What could be better than a baby quilt?

photo 1How about twin baby quilts?!  That’s right, twin baby quilts, one boy and one girl.  These lovelies were made from two fat quarter bundles of Zoe and Zack by Bethany Berndt Schackelford for Quilting Treasures. Each time I look at these fabrics it reminds me of the kids song “ten little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head.”   The pattern I used is my favorite go to for baby quilts, Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs.  It is simple and quick, but gives a fun complex look.

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Although I think my favorite parts are the backs and the quilting.  I wanted the quilts to match, but still be unique.  The backs are both a super soft flannel in tone on tone prints, but the girl has polkadots, and the boy has stripes.  And for the quilting the girl got straight lines, and the boy got large circles.

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How cute are these monkeys?

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do.Good Stitches February Blocks

For the month of February the Promise group of do.Good Stitches is making half square triangle blocks.  Sounds kind of boring right…WRONG.  Camille Roskelley of Simplify has an amazing set of 25 blocks all made from simple half square triangles (found here).  There are so many possibilities with this.  I was so excited to get started.

Our queen bee this month said she wants to use oranges as a background and blue/green/gray for the contrasting colors.  She wants 16 inch finished blocks using whichever layout we would like.  I immediately went to my stash and pulled out my stack of random 5 inch squares.  This is what I came up with.

February do good stitches fabrics

Because these quilts are very scrappy I just went with my initial instincts.  I think my favorite part of being in a group like this is I actually get to put my scraps to good use, where I normally wouldn’t touch them (I personally hate making scrap quilts).

With fabrics in hand I quickly made up my half square triangles using the traditional draw a line down the middle, sew both sides and cut method.  Tested out some layouts…

February 1 February 2 february 3

and landed on this one.  Loving it.  and off it goes to hopefully warm someone’s heart this cold cold winter.

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Makin Mail Sacks

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I worked on over the holidays were Mail Sacks, using Pink Chalk Studio’s pattern. After I made one, I completely fell in love with this pattern….for lots of reasons…let’s count (and no, I wasn’t paid for this endorsement).

1)  The pattern is very well written and easy to follow. I think even a novice sewer could easily tackle this project.

2) The pattern offers options for different sizes, pockets, and fabric choices.

3) The finished bag is the perfect size (at least I think). Not too big and bulky, but big enough to carry all the things you may want (wallet, keys, sunglasses, cosmetics, first aid stuff…I sort of have a mom purse even though I’m not a mom).

4) Most importantly (to me) the pattern is easily modified to create even more options and variety.

With that last point in mind I decided I was going to really challenge myself and make as close to a fancy store-bought bag (think Fossil or something found at Anthropology) as I could.  So here is a little info, so you can make a fancy grown up bag of your own.

First I moved the exterior seam between the yoke and bag base down so I could add a leather base to my bag.  Leather always seems fancier to me, and I just happened to stumble across some leather at a fabric store in my home town when we were home for the holidays.  If you would like to get some of your own you can buy it online here.  I decided if I was going to go all out with the leather, the rest of the fabrics should be high quality as well, but I wanted to keep that Fossil vibe.  I just happened to find with was probably the last piece available…anywhere…believe me I’ve looked…of Elk Grove canvas in the dusk colorway.  I love this fabric.  It is made by Birch Fabrics and it 100% organic.  And I paired it with Elk mod basics in Sun, also by Birch fabrics.

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(image from: http://www.birchfabrics.com/The_Grove_Decor_p/the_grove_decor.htm)

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On one of the first versions of this bag that I made I discovered how to add an exterior pocket.  The pocket I added in much the same manner as the hidden pocket on Jessica Abbot’s Waterfront Park Pleated Tote Pattern.  I really love this exterior pocket, because it is just the right place to put a cell phone.  I wanted to keep this pocket on my fancy bag, but with the yoke seam moved down I wasn’t sure what to do.  That’s when I decided to put in a floating inset pocket.  Again, a great tutorial that I followed is here.

Mail Sack 8

The final decision was shoulder bag versus cross body bag.  I was really torn over this one.  I usually love a cross body bag, especially when I am out and about running errands.  It keeps you hands free.  But, sometimes I like a shoulder bag, especially when I go out to eat (a cross body bag hanging on the back of a chair usually ends up on the floor).  So ideally I like a bag with an adjustable strap.  But how was I going to make an adjustable strap with the Mail Sack Pattern, and if I could modify it, where the heck was I going to find the right hardware for it?  Well I looked and looked online and had a good think on it and came up with a fairly simple solution.

birch mail sack

I changed the top curve of the yolk piece of the bag and the strap to be asymmetric.  The left hand side narrows to approximately 2 inches and extends up an extra 3.5 inches, and the right side I left the same (for both the exterior and lining).  The strap I left one end the same and just kept the rest of the strap straight for the length that I wanted (approximately 53 inches total).  I constructed the bag just like the instructions state, but when the bag is turned right side out at the end I was left with one short stub and one long strap.  I used a 2 inch wide rectangle ring and a slide to connect the square end of the strap to the short stub on the bag body.  The hardware I found on Etsy, here.

adjustable strap detail

The final touch is a simple magnetic closure to keep the bag closed.  But you could use any number of closures for this bag.  And here is the finished product.  I LOVE IT!  And for once I feel like I have a handmade bag that looks grown up and not hand made.

finished birch mail sack

wallet

And what is a new bag without a new wallet to match?  I found this great pattern by Wood Violet Handmade on Pink Chalk Fabrics website.  It has all the features I need in a wallet; lots of room for cards, room for a checkbook (I almost never use it, but I still like to keep it handy in case I ever have to leave the country unexpectedly) and a zipper pocket for change.

Out with the old, in with the new

What a whirlwind the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 have been!  Lots of gift giving, thus a lack of blogging.  Let’s recap.

  1. Made myself a fancy lace Staple Dress.  Now my favorite outfit.  Can’t recommend this pattern enough.  It’s simple to sew and fits/look great on all shapes and sizes.  (See front page photo).
  2. Finished a baby quilt for my cousin who has the cutest baby ever, Aidan.  This quilt is all black, off white, and red with just a bit of green.  I think the letter and number prints are perfect for a baby quilt.  The block design is from Fat Quarterly Shape Workshopphoto 1
  3. Started and finished a shop sample quilt for The French Seam.  This quilt was made using Moda’s newest precut the Slice.  The precut stack comes with the pattern for this great quilt, including the appliqued anchor.  I loved how fast this quilt top came together, I loved the colors (my parents live on their sail boat so the theme is perfect), and I practiced my free motion quilting again with a wave pattern that I filled in with some pebbling to look like bubbles or foam on the crests of the waves.photo 6
  4. Finished the quilt for my niece Laura (blogged about here).
  5. Got Engaged!  Like how I snuck that in there.  No plans yet, but we are very excited.photo 4
  6. Made a trip to our hometown for New Year’s Eve to see family, friends, and take in a show.
  7. Made bunches of Pink Chalk Studio’s Mail Sack bags.  This is a great pattern for a very useful bag.  I highly recommend it.photo 7
  8. Started and finished…let’s just say a quilt to be gifted.  A simple churn dash block made from a variety of prints from Riley Blake, Birch Fabrics, Botanic, and Lotta.photo 10
  9. Started and began free motion quilting…another quilt to be gifted.  photo 11
  10. Finished a quilt top for the lovely miss Brittany (still to be quilted) in exchanged for some lovely knit goods. This was made from some improvisational log cabin blocks I discussed here.                                                                                                          photo 8
  11. Started and finished a quilt top…to be gifted.  photo 9
  12. Started studying for the Professional Engineering Exam…big damper on my sewing productivity.

See.  Told you.  Whirlwind.  And I am sure there is lots that I am forgetting.

Goals for the rest of 2014:

  1. Pass the Professional Engineering Exam…boring, I know.
  2. Get a better set-up for photographing quilts.  No more floor pictures!
  3. Improve free motion quilting skills.
  4. Use the fabrics I have on hand.

Let’s get this party started.  What are your goals for 2014?

I love all things girly!

Many of my friends have recently had babies.  And it seems like all of them have decided to a) wait till their bundle of joy arrives to find out the sex, b) not tell anyone what the sex was until the birth, or 3) simply did not “want anything too girly”.   That takes all the fun out of it for me as a quilter.  Gender neutral quilts are boring.  I would much rather make a super girly quilt with pink and princesses.  Like this one!

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This quilt is for a very special little girl (my niece Laura, she just turned four).  I think it’s just the right size, not a “baby” quilt, but not a bed size quilt.  I know I like to have a quilt that I can curl up with and take naps with, and now she will have one too.

It’s made from the Masquerade Let’s Pretend collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I fell in love with this collection when it came out, and I was so glad to finally be able to use it for a girly quilt . The center block reminds me of Laura. And the mask print is to die for.

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The pattern is simple squares and half square triangles, and came together very improvisationally.  I was hoping it would look more like a star than a big X, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  and considering this was the pattern I was working from, I’m pretty happy.

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The back is a simple gray sketch print.  The quilting I decided to do in a light purple (her favorite color).  The quilting design is a simple free motion meander with stars scattered around.  I love how soft and crinkly it is now that is has been washed and dried.

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I am really starting to get the hang of this whole free motion quilting thing.  I really did dread the quilting process not that long ago, but I’m beginning to find it to be my favorite part.  If only I felt that way about binding…I don’t think that will ever happen.  The binding on this quilt is my standard continuous bias binding made from one of the light gray prints.  And I even added a hand embroidered label to the back.

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I hope she likes it, I know I sure do.

Baby Quilt Beauty

You may remember a few weeks back I pulled some random fabrics together and whipped up a baby quilt top just for fun.  These lovely fabrics…

fabrics

…were pulled together to create this lovely baby quilt!

Supernova 1

I decided to quilt this bad boy with some yellow variegated sulky thread, which is officially my new favorite obsession.   It has a beautiful shine and a lovely variety of shades.  In addition, I had no problems with tension or thread breaks like I have had with other threads while free motion quilting.  I am sure I will be using this type of thread in the future.  The quilting is a free motion pebble in the gray pieced areas, and I did some stitch in the ditch to give it a little more definition (especially for the back).  As much as I love pebble quilting.  I am not a fan of an entire quilt covered in it.  I like quilts to have some loft and softness, and I feel that a dense all over quilting pattern can make a quilt too stiff.  So for this quilt I left the other color areas unquilted.

supernova 2

Because this quilt is small it really is just a baby quilt, but I didn’t feel that it was very baby friendly with its somewhat dark colors and angular feel.  So for the back I decided to go with this beautiful Fort Firefly print.

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I think it ties in nicely with the front and it softens this otherwise tough quilt up a bit.  But to be honest I love this quilt so much, I almost wish I could keep it and hang it on my wall to admire everyday.  Oh well,  off to its new life of baby snuggles.  

Late night sewing can lead to…

big accomplishments!  This past weekend a couple of late night sewing sessions got my feather quilt top finished.

top

You may remember me mentioning this project a few weeks back over here.  I am really happy with how this quilt top came together, despite how much work it turned out to be with all those odd angled pieces.  Now I need to start practicing my free motion quilted feathers!

top detail 2

Once I had this bad boy crossed off my list I decided to do a little improve sewing.  Last month, at the Indy Modern Quilt Guild meeting, we had a scrap swap.  Most people just brought bags (and even one big box) full of all shapes and sizes of scraps.  Everyone dug through and took what they wanted. The left overs were taken to a local art center.  Amy, of 13 Spools, brought neatly color coordinated bags of her scraps.  I quickly snatched up a couple of Zip-lock bags of double gauze triangles (that I am saving for a project to come), and a bag of her warm colors (bright pinks, reds, and oranges with a bit of black and white).  I decided to make wonky log cabin blocks using just the scraps in that bag.  There seemed to be just enough to make a baby quilt or wall hanging.  It would be a quick and fun project.

blocks

Aren’t they lovely!  They feel like fall to me.  Well, these four blocks quickly ballooned out of control.  I added a few of my own scraps, and now have enough blocks that I may make a throw sized quilt similar to Ashley’s Waterfall quilt.  More things added to the “to be quilted pile”.

do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}

 I’m sure many of you have heard of do. Good Stitches, but for those of you that haven’t, let me fill you in. It is a virtual quilting bee founded and administrated by Rachel Hauser of the blog Stitched in Color. The bee is comprised of several sewing circles that benefit a number of charities through making and donating quilts. The bee is based in flicker, and the main group page can be found here. Be prepared for a ton of quilting inspiration when you check it out.

I am sure this has been going on for a number of years now, but being new to blogging and flicker and online crafting I just learned about it recently. In order to join the bee and a sewing circle you have to contact Rachel and express your intents. You can join a circle in one of two ways, as a stitcher, or as a quilter. Stitchers make blocks requested by quilters each month, and quilters assemble the blocks into quilts and send them off to the selected charity. The intent is to use up your scraps or stash fabrics, and to generate one quilt per month. As soon as I found out about this I sent in my info to join a circle as a stitcher. I was promptly contacted by Rachel who asked if I would be interested in joining a circle as a quilter. She said she has no short supply of stitchers, but is always looking for quilters. I was hesitant to join as a quilter, as I am still building my quilting skills. She assured me that I would do fine, so I jumped right in. She invited me to join a group that was already up and running and had lost some members for various reasons. So I am now officially a member of the Promise circle of do. Good Stitches! I was warmly welcomed by the group via flicker, and I am so excited to get quilting with them.

For October the blocks requested were a scrappy 9-patch block and a 9-patch block with red.

2013 October 2

2013 October 1

The November quilter requested four 6-inch maple leaf blocks in bright fall colors.

November

I had so much fun putting these blocks together. I can tell already that I am going to really enjoy being a part of this group. Better get planning on what sort of blocks I would like when my month to quilt rolls around.

Stitch-Flip Zig-Zag Finish!

You may remember the Stitch-Flip Zig-Zag quilt from a few weeks back.  I finally got this bad boy finished and I thought I would share it with you as my entry into this seasons Bloggers Quilt Festival in the baby quilt category.  This is my first year entering, so please show your support, and vote for me!

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I decided on a lovely collection of bright yellows and grays for this quilt.  The pattern was inspired by one of my favorite modern quilters Jacquie Gearing, and my tutorial for this quilt top can be found on the previous post.

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For the quilting I had originally planned on simple free-motion all over circles, but when it got right down to it I decided I wanted to showcase the piecing a bit more.  So I went with a free-motion wavy lines/zig-zag in the yellow areas.  I am so glad I changed my mind.  I think it turned out great.  And it gave me an opportunity to try out a different free-motion quilting pattern.

back and binding detail

With a super nerdy back and a sweet pink binding it will be a warm and cuddly welcome to Baby-Girl-Brink from Auntie Meggers!

Quilt stats:

Quilt size: 37 inches X 43 inches

Block/Pattern/Layout/Design: Improvisational stitch and flip.

Pieced and free motion quilted on Pfaff Quilt Expression 3.0 by Meghan Eschbaugh.

Fall-BQF-Button

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

The camping season may be drawing to a close here in the mid-west, but I am still in love with the camping quilt.  So, this will be my first entry into this years Blogger’s Quilt Festival in the throw category.  I am especially proud of this quilt because the pattern was designed entirely by me, and was free motion quilted entirely by me.  I have come a long way in the few short years that I have been quilting.

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Calvin and I love the outdoors, hiking, skiing, disc golf, and especially camping. When Birch Fabrics came out with the Camp Sur collection, I had to get some. And since this was going to be the camping quilt what better block to use than a log cabin pattern.  The quilting is a string of circles pattern that I free motion quilted.  I really love how it turned out.

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And a fun pieced back…

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And don’t forget the label!

label

Perfect for snuggling by the fire while cooking up some s’mores.

Quilt Stats:

Size: 53 inches X 59 inches

Block: log cabin

Pattern/Layout Designed by Meghan Eschbaugh .

Pieced and free motion quilted on Pfaff Quilt Expression 3.0 by Meghan Eschbaugh.

Fall-BQF-Button