Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival!

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Intersection{s}

Welcome if you are finding yourself here by way of the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  My favorite quilt right now is my most current quilt.  Isn't that how us quilters typically are?  So here's the story behind the quilt:

Life, to me, appears to be a series of intersections. Go straight, watch out for oncoming cars and innocent bystanders. Turn left, turn right, reverse to turn around. However, no matter what you do, always stop and think before choosing which way to proceed.

When jealous... turn to generosity

When angry... choose to love

When bitter... reverse and forgive

When you are in the dark... use your lights

When lost... use your map

When overwhelmed... slow down, yield, and proceed with caution

When running low on fuel... be resourceful

When in need... give

When in doubt... be creative

I always try to be honest and real here because on a blog there's nothing more sterile and boring to me than, "here's my perfect self, with my piles of pretty fabric, and my pile of perfect quilts...".

If I were to rephrase that it would be more like, "here's That frazzled Girl, with piles of scattered fabric, and a stack of finished quilts because I'm too {anxious, upset, nervous, angry...} to sleep". The finished product may be nice but believe me, I'm just as much of a mess as the next person. ;)


The second phrase has been more and more true as of late and it sucks. Just being honest. Decisions are tough, especially when there are other drivers at the intersection and you are waiting on them to make their own independent {hopefully right} choices before you can proceed.

So I wait. And I create. That's where this quilt came from and I love it. The quilt itself is for a very special baby but the pattern is something I designed and want to make over and over because of how my thoughts wander when I quilt it. Slow down... turn left... turn right... yield... U-turn... if there was ever a quilt perfect for free motion meandering quilting, this is the one. At least for me... ;)
 
Free motion quilting and the antique crinkles...
It measures approximately 50" x 50" and it took me all of a few hours to quilt it. A few hours where my mind rested and nothing mattered but the quilt, the curves, the stitches and the hum of my machine... competing with the screeching sounds of Phinneas and Ferb. Hey, I didn't say that it was a few hours of perfect peace and quiet!

The colors; pink, green, and orange are outside my normal scope and I love the combination.  The fabrics are Nicey Jane, Good Folks, Modern Meadow, Love, Hope Valley and the solid is Kona pale flesh {which makes me gag each time I think of that name}.

Striped goodness...
I bound it with a plaid from the Modern Meadow line which is a super easy way to get a striped binding without having to cut bias strips.

A pieced backing...

The back is pieced from more Nicey Jane, Hope Valley, Love, and Kona...


I'm releasing the pattern today too!  All you need is your favorite jelly roll and a few yards of a coordinating solid to make this quilt top.  You can instantly download the pattern here

Thanks for visiting today... now I'm off to go look at everyone else's beautiful quilts!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That Quilt Along Week 2 {Cutting your fabric}

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Sneak peek of what's ahead...

I'm posting the upcoming week's instructions a day early because of Blogger's Quilt Festival tomorrow.  Are you participating??  You should!  It's tons of fun!

Are you ready to cut into your beautiful fabrics?  Don't be scared... 

I used to have major anxiety about cutting fabric but a few simple tips will cut down any nervousness:
  1. Get acquainted with your ruler, your mat, and your rotary cutter.  Try cutting a few pieces with fabric that doesn't matter.
  2. Measure twice. Cut once. Take your time! Before you go cutting ALL your fabric; cut enough for one block and make sure your pieces are right.
  3. If you make a mistake... breathe. Most mistakes can be fixed.
We are going to be making 40 blocks.  Originally I had planned on 42 blocks but several members of our quilt along sent me emails saying that their charm packs only had 40 squares.  So 40 it is. :)

For the inner border around your charm square:
  1. Take your 1 yard of white {or neutral} fabric and cut it into strips that measure 44" x 1.5".  You should be able to get 24 strips out of your 1 yard.
  2. From these strips, take 10 of them and cut 80 5" x 1.5" rectangles.
  3. From the remaining strips, cut 80 7" x 1.5" rectangles
For the outer border of your square:
  1. Take your 2 yards of your solid color fabric and cut it into strips that measure 44" x 2".  You should be able to get 36 strips from the 2 yards.
  2. Take 12 of these strips and cut 80 7" x 2" rectangles.
  3. Take 10 {oops} 20 of the remaining strips and cut 80 10" x 2" rectangles.
Cutting fabric for a quilt is probably the most tedious part of the process.  Take your time because we have all week.  If you have any questions or would like more detailed instructions just email me, comment here, or post in our Flickr group.

It's not too late to join either!  Here is the link to Week 1... :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

You + Me

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You + Me quilt top

It's my month as the designer/quilter in our do. Good. Stitches bee.  I went with a simple block design and I'm loving this quilt.  Can you ever go wrong with yellows & blues? 

In this circle of the bee the quilter selects a recipient in need and I couldn't be more excited about who this quilt is going to.  I'll share more of the story behind this quilt once it's finished because I don't want to give away too much of who this quilt is for. ;)

As part of the One Thing, One Week challenge, I set a goal to have the top finished this weekend and I met that goal.  I'm in the process of quilting it now... :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

PS: It's not too late to join That Quilt Along... we have been having a blast this weekend over in our Flickr group. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

That Quilt Along

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My fabrics... Moda Swell charms, Kona Snow, & Kona Lake

I'm so excited for everyone to be joining me!  This is going to be a lot of fun whether you are a brand new quilter or even an advanced quilter.  Will your quilt be perfect?  Nah.  Will you love it?  I sure hope so... :)

This week we need to gather our fabric and supplies.  I promised to keep this as basic as possible for the new quilters so feel free to read ahead if you already have your quilting supplies.  Here are the basic supplies:
  • rotary cutter & self healing cutting mat
  • a quilter's ruler {a 6"x24" works well}
  • scissors
  • seam ripper {grrr...}
  • thread in a neutral color {I like Gutermann}
  • a basic sewing machine
  • iron & ironing board
  • hand sewing needle
  • straight pins
  • fabric marking pen/pencil
Now on to the fun part... the fabric!

Charm packs are great because you get a whole line of fabric {approx 42 squares} for around $8.  A charm square is 5"x5" and is easy to work with in a lot of different projects.
 
Our Quilt Along Design... Simple & Modern

In this quilt, the charm square will be the feature of each block.  Like I said in my previous post, you could easily use squares cut from fat quarters, etc because variety isn't that important.

I plan to put a white border around each of my charm squares, add some wonkiness, and then add a larger border of color. You can vary this however you would like.  I will need approximately 1 yard of white and 2 yards of light blue.

I use Kona solids.  Please don't confuse Kona with broadcloth if you are in a store like Joann's.  Broadcloth does not wash or hold up well. Trust me on this one. :(

When selecting your fabrics, you want the charms to "pop", float in the neutral border, and then have a nice contrast to the larger border fabric.  That's my vision at least.  You could easily reverse this and have the color border your charm and then white be your larger border.

If you have any questions selecting your fabrics or about the quilt along in general feel free to post here or send me an email!  I have also set up a Flickr group so we can share our progress, ask questions, and have some fun getting to know each other.

Happy fabric shopping!!

P.S. My blog button on the left sidebar is working now!  Feel free to grab it and invite your friends to quilt along with us :)

To clarify... this quilt will measure approximately 54" x 63" and yes, it will use all 42 charm squares.  My sketch didn't include all 42 squares... I was a little tired and cross-eyed after a late softball game. ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Quilt Along?

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The quilt I made from my first quilt along...
 I'm just throwing this out there to see who would like to join me.  I have a quilt I'm about to begin and I figured it would be a lot more fun to document the process here and have some friends stitch along with me.

All you need for the quilt top is 1 charm pack {or 42 5" squares}, 1 yard of a coordinating solid, and 2 yards of a neutral solid. 

This will be a simple, modern design {with the option for a little wonkiness} perfect for quilters of all skill levels.  Over 6 weeks I will show you every step in the process, from choosing your fabric all the way to how to bind your quilt, so even if this is your first quilt it will be like having your best quilting buddy helping you every step of the way. :)

Every Friday I will post the instructions for the upcoming week since I know that a lot of us sew on the weekends.  The following Thursday I'll post my progress and give everyone a way to link up to show their progress too.  And please, don't be intimidated by the timeline.  Feel free to go at your own pace because I never want to be the cause of someone quilting out of obligation... ;)

Who's in??  I am!

Tomorrow I'll unveil the design, post my fabric selections, and talk about choosing your fabrics...

Edited to answer a few questions:
  1. Yes!  This quilt along will be great for a brand new quilter.  The cutting is simple and the piecing is simple.  I was a new quilter not too long ago so I'll keep everything as basic as possible :)
  2. I have not made the quilt; I will be working at the same pace that I'm posting each week.
  3. You could easily make your 5" squares from fat quarters or fabric you have on hand.  A lot of variety isn't that important...
  4. Yes!  There is a button on my left sidebar that you can grab. I will love you if you do! And BTW, please let me know if the button doesn't work... this is my first try at one of those.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Easy Twirl Skirt {a tutorial}

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What do you do on a Saturday afternoon when your dramatic daughter decides that she has nothing to wear to church that evening?

Send her to your fabric cabinet and tell her to pick out some fabric!

Now, I'm not much for patterns when it comes to making clothes so here's no-pattern skirt tutorial that takes all of an hour or so to complete.  Here's what you need:
  • 1/2 yard - 1 yard of your main fabric.  I was able to get two skirts out of a yard for my size 6/7 daughter. 
  • A 4" x 44" scrap of fabric for the bottom of the skirt
  • Approx 20" of 1/2" wide woven elastic {the amount will vary depending on the waist size}
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Iron/ironing board
Step 1: Determine the length of your skirt.  Folding the fabric selvage to selvage, measure from the bottom of the fabric up.  My daughter wanted a longer skirt so I cut the fabric piece to measure 18" x 44". 

Step 2:  With right sides together {RST}, fold the fabric selvage to selvage and pin.  This will be your one seam... no need to zig zag or serge the seam either because the selvages are still part of the seam! 

Step 3: Stitch the two selvage ends together with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Stop sewing 1" from the top of your skirt.  Press your seam open.


Step 4: With your seam in the middle and facing you {wrong side of fabric still facing out} fold the raw edge down 1/2" and press.  Stitch this fold down.



Step 5: Return your skirt to the ironing board and fold the top down 1" and press.


 Stitch this fold down.  You have now made the waistband of your skirt!


Step 6: Take the 4" x 44" scrap of coordinating fabric and fold in half length ways.  Press. 



 Open and use the "seam" made from pressing as your guide and fold both sides in towards the seam and press. 


Step 7: Now with RST, take the two selvage ends of your scrap and stitch together using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press seam open.  You now have the band of the bottom of your skirt ready to attach!

Step 8: With your skirt still inside out, take your band and carefully line the seam in the middle of the band with the raw edge of the bottom of your skirt.  Using the edge of your presser foot as a guide, stitch the band in place to the wrong side of the skirt.


Step 9: Turn your skirt right side out and turn the band up and pin.  Topstitch the band to the front of your skirt and now you are almost done!

I did two rows of decorative zig zag stitching for the topstitching...


Step 10: Put a safety pin through the end of your elastic and through one waistband opening, work the pin and elastic all the way through to the other opening in the waistband.  Either try the skirt on your daughter or use measurements to determine how much the skirt needs to be gathered using the elastic.  Once you know this, stitch the elastic ends together and then take a few tiny machine stitches on the waistband of the skirt {these won't show} to hold the elastic in place.  Blindstitch the waistband opening closed, trim any loose threads, and you are done!

One happy daughter + Drama-free outfit selection for church = One really happy mom!

I am by no means a seamstress so if I've left something out or if you have any questions, please let me know!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tea Time {Mug Rug}

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Steve: Is that supposed to be some sort of funky Union Jack?

Me:  It is a Union Jack.  I paper pieced it.

Steve:  Well, it's not the Union Jack colors...

Me:  Honey, be creative!

For those of you who don't subscribe to Steve's brand of creativity, the fabrics are from Alexander Henry's Farmdale collection.  No, they are not the Union Jack colors but I will argue that this is mug rug is a lot of fun and perfectly acceptable for your cup of tea...


Available in my shop!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Generation {X}

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I'm a Generation-X baby and I'm a quilter.  And look!  There's a website just for quilters like myself!  It's a great resource full of links, tutorials, blocks, etc...

Today is Follower Friday over there and I'm being featured.  I was so excited when AnneMarie asked me if I was interested in being featured so go take a look at a site designed for younger quilters and maybe even learn something new about me!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fabric {Block}

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So pretty... So fall-like... Just add to cart but...

It's kinda like writer's block except instead of not being able to write, I can't buy fabric.  I can't bring myself to buy any.

Did you hear that sound??

That thud was the sound of Steve dropping to his knees and thanking God for curing me of my fabric addiction. ;)

I don't know what it is.  I went online this morning with the intent to buy some fabric.  Completely premeditated, non-compulsive spending.  And now I'm here writing about how terrible this feeling is.

Has this happened to anyone else?  Tell me that I'm normal and I'll recover...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Intersection{s} ~ a modern quilt

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Life, to me, appears to be a series of intersections.  Go straight, watch out for oncoming cars and innocent bystanders.  Turn left, turn right, reverse to turn around.  However, no matter what you do, always stop and think before choosing which way to proceed.

When jealous... turn to generosity

When angry... choose to love

When bitter... reverse and forgive

When you are in the dark... use your lights

When lost... use your map

When overwhelmed... slow down, yield, and proceed with caution

When running low on fuel... be resourceful

When in need... give

When in doubt... be creative

I always try to be honest and real here because on a blog there's nothing more sterile and boring to me than, "here's my perfect self, with my piles of pretty fabric, and my pile of perfect quilts...". 

If I were to rephrase that it would be more like, "here's That frazzled Girl, with piles of scattered fabric, and a stack of finished quilts because I'm too {anxious, upset, nervous, angry...} to sleep".  The finished product may be nice but believe me, I'm just as much of a mess as the next person. ;)

The second phrase has been more and more true as of late and it sucks.  Just being honest.  Decisions are tough, especially when there are other drivers at the intersection and you are waiting on them to make their own independent {hopefully right} choices before you can proceed. 


So I wait.  And I create.  That's where this quilt came from and I love it.  The quilt itself is for a very special baby but the pattern is something I designed and want to make over and over because of how my thoughts wander when I quilt it.  Slow down... turn left... turn right... yield... U-turn... if there was ever a quilt perfect for free motion meandering quilting, this is the one.  At least for me... ;)

It measures approximately  50" x 50" and it took me all of a few hours to quilt it.  A few hours where my mind rested and nothing mattered but the quilt, the curves, the stitches and the hum of my machine... competing with the screeching sounds of Phinneas and Ferb.  Hey, I didn't say that it was a few hours of perfect peace and quiet!


The colors; pink, green, and orange are outside my normal scope and I love the combination.  The fabrics are Nicey Jane, Good Folks, Modern Meadow, Love, Hope Valley and the solid is Kona pale flesh {which makes me gag each time I think of that name}. 


I bound it with a plaid from the Modern Meadow line which is a super easy way to get a striped binding without having to cut bias strips. 


The back is pieced from more Nicey Jane, Hope Valley, Love, and Kona...

Happy Fabric Tuesday!

P.S. I really wanted to have the pattern finished for this post but a late softball game left me feeling rushed so hopefully it will be ready later this week... :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sneak Peek

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Want a striped binding? Use a plaid fabric.





I couldn't be happier with how this quilt turned out. More pictures and a new pattern to come... :)

I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

{Smile}

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Happy World Smile Day!

If this doesn't make you smile... well... hmmm

And yes, those are bloomers on Chaney's head.  What fun this picture will be to share for many years to come!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fabric Tuesday {Incongnito}

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This quilt is a gift but I can't help but post about it.  I. Love. It.  So hopefully if I post this under my usual Fabric Tuesday post, it might go unnoticed by a certain person. ;)

I cut the fabric Friday night while we were watching a movie and then I pieced the top Sunday afternoon.  Not bad, huh?  If you were as hopped up on allergy meds as I was, you probably could have cranked out a quilt top too. LOL

The backing got here today courtesy of Sew Delightful Fabrics so I'll be basting and quilting very soon.  I already know how I'm going to quilt this one so I'm almost looking forward to the basting step.

The fabrics here are Good Folks, Modern Meadow, Hope Valley, Dolce, Amy Butler Love, Nicey Jane... all my favorites.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Machine Quilt Binding {Tutorial}

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I got several comments and emails after my Mug Rug post asking about the binding and how to do it completely by machine.  So here you go!


Square up and trim the edges of your mug rug first and the you are ready to attach the binding.  If this is your first go at machine binding, try it on a smaller piece like a mug rug or table runner.  I use a walking foot and it makes it very easy.  I also change my needle position to the closest to the machine.  You may have to experiment with this...
  
 With the raw edge of your binding lined up with the raw edge of your work, take your binding strip and attach it to the back of your work.  This is different than traditional binding but personally, I care more how the stitches look on the front than on the back.  I would rather have straight stitches holding the binding down on the front.

Leave a "tail" {approx 2-3"} of your binding so don't start stitching right at the beginning of your strip.  Doing this will make it easier to connect your strips together at the end.  Stitch to the first corner and stop 1/4" from the edge.  Backstitch and cut your threads.


Take your binding and fold up so that it now lines up with the next side your work.


 Keeping that fold, then fold down so that your binding is lined up nicely on the next side.  Return your work to the machine and begin stitching 1/4" from the corner.  That's it!  Repeat on each side until you get to the side you began on.


 Once you get to the original side, stop stitching to leave another approx 2" "tail".  At this point you will probably have to trim the tails; just make sure you leave enough for them to overlap each other by 2 inches. 


Now, with one tail {#1} laying flat, overlap the other one {#2} and measure 1/2" from the end of #1


Overlap #2 and mark that 1/2" on #2 and then cut along that line. You are now ready to stitch the two strips together to finish your binding!


Open both strips up and with right sides together and pin.


Stitch with a 1/4" seam


Fold your binding again and press if needed.


Return the piece to your machine and stitch, backstitching at the beginning and end, the rest of your binding down. You are now ready to attach the binding to the front!


 
With binding clips or straight pins, fold the binding over to the front and secure.  Continue around the entire piece.  At each corner you want a nice "V" where the point of the binding touches the previous edge. {This will make much more sense as you do it!}


 Once you have all the edges secured return to your machine.  With a stitch running very close to the edge of the binding, begin to stitch.  When you get to the corner, stitch far enough to secure the fold then with your needle down, lift your presser foot and turn your work to start the next side.  Lower your presser foot and continue on the next side.  Repeat until your binding is secure. 

*Make sure you remove your pins or binding clips as you go.  Don't even try to stitch over them or you will have a mess on your hands!*

 Done!


Trim your threads and enjoy your work!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or email me :)

PS: My first mug rug sold so I've listed this one in my shop...
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