Friday, August 31, 2012

Hexa go-go (and a giveaway!)

*the giveaway is now closed*

It's my turn on the blog hop for my darling friend Tacha's new book, Hexa go-go!  And what a book it is!

For a chance to win a copy of the book keep reading!


In my world, Tacha is the queen of all things hexagon.  She was the first person to show me that hexagons can be modern and not old fashioned.  We were in a few bees together when we both joined the online quilting world and I was so tickled to have a friend from Germany.  I felt very cosmopolitan!

In a blatant copy even then of Tacha's style, I made these blocks for a bee using epp.

Both blocks for November Bee Modern

Little did I know she would go on to write a book about this fabulous concept.  I just knew that I needed to try my hand at it.  Time consuming but absolutely worth it!

Just a glimpse at the back of one of those blocks I made.

back of hexagon block

Because I know Tacha a bit (as well as you can know someone you've never actually met and share an online hobby with!) I wanted to do an interview with her so you all can get to know her a bit better.  I hope you enjoy it.

A: What made you decide to write a book?  I know you have a super busy schedule with two girls and being a member of Fat Quarterly.  How did you find the time?!

T: Good question. I can't really remember what made me finally put together some of my ideas into a formal book proposal. My youngest daughter was just beginning daycare and I finally had time to gather my thoughts for more than a few minutes at a time so I started to put together ideas and it soon became clear that I was obsessed with hexagons!  After a quick google I found that there weren't many books on the market which combined hexagons with modern quilt designs so I thought why not write a book myself! 
Time was a huge issue for me. I pretty much submitted the proposal to C&T at the same time as I was contacting the rest of the Fat Quarterly team to see if they wanted to work together somehow. Fat Quarterly had been up and running for only a couple of months or so before I heard that my proposal had been accepted. It was pretty full on and I had to plan my time to the minute to meet all my deadlines especially since all the projects in the book are EPP projects and therefore sewn by hand. The only way to make it work was if pretty much every waking moment I was stitching hexagons!  But that is the beauty of EPP - it is really so portable. I stitched during car trips, took the hexagons on family holidays, to the park and pretty much anywhere that I went. Everyone got used to the fact that when they saw me I was sewing and covered in threads. When I look back now I am not really sure how I managed it.

A: Be honest. How long did it take to make that fabulous Union Jack quilt? Because I want one and I'm not British! lol

T: The Union Jack quilt took shape pretty quickly as I just couldn't wait to see how it would look once finished! It was also one of the first of the quilts that I made which meant my hands were still quite fresh so the stitching went more quickly. (I could definitely feel myself slowing down by the time I tackled the last few quilts!) I reckon it probably took about a month from start to finish.

A: What is your favorite project in the book? And yes, I realize that is like asking you to pick a favorite child

T: Totally impossible to answer that! I think at some point or other during the process they all ranked up there. But I have to admit for having a soft spot for the Over the Rainbow quilt but shh don't tell the other quilts! The rainbow quilt reminds me of all the people in Bee Inspired who stitched up blocks and there are so many different scraps of fabrics in the quilt it is like a library record of my stash about a year ago!


A: What can we expect from you next?

T: I was trying to have a rest but little ideas keep bubbling to the surface so I do have a few secret projects on the go. Hopefully I'll be able to let you know more about them soon. In the meantime it is business as usual at Fat Quarterly. We are busily preparing for our second retreat next year and of course for our next issue!

Thank you Tacha for sharing that with us!  and for more peeks at her book and hexagon goodness, keep following along on the blog hop.

3/9 Jeni Baker - In Color Order -
5/9 Nettie - A quilt is nice -
7/9 Lissa Alexander - Moda Lissa -
10/9 Sarah Fielke - The Last Piece -
12/9 Michele Pacey - Michele Made Me -
14/9 Kimberly Jolly - Fat Quarter Shop -
17/9 Aneela Hoey - Comfort Stitching -
19/9 John Adams - Quiltdad -
21/9 Elizabeth Hartman - Oh Fransson -

Want a chance to win a copy of the book yourself?  (a hard copy for US residents and a digital copy for international folks).  Just leave me a comment telling me the most recent fabric purchase you've made.  Was it this morning?  Was it 10 years ago?  What did you get?!  Spill!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sew-Less Summer - Featuring Tracey Jacobsen

Today is our last installment in the Sew-Less Summer series! Kids are back at school and up North you can already tell there is a change in the weather. Last, but definitely not least today, I am happy to welcome my friend Tracey from traceyjayquilts.  (Oh be sure to hop over to here blog and check out her fabulous quilt patterns she has designed and has for sale!)

new haircut!

Tracey has two children, Steiger and Scarlet (top those names!). And lately she has been eagerly creating things for her daughter's new room. And so this tutorial was born!

I am trying to fill my daughter's nursery with handmade touches, and this pretty mobile is perfect.  (And she loves it, even though it's not hanging yet -- need to get a hook for the ceiling).

This mobile was inspired by this one I saw on etsy, and this one on pinterest.

- Trusty hot glue gun
- about 1 yd. of fabric/poof (for density shown above) - of whatever colors you like
- ribbon for hanging
- some small Chinese lanterns (I got mine on amazon)
- optional: Olfa circle cutter (I also got this on amazon).

First -- cut LOTS of circles.  Lots and lots.  It took me about one yard of fabric per poof.  These are about 2 1/2" in diameter.

 There's not much new here --- just make sure to keep filling with glue and petals.  It helps to move the petals to the side and really squish 'em in there. 

I think it's pretty full and dense.

 (Optional: you can spray with a light coating of Acrylic sealer if you're worried about the fabric fraying).

Get an embroidery hoop, and some ribbon and loop it through the lantern and then stitch or secure the ends together so the poof hangs from the interior part of the hoop.

To finish -- put your hoop inside the outer ring, add some ribbon for hanging (make sure to keep it balanced), and enjoy! ♥

Even the hummingbirds love it.

Hope you enjoy!  Thanks Angela for hosting! (and for being patient with me...) ;)

Thank you so much for sharing this Tracey!  It's gorgeous! I'm pretty sure Caitlyn needs one. ;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along - ? Block

Cut To Pieces

This is part of an ongoing series of posts for The Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along I'm hosting here on my blog. You can join in at any time! You will find the links to all steps in my top bar. Also please feel free to join the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along Flickr Group.

♪do do da do. Da do da do da do do do da do do do♪

Ready? It's ? Block time!

The ? Block is always full of excitement. What exactly will be found when you bump your head up against that block?! Bunches of coins? A red mushroom to grow? The possibilities will keep you on your toes...or rather off of them as you jump to reach that block.

It's Block #5 in our QAL and I apologize for being a little behind on getting this guy posted. Life happens and keeping up the pace can be difficult. But I'm determined to be a little more timely with future blocks. Now I just need to sew together both my cloud and this ? block. But first I need to get over my cold.

? Block

You can find all of the PDF's for the Super Mario Brothers QAL available HERE.
You can download the PDF of the ? Block HERE.

If you are looking for other blocks from the quilt, look HERE.

Be sure to add your creations to the flickr group so we can all see how we are doing!

There are bunches of blocks there and I get so excited with each one knowing that there is a happy Mario fan out there who will be getting a quilty fun gift!

? Block

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cosmos Pillow

I showed you the pillow top in the making the other day, but I'm pleased to say that today I finished the whole pillow.

Cosmos Pillow Complete

I went in my sewing room today intending to work on my Mario Blocks...I'm a little behind. (whoops!) But instead this pillow was calling at me to be finished. So I buckled down and got this project off of my to do list. I once again grabbed some fabric from my stash to complete the project. The lining is a large print from Basic Grey that has been sitting there mocking me from the top shelf. I finally decided to give it a home inside this pillow.

Zipper top

I think the backing was a Joann's find and I used an invisible zipper that I didn't bother to make invisible. ;) You can see the green lining fabric also at the end of the zipper.

Cosmos Pillow Complete -Front

This pillow has a happy home in my other guest room. I wanted a spot of handmade goodness on top of that store bought generic comforter.  If you recall, the fabrics showcased are from Laura Gunn's latest line, Cosmos. And my pillow design was completely inspired Jolene's pillow and Brioni's pillow.

Cosmos Pillow Complete - Side

A good day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sprightly Fabrics Giveaway Winner

Thank you to Sprightly Fabrics for their generous giveaway. And thanks to all of YOU for your tv show recommendations. I find it so interesting to see what we all find entertaining.

Without further ado, the winner of the Sprightly Fabrics giveaway is:

I've become a huge fan of PBS programming. I adore, and highly recommend "Lark Rise to Candleford" and "MI5" (AKA "Spooks" in the UK). Thanks again for the chance to win.

So congrats Linda!  Just contact me with your info and we'll get that sent out to right away!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Pillow in the Making

The lovely Laura Gunn recently sent me a charm pack of her soon to be released line Cosmos. I'll admit that coming up with an idea for the fabric had me stumped for a bit. Laura has a beautiful water color style to her fabrics but most of these are done with a large scale print. So working with a 5" x 5" piece of each print had me thinking.

Cosmos Fabric

I wanted to do something that showed off the organic nature of her designs and also the intense colors in the prints. I foolishly miscalculated on my first attempt at a plan ( a + pillow design) and realized that I would need more fabric than I had...which I couldn't get. So I scrapped that idea...tried out a few more... and then finally realized that I should do a raw edge applique pillow. Why? Who knows why. The fabric spoke and I listened.

Then it didn't take at all long to realize that I what I wanted to make had been done well by others already and I followed their lead. (AKA I copied their ideas! lol) So my pillow in progress is COMPLETELY inspired by Jolene's and Brioni's pillows. And here is mine.

Cosmos Pillow and hand embroidery

I did varying degrees of zig zag stitching around the petals that I just hand cut to have a similar shape to the other ladies' pillows. I used some steam - a - seam lite to hold those petals in place while sewed them all on. And I used the fabrics that had the most saturation in color because I really wanted them pop off the fabulous neutral texty background. A little hand back stitch gives it final touch.

Cosmos Pillow

Obviously I'm not done...this is just the pillow front. But I'll throw the rest of it together pretty quickly I hope and soon have a new pillow for one of the guest beds! A big thanks to Laura for letting me play with her pretty fabrics. I love this kind of challenge!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Granny Square Quilt

I did it! I finished a UFO! Woohoo!

Granny Square Quilt 2

Here is my finished Granny Square quilt. I caught the granny square bug almost immediately when these first started popping up over blog land and lure proved too strong for me to resist. No. I didn't need another project by any means. Yes. I had to push myself to finish this.

But it was worth it right?

Granny Square Quilt

This quilt was made entirely from stash fabrics. All scraps for the granny squares, some left over linen, and some yardage from my stash for the back. I even broke out a fabric for the fussy cut squares in the sashing. Necessity was the mother of invention here! I kept running out a fabric and then my plan would change. At one point, I made the decision to add the Japanese gauze as a border to the whole quilt. And that fabric was not particularly happy to be used. ;)

Frayed Fabric

I was all worried about color bleeding on this one, but it turned out that I needed to be worried about fabric fraying. This has never happened to me before with a quilted finished piece, so I had to do some thinking about how to fix it. After considering a number of options, I decided to simply create a patch. I had to make sure that fabric would not continue to fray.

quilt fix

I have a micro shot of the patch here but it actually blends in pretty well when looking at the whole quilt. The nice thing about the gauze is that it is pretty forgiving ultimately. I may throw a little label over that patch just to make it feel more deliberate but we'll see if I get the inclination between now and tomorrow night. It's headed off to a new home and a new baby girl.

Caitlyn and the quilt

The quilt was definitely Caitlyn approved, so hopefully this soon to be baby girl will one day love the quilt too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Perfectly Precious

Perfectly Perched

I've been itching to make Caitlyn some more handmade clothing and when I saw Laurie Wisbrun's newest line, Perfectly Perched, I knew destiny had stepped in. Laurie's whimsical but crisp designs suit my style well and I adored this shade of blue that one of her prints was done with.

perfectly lovely

I foolishly purchased too little of Perfectly Perched (the fabric with the birds in the middle of the dress) mainly because I'm in denial that my little girl is growing and would need more fabric. lol But I searched my stash and managed to come up with some fabulous matches for it in the way of Patty Young's Sanctuary (bodice print) and Oliver & S print from Cape Ann (polka dot). I used an easy Simplicity Pattern #2377 and made it in a size 3. She's tall but tiny for her age so I think the pattern is pretty true to size.

I opted (more out of laziness than anything) to NOT make the ties that the pattern calls for and I really should have.  So I'll be adding that back in.  I'm not sure every child would need the ties, but because she is so slim she really needs them to help reign in the extra gathered fabric in the back of the dress.

Play dough concentration

It calls for 1/4" elastic and I really like the scale of that size elastic for a little girl's dress. Plus there were no zippers or buttons...always a bonus! This is such a great every day dress when made with cottons. Perfect for a play dough session.

perfectly perched with play dough

I really want to make her more things. Her face rather adorably lights up when she sees things I've made her and I want to take advantage of that before she decides she hates "homemade" things. lol But I think I need a serger. I was zig zagging my seams and it is just NOT as nice as a serger. Plus a serger is so fast. I've been sewing garments for well over 20 years now. I think it's long past time to add a serger to my arsenal of supplies. I can start cheap. It's always a good idea to make a modest investment and then decide if you need to upgrade later on. So I'm pretty sure a serger is in my future. Because I need to make more adorable clothes like this one!

Perfectly Perfect

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Studio Tour on Moda Bake Shop

Hey all,
  If you haven't gotten sick of pictures of pretty fabric from my sewing room, you can hop over to Moda Bake Shop where they are featuring my sewing room as the kick off to their Studio Tour series!

Pretty fabric....yum!

Sewing Room


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