Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in pictures

2012 new things  

1.  Started a blog
2.  Met a lot of great blog friends (and even met one in person!)
3.  Joined my local quilt guild (but see #3 below)
4.  Learned how to paper piece
5.  Learned how to FMQ
6.  Learned EPP
7.  Tackled curved piecing
8.  Learned how to both machine stitch and hand stitch bindings
9.  Bought way too much fabric
10.  Bought a new sewing machine

2013 goals

1.  Work on my blog's design and improve my photography skills
2.  Actually go to the events to meet my new blog friends in person (ie, Sewing Summit and especially
     Kim's sewing playdates)
3.  Actually go to the events and meetings of my local quilt guild
4.  Not just join but actually participate in a BOM, QAL, or similar
5.  Learn about and actually use interfacing
6.  Keep working on FMQ
7.  Learn how to use paper patterns for items like bags and clothing
8.  Try cross stitch
9.  Make something with all those epp hexagons pictured above

2012 was a great year - I'm so glad that I finally started this little blog of mine and met and learned from all of you wonderful quilters out there.  Looking forward to sharing 2013 with you!

Linking to Craft Buds and Lily's Quilts.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A New Bag

Among all the gift making this past month, I did manage to sew something just for me.  I used the sidekick pattern from Noodlehead.

It is a great size and a great pattern and I definitely plan on making more.  I haven't used many patterns before and I didn't really have any neat tools to use for tracing the pattern (I used a bit of masking tape to hold the paper pattern to my fabric while cutting - yikes!) but it still worked out fine.  I think I'll add figuring out how to use paper patterns to my 2013 sewing goals.  Oh, and I didn't use any interfacing because I didn't have any . . . or any purse hardware.  Yes, I guess next time I make the bag, it will be quite different but I still really like this one!

Hope everyone had and is having a great holiday season!  I think I might be doing a bit of stash building later this morning - especially after seeing that Marmalade Fabrics is having 20% orders and Contemporary Cloth is having 25% off plus Fat Quarter Shop just added a bunch of new items to their sale section and Tactile Fabrics has lots of fabrics on my wish list in stock.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Special Link Up and Happy Holidays!

I have really just been working on small projects recently - actually, finishing up most of the things on my 100 day Hustle list.  Looking back at the list I wrote in September, I am actually surprised that I finished almost everything on there!

The only thing I have left is to make some more floor pillows for my littlest's room.  But I've made the quilt for my middle daughter, two table runners (here and here), several stroller blankets, a variety of pouches and other small items, three toy buckets, and I finally bought a new sewing machine!!!  My original list was very manageable and none of it needed to get done so I guess that is why it probably did - no stress, no pressure, no problem!

So, Happy Holidays!!!  Since I wasn't really actively involved in quilty blog land last year, I'm not sure how much will be going on around the blogosphere the next two weeks.  Therefore, I figured I'd put up the Monday Link Up today (even though it is not Monday anywhere in the world Ange!) and just leave it open for two weeks.  And you are welcome to link up more than one post during this time.

Plum and June

1.  Link up any recent sewing/quilting posts.
2.  Include either a text link or a button letting people know about this link up.
3.  Visit at least the two bloggers who link up before you and everyone who visits you from this post.
4.  When the link tool asks for your name, write down one of your quilting or blogging goals for 2013.  Two of mine are learning about using interfacing (I've still never used it) and taking photos showing my quilts and sewing projects in use.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saving and Using Favorite Fabrics and a Giveaway

Today's post is part of the Technique Tutorial Tuesday series at Pile O' Fabric.  

Have you ever saved a favorite fabric thinking that one day you'll find the perfect project for using it?  And then, weeks, months, or even years later, you still have the fabric - unused?  Or maybe you keep auditioning the fabric for your projects but it never wins?

I tend to easily use favorite novelty fabrics little bits at a time but what about when you have a full bundle of a favorite?  I actually rarely buy full bundles of a fabric line but I recently purchased a fat quarter bundle of Simpatico (available here) and a fat eighth bundle of Architextures (available here.)  These fabrics were most likely destined to sit in my fabric box for an indeterminate amount of time waiting for that perfect project but I instead decided to actually use them!  To admire the fabric in use, not in a box!

But baby steps!  I started by using just a small slice of each fabric.  That way I can enjoy them now but still save most of it for the elusive perfect project!

Here is what I did with the Architextures:

Cut off the selvedge and then cut a strip 1 to 2 inches wide right next to it - one strip from each fabric.  Don't worry about trimming the top or bottom edge (do you usually do that?) 

Randomly sew those strips together with the long edges together.  The order really doesn't matter as you'll see later on.  You can either sew them straight or angle some of them.

Sew a few sets of strips with each block having roughly the same measurements.  Trim to remove the frayed edges and so that they have straight edges if you angled any of your strips.

Slice each block into smaller strips of various widths.

Mix up the strips and sew them back together (this was random but I really like the effect with the more colorful pieces all together in the middle!)

If you haven't already, now is time to decide what you are going to make!  

I wanted to make some coasters so I cut out 4 5x5 squares (they were actually 4 3/4 x 4 /34 because of the size of the finished piece.)  Don't toss the extra - you can figure out another small project for that!

Use your preferred method for making coasters (I put the top fabric on a piece of batting and quilt a few random lines and then put that "half' sandwich right sides together with the backing, stitch all around leaving a few inches for turning, turn, press, and then finish quilting by first stitching a line closing up the opening.)  If you are wondering, I used fabric from my stash for the backing.

Then I took that leftover thin strip and sliced it in half and then sewed the two strips together to make it wider.  I thought about using this piece to make a little pouch but then I thought this would make a nice needlebook for my daughter.  

However, I didn't love having the one long seam running through the middle so I chopped it up and stitched it back together again (warning - this could make for some super thick seams - do what you can to avoid those when rearranging the pieces!!!)

And again I used fabric from my stash for the inside.

Now, I can see this fun fabric everyday and I still have most of it stashed!

And with the Simpatico?

a needlebook and a pincushion for  . . . me!  And I'll barely even notice the missing inches when I finally find the perfect project! 

Today's giveaway is from Marmalade Fabrics and it is for this fat quarter bundle of
Seven Wonders from Parson Grey.

You have 3 chances to win.

1.  Leave a comment (any comment) on this post.  

2.  My followers - old and new - get a second entry (leave a comment saying how you follow.)

3.  Visit Marmalade Fabrics and come back to leave a comment about your favorite item in their What's New section.

That's it - up to 3 entries per person.  The giveaway will remain open until Friday, December 21, 2012 at 8pm EST and one winner will be chosen at random.   And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -  unless you are absolutely, positively sure that you are NOT a no-reply commenter, leave your email address in your comment!  

The winner is #99 Kimberly Cassie @ Quilty Doodads.  Congrats - I'm sending you an email right now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fabric Buckets and Monday Link Up

I love having these fabric buckets around.  They are great to have in the baby's room, the girls' room, and even the family room!

I made this one basically the exact same way I made the quilted patchwork totes but I added in a layer of cotton duck (using this method from Oh Fransson!) and added short handles on the sides of the bucket.  It was a lot of layers to sew through (especially at the side seams so watch out!) but it did result in a sturdy bucket that stands on its own.

Plum and June

Your turn!  What have you been sewing lately?  Link up a recent sewing post and please, at the very least, visit the two links above yours. I would also recommend visiting back anyone who visits you. And, it would be great if you could either add the link up button (there is a code on my sidebar) or a text link in your post or on your blog.  And when the link tool asks for your name, write the name of a favorite holiday movie.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mermaids, Sailboats, Whales, and Maps!

When my seven year old daughter and I decided to  make a special quilt for a special young friend recently, we both knew exactly what fabric we wanted to use - Out to Sea by Sarah Jane.

We added in some other favorite fabrics and then just started cutting and piecing it all together, improv-style as usual!

When it came to quilting, I used several different designs and motifs - some new to me and some I've been using since I started trying new things with FMQ.

I also decided to try machine stitching the binding.  When I started this blog earlier this year, I wrote about trying different binding techniques and had decided that I liked to attach the binding to the back first, flip to the front, and finish with a zig zag stitch (a variation on this tutorial from Stitched in Color.)  Then at some point, I realized that what I really like - both for the process and aesthetics - was hand stitching the binding.  However, I was on a time crunch for this one so I tried the stitch in the ditch method for attaching the binding by machine using a similar method as shown in this tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts.  

I really liked using this technique.  From the front, I think it looks like it was hand stitched.  I will definitely try this again.  I did "miss" in several places on the back but it was easy to just go back afterward.

Since we were gifting this straight out of the dryer (literally!), I only had a few minutes to take photos and I only had a small helper to hold the quilt outside.  So, I quickly snapped this pic right before it left the house.  This was taken just minutes after the other photos but inside - isn't the difference in the lighting just crazy???  

Oh, and in my defense, I could have gifted this next week but my "little helper" was very impatient and wanted to give it to her friend while she was visiting - thus, the rush on the binding and photos!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Totally Different from Planned Table Runner

The Plan:  Make a table runner.

I started by selecting a pile of fabrics including mostly Chicopee and Madrona Road.  Then I made this star block (which is huge at 18in square!)

Next I made this:  

I then started a paper pieced star but decided I was wasting too much of the fabric (am I the only one who wastes fabrics when paper piecing???) so I abandoned that idea and decided to make a wonky star.  But I wanted to do something different for the center so I came up with this:

I put the 3 blocks together in a row and it just didn't work - this last star is significantly smaller and since I had run out of the background fabric, I used a similar but different color which did not coordinate well.  

I  really liked the center of this block (I can do a tutorial if anyone is interested?) so I made a few more of the centers.

And another wonky star.

I still wasn't liking any combination of the blocks so I made some slightly wonky flying geese and came up with this.

I then considered abandoning the table runner idea and making a quilt.

Maybe - but since I still wanted to make the table runner, I put aside the 3 original blocks and quilted the runner.

The Finish:


I wrote this post two weeks ago and I'll be writing part two soon but for now here is a peek.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to  go through this process, right???

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link Up and More

Hi there!  I want to welcome any and all new readers and let you know about this weekly "link your posts feature" at Plum and June.

Plum and June

Last spring, I organized a blog hop for new bloggers (round 2 possibly coming soon) and as part of the hop, I started a weekly link up to further help us "get acquainted."  Well, the 2012 blog hop is over but based on interest, I've decided to keep the link up - at least for now.  Basically, anyone with a sewing/quilting blog can add a link to their recent post.  I don't really have any rules but since the point of the link up is to meet other bloggers, I suggest that you visit, at the very least, the two links above yours.  I would also recommend visiting back anyone who visits you.  And, it would be great if you could either add the link up button (there is a code on my sidebar) or a text link to your post or blog.  Lastly, instead of just writing your name when the link tool asks for it, I always suggest a topic like favorite dessert or book.  It is up to you if you want to answer the question but I think it is a fun way to find new blogs  - I know that I usually click on links with fun answers immediately!  The question for this week is favorite winter sport (the link up is at the bottom of this post.)

I usually write about what I've been working on but for today, I am going to link to my posts from last week.  The first one (here) is a tutorial for making these themed mini quilts that you can use to display interchangeable photos and/or artwork.

And the second (here) is a tutorial for a three pocket hanging bag that I posted for the Happy Little Pouch Hop.

Oh, actually here is something new - just one of many small projects I've been working on lately and will post about soon.  This is a little needle book and pincushion.

And if you are still reading, I want to thank everyone for all the great book suggestions last week!  I have decided to add a page to my blog about books I'm reading (um, well, listening to), books I've read, books I want to read -- as well as what the rest of my family is reading!  Here is the link - it is still a work in progress - and if you have any more suggestions, I'd love to hear from you!