Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Front Room Redo In Progress

While the mini-redo of the front room is not going as quickly as I had hoped, there has been some progress. The cedar chest has gone from this...

to this...


The top of the throw is finished. It is a simple, contemporary top. Coordinating solids were selected to play with the Tilly fat quarters. I didn't have any solid green that worked so subtle tone on tone prints were used as a substitute. All were cut into 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles.


The rectangles were arranged on the design floor with an eye toward random.


Rows were stacked and sewn. I *thought* I was smart enough to keep them in order without any extra markers but after making obvious mistakes in the first three rows, I started using pins to keep up with the top and bottom of each rectangle. That made the rest of the top go together easily.


My original plan was to use a piece of flannel for the backing and not use any batting at all. I want something cozy yet not heavy. However, the flannel I have is very inexpensive and already looks yucky after the first washing. The fabric on the front is high quality and deserves a better backing. I'm going to think about a solution for a few days. Layer it as a traditional quilt, get better flannel, or something else?

There's still a pillow to be made for the room. I'm inspired by this picture

from this book.

I'd like to use the Tilly scraps with a single solid color to make a gently curving pillow. I'm going to steal the form from a Christmas pillow so that it can be used year round. It's a homemade form and is probably 12" x 20". I think the curves in the pillow will complement the straight lines of the throw. We'll see soon enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Simple Heart Garland

I recently started a new job and the office decor is about as drab as drab can be. I've already taken some small quilts to spruce up my space. There's one empty wall that can be seen by passers by right as you enter my work area (aka cubicle) that is still blank. I decided that this would be a good transitional wall for seasonal and holiday displays.

New Job = Less Sewing Time. I needed something that would satisfy my need to create without taking a lot of time. This garland is the perfect solution. I used a charm pack of Always and Forever by Deb Strain for Moda.

The good thing about using charm squares from Moda is that they already have pinked edges so they can be used as is without a concern for much fraying on the edges. I paired up the squares so there would be enough contrast between the background and the heart. I traced the hearts on Steam-a-Seam 2, fused them to the back of the heart fabric and cut them out. I ironed the hearts on to the background to finish up the squares. Sewing around the edges of each heart is optional for something that won't be washed, and I chose not to do it.

I cut a one yard piece of grosgrain ribbon and sewed the squares to the ribbon leaving a one-inch space between the squares. I chose YLI clear nylon thread so I wouldn't have to think about thread color. This truly is a one-hour project. I didn't intend this as a mantle decoration but it sure looks cute there. I may need to keep this one at home and make another one for work.

I certainly have plenty more charm squares to play with.

If you want to make your own version of this project, charm packs and fat quarters of this fabric collection are available in the Dragonfly Quilt Shop Etsy store. Use the code SHIP4FREE when you check out and you will receive free shipping on your order until February 14.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time to Update the Front Room

This is my dining room. It's more of an office/sitting room for us. The cedar chest was a gift to me from my parents when I graduated from high school (a long, long time ago!). The cedar chest stores all of our family pictures.


This room was recently painted and is ready for some accessorizing. The cushion on the cedar 
chest was last recovered about eight years ago.

I also have a couple of throw pillows from this fabric, too. 

It's time for an update and I have my eye on this fabric to recover the cushion:

It's from the Tilly collection by Daisy Janie. It's an organic cotton and the colors are just perfect for the room. I follow Daisy Janie's blog and you can check it out too by looking at my blog list on the right. In addition to covering the cushion, I thought I would add a simple throw to put over the chair and maybe a pillow on the cedar chest. 

The coordinating fabrics in the collection are as beautiful as the main print and I plan to use them all in my redecorating effort. I hope to order the fabric this week. Look for some "after" pictures in a few weeks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crocheting, for a change

Santa left a skein of yarn in my stocking this year. It has been a long time since I picked up a knitting needle or crochet hook. Usually, when I do, it's to make a scarf since that is a quick and simple project. This time I wanted to do something different.

I was recently turned on to ravelry.com so that's where I went to find a pattern. It didn't take long to settle on this crocheted hat. I started with the suggested hook size (I) but my hat was turning out way too big. I unraveled and started over with a size G hook and had much more success. It only took a couple of hours to finish the project.

My daughter graciously volunteered to model the result. She's a much better hat wearer than me. After looking at these pictures, it looks like the hat is about to slide off the back of her head. When I wear it, it looks like a shower cap.
I tried washing it to see if it would wear better but since it's inexpensive acrylic yarn, washing didn't really change it. The best thing about this project is that it can be easily undone. I'll unravel it and make something else. I have my eye on this little bag that is big enough to hold a cell phone. It's cute and will be great practice.

I'm better at crocheting than knitting so after this one, I'll have to work up the courage to make something knitted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pretty Little Dresden Over the Doorway

There is this space over the door that leads from our kitchen to our dining room.

There used to be a clock there, until we got a bigger clock that had to go on a bigger wall. It is very hard to break the habit of looking at the space over this door to see what time it is. It's even worse to look there and see this big, blank space. That blank space needed a little something.

A few weeks ago I made these Dresden Plates using a charm pack of Kate Spain's Terrain fabric collection. The plan is to turn this group into a small wall hanging or table topper. However, the Dresden on the right sort of stands out from the others and might be happier as a project all its own.

The background fabric is a dark purple. I love how the Dresden really pops off the dark background. I pinned the Dresden to the background and top-stitched around the edges in a cream Aurifil thread. I used a little bit of Steam a Seam 2 to fuse the center circle, then satin stitched around the edges with a King Tut variegated green thread.

I wanted to use the scraps to make a small pieced border. Remember, this project started from five-inch squares. There weren't a whole lot of scraps to begin with. It took every last thread to make that border happen. It was a bit nerve racking there at the end, but it all came together just fine. To quilt it, I used a YLI nylon clear thread. I moved the masking tape around the quilt and quilted straight lines between each dresden piece and out onto the background.

The binding is the same dark purple as the background. This is definitely a happy little quilt.

So now when I look at the wrong place for the clock (which I am certain I will do for at least five years!), I'll see this pretty little quilt and my day will be brighter no matter what time it is.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Transition to Studio Dragonfly

Wow, only a week in and the year is already getting away from me! I realized I was in trouble when some of my favorite blogs started posting their first finished projects for 2012. What!? Today is the first day I've sewn a stitch in the new year.

As many of you know, my brick and mortar quilt shop, Dragonfly Quilt Shop, closed at the end of 2011. It's been a long process of unpacking and organizing paperwork and products from the shop. I'm starting to see the light now so it won't be long until I have more time to sew and blog. Next week I'll get my etsy shop set up to continue selling fabric, books, patterns and more.

One of the samples that hung at Dragonfly Quilt Shop is this cute banner. I blogged about the making of it here.

It needed a bit of a revamp for me to continue using it. First, I unsewed the letters QUILT SHOP from the ribbon.

Then, I rearranged the letters.

Don't you like how the upper case P turned into a lower case d? I thought I was going to have to make a letter D for the word STUDIO until I saw how easily the letter P could be re-purposed. Don't know what I will do with the leftover Q, L, and H. They will just have to go in the orphan block pile for now.

The original project had all the letters on one long ribbon. I realized just in time that I did not have a wall long enough to hold one continuous ribbon. Each word hangs on its own ribbon and is attached to the wall with tiny applique pins in the upper corner of the first and last letter of each word. 

This is the official start of Studio Dragonfly for the new year. I am so happy to be both sewing and blogging and look forward to much, much more for the rest of 2012. 

Happy New Year!
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