Friday, January 20, 2017

courtyard-a completed quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I'm calling this the courtyard quilt. It's just a slab of fabric scraps (all solids!) surrounded by Essex linen in flax. I love the simplicity and I think I actually prefer the scraps floating on a solid background rather than an entire quilt made from scraps. The negative space highlights the patchwork quite nicely. It was pieced very much like my scrap vortex quilts. (Those tutorials can be found here, if you scroll to the bottom of the page.)
On quilts like this I enjoy mixing up the quilting. For the patchwork, I quilted it with straight lines 1/2" apart. The background is quilted with a loopy swirl. Both types of quilting were done on my domestic machines. The free motion quilting was done on my Juki and the straight line quilting was done on my Janome. I used Auriful thread in the color 2600.
For the back, I used this cute firefly print by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller from her Wee Wander line. I love this print so much! The binding fabric is a Denyse Schmidt plaid (from JoAnn's, several years ago). I love that it's printed on the bias...such visual appeal without having to make bias binding. The colors and design are the perfect finish for this quilt. All of this fabric came from the stash or the scrap bins. That's extremely satisfying!
 The quilt measures about 48" x 64". It's scrap project #193.

Now, it's your turn! Do you have a finish to share? If so, please link up! Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

plenty of pincushions, volume 2

I'm excited to announce that I've finally completed my pattern for Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 2! This pattern comes with instructions for all 5 of the pincushions shown above. The sewing machine (top right) and courthouse steps (middle right) are paper pieced and the pattern assumes that you have paper piecing skills. The rest are pieced with regular old 1/4" seams. I had a lot of fun making these and I hope that you do, too!
I know I'm not supposed to pick, but the sewing machine one has to be my favorite! I have more plans for this little block...

Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 2 is available for purchase here, if you are interested. And if that isn't enough, Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 1 is here. (No pressure whatsoever!)

Here are a few more pincushions I made for fun.....I made 15 total in a week's time. That was a little crazy, but I'm sure no one is surprised! Ha!
I pieced these log cabin pincushions from the scrap bins. They are filled with poly fiberfill, because they are on the larger side. I love them all. :)
Most of these are what I call "uneven 9 patches". They are very simple blocks, but I love how some of these look like crosses in the middle. More scraps used here, even some feed sacks! These are all filled with crushed walnut shells.
Most of this group were made to test the new patterns or to try out variations. These are also filled with crushed walnut shells.

I had an awful lot of fun with all of these, can you tell?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WIP Wednesday-All Sizes

I've been working on this quilt for a little over a month now. Slow and steady is key when you are making so many triangles! The pattern is called All Sizes, which is in my new book, No Scrap Left Behind. (I don't know the exact release date yet, but it's sometime next month. I'm starting to get excited about it! Still plenty nervous...)

It may seem odd to show a WIP of the alternate quilt before I show the original, but I thought that would be kind of fun, actually! This quilt has triangles that finish in 5 different sizes. I've nick-named this version "the bruiser quilt", because of the black and blue color scheme. Hahaha!

Only 137 half-square triangles to go....that's pretty exciting!

Here's a peek at the original quilt, which is quite a bit more colorful and what you would expect of out of me, right? :) The tiny triangles shown finish at 1 1/2"! They are definitely squeal-worthy. Time consuming, but oh-so-cute!

I can't wait to finish up the bruiser quilt and show them side by side! I love exploring the many possibilities within one pattern.

Friday, January 13, 2017

crazy rails-a completed quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week, I completed my 300th quilt (baby size or larger) to date! I started quilting in 2000, so that means I complete, on average, about 18.75 quilts a year. That's not crazy at all, is it? :) I am so glad that in 2006, when I stared my blog, I took the time to look back and count how many quilts I had made up to that point, so I have a record of them all. (Or pretty darn close!)
This quilt was inspired by a vintage quilt that Rebecca brought to a guild meeting awhile back. (You can see the original inspiration quilt in this post.) The strips are cut at 1 1/2" wide, so the rails finish at 1" x 3" each.
That means that about 1/3 of this quilt is seam allowance! It wasn't very fun to quilt, for that reason, but it is a GREAT scrap buster! I quilted it on my Juki with an all over loopy pattern with Aurifil thread, color 2615. I love that the thread blends with every single fabric.
For the backing, I used a beautiful aqua solid (Michael Miller cotton couture) that is so soft and smooth. The binding is good neighbors peaks in orangina. I machine bound it for a quick and durable finish.
The quilt measures 48" x 60" and it is scrap project #192! I'm very pleased with this finish!
 
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!
 
 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WIP Wednesday

I started a 3rd version of my bright birch trees quilt. (You can see the first one here, the second one here. The pattern is available here.) I started the first two blocks at two different workshops that I taught in the past year. Rather than leave the blocks languish, I felt the need to turn them into a complete quilt top. The blocks are going to finish at just over 12" square. I love using up my tiniest scraps in this way! As you know, there is NO shortage of scraps at my house.
This time around, I think I'm sticking with a blue/green/gray color scheme. These are some background fabrics that I'm considering adding to the mix. It will be fun to see where this quilt ends up!
I'm also working on knitting another scarf. I haven't made one in awhile and it's a nice change of pace from knitting my sweater. It's a lot more portable than my sweater is at this point, too! The pattern is called the mistake stitch scarf. I cast on 39 stitches on size 7 needles and the yarn is Madelintosh in DK weight. It's been snowing here the past few days, which always gets me in the mood to knit. This a great project to take while I sit in the dentist office, during music lessons, in line at the grocery store.... (I'm only kidding about that last one! I don't think I've knit at the grocery store.... not yet! Haha!)

What project(s) are you working on this week? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 09, 2017

doll & pincushion making

A few years ago, I made my daughter a doll that she named Julie. Julie is definitely homemade, but my daughter absolutely loves her. That's all that matters, right? Last week, the day before the kids went back to school after Christmas break, we made a friend for Julie, named Jennifer.
Jennifer is admittedly rustic, but again, my daughter loves her! The pattern is something I made up years ago. Originally, I made a pair of bears, named Milly and Melvin. Turns out the pattern makes cute girls, too! (Although the ears were much easier to make and attach than sewing on all that hair, one strand at a time....)
It seems like anytime I make something, I want to make a hundred, so, of course, there is another one. This is Jasmine! I LOVE her hair, especially! Both of the dolls' hair has tinges of pink in it, which is super fun!
Now, it's time to figure out some doll clothes, which is not my favorite part. I have a feeling that the best part about having a doll is all the accessories, so I will do my best! One good thing is that any of the clothes that I make will fit any of the dolls OR bears. Hurray for that!

Over the weekend, I did some scrap sewing, which is always delightful! I made several (tiny!) log cabin blocks, that will be turned into pincushions.
The pieces aren't cut precisely, rather I try to use the scraps "as is", to use up as much of the fabric as possible. Each piece is chosen on the fly, so there is a lot of decision making, but it's also fun to see each block change as it grows. Working on about 4 blocks at a time is my limit, otherwise decision fatigue sets in!
I decided to make a whole batch of pincushions at once...so there are 11 in this picture. I can't wait to show them all to you, complete! This is one of my very favorite ways to use up my smallest scraps.

I do have a plan for all of these, lest you think I am completely off my rocker for making even more pincushions! :)

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, January 06, 2017

i like orange-a completed quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I hope your New Year is off to a great start!

I finished my quilt called "I like orange" this week! I started it in a class with Denyse Schmidt back in April of 2015.
Choosing just 2 colors for this quilt was challenging--I would have rather chose 122 colors. That's more my speed! Ironically, when we were given "permission" to add more colors, I chose to stick with just the two. I put my own spin on the pattern by piecing smaller blocks within the larger blocks. I LOVE those little blocks so much! (They are more visible in the last photo.)
For the quilting, I knew I wanted to straight line quilt it, but that isn't easy on a domestic machine, because there is always drag and distortion.
So, I actually took a long arm class this week! After class, I rented time on the machine and I straight line quilted it. It still wasn't easy, (I had a lot of thread breakage problems, so I had a lot of knots to bury) but the quilting looks much better than if I had attempted it at home.....and it's done!
I used two colors of Kona Cotton: tangerine and orange. I really do like the color orange!
The backing was very hard to choose. Thankfully, my friend, brianne, helped me with the decision. I LOVE that the backing is bold and in a complementary color. I also love how the orange thread pops against the blue backing. It's almost electric! (The backing fabric is Cotton + Steel, by Melody Miller, from her Picnic line, 2015. I found it at SR Harris!)
Here's a shot of the full back....
....and a shot of the full front of the quilt. My daughter helped me with these last two photographs. We took them at a nearby school last night when we went walking (indoors!) with a friend. When it's -10 degrees and the sun goes down at 4:30, you have to get creative with photo locations. By the way, one of the janitors at the school really liked my quilt! Ha!

The quilt measures about 60" x 73". I'm excited that I will be keeping this one!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

inspired by fall-a completed quilt


This quilt was my last finish for 2016. I finished it about 2 in the afternoon on Saturday, then I took my boys to the park where they were gracious enough to hold the quilt. They had a game of Frisbee going on the side, which helped their attitudes a lot. (Hurray for that!)
This quilt is made up primarily from scraps. The white fabric is Kona Snow. I love the warm colors, the fact that I was able to use brown successfully, and work in some pink and green, too. I pushed myself in the colors/combinations that I used, and I'm so glad that I did.
The binding is a funky plaid by Denyse Schmidt for JoAnns from 2013. (Yikes, that's getting old, already!) It's the only print used in the entire quilt, but I love how the plaid ties everything together!
The backing is made up of a solid green, which I originally pieced without any linen. I had the backing taped to the floor and everything when I decided the back needed to be larger. (I knew that in the beginning, but I was hoping to squeak by.) I should have added the linen strip in the first place! Anyway, I'm glad I took the time to fix it. The quilting is organic, to be sure, but I think it compliments the wonky blocks in the front.
The quilt measures 50" x 66". It's scrap project #191! I think this is another quilt that shows that simple is good!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

happy new year!

Happy New Year! I always enjoy looking back at the past year and setting goals for the year ahead. It's a great time to take stock and evaluate things!
This mosaic features the top nine most popular pictures from my Instagram feed from 2016.

2016 was another scrappy year! I finished writing my book (which is available for pre-order!), I made a small mountain of pincushions, I worked on some long term scrap quilts and did some stash busting, too. I finished a total of 22 quilts! It was a good year!

In July, I did a one-a-day pincushion challenge, which was really fun, but also a great learning experience. During that challenge, I discovered that I really love working in a series. I enjoyed having definite parameters to work within and the focus that it brought was incredible. I also learned that it's good to make something, even when on the days that you don't feel like it....and that creativity never runs out!

In September, I started tracking how much fabric I used each month, compared to how much fabric I bought. I know a lot of people think that notion is crazy, but what a great eye-opener that was! It kept me on track and reeled in my fabric purchases several times. It's a very good thing! Starting to track it right as the kids went back to school was great timing, since that is my most productive sewing time in the entire year. :)
My one and only crafty goal was to knit a sweater for myself. While I didn't finish my sweater before the end of the year, I actually committed and bought the yarn, which was probably one of the hardest parts of the whole process so far! I am over half done with the body of the sweater. Of course, I still have to knit the arms, but it's coming along! I really do love the color and the pattern and it fits me, so those are all great things.

Looking ahead....

My book, No Scrap Left Behind, is scheduled to be released in February! Promoting the book will be at the top of my list this year. I have a bunch of dates scheduled in the upcoming year to speak and teach from the book, which I am very excited about.

If all goes according to plan, my new fabric line should be released this year, too!

I hope to do some designing and collaborating with my daughter. She's only 10, but I think it would be fun to start working with her and investing in her in a more focused manner. That girl has ideas and I think she probably loves color even more than I do!

I want to work in a series where I explore options, much like my pincushion challenge. I'm not sure what that looks like yet, but I hope to come up with a plan soon.
 
I'm starting off the year with only 9 works in progress, which feels incredible! I look forward to a great year of finishing ahead!

I also want to crochet a giant rag rug for my front entryway. I've been kicking around that idea for years, so I think it's finally time to do it! It will be the ultimate scrap buster. Ha!

Do you make crafty goals or resolutions for the year? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

I'd like to take the time to say a big THANK YOU for reading my blog. It wouldn't be the same without you! To those of you who take the time to leave comments, they are very much appreciated! Here's to a great New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

rainbow quilt complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I was able to finish the rainbow scrap quilt this week! It is a simple quilt, through and through, but I love it all the same! If it were any larger, I'd be seriously tempted to keep it for myself.
For the backing, I did some color-blocking with a few solid fabrics from the stash. Solids are nice to use for a pieced backing because it doesn't matter were the seam falls, there is no pattern repeat to match!
I kept the quilting super simple....just an X through each block. I used my hera marker to mark the lines before I quilted, because I'm horrible at just eye-balling it. It's an extra step, but to me, it's totally worth it.
There is such a fun variety of fabrics in this quilt! I had to dig deep for enough low volume prints to fill in. Some were repeated several times, but I think it worked well anyway.
I love this gray stripe for binding! (It's from my good neighbors collection.) This is probably the 4th or 5th quilt that I've bound with this fabric. I don't think it will be the last, either. :)
The patchwork squares were cut at 5". The quilt measures 45" x 63" and it's scrap project # 190!

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!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

crazy rails quilt top

My crazy rails quilt top is complete! Each of those little logs (all 960 of them!) finish at 1" x 3". I love how it turned out and definitely plan to revisit this pattern again....either in a twin or king size next time. This quilt top measures 48" x 60". This is a great scrap buster, because almost anything goes! Gotta love that!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

rainbow quilt top

There are a few more days left this year, so naturally I'm doing a final push to see how many quilts I can finish before the calendar changes to 2017! This is a simple scrap quilt made of 5" squares. I loved playing with the layout of this one. The mix of brights and low volume fabrics makes it a very cheerful quilt! It probably comes as no surprise that the aqua almost took over. (hahaha!) I'm hoping to finish this one (and maybe one or two more quilts) before Sunday. We'll see! There will be plenty of quilting breaks to play board games with my family. I kind of love this week between Christmas and the New Year. I hope you are having a warm, cozy and restful week, too!