Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Come join the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along!

Need a new project?  I've got you covered :)

Oh yes, I'm hosting another quilt-along.  I had so much fun hosting the Sliced Coins Quilt Along earlier this year, and so much fun participating in Lee's Supernova Quilt Along, that I wanted to host another.  :)

The new quilt along will start up later this month, kicking off with cutting instructions on Thursday, 6/23.  We'll be making a classic quilt block, the Kaleidoscope, which I recently had a lot of fun making for Angela in the {Sew} Beautiful Bee.  No need for a special ruler or anything, I will provide you with two templates via PDF download.  Here's a preview of the quilt layout:

Kaleidoscope QAL Lap Size mock-up

This quilt-along is perfect for quilters of all experience levels.  If you've never done a quilt-along before, now's a great time to try it!  It's a lot of fun to work on the same pattern with a bunch of different quilters and to see how other quilters interpret the same pattern.

Incentives!
I hope you'll join me!  If you're going to join in the quilt-along fun, post about your plans on your blog and be sure to include my new quilt-along button (below).  I'll add you to the Kaleidoscope Quilt-Alongers blogroll, on the right side of my blog.  Just add a comment here or email me (naptimemartha{at}gmail{dot}com) with a link to your post before 6/23, and I'll add you to the blogroll!

Kaleidoscope QAL button


Also, everyone who finishes their quilt before the end of the quilt-along on 8/4 will be entered in a giveaway for this gorgeous fat quarter bundle of High Society by Anthology Fabrics, which is full of bright, saturated colors.

DSCN4174

Also, make sure to hop over to Flickr and join the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along group.  You can post photos there of your fabric auditions as well as your progress throughout the quilt along.

I'll be announcing the fabric requirements and the quilt-along schedule on Friday, 6/3 and telling you more about this quilt, to help you with your fabric selections. Are you excited? I know I am! I hope you'll join me :)
Monday, May 30, 2011

1,320 pieces of fabric later...

Thank you all for your feedback and what to do with my spiderweb quilt top last week.  Ultimately, I decided to stick with no sashing around the blocks, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Although, I'm not 100% sure I'm calling it done.  I'm seriously considering adding a white border, followed by a pieced border, but it's entirely possibly I may just skip it.  Either way, I'm setting it aside for a little while.  This quilt top and I need a little bit of space.

DSCN4121

This quilt started with the fantastic girls in the {Sew} Beautiful bee, but then when I realized that there were only 11 of us, and the finished block for this quilt was 10.75" inches, I realized I'd have to make more blocks.  Lots more blocks.  So I made 19 more, for a nice 5x6 quilt.

DSCN4136

There's roughly about 1200 strings in this quilt top, plus 120 kites, so we're looking at around 1300 pieces of fabric in this quilt top.  I have a good bit of fabric left from the strings - uncut and whole fabric, that is - so I definitely plan to do a pieced back, although I think I'll keep it relatively simple.

DSCN4131

I have no idea how I'm going to quilt this bad boy just yet - maybe straight lines?  Regardless of how I quilt it, I know I want to quilt it densely, to try to tame those seriously bumpy spiderweb middles, where there's as many as 10 fabrics meeting up at one center point.

DSCN4141

Now I'm going to fold this quilt top up and set it aside for a few weeks before I do anything else with it.  I'll think on the quilt back and the quilting, while I try to work on some other projects, like the Pillow Talk Swap round 5, which is super short and I need to get a move on like yesterday!

I'm linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday this week at Canoe Ridge Creations - hop on over to find some other fun modern finishes!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Also linking up with Lily's Quilts' Fresh Sewing Day for the first time!

Fresh Sewing Day
Friday, May 27, 2011

Cue the Hallelujah chorus

Because Act II of my spiderweb quilt journey is finally complete!  Last night, I finished paper piecing the last spiderweb quarter.

Cue the Hallelujah chorus

I don't think there are adjectives strong enough to tell you how happy I am that I have finished this part of the quilt, but here's a few that come to mind....

marvelous...stupendous...unbelievable
emancipated...fabulous...swell
terrific...liberated
I could go on...

I do still have to rip all of the paper off this last stack of blocks, and seam all of them together, but I still feel super good about this.  This quilt came awfully close to becoming a UFO that I put away and forgot about at least a few times.  Whatever possessed me to make a quilt like this with tiny 1" strips???  Please, dear readers, if you see me mention another teeny-tiny string project like this one, please stop me!

With a long holiday weekend, maybe that will mean some extra quality sewing time, we'll see. It's quite possible that if I use some laser focus and avoid my typical quilty-ADD, I might just have a quilt top to show you next week.  All I know for sure is that I see papercuts in my immediate future.
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tutorial: Modern Scrappy Stacked Wedges Block

Modern Scrappy Stacked Wedges block - with a tutorial!

Do you have lots of scraps?  I'm all about using up scraps, using my stash whenever I can.  I dreamed up this block back in December when I was sketching quilts for my brand new niece and nephew, but I didn't feel the love for my sketch at first.  Then, when I was trying to come up with a block for my 3x6 beehive this quarter, I revisited my sketchbook and gave the sketch more thought, and re-sketched it, made a few tweaks, and I was in love.  This is a very simple block to put together, using various sized scraps and a little bit of neutral sashing.  If you have any questions or comments on this tutorial, don't hesitate to let me know!

Modern Scrappy Stacked Wedges 12.5" Quilt Block Tutorial

Materials and Cutting Instructions:
1. Scraps - Your scraps should range in length from 3" to 9."  You can stick with a uniform width or use a variety of widths to give more variety to the block.
2. Neutral solid - Cut five pieces from your neutral solid scraps:
          2 - 1.5" x 11"
          2 - 1.5" x 12.5"
          1 - 1.5" x 14"

Sewing Instructions:
1. Sort out your scraps and create two stacked wedges with your scraps.  For your first stack, line up the scraps on the left side and put the shortest pieces at the top of your stack and the smallest at the bottom.  For your second stack, line up the scraps on the right side, putting the shortest pieces on the bottom of your stack and the smallest at the top.

DSCN3297

2. Using a quarter-inch seam, sew your two stacks together, string by string.  Press seams open.

DSCN3331

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3. Lay your finished stacks on your cutting table.   Starting with your first stack, with the raw edges lined up on the left side, square up that left side.  To square up the top and bottom, make sure your stack measure 11".  Next, take your ruler, and at the top of the stack, measure 8.5" from the left top side.  Line your ruler up here, sloping down toward the bottom of your stack, where you will stop the ruler 2.5" from the left bottom side of the stack.  Confused?  Check my stack below:

DSCN3302

Cut along that sloped edge, making sure your ruler is 8.5" from the top edge of the stack and 2.5" from the bottom edge of the stack.

DSCN3326

4. Now, we'll do the reverse for your second stack.  First, square up that right side, where you matched up the raw edges.  Next, square up the top and bottom of your stack to 11".

DSCN3369

Starting at the top of your block, measure 2.5" from the top right side of your block and place your ruler there.  Slope your ruler down your stack, all the way down to the bottom of your stack, 8.5" from the right bottom side of the stack. Again, check the picture below:

DSCN3375

Cut along the slope you've created with your ruler.

Ta da!  Two stacked wedges!

DSCN3375

NOTE: Make sure to line up your stacks as opposites - one with the long strip at the top and the other with the long strip at the bottom, because if you're moving too fast and not paying attention (as I am sometimes prone to do), you can wind up with this...

DSCN3385

5. Line up your 1.5" x 14" strip of neutral solid with the slope of one stack.  Make sure to line up the fabrics at the seam allowance.

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6. Seam the other side of your neutral solid to the other stack, just as you did with the first stack.  Press seams open.

DSCN3400

7. Take out your ruler and trim any excess.  Your block center should now be 11" square.

8. Add your 1" x 11" strips of sashing to the top and bottom of the block.  Press seams open, then add your 1" x 12.5" strips, and press those seams open as well. Trim if necessary to a uniform 12.5" square.

DSCN3557

Ta da!  A finished 12.5" block!  If you make this block, I'd love to see it, please shoot me an email or a comment!

Time for a drumroll...

Wow, I was truly blown away by all of the comments for my Giveaway Day post!  I love that there are so many people out there who love fabric and sewing.  :)  I really appreciate all of you and your comments very much!

And the winner of the Soul Blossoms fat-eighth pack is...


#79...Sharon, who said....


I've been a follower for what seems like ages now. :)


I will be sending you an email, Sharon!  Congratulations!

It's giveaway time!!!

Thanks again to everyone for entering, I hope you had an awesome time with giveaway day, and stay tuned, because not only do I have a new quilt-along coming up, but I also have another giveaway coming up pretty soon as well.  Happy Thursday everyone!!  :)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WiP Wednesday #28

Today's the last day to enter the big Giveaway Day giveaway here on my blog!  Click here to enter, if you haven't already, time's running out!!!

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means - another week gone, another list to make!  Here's a recap of the sewing goings-on in my neck of the woods...

Finished:
Beep Beep quilts

The Beep Beep twin quilts - fronts

Goodie Bag Swap





Still going:


Getting down to the wire on my spiderweb quilt

Spiderweb quilt - I am really, really hoping to focus on this one this week so that I can finish these blocks once and for all.  I'm getting close!!  I am really making some progress here, chain piecing the rest of the spiderweb quarters, which is less time-consuming than my previous piecing method.  Stay tuned! I'm also trying to think about how I'm going to put these blocks together. I had initially planned on sashing these blocks, to emphasize the star shape in the center, but I'm not sure how I feel about it, now that I'm nearing the end of my piecing journey. Michelle suggested I lay the blocks out on my design wall spaced apart to simulate sashing, so now I'm pondering...though I'm leaning toward skipping the sashing altogether, despite how much I initially liked the idea on paper...

Spiderwebs with sashing?  Just a thought...

3x6 bee block tute - I lost track of this project last week - it was one of the posts that Blogger ate in the big Blogger hiccup, and then it returned twice over, and well...then I didn't do anything with it.  This one should be up by Monday at the latest.

Still on hold :(
Single Girl
Super secret project

New this week: (I couldn't help myself)
Modern Crosses baby quilt - I love the super simplicity of the Modern Crosses pattern from Modern Log Cabins.  Lately, I haven't been too into following patterns, but for some reason, I really want to with this one, though I am adapting the size from a large lap quilt to a baby quilt for some dear family friends, who have a new baby.

My new WiP - Modern Cross baby quilt


A new quilt along in the works - I'm getting ready to start a(nother) new quilt, and I'd like you to join me!  Next week, I will have actual details, like what we'll be making and how much fabric it will take and all that jazz, but for now, if you like the concept of this block, you're going to like this quilt-along...

A blue block for Angela




WiP Wednedsay #28 Recap
Last week's total: 6
Finished this week: 2
New this week: 2
This week's total: 6

And make a mental note - next week, I'll be hosting WiP Wednesday for Lee, who will be taking a much deserved bloggy break.  See you then!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Goodie Bag Swap - done! (I think)

Looking for my awesome giveaway for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day?  Click here!  If you've already entered, good luck to you!

Amidst all the Giveaway Day hoopla yesterday, I found myself with a couple of fun finishes.  The first one was an awesome surprise for my son and I when we returned from our weekly trip to the library - the marigolds we planted two months ago are finally blooming!  He was so excited, and given that I usually have a black thumb, I was pretty pleased myself.  Anyone know when I ought to move them out of the planter and into the regular ground? I'm completely inept when it comes to gardening.


I also finished up my Goodie Bag for the big swap yesterday, which wound up being a big summer tote bag, adorned with some fun scrappy log cabins on both the front and the back.


I started this tote with only one thing in mind - linen.  I knew I wanted to work with linen for my partner.    The main body is made from Essex linen, which is oh-so-yummy to work with.  After debating between Natural and Gray, I wound up picking Natural.  Linen is just perfect for totes, if you ask me.  I lined it with Peltex interfacing for some nice stiffness, which is a pain to sew with, but it makes such a nice, full-bodied kind of bag.  


The scrappy log cabins are a complete mish-mash of fabrics - from Flea Market Fancy to Love to Sugar Pop and Nicey Jane.  I really rooted around my scrap bins for some of these, and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on Sunday about these, I was really unsure about how they would look on a bag.  The only thing I would do differently if I did this tote again would be to make the log cabins a bit bigger.


The lining and straps are my personal favorite print from Alexander Henry's Farmdale, which I still plan to use eventually to make a nice bag for me.  That's one of the million and twelve things on my someday to sew list...


I'm hoping my partner will really like this bag, because I had a ton of fun making it for her, although I did have a super hard time deciding what to make for her, since her taste is so broad.   The mailing period doesn't start for another week, so it's entirely possible that I may wind up completely changing my mind and making something else for her, but for now, we'll check this off the WiP list!
Monday, May 23, 2011

May Giveaway Day

What's better than Memorial Day and the start of summer?  Sew Mama Sew's annual May Giveaway Day, that's what!


Up for grabs is this fat-eighth bundle of 11 prints from Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms collection.


Are you swooning yet?  Here's how to enter:

1. Leave me a comment and tell me what your current favorite fabric collection is.  I'll start - I think my current favorite at the moment is Lizzy House's new 1001 Peeps!  I just love those bracelet prints, can't wait to get my hands on them.
2. For a bonus entry, followers (new or old) can leave an additional comment telling me so.  

This giveaway is open to all readers, US and International, and will be open until midnight, May 25th.  Mr. Random will be selecting the winner and I will contact them via the email address associated with their Blogger profile.

Good luck and happy Giveaway Day!
Sunday, May 22, 2011

I might be onto something cool...

Or it's quite possible that I've lost my mind and am on the complete wrong path.  It could totally go either way...

I sat down at my sewing table today and felt super determined to get a move on with the Goodie Bag Swap, which I've done very little over the last two weeks, other than sketch out the shape and size of the bag I want to make.  Today, I decided on a lining, and even cut it out.  Then, I cut out some interfacing.  I almost started cutting the main linen for the bag, and then I decided I wanted to piece some kind of patchwork into the linen.  I brainstormed for a few, then decided to make scrappy log cabins.  Why?  I don't know, they just sounded good.

Partner, do you like scrappy log cabins?

There's one for the front of the bag and one for the back.  What do you think?  Are they hideous?  You can tell me, really, I can take it.  It's quite possible that I'm just being hard on myself today, but I need to hear from you.

Oh - and I'm all kinds of ready for the big Giveaway Day tomorrow.  I'll give you a clue...the fabric I'm giving away is by one of the most popular fabric designers.  Check back after midnight to find out and enter!
Friday, May 20, 2011

Finished: Twin Beep Beep Quilts!


Handmade by Heidi

Tonight, I was planning to hunker down in my sewing room for Friday Night Sew-In, but it turns out we're having some company come in tonight...so I spent a good chunk of my day sewing, and I'm pleased to say I got a darn good bit done.  I even have a finish to show you!

Beep Beep twin quilts - the fronts

The twin Beep Beep quilts are done!!  I spent Wednesday and Thursday quilting both of these quilts, using an all-over meandering stipple.  I had the binding all prepared and ready to roll, so I spent today sewing that on, and then sending them to the magic washer and dryer to add the awesome, wonderful crinklyness that I love about quilts.

The Beep Beep twin quilts - James's quilt front

I'm really excited to get these quilts off in the mail to their rightful owners on Monday!  I think these little boys are going to just love these quilts, I know I loved working on them.

The Beep Beep twin quilts - fronts

Make sure to stop back by on Monday for Giveaway Day, I've got some awesome fabric to give away to one lucky reader!!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Beep Beep Twin Quilts
Pattern: Improvised simple square-in-square
Size: 48" x 56"
Quilting: All-over meandering stipple in slightly off-white thread
Fabrics: Various Michael Miller children's prints, Denyse Schmidt's The Ramble (from Greenfield Hill), Robert Kaufman's Metro Living Circles as well as Circles and Lines, Alexander Henry's Freeway Dot Multi and Beep Beep Multi, and Kona Snow
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WiP Wednesday #27

I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record here - minimal progress on my monster spiderweb quilt, decent progress on everything else.  I spent most of my sewing time this week working on other projects, yet again, but I'm hoping once I get a few more things checked off on my list, I'll be able to finish that spiderweb quilt top at long last.

Finished:
3x6 Bee Blocks

DSCN3557

Still going:
Twin Beep Beep Quilts - I finished off the quilt tops and drew up the math for the backings this week.  I'm hoping to finish the backs and baste and quilt both of these quilts this week.  I am nothing if not ambitious!

Twin quilt tops fluttering in the wind

AMH Spiderweb Quilt - This quilt is begging to be done.  I hadn't done anything with it all week until yesterday, when I finally picked up my remaining white kites and paper templates, and stuck all of them together.  I can now officially say I've started every single spiderweb quarter left for this quilt.  Did I finish any actual blocks?  Nope, I've decided to focus on finishing all the remaining quarters for now.  Four quarters down, 32 more to go!

DSCN3543

3x6 Bee Block tute - I'm working on the verbiage for the tutorial and hoping to wrap it up soon.

DSCN3544

Goodie Bag Swap - I got some natural linen to work with on this project last week, and am now trying to select some fabrics to add to it for some extra zing.  I think I've (once again) changed my mind, and I'm going to make a simple market tote, but make it fun with bright patchwork across the top of the bag.

Still collecting dust:
Single Girl quilt
Super secret project


New this week:
New quilt TBA - OK, so this isn't actually a WiP yet, it's more like a twinkling in my eye, but after seeing Megan use some of the new DS Quilts fabrics in such a gorgeous way, I'm feeling the itch to use mine as well.   I did a good bit of sketching while I was sick this weekend, with these quilts in mind.  There's just something about the start of the quilting process that I love so much.  I'm seriously jonesing for a new quilt, but I've promised myself that I will finish that darned spiderweb quilt (or at least the quilt top!) before I start another.  I'm still not decided on what I like best here, but I'm thinking about some of the following, and vaguely considering another quilt-along...

DSCN3567


WiP Wednesday #27 Recap
Last week's total: 7
Finished this week: 1
New this week: 0
This week's total: 6

What are you working on?  Post it on your blog and share it with the gang at WiP Wednesday hosted by Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twin Beep Beep quilt tops

I spent my sewing time this weekend sewing up some quilt tops and getting sick.  My son came down with a not-too-nasty summer cold last week and managed to pass it on to me, just in time for the weekend.  Fun stuff.  I'm starting to feel better now, and I managed to do a lot of sewing on Saturday before I got too sick.


I sewed up these tops for babies James and Liam, who are just too cute for words, and I'm excited to hopefully finish these up this week.  Well, excited and not at the same time - I've really enjoyed working on these quilts!  These fabrics are so fun, you can't help but smile when you're working with them.  I'm going to back them with some Kona solids, with a nice coin-style stripe in the center to break up the solids a little bit.

I love a good windy quilt photo
When I returned to my door after photographing these quilt tops last night, I had an unwelcome surprise on my doorstep.


I tried to keep my cool, since I had the munchkin with me and I really don't want to pass on my fear of snakes to him, but I'm pretty sure I kind of shrieked when I saw it.

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday today, hop on over and see what everyone else is finishing up this week!



Fresh Poppy Design
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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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