Tuesday, December 1, 2009

uno mas

I seem to remember promising to leave Amy Butler alone for a while but a true attack on my scrap pile just won't allow for such forbearance. But it's just a little one, and I'm moving on now.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

in the works

Yet another attack on the scrap drawer, using this tutorial here . I actually made the blocks a wee bit bigger and was not nearly as methodical in my piecing as she is, surprise.

Except for the dark fabric no yardage was harmed in the making of this quilt. In fact, most of the strips came from old binding leftovers, of which I had an enormous boxful. Dang it felt good to make a dent in that!
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

bermuda triangle

I cleaned, I oiled, I rethreaded top and bobbin thread multiple times, and yet every time I got to that beautiful blue square chaos reigned. It's like the Bermuda triangle of sewing. And so we have a bag topstitched not once, not twice, but 4 times. I think those handles ought to stay in there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

new trick

OK yesterday I had a bit of a sewing binge, I just couldn't help putting some pretty pink squares together:
And the REAL adventure of the day was learning a new quilting technique that I really REALLY like. I saw this here and knew I had to try it. Scribbling all over is, after all, right up my alley.

Isn't that just cool?
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

country lovin'

There's that good sport of a husband of mine, dutifully holding up my latest project.
I have horded this fabric for years, just liking the fact that it all matched each other, until one day I realized I didn't love it like I used to. I still love it for waiting so patiently in a little gap box, all neatly folded and coordinating, but it's a more sentimental attachment than an actual affinity for country colors. But living in Iowa has made me feel the vibe and this little number is going to reside in a charming little bungalow in a town of less than 1000 people where I hope it will fit right in. I quite enjoyed piecing it, and especially quilting it, and I anticipate enjoying giving it away to a good home. The best part was using almost every single scrap of it up. My goal was to make the quilt all from fabric I already had. I ended up having to buy the binding is all. I already had the blue for the back but I wanted it to be a little bigger so I knew I had to save a little fabric to add to the blue, plus get a few more blocks on the front, hence the 8 or so string blocks, plus some leftover blue chenille blocks. Usually when I do plain squares I crosshatch them but this time I sewed straight lines about 1/4" down each seam and I REALLY like it. It was sort of labor intensive but definitely worth it.

I made a bag!!

For years I have relied on my oh-so-talented friends and family for all my sassy handbag needs. But when I was given a stray copy of the ever-inspiring-but-way-too-expensive-for-cheap-little-me Stitch Magazine I knew I had to give the cover project a shot. Go ahead, check out the cover, my lack of creativity will astonish you. I just liked that one SO MUCH I pretty much recreated it.
This was SO FUN to make I foresee more in the future, hopefully with a tiny bit of original thought thrown in.

Monday, October 19, 2009

see ya later alligator

Every once in a while I get a custom order for something I never, ever would have come up with myself. But it's pretty fun to see things come together that wouldn't have otherwise. The only sad thing is that they leave much too soon without any time to marinate on my basement clothesline where the finished projects get to live.
This was 2 blankets, a stroller size and a crib quilt, that ended up costing me a fortune since I had to order the fabric from 3 different places and of course that meant filling up the flat rate envelopes...3 times...oh my.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

this one's for you, Charlie

So I did find a back for ole' Charlie, right here in Burlington. The yellow plaid seems like a little tiny bit of a cop out, I was really branching out there for a minute, and pale yellow plaid is so...been there done that. BUT the bias plaid actually saved my tail on the quilting. I thought I was going to have to go through and actually mark lines but the quilting ended up mercifully aligning with the plaid so I could wing it (which is also very been there done that for me but I'm comfortable there).

And there's no real Charlie this quilt is dedicated too, it just reminds me so much of Charlie Brown, and maybe there's a little bit of wishful thinking there too....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Henry's quilt

Alright, everybody else is doing it, I'm jumping in!
When I got home with the fabric for this quilt I remember wondering if I was making a big, expensive mistake. It was pretty wild, which I love, but every once in a while I make something really atrocious. But I am so happy with how this turned out, and have used the "formula" several times since: the blocks are all fabrics that "go" together, lots of Amy Butler's Lotus and a few Japanese Echino prints. Then for the sashing I chose something that really didn't match at all but it ended up being the perfect frame because it didn't just blend in. And you can't lose with orange cornerstones...
I'm also glad that I was able to immortalize a yard and a half of this wonderful discontinued green Echino print on the back (there's a spider on it! how cool!), of which I once owned an entire bolt, and now this is the only surviving remnant.

Once again I'm apologizing for my lack of photography skills but I think it looks quite good with zebra sheets...
Here's (a really bad picture of) one I did for my nephew with the same formula:

Santa Claus is coming to town...

I've been binging a bit lately. The problem all stems from custom orders. I have to order a yard here or there and if I'm going to pay shipping charges anyway I might as well fill up the flat rate envelope...

Henry insisted on taking this picture of his crazy mama.

Friday, October 9, 2009

a new favorite

Almost every quilt I make is my favorite while I'm working on it and yet it's sometimes shocking to me how fickle I can be: as soon as the binding is on I fold it up and forget all about it in the excitement of the next project. Poor little guys. But THIS one has won a special place in my heart for reasons I can't pinpoint. It's also taught me a couple of things. First: the joy of solids. This may just be the beginning of a major affair with Kona solids. (For future reference, this one is Ash. There are approximately one million colors and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a hard time remembering them all.) I always thought I was a patterns only girl, the wilder the better, but I really really like this plain gray, especially the back, with that nice little racing stripe. Second: I've always quilted things just to get them stuck together, a mere means to an end. But THIS time, I LOVED quilting it! I've never done this before but have been wanting to try just quilting straight(-ish) lines unevenly spaced all through and it was quite fun and for the first time ever I feel like the quilting actually really complements the quilt and adds to the design a bit. This isn't the first or last time you will hear me complain about my camera but sorry you can't really see it.

my first string blocks

I've been seeing these string blocks around bloglandia and thinking I might need to give them a try. I've had this fabric for years and it's not anything I would choose now but I still like it enough to use and I think I've thought of the perfect home for it....(to be continued...) So as I was cutting blocks today I had these lovely long 1"-2" strips that I was going to decorate the inside of my trash can with and decided to give the string block thing a try and I think it may just be right up my alley. I have quite a lot of 1"-2" strips that probably should have decorated my garbage long ago, but I now foresee a lovely quilt in their future...(to be continued also...)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

About those St. Louis quit shops...

I was hoping to come home from St. Louis with piles of exotic (Missourian?) fabrics but Ben and Henry proved to be less than ideal fabric shopping companions. Imagine that. But I didn't come home empty-handed after all: we stumbled upon a really fabulous paper store where I bought one really fabulous piece of paper...and several yards of japanese ribbon, oh my, there are so many ways ways I would like to use this but the fact that it is fully reversible (one of my favorite attributes in the world) has my hands tied until I can come up with some good ways to see both sides.

the tangible fruits of conference

Man I love sitting in front of the computer for hours on end listening to conference with a pile of beautiful fabric on my lap. There were also some substandard cinnamon rolls, copious note-taking, some changes of heart and lots of cuddling accomplished as well. But for now here are the tangible fruits of conference:
Look at those white on orange leaves on the bottom left. Erin McMorris, I may have seriously underdemeciated you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

lookin' for backs in all the wrong places

I'm currently auditioning patterns and color schemes for my soon-to-be nephew's quilt. Haven't quite hit it yet, but we're getting closer. I like these enough that I think they deserve a non-basement scrounged backside, which is all the justification I need to hit every quilt shop in St. Louis this weekend, wahoooooo!

Good grief Charlie Brown, I LOVE zig zags!!
This poor little guy was the sad seam ripper project yesterday. I had fatter sashing in there and it was ruining our relationship. I'm pretty happy with the half inch gray though.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the good old days

Still plowing through all those unfinished projects and piles of destination-less scraps, and every once in a while I am running across real treasures. These blocks are the remnants of the very first (and probably best) quilt I ever made. I remember being inspired enough by these 30's reproduction prints to actually take a stab at sewing (maybe should have left well enough alone and gone skiing that day after all...) I do have fond memories of sitting at the sewing machine with my mom and learning the ins and outs of cutting strips, constructing blocks, chain piecing and so forth. The large version of this quilt was a BIG undertaking, but this little guy was a fun walk down memory lane.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I seldom come up with my own ideas but I am a cracker jack imitator and THIS is next on the list.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

lucy in the sky with diamonds

And it looks like I was doing drugs when I picked out the fabric for this thing. This poor quilt top has been in a tupperware for years. It was recently rescued from said tupperware, quilted and bound as part of my "take back the basement" movement. Most of my quilts remind me of something. This one reminds me of Amy Butler vomit. I saw a quilt made up with this pattern in a shop and loved it, and I can't remember now what I loved about it...oh yeah, it looked really cool, but I did not follow the directions, and mine looks slightly less cool than I could wish. There were all these templates which kind of freaked me out at the time, and then I was supposed to do the "light-dark-medium" thing, which I obviously missed the boat on. But I learned some things. For example, lightcolored fabric with huge dark colored patches does not equal medium colored fabric.

Alright, now that I've ranted a bit I think I've come to peace with it. The diamond quilting helped ever so slightly to bring out the disappearing diamonds, and if you never saw the inspiring original it's really not so bad. And now it's graduated from inhabiting the inside of a tupperware as a poor unfinished top to garnishing the outside of the tupperware as a newly knighted completed project. Felicidades.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

project: attack the stash

You all know I have an appalling fabric stash. My latest goal is to diminish it as much as possible in order to replace it immediately with the latest and greatest (kinda reminds me of my relationshop with calories). Piecing this quilt was kind of a zen experience in that I was not allowed to spend much (any) time actually laying it out and trying to put pieces together so they would look good. I put the scrap drawer on my lap and sewed everything together in exactly the order it came out in. AND...I think it looks kinda good!