Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blog break

As you might have guessed, I'm still kind of on a blog break. Nothing crafty has been going on at all, I'm afraid. But-- today, we're heading out on vacation! It will be our first family vacation, and I am excited! Woo hoo!!!!

I am bringing along some Stickle blocks to work on, so hopefully, when we come back, I'll have something to share with y'all. And some more energy too! :)

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sweet Tweets

Remember this?

It's finally complete!!!

Sweet Tweets complete!
I'm so proud of how this one turned out, in large part because I designed it. But I also think it's pretty cute.

Sweet Tweet center focus
For the first time ever, I used ric-rac and made yo-yos. This one was a lot of fun to put together! I wish it had been sunnier out when I took pictures, because the quilt really is more vibrant than this.

Sweet Tweets quilting detail
I also tried to step out of my usual stipple box and attempted little curly-cues. They kind of make me think of wind blowing through the air. And I did a little design in the inner and outer borders-- and I didn't mark any of it! (Can you tell I'm feeling a little proud?)

Sweet Tweets back
The back is flannel-- so pretty and soft!

Sweet Tweets label
Last night I finished up the binding and attached the label. And tomorrow it will be given to a very special baby girl.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I need an energy infusion

Ugh! My energy level has been in the basement lately, so not a lot has been getting done (and thus, my lack of posts). But here's a glimpse at what little I've managed to accomplish in the last week.

Because my husband had to work on Sunday (and I had to stay home and watch The Boy), I missed out on the September Project Linus workday. But, this just motivates me even more to be ready for the October workday (and to get going on Evelyn's Project Linus Challenge!). So far, I have managed to make a bunch (20) blocks.

square square blocks
These blocks were created using one of Amandajean's friendly tutorials. They went together very quickly, and look very happy. I hope to get them put together soon!

Also, I was so motivated last week that I managed to cut out another quilt!

fabric cut for Paralletl Paths pattern
I'm using a pattern from M'Liss Rae Hawley's Fat Quarter Quilts called "Parallel Paths." The pattern includes long strips of a focus fabric-- perfect for my crazy roll o' fabric! I think it will be a lot of fun and should come together pretty quickly. Of course, the trick is sitting down and doing it. I'm hopeful that I'll get out of the stitchin' slump soon though.

And then, over the weekend we attended a birthday party. The invitation requested that if we wanted, we should bring a generic gift to be exchanged with the other guests. So, I whipped out the ever-awesome Child's Coloring Wallet pattern (from JCasa Handmade) and stitched it up in a jiffy:

animal coloring wallet
And the inside:

animal coloring wallet inside
I've made enough of these now that they're pretty quick. This one took about 40 minutes from prepping the fabric to stitching on the button.

My other projects are beginning to collect dust at this point. But I am determined to do something this week. (Not sure what, at this point, but something, dang it!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fresh cut

Way back at the beginning of August, at the last Project Linus workday, my buddy Evelyn threw down the gauntlet. You see, a company had recently donated some fabric to PL. The company makes baby slings, and they don't use the entire width of the fabric. So what they do is take an entire bolt and just trim it down to the width they need, resulting in this:

big roll o' fabric
It's like a tiny mini bolt! This one is about 5.5" wide and who-knows-how-long. It is also not regular quilting weight cotton. It's more like a lightweight canvas. And it has a little bit of lycra. Most people at the workday were giving this stuff a wide berth. But not Evelyn! She grabbed a roll for each of us and challenged me to use it. How could I say no?

I've been busy. Lots of other stuff going on. Lots of other projects that need to be finished still. So, the roll just sat. (Evelyn, of course, has already put together nearly 3 tops, I think!) But, after staring at my pile of UFOs and to-dos, I decided that I needed to just start something fresh and new. Re-energize! And out came the roll.

bright happy fabrics
I went to my stash and picked out some bright, happy colors to coordinate.

fabric cut and ready to sew
And then I cut.

Fresh and fun! It's just what I need.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September quilt guild

My quilt guild's September meeting was on Thursday evening. It was a big meeting for me, for many reasons.

A couple of months ago, I volunteered to help the guild's Education Coordinator plan and prepare for a new event, the Quilters' College. The idea was to put together an educational event giving members an opportunity to learn from each other. So, I helped plan the event and also volunteered to be a demonstrator. We had about 15 ladies (our "Demo Divas") volunteer to do brief (15 minute) demonstrations on a variety of topics and share their knowledge with other guildmates.

My topic was hand piecing. Other topics included working with curves, pattern design, longarm quilt designs, foundation piecing, fabric dying, gadgets, and many more. It seemed like the evening was a big success! An hour was dedicated to the event, allowing people to attend at least 4 demos (though it seemed like many just wandered from table to table, checking everything out). It was such an awesome opportunity to meet and chat with other people in the guild. I was actually rather surprised at how many people expressed interest in hand piecing. Did you know that the latest issue (September/October 2009) of McCall's Quilting has a how-to article on the topic? I think hand piecing must be the new hotness!

In addition to Quilters' College, the meeting also featured the big reveal for the latest guild challenge. I wasn't going to participate, but then a bee got in my bonnet last week and I decided at the last minute to go for it. Eeep! But, I managed to get it done-ish enough to display (still need to stitch down the hanging sleeve and put a label on it-- but it is otherwise complete). And wow! There were some amazing quilts! I wish I had some pictures to share, but I found myself kind of stuck at my table for the evening. Hopefully, I'll get my quilt finished up soon so that I can at least share that one with you.

It was also the last month for the block exchange I've been participating in for the last year (check out this post for an explanation on how the block exchange works).

J.A.'s block
This month's block was really simple (I didn't even have to cut any fabric)-- but very cute. The block owner also included a picture of the pattern she was using:

Homespun Charms: Sweet Liberty
The pattern is called "Sweet Liberty" from Heartspun Quilts. So cute!!! And she is using the same collection as is featured in the pattern.

As this is the last month, I also got my box back! I haven't had much time to do more than peek at the blocks, but I'm excited about what I saw. (You'll definitely be seeing them soon!)

Anyway, after the meeting, I swear it felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I didn't realize how stressed out about it all I was until it was over! So I've spent the last couple of days recovering. And not sewing. Tonight I plan to curl up with a good book or two. Then I'm hoping tomorrow the juices will start flowing again, and I'll get quilting!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A happy discovery

Behold, the blindhem foot (Bernina #5)!!! Holy cow.

Bernina number 5 foot
I've never done a blind hem. But I bought the foot back when I took the Mastering Your Bernina class series after purchasing my machine (a Bernina Aurora 440 QE). You know-- those classes where they show you all of the nifty accessories and then you end up buying a whole bunch of them but then never actually use them? (Or is that just me?) But as of right now, this foot has definitely earned its keep.

The other day, I found myself needing a piece of batting. I started to open up a new package when I found two pieces that would work perfectly if stitched together. I've pieced together plenty of batting in my time, so this isn't the exciting part. Usually, I use a wide zigzag on my machine and just put it on through. This works okay, but there's usually puckering and some overlapping of the edges. So I decided to peruse my accessories and see what I could find to make it easier to keep the edges together, and came across my long-forgotten blindhem foot.

I fed the batting through, and then it was like the foot pulled the edges together as they got under the needle, leading to a perfectly aligned stitch.

Part of why it works so well, I think, is because there is a little raised bar that goes all the way to the back of the foot. The thread goes over that bar, leaving just a little wee bit of give in the stitch. With the thickness of the batting, that meant there was no pulling or stretching at all and the stitches lay smooth and flat. My batting was pieced together perfectly.

A happy discovery, indeed!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

July nine-patches

I've been kind of going through a dry spell here, blogging-wise and crafty-wise, lately. Freelance work and lack of energy are definite contributors. But, I have been catching up on my blog reading and have been finding lots of wonderful inspiration-- just what I needed. Thanks so much to all of you other quilty-crafty bloggers out there!!!

Last week, I received the last batch of nine-patches in the Three-by-Three swap, led by the fabulous Anina. Woo hoo!!! Check out the loveliness:

So, between these, the May blocks, the June blocks, and the ones I made and kept for myself, I have 60 gorgeous nine-patches! These are going to make one (or two?) fabulous quilt(s)! I don't know if I'll manage to get it together this year, what with all of the other projects in the queue at the moment (and the holidays fast approaching!), but we'll see.