Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday: My sewing history

Have you seen the new linky party, Sew Thinky Thursday? My friend Emily, of Mommy's Nap Time, has started a new linky party that encourages thought and reflection on your sewing journey, and this is her first week, so I wanted to make sure to participate to support her on this fun new creation. I like to think and reflect, and I don't do it nearly as often as I'd like, so here goes.

This week's question: When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were hooked?


Me, around age 7, with one of my favorite dolls and a doll quilt my aunt Jeannie made
My first attempts at sewing were in my early girlhood, and I failed miserably. My mother wasn't much of a sewist, but my aunt was. She was a quilter, and lived very far away, so I didn't really have an adult to teach me. I had doll clothes and quilts that my aunt had made me (like the one in the picture) to admire and I tried to teach myself from books at the library. I think these early failures have something to do with my healing distaste for hand-sewing, as these were hand-sewing attempts. The good news is I have almost gotten over my allergy of hand-sewing, at this point. As I approached my teen years, I learned to cross-stitch, and enjoyed that for a while, until I decided it was dorky and boring, so I quit doing that and spent my energy being a moody, journaling teenager instead.

My kiddo, shortly after I started sewing, with his homemade Cat in the Hat hat
After my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom, I needed an outlet. I needed something to do, something to feel proud about, something to exercise my creativity. All of my adult life, I'd been a workaholic, the kind of person who was proud of their work and got a lot of enjoyment from it, so I felt like I needed something that could take the place of that hole in my life, though I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom a great deal. I was wandering around Jo-Ann's one day, looking for something to do, and I stumbled into the sewing machine center, and wound up walking out with a sewing machine, a rotary cutting mat, a rotary cutter and so forth. I checked out books from the library, and tried a handful of projects from those books, from a notebook cover to receiving blankets and a Cat in the Hat hat, and it wasn't until I made my first quilt that I really felt hooked. I felt like it was something that was fun for me to do, that took thought and effort, that made me feel like I was something more than just a mom. In short, it was awesome.


After that first quilt, from which I learned all kinds of things to NOT do when quilting, I trucked right on, starting another quilt, learning more from it, and then another, and another, and eventually starting my blog, and to this day, there isn't a day that goes by without my thinking about sewing or doing actual sewing. It's a part of my life now that I can't imagine my life without. When I meet people, I identify myself as a mom and a quilter. It's a huge part of my identity. Sewing really changed my life for the better. It's led me to being more social than I've been in years, brought a kind of joy that was lacking in my life, and has afforded me opportunities I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started.

Tampa Modern Quilt Guild - January Meeting 2013
photo of me by Katie Ringo of Katie's Quilting Corner; at January Tampa MQG  meeting
Want to join in the thinking and sharing fun? Link up your post with Mommy's Nap Time every Thursday. I'm looking forward to linking up and learning more about other blogging quilters. Happy Thursday - and stay tuned for a new tutorial tomorrow!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A few skipped stitches...

...is apparently enough to turn me into a cursing sailor. I spit out quite the slew of expletives yesterday, as I attempted to use my Sapphire for some simple piecing. It was as though the top thread tension would get weird and off every 5" or 6", although the bobbin thread tension was completely unaffected. New needles, new thread, new bobbins, re-threading, de-linting, I tried a bunch of things to fix it, to no avail. Thankfully, my dealer was very supportive and has taken it in for servicing free of charge, since it just came back from a service with a clean bill of health. Hopefully it will come back to me, in one piece and functioning, shortly.

Wtf, sapphire??? I've changed the needle, the thread, the bobbin, even the fabric I'm sewing with, and every six our seven inches of stitching i do, i get one our two of these poor stitches. Thoughts??

In the meantime, I've been pressing and cutting like a machine, getting a couple of new projects started. One of them is a new Hip to Be Square quilt, for the pattern that I'll be releasing later this year. This quilt pattern was originally in an issue of Quiltmaker back in the beginning of 2012, and makes for a fun repeat as you put blocks together. This new Hip to Be Square quilt will be featuring one of my current favorite fabric lines, Patty Young's Textured Basics. These prints are so darned vibrant and perfect for stash building!




I also cut into a fun mish-mash stack of Art Gallery prints this week, whilst watching this weekend's episode of Downton Abbey. I ultimately had to put the iron and rotary cutter down and get a box of tissues. Talk about heart-wrenching! Fortunately, I had these lovely fabrics to cheer me up afterward.


I've still got one more stack of fabric to cut into, but first, I need to work on oodles of Art Gallery HSTs. I've promised myself I can press and cut more fabric after I finish all 320 HSTs for this quilt I'm working on. I'm finding that more and more, I'm actually enjoying pressing and cutting, which is funny, because I used to hate that part. I wanted to just hurry up and get to the piecing, but these days, I'm enjoying having some quality time with my fabric and my iron before I cut it all up.


Stay tuned on Friday - I was planning on sharing an FMQ tutorial, but after my Sapphire drama, we'll have to see whether or not I can get the hang of FMQ on the Juki today and tomorrow first. Wish me luck :)
Monday, January 28, 2013

Introducing the Wheel of Fortune PDF Pattern

I am so happy to share my latest PDF quilt pattern with you all this morning! Introducing...the Wheel of Fortune PDF pattern, including block templates for making a 6" finished block and 12" finished block, now available in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy!

Wheel of Forutne PDF Pattern available now!

I first made this quilt for my partner in the Doll Quilt Swap, using the 6" block, rainbow scraps and Kona grays in Ash and Coal for the background fabrics. My doll quilt is 18" square, and an example of the mini size quilt pattern available in this PDF pattern. I love the way the blocks have a sparkly feeling to them, thanks to the use of various values throughout each section of the block. This little mini is heading off to its new owner this week, and I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it.

DQS - Rainbow Wheel of Fortune

I also made a second quilt using this pattern, switching to a larger 12" block size and using two main colors rather than a rainbow. I am really loving the combination of coral and navy right now, so this quilt was a perfect chance for me to use this color combo in a quilt. I used prints from Luxe in Bloom, Constellations, Seaside, Greenfield Hill, Sherbet Pips, Les Amis, and Deerfield, as well as from Madrona Road and Architextures for the background fabrics. This baby quilt finished at 36" x 48", and is bound in Kona Mango, which is a delicious coral color, perfect for setting off all of these prints.

Luxe Wheel of Fortune - baby quilt from my new pattern

The Wheel of Fortune PDF quilt pattern is available now both in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy, for $10. The pattern includes instructions for making a mini 18" quilt, a baby sized 36" x 48" quilt, a lap sized 60" x 72" quilt, a queen sized 84" x 96" quilt, and a king sized 96" x 108" quilt, complete with detailed cutting and piecing instructions to make this quilt a breeze to put together.

Luxe Wheel of Fortune - and my new swan friend!

Quilt Stats
name: Luxe Wheels of Fortune
size: 36" x 48"
pattern: Wheel of Fortune quilt pattern
fabrics: Black crosshatch from Architextures, Madrona Road Memoir in White, Petite Petalie in Coral from Luxe in Bloom, Crystalline Cobalt from Luxe in Bloom, Crystalline Coral from Luxe in Bloom, Asterisk in Light Blue from Constellations, Constellation in Blue from Constellations, Bikini in Blue from Seaside, Arrows in Peach from Deerfield, Faux Bois in Peach from Les Amis
quilting: All over meandering stipple in white 50wt Aurifil thread
binding: Kona Mango
Friday, January 25, 2013

Lots of gorgeous Lucky Stars!

This week, I finished up the March block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club - the Ninja Star, aptly named by a member of the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild. I love how this block has come together, and I'm excited to share it with subscribers coming soon in March.

March Lucky Star block - the Ninja Star


But first, we need to get through February! I can't believe that February is nearly upon us already, this year sure is flying by already. BOM subscribers will receive their next block pattern next week, on Thursday, February 1st. February's block is the Exploding Star, constructed with four paper templates. And if you haven't already subscribed to the club, you can join at any time, and you will receive all of the patterns for the year, regardless of when you join.

Lucky Stars - Feb
 
I also used this block back in December to create a fun pouch for Katie. It's a quick block to put together, with only 7 pieces of fabric used in each quarter block section.

Pouch #1

I love visiting the Flickr group, where loads of Lucky Stars members are posting their gorgeous blocks. I love seeing all the variety!! Here's a couple of recent favorites of mine.

LuckyStarsJanmosaic


1. practice triangle, 2. Journal with lucky stars 6" block, 3. Lucky Stars BOM - January, 4. January - Funky Star, 5. January Lucky Stars block, 6. December Sea Star, 7. January BOM, 8. Lucky Stars BOM Jan 2013, 9. Swirling Star

Have a wonderful weekend!
Monday, January 21, 2013

Spin the Rainbow Wheel of Fortune!

I sure hope you had a nice weekend! I spent much of my weekend working on my Doll Quilt Swap project for my partner, and it's now officially finished. I am absolutely in love with the way it's come together, and I know I'm going to have a hard time sending it off, but at the same time, I'm really excited to send it to my partner. I sure hope that she'll like it!

DQS - Rainbow Wheel of Fortune

This miniquilt is made up of nine foundation paper pieced 6" blocks, each block using nine different main colors, in three different fabrics. By my count, there's over 218 different fabrics in this 18" mini. I pulled from my scrap bins for all of the prints, and used Kona Ash and Kona Charcoal for the two grays. 

IMG_2490

One of my favorite parts about this miniquilt is the way the grays come together to form a star when the blocks are pulled together. I had a really hard time figuring out how to quilt this, but ultimately, I went with a simple outline around the wheels, which emphasizes those stars really well. 

DQS - Rainbow Wheel of Fortune - detail 1

I bound this mini in Art Gallery Pure Elements in Caviar, which has a gorgeous sheen in person. It does a beautiful job framing the mini. I love working with those Art Gallery solids, they are just so soft and smooth. 

DQS - Rainbow Wheel of Fortune - detail2

I make a little label for the back, using a piece of fabric, some freezer paper, and my printer, and pieced it into the backing, but I somehow managed to foul up the year on the label. Darned 2012. The swap did start in 2013, so I suppose it's not entirely inaccurate, but still. I didn't realize it until Terri pointed it out on IG after I had started the binding, so I didn't change it. I hope my partner won't hate me for that! 

DQS - Backing

Quilt Stats
name: Rainbow Wheel of Fortune
size: 18" square
pattern: my own, coming soon, called Wheel of Fortune, foundation paper pieced using 50 wt Aurifil
quilting: simple straight line outline in 50wt Aurifil in color 2024 (white)
fabrics: So many it's nearly impossible to list them all!
backing: Lucy's Crab Shack Plaid in Ocean by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics

I'm working on a pattern for this quilt, and much like in my Lucky Stars BOM, there will be two block sizes shared in the pattern, a 6" and a 12." I started on the 12" blocks at the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild meeting over the weekend, using one of the stacks of fabric I pulled last week for my Juki cover. Stay tuned for a pattern release some time next week!

Todays progress at the #tampamodernquiltguild sew day...bit to shabby considering i did all my cutting there! Working on a 12 block quilt here...
Friday, January 18, 2013

A little bit of fabric-related indecision...

I think it's official - I am in love with this Juki machine! I feel slightly unfaithful to my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire, but I think I have enough room in my heart (and sewing room) for both of the machines. They both have their strengths, so I have a feeling I'll be using both pretty often.

My Juki, however, is in need of a cover, both to make it pretty and to keep it relatively dust-free. I've sketched out a couple of ideas, and now I'm working on picking out some fabrics, but I'm having a really tough time deciding. Maybe you could help a girl out. Tell me which one of these fabric stacks below is your favorite. I'm all ears (or eyes, as the case may be!)!

Stack #1:
Collections from top to bottom: Luxe in Bloom, Luxe in Bloom, Salt Water, Constellations, Salt Water, Architextures



Stack #2:
Collections from top to bottom: Architextures, Simpatico, Simpatico, Simpatico



Stack #3:
Collections from top to bottom: Madrona Road, Type, Mama Said Sew, Type



Find these collections in stock at:
Architextures - Intrepid ThreadPink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics
Constellations - I Don't Do Dishes, Intrepid Thread, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics
Luxe in Bloom - Intrepid Thread and Stash Modern Fabrics
Madrona Road - Intrepid ThreadI Don't Do DishesPink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics
Mama Said Sew - Intrepid ThreadPink Castle Fabrics and Stash Modern Fabrics
Salt Water - I Don't Do DishesPink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics
Simpatico - Stash Modern Fabrics
Type - I Don't Do Dishes, Intrepid Thread, and Pink Castle Fabrics

And I'm planning to pair whatever I pick with some super gorgeous yarn-dyed Essex linen in either black or flax. You can find yarn-dyed Essex linen at Intrepid Thread, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics. So, what do you think? Which combination is your favorite??? I just can't decide!!!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WiP Wednesday: The one with lots of speed

Now that my Sapphire is safely at my dealer's for a thorough cleaning, it's time to get up close and personal with my new-to-me Juki. I spent some quality time with the owners' manual yesterday, and managed to get it threaded, with some 50 wt Aurifil, my favorite. I also wound some bobbins, which thankfully wasn't rocket science. Loading the bobbins, on the other hand, was a challenge, just because it's very different from the previous machines I've owned, but I think I've figured it out now.

I did a good chunk of paper piecing yesterday with the Juki, which was somewhat humorous - I've mentioned that this machine is fast, but I'm really not exaggerating! This can totally run away with you, if you let it, so I spent a bit of time trying to learn how to handle the foot pedal to manipulate the speed the way I wanted it, and I was able to get it worked out nicely.

I got started on my Doll Quilt Swap mini, which is forcing me to sort through my scraps. This will probably be my next pattern, with a few different block sizes included, so stay tuned for more of these blocks!

Doll Quilt Swap - block 1 of 9

I started working on the March pattern for the Lucky Stars BOM, which I'm absolutely loving, in part because I'm forcing myself to use fabrics that are really precious to me. The gorgeous fuchsia Yuwa print came from Ayumi's Etsy shop, and I absolutely adore it. It totally makes this block sing.

Lucky Stars - March in progress

That reminds me, I haven't shared the February block, which will be heading to all Lucky Stars BOM club members in just two short weeks! I love the exploding effect of this one, so it will be called the Expoding Star.

Lucky Stars - Feb

Also on my mind this week is on a nice little cover for this Juki, since it didn't come with one. I'm thinking of using one of the designs I'm not using for my Doll Quilt swap project to adorn my new cover, I just need to start picking out some fabrics for it. I see some black yard dyed Essex in my future...
Monday, January 14, 2013

My new friend

I never really thought I'd be the kind of person who owned a bunch of different sewing machines, but I'm apparently now on that path. I bought my second sewing machine over the weekend, a fully mechanical industrial Juki TL-98. I've been half-heartedly looking for a backup machine that I could really trust, for when my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire is in the shop or for carting to guild meetings, and when I saw this Juki pop on Craig's List recently, it was hard to resist.

Hello new friend

First of all, I know of a ton of people who have this machine, or the newer edition of it, and absolutely adore it. Secondly, it's not computerized, and is easy to take apart to clean and maintain at home rather than through a dealer. Thirdly, this bad boy is fast. 1500 stitches per minute, which didn't seem super crazy on paper, but in person, holy cow, it's like having one of those industrial machines on Project Runway! The speed difference was especially noticeable yesterday, as I moved back and forth between the Sapphire and the Juki, and the Sapphire is no slowpoke either.

FMQ is a breeze!

Now that I've got the Juki home, my Sapphire is on the way to the dealer next weekend for a thorough cleaning. It's only been a year since the last cleaning, which I know isn't a long time, but I can tell that there's some linty gunk that needs to get taken care of by someone who can get to every nook and cranny in the machine. Normally, I'd just take the darned thing in and live without my machine for the few days or week it takes to come back to me, but I seem to have stacked my January and February calendar with deadline after deadline, so I really can't be without a machine. Thankfully, my dealer is typically quite swift with cleanings. If you're in the Tampa area,  I highly recommend them - they are the Tampa Bay Sewing Center Citrus Park office.

Beautiful stitches, without any muss or fuss

So far, I've managed to do a bit of sewing on the Juki, but admittedly not very much. First impressions? Piecing was very easy, as was finding the sweet spot for the perfect scant 1/4" seam. I need to do a bit of homework on the feet available for the Juki, to see if there's a 1/4" foot with a metal guide, like I have for my Sapphire, but the piecing foot that I have so far worked quite well. I did a little bit of FMQ, which was super smooth and required exactly zero adjusting. Not a single bit of tension adjusting, which really surprised me. Now, this machine is a straight-stitch machine only, it cannot do zigzags or anything like that, but honestly, I so rarely use that, I don't think it will be a problem for me. Today's task is going to be figure out how to thread the darned thing, wind some bobbins, and figure out how to load them, as the bobbin mechanism is super different from anything I've used before. I will definitely write more about this machine as I use it more! Wish me luck!

Threading the needle looks a bit intimidating
Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Planning and plotting

I'm taking part in the current round of the Doll Quilt Swap, and now that the holidays are over and the shipping deadline is fast approaching, I'm working on trying to narrow down my quilty pattern ideas into something real for my partner. I think my partner and I have a lot in common when it comes to quilty taste, but I just can't seem to decide which one of these quilts to follow through with! I'm planning for something uber-scrappy, with lots of fun prints from my stash, but I just can't seem to commit. Does one of these designs grab you and shake you?

Doll Quilt Swap - Does one of these strike your fancy, partner?
Monday, January 7, 2013

Scraptacular, scraptacular!

Have you seen Moulin Rouge? It's one of my all-time favorite movies. I can hardly say the word spectacular without feeling the urge to break out into a rendition of "Spectacular, Spectactular." Anyway, I had a little bit of scraptacular fun this weekend, plugging away at my Scrappy Trip Along quilt.

Scrappy Trip Along - blocks 1-4


I don't really have a plan, at least I didn't really, until I started on that first block, and loved having the text print in the middle. Then I thought it would be kind of neat to do something like a values quilt with a bit of a diamond effect, tying the blocks together. This group of blocks has different text prints tying them together in the center. This does involve a bit more planning and thinking than I would have liked for a scrappy quilt, but I think I'll be happy with the end result. Want to join in on the scrappy fun? Find the block tutorial here and the Flickr group to share your progress here.

Scrappy strips

I've still got lots more strips to cut yet, but I'm probably about halfway, and I've managed to pull out the remaining scraps and pressed them, in preparation for today, the first day back at school after winter break. I'm looking forward to a little bit of quiet, but I had so much fun with my munchkin these last two weeks, especially when we surprised him with a trip to Legoland Florida over the weekend. He's positively obsessed with Legos, so Legoland was every bit as magical to him as Disney was last year. Have a happy Monday everyone!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lucky Stars BOM: February Sneak Peek

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to remind those of you who have not yet signed up for the Lucky Stars BOM that the special discount I'm offering to kick the year off is ending really soon - currently, the price for the year is $10, but starting Sunday, January 6th, that price goes up to $15 for the year. You can order your subscription via my Pattern Shop and Craftsy, whichever you prefer :) Here's a sneak peek of the February block, too...

Lucky Stars BOM - Feb Sneak Peek

There's plenty of room remaining in the club, if you're still on the fence about joining! Just take a look at the gorgeous blocks popping up all over already, from the practice block and January blocks! I love popping into the Flickr group every morning and seeing more and more beautiful blocks each day. Thank you all for sharing your blocks and putting a smile on my face!

luckystarsjanuarymosaic

1. Lucky Stars practice block, 2. Lucky Stars January block, 3. Lucky stars block of the month, 4. Lucky Stars BOM - January Block, 5. Lucky Stars BOM tester, 6. Lucky Star paper Piecing Practice, 7. Lucky Stars BOM January 6" block, 8. Lucky Stars BOM Practice block, 9. Lucky Stars BOM January, 10. Practice block, 11. Lucky Stars Practice Block, 12. DSC_0773, 13. Practice block, 14. Practice Block, 15. 6.5 inch Lucky Stars BOM Dec 2012, 16. Lucky Stars BOM - Practice Block, 17. "Sea Star", 18. January Lucky Stars Block #luckystarsbom, 19. Lucky Stars: Practice Block, 20. Lucky Stars: Block 1, 21. January Lucky Stars, 22. Lucky Stars Quilt Block: January, 23. Lucky Stars BOM Practice Block 6", 24. January lucky stars block, 25. Practice Block
Thursday, January 3, 2013

On caving - and a winner!

First off, I owe you guys a winner! It was really fun to read about your wonderful memories of 2012 as we start up a new year. And the winner who's starting their year with just a bit more fabric in hand is... #266, Angela Bullard! Congratulations! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information.

Have you seen the Scrappy Trip Along? It's blowing up on Instagram and Flickr, and for the last few days, I have desperately wanted to drop what I'm doing (or not doing, as the case may be) and do nothing but play with my scraps and have fun. But between my lazy post-holiday hangover and a sick kiddo, I haven't done much sewing this week...until now. I fully caved :)

I dived into my scrap bins this morning and pulled together the first block of a quilt that I am planning to keep, just for me. Something beautiful and filled with scraps that make me smile, and so far, I can see why everyone's addicted. And I sense that a scrap destash will be coming soon for me, because my scrap bins seriously overfloweth, so stay tuned!

Scrappy Trip Along block #1 of ???

Have a great day!
 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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