Tuesday, January 31, 2017

4-penny patches {Penny Sampler}

Is it February yet?  Almost.  I know I'm cheating a tiny bit, but I needed something quick and easy to sew today that would still feel productive.  These Penny Sampler blocks did the trick!

4-Penny Patches {Penny Sampler}

In February those on the 6-month sampler plan have 9 blocks on the menu, about half of which involve applique while the others are straightforward piecing.  Today I whipped up three simple patchwork blocks - the 4-Penny Patches.

By the way, don't forget you can always switch your sampler plan at no cost if the pace you originally selected isn't suiting you.  It's a quick change for me to make.  Just ask!  Your options are the 12-month sampler, the 6-month sampler (that's what I'm doing) and the complete course book, which would allow you to choose blocks as desired or proceed in the suggested order at your pace.  Since the 12-month sampler is at a slower pace, it suggests just 3 blocks for February.  One of those blocks is the Little Village, which I completed a few weeks ago.

4-Penny Patches {Penny Sampler}

Here are some of the fabrics I selected for my 4-Penny Patches.  I love that vivid solid blue, Freespirit Designer Solid in Mineral.  It makes the salmon pink pop beautifully, don't you think?

4-Penny Patches {Penny 
Sampler} 

I've been cutting lately with a new ruler gifted by a reader who wanted me to try the Creative Grids brand.  These rulers certainly have grip!  It never, ever slides when I don't want it to.  Many of the markings had worn off of my old yardage-cutting ruler, so it's nice to start fresh again.  However, I'm really having trouble getting used to the way the ruler is double-marked with numbers to help you measure from either side of the ruler.  I'm hoping that with time the markings will become natural for me to read, but so far it's not coming to me.  It's like anything else - you get used to what you use first!

4-Penny Patches {Penny 
Sampler}

Once pressed and photographed, I placed blocks up on my design wall in the quilt layout.  Oops, this 4-Penny Patch isn't going to cut it.  The stamp print with the gray background is just too busy.  I keep being drawn to that print because it has all the colors in my palette, but just as I feared it draws too much attention.  If any block in this area is to stand out, I want that to be the Little Village block at right. 

4-Penny Patches {Penny Sampler}

Here I've swapped the stamp print for the blue Carolyn Friedlander texture I used in the village block.  I usually want every bit of patchwork to stand out, but in this case some blending is better.  The Penny Sampler is a complex quilt with so much to see and enjoy.  I have to remember to make understated fabric choices most of the time.

I did enjoy fussy cutting the blue flowers in that block, though so that they'll be centered in the finished 1.5" squares,.  Those are the kind of details that I want to include - pretty, but not visually overwhelming.

Next I'm going to finish my snowflake quilt so I can cut into some newly arrived goodies!




Sunday, January 29, 2017

HoneyBeGood Giveaway!

Happy Sunday, friends.  The folks at HoneyBeGood have updated their website so that it loads snappy fast, plus sports a cool new item-viewing feature.  To celebrate, they're giving away a half yard set of Window Dressings!

HoneyBeGood window dressing giveaway

If you've browsed HoneyBeGood's organic and sustainable fabrics before, you've got to pop back over there to appreciate the difference.  I like that you can get more info on a fabric and add it to your cart all without waiting for a new page to load.  Speedy!

So, what are these Window Dressings?  They're a new basic from Cloud 9, makers of Cirrus Solids.  Window Dressings are yarn-dyed ginghams, cross-woven with different tones in warp and weft.  They're 100% organic cotton, grown and produced to GOTS standards.

HoneyBeGood window dressing giveaway

I already have a project in mind for that lovely grass green.   And, of course, I photographed baby on the royal blue one this month.  Being a rather helpful fabric, I know they'll each come in handy for mix and match patchwork soon.

HoneyBeGood window dressing giveaway

One luck reader will win all 6 pretty Window Dressings in half yard cuts!!  To enter add your comment here.  I'd love to know what you're most excited to be working on as we finish the first month of the new year.

Enter now through noon eastern time on Wednesday.  HoneyBeGood can ship to the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  Good luck!


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

And our winner is Allison of comment #21.  I'll be in touch!

Friday, January 27, 2017

a Snowflake quilt top

a Snowflake quilt top

Today I enjoyed some quality time with my sewing machine at last!  Sure there are stacks of fabrics and random supplies to organize, and I can't find my favorite rotary cutter, but I've located enough essentials to get back at it.

a Snowflake quilt top

Yay, a snowflake quilt top!  Wintry Mint combined with silver and gold Netorious metallics make a perfect gender neutral baby quilt, don't you think?  I have a solid mint sleeper I loved for Rora that she just recently outgrew.  The color is my current crush.  And it pairs gorgeously with peach, my last crush, too! 

a Snowflake quilt top

I pieced two Penny Sampler snowflake blocks from some of my favorite mint fabrics, such as that Calico Days text print and Blueberry Park Sprouting Row.  Hopefully I've cultivated a serene quality with the quilt's restrained color scheme, while keeping things interesting with diverse fabrics and subtle changes in tone.

On to quilting!  Hmm... do you think metallic thread is a good idea?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cathedral Windows winners!

Hello, hello!  Today I've been working on cleaning and reorganizing my sewing room so I can finally stitch again.  Phew!  I'm taking a break to congratulate the two winners of our Cathedral Windows mosaic contest!  You were so enthusiastic in your response to the finalists and the voting was very evenly distributed, but these two received the most votes...




Leadlights by Adrianne of On the Windy Side

{Fabrics}  Line 1:   Kaffe Pods Wine, Cirrus Solids Amber, Doe Sage
Line 2
Cirrus Solids Lagoon, Kaffe Heat Wave Tomato, Gold Bugs
Line 3: 
Rotary Club Onions, Tula Wildfire Sapphire, Cirrus Solids Iris

twilight dream

Twilight Dream by Annabelle Gardner

{Fabrics}  Line 1:   Petite Garden Floral, Enchanted Pines Starry Night, Graphite Shimmer
Line 2:  Floragraphix Magenta, Tula Eden Atlas, Grunge Basics Sapphire
Line 3:  Tula Daisy Buds, Willow Basics Indigo, Tula Happy Dot


Congratulations to our winners who will receive their bundles in fresh, delicious cotton real soon!  A great big thanks to The Loopy Ewe for sponsoring our fun.

Thanks to all of you for participating with your mosaics and your votes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Elora, 2 months

Elora, 2 months

This month baby is photographed on Window Dressing Crossweave in Lagoon/Fuschia from HoneyBeGood! Look out for a giveaway of the whole Window Dressing set coming up soon! 

Elora, 2 months

How can it be that we've had this precious little one for 9 weeks already?  At two months old, Elora is nearly bursting out of her 0-3 months clothes and has long outgrown her newborn hats.  With healthy babies there is no still point; all is turning-turning, growing, learning.

Elora, 2 months

Last month she was expressive, but this month we are basking in the sun of wide, gummy smiles.  Smiles for days!  Especially in the mornings.  Her morning awake time is dessert smuggled in at the start of the day.  That's when I took these pictures!  She was slow to warm up to the camera in her face, but she gave in eventually.

Elora, 2 months


Memory Box {Two Months}

Milestones:  Matured vision: she can see us across the room now!  Extended night time sleep: she's going 6-7 hours between feedings at night.  It's lovely to sleep for a bundle of hours at a time again!!!  Once we figured out that she is very sensitive to lights at night (even dim lights), we've had much better luck with getting her to go to sleep at bedtime and after her nighttime feeding too.  Social smile.  Hand to mouth: intentional for the first time today!

Biggest Challenge:  Mold Remediation.  Even though that's not exactly about Elora, it's been the biggest challenge to enjoying her this month.  We discovered a few weeks ago that our small, isolated mold problem was actually a huge, systemic mold problem caused by high interior humidity.  After consulting many companies, educating ourselves and coordinating much help, we've arrived at a solution.  A big part of the solution was 5 days straight of cleaning our entire house all at once.

Cleaning is an understatement.  We had to vacuum all walls, wash everything launderable (except my fabrics), wipe everything wipeable with a special cleaner (like even pens and pencils) and use an air compressor to blow off paper items like files that could be saved.  Lots was thrown out!  Huge deal.  Yesterday was day 5 of house cleaning so we actually have a ton left to do.  It's like we've moved but all our items are sorted by "wipe" or "blow" and can't be unpacked until they are being cleaned outside.

I'm so glad to have gotten this far though.  It was very stressful figuring out how to solve our root problem, how to coordinate the cleaning, all while aware we were living in terrible air quality.  Public service announcement:  Your indoor humidity must stay below 60% or really bad things happen. 

Best Surprise:  A few days ago I was folding laundry alongside Elora's cradle while she was supposed to be drifting off to sleep.  Without moving from my task, I glanced at her just with my eyes.  She noticed that subtle change in my eyes - the eye contact - and immediately smiled!  I restrained my reaction and continued folding to encourage her sleep.  A few more times I would glance at her without moving my head and she would light up with happy smiles.  What a joy to witness this connection and to appreciate how well her brain is working to understand her environment!

Elora, 2 months

Special Memory:  From just about day one Brandon's been calling me "Milk Lady" to baby.  As in, "Don't look at Milk Lady, look at me, look at me!" in a silly voice to get her attention, and "I didn't want to do this, but Milk Lady made me," while doing a task she dislikes, like getting dressed after bath time.  Oh, he makes me laugh!  He'd like to be her favorite, but he'll never overcome the power of the milk-mama bond.  Haha!

p.s. If she calls me Milk Lady when she learns to talk, I won't be laughing then.  Wink.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

::Voting:: Cathedral Windows Mosaics

It's time!  Thanks to all who contributed fabric mosaics crafted from among the offerings at The Loopy Ewe.  I know that Cathedral Windows was a challenging theme.  We who are drawn to so-called "modern" quilt fabrics tend to shy away from complimenting strong, saturated colors with dark tones.  And while I do love me some white, it's good to stretch and try new things!  I've narrowed it down to 10 finalists, choosing mosaics that spoke to me of the Cathedral Windows, while feeling cohesive and inspiring.  

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 noon (eastern U.S. time) on Wednesday the 25th.   The two winning mosaics with the most votes will be announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Good luck everyone! 

twilight dream
Twilight Dream by Annabelle

Dimples and Grunge Window
Dimples + Grunge Window by HNoelMaurl

Leadlights by Adrianne

A photo posted by SarahD (@sarahd1781) on


A photo posted by @cottonpaperflowers on

stained glass
by Rockbridge

A photo posted by Cathy Calloway (@calund47) on




A photo posted by Cathy Calloway (@calund47) on


by Puppilalla



Thursday, January 19, 2017

announcing Stitched Workshops!

I'm so excited to announce that this April I'll be opening up my home to host a weekend workshop for eight!  I've prepared the space and dreamed up a special event.  If all goes well I expect to host a spring and autumn workshop each year.  But let's not get ahead ourselves.  First let me tell you how this all started...

my Oodalolly

I attended the first Sewing Summit in 2011 and the first QuiltCon in 2013.  Although both were enriching events, I've come to accept that these big, fast-paced venues are not so much for me.  I'm easily tired by meeting hoards of new people, mixing in large groups, seeing, talking and doing all the things.  I like my sewing retreats to have more sewing in them than that.  And I much prefer quieter, more intimate settings for making new friends.

So, sooooo... I was inspired to create a workshop experience for those who also would enjoy something small, intimate and yet still creatively invigorating.  I love the idea of inviting you into my home, chatting by the fire, sewing, learning and eating together.  That's what I imagine for Stitched Workshops!

We'll start off with a family dinner on Friday night and a little looksee at some of my favorite creations.  Then, you'll enjoy 4 sewing sessions Saturday-Sunday, each three hours in length.  I'll be teaching some each session, and you'll have lots of time to sew.  My first workshop is an improv round robin!  Ready for the details?

Stitched Workshops!

Explore improv piecing in a friendly, intimate atmosphere this spring. Eight students will converge in my sunny studio to enjoy instruction, sewing and good company. Whether you come with some improv experience or none at all, this weekend is designed to grow your creative skills, to help you generate new ideas, experience new techniques and make new connections with color and shape.

I will be teaching design and ruler-free improv techniques at each workshop session. But as this is a skill best learned by doing, expect to spend about 60% of the time actually improv sewing! With the round robin format, students will be working on each other's quilts, an excellent way to see new possibilities.

3+ yards of American Made Brand solid fabrics will be supplied to each student!  Working with solids tends to facilitate growth in design.  This premium line of solid fabrics is grown and manufactured here in the United States.   I chose American Made Brand to sponsor our event because I feel you'll both benefit from and enjoy sewing with these solids!

a quilt top {Improv Handbook Score #4}

I want this to be a low-pressure, completely enjoyable experience.  You may take your quilt home to complete as you reflect upon and process all you've learned OR choose to leave it behind for me to finish as a charity quilt.  After seeing all your work, I'm sure I'll be eager to jump in myself!

Improv Round Robin ($675)

When: 6 pm, Friday, March 31st through 4:30 pm, Sunday, April 2nd.

Where: Columbia, South Carolina

What: (4) Workshop sessions each 3 hours in length, solid fabrics, 1 family dinner, 2 workshop lunches, 1 fireside dessert + evening chat, workshop transportation for those who stay in suggested hotel.


doodle goes on {Improv Handbook Score #4}

Supplies:  I'll provide fabrics, cutting mats, rotary cutters, pressing stations and design wall.  You should bring your sewing machine, needles/thread, small scissors and 1-3 additional favorite fabrics if desired.

Improv Score #5 with American Made Brand solids

After registration I will be in touch to facilitate your American Made Brand fabric order, provide airport and hotel recommendations and answer any questions you may have.

Register Here!  See you this spring!

painterly

p.s.  Spring in South Carolina comes early!  I chose this weekend because it's usually a gorgeous time for the dogwoods and azaleas on our property.  I hope to share the lovely weather with you! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

little village {Penny Sampler}

Wondering where that Cathedral Windows mosaic contest came from?  Well, Sunday before last I had the chance to enjoy a beautiful church with mesmerizing stained glass windows.  The artist's use of color so impacted me that I went home and immediately re-thought my Penny Sampler fabrics with a generous infusion of sapphire blue.  Soon after I shared this image on Instagram:



And later that week.. a mosaic contest inspired by the same experience!

I feel so much more confident about this direction for my Penny Sampler palette.  The dark gray border remains, as do the greens and purples, but blue becomes a dominant theme with a few pops of salmon for contrast.  It feels right!

Penny Sampler Little Village

Those changes in hand I was able to sew my next block for the 6-month Penny Sampler:  Little Village.  This block entices me to play up my color palette by including all the colors, but I'm trying to be restrained.  I'd like my blocks to be almost monochromatic with limited value contrast so that the whole quilt feels less busy.  It's hard, especially when working on a block like this with so many distinct elements.

Penny Sampler Little Village

For starters I made my little houses in blues, grays and purples.

Penny Sampler Little Village

The metallic Netorious print makes my windows shine.  I can't decide if my favorite house is the gray stripe with a single, square window or the gray tree house with a mossy green roof.  Probably the second.  Gotta love a purple striped door!

Penny Sampler Little Village

My favorite thing about this block is actually the background.  I like that the two fabrics I used merge color-wise, but read as flowery ground and stripey sky otherwise.  It's not the sapphire blue that I most want to emphasize in my quilt, but this softer true blue will compliment sapphire well.

Actually, I'm short on sapphire fabrics.  Maybe you'll help me find some new ones via the Cathedral Window's mosaic contest!

p.s.  Not sure if there is any interest in sharing your Penny Sampler progress via monthly link ups?  Well, let's try it.  What have you made so far?  Show us here!




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wintry Mint

Even with its asymmetric sashing and highly varied block sizes, the Penny Sampler still is at heart a sampler quilt.   So... part of the fun of making so many different blocks is thinking about how one might like to use them in other projects!  This winter I've decided to take one of my favorite blocks from the Penny Sampler, the snowflake, and make a wintry baby quilt.

Wintry Mint

My palette is calm, cool and serene.  The quilt will be mostly a pale, wintry mint with flashes of white, silver and gold.  The "silver and gold" concept was totally inspired by Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  You know how the snowman glides around singing "silver and gold, silver and gold"?  Well, since I've had very little actual snow in my life, apparently I connect snow mainly with movies?  Hmm.

Wintry Mint

Fat Quarter Shop has a wealth of lovely mint fabrics at the moment!  Each will make two snowflake block backgrounds, so here are plenty of options for a baby quilt.  From top left:  Raindrop Metallic Pistachio Precipitation, Calico Days Mint Week Days, Garden Dreamer Reflection Triangular, Hello Bear Cotton Sigh Firefly, Aunt Grace Green Blossom Vine, Blueberry Park Pond Sprouting Row, Kona Aloe, North Woods Icicle Crystal, Kona Ice Frappe and Birds of Liberty Aloe Daisy Bouquet.

Wintry Mint

And for the snowflakes themselves I'll use Kona white and two metallics by Cotton & Steel:  Netorioius in Cloud and Netorious in Goldilocks.  I'm glad to have an excuse to sew with silver and gold metallics.  They shine so prettily!

Wintry Mint

I made my first block in the rainy Precipitation print on a rare South Carolina snow day.  Fitting.  I've resized the block to finish about 10" with a thin background fabric border.  The half square triangles finish just 1.75".

On my first few blocks, I made HST's using the popular 2-block batch method that starts with squares.  In the quilting ruler round-up, I had mentioned I don't use my Fons & Porter Half & Quarter ruler because I prefer the batch method for HST.   Debbie commented that when she uses the ruler she doesn't have to trim her HST.  That was all the encouragement I needed to try the ruler again! 

Wintry Mint

Now I'm hooked on the Fons & Porter Half & Quarter ruler.  Even with these teeny tiny half square triangles, they come out accurately enough that I don't have to trim before assembling my snowflake blocks.  Hurray!  It's those little things that make a quilter's day.  Thanks, Debbie!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cathedral Windows {a mosaic contest}

Slow down a minute, my friend, and ponder with me in color...

All the colors dance with splendor as light streams in from cathedral windows. Sharp, refracting beams collapsing into a most delightful whole.  As we raise our faces towards the heavens, we find each beauty outlined by grief, each sacred motif framed in shadows. 

Cathedral Windows {a mosaic contest}
cathedral window, quilt by Susan Wessels, fabric stack, trees, monarchs

Blue is the color of cathedral windows.  True blue, most blue, royal blue.  It's sky and sea and peace enveloping the kaleidoscope of life's rich hues.  And it casts a dreamy wonder in these sacred spaces.  Blue smooths the waters lapping along our rocky shores. 

Cathedral Windows {a mosaic contest}
jellyfish, candles, water, stained glass, St. George's Cathedral, boat, quilt by Stolzfus

Then hand in hand with royal blue weaves another royal shade.  Lavender and orchid, grape and magenta - in cathedral windows rare purple is as plentiful as rain.  It lends an air of mystery wrapped in royal robes of light.

Cathedral Windows {a mosaic contest}
butterfly, flowers, quilt by SillyBoodilly, makeup, stained glass

Into dark, cavernous halls, cathedral windows usher light and color and the heritage of story.  They invite us to make space in the dark corners of our hearts for new, bold beautiful beings; for virtues that shine like gemstones and draw others to join in their song.  Ruby red, emerald green, amber and aquamarine sparkle in the company of cool royal blue and purple, bringing together all the colors just as we ought to bring all together with our love.

Cathedral Windows {a mosaic contest}
flowers, blue interior, quilt by Lieblingsdecke, quilt by lilabellelane, hummingbird

Such is the power of art to inspire our hearts and our hands.


I invite you to join us for a fabric mosaic contest sponsored by The Loopy Ewe.

Carefully craft your mosaic of 9 fabrics from among the offerings at The Loopy Ewe.  You can browse fabrics sorted by style here.  Use the links in the left sidebar to sort by color, designer, etc. if you like.  Choose fabrics to express your interpretation of Cathedral Windows.  There are many possibilities, though be sure to include some royal blue and other saturated colors.

Once you have your fabrics, the free Mosaic Maker tool makes it a snap to create a mosaic (though you may use any mosaic tool of your choice).  Copy and paste image url's from The Loopy Ewe.  To find url's first go to the item page, then right click on the image you want and choose "copy image URL".

To enter the contest, add your mosaic image to our collection here.  If it suits you, link to a blog post explaining your choices - that helps us spread the word about our contest.  But no blog post is required (you can put your image url in the url space).  Anyone can enter, anywhere in the world.

***Important Tip*** If possible, share your mosaic so that when it's loaded to the link up and you click on your mosaic, it takes viewers to see a larger version. This makes it so much easier for me to see your mosaic and consider it as a finalist!  Hosting your mosaic in a public place (such as Flickr or Instagram) and linking the URL works beautifully!

Add your mosaic by midnight January 21st.  You can make up to 2 mosaics!  On Sunday the 22nd, I'll open voting.   We'll have two winners!  The 2 Top Mosaics will earn a complete fat quarter set of their mosaic fabrics!!!  Winners announced January 25th.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Scraps on Parade quilt

It's finished!

Scraps on Parade

And how lucky that photographs fell on the first (and likely only) snow day of our season!  A pretty dusting of snow to prove it's winter at last.

Scraps on Parade

I made Scraps on Parade purely for the joy of scraps.   No plans and no pressure - perfect for those first weeks with baby.  It was a bit of slow going with some head-scratching along the way, but here we are at a finish I can celebrate!

Scraps on Parade

The hourglass blocks were best for eating up scraps.  I would have loved a whole quilt just of them, but it does get tedious sewing the same small block again and again.  The stretched 9-patch block is one I will likely make as a dedicated quilt someday.  It was quick and still scrap-friendly.  And the stars...  I'll never tire of sawtooth stars.

After adding that solid Kona Ash border, it all fell into place for me.  A simple, straight-line quilted texture brings things together, and a nearly-black floral provides a final frame for the wandering eye.


Scraps on Parade

On the back I used some fun prints that would be a shame to cut up for patchwork, as well as a large piece of a neutral gingham as a quiet bit of contrast.

Scraps on Parade

Scraps on Parade is so named for the way my block types are lined up "like soldiers," my mom said.  I see them more as rows in a quilty parade, with one silly sawtooth star causing mayhem in the hourglass ranks!

Scraps on Parade is listed in my Etsy shop today.  My first finish in the new year!

Scraps on Parade

Oops, I'm on my second-to-last label.  I've been using these sew-in ribbon labels from Etsy store GutenTags for years and years.  They hold up well to washing and look quite professional.  She closes her shop to new orders whenever she gets busy, so it can be hard to catch her taking new customers.  But reorders are quick and always available here.  If you're interested in labels, maybe convo her on Etsy to see if she has a wait list for new customers?

Sometimes I wonder if decades later when I'm not at this anymore, someone might stumble on one of my quilts, become curious about quilt-making and search their way to my blog to discover the (old) world of quilt-alongs and free online tutorials.  How cool would that be!

xo,

Rachel

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