Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ghastly Games

I don't know which is more inspiring...  seeing all the fabulous new fabrics making their debut at Quilt Market or seeing all the absolutely amazing Blogger's Quilt Festival quilts!  Either way, I just want to barricade myself in my studio and quilt my brains out:-)

I had the idea for this quilt last year but never got a chance to make it and it's been haunting me ever since.  As soon as October rolled around I started having all sorts of Ghastly thoughts:-)  I pulled out my stash and immediately got to it.

There are tons of great tutorials on how to make a circle quilt out there.  Mine is loosely based on this Liberty Mini (which I'm totally going to make someday) by Purl Soho.  I used the Easy Circle Cut ruler to cut my circles out of sheer fusible interfacing (Pellon 906F) then pinned this to my printed fabric so the fusible side is facing the right side of the fabric.  Stitch around the circle using a 1/4" seam allowance and then trim your circle using pinking sheers so you don't have to worry about clipping the curves.  Make a small slit in the fusible and turn the circle right side out.  DO NOT IRON!!!

Once all my circles were made I assembled the checkerboard background, basted it, and quilted 1/4" on either side of the seam lines.  Once I arranged the circles the way I wanted I fused them to the quilted top and then quilted around each circle.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson but I used this leftover binding from my Ghastly Coffin quilt without measuring it first...  it was THAT close but I made it:-)

I was totally inspired by the fabulous presentation by The Story of Kat at our October BMQG meeting on hand-embroidered quilt labels.  My text is a little too tight and I definitely need to work on my stitches but I'm learning to embrace imperfection.

This perfectly captures my vision but those Ghastlies may still be haunting me;-)

Go find your inspiration at the Blogger's Quilt Festival!!!

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 40" x 40"
Fabrics: The Ghastlies, Ghastly Family Reunion, and A Ghastly Night by Alexander Henry, Onyx Grunge by Basic Grey, Fairy Frost Glow White by Michael Miller
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient
Thread: King Tut 978, Rosetta Stone

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Christy's Garden

It's hard to believe it's time for another Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Choosing a quilt to share made me realize how little quilting I've done this year but it gives me another chance to show off Christy's Garden, one of my absolute favorite projects.

I had the idea to make this quilt with the 26 kids in Audrey's 6th grade class as a gift for their teacher when they graduated from elementary school.  Hexagons seemed appropriate since they have 6 sides;-)
Over the course of the spring we scheduled several sessions for the kids to come over after school and work on their project.

I precut the hexagons and let the kids pick which fabric to use for their flower.  Each person had to make at least one printed petal and a solid yellow center which they signed.  For many of them this was a challenge but focused on the goal of making something special for their teacher they stuck with it and persevered.  Almost everyone made all 7 hexagons for their flower and many of the kids went on to stitch them together.

Once the kids had finished their flowers I invited the parents over to help me with assembling all the flowers together (or at least keep me company while I did it:-)  Our school is very focused on community and this truly was a project that embraced that philosophy.  

With graduation rapidly approaching I quilted this and got the binding on so the kids could present it to their teacher.  They were all so excited to point out each of their flowers and tell her about making it.  The best part is when I'm volunteering at the junior high and see the kids from this class they all stop to talk to me and several have asked if we can make another quilt.  The next generation of quilters is here!!!

Tips for making a quilt with kids:
  1. Start early, it will take longer than you think!!!
  2. Have all of your materials ready in advance.  I bought paper hexagon templates and precut all of the  fabrics.  It also helps to have pre-threaded needles with knotted ends for kids to use to tack down their hexagons.  They'll have plenty of chances to learn to thread a needle and it'll let you quickly get everyone started making their flower.  I also gave each kid a binder clip to hold their first side down.
  3. If possible, start by teaching a small group first.  I did our first session with just Audrey's close friends.  That way they were able to help the kids who were struggling and needed some extra help.
  4. Schedule frequent short sessions rather than long marathons.  We scheduled two hour sessions but had lost most of the kids after the first hour.  Snack breaks help:-)
  5. Enlist help from other parents.  Even if they say they've never sewed in their life they can help thread needles and keep the kids focused.  I "encouraged" each Mom who showed up to make at least one flower also.  After all, if their child did it they certainly could manage;-)
  6. Stay organized.  I gave each person a ziplock bag with their name on it to keep all their supplies in one place.  Rather than sending pieces home and risking them never coming back I kept everything and scheduled more sessions.  Also keep a class list to check off who has made their flowers and also to make sure that all the finished flowers make it in to the final quilt.

Be sure to check out more awesome quilts at the Blogger's Quilt Festival!!!

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 53" x 65"
Pattern: Based on Hexy MF by the fabulous Katy of I'm a Ginger Monkey
Fabrics: Avignon by Emily Taylor and stash.
Background: Happy-Go-Lucky by Bonnie & Camille
Backing: City Weekend by Oliver + S
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient
Thread: Aurifil 2600

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

W.i.P. Wednesday: Caught in the Undertoe

This month's Toes in the Sand BOM session at Quilter's Way snuck up on me and of course this was one of the most time intensive blocks so far.

It wasn't particularly difficult but it has lots and lots of small pieces that need to go together.  This is definitely a time when you want to stack your fabrics and cut both blocks at once!  Important:  If you are making this from the kit when you are cutting your hexagons you need to cut your 4 1/2" strip first and cut out the large hexagon.  You can then trim this down to 2 1/2" to cut the smaller hexagons.  You can not get all 9 small hexagons from a single 2 1/2" strip and it is unlikely that you will be able to get two 2 1/2" strips and a 4 1/2" strip from your fat eighth.  This is also true for the multiple sized navy triangles.  Cut your 3 1/2" strip and two 1 1/2" strips.  Once you've cut your 3 1/2" triangles trim the remaining strip down to 2 1/2" inches for those triangles.  I turned my striped fabric the opposite direction for my smaller triangles to give it some more movement.

Once you've cut everything out it's not too bad to assemble all the pieces in to bigger and bigger units until you can piece them all together.  

With this one I went off script and swapped some leftover floral fabric for the navy grunge rather than using it in both blocks.  I thought this added some more color and I didn't like pairing the two grunge prints together.

And there you have it, another month in the bag:-)  

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Check out what everyone else is up to at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quilters Playdate with Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I was so lucky to get to see the incredible Victoria Findlay Wolfe again this year.  A huge thank you to the amazing Amy Friend and the Seacoast MQG for inviting us to join them for this awesome event!!!

Victoria's fabulous book 15 Minutes of Play is packed with challenges to get you thinking about and using your stash in new ways.  Her enthusiasm for quilting is contagious and after hearing her talk I wanted to race home and throw all of my long hoarded scraps on the floor and start sewing.  Lucky for me half my stash is already there;-)

We seem to share a fondness for Jennifer Paganelli prints and polka dots.  I had so much fun spotting some of my favorite fabrics and marveling at the few "uglies" stuck in that just work when surrounded by so many lovelies. Victoria's motto: "Imagine the possibilities! Try something new and never say never...  after all it's only fabric, you've got more!"

I'm ready to play!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Another Washi Dress

I whipped up my latest Washi Dress by Made by Rae last month during Selfish Sewing Week but it's been a challenge getting pictures to share...

Red isn't really my color but I picked up this awesome Valori Wells Novella rayon at Quilter's Way last summer planning to make a dress for 4th of July.  Maybe next year;-)  I think it transitions well and I can throw it on with a cardigan for fall.  The rayon is super soft and comfortable and has a lovely drape.  My 9 year-old son was my photographer for this one...  I told him to focus on getting pictures of the dress, so he did, totally cutting me out of the picture;-)

The best I could do was this awkward selfie:-)  If this one gets anywhere near as much wear as my first Washi does you'll have plenty of chances to it in person!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

W.i.P Wednesday: Ghastly Goings On...

It was so nice to get in some extra sewing time with the long weekend!!!  Monday the kids had friends over which meant I got to sneak off to my studio to play while they were entertained:-)  I actually have two Ghastlies quilts going (because 4 just isn't enough!).  These quilts have been haunting me since last year so it's time to finally get them put together.

The checkerboard background for this one went together really quickly and after a quick run over to Quilter's Way for batting I was able to get it basted and quilted.  All of the circles are made so now I just have to stitch them down.

Then I pulled this stack of fabrics because nothing says Halloween like pink and green;-)  More Halloween treats to add to my collection.

And since I really wanted to try out my new toy with some FMQ I tried spinning up some spiderwebs.  I've been dying to try out this awesome spiderweb tutorial by the fabulous Kristie at ocd:obsessive crafting disorder.  It really is as easy as she says:-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
See who else is sewing at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

W.i.P Wednesday: Keep Calm and Sew Steady

I got a new quilting toy to play with this week:-)  When I took my broken machine in to Daley by the Yard last month I also asked Erin to order me a Sew Steady extension table.

 You might have noticed in all my action shots I have some Lilly sitting under my machine.  Well an embarrassingly long time ago I broke my sewing table.  Since then I've McGyvered it in place with this deck of playing cards.

Erin made my day on Friday when she called to tell me it was in...  the perfect excuse to get some sewing done.  I love all the extra room for sewing and I can't wait to try out some FMQ!!!

Watch out, I've got something Ghastly in the works;-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
See who else is sewing at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ask Me About the Birds and the Bees (Perfect Quilted Tote)

I don't think I've ever been more impressed with myself after having made a bag...  and the last bag I made was the dreaded Weekender;-)  With 39 meticulously detailed steps, Oh, Fransson's Perfect Quilted Tote is not for the faint of heart.  But what a tote bag it is...  

I started this in Elizabeth's workshop at the Philly Sew Down but ended up starting over when I got home.  It was much easier having my whole stash to pull from.  I started with a FQ bundle of Tula Pink Birds and the Bees and then raided my scrap bin.  This bag was made 100% from stash.  I just kept finding things I loved that would work perfectly:-)  

I found it was pretty quick and easy to make the quilt as you go panels once I had a plan in place.

Then the fun really starts...  This bag has TWO interior pockets, including one with a zipper.  I got this fabulous Anna Maria Horner Good Folks print at Marden's this summer.

My only regret is that I didn't use the Cranberry Crossweave from the facing to do the slip pocket trim/interior.  But check out that perfectly installed zipper;-)

I made the wide version and it's the perfect size for everything I need but I'm wondering if carrying this is a little too close to wearing a quilted jacket.  It's a fine line...

See more fabulous finishes at Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

W.i.P Wednesday: The Return to Sewing

It's a little scary that we've already rolled in to October.  This week I finally feel like things have gotten back to normal and we are settled back into a routine.  The kids are in school and actually going full weeks, nobody is traveling or sick, my machine is fixed.  I know, I'm totally asking for a bitch slap from life:-)  Anyway, I took advantage of this quiet time to get back in my studio and do some sewing...

Last week's Selfish Sewing really got the creative juices stirring so I decided it was finally time to use this awesome Valori Wells Novella rayon to make a Washi dress.  Thanks to imagine gnats and Made with Moxie for hosting this super fun event!!!

I also got to work on my Perfect Quilted tote bag from Elizabeth Hartman's fabulous class at the Philly Sew Down.  I was afraid this project was cursed!  I was having a horrible time quilting on the machines they provided at Sew Down.  What can I say, I'm a Bernina girl;-)   Maybe it was a subconscious thing but then I somehow lost the panel I had completed.  I think it decided to stay in NYC.  So I started over...

I forget how tedious straight line quilting really is but hopefully now I'm on a roll and all these works in progress will turn in to finishes!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
See who else is sewing at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)