Thursday, September 30, 2010

Colorbrick: Prewash & Press Fabrics

This post is part of a series {Colorbrick} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Are you ready to get started?  This first part is so easy, but it does take time.  We need to prewash all of those gorgeous fat quarters and your sashing/backing solids too.

  1. Prep Your Fabrics:  If you have a wide range of colors, separate your darks from your lights to guard against color bleeding.  If possible, place your fabrics in laundering bags for delicates.  This will prevent excessive twisting and fraying.  It works to double up, two prints two one bag, if the bag is big enough.  If you don't have any delicate bags, just go ahead without them (and be prepared with scissors and patience to deal with the results).
  2. Wash Cold:  Wash your fabrics on "light" and with cold water.  Do put in a little detergent to help remove manufacturing chemicals.
  3. Machine Dry:  If you're using delicate bags, leave the fabric in the bags and toss in the drier.  Loose fabrics should be untangled and trimmed to remove unraveled threads before machine drying.  It's ideal to remove your fabric when its almost dry, as a full dry will often set in wrinkles. 
  4. Iron:  Trim unraveled threads.  With your iron on it's highest setting and using lots of steam, iron out each piece and fold into a delightful little stack.  Enjoy the process! 
Next up:  Rotary Cutting 101.  I can't wait to start cutting!!!

Crafty Social #2

I don't scrapbook. I've never "stamped."  But, last night my living room was literally bursting with all sorts of these foreign supplies.  How fun to gather our diverse talents and create in the same space.  I was very inspired (and somewhat intimidated) by rampant paper-and-ink creativity!

Sewn Spaces by Joel Dewberry

For my stitching friends, I pulled out a copy of Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces, on loan from the library. 

Here are two fabric-embellished cards from the book.  These cards are very doable, though definitely time-consuming.  You'll see some cards inspired by Joel's designs amongst the cards our group made:

Crafty Social Cardmaking

Crafty Social Cardmaking

The night flies by much, MUCH too fast when you're sewing with friends.  I had made two cards and was itching to start another when it was suddenly time to pack up and go home. Boohoo.

I made these =)

These are mine. I didn't get as creative as I would have liked, but I did have the opportunity to help several friends get cozy with a sewing machine and practice some rotary cutting. Ya!

Oh, and you'll see I did a wee bit of stamping and paper-cutting. It's a wide, wide world out there. So many creative possibilities. We're definitely doing this project again!  I so wish you all lived near bye.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mosaic Tree for do. Good Stitches

Ta da!  I just finished my last bee block for this month's round of do. Good Stitches, the Love circle.  Our quilts go to needy children through Wrap Them in Love.  Anyways, here she is....

Mosaic Tree - a block for do. Good Stitches

Do you think she looks nice with the Hexagon Tree?  I do.  My little rainbow Mosaic Tree is decidedly different, but I hope they'll be friends.

Mosaic Tree & Hexagon Tree

Can I just say that I love applique?  Gosh, it makes sewing so easy!  I just cut the scraps to size, making them fit together a little like a puzzle, and then glued them on the fabric with a simple glue stick.

Applique in zig-zag

Thus stabilized, attaching them with a zig-zag stitch was a cinch.  And, with the zig-zag stitch you don't even have to stitch straight - it doesn't show!

Mosaic Pincushion

The mosaic concept was inspired by this beeeautiful pin cushion made by Corey of Little Miss Shabby.  Thanks, Corey! Such a fun way to use up those little bitty scraps =)

Bottled Rainbows

By the way, if you're interested in joining us, do. Good Stitches is always welcoming new members to our wait list. We have a few waiting, so I expect a new group will form around the end of the year. Just go over to our Flickr group and request membership.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Basting {a Tale of Two Methods}

Spray Basting - I like it!

Last week I spray basted my Red & Aqua Sampler Quilt for do. Good Stitches.  I am now a firm believer in spray basting!  But, I'm going to try and give a fair comparison of basting a quilt with pins verses basting with adhesive spray.  Please chime in with your thoughts too!

Pin Basting
  •  Equipment:  Curved basting pins are designed to move through all 3 quilt layers.
  • Cost:  $10.50 for a pack of 100.  You would need about 225 pins for a large throw quilt like Colorbrick.  Since the pins are infinitely reusable, you never need to invest again.
  • Time:  Professional quilters, like Rita at Red Pepper Quilts, recommend placing a basting pins every 4 inches in a grid pattern.  This takes a very. very. long. time
  • Skill:  It takes some practice to reliably get the pins through all layers of the quilt.  If I zone out a bit, this tends to suffer.
  • Uggh factor:  Like most quilters, I baste on the floor.  Sitting and crawling bent over a quilt for this long definitely has it's physical drawbacks.
  • Tricks:  Try using a knitting needle to close the basting pins.  It really saves the fingers!
  • How it Quilts:  When quilting, you'll have to remove the pins as you go.  The constant starting and stopping definitely slows me down.  I worry that my quilt is shifting as I release the pins, since I do not have a drop-in sewing machine with a nice flat work surface.  

Spray Basting
  • Equipment:  An aerosol can of spray adhesive.  The spray washes out and does not gum up sewing machine needles or tools.
  • Cost:  spray adhesive is $16.00.  One can should last for 5-8 big projects, depending on the size of your quilts and how heavy you spray. 
  • Time:  Once your fabrics are ironed and smoothed out for basting (steps necessary with pins too), the spray basting process takes about 15 minutes.
  • Skill:  Spray basting is pretty forgiving since the fabrics can actually be repositioned.  To avoid a sticky situation be sure to use a light, even coverage.  It's like using hairspray.  You want a very light spray that does not dampen the fabric at all.  Experiment with using less, rather than more.
  • Caution:  Some adhesive sprays have strong odors that are certainly toxic.  There are warnings on the can about using in a well-ventilated space.  Gladly, I used Dritz spray, which is odorless.  Apparently, the June Tailor brand is too.  Still, I used the spray with windows wide open and after my children were in bed.
  • Tricks:  Use a drop cloth to protect your floors from overspray.  Then, just wash that cloth when it's time to wash your finished quilt. 
  • How it Quilts:  Quilting my spray basted quilt was so enjoyable!  The quilt sandwich remained tight together throughout, so that I was sewing through one solid piece that couldn't possibly shift.  With no basting pin bombs to slow me down or distract, my straight line quilting came together quite nicely!
Quilting without pins!
Spray basting a quilt definitely saves TIME.  It is cheaper to get started with spray basting, but pin basting saves money over many projects.  Basting with pins is hard on the body, but basting with adhesive spray requires good ventilation for your safety.  I would NOT use a strong-smelling basting spray, sense odorless options are available.  And, lastly, quilting my spray basted quilt was so much nicer than navigating through pins.  I'm sold!

Spray Basted - Now all one piece!
For the Colorbrick Quilt-Along, I'll be demonstrating exactly how to spray-baste your quilt.  For those who prefer to pin-baste, I'll include a link to one of the many existing tutorials in blogland.

So, what do you think?  Have you or will you be trying spray basting?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Color Order

Saturday:  Toes in the sand, surf in the hair.  A long, sunny day at the beach with my children and husband and some very dear friends. Goodbye, summer.

Sunday:  Sewing, sewing, sewing...all day long.  With my daughter, whose words of admiration and encouragement are peppered with odd little questions.  Listening to the rain fall with windows wide open.  Welcome, fall.

These sort of days when life is so beautiful and so fully experienced - I just want to freeze them in time.  And yet I didn't even try to take pictures of the action.  Sometimes in holding on so tight I find I lose the moment instead.

***************
Today .

I set out today to finish two lingering projects:  my Christmas tree skirt and the Red & Aqua Sampler Quilt for do. Good Stitches.  I am 1 for 2, but that's ok.  Aria made a scissors cover/pouch that turned into a sleeping bag for her little dollhouse doll.  And then, she made this dress, complete with velcro closure at the back.  This after she proudly bought her very own velcro circles for a tidy 76 cents at the fabric store!

Aria's doll dress

Somewhere along the way, she reorganized my pins by color, as she loves to do.  And when she asked me for the zillionth time if I'd keep them that way, I decided to commit.  Because, this weekend was just about as perfect as a rainbow.  And, she's right, they do look lovely in color order.

May all our weekends {yours and mine} be so sweet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

*Inspiration* Stitched Notecards

*Inspiration* Stitched Notecards
click for links to each picture


Here is some inspiration for our Crafty Social this Wednesday night!  Can't wait =)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Colorbrick: How to Play Nice

Friends,

I've received a number of comments and emails about copyright issues, as in "Can I make a Colorbrick quilt to sell?" and "Is it OK if I make one in the same fabrics as yours?".  First, thanks for asking!  Second, "yes" and "yes"!

Colorbrick Quilt-AlongIn putting Colorbrick out there as a quilt-along, I am making a gift to you and to any who would follow. You may absolutely make it how you like.  Imitation is just a compliment.  The way I see it, we all give and take.  Inspiration arrives in my blog reader from you all every day!

BUT, here's the one thing - please give credit. If you have a blog and you'll be sharing this quilt-along, please add this button to your sidebar or your posts.  And, if you do make the quilt to sell or give-away, consider adding a little reference to Stitched in Color.  That'd be so nice!

Here is the html code for adding the {Colorbrick} a beginner's Quilt-Along button to your website:

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.stitchedincolor.com/p/colorbrick-beginners-quilt-along.html" title="{Colorbrick} a beginner's Quilt-Along"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4144/4993497661_ee6fe0affd_m.jpg" alt="{Colorbrick} a beginner's Quilt-Along" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Again, I am soooooooo excited that you want to play along.  Can't wait to see your creations!

Sincerely,

Rachel

P.S.  I have made a new page in the menu up top called  "Colorbrick Quilt-Along" so that you can easily find all quilt-along posts, our Flickr group and the button.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before and After.

Before...


My sewing notions, fabric scraps and embroidery supplies live together on this side of the cabinet.  Not so pretty, eh?  Not functional either.  I've had embroidery skeins dump out on the floor on more than one occasion.

New Crewel Thread!

Thanks to some birthday money, a rainbow of Appleton Crewel Wool arrived in my mailbox today!

a pretty Liberty box

I figured it deserved a nice home, so I sought out this pretty Liberty of London box from Target and some other supplies to reorganize that cabinet.

Bamboo Drawer Keeper

A bamboo drawer organizer was the main prize.  It has a deep lower level and a removeable and slideable upper level for little things. I'm glad to have my rarely-used/backup notions and other random crafting supplies in a non-plastic and more handy home.   And, yes, I did specify "non-plastic."  While plastic has its uses, I always prefer to look and handle wood and cloth.  Obviously just a nicety; but, hey, that's what birthday money is for!  I like that it's open on top so I can just grab what I need (which is usually just thread) without removing it from my cabinet.

Layers of organization

and After.

After

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

drumroll please....

Guess what I wore to church on Sunday?

Oh, yes, my skirt!  It's the first clothing item I've made from scratch, so you'll have to forgive me for being a bit proud.  And, surprised.  As in, "Really, I made that?  From... fabric?"  Duh.  And, don't forget the zipper and thread. 

Natura Skirt finished!

Nope, I can't hide it, I'm still amazed.

As I feared, it was pretty tricky to get the hem straight.  I was nervous that I would have to cut off too much of the printed fabric (Natura by Alexander Henry), which is why I planned on a peak-a-boo lining.  It was a happy accident that the lining was a few shades darker than then neutral I used for the waistband.  Ya!  In the end I decided to be happy with a straight-enough-hem.  And that's the nice thing about sewing for myself.

and a pumpkin.  because it's fall.I started this skirt at the Skirting Couture workshop with Anna Maria Horner.  Anna suggested a gather at the rate of 2 times the circumference of the yoke (the part where the gathers are attached).  For my body, it's too much fabric right at the hips.  Next time, I'll cut fabric at 1.5 times the circumference of the waist band and try gathering at the front and back, but not at the hips.  My favorite (now Alabama Chanin-afide) gray skirt is gathered like that and it's soooo flattering!


Hello, pumpkin! Our garden is a pumpkin maze. Today is officially the first day of fall... but I think it's about 90 degrees out. Sigh...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Shipping {for 10 fat quarters}

Still shopping for your Colorbrick Quilt fabric?  Take a look at Sew Love Fabrics.  When you buy 10 or more fat quarters,  put the word "Colorbrick" in the notes to seller when you checkout to get free shipping on orders to the US or $5 off international orders.  Sew Love Fabrics will refund/adjust your shipping when she processes your order.

And, speaking of Ruth's happy little store, look what I just helped my friend order!

Far Far Away 2


Yep, I'm living vicariously through her, since I have no excuse to indulge in this linen-cotton goodness.  She's prewashing this selection of Far Far Away 2 by Heather Ross right now in preparation for her very first quilt. We picked out 4 coordinating solids for a simple 10" square design. It's for her daughter's bed...

Rapunzel on Natural


And, guess what? Her daughter, Isabelle, happens to have red hair just like Rapunzel on Natural.  How lucky is she?  I would SO love to be a red head!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hexagon Tree for do. Good Stitches

Look, look!  I had such fun making this:

Hexagon Tree Block


It's my block for the Love circle of do. Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee.  This month, Ara Jane asked us for tree blocks on white.  My head was spinning with so much freedom until I landed on a bowl full of hexagons that have been languishing in my kitchen...


I arranged the hexagons randomly on a white block and then sketched the tree trunks and branches in between with pencil.  Then, I removed the hexagons and machine stitched the outline of the trunk and branches in medium brown thread.  The idea to fill in the tree with free-form stitching came from Meg's book "Sew Liberated".  She makes some cool tree pillows with trunks like these.  Meg suggested free motion stitching using a stabilizer fabric underneath.  After some trial and error, I decided not to mess with stabilizer or free motion.  I stitched this with a simple clear presser foot.  It was quick and fun!  Last I machine appliqued the hexagons in place.


Fun Stitching!


But, guess what, I need to make TWO blocks!  Hmm... what to do next?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Colorbrick: Materials List

This post is part of a series {Colorbrick} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!


Your finished Colorbrick quilt will measure 52.5" x 67".

Materials List

Materials you'll want right away:

-10 fat quarters for printed "bricks"

-Neutral solid for sashing & binding.  Choose
  • 1 ¾ yard of 59” wide linen (available here) OR

  • 2 yards of 43/44/45” fabric (such as Kona Cotton or Essex Linen/Cotton)

-Neutral solid for backing.  Choose
  • 2 yards of 59” wide linen (available here) OR
  • 3 yards of 43/44/55” fabric (such as Kona Cotton or Essex Linen/Cotton)

-Rotary Cutter Setup (cutting mat, rotary cuter and quilter's ruler)

-High quality machine-stitching thread, such at Gutermann, Sulky or Metler.  Cotton suggested.  I used a solid neutral Gutermann thread for the piecing and this golden/yellow variegated Gutermann thread for the quilting.

Materials you'll need by Oct 26th:

-55 x 69” wool or cotton blanket for batting or twin sized purchased batting that allows for quilting up to 10 inches apart.

-Basting pins or Spray Adhesive

-Walking Foot attachment highly recommended.  My machine doesn't have a built-in walking foot, so I purchased an attachment that does the job.  Without a walking foot, your sewing machine pulls fabric from the bottom only.  When you're sewing a thick quilt, this uneven feeding will easily cause puckers and bunching.  A walking foot pulls the fabric from the top as well.  I promise it will come in handy on countless projects!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Colorbrick: Choosing Fabrics

This post is part of a series {Colorbrick} a Beginner's Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you're not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

I cannot tell you how excited I am that so many of you want to participate!  I am completely honored.  Well, I can tell you're ready to get started!  Let's talk about the part that makes us all giddy...

Choosing Your Prints


You'll need at least 10 fat quarters to complete the Colorbrick Quilt.  But, guess what, you can use more if you like!  I'm using these 13 fat quarters from the Modern Meadow collection by Joel Dewberry (found here and here).
for {Colorbrick} Quilt-Along

So, how did I choose?  I am making this quilt for my sister, who wants a quilt with navy, wine and burnt orange.  At first I tried to piece these colors together from different lines.  But, since I shop on the internet for fabric, that is pretty darn hard.  Modern Meadow had some great prints in my sister's preferred colors.  And, the beauty of using a designer's collection is that you can trust it to match (one wine and another, for example) and to coordinate (this navy harmonizes well with the orange).  Off to a good start!  Next, I added in some brown prints for a neutral.  So far this quilt was looking pretty dark (navy, wine, burnt orange, bark brown).  To give it more variety in value I added the lightest brown herringbone and some aqua blue prints (a color favored by her husband).

At this point, I was pretty happy with my selections.  I had 11 fat quarters.  After settling on making the Colorbrick style, I tried to pinpoint what makes me love this quilt so much.

At home

And I decided, that what I love most is the way the colors dance as the eye is drawn from brick to brick.  How does that happen?  It's because of the wide variety of colors and value in the quilt (all thanks to Anna Maria Horner, of course!).  So... I opted to add 2 Modern Meadow yellow prints to keep the navy, wine, orange, aqua and brown company.  A fuller spectrum of the rainbow = happy color dance!  Done.

So, as you go about choosing your fabrics, here are my main thoughts:

Using a Designer's Collection is a smart and convenient choice, especially if you're shopping online.  The designer has done most of the work for you!

If Piecing Together from Different Collections shop in person or search Flickr for more pictures of the fabrics you are considering for more accurate coordinating.  Some ideas for color inspiration - a favorite color in all it's many hues, a pair of colors (blue/green, pink/orange, etc.)  or gray with any color (especially with mustard, purple or berry).

For a Color Dance look to represent all but 1-2 main colors (my Modern Meadow selections lack green and purple) or the complete rainbow.  Go light on neutral prints in grays or browns.

Consider Scale.  Each printed rectangle will finish at 5.25 x 9.5".  This is fairly large block, and serves large prints like the Modern Meadow tree well.  Medium scale prints are very effective.  Small prints like a small dot, tiny floral or thin stripe will give the quilt a more "simple" look.  I prefer a mix of large and medium scale prints.

Consider Variety.  Quilting fabric collections usually include a variation of dot, stripe and floral.  That's because a variety of print types adds to the fun.  If you're a classic type of gal, you may like an interpretation like Nicey JaneMeadowsweet is more vintage.  Good Folks (which I used on the original Colorbrick quilt) has a folksy flair and Urban Circus is completely playful.  But, if you look closely, they generally include a version of dot, stripe and floral.

Use Value.  Aim for a mix of light, mid and dark value prints.  Don't know about value?  See this post.  A quilt made up in one value can be a little flat and boring.  Don't worry overmuch here, it's not rocket science.  If you like it - great!

Choosing Your Solid

The Colobrick quilt is sashed and backed in a solid neutral.  Since the sashing is the grout, I suggest a neutral brown, white or pale gray.  The quilt has a solid backing in the same neutral as the sashing, which keeps things simple (beginner quilt, remember?) and showcases the stair-step quilting design.
Quilting

I ♥ Linen!  Natural linen is what I used on the original Colorbrick and it's what I'll be using this time too.  Fabric-Store.com is a great source for linen that's nice and wide, so that you don't have to piece the back at all.  I'll be using the IL019 in Natural, which is just $5.97 a yard!  If you purchase your linen from Fabric-Store.com, choose from any of the colors in the IL019 line, since it's a medium weight linen and all colors are 59" wide.  You'll need 3 3/4 yards of linen, but you'll have to buy 4 yards, since they only cut full yards.

Most fabrics are not manufactured at 59" wide.  The standard width is 44 or 45" wide.  Kona Cotton is 44/45" wide and Essex Linen/Cotton Blend is 43" wide.  If you buy your neutral in any of these widths you'll need to buy 5 yards total.  Sew Fresh Fabrics, who is a great source of both Kona and Essex, is offering my readers free shipping on an order of $30 or more.  Just note that you are participating in the Colorbrick Quilt-Along and they will refund your shipping fees within 48 hours! A nice white is Kona SnowKona Ash is a well-loved light gray.  And, at this listing you can compare Kona Stone and Natural.  Essex Cotton/Linen in Natural is lighter and grayer than most natural linen.  But, it is the neutral I used hereEssex Putty is a darker neutral shade.  And, Essex comes in white too.

Linen, Kona Cotton or Essex Linen/Cotton? I'll be honest - linen is not as easy to work with as cotton.  It tends to be a little shifty when cutting and sewing.  For me, it's worth it because I love the look and texture.  It's so natural, so earthy.  Essex is a linen/cotton blend precisely designed to marry the beauty of linen with the ease of sewing on cotton.  It is as easy as Kona to work with, but not as pretty as linen in my opinion.  Honestly, not as pretty by far.  Some suggest using starch to prevent linen from shifting while cutting/sewing.

If You Buy Linen from Fabric-Store.com remember that you need only 4 yards.  Your fabric is so wide that you won't have to stitch together a backing at all.  One large piece will do the trick!

If You Buy Essex Linen/Cotton or Kona remember that you need 5 yards of fabric.  Also, your quilt is wider than this fabric, so you will have the piece together a quilt backing that is big enough.  This doesn't have to be difficult, but it is one more step.  To avoid a random-seam-line appearance, I'll recommend that you piece together 1 row of 5 bricks to span the backing with solid on each side.

Phew!!!  A complete materials list will be posted tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nest & Kona Cotton Winner!

Lucky commenter #75 - Lynn D in North Carolina.  Lucky duck!  You'll receive the Nest by Valori Wells fat quarter set and fat quarters of your chosen Konas:  aqua, stone, tangerine and peridox.

Make us proud now and stitch them up!

Many thanks again to Sew Fresh Fabrics for this generous giveaway.

{Colorbrick} a beginner's Quilt-Along

Colorbrick Quilt-Along

Are you ready to make your first quilt?  Nervous?  Don't know where to start?  Join me for a quilt-along perfect for beginner quilters.

I'll be posting step-by-step directions for how to make my Colorbrick quilt.  It's definitely my favorite quilt so far and so easy to make.  Large pieces come together quickly, but the effect is more interesting than a simple block quilt.

You CAN do this!  Come on - there's no time like the present to get started!
Colorbrick Quilt

We'll start cutting the first week of October.  So, that leaves you two weeks to get your fabric in hand.  Don't dawdle now!  You'll need:
  • 10 Fat Quarters (prints for the bricks)
  • a Solid Neutral for sashing and backing

So start dreaming about what you might use.  Here's our Quilt-Along post line up with approximate dates:
  1. Choosing Fabrics & Materials List
  2. Prewash & Press Fabrics
  3. Rotary Cutting 101
  4. Cutting! Fat Quarters become Bricks
  5. Cutting! the Long & Short of Sashing
  6. Chain Piecing
  7. Musical Bricks
  8. Hello Quilt Top!
  9. How to Spray Baste your Quilt
  10. Quilting Along the Lines
  11. Making Quilt Binding
  12. Easiest Machine Binding

You can easily have your Colorbrick quilt done in time for Christmas, even if you hit a few bumps along the way!

Are you going to join us?  Yahoo!  Please consider joining our group on Flickr! It's a fun way to stay connected, share what you're making and discuss questions on an open forum.

P.S.  Are you wondering if you're ready to quilt?  I'll be assuming you know how to sew a straight line with your sewing machine.  That's pretty much it.  So, minimal sewing experience is recommended.  We will be using a rotary cutter too.  If you don't already own a set up, see my suggestions under "Rotary Cutter Extras" on the Get Started Supply List.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One Night Stand

I need to finish...

* My Anna Maria Horner skirt - it only needs hemming!

* The do. Good Stitches Red & Aqua Sampler charity quilt - just received my Kona snow from Sew Fresh Fabrics for the backing.

* My Christmas Tree skirt - I'm done piecing the top (and WOW!).  Now, should I bind it or just sew right sides together and turn right side out?

Christmas Tree Skirt Piecing


Of course, I didn't work on any of those projects last night. Nope.  I decided to indulge in a quick finish, a one-night stand as it were.



Cross Blocks for do. Good Stitches
These cross blocks are for another do. Good Stitches quilt, this time for the faith circle.  Ahhhh, so easy!  Tutorial here.


What do you need to finish?

Aria's pincushion


P.S.  Speaking of finishes, look what my 5-year-old just finished!  It's a little froggie pincushion.  She wanted me to share it with you :).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fabric Giveaway! from Sew Fresh Fabrics

And now, let's celebrate YOUR birthday, whenever it is, with a fabric giveaway!  Because I know you want fabric for your birthday, right?

My new sponsor, Sew Fresh Fabrics, is gifting a fat quarter set from Nest by Valori Wells and your favorite 4 Kona colors!  Here is the fat quarter set, including from top to bottom:  Paisley in Autumn, Birds in Pink, Birds in Twig and Berries in Tangerine.

Nest by Valori Wells


Don't you just love the birds?  I can't seem to get enough of them.  Here's another view of this fat quarter set:


Fat Quarter Nest + Kona Giveaway


But that's not all...  The winner will also receive 4 fat quarters of Kona Cotton, because you know that Sew Fresh Fabrics is all about the Kona.


Prints + Solids = You'll be ready to sew!


Enter to Win!

For your chance to win, comment here telling us which 4 Kona Cotton Solids you'd choose to coordinate with this lovely set of Nest. Just click right over to Kona Cotton at Sew Fresh Fabrics to find your favorites!

For a second entry, blog about this giveaway and make a second comment to record your entry.

Enter now through noon (EST) Thursday, September 16th.  Winner will be announced Thursday afternoon!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Me.



On my birthday weekend, I though I'd share a little about me.  You know, the me that exists beyond sewing, the "in real life" Rachel, so to speak.  And, if you don't want to humor me, y'all just come back next time, K?

Here we go...



Me, I'm intense.  I do pretty much everything all-the-way and 100% IN.  That started with ballet at age 4.  I was quite the serious ballerina-to-be until I quit my senior year of high school.  I mean like, dancing 6 days a week and planning to forgo having kids because they'd get in the way of my dancing - that kind of serious.  Thank goodness that didn't come to be!


I graduated high school at age 16, the same year I quit ballet.  Yes, I was a bit young for a valedictorian.  I seem to have been raised under the premise that earlier/younger is better.  Not true.  I'm really not particularly smart, just hard working.  I truly enjoy work.  I'm said to be "productivity oriented" (which may explain my energy for sewing, eh?).  For me school was an approval-winning bonanza, at least with my teachers.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity in later years to pursue an education that really meant something to me when I audited religious studies courses at Westmont, a Christian college in Santa Barbara.

Because, yes, my faith certainly means something to me.  It's difficult to know how to express that here.  My life is made meaningful, vibrant and hope-filled because of what Jesus is for me.  And God's had His hands is all my life's great turning points, from quitting ballet to starting Euphoria, and in the small things too, like inspiring me to begin do. Good Stitches.


I married my husband at 18. Sheesh!  I was waaaaay too young, though my husband (who had just turned 20) still maintains that he was ready.  I was so not grown up.  I'd just been charging forward on the "fast track" of life and since I'd hopped off the ballerina train, I was finding a new direction.  Those first few years were painful for me.  I'm so glad that my faith and my friends sustained me because my marriage and my family are the most precious aspects of my life today.


Having kids changes everything.  At 22 I became a mother, at home.  Our natural home birth was the beginning for us of a very "crunchy"  journey.  And, now, we're bonafide "weird" - especially since we moved from our native California to South Carolina.  Yes, I shop local and organic, wash my face with oil and even drink raw milk.  I suppose you could say we're free thinkers. But, for all the renouncing we've done, we're also embracing the good old ways:  gardening, homeschooling, and establishing simple family traditions.



So, who am I today?  Confident.  Sometimes I feel like I could do anything (anything but machine quilting, that is).  Busy. Mom, entrepreneur, teacher, artist, friend.  Fulfilled.  Life is sweeter than I could have ever imagined.  Creative.  Which is a new one for me to claim.  Restless.  I dance once a week, but it's not enough.  Energized.  By each chance to create.  Thankful.  For you, for God, for all the dear souls in my life.

I really like sewing.  And, I really like blogging.  So, I think I'll be here for awhile.  Thanks for having me.
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