Friday, September 28, 2012

Word Play

working from Word Play Quilts

Ok, so making words is not as hard as I expected!  I'm working from Tony Ricucci's Word Play Quilts, which I picked up from the library on the recommendation of my friend Jolene. Tony's method requires no measuring and yet gives clear diagrams that break down even complicated letters like the lowercase "a" so that they make sense at a glance.  Piecing them just doesn't feel all nit-picky and annoying like I somehow thought it would be.  I guess that's why it's good to try everything!

little Lucas

Here's my first go at word-piecing.  I used solids so that directionality would not be an issue.   Starting off with all the cards stacked in my favor!  I think I'll add some more thin background fabric strips above and below most letters to make them even easier to read and then I'm ready to add patchwork.

Official announcement:  As a reminder, my book links on this blog are Amazon affiliate links.  That means I will earn a little something if you buy from Amazon after clicking through.  I'm supposed to make sure you're fully aware of that at all times.  No funny business allowed.

I like to go to Amazon to "look inside" books and check out reviews.  But, I often preview a book by requesting it from my local library first. That way I know if it's something I'd like to add to my library before making that purchase.

the best ever gift

Word Play Quilts is one I'll probably check out again.  I'd love to make a word quilt like this amazing collaborative piece gifted to Krista of Spotted Stone Studio.  I love the rainbow letter colors and unexpected use of scale.  This would be a great choice for a quilting bee since variety makes the quilt.  Maybe this is the one for my next turn to lead a do. Good Stitches quilt!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

an ordinary day

And ordinary day is such a gift - waking up with energy again, grateful to be pain-free, feeling buoyed by our family's rhythms and by my own creative outlets.  Here are some pieces of our day...

a poem for Aria

Enjoying a poem together from Eric Carle's Animals Animals.  "Mother doesn't want a dog.  Mother says they smell..."  Quite true in my case!  Wondering if I should take the little twist at the end as a warning? 

Baking cookies together (and eating them warm!).

butterflies for Faith circle

Making butterflies for the Faith circle of do. Good Stitches, from this tutorial.  Look how Chicopee Black Ladder Dot makes ideal little butterfly bodies!

in rainbows

Feeling like a rainbow.  That's what happens when we have a good morning together.

enjoying today.

Being surprised by this book, Side by Side: 20 Collaborative Projects for Crafting with Your Kids. It's a small collection of projects, but just the right ones.  A book I might actually buy.

feeling inspired

Getting inspired - all three of us - to jump right into new projects.  Liam has chosen this self-portrait craft from Side by Side for our playgroup craft tomorrow.  Off to buy some bird seed! 

Thanks for all your well wishes.  I'm feeling so much better!  I hope this perfectly ordinary day is followed by a deliciously ordinary weekend for all of us.  It's almost here!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


How did this happen?

Chicopee Churn Dash today

I was supposed to be working on a new quilt this week, but instead found myself piecing up a few more Churn Dash blocks and then working in sashing to complete the quilt top.

Dotted Leaf sashing

The sashing is Chicopee Dotted Leaf in Lime.  It's such a subtle citron print that it reads rather solid.  I quite like it for sashing, especially with the vertical movement of the leaves.

a sunny quilt top

Did you notice I didn't have enough?  In my head cold muddled, half-awake stupor last night, I calculated a myriad of options for cutting and sashing and substituting.  This is what happened come daylight.  It's ok, right?

Nope, not feeling much better today.  Even so, Tuesday and Wednesday are my work-at-home days, so productivity was warranted.  That's life.  And I did still manage to enjoy it.

so Denyse Schmidt

Though that couch has been calling me...

the calling couch

At least I have a pretty, sunny quilt top to show for my efforts.  It's not every day that happens.  Now what about backing?  I thought I'd won some fabric yesterday but that didn't shake out.  Maybe the fabric fairy will send me some Chicopee corduroy for the backing just to help a poor, disappointed, cold-fogged girl out.  You think?

Um... let's see. You might want to know that this quilt design is from Denyse Schmidt's latest book. More about that when I finish the quilt.  I used 8 Chicopee prints for the blocks, Kona Bone for my neutral, the Dotted Leaf for the sashing and 4 non-Chicopee prints (Old Script in Black, Pastry Voile in Marine, Herringbone in Lake and Sweetwater Reunion in Ink) for the blocks to bring to life a dark blues/high value contrast color scheme.

Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt for Freespirit is a very versatile fabric collection that I'm adoring.  I'm not nearly done with these fabrics, but next time I want to use all the colors.  That's right, no holding back.  And now, surely, it's time to make a new quilt?

Chicopee is available at these great online shops:

Stash Modern Fabrics
Mad About Patchwork
Sew Modern
Marmalade Fabrics 

Intrepid Thread
Fat Quarter Shop
Sew Love Fabrics
Lark Cottons

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a Crochet Hook Roll

Good morning, Improv.

good morning Improv

Even if my head is pounding and my nose is sniffling, this head cold can't hold me back from a good morning when there's improv piecing afoot.

Crochet Hook Roll

That piece of patchwork was designed for this crochet hook roll.  I opted to use the patchwork as the background so that the pockets could be made from super-sturdy Essex Yarn Dyed in Black.  Just say "no" to wimpy pockets.  The roll is made to fit those fat Clover crochet hooks.  It's a camper gift for a very patient camper who opted to wait until after my craft show so I could make her something extra useful.   Well, it's after for sure.   Hopefully the wait is worth it!

roll it on up

Fold down the flap down to encase the hooks and behold a bright pink Quilt Blocks Spectrum Stars print (at Fat Quarter Shop, Fresh Modern Fabric and Sew Modern).  Roll...

for a super camper

and tie her closed.  Easy, peasy, done.

for fat Clover crochet hooks

She's stuffed with a bit of batting and outfitted with ribbon tie closure.  Sorry, no tutorial today.  The head is still aching.

But...even so, I do sense a tingling of want-to-crochet.  It is fall again, isn't it?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Winners + Value

I'm so glad it's Monday again because that means I'm here, I'm home and things can (hopefully) go back to normal again soon.  I feel like I need a vacation from our vacation.  You all know how that goes.  Of course, we did have fun.  But, it was also the most stressful vacation ever due to last-minute planning.  That's just not how I roll, folks!  A learning experience for sure.

I'm so glad to have made it to the end of our day.  Our morning was anything but normal (the washer is apparently broken on this laundry day and school didn't happen until the afternoon), but I'm determined, really determined to get some sewing time in today.  I have two exciting ideas for my values quilt.  The only way to choose between them, methinks, is to make a sample of each.  Or, just don't choose and make both (I know you were thinking that!).  Perhaps a reversible quilt?  Well, we'll see.

Meanwhile, I get to announce the winners of the Softly Against Black mosaic contest.  With over 550 votes the top two mosaics are....

Softly Against Black in Berry by Annabelle Gardner.  My interested was immediately piqued by the combo of smokey grays and berry purples.  Plum is one of my favorite colors, especially in the fall and winter seasons.

Softly Against Black Contest Entry

Our second winner is Softly Against Black in Peach by Kristan Kremer at Doodledodesigns.  Don't you adore the fluttering pink tones, hint of warm melon and that romantic Venice print?  The combination is ultra-feminine and ultra-lovely.

Congratulations to our winners who will receive their bundles in fresh, delicious cotton real soon!  A great big thanks to Fresh Modern Fabric for sponsoring our fun.  If you need some Softly Against Black in your life, both these bundles are available for purchase now.  Limited quantities available!

And, you know, if you're thinking about joining us for the values quilt-along, either of these bundles are a good starting point.  Each one has dark and light values, which are the ones probably lacking in your stash or in your shopping cart.  Most of us are drawn to medium-value prints (like Kona Melon in the peach mosaic).   Also, many fun collections contain lots of large-scale and/or multi-colored prints which are difficult to work with value-wise.  For a values quilt you'll want prints that read all one value - either mostly dark (like the Venice print or black), mostly medium (like Kona Melon or medium gray) or mostly light (like Pearl Bracelet in peach or pale gray).

Chicopee by Value... with a skill assignment for you

You could have a very colorful array of fabrics for your quilt, like my stacks here.  Or you could choose to use 1-2 main colors plus neutrals, as demonstrated in these Softly Against Black mosaics. 

Time for a little shopping?

Friday, September 21, 2012

::Voting:: Softly Against Black

It's time!  I was so very impressed by all the gorgeous fabric mosaics you've created from among the enticing offerings at Fresh Modern Fabric!  By last night's deadline there were 92 submissions.  I've narrowed it down to 16 finalists, choosing mosaics that spoke to me of the Softly Against Black prompt, while feeling cohesive and inspiring.  I had a little advisory board too, in hopes of choosing finalists with a wide range of tastes. 

Enjoy perusing these lovely mosaics!  I've presented them first at large size to help you find your very most favorite one, with the name of the artist under each mosaic.  Voting is below with smaller images for reference.  Vote now through midnight (eastern U.S. time) on Sunday the 23rd.   The two winning mosaics with the most votes will be announced on Monday.

Good luck everyone!

by Anchored Offshore

Softly Against Black Contest Entry
by Doodledo Designs

Dusk Bundle
by Echinops & Aster

softly against black mosaic 2
by Erica Jackman

Wings at Dawn
by Sew Allegorical

Fresh Modern Fabric
by Garden Sun

by Annabelle Gardner

Softly against Black mosaic contest
by Jowori

Softly Against Black fabric mosaic
by Sewing by Stephanie

by Describe Happy

"Softly Against Black"
by Texas Stang 66

by On the Windy Side

by Annabelle Gardner

Softly Against Black Bundle #2
by the Muggle Puggle

by Amy in UK

softly against black
by ShimmyBlister

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Double Finish

Simple at the beach

Oh, hello there... greetings from the beach!


Yesterday I journeyed with family and friends to the coast of South Carolina for a last summer hurrah.  Before leaving, I stitched up the zigzag binding on the pink and lime "girl" version of my Simply Stacked coin quilts.  I'm so glad to have them both done!

Simply Stacked

Each is a simple 8" wide coin quilt, with coins of random widths and a heavily neutral color scheme.  They are twin-sized, for a young brother and sister who share a room - one pink and lime and one teal and orange.  Mama and I are hoping that the quilts manage to speak to the siblings' individual personalities while still managing to coexist quite well.

I can't wait to see them on their beds, but for now it's fun to see them at the beach!

Simply Stacked twin quilts

These were quilted on my Pfaff smarter with that nice quilting table and plenty of harp space to maneuver.  My Pfaff needs to visit the sewing machine doctor, but if I do some finagling, it still sews well enough.  These are quilted across the width of the quilt, in the same direction as the coin stacks at about 3" intervals.  Easy and fast!  Really fast.

a double finish

I bound them mostly in Pezzy prints and used black thread for all the zigzag stitching.  It's pretty fun!

a double finish

I love the wild mix of prints, but I'll tell you that for me it "worked" because I used so very many solids too.  Always solids.

So today I finally got to be the crazy quilt woman at the beach.  Yep, the one who makes her friends look silly too! Thanks Heather and Casey for helping a girl out with holding up those quilts!

We'll Be Here

Now we'll be here - digging holes, jumping over waves and trying not to take all the sand home with us every night.  I'll catch you tomorrow when voting opens on our Softly Against Black mosaic contest.  See you again then!
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