Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scrappy Stars and Little Skirts

If you are here for the Advice for New Bloggers series post and giveaway from yesterday, click here.

If you are here to learn more about the Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop for New Bloggers, click here.

If you are here because you want to read about my stars and skirts . . .

It has been almost a whole week since I uploaded the photos from my camera to the computer - it was so fun seeing my week in review like that.  I didn't realize how much sewing I had done - so much so that I actually have two posts worth of photos.  For today, I'll write about little skirts and scrappy stars.

I've been attempting to expand my quilting skills by trying new things each week.  This week it was Scrappy Stars.  I started small:

Worked my way to this:

That is actually the back of the first one or the other way around (that is a great thing about machine stitched binding - it's reversible!)

And I finally got to this (which was inspired by this little lovely from One Shabby Chick that I have pinned in my Quilty Inspiration Board):

Anyone else make any stars recently?  Anyone have any great patterns, tutorials, or tips for making stars?  Let me know.

And on to skirts:

When I first started sewing, I found this great free pattern from Oliver and S and made lots of little skirts for my girls.  They have been wearing the skirts we made last summer again recently so I was inspired to  make a few more.  The skirt I made following the pattern is the green and blue one with the Erin McMorris Urban Gardens fabric.  If you haven't sewed clothes before (or even if you have), this is a great pattern to start with.  One tip from me - when using this pattern, I find that if I press the casing before sewing up the selvedges, I have an easier time re-pressing and stitching the casing closed.

I also tried this tutorial from Purl Bee to make the cute little triangle dress in Little Folks voile by Anna Maria Horner.  I used the same ribbon method from the Oliver and S pattern to finish the bottom.   I need to find more information about sewing with voile - if you have any tips, let me know.

For the linen-look skirt with the scrappy binding, I kind of made it up as I went along using tips from both of the above tutorials.   I just took a rectangle of a quilting weight solid and used a bright pink thread to machine stitch straight lines in a somewhat random pattern from top to bottom throughout the skirt.  Since the selvedges were cut off, I used the seam finishing method from the triangle dress tutorial.  For the binding, I used my scraps to make a single fold binding and attached it to the skirt similarly to how I attach binding to a quilt (except I always use double fold binding for the quilts.)

I still have a lot to learn about sewing clothes but I am definitely much improved from the skirts I made a few years ago - I might still have trouble sewing a straight line but at least I can now sew a continuous one!  I plan on making more little girl clothes this week and maybe next time I'll post on a "model."  So, another question - anyone have any tips, tutorials, or free patterns for little girl or baby clothes that you recommend I try?

And one more question.  My new thing for this week is Triangles!  Here is my WIP.  If you have any tips or tutorials or feel like trying triangles with me this week, let me know in the comments.

Be sure to visit the great tutorials and posts by this week's blog hoppers.  

Please visit my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.  I'm linking this post to Sew and Tell at AmyLouWho and Quilt Story -both of whom also shared skirts this week as well as Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF for finishes and Try Something New Thursday for trying stars this week.  Wondering if I should have divided this post into two so that I didn't link one post to so many link ups?!?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blog Hop News, Advice for New Bloggers Guest Post, and a Giveaway


As part of The Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop, I thought it might be fun and helpful to ask some experienced bloggers to share their thoughts on blogging with us.  I was so excited when Deborah from Whipstitch agreed to be our first guest.  I have been a fan of her wonderful blog for a while - I love her blog's design, her writing style, her great projects - well, basically everything about her site.  Here is what she had to say:

Thanks so much to Beth for inviting me to be part of this! I really and truly love
blogging and all the connections and friends I have made through the course of it,
so it's super fun for me to have the chance to talk about the process of writing and
maintaining a blog with other crafters and folks who quilt and sew. When I first
started my first blog in 2004, I really had no idea what I was doing or what was the
best way to approach the process; I really saw blogging as a simple way to write
about the things that I cared about, and didn't even dream that anyone else would
ever care! Blogging was still new then, and the idea of using what was essentially
a group email to keep our friends and family updated on our lives to connect to
strangers from all across the world was beyond my comprehension. These days,
a lot of folks start their blogs for the express purpose of connecting with others
who love what they love, and it's so exciting to see how that grows and works and

Beth asked me to share any advice I've gotten or would give to new quilting
bloggers, so I really sat and thought about what has worked for me over the years,
and where I have learned the most that has made my blog something I can be proud
and excited to share with others. I hope it's helpful for you, and that you'll all fall in
love with blogging!

                                                                      image from Whipstitchfabrics.com

My nuggets of blogging advice, in no particular order, and somewhat stream-of-
consciousness, with a dose of cheerful encouragement:
  • Work to be YOU in your blog. It's so easy to read another blog and emulate what you see there, specially when that blog is successful or bringing in revenue or widely read. But the reasons that blog is all those things is because it is unique to that writer; your blog can only ever be a reflection of you, because if it's anything else, readers will sense that and you won't find the connection you crave. Some of my most popular or widely-read posts were ones where I felt I was saying something obvious and that wouldn't interest anyone, or putting together a tutorial that no one would care to read but that served a purpose for me, or was maybe over-sharing a bit and getting too touchy-feely. What I learned is that the times when I am most myself are when I get the biggest response from my readers--so be real.
                                                                         image from Whipstitchfabrics.com
  • Read other blogs, and leave comments. You don't
    want to work to become another blogger, but it's unwise to pretend they're not out
    there. Read other blogs, particularly the ones that inspire you to push your own
    creative envelope. You never know what will spark your next great idea! When you
    visit someone else's site, take the time to leave a comment, even if it's just a little
    note--we all know how nice it is to have a comment on a post, and it doesn't take
    much time. Some of my closest friends in the online world have come from just
    leaving comments and replying to the ones left for me! Those friendships are the
    ones that inspire me to come up with new ideas or to invite someone to visit (in
    person or online) and are the folks who push me to be more ME in my own blog.
  • Use great photos. Most of us realize this now because we've become fairly blog-sophisticated, but when I was new to blogging, I didn't realize that the thing I loved most about the blogs I loved most was their images. You don't have to have a fancy camera, but you really can't get away with importing photos and using them raw. Edit your photos using iPhoto or any other simple (and often free) photo editing software--make it lighter and brighter, adjust the exposure,and crop out the "noise" that doesn't tell the story of your photo. Take the time to take pictures in good locations--outside, in natural light, and in front of a backdrop that enhances your quilt whenever possible. Vary the focal point of your images, giving readers both a full shot of an entire quilt as well as close-ups of the seams, the fabrics, the quilting stitches, your binding, and any element that sets your quilt apart--see this recent quilt post for an idea of what I mean here. Photos that show the quilt in motion or some kind of dynamic pose--on a person, being used, wrapped around a tree, being tossed in the air. Quilts are dynamic, and readers love seeing them in various "poses," just like a person.
                                                                        image from Whipstitchfabrics.com

  • Write great content that will last. Your blog is like a
    good friend--you want to nurture and care for it. You're not doing your blog any
    favors by adding posts that don't add content. It's easy to think of the blog like an
    email, with each post waiting for a response, but it's wiser to think of it like a
    magazine, with each post lasting perpetually. Rather than feeling pressured to write
    a new post about a partial project because you haven't finished anything worth
    writing about, make that project part of a series of posts and link them to one
    another--that way, readers can find the beginning of the project and work through
    from beginning to end even if they locate your blog years later (Pins & Needles does a great job of this with her wearable art garment posts). Rather than writing the dreaded "Sorry I've been neglecting the blog" post when you've failed to add new content in a while, simply pick up where you left off--hardly anyone reads the dates on posts anyway, and unless you had a major car accident/death in the family/cataclysmic event, chances are your absence is probably not worth calling attention to. Rather than making your posts "time-specific" by referring to the day of the week/date, work to make them timeless so that in the future when readers find your blog for the first time, they will feel they've uncovered a treasure trove of information instead of a time capsule (the obvious exception to this is if you're posting about a particular holiday or doing a time-sensitive giveaway or event).
  • Respond to every comment you possibly can. This one took me a long time to learn, and it really has called me to grow as a human being. For years, literally, I would love and crave comments, but wouldn't respond to them. Partly that was because I didn't really think anyone would care if I did, but partly it was because GETTING the comment was what mattered most to me. Those two things reflected my own insecurity and self-absorption, respectively, and learning to see that in myself wasn't totally fun. BUT! Once I realized that I was actually being disrespectful and unkind to readers who had taken the time to interact with me, I began to really get the meat out of blogging where before I had been subsisting on the fluff. By responding to comments, you build interaction with your readers, which grows their loyalty and your readership, and makes a community on your blog as the same folks come back time and again--but it also grows YOU, which makes your real life better, which makes your blog richer, and that benefits your readers. See how it all comes around? At some point, God willing, your blog might be so huge you cannot possibly reply to every person who leaves a comment--we should all have such problems. When that happens, pick and choose which comments you answer, but still take the time to interact with your readers. Anna Maria Horner once replied to a comment I left on her blog four years ago--I still have the email, tucked away and saved.
                                      image from Whipstitchfabrics.com

  • Social media isn't just about promoting yourself (but it can be). Personally, I despise Facebook and adore Twitter; you might be the other way around. It
    doesn't make a difference--what matters is that not everyone can keep up with their
    Google Reader all the time, and your recent brilliant blog post might go under their
    radar if they don't have another way of interacting with you. I love, love, love
    Twitter because the interface makes it so easy for me to catch up on bits and pieces
    of what my friends and fave bloggers are doing, and for them to do the same with
    me. I can tweet a post that I've just published to guide readers for faster feedback,
    and I can highlight events I'm planning or ask for advice or find a comrade with
    whom to make some mischief. Facebook acts very much the same way, and can help
    your posts get passed on to someone who might not find your blog any other way.
    The key is always to be genuine, and avoid using either as a means to self-promote
    all the time. Nothing makes me unfollow a blog faster than when they are constantly
    working to build their readership by giving things away, soliciting sponsors, or
    tweeting advertisements. Use social media to share your blog, yes, but also to share
    ideas and the joy of quilting with others from a real place.
  • You are under zero obligation to write a tutorial.
    When your blog is new, it seems as if you are expected to do a tutorial at some point. This is a MYTH. For one thing, not everyone is gifted as a teacher or technical writer. For another, not every tutorial needs to be written. Going to all the effort of putting together a tutorial and getting little or no feedback is discouraging, to say the least. If your readers see a project you've done and ask for a tutorial, then go for it--two of my most popular tutorials ever (one with over 36,000 Stumbles and  nearly 200,000 views) were the result of specific requests from regular readers of my blog that I was happy to fulfill. I had absolutely NO expectation that they'd get the kind of readership or reaction that they did; I made them for folks who already read and liked my blog, and that made it fun to do. Most tutorials get nothing like that reaction, and that can be a real bummer if you thought it would be the Next Big Thing. If you don't want to write a tutorial but would rather show off finished projects, then by all means, do what you're best at and avoid what you don't enjoy! Your blog should be your happy place, not a land of drudgery.
                                                                    image from Whipstitchfabrics.com
  • There should be no music on your blog. If I land on a blog with music in the background, I click away and never, ever, ever go back. Having music on your blog is way 1998, and is the death of any increased readership. For reals.
  • Make it easy to find content on your blog, now and in the
    This one is the real back-end work of blogging, and I am always
    tweaking mine--in fact, I'm in the middle of a redesign right now, working to get
    more content archived in ways that make it simple to find and utilize. Blogger and
    WordPress and TypePad all make great widgets for your sidebars; you don't have to
    use them all. Instead, find ways to organize your blog to make it simpler for a new
    reader to get involved. Think of it as if you're part of a TV series, and any new
    reader is coming in part way through the season; if they can't catch up on the story
    and characters, they won't stick around. Make sure you have an "about" section that
    introduces you, a "back posts" section where they can find older posts in a
    particular category or on a certain subject, and don't be too proud to highlight older
    projects or posts in your sidebar. If your blog is about YOU, make it possible for a
    new reader to learn what it is that makes your blog different and enjoyable so that
    they'll be encouraged to come back over and over again.
I hope these suggestions are useful! Most of this is pretty foundational, but these
are things I didn't think about or know when I started blogging that would have
been so helpful in thinking through WHY I had a blog and WHAT I wanted my
blog to be about. Your blog will be different from anyone else's, and the more it's a
reflection of you, the more you'll enjoy the process, whether you have readers or
not. And the enjoyment you get from blogging comes through in your posts, which
is what draws in readers. It's a paradox, I know, but there it is.

Happy blogging!

Thanks Deborah for all your valuable insights and advice!  This is such helpful information for new bloggers (such as myself) and on behalf of the new bloggers who will be reading this, I want to say how much we all appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts. 


                                            image from Whipstitchfabrics.com

***Deborah is teaching a four-week e-course starting June 4th called Essential Quilting.  I've read through the description and it sounds amazing!  The course is aimed at beginning and intermediate-level quilters and will teach you the steps to make 10 different quilt blocks that can be combined into an awesome sampler quilt as well as four mini projects!   There will be daily lessons consisting of videos, audio, images, and downloads plus guest interviews with some of our favorite modern quilters.  There will also be two live chats so you can receive direct feedback on your quilting and you'll receive a PDF e-book of the course to download at the end of the class.  Be sure to check it out!

And Deborah is offering a spot in the class to one lucky reader!  To enter, just leave a comment (1 per person) on this post.  The giveaway will remain open until Thursday, May 31 at 8pm EDT and a winner will be chosen at random that evening.  You can leave any comment you want to enter the giveaway but if you want a topic, please write about your favorite quilting tip.  If you are a no-reply blogger, be sure to leave an email address.

***Edited to add:  I am getting lots of comments from no-reply bloggers on this post so I can't reply to you - if you are unsure whether you are a no-reply blogger, please put your email in your message and I'll let you know - this includes bloggers/readers using their Google id - you might still be a no-reply blogger.  

Giveaway now closed.  And the winner is:

That was great advice for a newbie blogger like myself! Thanks for sharing. As far a quilting tips go, one thing I have learned is to measure several times before cutting or piecing blocks together. I struggle in the math department and have been forced to do lots of tweaking when my calculations are off base:).

Congratulations Brooke!  Enjoy the great e-course.  

And for those of you are visiting my blog for the first time today - Welcome! - if you would like more information on the Blog Hop, click here.

Blog Hop News - May 28, 2012

Weekly Calendar
May 29
    Heidi from Fabric Mutt
    Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
May 31
    Jodi from Tickle and Hide
    Libby from Miss Beau Jangles

If you missed last week, you missed four awesome tutorials - find them here:
 May 22
    Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
    Erin from Billy Button Designs

May 24
    Nik from Bold Goods
    Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

Events and Highlights:  I'll write another post with these later this week (email me if you have something you would included.)

Other ways to keep up and participate in the Blog Hop:
   1.  Follow me on Twitter
   2.  Join and post on the Let's Get Acquainted! Flickr Group
   3.  Follow and post on my Let's Get Acquainted! Pinterest Boards here and here.

Weekly Link Up:
This is a weekly link up for Blog Hop Participants and anyone who is following along.  If you have made any projects inspired from the tutorials on Hop, link them here.  If not, just link up your recent post so that we can all get to know you better.  Be sure to visit some of the other bloggers who link here as well.  Please link to this post somewhere in your post or on your blog so others can find it as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP and Doll Quilts

It looks like we are off to a great start for the Blog Hop.  Kelsey and Erin wrote awesome posts today along with equally awesome tutorials!  Check out their posts if you haven't been for a visit yet and don't forget to mark your calendars to visit Nik and Alyssa (my new twitter buddy) on Thursday.

This week was also exciting for me because my HST doll quilt was the quilt story on Quilt Story on Monday.  I am a regular reader of their blog and have always loved seeing the quilts they choose to highlight so I was so flattered when they asked to feature mine!  (My 7 year old wanted to know if this quilt is famous because it was also in the top 10 of the Viewer's Choice at the Festival Of Half Square Triangles at Canoe Ridge Creations last month.)

I got in a bit of sewing over the weekend - I made these two little doll quilts.  The quilt in the above photo is one I made a while ago but it is a favorite in our house and so well-loved that seeing it in play everyday reminds me how much little girls love nice things for their dolls.  The girls used the quilt to turn an old, inexpensive nightstand from Ikea (I think it is the Rast) into a bunk bed for their dolls - they also used some of my husband's old shirts (that had way too many holes in them) to make a mattress.

For the heart quilt, I just randomly pieced together a bunch of yellow and pink scraps and then cut the heart freehand and zig zag stitched it to the background fabric.  I FMQ'd a meandering stitch with pink thread inside the heart and then also using my FMQ foot, I outlined the heart 3 times.  Then I switched to the walking foot to add some random lines.  

I really liked the circle quilt (it was inspired by this lovely quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew) so today I started a lap size version.  

My oldest daughter was in sewing with me while I was making the doll quilt and helped me cut out the fabric behind the circles (after you sew the circle to the square and cut in fourths.)  She then started playing around with those scraps while I was finishing the quilt and here is what she ended up making (if you can't tell, they are butterflies and she told me she plans on adding a binding.)  Not surprisingly, she was more than happy to cut out the same little pieces from the lap size quilt tonight.  And, the background fabric and the backing are also made from old ripped shirts - thumbs up for upcycling!

Since this is a WIP post, I'll also mention my ongoing WIP which is the basket of yarn I have been pondering on my way to the sewing machine.  I've again been taking pics of my past crochet projects to find inspiration to start a new one before the yarn gets too dusty.

These are washcloths made with organic cotton yarn that I love using everyday for my little one.

This is a scarf I made with a basketweave stitch - I love love love the yarn I used - so soft and a beautiful color - only problem is I have no idea what it is so I can't buy it again.

Circle Quilt
Patchwork Prism 
Patchwork Square Quilt with the squares leftover from this
Small stuff for the little one including bibs and some easy skirts to wear over onesies for the summer (which means the older girls will want some easy skirts as well)
Crochet . . .

Please visit my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The First Blog Hop News and a Simple Patchwork Quilt

Wow - it is finally here - the first week of the summer long Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop.  Over 60 new bloggers have signed up for the hop!  All the information for the hop can be found here including the buttons.  Skip to the bottom of this post for the Blog Hop News and the Link Up.

As I am writing this post, I realize I should have made a project from novelty fabrics in honor of the hop  - um, well, too late now but here is the quilt I finished this weekend.  I love the look of simple patchwork squares so I decided to cut 5" squares from most of the fabrics in my current stash including my precious fabric again.

I tried to spread out the colors and the mix of dark and light - does it have that vintage-y quality to it despite some of the modern fabrics included?  I quilted it with double diagonal lines going both directions and used Kona coal for the binding  I used a neutral grayish blue for the quilting lines but I used a pink thread to zig zag lines when I machine stitched the binding.

For the backing, I just cut large pieces from some of the pinks and reds used on the quilt top.  And the finished quilt is about 40x40 inches.

As soon as my daughters saw the quilt, they asked if they could use it as picnic blanket.  I said they could but that I would be out shortly to take pics of it for my blog post.  Well, I guess I should have taken the photos first - lesson learned - letting your kids eat chocolate on your quilt before taking pictures is not the best idea.  But a quick trip through the wash and it came out good as new (well, actually better since I like the crinkly look!)

My 7 year old was out helping me take the pics of the newly washed quilt (probably staking her claim again) and we tried to recreate the "flying in the air" look like some of the quilts in the festival - um, here was our best try (we'll have to work on it):

Blog Hop News
So as for the Blog Hop News:  every Monday, I'll be posting the week's calendar, any blog hop updates, and highlights and events from the participating bloggers.  So, be sure to check back here every Monday.  My Monday posts will also include an opportunity for all the participating bloggers as well as our readers to link up their projects made from or inspired by the presented tutorials.  See below for the special link up for this week.

And I'm very excited to let you all know that my Monday posts will also sometimes include interviews with or guest posts by some of my favorite quilting bloggers and some Monday posts will also include fun giveaways.

Here are the great bloggers we'll all be visiting this week.  And I want to say a special thank you to these bloggers for being the first!  Please be sure to visit their blogs on their hop day and please remember how much we all LOVE and appreciate comments.

Weekly Calendar
Tuesday, May 22
    Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
    Erin from Billy Button Designs

Thursday, May 24
    Nik from Bold Goods
    Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

I'll start picking some blog posts from the participating bloggers to highlight next week (sorry, I've spent the weekend looking at all of your posts for the Blogger's Quilt Festival and I couldn't narrow it down from all the amazing quilts.)

1.  Catherine from Knotted Cotton has come up with a cool idea for trading fabric - a great blog-based way to find the hard-to-find fabric you've been looking for as well as a way to destash.  Find more details on her blog post here.

2.  Em from Sewing by Moonlight is starting a Summer Road Trip Quilt Along on May 31st.  She has sketches of the blocks and they look fantastic.   The details are here.

*If you have an event on your blog that you want me to add to a Monday post, send me an email or leave a note in the comments.

Also, because of the Blog Hop, I am going to make a point of becoming active on twitter (this week!) so follow me there if you are interested (and let me know if you have a twitter account and I'll follow you back.)  I have had the twitter link active since I started blogging but I haven't actually tweeted anything yet so . . .

Anyone following along or participating in the hop can join in here.

Link Up
As for the link up, since this is the first week and we haven't seen any tutorials yet, I wanted to think of a way for us to start getting to know each other (um, in other words, "let's get acquainted") so for this week just add your favorite post from your blog using the link tool below.  I'm just using a text link up (for now) so where it asks for your name, put the name of your post (or a shortened version.)  And even if you are not participating in the hop as one of our stops, we still consider you to be participating just by following along and want to get to know you as well - which is just my way of saying that the link up is open for anyone with a quilting blog.

See you all at Erin's, Kelsey's, Nik's and Alyssa's this week!

Please visit my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I've been debating all day which quilt I wanted to use for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  I finally decided that since this is my first time entering, I would enter the first "real" quilt I made.

Sadly, I can't remember exactly when I made this quilt.  It was sometime in the last two years.  I blogged about a similar quilt here - that was my second quilt.

I had seen a photo of a patchwork log cabin "quilt as you go" quilt and was inspired to try it.  I especially liked how you didn't have to cut even strips or even precut strips at all.  The idea was to just choose fabrics as you went in varying widths.  At that point, I was just starting to sew but I still had a decent selections of scraps and small cuts of fabrics (some I wish I still had and some I'm glad I don't.)

I didn't have an actual tutorial or pattern but I had gathered enough information to know how to piece the fabrics onto the batting and how to quilt each piece as it was added.  I made a few blocks a week (as opposed to now when I would probably try to do a few a day) and when I had nine, I decided that was a good size and I pieced the blocks together.  They were varying sizes and I decided to keep them that way so I would keep the uneven look (which I would now describe as wonky.)

All was well but I didn't know what to do about the back.  I knew the back should be quilted but if I already quilted the top, then how would that work?  So, I'm not sure what I was thinking but I took a piece of fabric the size of my quilt top and quilted it to a piece of batting with several straight lines.  Then I made a quilt sandwich with just two thick pieces of bread!

I machine stitched the binding - this was my first time binding a quilt, let alone machine stitching the binding!  It did not go well.  I shared my botched binding that I replaced in my post about my 2nd Log Cabin - that was pretty awful but this was way worse - fortunately, I don't have any pictures (or do I?!?)  As you can see in the pictures, I have since redone the binding.

So, if you are still reading, you may be wondering why did I enter this quilt?  Well, not only was it my first quilt but it was the first step in my realizing my love for quilting.  Even with all its flaws, I loved looking at this thing that I created.  I loved everything about it.  And I had so much fun making it.  I couldn't wait to make more.

My daughters loved the quilt too and they loved this new skill I was acquiring.  Soon, every doll and stuffed animal in our house had their own little quilt (in addition to their own little crocheted blanket.)  And this small quilt took the back burner to the myriad of other bigger and better quilts "we" were making.  But this little quilt found its way back to the top of the quilt pile when the baby came.  The crazy "mistake" (yes, I realize I might be overusing quotation marks in this post) that I had made by using a double layer of batting which made the quilt so heavy and stiff made it the absolute perfect play mat.  Except for when it was in the wash, we used this quilt everyday.  It is in so many photos (and memories) from the baby's first 7 months.

Well, the baby is getting bigger and more mobile so she is not really staying in one place anymore, thus, this quilt has been hanging out on a chair instead of the floor.  I think I am going to fold it up and put it on the bookshelf in the baby's room and hope that one day she discovers it and loves it as much as her sisters do.  

Hm, I think I got a bit sappy there so I guess this is a good place to end.  If you are still with me, I encourage you to click over to the quilt festival to check out the amazing entries.  I spent way too much time over there myself and will be going back soon.

*I can't remember where I first found the inspiration to make the quilt as you go log cabins.  It might have been from Amanda on SouleMama who has used this method in many beautiful projects (hers was one of the first blogs I regularly read.)  I have also since read and learned a lot from the book that she used for her quilts - Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki.  And there are so many sources of information for this method online - not sure if they weren't there when I was making the quilt or if I just didn't know to look!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Houses, HSTs, and WIPs

If you have read any of my recent posts, you probably know that I am organizing a blog hop for new bloggers that begins next Tuesday, May 22nd!  All the information is here.  As part of the hop, I am going to be posting  the weekly calendar, updates, and highlights from the participating bloggers here in a Blog Hop post every Monday starting next week.  I am really looking forward to it and I hope you will join us either as a participant or a visitor!  

I just looked and even though I have been working on my blog everyday (updating the Blog Hop page, coordinating the calendar . . .), it has been almost a week since my last post so I actually have two finishes to share today.  Oh, and since one of the suggestions for the Hop participants is to create a collage/mosaic of their favorite projects, I decided to try making some for today's post.

Up first is a Little Houses Doll Quilt.  I'm linking this up with Amy's Creative Side One Thing, One Week Challenge as last week, I added my goal of piecing these little houses to her challenge.  I actually ended up finishing up the quilt last night.  The main fabric is Wildwood by Erin McMorris in fuschia and the binding is Dream Dot in Clementine from Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane collection.  

I used my walking foot to do the wavy lines and stamps with a fabric marker for the writing.  

To illustrate how I put together the houses, I made up two collages using Picasa.

My other finish from the past week was this baby quilt.

And here is it in a collage I made using Big Huge Labs.

The quilt is a combination of HSTs and 5" squares.  I used Kona Charcoal for the binding and a bright pink Aurifil thread to machine stitch the binding with a zig zag.  I don't think I've ever used a solid color before for binding but I think I will again (especially if it combined with contrasting thread.)  The backing is Kumari Garden by Dena Designs.

Lastly, I used photoshop to create a collage using some great photo templates from Pugly Pixel.  She also has a tutorial on how to use the templates.  I'm new to photoshop (I downloaded a free trial) so I'm still working on this one but I wanted to mention it here.

As for my WIPs:

I've been cutting out 5" charms to make a patchwork quilt (with a bit of I-spy in it.)

A few months ago, I made a patchwork quilt using a charm pack from Aneela Hoey's A Walk in the Woods and used Swirlybuds in Deep Pink from Heather Bailey's Bijoux for the binding.  (I can't seem to get a good picture of the red inside or outside - any suggestions???)  This is one of the many quilts I use for my 7 month old when she is in the stroller and the one I get, by far, the most oohs and aahs which is probably why those charms are on my sewing table.   (If you need one, here is a great tutorial from Oh, Fransson on how to cut charm squares from yardage.)

While I've been cutting the charms, I've also been cutting strips from the same fabrics for another Log Cabin - I want to make one with sashing this time.

I think this post ended up a bit long!!!  So, I'll end with this question - how do you create your collages/mosaics?

And, please check back here next Monday and join some fantastic new bloggers for the Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop - spread the word!  Or grab a button - from the post or my sidebar.

Please check out my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bow Tie Baby Quilt and WIPs

I am very excited about the positive response I have received for the Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop.  Updated info can be found here.  If you are participating, please grab a button and let other new bloggers know about it (I think the button works correctly - please let me know if it doesn't.)  I used this straightforward tutorial by Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts to create the HTML code box.

I finished up this baby quilt yesterday (it is raining again today so I can't get any pics of it outside - I thought it was supposed to be April Showers - isn't it May???)  I think it is called a Bow Tie quilt?  I basically just cut out large squares of the pink and small squares of scrap fabric and stitched them together HST style.

I put the smaller HSTs away for another project and I squared the larger blocks.  I then cut some more blocks from the pink, stitched the blocks into rows, and stitched the rows together.  I thought the quilt was too small after I used up all my blocks and since I didn't have any more of the pink fabric, I just improvised with some scraps for the bottom.  I free motion quilted it with a meandering stitch - it is my second time doing so and I really enjoy the process - it is fun deciding the stitch pattern as you go.

And I used more of the Momo Wonderland fabric that I cut into for the My Precious QAL.

As for WIPs, I started making some scrappy, wonky little houses - not sure if I am going to make a quilt (the plan being to make a bunch of the small ones for the quilt top and put the big one on the back or the reverse.)  But I might just do something smaller like a pillow or a bag.

And I started making some HSTs for a chevron quilt (or pillow or bag.)

I haven't been crocheting but I've been taking pics of things I've already made like this blanket (which took forever!)

I guess I also can consider finishing up the navigation bar a WIP  - I finally have everything linked up correctly but I still want to finish up the pages.  I also want to work on the actual projects for the links I put in under the Participating In tab.

Fabrics used in Bow Tie Quilt:
Amy Butler Love Cypress Paisley Lime (backing)
Erin McMorris Wildwood Flower Shower in Fuschia (binding)
Erin McMorris Wildwood Flower Shower in Gold
Momo Wonderland Tweedle Dee (Sugar?)
Amy Butler Midwest Modern Honeycomb in Sand
Heather Bailey Nicey Jane Dream Dot Clementine
Heather Bailey Pop Garden Sway in Lime
Sarah Jane Children at Play Summer Gardens Lilac
Kona Cotton Petal

Please check out my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.