Thursday, June 30, 2011

dear, Aria

It's crazy how quiet it's been in our house this last week.  I can hear the fish tank bubbling, the wind blowing, even these keys a-tippity typing just now.  I've been thinking of you, of course.  And Liam.

fabrics she chose

Do you remember these - the fabrics you chose before setting off on your trip?  I hope you don't mind that I added just a few more that I thought you'd like.  And that white stuff is batting to make your desk chair cushion nicely soft.  I took some time off from working on "my book project" (shhhhhh)) to make it for you!

for Aria's new chair

I had thought I'd make a log cabin design, but I didn't after all because that Go! baby cutting machine we'd played with wanted to get involved.  So, instead, lots of little squares.  You know how I said that I wasn't sure that the fancy cutting machine would really be faster?  I was wrong.  It's waaaaaay faster.

Go! baby cutting in layers

I was even able to cut several layers of scraps at once.  The fancy cutting machine is definitely here to stay!

dear, Aria

Do you know what I added after this?  What's your favorite stitch?  Yep, zigzags!  I quilted it with zigzags just for you.  Hope they make you smile!

 simple crochet ties

Tied it on your chair the other day.

for Aria's new desk chair

Do you like it?

I started missing you and Liam on day one.  I guess because two weeks really is a long time. But I know that you're having a blast.  Make sure to enjoy the sparklers on July 4th!  Oh, and tell Liam that he's next!

Love you so much,


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

granny style

So, you all might have noticed that the nightstands beside our bed were rather, um, empty?  As you can imagine, there's usually a bit more going on. In fact, there's always an obnoxiously-colored tissue box on my nightstand.  At the time of that photograph said tissue box was being transformed.

granny stripe, bit by bit

Mostly I felt silly doing this. As much as it sounded good in my head, actually crocheting a tissue box cover... Who does that?

In fact, I think a good many people do that. But, they may not use rainbows or share a room with a husband with such modern sensibilities. To his credit, Brandon said nothing.

Well, that's not entirely true.  At the end he said, "Is it removable?"  Which I think gives me about zero credit.  But, well, I think it is.  Let's cross that bridge later.

granny square crochet base

I built the base as a true granny square. My first. When it was big enough, I crocheted a few single crochet rows with decreases to force the square to turn inwards to make a cube. And then I built the granny stripe rainbow rows. Fun!

removable?  we think so.

To turn the edge at the top, lots more decreases and single crochet.

rainbow crochet tissue cover

And there you have it - a little spruced up tissue box, inspired by jenn of all trades' spruce-up challenge.  Very matchy, matchy, eh?  I'm still not 100% certain that I can carry off this granny-70's-rainbow-child cross, but here's for trying.  I buoy my confidence with images of dottie angel fabulousness.  I shall never be the vintage-granny-chic that is her, but I shall be reminded that granny can indeed be chic.


Question:  Is crochet always "granny"?  I mean, quilting isn't.  Knitting isn't.  But, crochet?  You know, crochet actually is famous for its "granny squares", so that might have something to do with it.  And, I do love grannies.  I so aspire to be one someday.  Lot's of granny love here. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let's chat.

Today Jennifer and I got together to Chat.  It was quite a lot of fun actually!  I must have been in a gabby mood, because I had more than a little to say.  (I even admitted to keeping that "other" blog.  Yeah, don't get too excited.) 

Hope you'll stop by and visit!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {on my bed}

This post is part of a series Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt along}.  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Please come in...

hello, room.

So, this is my room.

hello, quilt.

And, this is my new ticker-tape quilt!  (Insert happy dance here.)  See why I chose to add horizontal stripes near the head of the bed? 

My Bottled Rainbows quilt measures 84" x 96".    I made it long enough to tuck under the mattress at the foot of the bed so that it doesn't move at all at night.  That's good.  Our old duvet was always shifting, shifting.

hello, binding.

Here's my binding. Yeah, just gray. You see our walls are gray too. I quite like the neutral frame! My binding is actually Robert Kaufman quilter's linen in gray. It has a bit of movement and pairs delightfully with the Alexander Henry Heath border.


And here's me... color me happy!  It's a little goofy to pose on your bed for a photo, but I think a quilter really should do this sometime, right?  In case you're wondering, I'm saying:  Hello, this is me. Thanks for coming!

I can't thank you enough for your enthusiasm!  What a blast it's been to share this creative journey with all of you!!!!  

But, I do believe this marks the end of our very colorful quilt-along. Except I know that many of you are in progress or just beginning. So, you can bet I'll keep my eye on our Flickr group and share your lovely rainbows on Stitched in Color from time to time.   Keep up the good work!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Quilting}

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!

Ready to finish? Once you have pieced your Bottled Rainbow quilt top, the basting, quilting and binding can proceed just like any quilt. In fact, it's a little easier because you don't have to add the batting layer to your quilt sandwich.

this backing is scary huge

Is it just me, or is this backing scary huge?  Yeah, I thought so.  I'm feeling thrifty because I dissected and pieced together our master bedroom duvet cover to create my Bottled Rainbows backing!  And you know what, that means Brandon can't change his mind now because this new quilt is all we've got to cover our bed.  Muahahahaha! 

I had planned to use the Argyle in Bright (Remix by Robert Kaufman) to back Bottled Rainbows. But, now that this quilt is going on our grown up bed rather than the child's bed I'd imagined, something a bit more calm was in order.

little pin soldiers

This morning I taped my backing down (wrong side up) and carefully spread my quilt top over it (right side up). Then, in the startling silence I mustered my little pin soldiers to attack.

handy mr. Knit

And, with a little help from Mr. Knit who is supremely handy at closing those pins, I basted and basted and basted my little heart out.

at the ready

Actually, fact is, I really didn't have to baste too much for a quilt of this size. Since the center of each Bottled Rainbow block is already generously quilted to the batting, I have decided to quilt only along the seam lines of my blocks. The point of this second round of quilting is simply to attach the quilt top to the quilt back. Accordingly, I only basted around those seams and in the sections at the head and foot of the bed that extend beyond the Bottled Rainbow blocks.

quilting in progress.

Roll that baby up and have at it!

I'm quilting with a modified zigzag stitch in the same off-white thread I used for the ticker tape quilting. Don't forget to start quilting along the center seam lines to stabilize things. For more details on how to wrangle all that quilt into your home machine, see this tutorial from my Colorbrick Quilt-along.

Ziggy Zaggy

I do love the zigzag stitch!  It happens to be handy for disguising my less-than-stellar quilting skills.  Honestly, I'm not very good at stitch-in-the-ditch, and I know I'd have trouble doing long straight lines when handling a quilt of this size.  This approach is very forgiving.  It also echos the zigzags I used to ticker tape.  Oh, and to lock the quilting in place, I start and end each line with a straight stitch of zero length.

Quilting still in progress!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

and they're off!

So today they're leaving - my littles that is.  They're off on that trip with the grandparents, and Brandon and I are home... alone.  I've been at work all day today, but when I get home "it" begins.  I hope "it" involves lots of good, hearty progress.  Fingers crossed I don't slack off!  I already ran "fluff" errands with a friend yesterday, so I think I'm ready to get down to business.

But, hey, look what we did before they left!

go! baby cutter

When the UPS man arrived with a big Accuquilt box, I told the kids that mama had been given a fancy cutting machine, and you can bet they wanted to get in on the action. After we've had some fun around here, there will be a little (big) something in it for you as well! 

help x 2

Of course, I read the directions first. Oh, the long-suffering. Oh, the waiting!  Mama, mama, let's start! 

Noted: the directions caution against letting a child use the machine unsupervised.  I can see why you'd be tempted.  It really is that easy.

playing with a new toy 

Aria was able to see where to place our fabric scraps so that nice, full shapes were cut.  And while turning the crank took some muscle (kid muscle),


each of them was able to play along. 

our mess

I called it quits after about 10 minutes of cutting.  I could only forestall the "what am I going to make with all those squares?" anxiety for so long, ya know?  I do have an actual project planned with the Go! baby cutter.  Just waiting on one more ingredient.  When I've used it extensively for that project, I'll be back with a full review!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

::Inspiration:: this way and that

Lines that run sharply this way and that are much upon our minds lately.  Whether they're chevrons or herringbone or zig zags or ripples, I'm feeling it too.  The jagged, running energy is a welcome pick-me-up, especially when invested with loads of color.  Here's what's inspiring me today:

herringbone quilt.

*this vibrant "Herringbone Quilt" by Holly of Bijou Lovely for do. Good Stitches.

 *Chevron shoebox wall art.  Tutorial at Spunky Junky.  

*a zig-zag quilt-along led by Angela of Cut to Pieces.

*ripple crochet in colors just nuanced enough by Kyoto-jp, found through Pinterest.

*the perfect herringbone block pattern.  Designed by Lee of Freshly Pieced for Fat Quarterly.

*this pillow tutorial by Dana, working from striped fabric.


*an understated, yet stunning block by lieblings decke.

Now I'm sure you have zig zags on the mind! Hope you don't mind a tidbit of new inspiration.  Have a lovely, creative day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Piecing & Adding Borders}

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!

Thank-you all for sharing in my excitement over my quilt-keeping "coup" (as miss StephMabry put it)!  I am still laughing at how it all happened.  Maybe Brandon secretly fell in love with Bottled Rainbows while he was up in the tree for yesterday's photographs?  I guess we'll never know...

Before we get down to business with today's tutorial, I'll show you some sneak peaks of how I'm converting my Bottled Rainbow design into a queen-sized quilt.  My original plan was to make a twin-sized quilt with the longer side of each Bottled Rainbow block oriented longways on the bed.  I was going to add a 5" border to the Bottled Rainbow blocks to create a 74" x 90" twin sized quilt.  And you can still do that! 

However, making a queen necessitates a little switcheroo.  I'm now orienting the longer side of each Bottled Rainbow block so that it runs horizontally across the bed.  Happily, situated like this the quilt is wide enough for a queen, there's just some extra length needed (about a row's worth) which could have been added at the head or foot of the bed.

So I totally thought of making more Bottled Rainbow blocks in neutral or new colors or what not, but in the end I decided I wanted something totally different at the head of the bed.

Kona cotton stripes

I cut looooong strips from my Kona solids of random lengths and widths and pieced them together to create horizontal stripes across the top of the quilt.  I built the look with the quilt in place on my bed so that I could see exactly how the colors were balancing the Bottled Rainbow blocks.  With everything just so, I transferred the strips onto a long piece of batting and pinned them in place (rather sloppily) just to keep their relationships correct.

typical Quilt-as-you-go

And then, here I am piecing them right onto the batting piece, in typical quilt-as-you-go fashion.  When the stripey section was complete, I trimmed it up and pieced it to the top of my Bottled Rainbow block grid.  Easy peasy!  I'll show you the full reveal when the quilt is done - a little motivation for me, ok?

Quilt-as-you-go stripey section

Awhile back I showed you how to piece Bottled Rainbow blocks.  Even though the blocks are backed with batting because we decided to quilt-as-you-go, they still join together in typical fashion - right sides together, stitch seam, press seam open.  I originally used 1/4" seams when I made a sample row.  However, I decided this weekend to switch to 3/8" seams on my quilt.  The bit of extra seam allows me to hide a few mistakes I made where the edges of my blocks were short on batting or Kona cotton.  I also find it easier to piece together such long, heavy rows as we have here when there's a little extra fabric under my presser foot. 

Bottled Rainbows all pieced!

I pieced the blocks together in columns (which you saw yesterday) and then pieced the columns.  With only 16 blocks to join, it's over before you know it!  At this point, your quilt top should measure 64" x 80" if you've used 1/4" seams.

To make a twin-sized quilt, I recommend a 5" wide border on all 4 sides.  You'll need to back each border strip with batting since the rest of the quilt is already batted.  Don't worry - the sewing is as simple as can be.  The cutting is most of the work!  (Note:  I decided against mitering my borders since working with the batting is likely to make that process more difficult.  If desired, see this tutorial for how I miter borders). 

cutting borders

Begin by folding your border fabric in preparation for cutting 5.5" strips on the longest stretch of fabric.  If you bought 1.5 yards of border fabric, as suggested here, the longest stretch of fabric runs parallel to your selvedge.  (If you're not sure how to cut yardage into long strips, please see my detailed tutorial here.  The tutorial sets you up for making a clean cut from selvedge to selvedge.  Once you have created that clean cut, unfold and match up the newly cut clean edges.  Then refold with clean edges matched instead of selvedges matched.  Now you will be set you up for making a cut parallel to the selvedge.)

After trimming off selvedge, cut (4) 5.5" wide strips, each approximately 50" long if cutting a 1.5 yard length.  Pair these up and piece together to create two extra long 5.5" wide strips.  These are borders for the longer side of your Bottled Rainbow quilt, which measures 80".

Next cut (3) more 5.5" wide strips, each approximately 50" long.  Pair up 2 strips and piece together to create 1 extra long 5.5" wide strip.  Later on, you'll attach this extra long strip to the shorter side of your Bottled Rainbow quilt and then trim off the excess length.  Next, you'll piece the extra length to the remaining  5.5"x 50" strip to create the fourth border strip for your quilt.  For now, just set aside the extra long strip and the shorter strip while we work on batting.


piecing batting

Using batting scraps or fresh batting yardage, create batting strips for all four border sides.  You'll need (2) that measure 5.5" x 80" and (2) that measure 5.5" x 74".  Feel free to piece batting with a 1/4" seam to create the lengths you need.  Also, don't worry if your batting strips are too long.  You can easily trim them up as you go.

<3 chain piecing

And don't forget that chain piecing can really speed things up!

Quilt-as-you-go Borders

Now you're ready to do some stitching!  Starting with the extra long border strips and your 5.5" x  80" batting strips, sew borders along the longest sides of your quilt first.  To attach borders, lay the fabric right side down on the quilt top's edge.  Neatly smooth it flat along the whole edge.  Next, lay the batting strip on top of the fabric, again smoothing carefully.  Pin through all 3 layers every 5" or so.  At the sewing machine, stitch a 3/8" seam.  Press seam open.  Repeat on opposite side.

trim, trim

Before attaching the remaining shorter borders, trim the long borders so that they finish flush with the quilt top.  Now layer the border fabric and batting as before on the shorter sides of the quilt, pin and stitch borders.

Voila!  Quilt-as-you-go borders.

And I quite like how a neutral border looks with all this color!  Thank-you for joining me on this journey!!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Hip, hip, hurrah!!}

You might imagine my jaunty "hurrah" is in celebration of getting from here:

Bottled Rainbows - Supplies Giveaway!

to there:

color me happy.

But, you'd be wrong. Because it gets better! My heart is at this moment a-pittering and a-pattering with joy because I get to keep it. It's coming home with me, people!

How can this be, you wonder?  Has Rachel magically produced another girl child whose room she will bury in rainbows?  Or, has Rachel decided to turn a blind eye to cultural faux pas and drape this colorful concoction on poor Liam's bed.  (confession: both considered.)  No, no, the answer is even faaaarther beyond your wildest dreams.

Bottled Rainbows - hip, hip, hurrah!

It is going on MY bed.  Seriously! 

An offhanded joke produced a nonsensical reaction from Brandon this weekend - "Yes".  Apparently, Bottled Rainbows, being mostly solid and color-oriented in nature, does not offend his delicate male sensibilities as much as the numerous floral printed color schemes that I have desperately and hopelessly auditioned.
And I quote, "It's better than the alternatives."

After I picked up my jaw from the floor of our bedroom, the scheming began.  Just how to convert this twin-size design into a queen?

Sewing in process!!!

*Updated* Bottled Rainbows Color Grid

Meanwhile, I have a color story for you.  Or four.

What I love most about Bottled Rainbows is the way the colors play with each other.  Color relationships are such eye candy!  I treat the Bottled Rainbow Color Grid a bit like the color wheel, tracing lines horizontally, vertically, diagonally and in quadrants to sample color schemes.  Each column in Bottled Rainbows is a color story all to itself.  I wanted to capture these before I pieced the top...

Color Stories {bouquet}

Color Stories {fresh growth}

Color Stories {harvest}

Color Stories {deep water}

This last one reminds me of sunshine on deep water, with lovely murky tones glinting in the pale, filtered rays.  Think a secluded lake or lagoon - a cool retreat on this blistering summer day!  I'm thinking that my next do. Good Stitches quilt will explore this color scheme. 

I wonder, do any of these stories speak to you?  What is your favorite source for color inspiration or the color scheme that's most inspiring you today?
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