I can't guarantee this will be the final arrangement of the blocks as the color distribution is not perfectly even and a recent black and white photo indicated that I have clusters of blocks with more saturated colors that probably should be distributed through the quilt.

My goodness this has been so much fun to work on a wide variety of techniques from a diverse group of talented people. I've enjoyed reading the personal stories of each block by its designer. I plan to finish this quilt top (some day...) and keep it as a fun eye spy type of quilt.  I look forward to seeing what others do to finish this quilt!

Thank you to all the designers and Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson for these more than splendid blocks!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Baby Shower - The Gifts

You may have heard that I am about to become a grandmother!!  (I promise not to repeat this in every post but I'm just a little excited!)  The baby shower was Sunday so now I can share some of the projects I've been working on.  This post will be about the gifts and in a future post I'll share other stuff I made for the event!
My son's favorite book was Goodnight Moon.  I read this to him every night before bed.  A few years ago, I had just started quilting when I purchased a lovely fat quarter bundle of Cloud 9's organic Goodnight Moon thinking that maybe someday I could use it.  
The fabric is so lovely and the prints are so interesting, I decided not to cut it up very much.  Simple squares surround the Great Green Room cheater block.  

I love the soft crinkles after being washed.  The fleece backing just adds to the softness. Of course this was gifted with a copy of the book.

The wonderful and sweet Val over at Val's Quilting Studio provided the inspiration for these receiving blankets.  My goodness is this washed fleece so soft!
Rounded corners and playing with stitches on my sewing machine made these even more fun! 

Lastly, remember my very talented mother-in-law, she made this super adorable, squishy quilt for her future great grand-child.

Aren't these prints cute?

I know the little one is going to love how soft this quilt is!

Stay tuned...more baby shower sewing coming up soon!
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