Sunday, March 31, 2013

Doodle Do

My last finish of the month is a fun little project I intend to share with grandgirl. I think I first saw it on Instagram, and right off I wanted to make it. It's called the Doodle Memory Game, designed by Happy Sew LuckyBoth the “Doodle Memory Game” fabric for the cards, and the “Doodle Owl Rainbow” fabric for the pouch are available on Spoonflower.
The tutorial is found right on the Happy Sew Lucky blog, and if you take a glance, you'll see I deviated just a bit. Considering I'm in the middle of making 30(!) pincushions, I really wasn't in the mood to stitch and turn 112 - 2 1/2" cards. So I added fusible fleece to the back of the card fabric, then used spray baste to adhere that to the backing, basically making a complete "quilt sandwich". 
I then proceeded to stitch 1/4" inside the grid-lines of each card, securing ends before I moved on to the next. It sounds tedious, but it went quickly enough. Once stitched, I cut on all the lines with pinking shears.
One little detail I didn't factor in was that the increase in finished size and thickness of my cards meant I would need a larger bag to store them in than the tutorial suggested! I had made the medium size of Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial, and though I love how it turned out, not all the cards fit in at once. 
Good thing I had already planned on starting grandgirl off with a limited number of card sets, so I chose 20 I thought she would especially enjoy right now, and they fit just fine.
I have some owl fabric left, so maybe I'll make a larger bag to hold them all for when she gets a little older. Meanwhile, I think we'll doodle do just fine.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday!

2013 Finish-A-Long: Q1 Finishes

There's always a hopeful sort of feeling when one posts a new Finish-A-Long list, as I did just three short months ago. And I'm more than pleased to be able to report that I finished my list!

Mod Crosses - The blocks for this quilt were all done when the quarter started, but I was short on time to get the rows together before an appointment with the long-arm quilter. Thankfully I made it and was super pleased with the finished quilt, and hubby and I took it out for a fun photo-shoot.

Quiet Book - This project was intended as a Christmas gift for grandgirl, but the details took longer than I anticipated. At least she enjoyed it when I finally finished it.

Merry Stocking - Another belated Christmas item, but at least it's ready for Christmas 2013.

Scrappy Trip - On a whim I joined this sew-along on Instagram, and maybe even due to its impromptu nature, I thoroughly enjoyed putting these blocks together straight from the scrap bin.

Mod Angles Cushion - This was one of those finishes that really made no sense to have dawdled on so long. The blocks were already made, and once I sat down to stitch them together, it was a quick finish. And the quilting on this one was immensely satisfying. {tutorial here}
So that's it for this quarter - time to start pulling together a new list!

Linking up with Q1 post quarter link up at shecanquilt.

Friday, March 29, 2013

This and That

Boy, it's amazing how much cool randomness accumulates in the course of a week! Like this informative post from Lee of Freshly Pieced about Threadbias' new Quilt Design Tool. Have you tried it? I really need to, and I even have a quilt block in my head that would like to have a voice. Soon.

Cindy of Live a Colorful Life (awesome blog name, btw!) posted about the Mid-Century Modern bee we are in together. The bee is just a few months old, but we have already made such awesome blocks! March is my month, and I'm really excited about the low-volume blocks I am receiving. Here a pic of them from early this week:
Hugs & Kisses blocks 1-8
Anne/SpringLeaf Studios is also in my bee and wrote about my block and low volume, which I really enjoyed.

I'm really excited about a blog hop my friend Heidi/Fabric Mutt starts on Monday - Girl Friday Sews. Here's a link with all the nitty gritty and Taryn/from Pixels to Patchwork shared some great inspiration already. {I want her mousepad! Better yet, I'll be adding that to my list to stitch up!} And here's a flickr group to watch all the goings on.
Fabric Mutt

A bit ago I showed you two of FAITH Circle's recently completed quilts and here is another beauty by Anita/RhubarbPatch! I love what she did with our Sparkle blocks!
Sparkle No. 2
And speaking of FAITH Circle which is a do.Good Stitches bee, our head bee mama, Rachel/Stitched in Color, put out a call for international members to form new bees, and just happened to share my newly finished hst quilt in her post. Sweet.

And SO exciting was an impromptu call from Becky of Solar Threads! We're blog buddies, and she had mentioned recently that her family might be coming over to Seattle for spring break. Well their first night in town, Becky called having no idea they were staying just 10 minutes from my house. So I ran over to meet up and we had a lovely hour in the hotel lobby, just getting better acquainted and enjoying hanging out in person. Good times.

I'll be linking up with Really Random Thursday on Friday. It works.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

HST Love

So when I left off with the FAITH Circle quilt process the other day, I was quilting. Now that's done, and she's all bound up ready to go! Here's the rest of the story . . .

For me, anyway, there is usually some inspiration when I start a project - another quilt, a picture or piece of artwork, something I've seen out in the real world. For this quilt, it was definitely other solid hst quilts that I had seen in blog-land.  I chose the three below to show my bee members the direction we were headed. {These quilts were made by fordhook1, CB Handmade, and Sew Katie Did - click a pic to see more info about each on flickr.}
HST Festival a quilt for harry. hst love done
The colors I had in mind were white, medium gray, and a variety of cool colors. I asked them each to make two 18 1/2" blocks, each made up of four 9 1/2" blocks and I posted photos of how these blocks could be placed in a variety of configurations. And it was fun to see how my bee-mates followed my lead!
When the blocks all came back to me, it was a bit of a puzzle deciding how to arrange them. I didn't over-think the process really, but I did choose to group the palest blocks with the purples on the backing to give the quilt more of a two-sided feel. Filling in around the backing blocks I used Leaves on Teal from Fruit Slice by Khristian Howell for Anthology fabrics. It really coordinated well overall with the mix of blocks. And in keeping it real, I really thought I had lined the front and back up perfectly, but as you can see, whether in quilting or whatever, there was a tiny shift. sigh
For quilting, I knew I wanted to straight-line,and started by following a zig-zag made by the lines of the blocks. You can see by the arrows in the photo below where I took my first pass. From there, I echo-quilted at 3/4" intervals. Where I had used light gray Aurifil 50wt for piecing, I switched to the same thread but in white for the quilting.

Then it was time to bind! After considering just about every color in the quilt, I opted for a scrappy look, which included KONA Turquoise, Chartreuse, and Emerald, along with Medium Gray and Coal. The finished quilt measures 54"x72".
So after a year and a half of sewing for FAITH Circle, I survived my first turn organizing and quilting our project, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

W.i.P. Wednesday

This week's focus has basically been on two projects - the FAITH circle quilt and the pincushion project. With the quilt done, and the pincushions well under way, I'm beginning to think ahead to what's next!

Completed projects
February's FAITH circle quilt - It's done and I'm so pleased. I hope to share more about it yet this week!

Ongoing projects
Pin Cushions - One down, many to go.

Persian Pickles Table Topper - a project mom selected from stitch magazine. Fabric is chosen and the multi multi page pattern is pieced together.

Doodle Memory Game - a sweet little project from Happy Sew Lucky. The fabric is all pressed and ready to cut and stitch.

x and + blocks {#xplusalong}, Scrappy triangles, Woodland cross-stitch sampler - No progress whatsoever this week!

Upcoming projects
* April Lucky Star block
* SMQG star challenge quilt
* SMQG nametag
* April bee blocks
* flannel pillow for grandgirl
* Polaroid block projects

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday at the Table

One of my birthday gifts last month was a gift certificate to a cooking class with daughter dear. Our class was last weekend - "Delicious Macrons" taught by Michell Mrkota, a former pastry chef from Buchon Bakery. (ooh aah!)
photo courtesy of Sur La Table

The menu for the morning was impressive: Chocolate Macarons with Crème Brulee Cream - Pumpkin Macarons with Maple Butter Cream - Red Velvet Macarons with Cream Cheese Buttercream. Yes please and thank you.
I had heard horror stories about making macarons at home, but once I had actually tasted them a while back {a top ten foodie moment!}, making them myself was definitely on my baking bucket list. 

The basic recipes were fairly straight-forward, then it was time to pipe the macarons out onto their parchment-covered sheet pans.! Thank goodness for templates!
A critical step in the process is drying time - about 30 minutes, depending on the humidity.
Here are a bunch all baked off, waiting for their individual fillings.
Ta da! Time for tasting!
And after taking the class, they seem totally doable. I'll keep you posted on that! {wink}

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Pincushion Project

So I've mentioned the pincushion project a time or two, and we are making great progress now that the tops are all made - mini (4 1/2") patchworks in a variety of patterns, all stitched from the scrap basket.
And I say 'we' because my mom kindly offered to fill all those pincushions while I kept the assembly line going. They were filled with crushed walnut shells, which I found in 1# bags at a local quilt shop. (Just under $2/pound.) I had only heard about using these shells before, so was anxious to see what we thought. And mom and I agree it's terrific. Ignore the hole in this bag, but it really was a relatively easy process - mom figured out each pincushion loosely held 3/4 cup of shells, which she poured in a small opening left in each pincushion via a funnel. So one bag was enough for 3-4 pincushions, and we are really pleased with the result.
Per the recipient's request, I stitched on ribbon and a button. Thanks to my granny's button tin, we found a sweet vintage one for this 'sample'.
And a cute  (and sentimental) little airplane to secure the back of this first cushion, which was gifted to mom as a little thank you.
So we've a ways to go. All the cushions are filled and pinned shut, so I'll be sewing them closed through the week. Then we'll reconvene to finish them all off with ribbon and buttons. So a ways to go, but they are coming along sweetly!

Friday, March 22, 2013


What seems like ages ago, I signed a statement that, whether you realize it or not, has affected my sharing on this blog, and in fact the course of my quilting and creating in general. I took the Process Pledge. And so have 866 others of you. Take this as a reminder - or a new consideration - that sharing your process is a gift to others. And for me, it is a gift to myself as well, enhancing my enjoyment of my craft. It adds a thoughtfulness to each step along the way, and a greater satisfaction in the end product. In writing "the story" of a project, it tends to elevate the experience, making it so much more than a task accomplished.
The Process Pledge

So consider this post a prologue about one of my current projects, a half-square triangle quilt made in collaboration with the FAITH circle of do.Good Stitches. It started with me posting sample blocks and giving my bee-mates size and color info.
As blocks began to arrive, I made a mosaic to get an idea of where we were heading.
And eventually, I pieced most of the blocks into our quilt top! (It was hard to take it off the design wall, I was enjoying it so much!)
The remaining blocks were pieced into a backing. It took some consideration and moving back and forth before I settled on what "went together" best for the front and then the back. I like to think of this more of a two-sided quilt than most I make. And I think all the lovely hsts make that true.
Finally! My most dreaded of steps - the basting. Usually I clamp the backing onto my dining table . . .
Then first spray baste the batting down, one section at a time, then arrange the top and baste it one section at a time. I tend to spray baste most often, as I find I have less shifting when it comes to the actual quilting. And it is just plain faster for me, which I appreciate.
And then it's time for quilting. I really thought all the angles in this quilt design called for some straight-line. For this quilt, I'm stitching at 3/4" intervals, with white Aurifil.
So here's where I am now - actually just a tad further. I figure I'm about 1/3 done, so it'll be a few more hours, but I really like how it's coming along. I'm stitching a few rows, then marking several more with my ruler and hera marker, then stitching those, etc. back and forth. 
So stay tuned . . . for the rest of the story.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Once More

Some seriously good randomosity out in blog-land lately!

I was blown away by the Double Sided Binding Tina at Seaside Stitches did this week! You know I love my creative binding, and this method by The Pattern Basket is on my list to try!

Amy of Badskirt had a thoughtful post about how she uses fabric. I thoroughly enjoyed the "Q&A" and it gave me much to think about. I hope you get a chance to read it {here}.

Too early one morning this week I found myself watching a video on Modern Quilting with Precuts that I came across on Pile O'Fabric. My precut purchases are usually limited to the occasional charm pack, but it was helpful to see the improv technique, as well as the piecing of the new Moda Honeycombs. (Has anyone tried the Honeycombs yet?)

And speaking of charm packs, a bunch of my blog buddies are participating in a blog hop focusing on just that!
Charm Madness at Sew Lux Fabric
You may have already seen some of the projects, as it began on Tuesday. Here's the schedule. So far, I've seen Clover & Violet's darling lunch bag and some delightful placemats from SewCraftyJess.

Another quilt-along that's coming up is Freshly Pieced's bloom bloom pow! One of my favorite quilts I've made was quilted along with Lee, and I know this will be a good time!

Finally a big event to put on your calendar is the next Giveaway Day! More details will follow over on Sew, Mama, Sew!, but let's just say it's always a very fun event!