Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the Random

Are you one of those people who can do the  messy-but-fabulous hair updo?  I'm not.  I've tried, believe me, but I feel completely undone with my hair all "whatever".

I think this applies to piecing.

Color, color.

The other night I pulled out my bin of strip scraps to make a set of string blocks for this month's do. Good Stitches "love" circle.  Chris asked for blocks that were very colorful and eclectic.  I made my first block with an "anything goes" mentality, forcing myself not to edit the placement of the strips.  If a scrap was long enough to fit, I stitched it in.  And, gosh, it wasn't fun.  Oh, and there are parts that I don't much like either!

String blocks for do. Good Stitches

For my second block (on the right), I gave in to intentional placements.  I still used only scraps from my bin rather than dipping into any new yardage.  Much better!

So, I guess this is just to say that free, random piecing isn't for me.  At least, it wasn't last night.  I suppose that one of the things I like the bestest about sewing is creating a composition of color and pattern.  Allowing things to fall into any random place steals some of the fun.

Hope you get to stitch today!  Besides making the living room curtains (which I'm desperately trying to avoid) I'll be starting on some new embroidery projects soon.  Ya!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Garden Party Purse!

Something frivolous. 

Patchwork Purse in Progress

Something I've been waiting to make...

Garden Party Purse

After busting through all of those Christmas gifts, I so enjoyed making something for me. This "fan purse" from Patchwork Style is a delightful way to play with my little stash of Garden Party (courtesy of Mary - thanks again!!!)

Garden Party Purse (other side

I threw in a few Innocent Crush prints too. Anna's collection mesh so well together! I truly adore the lively saturation in these prints.

Garden Party Purse

Decided to skipped the leather handles suggested in the book for linen ones made from scrap. The purse has two roomy pockets and magnetic snap closure.

Stitched in Color

I even like how my fabric transfer tag came out... just wish I had planned the snap placement better. I did the other side first and then this snap landed partially on the tag. Oops.

Garden Party Purse

As I finished it up, I decided that these fabrics are truly some of my favorites. Since Garden Party is becoming rather hard to find, I really should stock up.

Garden Party Purse from Patchwork Style

Darn.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winner, Thanksgiving & Dr. Seuss!

My goodness - lots of plummy purple lovers out there!  I so agree. It's nice to see purple come in to it's own lately. Well, I wish you all could win Khristian A. Howell's High Society but....

High Society Fat Quarter Giveaway!

the winner of this pretty fabric stack is Heather Nevits, entry 39. I've emailed you, Heather!

For the rest of us purple-hungry people, Sew Fresh Fabrics will be stocked in High Society sometime this coming week. They're offering free shipping on $35+ orders through the end of December, so keep that in mind too.

I am back at the sewing machine today after a 3 day break.  Really, 3 days with no sewing!  How did I manage that?  Well, we had some dear childhood friends and their three beautiful children come stay with us for Thanksgiving.  The days were filled with happy children and the nights with Settlers of Catan (a fairly addictive board game).

Sunday Stash #74
photo by Red Pepper Quilts

Then yesterday I couldn't help but scour fabric stores online for Black Friday deals.  I bought some Shot Cotton for a shower curtain I'm planning and restocked my stash of Garden Party by Anna Maria Horner.  I'm still working on an order of Dr. Seuss fabrics for Liam's bed quilt.  Although we totally avoid characters in our home, I'm thinking that Cat in the Hat may be a worthy exception.  Do you like the Seuss collection? I really appreciate the basic stripes and dots shown above.

photo by Fabric Fascination


Maybe a log cabin style quilt with large centers to showcase the picture prints?  Liam has funky furniture from Ikea (the malmut line) that always has reminded me of Dr. Seuss.  Add that to sweet memories of my Daddy reading Dr. Seuss and I guess this fabric line had me from the get go.  I was planning on a values quilt for Liam's bed, but this seams much more fun for him, you know?  Of course, he loves it!  Let me know if you have any suggestions for quilt designs. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hide & Seek Spectrum Quilt from Handmade Beginnings

in our woods

If you're going to buy one sewing book for baby gifts, it really must be Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner.  Really.  REALLY.  I can't say enough for this book.  Chock full of beautiful, beautiful projects, and many of them adaptable for non-baby-related gifts (slippers, pillow, purse, wall decor).  Add to that the spiral hardback design, generous photographs, and copious use of Anna's fabrics, sigh... a big "thanks" to Wiley Publishing for sending me a review copy!


Several mama friends are expecting new babies (lucky ducks).  I'm glad to get to share in the fun by stitching baby gifts.  I totally missed the wave with my kids - didn't sew back then. So, now's my chance!!!   I asked Bethany to look through Handmade Beginnings to see if she liked anything.  I was beside myself when she pointed out the Hide & Seek Spectrum Quilt.  It's one of my very favorite ideas in the book!

for Hide & Seek Spectrum Quilt

Anna's Hide & Seek Spectrum Quilt is very rainbow hued, but Bethany wanted one a little "off".  Mustard yellow was a requirement (I changed out the yellow shown in the above picture for a true mustard) and I knew she'd favor a brown center block over a black one.  So, between solids in my stash and solids added from Sew Fresh Fabrics, here's my materials list for the dark and light solids:

Brown:  Kona sable and Kona wheat or taupe
Yellow:  Kona Curry and Kona Mustard
Orange:  Kona Amber and Freebird Ovals in Melon
Red:  Kona Wine and Kona Pomagranate
Pink:  Kona Cerise and Good Folks Filigree
Purple:  Kona Eggplant and Kona Lupine
Blue:  Kona Surf and Little Folks Diamond Mine
Teal: Kona Emerald and Kona Sage
Green:  Kona Peridot and Good Folks Filigree

Hide & Seek Spectrum Quilt

So, I did sneak in a few (mostly) tonal prints in place of some of the lighter solids.  These were fabrics I had in my stash already and felt would work well.  I think the result is not distracting, but I'm not quite sure if I want to use all solids next time.  What do you think?  Is it fun or distracting?

Pompei

Yes, there has to be a next time!

Sunlit Cerise

The only thing I will do differently next time, as per the construction, is to cut the fabric, flip-open doors to be wider than the peek-a-boo blocks underneath.  Anna Maria Horner designed the doors and printed blocks to be exactly the same size, which made for fussing sewing when lining up the doors so that they perfectly covered the prints when closed.  Just cutting the doors half an inch larger will make that step easy.  

Rainbow Stitches

Quilting this rainbow was thoroughly enjoyable.  I used up some threads too, which means I get to restash in shiny new Gutermann.

Gift quilts <3

Two happy quilts ready to go to new homes this December!

all these pretty things

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

High Society Fabric Giveaway!


Have you seen Khristian A. Howell's High Society?  It's a collection that caught my eye when it released this fall.  The safari color story (at the left) is totally "me" with those warm mustards, cozy browns, cool greys and flecks of red.

Orbs from High Society

I immediately loved these orbs (would like them in every color please)

Zinnias & Chrysanthemums from High Society

and these mod florals.

High Society Fat Quarter Sets

Only, for some reason I'm not seeing this collection around much.  Have you?  When Khristian contacted me to ask for help with a giveaway, I was more than happy to oblige.  She sent me a fat quarter stack of the safari colorway and the Victoria too.   I'm gonna go with my first instinct and keep the safari.  In person, it was a hard call because the plums and limey greens in the Victoria stack are quite yummy.  And, it's hard to find a good purple, you know?  But, it's not for me - it's for you!

High Society Victoria colors

8 Fat Quarter Set of High Society in Victoria.


Samples made by Hey Baby Studio!

To enter, just add your comment here!  Winner to be chosen and announced Saturday, November 27th.  I'm giving a lot of time to enter since people in the States are busy this week with Thanksgiving.  Enter by noon on Saturday!


P.S.  Check out this color story Khristian is working on for her next collection.  Love!

Monday, November 22, 2010

on my mind

Lately, I've been thinking about crochet.  You see, crochet was my first.  Way back before it was time for us to have babies, I began crocheting baby whatnots as a young married.  Oh, it was funny!  Sure, I made some nice blankets and and an adorable lamb, but some of the stuff I turned out....  Actually, I should show you some pictures sometime just for laughs.

Over time I began to think of crochet as an "uncool" craft as I was besotted by knitting wonder after knitting wonder.  Last fall I took up knitting and whipped up a few scarves.  I'm glad I "can" knit, but I lament the number of needles I'd need to imbibe deeply in knitting.

This is what's brought me back to crochet:

*Inspiration* in Modern Crochet


1. ziggy, 2. making me smile, 3. jar full of goodness, 4. Summer Granny, 5. Sunburst Blanket II, 6. j o i n i n g, 7. granny's a square!, 8. Joelle's Giant Granny Square, 9. for scale

So, obviously, crochet can be quite cool.  And, to me, it is easier than knitting. They say it's always just whichever you learn first.

I knew that come this time of year I'd want to play with yarn again. But, therein lies another obstacle - yarn.  I have this gigantic plastic tub (I hate those plastic tubs) of nasty, Red Heart yarn and other acrylics.  Sorry to hurt any feelings, but this stuff just doesn't do it for me after seeing delectable balls of warm, sunny wool.  When I took up crochet so long ago, I didn't have standards in crafting materials.  It was big box store or nothing.  I did dip my fingers into some yarn at a specialty boutique back in the day, in order to make myself a really nice poncho (hahahahahahahahah!) which I promise never to wear.

Wall of Yarn

Ok, so where does this leave me?  1.  Must donate yarn bucket.  2.  Feel naughty buying new yarn when I'm giving away "serviceable" stuff.  3.  Don't know what "good" yarn to buy.  4.  I think I'll make a blanket?  5.  Added Cascade 220 to my Amazon wish list because people/books seem to like it.  6.  Doubt I will get any for Christmas.  7.  Have issues with spending my meager monies on anything but fabric (and am saving up for The Sewing Summit). 

If you could put in your 2 cents on what is a good quality, but not incredibly expensive yarn, that would be most welcome.  Maybe I'll get up the guts to buy some.  I know I want wool or a wool blend, and I think washable would be good (oops is cascade washable?)  I imagine (which means very little, really) that I'll make a blanket like this one.  I have no expectations of whipping this out this year, but maybe in a year or so...  I'd just like something to work with my hands on these cold nights.  Something to take up now and then when the mood strikes.

Gestation

I'll leave you with this snapshot of my work kitchen table last night.  It's a lovely little essay on "Gestation" in crafting by Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity.  "It is all too easy to announce, if only to myself, the impending arrival of a creation, only to let it gestate well beyond its due date.  So I try to set realistic targets that won't interfere with the normal patterns of domestic life..." (pg 94). 

I think my first target is to sort and donate my old yarns.  Maybe that'll give life to this desire to acquire some new ones.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Staycation Sewing

Happy Mail from Sew Love Fabrics!

Happy Fabric Mail!

From left to right:  Hop Dot in Olive, Lindy Leaf in Green,  Henna Garden in Leaf, Vintage Paisley in Seaside, Happy Butterfly in Maize, Happy Butterfly in Pumpkin, and Maybe in Tangerine, from the collections Nicey Jane, Meadowsweet and Innocent Crush.  My stash was lacking in green, yellow and orange prints.

Love the Charm Squares!

And, Lindy Leaf in Pink,  Henna Garden in Speckle, Henna Garden in Raspberry, Buttoned up in Plum and charm squares from the newly released Parisville and a velveteen from Innocent Crush!  Did you know that Ruth sends charm squares with fabric orders?  Sew fun!

Rainbow Quilting

On Friday morning, I ogled the new fabric a bit and then got busy quilting the Hide & Seek Spectrum baby quilt.  Pure pleasure!  Don't you adore the rainbow effect on the white muslin backing?  I have lots of pretty photos to show, but those will have to wait for their own post!

a gift set

Next I worked on some potholders I've been slooooowly making just because the scraps from the Modern Meadow Colorbrick quilt demanded to be used.  I would have finished them on Friday, but freemotion quilting got in the way.

I forced myself to try freemotion for the first time. I did the wavy design that Shelly used to make my sewing machine cover. After lots of quality time with my seam ripper, I got one potholder quilted "good enough." And, then, I admitted to myself that I hated the wavy design on this way-geometric potholder. So, hours of picking out thread later, a simple squared-off spiral it is.  These are a Christmas present for someone I love.

Potholders in Modern Meadow

And, there's more! Here's another pair of slightly larger potholders destined for another home near me. The inspiration for this set was the binding-making process. You know how when you piece two binding strips together you end up with little triangles of fabric when you cut the diagonal seam down to a 1/4" seam allowance? Those little triangles wanted to play! Scrappy binding = scrappy potholder.

from Binding-making scraps =)

Here are the backings.

Potholder Backing

This set is going to be a hard one for me to part with. See how it matches my home?

Hmm... the match my home so well...

So, as I was saying... finished those potholders Saturday morning. Next up was another Christmas gift - a Noel bunting.

Noel Bunting

Months ago I found a Christmasy fairy fabric that totally reminded me of someone on my gift list. It's a fairy panel from Flower Fairies by Michael Miller.

Holly Fairy

The fabric is a wee bit traditional, but I think that touches of Funky Christmas by Michael Miller and Amy Butler's full moons give it a fresh look.

the Christmas Tree Fairy

I used red velvet from our old Christmas Tree skirt to back and trim the fairy flags. Pretty, but quite a pain to work with. Give me crisp quilting cotton please!

Noel Fairy Bunting

Ok, so the tally so far for my child-free staycation is 1 quilt, 4 potholders and 1 Noel bunting - all gifts! Sounds pretty good, right? I'm thinking that after I finish up a non-sewing project this afternoon, I may get started on something completely frivolous for myself!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Your Colorbricks!

Finished Colorbrick Quilt Top
by .:Tree:.


IMG_7708
by Spledor Falls

Colorbrick in progress
by kldemare


IMG_4754
by handstitch-d

colorbrick quilt-along
by Elizabeth McTague

Colorbrick Quilt Top
by BlueberryChick

Color Brick Quilt Along
by SixTwentySeventh

So delightful to see your creations coming together! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you all.
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