Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pretty in Pink

alidiza:Pretty in Pink Nicey Jane hearts pillow
So winter finally decided to make an appearance in New England.  Being trapped inside makes me a bit manic so I decided to combat my cabin fever with a little holiday making...

I fell in love with Cluck Cluck Sew's adorable Red Heart pillow so I grabbed my Nicey Jane stash and started cutting...

and got a jump start on the weekend with some piecing and a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend marathon (thanks, Alexis!).

These hearts go together really quickly.  I couldn't have done this if I'd tried...  sometimes the quilt gods like to show the love;-)


I followed Allison's lead and kept the quilting simple, just stitching along the sashing lines.  And of course you can never go wrong with a striped binding!

I'm still chipping away at my lifetime supply of zippers so I went with my go to zipper closure tutorial by to S.O.T.A.K. Handmade for the back.

alidiza:Pretty in Pink Nicey Jane hearts pillow
And now my foyer is pretty in pink!  Hope your Valentine's day is nicey ♥

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 18" x 18"
Pattern:  Adapted from Red Heart Pillow by Cluck Cluck Sew
Fabrics: Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey, FSDS Rose
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Baby Pink (2423).

Friday, February 10, 2017

We Sew Together

alidiza: Preppy Sew Together Bag
Back before Christmas my BQF proposed a swap, she'd make me a patchwork clock if I'd make her a Sew Together Bag.  Of course she's absolutely awesome and got mine done while I totally flaked out...  so typical!

With all my "obligation" sewing finally done this moved to the top of my todo list.  I planned to make something in purple and grey but when I started shopping my stash I ended up with this preppy assortment.  She gave me the green light so I packed it up and took it all to quilt camp last weekend.

For my first Sew Together I used canvas on the outside and quilted my appliqued motifs with batting.  For this one I was just using quilting cotton so I took quilary's advice and added Decor-bond to the outside body piece and Shape-flex (SF101) to the lining and side pieces.  I wish I'd quilted the exterior or used canvas again, I don't like the texture of this one as much.

I know the 4 zippers on this bag sound intimidating but it really does go together quickly and there are tons of blog tips on how to make it easier.  The best advice is just follow the Quilt Barn Sew-a-Long.  I did use Amanda Jean's zipper ends tutorial again but this time trimmed them to 8".  I really think this makes for a more polished looking bag.

Despite all the tips out there I still have the hardest time wrapping my brain around how to make the long zipper ends and I don't love the bulk having the seam allowances inside adds.  I'm hoping to think up a better approach if I ever make another one of these.

I love that this bag gives you the opportunity to use so many different fabrics and it's perfect for storing all your sewing toys.

Now I just need to find time for a trip to Portsmouth to deliver it:-)  Can't wait!!!

Sewing along with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: Super Sewing Weekend

My quilty friends & I have been sneaking off to quilt camp for awhile now.  It's always a challenge to synchronize our schedules but it's so worth it once we finally make it work.  This weekend the planets aligned and we headed to the beach.

I haven't started anything new since I finished my City Sampler so I was at a bit of a loss for what to work on.  I knew I didn't have the mental energy for a big project so I cut and prepped all the pieces for a long ago promised Sew Together Bag for my awesome friend Aimee.  I was worried this might be too preppy but she gave me the green light so I was ready to go.

This bag seems intimidating with it's 4 zippers but it really does come together quickly.

By the end of the day my bag was together and ready for binding.

Of course that's when the cursing started...  I ran out of bobbin thread inches from the end sewing on my big zipper.

Finally it was finished and I could move on to the next thing.  I'd just grabbed this basted Mendocino zigzag off the UFO tower.  I'm not sure why I thought it was going to take me so long to quilt this though I did plan to quilt it more densely.  In the end I decided it didn't really need it - why compete with such awesome fabrics - and this was done as well.

I usually make my binding when I finish constructing the quilt top but I couldn't remember if I had this time.  True to form when I got home I found a binding ready and waiting so I quickly trimmed my quilt and slapped the binding on so I'd have something to do while watching the Super Bowl.  We all know how that turned out;-)  That extra overtime was just what I needed!

This year's BostonMQG retreat is rapidly approaching so I've got to start planning what to work on during my next adventure...  what kind of projects do you prefer when traveling?


Friday, January 27, 2017

City Sampler

I can't believe my first "finish" of the year is my #100Blocks#100 Days City Sampler.  A huge thank you to  Sweet Little Pretties and Sunflower Stitcheries for hosting the #100BlocksFinished sew-along.  I have no doubt it's the only reason I have this flimsy!  I was this close to making the deadline but ultimately it slipped to the next day.  No regrets - I am so thrilled to have this one done.

This has been my mantra since I started this project.  You have to know I LOVE to quilt but I like to keep things real here and this quilt has already had more than it's share of "joyous" moments.  Granted I procrastinated a bit and only left myself two weeks to get the top together but what a race to the end it was...

I played with a bunch of different color schemes for the sashing but decided to sew from my stash and go with this Kaffe Fasset shot cotton in Smoky.  I streamlined the process by cutting my vertical sashing from strip sets.  The fun started when I realized the yardage and cutting instructions were for an 8x8 grid.  Seriously Tula,  why would I make 100 blocks and then only use 64 of them in my quilt!?!  I did some math and decided I'd have more than enough fabric to make a 10x10 version.  Keep Going!

That was until I cut a whole bunch of my horizontal strips at 8" rather than 8 1/2".  See the stack on top, all 1/2" too short.  More math - it's going to be close!  In the end I had 4" to spare.  A little too close for comfort especially with only 3 days left to the deadline.  Keep Going!

There's a lot of monotony sewing blocks and sashing strips together to make rows.  I finally got to watch the Gillmore Girls revival and binged on a whole season of the new Netflix original Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - perhaps a poor choice when I was hoping for a happy ending;-)  As expected the gridlock layout was a bit more challenging than traditional straight sashing.  My first attempt at joining two rows resulted in some rather wonky crosses...  not at all the look I was going for.

I found that I was able to get good results by matching the vertical stripes and pinning then adding another pin between each intersection.  It would have bugged me forever - I ripped the first 2 rows and redid them.  Add another hour to the fun but Keep Going until finally...

finally, I reached the final seam.  The heavens sang, the angels wept, and the rain held off just long enough for me to race outside and shoot some pictures.  It's been a long haul but I'm already thinking about how I'm going to quilt it.  The fun never stops;-)

If you're thinking you missed the boat on this one there's still hope.  Angie at GnomeAngel is hosting another round, #100Days100Blocks2017 kicking off in May.  I know I've moaned & groaned a lot about this one but the challenge truly did keep me motivated and I'm thrilled with the finished quilt.  Start planning now if you want to join the party!

Celebrating with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: The Return to Sewing

We had a busy holiday weekend but I finally got a chance to spend some serious time sewing.  It was such a treat to sit down with my freshly serviced machine...  it practically purrs and finally having my knee-lift fix was heavenly.  Thanks, Daley by the Yard!!!

I kicked things off squaring up all my #100Days100Blocks City Sampler blocks and adding the sashing.  I've decided to use the gridlock layout which probably means more work but I think will look awesome.  I'm still deciding on the cross color...  I love the grey in this one by my friend KayakQuilting but I might go for something fun with more contrast.

With my LQS closed I've started buying solids by the bolt so I'm ready for anything!

Sewing sashing is rather mind numbing but it was the perfect excuse for a Gilmore Girls marathon to hear those final 4 words.

Are you back in the sewing groove after the holiday madness?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

State of the Studio

It's a new year and time to make a plan.  While I did finish 3 quilts from last year's UFO stack I've managed to add to it so I'm starting this year off with 13 WIPs.

5 quilts are in the To Be Quilted pile.  I plan to quilt Going Coastal and Sloops at Laurena's Longarm so I just need to get on the phone and schedule some time.  I started the straight line quilting on the Houndstooth but I want to practice my pebbles before I tackle the the navy sections.  I need a quilting plan for Big Swoon but the Mendocino ZigZag is ready to go.

I have 5 more finished flimsys...  3 of them need to be basted before advancing to the TBQ stack.  Blue Plate Special is bigger than my floor so I'm saving that one for this year's BostonMQG retreat but Toes in the Sand and SugarPlums are ready to go.  The other 2 still need backs.  I have the fabric for Here Comes the Sun but can't seem to settle on what to do for the Tie Fighters.

I've been stalled on my La Passacaglia.  I'm having a hard time picking fabrics for my remaining cogs.  I need to make 1 more large cog and figure out the outer rings of the Neptune cog.  I've got a few centers done for the filler cogs but since I want things to blend I'm trying to switch my thinking to work from the outside in.  There's no real urgency on this one but I do like having handwork I can just grab and go so I'm trying to push myself to make some decisions...  fabric shopping may be required.

I've also been dragging my feet on my Snake Trail quilt.  I've sewn all the arcs to fusible and I put the peanut gallery to work turning them all.  The next step is to cut the background squares.  I picked up a bolt of Fog Cotton Couture but haven't gotten motivated to chop it up.

Finally, there's one last push with #100BlocksFinished to get all those #100Days100Blocks turned into a City Sampler quilt.  The deadline is January 25th and I still haven't decided how to set the blocks so it's going to be a stretch but for now that's my #1 goal.

Of course only working WIPs is no fun so I've got a few fun new ideas percolating.  I like to time my machine's trip to Daley by the Yard for its spa services with my own vacations so I don't lose too much sewing time.  I picked up my baby yesterday and we've got a ton of snow rolling in this weekend so it's the perfect time to get sewing!  What's your plan for 2017?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

2016 by the numbers...

15 pillows - 2016 will definitely go down in history as the Year of the Pillow.

13 finished quilts.

1 hard core crush on Heather Ross' Briar Rose which resulted in 2 quilts and 3 pillows.

The #100Days100Blocks challenge.

4 delightful days on retreat with the amazing ladies of the Boston MQG.

More La Passacaglia pieces than I can count

3 skirts added to my closet for selfish sewing week.

18 Spools of Aurifil.

137 Books Read - Best of the bunch: The Fireman, Last Days of Night and All the Missing Girls.

2016 was a year of changes for me and I'm still processing what all those changes mean.  My goal for 2017 is focus...  and lots of quilts;-)  Wishing you all the best for the new year!