Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buried in Girl Stuff

tie dye scraps

I have been working on a custom queen quilt for an 8yr old girl.  Her dad is awesome, and I think he would be a quilter if he had lots of spare time!  He and I get along well, talking quilt math and design.

The little girl has definite ideas regarding colors and pattern, being a HUGE fan of purple tie dye.  They were unable to find anything commercially made for her new bedroom set, so went looking for somebody to make her a custom set.  We met a few times and zeroed in on an exact quilt plan, as well as main fabric choices.  It was so funny when I finally met her over Christmas break - she came in wearing a pink/purple tie dye outfit.  I said that we certainly had the right fabrics for her, and couldn't wait to make her new bedroom set!

So, now I'm buried in pink, purple, rainbow yardage and trimmings!  Kind of like a tween girl and her unicorn exploded in my sewing room.  I never work with batiks, as I prefer more  modern quilting cotton prints.  But I am LOVING the minimal amount of fraying.  I assume that is the way batiks normally are?  One of my major pet peeves is all the little stray thread that end up all over the back of your quilt by the time it's ready to baste.

tie dye block

This photo is pretty true to the real colors.

I spent a decent amount of time thinking about and then squaring up the main blocks.  They are 24" finished - which is larger than my largest ruler, and half an inch wider than my cutting mat width.  Not only did I want the block to end up the right size, with four 90 degree corners, but it was important to have that middle perfectly centered as well.

Any of you out there, who have been making those big  swoon blocks, come up with a good way to square them up?  I was thinking about doing a quick photo tutorial of what I came up with for mine.

first girl fabric buy

In  my own girly world.....Thank You so much for all your congratulations and kind wishes!  I have loved looking up your suggestions and links.  If you think of any more, feel free to add them on.  I have a pinterest board going with other sewing ideas, too.

My first fabric bought just for a girl baby - the pink colorway of Monaluna's silky organic Fox Hollow.  I've been stalking this adorable print for a while.  I bough half a yard and plan on using some to make a sweet, soft burp cloth. 

girl clothes

I also came home with a couple things from my Costco trip - a cute 3mo sundress, and a snuggly pj in 6mo size.

Had to laugh at the fact that they look mostly like the boy stuff I usually buy, in lime green and blue, just dress-shaped!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

eBook Winner!

book front

Thank you everybody for stopping by!

My winner for the ebook version of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe is:

#69, Heather

Friday, January 25, 2013

OMG! Send me your Links!

Its a girl!

I. Can. Not. Believe it!

We're going to have a little girl.

My Three Sons + A Girl!  I need you all to send me links to your favorite girly fabrics, and baby girl quilts.  I have that set up at the end of this post.  But first I'll ramble on a bit about my exciting morning.

becket waits

So glad my appointment was at 9am, I don't think I could have waited much longer.  Although, after a record 11 months of no measurable snow, I think we got our first inch last night.  Major down side to going so long without it - EVERYBODY forgot how to drive.  The hospital is 6 minutes from my house (a mom of three boys, you totally know the travel time to the ER) it took almost 20!  Luckily I'm a bit crazy about not being late for stuff, and left the house 25mins before my appointment.

The older two were at the ultrasound when we found out that Becket was a boy, so this time Becket got to skip out on the morning at school and be the first to know.  Being a Level II ultrasound, I knew it was going to take a little longer, and we brought Hidden Pictures for him to pass the waiting time.

We had planned on taking a photo of him at the moment he found out boy/girl, but the tech put the kibosh on that!  No photos or video allowed in the building.  Bummer.  It was super cool to see his face when he first recognized a baby within that snowy picture on the screen.

It was only a couple minutes before she told us that we were having a girl.  Mark and I just looked at each other and said - Really?!

After the tech was done with the million measurements, it was time to wait for the doctor to come in.  Love that the doctor comes right then, does her own check, and gives you the report before you walk out the door.  I can worry a bit (major understatement), so I was very excited to hear everything right then.  Luckily we did bring those books for Becket, we ended up waiting over 45 minutes before the doctor came in.  Of course, I had convinced myself that there was something horribly wrong with her heart or something, and they were taking a long time trying to decide what else needed checking.  Seriously, 45 MINUTES!  May as well have been a year.  I think I said a million prayers - alternating between Hail Mary and Hail Holy Queen, with some pleading in between for either peace or good news.  Ended up a clerical mistake - my folder was put at the back of the queue instead of the front.  The doctor was super nice and apologized a couple of times.

The baby's sex is not written in the tech reports, so she said we would get her official second opinion right then.  It was just a minute and she was quick to congratulate us on a little girl.  Then the most wonderful news yet, she said that everything was looking very healthy and they didn't see any markers for congenital defects.  Major sigh of relief.

We came home with a whole bunch of pictures.  Her cute little profile up there.

You can see the ball-like thing on her belly, that's her hand.  They barely caught it, as it was moving up and down the whole time.  She was super busy!  They also did the 3D thing and were able to get a fair picture.  Each time the tech would try to capture her face, she would turn to us, then quickly turn away - not wanting much to do with the process.

I told the doctor how I have 3 boys, and my brother has 2 - and that my mom had pretty much given up hope for ever having a granddaughter.  She labeled this next picture just for my mom.

What's so funny, is the doctor captured little miss doing her thing in this one.  That's her arm reaching up above her head.  And what she is doing is pointing her little index finger out of her fist, like I'm number 1.  Or perhaps, practicing telling her big brothers what to do.  It was so funny.  She did that a bunch of times, with both hands.  She's an ambidextrous bossy little girl.

Now I need help from all of you!  How am I going to choose the perfect baby quilt(s) and fabric for this little one?

Link up your favorite baby quilts and girly fabric combinations, I would love to see them!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Want Fabric...{Stash 2013}

'Want' is exactly correct.

For sure I don't NEED any :)

stash 2013
Messy Stash

I've been tracking my stash for three years.  Nothing better than a good spreadsheet.

So, how did 2012 go?  Glad you asked.


Things were going pretty well until I started my shopping for the perfect ocean blues in June/July.

(About 62 yards showed up at my door....blues and a few others fell into my online carts....ooops)

I ended the year only 33 yards up, and I didn't even make a stop at The Fabric Shack while in Ohio over the holidays. I really do like trying to use the fabulous fabrics I have, before I don't like them anymore.  Overall, I say 2012 was pretty good stash-wise.

orange and yellow

Last week, a couple of great tonal prints were in the clearance section at the shop.  I always seem to need a good orange or yellow, so I grabbed these at half off.   Besides, nothing had been added to the stash since early November!

boy blue
Blue if it's a Boy....

Here's the real question, though.  Will I be making a little girl quilt or a little boy quilt?!

Ok, I don't actually need a single scrap of blue, and I'm pretty good with pink/purple as well.  But I have deemed a new baby a valid reason to buy fabric.

I'm looking forward to poking a few buttons, once I know.  Just have to control the fun and avoid shipping 50+ yards to the house.

girl pink
Pink if it's a Girl....

Friday is the day for my ultrasound. Can. Not. Wait.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blog Blitz!

As I had mentioned, I'm one of the 18 contributors to the new book, Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe.

There are all kinds of awesome quilty bloggers in this book, and I'm honored to be included among them.

book front

My quilt is called Starflower.

I designed it late last summer, at the time thinking quite a bit about the negative space we constantly talk about.  I thought it would be cool to look at the idea of reversing the prints and negative space within both traditional and common modern quilts.  The change in quilt design that results is really fun and sometimes surprising!

Well, the publisher's Blog Blitz is starting, and that means free stuff for you!  Leave a comment here, and you have a chance to win the ebook - 19 cool, modern quilt patterns for you to follow or give inspiration.

Mark sure you leave your name and email address, linked through or part of your comment, that's how they will get your ebook to you.

Even better, enter a ton of times - not only one chance here, but at Martingale and all 18 blogs.  Follow Martingale's link to get to all your other chances:  Martingale Blog Blitz

We will all pick our winners on Tuesday, January 29th.

Good Luck!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Quilt in Blue and Yellow

Scrappy blue and yellow

One more finished quilt!  It was a ton of fun to make, and came together super fast.

This is another birthday quilt for a breakfast club friend.  Last year I gave her a cathedral window pillow in yellow, orange and blue, so I wanted something that would kind of go with that.  I was also in the mood to do something really scrappy.  I pulled out a pattern called Field Greens by Madison Cottage Design, and started chopping up my blue scrap bin.  The surprising thing is that although the blue scrap bin is super full, I ended up cutting a few strips from yardage.  So many of my scraps are smaller than 6.5x2.5 in one dimension or another.


When it came time to quilt, I decided on a stipple.  But only in the blue.  I thought leaving the pinwheels unquilted would help them stand out even more.

machine binding

I always like to learn and try new stuff, and on this quilt I did a few new things.  One was to try out machine binding once again.  I really do love the look of hand sewing the back, but have been wanting to try out doing the whole thing by machine, and this seemed like the perfect quilt for it.

All the edges on the front are scrappy blues, instead of my more common solid neutral.  I thought that would help hide the stitching line that results from sewing down the back half.  It worked out really well, including nice mitered corners.  And for sure is WAY faster.

pat's quilt

I only have a couple pictures, because I seem to put that part of the process off for too long.  We meet at our restaurant at 8:15, right after the kids are all off to school.  I'm often trying to take pictures about 7:30 that morning, in the early light without anybody to hold them up, right before I bundle things up for gifting.

But I did have a chance later to take a photo of my horrible thread pile.  Another thing I was going to try out was quilting with this variegated Mettler, instead of my standard Isocord solid.  Seemed like the perfect time to try it out, in the sea of blue.

I got about a 6" square quilted before my thread broke, although the stitches looked good up to that point.  Changed needle, rethreaded, reseated the bobbin, then same thing.  NOT a happy camper, I decided to ditch the thread and go back to my solid isocord, having to unspool the four bobbins I already wound. Leaving that nice pile of thread spaghetti, and a crazy amount of time unpicking, for such a tiny quilted space.  Maybe this spool was old and had been sitting out in the sun at the store for too long.  I don't think I'll be trying it out again any time soon.

Bad thread

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lynn's Diamonds {Finished}

I just noticed that I haven't blogged the quilt my sister in-law had me make this summer.

She was building a new house, and needing a quilt to hang on the wall.  She was a quilter long before I started, and hand quilted many of her beautiful tops.  But she decided there was no way she would have time to make another one, and asked if I could do it.


I've posted some of the process photos - this is the Fig Tree pattern she had chosen, along with the pretty Riley Blake fabrics.

Fig Tree Pattern

And talk about a process!

Large piles of trimmings were generated in the making.


I wanted each diamond to be perfectly square - both vertical and horizontal.

The process involved a couple of rulers and lots of trimming, but I didn't mind.  I love lining up points and trimming things just-so.

xtra ruler

Then those nice diamonds were fun to join together.

Phew - done!

After talking it over with my sister in-law, I decided to stipple the outer border and into the setting triangles.  Then echoed both edges of the inner and outer diamonds.

This gave me about a million ends to weave in, but the final look was awesome.

Lynn's quilting

I could look at those points all day :)

I'm still thrilled at how well my new Horizon kept everything lined up.

Diamond Quilting

The whole quilt.

Got to see it hanging in the wild when we visited her at Thanksgiving, that was cool.

Lynn's Diamond Quilt

Friday, January 11, 2013

Holy UFO, Batman!


I was looking back at the two pictures I already had in the flickr set for Becket's quilt.

They're from May 2009!

I was super excited that month, because I got a great deal on a quilt kit using Tula Pink's Neptune.  Which was already on its way to being out of print, but not yet on the radar of the quilt-land hoarding frenzy that followed.  The kit came with two layer cakes, a bunch of half yard cuts, and a couple yard+ pieces.

I had figured out how to get three each of light and dark bento blocks out of two layer cake squares and went with that idea for Becket's quilt.  Didn't like the pattern that came with the kit.

B cubed started

And I excitedly started a twin bed quilt for my little guy.  In May 2009.

Major bummer, my 'nice' Brother quilting machine had a really weird issue with high thread count material.  No matter what I did, I ended up with skipped stitches in these blocks - as I was using a silky smooth, high thread count kona muslin for the white.

(Also had all kind of fits every time I sewed with Heather Ross' poplins.  Never could figure out the right combination of needle, thread, and settings to get it to work consistently on tightly woven, smooth cottons.)

So, I put it aside for less frustrating projects.  Poor things lingered in a box since then.

becket bento

Now that I have my Janome Horizon, I was brave and pulled everything out for another go. Huzzah! - not a skipped stitch in sight, and I cranked out the huge stack of blocks.  Becket is getting excited that I may have his quilt done some day soon.

The trick now, deciding how to set them all!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Baby Shower Quilt {Finished}

jenny close

This is the third time I've made Amy Smart's Mod Churn Dash, and I love it every time!

This was made as a baby shower gift for a friend, who was due in December.  What could be better than some summer citrus blocks to brighten up the cold months?

It was a lovely baby shower - for Jenny's 6th baby.  We gathered for an evening, and started it with a rosary together, for the intentions Jenny wished. We didn't play any goofy games, and had fun with the one request Jenny made.  It was to go around the room and offer her our favorite boy and girl names, along with the most funny movies we could think of, for watching during labor.


I picked out favorite pink, yellow, orange, and greens.  FMF green tiles made the perfect binding.

I like sewing my labels right into the pieced quilt back.  If I left it to the end and had to attach it by hand later, it would only get done about 5% of the time!

What I usually do, before I baste the quilt together, is write it out with a Pilot Fixation pen to make sure I spell everything correctly and don't have spacing issues.  Then, I go over it with a Sharpie and with a hot iron, erase the Fixation and set the Sharpie.

jenny tag

I've given up on trying to wrap my quilts, and go with a cute roll instead.  I usually fold it in thirds, then roll it up neatly and tie it with a length of matching fabric.

For Jenny, I also added a little burp cloth I tried out. Worked really well, and I think I'll be making a bunch for myself.

jenny bundle

Monday, January 07, 2013

Ocean quilt {Finished}

Thank you for all the congratulations!

Way back, what seems like a million years ago, I got a custom quilt inquery.  There was a pair of little boys, who share a room, and needed coordinating ocean quilts.

I had a ton of fun picking out wonderful ocean-colored fabrics.  (Maybe a bit too much fun, adding in some of that 'while the cart if open fabric', and I had 55(!!!) yards of fabric arrive at my house from 6 online shops.)

luke front

Whirlygiggles in two sizes, with a special paper-pieced dolphin block for Luke's quilt.

And no photo of the other one at all - boo!!  But both finished at about the same size - 81" x 88"

luke back

Look at how well I used a bunch of the extra yardage on the pieced back.

I did both quilt backs like this.

luke dolphins

The paper pieced dolphins were a labor of love.  From the start, as I hunted high and low for the perfect pattern.  To the final debate over how to quilt them.

I didn't want to include them in my overall stipple.  So I outlined the frame (which is my favorite Kona blue, Glacier), then did a seaweed kind of wavy thing in the water, and sketchy echo quilting in the dolphins.

luke dolphins close

Now, this was super cool.  Luke's mom wanted to include some of his artwork in the quilt.  I didn't want it to fade over time, and also know how hard it can be to draw on fabric.

I had her send me a picture on a regular piece of paper, and made sure that he signed it.  Originally, I intended to hand embroider a representation of his art.  But then I started working at the Bernina store, and met some girls that are really into machine embroidery.  With the 830 and fancy digitizing software, they are able to take any jpg and turn it into a fabric sketch.  Marcy made this awesome quilt label - it's about 5x7" - and is almost an exact replica of Luke's drawing.  I didn't want to quilt over it, so I hand stitched it to the back after everything was done.

luke label

One final picture, with the Kona glacier binding and a touch of mustard added in.  It picked up the couple bits of mustard in prints throughout the quilt.

They were sent off to be loved (priority, insured UPS, with signature confirmation - I didn't want to chance them getting lost!).


Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 Catch-up

bee star

I'm still here!  Making all kinds of stuff, but way too tired to actually edit and post photos of any of it.  Much to my woe, I don't have pictures of two of my finished quilts (!?!)

But here's a photo-heavy super fast summary of the last three months.

I was freezing in late October, so I made myself a SUPER soft scarf - AMH voile and flannel.  I also picked up a little knitting again, as I'm teaching a home school girl how to knit.  I used Lorana's laces worsted and made some fingerless mitts.

And you may not be able to tell from the photo, but I sure can - the reason I was totally lazy - I'm also busy making a baby!  Little one due June 22nd.  (Every one of my bathroom self-photos look a little psycho.  Not one of my skills!)

knit bump

In October I finished up Bernina technical training.  I took an 830 apart into a million pieces.

Day 2. The fun begins!

And then actually got it back together and working properly!  Also did a couple other machines and a serger.  I've been having fun at the shop, cleaning and repairing both very old and current Berninas.

No extra parts. And it works!    830 ready to go.

This is the year of the quilt for my close group of friends.  Our boys were tiger scouts in 1st grade, and we bonded over the cub scout years of crazy.  With those same boys HS sophomores at this point, the 5 of us get together for birthday breakfasts, at the least, throughout the year.  I always do something hand made, and was running out of ideas.  So I went the easy route and decided I would do a special lap quilt for each of them this year.

The first birthday is Larua's, in August.  She is a pink person, and I had a blast pulling all my pinks for a sparkle punch.  I gifted the quilt top and then took it back to finish :)  It turned out awesome, and I for some reason have only this one picture!

Pink sparkle

Maureen was next, with her December birthday.  I love this bow tie pattern and went with it in huge blocks to show off my favorite blues and greens.  She's a gnome lover, like me.  She's totally Heather Ross Gnome-worthy, and I used a big hunk of it.

Maureen front

All the bow tie corner extras were stitched at the same time into HSTs, and I did a random block of them on the back.  With one more little gnome in a special spot by my birthday wish for her.

maureen back

Finished up my bee blocks - horribly late and some without even taking photos.

Lee's solids were wonderful.

bee lee

And I loved doing my own hexagon improv, using the pink dandelion fabric as inspiration.

bee hex

Finally got to see my quilt in print, after completing and sending it off a year ago November.

book front

I'm one of the contributors in this new book, with my large lap quilt called Starflower.  I was having fun looking at the idea of negative space that we all talk about, and actually reversing it - swapping the prints/solid neutral, within modern quilt designs.  This is the one they accepted for the book.

book quilt

I've made this pattern by Amy Smart three times now, and I love it every time!  This was a baby shower gift, and I actually have several more photos.  So I'll talk about it more in another post.


Same for the custom ocean quilts I did.  I so love how they turned out, but I don't have a single picture of the second one!  WTF?

luke dolphins close

Let's call it a wrap on 2012!