Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Old + New Quilt = Done!

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I'm so in love with this quilt and my daughter has claimed it as her "couch quilt" already.  It always does my heart good when someone in my home claims a quilt as their own.  I tested it out last night and it passed the test as a perfect couch quilt. :)

Here's the story behind it...

I had the colors in mind this spring as my iris bloomed and the color combination caught my eye.  Purple + yellow; not the most traditional of color combinations but you just can't argue with nature.



This past spring I also fell in love with vintage linens and found Whimsiedots on Etsy.  As I began playing with the different colors and fabrics, I stumbled across this super cool blog and her cross blocks.  I made a few and I was hooked.  I considered making the blocks completely out of vintage sheets but as my eyes were opened to all the current beautiful purple and yellow fabrics out there, I had knew I had my theme: Old + New.

I went with the liberated style of piecing the blocks and they were a lot of fun to make.  I pieced them using long strips so that I could make multiple blocks at one time.  It's amazing how fast a quilt comes together like that!


My biggest challenge was the layout of the squares and balancing the colors.  Towards the end, I made more blocks in darker hues and it made all the difference.  This was also the first quilt I made using different sized blocks - 6" blocks and 12" blocks and I'm thrilled with how that turned out.  To me, the different sizes mixed with the light and dark values give the quilt a lot of depth and balance.


My last obstacle was deciding how to quilt.  I auditioned straight line quilting, wavy lines, diagonal lines and even a grid-like design.  Ultimately, I went with free motion quilting because it seemed to be the only design that flowed well with the entire quilt.  While quilting, I had my doubts but I'm very pleased with the results!


I bound it in Patty Young's Ta-Dot in the black and charcoal colorway.  I really like how the dark binding frames the quilt and slows down all the movement.  I've been using 2.25" wide binding strips on my last few quilts and I'm hooked now.  I love how the narrow binding looks.  I machine stitched the binding to the front and hand stitched it to the back... I'm still not brave enough to try a completely machine stitched binding.


The quilt finished just shy of 50x60 after washing and drying to get that crinkled look that I love.  It's the perfect size for my daughter.  Here's the proof that she loves it and it's so much fun that her shoes just happened to match the quilt when we took the pictures!

As she says... "look!  A quilt with shoes!"

Thanks so much for ya'lls input and for following along with me in this process!  It's been a lot of fun...

Please don't forget to enter my scrap giveaway!  Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, Michael Miller, etc... amazing scraps!  You have until July 5th @ midnight CST. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {The Scrap Edition}

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I have so much to write about and show but I have no new pictures!  It's raining here which is a rarity in the summer.  We need it but how's a girl supposed to take good pictures of her quilts?? *sigh*

I've been giving a lot more thought to my scrap ideas as I have been quilting my Old + New quilt.  Thank you all for your awesome ideas and sweet comments; I promise I'll be responding to each one of you! 

I'm thinking that a Flickr group, in conjunction with this blog, is the way to go to organize this.  I love the idea of swapping scraps for yardage and vice versa because that's just fun.  I also want to have a charitable component to this as well.  I am working on identifying some charity quilting groups but that's going to take a bit of work.  So, in the meantime, I want to give some of my scraps away to deserving individual quilters. :)

I'm going to group the scraps according to my previous quilts so that you are able to get an idea of the colors you will be working with.  This is going to be a hand selected giveaway {not random} and a lot of the selection will be based on your story, why you want the scraps, what you will do with them, and a friendly promise to either post in the Flickr group or email me a picture of your completed project.  I will also take nominations so if you are a reader and know someone, feel free to enter on their behalf.  And BTW, your project doesn't have to be for yourself; it could be something you are going to make for a deserving person in your own life.

So here goes... 

Up first are the scraps from my two Heather Ross quilts. Blue... brown... orange... rust... and of course mermaids


Next, are the scraps from my On the Road to Spring quilt! Yes, Hope Valley scraps and lots of them!


And lastly, scraps from my Wonky Nine Patch quilt and my I Do Too quilt. Guitars... zoo animals... lava lamps... the perfect scraps for a boy or a really cool guy!

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me which scraps you would like, your story, why you want the scraps and what you will do with them.  And again, you may nominate someone as well. 

I will close the entries on Monday, July 5th @ midnight CST and I will announce the happy recipients on Tuesday, July 6th.  Have fun and good luck!

PS: International entries are gladly welcome!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {Part Eight}

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While I'm busy quilting this weekend here's a little something I need your help with... :)

I'm obsessed in love with fabric.   I think about it a lot.  I buy a lot of it.  I use a lot of it.  I also have a lot of scraps.  These scraps are taking over my sewing studio and it's not pretty.  I have the best of intentions to use them in a quilt or in some other sort of creative project but then something else pops up that takes precedence.  And so my lonely little scraps sit...

I'm a big believer in using your fabric and not hoarding it.  I've applied that thinking to my fat quarters and yardage fairly well.  I'm not afraid to use brand new stacks of fabric in a quilt.  But maybe that's part of my problem;  I use the new yardage dutifully and just accumulate scrap pile after scrap pile.

The nice explanation is that I don't want to be wasteful.  But when it comes down to it I feel obligated to use every last scrap of fabric.  I see these fabulous scrap quilts, really cool scrap management systems, I have the best of ideas to use them and then I end up making a new quilt out of bigger pieces of fabric in my stash.  It's really out of obligation I hang on to them and it's silly to do that.

So here's my plan: out of each new quilt I make, I will be giving away or donating the leftover scraps of that quilt.  I wish I had the time to make charity quilts but at this point in my life, I quilt sporadically when there's time.  However, there are quilters out there who make these beautiful quilts for charity who I'm thinking could probably use some good sized scraps.  By doing this, I'll be paring down the excess and doing something good in the process which I can certainly hope is the opposite of obligation... :)

Additionally, I know quilting can be an expensive hobby.  It probably doesn't cost as much as our husband's golf outings but who's counting...?  ;)  Anyways, it takes time and money to accumulate a stash and that's without adding in all the notions and tools we count on to quilt.  So I'm also going to be giving away more of my fabric and scraps to new and/or deserving quilters because let's face it, some of the biggest and best quilting bloggers around make lots of wonderful quilts and often they have sponsors and very little out of pocket when it comes to fabric.  The last thing I would want is for a talented quilter to see all these beautiful quilts but give up because they don't have access to the fabrics that we all love, drool over and buy.

Sound like a good plan??  I hope so...

I haven't worked out all the details in my head so I would love some creative input from all my friends!

How would you organize this?  Or...  Do you work with a charity quilt group or know a deserving quilter? 

Feel free to email me with your ideas as well...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Progress Made... {UPDATED}

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The Old + New top is finished! It measures 50 x 60 at the moment and I'm pleased with how it's looking so far. :)

Now the fun part... how to quilt it. What do y'all think? I can always do free motion quilting but there are LOTS of seams to think about dealing with. Straight line quilting in some sort of grid pattern? I'm not sure...

*Thank you all for your kind comments and your great quilting suggestions!  I auditioned multiple patterns and ultimately settled on a meandering free motion pattern.  I'll write a bit more about my choice when I post the completed quilt pictures.  The quilt is done but it's raining, in the summer, in Texas {who ever heard of such a thing??} so I haven't been able to get good pictures yet!*

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WIP Wednesday

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I finished all the cross blocks for my Old + New quilt last night.  After taking this picture I felt that I was missing some darker colors so the final blocks I made were either purple or grey.  I highly recommend taking a picture of your quilt in progress if you are having trouble with the layout.  There's something about seeing your quilt in a photo as opposed to right there in front of you...

I'm really excited about completing this quilt top tonight.  I love how it's coming together.  Everything about this quilt is different for me... the colors, the liberated style, the different sized blocks... it's been a real growth experience for me. :)

Sorry for the horrible picture...  I sew at night mostly and so the light obviously isn't good.  I promise to take some good pictures of the final top after it's sewn together!

Monday, June 21, 2010

You've Got Mail!

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I totally had a movie moment at the mailbox on Saturday!

I've been anxiously awaiting my quilt from the Modify Tradition swap and my emotions ranged from hopeful anticipation to the dread of wondering if my partner was going to be a no-show {that's the optimist in me LOL}.

So I opened my mailbox and I immediately saw the return address on a big envelope.  I've made friends with a lot of awesome bloggers so I instantly recognized her name.  I read her blog regularly and I had been on earlier in the week and ooohing and ahhhhing over her quilt for the swap.  She has wonderful taste and a real knack for personalizing quilts and letting them tell a story with selvages.

I rushed inside and tore open the envelope still in disbelief but there it was.  And to quote the movie I said, "I wanted it to be you!"  And it was.  Especially for me... 

The quilt is just beautiful.  So personalized...


My state flower...


My name {no, not "Fabricholic"} "Jennifer"


My drinks of choice...


Where Cindy is from {and my hubby too!}



Cindy calling me dumb... oh wait, that's just the super cute selvage talking... ;)



 The machine quilting fits perfectly with the design. The hand quilting is just beautiful; perfect stitches in purl cotton. The binding is flawless and hand stitched to the back. And to top it off, a personalized label!


I was planning on hanging this in my sewing room but I've decided that this is going to have a much more prominent place in our home.  Thank you so much, Cindy! This quilt is a treasure and you are just the best!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {Part Seven}

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Color.  It the bane of our existence when it comes to fabric, design, and quilting.  The right colors make a quilt stand out.  The wrong ones can make a quilt look like an ordinary, no-sew fleece blanket.  Yes, I really did just say that out loud...  But really, if we are going to go to all the work of making a quilt, let's use some great colors!

There are the typical color combinations.  The obligated ones that we know and mostly love.  Red & Green... Pink & Brown... Red & Aqua... Blue & Brown... all color combos that are fairly safe and easily replicated.  But what about the others?  The less than obvious combinations?

Some of my favorite fabric lines are those that take a risk when it comes to color; and then we quilters cram them back into safe and predictable color combinations inside of quilts.  What if we didn't?  What would happen if we took a color risk instead of looking for the safe choices?

I hear a lot of quilters say that "such-and-such  isn't my color" and I completely get that.  If you would have asked me my favorite colors six months ago I can promise you I wouldn't have said "purple, yellow, and gray".  

Many times our strongest obligations are the obligations we feel towards ourselves; our own likes and dislikes.  Sometimes that is a good thing yet other times, it can stunt our growth.

I'm working on a quilt right now with cross blocks and I decided to go with colors not typical for my taste.  I know that purple isn't really my color but why would I limit the color selection in my quilts to colors that only I like?  So for this quilt I'm using various shades of purple, yellow, and gray.  And guess what?  I love it!  I am now finding myself drawn to purple fabrics that are just beautiful and had I not stretched myself into a new color range a few months back, I'm afraid that I would be missing out on a whole range of pretty fabrics. 

And BTW, I'm sure my hubby feels the same way and is very relieved that now I love purple fabric too... *copious amounts of sarcasm*

Anyways, I would like to challenge you, all my creative friends, to stretch yourselves and find some new colors.  They are out there, I promise! 

So, what colors have you avoided working with?  Or... what colors are you ready to branch out and work with??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tattoos

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What does this picture have to do with this post?  Not a lot.  It's just funny and it is what my daughter and dog have been known to do while I'm sewing...

This past weekend...

Me: We have to wash your tattoos off before we go to church.

Daughter: Why can't I wear my tattoos to church?

Me: Because it's not very respectful...

Daughter:  What about Steve {hubby}?  He has tattoos...

Me:  Yes, he does but he doesn't have a giant penguin on his face.  And besides, his don't wash off.

Daughter:  Right... his patches are sewn on and that would HURT if you tried to rip his seams out!

She is clearly my daughter and the daughter of a quilter!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mermaids! {A Mini Quilt}

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I signed up for my first swap with Modify Tradition.  The rules were to make a quilt that measures 12"- 22" using a traditional quilt block with a modern twist for our swap partner.  This quilt measures approximately 20" x 20".  I love traditional quilt blocks so I had a hard time deciding.  I ultimately decided on the bow-tie block because I loved how the blocks put together worked so well with the fabric, Heather Ross' Mendocino line.

My idea was that the dark bow-ties mixed with the lighter fabrics create a tide pool where of course mermaids live. My modern twist was creating an open sea area where one fussy-cut mermaid was featured. The blue for the open sea is Kona and is appropriately named Caribbean. I also bound the quilt in the same solid blue.


I stippled this quilt quite heavily.  And while a lot of times, I feel that stippling is a quick and easy way to quilt a quilt, I think it happens to be perfect for this quilt because it creates a waves and water effect on the quilt.  However, I didn't quilt the fussy-cut mermaid to make her stand out a bit... and if my partner chooses to wash the quilt, she will puff out a little more and I think that would look really unique. 


The back is more Heather Ross but I can't show you all of the back because the label is on and it's supposed to be a surprise!

This has been a really fun swap and I can't wait to see what I get.  I find myself browsing through the Flickr group looking at and hoping that one of those beautiful quilts will be headed my way soon... :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Too Cute!

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Seriously.

This is one of my all time favorite fabrics and I had just enough in scraps to make a patchwork sleeve for a Kindle2.

I have a serious disdain for Velcro so I used a repurposed elastic hair tie and a vintage button. I like it much better and I don't have flashbacks to elementary school and Velcro shoes... :)

I lined it with Flora & Fauna and I love the bees peeking out.




One of these days I'll write the tutorials for this sleeve and my iPad sleeve.

Promise!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Great Mail Day!

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I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a little excited to get home to check my mailbox this evening...

"City Quilts" is everything I hoped for and more. Sometimes I get excited about a new quilt book and then I end up a little disappointed. Not this time! Cherri really shines in this book and her quilts are just stunning. I'm not much of a pattern follower but there are several quilts in here that I want to make.

And then the Tufted Tweets fabrics... super cute! I can't wait to make some new cross blocks with this fabric!

It's been a good day... a new book, new fabric, a pot roast ready when we got home, and now I'm sitting down to read a new book on my iPad. :)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {Part 6}

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"Me"... a little wonky on the inside, but still black & white logical

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Whoever said that obviously wasn't imitated often because I'm pretty sure that it doesn't feel like flattery most of the time.  And from the other side, it's not very flattering or creative to be the imitator either...

When I waded into the quilting world, I spent a lot of time being "inspired" by other quilters.  I wanted to make quilts like their quilts.  I wanted to use the fabrics they used.  I wanted to quilt like they quilted.  I devoted a lot of time to browsing and much less to creating.  Eventually, I got frustrated and while I continued to sew, I didn't quilt.  I truly thought that I just wasn't creative.

When I came back around to quilting a few months later, I began to make quilts that I liked.  While I still drew inspiration from other quilters, I spent much more time creating from my own heart and mind.  And guess what?  My creativity sprouted into something I never knew I had. 

When I stopped trying imitate other's creativity, I found my own... amazing and completely without obligation.  I became a happier quilter and in turn, a more creative quilter.  Do I still love to look at the latest trends in quilting?  Sure!  But do I have to run out and frustrate myself trying to make something just like so-and-so's?  Definitely not.

When I look at a quilt I have made, I want to see my own reflection.  My quirks, my shapes, my colors, my values, and even my mistakes.  Uniquely and creatively "me".  I still love quilt-alongs and tutorials where everyone is making the "same" thing.  But the best part is seeing all the finished projects and seeing the unique twist each person puts on the original idea.

If you are a quilter, you are a creative person!  You love color, shapes, angles and all the little things that go into make a quilt.  So don't be obligated to someone else's idea.  Draw inspiration but be yourself because the best quilt is the quilt where you can see your own creativity, passion, and personality.

What is your favorite quilt or project that reflects who you are as a creative person?  I'd love to see it so please share your link!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nerd!

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I'm a nerd.  A book loving, trivia nut, read-the-encyclopedia-volumes-for-fun kind of nerd.  Technology and I don't get along so well though.  But after having a few iPhones and managing to use them fine, I was dying to have a ebook reader so hubby "gave" me one this past Christmas knowing that the iPad was coming out soon.  Well, I got one yesterday and I absolutely love it!


And like any good sewing nerd would, I immediately made a sleeve for it.  Nerdy but very cool. :)  Isn't that fabric perfect??


The case was fairly easy to make and it fits perfectly.  I'm debating right now between posting a tutorial here to make it or making a pattern available.  Hmmmm.....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {Part Five}

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Stop hoarding your fabric!  I'm not yelling at you, I'm yelling that at myself... :)  You know that TV show Hoarders?  I wonder when we are going to see a quilter on that show buried under her fabric.  LOL

Fabric is a funny thing.  It is beautiful, not exactly cheap, and most of the time it is pretty plentiful.  Most of us are confessed fabric addicts and the rest of you... well, you will get out of your denial at some point.

I hated going to the fabric store when I was a kid.  DESPISED it.  I read other bloggers talking about their life-long love of fabric starting when they were little girls.  Not me.  The only thing I liked was hiding under the bolt racks; that and the bribe of candy or ice cream if we were decently behaved.

My husband is probably reading this and just about now is wondering what the heck happened to his fabric-hating wife.  This is the same man who likened my fabric buying tendencies to a cigarette habit the other day.  The nerve!

So, I have a fabric habit but I wouldn't exactly call it out of control after seeing some other quilter's stashes.  Yes, you know who you are.  But I have a nice cabinet and some plastic bins full of fabric.  Beautiful fabric... {sigh} that I miss when I'm at work... {bigger sigh}

When I started quilting I had no idea what the difference was between Joann's fabric and Amy Butler fabric.  I know, I was very naive but I also quickly learned and thus began my love affair with fabric.  For some time I would buy stacks of fat quarters from various designer lines.  I would open up the mail envelope, touch the fabric, smell it {weird}, and neatly put it away in my cabinet never to see light until I was ready to make a quilt or at least "play quilt". 

I accumulated quite the collection, using special prints sparingly, and then I did it.  I cut into some of my Heather Ross prints.  And then I cut into my Hope Valley collection.  I even packaged up some of my favorite fabrics and sent them out to my Fresh Modern Bee members to make another quilt.  I'm making quilts out of the fabrics I had been hoarding!  Sometimes I'll get comments about a quilt telling me that I'm brave for cutting into a certain collection and I have to giggle a little because I used to feel the same way.  But really, what good are my beautiful fabrics doing sitting in a dark?

We buy these fabrics presumably to make something beautiful and then we hide them away on shelves??  Perhaps because we haven't found the perfect pattern but sometimes I wonder if it's more to say that we have such-and-such line that becomes hard to find, out of print, or collectible out of obligation to the "in crowd" of quilting.

Forgive me as I'm about to border on fabric blasphemy but... I'm tired of Flea Market Fancy!  Phew!  I said it.  I think I heard the air being sucked out of blogland but I feel better. :)

Fresh and modern are the new buzz words in quilting.  But really, what's fresh and modern about using the same old prints over and over in quilts?  That sounds a lot like obligation to me.  Don't get me wrong, these sought after fabrics are truly beautiful and I've even splurged on a few pieces for myself.  But $40 + for a fat quarter?  Really?? 

Quite honestly, I'd rather spend $10 a yard on some new, truly fresh and modern fabric lines and instead of hoarding them, make a quilt out of them.  I did this with my Hope Valley fabric and I made a quilt for me that I truly love.  The best part is that I use it every night and I see it every time I walk in our family room.  That beats the heck out of it sitting in my dark cabinet or in a plastic bin in the closet!  I did the same with my Heather Ross fabric and I laugh at myself for taking so long to make a quilt that I will get to enjoy every day.

So, do it!  Cut into your fabric that you've been hoarding!  I know you can!

What fabric have you been hoarding?  OR what new line are you dying to buy and actually make a quilt out of??

Edited to add: And just so you know, I have no problem with a nice stash of fabric... just don't get to the point where you won't cut into your fabric because it's so-and-so designer! :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday {The Late Edition}

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And The Winner is...

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Who says that #1 can't win a giveaway??  Congrats to Karen!  Please email me your address and one cute vintage pillowcase and some elastic thread will be headed your way...  Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments about the dress and the tutorial.  I wish I had a pillowcase to give to everyone!

Tomorrow is the day we give the quilt to my daughter's teacher.  I'm nervous even though I shouldn't be.  I'll take pictures and try to post them later on tomorrow.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

P.S. Look for another installment of Quilting Without Obligation later this week :)
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