Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rainbows for good!

I know - rainbows again!  Sorry, folks, I'm on a roll.

Over at do. Good Stitches {a virtual charity bee} April is my month to lead the quilt for the Faith circle.  We're going to make a rainbow quilt, a big one!  This will be a blessing to a single mom of 4 kids (ages K and under) who receives assistance from my church for financial needs.  She has all girls!  A rainbow quilt will be just the thing next time the house gets a wee bit chilly, don't you think?

*Inspiration* in Rainbows
::inspiration:: in rainbows

1. Little Folks Baby Quilt, 2. Rainbow Wave, 3. Mosaic Pincushion, 4. { patchwork pouch }, 5. Sonnenschein, 6. Baby quilt - for baby William, 7. Rainbow Squares Quilt, 8. Joseph's Coat Pillow - it's done!, 9. SG quilt progress report


I'm asking each member of our circle to make rainbow blocks of random sizes and styles.  I'll scatter the finished blocks as if they're "floating" over a solid or black/white printed background (like this), OR I'll connect them together and surround them by a large sea of background fabric (like this).  Having a variety in block sizes is totally key, so feel free to make 1 really large block, 2 mid-sized blocks or 2-3 tiny blocks - or a combination of sizes! 

Here are some paramenters:

*colors should say "rainbow", so saturated is good!  Please avoid pastels, neutrals (black/brown/gray) and dusty colors.
*large and mid-sized blocks should contain the full rainbow spectrum.
*small blocks can contain all colors OR contain only several colors so long as they are adjacent to eachother on the color wheel (examples: red/pink/purple, yellow/green/blue, etc.).  Please do not use contrasting schemes that "skip" colors such as red/blue or yellow/purple. 
*your blocks may use the same patchwork design or differing designs.
*if your design needs a neutral, please use a true white (not off-whites such as Kona snow).

Stacked Rainbows - block layout

I've made my first block!  It's a style you'll recognize from the inspiration mosaic above.  I started by cutting 1.75" x 9" strips of prints and then setting them out in a stairstep design.  Next, I cut white strips to to fill in the gaps.  

a practically perfect moment

While I chain-pieced the strips into loooong strips, look at what was happening at the other end of the table...

all of us, in color

A practically perfect moment - all of us, in color!

Oh, did you notice the laundry basket abandoned in the background?  I'm not one to let such obligations interrupt when there's a good thing going on! 

Stacked Rainbows

Here's the finished block! It measures about 18" x 15". I'll also make a 1-2 tiny patchwork blocks with 1" solid squares in the coming days!  I can't wait to see what the rest of my circle makes.  But, even more, I can't wait to play with all of these rainbow blocks at the end of the month!

Oh, I also wanted to share that due to your enthusiasm, we were able to open TWO more circles of do. Good Stitches as of April 1st!  One will benefit seriously ill children through Project Linus and the other will benefit foster kids through My Very Own Blanket.  That's a total of 8 circles now - one for every month since our bee began!  A big thanks to all involved, especially my wonderful circle hosts.  Growth would not be possible without the leadership of each of you! THANK-YOU!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

easy.

Thanks to our recent trip to Ikea Atlanta, my husband is remodeling our master bedroom closet!  It was a relic from the 60's that far from fit our needs.  Ikea is great for affordable organizing solutions!  So, on Monday everything came OUT of our closet.  Now our things are in our bedroom, in the living room, everywhere.  Please don't stop by (wink).

As part of the mass exodus, that huge naked pillow form was plunked in our dining room, where it wouldn't stop shouting for attention.  Last night I set about choosing fabrics, but I couldn't land on a combination that didn't seem like "too much" with my Snip Snip Values pillow that currently resides on the couch.  Mr. Huge pillow was to go with Snip Snip, where Mr. Huge will provide ample support for lengthy handiwork sessions.  Ahem.

today I made....

All at once I remembered this ultra-cool Ikea fabric (circa 2005) that I bought a few years, way back before I could sew.  I had planned to have it made into a curtain.  But, obviously, it was destined for my couch.  I liked the bold, oversized print with our couch and with Snip Snip. And, best of all, my husband liked it too!

And then I pondered - what could I add to it?  If not patchwork, at least binding?  Or hand-stitched embellishments?  Something?!?!?! 

a workhorse pillow.

I fought it, but in the end I decided that some things are supposed to be easy.  Made it this morning.  And I love it!  Best of all, you can squish it or leave it on the floor or even walk on it - I won't even flinch!   So here's for workhorse pillows!

rather invisible zipper

I hadn't sewn an invisible zipper for a few months, so I referenced my Invisible Zipper tutorial.  Easy peasy. If you want to learn zippers, this is a great way to start.  All you need is a normal zipper foot (which probably came with your machine) and an "invisible" zipper from the store.  Let me know if you have any questions!

simple is good.

After all that, I did a little rearranging.  Don't these three look nice together?  Snip Snip is now residing on our big red chair.  I think he may be a loaner after all...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Raspberry Block}

This post is part of a series Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt along}. You can join in anytime. We're going at a leisurely pace and using up our scraps! Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Hello, bright raspberry pink! 

Raspberry Bottled Rainbows

This block makes me smile - the colors are so vibrant and upbeat.  This time I started by placing the large Amy Butler Soul Blossom square at the center. Then, I placed my scraps flowing outwards from that square, making sure to include a few angles as usual and a bit of a Lecien selvedge too!

Raspberry block

I love how puffy and soft each scrap feels one they're quilted. And now I have a very ::WARM:: set of Bottled Rainbows!

::WARM:: Bottled Rainbows

I'm trying to decide if I'll jump to the opposite corner to play with the blues and teals, or if I'm going to keep building on with adjacent blocks. Of course it doesn't really matter....  I guess I'll have to decide in the heat of the moment ;)

I hope you don't mind if I share another glimpse of spring.  I stopped in our driveway to take this snapshot of our front yard right from the driver's seat.  The effect is definitely out-of-focus.  But, if you look at it with some imagination, it's almost painterly. 

painterly beauty

I just can't get enough of gazing at the dogwoods in bloom. Dogwoods are my favorite tree, and they just so happen to grow wild in the forests of South Carolina.  The azalea are beginning to blossom too - it's almost painfully gorgeous!

Monday, March 28, 2011

March Favorites {Blogger's Pillow Party}

Folks, this was way too hard.  I mean, really unfair!  There were so many amazing pillows entered that narrowing them down to just nine was almost like flipping a coin.

I spent literally 3+ hours today going through all the entries for the March edition of Blogger's Pillow Party and then had to get help in choosing just nine.  So, if your pillow is not included and you just know it should be, please accept my humble apologies!  The good news is that Aneela, our judge this March, can choose any entry - she's not limited to my favorites here.

March Favorites {Blogger's Pillow Party}


1. Simply Jenna's pillow in It's a Hoot
2. Dottie Dresden by Quilty Obsession
3. Sketch Stitch Owl Pillow by Maureen Cracknell
4.  Chewy Giraffe's Garden Party pillow
5. Anthropologie-inspired Bloom by Harshes
6. Vintage Sheet Dresden Pillow from  In Color Order
7. Chloe's Watercolor Pillow by Little Miss Shabby
8. VW Bug by Clothwork
9. Spring Pillow by Quiltstory

Thank-you to everyone who participated.  I don't envy Aneela's job of choosing one winner to receive 5 yards of Sherbet Pips!  I'm sure you all deserve some!  Winner to be announced at Comfortstitching by the end of the month.  And then... another, final round of Blogger's Pillow Party!  Stay tuned for details...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {your creations}

What happens when 2 days include: a birthday party, bowling, baby shower, book club meeting, fruit-tree shopping, mini-orchard planting, and gardening on the side with my mom?  Yes, you guessed it - no sewing.  Or virtually none, anyways.  I have half of my Raspberry Bottled Rainbow block finished, but just now I decided to cry "Uncle" and take advantage of being 1 week ahead, technically, on our quilt-along. 

So, I am empty-handed today, my friends.  But to make up for last week's rainbow-less postings, I have for you some lovely images picked fresh from our Flickr group

First Four Rainbow blocks

Here's a set of blocks made by Katie of Katie's Korner. I love these colors together. Don't they feel like summer? Goodness, summer! Oh, please not yet (but, the colors are nice). The large flower in Katie's darker orange block is my very favorite feature, I think.  Also lovin that Sanctuary selvedge in the aqua block!

Blue has been going around like mad. Here's a set made by Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy:

Three bottled rainbows

She incorporated lots of Castle Peeps to accomplish her ocean block!  I appreciate her comfort level with  negative space.  The result is almost "shattered" in places.

Oh, and now that I'm thinking of "shattered", look at this:

Progress: Bottled Rainbows


Isn't it gorgeous!?!? So many tiny pieces! So saturated. YUM!!! This little masterpiece is the handiwork of Jacey of JaceyCraft.  Notice how the tiny pieces are mostly set to the one side while the opposite side has larger scraps.  Definitely creates a cool effect.

Ya know, one of the things that I like best about this quilt-along is how each artist is making the project her own.  If you scroll through the photos in our pool, you'll start to recognize the blocks by the artist.  Impera Magna's blocks have a symmetric formation that reminds me of complex quilt blocks, Angela/Cut to Pieces uses large scraps for a refreshingly simple look and Something Sewn uses so many small ones, but always in a tidy, organized fashion.  One thing I hear across the board is how absolutely soothing we're finding the process.   

Rainbow + Using Scraps + Ticker Tape = Easy, Fun.


Bottled Rainbows Quilt

I'm going to finish my Raspberry block up tonight, so I'll be sure to share it with you this week.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with this delightful image - the first complete Bottled Rainbow quilt top by miss Crystal of Sonnet of the Moon!  Congratulations, Crystal.  I think it's safe to speak for us all - we love it!

Bottled Rainbows Quilt

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love in Wonky Stars

our Carolina dogwood

I am so honored to present to you this quilt!  It represents the love of 10 women in 20 blocks, each as unique and delightfully "wonky" as ourselves.

Love in Wonky Stars with do. Good Stitches

This quilt top came together so quickly, it took me by surprise.  Before I knew it, it was time to quilt.  I chose a very PINK back, hoping to make some little girl smile...

a very PINK back!

The wonky stars are so angular, so playful they called for random straight-line quilting.  This was my first go at this technique.  I so highly recommend it!  It was easy, fast and truly fun.  I tend to get so nervous and worried about making mistakes when I quilt.  This design was all pleasure. 

Delightfully random

You can't seem my less than perfect lines much, even from the back.  I marked the lines with water soluble pencil on the quilt top, using a long quilting ruler.  They disappeared in the wash. 

hello spring!

made with the Love circle of do. Good Stitches. Thank-you to all who contributed blocks:

Melanie of Texas Freckles,
Ara Jane of you know what i love
Megan of Lucy & Norman
Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!
Lee of Freshly Pieced,
Mari of Pieces of Fab
Robin of Tip Toe Tango Quilts
Amanda of Little Cumulus,
Angela of  Cut to Pieces

Love in Wonky Stars with do. Good Stitches

You are all beautiful and talented women. It is a pleasure to stitch with you!

shades of red

This quilt will be off to Wrap them in Love on Monday of next week.  And I'm already looking forward to my turn to design our quilt again!

in Beauty

Wishing everyone the beauty and joy of spring!

xo, Rachel

Thursday, March 24, 2011

in Progress

y'all, basting pins are slow!

Y'all, basting pins are slow! Last night I ran out of basting spray mid-way through basting Love in Wonky Stars.

Love in Wonky Stars - basted.

So, trusty basting pins to the rescue. A slow, somewhat painful rescue, that is.

Blood even.

ready.

But we're ready to quilt. I'm hoping tonight!

And speaking of slow, would you like to see my never ending project?  This is the one began over a year ago and rescued this February.  It was put aside again for all the quilts I've churned out this March.  Last night I thought I finally had everything ready to finish.  Take a look...

we're almost there...

Now, you'd think that this was everything I'd need to finish a humble clock. But, nooooo, I hadn't yet painted the shiney brass clock hands.  In my desperation I made a trip to Walmart for spray paint (if you know me, you know I was d.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.) and with complete abandon spray painted them myself.  I don't know that I've every spray-painted before.  But, Brandon says my work "passes."  So, last night with very High Hopes, I again set out with can-do spirit to finally assemble the clock. 

Thwarted yet again by an unsuitable hole punch (see random purple item above). 

I am wishing that this weekend, a friend will come to my rescue.  A scrapbook diva, hole-punch wielding friend to whom I am gifting a baby quilt on Saturday.  Crossing fingers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

stumped.

The other day, I saw this lovely stack of Sherbet Pips at Red Pepper Quilts.

Sunday Stash #89

Rita managed to snag a fat quarter set before they sold out.  Sherbet Pips is miss Aneela Hoey's much-anticipated line that's finally due to be available as yardage in April.  At Whipstitch, I bought Aria a charm squares set for her Easter Basket.  Shhhhhhh!

Rita's photograph reminded me that one lucky duck is going to win FIVE Yards of Sherbet Pips in prints and cuts of his or her choice.  Yep, that's the astoundingly fabulous prize for this month's Blogger's Pillow Party, donated by our very own Whipstitch Fabrics. You can take a look at all the prints available in Sherbet Pips right here. I would stock up on Girl On a Swing, myself.

To participate, you've got to create a new blog post about a pillow you made within the past 3 months.  All types of pillows are welcome!  See the complete rules for entering here and be sure to add your pillow to the linky pool on the contest page.  Enter by March 27th - that's Sunday!

I was just looking through the pillows that have already been entered for March in search of some inspiration.  You see, I'm supposed to make my mom another pillow - this time for her couch.  That, and I've got a HUGE pillow form sitting naked in my room.  I bought it in December, I believe?  It's for our couch.  Yep, just haven't got to that and feeling guilty. Guilty and stumped. Mostly stumped.  If I had a clear vision, I'd hop to it.

You?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

piecing for Good

piecing Stashbuster Block

There's something delicious about using scraps!  Today as I was piecing this "Stashbuster" block, I daydreamed of cutting up all my smaller scraps into 2" squares. Just imagine all those fun fabrics thrown together in a classic postage stamp style!  Oh for all the time in the world to sew, sew, sew (at least as long as I fancy).

March blocks for Faith circle (do. Good Stitches)

This pair of blocks is the March block for the Faith circle of do. Good Stitches (a virtual charity quilting bee).  The pattern is from Kathy Doughty's Material Obsession 2. Once Alecia has finished the quilt, it will be given to a baby girl suffering from birth defects.

March blocks for Love circle (do. Good Stitches)

Earlier this month, I made this set for the Love circle of do. Good Stitches.  It's Ara Jane's turn to design the quilt this March.  She posted instructions for her blocks, which are inspired by a quilt in Joelle Hoverson's Last-minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.  I'm super curious to see how Ara Jane works with this unique block shape to compose the quilt.  Quilts made by the Love circle are donated to needy children through Wrap Them in Love

Bits & Blocks for do. Good Stitches

If you're curious about our virtual quilting bee, you can check us out here.  That reminds me - We have almost enough people to open a new circle this April.  We just need 1 more quilter to complete the circle!  Our wait list is so full of stitchers (who don't have to plan or finish quilts), but seriously lacking in quilters.  I get it - the extra responsibility and skill and all.   But, I think it's super fun to quilt.  I love planning the quilt and seeing it all come together.  That's my cup of tea!

Hope your week is off to a great start!  I'm trying to decide what to tackle next...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Atlanta Stashings!

So, it's safe to say that my husband and I are country folk to the bone.  While shopping and eating in Atlanta are fabulous, we were quite befuddled by all the traffic, traffic, TRAFFIC.  Honestly, I was most happy at home on Sunday working together in the yard, picking flowers for the kitchen and pottling around with new fabrics. Which is not at all to say that we had a "bad" trip.  Really!  We did have a nice time.

happy at home

And goodness, did we shop! I am so totally in need of new clothes.  You know, the kind that fit and aren't stained, and have some personality please.  I most especially was hoping to find a few pretty dresses, as my favorites were ruined within the last year.  I was so excited to visit some lovely shops that aren't found in our hometown.  But, alas several days of shopping and I only came away with 1 somewhat "eh" top that I scored from Ann Taylor Loft (which is like the only shop I do like in our hometown).  hmm...

The obvious solution:  make my own dress.  I mean, I do love to sew, don't I?  My aversion to sewing clothes stems from a slow, painful experience when I was new to everything "sewing."  Making pjs for my kids was so many pieces, so much time.  But, hey, apparently shopping for my perfect dress takes longer, much longer!  As in, still nothing yet and I've nowhere else to look!   If I end up regretting this project, please remind me that I had no other options, ok?

Wow, and you thought this was just going to be a stashing post.  Muahahahaha.

OK, I'll give you the stashings now.  First up is some yardage I purchased for making DRESSES!

Atlanta Stashings for dresses

Here are Heath in Grey by Alexander Henry and an old Joel Dewberry print from his Ginsing collection. My husband likes me in grey, so the Heath print was his idea. I imagine adding in some little colored accents or maybe even a print. We'll see! It's the only dress fabric I purchased in regular quilting weight cotton. The Joel Dewberry print was on sale for $5 a yard in home decorator's weight. While I can think of many uses for it (non-clothing related) I'm hoping it would make a nice dress or skirt, maybe for fall?

(more) Atlanta Stashings for dresses

Then more home decorator's weight fabrics from "old" collections. I've always liked these prints when I've seen them around Flickr! The top one was only $3 a yard by Denise Schmidt and the bottom print is an old Amy Butler. Both would make nice dresses for summer, if they're not way too hot.  And therein lies the rub - I really don't know what I'm doing.  I do know what kind of dress I need to make to successfully use this weight of fabric (obviously no ruffles and gathers), but I don't have an actual pattern.  I've been hunting like crazy, and I have a bunch of books on request from the library.  Crossing fingers that I'll settle on something real soon so that I can actually wear one of these dresses this summer!  I found all of these fabrics at Intown Quilters.  Thanks so much for sending me that way!

prints for Kona Pacific, a Bottled Rainbow block

Besides dress (fabric) shopping, I was on the hunt for prints that would match Kona Pacific for the "ocean" block of Bottled Rainbows.  At left are Pacific and an Echino print I have at home.  Next are my stashings - a Castle Peeps print from Whipstitch and an unidentified grid-like flannel fat quarter from Intown Quilters.  These combined with my meager true blue scraps just may be enough for that block!

Of course I had some fun too. This first print is really striking in person.  The colors just sing!

Holland in Tea

Just for fun!

Ah, the pleasures of the big city - actually buying fabric in person!  If this is normal to you, please know that you are completely lucky.  And we are all jealous (or somewhat relieved not to face this level of temptation on a regular basis). 

Oh, take a look at this!

contemplating my border for Bottled Rainbows...

I do declare that Heath may be just the thing for my Bottled Rainbow quilt border.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

oh, so pretty.

What was the prettiest thing in Atlanta?  Whipstitch.

Magnolia Lane from Laura Gunn!
Magnolia Lane by Laura Gunn

Anna Maria Horner!!!
Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner

oh, this bag!


pretty ribbons
lovely ribbons!

I'll take a few...
I'll take a few, please...

Need I say more?  Well, perhaps just a little.  Whipstitch is truly sewist's heaven.  The ambiance is so fresh and sunny, the staff is super friendly and all the goods are arranged to delight the eyes with color, color, color.  I could have stayed there all day.... 

Kona love!

eye candy.

Freespirit Houndstooth palate
Houndstooth by Freespirit


And look what I found at the back of the store, tucked a bit out of site...

STACKS! bottled rainbows

Stacks and stacks of Bottled Rainbows!  Maybe soon to arrive at a home near you?  (Actually, they're backordered on the fat quarter set of Kona solids for Bottled Rainbows, with orders expected to ship real soon.  Goodness, friends!)

Actually, the best part of my visit to Whipstitch was meeting and chatting with Deborah, hands down.  Deborah is the woman behind the store, the classes, the blog, even the book.  Oh, not to mention a husband and 4 kids!  As you can imagine, she's a wealth of wisdom, and I had so much I was dying to ask her!

And I did.  I mean, I asked her everything.  That lady is patient!

But, really, I learned a lot.  Like, she's working on a new book (yeah, yeah!).  She also gave me lots of advice on a new project of mine - making my own dresses.  Little tips like how to make a "wearable muslin", that I don't need a dress form and I may as well sew in my underwear (you know, cause I'll have to keep trying it on!).    She gave me so much confidence that I went out and bought fabric.  More on that later!



I asked Brandon to take some candid shots. From the looks of this one, I was talking about something really important that took Deborah quite by surprise.  Hmm... that could be when I tried to convince her that all her fabrics were begging to come home with me? 

She didn't buy it.

darn.

Really, I have no idea. But, we were obviously having fun.  And, candid shots are no easy achievement, let me tell you!

I did find a few fabrics at Whipstitch that I purchased for the "ocean" block of our Bottled Rainbow.  That particular shade of blue seems to be in recklessly short supply.  Designers, please take note!  But, I'll be sharing my stashings another time.   

cutting

fresh Fabric!

Until then, a great big THANK YOU to Deborah and the ladies at Whipstitch for such a fun visit. You can bet that I'll stop by every time I'm in Atlanta!
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