17 December 2015

The Birds and the Butterflies

So, I finaaaallllyyy finished my Birds and Butterflies quilt. It was, as I mentioned previously, inspired by Red Pepper Quilts Butterfly Quilt.

The Birds and The Butterflies
Look, no clips! Thank goodness there was no wind!

First I drafted my own butterfly block and paper pieced them using my freezer paper piecing method. The butterflies are all pieced in Lecien's Flower Sugar 2013 collection. I saw it, fell in love with it, and knew immediately that I was going to use it to make this quilt. The bodies are all text prints.

The Birds and The Butterflies
Love these fabrics.
I decided to border the quilt with some improv birds. I made it so at the head and foot of the quilt the birds face the same way, so it doesn't really matter which way it's oriented. They switch direction half-way down each long side. The birds were made with scraps of Butter Sugar, and some coordinating Kaffe Fasset shot cottons. They were all pieced onto a Michael Miller dot.

The Birds and The Butterflies
Birdies. Each one is different - either because of fabric or leg movement. 

Once I finished the top, I saw what a beast it was. 108" by 90". HUGE. I started quilting it in my small Brooklyn apartment, on my old kenmore machine, and I just wasn't feeling it. The quilt kept bashing into the wall and the stitches were all uneven. So, I put it away.

The Birds and The Butterflies
The beast. 

Over a year later, in another state, and with a new machine, I finally took the quilt out again. I wanted to do more than straight lines, but my current motto is 'get 'er done', so I just kept the quilting simple. Horizontal lines through the butterflies, and straight lines through the border, effectively bordering the whole quilt.

The Birds and The Butterflies
On the edge of insanity. Check out those borders!

The quilt is backed in some of my most favorite fabric ever. I fell in love with Anna Marie Horner's Hand Drawn Garden fabric in Social Climber. I started stockpiling it, but in small bursts. A yard here, a yard there. I loved the teal, but bought the gold too, when I found it on sale. I clearly didn't know at the time, but these fabrics were destined for the back of this quilt. Paired with some Joel Dewberry True Colors woodgrain fabric, and the back is just as nice as the front.

The Birds and The Butterflies
The back! Or as I like to call it, the second front. 

The quilt is bound in some more Joel Dewberry True Colors woodgrain. It took me three nights to hand sew the binding down. Hundreds of inches! I was so pleased with this finish. I immediately took it on a photoshoot so I could put it on my bed! I love it and am so glad I finally finished it and am using it! I love so many of the fabrics, and the modern traditionalism of the layout and fabrics. I also thought it would end my fights with the dogs over the covers, but alas, his perchance for sleeping in the middle of the bed makes it impossible to get an even share!

The Birds and The Butterflies
No alligators were hurt in the taking of these pictures. 

10 December 2015

Rose's Rainbow

I finished up two (that's right, TWO!!) quilts recently! It was a wild weekend...

Rose's Rainbow
Quilt and Cactus

One of the quilts was the quilt for Rose. She bid on a custom baby quilt at an auction for my friend's Doula Collective. We collaborated on the design, and she was really easy to work with. Her stipulations were basically primary colors, sampler, modern-ish.

Rose's Rainbow
Close up of Arizona square.

I used some of my favorite fabrics (Arizona by April Rhodes, some Cotton+Steel for the low volume, and some of the Birch Organic fabrics), and some fabrics that I couldn't resist buying when I saw them, but I've never been able to use. The low volumes form a background that is a scrappy low-ish volume hodgepodge. I wasn't sold on it at first, but I like how it is kind of busy up close, and fades into the background as you retreat. The binding is a stripe that my family got for me in Barcelona, Spain so this quilt is definitely full of special fabrics!

Rose's Rainbow
Hanging out at the turtle pond. 

The quilting is really simple. I started by stitching in the ditch around all the colored sections. I was going to do some matchstick quilting over the low volume to make it more cohesive and to really make the design pop, but I lost my momentum. I figured a finished quilt is better than a half finished quilt - and if I had started the matchstick I wouldn't have finished anytime soon!

Rose's Rainbow
Alligator pond in the background.

I took this quilt to the local park: Estero Llano Grande, about 5 minutes from my house. I am always looking for alligators at the pond, but I haven't seen any yet! It's a popular place for birders, and they all thought I was a little nutty for coming with my nice camera to take pictures of a quilt.

Rose's Rainbow
Full quilt!
I backed it in some home dec scraps and some other scraps of the Ride collection by Julia Rothman. Not my favorite backing ever, but I was able to use of some scraps! And it's still appropriate with the masculine, primary color theme. I put corner squares in each of the four corners because there's no right side up or down. I have one way that I consider up, since I designed it, but I want Rose to be able to hang it however she chooses. 

Back of quilt. 

Well that's about it for this quilt. I hope that Rose likes it, and I'm excited to send it to her!

Hopefully linking up to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts and Scraptastic Tuesday from She Can Quilt

12 November 2015

Trunk Show - Ahh, Memories!

I've been wanting to blog, but haven't been sewing! I am nearly done quilting up the baby quilt commission that I wrote about previously, but I just haven't been making any headway into my WiPs or my wish list. I just bought The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood, and would love to jump into it, alas it'll have to wait.

In the meantime I thought I'd reminisce about quilts and other projects that I actually did have time to finish. How I miss those days. And while I'm at it, I'm linking up to the Trunk Show at Whims and Fancies.

Broken Umbrella
Broken Umbrellas Mini Quilt

This is probably my favorite project. I love the texture from the hand quilting, and the way the umbrella prints fabrics blends and jumps from the background. It finished pretty small, about 18" square. 

Instagram Sampler!
Instagram Quilt

This is my first quilt. Entirely hand pieced and hand quilted. I didn't even own a sewing machine, or an ironing board! I just ironed everything on a towel on the dining table. Those were the days...

Liberty Trip
Liberty Trip

I had a growing collection of Liberty of London prints, so I decided the best way to showcase them was with a Round the World strip pieced quilt. So simple, and so effective! It was one of my quicker finishes, and it's such a luxuriously simple quilt. 

Night Music in the Desert
Night Music in the Desert

This is my favorite 'normal' sized quilt. It finishes at a small twin, and is currently what I'm sleeping under. I loved the fabric play and the color choice, and that I made the whole thing myself, from drafting the pattern to quilting it. Just wish I had taken a better photo to do it justice!

Pillows! and Pillow Covers!
Pineapple Pillow

Gotta share the love with the non-quilts. I'm a big fan of pineapple blocks and throw pillows. I made this one au naturale (no paper piecing!), and quilted it up. It is living with my parents now, I believe. 

Computer case
Computer Case

A more recent finish. This computer case fits my MacBook like a glove. I love the Cotton + Steel fabrics I used, and am so happy I get to look at it every day!

Both sides of both cases
Eyeglass Cases

Last, but not least, I have my sunglasses cases. I drafted them myself, and really like the feather one a lot. The only issue is I keep losing my sunglasses, and now I need more to put in these cases!

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did. Don't forget to check out the other links at the trunk show, everyone's got some good things to share!

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

26 October 2015

HST Sampler for Rose

I haven't been blogging much because I haven't been sewing much. I come home from teaching and the gym, have to walk the dog, and have to make sure I know what to do the next day and by the time that's all done I'm beat and need to hit the hay. Well, this weekend I finally made the time for some sewing.

HST sampler for Rose
Some HSTs. 

I agreed to make a quilt or pillow for an auction that benefited my friend's doula co-op. The winner was a woman named Rose, who likes samplers and modern fabrics in primary colors. I decided that I would make a HST sampler using a scrappy low volume background. And it's all completely from my stash. I had fun using some of the fabrics that I bought because they jumped out at me, but I've never had a reason to use before. 

HST sampler for Rose
Some warmer colors. 

HST sampler for Rose
So glad I finally found a project for these elephants!

I made nine 12-inch blocks for the sampler. I was definitely happy that I had the block loc ruler to help with all the HSTs. I'm so sick of making them! I was a little hesitant about the cohesiveness of my background, and if the fabrics I chose as the feature for each block would work out ok. Seeing them together and from farther away I'm happy with it, and I hope Rose likes it. 

I decided to arrange the blocks in a sort of rainbow layout, which I haven't tried before. 

HST sampler for Rose
The final layout. 

Now I just need to figure out how to quilt it!!

06 September 2015

Star Cakes Shortcut Quilt with the FQS!

Today I'm sharing my finished flimsy that I made following the Fat Quarter Shop's Star Cakes shortcut pattern. I'll admit that I did it slightly differently, but that's mostly because I didn't have all the notions that they had. It was still a pretty easy way to make a twin sized quilt! They've even got a YouTube video to show you their shortcuts!

Fat Quarter Shop Star Cakes Quilt
Here's the whole thing laid out in the back yard. 

I made this quilt using a layer cake of Kona solids in Citrus Burst, and for the background I actually bought some yardage. I knew I wanted the main background to be the Kona Bluegrass, but I wanted to add some interest so instead of a layer cake of Bluegrass I purchased 3 yards of that plus half yard cuts of Glacier, Asparagus, and Celadon. The Celadon wasn't as different from the asparagus as I had thought it would be, but I just stuck with both of them. I feel it keeps the variation subtle, which works because some of the yellows and oranges are only slightly different. 

Since I am a trimmer, I tried using the amazingly simple FQS method for making 8 HSTs at a time, but mine kept coming out wonky. My solution was to simply keep the starting squares at 10 inches, follow the same methods and trim down at the end using my creative grids bloc-loc ruler. It may have been an additional step, but at least everything came out the right size and shape in the end!

Fat Quarter Shop Star Cakes Quilt
So many half square triangles!

My method regarding color selection was to randomly pair the colors, and with each progressive step I maintained that randomness. I never pre-planned any placements, or laid out any of my blocks. I just crossed my fingers and hoped the ratios of the colors I had chosen worked out!
Fat Quarter Shop Star Cakes Quilt
My favorite part is this darker plus!

I'm pretty happy with it. I went on a photo shoot around my yard, though still using the iPod camera. Someday I'll get a new DSLR. It's hard adjusting to the Texas landscape, and getting whole quilt shots without so many fences or fire escapes to hang the quilt off of. I tried though!

Fat Quarter Shop Star Cakes Quilt
Hanging off the grapefruit tree. Fits right in with the citrus theme. 

I'm pretty sure I'm going to bind this in leftover scraps, but I'm not sure what I'll back it in. I was thinking maybe some Freefall by Tula Pink, because you can't go wrong with a double wide fabric for backing. No piecing involved! Though, I just saw there's Meteor Shower available, and I do love that print - just not sure if it would fit in as well. Oddly enough, I'm not even a super huge Tula fan. Though I love her fabrics they tend to not fit into my piecing style, so I don't usually buy them. Or, if I do they languish in my stash. They do make excellent backings though, because you really get to appreciate her artistic viewpoint when you don't break up the fabrics.

Enough of that sidetracking. I enjoyed making this quilt and participating in the blog hop. I hope that I was able to show a unique take on this simple pattern, and that you try your hand at it as well! To make it more affordable to start working on this, for 3 days only (through Sept 9, 2015), Fat Quarter Shop is offering 20% off all layer cakes.

Fat Quarter Shop Star Cakes Quilt
All rolled up - just waiting for quilting inspiration to hit!

Thanks for visiting!

27 August 2015

Cotton+Steel Computer Case

Computer case
So patchworky!

Well, I've been really modernizing around the house. First a new sewing machine, and now a new computer. I got the new macbook, which is super cool, and it's nice and light. Only 2 lbs! I can carry it in my purse too, which is great. I just wanted to make sure that I don't scratch it all up, so I decided to make it an improv patchwork case.

Computer case
All the pieces. 

I will admit, I'm totally smitten with it. The majority of the patchwork is done using newer Cotton + Steel prints, and I love them so much. I got some from the Black and White collection, and then there's the Moon Cat from Spellbound, Horseback from Honeymoon, and Mystery Food from Tokyo Train Ride. I added in some dots that I can't find the provenance on, and my very favorite print (and carefully hoarded!) Hananonaka by Yuma. 

Computer case
Back. I love those little bunnies! And the drippy trees!

The back is some Trainride from Tokyo Train Ride in a cotton/linen blend. I like how the texture is a bit different. I quilted in a square grid pattern. I basically eyeballed it, aiming for a slightly imperfect grid, but one that isn't totally wonky. Quilting on the Juki is amazing, so much better than on my old machine, and really makes me feel good about purchasing it. 

I added in a label and a metal zipper. My first attempt was too small to fit the computer in, so I ended up finishing the zipper as though this was an 'open wide pouch' by Noodlehead. Now my computer fits in just like a glove. Of course I added a little leather for a zipper pull. Gotta make it as luxurious as possible!

Computer case
Zipper, ends with one of my favorites from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander. 

I might need to make a pouch for my power cord and adapter. So many things to make, not enough time!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday!

19 August 2015

Morning Star

In addition to the bitty blocks, I'm jumping back into my feathered star project. It's my slow sewing project, although it feels like most of what I'm working on is slow sewing. I've actually got two rather tight deadlines I need to work on, but with all this learning to be a teacher skill building I don't have as much time to sew as I thought. It is nice when I can sneak a few minutes in here and there.

Slow Sewing Project: Morning Star
View from my machine. And a finished Star, of course!

So far, this is the third start I've completed. This one is called the Morning Star, and I've been enjoying playing with the color placements. Maybe for the next block I'll do a dark background and a lighter star.

Slow Sewing Project: Morning Star
Some details. Not as precise as I'd like, but not too shabby. 

Because these blocks are pretty difficult to get precise with using the freezer paper method (it's better for larger sections, I think), and being my first paper piecing in months, I can live with the imperfections in this block. Plus, I kind of like how it gets a little character. 

Slow Sewing Project: Morning Star
In all it's glory! Or at least as much as I can capture with an iPod. 

Still thinking about what kind of camera to get, so my pictures are fairly low tech. I did get myself a new toy to ease me into South Texas life: a brand new sewing machine!

New Juki TL 2010 Q

I'm so excited and wish I had more time to sew! My old machine was a workhorse, in fact in the 40ish years it's been in the family it's never been serviced, and it's never shown signs of needing to. The biggest complaint was a foot pedal that was starting to stick, and some other general wear and tear items. I'm super excited to get to know this machine. So far, so good. Super smooth sewing, and I love how easy it is when there's an automatic thread trimmer! So fancy!

Linking up with WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

12 August 2015

WiP Wednesday: Bitty Blocks are Back

So, as part of my commitment to blogging once a week, I figure I'll try and link up with WiP Wednesday or Finish it up Friday, depending of course on how productive I've been.

This week I started catching up on my bitty blocks. I made the houses from several months ago. Though not my favorite of the bitty blocks, I worked through them all. These are my favorites:

Bitty blocks houses. Catching up!
My favorite houses!
The bitty blocks are a fun project, and definitely got me motivated to sew again. I've got a few surprises coming up that I can't wait to share. For now though, here's a few more houses. They will finish at 3" square, and I made 16 of them. I left most of my scraps back in Massachusetts, so now I'm using my 'less loved' fabrics. I am a little apprehensive that I won't love the quilt in the end, but I have faith in the magic of scrap quilting. Also, I've got some ideas about alternative layouts, so I don't think I'll use the row method that Quiltmaker's Magazine suggests. 

Bitty blocks houses. Catching up!
Pile o' houses!

Bitty blocks houses. Catching up!
Love these fabrics!

Linking up to WiP Wednesday

07 August 2015

I'm back! Well, kind of...

So, I've returned to the United States after travelling for 2 months, and I've just about completed my move to South Texas. I now live in the Rio Grande Valley, a far cry from Brooklyn, NY, and a great new experience. I'm going to start teaching high school science in a few weeks, so the transition isn't quite complete, but I'm feeling far more settled.

Liberty of London, London, UK
Liberty of London Store

Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic

Pula, Croatia
Pula, Croatia
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Travelling was an amazing experience. I wish I could go back to it. I went all through eastern/central europe and visited 13 countries, then went over to the UK and saw some of Scotland and England, and then I departed from France. Of course, when I stopped in London, I had to buy some liberty. Besides a carpet I bought in Sarajevo, it was my only souvenir!

My liberty souvenirs.
My souvenirs!

I got some scissors from the actual department store in London, and then I bought the fabric from Shaukat and Co., which was cheaper and offered a larger selection than the department store. The kitty paisley is just for me, and the alice in wonderland will be going into a baby quilt for my friend's soon to be born (if not already) baby boy!

I'm living on a citrus grove with grapefruit, avocado, banana, and key lime trees in the backyard. Can't wait for all those things to be in season, though there are enough new things to keep me distracted until they are. I've been slowly getting back into sewing, and I finished up a couple bee blocks this week (one was late, one's actually going to be on time!). I'm not sure what I want to work on yet, though I have some projects I need to work on. I think I'll start with some bitty blocks, and move on from there.

Hive 1, August block
August block - I'm finally going to be on time!
Hive 1, July block
July - better late than never? 

I've been keeping up with most of my old blogs, and I hope to hear from people on here too! Though I won't have as much time to blog as before, I am going to prioritize it, so that I can share my creativity with this great community. My goal is to have at least one post a week - fingers crossed that I can stick to it! 

p.s. my camera got stolen the first day of the trip (sigh), in Prague. All I've been working with for months is my iPod camera, and I'm ready for a new camera. If you've got any suggestions for Canon DSLRs and/or lenses feel free to share them with me!

02 April 2015

Catch up before I jet off

So, I've been MIA for a bit. Life is pretty busy these days. I just moved out of my Brooklyn apartment and am currently storing my stuff at my generous parent's home. Today I'm flying off on an Eastern European adventure for the next 2 months. I'm taking this transition time and my meager savings and aiming for a life changing experience! We'll see how it goes. Needless to say, I haven't been spending too much time at the machine lately. There are a couple of things I can share though.

Several months ago I pattern tested the Star Jump Quilt for Jess of Elven Garden Quilts. It was my first pattern testing experience, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the pattern, was exposed to some different construction methods from my typical ones, and ended up with a gorgeous baby quilt top!

Star Jump Quilt by Jess of Elven Garden Quilts
Quilt top in the snow!
Star Jump Quilt by Jess of Elven Garden's Quilts
Blowing in the wind. 
Star Jump Quilt by Jess of Elven Garden's Quilts
Fabric close up. Can't get enough of the Doe!
I was working on Christina's RTQ section at the time, and really fell in love with the vintage palate. I chose these great fabrics and used some Carolyn Friedlander Doe for the background. I love how it came out and can't wait until I have time to get back to sewing!

The other project I completed last month were my bitty blocks! They were cute little baskets. Sort of annoying to sew from time to time, but totally worth it! 
Bitty Baskets
Some modern, clashy baskets. 
Bitty Baskets
Some more traditional fabric choices. 

Bitty Baskets
All stacked up!

Well, that's all I've got. I'll be back in a while, I hope. I enjoy blogging and the feedback I get, and being able to share my creations with people who appreciate them. Bye bye for now!