Saturday, June 27, 2015

About That Day I Was Taking A Break From Sewing

One day last week, I found myself caught up on all my sewing commitments. I put away all my rulers and cutters. My sewing table was completely clear for the first time in forever. I even put the cover on my sewing machine, something that rarely happens. I left the room confidently, saying to myself...I'm going to take a break from sewing.

All was good that day. I had plenty to do and did not give sewing any thought at all, except maybe I thought about my scraps a little. Just a little. Maybe my next quilt should be one of Bonnie Hunter's scrap quilts. I've always wanted to make one of her patterns. It was a passing thought.

The dog crate is in the sewing room. I was only going into the sewing room to zip up the dog for the night. And then I thought, well, while I'm up here I should take a look in my scrap bin, you know, just to see what's in there. Wait, where did that come from? I didn't know I had started a second bin for scraps. When did that happen?

As you can see, my sewing table did not stay clear for very long. And I became hugely inspired by all these ridiculous, I mean, beautiful scraps. I sorted and ironed and planned. And now I have, ahem, four quilts underway from all these scraps. My sewing table looks a bit like a boxing ring.

In the first corner, coming in with 2 1/2" squares and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, we have Oklahoma Backroads.

In the second corner, we have strips being sorted by length.

The strips seem to be winning at the moment, on their way to becoming a strippy diamond quilt.

In the third corner, the 2 1/2" strips are becoming a scrappy trip around the world quilt.

And in the final corner, we have the crumb and triangle bin, bound to become a beautiful crumb quilt someday. These poor scraps keep getting pushed to the floor to make room for other action on the table.

So much for a sewing break. It's okay. I really like the plot twist in this story. We'll have to wait and see what happens next as this sewing saga continues.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lost My Marbles - A Finished Quilt

It all started with a Moda Marbles color card.

The card was from quite a few years back but I could never part with it because the color swatches were real fabric. I shared the beginnings of this project a couple of months ago here. I used every piece I could salvage from the card. I had enough to make 14 blocks and was determined to have a square quilt so two four patch blocks made from Bella solids filled in nicely.

Each little square finishes at 1 1/4 inches. Not counting the sashing, this quilt contains 904 pieces. That's a lot for a 46" square quilt. The quilting uses an Aurifil light gray 50 weight thread and starts with an off center X that is filled in with echo quilting. It was fast work and I like it because it doesn't take away from the tile looking mosaic mix of color and neutral.

The binding is a Kaffe Fassett print.

The backing is a Moda print from the Simply Color collection.

For now, this quilt is hanging on a big blank wall in my bedroom. I'm not sure where it's final place will be. It may go to work with me and hang in my office or it may stay part of the bedroom, which has yet to be properly painted and decorated. This quilt might be a good inspiration piece for the rest of the room. We will see.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Holiday Tree Quilt on Moda Bake Shop

Last week I was a very lucky girl in that my first Moda Bake Shop pattern was published. It is a very bright and cute tree with horizontal pockets so you can add all sorts of fun things to the quilt. It's a little hard to see, but there is a toy car and a harmonica peeking out from these pockets.

You can check out the full pattern, called Treats for a Holiday Tree, over at the Moda Bake Shop. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Raindrops - A Finished Quilt

It was my turn to be in charge of the quilt for our do. Good Stitches Believe Circle quilt in May. I love the months leading up to my turn. I'm always on the look out for something special for our group to make. Most of my ideas come from my quilt inspiration board on Pinterest. This month was no different. There was an art print that I wanted to turn into a quilt and I knew this group of quilters would be up for the challenge.

I sent them all a link to the print and a template to use so the raindrops would all be the same size.

I sent them a picture of my raindrops, too, to help them get inspired.

They took it from there. Once all the fun mail arrived, there were 56 raindrops to play with. No piecing, lots of piecing, applique; these raindrops had it all. And plenty of color, too.

The art print had a dark background and I wanted to do the same but I did not want to use black. I tried several options, including some light colors, and settled for a deep forest green for the background.

There is a bit of experimentation in this quilt. I wanted to raw edge applique each raindrop to the background as part of the quilting process. Two steps in one, right? I didn't want to use any sort of fusible to hold the raindrops down because I wanted the finished quilt to be soft and cuddly. The solution was to use spots of 505 spray to adhere them to the background. Once I started quilting, they all started coming loose (505 is a temporary adhesive so I knew I was taking a risk) and I was in fear of having them all fall right off the quilt top. With the quilt under the machine, I carefully pinned each raindrop to the quilt to assure it would stay put until it was stitched down.

The quilting is a free motion squiggly line around each of the raindrops, to secure them to the quilt and leave plenty of room for some good fraying once the quilt is washed. This might be the first quilt I have ever done completely with free motion and no thread breaks. It was wonderful and allowed me to complete all of the quilting in under three hours. That might be a record.

The binding is from one of the first fabric lines I carried when I had my shop. It is Baby Genius from Benartex. 2006 I think. It is fun and bright and adds whimsy to any quilt.

Here is a view of the back. I had to go with a sunny yellow on the back to counter all the rain happening on the front.

All of the pictures so far were taken before the quilt was washed. Since all of our Believe Circle quilts end up in the hands of children, I always wash them before sending them off.

Here's how those raindrops fared after a good wash and dry.

And, of course, no quilt is complete without our awesome do. Good Stitches label. 

This quilt will be headed to a new home this week.

Lucky me, I'm in charge of our quilt for June, too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Love The Home You Have - Book and Challenge

Recently, I was introduced to a new book, Love the Home You Have, by Melissa Michaels. I have followed Melissa’s blog, The Inspired Room, for several months so I knew that I would love her book if it was anything like her blog. I have to admit that every time I say the title in my head it goes like this...Love The Home You Have (With Quilts!). We will see how that gets interpreted as we go along.

Her writing is gentle and positive. She teaches through her experiences and guides her readers to take a look at their homes and their lives in a new way. There is a 31-Day Love Your Home Challenge in the back of the book with lots of good ideas and approaches to making your home the best it can be for you and your family. I have decided to embark on this challenge at my own pace. My challenge may end up being a 31-week challenge and that is perfectly okay.

Day One is Home Gratitude. Melissa’s instructions are to walk around your home and think about how thankful you are for a place to call home. Let me back up a little first. At the beginning of the year, my husband and I took a tour of our home and wrote down everything that was wrong with it. All of the maintenance we needed to do, all of the improvements we wanted to make, every bump, bruise, and negative thing about our home was analyzed and documented. While that was an exercise we needed and wanted to do for planning purposes, it was the exact opposite of the idea behind Home Gratitude. I was thankful to have the stark contrast of that day to compare to this day of Home Gratitude.

My home tour did not make it very far. One of the first places I looked was across the room to our kitchen table. Our home is not a fully open plan but it is open enough and the kitchen table can be seen from several other rooms. This is our fourth home and we have been here for twelve years. The kitchen table was purchased right after we moved in.

I thought about all the memories around this table. How many meals had been eaten here? How many games played? How much homework conquered? How many birthday candles had been blown out? How many times had we laughed so hard we cried? If this table could talk, it would have many wonderful stories to tell. So for today, that is where my grateful home begins and ends.

These aren't the best quality pictures. I did that on purpose. They aren't staged. The lighting hasn't been set just so. They aren't even in great focus. I didn't clean up anything. You can see the recycling on the counter and the chairs not pushed in all the way and the place mats (made by a dear friend) that are a little out of line. But if you look really close, you will know that this is a room full of family, full of memories, full of so many things to be grateful for.

Thank you Melissa, for helping me to pause and be grateful for this perfectly imperfect home.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Drawing and Doodling Journal

This past Christmas, my daughter and I received blank journals. We decided together that we would draw something every day in 2015 and share what we were doing.

My first drawing
Well, that idea sort of went the way of many new year's resolutions.

We were diligent in January, a little slack in February, and completely off track for March.

I had to remind myself that my word for the year is PAUSE and that it is totally okay to draw when I want to draw and when I have time to draw.

It is much more relaxing and fun that way. I started adding color to some of them. Sometimes markers and sometimes watercolors.

When I do take the time to draw, it is very therapeutic.

Also, the more I draw, the more I want to draw more complicated things, which generally means more than one sitting for a picture anyway.

I'm hoping that somehow, all of this will translate into improved free motion quilting.

I do like how easy it is to always have a journal and some pens everywhere I go.

I have always been a doodler. My notes at work and school always have something scribbled in the margins.

This next one even looks a bit like a quilt. I was seeing how many different ways I could draw the simple design in the upper left corner.

My daughter and I each drew the face and hair below. It was interesting to compare our styles. She is very bold and puts pen to paper readily.

I have to at least get the outline drawn in pencil first, then fill in the details with my pen. My drawings are lighter and a little more delicate.

We will see how much drawing occurs for the rest of the year. Right now, quilting seems to have caught my attention. No matter what, my energy will always pour into some creative endeavor or another.