Friday, April 29, 2011

Meet the next new pattern designer: My husband

OK, so it's no secret that I like to quilt.  A lot.  I spend a lot of time thinking in quilts, daydreaming about color combinations and block designs.  Apparently, it's starting to rub off.  On my husband.

At dinner last night, whilst waiting for the munchkin to finish his meal (which inevitably takes twice as long as us grown-ups), he grabbed a napkin and one of my pens and started to sketch his own little quilt.

DSCN2847

I love how he wants to be involved in something I love so much.  He often tries to put in his two cents with my quilts, whether it's about fabric choices or block design.  I think it's so sweet that he designed his own little quilt.  I might just have to try to make it for him for Father's Day or something as a mini-quilt...though I don't know that he would actually hang a mini-quilt on his wall at work...
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quilt Finish: Bottled Rainbows

Can I first just tell you guys how amazing you all are?   I have learned (and continue to learn!) so much from this amazing quilting community, and I appreciate every single comment you leave on my blog.  I love hearing what you guys think!  And I try my best to respond to every comment you leave here, because they mean that much to me.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate being a part of this amazing online community of quilters.  If you haven't read Lee's post yet, hop on over there and do it.  After you look at these pretty pictures of quilty goodness, of course...

I have officially finished off my Bottled Rainbows quilt!  Just looking at this quilt makes me happy - between all the new things I tried on this quilt and the sheer, rainbow-y goodness of it, it's just a happy kind of quilt.

Finished Bottled Rainbows!

This was my first attempt at ticker-tape and quilt-as-you-go, and I must say, I enjoyed both, although I wish I had quilted more when I added the backing to the quilt.  I worried a little bit about how much the ticker tape pieces would fray when washed, but because I zig-zagged them, they really didn't fray very much at all, which was a pleasant surprise.

Bottled Rainbows - a nicer intersection

I stuck with simple straight-line quilting, when quilting the backing to my already-quilted top and batting.  I quilted straight lines mirroring the seams of the blocks.  In some places, it worked really well, and in others, it got a little bit wonky and bulky, but I can live with it.

Bottled Rainbows - wonky intersections

I love how the different scraps remind me of different things - of quilts I've finished, or fabric I've swapped...  This is definitely a memory quilt.  Like that red Echino car?  That came from Brooke, when I helped her finish her Paramore quilt.  And the red Castle Peeps scrap?  That's a leftover from the Castle Peeps quilt I made for my niece, my first twin-sized quilt.  Lots of the other red scraps come from my Single Girl quilt top (which I am considering finishing on my own machine at the moment, after seeing Angela's awesome Single Girl quilting in progress).  I could see myself making another one of these in a few years, when I've accumulated some more fabric memories.

Bottled Rainbows - one of my favorite blocks

I went for super simple with the back, using one of the colors from the front, Kona Pomegranate, and adding a lovely stripe to match the binding, Ann Kelle's Remix Stripe.  I'm really happy to have participated in Rachel's Bottled Rainbows quilt-along, and I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out.  It's my 8th quilt finish of the year (or 13th if you count mini-quilts, too), which was a bit of a surprise when I did the math this morning.  Now, I'm down to just one quilt in progress (my spiderwebs), but I've got plenty of other quilts-to-be in my head, don't worry!!

Bottled Rainbows - the back

Quilt Stats
Name: Bottled Rainbows 2011
Size: 60" x 84"
Quilting: Quilt-as-you go ticker-tape plus some straight-line quilting
Fabrics: Kona Pomegranate backing, a bunch of scraps on the front side and a rainbow of Kona solids
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WiP Wednesday #24

I spent some time this weekend organizing my sewing space and trying to make it more workable.  I moved some things around, with my husband's help, and I'm really digging the new layout.

My new-and-improved sewing space

I scooted my sewing cabinet and my dad's old desk together, so I now have one big desk for sewing and cutting and all of that.  So far, I'm definitely enjoying it!

Well, I must say, my project list was starting to feel like it was dwindling as I started up this list...at least it did, until I started adding the new things that have come up this week to it...

Finished:
A Hooty Supernova - Done!

Hooty Supernova - finished!

String Me Along queen bee prep - Done!

String Me Along packages ready to go

Pretty {little} Pouch swap - Done!

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #1

Still going:
Bottled Rainbows - I'm just finishing up the binding, I should finish this one today (I hope!).

Leftover Rainbows Binding

3x6 bee blocks - lots of sketching, not much progress otherwise

Spiderweb quilt - I'm pleased to say that I did indeed get started again on this one!  I made a bit of a mess in the process, but I've started to make progress again, so I'm moving in the right direction.

Spiderwebs in progress!

Goodie Bag Swap - I've got almost all of my fabric gathered and ready to start cutting.  I'm excited to get started on this one!  I'm planning on using that grey Ikea fabric for the main body of the bag, some fun scraps to build a cool scrappy handle, but I'm still trying to find the perfect lining fabric.

Goodie Bag project, getting ready to start!

Super Secret Project - I did lots of math this week.  Lots and lots of it.  Still nothing fun to show, though, other than a half-used eraser...

No progress:
Single Girl

New:
Zippered make-up pouch for my niece - My 7-year-old niece Katie is starting to get into make-up.  So hilarious.  Naturally, my mother (her grandmother) is supporting this wholeheartedly and bought out the make-up section at the Dollar Store recently.  Every girl needs a make-up bag, right?  So, I plan to whip up a little scrappy make-up bag for her this week.

Zippered pouch possibilities..

A little mending for the munchkin: Remember the dinosaur I made him for Christmas?  Well, I managed to get my hands on it yesterday, and saw what he's done to the feet... This kid has a thing for felt; while snuggling with his stuffed animals, he tends to pick little fuzzes off of them.  Apparently, he's done that here with his stegosaurus, to all four feet, so I'm going to have to come up with some alternative feet.  My husband suggested dinosaur shoes.  We'll see...

The munchkin has a thing for felt...

This week's recap
Last week's total: 9
Finished: 3
New this week: 2
This week's total: 8

And finally....not an actual project yet, I need to clear the slate a bit more before I tackle this one, but in the clean-up, I did manage to take a photo of the next double-sided quilt I've got in my mind's eye...

The next double-sided quilt I'm planning...
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pretty {little} Pouch - sent!

I wrapped up my pouch for my PIP swap partner yesterday, and I have to say, my fear of zippers is definitely out the window at this point.  Me - 5.  Zippers - 0.  :)

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #1


I was planning to do a linen and patchwork combo for my partner, and at first, I had intended to use up some Echino scraps.  I may wind up doing that ultimately.  Then, after cruising my partner's favorites on Flickr for a bit, it seemed that she was more into bright, colorful patchwork, so I went that route instead.

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #4


Bright, colorful patchwork made of teeny, tiny, 1" squares, to be exact.  My math on how many squares I needed actually was kind of fouled up, so the bottom of the pouch doesn't have any patchwork on it, but I figure no one will ever see the bottom of the pouch, so I'm still happy with it.

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #2


I used this same box pouch pattern last week, with super simple quilting cottons.  The pattern was just as easy to follow with the linen and patchwork, and I really like how it looks with this.  I might just have to make another one for me, I like it so much!  Here's hoping my partner will like it just as much!

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #3
Monday, April 25, 2011

A Hooty Supernova: Complete!

I am so excited that my Hooty Supernova quilt is complete!  This is quite possibly my favorite quilt that I've made thus far, and not just because it's all mine.  :)

Hooty Supernova - finished!

Once upon a time last fall, I positively fell in love with MoMo's fun It's a Hoot line.  I quickly managed to stockpile a darn good bit of it, thanks to obsessive shopping habits and a husband who bought me some lovely fabric for Christmas.  Fast-forward a few months...while I still enjoyed eyeing the fabric, I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.  Then, Lee announced the Supernova Quilt Along.  She advised against large prints, so I hesitated about using my prized It's a Hoot stash, but ultimately, I decided to go for it.

Hooty Supernova Close-up #2

I definitely learned some things on this quilt, and not just technically speaking.  I learned (the hard way) about the importance of labeling rows whilst working on the quilt back, I learned that pressing seams open seems to lead to more accurately pieced blocks, and I learned that I have a 1/4" stitch on my sewing machine...which isn't compatible with my 1/4" piecing foot.  It's something to use with my regular plain sewing foot, but it was nice to learn that.

Hooty Supernova - Close-up #1

I learned to trust my instincts about fabric - even when I'm wrong.  There are a few prints that look kind of unusual in this quilt, because of their large scale, but I actually kind of like that about them.  Normally, I'm a big rule follower, but I guess I'm learning that when it comes to quilting, it's best to let your gut lead the way rather than the rules.

Hooty Supernova - Plus back

I also realized something...while I love straight-line quilting and the clean look it gives, I really prefer the way a stippled quilt washes and gets all crinkly.  Not only that, but I really enjoy FMQ.  It's one of my favorite parts of quilting, aside from the sore shoulders it often gives me.

Hooty Supernova - Plus back - close-up

Thank you, Lee, for sharing this pattern.  I had so much fun putting this quilt together and I'm so glad I participated in this quilt-along.  If you haven't joined in yet, what are you waiting for????  Hop on over!

Quilt Stats
Name : A Hooty Supernova
Size: 62" x 62"
Fabrics: MoMo It's a Hoot by Moda Fabrics
Quilting: All-over free-motion stipple with white Gutermann thread
Pattern: Front- Supernova Quilt Along at Freshly Pieced; Back - loosely based on Jeni's Plus Quilt tute

Linking up today with {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations - I can't wait to see what everyone else finished up this weekend :)

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations
Friday, April 22, 2011

Time for some quilting!

My sweet husband helped me baste two quilts last night, thanks to a very dwindling can of spray baste which is now empty, so I've got a quilty kind of weekend ahead of me here.  I am really looking forward to quilting my Bottled Rainbows quilt and my Supernova quilt and getting these cuddle-ready!

Two quilts basted and...
Sorry for the blurry photo!!!  Nighttime pictures never seem to work out for me!
I'm going to be doing some straight-line quilting on my Bottled Rainbows quilt, since it was a quilt-as-you-go project.  I'll be outline quilting each block, which should be pretty straightforward and simple.

For my Supernova quilt, I'm going to be doing an all-over stipple, which is the first FMQ style I learned.  It's the style of quilting I tend to use the most, and I get a lot of questions from my followers about it, so I figured there might be some of you who might like a few of my tips.

My Top 5 FMQ Tips:

1. Practice on paper first.  It gets your muscles in the right mindset for quilting.  Doodle - and doodle often!  I recommend using a gel pen, not a ballpoint, because they move more smoothly.  I often doodle during the extra half-hour it takes for my son to finish every meal after I've finished mine.

Close up of Zoology Baby Quilt
My first FMQ on my first quilt
2. Make a playlist or two.  I have six different playlists on my iPod for quilting.  They make all the difference in the world for me when I'm quilting.  They range from rock to rock/rap fusion to pop to Broadway to alternative.  My musical taste is kind of all over the place and quite broad.  Oddly, I find that I quilt best to something that's a little bit loud, fast and rough in some way.  One of my favorite bands to quilt to is Paramore, which is one of the reasons I was so excited to help Brooke finish off her Paramore quilt last year.  OT - I am a bit of a music nerd.  I could seriously go on Name That Tune (if they still had it) and probably win with just one or two notes each time.

Locked and loaded, ready to quilt!


3. Use gloves.  There's special quilting gloves (I have a cheap pair from Jo-Ann's), but some are really over-priced.  Gardening gloves with grippy fingers can work just as well (as long as you use them just for quilting!).  The grippy fingers really help you move the quilt around better!

4. Wind up a boatload of bobbins first.  That way you don't have to stop midstream to wind bobbins.

Locked and loaded, ready to sew!

5. Tackle one row at a time.  Fold up the rest of your quilt and use clothespins to keep your excess quilt out of your way so you can quilt down a row before moving to the next one.

Drunk love - another quilting close-up

What are you sewing this weekend?  And what are you listening to while you sew?
Thursday, April 21, 2011

My first (and second) box pouches

I think my fear of zippers has officially passed.  I've used four in the last week!  I cannot thank Kelly enough for her amazingly simple zipper pouch tute, which I will now always refer people to if they're afraid of zippers.

I tackled some box pouches yesterday afternoon for Mother's Day, and to practice for the Pretty {little} Pouch swap.  I was thinking about maybe a boxy pouch for my partner, using some linen and either Echino or some other brightly colored patchwork.

Pretty {little} Pouch possibilities...

I used Kaelin's awesome box pouch tute to whip up these little beauties for my mother and my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.  Given that I've made a bunch of bags over the last year, I've done boxed corners before, but I still think this is a pouch a beginner could put together very easily.  

DSCN2483

I only had one minor hiccup when making this bag, and it was when I managed to sew through a pin.  Literally.

One minor casualty

Whoops!  I kind of forgot the pin was there, it was holding the twill tape in place and was kind of hidden.  When I sewed over it, I had no idea that it was a pin - I just thought my machine was acting up for some strange reason.  I found the pin when I was pulling the finished pouch through the hole in the lining - ouch!

I'm super pleased with how these little guys turned out, and looking forward to getting started on my official swap pouch soon.  
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WiP Wednesday #23

It's been a long week...but not necessarily in a good way.  The munchkin has been especially difficult this last week, and my nerves have been a bit frayed as a result, which led to one of the biggest quilting blunders I've ever made.  Eek!

When I griped about my troubles Monday night, the outpouring of support and commiserating really blew me away.  It was so nice to hear from all of you, I really appreciate it.  The good news is that I'm almost done fixing that seriously big mistake, but other than that, I don't have a lot of progress to show this week.  Here's where things stand...

Finished
Commissioned bookshelf mini - Went so well that I'm actually considering making a few and listing them on Etsy...we'll see...

Bookshelf #3 Front


Bookshelf #3 Back


Still in progress
Supernova QAL - The quilt top and back are officially done, after some drama with the back.  Here's the front again, in case you missed it last week...

A Hooty Supernova top

And here's the back.  This is going to be my first truly double-sided quilt.  Time to think about how I want to quilt it...

DSCN2447

Bottled Rainbows QAL - The fabric has come in for piecing the back together and don't worry - it won't be as elaborate as my Supernova backing...here's hoping I don't screw it up!

Pretty {little} Pouch swap - I'm starting on a practice box pouch today, using Kaelin's awesome tute.  I've got my fabrics picked out for my partner (below), but I'm going to practice on some less treasured prized fabrics...

Pretty {little} Pouch possibilities...

Goodie Bag swap - I've definitely decided on a bag pattern for my partner, and I'm pretty sure I've figured out the fabric too, thanks to my Ikea home dec stash.  I need to add a splash of color somewhere - maybe some patchwork straps?

Partner, how would you like this fabric?

String Me Along queen bee prep - Almost done cutting and packaging, now that I've decided on a drunk love block.  Just need to cut a few more solids and then I'm good to go!

3x6 bee blocks - I spent the other night going through my scraps for the right color combos for my beehive, and I think I've got everything tackled, though I am apparently lacking in browns in my stash, but I'm sure I can fix that up pretty easily.  I'm hoping to work on these blocks this weekend, I've got a cool idea in mind that will probably wind up leading to a tute.

DSCN2443

Practically collecting dust:
Spiderweb quilt - I put my spiderweb blocks up on the wall this week, now that my Supernova blocks are down.  My wall looked awfully bare, but now it looks awfully exciting.  As soon as I wrap up my Supernova and Bottled Rainbows quilts, I fully plan to focus on this one!

DSCN2438

Single Girl quilt - Still awaiting the local long-arm machine (which is due to arrive by the end of this month!)

Super secret project - Waiting is really tough.  That's all I can say for now!

WiP Wednesday #23 Recap
Finished: 1
Last week's total: 10
New this week: 0
This week's total: 9
Monday, April 18, 2011

Seriously? Seriously!

After shedding a few tears and uttering many curse words, I think I can tell you how dreadfully my evening of sewing has gone.

I was super excited to finish up the backing for my Supernova quilt tonight.  I am putting together some plus-style patchwork, and it's looking really awesome...or I thought it was, until I tried to finish putting it together.  Only to find...

I screwed it up!

Oh, yes, I screwed it up


I should have labeled every single row here, but I felt like I kept them organized enough to avoid any headaches with the layout.  Things seemed to be matching up, the rows came together super fast...I should have known something was too good to be true.  Obviously, these fabrics should match up when they're right side up...not with one row right side up and the other wrong side up.  :(

ARGH!


So, now, it's time to get up close and personal, again, with my seam ripper.  I think I'm done cursing.  At least for now.  Between a seriously cranky, testy 3-year-old and these foibles tonight, I think it might just be time to call it a night.  Argh.
Saturday, April 16, 2011

April Friday Night Sew In: The Results

Handmade by Heidi


OK, so this month's Friday Night Sew In didn't exactly go as well as last month.  In fact, I didn't manage to sew a single stitch.  But, I did get a lot done, believe it or not!!

All stacked and ready to sew - two hours later!

I spent a lot of time preparing for sewing.  I cut all of my fabric for the pieced backing that I have planned for the back of my Supernova quilt, totally based on Jeni's amazing Plus quilt from last year.  That was one of my first favorites when I started using Flickr last year, and it's been on my To Make list since then.  I had so much It's a Hoot leftover after the Supernova quilt that I wanted to make another quilt top basically for the back of this quilt.  Here's hoping I can pull off making the seams line up.

Supernova back in progress

My dog was positively freaked out about all of the fabric all over the floor.  He sat in front of me, shaking, pretty much the entire time that I was working on laying out the squares.  Now that I'm all done, he's calmed down, chilling out on the couch, but he was just so bothered by how busy I was tonight.  It was so strange!  He's always been neurotic, but this was a new level of neuroses.

Stacks of fabric apparently freak out my dog

The other thing I worked on was ironing the fabric for my queen bee month in the String Me Along bee next month.  I still haven't 100% decided on what I'm going to do, but I am using the fabric I showed first on WiP Wednesday.  Now that I've ironed it all, I hope that will force me to make a decision and start cutting!

Fabric for String Me Along?

ETA: BTW, you must hop on over to Sew Fresh Fabrics' blog, as they are holding a seriously major giveaway.  A medium flat-rate box full of scraps!!!  That's more than enough to make a whole quilt!!  Tell them I sent you :)
Friday, April 15, 2011

A Hooty Supernova

I am in love.  With a quilt top.  Seriously!  I just love this quilt top.  And not just because it's a pattern that my dear friend Lee designed, but because I just love the whole thing.  The fabric, the pattern, all of it.  The only thing I don't love is the print I chose to use with my border.  The sun totally washed it out in this picture!  In person, it looks really cute, you'll have to take my word for it.


I've got grand plans for the back.  Grand plans that involve cutting over 200 4.5" squares.  Here's hoping it will wind up looking really good!!!  I'm maybe 1/4 of the way through the cutting so far.

Know what else I'm in love with?   This stack of yummy fabric-y goodness that I picked up at Jo-Ann's yesterday.  This stack makes me so happy.  Not only because they were all 50% off, but because they are just so darn gorgeous.  I'm hoping the rest of the collection comes in soon!  I can't wait to cut into these!

Yummy fabric-y goodness!
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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