Monday, January 27, 2014

Chromebook cover and sewing day at Swink Girls Quilts

The Swink Girls (me, Francesca and Margaret) hosted a sewing day at the studio yesterday and it was so much fun!  Shellee and Sherri, two new friends from the Rochester Modern Quilt Guild (RMQG) braved the snowy and cold weather to set up shop for the day.  We talked and laughed and actually accomplished some things as well!  Shellee is working on a gorgeous quilt using the jelly roll race technique.  Her fabrics are from the Juggling Summer line (Moda).  See was able to apply the first border and showed us the fabrics selected for the finished quilt.  It is going to be really nice!  I am also a fan of that fabric line and used it for the Moons and Star lap quilt I completed in December 2013.

Sherri was able to attach the binding to a beatiful small piece made with half square triangles.  I am amazed at her skill with free motion quilting on her domestic machine!  I could use some lessons from Sherri for sure :)  She also worked on putting together a top made from improvisational and very modern blocks.  The color palette is white and black with little pops of bright colors.  It will be a striking, modern piece and I can't wait to see her quilting on this one!

Francesca worked on some slab blocks for her Sunday Morning Quilts Bee.  She also finished up the binding on a very sweet Valentine's pillow which she has posted.  Check out the pictures in her post; it is super cute!

By the way, I am very sorry I did not snap some photos yesterday ;(  You will have to trust my descriptions!

Margaret and I worked on a little sleeve for her Chromebook.  We used some custom dyed fabric (courtesy of Francesca and Do or Dye).  Margaret is well satisified with the results as I am too!

The Swink Girls are looking forward to another sewing day sometime real soon.  We  very much enjoyed getting to know Shellee and Sherri.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Stash #3

Happy Sunday friends.  I'm sharing more hand-dyed fat quarters today!

And something I made from fat quarters:

I found this pattern on the Sew Mama Sew blog. It was my first time sewing in rick rack this way and my first metal snaps. I'm really pleased with how it came out.

And I leave you with a finish:

I completed hand sewing the binding down on my Valentines' Day throw pillow today. February UFO completed! It fits an 18" pillow, it's fully lined, and has a covered zipper closure- no patterns used.  I'm thinking of listing this for sale on Etsy.


Linked with Sarah and Sarah :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday #1

Welcome to the first installment of Tutorial Tuesday at SGQ!  One of my goals from last year was to write some tutorials.  I have learned SO much from the online quilting/sewing community and I am so grateful. There is such a wonderful exchange of knowledge these days and people are eager to share their tips and experiences.  And many patterns, tutorials, and how-to videos are completely free.  I want to give back a little bit by writing some tutorials/simple patterns of my own now that I am a more skilled sewist. I won't be posting a tutorial every Tuesday, but I'd like to post one of my own, or link to someone else's that I really like, at least quarterly.

So today I will be sharing a tutorial I put together for mass producing of HSTs  I also like it because the outside of the HST units will be on the straight grain. I don't claim to have invented this method by any means, but I've never seen a tutorial for it and I just happened upon this way of making HSTs the other day when I was working on some bear paw blocks.  

This method requires two 6 1/4" squares, a pencil, ruler, iron and sewing machine.

1. Trim your two fabrics down to exactly 6 1/4".

2. Take one square (I usually use the lighter fabric).  Mark a vertical line 3 1/8" from the left, parallel with the side (this should be the center).  I use a regular #2 pencil as the marks with be in the seam allowance.  Use your favorite marking tool though; water soluble pen, chalk, whatever. Turn the square 90 degrees and do the same (lines should make a t, intersecting in the exact center of your fabric).  Connect the outside points to make a diamond - see the picture, this is easier to do than to explain.

3. Sew 1/4" on both sides of the diamond. When you do inside the diamond be sure to stop when you get the line (the ones that cross in the middle). Put the needle down, presser foot up, rotate your fabric and keep sewing. When you do the outside diamond, sew right off the edge of your fabric, give yourself a little slack on the thread, and keep going. No need to stop and cut your thread.  It should now look like the picture below- guess I could have used a more contrasting thread. 

4. I usually give it a quick press at this point after taking the pins out, just to flatten out the fullness.  Now you need to cut on all the marked lines. I cut the vertical and horizontal lines first, then the diagonals.

5. All that's left is to press open and trim.  If you mark, sew, and cut very precisely, you can get 2 3/4" squares. If you like to give yourself some more breathing room, trim down to 2 1/2" squares.

That's it for this tutorial. As you can tell, you will get eight HST units from two squares of fabric, very cool. Please leave a comment for me and let me know what you think. Too wordy, confusing, or need more pictures? Let me know and thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Stashin' #2

I don't plan on doing Sunday Stashin' every week, but here and there it's fun. Here's two little fat quarters from my stash:

Both are hand dyed by yours truly with procion dyes. I'm really looking forward to using more hand dyed fabric in my sewing projects/quilting. 

Speaking of sewing projects and quilting. I think I am going to postpone working on the Fandom In Stitches event, As You Wish, until I'm done with my quilt for the Friends of Letchworth State Park. There is a very definitive due date for the FLSPQ so it's really my top priority right now.  If I need a break from it and feel like paper piecing I can always work on the PoD, right?

Linking with Molli (:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIPW #5 - 1/15/14

Now that the holiday madness is over, I've been able to get back to my beloved WIPs.

Here is some progress on the PoD:

This is block #16/30 and one of my favorites so far. I love really love the warm colors and the wee little broomstick.

&& my diamond quilt:
6 of these bad boys puts me at 50 blocks completed for this quilt so far.

&& progress on my February UFO challenge piece:
Pieced, quilted, the back is made (including a covered zipper), binding machine stitched down.  All I have left is hand sewing the binding down and my Valentine's throw pillow will be done on time.

&& some progress on my April UFO challenge piece:
Working on the piecing for the Foxy Tumblers baby quilt. I will be adding some borders once these rows are sewn together.

&& some progress on my June UFO challenge piece/SMQ Bee quilt (for Shain):
I am making a few sample blocks that I will post when I request blocks for my month (March) from the SMQ Bee.  I am going to ask for improv slab blocks in medium to dark blues with one brown piece, unfinished size 12 1/2" inches.  I LOVE the whale fabric at the top of the block!

&& last but not least, my newest WIP, the FLSPQ (Friends of Letchworth State Park Quilt):
Oh my stars and garters, another all batik quilt? Including hand dyed batik by yours truly (not shown)? Indeed.

Keep calm and stitch on!


Linked with LeeKelly and Sarah.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bee Blocks - January

Saturday was the day to catch up one bee blocks.   For the month of January I am the Quilter for the Hope Circle of do. Good Stitches.  I have asked the group to make improv log cabins in true blue and gray.  The group was asked to start with white or very light blue in the center and use progressively darker pieces as they moved outward ending with a border of gray on all four sides.  I think this will make a cute quilt well suited for a little boy!

Next up was a couple blocks for the Sunday Morning Quilts Round 3 (SMQ3).  Michelle is going to make "The Missing U" and I volunteered to make an orange block.  The unfinished size is 15.5".  She is going to have a good size quilt when all the blosks are received.  And very colorful!

Debbie asked for strips of alternating white and print 2.5" squares.  These strips are kind of tedious but a good way to use small pieces of favorites!

The SMQ3 blocks will go off in the mail tomorrow and I look forward to receiving the blocks from my do.Good bee mates.

Big Star Finished!

As my daughter commented to me the other day, this quilt "came out of nowhere."  I had no plans to make a star quilt but on a whim started cutting on New Years Day and in just a over a week I have the finished product.  Due to the large block size, the quilt top went together super fast.  The quilting took the most time but even that was done in two sessions.  The hardest part was the parallel lines and I am actually pretty proud of how well that part turned out!

This will be the second finish for 2014 (with Clinton's Quilt being the first).


Saturday, January 11, 2014

How I Spent My Saturday and Some BIG News!

Hey all-

I had a really relaxing Saturday.  I worked on some small sewing projects and a few sewing/fabric related projects today.  Shain actually helped me on some of the projects and it was fun to do a craft together (plus I needed him to run the stapler as we didn't feel like going to Kimberly's studio to use the pneumatic one). Anyways, in between naps Shain helped my make this DIY ribbon board:

It measures 48"x18"

Up close.  The print is Honey, Honey by Kate Spain (LOVE).

And here is is in my sewing room, already nicely cluttered up.  I've been hoarding this fabric for a while and I'm actually glad that I cut in to it today. Instead of laying inside a plastic tub it's now out and on display where I can see it every time I sit down at my machine.

By the way, I thought I was SO clever by using that bright, sunny yellow ribbon with the beautiful teal colored fabric. So original and clever, right? Then I saw this was right in front of my nose the whole time:
Twinners.  I wish my subconscious would stop controlling my every creative decision!

We also made a new design board for the sewing room, although the only wall space I had left was currently displaying my PoD-IP (Project of Doom in Progress?).  So I went from this:

to this:
The design board it 32" square. I am glad to have a better place to arrange blocks and such.

While Shain napped I did get a chance to do some sewing.  I finished this quilted zipper bag, finally.  I dyed the fabric myself last year. No pattern used.

I also made good progress on my February UFO project for the RMQG.  I quilted the front patchwork piece for my Valentine's throw pillow.  I did FMQ hearts with light pink aurifil thread on my Bernina.  The hearts definitely aren't perfect, but it was my first time doing them, and it's a learning experience.  I also made the back of the pillow with a covered zipper closure and attached the binding.  The back of the pillow is the same small red with white polka dots as the binding.  I just have to hand sew the binding down and this project will be done on time and under budget!
Sized to fit and 18" pillow form, but I think you could squeeze a 20" pillow in here if you had one. BTW, no pattern used for this baby either (:

Last but not least, I am really excited to announce that a quilt design idea I submitted recently has been selected to be commissioned! This spring I will be making a quilt for the Friends of Letchworth State Park to raffle off for a fundraiser. You can read a little more about the contest here. I am truly honored to have been chosen for this project. I am nervous, but also excited! I will keep you posted on this new project (you know I'll be shortening it to FLSPQ - Friends of Letchworth State Park Quilt)!

Hope you're having a stitchin' good weekend!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Big Star

I started this one on a whim after seeing similar quilts in the blogosphere (forgive me for not recalling the specific site).  When I saw this quilt I knew I HAD to make one!  I used some fabrics I have been saving (read: hoarding), Amy Butler Love, some delicious Kate Spain in purple, a teal small print from Connecting Threads and a blue and white print called Modern Daisies.  The background is a Kona gray. 

The piecing went very quickly and I threw it on the Innova longarm right away with some extra wide backing (left over from My Life at Sea) no piecing needed!  I quilted parallel lines in the background (can I tell you how incredibly difficult it is to keep those lines straight and parallel?  The eye is immediately drawn to any error - there was some unpicking I won't lie).  I am in the process of free motion quilting various designs in the blades of the star with 5 of 8 sections completed so far.  I plan to use leftovers of the star fabrics to make a scrappy binding.  It should finish at approx 68" square.

I will post pictures of the whole quilt once it is done.  :)