Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one where I try to let the picture do the talking


Pillow Talk Swap pillow - take two
Attempting another pillow layout for my Pillow Talk Swap partner...

Welcome to my mostly wordless WiP Wednesday post for this week. I'm working on a new pillow for my Pillow Talk Swap partner, after wrapping up my Space Dust quilt top last week and finally getting to share some Quilt Market projects.

Happy Halloween from me and my little Waldo (who's trying to get over a cold at the moment), and don't forget to check out loads of projects in progress linked at Freshly Pieced.

Happy Halloween from Waldo
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Market 2012

While I am super bummed that I wasn't able to go to Fall Market in Houston, I was really excited to have some quilts of mine representing for me :) I was lucky enough to work with Westminster/Free Spirit Fabrics on a few quilt designs for their free patterns site, and also made up one quilt for a booth.

The quilt that I actually made for Market was for Ty Pennington's latest Impressions line, called Tribal Impressions. The design is actually based on a tribal tattoo that I saw and sketched a while back, and I think it works really well with Ty's fabrics, which often feel a bit tribal to me. The block is made up of forty half-square triangles. Seriously. I had some quality trimming time on my hands with this quilt ;) Working on this quilt led to a couple of really long nights, trying to finish it up and get it in the mail before leaving for Sewing Summit, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

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It was so wild to see photos popping up on Twitter of Ty Pennington and various quilt shop owners and bloggers in front of my quilt in his booth. Totally made me feel super proud. :) Thanks so much, Kim, for taking a great picture of the quilt in the booth for me!

photo by Kim of My Go-Go Life

I also wrote patterns for Felicity Miller's new Charleston Farmhouse line and Denyse Schmidt's upcoming Shelburne Falls collection, both of which are really lovely. I'm especially excited about Shelburne Falls, I love the color palette. The Charleston Farmhouse quilt did get made up for Market by someone else (thank you!!), and was really stunning. You can find the Charleston Farmhouse pattern right here and the Shelburne Falls has not yet been released. I'll update this post once it's out!

Charleston Farmhouse quilt design by yours truly

Felicity Miller booth at Fall Market 2012
photo by Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics


shelburne7
Shelburne Falls quilt design by yours truly

My Simply Squared quilt also hung at Market, in the Interweave booth, along with a large posterboard of Quilt Scene magazine. I'm excited to get this quilt home again soon, I'm planning to give it as a holiday gift to someone who will really appreciate it.

Interweave's booth

Have a great day!
Monday, October 29, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival: It's still my favorite

I had a hard time deciding what to show for Bloggers Quilt Festival. I missed the spring edition, so I had quite a few quilts to choose from, but ultimately, I only wanted to show one, my favorite quilt, my mariner's compass mini quilt titled A Light in the Dark.

This quilt was inspired by my love of text fabrics. When I first saw Violet Craft's Madrona Road line at Spring Market, I knew I had to do something with her charcoal/black memoir print. I bought several yards of it when it first came out, and it sat unused for a bit, trying to think of a fun way to use it. As I started preparing mini samples for Sewing Summit, I decided I wanted to tackle a few Mariner's Compass blocks, and I thought the print would make a great background. I spent a good bit of time carefully cutting and placing each piece so that it would give a sense of movement throughout the quilt.

A Light in the Dark - mini

Using a black print for the background made me think of Amish quilts and their often vibrant use of solids, so I used some of V & Co's Simply Color ombres, which gave me the ability to cut several different shades of each color I was using from one single cut off the bolt.

A Light in the Dark - side view

While I adore the piecing in this quilt, I think the free-motion quilting might be my absolute favorite part! The four different blocks in the quilt each have their own different styles of free-motion quilting accenting the different solids. The background is quilted in black thread, in a micro stipple, throughout the quilt.

The Which Way North block features four different FMQ techniques: a simple FMQ echo on the blue outer points, an infinity FMQ on the lightest pink spokes, a wiggle FMQ on the darkest pink spokes, and a pulley styled FMQ on the medium pink outer points. That pulley style was so much fun to do, I definitely want to try it on something larger soon!

A Light in the Dark - block #4

The Kaleidoscope block shows two different styles of FMQ: a simple FMQ echo on the green, blue, and pink points, and a wiggle on the light and dark orange points. I love how colorful this block is.

A Light in the Dark - block #1

The Wheel of Fortune block is quite possibly my favorite, because of the scale of the quilting. These are only 12" blocks, and some of the segments of the block are as small as 3/4" wide. The orange, blue, green, and purple points have a simple echo FMQ, the light aqua points have a teeny-tiny infinity FMQ stitch, the medium aqua is done in a teeny-tiny wiggle FMQ, and the light orange is also done in a wiggle.

A Light in the Dark - block #3

The Spinning Points block uses two styles of FMQ: a simple echo FMQ for the purple points and a wiggle FMQ for the aqua points. I love the icy cool feel the aqua and purple give this block.

A Light in the Dark - block #2

I think what really makes the quilting work on this mini is the coordinating threads for the quilting. This is the first project I've ever done that on, and after seeing the way Angela Walters' quilting gives such depth and texture by using coordinating threads, I might just be a convert to doing that. I say might because burying all those starts and stops in eleventy-million different shades of thread was a bit irksome, to say the least! But I love the final effect, so I suspect I'll be using coordinating thread in the future. Maybe not always, but it feels good to have strayed away from my usual white quilting thread.

Name: A Light in the Dark
Finished quilt measures: 24" square
Special techniques used: foundation paper piecing
Quilted by: yours truly, using various threads including Aurifil 50 wt, Madeira thread and Gutermann thread in many different colors and styles of FMQ
Best category: Doll/mini quilt, Home machine quilted quilt
BQF Number: 397

Amy's Creative Side
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tula Pink Sew Along: Space Dust

I'm proud to say that I've finished up my Tula Pink Space Dust quilt top. It was definitely hard work, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. If you're curious about my thoughts on the pattern, pop on over to Sew Sweetness today, where I'm guest posting today.

Space Dust top - done!

All in all, this quilt top took a lot of time and effort, but I'm really happy with the way it came together, and I'm looking forward to deciding how to finish it off, as soon as I get a wave of inspiration. I think it's going to be a big hit with the person I intend to give it to over the holidays!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one with lots of indecision

I had a great time over the weekend, sewing with the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild. We had our third Sew Day, with two new members in attendance, and it was great to meet them. I even managed to get a good bit of sewing done, which was really nice. I'm looking forward to our next Sew Day, it's so fun to get to sew with others! Here's the projects I'm juggling at the moment...

Pillow Talk Swap - I felt compelled to make some stringy spools at the Sew Day. I kind of went to town on them, making twenty of them. I added some of Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Woodgrain in Bark for the spool tops and bottoms, sashed them with some natural linen, and then promptly began to doubt that I'd gotten my partner's tastes quite right. I'm thinking I may go back to the drawing board and piece something different for my partner, and maybe give away my spool pillow.

Scrappy Spools pillow top

My next pattern, Sea of Stars - I had high hopes that I could finish this one in time for Bloggers Quilt Festival on Friday, but somehow I don't see that one happening. We'll see, I could have a burst of energy in spite of this cold I'm coming down with at the moment, but I think it'll be another week before it's finished up. I'm excited about it all the same, though it was terribly hard to cut into my Liberty of London prints. They're so darned beautiful and colorful in person!!! You can still find these at Sew Mama Sew and there's a few prints left at Pink Castle Fabrics as well.

Cutting into some Liberty for my next pattern

4x5 bee - I finally decided on a block for the 4x5 bee, and even drew my paper piecing template for it, too. Now I just need to pull some fabrics for my bee-mates and get cracking!

Space Dust quilt - Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of the pattern as well as for my finished quilt top. I still need to baste, quilt, and bind it, but I'm having a hard time deciding on a backing at the moment, so I'm a bit stuck there.

Space Dust - coming right along!

See all that indecision??? I must be having an indecisive kind of week. Looking for more inspiration? Pop on over to Lee's WiP Wednesday linky to see lots of other sewists and quilters and their current projects. Surely they're being more decisive than me ;)
Monday, October 22, 2012

Cathedral Star block tutorial

Hello there! Happy Monday to you :) I owe you guys a winner for the copy of International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene, and the lucky winner is commenter #62, the fabulous Diane from Random Thoughts...Do or Di. Congrats, Di!

And now, welcome to the seventh block of the Cathedral Windows Quilt Along :) I'm going to show you how to make a Cathedral Star block, using two different kinds of units: a faux cathedral window for the center and "cathedral" geese for the star points.

cathedralstar

Here's what you'll need:
Fabric A (focal print)
* (1) 3 1/4" square for center of star - feel free to fussy cut!
* (12) 3 1/2" squares

Fabric B (brown)
* (1) 6 1/2" squares
* (4) 3 1/2" x 6 1/2"
* (4) 3 1/2" squares

Piecing the Cathedral Geese:
1. To piece the cathedral geese, begin with one 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangle of Fabric B, which is my brown solid for me and two 3 1/2" squares of Fabric A, which is my blue Summersville print. We're going to be making a sandwich of sorts with these three pieces of fabric.

Start by laying one Fabric A square right side up. Fold the long side of rectangle of Fabric B, wrong sides together, and lay on top of your square, with the fold away from you, and the raw edges aligned on the right side. The fold will not line up with the square! This is okay, I promise, it's important for that fold to not line up.

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NOTE: My photos for this part of the tutorial show me using my fabrics backwards - to match my finished block, your folded rectangle will be Fabric B!

Next, lay another 3 1/2" square of Fabric A on top to finish off your sandwich. Be sure to keep the raw edges aligned as you move to your sewing machine and stitch a scant 1/4" along that right side.

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2. Finger press the seam you just created open, then set with a dry iron. 

3. Next, begin to open up your cathedral geese unit. Slide your finger underneath Fabric B, which will be your "goose", and grab the loose corner. Begin to pull that corner to the right Fabric A square, as shown below. 

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4. Finger press the goose in place, then press with a hot, dry iron.

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5. To create the curves, grab the pressed edge of your goose and begin to fold it over as much or as little as desired. Experiment here, find what you what you like! You've got lots of wiggle room with these blocks.

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To get your curve to stay in place, you can set with a hot, dry iron and pin in place.

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Repeat for the other side of your goose.

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6. Topstitch your curve in place, stitching close to the edge. When you get to the top of the left curve, travel over to the right curve, making sure to pause with the needle down when you pivot.

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7. Repeat steps 1-6 to create a total of four cathedral geese. Remember - my photos are the reverse of what you will be sewing! This was a photo error on my part :)

Piecing the Center Square:
1. Place one 3 1/2" square of Fabric A right side up on your cutting mat. Next, take the 6 1/2" square of Fabric B and fold in half, wrong sides together. This square will become the fabric we fold down to create the cathedral window effect for this unit. Lay the folded rectangle on top of the Fabric A square, with the fold away from you, aligning the raw edges on the bottom and right side. Again, just as we saw with the cathedral geese, the fold will not line up with the square, and this is A-OK.

IMG_0837

Next, place another 3 1/2" square of Fabric A on top of two fabrics, right side down, aligning the raw edges again on the bottom and right side. Carry carefully to your sewing machine, and sew a scant 1/4" seam along that right side.

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2. Don't press yet, we're not quite done! Bring your sewn unit back to the cutting table and grab another 3 1/2" square of Fabric A. Set it right side up on your cutting mat. Take the folded and partially sewn Fabric B/Fabric A unit and place on top, with the fold away from you, just as you did before, with the seam you just created on your left, and aligning the raw edges on the right and bottom sides. Then, place one more 3 1/2" Fabric A square on top, right side down. Carry this new sandwich to your sewing machine and sew a scant 1/4" seam to finish this unit.

3. Open up those two seams you've created and finger press the seams open as best as you can. Set these seams with a nice hot, dry iron. Next, try to pull your four Fabric A squares together in a four-patch formation. Your Fabric B will start to turn itself into a diamond shape. Make sure to pull your diamond out and finger press the diamond edges, but don't worry about pressing with your iron just yet.

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4. Close your four-patch/diamond unit onto itself, right sides together, and be sure to line up that center seam. Sew a scant 1/4" seam along that raw edge where the diamond is - not the opposite side!

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5. Press that last seam open, then flip your unit over and press the front side, taking care to press your diamond nicely.

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6. Place your center square in the middle of the diamond. Fold the edges of your diamond down carefully to create curves over top of the center square, just as you did with the cathedral geese. Use a dry, hot iron to press the curves in place and pin.

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7. Stitch each curve in place, moving slowly and making sure to always stop with the needle down when pivoting at each peak.

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Putting it All Together:

1. Play around with your block layout, deciding where you want to place your cathedral geese in relation to your center unit. Sew the right and left cathedral geese to your center square, and press seams open.

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Then sew a 3 1/2" square of Fabric B on either side of both the top and bottom cathedral geese. Press seams open, then sew the top and bottom geese/square units to the center to complete the block.

2. Ta da! A finished 12 1/2" Cathedral Star block!

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Would you like to download a PDF of this tutorial? Pop on over here to download a copy.

Stay tuned for additional blocks in the Cathedral Windows Quilt Along. Kim of My Go-Go Life will be sharing the next block. If you make a Cathedral Star block of your own, I'd love to see it in the Cathedral Windows Quilt Along Flickr Group, as well as the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr Group! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope you have a great day :)
Friday, October 19, 2012

A love affair with strings

I had a lot of fun getting ready for Sewing Summit, and sewing up some fun samples to show the things that can be done with foundation paper piecing and string piecing. String piecing is one of the most laid-back ways to foundation paper piece a block and it can be so fun to pull a bunch of random strings together and find that they work together beautifully. String piecing can be so much fun! When I'm piecing, I always hang on to my strings and try to put them to use in string projects. It's like a fun challenge, to try to use up my strings. At the moment, they're awfully overflowing, even with these string projects that I've made for Sewing Summit.

My overflowing strings bin


The first sample I started on began as a stack of string blocks, in shades of coral, lime, and teal. I didn't really have a plan in mind, until I decided that I wanted to make a string-pieced zig-zag quilt, so I added some Kona Coal to the string blocks and went to town. I love how this quilt turned out! I love the ways the colors pop off the coal background and the gorgeous 40wt Aurifil variegated gray thread I used for FMQ'ing.

String Zig Zag - a Sewing Summit sample


quilt stats
name: String Zig
size: 32" x 48"
pattern: simple string-pieced zig-zag, by yours truly
fabrics: so many, in shades of lime, coral, and teal
quilting: all-over stipple in variegated gray 40 wt Aurifil thread, by yours truly

Next, I worked on a spiderweb mini, using some fun Quilter's Linen in Buttercup, and various green, gray and navy blue strings. I love making spiderwebs, and this one was especially fun because I really love this color combo. Spiderwebs can be a really fun way to put a twist on string piecing.

Spiderweb quilt - a Sewing Summit sample


quilt stats
name: Spiderweb Mini
size: 22"
pattern: simple string-pieced zig-zag, by yours truly
fabrics: Simon + Kabuki's Juicy Blossoms, Anna Maria Horner's Innovent Crush, Moda's Half Moon Modern, Jenean Morrison's Silent Cinema, Vanessa Christensen's Simply Color, Cosmo Cricket's Tailor Made, Lotta Jansdotter's Echo, Jessica Leavitt's Kingdom, Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy, Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope, Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hill, Dear Stella's Lanikai, Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps, Ann Kelle's Remix, Lizzy House's Castle Peeps, Monaluna's Mingle, RK Quilter's Linen in Buttercup
quilting: micro-stipple in yellow 50wt Aurifil thread, as well as wiggle stitches in coordinating 50 wt Aurifil threads

The last sample I sewed up was this String X mini, using some of my last scraps of MoMo's It's a Hoot, paired with some Azure Quilter's Linen. I first sewed a String X block in the String Me Along bee last year, and simply improvised the dimensions on this one as I went, based on what scraps I had left. I adore this fabric line, and I'm down to my very last scraps of it, so this particular sample is extra special to me :)

String X mini - a Sewing Summit sample


quilt stats
name: String X mini
size: 18"
pattern: simple string-pieced zig-zag, by yours truly
fabrics: RK Quilter's Linen in Azure and MoMo It's a Hoot
quilting: micro-stipple in azure 50wt Aurifil thread, as well as wonky triangle continuous line quilting in 50wt white Aurifil thread and infinity continuous line quilting in 50wt white Aurifil thread

Don't forget, you can enter to win a copy of this year's edition of International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene right here, up until Sunday! Have a fabulous weekend :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing the Simply Squared quilt

Remember that time my husband photobombed a WiP Wednesday post, lying on top of a lovely stack of fabric??

This is what you get when you horn in on a photo, dear...

I'm so proud to share with you some news about that fabric stack: the project I used those fabrics for is on the cover of the 2012 edition of International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene, available very soon in hard copy at your local bookstore and currently in stock at Pink Chalk Fabrics! A nice little stack from Interweave was waiting for me when I returned home from Sewing Summit; it was a great surprise to come home to.

pC1 Front Cover nocode.indd

When I first saw the cover, I literally squealed. That's my quilt!!! On the cover of a magazine!! I'm definitely geeking out over this magazine. I'm also super excited to be in such fantastic company, with patterns from super talented quilters like Jacquie Gering, Amy Ellis, Malka Dubrawsky, and Joanna Wilxzynska.

Simply Squared Quilt - 2


This quilt has been a long time in the making, with my original sketch of the quilt drawn in my design notebook back in early 2011. It took me a long time to get around to making it, but I'm glad I waited, because I really love the fabrics I pulled together for this quilt. I love the way that I see a different shape or repeat pop out when I look at this quilt. I look forward to getting it home again some time after it travels to Houston for Quilt Market next week! If only I could go with it :)

Simply Squared Quilt - 4


Quilt Stats
name: Simply Squared
size: 60" x 72"
pattern: can be found in International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene 2012, by yours truly
fabrics: Metro Living Circles in Pewter by Robert Kaufman, Heirloom Blockprint Blossom in Fuschia by Joel Dewberry, Heirloom Opal in Green, by Joel Dewberry, Hope Valley Thistle Leaf in New Day by Denyse Schmidt, Aviary 2 Damask in Plum by Joel Dewberry, Flea Market Fancy Flower Dot in Green by Denyse Schmidt, Bazaar Style Mosaic in Purple by Pat Bravo, Cut Out & Keep Shards in Sky by Heather Moore, Lush Running Stitch in Raspberry by Patty Young, Woodland Delight Zig Zag by Paula Prass, DS Quilts Picnic & Fairgrounds by Denyse Schmidt
quilting: all-over wiggle FMQ, changing directions for each piece of fabric
binding: Floralism in Fresh Grass by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery

Simply Squared Quilt - 3


GIVEAWAY ALERT! Would you like a copy of Quilt Scene for yourself? Leave me a comment here by the end of the day on Sunday, October 21st, and I'll draw a winner first thing on Monday, October 22nd.
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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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