Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thing 1 summer sewing recap

I just realized that my post from earlier today was not only incorrect in it's title (Thing 2), but it also left out a key bit of information: All the items shown in the photos were sewn by my eldest - Thing 1.

If you didn't read the earlier post, here are all the photos and pattern numbers again. So you don't feel like you missed anything :) If you didn't read it, then it's all new to you anyhow!

McCall's 6400 - top

McCall's 6113 - dress

McCall's 5591 - skirt

Simplicity 2413 - skirt (Project Runway !!)

Not sure of the pattern for the eggplant dress modeled by Thing 1. Venus (de Milo - the dressmaker dummy - so named for her missing head) is modeling a free-form "maybe" creation.

Smile pillows that reside in Thing 2's bedroom. Because she does smile... all the time :)

Thing 1 has some fun things planned for this fall as well, thanks to a trip to Vogue Fabrics last weekend!

Monday, August 15, 2011

secret revealed - Happy Birthday!

The sneak peek that I gave you a couple of weeks ago can now be fully revealed...

"Mountains Every Day" is a wall quilt I made for my dear friend, Sarah, for her birthday last week. She has lived many places in her life, but loves the mountains. All mountains, I think, but especially those in Colorado. In fact, she and her family were just returning from a vacation there last week when I gave her this gift.

I first saw this fabulous quilt from Spotted Stones in December of 2010. I immediately knew that I wanted to make something like it for Sarah. So I tucked the idea away to simmer, and planned to start on it in early summer 2011.

And then - LUCKY ME! - Krista published the pattern for this spectacular quilt in 101 Patchwork Projects and Quilts in April, 2011. I rushed right out to the local Borders store to buy the magazine, and started ordering shot cottons like mad.

The mountains are made by piecing strip sets of shot cottons, and then using pattern provided templates to cut the mountain shapes. I found the pattern to be very accurate and easy to understand with many photos illustrating most steps of the process. Thank you Krista!

I quilted it in almost exactly the same manner that Krista did because I thought it was just perfect, and imitation is the most sincere form of flattery! I love how the different quilting motifs and colors of thread make the back an interesting art piece as well.

Sarah and I have known and loved each other for many years. We first met in 1990 when we were both having homes built in the same development, right next door to each other. That was one of the luckiest days of my life. We lived side by side for over 10 years, having our babies, watching over them as they splashed in their kiddie pools and yard-hopped from swing set to swing set. We spent many hours talking, laughing, crying, and supporting each other as only great friends do.

We still live quite close, although not side by side. We still talk and laugh and support and love each other, only now our conversations deal more with the kids' college, our jobs, and dreams of retirement fun with our husbands. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful friend.

Happy Birthday, Sarah, and THANK YOU for all the wonderful times past and all the great times to come. Love you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

all together now

All of my Summer Sampler blocks are finished and sewn together!

Here is block #9 Minnesota. This was one of the blocks that convinced me to join this quilt along in the first place. I'm a sucker for all of those flying geese in a circle blocks that you see on flickr, and even though this isn't made of flying geese, it reminds me of those blocks.

After this paper-pieced beauty (which took waayyyy longer than the patience I had allotted for the task) I sort of ran out of energy (and fabric) for paper piecing. So I bypassed blocks 10-12 and decided to make 3 more of the first block - Star of Virginia - to put in the four corners of my quilt top.

Less fabric + more symmetry = Happy Elsie's Girl. AND that way I could see a completed top in my very near future. AND I wouldn't have to mentally beat myself up over yet another project started and abandoned. Because, you see, I didn't really abandon anything. I just chose to make four of my blocks the same ;-)

I took a lot of time trying to ensure that there was a balance of colors and prints with these three stars and the nine finished blocks.

And now for the big reveal.... the completed top! It turned out much better than I had expected for something I just pulled together from leftovers :) I'm planning to quilt it as-is, no borders or sashing. Just a fun sampler quilt perfectly sized for a girly baby gift.

Are any of you quilting along with the Summer Sampler series?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

giveaway at SewMod - Joel Dewberry Heirloom

My friends Lorrie and Paige at SewMod are hosting a fabulous giveaway this week on their blog!

TWO winners will each receive a fat quarter bundle of Joel Dewberry's latest line "Heirloom". They've got two colorways - Amber and Sapphire.

You can have up to three chances to win one of these great prizes:

1. Participate in their online poll about quilt show purchases.
2. Like their Facebook page.
3. Become an email subscriber to their blog.

Click here to head directly over to their giveaway post.

They've got lots more lovely fabrics and patterns in their etsy shop here. I've purchased some great new blenders from Pat Bravo - Oval Elements half-yards:

1/2 Yards Art Gallery Oval Elements Dots 3.5 YARDS TOTAL

as well as some terrific Anthology Fabrics fat quarter bundles:

Sweet Tooth 12 Fat Quarter Set by Anthology Fabrics

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to win that Heirloom Sapphire bundle, but you should definitely try for the Amber one ;-)

Good luck!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

word play

My Fresh Modern Bee blocks for July 2011 were completed over this past weekend. Mandy of Mand-A-Lin asked for word blocks made in the style of this new quilting book:

My initial reaction to this request was not very enthusiastic. I guess I was in kind of a slump, and I had convinced myself that it would be difficult and time consuming to figure out this method. So I put it on the shelf in a pile where it sat. And sat. And sat some more.

Until my local library came to the rescue, and my number in the hold queue for this book came up. And then I put the book on the shelf, where it sat, while I continued to pout about making this block. I'm not usually a pouter, but for some reason I just couldn't make myself work on this one.

Again, the library to the rescue. The book came due with no possibility for renewal since others were waiting. Put up or shut up time.

I dove in, and to my surprise and unbelievable joy, it was easy and fun!! Cutting and piecing directions for each letter were a breeze to understand and execute. Here are the letters from my assigned word "give" before adding the background fabric - you can already tell the identity of each letter:

Side background pieces have been added:

And lastly the background pieces between each letter. How fun is this block?!! All squared up it measures 5" by 18". The whole thing took me about 45 minutes.

Mandy also wanted some wonky stars to scatter across her word quilt, so here they are both together:

Thanks Mandy, for forcing me to try something new! I loved the fabrics you chose, and I'm so glad to have a new skill added to my repertoire. I even made some notes with phrases I'd like to incorporate into pillows or wall quilts using this method! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

shabby chic baby girl

Let's hear it for a "work-in-progress" project moved into the "completed" category! Woo-hoo!

I began working on this baby quilt in January 2000. I found my original notes (on graph paper) in the bag with the completed top earlier this year. The quilt was originally destined as a shower gift for a friend having a baby girl. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know why I never finished it; I probably wasn't happy with how it was turning out, or I came up with a better gift idea, or I just plain ran out of time. I had two wee ones of my own at home then, so the last scenario is the most likely.

Basically it's a 4-patch on point, with the 4-patches and cream squares at 3" finished; the entire quilt measures 41" square. All the florals are small scale prints in varying tones of pink and peach - so sweet. The cream and the 1" pink inner border are tone-on-tone prints, while the outer 3" border and binding are a repeat of one of the prints used in the center.

The backing was pieced from all the leftovers, and as I'm writing this, I like it almost as much as the front. :)

The center is straight-line quilted in the ditch, while the borders are free-motion quilted with a leaf and vine motif. Great news for those of you that use the blue washout markers to mark your quilting lines. All my border quilting lines (and my original floral motif lines on the cream fabric) were marked using one of those markers years ago when I finished the top. And now, 10+ years later, I'm thrilled to report that all traces of the marker lines disappeared in the wash!!

I attached the binding entirely by machine, using the Red Pepper Quilts method of stitching in the ditch from the front to catch the loose binding edge on the back.

I found that these long-shank flower head pins from Clover worked the best for me in keeping that loose edge secured as I sewed from the front. Make sure to butt them up right next to each other as you pin, and not leave any loose areas to shift - you won't be able to tell if anything is shifting as you stitch from the front. Voice of experience here!

Another shot of the back. A much more modern feel to this side. These shabby chic colors are so out of my usual range, but I do think this is a lovely quilt. I'm not sure where it will end up now that it's finished. We don't have any baby girls coming into our family in the near future, so it's final home is still up for grabs.

The "work-in-progress" pile is still quite high, but finishing this one sure feels good!


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