Friday, November 21, 2014

Encore, encore!

In the busy holiday season, you may find yourself sewing up lots of "lists" and spending less time than you'd like developing true interests and new skills.  That's why, for a lot of us, the new year is a good time to challenge and treat yourself to an online class!

Oodalolly quilt finished!
Oodalolly, a Curves Class project

Have you been wanting to learn to hand quilt and embroider?  Tackle sewing curves?   Maybe learn to paper piece or to piece more precisely?  Work more confidently with color?

::Handstitched:: this summer

In the new year, I will be encoring two of my best-loved original classes.  Which two?  That depends... on YOU!  On the table are Curves ClassHandstitched, the Penny Sampler and Color Intensive (follow the class links for detailed info or see here for a quick summary of each class).

the Manipulative Kona Color Card

In the month of December I'll invite four guests to present these classes through their eyes as previous students. They'll share their class experience with you: what they learned, what they made and how they're using those skills now.

the Penny Sampler

Then, on December 15th, I'll open voting here on the blog.  You, dear reader, can vote to tell me which class you'd most like to take.  The top two winning classes will be announced December 29th and open for purchase on January 1st.  Classes will launch January 12th, to give us a few weeks to recover from the holidays.

So, stay tuned!

"Oh Christmas Tree" mini
Oh, Christmas Tree, a Curves Class project

May your holidays be Merry & Bright and your new year filled with Stitchy Goodness!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

the gifts of Autumn are...

the gifts of Autumn

Glowing, fluttering, falling leaves and the carpet they leave behind.

the gifts of Autumn

Warm, earthy colors - the evergreen, dear vanishing lime, widening skies, the goldens and earthy browns.

the gifts of Autumn

Cold crafting weather ripe for the making.

the gifts of Autumn

Wise old owls.

the gifts of Autumn

So we turn inwards, gathering our scraps, gathering ourselves.

the gifts of Autumn

the gifts of Autumn

We drink deep the delight in handmade gifts, little and big for those that touch our lives.

And we are Grateful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

a Quilter's Wish List

The other day, Brandon asked, "What would you like for Christmas?"  And I said, quite without a second thought, "Christmas in a snowy cabin, chocolate treats and fun baby things for Eleni."  He gave me a weird look.  Guess that wasn't what he expected.

I love a good surprise!  In a perfect world, I prefer that the gifts I give and get don't come from a list.  But, but... that's pretty hard to come by when your loved one is into a hobby that you just don't share.  So, this list is dedicated to all those dear folks who have no idea how easy it is to shop for a quilter!

no.  1  {Fabric}  Obviously.  Even if she has a cabinet full (and especially if she doesn't) a bundle of new cloth is a sure win.  Let me point you in the right direction:

for those who love color: Cotton & Steel basics

for a modern aesthetic:  Gramercy by Leah Duncan

for someone soft and pretty:  Grey Abbey in organic cotton

*Edited to add:  Also, don't underestimate the fun of a gift card to her favorite fabric shop!  She'll enjoy the shopping, we promise.

no. 2  {Batting}  Wow her with a huge gift (literally, huge!) of batting so she can make as many quilts as her heart desires!  Dear Mr. Practical, this is the most useful gift of all.

Warm & Natural Batting in a 90" x 40' roll

no. 3  {Beyond-Basic Tools}  She probably has the essential tools covered, but a quilter of several years, still may not yet have invested in these super-helpful tools.   These save time and increase accuracy. 

set of versatile Square Rulers

super-speedy 505 Basting Spray (also at Connecting Threads in smaller size)

my favorite Flying Geese Ruler

the indispensable Kona color card

Edited to add:  Also, Clover Wonder Clips, a very popular suggestion!

no. 4  {Real Luxuries}  Want treat her to something she wouldn't buy for herself?  These are the kind of extras that would delight my quilter's heart.

fancy, time-saving Rotating Cutting Mat

cover all her bases with several Sets of Thread

finger-saving Clover Mini Iron

no. 5 {Stocking Stuffers}  Surprise her with little, inexpensive treats that any quilter could use.

pretty new pins

sharpest little scissors known to man

a fun Charm Pack

 my favorite marking tool

my favorite marking pencils

the best quilt-line marking tool

Alright, how did I do?  Did I miss a tool or notion on your wish list?  Quilter's speak up!  And drop a clue for your best guy this week.  With a little thinking-ahead, he could totally take advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales next week!  Might as well, right?  It's holiday time!

*FYI:  This post includes affiliate Amazon links as well as links to two of my sponsors:  Fresh Modern Fabric and Connecting Threads. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trifle Dish

Trifle Dish blocks

Patchworking today!  I've been making Trifle Dish blocks following the Moda Jewel block tutorial by AnneMarie Chany. 

Kona Cottons for Trifle Dish

I started by pulling these Kona Cottons, each color plucked pretty much because I like it and maybe, slightly inspired my alphabet bumper fabric. 

scraps for Trifle Dish

For the center it's scraps... naturally.

Trifle Dish

In fact, I have some alphabet scraps after making the side of the bumper that will feature the alphabet fabric.  What do you think about the alphabet scrap used for the center hourglass block above?  Weird?  I can't decide, so I only did up one block that way.  I like the colors in the alphabet blocks, so this would be one way to easily pull them in...

For the background of each block, I'm using Sweetwater's Calendar print, from Sew Modern's texty fat quarter bundle

Trifle Dish

I'm not one to work much with tiny precise patchwork.  We're talking 1.5" finished half square triangles and 1" x 3" flying geese.  But, in small quantities and with chocolate, I can handle it.  Need just 14 blocks for the crib bumper*!

Trifle Dish

Trifle Dish for bumper

I wonder, which dish do you like best?  I've been playing around with value and color relationships on the patchwork inside each solid surround.  Do any stand out to you as studs or duds?   Because, you know, I can work the duds towards the back.  Wink.

*My Official Bumper Statement:  Thanks for your heartfelt concern regarding my plans to use a crib bumper. I'm touched that you care for us and want to be sure I'm informed.  So, for the record I am aware that crib bumpers are not recommended at all anymore.  I've looked into the reasons for that, and I do disagree.  I feel that there are safe ways to use a well-designed, not-overstuffed bumper.  I'm going to avoid going into details here though, since I don't want to delve into such an important and controversial issue in this space.  I hope anyone considering using a bumper does look into the AAP recommendations and consider the risks carefully for themselves. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Curtains + Covers + Bumpers, oh my!

Have you ever had a staycation?  It's when (if you're a mom) the kids go away and you get to stay home for the weekend, preferably with your guy, and just have a good time.  We are super lucky to live by wonderful grandparents, who sometime take the kids for weekend trips.  This weekend was awesome.  Lots of rest, creative indulgence and time for just the two of us to be together. Yay!

nursery makes

What did I do?  Make.  I made and I made and I made for the nursery.  In fact, I think I'm getting ahead of schedule!  Woa.  But, don't worry, I'm adding to my list as I go!  No stopping this train until birth day.

new curtains!

First, the curtains.  I'd been just waiting on the curtain rod. Once it was up, these were a no brainer.  Curtains are one of the first things I learned to sew.  Just hem all 4 sides and put them up!  I use Ikea kvartal rods and hanging tape, which you sew onto the back of the curtain top.  Easy.  Will need to add another layer of curtains behind though, to effectively block light.

nursery makes

I know this fabric choice is a bit... unusual, but I love the whimsy and drama it brings to the room.  Feels like a space a child will enjoy!  And, come to think of it, these yellow-golden globes, that green carpet and wood floors all work together to create a sort of indoor nature space.  Sort of.  I like it!

fabrics from Mad About Patchwork!

These Cotton & Steel fabrics from Mad About Patchwork were next on my list. Honestly, when I ordered, I thought that Dotti in Gelato fabric was a juicy peach hue.   Not so much. It's very, very ORANGE, in a kind of sherbet way.  But, hey, I like orange too.  Don't you think the kitties are the bestest though?  It's a durable cotton/linen blend in a gorgeous, gorgeous aquamarine, same as the Crayola Seafoam crayon when I was a kid.   I adore that shade.  Mad About Patchwork, in Canada, has lots of Cotton & Steel in stock!

nursery makes

I followed this pattern at The Cozy Pumpkin to make changing pad covers for our changing station.  Some steps had me scratching my head, but I eventually worked it out.  Here I am cutting the changing pad ends with the custom edge pattern you trace, following the tute.  I made my covers with french seams (lots of washing coming up!) so I added 5/8" seam allowances instead of 1/2" seam allowances for my version.

nursery makes

My first go at it was with the orange fabric, actually. It came out too short, so I adjusted my pattern and added some fabric to one end to make it work.  Love that about sewing!  You can almost always just revise your plans and "save" a work in progress.

Oh, and it tends to make things better, not worse!

changing table cover

My second cover came out just right.  Those pointy corners are tricky with french seams.  Not exactly sure how to do them "right," so I just fudged it.  Whatever, no one will notice but me!  You can see that making a custom edge pattern makes for a nice, contoured fit.

nursery makes

The underside is just gathered up with elastic. 

nursery makes

So, that's 2 down.  Again, I need quite a few more - more crib sheets, more changing pad covers.  But now that I know how to do them, "more" is most welcome.  "More" equals more fabrics to choose!  Hehehe (insert fabric glee)! 

nursery makes

And, I also started on that bumper! 

Yes, twas a very, very productive weekend.  I think baby clothes will make The List after all!  How was your weekend?  Any new makes?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Welcome, Gotham Quilts!

Gotham Quilts.  It's a name that stands out, promising a bit of fun, a bit of flash. 

Gotham Quilts is a NYC-based online shop launched this year by two self-proclaimed fabric nerds, Andrea and Ivette.  They met last year at one of Andrea's classes, where - get this - Ivete fell so hard for quilting she finished three quilts during a 6-week class!

What will you find at Gotham?  Designer fabrics, especially by Art Gallery and Freespirit.  Organic fabrics, lots of those.  American made solids, to reduce carbon footprint.  Kits, fabric bundles, basically a whole lot of modern, thoughtful choices.

I like the clean, photo-rich homepage and simple navigation system. You can shop by color...

by organic fabrics and by designer/manufacturer too.  Wherever you go, you can also sort by newness or price or popularity, smart tools.  Critically, you can also "See All" to browse all fabrics, something I tend to do before checking out to make sure I don't miss anything when I'm already paying shipping.

Check out this serene collection in organic fabrics, called Haven by Monaluna! I haven't come across this before.  I always keep an eye out for bold, but simple stripes.  The kitties and birdies are super adorable.  And the floral prints are very Scandinavian, no?  I like.

Wildwood, Gramercy & Everyday Party

Gotham Quilts makes small fabric bundles with just 6-9 pieces.  While whole-collection fat quarter sets are gorgeous, they're typically out of my price range.  I like how Ivette is putting together these little tastes.  Oh, and she mixes fabric collections too! 

Black and White Writing Bundle, case in point.  Choose from fat quarters, half yards or yards for any bundle.

If you follow Gotham Quilt's blog or Facebook page, you'll be up to date on new arrivals and giveaway opportunities.  Just in, Color:Full by Jennifer Sampon.  My favorite pick is this feel-good, sweeping text print in indigo. I know, I know... what's with me and text?

If you're drawn to the modern, urban style of Gotham Quilts, be sure to sign up for their newsletter (form in the footer of the website).  You'll receive a 10% off coupon for your next order!

Thanks to Ivette and Andrea for choosing to sponsor Stitched in Color. We look forward to seeing Gotham Quilts grow!

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