Tuesday, September 01, 2015

a pincushion party!

The kind folks at Connecting Threads and I decided that it would be fun to celebrate the release of my good neighbors fabric with a pincushion party! I've asked a bunch of my friends to participate and several of them said yes! So, every day during the month of September there will be a new pincushion to ooooh and ahhhh over. I think that it's going to be a lot of fun! As you know, I do love a good pincushion!
Today I'm excited to kick off the party! I couldn't make just one...no...that wouldn't do! I made two. And I bet there will be more before the month is through! (Ok, I'll stop. I sound like Dr. Seuss! Haha!) The first pincushion I made is a tiny kaleidoscope block. It was inspired by this quilt in progress, and it features one of my favorite fabrics in the whole line. I can't get enough of those polka dots! (They make good binding, too!) I hand quilted around the triangle shapes and I added a button because my center point was far from perfect. It looks better with the button than without, so it all works out in the end! Hurray!
Just this morning I sewed up another deluxe pincushion! (You can see my first one here.) This adorable pattern is in the book Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples. I'm pretty smitten with this version as well! It was fun to pick and choose 9 fabrics for the center and I love how the linen lets the bright colors shine! It's so happy!

I get a lot of questions about filling and construction when it comes to pincushions, so I thought I would share a few tips. First off, I almost always quilt my pin cushion top onto a scrap of batting. It's a nice way to add some dimension and depth to the patchwork. It uses up some of the batting scraps that seem to multiply overnight, too! I like to interface the backing fabric with Pellon SF 101. It's a woven interfacing that isn't crispy at all and it adds just the right amount of stability to the fabric, and it prevents the need for a liner of any sort. I like to fill my smaller pincushions-like the kaleidoscope one shown above-with crushed walnut shells, which are sold as lizard litter at larger pet stores. If the pincushion is larger-like the deluxe pincushion-I usually use polyester fiberfill. I have a 9 patch pincushion tutorial here that illustrates the steps visually, if you care to check that out. I hope that answers any pincushion constructions questions you may have!

Here is the entire schedule....I hope you enjoy the party!

Date
Blogger Name
Blog URL
9/1/2015
Amanda Jean
9/2/2015
Anna
9/3/2015
Mary
9/4/2015
Svetlana
9/5/2015
Debbie
9/6/2015
Holly
9/7/2015
Carla
9/8/2015
Faith
9/9/2015
Vanessa
9/10/2015
Anna
9/11/2015
Krista
9/12/2015
Erin
9/13/2015
Lee
9/14/2015
Alex
9/15/2015
Cheryl
9/16/2015
Penny
9/17/2015
Amy
9/18/2015
Debbie
9/19/2015
Anne
9/20/2015
Melissa Corry
9/21/2015
Amber
9/22/2015
Nettie
9/23/2015
Adrianne
9/24/2015
Cindy
9/25/2015
Amy
9/26/2015
Chase
9/27/2015
Rene
9/28/2015
Erin
9/29/2015
Nicole
9/30/2015
Teri

Monday, August 31, 2015

it's a big, BIG day

Well, today is a big day in my household on two counts. It's the first day of school. My oldest started high school (!!!) today. I can't even begin to tell you how funny that makes me feel inside. At this point it's pretty much "hold on for the ride!" Sigh. I may have shed a few tears....
The other big news today is the release of my new fabric line! Yep, that's right. Good Neighbors is now for sale exclusively at Connecting Threads! (You can buy it by the yard or in bundles/pre-cuts.) This has been in the works since May of 2014 and I am so excited that release day is finally here! I can sincerely say, I can not wait to see what you make!
Thank you ALL so much for your excitement and your kind comments about good neighbors so far. I never dreamed I would ever see my name on a selvage, but I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to try my hand at fabric design. I appreciate your support more than I can say. xoxo

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 28, 2015

in the middle quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This quilt, called "In the Middle", has been completed since late last year, but I only recently received it back home. I've been anxious to share it....I really like this one!
The pieces were cut out using a Tri-Recs ruler, which is NOT a 60 degree ruler, but it has a similar visual effect. It's nice to actually USE those tools that you pick up on a random shopping trip. (What a novel idea, huh?) I originally cut out the background from various white triangles, but somewhere in the process I switched to gray instead. I like it sooo much better with a gray background--it's much less harsh this way.
For the back, I used some of the trimmings from the front to piece the half-rectangle strip. I have a bunch more scraps from this project that will make a cute pillow top some day. I love, love, love this backing!
I quilted it with a small loop-de-loop all over pattern. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the quilting when I saw it again. (Silly, but true!) I used my favorite gray thread (Auriful 2600) to quilt it, which blends well with all of the colors AND the light gray background. I love that!
There are so many fun prints in this quilt...it's a good stash buster...which means it's also a great scrap generator. Hurray for scraps! :) I finished it off with a solid medium gray binding.
The quilt measures 60" x 84". If you are interested, the pattern can be found in the Fall 2015 issue of Easy Quilts by Fons and Porter. They have a digital copy of the magazine as well.

One more finish....this was the last week of summer vacation for us and it's always sad to see summer come to a close....but it has been a good one!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! And thanks for sticking with me through the summer. It's been good to have the accountability! Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2015

hexi pin cushion

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
It's been a few weeks since I made a pin cushion, right? (Just two, I guess! Ha!) I needed a finish for today and the hexi block I made last April was just sitting around, waiting to it to become a finished object. So, last night while my husband and I were watching a movie, I hand stitched the block onto the gray background. I wasn't completely sold on the gray right away, but after I quilted it up, it looked so much better. I guess it just needed the texture.
I had picked out this backing for the pin cushion a few months ago. I love it so! It's sugary sweet, but a nice compliment to the front.
I love little projects like this because you can quilt the daylights out of them, but it doesn't take forever to finish it! And, as an added bonus, it uses up scrap batting.
This is my batting pile after I had paired it down a few weeks ago. I still could make 1000+ pin cushions! Or more! Ha! At least it's tidy for the time being....
It's hard to tell the scale of it, but it measures about 6" x 6.375". I do love a large pin cushion!
It looks like my pin cushion bowl is lacking orange! And no red polka dots, either. I'd better fix that....and quick! :)
 
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

scraps in progress

I've been very careful to refrain from starting any new quilts in the past few weeks. It feels good to be disciplined and (mostly) focused. However, I have found a loop hole. If you set out to piece a scrappy back, technically you don't need to add it to the work in progress list, but you can still start a new project! (Are you laughing with me yet?)
Today I'm working on busting through some solid warm scraps. I usually work in cool colors (I have made a pillow, a few quilts using cool solid scraps) so working in the warm color range is a nice change of pace.
The blocks are built in the same manner as a scrap vortex quilt.  I really enjoy the process of improv scrap quilting!
It takes awhile to make the blocks, but I love that it uses scraps of all sizes and it produces a fabulously scrappy look.
I posted this picture on Instagram a few weeks ago and looking back at it today scares me a little bit. Hahaha! This is the main reason I'm piecing scrappy backs. As you can see, the scrap situation is almost out of control over here....I'm desperate to make some headway! I do love a two sided quilt, so it all works out in the end. :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

two-color zip pouches

My niece Mariah turned 12 last week, so I whipped up a little zip pouch for her. She likes cats and orange--I am the one who likes polka dots and aqua--but I think they all work great together! I love making zipper pouches for gifts because they are fast, easy, fun, and practical, too. They only require a few fabrics, and even the pickiest person can use a zip pouch for something!
For the lining, I used this fun(ky) vintage looking cat print. It's quirky and it makes me smile!
I prefer to make zipper tabs for my pouches because I seem to get much tidier results, plus it's another chance to sneak one more fabric into the mix. I had so much fun making this pouch and I am pretty sure that she liked it, too. Win/win!
My 12-year-old son saw me sewing the pouch above and he requested one for a Lego mosaic kit he made, so he and I sat down and chose the fabrics together. His go-to color scheme is blue and green, so that narrows things down fairly quickly. I love how these fabrics work together!
He didn't have his zip pouch in hand for very long at all before it was in use. I can't tell you how much I love the fact that my kids love (and even request) that I make things for them. It's pretty sweet!
I asked my 14 year old if he wanted a zip pouch, to which he replied "wouldn't say no!", so he got one in his signature colors of orange and gray. It's fun to have things color coded for each member of the family.
While I was at it, I made a third one as a gift for my sister. I still want to make a few more for me and my daughter, but I stopped at 3 for the day. Things snowball way too quickly!
I love the contrasting linings and the polka dot tabs! I always try to keep the linings light in color so things inside are easier to see/find.
For each one of these, I used a bit of selvage for a label. Yay!
All three of these are made with my soon-to-be-released fabric line, good neighbors. (I think it's just over three weeks until release date! I can't wait!) These were actually made from the strike-offs of the fabric I got earlier this year.
The pattern for the zip pouch is included in the collaborative book Gifty 2015, which is published by Connecting Threads. The pattern is also available for an individual download here, if you care to make some of your own.
 
It is completely possible that this blog post took me longer to write than the pouches took to sew! And that's no joke! :)
 
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 14, 2015

baby row by row quilt--finished

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

A few weeks ago I stated that I would love to get down to 20 WIPs by the end of the summer. Well, that may seem unlikely, but any finish (without a subsequent start) is a step in the right direction!
This week I took some time to baste and straight line quilt this baby quilt. It's an alternate project in my craftsy class....I thought it would be nice to have a baby sized option in addition to the bed size quilt offered in the class.
I love that it shows a completely different color option than the first quilt (right). I never tire seeing how different colors change the look of a pattern! In fact, I have plans to make yet another row quilt (in the larger size) made with all Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I just need to find the right background fabric....and the time. Ha! (It's no wonder I have so many WIPs, right?)
I chose straight line quilting to finish it off and that decision always wages war with my perfectionist side. Whenever I am in the middle of straight line quilting, I wonder why I thought it was a good idea. My lines are rarely straight and it's not a very forgiving technique at all. I chose to do a little vertical stitching (in the zipper row), because I knew that if I continued with the horizontal stitching in that row, I would have all kinds of distortion. The bit of vertical stitching was definitely the right choice! I used Auriful 2600 (the perfect gray) thread for quilting, which works well with the white background and the bold solids.
For the backing, I used (rather than hoarded) this fabulous old Denyse Schmidt dot print. (It's from JoAnn's, copyright 2011.) I think it's one of my all time fabrics ever! I'm kind of smitten by those flying geese, too. They aren't my favorite to make, but they sure are pretty! I used an Art Gallery solid teal fabric for the binding. I thought it would be a pain to stitch (since the weave of the fabric is more dense than most quilting cottons) but it was actually quite pleasant. I love hand stitching a binding!
The quilt measures 36" x 48". I love how it turned out!
Also, I'm really, really loving my new found photography spots at a nearby park. When I was taking these photographs yesterday morning I had a few people ask "do you make those?", which I thought was kind of funny. I even had a guy ask "do you sell those?" No one called them quilts, but then again, no one called them blankets, either. So that's a win!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday. I really mean it! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Summer is speeding by (only 19 more days until school starts, not that anyone in this house would be counting!) and we are trying to soak up as much of it as we can. At the same time, I'm trying to get something accomplished. It's a tricky balance, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that, (hahaha!) but it's true. Here's a little bit of what I've been working on....
 sewing together 1178 squares....
basting my row by row baby quilt (pattern here)....
making some decent progress on my "dot your i's" quilt....
(this is my favorite at the moment....I wish I could sit and hand stitch all day long.)
some (mostly) straight line quilting....
and discovering some new trails near our house. I found some great new spots for taking quilt photos, too, which was a great surprise....now I just need to finish something! :)

I'd love to hear what you are working on this week, if you'd care to share!

Friday, August 07, 2015

the carry-all pin cushion

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

You all know how much I love a good pin cushion...well...this one knocks all other pin cushions out of the park! The pattern is in Anna's lovely new book Handmade Style and it's called the Carry-All Pin Cushion. I had so much fun making it!
I pieced the top panel from scraps (of course!), and then quilted it with simple straight lines. I chose to keep the rest of the fabrics pretty low-key, because I wanted the patchwork to be the focal point. Each of the patchwork squares were cut at 1 1/2", so they finish at about 1". I LOVE tiny patchwork, even if it is putzy! Plus, I emptied out another scrap bag from the old craft room. Bonus!
There are pockets on each side of the pin cushion...the pleated pockets are such a great detail and I love the little "smile" end pockets, as I call them...so happy!
There are slide pockets on the other side to hold a seam gauge and a marking pen. SO handy, since it seems like half the time I'm sewing I'm searching for my tools!
The filling is a combination of wool and bamboo batting scraps that I ripped apart and used as stuffing. They worked well together and as you can see, I love a well stuffed pin cushion! I think it's important! :)
I made this for a pin cushion swap that I joined on Instagram, but I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to give it up. I guess we will see!

Do you have a finish to share today? I hope so! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

kaleidoscope quilt in progress

After working on a few projects that weren't coming together nearly easily enough, (don't you hate it when that happens?) I switched gears and pulled out my blocks from my Sew Sisters quilting bee.
I would love to think that I will make a couple blocks a week so that this quilt will eventually get finished...but I know better than to expect that. Ha! I've also been thinking that this would make a GORGEOUS king size quilt, but that might be more than a little crazy/ridiculous/insane! That also fuels my fire to want to do it!
Today, I made a new "block" using some scraps of my good neighbors fabrics! (Good neighbors is scheduled to release early September and will be available exclusively at Connecting Threads. I can't wait!)
I may be weird, but I kind of like ripping off the papers from the back. I'm saving up/looking forward to working on these the next time I'm riding in the car. :)
I'm delighted at how they look together! This is going to be one special quilt...no matter what size I end up making it. Hurray for happy quilts!

The templates for the blocks are available here and here if you care to make some kaleidoscope blocks of your own. Also, I have a blog post about saving fabric while paper piecing here, if you care to read it.

Happy Tuesday!