Wednesday, September 30, 2015

dot your i's progress

I really, really love this one!
114/??? blocks done.
Not bad progress for only being two months in!
More info about the quilt can be found here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

a few new things

On Friday I had the chance to attend a day retreat with some of my fellow Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild members. It's always a lot of fun to visit and sew with others--such a nice change from sewing solo in my basement! My friend Brianne and I have been planning on making this quilt together (each making our own version) for a few months now. We figured it would be a great way to bust some scraps and by sewing together, we could keep each other accountable along the way. We don't get the chance to sew together in real life very often, so this weekend was a great chance to start it person. Sharing scraps from across the table was definitely an added benefit!
The top two blocks are Brianne's and the bottom two blocks are mine. Looking at this photo, I like her blocks better! I was afraid to throw in any multi-colored fabric, but I see now that it adds a nice amount of interest without detracting from the palette. It's good to know going forward!
I even jumped out of my comfort zone and made a purple block. (What on earth?!?!) I'm thinking of limiting my quilt to green, aqua, purple, gray and black/white for the color scheme. It will be difficult to restrain myself from using ALL the colors, but then again, it might be nice to change things up.
The pattern is Quilter's Palette by the super talented Rita of Red Pepper Quilts.
This was a little project that I've wanted to do for quite some time! I bought felt balls over the weekend, but they were just too big for my acorn, as much as I was resisting, I HAD to make my own. (Sometimes it's the only way!) I used leftover wool yarn and felted them by hand in my laundry room sink. I used this video for reference, and was delighted that I was able to use yarn (it has to be 100% wool) rather than roving. I couldn't believe that it actually worked! I was squealing like a school girl when I made these. Thankfully my family is used to my many crafty endeavors and they take it all in stride. :)  I have plans to make many, many more in various colors. It was so much fun to play! If you've ever thought about giving this a try, I would highly recommend it!

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

sweet tweets giveaway winner

The winner of the sweet tweets giveaway is Naurispelto! Thanks to all of you who entered!

Friday, September 25, 2015

finish it up Friday, 9/25/15

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week I recovered my ironing board. My old one was nasty and I decided that enough was enough. I used this tutorial and the other half of the fabric leftover from making the original one last September. I bought a new cover or two since then and used them, but they never fit quite going back to making my own was a good option!
I feel like this fabric was made exactly for this purpose! The fresh new cover makes my whole craft room FEEL a little bit cleaner....and I'll take any help I can get in that department! :)
The week wouldn't be complete without a few new pincushions, right?! These are quilt-as-you-go log cabins that finish at about 4". I LOVE the tiny pieces and I had so much fun making them! They are scrap project #108.
That is one low-calorie bowl full of happy, wouldn't you say?
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! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

creativity and the importance of play

I came across the video How to Overcome the 3 Fears Every Creative Faces recently and it really resonated with me. He's a funny speaker and I think it's 20 minutes well spent. Christoph talks about the importance of playing around with new ideas and how that can fuel your work down the road. He calls it "creative life insurance." I enjoyed the part of his talk relating to the fear of running out of ideas. It's a real thing! I also appreciated that he mentioned how important the process is, not just the end goal. Lately, I've been guilty of head down, sewing all the things that I "have to" for one reason or another, but I can tell you, that definitely takes the joy of creating after a while. I haven't been able to get to the point of playing every single day, but I've been trying to make time to do so a little more each week. It's a good thing!

Here are few things I've been playing around with....
I can not resist playing with tiny pieces of fabric...and stringing a bunch together is a lot of fun. These are spare parts to put into something, someday. If I didn't have to worry about raw edges, I'd put them together in a layout very similar to this. I love the free-form randomness of it.
Could a log cabin block be built around a hexagon? Yep. And after googling it, I realized that has been done quite a bit. :) I decided to give it a try anyway, and I added in a strip of scrappy patchwork to change things up. I don't know that I will ever pursue this idea on a larger scale, but was a fun experiment.
Of course the flip side of this constant play is creating a WIP list a mile and a half long. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with that, but I do see the value in taking time to explore new ideas.
I also pulled out my scrap vortex quilt and I have been slowly chipping away at that. This one satisfies my need to play (it's fun to see what color combination emerge in each block) AND I'm making progress on a WIP. Putting the existing blocks together makes for nearly instant gratification progress....and that NEVER hurts.

A few close friends of mine talk about this subject, specifically, sewing for fun vs. obligation on a reoccurring basis. I know that it's a real struggle for people who create...whether you create for a hobby or as a job. So, how about you? Do you find that balancing work vs. play is something that you struggle with? Which side of the fence do you find yourself on more often? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

pincushion party update

The pincushion party is still going strong and there is a whole week's worth of cute pincushions to check out. My goodness, it has been so fun to see everyone's creativity! Be sure to check out the amazing work by Cheryl, Penny, Amy, Debbie, Anne, Melissa, Amber, and Nettie.

Also, if you haven't entered the Sweet Tweets book giveaway, you still have time to enter!

Monday, September 21, 2015

sweet tweets

Today I'm happy to be a part of the Sweet Tweets blog hop. Sweet Tweets is written by Erin Cox, who blogs at Why Not Sew? I've been a fan of Erin's work for a long time--she has a knack for putting beautiful fabrics together and making the sweetest things! Her book is full of cute little projects that are fairly quick to construct. I want to make several of them! I was deliberating quite a bit on which project to make first--and I kept changing my mind--so I had my 12 year old son pick one for me. (That's a great way to solve indecision!) He chose the rainy day bird coaster, which was perfect, because I wanted to stretch my skills and try my hand at the crochet trim.
I knew I was going to be out of town and quite busy during the weekend, so I planned ahead. (I was trying something new! ha!) On Thursday, I worked on piecing the coaster...I did a little hand quilting....broke a hand sewing needle during the process!...
...and got the coaster constructed. It was fun to make!
I worked on adding the blanket stitch (to prep for the crochet trim) on my way to quilt guild on Thursday night.
I showed it to my kids on Friday morning and we squealed with delight! (Ok, so the 15 year old didn't squeal, but he liked it, I could tell by his huge grin.) My 12 year old asked if he could keep it, to which I selfishly replied "no". (Isn't that terrible of me?) I took the project with me to Fargo over the weekend so I could work on finishing the crochet trim. It's nice that it's portable! When I was on the road traveling home, I realized that my unfinished coaster was still sitting on my friend's ottoman in her living room back in Fargo. Doh! So much for planning ahead! I was too far away to turn back to get it. I decided that I would just have to make another one.
When I got home, I made this version especially for my son. I skipped the crochet trim and top stitched around the perimeter instead. He is quite pleased with it! (This is scrap project #107!)

I'll have to show you mine (crochet trim and all) when I get it back and finish it. :)

Congratulations, Erin, on your beautiful book! You did a great job on it!

If you would like to win a digital copy of the book Sweet Tweets, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment I'd like to hear your thoughts on applique. Have you tried it? Do you love it? Needle turn? Fusible? Both? Neither? I love to dabble in both needle turn and fusible applique....there are so many possibilities! I will pick a winner in a few days. International entries welcome! :)

Also, be sure to check in on the other stops on the tour. Erin will be having a big giveaway at the end, so be sure to check that out when the time comes!

Tuesday, Sept.8 - Erin (Introduction post) Why Not Sew?

Wednesday, Sept.9 - Heidi Fabric Mutt

Thursday, Sept.10 - Debbie A Quilter's Table

Saturday, Sept.12 - Jacque Brown Dog Prims

Monday, Sept.14 - Amy nanaCompany

Tuesday, Sept.15 - Svetlana s.o.t.a.k handmade

Wednesday, Sept.16 - Renee Sewn With Grace

Thursday, Sept.17 - Martingale Stitch This! The Martingale Blog

Friday, Sept.18 - Heather Vintage Grey Handmade

Saturday, Sept.19 - Clara and Jennie Clover & Violet

Monday, Sept.21 - Amanda Jean Crazy Mom Quilts (You are here!)

Tuesday, Sept.22 - Cindy Live a Colorful Life

Wednesday, Sept.23 - Carla Grace and Favour

Thursday, Sept.24 - Mary Molly Flanders

Saturday, Sept.26 - Erin, Big Giveaway Post!!! Why Not Sew?

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A plus pillow

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I need another pillow cover like I need another pincushion (hahaha!), but it turns out I needed a finish most of all!
This was a single block that I made at camp stitch a lot in Jacquie's slice and insert class back in 2013. I liked it enough to keep it, but I didn't have the energy to turn it into a full quilt. So, yesterday I added a border to make the block a little bit larger and I quilted it up. It makes a dandy pillow!
An envelope backing (in polka dots, of course!) was an easy way to finish it off. The black and white border print came from my friend Cheryl, who recently sent me a generous low volume scrap pack. (thanks Cheryl!) I love that my quilting friends that I met through the internet (and are now real life friends) are represented in this pillow. It's pretty special.
The strip of patchwork finishes at 7/8" and the text print finishes at about 1/2". I LOVE tiny pieces! The dense quilting, which was inspired by Jacquie, was a delight to work on. The small size of the piece made it easy to turn in the machine and it didn't take forever. The resulting texture is pretty wonderful!
Can you see the hidden A+? I thought that was a fun surprise! The pillow finishes at about 19" square. It's scrap project # 106.

Hurray for scraps...and finishes!

Now it's you turn to link up your finishes. Thank you for joining me each week for finish it up Friday!

Monday, September 14, 2015

winners and pincushion party update

Thank you all for your kind words about Not Quite Granny! The winners of the patterns are: Margaret, Nancy in INBobbi D, Silverthimble, Teresa @ Aurea's Kitchen and Kathleen. Ladies, please email me so I can your complimentary patterns to you.

I hope that you are keeping up with the pincushion party! Please be sure to visit Vanessa, Anna, Krista, Erin, Lee, and Alex to see all their cute pincushions. Seriously amazing and inspiring!

Hope you had a great weekend and happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 11, 2015

finish it up Friday, 9/11/15

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I have a lot of little things to share today....
My first project is a simple patchwork dish towel. I've been wanting to try this for quite some time but I never got around to it. I bought the flour sack towel on Monday and here it is, Friday, and it's finished. Woot! That is almost unheard of around here, but I could certainly take more of that!
I pulled a bunch of 2 1/2" squares from the scrap box and sewed them together without overthinking it. (That's always the trick, isn't it?) All the raw edges of the patchwork are turned under and enclosed, so it should wear well. This was my prototype and now that I see how easy they are, I'm certainly planning many more. I think they would make great gifts! This is scrap project #104. (Man, I'm excited to be back at my scrap challenge!)
I whipped up this skinny star pincushion just this morning. I have a bunch of scraps laying around the craft room (shocking, isn't it?) and I had some half-rectangle scraps randomly sitting on a square of linen. It was obvious that they belonged together! After a little bit of playing, this is what I came up with. I LOVE it! It's scrap project #105!
My bowl of pincushions is slowly filling up again, which makes me so happy! Speaking of weekend I will be up in Fargo at Modern Textiles to teach a few free motion quilting classes. The classes are full (sorry), but I will be there on Friday to visit, sew and do a little make and take pincushion with anyone who cares to stop by. No sign up required. If you are in the area, I'd love to see you there! There is more info about the event here.
My friend Brianne visited yesterday and we did some basting and de-threading of quilt tops. Neither are glamorous tasks, but so much more bearable when done in the company of a good friend. She made me this patchwork drawstring bag and I love it so much! I won't be counting it toward my scrappy finishes, but it's so cute I had to share. (There is a tutorial for the bag here, by my friend Jeni.)
Alright, I think it's your turn now! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

not quite granny pattern

Late last year I designed a bunch of patterns to go with my new fabric line. I worked so hard behind the scenes on all of them. It's funny, because now that I can actually share them with you, I'm all nervous about it! (Figures, doesn't it?) Since there are 6, I thought I would highlight each of the patterns separately, rather than to barrage you with all of them at once. (I don't think I could handle that myself, anyway!)
This design was inspired by a portion of a woven blanket that I saw in a Levi's Ad. Inspiration really does come from all kinds of sources and sometimes when you least expect it. The block is reminiscent of the granny square quilt block, but it's not quite the same...thus the name, not quite granny!
To test the pattern (since my fabric wasn't available to sew with yet), I broke out some precious Briar Rose fabric from my stash and I paired it with and Essex linen background. Once I had it pieced, I realized that I could have done a better job with picking contrasting fabrics, but oh, well. It's done! That's the most important piece...AND it looks pretty cute on my porch table, too!
I really love the texture that the cross hatch quilting adds! The table runner measures 16" x 61". The pattern also includes quilts in baby, lap, twin and full/queen sizes. (That's a whole lot of math, folks, let me tell ya!) I definitely want to revisit this pattern and make a lap size quilt someday.
Be sure to check out the Not Quite Granny quilt that my good friend Cindy made here. She did such a nice job on it!!! Connecting Threads has Not Quite Granny table runner kits available in a Christmas color way. The individual pattern is available here in my Craftsy store. case that wasn't enough links for you...I wrote a post about my experience designing the fabric here, if you care to read it! Phew!

I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway to celebrate! If you'd like to win a copy of the Not Quite Granny pattern, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment I'd love to hear what your favorite fall activity is. (We are on the cusp of autumn here and I'm excited for it!) I'll pick 6 winners in a couple of days!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

pincushion party update and a winner!

Good morning! Have you been keeping up with the pincushion party? I've been enjoying seeing what others much creativity! It's been an absolute delight to see everyone's work so far and I thought it would be nice to have a round up a few times during the party. If you have a few minutes, check out the amazing pincushions by these fabulous sewists: Anna, Mary, Svetlana, Debbie, Holly, Carla, and Faith. (I've added direct links to make it easier to navigate.) Thank you so much to my talented friends for being a part of the party!

Also, I've decided to do a little retroactive giveaway. I've used the random number generator to pick a winner from the commenters in my kick off post. KaHolly, you've won a charm pack of my new good neighbors fabric! I hope you have fun playing with it!

One last thing....I've gotten a lot of comments and emails about international shipping. I'm working on sorting out how to offer (for a very limited time) bundles for those of you who live outside of the US and Canada. It may take me a few weeks, but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 04, 2015

birch tree minis

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I finished up a few mini quilts this week based on my bright birch trees pattern. I love these because they use up the tiniest of scraps! I was also happy to finish these-even if they are small-because it clears up a little bit of headspace. I could use it! ha!
For this small and subtle version, I was inspired by the colors that Erin, Amy and Kristyne use so beautifully. I love how sweet and soft this one is! I think the pink gingham binding is the perfect finishing touch! It measures only 9 1/2" x 8 1/2" and I (really) love it!
This was a single birch tree block that I had made during a class as an example. The plan was to make an entire birch tree quilt with all light backgrounds, but I decided to turn it into a mini instead. Done and done! Feels good...feels great, actually! This one measures 15" square.
I gave it a lot of thought this week and I decided that it's time to revisit my 101 scrap project challenge! I'm so excited to revisit this personal challenge...I had a blast the first time around and I think it will be even more fun this time. The challenge is simple: to make 101 (additional) items from scraps. So, I'm counting these birch tree minis as scrap projects #102 and #103! I certainly don't have a shortage of scraps to use...and I'm not na├»ve enough to think I will actually use them all up. Ever. But, it will be fun trying to make a dent, at least! :) 
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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 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!

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