Friday, July 21, 2017

Coastering Into the Weeked

I'm probably the last sewist on the planet but I finally jumped on the Rope Bowl bandwagon.  I'm not sure what finally tipped me over the edge, probably the fact that you can't open a design magazine without seeing a room styled with one of these, but here I am catching up to 2014.

I'd asked my husband to get me the longest length of clothesline they had because I wanted to make a big basket but then I realized I'd probably be better off starting with something small.  Back to the hardware store for a 50 foot starter length.  For thread I picked this Aurifil Light Leaf Green  (#1147) mainly because I had a fully wound bobbin and an extra spool.

There are a million and one tutorials out there for Sewing a Rope Bowl but I went with Flossie Teacakes because I just adore everything she does.  To get some practice I started out making a set of coasters.  This was a great way to get a feel for making these because I got to practice lots of starts and ends which really is the most challenging part.  I did find it difficult to get my coil started because my cord immediately started to ravel.  What worked best for me was to wrap my end with some scotch tape and then cut the end just above the end.  I also saw a suggestion to wrap the end with water soluble thread which would be a great way to use that up as well.  I also experimented using different feet.  Here I'm using my open toe embroidery foot (#3) but ultimately I found I preferred using my walking foot with the regular sewing sole plate.

When my bobbin ran out I switched to Delft Blue (#2730) and made 2 more.  I experimented with different ways for ending.  I'm not sure I've found one I love but I am pretty happy with the technique of making a loop and then backstitching over the end.

With a set of coasters completed I decided it was time to try bowling.  Back to my thread rack I found another full bobbin of Mint (#2830) which I used to make this adorable little bowl.  This is a great way to free up bobbins.  I'm tempted to make a rainbow bowl just to empty all the rest of my prewound bobbins;-)

And now for my next project...  what's your favorite rope accessory?

Coastering into the weekend with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Siesta Anyone?

I've already talked a lot about constructing this quilt so there's not much left to add...

The quilting was uneventful...  Endless rows of straight-lines while binge watching Catastrophe.  Fortunately the drama stayed on-screen, not even a thread emergency.

I had some leftover triangles so I stitched them together and added them to the back.  I'm not wasting a bit of this fabric!!!

Gratuitous binding shot because the snails on the tree amuse me...

I must say this is the most snuggly quilt I've ever made - I wish I'd made it queen sized so I could put it on my bed.  The combination of cotton lawn fabrics and wool batting makes it absolutely cloud like.  Perfect for an afternoon siesta in the hammock:-)  Details on my matching Nap Time pillow are here.

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

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 45" x 57"
Fabrics: Sleeping Porch by Heather Ross.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Wool.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Blossom Pink (2530).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: Vacationland

With summer in full swing we've been on the go.  We spent the week in Maine which meant my long ignored La Passacaglia is finally getting some attention.  I think I'm going to keep adding to this one so it will be my last large rosette.

I'd have finished this one if I hadn't been one star short...  Luckily we were on our way home - time for some more prepping.

Being in Maine also meant I got to hit some fabric stores...  I may have went a bit overboard at Marden's but how could I resist when these OOP fabrics were only $4/yard?

It rained Friday so we took a trip up to Portland where I got to check out a new modern quilt shop, Z Fabrics.  It's off the beaten track and a bit hard to find but well worth the search...  Birds & the Bees voile - are you kidding me?

Now that we're back I've been folding all my fabric and dreaming up ways to use it.  My shelves are overflowing so I think I'm going to do some destashing on Instagram.  Stay tuned for details...  Are you finding sewing time this summer?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Star Struck

Thanks to some lazy days at the lake I finished this up in time for the 4th.

You can read about the construction here...  Long story short I used Hopeful Homemaker's awesome lone star block tutorial but then made some questionable choices adding the borders. I figured an overall design would work best to quilting out the wonkiness.  Inpired by The Inbox Jaunt's Swirling Stars I made freezer paper motifs that I ironed on when I wanted stars and then did swirling meanders between them.

Once it was quilted I used my fave zipper closure tutorial by s.o.t.a.k handmade to turn it into a pillow cover, threw on the binding, and I was ready for our trip to Maine.

Could you ask for a better spot to tack a binding?

A perfect companion to my stars banner for a star spangled 4th.

Keeping the celebration going with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 21" x 21"
Pattern: Lone Star Block tutorial by Hopeful Homemaker
Fabrics:  Anna Griffin Madison prints from Marden's, Spot On by Makower UK
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Ermine (2312)

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Graduate

I've been keeping this one under wraps so it would be a surprise.  Another family friend graduated from high school this year.  Unlike my last graduation gift I actually finished this one in time for her to take it off to college in the fall.

I chose this Helix pattern by the Tulip Patch as a nod to the STEM curriculum at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  Another fan of purple I went back to my stash.  I think this design needs two high contrast colors to really work.  I decided to go with yellow, another color that I don't have a lot of.  Scrappy quilts aren't really thing so I think using two colors I had in small supply made me push past my usual matchy-matchy tendencies.

With my squares cut I got to work making my HSTs...  all 144 of them.

The great thing about this quilt is that while it looks complicated it's actually quite simple to construct.  Once all the HSTs are made it's just a matter of putting them together into these star blocks.

I debated how I was going to quilt this for awhile.  My first impulse was to schedule an appointment at Burlington Electric Quilters but I didn't think I could find a chevron pantograph and my ruler work isn't that good.  In the end I cleared my living room to baste this and quilted it at home.  I used a Hera marker to mark my quilting lines.  It's amazing how easy they are to follow and yet they totally disappear with a fluff in the dryer.

I used the last of my bolt of Fog Cotton Couture to make bias binding to finish this.

I'm so happy with how this turned out...

And the back.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 70" x 95"
Pattern: Helix by the Tulip Patch.
Fabrics: Assorted purple and yellow fabrics from stash.  Michael Miller Cotton Couture Fog.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Grey (2605).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: Y Not?


I got a bit of a break this week and decided it was the perfect opportunity to finally make some July 4th decorations.  I scored this collection of Anna Griffin Madison prints last summer at Marden's and inspired by From Bolt to Beauty's assertion that Y-seams are no big deal I decided it was time to tackle them myself.

I used this awesome Lone Star Block tutorial by Hopeful Homemaker.

As promised with careful marking the Y-seams went together painlessly and in no time I had a finished block.  Feeling a bit cocky after my success I decided to use the leftover strips sets to make a border.  Rather than doing quilt math I took a short cut and just sewed together my pieces into rows that seemed long enough, added an inner and outer border and then trimmed them to size.  Rookie mistake!!!  With the bias all my borders were not the same size and now I had to do some easing to make things fit.

The end result is a bit wonky.  My original plan was to make a wall hanging but I think a pillow will do a better job hiding the uneveness...  it'll quilt out, right;-)  Undeterred I'm hoping to get this quilted and put together before we leave for Maine.  Do you feel compelled to decorate for every holiday?


Friday, June 23, 2017

Winding Ways

Who would have thought this quilt would wind it's way back to Wellesley.  My 25th college reunion was this summer and I couldn't resist bringing this one along to test it out in the dorms.  A perfect fit:-)

This quilt has certainly taken on a life of its own.  I started it last summer when a good friend of our family who was going off to college mentioned she would appreciate a handmade quilt for her dorm room.  I immediately started dreaming up ideas... I loved the idea of making Denyse Schmidt's Snake Trail quilt from Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration but I knew I didn't want to deal with curved piecing so I came up with my own technique and whipped up a mini as a proof of concept.  With my approach validated I got working.

Her only guidelines were for purple and grey...  not my usual color palette.  I pulled every purple in my stash, bought a bundle, and raided the stashes of a few more violet oriented friends and pulled together enough purples for all the arcs.

This quilt is far from perfect.  There are a few places where I didn't quite catch my arcs when I pieced together the blocks.  I reinforced those raw edges with a zigzag quilt stitch like the roadblocks that sometimes pop up.  I changed up the layout to represent the surprising twists and turns life can take.  Dead ends, endless loops it's a metaphor for life.

This was on display at this year's BostonMQG Quilt Show at Fabric Place Basement but now that the show has closed I can finally get it to it's intended recipient...  just in time for sophomore year.

Blazing my own trail with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 65" x 97"
Pattern: Inspired by Denyse Schmidt's Snake Trail from Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration
Fabrics: Assorted purple fabrics from stash.  Michael Miller Cotton Couture Fog.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Grey (2605).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Grad Gifting

As usual I needed a last minute gift... When it comes to well thought out tutorials you can't beat anything by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. This Zippy Wallet Tutorial is her very first but it's still well written and easy to follow... which isn't to say I didn't change things up.

All the kids I know are permanently attached to their phones so I made this a bit bigger to fit an iPhone 6/7.  This is a great pattern for using up scraps!  I pulled these cherished Out to Sea prints together for the preppy and dug out a long neglected Violette bundle for the other two.

I also think Anna's technique for the zipper ends on her Gathered Clutch makes for a more finished edge so I added those.

One of the things that makes Anna's patterns look so professional is her use of hardware.  These snaps make such an impact on the finished wallet and I love a project that let's me hammer out some of my sewing frustrations;-)

I think I might need one of these for myself!  Do you have a go to grad gift?

Hitting all the graduation parties with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: Heading For the Finish Line

With school wrapping up I've been frantically trying to wrap up all the loose ends before my schedule gets really crazy.  This week's focus has been quilting, quilting, quilting.  Inspired by my Sleeping Porch pillow finish I also quilted the coordinating triangle quilt.  The binding is on but I haven't quite finished tacking it down...  good news, road trips ahead.

With that quilted I moved on to basting the next flimsy in my stack.  Things were going great until I ran out of safety pins.  Now that my LQS has closed it's not just a quick trip across town to get more.  After weighing my options I decided the fastest solution was to quilt something already basted.  I grabbed my Blue Plate Special that I basted at Laurena's Longarm and started quilting down the plates.  Of course once I started I couldn't stop even though I had enough pins...  next step is to add the centers and hand quilt around the plates, another grab and go project that should keep me busy for a loooong time.

And with a fully basted quilt there's more quilting to be done...

In these last precious days I'm hoping to get more of my neglected La Pass prepped so I can still stay busy when I can't get in to my sewing studio.  What's your plan for sewing this summer?





Friday, June 2, 2017

Nap Time Pillow

Making Espadrilles was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back to sewing!!!  Back while I was waiting for my Sleeping Porch Triangles batting to arrive from Fat Quarter Shop I started sewing together some of the scraps.  This time instead of triangles I used the end pieces to make Half Square Rectangles (HSRs).  This fabric is so yummy I can't let a single bit go to waste!  I had enough pieces already cut so now that I was finally back in my studio I put together this little pillow top.

I love small projects like this to test thread colors for bigger projects.  In the end I decided to go with Blossom Pink Aurifil.  I kept the quilting simple so in no time I had this one ready to finish.

I've found I get more use out of pillows than wall hangings so I paired this Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass from my stash with yet another zipper from my endless supply.  I still haven't found a better zipper tutorial than this one by s.o.t.a.k handmade.

Since I was on a roll I even basted my Triangle quilt and got quilting...  hopefully I'll have a matched set soon.

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

Quilt Stats:
Finished pillow is 12" x 17"
Fabrics: Sleeping Porch by Heather Ross.  Roman Glass in Leafy by Kaffe Fassett.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Blossom Pink (2530).