Friday, January 27, 2012

Sew & Tell Friday #53

Once upon a time.....I dreamed of making a Dear Jane quilt.  I bought the book, later ordered the software, admired the blocks being made by Anya and Susan, spent time searching Flickr for DJ quilts, and imagined one day making a Dear Jane quilt myself.  

Not being able to paper piece or appliqué presented a problem, so I decided to make a liberated version using leftover fabrics from modern projects.  Over a long period of time time I finished nine DJ blocks.  

Then I saw and completely fell in love with this quilt made by Gwen!!!!!!!  I've been hoarding Kaffe fabrics and dreaming of making a Kaffe Dear Jane quilt ever since.

Gruber's Kaffe section

My sister's goal is to make a Farmer's Wife quilt, and the beginning of 2012 marks the beginning of our own little support group to encourage each other in this insanity.  We haven't come up with a definite time line or schedule yet, instead we are just excited to begin.

 Yesterday, I started by assembling the previously made Dear Jane blocks into a quilt top (I'll figure out what to do with it later) and making this B-4 block.  I wanted to begin with a simple block, but also one that I haven't made before.  After wasting too much time trying to figure out the software (I'll save that rant for another day), I traced the pattern myself and went about paper piecing the block.  Taking this class really helped me understand paper piecing even though I fell out of love with that particular quilt by the end of the first lesson....just to show there is something to be taken away from every learning experience ;-)

It's Sew & Tell Friday and finish it up Friday.  Some may say this is a start not a finish....I say it is a start and a finish!  I am starting my Dear Jane journey by finishing.....procrastinating, worrying, doubting, etc. and getting to work ;-)

Happy Friday and happy stitching!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's Up Wednesday: Distractions

I can't seem to stick with one project from start to finish without starting another!  There are so many quilts I want to make, it's hard for me to concentrate on just one at a time. 

So today I cut quite a few 3 inch squares for a baby quilt that needs to be ready for a March shower.  With my tendency to get distracted, I figured I better get started ;-)

The fabrics for this quilt are from several different lines.  There is a variety of Little Yellow Bicycle by Blend that is so super soft, Children at Play by Sarah Jane, Sherri Berry Designs and Riley Blake.  Thank goodness for selvages or I would never know the names ;-)

While I had my cutting area cleared, I went ahead and cut 2.5 inch squares and 1.5 inch squares to have on hand for other projects.

Some of the cutting was done the old-fashioned way and some was accomplished with my handy dandy Accuquilt Go!

 Another distraction for me lately has been this book that my husband recommended.  He describes it as the Harry Potter for grownups.  I don't know about that (HP is still one of my favorites, whereas my husband hasn't even read them), but I will say I can't but this series down.  I started the second book yesterday, but I told myself no reading for today.  Once I start, I can't stop.

Now I need to get stitching!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Play Days

Over the weekend, I spent some time working on smaller projects, trying a tutorial that I found on Pinterest, and learning a new technique.

For our guild's February Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt crayon challenge, I pulled out my mango and lemon fabrics and started piecing a mini crazy quilt.  I am excited about playing around with decorative stitches and different threads.

It's been forever since I have attended a baby shower, but when I saw these burp cloths on Pinterest I knew I wanted to make some for an upcoming baby shower.  I have only made this one so far from Aneela Hoey's Little Apples, but I plan to make several more.

 The biggest play day of all was spending an entire Saturday with my guild friends learning needle turn appliqué from Mary Sorenson!  This has been on my list of techniques to learn for a very long time. Mary's work is incredible, and she is a fabulous teacher!  I bought her DVD since I know once I get home I tend to forget what I learned in class ;-)

I was too busy learning to take many pictures, but I did snap this one of Leslie's handwork.  Michele has pictures on her blog.  Go see how pretty her flowers are!

Happy stitching!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sew & Tell Friday #52

 Surely I am not the only one totally in love with Melody Miller's Ruby Star Shining line of fabric?!  I admired projects made with her Ruby Star Rising (which I didn't buy unfortunately) and really wanted to make something with these cute typewriters.

Faith's iPad case tutorial seemed the perfect project to showcase the fabric, and I just happened to need one anyway, since I gave the one I made to a friend who admired mine ;-)

 The only detour I made from the tutorial was using Snuggle fabric for the inside (like the first iPad case I made) rather than the fabric and batting combination.  This particular case drew my eye because of the zipper.  I like the idea of having a place to put my stylus which I'm constantly misplacing.
However, I purposely haven't made anything with a zipper since my Junior High Home Ec class.  {Just saying that makes me feel old.  I don't believe schools have junior high anymore, much less Home Ec classes!}

 I am happy to say that I didn't have any issues with the zipper!   
I did, however, have some trouble with all the different linings and spent some quality time with my seam ripper ;-)

Anyone else see the irony in this picture?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've already seen this quilt top, but I want to show it again;-)
After a very long time in the WIP pile, the three liberated coin strips are now a quilt top!

Thanks for stopping by!  If you haven't already, stop by Amy's and Amanda Jean's blogs to see other Friday finishes.

Happy Friday and happy stitching!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Colorful Decisions

After languishing in the WIP pile for over a year, these three liberated coin strips are now a quilt top!

Piecing the colorful strips was the fun part.....deciding on a sashing fabric was not. 

In piecing the strips, I used a variety of solids in a rainbow of colors.  The majority of fabrics are Kona solids, but you will also find some shot cottons, corduroy and even some silks in here.

 Advice was asked and given for a possible sashing.  Every solid color in my stash was auditioned, and I didn't like any of them.  Wanting to finish this and move on to other projects, I finally went with this gray (believe it is Kona Ash), mainly because I had enough yardage on hand.

I'm not sure Kona Ash was the best choice for this project, but I am glad it is finally out of the WIP pile and ready to be basted.  Surely, a colorful scrappy binding will liven this quilt up?!

Any suggestions on how to quilt this?  Organic lines, a spiral, squares?
What about thread color?  There are so many colors going on in this quilt.  
Do I go with a neutral color, a variegated, switch thread colors to match the blocks?  
I can't decide whether to go with a solid for the backing or a busy colorful print.  That will probably depend on the answers to the how to quilt and what thread color to use questions ;-)

Thanks and happy stitching!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sew & Tell Friday #51

My first official finish for 2012 is January's Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt  Cowboys & Cowgirls.

AAQI Cowboys & Cowgirls 8.75" by 10.25"

I am halfway to the $1,000 Promise goal (my page isn't updated yet) and wouldn't it be awesome to reach it by the end of 2012!

This large quilt top is ready to be quilted, but I don't think I'm ready to quilt something that size on  my new machine.

Once again I played around with FMQ designs in different sections of the quilt.  This barbed wire in the blue area is my favorite.  I left my good camera in Montana so these pictures aren't the best.

The colors in this picture are closer to reality.  I really like this yellow.  Other than the center cowboy and cowgirl, all the fabrics are Kaffe shot cottons and wovens.  

I love the Cowboys & Cowgirls fabrics so much that I included the selvage.  I discovered this fabric several years ago and purchased all that I could find quite a bit.  It's nice to put it to good use ;-)

Here's a picture of the back and the barbed wire on top.  The thread looks blue in this picture, but it is actually a dark gray.

I used my new Juki for the quilting, but the piecing was done on my featherweight.  I am so happy to finally spend some time with this jewel!  My hubby commented on the fact that I have more than one machine....not really sure what point he was trying to make ;-)

Max wasn't with us in Montana during the great photo shoot, but when I pulled out the camera this morning, he looked a little nervous.  He shouldn't have worried....the craziest thing I did was pull out some old cowboy boots!

It feels good to have a finish! 
There are many more finishes over at Amanda Jean's and Amy's...go see for yourself!

Happy Friday the 13th!!! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Making Room

There's been some major rearranging, organizing and decluttering going on in my sewing room to make way for that new machine and fabric gifts I was telling you about!

This shelving unit now sits atop (rather than side by side) the bigger shelving unit to provide more floor space.  I think I need to do a series of Adventures's not as easy as you think to lift a bookcase 5 feet up ;-)  If you notice, I left two cubbies relatively empty and ready for that new fabric!

I was spoiled with a very generous gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop which allowed this purchase of fabric that includes a Moda Snuggles pack, Riley Blake fat quarters bundle, and Sarah Jane Children at Play in cotton and flannel.

These lovely fabrics were on sale and are already earmarked for quilts.  There's some yardage of Amy Butler Lark and Valori Wells Karavan that I have had my eye on for a while.  

Here's the after picture which the fabric nicely tucked away.  Nice eye candy, huh?

My new machine...can I just say I. LOVE. IT?!!!   
My husband did good.  I gave him some general requirements suggestions, and he took it from there ;-)

 I have only had a chance to use my machine to make two blocks for our guild meeting so far, but I am very impressed by how smooth and quiet it is.

These spool blocks from Modern Blocks were quick and fun to make, and a great way to break my new machine in.

I am anxious to finish a quilt top so I can see how my new machine quilts!
Happy Stitching!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Adventures in Quilt Photography

Who knew trying to get that perfect shot of a quilt could be hazardous to your health?!
Has anyone ever gotten a concussion from taking quilt pictures?!!!
What about the flu?!

My (well, our family's) Christmas present from my sister is this beautiful gift quilt she made and shipped to us in Montana just in time for Christmas!

She even embroidered all of our names...including Max!
I just LOVE it and wanted to take a million the perfect picture to show everyone.

The weather would just not cooperate.  There wasn't enough snow for my skiing husband's liking...the sun didn't make an appearance for days, but the wind sure did!

The day we flew home, the wind disappeared and the sun and snow arrived.  Isn't that always the way?  
That morning (very early in case you can't tell by the lighting) I convinced my husband to help me take pictures at a location I had scouted for just this purpose. 

Did I mention the temperature also dropped quite a bit?  I suggested he take pictures from the cozy warmth of the car, while I stood outside and held up the quilt.  

He kept trying to get me and the mountains in the picture, but I was envisioning the quilt in front of the Christmas-like trees with the sparkling lights.  I convinced him to switch places and let me take the pictures ;-)

That's when I slipped and landed flat on my back....right as another car pulled up.  Ouch!!! 
How about some humiliation to go with that headache?!  
It's nice to know others take pictures of this beautiful scenery....but somehow I think I was the only one out there adding a quilt to the vistas ;-) 

Still trying to get that perfect shot, I made the kids join us in hiking up the ski bridge.  By that time, the wind was back and it was getting even colder.  

For some reason, I didn't get any of these type Hey Girl comments ....
(OK, if you haven't seen the Handmade Ryan Gosling site, go there now!)....
....instead, mine were "Hey Rene', tell me again why we are taking pictures of the quilt outside?"

or "Hey Mom, how many pictures of quilts do you really need to take?!" 
and "Hey Mom, take the picture's freezing out here!"

Next time..... I bring the tripod!
All joking aside, my family was very supportive in this adventure, and we all really love our new quilt!!!!
Thanks so much Michelle!!!!!