Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blogger's Choice Contest

If you've ever shopped at the Fat Quarter Shop, you're probably familiar with the Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter bundles. These bundles are groups of coordinating fabric put together by well known bloggers and sold at FQS. Quokka Quilts has teamed up with the Fat Quarter Shop for a fun contest in which contestants are asked to create their own Blogger's Choice bundle. I love putting together fabric, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to practice my design skills (not to mention if your bundle is chosen as a favorite, you win free fabric!). I went with an aqua, gray, and chartreuse color palette. Here are my choices. Wish me luck!


  First Row:
Modernology Grey A la Mode Yardage SKU# MO-4806
Outfoxed Olive Fern Stripe Yardage SKU# 5574-G
Circa 52 Organic Shroom Tree Stripes Yardage SKU# JM16-SHROOM
2nd Row:
Lark 54" Wide Sateen Charcoal Treasure Box Yardage SKU# SAAB002-CHARC
Ruby Cotton Grey Sundae Yardage SKU# 55037-13
Citron Gray Gray Bird Swing Yardage SKU# CX4038-GRAY-D
3rd Row:
Modernology Aqua Mod Vines Yardage SKU# MO-4809
Modernology Cool Contempo Blooms Yardage SKU# MO-4802
Peacock Lane Gray Falling Flowers Yardage SKU# DC5084-GRAY-D
4th Row:
Lark Grass Chinese Lanterns Yardage SKU# PWAB80-GRASS
Oval Elements Chartreuse Yardage SKU# OE-907
Lark Jade Sunglow Yardage SKU# PWAB78-JADEX
5th Row:
Divine Turquoise Linen Texture Yardage SKU# 33283-4
Kona Cotton Ash Yardage SKU# K001-1007
Kona Cotton Coal Yardage SKU# K001-1080

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

With the New Year quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the projects I've completed this past year. Even though I just learned to sew this summer when I purchased my very first sewing machine, I feel like I've come a long way and accomplished more than I thought possible. It hasn't all been perfect, as I've shared on my blog, but I've learned a lot and I'm having fun which is all that really matters. What I've enjoyed most about quilting is the creative aspect of selecting color schemes, coordinating fabrics, and finding ways to add modern flair to more traditional quilt patterns. But, I'll admit I played it safe this year, choosing designer fabric lines that were already coordinated and went together easily. Next year, my goal is to experiment more with combining fabrics from different lines and to challenge myself to try more difficult patterns and designs (If I get really brave, you might even see some triangles!).

Here's a collage of my 2011 finished projects! Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012!





Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Present for my Sewing Machine!

Wow... is it really less than a week before Christmas already? In between selling my house, finishing the school semester, and moving, I've had little (make that no) time for sewing projects. So, I was super excited to finally unpack the sewing machine and release some of my creative energy that's been boiling for months. I've been wanting to make a sewing machine cover for my Babylock ever since I got it and when I saw the great tutorial on Olive and Ollie's blog (www.oliveandollie.com), I knew I had to make one for myself. The directions were super easy to follow and I was finally able to use my Mom's Accuquilt GO! Fabric Cutter to cut out the tumblers. Here are some pics of the finished product.



















I love the look of the tumblers! I can't wait to make a quilt out of these and some pillows would be cute too. Now when my sewing machine's not being used, it can at least chill out in style. Merry Christmas sewing machine! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I made a few burp cloths to go along with a baby quilt for my cousin and she liked them so well that she asked me to make her some more. She is expecting her third little girl in October. I have a ton of girly fabrics, so it was easy to pick out colors. Now she can burp (the baby) in style! These were fun and fast to make, which makes them perfect for gifts. I hope she likes them as much as I do!

















Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Girl Can Dream

Oh sewing machine, how I miss you. School is fully back in session and I am again immersing myself in reading and paper-writing. In the midst of all this craziness, my husband and I have just put our house on the market. So, what was once my sewing space (a.k.a. dining room) has had to be packed away for a little while as we show our house to prospective buyers. It is kind of strange seeing my dining room looking like a dining room again. I sort of miss all the loose threads littering the floor, the fabric dust, and scraps hanging over the chairs. But, I know this neat, organized, boringness is only temporary. In the meantime, I thought I would share what my ideal sewing space might look like. Check it out and be inspired!

How cool is this table?
I'm not crazy about pastels, but there is something very relaxing and homey about this space.
Talk about organized. I could do some serious work here. My patterns would look great in those decorative binders!
It may be small, but it's practical, which is important.

There is so much color in this room, you can't help but want to hang out for awhile.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bookshelf Mini Finished!

I had so much fun making this bookshelf mini quilt. I have been somewhat down lately about starting school again and having to tuck away the sewing machine for awhile, but this project totally cheered me up. It was quick to put together, but full of creative potential.

My favorite thing about this quilt is using selvages for the book titles. I never would have thought that selvages could look so pretty!

This was my first time using Steam-A-Seam to iron on the book titles, and it worked great! I still stitched around the book titles for extra security and to make them pop.

The back is almost as cool as the front!

And best of all, it looks so stylish hanging above my sewing machine (although I need to come up with a more "stylish" hanging method that doesn't involve scotch tape).

I can envision a whole wall of these little quilts. Now you know how I'll be spending my spare time this fall, at least when I need a study break.

Friday, August 26, 2011

WIP, as in "Work in Progress"

I can be kind of dingy sometimes, which is why when I started quilting it took me awhile to figure out what in the heck WIP meant. This acronym kept popping up on quilting blogs, and I thought it must be some kind of weird technique that I was not yet aware of. Well, now that I know WIP means "work in progress" I have a sneak peak of a WIP to share! My bookshelf mini quilt!

Ever since I spotted this tutorial on Don't Call Me Betsy's blog, I knew I had to make one for myself. My "real" book collection is ever growing and if I'm not sewing, you will definitely find me reading. But since I have a rather large stack (or stacks) of books to read before I am allowing myself to buy more, I figured a fabric bookshelf is the next best thing.  

What better way to build a fabric bookshelf than from scraps?! I love a project where I can use up those little scraps of fabric that I just can't bear to part with. This project is perfect for that. But I couldn't resist buying some new fabric for the backing of my bookshelf mini quilt. Check it out- could it be any more perfect?

Now that I have been quilting for almost two months now, I completely understand why the acronymWIP is used so much in the quilting world. I typically have 4-5 WIPs going on at once and there are some quilters who have long lists of WIPs to share every week (just check out Don't Call Me Betsy's WIP Wednesdays). I guess this is just one of the things that comes with being a quilter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Color Trends

I was reading Ryan Walsh's blog, I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts, the other day and he had a really interesting post about the color gray as a trend in the fabric market. He is starting a new thing called "Trendy Tuesday" where he talks about the latest trends going on in the fabric industry, which I think is really cool. I have always been interested in fashion and fabric. I actually took several classes in textile and apparel management when I was an undergrad. One of my most memorable experiences was the textile class I took where our exam consisted of identifying 100 swatches of fabric according to its material, hand, and weave. Call me crazy, but I thought this was the coolest test ever!


As a new quilter, one of the most exciting things for me has been learning about, selecting, and working with different fabrics. Although I have been working with all cotton in my quilts (and will probably continue to do so), there are so many different options out there as far as prints, colors, and textures. I love staying "in the know" about color trends and watching for new collections coming out from my favorite designers, such as Amy Butler and Michael Miller.

So, back to Ryan's post about the color gray. It struck me that the color gray is to the fabric industry as the color black is to the clothing industry. It's sleek, sophisticated, goes with everything, and never goes out of style. I have used gray in several of my quilts so far (my "Little Man" quilt and "Metro Pinwheels") and I love how it gives a modern flair to my quilts. I like that gray is neutral, but not white, and that it looks great paired with brighter prints. I have also been drawn to the fabric lines that contain a lot of gray such as Aneela Hoey's Sherbet Pips, Michael Miller's Citron and Gray,  and Bonnie and Camille's Ruby.

sherbet pips fabric bundle--6 half-yard pieces (3 yards total) from the Sherbet Pips Collection, Aneela Hoey, Moda Fabrics
I love the pink and gray combo of the Sherbet Pips collection. It would be perfect for a little girl's quilt!

Citron Gray Fat Quarter Bundle Michael Miller Fabrics
I used part of this line in my "Little Man" quilt.

Ruby Cotton Fat Quarter Bundle Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics
I have some charm packs in the Ruby line and can't wait to make something out of them!
 On a side note, did you know that "gray" actually does have two spellings- something that I have been confused about for some time now. I did a google search on it and would you believe that there is actually a site devoted to this very topic: http://www.greyorgray.com/. Who would have thought? And, both spellings ("grey" and "gray") are correct! The difference actually depends on where you live- if you live in the U.S., "gray" is more popular. Whereas in England, it's "grey." Weird, huh? The English teacher in my thinks this is interesting, but probably not all that interesting to anyone else.

Anyway, the point of this post is that Ryan's post on color trends inspired me to think about color. And what I realized is that color trends are everywhere. For example, how cool would it be to base a quilt on color trends in nail polish? This proves that inspiration can be found anywhere if you take the time to look for it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Stack is Growing

My stack of finished quilts is slowly growing- and no surprise, so is my list of projects to do! Today I finished quilting and binding my Nicey Jane quilt top, and I think it's a nice addition to the stack.


I quilted it the usual way- straight lines in the sashing and borders and to emphasize the squares. I really like how the quilting emphasizes this pattern. It's simple, but effective.

I pieced the back with two of my favorite prints from the Nicey Jane line, the stripes and the lindy leaf.
And the best part is, I have a pillow to match! Except now, I want more pillows. I guess I'll add it to the ginormous "to do" list.


With less than a week left before school is back in session, I'm pretty pleased with the progress I've made on my quilts. Once classes start, I know I won't have as much time to spend on quilting but I still hope to squeeze in a sewing moment every now and then. And maybe I'll have time for some smaller projects. I'm working on one right now that is going to be really cool if I can pull it off. We shall see...


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Metro Pinwheels

Remember all of those colorful little pinwheel blocks? They are happy to have found a home in a new quilt.

I ended up using the gray linen-like fabric for the sashing that I had originally envisioned. This gray is from Robert Kaufman's Quilter's Linen line and the cool thing about this fabric is that it is 100% cotton but is made to look textured, like linen. It is kind of hard to find this fabric, but it has been popping up on Etsy recently. I purchased it from the Fresh Modern Fabric shop on Etsy, which has some really cool modern fabric if you are looking for something different and unique. 

You can kind of see the linen texture in the following picture but you really have to see it in person to appreciate the effect it gives the quilt. 

I really like how the dark gray tones down the bright colors of Kate Spain's Central Park fabrics. I had thought about using white sashing instead, but after seeing the finished quilt, I am really glad I went with the gray.            
I used straight line quilting in the sashing and borders, just like I did with my "It's Hip to be Square" quilt, and I think it turned out great. The back is probably my favorite part of this quilt because it looks like it could be the front. And that purple and gray color combination is so metro looking.
Although this quilt is small (it only measures about 31 inches square), I think it has a lot of personality, and it is completely reflective of the modern take on quilting that has inspired me as a new quilter. Now, if I was only brave enough to make a bigger version of this quilt....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Hip to be Square

I finished up another quilt top that has been hanging in my closet for awhile. This one is called "It's Hip to be Square." I thought this was an appropriate name for the quilt because the fabrics, which are from Liz Scott's Sugar Pop line, are retro inspired and the quilt is made up of 5 inch charm squares.

Because the quilt is such a simple design, I really wanted to do something different with the quilting to make the fabrics pop. I still used straight lines, but instead of quilting the entire quilt with lines, I used them to enhance the square design of the quilt. I stitched both horizontal and vertical lines in the sashing between the squares and then I quilted continuous lines around the borders. I also used echo quilting by stitching about a 1/4 inch within each square. The quilting was more work than I expected it to be, but I am thrilled with the results. I love how the quilting draws your eye to the focus of the quilt, which are the squares.

Here's a closeup of the quilting. One great thing about straight line quilting is that once your quilt is washed and dried, a lot of your stitching flaws disappear!

The back is pieced, of course. I have a hard time not piecing a back- I just love how it adds something extra to the quilt. And, you can't see him but my husband is standing behind the quilt. I coerced him into helping me with my photo session this morning while he was getting coffee in the kitchen!
I take a lot of pictures of my quilts (I'm sure you've noticed), but one of my favorite shots is of the quilt casually folded, like it's sitting there waiting to be used. My quilts are definitely made to be used, and I think this one found its first user....

My Sadie seems to really like this quilt. Either that or she was jealous that I was taking pictures of my quilt and not paying any attention to her. Just look at that face! Those puppy dog eyes get me every time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Little Man" Quilt

I finished up my "Little Man" quilt this weekend and I think it turned out super cute.

I just love this pattern by Camille Roskelley. It is simple and modern and I love how it showcases the fabrics. The quilting of this quilt didn't go quite as smoothly as I would have liked. While quilting, I accidentally stitched a fold into the back of my quilt and ended up ripping out about 13 lines of stitches as a result. It was pretty painful, but I'm kind of glad it happened because now I know to be extra careful to prevent this from happening in the future. As the saying goes, live and learn.


I think what I like most about this quilt is the way the soft muted colors create an understated but cohesive look. The fabrics are from Michael Miller's Citron and Gray collection. I used Kona cotton in Ash for the sashing which is one of my favorite solids. I tend to gravitate toward brighter colors in my quilts so I was surprised to find how much I ended up liking this muted yellow and gray color combination.

The bicycle print really makes this quilt so I knew I had to use it on the back too. And look, no folds! You would never know how much time I spent carefully taking out those rows of stitches!

I will definitely be using this pattern again to make more quilts. I have some fabric in my stash that has "Little Man" written all over it, so be on the lookout for more like this!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moving Along

I finished up another quilt yesterday and took these pics after taking it out of the dryer. I gotta say I am loving the walking foot for straight line quilting. I have not had any problems with the quilt layers shifting and the guide bar makes it really easy to keep those lines straight. I also learned how to baste my quilts using 505 spray adhesive and I can't imagine basting any other way. It is super easy and works great. Thanks to my Mom for introducing me to this method!


The binding turned out much better this time. I used the same method of machine stitching the binding to the back of the quilt by stitching in the ditch on the front, but I made a few alterations. I made my binding 2 1/4 inches instead of 2 1/2 and I also sewed the binding strips together using a diagonal seam instead of straight across. I didn't think this would make much of a difference, but it made those seams much less bulky. I also used thread in my bobbin to more closely match the binding. I am really pleased with the results and think this is an efficient and effective way to attach the binding.

The quilting really stands out in this picture. I used straight vertical lines spaced one inch apart again and I really like how it transforms the quilt. It is modern but it also gives the quilt that soft textured look that makes it cuddle worthy.

I was surprised at how quickly these small quilts come together. They can easily be finished up in a day. Which is great if you're making a gift for someone and have a deadline.











On to the next project. If I had as many quilts as I have books, then I'd really have a problem. I wonder if that's even possible...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting Distracted

I know I should really be working on finishing up the projects that are currently hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted, but I got a little distracted today. So, this is what I did instead.


These pinwheel blocks were kind of addicting once I figured out how to do them. It was a little tricky at first figuring out how to sew the pieces together and which way to press the seams. But after doing 25 of them, I think I got it. I was even able to make a really cute scrappy border from the extra material. I love it when I can use my scraps. Now, I just have to decide what color of sashing to pair with these bright and cheery blocks. I am thinking maybe a gray cotton with a linen-like texture to make it modern.


I just love a stack of finished blocks! Now that I have these blocks out of my system, hopefully I can get back to quilting those patiently waiting projects.
 

The First of Many

My very first quilt is finished! Binding and all!

I quilted it with straight vertical lines spaced about 1 inch apart. At first, I thought the lines might be spaced too close together, but I really liked the effect once it was completely finished. It adds so much texture to the quilt and really makes the fabric stand out.

The back is pieced with the same fabrics from the front. I have to admit that the binding is a little sloppy although you can't tell from the pictures. I wanted to experiment with machine stitching the binding to the back of the quilt instead of hand sewing it, which is something I still need to learn how to do. Rita from Red Pepper Quilts has a great tutorial on her blog for machine stitching the binding. (just search for binding tutorial on her blog). Her directions were easy to follow and I really liked the idea of not having to mess with hand sewing. You machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt, just like with the traditional method, but when you fold the binding over to the back of the quilt you stitch in the ditch on the front of the quilt which catches the binding on the back. Rita explains it much better, but that is the general idea. I think I would have liked it better if I had used thread that matched the binding in my bobbin (which the directions tell you to do- unfortunately my thread stash does not include neon green thread). But, I would definitely try this method again. I am sure with practice, I would master this method.    

I couldn't wait to get this quilt in the wash to give it that soft crinkly look that I love, and straight from the dryer it is perfect! It's just waiting to be used!


I am completely hooked. If I had any doubts before, now I know that this quilt is only the first of many in my future.