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.
I am steadily working on my to do list and I am giddy with excitement. Recently, the mailman delivered some new patterns for me to try out, a little girl dress (I know, another one!) and a baby yoga pants pattern.
This little dress pattern was a breeze to make. I love lined bodices of dresses more than ever after struggling with other patterns that don’t call for it. Trying to make a neat hem on such a little armhole makes me crazy because 1) it is hard and 2) I can’t do it very well. It also gives the dress that little extra bit of structure and a fun opportunity to add a splash of color.
On this dress, I tried out the rolled hem foot on my machine. Things went pretty well for the most part and I think it looks appropriate on a dress this small. This is the newborn size and I am going to do whatever it takes to get some action shots of this dress.
As much as I love making little dresses, I noticed that most of the time, my favorite little babies were in stretch jersey pants so I picked up this pattern to try out. The pattern was a little confusing because it has two design options, one for regular diapers and another for cloth diapers. I had to guess on what to do at first so I used some blue jersey I had in my stash that I was willing to sacrifice. Once I got through the confusion of how to proceed with the pattern without the insert for cloth diapers, it was a snitch to make. I have an overlock machine so I did everything except for the leg hem on it. The only thing I would have done differently was to hem the legs before sewing up the leg seem.
I am going to give them to the newest baby in my life for her to test drive them. The butt looks pretty big but hopefully it only looks big to me because I am not used to adjusting for diapers when it comes to pants.
Here is the quilt I made last month, with it’s finished binding, washed and already in the mail. I absolutely love this quilt, and I received the nicest phone call from my friend tonight, thanking me for the quilt. She said it was her favorite baby gift, of course, she might be saying that to everyone she received a gift from, but I am going to believe her. So here is another look at the quilt in all of its crinkly glory.
I am getting caught up on blogging about some projects I finished in January, including this diaper bag. The request was for a bag that could go from carrying diapers to a work tote. I love the orange and gray print – it is so sophisticated and original. I might just have to go back to Cancun and pick up some more.
I put three pockets on the exterior, including the one below and one on either end.
Sweet Julia was finally born last week and I got to meet her today. I brought along this quilt for her. It wasn’t a real surprise since I had already assured her mother months ago that she would be getting a special quilt.
Since Julia’s parents waited until she was born to find out if she was a girl or a boy, I decided to wait too. I wanted fabrics that were nice and bright. I fell hard for the prints with the robots and the planets, especially because they weren’t only offered in traditional boy colors. The oranges and yellows make me so happy and I loved being able to work in some blues from my stash as an accent.
Now I jut have to patiently wait for some action shots.
I am so happy! My awesome sofa was in desperate need of some recovering attention. It is 6 years old and had seen better days. It was sun damaged, stained and generally abused. The sofa frame was also scratched and worn, mostly from my evil, but so cute cat.
Here is a Before picture – it doesn’t look too bad but that is because you can’t see it too closely.
I found the fabric online, actually from a link in my gmail account. I purposefully found very inexpensive fabric; it was about $5 a yard. I have never recovered a large piece of furniture and knew that it could go very bad and I didn’t want to waste a lot of money if things didn’t end well.
The whole thing was way easier than I expected. I did the cushions a couple of weeks ago and they worked out pretty well. I had a little trouble with the round corners of the seat cushions but they came out ok in the end.
As for the frame, I draped the fabric over the back and the sides and pinned in to the couch. I then basted the pieces together inside out to get the snug fit. I took the cover off, sewed over the basted stitching on my machine, flipped it right side out and checked the fit. It only took a couple of hours and I didn’t cry at all.
In a fit of productivity, I also recovered a cushion with the white and brown geometric print to tie in the bench I recovered a while ago. All in all, I am a very happy gal.
So my absolutely adorable brother-in-law is getting married in May and I couldn’t be happier with his choice of bride. She is so cute and just perfect for him. As much of a catch as he is, he totally scored with this lady, for sure.
And since my cute brother-in-law is also responsible for setting me up my my husband, I owe him, BIG TIME. I knew immediately that I would make them a quilt for their wedding present because I really wanted to give them something personal and from the heart. I decided on a Denyse Schmidt inspired design. It was her quilting book that sparked my brain and made me want to try out quilting. Initially, I shied away from doing something directly inspired by one of her quilts because I really wanted to push myself and see what I could come up with on my own first. Now that I have a few (cough cough) quilts under my belt, I am more comfortable cribbing her style.
Serendipity helped me pick out the colors for this quilt. I walked into my local fabric store and saw these two blue/greens leaning up again each other and that was all I needed. The combination reminds me of the ocean, which is so much a part of the happy couple’s life.
Here are 2/3 of the blocks laid out on my bed. I have about 11 more to go before I can piece the top together.
The quilt is going to be a queen size (I know, I am scared about quilting something so big too) and each block will get cut down to 14 1/2 ” square. If it works out that I can make them into rectangles, I might do that instead and skip adding a border on the top and bottom to fill out the quilt.
I didn’t use a pattern when making the blocks. I cut the center squares first and then cut irregular strips selvage to selvage and worked with what I picked up. I love how wonderfully wonky they are, but as you can see, they don’t lie perfectly flat. I am crossing my fingers that some spray starch will help me to get them flat enough that I can quilt it properly, but there will be a lot of praying to the sewing goddess on this one.
If anyone out in the internet has any suggestions, I am all ears.
Oh, this quilt is a surprise so if you know that happy couple, please help me keep this secret.
Too be continued…
Here is a little make up bag I made for my too cute future sister-in-law. I am loving the combination of turquoise and red, so much so that I made another one just like it for me. I added some fun little lip balms, breath freshener and a gift certificate to Sephora to round out the present.
I bought this unfinished wood storage box at Ikea a while ago in a desperate attempt to keep my growing stash of ribbons and buttons somewhat organized.
Here it is, all boring and plain.
I picked up some craft paint and Modge Podge at Michael’s down in North Carolina when I was visiting friends over Thanksgiving. (Thanks again Jess!) The frame of the box is painted a lovely cream. For the drawers, I used some cute Snow & Graham wrapping paper and Modge Podge.
Sadly, I have never used Modge Podge before and I couldn’t be bothered to read the directions so I just flew by the seat of my pants. I think I got it right though. I cut the drawers out of a continuous piece so the pattern is recreated when all of the drawers are closed, painted on a coat of MP, smoothed the paper over the front of the drawer and then painted on another coat of MP and then let it dry. A little of the dye came off the paper when I applied the overcoat of MP but I like to think of it as being “antiqued.”
Here are all the drawers drying before getting put back into place.
There are two little New York fashionistas that have very strong opinions about what they will wear. At ages 4 and 3, these sisters know what they like and know what they don’t. Luckily I passed the first test when I made them these dresses, which are now referred to as the “Made Dress” as in the dresses were made for them. I know! So stinkin’ cute.
Of course, I crave their approval so I spent the past couple of months collecting swatches for them but couldn’t find any winners. I went out on a limb and picked up this print since it had the requisite pinks, purples and oranges without prior approval. Yup – I am a risk taker. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
The pattern is a free download from the Oliver + S website. It is super simple and the ribbon trim is a great little touch. I added a small pocket on the front and embellished it with a little pink fish button. I used similar buttons on the dresses and I heard that they were a big hit.
So, a certain blogger gave me a couple of yards of very cute Amy Butler green polka dots when I was out in San Francisco least month. It is perfect for makeup and to carry other little goodies. Although it is only July, I am already planning out what I want to make for the Bust Craftacular coming up in December, which is going to include little bags like this one.
To give the bag a little more structure, I used batting between the polka dots and yellow lining. I also added some adorable grosgrain ribbon to the little strap, just to make it sassy.
I offered Amy a little something in exchange for the fabric and all I could get her to agree to is a case for her sunglasses. It should be super cute. Hopefully I will have time next weekend to try making one.
I am in a countdown to meeting little Brielle, who turned three months old yesterday. In anticipation of our first meeting, I wanted to make her a little present. I used the Oliver + S party dress pattern. It is labeled easy and for the most part it was. My only trouble came attaching the bodice to the skirt. I managed to create matching puckers in the middle of the front and the back. Boo. I ironed them like crazy and am hoping no one will notice.
I also want to take this moment to give my sewing machine a big shout out. My Brother sewing machine is awesome. The pattern calls for buttons and due to some unfortunate buttonhole attempts with my old machine, I was very very very apprehensive to ever doing buttonholes again. And let’s not even talk about the button setting. With gritted teeth, I tried the buttonhole setting and it worked like a charm. Feeling a little more confident, I went for the button feature and that was even easier. Who knew it could be like this? I am a changed woman. More confident, ready to face the world, one buttonhole at a time.
Busy sewing. Too busy to even blog about all of my projects. Fourth of July Weekend was a giant sewing fest in my apartment. By Sunday, I was delirious and ready for a quilting break. I also cranked out some more goodies today. So without further ado, here are my projects. I am going to break up the posts for easier uploading.
As I have mentioned once or twice before, it is raining babies in my life. Twin girls were born last week in Los Angeles who are patiently waiting for quilts. Fueled by ice coffee and the fear of drowning in fabric, I managed to knock out this little number this evening. There is a tuck on the seersucker side that needs to get reworked, but otherwise it is pretty much done.
The twins’ mother made her feelings about pink pretty clear, so I picked up this awesome seersucker at Purl. It is made up of red, yellow and blue stripes. I backed it with a solid white and quilted it with the painted yellow thread.
On this muggy, no rainy, now sunny Father’s Day, I am off to visit with a very new father and his brandy new son. His son Erol is a week old today – he came just in time to make this Father’s Day pretty special.
Erol’s arrival gave me the perfect kick in the butt to try something I had been sitting on for a while. Ever since I bought the lovely painted yellow thread, I have wanted to try a really simple quilt using it for the quilting. And use it I did.
I took two yards of Alexander Henry’s “Fishies” and two yards of white, and quilted them together with a nice thin batting. I sewed all three layers together, with the rights sides of the fabrics facing each other (good thing the white is right on both sides so there was no real way to mess up) and left a good size gap on one end. I turned the layers right side out, smoothed out the wrinkles, and then used a good sized tupperware lid to trace circles all over the quilt.
Update: I should explain the circles a little better. After sewing the three layers together and turning them right side out, I secured the layers together with quilting pins. Once everything was nice and flat, I took a tupperware lid and traced it with a disappearing ink marker. I traced about 5 circles, then just followed the lines on my machine with my walking foot very slowly. I then traced more circles and repeated the process until I thought there were enough. After I was finished with the circles, I top stitched the border to help hold everything down.
After quilting the circles, or bubbles, I quilted a yellow border around the edge and hand sewed the gap left for turning. I love the yellow on the white – it stands out but the colors are still subtle. I like it but would also love to see what it would look like with a higher contrast – maybe a painted red thread next time…
The quilting on the Fishie side is very subtle. I am a little disappointed that is hardly visible, but that might be because the pattern is soooooo busy that most quilting couldn’t compete with that full stretch of fish. I like it though – and I am already picturing it on a toddler bed for when Erol is a little older.
When I bought the Fishies, I also picked up a fun peachy colored seersucker. I am going to try something similar with that one to see if the textured seersucker will show off the quilting better. Wish me luck. Good thing there are twins waiting for quilts in Californina to keep me motivated.
This is just a quick post to show off some of my weekend projects. Friday night I put together the baby quilt. All it needs is a little binding. I am really happy with how it looks.
Allow me to introduce Miss Brielle, who is growing so fast and is clearly enjoying her quilt. I am counting the days until I get to meet her in July.
I mention this because there are at least two other quilters working on and dreaming about charm quilts as I write this.
I was recently commissioned by a lovely friend to make her two baby quilts. We did a little online shopping on Reprodepot and then finished things up on Sunday at Purl Soho for some wonderful collaboration.
Since my to-do list is taller than Empire State Building and is starting to keep me up at night, I decided to start applying more week night energies to crafting. Last night I worked in a load of fabric laundry in between a run and tonight was all about cutting.
I absolutely love these prints together. The colors are so bright and vibrant. I cut out the 4.5″ squares in the colorful prints and 3 x 4.5″ sashing in white. The large Moda dots is also the backing for this baby.
After going two weekends without doing any crafting or sewing, I have been making up for lost time like a maniac this week. It is pretty exhilarating to be checking off projects from my to-do list. This evening’s adventure involved recovering my chairs with some new fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s new Drawing Room line of fabric.
The chairs turned out better than I could have hoped and the recovering process wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I left David in charge of removing the staples while I ran over to my neighbor’s place to borrow his staple gun (Hi Harry!). It took about two hours from start to finish, which included a lot of fussing in the beginning – I blame the nerves.
Here are the Before pictures. As you can see, the seat fabric is pretty tired. The cream fabric started out pretty cute, but the light color couldn’t hold up to all the tushies sitting on it but it was able to hold on long enough for me to find the right replacement.
And now I must finish the second bedroom/office. The new fabric is just too cute for the ugly rug and bad paint job. How did I just add two more things to my to-do list?
I alluded to an exciting development in my “Good Bye, I am leaving for Argentina and you can’t stop me” post but didn’t want to get into too much detail since it was still in the planning stages. But now that we are in full force, I am going to spill the beans.
On one of my many online craft/quilt/sewing surfing adventures, I came across of group of women that started an online quilting bee. I couldn’t believe what a brilliant idea it was, and then I saw the blocks getting made, I had to physically restrain my heart from beating out of my chest. They were gorgeous, original and inspiring. Of course, my first reaction once I got a hold of myself was “how can I get myself invited into this quilting bee?”
Since it had already started and these women didn’t know me, I realized that my getting asked into that specific bee wasn’t likely, but I also realized that maybe, just maybe, I could start my own. I started asking around to my crafty friends, was turned down by a bunch of you (you know who you are) and was so excited when two awesome ladies agreed wholeheartedly.
A three person quilting bee just wouldn’t do so I pulled out my ace in the whole. I tried to be cool when I emailed my online crafting buddy but I was so nervous. What if she thought the idea was stupid? What if she didn’t think my quilting was up to her level (because her stuff is so dang good)? I hit send and waited. Thankfully she was interested and went on to mention that she had a couple of friends that she wanted to invite.
The next thing I know, I am part of a thirteen person online quilting bee called Common Threads. We are going to do one quilt a month for 13 months. I now get to know, work with, and learn from these amazing, talented women.
You can follow the button on the right side of the page to the Common Threads blog. We also have a flickr group for even more pictures documenting all of the blocks and quilts as they develop.
This is so exciting! Dreams really do come true.
‘s maid purses…
It is funny that no matter how long I have been sewing and how many purses I have made, I still get a little nervous when I make a custom purse order, especially for a wedding. But as usual, all that worrying was a waste of time. Theses seven clutches turned out so cute. AND I finally figured out a stabilizer for the clutches besides purse frames.
After a little online sleuthing, I found something called plastic canvas. It is plastic meshy/griddy material that is used for needlepoint. It turns out that it is also perfect for stabilizing a fabric purse. It is flexible and can be easily cut with scissors but really gives the bag some much needed structure. I still used fusible interface on both the exterior and lining fabric but the plastic canvas really did the trick. Just check out the posture on these beauties.
I experimented on a sample bag to work out the kinks and lucky for me, since now I have a new clutch too.
I am off to Argentina for an exciting, adventure-filled vacation. I have already researched the Buenos Aires garment district and it is on the top of my list of things to do. And ice trekking; I will definitely be doing some ice trekking in Patagonia. And wine tasting; there will be a lot of that as well.
There won’t be any posts for a while but I can hint that something very craftciting is brewing in the Internet. Once things are finalized, I will be sure to post more. And if my new friends are reading this, you know what I am talking about.
So here is the lap quilt I made for my co-worker’s mother. It has been confirmed by several independent sources that is quite lovely, which makes me very happy. It also made me so happy to do this for my co-worker, mostly because this quilt should guarantee him “Favorite Son of the Year” status over his brothers, and who doesn’t love that?
I picked five solid colors and put them together in 11″ x 11″ squares. Each square was repeated twice. My favorite part of the quilt is the binding on the back, tying in the modern, geometric pattern with the fun, whimsical My Folklore pattern.
Today was my first day in a long while that I could dedicate to sewing. My to-do list is getting pretty long so I needed to get a move on. I set aside all of today to work on my co-worker’s quilt.
As I mentioned, my coworker picked out the My Folklore pattern for the quilt back. I then picked out five solid fabrics, a white, a cream, a light pink, a mauve and a chocolate brown for the quilt top.
I took this picture this afternoon, interrupting the Weekend Craftbonanza to capture this beautiful shot of the sun shining in on some of my new fabric.
By Amy the DINK
A: Attached or Single? Attached
B: Best Friend? There are a couple of special ladies out there that get that title. You know who you are.
C: Cake or Pie? cake cake cake cake
D: Day of Choice? Lazy Sundays
E; Essential Item? My sewing machine
F: Favorite Color? It is impossible for me to pick favorites
G: Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears, especially the pineapple ones. Mmmmmm
H: Hometown? Uptight, small, suburban town in Connecticut
I: Indulgence? A fancy new camera
J: January or July? July ’cause it’s my birthday
K: Kids? Does a ten year-old gray cat count?
L: Life isn’t complete without? Good friends sharing good food and great wine
M: Marriage date? November 3, 2007
N: Number of brothers and sisters? One super sister
O: Oranges or apples? Pink Lady Apples – all the way
P: Phobias and fears? I am desperately afraid of the vacuum cleaner running over my toes
Q: Quote? “Why don’t you just tell me what movie you want to see” Kramer
R: Reason to smile? I work about 5 blocks from NYC’s Garment District
S: Season of choice? Fall in New York
T: Tag three people? Nadia and Jess, it’s your turn.
U: Unknown fact about me? I secretly love reading science fiction
V: Vegetable? Steamed brussel spouts forever
W: Worst habit? Biting off more than I can chew
X: X-ray or Ultrasound? I have only had an x-ray so I guess I will go with that.
Y: Your favorite food? Caravan of Dream’s tempeh reuben. It is how my husband wooed me to move to New York.
Z: Zodiac sign? Cancer Moon Child
So I got to see the Quilt for A Grown Up Gal in action on Sunday when I was invited over for way too much wine and some very tasty fondue. There was a lovely soup and salad, but really, the fondue was quite the winner. Why am I not eating fondue every night? I digress.
Here are some great action shots of the quilt in the OLDM’s newly painted apartment. It looks terrific with her artwork and her eyes. ; ) The OLDM was nice enough to take some self portraits that are just wonderful. She even tried to emulate some of the other babies on the blog by chewing on the corner of the quilt and striking a happy baby pose, but because she might have a career in politics one day, I am keeping those lovelies to myself. For now.
So I figured out how to make make up bags this weekend. I don’t know where the deep rooted fear came from but I had been resisting this idea for a long long time. I found a great tutorial on Craftster.org that calmed my fears and by yesterday afternoon, I was in business.
The dimensions for the makeup bag in the tutorial were smaller than what I wanted so I swallowed my fear of math and adjusted the pattern to make a larger bag. The smaller one is 7″ x 4″ and the larger one is 8″ x 5″. The smaller one is perfect for going in a purse, while the bigger one is just right for holding your daily make up.
After listening to me chatter on and on about quilts for the past 5 months, all of my subliminal messages to my coworker finally worked! He commissioned me to make a lap quilt for his mother for Mother’s Day, and of course, I said yes. What a good son.
Within days, I found my coworker (who will remain anonymous to preserve his privacy as I am about to reveal somewhat embarrassing information here) cruising the Internet for fabrics and quilt pattern ideas. Usually you can find this guy reading about politics and moving to Canada, so you can imagine my surprise when he started showing me the styles he liked. It warmed my heart.
So, with a lot of conversation and sharing of ideas, we designed the perfect quilt for his mom. The back of the quilt is going to be this print from My Folklore. I will save the details for the quilt top for later, but all I am going to say is that it is going to be just lovely, and perfect for a mom.
Charlotte had her first visit to the Big Apple this past weekend. Although her older brother is more into the outdoors, Charlotte is a city girl at heart. She smiled and laughed and broke hearts all over Manhattan. We cruised the Garment District and I picked these two pieces of loveliness. I cannot wait to get my hands on this material. I am picturing dresses for little girls, robes, skirts and using the scraps in an orange themed quilt. The possibilities are endless. Now if I could just do something about my day job getting in the way.
On a blissful afternoon walk, I stopped into this wonderful Japanese book store a couple of blocks from my office. I have read about Japanese crafting and sewing books online and decided to see for myself if they are really that great.
Oh yes, Japanese sewing books are amazing. I came out of the store clutching this little book to my chest, my heart pounding with excitement. The book is gorgeous, it comes with SIX patterns and detailed picture instructions. I have read that if you know how to sew, you can follow along without needing a translator, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
So here are some pictures of my lovely new book. I will be sure to post updates of my attempts at sewing by picture alone.
I received a quilt order right around the time I committed to the fabric for Baby Brielle’s quilt, so with a little tweaking and a lot of thought on the design, I actually made two quilts at the same time. The quilts are pretty much the same with the only real difference being the binding. On this first one, I used the pale yellow pinstripes with the dragonflies and butterflies for the binding but I have something else in mind for the second one.
I delivered this quilt to Lauren last week to be given at a baby shower this past weekend. I already received a report that the mother-to-be “LOVED” (with all capitals) the quilt. Hearing that response makes me so happy and just fuels the quilting fire inside of me. (Have I gone over to the dark side yet?)
It has been tough to hold on to these quilt pictures and not post them. My intention was to hold out until I finished the second quilt, but it is taking a bit longer than I anticipated and these pictures are burning a hole in my pocket. And after consulting with Jess this morning and hearing that she has been cruising the blog hoping for a sneak peek, I figured I would end the torture for the both of us.
So, here you go Jess! I hope you like it.
Well, sort of. It is only March but I am already plotting and planning for the summer. Spring is wonderful in New York, filled with temperate weather with is neither too hot or too cold. But it doesn’t last long and I can see the steamy days ahead of me.
After a quick internet search, I found this Kwik pattern and can’t wait to make some cute summertime sleepwear with a little matching robe. So cute and it will put an end to my days of streaking through the apartment.
It seems like it took me way too long to really embrace the magic of good rulers. I think it is because I am mostly self-taught that I flailed around so long without a good ruler. What was I thinking?
A couple of weeks ago, I learned the hard way that some plastic rulers melt when you use them with an iron. Whoopsies. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. It made me go down to Purl Soho and pick up a new, amazing ruler. It is as wide as my cutting mat and is designed so it doesn’t slide across the fabric, meaning straighter cuts and more control.
One of my favorite little friends is turning four years old today. I did a lot of good thinking and decided that what every little girl needs is her own tote bag for carrying very important stuff. I was also inspired by some amazing thread I picked up on a lunch time field trip to the Garment District. The yellow thread is painted so it changes from very light butter yellow to a deep daffodil color. I kept thinking about how it would look on chocolate brown fabric and then the light bulb went off.
Since I have no sense of proportion for young bodies, I have a sneaking feeling that the bag is probably a little too long and deep, but heck, that just means more stuff that will fit in it. The straps seem fine but the body of the bag is a little long. We are on our way over to the birthday party today so I won’t have to wait too long to see the fit.
For the flowers, I mostly free styled their design. My new sewing machine has some very cute embroidery templates so I was able to work in the little leaves, making the flowers even cuter. I also picked up some cute orange flowered ribbon that I used for an accent along the top.
There was another special request for a pineapple raspberry upside down cake. The timer just went off and the whole house smells delicious. Hopefully there will be some good action shots of the presents this afternoon.
As I mentioned before, the OLDM really really wanted a quilt. Her birthday is right before Christmas so I offered to make her a quilt as a combo gift. I am sure that for someone with a December birthday, she has been subjected to this kind of trickery before, but since the offer was something that she really really wanted, she agreed.
I have to admit, this was a much bigger project than I anticipated, both in scale and skill. I am actually glad I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started, because it was A LOT of work. Making a baby quilt and making a grown up gal quilt are totally different experiences. With all the materials, I can knock out a baby quilt in a long afternoon. A grown up gal quilt is a different story. I worked on this one on a couple of other weekend days but this weekend was the big one. I was determined to finish and was willing to do what it took to get the job done, which sadly meant locking myself in my apartment from noon on Saturday until 5 pm on Sunday. I emerged today, bleary eyed and thirsty for beer. But man alive, this quilt is fantastic.
I will go into the details of the process later, including the highs and lows, the blood, sweat and tears in another post, but for now, I just need to post some pictures to show off my finished project.
Lucas is going to be a big brother. We are all patiently awaiting the arrival of his little sister, who should be arriving by stork next month. I can’t wait to meet her and I can’t wait to make her a special something to celebrate her arrival.
On a fun Friday afternoon field trip, I picked up this fabric with the grand plan to finish it in the next month. It is perfect for a little girl. Hopefully the quilting muse will pay me a visit in the form of a blog or something to inspire me.