Friday, December 30, 2011

A Super Christmas

So right before Christmas, whilst I was sewing away on Christmas projects, my machine broke. Of course I panicked, so my husband fed me my own words. Over the summer when his bicycle ended up in the shop for the second time, I convinced him to buy a back up bike. He basically used the same reasoning I used to convince him to make the investment in another bike to buy another sewing machine.

I went into the machine shop expecting to buy a machine in a similar class as what I have but they don't make my machine anymore. And...they were having a great sale on the upgrade aka "dream machine." Not only was it on sale, but the table was free! I couldn't pass it up. The machine is amazing! It has a thread cutter, a second motor to wind bobbins without having to unthread your machine, a knee presser foot lift, an attached walking foot an alphabet (upper and lowercase letters), a huge arm space...I could go on and on. I think I am going to actually ENJOY quilting on this machine. It has been rather cumbersome on my smaller machine but with all the space and the table, it's going to be great!!!

To top it all off, I was nerdily telling my mom how I was going to use my Christmas money to buy a cordless iron and she told me she got a free iron with her vacuum a few years back that she'd give me to try. Turns out, it has a cordless option!! AHHHHH! A free cordless iron for me! A Merry Christmas indeed.

As far as progress on projects goes, I am zipping along on my Seuss quilt and now it's Bee time! I got my fabric for my international Bee and I am hosting my local Bee this month. I got all of my fabric cut and sorted today, and even made my test block. Tomorrow I will make my international Bee block and get that in the mail next week. Certainly feeling good about my progress and super energized about future projects.

Looking forward to even more quilting in the new year. Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Finished Quilt

I finished my Charmed Prints Quilt this weekend. It turned out splendidly! I am so glad I went with the gingham and I love the framing of these charms. They really stand out nicely.

I pieced the back just a little bit. I love how the red binding looks on both the blue and yellow gingham.

Here is a close up of the quilting. I did some dense straight line quilting on the borders, in the middle and around some of the feature blocks.

This look shows how nicely the flange binding turned out. Definitely glad I used the solid mustard. And I also really love the red gingham binding.

Glad to have this done in time for the drawing. I'm linking up with the Charmed Prints QAL.
Gen X Quilters

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WIP, on my own

Whilst Lee is taking a well deserved blogging break, I'm following suit with my other bloggy friends and still doing a WIP Wednesday.

And I've been working on lots!!

I have four starry blocks done for my Seuss Quilt. This project is on hold for a bit.

Here is a sneak peak at my almost-finished Charmed Prints QAL quilt. Love, love, love it! The flange binding is super cool although I wish I could sew straighter sometimes. You can see where I stitched it down in a few places. This pic also gives you a feel for how I quilted this, dense straight lines which I think nicely complements the stripey nature of gingham. It will be done by Tuesday so it will be eligible for prizes, yay!

I've also started working on these sweats for Christmas presents from the "Sewing for Boys" book. They are WAY larger than the size they say they are for. These are a 2/3 but they will fit my size 4 toddler. Even though you don't need to with jersey, I am going to put hems on too. Overall sewing with knit fabric was good. I used a zig zag stitch and a ballpoint needle like you should, definitely helped!

Also, the holiday baking is in full swing. My version of Praline Strips, I add melted chocolate to the pecan-caramel-graham cracker goodness.

And this is a family recipe for Crunch and Munch.

Tomorrow I am making dough for Friday's bake-a-thon. Maybe I'll get to some bars too, but have lots of dough making. Hopefully my timer will go off tonight so I remember to take the butter out of the fridge. Ha!

Ta-ta for now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL Quilt Top

My Charmed Prints quilt top is done! I am loving how it looks, from the front. The back is super hairy from that crappy JoAnn's linen. Never again. (I already ordered and received some Kaufman Essex Linen, yep Cyber Monday sucked me in!)

Next up is to work on what I want to do for the back, I am still considering using the small green flowers print I originally selected. I am not feeling up for a pieced back at the moment. But who knows what tomorrow may hold.

Looking forward to basting and adding flange binding. It's really going to look great.

Now back to my Starry Seuss Quilt.

I'm linking up with the QAL.

Gen X Quilters

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I've been a cutting fool!

Chipping away at my projects this week.

I finalized my plans for a Starry Seuss quilt and cut just about all of the fabric. I ran out of background fabric so I have about 26 more 4 1/2" squares left. That's completely minor in comparison to the 388 other squares I cut this weekend!!

Then to top it off I cut 112 charm squares last night from my Spoonflower fabric for the swap. Phew! I think I hear my rotary cutter screaming for a break.

I got one row done of my quilt top for the Charmed QAL. I had to add some borders on my feature blocks to get them to 5" which stalled my progress a bit. I'm planning to do some straight line quilting on the sashing which should sorta hide the borders. Not worried at all.

I finished knitting my Christmas sock for the baby, I just need to sew in the ends and then make some icord for the hanging loop. Should be done in time for St Nick's.

I've made no progress on my Thomas quilt or my Dead Simple Quilt. On hold for now.

Also, I joined a bee and ordered more fabric on Cyber Monday. I just couldn't resist sales or free shipping.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Charmed WIP

Yep, Wednesday, my ol' buddy.

I actually got a lot done this week. This is my 3rd post of the week and I am going to post once more.

Piecing right along here on my Charmed Prints QAL. I already have this week's four feature blocks done.

Not too difficult, although I made a few mistakes sewing. Naturally, right? I'm still a beginner so I'm not gonna beat myself up over it. I noticed that the pinwheel blocks aren't quite 5" so I measured my others, yeah not quite all 5". What's up with that? My seam allowances look ok. Again, not worried, I figure if it's a little wonky at the end, so be it.

I made a trip to the fabric store to select border fabric, flange binding and binding fabric. I am going to use the tan gingham for borders and the tiny red gingham for the regular binding. Now that I know what flange binding is (it's really cute) I can't decide. Should I use the solid mustard or more gingham in yellow? I'd love your opinion!

I also started my star Dr Seuss quilt. I am testing out things and I already don't like the red dot star. I don't like how the white dots make the star points fade into the background fabric. Why go through all the trouble of making star points (not to mention wonky ones) and then not see your points? It's also taking me a while to get used to this method, it's the Stargazing block from the Modern Blocks book, so my points aren't quite aligned with the center piece. I will definitely remake this star with solid red for the points.

Isn't the little blue star cute? It's only about 3" big. The third star isn't done yet, it's going to be the Cat in the Hat and blue star points. I was planning on making the entire quilt in this 12 1/2" block (three stars each block), but now that I examined my fabric, I might make some larger stars too. Fussy cutting some of the centers won't do this really cute fabric justice. Does anyone have a good sawtooth star pattern they like? Or do you have a good reference for star blocks?

Thanks for your input! Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 21, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL

Well, it's off and running. I haven't selected all of my fabrics yet, but I'm not worried about winging it. For once! I really just need to select borders, binding and flange binding, which I think will be easier once the top is together anyway.

As usual, I had to make things harder on myself. My first block is this star with red gingham. Only thing is, this gingham is really sear-sucker, so it has some stretch to it. EEK! As you can see this star is a little wonky. I think it will be fine once I sew it to the borders.

Here is my second star, much easier with regular woven fabric. Phew.

Again, I used a little of that sear-sucker for this Greek-cross. It didn't turn our quite as wonky.

Lastly, this cross uses regular woven fabrics.

I love how they all look together too. Overall I am really happy with how the gingham looks.

On the other hand, I am regretting choosing that linen. It looks great but it's fraying A TON! Not good, not good at all. I thought since it was $10 a yard, which is a little pricey for JoAnns, it would be good quality. Not sure if it's just the nature of linen or if I really should have ordered some Essex Linen online. Any opinions out there?

I am linking up with the QAL.
Gen X Quilters

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Saturday Night

And I've had a full day of quilt work.

The guild had sew-day today and I was able to cut Peacock Lane into 160 tumblers, whew! Here are a couple of ones that I fussy-cut. That quilt is on hold for the time being. I did enjoy the Go Cutter, maybe I'll ask for the Baby Go for Christmas. We shall see.

I also had time tonight to work on the layout of my I-Spy charms which arrived on Thursday. The fabrics with the blue post-it's will be feature blocks. Of course it's all subject to change.

Here are the other fabrics I'm using:

I'm planning to use the gingham for the feature blocks. I will use the natural linen (on the bottom of the stack) for the sashing and other background fabric. The natural fabric with little green flowers could potentially be my backing fabric, not sure yet. I think I'll need a trip to the fabric store for borders and binding though. I'd like to get some colored linen. Hopefully I can get some blocks done for my Wednesday WIP post.

Also this week I had time to finish my tree pants. Just in time for the tree which will be going up on Friday. Now to finish knitting that St. Nick's sock for the baby...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP sorta

Hi There!

So it's been a weird week, I feel like I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked. In my defense, I did hours of yard work this weekend and I am waiting for fabric.

I had a great time with WIP last week. It was fun seeing all 145 entries, although I only commented on 50 myself.

I worked a bit on my Tree Pants, I still have 2 more corners to go. It was quite challenging to hand bind the circle cut-out for the trunk. In retrospect a square cut out would have been way easier.

As I mentioned, I am waiting for my I-Spy Japanese Fabric to come in from our swap. I almost tackle my postman every day! Then I shall get started on that QAL. Of course that requires a trip to the fabric shop for coordinating prints and some border/backing fabric. Bummer. Just kidding. I think I am going to use some linen, but not sure what the shop will have.

In the mean time...I am going to start cutting up this fabulous Peacock Lane fabric into tumblers. I borrowed a Go Cutter from a guild buddy to try it out. Super excited to make a tumbler quilt, a la Red Pepper Quilts style. Have I mentioned how much I love EVERY quilt she makes? I might even try to bind it in a stripe pattern like she does.

Another interesting thing happened this week. I read a blog post in which the author asked if anyone else was using Echo yet and I about stroked out! I had no idea it was available yet. Then I went searching and found it SOLD OUT at several shops. EEK! Next, I found it at Pink Chalk Fabrics, so I added the half yard bundle to my cart, went to check my stash to decide if I wanted half yards or fat quarters, came back and went to "check-out" and it was SOLD OUT! Yep, in the 10 minutes I dawdled with my decision, it was gone. I ended up buying all but one print at the Fat Quarter shop (in half yards) and bought the last print on Etsy. It happily arrived today and I have to say it's even more beautiful in person. I absolutely love it. Can't wait to cut into it.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Tree Pants

Hello there!

Wednesday's have become my perpetual due date lately. It really motivates me to make progress on my projects so I have something new to share with WIP at Freshly Pieced.

I teased you last week with my tree pants star. Well they are still a WIP but I made great strides. All I have left is to hand bind, super exciting! I love how these turned out and I feel so much more ahead of the game for the holidays.

A few words about these tree pants. As you can see, I made things a bit harder on myself by making each star with a different fabric (I used "Ready, Set, Snow"). It took a lot of thinking when it came to cutting and then piecing. The directions had cutting instructions for one fabric for the stars and then pieced it in rows for the little stars. I had to lay everything out in order to get it just right. I am very pleased with how I placed the stars. For the backing, I used the squares fabric that is in my center star.

I quilted it with a few straight lines in both directions and... a first for me! I whipped out my free motion foot and outlined the stars for additional quilting. I must admit it was HARD. Good ol' me, I chose to trace something first instead of just randomly wandering around. I think it will be MUCH easier to stipple than to trace. It's amazing just how much the foot moves when you drop the feed dogs! I totally got cramps in my hands and my shoulders hurt, not to mention I had to move super slow. I'm so glad I went for it though: firstly because with white thread on white fabric you can't see my mistakes real well and secondly because it's going to be on the floor so you again, won't notice my mistakes. I think I'm ready to do some meandering lines on my Thomas quilt, which is still ready for quilting.

With the scraps I am planning to make a matching table runner using a star pattern from "Modern Blocks." However, I am doing the Charmed Prints QAL, so that will come first.

As I anxiously await charms from the Japanese Fabric I-Spy Swap I participated in, I joined another I-Spy Swap with Spoonflower fabric. I have always wanted an excuse to order from Spoonflower, but with $16 a yard prices, I've been putting it off. I chose these two fabrics. My toddler will love these guitars and I just couldn't resist picking Lee's boots fabric.

Well, that's it for now, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. Wish me luck at winning her contest for fat quarters of Echo by Lotta Jansdotter. I have been oogling it since I first saw it months ago!!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival

I've decided to enter the Bloggers Quilt Festival with my Summer Sampler.

First of all, I absolutely love how this quilt turned out. I love the colors, the fabrics, all the different blocks, the binding and the pieced back.

But the main reason I chose this quilt is because it was my first quilt using bold colors outside of my comfort level. I believe it represents what modern quilting is all about. Bright colors, solid and print fabrics, yet with traditional quilting roots.

I also chose this quilt because I learned so much. I learned how to paper piece and I learned a couple of different HST techniques. I learned about balance by thoughtfully choosing prints and solids. Most importantly, I learned that there is this awesome world of online blogging friends to be had out there! I learned so much from them and gained so much inspiration. Certainly a valuable experience for me as a relatively new quilter.

WIP Wednesdays

I actually started a new project this week. Ironically, it's the Christmas Tree Pants from the Sew Mama Sew "No Excuses" Holiday Sew Along that ended on Monday. HA! But it will still be done before Christmas so I guess that's all that matters.

Here is one of the 7 large stars with a sneak peak of the other fabric I've chosen. It's from the "Ready, Set, Snow" Moda collection. I'm also using the polka dots. I loooove the fabric and I have plenty left over so I'm going to make a table runner or placemats or something! It's super cute.

I've also made great progress on the Thomas quilt, it's basted and ready for quilting, yay!

I joined my first swap last week too, very exciting. I am doing the I-Spy Japanese Fabrics Swap over at Gen X Quilters. You may have noticed that I'm also going to do the corresponding QAL. Very excited for that as well.

I have made no progress on my Dead Simple quilt, oh well. I guess I am losing some of my uptightness by having three quilts to work on at once. Very unusual for me, but I think it's going to be the norm for a while.

Still on tap:
BOM October block
Dr Seuss quilt
Tumbler quilt
Guild challenge quilt
Bee quilt

Here's the link-up! Gotta check out what others are doing.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP, stash

Yep, as a relatively new sewer, my stash is still a work-in-progress. And my stash has gotten some really good work done, this week!

A local fabric store is sadly, going out of business, so I took the opportunity to buy a bunch of fat quarters to add to my stash.

A pink/green/brown quilt is definitely in my future. I love this color palate.

Possibly a "shades of gray" quilt is in my future too. I will try really hard not to include red as my accent color. I love red, but I need to be bold and pick something different.

Argh, matey, I found me some pirate fabric. This will make a great baby boy quilt.

Isn't this animal print great? What interesting colors. I have no idea what to make with it yet. Maybe a bag.

Some fun kid prints and random prints that I couldn't resist.

So what have I really done? I've pieced most of my Thomas quilt and got one more row of my Dead Simple Quilt done.

Up Next:
Tree Pants QAL (Although, I doubt I'll finish in time for any prizes)
Dr Seuss quilt
BOM October block

I'm linking up with Lee.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced