Friday, January 31, 2014

Swept Away

The absolute best thing about joining the BostonMQG was I found my BQF Aimee.  There isn't a single project I've made since we met that hasn't been improved by her suggestions.  Yesterday during our standing craft chat we were cleaning out our respective quilt studios and Aimee came across some fabulous ribbon we bought on our fabric buying frenzy at Mood.  Faster than you can say "We love Tula Pink!" the challenge had been issued...  use it to make a Noodlehead Gathered Clutch.

My biggest concern was the zipper since I'd already made my daily trip to Quilter's Way but it turns out I do have a secret stash of zippers so I had a few choices.

The ribbon is from Salt Water and I played around with a couple of ideas before deciding it was time to dip in to my carefully hoarded pile of Neptune.  Picking out fabrics and cutting all the pieces was definitely the most time consuming part of the process.

Anna's instructions are easy to follow and well illustrated.  The zipper installation was a breeze!

I wish I'd followed the instruction to use a slightly wider seam allowance when sewing the lining pieces so it fit better inside the bag.  Mine is a bit poochy but the card slots are a perfect fit.

The finished clutch is a bit small for my taste, more the size of a pencil case or wallet.  If I make it again (and I can guarantee I will) I'd use these mods from Clover & Violet to make it a bit bigger.

Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

W.i.P Wednesday: Impressed

This week I got caught up on my Toes in the Sand BOM and decided to use Block 10 as an opportunity to test a new product.

The Challenge:  Best Press vs. Flatter

I'm a bit of a Best Press pusher around the BostonMQG but when the awesome folks at Soak gave us some Flatter to giveaway I knew I had to try it (though I wasn't lucky enough to win some in the giveaway, I had to buy my own).

When you press the fabrics for your strips if you press them right sides together you can just cut and sew.  If you pay attention to the direction of your first cut you will only need two 2" strip sets to make the 6 half hexes.  Once you've made the half-hexes the construction, including the partial seam, is identical to Block 4.

To keep it totally fair I made an extra set of blocks.  For the first blocks I pressed with Best Press.   I'm addicted to Best Press for the amazing crisp finish it gives my fabric.  Blocks pressed with Best Press almost have the heft of a sheet of paper.  At $.47 cents/oz ($7.95 for a 16.9oz. bottle) it's an expensive habit but you can get it down to .33 cents/oz if you buy it by the gallon.  The fabulous Jane at Quilter's Way also shared this tip with me, "Once you've sprayed your blocks with Best Press you never need to add more.  Just pressing with water will reactivate it's power."

For the second I used Celebration scented Flatter.  It smells lovely and is made with plant-derived ingredients so no sulfates or silicones.  It does a lovely job getting out the wrinkles but it doesn't quite produce the same crispness as the Best Press.  Also, at a whopping $1.43/oz ($12 for a 8.4oz bottle) it makes my Best Press habit seem downright thrifty.

The Verdict:
Given the price tag and my results I'm still hooked on Best Press but I will keep some Flatter around for ironing clothes.

*Full disclosure*  I did not receive compensation nor am I in any way affiliated with Mary Ellen Products or Soak.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

See who else is stitching at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Add It Up

To kick off my Use It or Lose It campaign to tame my stash of pre-cuts I started with one of my all time favorite collections, Rouenneries by French General.  It coordinates perfectly with my decor so I already have a quilt, table topper and a set napkins so this time I went for a wall hanging.

I used a mash up of these awesome tutorials by In Color Order and For the Love of George and then adapted them to use a jellyroll.  For each cross I cut 2, 2 1/2" squares and a 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" strip and arranged them according to the diagram.  Once it's all laid out it's easy enough to sew together the rows.

For the quilting I outlined each cross.  It was a little tedious with all the starts and stops and turning but I like the finished effect.  I used Aurifil grey spool/28 wt to give the quilting a little extra definition.

I pushed myself to get it quilted and get the binding on so I'd have some handwork for the Patriot's playoff game last Sunday.  It helps to keep my hands busy sewing rather than snacking;-)

I'm still playing with my scraps but anything not sewn together at the end of the month is up for grabs.  Come back next week for a giveway of all my French General leftovers!

Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 26" x 26"
Fabrics: Rouenneries Deux by French General for Moda, stash
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient
Thread: Aruifil 2310 28wt (grey spool)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Use It Or Lose It!

I know you'll understand if I admit to being a bit of a fabric addict and confess that my fabric stash is taking over my sewing studio...  and don't even get me started on my pre-cut problem.  They're just so cute and fun!  What could be better than having a ready to use piece of every fabric in a collection?

The problem is there's never enough of what you need and it all looks to matchy-matchy using just a single collection.  I never end up actually using them so I've come up with a plan...

Use It or Lose It: each month I'm going to choose a collection to use and anything left at the end of the month is going in a box for a giveaway.  To kick things off I chopped up this Rouenneries Deux jellyroll for a plus quilt.  I love this collection and it goes really well in my house but I need to move on:-)

Stay tuned and spread the word to any French General lovers, in early February I'll hold a giveaway for all my leftovers, including yardage.  How are you taming your stash this year?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

W.i.P Wednesday: Toes to the Grindstone

Our Toes in the Sand BOM group is going to start meeting at Quilter's Way again this month and I'm determined to be caught up before we do.  Block 9 is another easy one so I was able to knock these out pretty quickly.  Just remember when you are cutting to start with your jewels.  If you cut the triangles first you won't have enough fabric though at this point you probably have enough scraps to compensate.  The cutting instructions for this BOM are very generous!  I think I'll have enough leftover for another whole quilt:-)

See who else is stitching at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: Back at It!

It was a hard transition leaving the warm Florida sunshine to return to the Arctic Vortex but I coped by bundling myself back in my quilt studio.  Without our regular BOM meetings at Quilter's Way I'd fallen behind on my Toes in the Sand blocks so my first order of business was to get caught up.

After last month Block 8 is a piece of cake!

I did switch up the fabrics on the second block.  I think I prefer a monochromatic palette.

It's good to be back to sewing and if this winter continues the way it's started I'll have plenty of time in my studio:-)

Check out how everyone else is stitching in the new year at this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)