Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Time Saver

Pin It First, thank you all so much for your kind words about my new quilt and pattern!  Yesterday was so much fun to check in here, read the comments and  get emails notifying me of my pattern being purchased. :)  I'm still working on replying to the comments too...


I keep meaning to post about my biggest time saver because I haven't seen other bloggers talking about this cool little gadget.  I get a lot of questions about how I fit quilting into my busy life and this is definitely one of the ways I maximize my time.  For around $50, I purchased this at Joann's so I could cut strips, squares, rectangles, etc.  I am able to cut multiple layers and the cuts come out perfectly each time {unless there's user error!}.

It uses a normal rotary blade and that bar you see is magnetic so it snaps down and securely hold the fabric in place.  I can easily cut a lap size quilt in about an hour and I don't get the aches and pains from standing and cutting fabric with a rotary cutter.  Genius!

BTW, did ya'll notice that I have a big girl blog domain now?  It seemed a little weird at first but it sure makes everything easier.  But don't worry, there's nothing my followers or readers need to change because my hubby is super smart and pointed everything back to blogspot.  He's the best!

Monday, September 27, 2010

~Serendipity~

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ser·en·dip·i·ty (srn-dp-t)

n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.

3. An instance of making such a discovery.

When auditioning names for this quilt and pattern, I fielded suggestions from Steve and Chaney.  Stretchagons was the runner up but in the end I couldn't allow myself to forget how this quilt came to be.

The short of it is that I was having a bad day and fabric, a rotary cutter, and some thread gave me a way to express my feelings.  It's funny how such a cheery quilt could come from such negative emotions isn't it?

With little thought I pulled the fabrics together and with even less thought I started cutting the different fabrics.  I began piecing the blocks and from there the design grew.  The blocks, the colors, the shapes, they all came together from a random non-plan.

Some quilters call that improv; I call it serendipity.   


Now, I did give more than a thought to the quilting and went with straight line quilting outlining the rows of "stretchagons" and tiny triangles.


 I backed it with a vintage sheet that went perfectly with the colors.  This quilt is so soft and I found it refreshing not to stipple the heck out of it and instead let the colors and the pattern speak for themselves {I think they did quite nicely!}.

I bound it with my favorite Hope Valley print that also shows up in the quilt itself.  And BTW, I found those binding clips and I can honestly say that this is the best binding I have ever done; not too tight but not too full either.  Take that, Sewing Circle Ladies! LOL

I received such an encouraging response when I posted my progress of this quilt that I decided to jump in and do what I've been wanting to do for some time now... write my first real pattern.  I think it's pretty obvious that I love to quilt and almost equally, I love to write.  Math, measurements, calculations, and precision are very rewarding for me so with all these things combined I really enjoyed writing this pattern.  I hope other quilters will enjoy making this quilt too!


I have added a pattern shop here on my blog and the pattern is available for instant download.  I'll also be listing it in my Etsy shop but it will be slightly more expensive there because Etsy takes their lovely cut.  You will also be able to find this finished quilt in my Etsy shop.

If you do happen to purchase this pattern you have me at your disposal to answer questions and walk you through the process if you are new to quilting.  Serendipity is perfect for the motivated beginner all the way to the experienced quilter.  You can start and finish this quilt in a weekend and the size is certainly not overwhelming for a new quilter.  And don't let the little triangles scare you... there's a cool little trick to them plus a bonus!

The basics:
  • It measures approximately 48" x 54"
  • It takes 10 Fat Quarters for variety {you could easily make this quilt with scraps}
  • You need 1.5 yards of a solid or neutral fabric
Thanks again for all the encouragement!  This has been a fun process to share with all my blogging friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sneak Peek

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Lots of quilting this weekend...  straight lines were a nice change of pace



Vintage sheets...


a beautifully serendipitous Hope Valley binding...

...and a new pattern on the way!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fabric Friday

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Does fabric ever look so good to you that you could eat it?  Or maybe I'm weird and it's just me... but this fabric looks like chocolate Easter eggs to me.  I first saw it here and then I stumbled across it today and I just bought the last little bit of this fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Love that store!

I don't know what it is but I keep leaning towards blues, greens, neutrals, browns lately.  If you've read here much, you probably know about my aversion to green but here it is again for the second time this week. 

Rolling around in fabric, eating fabric, green fabric... what is going on with me this week??  Hmmmm...

Hopefully I can return to normal this weekend after quilting my new quilt top and writing the pattern for it {yes, my first real pattern!}

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Joy of Essex {Linen}

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Do you ever have those days where you are disgruntled, irritable and just downright mad?  I had one of those on Saturday.  So despite my other quilting projects waiting in the wings, I started cutting fabric. 


Some Nicey Jane...


Some Moda 1974...

Some Hope Valley...


Even some of my Flea Market Fancy scraps... wow, I must have been really mad!


I needed a neutral solid so I grabbed the first thing I saw; my new Essex linen that I purchased from Sew Deerly Loved.  This fabric is amazing!  It is 55% cotton and 45% linen.  It cuts easily and it doesn't fray or shift when you are sewing and handling the fabric.  It adds the most interesting texture to the quilt too; it is soft yet sturdy.  I can't wait to see how it washes and dries when the quilt is finished!

Notice all the blues, greens, yellows, greys, etc?  Colors are so fascinating to me; especially how we are drawn to certain ones at certain times.  All the colors I grabbed this weekend were calming hues.  I put very little thought into the fabric choices, I just wanted some peace, quiet, and calm.  And I'm now happy to say that the colors worked {along with some marathon sewing and prayer} and I'm in a much better place. :)

PS: For those who got the joke in the title of this post, sorry... I couldn't resist!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Butter

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I have no one but myself to blame for missing Anna Maria Horner's voile fabrics when they came out.  I read about them, looked at pictures of them, and then told myself "no way" because I couldn't bear to pay $12+ per yard.

I finally splurged a little last week for my birthday and purchased some from Sew Deerly Loved {fabulous shop & blog, BTW}  And then I bought some more... and some more... ;)

When it came in the mail I was truly surprised with how wonderful this fabric felt.  I ooohed and ahhhed over it and then put it on my ironing board.  Then on Saturday I walked into my sewing room to find the fabric on the floor with a certain 6 year old rolling around on it.

When she saw me she exclaimed, "it's like swimming in butter, momma!". 

And then I may or may not have joined her in swimming in the voile... ; D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Open Letter...

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... to brick & mortar quilt shops.

I visited a large quilt shop yesterday and walked away empty handed and disappointed.  Here are some observations:

  1. Be friendly.  It's not hard to smile and greet someone who walks through the door.  A simple "hello" will work. "What brings you in today?" is even better.
  2. If a customer asks if you have binding clips, please don't respond with "no, in our classes we don't teach our customers to use those".  I guess I'm not one of your customers...
  3. If a customer asks if you carry a certain line of fabric or a certain designer, please don't wrinkle your nose and tell me that  you don't like that line.  BTW, I was asking about Hope Valley...
  4. If a customer is looking at bolts of fabric please don't walk in front of them and start putting bolts away right where they were looking without even a simple acknowledgement.  Really??
  5. Don't assume that a younger customer is not a good potential customer.  Treat your customers the same; young and old.  Greet and speak to everyone.  Yes, your regulars who happen to be retired are important but younger quilters are your shop's future!
And lastly, do you have any idea how much $$ I spend on fabric...online?? LOL  Why?  Because I get friendly service, personal attention, and encouragement in my favorite hobby.  Sure, I may pay shipping but it's worth it.  There are even sales online that include more fabric than just a tiny selection of cat fabric. ;)

I correspond with a lot of new quilters and I hear at least one a week talking about how intimidating shopping for fabric is in a quilt shop and it's not the large number of bolts of fabric that scare them away.  The "sewing circle" mentality can be intimidating and downright discouraging.  No wonder the number of quilting blogs, tutorials, and fabric shops have exploded online... 

I'm glad I wasn't a new quilter going into that shop yesterday because I'm afraid I might have left very discouraged.  So to the new quilters out there, don't let a store experience discourage you.  For every un-helpful quilter, there are five more ready to help a new quilter out.

I know there are fabulous quilt shops out there, I just happen to not live near any of them.  There is a new one that just opened up near my office and while it is small, it has potential.  I shop there as much as I can and I really hope that it can overcome the stigma that quilt shops around here are developing.  If you happen to have a great quilt shop near you, support it and appreciate it because they are hard to find!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday {the green edition}

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PS: Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...

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Look what showed up just in time for my birthday!
{And maybe a little more before today is over}

I love how well these fabrics go together... like Alexander Henry and Denyse Schmidt had coffee together so they could coordinate their fabric lines... ;)

P.S. I'm linking this post to Quiltstory because not only is it my birthday, it's Fabric Tuesday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mug {Rug}

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These have been popping up all over blogland and Flickr lately and I had to try one myself. 

So. Cute.

And fun to make!

I used some of my Flea Market Fancy scraps and combined them with natural linen.  The two textures go nicely together and give it a real feeling of utility... this is made to be used!


If there is a new quilting technique you have been wanting to try, this is a great way to do it.  This mug rug measures 9" x 9"  so it's an awesome canvas.  I did straight line quilting in a random grid layout which isn't new to me.  But what I have been wanting to try is a completely machine stitched binding.  It was easy and I'm pretty happy with the results. :)


I added a little linen pocket which hubby wasn't quite understanding but then I explained how cute the presentation would be and now he's a fan.  He SO caters to my creative whims...


I backed it with Denyse Schmidt home decor fabric and I included a layer of Insul-Bright with the batting to make this heat safe too.

Just writing this post makes me want to go drink hot tea!  Too bad it's going to be in the 90's here today.  I keep telling myself that fall just has to be around the corner.  I think I'm going to go turn the air conditioning down, turn football on and quilt.  Quilting and football... this is definitely one of my favorite times of year. :)

P.S. If you love this as much as I do, it's in my shop...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why didn't ya'll tell me...

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...about Farmdale? 

It's seriously cute. 

How the heck did I miss the buzz about this line?  Surely there was buzz, right?  My blog must not be in the cool loop... LOL


I recently picked up some {OK, a lot... like the entire collection) of Moda Swell and so many of the prints go together perfectly with Farmdale.  It was meant to be, Steve! ;)

The style, the colors; they are both out of my comfort zone so I'm thinking a design out of my comfort zone is appropriate too.  Squares.  Fussy Cuts.  Both are not the norm for me but I'm thinking they might be perfect here.

These fabrics are heading my way and I can't wait to start "playing quilt" with them!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bee Blocks

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I did some catching up on Bee blocks this past weekend and it feels good to crossing some things off my to-do list. 

A Wonky Nine Patch block...

I loved making my other quilt so much that I couldn't resist making another block in girly colors.  Note to self: make a quilt with these colors...

A few extra mini wonky nine patches...


Reverse applique circles for a Christmas quilt... another block I loved making for a previous quilt...



And a snowball block...

Another note to self: make a Christmas quilt!  Just making these blocks for my bee partner put me in a good mood... :)

I had fun making these blocks. They are a little on the simple side but I did that on purpose. It seems like a lot of times, bee blocks are all quite complex because when you are only making a few blocks it's easy to go a little wild and detailed {fun!}. However, I think that every quilt needs some "quiet" blocks or places for the eyes to rest.  Just my opinion, of course... ;)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Secret to Winning

Pin It A real life conversation...

Steve: So, honey I was looking at the bank account... {this conversation only occurs when he is seeing fabric purchased}

Me: Yesss....?

Steve: What is $, $, $, $, $, $, $?  {Yes, there are seven dollar entries}

Me: Oh those.  I won them!  On Ebay...

Steve:  Ummm I don't think it's winning when YOU have to pay.

Me:  Well, don't worry, there are others that I'm going to lose.

Steve:  Others???

Note: the Ebay and Etsy apps for the iPhone are very dangerous!  You can shop anywhere with them; in the Dr's office, in the hospital, day or night...  And now I have a new iPhone 4 and everything is even faster.  Poor Steve!

I love winning... :D

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cross Block {Tutorial}

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It's my month to plan the colors, block, and design for the Do. Good Stitches Charity Bee. I have chosen the cross block because it's fun, easy, and it looks good no matter how much variance or wonkiness there is from quilter to quilter. The colors are aqua/turquoise/yellow. When I wrote this tutorial I was originally planning on posting it in Flickr but I decided instead to share it here for all to see and use. :)

For a 12.5" block pick two contrasting colors.






1.  Cut two strips that measure 11" x 5.5" {this will be your background fabric}

2.  Cut two more strips.  One will measure 11" x 3" {this will be the cross}; the other will measure 14" x 3"







3.  With right sides together {RST} stitch one 11"x5.5" and the 11"x3" strip together lengthways. *Use a 1/4" seam allowance*

4.  Press open.

5.  With RST stitch the second 11"x5.5" strip lengthways to the other side of the 11"x3" strip.







6.  Press open.







Now the fun part!

7.  Take your ruler and place it across the block. You determine how straight or wonky of a cut you make.







8.  Take your 14"x3" strip and with RST stitch it to one half of the block you just cut.

9.  Press open.





10.  Repeat with RST and stitch to other half of you block.







11.  Press open and square your block to 12.5". {When squaring, you can add a little extra "wonk" by placing your ruler a little off center.}

*If you are in my bee and you are a little unsure about squaring your blocks don't worry about it, I'll do it for you! If you aren't in my bee, I can't square your blocks for you but feel free to ask questions... :)

PS:  You can make two blocks at once if you are using fat quarters!  Just double the lengths when you cut your strips {22" x 5.5" and 25" x 3}in steps 1 & 2.  Sew your strips the same way as shown above {steps 3-5} and once you have your initial "block" put together, cut it in half and then continue on to step 7 with your two blocks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Picket Fences

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It took a lot to get to this finished quilt...

Remember when I told you that there are good reasons not to quilt when you are stressed and sleep deprived?
Reason #1...

Stippling while stressed leads to picking up the edge of the backing.  BIG mess.  But boy, I stippled my frustrations out through all those layers... ;)

Reason #2

Picking out the stitches to undo the mess of the backing...

Reason #3

Binding with the selvages still on and showing.  I'm choosing to call this charming and character building for this quilt...


But here's the final product and I think it's pretty awesome.  When I was going through the pictures the name "Picket Fences" came to me so that's what I'm calling this quilt.  Of course, it's inspired by Denyse Schmidt's Hop, Skip, Jump quilt but I made it without templates and it was pieced completely improvisational.

More chairs and more vintage linens...

Despite the rough goings, everything turned out perfectly.  And in my humble opinion, the selvages in the binding are pretty darn cool. :)  You can find this quilt in my shop...

Shared on Quilt Story as part of Fabric Tuesday!
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