Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Words {prototype}

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Do you ever have an idea that works out great in your head but not so much in real life?  I hope I'm not the only one!

So in the spirit of being real because I never want to give off the impression that every idea I have works out and everything I make turns out awesome like I imagined... meet my new lunch tote.

I've seen some similar totes with drawstrings built into them but I had some extra ideas as well to make it work for me. 

I've been taking this cute little thing to work with me everyday and I wanted something to carry it in along with a fork/spoon, a bottle of water, and the rest of my lunch.  I bought this lunch Crockpot at Target and I love it! 

It's not meant to cook raw food in but it does a wonderful job heating leftovers, soups, etc.  My favorite thing to take in it so far has been cooked brown rice, frozen broccoli and carrots, a little soy sauce, cashews and by lunch time I have "stir fry".

Anyways... my lunch bag turned out decent enough to take to work with me today but it's not what I was after design-wise.  So I'll regroup, get some different supplies and hopefully I will make the tote I've envisioned.  If it turns out better this next time then maybe my prototype will turn into a tutorial. :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival {fall 2012}

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I'm so excited that it's quilt festival time again!  Thanks to Amy for hosting this fun even again!
I had a really hard time choosing a quilt to share this time around.  I have two quilts that I recently finished and love but in the end I decided on my Giant Granny Panties {quilt}.

 For those who are new to my blog, I'm sure you are wondering about the name of this quilt.  I seem to have a knack for naming quilts so when the idea for making one granny square block into a giant one came along, the name just popped into my head.  Just like my Balls to the Wall quilt. 
I know. 

My inspiration for this quilt is this one that lives in our local courthouse on display.  When I saw it, it quickly reminded me that what was old is new again...

...all the way down to the block and even the rounded corners of the quilt.

photo credit here
This generation of quilters call it a granny square block.  Quilters before us called it an album block, chimney sweep block, or friendship block. 
This is one of my favorite things about quilting; history repeats itself in a good way.

My quilt measures approximately 64"x64".  The squares are big... 7" finished.  Those large squares gave me lots of room for quilting...

... and the quilting is what I'm the most proud of when I look at my finished quilt.  I quilted it on my home machine, my Juki. 
I've really grown as a quilter in the almost 5 years I've been quilting.  I've come a long way from a non-creative person who had never touched a sewing machine to making this quilt!  I'm living proof that anyone can quilt if they practice and have patience.

I took a risk with the binding but I really like the contrast and the striped appearance the plaid gives it.  We still talk about the binding choice in my home because of this story...

I backed it with a vintage sheet which is one of my favorite ways to back a quilt.

This new quilt is already well loved and enjoyed by everyone in our home including Gus a.k.a Quilt Dog.

If you would like to make your own Giant Granny Panties {quilt} you can find the links my quilt along here.  It's an easy and fun quilt to make.

Thanks for visiting today! Now I'm off to take a look at all the other beautiful quilts!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures : 64″ x 64"
Special techniques used : strip piecing
Quilted by : me {Jennifer Jenkinson}
Best Category : Favorite Home Machine Quilted Quilt, Favorite Throw Quilt

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Words {Steve names a quilt}

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Image credit

So I was in the study last night minding my own business when Steve walked in...

Steve:  What are you doing?

Me:  Just working on a new quilt design.

SteveCool.  You should name it "Death Star".

Me:  What??

Steve:  You know... from Star Wars.  The blocks kind of look like that.

Me:  Oh dear.

So before you start thinking I'm the only one with a quilt naming problem in our house, don't forget Steve. 

At least death has never been in the name of one of my quilts!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dizzy Diamonds {a pattern}

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This post has been a long time in the making!  It didn't take me that long to actually make the quilt but there's a lot that goes into writing an actual pattern.

Despite how this quilt looks, there are no templates or special rulers!  That's the number one question I am asked.  Nope... all you need are your basic quilting supplies!

There's a trick to the diamond construction and it's a pretty cool one which makes this quilt come together fast.

My quilt details... and I emphasize my because this is my quilt.

-  Mix of Cosmo Cricket's Circa 1934
-  some Pezzy prints
-  and a few Kona solids thrown in to give your eyes a place to rest.
-  It measures approximately 50" x 65"

The quilting... one of my favorite new ways to quilt.  The random spirals are what gave this quilt its name.

It's super dense quilting but I've washed the quilt twice now and it's just as soft as any of my other free motion quilted quilts.

The binding.  I've been hoarding this print for a long time.  I cut it on the bias using this tutorial {yes I have to refer back to my own tutorials!} and I really love it.

So like I said, this quilt is my quilt.  I took some of the things I love the most... numbers, letters, typewriters, a tape measure, and a fun and quirky block construction to reflect "me". 

Out of all the quilts I've made, I've never done that.  I'm normally all about the colors, prints, trends, etc.  So if you haven't done this you really should, it's a lot of fun to make a quilt that reflects your personality!

And I must mention that I had some wonderful pattern testers!  Their quilts are beautiful and their input was invaluable.  I appreciate their willingness to make this quilt and give good and honest feedback.  Thank you!!

You can find all the details, fabric requirements, and purchase the pattern here in my Craftsy shop.  It's an instant PDF download and this is a fat quarter friendly pattern as well.  I would rate this pattern as a good fit for a motivated beginner and beyond.   And like any of my projects you always have access to me to ask questions! 

I have also partnered with Sew Lux Fabric once again and they have put together two beautiful kits to make your own Dizzy Diamonds quilt.  I'll be making a second quilt in the Modern Prints very soon!

For a limited time the kits are on sale for $45.00...

This quilt was a lot of fun to design and really appreciate all the positive feedback and comments along the way as I worked to finish the quilt and the pattern.  Ya'll are the best!

Linking up for Fabric Tuesday

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Giant Granny Panties {quilt}

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This quilt was a lot of fun to make!  It came together quickly and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  This is a quilt you could easily make on a quiet weekend. 

It's funny... I posted a picture of the finished quilt on Instagram this weekend and someone commented that it looks like a giant granny square block.  Yep... hence the name.
It finishes at approximately 64" x 64" which is a big quilt for someone short like me.  Steve and I can easily share it and you can just imagine how those jokes go with a name like Giant Granny Panties... ;)

The squares are 7" finished which is one of the reasons it's so easy and fast to make.  The other reason is strip piecing which is a technique I use whenever I can.  It's also fun to quilt with those big squares!

But what I'm most proud of is the quilting.  

I've been quilting almost 5 years now and I'm self taught.  I was never even brave enough to touch a sewing machine until then.  I say all that to tell you that anyone can quilt!  It's just practice and patience.  And that's one of the biggest reasons I do quilt alongs; to help even the newest quilter make a quilt.

Granny's got back!  I backed my quilt with a vintage sheet.

I bound it with the infamous plaid binding...

If you quilted along with me I hope you had as much fun as I did!  If you didn't, I always leave my quilt alongs up on my blog so you can go back anytime and make one of my quilts.

Oh, and tomorrow is an exciting day around here!  My Dizzy Diamonds pattern will be available and Sew Lux Fabrics will be offering two kits, a modern fabric mix and a Christmas fabric mix, for this fat quarter friendly pattern.  Yay!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Giant Granny Panties on Display

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It's Friday and what better way to get ready for the weekend than by showing off your Giant Granny Panties {quilts}!

First up is Karen's quilt...  I love her colors and the fall tree is a nice touch in her photo.  I wish our leaves would start turning!

Next is Becky's quilt.  Once again, great color choices!  I love the circles too...

And lastly, here's a peak at my Giant Granny Panties {quilt} perfectly crinkly right out of the dryer. 

It's getting darker here earlier and earlier and I haven't been happy with my pictures.  This weekend is supposed to be great weather so hopefully I can talk Steve into going somewhere to take some quilt pictures.  That's his favorite thing to do.

As more people finish, I'll features a few more quilts each Friday so keep them coming!

If you are looking for the rest of the quilt along here are the week by week instructions:

It's never too late to join!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Something new...

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Thank you, thank you for all your thoughtful responses on yesterday's post!  I got great feedback and I feel like I have some creative direction again.  I also don't feel pigeonholed into one thing; like making quilts. 

Now, my blog will always have a quilting focus but I'm finding that there is a lot of creative satisfaction in completing some small and useful projects like my Idea Pouch.  So why not make some clothes too??

I've never really done much sewing when it comes to clothes.  Pajama pants and sundresses are about the extent of my "expertise".  But then I came across some really cute knits on sale at Joann's for $3 per yard.  That's a tough deal to pass up!

At first I thought I would just make pajama pants but I like this print too much to only wear around the house.  So it's destined to become one of the 6 designs the pattern offers.  I'm pretty excited about it and I figure that if it doesn't work out then I'm not out too much money either.

Have ya'll sewn clothes in the past?  I'm pretty comfortable sewing with knits but are there any other tips you have for me??

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Words {thinking}

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You know it's an interesting day when "how to quit blogging" is in your Google search box.  And not for the reasons you might think either because no, I'm not quitting my blog!  And who actually Googles that? 

Me. ;)

What I was wanting to read were anecdotes of burnout, the consideration of quitting, and the turn back to blogging like one once loved to do.

I found lots of those stories.  I also found a lot of "goodbye" posts as well.  The funny thing was looking at those goodbyes and then seeing new blog posts showing up again after 6 months or so. 

Have I contemplated quitting?  Sure.  I think that a lot of bloggers, if they were honest with themselves, would own up to those thoughts as well.  But as soon as I start writing that post in my head, the 6 month-later-I-missed-you-so-much-post is written even faster.  So instead of wasting my time with that I figured I could be more productive looking at what is driving these recent thoughts...

1.  I'm-not-good-enough syndrome.  I could be wrong but I think that most bloggers feel this way from time to time.  I sure do.  Sometimes it's tough reading polished blogs with amazing pictures and projects.  It makes me wonder where they get all their time and then I'm left feeling less than great.

2.  Time.  As I mentioned above, I simply do not have the time in my days to accomplish a quilt a week... unless I want to stay up super late.  Now I love doing that sometimes because I'm a night owl but it also tends to hurt Steve's feelings if he goes to bed by himself too often.  So there's that priority... I'm a wife first. 

And then there's Chaney.  As she is branching out and sewing more and more.  I may have plans to work on one thing in my studio only to be derailed by her or her best friend and her who want to make other things... like American Girl doll clothes which involves tiny seams and me not even being able to swear because there are eight year old ears right there with me.

3.  Pressure.  I put a ton of pressure on myself to be perfect.  Perfectionism sucks, BTW.  It's not a personality trait you ever want to aspire to.  But sometimes the pressure builds up and leaves me paralyzed... something to the effect of "if I can't do it perfectly then I can't do it at all". 

4.  Identity.  I'm a quilter.  That's my automatic answer when someone asks me about my hobbies.  But sometimes small projects appeal to me... sometimes large projects are great... and sometimes just writing is the perfect activity for me; like my Wednesday Words posts.

5.  Transparency.  I have always said that my desire here is to be real.  That's not always easy in the online community but also in real life.  But I don't have regrets here either.  However, where is that line between being transparent and over-sharing?  That's a tough one.

So given those 5 points, what do ya'll think?  I value my friends and readers opinions greatly. 

What do you like about the blog?  What do you not care so much for?

What do you want to see more of?  I.E. tutorials... my quilting process... finished quilts... smaller projects... writing about our craft... fabric talk/industry talk, etc.  Your input could even be making suggestions for the layout of my blog!

What do you want to see less of?  And please don't be mean.  I sincerely value your opinions and honest is fine but mean is never alright. ;)

You may even have something that bugs you about the blogging world in general and I would love to hear those things as well.  But again, there's no need to be mean while claiming "honesty".

I'm hoping that having some feedback will give me a fresh perspective and even take some of the pressure off of me if it turns out that something I stress about isn't all that important to a reader.  I realize that I'm opening myself up here but I truly believe that new ideas will always spark creativity. 

I'm not going anywhere though... this post is just an attempt to have a conversation and freshen things up a bit.  Thanks so much for your feedback!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Idea Pouch & Pattern Review

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I've been a long time fan of Michelle Patterns.  I learned how to sew bags from her patterns and tutorials.  Her patterns are always well written and clear so when I decided it was time for a new iPad case I instantly fell in love with her Idea Pouch design.

There's room for my iPad, two Moleskine journals and a larger journal as well. 

There are pen and pencils pockets too.  I left the stitching for a few of the pen pockets out in favor of a larger slot for my iPhone and/or ear buds.

I love the detail of the pleated pocket!

And the interoffice closure is so unique and fun.  Two vintage buttons and some ribbon and it is a very secure case.

I've been saving the last of my washi fabrics for a fun project... and one that I would get to keep and enjoy and I'm so glad that I did!  

This was a fast and fun project.  The directions and tips were excellent as usual.  The double topstitching and the pleated pouch really make this case high quality.  And unlike some other patterns in my past {not Michelle's}, I finished this pouch knowing that I would be making more of them.  Which is a good thing because Steve is already wanting one.  And FYI, Steve has the keyboard attachment for his iPad and it fits in this case along with everything else just fine...

And the best part, I got stopped in Starbucks this morning and was asked if I got this case from Anthropologie {huge compliment to Michelle and her design!}.  That was pretty awesome by itself and then I got to tell them that I made it. :)  Made my day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Breaking in...

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... my Giant Granny Panties {quilt}.  Here it is in the wash.  I got a good giggle out of posting on Instagram that I was washing my granny panties.

Little did I know that I would be getting some really good use out of my new quilt right away.  I've had some random mystery fever for two weeks now.  Other than the fever, fatigue, and aching I've had no other symptoms.  Weird.

By Thursday of that first week I was tired of walking around with a fever so I went to the doctor.  Gus and I spent Friday and most of the weekend on the couch. 

I re-read one of my favorite books...

And another... {yes those are Chaney's tiny toes}

...and another one. 

Why am I reading a lot of old classics?  Other than the fact that I love them, Chaney's reading level has really taken off and the books she's been bringing home aren't really cutting it anymore.  So we've been in search of age appropriate books on her level.  I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird when I was about her age but after re-reading and really thinking about it from her perspective, I think that one needs to be shelved a few more years.  She is a pretty sensitive kid and even though that book is narrated by a character her age I think the content might be a bit too much for her. 

The other reason I've been reading books... real books... is because I don't think kids in general are seeing enough people reading around them.  Sure, we are reading on Kindles, iPads, etc but it may not look like that to them.  Just as easy as I could be reading on my iPad I could also be playing around on Instagram and I think she knows that.  So more real books for me!  Plus I love the way they smell and feel in my hands.  Yep, I know I'm weird...

*off my soapbox* ;)

By that Sunday night I was so bored that I started fabric shopping browsing from the couch.  But other than that, there was no fabric, sewing or anything interesting going on other than the vintage sheet scrap pack that showed up courtesy of Amanda that totally made my day!

I'm feeling a little better today and I'm working on taking pictures of a few quilts.  This Friday I'll be doing a Giant Granny Panties {quilt} feature.  You don't have to be finished but I'd love to see your fabric, progress and of course finished tops & quilts.  You can either add your pictures to our Flickr group or like some of you have, email me your pictures or blog links.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

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