Friday, April 29, 2011

A Quilt with no Name but a lot of Character

I've had this quilt in my head for a long time and this was my first attempt to create it.  I really like it and I'm already planning my next version of it!  It all started with a "simple" hexagon block that I made for Lynne months ago...


November Hexagon Block for Lynne


I knew almost immediately that I wanted to translate this into multiple quilts.  And the first one I wanted to do was create a one block quilt in the same design.  And so I set to designing again and did some math and finally came up with this...



Hexagon Quilt



I was playing with the scale of the pattern and types of fabrics to use for this design.  I ended up making this with three different fabrics as opposed to the original six of the inspiration block because I was trying to create the least amount of waste with the fabric cuts.



Hexagon Quilt



I made the center a hexagon like the original block, but I'm interested in trying a variation with the swirls meeting together in the center.  That's on my back burner for this quilt.


Hexagon Quilt


I made it the size I did partially to be able to use a 56" decorator weight fabric for the backing.  I was happy to find a good match for the front with some county fair posies by Denyse Schmidt.  No project goes as you would like it...especially not a trial run on a pattern...so of course I did some miscalculating when I cut the fabric for the back.  Well, really I measured once and then cut.  I know better.  Measure TWICE and cut once.  But I was able to patch it in and the fabric was very forgiving (this is why I love patterned fabrics for the back of a quilt!).


Hexagon Quilt



I also did some experimenting with the quilting.  I started out quilting in one direction and quickly became frustrated with the way it was looking.  I'm far too lazy to rip out quilting that is already complete, so I just shifted gears and started quilting in another direction.  I liked the second way MUCH better and played with the width of quilting lines until I finally settled into a pattern.  I also ended up machine quilting the binding and I'm usually a die hard hand binder.  But you see, this quilt was going to someone who loves machine binding for its durability especially.  So I wanted to make this quilt as useful as possible.



Hexagon Quilt


This quilt is perfect for a picnic or for a baby's play mat...it's been both cat approved and baby approved at my house.  But it's already with its new owner, Kaelin, who is buying her very first home with her husband tomorrow and then moving in!  She needed a house warming gift...and I'm sure that the quilt is now puppy approved by her sweet Scottie Dog.


I'm already planning a second version of this quilt and will probably use 6 fabrics again like the original block. But I'm having trouble deciding on a name for this quilt!  I have the name of another quilt stuck in my head and I can't figure out what to call this.  Help a gal out!  Suggestions please!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Future and Current Giveaways! Now isn't that fun?!

*the giveaway is now closed*

Hi all.  I have a couple of fun giveaways to talk about today and then it's back to reading about my quilting tomorrow. ;)


First off, the future opportunity for giveaways...The Big 5 Blog Party over at Jennifer's Blog, www.ellisonlane.blogspot.com,   I can't give away too many details yet...aren't you intrigued? ;)  But the Blog Party starts Monday May 2nd...so look out for more info!






Then we also have a lovely sponsored giveaway from the sweet Randi of Fresh Squeezed Fabrics over at Etsy!  Yay for generous people!  Thank you Randi.  

Now what is the giveaway you ask?  Well, I know that there are a lot of new lines getting ready to come out. Everyone is dying with anticipation for many of them...and we'll probably see some of those here in the future.  But I'm a die hard believer in the basics.  And not just any basics, fun basics.  Metro Circles anyone?  I have a complete obsession with these and I'm very jealous that I'm not eligible to win. 


Randi is offering one of you a fat quarter bundle of this fabulous collection of Metro Circles!  I could just eat them up!



Let's make life simple today.  One entry per person.  In that entry, please tell me your current favorite quilt or sewn item that you've seen someone else make!  Let's give a little love to each other.  I know that I have a slew of favorites over on flickr and am always finding new inspirations.  

I'll start.  I'm a little bit partial because I have four blocks in her quilt ;) but I adore Stephanie's quilt that she put together from the blocks we made as part of the bee, Bee Modern.  She was a genius with color and pattern and the quilt has both movement and calmness.  You can check it out here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thestitchinghour/5653727680/in/photostream/


Now, you don't have to give a link to every quilt or sewn object, but hey, if you do that's fun.  Now let's see who wins this!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giving Back - Iraqi Bundles of Love



I've been meaning to post about this for a while now, but life keeps getting away from me!  A while back, a friend from my hometown contacted me about a relief effort for victims of war torn areas.  She works at the Notre Dame Alumni Association and one of her board members sent her information about her brother’s project sending quilting/craft supplies to Iraq and other areas of the world.  Well I respect people who are on the board of the ND alumni association so I was pretty confident that this was worth looking into.  So I hopped on over to the website.




I was delighted to find that some of you already have participated in this (I recognized some names) and was even more encouraged to share this with the rest of you.  I contacted the organizer personally to get more information and I was given permission to share this with you all!


"IB♥L3D is about surging sewing, quilting and knitting materials into the central Iraq.  I am stationed in Baghdad, but this next surge of bundles is aimed at Fallujah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah), in the Anbar Province to the West of Baghdad.  It's also aimed at a specific demographic -- widows.  

Why Fallujah?  It's a word and place that resonates with many in the military.  It's where insurgents captured, killed, and paraded the bodies of four Blackwater employees.  It's where there were tough violent struggles, the first and second battles of Fallujah.  It's a place that even today looks as if the fighting just ended today.  And it's a place where, even today, there is crime, violence, insurgent groups and attacks on the guilty and the innocent.  

I tell people that what today separates Japan from places like Fallujah is the gunfire.  And I tell people that what separates IBOL from other efforts is our ability to go to places like Fallujah, when others just can't.  Fallujah is exactly the kind of place IBOL was meant to go.

And why widows?  I don't think there's a tougher life in Iraq, than that of a widow.  It's about widows because so much of IBOL is about women, and wives, and mothers, and daughters.  It's about widows because change isn't going to come from angry men, or their weapons, but from homes, and families, and the women that keep them all together. 

But, enough with the soapbox.  Let's talk IBOL.


The goal is to get stuff into the mail before the end of April.  Jared and crew will take all the help they can get, so send one box, send 53 -- send what you can and what you want to send. It's a good crew in Fallujah, it's an honor to work with and support them on this.    

The Post Office will make you fill out a Custom form.  Fear not -- if they ask you for Jared's phone number, just give 'em yours.  Or mine.  It won't matter -- no one can call us here anyway.

Yes, by all means, slip something inside for a kid.  A toy, some chalk, some crayons, a bouncy ball.  A pair of shoes.  Not a lot, just a little, if you're so inclined.  Where there are widows in Iraq, there are kids in need, too.

Anything and everything gets put to use here -- this, after Iraq was under sanctions for so long.  Bigger is definitely better -- bigger pieces of fabric, bigger hanks of yarn (send the whole bolt; don't sent the whole sheep).  

The general information is here:  http://ibol.wordpress.com/what-to-send/

Information on how to build a bundle is here: http://ibol.wordpress.com/building-a-bundle/

When all else fails, the frequently asked questions are here: http://ibol.wordpress.com/faq/



Honestly, I think the IBOL Kitteh stuff is the funniest part of this project: http://ibol.wordpress.com/tag/ibol-kitteh/

Simple fabric is good.  Stripes work, too.  Scissors are OK.  Ditto for needles -- yes, knitting needles, too.  Fabric is far more likely to be used for clothing than for quilting, but that's not an absolute.  I'm keeping the mailing address off of the web, as best I can.

And did I mention that bigger is definitely better -- bigger pieces of fabric, bigger skeins of yarn?  

Did I miss something?  Let me know.

And if you really want to make my day, take and send to me photos of you and your bundle.  I love getting them, and I love having them to share on the website. "





I know that I am nearing the end of April here already but they said to go ahead and post this now anyway...

"Yes, tell people it's very close to the deadline for putting them into the mail, but to not worry -- I am lining up one more go-around for this summer, in advance of Ramadan.  So the next round may kick off right away or sometime in late may (to get things into the mail before the end of June, I suspect). 

It'll be going for a while.  Not Fallujah -- that's about done -- but IBOL this year."



You may have noticed one thing is missing.  The address.  I have it or you can find more information on their website and contact them directly.  They are trying to keep the address off the internet (I think we all understand the need for some privacy).  So feel free to contact me for the address or them.  I'm not entirely sure if the address that I have will be the one that they use for the next round, so it is probably safe to contact me if you are able to participate in this now and then contact them directly for the address if you are able to participate later.


I know that I have fabric that I am not going to use...things like fabric from online stores who have mailed the wrong fabrics or fabric that people have given to me because they know I sew... you get it.   A lot of us have something to give.  In the spirit of new life and the Easter season, I think that this is a great way to help the world.  I've heard it said by many that if only the world were run by quilters, there would be a great deal more peace.  So let's see if we make a small part of that true.  Oh and it's also perfect for those itching to do a little spring cleaning.  ;)




Oh and because you have to have pictures in a post...I know you're all longing to see what my family looked like on Easter. ;)


Easter Time




Easter Joy!




Oh we love that girl!

Monday, April 25, 2011

After Easter Sunday (aka Back to Quilting)

Well, I'm a little farther behind with one of my bees than I would like to be, but I'm getting there.  Now don't be confused about the block here...yes, yesterday was Easter, not Christmas.  But Karen loves Christmas, so we're making Christmas blocks in the Spring.  Really, she's the smart one because she'll actually have her Christmas quilt ready for the season!


Busy Bees - North Pole block for Karen


There are some rolling hills of snow with some sledding (scooting), a lake for ice skating, a gnome/elf hiding in the woods...and of course a helpful sign letting you know where you are.  I had fun putting this together and pulling all the different fabrics together.  The only thing I wanted to do, but didn't have an easy enough way, was add an ice skater to the pond.  So Karen, feel free to add that! lol.  I still have another block to do, but I know what I'm going to make.  So it should be done soon.


Just a close up on the block.

Busy Bees - North Pole block for Karen



And I've been working on a quit design that I will show you soon!  I had a moment of inspiration and enough of a push to work on something new.  You know...because I don't have enough to do.  But this one is already basted and ready to be quilted.  I hope to have it finished this week.


But that brings me to my current thoughts.  I whipped out the new quilt with fabrics that wouldn't destroy me if my idea was crap (I hope its not!).  And I'm already thinking of remaking it or rather making another one.  And I'm considering using some of my favorite fabrics that would be virtually impossible to replace.  So once I use them, that's it.  This is the project that they will be in and I won't be able to use them in another larger quilt.

And you know what?


I think I'm okay with that.


But it's a little scary for me.  I admit to feeling slightly embarrassed over my nervousness to use them. (I'm thinking of using my yardage of the mendocino swimming sisters.)  I know logically that not only do I have enough fabric in my stash to make 50 of these quilts, but also that IT IS JUST FABRIC!  I'm constantly falling in love with new fabrics, but I'm concerned about using what I have.


So my question for you all...what would make you use your favorite fabrics?  Do you use them right away or stash them waiting for the "perfect" project?  Are you worried about wasting them or do you cut with abandon?  Or do you think that I'm a loon for loving fabrics so much that I won't use them?  Be kind if you think that last one. ;)

Congrats to the winner!

I hope that one of you won the scrap box giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabrics!  But I do know that one of you won the 1/2 yard bundle from them. ;)

The Lucky winner is...


Marcia W. said...123

I already entered the giveaway at SFF - around the 16th.



Now wouldn't it be funny if Marcia won both giveaways?! lol.  Well you can't win if you don't enter.  Happy for her she entered this one!  Enjoy the cut out and keep.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!




Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful Easter, full of bunny sightings and little ones in Easter finery!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tiny Strings

April's Block for do. Good Stitches in my group was a couple of string blocks.  Simple enough...I've made a whole string quilt before...this time last year in fact.  It was a gift for my MIL.

Finished String quilt


So I thought that a couple of blocks would be easy peasy.  Hmmm... Well let's just say it was a little more work than I bargained for.  You see, these string blocks for do. Good Stitches are actually made from a 9 patch of string blocks.  And I had to make 2 blocks.  So doing a little bit of quick arithmetic will lead you to discover that I needed to make 18 4.5" square string blocks.


April do. Good Stitches Blocks



Pretty though, right?  Perseverance was key here for me and remembering that this is for charity.  I shouldn't begrudge a quilt for charity.  And they really are kind of fun to make.  Kind of. ;)  Our color scheme was very Sherbety to me...oranges, pinks, yellows, and green.  I raided through my stash and found an assortment of fabrics in these shades.  This is a great stash busting block!  Because those squares are so little you can use some of your smaller scraps up!  And it's always fun to add in little pieces like this one.


April do. Good Stitches Blocks


See the castle?


The blocks really do look fabulous together and I'm comforted by the fact that I've seen a few other blocks with some of the exact same fabrics that I chose.  So I think that they will all look like they belong together in the end.  I of course am my overachieving self and always swirl my seams with a nine patch block...even string ones!  It definitely helps the block lay flatter. (eta: a number of people have asked how to swirl your seams.  I have a tutorial in my sidebar and you can also find it HERE)  And I like to sew the blocks together with the paper backing still attached because it helps to keep the blocks from stretching too much when working with all of those biased edges.



April do. Good Stitches Blocks


Oh and I thought myself quite clever when I used origami paper as the backing for these blocks.  A quick trim, and they are a great size and weight for these little squares.  And then I spent a good portion of time tearing all that paper off the blocks while watching the newest Harry Potter on DVD.  Good times. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A big welcome to our newest sponsor - Sew Fresh Fabrics!

*the giveaway is now closed*






Sew Fresh Fabrics, the darling store of Peg and Becca on Etsy, have come to join the fun in my little corner of the internet world.  They are so sweet and are always up to date on the quilt alongs and blog life going on in the sewing world!  I love that they have a bundle for Lynne (Lily's Quilts) and for Rachel's Bottled Rainbows.  And just watch...they might just have a bundle for a certain zig zag quilt in the future. ;)  Just saying.


They have some very fun fabrics including the new Moda Cross Weaves, Cloud 9 Cut Out and Keep, Sherbet Pips, and Sanctuary...just to name a few!  They also offer custom "You Pick" listings for Konas and Designer Fat Quarters.   It's great to have a shop that will cut you any combination of fat quarters!




You may have heard some internet buzz about them recently because they are hosting a fabulous giveaway on their blog of scraps from their store!!  But you need to hurry because it ends today at 10 pm EST.   




And Peg and Becca are kind enough to offer their own little giveaway for the readers of my blog.  Have you heard of Cut Out and Keep by Cloud 9?  Well, you are in for a treat.  They are offering this delightful HALF YARD bundle!  (I especially love the top fabric!)






Cloud 9 fabrics are all organic cotton and if you haven't felt their fabric in person then you are missing out.  It is sooo soft and has such a nice hand.  I didn't know what I was missing until I was given just a little square of their fabric and that inspired me to hop on the cloud 9 bandwagon.  It's really lovely fabric to work with!






Enough talk though Angela, they all want to know how they can win these fabrics.  Alright, alright.  lol.  First let me preface this by saying that Peg and Becca had no say in what the requirements are for the giveaway...this is all me. ;)  Also, please leave a separate entry for each chance of winning.  Mr Random Number Generator cannot tell if you have done three things if you don't tell him three separate times. I wish he could, but he can't. ;)




So, entries may be gained by:


1.  Hopping on over to Sew Fresh Fabrics on Etsy and peaking around.  Come back and tell us what fabric you love, or what you were surprised to find or what you would like to see.  Just give some kind of impression of your experience!


2.  Go to their Blog, http://sewfreshfabrics.blogspot.com, and enter their giveaway (or tell me you already did...I bet some of you have).


3.  Can't wait to see if you win?  Have fabric you must buy?  Well if you purchase something from Peg and Becca, you get an extra three entries! (Remember, they have NO idea that I'm doing this!  Teehee!).  Just leave a comment saying you made a purchase and then two more comments labeled bonus entry #1 and bonus entry #2.




Easy enough, right?  Have fun (window) shopping!  And good luck with this giveaway and their other one!









Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The (clean) Sewing Room!

As promised, here are the pics of my sewing room.  This is as tidy as it is going to get I think.  I'm totally an organized person by nature and you'll definitely see some of that here...which is why it has been driving me crazy that is has been so disorganized lately.  But there's nothing like trying to sell your house to make you clean up!


The view from the doorway!  It makes a big difference that there is nothing on the floor!  That's my biggest problem...leaving projects on the floor.


View from the doorway



As you walk into the room, you are greeted first with my ironing board complete with a certain zig zag quilt in progress.  I promise that quilt is never far from my mind and there are great plans ahead....but for now this is where it is.


working on the zig zag quilt




You've all seen the design wall.  It's in a pretty constant state of flux.  Some things you will recognize and others are newer additions.  There's even another thing on there now that wasn't there for these pics!


Design Wall



Next comes my bookcase which is storage for all my sewing and quilting books and patterns.  It also houses the tv and dvd player which help with some distraction when sewing for hours at a time.


Bookcase



I have a little pull out couch for extremely last minute guests and in the window is my color book.  It's looking all cute for potential buyers. ;)


Couch



Alrighty...here we come to the fabric.  No judging.  lol.  I know that there is a bit there.  I also know that I'm not even going to show you all it.  All of this fabric I have stored using the comic book backer board which I have a tutorial for. (although really it's just folding fabric around a piece of sturdy something - not rocket science)


Fabric Storage



The lower half just makes me smile!  It' a rainbow of beautiful fabrics.  And yes, you may notice that I have a penchant for a couple of colors.


The lower shelves



The upper half stores home dec fabrics on the tippy top.  I have to get my husband to put them up there.  lol.  I'm short. Then it's mainly neutrals stored on the shelves.  Do you notice a color that I am lacking the most of?


Fabric Storage


The upper shelves



Those cabinets in the middle store my precious fabrics...some of these may move to my lovely Henna Garden Boxes though.  It's getting a little crazy in there!


Precious Fabrics



Next, I have a little wall space where I have hung all of my mini quilts and mug rugs that I'm too afraid to use. lol.  Thanks to PioneerValleyGirl, Cilvee, FlossieBlossoms, and SewVivid for these!  The ones you don't see here that I have received are scattered throughout my house.


Wall of Quilts



Then comes the area that is definitely the hardest to keep tidy (other than the floor!).  This table houses all the things that come into the sewing room that don't really have a home.  It's okay for now but there will be some revamping in my next sewing room.  And under the table, the white drawers are storage for my scraps.  Yes...I have a lot and yes, I use them every day!


scraps!


Window Wall



Next you see a bookcase all filled with storage.  This currently houses things like fat quarters and sewing notions.  And above it you will see thread and quilts ready to be quilted!


thread and completed tops



Skipping over the closet which I am NOT showing you (even though it looks a lot better...a girl has to have a few secrets!) we move onto my sewing spot.  A little desk, my fab machine and my recovered sewing room chair make this spot one that I am constantly fighting my kitty cat for!


My little sewing area



I hope you've enjoyed this little trip through my sewing space.  It's so nice to work in when it is cleaned up and a little overwhelming when it is not. Suggestions? Tips?  I'm always looking for ways to improve this room or the concept of this room.


Oh and stick around because we've got a couple of fabulous giveaways coming up!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Musings

We're having an open house in approximately half an hour, so I'm trying to distract myself from worrying that no one will come. Hopefully my brain isn't too scattered or spastic as I write. lol. I know the house looks good, but I want others to know that too. ;) The good news about the open house is that it spurred me on to go through some of the things that have been driving me crazy around the house...one of them being my sewing room. It actually looks presentable! It doesn't scare me to walk in there. And I've adequately moved around my fabric stash so that it doesn't look quite as ridiculous as it is. I hope to share pictures of it with you all soon. But I'm seriously too embarrassed to show you all of the fabric that I have because 1. you'll know that I never need to purchase any more (although you will all understand when I do) and 2. I don't want my husband to freak out when he reads this. Teehee!


So I've accomplished a bit of sewing, although it has mainly been cleaning and tidying. Those are necessities because I think I was avoiding my sewing room because I would get overwhelmed when I walked in there. So many projects going at one time! But now that the doll quilt is done and sent and received, I can get back to my usual assortment of projects. There are of course too many, but there are bee blocks to make and quilts to work on and a hand bag to make for another swap. I already shared my bee block for Penny, but I've also made my bee block for Corey for VIBees!


VIBees - April Block for Corey


Corey very sweetly sent us all the petals precut for this block, so it went together fairly quickly. I think that this block took a couple of hours? Hmm...late night sewing. I never remember how long things really take. She asked us to top stitch this all with a straight stitch in white thread, so you'll see that is the way it is constructed.


VIBees - April Block for Corey - Detail



I LOVE that she is not afraid of color and pattern. This is a bold block! And she is getting at least 12 of them for a quilt!! I bet she is making more. That is going to be a fantastically scrappy quilt.



VIBees - April Block for Corey



Oh and I wanted to let you know that I was poking around on the Interweave Website looking for info on the magazine with my projects and I saw that you can not only order it directly from then as a hard copy, but they also have a digital copy available as a PDF download! So all you international folks can do that if you are so inclined!





Okay.  Wish us luck with the open house!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doll Quilt Swap 10 - The Rescuers

Phew!  I've been waiting for what seems like forever to share the final quilt that I made for the Doll Quilt Swap - Round 10.  But it is safely in the hands of its new owner, Kendra, so I can finally share the story (with her permission) behind the quilt.


Here's the finished product...put together one piece at a time, just like every other quilt.  But there are some pretty special pieces to this one. You'll understand why soon.

DQS10 - The Rescuers



First off, I'd just like to thank my fabulous swap mama, Lynne. She was the one who was so thoughtful when she gave me my partner for the doll quilt swap. She knew both of our stories and thought we would be a good fit. And I think she was right. ;) Many of you know from my last doll quilt (which was also my first one!) that my little family took quite a long time to grow. There was struggle, pain, sickness, triumph, and joy all along the way...not to mention that the surgeries and medication. But we have our beautiful little girl Caitlyn who just turned 16 months.


DQS10 - The Rescuers


So when Lynne paired me with Kendra, it was a match made in heaven. Kendra and her husband have also been struggling to increase their own family. They have three biological sons already, but they knew God had more in store for them. And thus began their own journey which Kendra is documenting on her blog, Praying for some Pink in our House of Blue. You see, they are bringing home a little girl from China, the lovely Charlotte Rose.



This story was the inspiration for my quilt for Kendra. You may have noticed that there are some sailors on this quilt. Did you count them? You did! Well then you know that there are three, which just happens to be the number of sons that Kendra has. ;)


DQS10 - Sea Scene



These sailors are off on the journey of a lifetime. They are out to rescue a certain little girl and bring her home with them. They are surrounded by the great sea and all the mysterious creatures you might see in a far far away land, like phantom swimming girls or giant seas turtles and many other boats!


DSQ10 - Sea Life



But here is the one they are after. Drifting in the sea on her lily pad, a little girl waits for these sailors to rescue her.


DQS10- The star of the show




The mountains in the background with the little hillside village help to set the scene of this mysterious land. The sky is changing from night to day, reflecting the time spent on their journey...but also how beautiful the change of time can be.


DQS10 - Mountain Scape




About halfway through the swap, Lynne emailed me to inform me that Kendra had to drop out of the Doll Quilt Swap due to the sheer amount of paperwork required for an international adoption. But I knew immediately that I would still make this quilt for her. She wouldn't have left if not for the very reason I was making this quit for her. So the swap mamas let me keep her as my partner so I could continue to work on this. You see, despite the fact that we did not adopt ourselves, because of our own fertility issues we are very close with a number of couples who have. Most of them have done international adoptions, so I am particularly familiar with the intense highs and lows that come from the process. I wanted Kendra to know that there are people out there who understand and are praying for her and her family.


DQS10 - The Rescuers



Soon, she, her husband, and of course those sailors..err..sons, will be holding this precious girl in their arms.


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