Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Finish: Studio Redo

I've wanted to show pictures of my studio as a Friday Finish ever since I moved my space upstairs, but before I could take decent pictures, it would either get messy again or I would rearrange it.  I'm constantly repositioning my sewing table, ironing board and cutting table.  I think I finally have it where I like and now our house is on the market ;-)  My studio is as picked up as it's ever going to be, so let's take a look:

planning area
to-dos and inspiration board
Right outside my room is an alcove with a desk, shelves, bulletin board and an extra design wall.  This is where I sit when participating in online guild meetings which happen about once a month.  There's also room for a laptop, printer and quilting books.

Design wall
Usually the latest quilt project(s) is on this design wall as it is easier to stand in front to rearrange blocks and then step back to get a better look.  The design wall has been taken down temporarily so as not to overwhelm prospective buyers....ha!

the left side of the room
When you walk in my studio, my sewing machine in on the left as well as another design wall and a bookcase.
my Juki, Janome, and Featherweight
There are also some lovely handmade gifts from friends all around my sewing space!  More gifts have been added since this picture was taken....I'm still going through my mail and unpacking from retreat.

the right side of the room
On the right when you walk in is my fabric stash, directly in front is my ironing surface and then around the corner is a small closet.  I love looking across my machine and seeing the lovely fabric eye candy and more handmade quilty goodness from friends.

closeup of shelves
Most of my fabric is folded around comic book boards and "filed" on the shelves by color.  Additionally, I have shelves dedicated to precuts, novelty and favorite fabric lines.

My pegboard above my ironing surface is a favorite feature of my studio.  There's a container to hold my Flatter spray, various size baskets for notions and patterns, a magnetic board, and pegs for rotary cutters, scissors, rulers and small artwork.

small area for displaying notions
Under the ironing surface is more storage.  I also have a foldout cutting table that I rarely use.  Now that my fabric is on mini bolts, I find I can cut yardage on a smaller cutting mat right on my ironing board.

one of several turquoise rolling carts
Several aqua Ikea rolling carts hold WIPs...the idea being each bin holds a different project.  If that were the case, I would need twice as many carts!

beautiful minis gifted to me (other than the far left)
Above and below are updated pictures of my mini quilts after rearranging to accommodate my sister's latest gift!

wall hanging made by Michelle - pattern from book Paper Pieced Modern
Now that summer is almost over and school is about to start, I am spending more time in my sewing space, and I love that!  The hard part is keeping my area clean while creating....I'm a messy quilter!

currently on my design wall - two different MCM Bee quilts in progress
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.  I like seeing where others create so I hope you don't mind me sharing my little creative area.  Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gruber's 2015

I'm home from my Gruber's retreat (and three other trips) and starting the process of unpacking while battling a summer cold.  I did a little bit of sewing this morning and it's nice to fall back into a routine.  (If only I could get my blogging routine set!)

This was the sixth Gruber's retreat, and I SO needed this week of sewing and quilty friendship!  It wasn't the most productive as far as project finishes go, but it was a success in terms of quality friend time.  That's way more important!
a large flat rate box holds a lot of fabric scraps
I didn't have a set plan this time around and ended up shipping a box of fabric scraps (and my happies) ahead.  Catching up on the Scrap Vortex QAL, bee blocks and making a baby gift were on my list to work on, and I accomplished those goals.  

Having a sister that quilts is awesome!
My sister and I exchanged birthday quilts while on retreat together.  
Michelle sets the bar higher each year, which is a good thing and a bad thing ;-))

photo borrowed from Mary
Speaking of setting the bar higher, here's a picture of the happies exchanged this year.  I "outsourced" mine, ordering coffee mugs with our Sew Sisters bee logo designed by Terri and adding some favorite fabric scraps and a QAYG coaster.  

quilt cake fail
I had grand plans for a cool quilty cake to acknowledge several milestone birthdays being celebrated, but the cake decorator didn't share my vision (or view the photos attached to my email).  Note to self: research out of town bakeries more thoroughly in the future!

In between laughing, eating, shopping, chatting and more laughing, I managed some sewing:

Kaleidoscope block parts for Amanda Jean - check....

Birthday block for Amanda Jean (there's still a few days until deadline if you'd like to make one too) - check...

Block for Charleston MQG's Emmanuel AME community quilt - check....

and baby gift made (can't show yet) - check!

design table - not as efficient as design wall
My scrappy vortex production is hard to measure without a proper design wall.  I can't wait to put these pairs onto my design wall to see how much progress I actually made.

Gruber's annual photo - year six
I have grown to love these ladies more and more with each passing year if that's possible, and I already miss them so much!  Pictured above left to right: Amanda Jean, me, Doris, Mary, Michelle, Terri, Cindy, Shelly and Stephanie.  We missed Toni this year.

one way to sort your scraps!
 I've said it before and it bears repeating:  If you ever get the chance to attend a quilt retreat, take it!  Saying yes to flying across the country to sew with nine other bloggers I had never met before was a life changing decision that I am so happy I made!

Past retreat recaps are here, here, here, here and here!
Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Finish: Fifty Kisses

I'm at my annual Gruber's retreat (yippee!!!!) and hand delivered my sister's 50th birthday quilt to her.  It was difficult to keep progress pictures off Instagram, so it is nice to finally share photos of this one.
Fifty Kisses
I call it Fifty Kisses.  There are 50 different x-blocks made with 50 different Cotton+Steel fabrics and one big x-block (you to grow on!).  No repeat fabrics were used.  The background and backing is Carolyn Friedlander widescreen - blue for the front and black (over the hill) for the back.

Artist Point - Yellowstone National Park
I finished hand stitching the binding while on vacation in Montana so the quilt went with us to Yellowstone National park for a photo shoot.  Here is a picture taken at Artist Point.  I may have pushed a few international tourists out of the way to get this picture ;-)

quilted by Frank Palmer
Apparently I didn't take any in progress pictures.  I guess that's because I knew I couldn't share the process.  I found this picture of the pin basting on the wall which is funny since I ended up giving the quilt to a longarmer.

basting on the wall
When it came time to quilt, my sewing room became inaccessible for the week before I was heading out of town, so I "outsourced" the quilting to our new OrlandoMQG member Frank Palmer.  As bad as I felt about not doing the quilting myself, I am so happy with the quilting Frank did!  He did a beautiful job and allowed the blocks to be the focus.  The quilt washed up beautifully and has that soft crinkly look and feel.
Spanish Peaks in the background
The blocks are from a tutorial by Pile O' Fabric and finish at 5.5".  The quilt is smaller than I would like, measuring 49.5" by 60.5.  Michelle loves it which makes me very happy.  She has slept under it every night!  She gave me a beautiful birthday quilt as well which I will share when I get some decent pictures.

on the ski bridge
one more
Quilt stats:  Fifty Kisses, fabrics Cotton+Steel and Carolyn Friedlander, finished size 49.5x60.5, block pattern by Pile O' Fabric, quilted by Frank Palmer.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.
Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Friday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Handmade Gifts

My sister recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and I made this cute pincushion to remind her.  Writing out the word makes it seem less painful, and I figure if she ever gets upset about it she can poke some pins into that reminder ;-)  I will hand deliver her big birthday gift later this week.

Happy 50th!
My guild buddy Michele gifted these goodies for my birthday!
I love the Cotton+Steel selvage potholders, and we have a running joke with cats hence the cute pouch!

quilty goodness
This beautiful quilt was made by my friend Hope as a reminder of our NYC trip to celebrate my milestone birthday (a few years ago).
NYC skyline
She purchased the fabrics at The City Quilter....there are subway blocks and improv blocks to represent the NYC skyline.  This was definitely worth waiting for!

I received a couple of awesome, unexpected quilted "happies" from friends recently.  I shared them on Instagram at the time, but not here on the blog.

mini Peace!
 The sweet Katie made a mini version of my Peace Quilt pattern just because.  Isn't it awesome?!  She's the one who encouraged me to write the pattern, so it's me who should be thanking her.

scrappy eye candy
The ever generous Amanda Jean sent me this wonderful mini spiderweb quilt and pincushion.  Again,  it's I who should be thanking her....we spent some quality time discussing all matters quilty on her recent Orlando trip.

Aren't quilty friends the absolute best?  I think so!
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, June 29, 2015

June Blocks

Our MCM Bee added new members this year and rearranged months, so I get to be Queen Bee sooner.  That's the reason I am giving for not having my Dresden quilt finished before requesting new blocks!  I was so proud of completing my first bee quilt before the second round that I wanted to keep it up.

bubble block in blue
I chose Aylin's bubble block this time around and my bee mates have been gracious in making this block for me.  It's not the quickest that's for sure. 

slightly crooked picture of Elizabeth and Susan's blocks
Susan pointed out that four of these blocks make up our bee logo.  Very cool!  The pattern can be purchased here.  You can search Instagram using the hashtag #MCMBee or #midcenturymodernbee to see other blocks made by our bee members and #aylinnilyabubbles to see other blocks made using this pattern.

House block 1
House blocks were requested for Wish Circle bee.  I made these while out of town so my fabric choices were quite limited, but I think they are quite cute.  We used this tutorial if you'd like to make some yourself.
House block 2
Amanda Jean's block for Sew Sisters bee will be made while on retreat.  This is the first time retreating since our bee started so it should be quite fun making bee blocks together.

It's nice to have my blocks completed and blogged in the same month!
Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Finish: Heart Pillow

Happy Friday!  I am back from visiting my grandson and spent a little time yesterday in my sewing room.  Ignoring the mess that needs cleaning, I finished a small WIP that was 90% complete.  Just that little accomplishment feels so good!

heart pillow
I love Jen Kingwell's new book Quilt Lovely and her courthouse steps pillow.  She cleverly changed up the layout of the traditional block so they form a heart shape.  I enlarged the block with thoughts of making a quilt.  After making one block though, I decided to make it into a pillow instead.  In the future I may revisit the quilt idea.

Liberty makes the back so soft.
The pillow back is a Liberty of London fat quarter.  Actually using my precious Liberty makes me happy.

purple hand stitching
I quilted lines with my walking foot and then used Perle Cotton 8 to big stitch around the heart shape.  I'd like to do more of this.  I love the look it gives and the stitching itself is relaxing.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.  
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, June 8, 2015

Great Granny Square Block

When I shared my Sew Sister bee blocks, I had not decided on May's block for Michelle.
She requested any block that had meaning for us....first block pattern ever made, a favorite block, a block we have always wanted to try, etc.  In the end I chose a great granny square block as we had collaborated on a great granny square quilt for our mom's 70th birthday.

that's better
All print fabrics are Cotton+Steel, Michelle's favorite fabric line.  Originally all the fabrics were selected as a representation of our childhood, but I goofed on the center block (see below).  Now the center block represents where we retreat annually; the kitties/tigers are kind of an inside joke between us.  I am terrified of cats (although there is an old picture of me holding a kitty) and refer to this print as a tiger.  Michelle loves cats and calls this print a kitty cat.  Of course, we played jacks and had viewfinders as children.  I went with Kona Robins Egg as the background which is another favorite of Michelle's.
Here is my original block where I didn't take into account this block is squared on point.  I unstitched the center section and recut those squares but did not have anymore Mississippi print.

making do 
I didn't want to waste that Mississippi block, so I incorporated it into a 6" block with more tiger fabric.

small size spiderweb block
Spiderweb blocks are a recent obsession, so I had to make one for Michelle.  I used this tutorial for assembling but changed the dimensions so the block measures 12" finished.

She has received her blocks now, and I'm so glad she likes them.  I can't wait to see what she does with the different blocks made for her.