Monday, January 31, 2011

A Swell weekend...

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Well, sort of... Steve seems to have come down with the crud.  Strep is running rampant at his office so when he woke up sick yesterday, I forced encouraged him to go to the Dr. so he could hopefully catch it early.  He's on antibiotics now and I'm SO hoping that they do the trick because I miss my funny, easy-going Steve.  So this weekend was an odd one but I did manage to squeeze in some quilting.

Actually quilting a quilt is my favorite part of making a quilt.  If I had an endless supply of quilt tops, I would be in heaven.  I've had my quilt along quilt basted for some time and it sat patiently waiting for its turn.  It's a big quilt so I needed a slot of time where I could work on it without having to take it off  my machine and I finally had that chance this weekend.


I free motion quilted it which is now my go-to method because it's quick and it's so relaxing... at least for me.  Chaney doesn't care for it because it's louder than straight lines so she's not able to hear the TV as well.  Poor kid. ;)

I'm about half-way done hand stitching the binding on so hopefully I'll have a finished quilt to share sometime this week.  We are actually expecting freezing rain/sleet/snow tomorrow and I'm dying to get a quilt-in-the-snow picture like I see on so many other blogs.  Maybe tomorrow will be my chance!

I hope everyone had a great {sickness-free} weekend!  Happy Fabric Tuesday!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

For Me Friday

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This might sound silly but there are times where I am really thankful that I know how to sew.  Sometimes it is when I've finished a quilt and I completely love it.  Sometimes it is when I am able to make something out of necessity.  Sometimes it is when I can make something for myself, just because.

As quilters, we make a lot of things for a lot of people.  I know that I personally only have three quilts out of all my quilts that live with me.  And I don't mind that because I love giving something handmade.  But still sometimes it's nice to make something to keep.

This year I am trying to take better care of myself.  Not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually.  I am trying to reward myself for tasks completed and goals accomplished.  Good idea, huh?

But sometimes we get it in our head that a reward has to be something purchased... or at least I think that way.  So instead of that, I've been rewarding myself with some small, handmade items. 


I needed a new key chain...


I needed a new {cute} Moleskine sketchbook...

I needed an updated chair...

I needed a new pincushion...

And maybe "need" isn't the right word so let's just say that I needed to reward myself. :)  Whatever the right word is, I hope ya'll will take some time and do the same. 

Have a wonderful weekend!  I will be happily resuming my sewing for others.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pintucks & Pincushions

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I've recently become fascinated with different general sewing techniques.  I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and make my work look more polished... like topstitching ~ I love topstitching!


My latest obsession is sewing pintucks.  The texture created is so cool and they are easy to make. 

I've been writing a tutorial for a guest blogging appearance and pintucks are involved.  I've been practicing different spacing, straight lines, organic lines, etc so I have a bunch of random pintucked {is that a word?} squares piling up next to my machine. 

I don't like to waste fabric so I made a few pincushions.  Can you ever have too many?? 


Just look at those mini-pom poms from Riley Blake!  SO cute!

And should you ever wonder if my projects always turn out great, let me put your mind at ease...


Me:  Honey, I just bled all over my new pincushion.

Steve:  What?  How did you do that?

Me:  I pricked my finger really good when I was hand sewing the opening closed.

Steve:  Well, I guess you won't be giving that pincushion away...

Cold water did the trick and there's no more blood but Steve is right, I think I'll be keeping this one for myself. ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chair {Redux}

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I had a loney little craft chair that Steve's aunt passed along to us {thanks, Aunt Jody!}.  I wish I had taken a before picture but I didn't so let's just say that it needed a little sprucing up.  But like they say on the design shows, the "bones" were good.

I bought some Mexican oilcloth on Etsy some time ago with no real purpose; I just liked it.  The colors are bright against the black background and of course, it's easy to care for.  I had never re-covered any sort of furniture but I figured it couldn't be too hard.  And I was right. :)  It's a lot like wrapping an oddly shaped package.


I used a cheap staple gun that I bought at Hobby Lobby and went to work.  I'm sure Steve was sitting downstairs listening all the stapling going on and probably cringing because I am the same person who managed to quilt myself to a quilt.  I bet I used a few too many staples but I'm pretty sure this chair won't need to be re-covered anytime soon. ;)

Me:  Look, honey!  The chair looks great doesn't it?

Steve:  Yeah, but where did you get a table cloth and why did you cover a chair with it?

Me:  That's not a table cloth.  It's Mexican oilcloth!

Steve:  Maybe more like a Mexican tablecloth.

Me:  You aren't allowed to sit in my new chair...

And did you notice??  It matches perfectly with my City Stops quilt

Tablecloth... oilcloth... whatever... it was meant to be. :)

Pictures taken on my iPhone using Hipstamatic.  LOVE that app!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Orange + Purple Wonky Quilt

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Our latest Do. Good Stitches quilt for Wrap Them in Love is finished! 

The design and the colors were up to me and then each member contributed two wonky orange and purple log cabin blocks.  I wanted some colors that were a stretch for me personally and I love how it came together.

As the quilter for this quilt, I loved getting blocks in the mail, opening them up, and seeing all the fun fabric and interpretations of the wonky block.  For me, the most challenging part of this bee isn't the design but rather communicating a vision and then assembling the blocks made by such talented and diverse quilters.

I quilted this quilt with double straight lines along the seams of the blocks.  I love free motion quilting but this quilt was quite... ummm... busy and didn't need any extra quilting to distract from the vibrant colors and movement of the blocks.  I'm glad that I went with straight lines because it came out of the dryer soft and a just a little bit fluffy.  Perfect for a needy child...


I'm pretty sure that I've said it before but I just love this bee.  We are a group of quilters who contribute our time, talent, money and fabric to benefit people in need that we most likely don't even know.  And a word about the fabric... what everyone contributes is amazing.  These are not bottom of the scrap bin quilts.   Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, are just some of the designer fabrics that continually go into these quilts.  I doubt that almost any recipient will ever know a single fabric designer print by name but coming from fabric lovers, it's apparent how special these quilts are to each of us.


Thank you to each one of the bee stitchers, this is another beautiful and soon-to-be well loved quilt!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Mini Fabric Bolts {tutorial}

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I'm back!  And I'm almost feeling human after two trips to the Dr. and multiple medications {including one that I was allergic to}.  Thank you all for your well wishes!

I got a lot done yesterday... so much that I'm going to break it into several posts.  I thought I'd start with the most common question I have received about my new studio and that is how I made the mini fabric bolts

Current size comic book boards! 


They are inexpensive, easy to find, and they are the perfect size for holding up to 5 yards of fabric.  They measure approximately 7" x 10.5" and I bought 200 from my local comic book store for $20.

Here's how I folded the fabric:


Fold your fabric selvage to selvage {just like it is on the bolt at a fabric store} 


Still selvage to selvage, fold upwards


Look!  It's the perfect size for the board...


Fold approximately 1.5'-2" over the long edge of the board


Flip it over and fold around the board snugly until you have all your fabric folded.


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And now you have a cute mini fabric bolt!

 Once you get the hang of it, the folding goes surprisingly fast.  Keep going until your stash is nice and neat.  It was heaven yesterday sewing and having all my fabric in sight!

Edited to add:  This works great for fat quarters, half yards and of course yardage!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

{Sick}

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Guess what I've been doing??  Yep, a lot of laying on the couch.  Walking pneumonia is apparently better than real pneumonia but I have definitely not felt like walking anywhere.  Not even into my new studio.

But isn't Gus the sweetest looking dog?  He's our "sick" dog... the one who knows when you are sick and won't leave your side even when his brother Buddy is doing fun things like digging through the bathroom trash and eating Q-tips.  I know.

Thank you all for your lovely comments about my new studio.  I have read each and every one of them and they have brightened my days of being stuck-to-the-couch-sick.  I promise to respond to your comments soon...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Studio {Reveal}

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As I was taking pictures this afternoon, I was thinking...

...if I had sewing friends nearby I would have an open house where everyone could come over to eat, drink, and talk fabric... 

I can't offer food and drink here but welcome to my new sewing studio, friends!

Amy Butler... Reds... Innocent Crush
Prints... Aquas... Blues...
Solids
Greens... Purples... Browns... Blacks
Don't you love the mini-bolts of fabric??  I now have no excuse for not shopping my stash first. 

So now that you have seen some of my fabric, here are the less exciting parts...

More storage...
Nope, not all of my fabric is out on the shelves.  I had 200 boards to make the mini-bolts so the rest is in the cabinet.  Most of it is large pieces for backing or smaller {less than a 1/4 yard} pieces. 


Here's my design wall, sewing machine, and look at that neat scrap basket!


To the right of that is my cutting table with cute little dresdens waiting for a new project.


If you turn around you can see the fabric "art".  The Amy Butler print on the top right is the last remnant of the first quilting fabric I ever purchased.  So, let's just blame Amy for my fabric obsession love...



Here is Chaney's corner that she has personalized with her own crafts and important items to display.  I love that she has her softball trophy on the shelf with her swimming ribbons hanging off...


And on your way out you can see my quilt waiting to be quilted and a cute little fabric wreath.

I still have curtains to make and some more projects to finish but I am officially in love and promise to keep this room clean and organized... most of the time. ;) 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to Steve for my new studio!  And thanks to ya'll for visiting today!



Friday, January 14, 2011

FAQ's + a winner!

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I am so excited and humbled by the comments left for my Improv Patchwork tutorial and giveaway.  192 comments to be exact so thank you to each and every person who entered.  Also, welcome to my new followers!  I received several questions thru comments and emails and thought it would be helpful to answer them here...

What kind of linen do you use?

I love working with linen blends but for this runner I used 100% linen.  

Where do you buy your linen?

I had one of those great 40% coupons that I used at my local Hancock's.  If you don't have a good Hancock's store locally, try this Hancock's online... they are great too!

Isn't linen pricey?

Yes, it definitely can be.  I always use a coupon to purchase it.  A word of caution... when the yardage is being cut for you, examine it carefully.  Linen naturally has some "flaws" but bad linen can have some really awful flaws like discoloration, a really loose weave, etc.

Is linen difficult to work with?

100% linen does fray a bit so I find it easier to make my seam allowance a hair bigger than the traditional scant 1/4" seam allowance.  It also shifts a little more than quilting cotton but that's not a big deal if you are making your blocks improv style.  For making an actual quilt, I do prefer a linen blend.

How can you give this runner away??

Because I'm really grateful for ya'll!!  I have people I can talk to anytime I want about quilting, fabric, family, etc... .  The blogging/quilting community is really cool.


I went with the non-scientific method of letting Chaney pick the number of the winner. But then again, knowing her, there was probably some science somewhere in her logic.  So without further ado, here's the winner...with a strikingly similar name to mine ;)...

The Girl Who Quilts who said: OMG, how the heck did I miss your blog all of this time?!? I love the tablerunner! I'd like to try piecing with some linen this year! :)

And BTW, I really like her blog so if you haven't checked it out go do that!

Have a great weekend!  I will see ya'll Monday with {hopefully} the reveal of my new studio!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday {Words}

Pin It This is Chaney's entry into the science fair.  Pay close attention to the hypothesis...


Happy Wednesday! 

PS... there's still time to enter the giveaway to win the Flea Market Fancy & Linen table runner

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Improv Patchwork {a tutorial}

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Happy Fabric Tuesday!  I'm guest blogging over at Stash Manicure today and showing how to make this table runner. 

I love patchwork and I love linen.  This table runner has both and the texture is really cool.   It has a utilitarian feel to it; it's made to be used.  It also happens to have some nearly priceless scraps in it... 


The quilting is simple, organic straight lines.  Sometimes I followed the patchwork seams and other times I just echoed other quilting lines.  It measures 48" x 12".


The best part?  I'm giving it away!  Just leave me a comment and I will announce the winner on Friday, January 14th.  Entries closed now. 

If you are dying for an extra entry just leave me a separate comment and let me know that you are a follower.  Of course I hope that you would follow me because I'm funny & creative and not just for the runner... but I won't blame you if you do ;)

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