Tuesday, May 24, 2011

rainbow spools

The end of the school year is quickly approaching, and the deluge of associated activities is swamping our household. But after a couple more hectic weeks we'll be in the midst of relaxing summer bliss.

But until then, it seems there are a million things to get finished. Including my SewMod row quilt. I've managed to devote some hours to it this week, and now all my lovely rows are sewn together! I added a small strip of the Kaffe Roman Glass in Red between each row to unify everything.

I'm going to add a row of appliqued vines and flowers to each side of this quilt before adding final sashing and borders. It's all planned out in my head, and hopefully I can make the reality as exciting as what's in my mind :)

A quilt like this with so many contributors needs an out-of-the-ordinary label, so I've made a spool block for each person to sign! And of course, I used the color spectrum (if somewhat loosely) to assign a color to each spool.

The row of spools on the quilt back will be book-ended by the two red spools. I took the liberty of writing out one of the red labels already... another visual reminder of my deadline :)

Here are a couple of close-up shots of all the spools. All the colored fabrics came from my scrap bins (notice all the Kaffe bits), and the others are Kona White and Kaufman Quilter's Linen. I adapted Edyta Sitar's spool pattern from her book Friendship Strips and Scraps to make a larger sized spool to accommodate the center signature area - these measure 6" x 8" finished.

I've definitely never spent this much time and effort on quilt labels, but I think they turned out so ding-dong cute! I can't wait for my friends to sign these next week and get this quilt one step closer to being completed... ON TIME :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

batik Dresden table runner - free pattern review

Yes, more Dresden's!! This time a batik table runner for a Quilt in Joy sample. The free pattern came from Princess Mirah Design at Bali Fabrics, Inc.

** Updated July 27, 2015 - the pattern I used was a free download available in 2011.  At this time I am unable to locate the pattern online.  So sorry :(

It measures about 15" x 42". I used a "Bright Jewels" batik sushi roll (2.5" strips), 1/3 yard each of two different cream/tan background fabrics, and 1/4 yard of a multi-colored batik for the setting triangles.

The pattern calls for you to make a template to cut the Dresden blades, but I just put some blue painters tape on my Easy Dresden ruler to mark the template size and used the ruler to cut. So much easier than cutting a flimsy plastic template and tracing it 100 times!

I did use the provided template for the quarter-circles in the center of the dresdens, and it worked just fine.  Each quarter-circle is fused to the Dresden segments and background squares, then finished with a machine blanket stitch.

The template provided in the pattern for setting triangles is incorrect (learned this the hard way). Instead of using their template, just cut (4) 5 7/8" squares. Cut those squares in half diagonally to make your eight setting triangles.

You will need an extra 1/4 yard for binding than what is stated in the pattern. I backed and bound mine with the same fabric as the setting triangles. I attached my binding completely by machine using the "Bugglet Quilts Quick & Clean Machine Binding" method developed by my friend Vicki at Accio Fabric. You can find a tutorial for it here. So fast and easy :)

The pattern seemed suitable for a confident beginner. There are quite a few different techniques used in making this small project: piecing Dresden's, fusible applique, cutting with templates, and decorative machine stitching.  Other than the previously mentioned corrections, I found the pattern easy to follow and the finished project just beautiful!

Be sure to let me know if you make one, too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mary and me

Mary Engelbreit is someone I'd like to know. I'd like to hang out with her, visit her studio, watch her work, and drink tea with her in the hopes that some of her artistic talent would rub off on me. I've always loved her illustrations and artwork. Some of it's kind of kitschy, but I find it charming and delightful.

Last week I scored a couple of decorative items at Hobby Lobby in the gardening section and brought them home to my house. As I was putting them in their proper places, I realized there are quite a few of her items here!

This is my new gardening flag. Initially I took a photo of it in the store thinking I would replicate it as a banner for my front door. But realistically speaking, how long would that take? Ten bucks later - instant gratification as a garden flag! (But the door banner idea is still on my no-end-in-sight "to make" list!)

This little metal sign is also designed for the garden, but it's just so at home in the sewing room (and it won't rust in here!). Laughter, stitches, Shakespeare, and Mary - perfect!!

My Mary-inspired New York Beauty quilt top has been finished for quite some time - probably two years. It was hanging at my LQS for quite a while when I was teaching a NYB workshop, and since then it's been packed away in a box :( It's one of my favorite things I've made, so this week I'm taking it to a long-arm quilter to be finished. Can't enjoy it while it's folded in a box, can I?

The inspiration for my quilt came from a New York Beauty workshop I took at the International Quilt Festival in 2009 in Chicago. The kits for this 16" finished block were included in the class, and I was thrilled when I arrived and all the fabrics were by Mary or Mary-esque :)

More stuff in my sewing room by Mary... a re-purposed pencil/tool caddy and pincushion.

And lastly, my most favorite Mary Engelbreit decoration - a garden sign and post that I painted at least 10 years ago. I found the pattern in one of her books at my local library (Mary Engelbreit Spring or Summer). The paint has been touched up once or twice and looks like it needs it again this year.

But it stays out all winter long just waiting for spring and some pretties like these to be planted with it...

Tonight will hopefully be our last frost in Northern Illinois, so I'll be planting these outside tomorrow!

Have a happy week :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

a finish, a new logo, and a perfect day

I sent my One Block Wonder kaleidoscope top out to be long-arm quilted earlier this year, and now it's finally bound and finished...

I tried a new quilter for this one, and she choose a design of different sized radiating circles all over the center. Think rings on a pool of water when a rock hits the surface.

In this photo of the back you can see the different sizes of circles more clearly. The border is quilted very simply with five straight, evenly spaced lines.

I guess it technically isn't "finished" because I didn't put a label on it yet. But I've got a fun and very talented friend with a graphic design background who has been working on a new logo for me! It's all very exciting, and I hope to have it loaded on the blog soon for you all to see. I've got some printed labels and cards featuring the logo in the works as well, so I think I'll wait and incorporate that into the label for this quilt.

Yesterday was a spectacular Mother's Day here at my house. Probably the best I have ever had. We didn't really have anything planned other than being here together and enjoying the perfect weather. My husband and daughters helped me drag out all the flower pots and put them in their proper places in anticipation of planting next weekend - which means flower shopping this week - always fun! We re-covered my big sewing table with a brand new piece of cotton duck cloth (no more iron scorch marks!), and I sat out on the patio with my daughter, drank some Prosecco (my summer drink of 2011 - just sayin'), and listened to her delight in the stories of her first prom that took place Friday night.

You know that feeling when your heart is so full of joy and wonder about how good life really is, when you want everything to stop so you can soak it all in and never forget how life feels at that exact moment, when you are so content that you could almost cry? That was my Mother's Day. It was a hundred ordinary moments that added up to the most perfect day :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

dresses and skirts and muslins, oh my!

Look out summer, here I come!! I did a little internet fabric shopping in the grey, drizzly days of April to stock my summer wardrobe.

Two prints from Tanya Whelan's Dolce line will be transformed into dress D below:

This gorgeous floral print on pink background from Bari J. Ackerman's Full Bloom line will become dress C. This was the closest commercial pattern I could find to the Polly Pratt dress worn by Kathy Doughty at Material Obsession that I obsessed about in April (and directly caused the previously mentioned shopping spree):

Another lovely Full Bloom print in lilac is destined to be skirt A:

And finally these Tanya Whelan Delilah prints are going to be the cover girl on Sew Serendipity (sans pocket - who puts a pocket with ruffles on the widest part of their body? Not me):

Lastly, since my body doesn't conform to the measurements on the pattern envelopes, a little bit of muslin to test these patterns and make them fit just right.

All fabrics were purchased from various eBay sellers and Except for that bolt of muslin. It came from Jo-Anns with a 50% off coupon :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

growing trees

In one of my posts last week I showed a graphed diagram of a Tree of Life block. Over the weekend I got the three "leaf" sections put together in some scrap fabrics, and while I was happy with the layout and the colors, the size of the thing was huge! I knew that it would be big because I did all the calculations, but 17.5" square on graph paper doesn't look or sound nearly as big as it actually is in real life. So I skipped cutting and assembling the trunk section altogether and went to plan B.

I decided to revert to the original size called for in the pattern (Edyta Sitar - Friendship Triangles book) which is 14.5" square. Much better! And these are the real fabrics. After I finished this one yesterday, I kept stopping in and admiring it every time I passed by the sewing room :)

In the quilt I am planning, all the tree blocks will be set on point like this, and surrounded by a striped sashing. The leaf fabrics will be different in every block, and the setting triangles will be the fuschia funny birds from this line (Sarah Fielke - From Little Things for Lecien). It should be a fun, bright, funny quilt when completed!

I'd love to just keep making these tree blocks - I think there will be eight total. But there are at least ten other things that need to be finished (or started and finished) before this project can see any more work time. New babies this summer, remember? :-) No, not ten babies, but those two little guys are at the top of the list!

Which brings me to another topic. Just how many works-in-progress is too many? How many until you are classified as having "a problem"?


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