Here are some pictures of my latest version of Elephant March using Birch’s Mod Basics 2 collection. I love how the elks work just as well as elephants. It also takes the quilt out of the nursery and can really go in any room in the house.
And here is a close up of the quilting. Boy, do I love the wood grain quilting.
And here is the back. I really could just quilt Birch’s Cream all day long and be happy. It is so so so soft. Can’t recommend it enough.
Thanks for stopping by!
Hello and happy day light savings to everyone in the U.S. This Monday is always tough but the longer days are so worth it.
So, hopefully everyone is making good progress on their blocks and the tips from two weeks ago were helpful.
Here is a picture of my quilt top in its final layout.You can see the funky side pieces where I didn’t totally cut off the “arm” entirely.
And here is a picture of the quilt top sewn together.After I sewed the top together, I trimmed off the sides. You can also see the stay stitching that I added to the sides of the quilt. I sewed regular stitches about 1/8″ from the edge to help keep the pieces from stretching when I was quilting. I find it really helps and would totally recommend it.
And here is the grand reveal! This is also a good shot to show my quilting. I chose to create a V design to mirror the quilting in the top and bottom. I used a fabric safe marker and drew in matching curves to create this look. I had to go with the petals in the curved pieces and then quilted diamonds in the center of the blocks by drawing them with a fabric marker. If you are looking for quilting inspiration, be sure to check out Petra’s version as well. She went with all over quilting and it really changes the effect of the top and bottom pieces.
And here is a close up of the front.
And here is a shot of the quilting on the back.
Thank you all for joining this QAL with me. I really hope it helped and I look forward to seeing pictures of your finished quilt.
Star System and Elephant March just arrived! They will be ready to ship out tomorrow so if you are interested, hop on over to my Etsy shop and pick up one of each. If you are interested in wholesale orders, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend and got a lot of good sewing done. I decided to have this week be a “check in” week, where you can let me know how things are going and to have some more time to work on your blocks. They take a while but the finished product is so worth it.
I also wanted to share with you my friend Petra’s* blog post and finished Star Gazer quilt with you as a little inspiration. Petra is an amazingly talented quilter and pretty much blew my mind when she showed me her version of Star Gazer. She made this quilt to raise money for her daughter’s school. How generous is that???
Here is a link to Petra’s blog www.sewpaintcreate.com. Definitely check out her post to read about her experience and tips sewing curves.
And here is a picture of her finished quilt! And please note how she used the tiny star print instead of solid white. Brilliant move, lady. Just brilliant.
Nancy, of Just Quilting PDX, did the quilting for this baby. Such a perfect combination. Here is a link to Nancy’s website
Next week, we will finish up with sewing the quilt top and quilting.
* Petra’s name has an accent but I have no idea how to insert one on WordPress. I apologize.
Hello! I hope everyone had a fun week cutting out fabric and figuring out your layout because now we are on to the fun stuff: sewing curves.
Sewing curves doesn’t have to be scary, especially when you know some tricks. Here is a list of things that will help me when I sew curves:
1. Shorten the stitch length.
2. Pin, pin, pin, and pin.
3. Use a spray starch when ironing your fabric.
4. Sew slowly.
5. Be gentle with the fabric as your sew the curves.
6. Press the wrong side of the block first.
But, regardless of the tricks, sometimes the fabric you are using can make a difference. Last week, I got an email from a friend who was starting her Star Gazer quilt ahead of the QAL. She was having a really tough time getting her pieces to lay flat. After trouble shooting with some of the suggestions above, I pulled some scrap some Windham fabric and some Kona sold from my stash and sewed part of a block. I started to sewing the curve from the center, sewing one half then the second half. Using this method, I didn’t even bother to pin my pieces. My piecing turned out perfect, nary a pucker in sight.
Then, it was time for me to start sewing my Star Gazer with Birch’s fabric. Using the same, no pin, sew from the center method, this is what my block looked like. Not good. Not good at all.
Since all of the fabrics I used are high quality and I didn’t do anything differently, my theory is that maybe the thickness of the fabric threads might have something to do with how it handles the curves. I have no scientific basis for this theory, but that is my hunch. My suggestion is to try making a block. Hopefully you won’t have any problems, but if you do, this is what worked for me.
First, I tried using spray starch on my pieces and that helped, but not significantly. My next step was to pin, a lot. Pinning made all the difference and my blocks finally started looking really good. The only problem is pinning each side of the block really takes a lot of time. It slowed me down but the results were worth it. Below is a picture of one of my block sides and a lot of pins.
I also found that pressing the wrong side of the block first helped set the curves in place.
After sewing and pressing my blocks, I squared them up to 7 1/2″ x 7 1/2″. Here is my block before squaring up.
And here is a picture of the block after it is squared up.
Now, all of my blocks are finished and I need to get to work on finalizing the layout and sewing up the quilt top, which we will talk more about next week. I really hope this post helps. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me if you are having any issues. And for all of you QuiltCon folk, I hope you had an awesome weekend.
Hello and welcome to Week One of the Star Gazer QAL. I hope you are excited and ready to get sewing.
I know it seems ambitious to combine picking fabrics, cutting and layout in one week but as I was working on my quilt, I couldn’t figure out a way to separate them.
The original Star Gazer was designed around the nine prints in Birch’s Scamper collection. I just really wanted to show off all of the really cute little details in the fabrics. I found that the color prints really popped off the cream petals. The prints with cream backgrounds worked just as well, particularly because they are balanced by the color pints. This pattern is so versatile that any cohesive set of fabrics will look great. Lighter prints might get washed out a bit if you use a white or cream for the petals, but lighter prints for the diamonds and a darker solid for the petals would look stunning. If you used a dark blue for the petals, it would look like the night sky.
I can’t wait to see pictures of what everyone is using. Please feel free to post pictures in the Star Gazer QAL flickr group.
My first recommendation if you aren’t using the Scamper prints like I did is to assign your prints to the Scamper prints I used in the pattern before you start cutting. That way, it will be easy to keep track of how many pieces of each print you need and what print goes where in the layout. The diamond pieces (Template A) take up a lot of fabric because of their long “arms” so planning ahead is really important. Definitely consider tracing the pieces with a fabric safe marker before cutting to make sure you have enough fabric, particularly if you are fussy cutting your prints.
If your paper pattern piece is wrinkly and tough to use, turn off the steam on your iron and quickly iron it flat. Just be sure to turn of the steam or you will end up with a soggy piece of paper.
Another thing I found helpful is to use a small square ruler placed on top of Template A. It helped keep the paper piece in place as I used my rotary cutter. I just shifted it to the sides that I wasn’t cutting. And don’t forget to mark the center notch on each side of the diamond. You need this mark to line up the center of the pieces cut with Template B. A small 1/8″ notch or mark with a fabric safe pen works the best. If you have the time, transfer your pattern piece to a plastic template. It is really easy to shave little bits off the pattern as you cut with a rotary cutter.
The same advice applies to cutting Template B. Be sure to mark the center notch and consider transferring the pattern piece to a plastic template.
If you are using nine prints, you can just follow the layout I used or you can try something new. I have found that I prefer balance and symmetry for this quilt pattern, but don’t let that stop you from trying out different arrangements.
This time around, I am making a quilt with Birch’s new line coming out this spring called Yay Day! It is super cute and feminine. Since the first time I saw this collection, I have wanted to do a Star Gazer version. The pattern calls for nine prints, but the Yay Day! collection only has seven prints. This means that I can’t follow the layout of the original Star Gazer and I needed to increase my yardage to 1/2 yard of each print.
*I apologize for the picture quality. I don’t have a design board (long story involving an A-frame house) so I lay out my pieces on my bed.
If anyone wants to use 7 prints, please let me know and I can give you more information on how many pieces of each print I ended up needing.
I hope this post helps and look forward to seeing pictures of your fabrics and layouts.
Next Week: Sewing Curves!!
I am so excited to receive a copy of this month’s Creative Retailer. The magazine featured Monaluna’s new line, Havana, on the cover. I was lucky enough to get a chance to work with Monaluna designing a quilt for their Quilt Market booth this fall. There is a really nice article about Monaluna in the issue and they were kind enough to give me a shout out about the quilt.
Here is a picture of the cover.
And here is a picture of the article and quilt.
Welcome to the Star Gazer QAL. I am so excited to get this party started.
First, to introduce myself, I am Melissa of Lunden Designs. I have been sewing all my life and fell in love with quilting 5 years ago. I moved from NYC to California 3 1/2 years ago, where I began sewing for Birch Fabrics. After getting requests for patterns for the quilts that I was making for Birch, starting a pattern company was the next natural step. Lunden Designs was born this past summer.
I am so excited to be doing this QAL and to get to know everyone who is participating. If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment introducing yourself.
I also set up a Flickr group so it would be easy for us to share pictures of our fabrics and quilts. Here is a link to the group. http://www.flickr.com/groups/stargazerquiltalong/
So, my plan for the QAL is to do a weekly post on Mondays, that way we can have time to work on the quilts over the weekend. This Monday I am going to talk about picking fabrics, cutting and layout. The week after that, we can talk about sewing curves. The following week we can talk about piecing the quilt top and the week after that, we can discuss quilting. If you think this is going too fast, let me know and I can slow things down.
And please feel free to email me along the way if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you and to help in anyway I can. My email is email@example.com
Thank you so much for joining along!
Here is a sneak peak my latest quilt for Sew It…Today magazine. The magazine goes on sale on February 26 and can be found in most major stores. As soon as I get a couple of copies, I will do a giveaway. The quilt uses Birch’s Camp Sur line.
I am about to get to work on a version of Star Gazer using Birch’s new line, Yay Day! and thought it would be fun to do a quilt a long. I put a post up on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in joining in and got a good response. So if anyone is interested, let me know. I will put posts up here on my blog and will link to them on my Facebook page too. The first post will go up on February 15th, that way everyone will have time to get their materials. I have a 10% off coupon on my Etsy shop so you can get a copy of Star Gazer. The code is good for all of my patterns so feel free to pick up all of your favorites. Just enter SGQAL when you check out.
A very helpful friend just told me that the RSS feed button is giving her an error message. If you are having that problem, there is a feedburner link at the very bottom of this page that should be working.
I just posted a bunch of pictures to my Facebook page and to the Lunden Designs Flickr group of the two Flag Day quilts I made with Tula Pink’s Salt Water lines. They turned out so beautiful, if I do say so myself ; )
My sweet husband is so supportive of my quilting business. His feedback and help has been crucial to any success I have had. The hardest part for him is that we rarely keep the quilts I make. He really loved the Northern Exposure quilt, and even named it for me, so I knew that I would make him one for our anniversary. I used the full/queen size option and the second layout with the narrow columns. It looks like it has always been on my bed – it fits so nicely in our room and is perfect for the winter. I used prints from Birch’s Camp Sur and then added Shroom and Mahogany, along with Dandi Flight from the Commute line and a Denyse Schmidt’s Eyelet in Grey.
And here is the back.
Here is a close up of the wood grain quilting and the blocks.
And here is a close up of the mitered corner.
Flag Day and Big Top are finally here. I have updated my Etsy shop and the patterns have been shipped to lots of stores. So excited to see what people make with the patterns.
Just wanted to let you know that Flag Day and Big Top will be ready to ship on Wednesday!
Here is Flag Day, which includes 3 size options.
And here is Big Top, perfect for any nursery.
I cannot believe that I get to write a Quilt Market recap. Going to Quilt Market has always been a dream of mine. All of the amazing creativity that goes into preparing and displaying these booths just blows my mind. I used to love reading the recaps and looking over all of the pictures online so when Cynthia of Birch Fabrics asked me if I wanted to go this fall, there was no question what my answer would be. It was seriously a fabric nerd’s dream come true. And this time, I would get to go, not only to help out Birch, but to sell my own patterns. The trip was amazing and I couldn’t be happier with how things went. I need to update my website with a Stockist page because my patterns are now available in over 25 shops around the world!
Tula Pink was my first celebrity spotting on Friday. It was so cool and totally surreal to see so many faces that I recognized from reading about them online. I totally dorked out trying to chat with Heather Bailey but luckily I kept my cool when I finally had the chance to meet Angela Waters, my quilting idol on Saturday. She was amazing and as nice as I could have hoped.
Here are some pictures of the Birch booth. Seeing all of my quilts and projects on display was a really amazing moment.
Here is the view of the booth with the order table.
Here is a shot of By Sea or By Land, Star Gazer and Grand Junction, along with all of the other amazing Birch goodies.
Here is a shot of Northern Exposure, Big Top and Flag Day.
And here is a picture of me, Cynthia and Arlene right before Quilt Market opened on Saturday.
I am so excited to show off my new patterns, Grand Junction and Northern Exposure. You can read more about them on My Patterns page.
I am so excited about this because Quilt Trends included one of my quilt patterns in their awesome issue. I can’t wait to go to Barnes and Noble and pick up an extra copy.
I went to my friend’s farm yesterday for a top secret photo shoot. It is only top secret because I took pictures of samples of my next two quilt patterns but since they aren’t ready, I can’t share the pics yet. And it is killing me because I am so excited about them. I better get cracking on finishing the patterns. But, I can show this great shot. I brought along the Bella version of By Sea or By Land and it stole the show, or at least it stole the shoot when it came to the air stream. The blues in the quilt and awning are just amazing together. Thanks again Hilary and Tony!
I am over the moon over how cute this version of By Sea or By Land turned out. I have wanted to try a version of the quilt pattern with borders and then Lotta Jansdotter released Bella and magic happened.
I have typed up some additional instructions for the pattern so it is easy to add the borders. Just click on the link below for the instructions.
Shannon of Luvinthemommyhood, is doing a fantastic giveaway on her blog with my patterns and Birch fabrics. Be sure to get over there soon to enter to win copies of both my patterns and a huge stack of Birch Fabrics.
Thank you Shannon!
I just got back from a super fun vacation to Colorado. I spent a lot of time in Denver and had the chance to meet some really amazing ladies.
My first stop was to Fabric Bliss to meet the lovely Aurora and her mom Jude. Fabric Bliss was one of the first stores to buy my patterns and it was beyond awesome to see them in the store. Aurora and Jude were so nice and made me want to just hang out in their store all day. The store is gorgeous and I am so excited to be a part of it.
Here I am in front of the shop. So exciting!
My next visit with was with the fabulous Sadie Fox Metter. She is the best. It was so fun to meet her in person, talk about Craftsy and see her in action teaching at Fancy Tiger. Of course, I was too busy chatting and dorking out about fabric and sewing to actually take a picture with her. I guess that means I just need to go back to Denver soon.
My last stop was to Fancy Tiger Crafts, another amazing store in Denver. I was lucky enough to meet Jaime, one of the owners and Amy Gibson, a teacher and blogger extraordinaire. Fancy Tiger also carries my patterns. So freakin’ cool!
And here are my patterns!
Denver was so much fun and getting a chance to meet so many talented and amazing women was awesome. I really appreciate how nice everyone was and how they made time for me. And I also have to give David a big shout out for being a super guy and hanging with Lila so I could gallivant around town.
My wonderful brother-in-law just had a birthday and was long overdue for a new quilt. He was my great behind-the-quilt model for the Star Gazer and By Sea or By Land beach photo shoot and mentioned how much he loved some of the Storyboek 2 prints. He loves to dive and always shares the tasty fish and scallops he gets so it only seemed fair to make him a special quilt.
I used Birch’s Urchin Shells Shroom, Kelp Play, Bubble Play and Bubble Life sashed with Kona Snow. I love how versatile this collection is and how mature and sophisticated this quilt turned out.
Here is a close up of the quilting. I received a copy of Angela Water’s quilting book for my birthday and used this quilt as a sampler. It is a fantastic book and I can’t wait to show off my new skills on some upcoming quilts.
And of course, I had to include a shot of my little lady, who couldn’t resist being part of the photo shoot.
Thank you all for leaving comments for Amber’s giveaway. I loved hearing about where everyone wants to go. I wish everyone could win but unfortunately, Amber is only giving one pattern away. Since people posted comments in two different posts (my fault for making them have almost the same title), I am counting the adding them together. The five from the other comment will now officially be 23-27.
According to mathgoodies.com, Mindy T, number 1, is the winner! Congratulations Mindy. I will send you an email as well.
Have a great weekend everyone!
One of my favorite bloggers is releasing a new sewing pattern today. I was lucky enough to be asked to test it AND now I get to give away a free copy of the pattern to a lucky reader. Amber of One Shabby Chick has designed an adorable and super practical Family Passport Wallet. The pattern is easy to follow, full of helpful tips and is illustrated with a lot of great photographs. The wallet holds up to 6 passports and has an exterior pocket to hold your travel papers and plane tickets. As a bonus, she even includes a 4 passport version.
Now for the giveaway details – leave a comment telling me where you would go using this wallet between now and Thursday and I will pick a winner on Friday, August 27. Since there can be only one winner, Amber has them for sale in her shop so you can jump over there and pick one up. Amber is also celebrating the release of the pattern by offering 10% off of everything in her shop with the coupon code newpattern. Seeing that I want one of everything she makes, that is a real sweat deal.
Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!
My longtime blog and sewing buddy, Amber of One Shabby Chick, is having an amazing giveaway on her blog. She is giving away copies of my patterns along with Birch’s fabric to make them. So hop on over there and leave a comment if you want free patterns and free fabric.
I have been so busy with my new patterns that I forgot to post about them here. My first two quilt patterns. By Sea or By Land and Star Gazer are finally available for sale. I have them for sale at my etsy shop and they are also available at a bunch of different stores, which is perfect for one stop fabric and pattern shopping. You can read more about them over here. Thanks for stopping by!
I don’t get as much traffic over here on my new blog but I get an inordinate amount of spam comments. I usually delete them right away but this one is almost worth publishing. Here is the comment, in all of its glory:
Which i visit your blog site along with recover all you could submit right here but I not ever commented nowadays as soon as i viewed that submit, I couldn’t eliminate myself personally right from placing comments here. Great guide lover!
Great guide lover indeed!
Here are a few pictures of some of the things I made for Birch Fabrics. Getting to design quilts around the new fabric lines is one of my favorite things to do. I am even going to make the big jump and start selling these patterns. They will be available next month. Don’t worry, I will keep you posted.
Below are two versions of By Sea or By Land, a quilt pattern inspired by the new Storyboek 2 line.
Here is a wide angle shot of the booth. I made the quilt on the far left, the table runner and the bags on the left hand side.
And here is the Scamper Diamond Quilt. I am so in love with this baby and how it blends classic and modern. I will also be releasing a pattern for this in July.
You can check out all the pictures over at Birch’s blog.
Thanks for stopping by.
I went to a super fun wedding last month and wanted to give the happy couple something special that they could use as a family. I made them this picnic quilt, which is made from vintage sheets from my stash. I love how bright and cheery it turned out. Congratulations again Bridgette and Mike!
One of the pillows I designed using Birch’s Circa 52 line is in the new Modern Patchwork magazine. I still can’t believe that things I make end up in magazines but it sure makes me happy. The issue is awesome and full of great inspiration.
And here is the pillow. I appliqued triangles and a bird to look like bunting. It is such a perfect pillow for a nursery.
I am so excited that one of my quilts is on the cover of the spring issue of Quilt Trends magazine. I don’t really have the words to describe how giddy it makes me. The magazine includes a tutorial on how to make the quilt. Fabricworm is selling kits for the quilt as well.
I had big plans for building my girl a toddler bed but when it came down to it, there was no way I would get it done anytime soon, and the escaping from the crib was not getting any better. A friend recommended this bed and it was inexpensive and delivered quickly which is really all I needed.
It is getting chilly here so I wanted to make a flannel duvet cover for an old, inherited crib comforter. Some of Anna Maria Horner’s folksy flannels were on sale at Birch and the prints were perfect for a little girl’s room. I used 2 yards of each print to make the duvet and to make two matching little pillowcases. So far, it has been a huge hit.
As for the actual sewing, I edged stitched the duvet to help it keep its shape and used velcro for the closure rather than buttons or snaps. I would like to think my girl wouldn’t put a button in her mouth but she ate a piece of paper towel and a sticker the other day, soooooo velcro it is.
I have been so busy sewing top secret stuff for Quilt Market that I haven’t had a minute to spare to make any fun things to share over here at the blog. Fortunately, I did get a great action shot of the quilt I made for my friend’s big girl bed. I love the mix of modern and old fashioned.
On a personal note, it looks like I will be making a big girl quilt for my little girl too. It turns out all those hours at the playground gave her super powers and she now gets in and out of her crib on her own. She isn’t even 2 yet. This is so not cool. So be on the lookout for some toddler bed posts coming up in the near future.
Here is another recent quilt I made for a new baby friend. I held on to it so I could show it at my little quilt show but now I am excited to get it packed up and sent off to its new owner. I kept the design simple but had fun with the quilting. I alternated with straight line quilting and stippling and love how it looks.
My in-laws were nice enough to host me and another artist at their last night for an art and wine open house. It was so fun to meet so many new people and to get a chance to chat about my quilts. My favorite thing was to see them all hung up together and to photograph them in natural light.
Here I am with some of the quilts. There were more quilts on the other side of the fence but I forgot to photograph them.
Oh, so many babies, so many quilts, so little time. Here is a quilt I just finished for a new little baby girl. I can’t wait to get if off in the mail so I can get some action shots.
I used prints from Birch’s Storyboek line with Kona Baby Pink sashing.
And here is a shot of the back. The different sized polka dots are just so cute.
It is amazing to me how quickly time passes after having a baby. When Lila was first born, people would say that to me and it didn’t make any sense. I felt every freakin’ sleep deprived second of that first year, but once she she started sleeping through the night, time started speeding up. Suddenly, I am only two months away from her second birthday and making her a pillow for her crib.
She seems ready for one and I was able to find a very small, very flat pillow at Ikea. And of course, I had to use Birch’s Wildflowers print. It is so soft and so cute. I made the cuff out of Cobblestone Stripes and used the Seahorses for an accent.
Since Lila’s room is super dark, I included a second picture of the pillowcase outside to show off the true colors.
There is a very special little girl that just moved into a new house and a new big girl bed. How could I not make a quilt to celebrate such exciting developments? Sedona has all of these beautiful quilts decorating her walls so my goal was to incorporate all of the different colors without competing with the other quilts or making the room too busy.
I decided on a color palate and went with a Plain Spoken inspired design. Instead of doing all solids, which just felt a little too mature for a three year old, I added some Birch Storyboek prints. I added some Wildflowers and Seahorses to make it a little more fun and to add just a little more interest to the design. I bound it with Denyse Schmidt’s Picnic Dots Red/Pink.
I just finished up making some super cute custom baby bedding for a new friend. We weren’t friends before she asked me to make the bedding but I quickly decided to include friendship in the order, whether she liked it or not. I am full service that way.
The pleated bed skirt is made with Oliver + S fabric Artisan Aqua and the bumpers are made with Birch Fabrics Seahorses Sun. As you can see, the nursery is looking pretty ready. All it needs is a little baby!
We have been enjoying outdoor concerts this summer, especially in the evenings. It is a great time to spend with friends and family and a little extra playground time is always a plus. It is also a great excuse to use my new picnic quilt.
I cut the striped print on the bias for the binding and then sewed it with my machine instead of by hand. It makes me a little crazy to do it now that I am hooked on hand sewn bindings but I needed the binding to go on fast and to be nice and secure.
And here are some close ups of the quilting, which I did on my new-to-me long arm machine! This is my first quilt that I quilted on the long arm so there is some extra special excitement about it.
The big secret I have been keeping is that I bought a long arm quilting machine. It is not that I was intentionally keeping a secret as much as I have been too busy practicing to talk about the machine. I scored the machine on Craigslist – it is 20 years old and the bare bones Kenquilt model and it makes me so happy. I have a lot to learn and a lot of practicing to do but it is just so awesome.
I have been collecting vintage sheets for a while now, with the idea that I could use them to make simple picnic quilts. I wanted to keep the piecing of the quilt tops simple enough that it wouldn’t make me too anxious to actually use them.
This quilt is big – 75″ x 75″, made up of 25 15″ blocks. This quilt is perfect for lying on the beach and has plenty of room for a lot of friends, but it is really big. Next time, I will definitely make the blocks smaller so the finished quilt is closer to 60″ square. That seems a more manageable size.
After I bind it, I am going to play around with making a carrier for it that involves velcro and a shoulder strap.
The yellows in the prints came out a little muted. Once this baby is finished, I will do a proper photo shoot outside.
Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is enjoying themselves as summer kicks off. I have a tutorial over at Fabricworm on how to make this bag of you are interested. Here is the link.
Some good friends had twins two months ago so it was my pleasure to make them two little quilts. I had one finished before they were born but I got busy sewing up samples for Birch’s booth at Quilt Market, so the other one had to wait a bit. I finally finished the second one up and then it only took me ten days to get in the mail. Yikes!
This one is made with my favorite scraps and a lovely pale pink solid.
The back is a vintage sheet I found the day before I was going to quilt this with a solid cream. I have nothing against a solid background but the stripes and the pink worked perfectly.
This quilt is made up of a candy bar of City Weekend prints. My local fabric shop sold it to me individually after many harassing visits : ) The blue floral print was from my stash and picked up in Mexico.
I kept the back simple on this one with a solid Kona Ivory.
Even though I made the quilts with different designs, I did want to have one thing unifying between them so I bound each one with the same pink floral.
The best part of the whole process is that I already received some action shots of the girls modeling with their new quilts. You are supposed to give a gift without strings, but I am going to admit that I really give them to get action shots of the babies.
Skooks! Thank you all for the super sweet comments! I wish I had enough copies for everyone.
I am so excited that three of my patterns are included in new 101 Patchwork and Quilts Projects magazine. The magazine is awesome and full of so many great projects. Just flipping through it is so inspiring.
Here are two of my three pillow projects. I made these pillows for Birch Fabrics for their booth at Quilt Market in the Fall.
And here is my third pillow. It was also made from Birch Fabrics to show off their line Marine fabrics.
Since this is such a cool magazine and such a fun opportunity, I want to give away a copy. Please leave a comment and I will pick a winner randomly on May 8.
I have been so obsessed with quilting lately that I have really neglected my first love, purses. Every once in a while, I will force myself to stop quilt to whip a purse or two. A friend’s birthday is always a good excuse, especially when this friend delivered food to my doorstep in the pouring rain right after my baby was born. Yeah, that kind of friend deserves a new purse.
I made this little cutie the day of the birthday celebration. The exterior fabric was picked up in Mexico a couple of years ago and the lining is from a fat quarter stack from Purl Soho. The strap is made from brown ultra-suede for durability.
Since I have sewn so many purses, it makes for a really nice, productive afternoon because I can just go into auto-pilot. I even managed to make myself a new purse while I was at it. My last one was so great but it had a lot of love and really needed to be retired. Carrying around a stained, old purse doesn’t really speak well for my sewing abilities.
And I even allowed myself to use some of my favorite fabric. This Echino print is so fun and whimsical with the little purple beetle. It is a perfect everyday print.
I kept the style nice and small with a zipper closure. I need to be able to just tuck the essentials under my arm and be ready to chase after a toddler at a moment’s notice.
Speaking of a certain toddler, my little one now makes me stop in front of the grocery store to dance to the music playing over the loud speakers. We do this on our way to the gym in the mornings. It is seriously the very best part of my day.
Here is my most recent quilt and tutorial. You can find the tutorial over at fabricworm.
And here is the back.
I have some other baby quilts in the works but I have to get them mailed off before I can do the big blog reveal, not that the new parents of twins are checking my blog, now that I think of it.
So my exciting news is that I made a second quilt and drafted a tutorial for it over at fabricworm. Click on over if you want to check it out.
This quilt is happily in the arms of its new owner, and it seems like just in time since new York City is getting record snow fall this winter. From what I have heard, the quilt is already getting lots of cuddling time.
I had just enough fabric left to piece a strip on the back.
And here a closeup. I was going for a cute baby/quilt portrait but it turns out that is physically impossible to get a 15 month old to sit still and look at the camera at the same time. I think I will try bribery next time.
This quilt is a surprise birthday gift for a very dear friend. I only have a couple of weeks to get it done but the design isn’t too complicated. I don’t want to get too detailed about the design just in case the birthday happens to check this blog but hopefully the grand reveal won’t be too far off.
These grays, oranges and yellows have been singing to me for a while so I really can’t wait to get this baby put together. They all came from Fabricworm. It was soooooo much fun getting to pick them out (with Arlene’s help).
I’ll keep you posted!
Since there is no way I would be able to find the time to get individual posts for all the projects I did during the last couple of months of 2010, here is one big, mega post of projects galore.
Here is a sample apron I made for a sewing class that I offered at Birch Fabrics.
Here is a sample skirt for another sewing class I taught at Birch.
Here is a quilt I made as a thank you present for our friend who let my husband stay with him for both of his trips back to NYC. Being nice enough to have a friend crash in your studio twice warrants a quilt. And maybe some matching throw pillows…
In honor of all the teething going on around Halloween, it only seemed fitting that Lila dress up as a vampire. I made her a little cape, a stuffed bat and appliqued some “blood” drops on her tunic.
I made this lovely dress and jacket and blogged about it over here.
I made this tote with a matching mini-purse for a friend’s birthday.
I made us all new stockings based on the pattern and tutorial I created here.
I made this little cutie and blogged about it here.
And finally, one of the many sets of pot holders I made for holiday presents.
Sadly, I didn’t photograph most of my holiday presents because I was too busy sewing and mailing. They were all super cute, but you will just have to take my word on it.
So goodbye 2010 and hello 2011, a year of crafting and blogging!
I can’t believe it has been so long since my last blog post here. So so sorry – excuses, excuses, blah blah blah. My goal for 2011 is to get back into posting about my projects. Things are so busy around here with a toddler that just getting time to sew has been tough enough. Actually blogging about the projects too would have been a miracle.
Here is my first quilt for 2011. I have FIVE babies coming in the next few months so I figured the lull after the holidays would be a perfect time to get a jump start on making some presents. The new line of Dr. Seuss prints are so freakin’ cute that I had to add them to my stash. Luckily, so many of my friends decided to have babies so I was never at a loss for what to do with the fabric.
Since the prints are pretty busy, I decided to keep my piecing simple. I also kept the back simple too. Everyone’s eyes are going to need a break from those wild prints.
I had fun with the quilting and used Guetterman’s painted yellow thread. The change in colors adds a little fun to the quilting, especially on the back side.
I am proud to show of my latest quilt. It has been months in the making and I am so happy that it is finally finished. It is made from vintage sheets from my stash and from an awesome vintage sheet swap I participated in on Flickr. Thank you ladies!
Instead of going for a quick and easy design, I decided to push myself by doing a quilt top with more intricate blocks. The blocks took for-ev-er! I finally got around to sashing the blocks and then made the decision to have it sent to a long arm quilter rather than trying to quilt it myself.
The quilting is gorgeous but my only regret is that my favorite part of the quilting design is in the blocks and it gets a little lost with the intricacy of the block pattern and prints. It isn’t until the quilt is turned over that the quilting really shines through.
I bought some insulated batting on sale at Joann’s over Thanksgiving in 2008 and finally opened it up. Needless to say, it was a loooooong overdue project. I spent a weekend at a friend’s family’s house a couple of weeks ago and needed a thank you present that could fit in my carry-on luggage. I whipped up these oven mitts and pot holders (also finally breaking into the Lizzy Dish fat quarter stash) and they were a huge hit.
So sorry to be gone for so long – my only excuse is that I have a 10 1/2 month old who is a girl on the go so my free time is very limited. Luckily, I have been able to get some sewing done and have even done a little guest blogging over at Fabricworm.
Here is a sample I made for the Tunic sewing class I am teaching in a couple of weeks.
And here is a little halter tunic I made from a free pattern on www.sewingpatterns.com. I blogged about it here.
I also wrote a post on how to make a messenger bag without a pattern here.
I have been a big fan of Fabricworm and Birch Fabrics since Cynthia first started selling fabric two years ago. It made my move back to Cali even more exciting because Birch’s brick and mortar store was only a couple of towns away from where I live. Getting to see all of the fabrics in person is pretty amazing.
I was up at Birch a couple of weeks ago and one thing led to another and I am now going to teach some sewing classes in Birch’s gorgeous loft space! It is so exciting I can barely think of anything else.
The first two classes I am going to teach are how to sew a zippered, lined cosmetics bag and how to sew a basic patchwork quilt. I wanted to make some samples to have in the store as a way of advertising the classes. I suggested this to Cynthia and the next thing I know, we are cruising around the store putting together the cutest fabric combination for the sample quilt. Okay, it was mostly Cynthia and I just followed her around and tried not to geek out in excitement.
The quilt is 36″ square made up of 6 fat quarters with an extra 1/4 yard of fabric for the binding and just over a yard of fabric for the back. I wanted to keep the pattern simple and something that would be easy enough for beginners but would also be a way to teach basic patchwork skills. I also kept the quilting simple by outlining both sides of the seams with a white thread. I love how the quilting adds just a little extra to the brown squares.
The fabrics are Monaluna Woodland Chain Pool, Michael Miller Dumb Dot Chocolate, Riley Blake Colorful Cheery Circles Green, Alexander Henry 2D Zoo Pool, SEI Playday Playful Geos Teal, and Robert Kaufman Pure Organic Chocolate.
And here is the back, Monaluna Woodland Chain Pool. The binding is Riley Blake Colorful Christmas Cheery Circles White.
Here is the sample of the zippered cosmetics bag. I used Alexander Henry’s Bird Seed and lined it with some Amy Butler Full Moon Polka Dots. It is lined and has an interior pocket.
I really don’t like having unfinished projects. There is something about it just sitting there, unfinished and taunting me, that makes me feel anxious. Because of this, I usually try to finish things before starting new projects, but sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew.
So with that introduction, allow me to show you all 25 finished blocks I made after participating in a vintage sheet swap on Flikr. I started this right after I received the fat quarters from the swap in May and finally finally finally finished the blocks this afternoon. I am actively avoiding the fact that I now need to add white sashing to the top to finish it and am just enjoying the fact that the blocks are finished.
Here is a close up of one of the blocks. So much piecing but it was really an excellent exercise in precision sewing and patience. I was really careful and used my seam ripper a lot to make the seams line up.
A friend of mine recently became an aunt for the first time and I was more than happy to celebrate his arrival my making him a quilt.
This friend has commissioned many a quilt from me and we would normally go fabric shopping together to pick out the perfect combination. Now that we are on opposite sides of the country, we had to get a little bit more creative. We cruised fabric options online and then I sent her to check out fabrics in person at Purl Soho. She picked up four prints and mailed them to me. I then went to Birch Fabric and picked out two more prints. I rounded out the rest of the design with some prints from my stash.
I made these little presents for my friend to give as gifts to five year old girls. I don’t know the girls personally so I had to guess on what they would like. The dolls came from The Black Apple pattern on Martha Stewart’s website. They are so fun, easy and quick to make. I need to get some cute stocking fabric rather than using just plain muslin. I am also thinking about how to make little shoes for the next time around.
The faces are painted with fabric paint. They look okay from a distance but I could use some more practice.
I also made two little pencil cases as well. My friend lives in San Francisco so I am sending him to Japantown to buy fun pens, pencils, and stickers as the real treat. When I was little, I used to love little bags, pens and stickers so much. I am hoping the little girls will be excited to open up the bag and find all kinds of cool things to play with.
Let me back up. I had the unfortunate experience of losing most of my creative energy as soon as I got pregnant. Maybe all that creativity went into making a super cute baby? Combining crazy morning sickness and a cross country move meant that I didn’t end up doing a lot of sewing before my girl arrived. My husband and I did manage to pick out some fabric for her quilt, but it just sat in a pretty little stack for months and months. Of course, it didn’t hurt that my girl had received some really gorgeous quilts from friends so she wasn’t really lacking in the “handmade with love” department.
I was finally hit with the creative stick for her quilt and decided on trying Denyse Schmidt’s Flock of Triangles pattern. Now don’t get me wrong, what I am about to say about Ms. Schmidt has nothing to with her creative genius, but, boy did I have some serious trouble with this quilt. The instructions on how to line up the triangles to get them to create perfect points AND have a quarter inch seam allowance just weren’t sufficient for me. I sent desperate emails to a quilting guru and ripped out miles of thread trying to make my triangles look decent. In the end, they were a hot mess. The lack of precision is pretty horrifying. I would have given up a long time ago but I had already cut the fabric so I didn’t have much of choice if I didn’t want to lose 5 fat quarters of cuteness.
Of course, I made some mistakes too. I used white muslin rather than a thicker fabric, like a Kona solid, and I suspect that added to the precision problems I was having. My rows would not line up no matter what I did. The best tip in the instructions was to line up the center triangles so if the rows were off, the pattern wouldn’t be quite as skewed.
Here is the back – the lighting of the picture doesn’t really show the pale blue color I used, but trust me, it is there and very cute.
I had wanted to try going some straight line quilting as well but with the rows being so messy, I ended up going with free motion quilting (I know! Shocking!). Free motion quilting hides so many sins.
There are a bunch of tutorials online for flying geese that I fully intend on trying again sometime in the future, once I have recovered from this experience and sufficiently blocked it out. The good news is that the quilt looks pretty good and the stippling really helped. Luckily my girl hasn’t complained about it and in fact chose to roll over from her back to her front on it just last night. And nothing says acceptance and love like a major gross motor skill milestone!
One of my favorite crafty friends just gave birth to a sweet little boy named Gus. I was so excited to make him a quilt and decided to push myself out of my normal, go-to simple log cabin pattern. I recently started looking through some of my quilting books for inspiration and fell back in love with the Modern Quilt Workshop all over again.
This quilt was inspired by the book but I actually didn’t follow the pattern because the pieces of fabric I wanted to use were not big enough for their techniques. Instead, I cut my pieces to be 2″ wide and of varying widths. I sewed them together and then framed the smaller blue squares Kona Sky), which I think they were 4 1/2″. The larger blue squares where 7 1/2″. I used the string piecing technique for the small pieces of fabric and then again once again to join the finished squares. All in all, I am so happy with the way it turned out and am so proud of myself for pushing out of my quilting rut.
I also decided to get a little fancy with the back rather than my standard all white and pieced some blue and white together. I varied the widths of the blue pieces to make things interesting and my husband assured me that I did not inadvertently replicate the Greek flag.
And here is a close up of the blocks and the free motion quilting. I actually started quilting diagonal straight lines but I couldn’t make the lines straight enough to not drive me insane. I tried using painter’s tape as a guide but things went horribly wrong and I ended up ripping out 5 lines of quilting and going back to my happy place.
As I am sure you have heard, there are modern quilt guilds popping up all over the place. Since the closest guild is an hour and a half from me, it seemed like a good idea to start one up in the Central Coast. If you live in the Central Coast and have an interest in modern quilting, check out the guild’s new website. http://calicentralcoastmqg.ning.com/
A good friend of mine is getting married this summer on Cape Cod. When I got the news of her engagement, I immediately started thinking about making the happy couple a quilt for their gift. The colors are inspired by the sun, sand, sky and water – all the great colors of summer. The design is loosely inspired by two of Denyse Schmidt’s quilts. I am so happy with the way it turned out – it really looks like summertime to me.
I used all Kona solids for the quilt, with a gray, sky blue, maze yellow and light green for the primary colors. I alternated darker shade of blue, gray and green for a little contrast. Man do I wish I kept it for myself.
There is a baby boom going on and I am slowly working through my list of presents. This is a quilt for my friend who is due on March 1st with a little girl. I didn’t mean to go so neutral with the color palette but I feel in love with owls and just had to make them the focus of the quilt. As the mother of a baby girl, I also know she is going to get a ton of pink stuff so I figured going with greens and yellows might be nice to add to the mix.
I am lucky to have some really amazing and talented people in my life who made some really gorgeous things for my daughter. It allowed me to focus on making presents for other people since she has so many great blankets and quilts to use every day. It did make me feel a little guilty that I hadn’t made anything for her, so when I saw that Denyse Schmidt posted a free Scottie Dog pattern, I immediately got to work on making the little girl a stuffed dog. Actually, I emailed the link to some crafty ladies first, then hustled upstairs during nap time and got to work.
The pattern is great and super easy to follow. My one piece of advice is to pay attention to her tips on how to handle sewing the side piece around the corners. It turns out that they are there for a reason and if you choose to ignore them like I did, the front and back won’t match up and you will have to start all over.
I have seen some really great recovered footstools online lately and was busting to try it out. I didn’t necessarily need a foot stool in my house so I contacted my very dear friend who have a deep love for designer fabric and worked out a deal. She sent me some extra fabric she had and I recovered a stool I won on ebay for her.
The stool was actually new, but it was the best option I could find at the time and was so easy to recover. I swapped out the fabric, added nail head trim and painted the frame in a high gloss white. For the most part, it was pretty easy, but that nail head trim is brutal on the hands.
Thanks to my lovely daughter’s great morning nap schedule, I have actually been able to get a lot of projects done over the past few weeks. The one thing I haven’t had a chance to do is blog about them, until now.
The first of my projects is a long overdue housewarming present for a very dear friend who moved into her new home a year and a half ago. Rather than surprising her with something that wasn’t something she really loved, I decided to spill the beans on the quilt plan and work with her on creating something that she would use and really enjoy.
And this is what we came up with:
It is another quilt based on the Purl Bee tutorial that I fell in love with a few weeks ago.
Here is my dining room, with all six chair seats redone. I still want to paint the chairs but that can wait until I get a few more things checked off my To Do List.
Moving from a tiny apartment to a real house meant that I would need a lot more furniture. I gave my wonderful in-laws a list of things we would need since they are masters of finding awesome deals. Before we even moved out, they scored us a dining room table and 6 chairs for our new house for a grand total of $45.
The table, which was a $5 score, needed a ton of TLC but thanks to my father-in-law, it looks fantastic. The chairs were snatched up for $40. The design is great and they were in pretty good shape but the vinyl seats were screaming to be redone. It took me 6 months of looking at the chairs and the decor in my dining room before I settled on brown and white striped fabric for the seats. I have found that the right choice for me will always present itself, I just need to be patient.
Here is the first chair that I re-did:
The seat cushions had to be completely redone with foam and dacron but the effort is totally worth it. You can see below that the brown vinyl left something to be desired both in aesthetics and in comfort.
The next step, after I finish the other five chairs, is to paint them white. My husband wasn’t totally on board but he seems to be opening up to the idea. Once all the chairs are finished, I will post some room shots to show off the gorgeous table with the chairs that are now worthy enough to be paired with it.
Ha ha – not that kind of afternoon delight. I mean that this is such a perfect afternoon project. The design is inspired by the Purl Bee tutorial. It is so easy to put together. The color scheme makes me think of summertime in New England and makes me want to cuddle underneath it on a cool evening on the Cape.
I had a tough time capturing the true colors of the quilt, which includes pale blue, pale yellow, unbleached muslin (used for the backing as well), medium blue, a yellow batik and a dark blue batik.
I have been on the lookout for matching nightstands for our bedroom since we moved to our new place. They were pretty low on the priority list for a while but they finally worked their way up to the top of my list.
I found these at my local Salvation Army. I probably paid too much for them, but they were in great shape, had a versatile style and could be dolled up with a new coat of paint and new hardware with pretty minimal effort.
The gray paint was purchased a while ago for another nightstand project and the new knobs were ordered from Anthropologie. I primed the nightstands with a spray primer first but made the mistake of using white primer, rather than a dark one. It took three coats of paint to cover up the primer, but that might have also had to do with the fact that I was painting without a lot of light. All’s well that ends well though, since they are finished and looking good. Now I just need my hubby to carry them upstairs for me.
Of course, I am already plotting on making a fabric covered headboard but that might have to wait a while…
Here is the finished quilt for our friends’ little boy due any minute now. I love the way it turned out, so simple but really bright and colorful. This is such an easy quilt to make with stash fabric and really doesn’t take long at all.
I kept the quilting simple with two parallel lines on either side of each horizontal seam. I also cheated by buying pre-made bias tape, which is similar to the pre-made quilt binding I have used before but the bias tape is more narrow. It looks fantastic and is so quick and easy, and for someone whose craft time is based solely around the nap time of a 6 week-old baby, a gal’s got to do what a gal’s got to do to get the job done.
I can’t believe that it has been almost two months since my last post, which means that it has been almost two months since my last sewing project. A lot has happened since, most importantly, the arrival of a very cute little baby girl on November 1. We have spent the past month getting to know each other and not getting a lot of sleep. The little lady is starting to take some nice daytime naps and I jumped on the chance to get back on my sewing machine.
We have some wonderful friends in Amsterdam who are expecting a little baby boy any day now. I wanted to make the little guy something special and settled on a new variation of the last quilt I made. It is such an easy pattern and great for using up smaller pieces from my stash. The possibilities are endless on this style.
I cut all of the prints 5″ wide and then varied the lengths. I sewed all of the pieces together to make on long strip and then cut it down into seven 40″ pieces. I then cut the strips of white into two strips that were 5″ wide, two that were 4″ inches wide, two that were 3″ wide and two that were 2″ wide. The widest white strips are in the middle and the get progressively smaller.
I love this way this turned out and can’t wait to quilt it. I am thinking that I will go with horizontal quilting lines that follow the seams, but don’t hold me to that design. My machine is acting up and is going to get checked out on Monday. Good thing I have some other projects waiting around the house for to work on during these glorious nap times.
It seems to be the year when all the babies being born in my life are little girls. And I have no problem with that, at all. Of course I would love any boy baby as well, but little girls are so much easier to make things for. I whipped a couple of dresses for our friends’ new daughter and for a friend expecting her first daughter in the Spring, just to get her excited.
The pattern is Simplicity Newlook 6576. I love this pattern so much. It is super easy to make because there are only four pattern pieces to cut, maybe five, depending on how you want to finish the hem.
I have tried a bunch of different patterns and have found that using a lining for the bust of the dress is so much easier and looks so much better than trying to wrestle with bias tape around those little tiny arm holes. The bias tape never lies flat and just seems to look a little sloppy. I vear off from the pattern directions and finish the bottom lining with my overlock machine which takes all of two minutes and looks so great. Fast and easy, just like me.
I hemmed each dress a little differently. For the orange floral, I used my overlock machine to finish the dress and then sewed ribbon over the edge. It was super fast and looks great. It also gets me around the trouble I seem to have when hemming an A-line skirt that comes with the wider fabric needing to be tucked into the more narrow part of the skirt. I am sure there is a trick to it but I sure haven’t been able to figure it out. If anyone has any tips, I am all ears.
I didn’t take a close up of the hem on the dress above but if you look closely, you can see the hem I made with the same material I used for the lining. I roughly traced the curve and angle of the bottom of the dress, finished the top of the hem with my overlock machine and then sewed the hem to the dress, right sides together. I flipped the hem over, pressed it and then sewed the top of the hem to the dress, as you can see the seam in the picture above. I also top stictched the lower seam to give it a more finished look.
Now that I am getting so good with this pattern, I should probably start making my girl a couple of these. I love that it is so versitile and can be used with winter cordoroy or light weight summer cottons.
I actually have three running lists of things to do before having this baby. I could consolidate them but it makes me feel more sane if they are divided up by category, and naturally, one category is sewing projects. As I have lamented before, the early pregnancy and move really cramped my sewing style. Now that I am up and running, I only have a few more weeks to get caught up on my projects, including making some baby quilts for some newborn friends.
This quilt was inspired by a post from Pink Chalk Studio of a picture of a quilt she saw at the Spring Quilt Market. The post and image were tagged immediately and squirreled away as inspiration. Since I don’t have a lot of time for a quilt top with intricate piecing, this seemed like the perfect design for something simple but different.
I also really wanted to use fabrics from my stash for so many reasons, but mostly because I have a lot of great fabrics that should be used and not just folded up for me to look at and move around the country. Seriously, I buy them and then refuse to cut. Lame.
The way I picked the fabric was actually happenstance. I was poking through my stash and realized that the 6 or 7 fabrics I would need for this quilt were already picked for me just by the way I had sorted the fabrics. If you look closely, you can see that I just grabbed fabrics from the right hand side, easy breezy.
And here is the quilt in all its finished glory. It does need a wash so it can get all crinkly and lovely but I am just too tired to wash it tonight and am too excited to wait until tomorrow to do the photo shoot and blog post.
I wanted a color pallet and prints that would be feminine but not too baby. If I had more time and less of a belly, I would totally make a larger version of this quilt for my house. It was actually so easy to do, I just might, but I might wait until after the baby is born before I wrestle another queen size quilt.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to do a quilt binding with a striped fabric cut on the bias – I absolutely love the way it looks and can’t for the life of me figure out why I am not doing it all the time. It is just so cute.
My in-laws are superstars. They have a great eye for furniture, great bargaining skills and love to share whatever they find with me! They picked up this chair for me recently and it just blew me away. It is such a cool piece and needed a little work, which is exactly the sort of thing I want to get my hands on.
My father-in-law fixed the crack in the side so well you can’t even tell there was ever a problem but the upholstery needed to be redone. It was tired and the burlap texture was just too much for my cat to resist scratching.
I have been reading upholstery books and watching online tutorials about how to do more advanced upholstery over the past couple of weeks. I was ready to up my game from slip seats and benches to more complicated stuff. I did learn some great basic techniques from these videos if anyone is interested. And of course, now I want a long nose staple gun that can attach to an air compressor sooooooo much. Maybe Santa will read this post and think of me in December.
And here is the chair after:
The seat for this chair was easy breezy but the back was a little tricky. It required that I take the entire chair apart, which wasn’t really that hard. Because of my delicate condition, I needed my husband’s help on this one and we decided not to rebuild the cushions since the back of the chair was a little tricky. I have a feeling that I will redo this chair again down the road and take it all apart, but decided to play it safe the other night by just adding fabric over the existing fabric and foam. Cheating, maybe, but it still looks good.
Here is the chair modeling with another recent in-law acquisition, the most lovely mid-century modern secretary in my guest room. I imagine my guests sitting in the chair, writing me love notes to leave behind after their stay.
This is definitely a project that went well enough but my skills will definitely be improved with more practice, but overall, I am really happy with the way things turned out. I used Amy Butler’s August Fields decorator weight fabric for the redo. The material was easy to work with and felt strong enough to be stretched nice and snug without warping.
Redoing furniture has been an interest of mine for a long while. I was able to redo some chairs and a bench back in NYC, but that was about the extent of what I could in my tiny apartment. But now that I am out of the city, with access to all this great, really crazy inexpensive furniture that is just crying out to be redone and the space to finally work, I am finally getting to almost fully embrace my dream of redoing furniture to my heart’s content. (I say almost because I am almost 9 months pregnant so I am slightly hindered by a giant belly).
Here is my first project – the bench. My in-laws picked this up at a garage sale and I quickly snatched it up from them. I wasn’t in the market for a bench but I wanted an easy project that I could do as a warm up.
There is an upholstery supply store near me so I picked up some foam and dacron to rebuilt the bench and some new paint. I have plenty of upholstery weight fabric in my stash and ended up using some lovely silk that was given to me by someone special who also really loves fabric. She bought this fabric at ABC in New York and then gave it to me when she was moving.
And here it is looking all cute and fancy:
And here it is in it’s temporary home in my bedroom. Since this wasn’t a planned project, I don’t really have a place for it yet. I imagine it eventually in my girl’s room, once she has a room of her own, but that won’t be for a while. I know I am playing fast and loose using silk with a small child, but then again, I am a risk taker.
My good friend asked me to make her niece a quilt back when I was still a New Yorker. We went to Purl together and picked out these fabulous fabrics, which were them promptly packed away in boxes and moved across the country. This design is becoming my go-to pattern – I love picking the fabrics and finding the balance in the block combinations, which are highlighted with the white frames.
The Echino fabric that my friend chose for the back is my favorite part of the quilt. It ties in the colors from the quilt top and more importantly, looks like I put a lot more work into the back than I actually did.
I apologize for the terrible quality of the pictures. I was rushing to take a couple of shots before the post office closed for the day. Maybe I will get some action shots to supplement my meager collection. I will keep my fingers crossed.
We have been blessed with amazingly generous friends who have shared and given us so much baby stuff. It has been such a huge relief because 1) baby stuff is expensive, and 2) I have no idea what a baby needs so having experienced parents share their knowledge is pretty awesome.
As a way to thank you, I put together a little care package for one family. I tried making some dolls again for the twin girls and a tote for the mom. I am sure the dad could use the tote too, but my money is on the mom claiming dibs on it.
The dolls are tricky and I am still on the fence about how I feel about making them and the final product. They are funky, that’s for sure. I didn’t bother to make a pattern (as you can tell from the differences between the two dolls) and wanted to make them close enough that it would feed twin rivalry but wanted them different enough that they could be clearly distinguished.
I hope they will hold up to some intense 1 1/2 year old love and kept them free of any buttons or other things that could get loose. I added a little apron to each doll because the little ones might enjoy untying the bows and I know the mom is going to just love me for giving her another job to do when she has to tie them back on.
Hello again! I know, it has been a long time and I have missed blogging and sewing so much. I am happy to report that I am finally settled into my new house and spent the past couple of days sewing again for the first time in months. I started slowly by hemming some curtains but couldn’t wait to get involved in a more serious project.
I sewed this quilt top back in NYC but was sidetracked by some crazy morning sickness. By the time I felt good enough to sew again, I was packing my apartment and getting ready to move across the country. Then I had to wait and wait and wait for my stuff to arrive and to get the house unpacked so I could have time to sew. It was tough but being reunited with my sewing machines feels so good.
The quilt top is made from Denise Schmidt’s Katie Jump Rope collection and a whole bunch of other prints. It measures about 95″ x 95″ give or take some inches and is backed in solid white muslin. I “cheated” a little and used pre-made quilt binding. I could have taken the time to make my own binding but I just needed to get this one done since I am in the home stretch of this pregnancy and am not sure how much longer I am going to be up for large basting projects.
Basting this quilt was good and bad. I finally have the floor space to spread out a large quilt for easier basting but working around a giant pregnant belly sure was tough. I bought knee pads at Home Depot and that made crawling around on the floor much more comfortable. I was tempted to take some pictures of me rocking the knee pads but decided out of modesty to refrain.
I am pretty pleased with the end result but more than that, my cute husband loves it. He insisted on putting it on our bed as soon as it came out of the dryer and taking it for a test nap. After doing all of the lifting and moving for me, I figured he deserved it.
Anne, this is for you:
I received a very timely request for a tutorial on how I made this quilt. It is timely because all of my sewing and crafting supplies are currently in boxes and waiting to be moved, which means my free time is spent packing the rest of my house and no fun projects to post here on the blog.
This quilt is made up of 100 charm squares plus an extra 44 squares cut from my stash, for a total of 144 squares. The squares measured 3 5/8″. Since the charm squares were from Japan and measured in centimeters, I had to convert the measurements to inches, hence the funky 3 5/8″ size. I use a 1/4 inch seam allowance and the measurements take that into account.
I created 12 rows of 12 charm squares plus 12 white rectangles. Before I started sewing, I laid out the 144 charm squares to make sure the colors and prints were balanced and looked right. Sadly, that is the extent of my artistic technique.
Between each charm square is a white rectangle measuring 3″ x 3 5/8″. I used the string piecing technique to sew each charm square to the white rectangles, which made sewing each row go so much faster. Each row started with a charm square and ended with a white rectangle.
Once all 12 rows were sewn, I cut 11 strips of white fabric that are 2 5/8″ wide and the same length as the finished charm square rows. I sewed the white strips between the charm rows. I added a five inch border around the body of the quilt, making the finished quilt approximately* 80″ square.
I went with free motion quilting and an easy binding. There is probably an exact term for the binding technique I used but all of my quilting books are packed so I am just going to do my best to describe it. I cut three inch binding strips and folded it in half. I sewed the binding onto the front side, with the raw edges lined up with the raw edges of the quilt. I folded the binding over the raw edge of the quilt and then I committed the mortal sin of machine sewing the binding onto the back of the quilt. If I was a good quilter, I would sew the binding on the back by hand but I am a bad quilter and by the time I am doing the binding, I just want the quilt to be done already.
After that, I washed the quilt to bring out all the great texture that comes with free motion quilting and have been enjoying it ever since. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask for clarifications if something isn’t clear.
* I say approximately because I am of the school of Flying By The Seat Of Pants Quilting and don’t do a whole lot of planning before I start quilting and usually end up with things working out a little more or less than what I expected and certainly never exact.
I am finally finished with a long overdue project for some very special friends. This project started out a plan for a birthday dress for a one year-old but that didn’t turn out so well. So being flexible, we reworked the plan and made some pillows instead.
Here is my latest baby quilt, modeling in Bryant Park. If you look closely, you can see the Empire State Building reflected in the building behind the quilt. This quilt is being sent of to soon to be new parents that are waiting to be surprised about the sex of the baby. Hopefully they will like the neutral colors and it will get a lot of love.
I took the “low tech” approach to picking the winner of the scrap giveaway by writing the numbers one through eleven on individual pieces of paper, folding them and putting them in a bowl. I then asked my very cute husband to pick a piece of paper. He picked the number 4, making The Robins Nest the winner of the scraps since she was the fourth person to leave a comment. Congratulations!
There are some very sweet twins who are about to turn one in a couple of weeks that need birthday presents. I decided to try something new and make them each a doll. Sadly, I ran out of stuffing so I could only finish one; good thing I have a couple of more weeks to get the second one done.
I just made up the pattern for this doll this afternoon and it worked out pretty well. The only thing I would do differently would be to make the arms and legs a little wider for easier stuffing. The face is embroidered because the babies are still so young that I didn’t want to risk anything that might get pulled off and could be a choking hazard.
I am not sure how I feel about the face – I think the next face I make will get a little revision. To be honest, I was reluctant to put a lot of time into the embroidery because I did it first and wasn’t sure how well the project was going to go over. Hopefully the little girls won’t mind the funky eyes.
I am so excited to work on this next baby quilt. It will be a gift for a friend of a friend. The fabrics were picked out a while ago, back when I was naive and believed that my morning sickness wouldn’t be that bad. Oh well, live and learn. The good thing is that the baby hasn’t arrived yet and if I hustle, it can get delivered before the baby.
Since the parents don’t know the gender yet, my friend and I picked out nice neutral colors that should work for any little girl or boy. The design is going to be may favorite, preppy quilt style – I just love the clean lines and white sashing. It is such a great way to show off the beautiful prints.
I have a decent amount of scraps leftover from my last quilt top that need a home. The fabrics include a lot of Denyse Schmidt’s Katie Jump Rope in red and brown, some My Folklore, a little Amy Butler and some other designers and solids.
The scraps consist of lots and lots of triangles measuring 2 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/4 inches, a bunch of approximately 12 inch long strips that vary in width, and a stack of pieces already sewn together.
All of these scraps have so much potential and the only reason why I am giving them away is that I am being honest about all of my upcoming projects and time commitments. It would be so much better to send them to a good home rather than have them sit in my scrap bag, neglected and lonely.
So if anyone is interested in some free fabric (I will ship it to you anywhere in the US), leave me a comment by May 27th. If more than one person is interested, I will pick a random winner. I really hope someone is interested in this. : )
Hello again! I know, I know. I have been gone for such a long time, especially after such a great productive January. But I have a good excuse and it is called morning sickness. It turns out that everything, including sewing made me nauseous. Who would have thought that looking at a quilt top could make my stomach churn? Anyone else have this problem? The good news is that I am finally feeling better and am able to think about sewing again.
I do have some great action shots of my little friends modeling their new pants. I actually made these pants in early February but the thought of dragging myself off the couch and mailing them was just too much. Good thing I have a cute husband who took pity on our friends and sent the package for me.
The pants are bigger versions of the ones I did for little Julia and the reviews are a lot better. The waists on the larger sizes seem to be more proportionate and have plenty of growing room too. They look like perfect pajamas and lounge wear to me!
I received this pictures this morning and I can’t stop cracking up. Here is the very cute couple modeling the Secret Wedding Quilt. What good gift recipients! They must know me really well because giving me actions shots is pretty much a guarantee that I will be making them more presents. Think of all the birthdays and anniversaries to come!
I even heard a rumor that new sheets and a new bed skirt were purchased to coordinate with the quilt. Hearing that actually made me tear up a bit. It makes me so happy to know that the quilt is loved and will be used. I think that is all any crafter ever wants to hear when they give a gift.
Enough waxing sentimental:
Love this “caught in a nap” shot!
So Baby Julia is already hard at work, modeling all kinds of fun things. I made her these Crescent Moon Yoga Pants as part of her baby shower gift. It is so great to have a baby close by that can actually test drive some patterns for me and Baby Julia is certainly doing her part.
The pattern was a little confusing, especially since it only calls for two legs and a waist band but I managed to muddle through. I used my overlock machine to sew the legs together and to add on the waistband. I serged the bottoms of the pants and then used a double needle on my sewing machine to hem them.
As you can see, the new born size is still pretty big for this two month old. Julia’s mom assured me that the high-waisted look is in with the new born crowd so the pants were fine until Julia grew into them. So sweet. But then again. Julia is so cute, she could rock a potato sack and look adorable.
I made two more pairs for some bigger kids and will see how the bigger versions work, but it looks like I could definitely make the waist band at least half the width to keep the band out of the baby’s arm pits. I would also make the waist band a little longer since I found it hard to stretch the band to match up evenly with the pants. The material I used a stretch cotton jersey that I picked up from Joann’s that has a lot of give, but it just wasn’t quite enough to work with the legs. It might be different with a different jersey but I think the way to go is to cut the waist band a little longer next time and the see how it lines up. That way, I can always make it a little smaller.
Here is the little booty shot. (I know! I can’t stand how cute she it either.) It is pretty clear that I could cut off at least an inch or two from the body of the pants and reduce the width of the waist band and these pants would fit a whole lot better.
OMG! Are you ready for this? These are so cute, I can barely stand it. Here is Baby Julia hanging out on her quilt. Again, it is pictures like these that drive me to make baby quilts. My heart melts and my ovaries explode just looking at these pictures.
Here it is, all washed and ready to get sent out tomorrow. I love how it turned out and can’t wait for the happy couple to get it in the mail.
The fabric has a faint sheen to it so it doesn’t photograph as clearly as I had hoped.
Here is the back. I love the yellow and orange and how the blue binding looks against the bright colors. It is all sunshine and happiness and can definitely be flipped over if they want a little variety.
Here is one more close up of the blocks on the backside and the binding.
I bought a stack of Denyse Schmidt’s Katie Jump Rope fabric months ago on a whim but without a plan in mind. The prints aren’t my usual style but I was so attracted to them that I broke down and bought them regardless. I finally saw a quilt in a blog posting about a Teen Vogue photo shoot of all things and decided to use the fat quarter stack along with some fabric from my stash and scrap bag to supplement and to make sure it wasn’t too matchy-matchy and to make it a little less country. I am not so sure I was successful.
Because my inspiration came from a picture, I didn’t have a good idea on how to approach making the quit top. I kicked around some ideas with a very wise quilter but ended up just plowing forward with my fingers crossed. I tried to map out the pieces on paper first to figure out how to do the ends but ended up cutting the full sized trapezoids first. After roughly figuring out how many trapazoids I needed to sew to make a 90 inch row, I got busy. I ended up using my ruler and rotary cutter on both ends and cutting straight edges, rather than trying to piece the smaller strips. Lazy and wastful but so much faster ; )
I added 1 and 7/8 inch stripes of navy blue in between the chevrons to break up the prints. I love how it looks. I keep thinking that this style would look so good with solids from the same family or a collection of more modern fabrics. (But that it is really my fault for picking fabrics that aren’t really my style even though they are super cute.) Pale yellow, pale gray, pale blue and white could make for a gorgeous gender neutral baby quilt.
Now I just need to pick up some batting and get this baby quilted. It will be nice to mix up the quilts that I have on my bed now that spring is here and the big down duvet comforter will be going in to storage. And if I can’t get over it, at least it will be a great quilt for houseguests.
Good thing I already have another quilt for our house in the queue.
So here is the wedding quilt. I finished the quilting yesterday and now just have to make the binding. I can’t believe that I am in the home stretch. It took a lot of time to make all of the blocks but once that was done, things really started moving.
Here is the back. Although I didn’t need to, I added the orange stripe to break up the orange and to make it reversible.
Here is a close up of the three little blocks I added to the back. There was a brief moment when I considered making more, but then I reined in that insanity and moved on to the fun part – free motion quilting.
The next round of pictures will be of the finished quilt, which should hopefully be done this week. I can’t wait to see how it looks after getting washed. Good thing I have another quilt in the queue so I am not tempted to keep this one for myself.
I was really worried that this quilt would become my great white whale, especially after how I left things last time. The first thing I did was take a break. I was getting frustrated with how the blocks weren’t lying flat and the time apart was just what I needed. I realized that I was making mistake with the first round of blocks by not using my rotary cutter to make a straight edge as I built each side of the log cabin. Once I started doing that, the blocks looked so much better.
After I finished all of the blocks, I ironed the hell out of the first round of blocks and only had to redo a couple to get them to lie as flat as possible. I also knew that I could have a little puffiness and still be okay because I was planning on stippling the quilt so some of the puckers would be hidden in the quilting.
This is the biggest quilt I have ever made. It is a queen size – 90 inches by 90 inches. I know! It is humongous but the happy couple is worth it. To pin the three layers together, I tried an idea I read about online that involves taping the layers to the floor. Sadly, I have to move my sofa to clear a space in my apartment. Who knew that 7 1/2 square feet was so hard to find?
Here is the back taped to the floor. I pieced the back with a couple of mini blocks to make it a little more interesting.
And here is the finished quilt top taped down over the batting and the back. The lighting isn’t great in my living room and the material has a slight sheen to it so this isn’t the clearest picture but… I just couldn’t resist posting pics now.
I spent the afternoon quilting it and finally finished it in time to go to the gym. Unfortunately, quilting all day can wear a gal out and I mostly did a lot of lying around on the mats. I will take more pictures tomorrow of the quilting when I have better light.
I have been meaning to try out a pinwheel quilt for ages and finally had the reason to make one this week. I had this fabric in my stash and knew that it would a perfect fit for the pinwheels.
My friend wanted to have the name of the recipient embroidered on the quilt. I went a pink that matches the fabric but sadly doesn’t show up that well in these pictures. You are just going to have to take my word for it that it looks super cute. Inspired by all the great embroidering I have seen from my quilting bee ladies, I traced a butterfy from one of the prints and embroidered it next to the name for a little pizazz!
So knitting was my gateway craft. I learned it from a co-worker in 2003 and took to it really quickly. Sadly, I plateaued at an advanced beginner stage that I can’t seem to shake, especially now that I am so obsessed with sewing. I don’t have a huge stash of needles but have enough that they could benefit from an organizer and shouldn’t be shoved in a tote bag, getting caught in my skeins of yarn.
And now that I am conquering my to do list, this project got the time it deserved. I used some fabric from my stash and some lovely twill tape I received as a Christmas present for the tie.