Thursday, February 26, 2015

into the Woods

a quilt top!

a quilt top!

barn cat

a quilt top!

I have had quite a day.  Was woken up early this morning by a strong labor pattern that persisted for 3 hours and then puttered out. We've been on again off again all day, mostly off though.  So annoying, so confusing.

The only thing about today that's gone as planned is I completed this quilt top.  (Though that was my plan before all this started, to be fair.)  And I do quite like it.  Thank goodness for little pieces of color and control.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


If you can't beat them, join them?

Color is a Journey

I had thought I'd keep crocheting these sun squares until baby came.  Because crochet seems like a nice early labor project (over planner, me?  No!  Not me!).  I have not kept track of how many I've made, but have simply piled them up in a corner enjoying a pleasant feeling of plenty, of accomplishment, of progress.

Only there doesn't seem to be any progress.  I'm still stubbornly pregnant.  If I can't make this baby come (which after a 2 1/4 mile aggressive hike this weekend, I'm now convinced I can't) I can at least stop waiting on these squares.

joining sunsquares w/whipstitch

Sunday morning I moved the pile to my coffee table and set about joining.

joining sunsquares w/whipstitch

joining sunsquares w/whipstitch

After testing a few methods, I settled on a whipstitch join, using the natural Cascade 220 yarn.  I find it looks best if I have the back of the work facing me when I whipstitch. 

And, guess what?  Joining turns out to be just as fun and just as addictive and just as restful as making the squares!  Here's my work-in-progress as of this morning, captured for Instagram. 

Yes, we're having another cold and cozy day.  A very Regular day, when I'm sure nothing very interesting is going to happen.  I am actually still pretty comfortable and there's no reason to rush, so if I could just stop living in expectation of The Big Day I believe I could recapture contentment.

May it be.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Welcome, Shabby Fabrics!

Happy Monday, friends!  Today I want to introduce you to a new sponsor at Stitched in Color.  Shabby Fabrics ships a selection of quality designer fabrics, kits, patterns, and monthly clubs from Idaho.  As the name implies, you'll find lots of florals and softer, cozy prints with a shabby chic flair, plus American Made solids and classic basics like dots, stripes and chevrons.

Today, these retro-inspired prints catch my eye:

Shabby Fabrics Retro-Inspired picks
Mimosa, Flower Sugar, Houndstooth, Cotton Dots, Chevron

I also discovered that Shabby Fabrics has a large selection of Brambleberry Ridge.  They have fat quarter sets in each of five soft shades: lilac, violet, mint, bark and coral. 

If I was starting a baby quilt anew, I would be sorely tempted to start with this collection.  I love that it has so many simple one-color prints that would play well with other fabrics.  And flocks of birds! And those sweet deer!  But my very favorite is this doily-inspired print.  So pretty.

At Shabby Fabrics you can shop fabrics by color too.  Seems like I can always use more grays in my stash.

Do you like to buy kits for table runners, quilts and wall hangings?  Shabby Fabrics has quite a selection of ready-to-sew kits and laser cut shapes. This springy Surfside Quilt Kit is on sale now!

Some kits even have accompanying how to videos, like the Magic Pillowcase kit series! In fact, Shabby Fabrics has a few instructional videos, including an 8-part series on how to applique.  I've been using applique lately to make my clamshells and my heart quilt.  Maybe check out their videos if you've been wanting more info on how to get started!


To celebrate their new sponsorship, Shabby Fabrics is giving away a Jelly Roll of Color Theory by V & Co. for Moda Fabrics!  To enter to win, add your comment here by Wednesday at noon, eastern time.  International entries welcome!

Good luck!

******Comments Closed******

Our lucky winner is #5, miss Linda.  I'll be in touch with you!

Friday, February 20, 2015

a Commission

This time, I caved.  I've always turned down requests for custom quilts in favor of other projects nearer to my heart or to my business goals, but this time I was entirely won over by her choice of fabrics and the concept - a woodland-themed baby quilt. 

Woodland in Sweet Tea quilt pattern

My customer sent the deer fabric and the stack of fabrics on the lower right.  I've pulled some coordinating fabrics up top.  These peach, icey aqua, teal and golden hues are just what I'm feeling this time of year.  Oh, and she's sent some embroidery to be included too!

Woodland in Sweet Tea quilt pattern

I struggled more than I thought I would to settle on a quilt design.  She likes asymmetry, which for whatever reason I had trouble combining with the concept of embroidery.  Eventually I decided to build the quilt with a symmetrical block, but to use color and value asymmetrically.  Plus, I'll occasionally modify the block to keep things entirely off balance, while also incorporating large cuts of picture fabrics or embroidery. 

Woodland in Sweet Tea quilt pattern

Woodland in Sweet Tea quilt pattern

I've developed a quilt block entirely based on Amy Friend's Sweet Tea pattern for Basic Grey.  It's shrunk to 7.5" x 12" finished for my purposes. 

Oh, I SO hope it turns out well and that the customer is pleased!  Crossing fingers!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

a special QuiltCon exhibit!

Today in Austin, Texas doors open at QuiltCon, a bi-annual quilt show and conference hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild.  I attended the first event, two years ago, and had a few quilts exhibited in the show.  This year I'm staying cozy at home, nesting.  But if I was there, I would be very, very eager to see a special exhibit entitled "Pieced with Love: The Quilts of Do.Good.Stitches!"

Yes, alongside amazing special exhibits like the Quilts of Gees Bend is an exhibit of charity quilts made by the members of do. Good Stitches!  I could not be more honored or more proud.  Last year, members of the bee selected twelve quilts to represent our work.  Here are our quilts hanging today at QuiltCon:

Flocks of HSTs

Flocks of Geese by the Bliss Circle, quilted by Amy Garro of 13 Spools

finished icicle quilt

Icicles by the Hope Circle, quilted by Cath of Wombat Quilts

watercolor quilt

Watercolor by the Love Circle, quilted by Natalie Sabik of Greenleaf Goods


Gradient Patchwork by the Grace Circle, quilted by Laura of Little and Lots 

Trellis Crossroads by Humility circle, quilted by Sandra Smith  of Small Town Thread

Ascent by Imagine circle, quilted by Amanda Hohnstreiter of My Sewcial Hour

Nurture Circle for June

Rainbow Triangles by Nurture Circle, quilted by Carla of Modern Bias

sunset stripes  

Sunset Stripes by Love Circle, quilted by Ara Jane Olufson of You Know What I Love

Finally got pictures of this #dogoodstitches #july2014 #quilt for the #dreamcircle

Birds on a Line by Dream Circle, quilted by Jeannette Day aka Sacridote

 Solid HSTs quilt flimsy do. Good Stitches Cheer Circle

Solid HST by Cheer Circle, quilted by Mary of See Mary Quilt

Geese in the Round Quilt

Geese in the Round by Wish Circle, quilted Caitlin of Salty Oat


Curved Log Cabin by Hope Circle, quilted by Ellen McKee

From the QuiltCon website:
Currently fueled by social media and emerging technology, the legacy of compassion, generosity and good will lives on through the time-honored tradition of making quilts for those in need.  Rachel Hauser, of Stitched In Color, is the founding force behind Do.Good.Stitches {a Charity bee}. She and hundreds of generous souls participating in this online community give back by doing something they love; using fabric, design concepts and piecing styles consistent with the modern quilting aesthetic. This exhibit showcases a small selection of the nearly two hundred quilts Do.Good.Stitches donates annually to organizations both near and far.
Yay, go team!  May the exhibit be a celebration of charitable quilting for ALL who love to quilt for good!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

making Hearts

As of Thursday morning, I'll be 38 weeks pregnant.  Every day I practice hypnobabies (self hypnosis for relaxation in childbirth), which keeps the baby's birth quite a lot on my mind.  With my birth history, this baby could arrive any day or, instead, we could have two weeks longer.  But, she is already at zero station (right at the cervix or "fully engaged") and things are happening down there, so...!

making Hearts

Honestly, I think I'm in the best place about it all, better than I've ever been.  When I have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions I get so excited, "Maybe this will be the night!"  I actually love giving birth, and I think I'm better prepared than ever this time to enjoy it.  But when I wake up the next morning and find myself able to laze around in bed for an extra 10 minutes and ponder all the things I could accomplish in the day - well then I feel so at peace that I'm still pregnant.

making Hearts

Today I made hearts.  I've turned all my fabric choices into applique hearts and pinned them back up to their 7.5" square backgrounds.  Now they will wait to be hand sewn postpartum.  When I get the itch to play with fabric, I can MAKE from my bed or the sofa, baby and all my resting necessities close at hand.

making Hearts

Sounds lovely.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

a Tote for Laura

My weekend wasn't so much about sewing as about other things.... like the Great Leaf Rake of 2015.  (Yes, I realize that it's almost spring.  We usually have our massive rake in January, when all the leaves are finally down.  February is just a wee bit later than that, right?)  This year all four of us raked for hours, filling a total of FIVE full size truck loads with compacted, kid-trampled leaves.  Thank goodness we can just dump them in our forest to handily decompose.

Cinder Pup + Liam

Would you like to meet our newest arrival?  Eleni's still biding her time, but Cinder Pup joined our family last week!  She's a little lab mix with a sweet, quiet disposition.  Watching her tramp around the yard certainly lightened the leaf-raking mood.  That and our traditional after-rake milkshakes.  Yum!

a tote for Laura

In between things, I did get some sewing done. Or at least started.  I made this scrappy tote for a very special friend.

a tote for Laura

The project started with improv blocks pieced from scrap, using all shades of green and highlights of cream.

a tote for Laura

These I joined up to make two large slabs, each about 20" x 13".  In between them I pieced a 6" wide cut of heavy canvas for the bag base.

After backing with fusible fleece and a very close quilting, I boxed the corners a generous 3" to make a roomy tote.  The Essex linen lining is also backed with fusible fleece, to give this bag a sturdy body.

a tote for Laura

Last of all, I basted and sewed on these leather straps.  Seems like lately I use Roxanne's glue baste for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  It's so strong, it really does hold the straps in place nicely while I sew them down!

a tote for Laura

That green pocket was installed onto the bag lining before assembling the bag, a la my tutorial.  Easy peasy. I  know someday I should learn drop-in zipper pockets, but this kind always does it for me, so I've been complacent.

a tote for Laura

a tote for Laura

Yesterday I had just enough time to put the finishing touches on the bag before my friend Laura arrived.  I just love gifting something homemade to someone who "gets it," you know?  I think she really liked it!  She is indeed truly loved.

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Marmalade Color Wheel bundles!

Over at Marmalade Fabrics, one of my long-time sponsor shops, Tammy bundles up the rainbow one month at a time.  

Her Around the Color Wheel Monthly bundles are set up so that subscribers can accumulate each color of the color wheel over a year's time.  When supplies allow, you can also buy bundles individually, in fact there's a nice variety of rainbow themed bundles in stock now!

The feature color this month is yellow. Next month she'll feature orange and so on until we travel around the entire color wheel. It's a great way to build a stash gradually over time!

Here's February's sunny bundle in prints:


Notice that Tammy is choosing helpful fabrics for her Color Wheel bundles.  These versatile prints read as one strong color. There's even a mix of organic and geometric prints - definitely the type of fabrics I find most useful in my stash.

If you need to build your stash of solids, check out the solids version of Marmalade's Color Wheel bundles.  This month you'd receive Konas: Buttercup, Lemon, Canary, Sunflower, Citrus and Corn Yellow.

Choose from fat quarters or half yards in solids or prints. There are monthly bundle options for every budget and automatic payments are set up so you don't have to worry about ordering each month.  Fabric arrives at your door each month just like your favorite magazine.

Subscribe without any obligations and cancel at any time!  No wonder it's been such a popular program.  Check out all the options at Marmalade Fabrics.


Would you like to take February's yellow bundle home to play?  Enter to win this fat quarter bundle by adding your comment to this post!  Winner will be drawn on Monday, around noon eastern time.  International entries welcome.

Thanks for the chance to win, Marmalade!

********Comments Closed*********

Congratulations to "Archie the Wonder Dog", comment #196, who is our random winner.  Enjoy your sunny February bundle, courtesy of Marmalade Fabrics!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{Clambake} Link Party

Clambake quilt-alongCome share your progress!  It doesn't matter where you're at in the process or what style clams you're sewing, we want to see photos of your Clambake work-in-progress.   I've seen some action at the Stitched in Color flickr page and through the #clambakeqal hashtag (the link party tool now integrates with Instagram, btw).  Hope to see those photos here too, to bring us all together.

Because sewing is more fun with friends!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Woven bee block

Look at me!  It's not even mid-February and I've finished my bee patchwork!  Whee!  Ok, ok, so I have pretty good reason not to procrastinate this month and our lead quilter did assign about the easiest block in the world...  But, it still feels pretty darn good.

This month for Love circle of do. Good Stitches, we've been asked to make 18" square "woven" blocks, inspired by this gorgeous quilt at from the blue chair

Step 1:  Pull string scraps in requested colors.  Pulled and pressed!

Woven block for do. Good Stitches

Step 2:  Join shorter strings to make longer ones, aiming for more than 18" long.  No sweat.

Woven block for do. Good Stitches

Step 3:  Join 18"+ pieces side by side until you have created patchwork at least 18" wide.  Press all those seams (open in my case; it's how I roll).   Enjoy your audio book.

 Woven block for do. Good Stitches

Step 4:  Square up and done!

Woven block for do. Good Stitches

This is definitely a great block for a bee.  Who doesn't have string scraps around, begging to be used?  Or at least enough for one block, right?

Ok, now I can play with clamshells guilt-free.  Don't forget we're having a link party tomorrow.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

i heart you

i heart you {applique quilt}

i heart you - a baby quilt in sticky, sweet candy colors. 

i heart you {applique quilt}

Aqua blues, mint (Kona Pistachio) greens, melon pink, hot pink and red.  I'm drawn to the contrast of these icy cool colors and the warm, punchy pinks.  This one was on my mind the whole time I was working through those sawtooth stars quilts.  It's much more the colors I'm feeling this season!

i heart you {applique quilt}

One weekend I cut all the squares and chose heart fabrics for each one.  As a test, I made a few hearts with "sew and turn" applique, a technique I taught in Penny Sampler class. that creates very nicely finished edges.  Then the project stalled because I worked up in my mind that I wouldn't enjoy the hand applique...

i heart you {applique quilt}

Today I sat down with some regular thread and a random needle and began blindstitching.  What was I so worried about about?  The process was easy, soothing and addictive. 

Do you ever do that?  Convince yourself that some not-often-used sewing technique will be a pain only to rediscover its joy?

Hand stitching, I heart you.

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