Friday, January 29, 2016

February do.Good Stitches blocks

February is my next month as quilter for the EMERGE circle of the do.Good Stitches charity bee, so I've put together a little tutorial for the quilt I'd like us to make. The block is based on the Scrap Plus quilt designed by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts. The original quilt is super cute, but I wasn't sure how well it would work for a bee quilt, so I'm taking the block and changing things up a bit.
I'm requesting two blocks from my beemates, one the reverse of the other, so one block has a scrappy plus and white background, and the other will have a white plus and scrappy background.
I'm using a fun color scheme of lighter to mid-range blues and cornflower and mustard yellows based on this fabric pull.
Most of the prints are from Carolyn Friedlander lines, and her colors are exactly what I'm going for. I want to avoid pastel colors, bright or lemony yellows, and darker blues. The blues should be truer blues, avoiding anything moving toward aqua. The white should be a solid white or just slightly off-white; please no prints for that part. The scrappy parts should be mainly prints, but incorporating a few solids would be fine. Some suggestions for solids (to use on their own or to help you match prints) include Kona Snow, White, Yarrow, Curry, maybe Buttercup or Sunflower? (I don't have a color card, and I'm having trouble matching up the lighter yellow exactly), Sky, Fog, Astral, and Lake or Moda Bella 97 or 98 (whites), Chrome, Mustard, Saffron, Blue Raspberry, Frost, Bright Sky, and Little Boy Blue. This fabulous triangle quilt by Erin (@quiltbystarlight) provided much of the color inspiration.

Faith made her original blocks super scrappy, and you're welcome to do that as well (just follow her tutorial), but I'm also offering a quicker version that lets you make both blocks at once using strip piecing. (Beemates will only choose one of the colorways unless you're feeling generous and want to make four blocks. Please make your blocks monochromatic (either all blue or all yellow); do not combine the colors in your blocks.) Here's what you need:

1. From your white solid, cut the following:
(4) 5.5” x 5.5” squares
(1) 2.5” x 2.5” square
(4) 2.5” x 5.5” rectangles

Set these aside for now.

2. Choose 4-5 fabrics in one of the colorways (yellow or blue). You may want to audition your strip placement by laying some of the white squares around a small section, like below.
3. Once you're satisfied with your pull, you need to cut a 33" long strip from each fabric. If you want to use 5 fabrics, three should be cut 1.5" wide, and two should be cut 1.75" wide. If you want to use 4 fabrics, two should be cut 2" wide, and two should be cut 1.75" wide. These widths will give you a little wiggle room for trimming later. You also need to cut (1) 2.5” x 2.5” square from one of the fabrics (set it aside for now).
4. Piece the strips using a 1/4" seam allowance and a smaller stitch width (since we'll be cutting this strip up in a minute). I used 2.0 on my Janome.
5. Press all seams open.
6. Using a rotary cutter, cut your strip into the following pieces:
(4) 5.5” x 5.5” squares
(4) 2.5” x 5.5” rectangles

You should now have pieces that look like this.
7. Lay out your pieces in two blocks as shown. Sew each row together, pressing seams open, then sew all of your rows together.
8. Press your seams open one more time, and voila! You have two beautiful blocks ready to go.
Please let me know if you have any questions. These blocks are super easy and go together in no time. Hope you enjoy this one!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

And the gifts keep coming

I returned from Christmas travels with grand plans of doing some selfish sewing, but somehow, as so often happens, other projects kept creeping in. First up, my mom asked if I'd make her a basket to use for storage in her car. She originally asked for one like the 123 baskets I made for Christmas, but I steered her toward a one-hour basket instead because it's a bit bigger and has more functional handles.
I've made two of the baskets before, and Kelly's free pattern really is great. They go together so easily and are the perfect size for organizing. My mom requested purple and cream, and I mostly pulled from my stash to put it all together (fudging just a bit with the creamy gray I used on the interior).
Then, a good friend had a big birthday this week, and I wanted to give her a little something that I hoped would make her smile (it did). She's a big cat lover and a birder, so I combined the two using some great Cotton + Steel prints in a fun little coaster set.
The first fabric is Stack O Cats in Teal from Sarah Watts's Cat Lady collection.
For the backing, I used Colibri in Citron from Sarah's Honeymoon collection. They play so nicely together. I used the Coaster Set pattern from I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale, making just one modification to cut the tray a half inch larger originally, which leaves just a bit more wiggle room for the coasters in the end.
Pretty cute, huh? Maybe now I'll finish up one of those "me" projects? We'll see.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Building a flock

I've got so many works in progress this week that it's a bit overwhelming. After knocking out several smaller projects at the beginning of the month, I shifted my focus to some new projects for work, along with finishing up one quilt that's been lingering for far too long. I was the quilter for the September block in my do.Good Stitches bee, and while I had the quilt all basted back in November, it got sidelined by several other projects. I finally got started on quilting it and am anxious to finally wrap this one up.
And speaking of do.Good Stitches, I finished up my January blocks and am working on a tutorial for February, for which I'm the quilter again. I pulled this fun stack of mostly Carolyn Friedlander prints a few weeks back and am curious to see what my beemates think.
Finally, most of my time this week has been spent on a new quilt I'm making as a sample for the LQS where I work part time. I'm making Vanessa Christenson's Rush Hour quilt using her ombre solids, and they're amazing. (The two prints on the right in the pic below are for a Gatherer crossbody bag I'm also making for work.)
Seriously, these colors are so beautiful, even in crappy basement lighting.
It's a pretty simple quilt, composed almost entirely of flying geese, but it took a while to work out the layout, and then of course, there was a whole bunch of chain piecing, pressing, trimming, piecing, pressing, trimming, and pressing again.
One hundred and 12 geese later, and boom, we're almost there! I'm hoping for a finish by this weekend, and then it's back to quilting that low-volume log cabin.

The neverending to do list:
September Emerge Circle quilt
Rush Hour quilt
January do.Good Stitches blocks
February do.Good Stitches blocks 
Catenary mini quilt
Hexie mini quilts
Gatherer bag
Washi tunic 
Sorbetto top
Esme tunic/top
Jewelry travel pouch
Patchwork City sampler quilt 
Allie Owl quilt
Menagerie quilt
Hazel Hedgehog quilt
The Kittens quilt
Aviatrix Medallion quilt
Swoon quilt
Spiced Chai quilt (from Vintage Quilt Revival)
Sunset Tiles quilt (from Scraps Inc.)

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January do.Good Stitches blocks

Finally! A blog post! It's been über busy around here, and while I'm always working on the next project, it's often hard to find time to write about them all. A few weeks back, I managed to bust out a few small projects, including my January blocks for the EMERGE circle of the do.Good Stitches charity bee. 
Allison asked us to make log cabin hexagons in high-contrast colors. She wanted one in very light low-volume fabrics and one in a very dark color (she suggested black, dark grey, navy, crimson, deep purple, or deep green). I started with a 2.5" hexie (I think) and went from there. I love how the seams look on the back.
The hexies finished at about 9" tall. Allison recommended tutorials by The Sewing Chick and Mel in the Attic, and both were super easy to follow. These were fun to wrap up in an evening, and I'm excited to see this quilt come together.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm going to QuiltCon!

Okay, well, technically, I'm not going to QuiltCon, but two of my quilts are! This past fall, I worked hard to finish up two quilts that I wanted to submit to the QuiltCon show -- my first time submitting to a quilt show -- and managed to finish Convergence and Fading Star. Convergence was my response to the MQG's EZ Quilting Triangle Quilt Challenge, while Fading Star was an original design about which I'd thought for months. I got them in just under the wire, and a few weeks ago, I found out that Fading Star had been accepted! I was SO excited!
Then, the next day, I got an email from Allison Dutton, one of my bee mates from the Emerge Circle of do.Good Stitches, letting us know that one of our group quilts, Emerging Illusion, had also been accepted. I'd actually been hoping to submit our low-volume log cabin quilt into the bee/group category but wasn't able to finish in time, so I was so excited to hear that another of our quilts made it in! Allison did a great job of finishing the quilt. You can see my blocks from the quilt in this post.
Photo by Allison Dutton, used with permission

I won't be able to attend the show this year, but it's a great honor to know two of my quilts will be hung among so many other awesome works of art. 2015 certainly ended on a high note for me!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mini double-zip clutch

Shortly before we left on our holiday travels, I came across Heidi's post about her new mini double-zip clutch, which she made to house her EPP supplies, and I knew I had to make one immediately to take on our trip.
The double-zip clutch is from Heidi's fabulous book, Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, and I made the full-size version a few months back. For the mini, Heidi recommended cutting the original measurements in half, along with a few other minor changes. It worked like a charm.
This little pouch is so handy for carrying all of my hexie-making supplies, which fit perfectly in the pockets. I used a fabulous older Rashida Coleman-Hale print (from Koi) for the body, a pink Blueberry Park print (Flowerbed in Valentine) for the pocket linings, and an Alison Glass Party Streamer print (in Sea) for the inside pockets and flap. I'm in love!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas sewing

After all of the hectic sewing I did trying to finish quilts for QuiltCon, I tried to go easy on myself with Christmas sewing. Aside from the gift card cozies (tutorial available here), I only made a handful of gifts. I started with a few more flannel infinity scarves for my sisters (after making one for myself). These go together so quickly and are so soft, comfortable, and warm. I used Robert Kaufman's Mammoth Flannel (love it!) and this great tutorial from H is for Handmade.
Next up, I made a few quilted fabric baskets for my co-workers at the fabric store where I work part time. I used the 123 Basket tutorial by Ellison Lane, which was really well written and super easy (aside from all that diamond quilting).
The design was based on my Hexie Pouch from last spring, which the ladies had commented on before. The felt I used for the hexies is from Benzie Design.
I used various Essex Yarn-Dyeds for the exteriors and coordinating prints for the interiors and handles. My mom's already requested a basket of her own, so I think I'll have more of these in my future.
Finally, I made another pair of City Gym Shorts for my little sister's birthday, which falls shortly after Christmas. I loved my own pair so much, and I thought she'd like a pair, too.
I absolutely love this pattern and definitely plan on making more for myself this spring. I used Robert Kaufman's American Minis chambray for the back and binding and Woodland Spring Floral for the front.