Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Stitchin' Summer {pattern #3}

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The PDF for this house can be found here at the end of the post.

The creative adult is the child who survived... Ursula LeGuin

I am constantly in awe of Chaney's creativity.  There are hardly ever limits and it's so fun to watch her work and create.  Now, I'm not the look at the rainbow she drew on her wall... how cute! kind of mother but I do work hard to encourage her creativity instead of forcing it to grow up like the world is so good at doing to kids these days.

I used to believe that I wasn't creative and I don't even know when or why I came up with that notion.  I am a very black and white and logical so those traits frequently overshadowed any color-outside-the-lines thinking.  And that's sad because there should always be a balance.

When I began quilting I really thought that I was destined to make quilts from kits.  I didn't trust my color choices or any other creative choices.  I doubted everything.  And then I stumbled the quote by Ursula LeGuin which really made me think.  And smile.

Maybe you are in my beginning shoes thinking that you aren't creative.  Or maybe you compare your creativity to someone else's creativity.  Whatever it is, don't do that!  I truly believe that everyone is creative in their own way.  True, some may have to look a little harder but then it's hard won and completely worth it.

Perhaps stitching this simple phrase will start you in that direction... or reaffirm what you have always known.

Have fun with this pattern and don't be afraid to branch out and try something new.  It's just needle and thread after all!  If you need a supply list or stitch tutorials, you can find them in the Stitchin' Summer #1 post.  Just click below and download the PDF.  I've left the embellishments off so have fun trying some new stitches around the words.

I'll be heading home tomorrow and I can't wait to see what everyone has been up to!  And BTW, mobile blogging is not easy so I'm sorry for the lack of pictures.  I'm behind on emails so if you have sent one to me I'll be catching up soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tide Pools {a bowtie quilt}

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Steve lovingly refers to this quilt as the "dog bone quilt".  He's so creative. ;)  I have always called it Tide Pools so that's what I'm going with.

This was one of my longest standing UFO's and I really have no idea why.  I talked about quilting the top but then it sat for nearly a year.  I finally basted it and it sat for another two months.  I quilted a few lines but then I started feeling bad.  The process for this quilt has been a long one but it also make the finish that much more rewarding.

The fabrics are all from Heather Ross' Mendocino line.  It was actually the first fat quarter pack that I ever purchased.  The fabric is so soft and so it sat on my shelf for a long while because I was too afraid to cut into it. 

I have always loved the traditional bowtie block and the dramatic difference in light and dark values made this block perfect for this line of fabric.  I rotated the blocks to create a "pool" effect and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I added some improvisational piecing at the bottom of the quilt to mimic the rocks found around tide pools.

The quilting came to me while I was on a conference call one day... inspired by the fabric.  I guess it's technically free motion quilting but it's not stippled.  I kept the vertical lines 1"- 2" apart so the quilt has a sturdy yet soft drape still.  If you are scared of free motion quilting, this would be a great way to ease into it!

The quilt is backed with a vintage sheet that I've been saving for quite some time.  Love it.

The binding is a departure from the norm for me.  I typically use a contrasting binding but this time I wanted something neutral and sand-like so that the quilt and design stand out the most.  I was nervous but I'm happy with my choice now.

I went with rounded corners {my tutorial is here} which I love when there are strong angles in a quilt.  I also love how the rounds compliment the circular pools...

Thanks for following along today!  I'm still on vacation and can probably be found on a lazy river somewhere.

See you tomorrow with another Stitchin' Summer pattern...

Oh, and I'm linking up with Gex X Quilter's Summer Fair Quilt Show!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Stitchin' Summer {pattern #2}

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First things first. As promised, here is Steve's fabulous margarita recipe:

Tequila of your choice
Grand Marnier
Large pitcher
Umbrella straws!

Secret Ingredients:
Simply Lemonade
Simply Limeade
*these replace the off the shelf margarita mix that is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, chemicals and preservatives

1. Fill a pitcher with ice
2. Pour 3 oz of tequila into the pitcher
3. Add 2 cups of lemonade
4. Add 2 cups of limeade
5. Add 1.5 oz of Grand Marnier

Stir well and you're done! This recipe will make more than enough for 2 adults to share. It goes without saying but I'll say it anyways: if you are under 21 don't make this or drink it and if you are over 21 please drink responsibly!

So go make yourself a pitcher and then grab your needle and thread to stitch a very cool house... but sip slowly. I am not responsible for any wonky embroidery!

I love all things mid century modern so why not embroider some of the quirky architecture? Your supplies are the same as the last pattern as well as your stitches. You can find the tutorial links for the stitches in the previous post.

Below you will find the PDF to download.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Stitchin' Summer {pattern #1}

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I've fallen hard for embroidery and after looking at so many beautiful embroidery patterns, I've started making some of my own.  It's doodling on paper {which I'm an expert at... just look at my notepad at work!} turned into doodling with a needle and thread.

So while I'm on vacation I thought I'd share a few simple patterns to keep you busy along with a drink recipe to keep you cool.

Today's pattern is a simple phrase and one of my favorites.  It comes from this song

1 12" square of fabric {Kona cotton works great}
embroidery hoop, floss, and needle
marking pen for tracing {I used a water soluble marker}

You will need a backstitch, a french knot, a basic running stitch, and a stem stitch would be pretty for the curvy letters.  You certainly don't have to stick to these stitches which is one of the things that I love about embroidery - freedom to be creative.

I have linked to Jenny Hart's great tutorials for each stitch.  The other stitch combo is using your backstitch and french knot together.

Below is the link for the PDF download.  It's free!  To trace it, just print it and lay it underneath your fabric square.  Use your water soluble marker to trace the pattern.  Let me know if you have any questions... I am travelling but will have some limited Internet access.

Where's the drink recipe you ask??  That's tomorrow because what kind of girl would I be if I encouraged drinking on a school night? ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Words {sneak peek}

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...or in other words, because it's so hard for me to post a picture and not talk.  I can't tell you how many times I have intended to do a Wordless Wednesday post and then there's just something I have to tell you!

I've almost finished 3 quilts and this one is completely done.  More rounded corners...

I love the quilting; it was inspired by the fabrics.

We are heading out of town tomorrow but don't worry, I'll leave you with some fun things to do while I'm gone!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Stitchin' Summer

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This has been the extent of my sewing the past week or so.  As ya'll know, I'm a big fan of Jenny Hart and this pattern comes from her book, Embroidered Effects.  I'm thinking that this is going to be the front of my zippered embroidery bag.  Right now I'm using one of my fabric grocery totes for all my embroidery and it's just not very organized.

This is one of the first summers in several years that I can remember slowing down for.  And it's nice.  Last night Chaney and I tie dyed t-shirts after dinner; I had never done that before but Steve and Chaney are experts!  After that we sat down and watched old Looney Toons and I did a little embroidery.  There's something very nice about being able to sew with Steve and Chaney around, under a fan, and with one of Steve's famous margaritas.  And BTW, I'm thinking it's about time for his debut post here to share his recipe! 

My studio is upstairs and because heat rises, I have sweat rolling down my back after a few minutes of quilting.  Lovely image, huh?  I guess I need to quilt in the morning this weekend before the heat is too bad.  We are going on vacation next week and I'd love to be able to take a few quilts along so I can hand stitch the bindings while we relax.

Oh, and I've gotten a several emails about my iced coffee... we have Keurig {LOVE. IT.}  I use their Nantucket iced coffee pods.  I originally learned about iced coffee from The Pioneer Woman and she has a great recipe that I tried before we got our Keurig coffee maker.  I highly recommend making your own!  It costs me .55 {cream and sugar included} for a 16 oz cup compared to $3.00 + at a coffee shop.  More money to spend on fabric!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


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my latest obsession... iced coffee
You know your lack of blogging is bad when you start getting emails from readers asking if you're OK...

Yes, I'm definitely good!  The short week last week totally kicked my butt at work.  Holiday weekends are always nice but the 4 day work week it creates is always ummm... interesting.

We have been at 100+ degrees for the past few weeks and sitting at a sewing machine with a quilt piled up in my lap just doesn't sound real appealing.  Summer always seems to slow my sewing down which isn't always a bad thing... more time for iced coffee, swimming, grilling, homemade margaritas... you get the point. ;)

I'll be back tomorrow with some stuff to share!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quilted Dish Rug {tutorial}

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First, thank you all so much for your comments yesterday.  I know I rambled a bit but it was so nice to read all your comments that shared in my own happiness... yet another reason that I love blogging!

So as promised, here's your reward for following along with my blabbing.

1 hand towel
1 pre-washed fat quarter for your focus fabric
2nd pre-washed fabric for your accent fabric {this could be a scrap}
coordinating thread
sewing machine
walking foot {I suppose you could make this without one but I highly recommend one!}

Please read through the instructions prior to starting!  I give you little tips throughout that are pretty helpful... :)

1. Grab an old hand towel.  Mine measured approx 14" x  24".

2.  After lots of washings your towel is probably a little wonky so lay it flat and square it up.  I squared mine up to approx 13" x 22".  If you want a smaller or larger dish rug  just make note of these measurements so you can cut your fabric to the same size.

3.  Pick out a few coordinating prints.  I despise pre-washing but it's important that these fabrics be pre-washed since they are going to be sewn to a well washed towel. 

4. Cut the small strip 3.5" x 13".  Cut the larger piece to measure 13" x 19.5" and then cut it in half width ways where you want to insert your small strip.

5.  With right sides together {RST} and using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew fabric A to fabric B.  Repeat and stitch fabric B to fabric C.  Press your seams open.  You now have your completed top!

6.  Take your top and pin it RST to the towel.  The towel may still be a little "wavy" so make sure you pin well.

7.  With a 1/2" seam allowance stitch around the perimeter.  Make sure to leave a 4" opening on one short side so you can turn your work right side out.

8.  Clip the corners to reduce bulk.  This will give your rug nice corners.

9.  Turn right side out and use your fingers to push the corners out.  Press well.  There will be a bit of the towel showing on the front and that's a good thing... you'll see!

10.  Quilt as desired.  {I did random straight lines}  Bury your beginning and ending back stitches in the towel edges showing on the front... see why that was a good thing now?

11.  After you are done quilting, make sure your opening is pressed and lines up with the other edges.  It's a little awkward pressing the towel so just fold it and press as best you can.  Top stitch 1/4" away from the edges of the dish rug.  Pay close attention to the opening and make sure you catch that edge so it is stitched shut.

Trim any stray threads, press again if needed and then go wash some dishes to put on your pretty new dish rug!

Please let me know if you have any questions...

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