Friday, February 26, 2016

Release the Hounds

One of the (many) things on my to do list is quilt my Tula Pink Houndstooth quilt.  It's been basted and sitting in my studio since last summer while I figured out how to quilt it.  Poking around the web it seems like a lot of people stipple these but I don't think it does anything for the design and with the bold color scheme whatever color I choose to quilt with was going to really show on half of the blocks.  The fabulous Angela Walters quilted Tula's and choose to do straight line quilting in light parts and swirls in the dark.  My quilting skills are definitely no match for Angela's but I like the effect so I thought I'd give it a try.

Rather than attempt it on my quilt I shrunk the pattern down to make a pillow sized practice version, this time in Lime & Navy.

In the navy sections I quilted 1/4" lines which was actually harder than I expected given the irregular shape.  For the green sections I pulled out my go to, Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters and tried some concentric circles.  It still needs more practice to get my circles round but I'm pretty pleased with the results.

I happened to have a lime green zipper on hand so I went with my go-to zipper installation tutorial by s.o.t.a.k handmade for the back.

It doesn't really go with anything in my house but I love it...  maybe it's time for a quilt studio redo:-)

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

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 21" x 21"
Pattern: Adapted from Quilts from the House of Tula Pink
Fabrics: Kona Storm & FSDS Lime.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Midnight (2745) and Fern Green (2888).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Quilting All the Things

Old habits die hard and even with W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced on hiatus Wednesday is the day I think to catch up on what I've been doing.  With the kids out on February break last week I didn't get a whole lot of sewing time in last week but I always manage to find a few snippits of time.

I would have preferred a tropical vacation to photo shoot this watercolor quilt but I had to settle for finishing up the binding while watching Audrey cheer.  Hopefully the weather here will cooperate and I can get pictures of the finished quilt soon.

Now that the kids are back to school I'm trying to tackle my growing UFO pile and quilt all the things.  I channeled my inner Angela Walters to try her Seafoam pattern in the green spaces on my Houndstooth pillow.  My quilting is OK but I'm not loving how this fills the space.

I also took another trip to Laurena's Longarm to finally quilt this Flea Market Fancy quilt.  It was originally intended to be the back for my Urban Windows quilt but was too small...  4 years later I might actually turn it in to a quilt.

Today I tackled another new FMQ design, swirlys, for this little improv pieced watercolor wall hanging.  I'm definitely better at ovals than circles.  We'll see what tomorrow brings...  will I finally tackle my Houndstooth pillow or take a break from quilting for some piecing?

Monday, February 15, 2016

I ♥ You!

I am obsessed with the color scheme from my Sweetheart pillow.  All those yummy pinks and reds with Aqua...  I just can't get enough! All my scraps were still out so I decided I had to make another pillow, this time using an old favorite, the Heart and Soul block by Katy of I'm a Ginger Monkey.

I was so sure I had enough of the aqua to pull it off and even did some cutting origami to make it all work...  until I realized my notes were off and I really needed 12 2 1/2" HSTs not 9 like I had written down.  I had 10 cut but there was really no getting around those last 2.  Seriously, foiled by 5" of fabric!!!  Luckily this is a problem I'm well equipped to deal with and in no time at all (thank you Hawthorne Threads!!! ) I had enough fabric to get it done all without having to brave the arctic chill that has settled over New England.  (True confession:  I drove to the mailbox so I could retrieve my fabric without actually going outside:-)

With my supply problems solved and another day of highs in the single digits it seemed like the perfect time to crank up the heat, queue up an iZombie marathon on Netflix and get sewing.  It was almost too quick to whip up this little block, slap some borders on it and get quilting.

I was torn on what thread color to use for the quilting so I used the extra HSTs to whip up a little mug rug and audition my choices.  I really liked the Blossom Pink (2530) but in the end decided it would be overpowering and stuck with Light Turquoise (5006).

Lately I've been obsessed with simple cross-hatch quilting and the Xs seemed appropriate for this project.  I love Jacquie Gerring's tips for straight line quilting using masking tape that is offset by 1/4" so you don't accidentally sew over the tape and have to waste time picking it out of your stitches.

Now that it's done I can't quite decide where to put it: An ode to aqua in the foyer?

Or all the Valentine's pillows together in the window seat?

It doesn't matter, I ♥ it everywhere:-)  Hope your Valentine's Day was sweet!!!

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 16" x 16"
Pattern: Heart and Soul by I'm a Ginger Monkey.
Fabrics: Assorted reds & pinks from stash,  FSDS Aqua.  Binding Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Cotton Natural Select.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Light Turquoise (5006).

Friday, February 12, 2016


Dave was so thrilled with the I Love You pillow I made for our anniversary I figured another one was in order for Valentine's Day;-)

The heart blocks were made using this fabulous Heart block tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew.  I made the 4" size which is charm square friendly.

The layout was inspired by Tula Pink's Paper Hearts quilt in the book Sew Red.  One of the huge benefits of having my fabric neatly shelved is it's so easy to pull what I want.  In this case I shopped my red and pink shelves choosing an assortment of orangy reds and purplish pinks.   I had a hard time finding "just the right" aqua but eventually spotted a leftover piece from my Shades of Grey mini in my scrap bin.

I do love a zig zag!  For the quilting I did rows of straight line quilting to emphasize the negative space.  It's tedious but I love the effect.

There were definitely a few lessons learned on this one...  I didn't trim the fabrics behind the small triangles.  I thought they were so small it wouldn't matter but it added a lot of bulk in that area which is made worse by the fact the tops abut.  Tula Pink's version has a sashing strip between the hearts which helps reduce this bulk but I eliminated it to keep my pillow square which made matters even worse.  Overall I feel my design looks unbalanced.  If I do it again, and I might, I'd rework the layout and do a better job trimming and pressing.

I also had a minor mishap when my iron literally melted down while I was pressing my binding.  I have every stain remover in the known universe after my Christmas Baubles debacle none of which work on scorch marks.  In the end I was able to fade them with white vinegar and they're not as obvious on the aqua as they would have been on white.  Does this only happen to me?

And here it is on the couch ready for family fondue & a movie night.  Will your Valentine's be a romantic night out or quiet night at home?

Sharing the love at this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.  As an added bonus, the trimmings from the heart bottoms are absolutely perfect for Amanda's Micro Geese Mini Quilt.  If only I'd seen this before mine went out in the trash...

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 20" x 20"
Pattern: Heart blocks by Cluck Cluck Sew.  Layout inspired by Tula Pink's Paper Hearts quilt in the book Sew Red
Fabrics: Assorted reds & pinks from stash,  FSDS Aqua.  Binding Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Light Turquoise (5006).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

7 Tips for Finding Your Sewjo

I promise I'm not going to whine about this again.  With W.i.P. Wednesday on hiatus I've been thinking about how to change up my blogging schedule.  One idea was to share tips for issues I've encountered during the week so here goes...  7 Tips for Finding Your Sewjo.

Sunshine Roses charm pack pinwheels
1.  Clean It Up - Truth be told I'm a bit of a slob and my studio definitely gets out of control at times.  When I'm feeling stuck the first thing I always do is start cleaning.  You're bound to find some long forgotten treasure.  Tanya Whelan charm packs shoved in a drawer, the Patricia Tunic pattern you printed before realizing you were out of scotch tape, a year's worth of Liberty Club... something is sure to catch your eye and with your freshly organized space you'll be ready to jump right in.

Hearts Mini
2.  Check Your Calendar - Is there something to sew for coming up?  I love rotating seasonal quilts around my house.  It's not too late for Valentine's Day!  Easter is early this year, maybe another set of handmade napkins.  Handmade bags are almost required for the Boston MQG retreat, wouldn't it be awesome to pack my accessories in that Sew Together bag I keep saying I'm going to make.  A good friend with a birthday coming up?  Thinking about what to make for someone else can add some focus to your quest for a project.

Tula Pink Houndstooth Pillow Cover
3.  Think Small - It's a big commitment to make a quilt.  Even a baby quilt require a fair investment in fabric and time.  A mini quilt or pillow cover is a great way to try out a new pattern, color combo, or quilting motif.

4. Check Your Inspiration Boards - You probably have a collection somewhere of things that inspire you.  These days it's likely to be a Pinterest board but it could just as easily be a folder of magazine clippings or a pinboard on your wall.  Browse through that to see if anything jumps out as your now project.  The key here is to focus on ideas you've already collected.  Just surfing the web looking at quilts when you're already feeling uncertain can easily become a giant time suck leaving you feeling even more overwhelmed by an overload of ideas.

Improv Pieced QAG fabric basket
5.  Challenge Yourself - I'm not a huge fan of challenges because I usually want to just make what I want to make but when I can't figure out what that is sometimes a personal challenge is just the thing.  Challenge yourself to make something with that fabulous Tula Pink bundle you had to have 3 years ago (and you just rediscovered organizing your sewing space) or to make something using as many pinks as you can find.  Not scrappy by nature?  Challenge yourself to make something with a bucket of scraps.

6.  Learn Something New - Sign up for a quilting class at your LQS.  Not only will you learn something new but you'll hopefully make new quilty friends as well.  Nothing nearby?  Try a class on Craftsy or just check out some of the amazing tutorials being put out by Missouri Star Quilt Co.

7.  Get Social - Everything is easier with friends.  Invite a friend over to rummage through your stash and create a fabric pull for you.  Create your own bundle and post it on social media asking for opinions.  You're not bound by anything but getting feedback from others can help crystallize your thinking.  If you're really brave ask your kids what they think about an idea, just be prepared for brutal honesty:-)

Are you feeling inspired?  So get out there and sew!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pillow Party

I scored a quilting hat trick this week and finished up all 3 of my Boat House pillows.  I'm obsessed with this collection and want to use up every last little bit!

First up is Save Me...  a sized down version of Thimble Blossoms' Cheerios pattern.

This one is Dex's Monogram, DSG, in nautical flags.  I swapped the aqua for yellow.

And I couldn't resist making one more Preppy the Whale...  I love this guy so much!!!

Eventually they'll end up back in Dex's room when I finish my Sloops quilt but for now they're bringing some nautical flair to our mudroom:-)  I've still got some left so there may be more to come...  something with bunting perhaps?

Joining the fun this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Cheerios Pillow:
Finished pillow is 20" x 20"
Pattern:  Cheerios by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms.
Fabrics: Boat House by Sweetwater for Moda, Kona Snow.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Natural White (2021).

Nauti Monogram Pillow:
Finished pillow is 14" x 28"
Fabrics: Boat House by Sweetwater for Moda, Kona Snow.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Natural White (2021).

Preppy the Whale Pillow:
Finished pillow is 12" x 16"
Pattern:  Preppy the Whale by Elizabeth Hartman.
Fabrics: Boat House by Sweetwater for Moda, Kona Snow.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Natural White (2021).

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Keep on Keepin' On

Did you hear the news?  W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced is going on hiatus...  Thank you Lee for keeping me motivated!!!

It's been another week of jumping from project to project but this week I got smart and listed all my active WiPs one of of my whiteboard bubbles.  I'm such a sucker for a check mark:-)  It definitely helped me stay on track...

I've got the bindings on all my Boat House pillows so I just need to finish tacking them down and I'll have some finishes to share on Friday.

I also picked up some lime green thread at Quilter's Way so I can quilt this shrunken Houndstooth pillow cover.

And I finally managed to schedule some time at Laurena's Longarm Quilting.  I dug this one out of the UFO pile, a perfect practice piece to ease back into using the longarm!  The binding is on so I've got lots of TV time in my future.  Any recommendations?

Of course I couldn't resist starting something new...  I cleaned up my studio looking for inspiration and found 2 Tanya Whelan Sunshine Roses charm packs and turned them into pinwheels.  Perfect for a sweet little shabby chic Valentine's quilt.

There are still plenty of things on my to do list.  What are you working on this week?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Keeping the faith with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)