Monday, June 30, 2014

Unwritten Postcards

So after announcing The Postcard Quilt Along, I had a few of you mention you'd like to sew along, but didn't have any text fabrics. Well, I made up a few 'blank' postcards, so you could see how great they'd look too!
I even did one with a raw-edge appliqued 'stamp'. If you choose to stamp your postcards, be sure to leave enough room in the corner for seam allowances.
Krista/Poppyprint reminded me about her Sweetheart Fabric Stamps tutorial, which would be a really sweet addition too!

If you're curious what folks have been making, check out the flickr group and the hashtag #thepostcardquiltalong on Instagram - fun progress showing up both places!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Favorite Quilt

It's been 27 days since Jessica from Quilty Habit began her "My Favorite Quilt" series over at Sew, Mama, Sew. And it's taken me this long to share mine because I COULDN'T DECIDE!

Finally, I chose an oldie but a goodie.

Tell us about your favorite quilt. When did you make it? What pattern did you use? What fabrics?
My quilt is Kaleidoscope, made during the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along with Elizabeth of don't call me betsy way back in 2011. It was during my first months of blogging, and I was still getting my feet wet in the online quilting community, still unsure about 'modern' fabrics, still very much a newbie at machine quilting. I chose to use mostly Denyse Schmidt prints, with some stash dots and other coordinates thrown in. I remember being really doubtful about my final fabric grouping, but Elizabeth assured me it was just fine.

Have your shown it at any quilt shows or entered it in any contests? 
Not this one. 

What memories does the quilt make you think of? 
What I remember most - and one of the big reasons I chose it as my favorite - was the sense of accomplishment and pure satisfaction I found in this quilt's entire process and completion. In my reveal post at the time I stated, 'Usually when I finish a quilt, there's a sense of "well that was fun". Sometimes, "whew, I'm glad that's done". And occasionally, "wow, there's truly a part of me in this quilt". That third sentiment is how I feel about Kaleidoscope ... I feel like Kaleidoscope definitely has a little of my quilting journey pieced into it.'

What do you like best about the quilt? 
I love the mix of fabrics. I like the little 'star' the quilting makes at each block's intersections. I'm still really fond of that plaid binding. And it's been washed numerous times, so it's really comfy cozy and crinkly.

How did you grow as a quilter while making it? 
I totally went out of my comfort zone quilting this one. Deciding to quilt Kaleidoscope as I did scared me silly at the time. And it was the first time I quilted with 'colored' thread. I really went out on a limb choosing gray. haha

If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently? 
I'm not sure I'd change a thing. I really like it just as it is.

Where is the quilt now?
Thrown over the back of the couch in our family room, where it's pretty much been ever since I took the last stitch. It's the one I reach for when the weather turns chilly.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Postcard Quilt Along

Anyone in the mood for a guilt-free, no-deadline, any size, let's-just-have-fun sew along? Enough of you commented that you were putting The Postcard Quilt on your to-do list that I figured we might as well do it together!

If you missed it, we're talking about these quilt blocks . . .
made into a quilt such as this . . .
Click here for a tutorial for the pair of blocks.

If you'd like to participate, consider joining The Postcard Quilt Along flickr group. Or if you're on Instagram, spread the word and share using hashtags #thepostcardquiltalong, #postcardquilt or #postcardblocks. Feel free to share process photos along the way while you make any size quilt or whatever strikes your fancy.  Just have fun with the blocks and show us what your make! Who's in?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday

Lately I've been working on my quilt top for the MQG Fabric Challenge . . .
Sponsored by Michael Miller, guild members received small bundles of Petal Pinwheels - the prints in the quilt top. I'll share more once the quilt is done, but I did add a coordinating cotton couture to each block. Clockwise from the upper left are coral, kryptonite, dirt, and fog. Aren't those great names? The block using seafoam didn't make it into the design, but it's a lovely aqua.

Pink Chalk Fabrics agreed to color match some Aurifil 50wt for me, which was really helpful. I happened to have a couple of the colors in the studio already, but am waiting for my order and look forward to quilting this one in color(s)!
photo by Pink Chalk Fabrics;
from top, Aurifil #2840 Loden Green, 2230 Medium Peony, 1231 Spring Green, 
2615 Aluminium, 2326 Sand

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How You Bind :: The Results

Well that was fun! The How You Bind survey had a larger participation than I anticipated and it dawned on me a little late in the game that it was alot easier to 'read' the results with the multiple choice questions. Ie. with over 200 responses, it took a bit of perusing to get through the 'essay' questions. So for those, I'll summarize for you, then there is a link to all the responses for each of those questions, just in case you're inclined to check those out. So here's how we bind!

Q2  Do you have a 'go-to' binding? Dots, stripes, solids or ?
"No" was the most common response, or "depends on the project". Closely following was "stripes", though dots, stripes, and scrappy were mentioned plenty. Click for complete results

Q3  How wide do you cut your binding? 
Responses ranged from 1 1/4" - 3", with the top 3 responses being:
2" - 11
2.25" - 71
2.5" - 119

Q6. What is your favorite way to finish the binding? Ie. how do you join the ends together? If you have a favorite tutorial, please share it here.
Ok, the responses to this questions were overwhelming - there are SO many tutorials and techniques that are standbys for you. I did glean that a majority of you join binding strips at an angle. I'll definitely be reading through these results again and looking up some of the links you mention. Click for complete results

Q9. Have you ever made scrappy binding, striped binding, matched binding or any other special binding technique? Do tell!    
Scrappy was the overwhelming choice here. Click for complete results

Q10. Any last comments about binding? 
This section was fun to read, some of which was a repeat of the other questions. And of course there was "I hate binding!" right alongside "I love making it!". Click for complete results

Well thank you for participating in the survey! I certainly hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even found a tip to try or a variation to consider just for the fun of it. I think things were summed up really well with the statement, "I find that the right binding often is just the pizzazz needed to transform a 'pretty' quilt into a 'gorgeous' quilt!" I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

You Win

Boy do I wish I could send a Pike Place Market mug to everyone that would like one! But since that's not feasible, I left it up to Mr. Random to choose, and Marci/Marci Girl Designs, you win fair and square.
Hope you enjoy your new mug!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Red Hots Review

This week and next, Sew Mama Sew is showing off all the Oakshott Ruby Mini Quilt Challenge finishes. You'll be seeing lovely Oakshott minis from these talented folks:
And today is my turn! 
Check out my Red Hots reveal post if you missed that. And see the others at Sew, Mama, Sew. You can also get some sneak peeks using hashtag #oakshottrubymini on Instagram. 

And last but not least at all . . . you can purchase Oakshott Fabrics at quilt shops, directly from the manufacturer in the UK, or online from Contemporary Cloth in the U.S. Sew, Mama, Sew also has a fat eighth bundle of Oakshott Ruby to give away! Comment on any of the Mini Quilt Challenge posts for a chance to win. How hot is that?!

The Postcard Quilt

This wasn't planned. I mean it wasn't on the To Do list or anything like that, and it wasn't even an idea a few days ago. It just so happened that sometime between when I left the house for work Tuesday and when I got home, it came to me. It's The Postcard Quilt.
Made with two different blocks - you know, the front of the postcard "A" and the back "B" - each block measuring 4"x6" finished. Holly said it best, "So these are fronts and backs of postcards with the line being the divide between the text and the address?" Exactly.

Block "A" is simple - cut 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". I thought larger scale prints gave that picturesque feel of a real postcard.

Here's how to make block "B".
Cut piece #1: 4" wide x 4 1/2" tall.
Cut piece #2: 1" wide x 4 1/2" tall.
Cut piece #3: 2 1/2" wide x 4 1/2" tall.
Stitch piece #1 to piece #2 and press. Add piece #3 and press.
Chain-piecing is a great method for these blocks. I'd just recommend pressing seam #1/#2 before adding piece #3. It really seemed to make a difference. Also, I chose to use 2 different text prints for each "B" block, giving it just enough differentiation between the message and address sides of the postcard.

As far as the nitty gritty goes for this quilt, fabric was Anna Maria Horner for the "A" blocks. I'm kind of embarrassed I forgot I had this little bundle after making my mini Swoon. But I came across it and thought it was perfect for this little quilt. For block "B", I obviously used a variety of text prints + a mix of gray solids. Quilting was a random organic straight stitch with a variegated Aurifil 50wt #4060 ("Silver Moon").
  1. The variegation in the thread didn't really show up much in the finished quilt, but it made me happy just the same.
  2. In this instance, by "random organic straight stitch," I mean I stitched along seam lines vertically with my walking foot, then matchstick quilted down the solid grays, and in the other areas, stitched in 1/4"-3/8" intervals. Not scientific but it worked for me.

Binding was a red herringbone, Apple of My Eye by Riley Blake Designs, which  I had just used, but didn't remember until I was sewing it on. But that's fine. It's a great little print.
 This mini finished at 24" square, and I confess I am quite fond of it.
It immediately goes back on my list of "things to do again", next time, larger. But for now, I love the concept of the postcard blocks, and I'm pleased as can be with this first execution. I hope you like it too.

If you happen to make your own project with the postcard blocks, I'd love to have you share it in my flickr group, Quilting with A Quilter's Table.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How You Bind

As I was making binding last night for my current project, I was thinking how differently we all do things. Which made me curious what you do! Take a moment and tell me about how you bind, and I'll share the results in a future post!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.
Linking up with Random Thursday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Latest Littles

Over the last week, I've sewn a variety of small projects. First up were 2 noodlehead pouches - another Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Mochi Dots and Essex {again}, plus a Lil Cutie Pouch. The open wide pouch was the large size, and the lil cutie quite a bit smaller finishing about 4"x6". I used the same Essex for the little pouch, which I accented with a little quilting, and then both pouches were lined with the same fabric as the zip end and key ring loop.

Next up were a set of potholders for my coworker's birthday. I dug into a charm pack of Color Me Happy by V and Co. and made a pair of Granny Square Quilt Blocks made popular by blue elephant stitches
More charms were pieced together for the backings.
I used my machine's serpentine stitch to quilt both, in slightly different patterns. Binding is Echo by Lotta Jansdotter. Oh, and I got a question about what I fill my potholders with and it's always the same - 1 layer of Insul-Bright + 1 layer of cotton batt. This makes a sturdy potholder, and I've never had any trouble with them not being protective enough.

Another co-worker asked if I could make him a phone pouch with a lanyard. I used a tutorial I've used several times - Kindle Cover by Ellison Lane - and basically just cut it down to size. In the tutorial, Jennifer suggests measuring your own device and adding 1 1/2" to length and width. I did that here and it worked out perfectly. For the lanyard, I just took a strip 1 1/2"x40", pressed it in half lengthwise, then pressed both long edges into the fold. Then I top-stitched the length close to each long edge and it was done. I downsized the closure tab to 2"x3", and added the lanyard ends in the last seam right along with the tab. Reportedly it's working just fine for him, and I got an "A" for making it "manly" enough.

Lastly was a case for hubby's sunglasses, per his request. {And yes, he chose the fabric for this project and the one above.} I used the Curved Sunglass Case by modern handcraft and it was perfect. I did cut mine down to 4"x8" and still had enough room at the end to add a 1" velcro square to make a closure. I also quilted my case, which I really like, though I think I'd do it much denser next time to make a stiffer case.

So those were all fun diversions. I think after the excitement of my recent mini quilt finishes, I've been a bit hesitant to dive into something too big. Plus a quick finish or 4 is always invigorating.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

It's been 9 months since the URHere Swap, where over 150 of us first swapped Starbucks "You Are Here" mugs. My cupboard's now full, and I confess I still reach for one of mine nearly every day for my morning latte.
It just so happens I have a couple of extra mugs I picked up from the original Starbucks located in Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Anyone still need one for their collection? I'll give one away here and one on Instagram . . . just leave a comment here or there or both, and I'll choose two winners this weekend . . .

Monday, June 16, 2014

Nested Churn Dash

One of my favorite traditional blocks is the churn dash, and though it is on my bucket list to make a full-size quilt someday, I stopped at one block as part of the Nested Churn Dash sew along with quilt jane.
You may remember I made my own version of a triple churn dash last year. After all that craziness, I chose to make this one a little more traditional, with much more contrast in value. All the fabrics in the top other than the solid gray are from Alison Glass - a mix from her Sunprint and new Field Day collections.
I was indecisive about quilting. In fact, I started and removed stitching twice before settling on what some call a serpentine stitch - on my machine it's a specialty "tape-attaching" stitch stretched as long and wide as it could go. Using Aurifil 50wt #2600 (light gray), the quilting tied all the components together in a subtle way while adding some welcome texture.
Another decision in question was whether to make this block into a mini quilt or a pillow! In fact ... I had backed it with the last piece of my favorite teal feathers before I started quilting, basically intending on going with the mini quilt option. But after both a dear friend and mom voted emphatically pillow! ... I went ahead and went that way instead.
Since I had recently purchased a stash of regular zippers, I chose to do a lapped zipper and a bound edge to finish.
At 24", the finished pillow is the largest I've made and it'll definitely will be a fun focal point in our living room . . .

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June Bee Blocks

Bee blocks were a breeze this month and can't say that I minded. Always Bee Learning Bee is one where our partner even sends the fabric she wants us to use, so the Boxy Stars for Celeste/
celestejohnson2008 were quick and easily pieced.

Mary Ann/SoapsByMareMare asked FAITH Circle to make a pair of 9 Patches inspired by Red Pepper Quilts. I love the color mix for these blocks and am pretty sure the finished quilt will belie the simplicity of these blocks.

And for Mid-Century Modern Bee, Linda/Flourishing Palms asked for 60-degree string-pieced diamonds with the request to include an orange string in each. These blocks will help her finish up a "Picket Fence" quilt she already has underway.

Meanwhile, I'm still receiving AprilMay, and June blocks from 3 of my bees, so one day soon, I'll have 3 new quilts to finish up. yikes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Random It Is

Just a few random things to share today . . . 

The first up, which I unfortunately don't have a photo of, was that I was asked to share last night at our guild meeting about my matched binding techniques. Speaking in front of people isn't in my comfort zone, but I did it. It was late, we were all anxious to get to "sew & tell," but I did it. Thankfully I had a few small samples to share - my first try, Scrap-Vee, and Red Hots. Plus, the quilts that had been displayed at Seattle's Folklife Festival were back, so I was able to share Aurora. I do find that I speed-talk when I talk about my quilting, but there were quite a few nods in the crowd as I was presenting, so I think it went pretty well considering everything. 

What I've been working on lately is a mini quilt along with Quilt Jane - the Nested Churn Dash QAL. Actually, I'm waffling back and forth about whether it'll be a quilt or a pillow. I'm also very indecisive about the quilting, which I've started twice and taken a seam ripper to. So . . . stay tuned. But I love the pattern, and what I have so far. And I'm really enjoying seeing what others are doing with the pattern too.

Speaking of quilting, THIS is the latest pin to my fmq + wf etc. board on Pinterest. (Short hand for free-motion quilting + walking foot etc.) Isn't it fun? I don't think I'm ready to tackle it, but I sure do aspire to it!
Free Motion Quilt, Step-by-Step Tutorial, Ribbon Candy

Also, over on Sew, Mama, Sew this month, Jessica Skultety from Quilty Habit has curated the My Favorite Quilt series. Every day, a new quilter shares their own favorite quilt! It's similar but different to my own 31 Inspiring Quilters back in January, and there's a twist! You can link up your own favorite quilt! So check that out - I'm sure you'll enjoy the series. Start with today's post!

So that's it for now. Off to work I go! Hope you have a terrific day!

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crazy 'Gator

At the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, we have "Sew & Tell" at the end of every meeting. I am always inspired by the work of my guild-mates! One night, as my friend Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty, sat down next to me, I saw she'd brought something to share. She caught me a little off-guard when she told me, "I brought my 'gator quilt." This girl's a master at paper-piecing and had created a pattern for the cutest 'gator ever!!
Well, I am not as comfortable with paper piecing as Louise, but I couldn't resist when she called out for testers for her new pattern!! I agreed to do 1 'gator (there are 3 sizes included in the pattern), and got right to work!
I happened to have a big piece of crazy-pieced greens left over from a previous crazy-piecing frenzy, and thought it would be perfect for my 'gator. I made the small gator, which measures 9"x21". You can see there are some tiny pieces, but that's one area paper-piecing really shines. I can't say I had any trouble piecing this guy at all. Louise has him split up into several sections that went together just great. The pattern was easy to follow - though basic paper-piecing skills are assumed - and before long I had a full 'gator!
Since I was making just 1 'gator, I thought he would be perfect for an oblong pillow. I quilted the blue background to give the feel of water and really had alot of fun with that. I used Sew Katie Did's invisible zipper tutorial, which worked like a charm. It had been years since I had inserted one, so I was pleased how easy it was. Just fyi, I used a 20-22" invisible zipper, and my pillow form was 12"x30".
So the 'Gator Blog Hop is just starting! Be sure and see Louise's Release Party post, and check back in over the next 10 days to see all the other 'gators!
June 13th- Marci Girl Designs
June 14th- I'm Feelin' Crafty- showing off other Testers work!
June 16th- Wombat Quilts
June 17th- Wips and Tuts
June 18th- Shaffer Sisters
June 19th- Crafty Shenanigans
June 20th- I'm Feelin' Crafty

The 'Gator Quilt pattern is available on Craftsy! I know you'll have as much fun with it as I did! And isn't Louise's full 'gator quilt great?!

Linking up with SEWjo Saturday.