Tuesday, July 22, 2014

simple Love

This July in the Love circle of do. Good Stitches, bee mate Ara Jane is leading our group quilt with her usual jaw-dropping talent.  Her concept is refreshingly simple, yet intriguing.  She asked for 4", 8" or 12" blocks made up of neutral backgrounds with warm-colored stripes, no larger than 1" finished.

July in the Love circle

During rest time today, I made a total of four blocks all from neutral and string scraps.  Love that, love that, love that!  They were quick, yet satisfying.  The placement and personality of the stripes offering just that bit of artistry that keeps one engaged, waiting to see how it will all turn out.

simple is good

My largest block is made with Essex natural linen/cotton.  As a precaution, I sewed 1/2" seams on this block.  Take that, linen!  No unraveling seams here.

do. Good Stitches bee blocks

These blocks have such an beautiful minimalism, don't you think?  To see more incarnations, check out the Love circle photostream.  As with all our Love circle quilts, this one is destined to brighten a child's life through donation with Wrap Them in Love.  I'm so glad to have this opportunity to bless others while doing something that nourishes my soul.  It's the simplest way to love.

p.s. Learn about do. Good Stitches here.  While quilts of all styles are wonderful acts of charity, this bee intends to bring together active Flickr-users who enjoy sewing with modern fabrics.  To join the wait list, please use this form.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome, The Loopy Ewe!

When Sheri of The Loopy Ewe contacted me about sponsorship, I was jazzed to be hearing from a yarn shop!  Turns out The Loopy Ewe also stocks an impressive array of fabric, but I remember them from my crochet phase.  Of all online yarn shops, I had landed on The Loopy Ewe as my choice for Cascade 220 back in 2011.

sun squares brighter

Ah, yes, the crochet blanket that never was, and yet someday still may be.  Maybe you have one too?

Anyhoo, what started in a basement in 2006 is now 7000 square feet of gorgeous yarns and fabrics in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where locals can even shop in person.  As a longtime sewist and quilter, Sheri knows her fabrics.  She stocks lots of organic fabrics (Cloud 9, Birch and Monaluna), Moda, Riley Blake and more.  Today my head is turned by Riley Blake's Honeycomb dots....

What a great basic - especially those tone on tone versions.

Browsing the shop, I also noticed lots of cute baby and children's novelty fabrics, including Ed Emberley's  Happy Drawing (I've used those lions a lot!) and his newest collection, Picture Pie

Besides selling fabrics by the yard,  The Loopy Ewe offers affordable 8-piece bundles called short stacks.  You can buy them in color themes to bulk up your stash of yellow, for example, or in themes based on collections. 

Cloud 9 Grey AbbeyBirch Fort Firefly, Birch Marine Too, Birch Charlie Harper

I don't think I had come across Grey Abbey before (top left).  It has a Scandinavian feel, don't you think?  Love the flat, repeated motifs.

And then, let's not forget the yarn!  Check out the Loopy Cakes collections, affordable superwash merino presented in color themes like Rustic Barn, Starry Night and 80's Totally Awesome.  How fun!  I really can't even choose which ones to feature.  For the sake of color-love, go look at them all.

The Loopy Ewe has a sweet rewards program which gives you a $25 store credit, every time your orders accumulate to $250. (Plus other fun rewards - you can read about the program here.)  So that could come in handy... especially if you both yarn and fabric cravings.


In celebration of their new sponsorship, The Loopy Ewe is giving away a Short Stack fabric bundle of your choice.  Anyone can win, anywhere in the world.  To enter the giveaway, add a comment now through noon (eastern time) on Thursday the 24th.  Tell us if you work in fabric and yarn, or just fabric.  I bet there are lots of us who dabble in a bit of both!

Friday, July 18, 2014

{the Purge} Soy Amado + Links + Prizes

Purge buttonAre you purging along?  Come one, come all to show us purge progress for your chance to win from Canton Village Quilt Works!

But first... have you heard of Soy Amado?  If you're a quilter with some history, perhaps in the form of some abandoned quilt blocks or pesky pieced scraps, then Soy Amado is your ticket to un-clutter and do good all at once. 

Soy Amado is a quilt drive for children's homes in Mexico and Tanzania.  Quilters all over the world are sending 12.5" quilted blocks to Little Island Quilting, who is assembling and donating the finished quilts to outfit whole children's homes with glorious color and warmth.

This is SO cool and so doable for all of us.  There are no color or design rules.  What a fantastic opportunity!  You do need to QUILT your blocks before sending, which is a great way to practice free motion quilting or any quilting style you've been pondering.  Here's how it works...

bits and bobs

First, root through your drawers to unearth those bits and bobs that you've been.... well.... ignoring.  I found a smallish log cabin block with curved seams (hey, those were my first curves!) and some pieced scraps from a quilt I made way back when.

Purge your orphan blocks!

Next, piece together your bits and bobs to make about 13" square blocks.  Baste them with batting and backing.  You could use any unwanted fat quarter for the backing.  Whoot!

experimental FMQ

Ok, now quilt those babies up!  I tried out some straight lines without a presser foot on my first block.  I'd been wanting to see how straight lines would feel free motion.  It was... adventurous.  I identified a quilting pattern I like and another I don't like.  Plus, yielded a very durable block!

QAYG Blocks for Soy Amado

On my second block I experimented with some floral motifs.  Fun stuff.  I purposely kept my quilting away from the edges, factoring in trimming and joining blocks. 

Purge unwanted fabrics

After quilting, trim your blocks to 12.5" square.  Leave a comment on this Soy Amado blog post, to request an address from Little Island Quilting.  Then send your blocks on their way to make a little one smile.  Hooray!

p.s. Don't forget to take a photo of your Soy Amado blocks to link up on a future Purge post!

{the Purge} Link-up and Prizes

Have you been purging along?  Add a photo that documents your purge progress to enter to win this week's prize.  Maybe you've made some blocks for a purge quilt, sold or donated some fabrics, cut tons of scraps into useable squares - anything that you've done to Purge your stash or sewing cupboards this July counts!  Have you donated fabric AND started a quilt?  If you're participating in more than one purge effort, feel free to add more than one photo for more chances to win.

This week's prize is donated by Jackie of Canton Village Quilt Works.  Jackie stocks lots of Kona cotton in yardage and precuts at very attractive prices.  I thought to myself, "Self, what could be healthier for our stash than a shot of Kona cotton?"  So, out with the unloved, and in with the bright, shiny useful!

This week we'll have two winners.  Each winner will get to choose one Kona cotton roll-up from the stock at Canton Village.  These rolls of assorted 2.5" wide solid strips are versatile quilt basics, great for sashing, strip piecing and log cabins, to name a few.  In fact, you could even use them to make The Purge quilt, tutorial here!

Kona Jelly Rolls

Psst... Canton Village is having a very special sale this Saturday and Sunday only.  All Kona will be 15% off, no code needed.  What a great excuse to stock up!

Add your photo(s) now through midnight (eastern time) Wednesday, July 23rd to enter to win a Kona Roll-up of your choice.  You may upload a photo directly from your computer, no url necessary, no blog necessary. Click the blue "Add your link" button below the photos to add your photo.  Winners will be contacted by email on Thursday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Side by Side

On Thursday nights, about the time when my kids head off to bed, Heather parks her car in the meadow and lets herself in.  Our night begins with yoga, followed by hours of conversation, something chocolatey and sometimes sewing.  This weekly ritual has knit our hearts together in friendship as only time and secrets can.  If I wake up groggy on Friday morning from an especially late tete-a-tete, I never regret it.

In February Heather fell pregnant with her first child.  The news was wonderful, though simultaneously difficult given that Brandon and I were also trying.  Eventually I came to accept that our stories would be different and time made my joy for her grow.  Now at 7 weeks pregnant myself, I am beginning to feel inside that I've really joined her, that I really do get to be a part of this pregnancy fun from the inside out.

to make.. nesting cubes

This project is a symbol of that shared joy.  We started it in June, when I began feeling pregnant, even if that was just a precarious hope at the time.  We are each making a set of six stackable, nesting cubes from Anna Maria Horner's book Handmade Beginnings.

Nesting Cubes in progress

Each Thursday night after-yoga-sewing session is about 1.5 hours long, with lots of chatting and water breaks.  When you break up a project into these short, specific bits it's easy to notice how long handmades take.  The first night we mainly just cut fabrics - 60 squares each to be exact.  I pulled random happy fabrics from my stash (above), while Heather is using a gentle organic collection from Cloud 9 (below).

Nesting Cubes in progress

On our second sew, I cut the fusible interfacing into tidy piles, we did some easy sewing steps and then pulled out ribbon.  Alice of Fresh Modern Fabric sent me ribbon trimmings leftover from making her pretty ribbon bundles.  I love these neutral striped ribbons!  They're a nice contrast to all the satiny ribbons available in big box stores.  

Nesting Cubes in progress

These ribbons are pinned to what will be come the top of each nesting box.  They'll stick out to entice little fingers... and little mouths too. 

Nesting Cubes in progress

It's fun to see the two versions of the same project emerge side by side.

Mmm... I do think side by side sewing is the best of any kind.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

coming along

Upon my return from our time in Maine, would you believe this quilt was still on my design wall?  I would have thought that in my absence some elves would come along to finish cobbling it out.  

on the design wall

No such luck.  It was waiting on me, reminding me of the reality of things already started and effectively trumping baby-sized projects newly imagined. 

piecing from tiniest scraps

To make a throw, I had to make over 120 tiny scrappy blocks, each 4.5" unfinished from my tiniest scraps. As a result, my blue and green small scraps are nearly extinct. (Don't worry, they're repopulating as we speak, I'm sure!)

Cobblestone quilt

And then the joining and the sashing and soon the backing making...

prepping the backing

Cobblestone throw quilt

Then this morning, I basted her up.  Somehow that was an exhausting physical challenge, even though my baby is only the size of lentil bean.  Thank goodness I use basting spray!   I'm pretty sure that pins would have required a nap intermission.

Cobblestone basted!

I love a basted quilt, sometimes even more than a quilted one.  I love that at this point it is somewhat pristine, like a fresh coloring sheet or a just-iced cake.  Hopefully my next efforts won't mar its beauty.  I have in mind something with straight lines and free motion quilting too.  Cross your fingers!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Unabashedly Yellow Winners!

It's a brand new week!  Lots of possibilities to make and to enjoy.  I think it's going to be a very good one!  Let's start by congratulating the two winners of our Unabashedly Yellow mosaic contest....

by Nina with Freckles

First we have this cheery mosaic that reminds me of a bright, sunny day.  Nina says, "My starting point were the snails, I love those snails!"  I have to agree.  I so want to pick up some Lotus Pond fabrics for making baby things later this year!

{Fabrics}  Line 1Chicopee Paisley in Lime, Emmy Grace Little Town Blues, Frolic Up Up and Away Citron, Sunnyside Text in Shade  Line 2:  Simply Style Dotted Circles MustardLotus Pond Snail Trail Gold, Sunnyside Leaves in Gold, Kona Cotton Sunny  Line 3:  Sweet as Honey Honey House, Alchemy Memoir in Zest, Charlie Harper Octoberama Blue, Charlie Harper Twig Fall Mineral

Unabashedly Yellow - 2
Modern by Celebrate Color

And here's our second winner.  This collection of geometrics and solids is such fun!  In fact, these are the types of helpful fabrics I love to stash.  Celebrate Color's mosaic includes several representatives from Moonlit, a new Cotton & Steel collection in stock at Fabric Spot.  Delicious!

{Fabrics}  Line 1Kona Cotton Ash, Moonlit Hexies in Eggshell, Comma Asterisk in ChalkJungle Ave Neighbourhoods  Line 2:  Geocentric Canvas II Trident in Daffodil, Moonlit Arrows in Mint, Kona Cotton Sunny, Hello Tokyo Sugoi Tiles in Rainbow  Line 3Moonlit Hexies in Paprika, Moonlit Meet Your Match in Goldenrod, Comma Commas in Chalk Black, Kona Cotton Parchment

Congratulations to our winners who will receive their bundles in fresh, delicious cotton real soon!  A great big thanks to Fabric Spot for sponsoring our fun.

Thanks to all of you for participating with your mosaics and your votes.  Have a happy Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

::Voting:: Unabashedly Yellow

Good afternoon!  It is fairly glowing around here with all your unabashedly yellow mosaics!  Problem is I like yellow so very much that I had about 20 mosaics open during the final narrow-down.  If yours didn't get chosen, it probably should have.  Remember, it's a totally subjective process!  I've selected just 10 finalists, choosing mosaics that spoke to me personally.  Now you'll have to tell us which is your tippy top favorite!

Enjoy perusing these fabric mosaics from Fabric Spot!  I've presented them first at large size, with the name of the artist under each mosaic.  Voting is below with smaller images for reference.  Vote now through midnight (eastern U.S. time) on Sunday, July 13h.   The two winning mosaics with the most votes will be announced on Monday.

Good Luck Everyone!

by Marika O

Pink, Green, and Golden
Pink, Green and Golden by Martha Taylor

Unabashedly Yellow - 1
Charming by Celebrate Color

Unabashedly Yellow - 2
Modern by Celebrate Color

by Nicole H.

Street Scene Mosaic - Unabashedly Yellow
Street Scene by Kimberly Kolb

by Nina with Freckles

Decidedly Warm
by Rachel of Wooden Spoon

Mustard, Violet, and Chestnut
Violet, Mustard and Chestnut by Martha Taylor

Fun with mustard
by Carmen

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