Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Home

This year the theme of the Row by Row Experience is Home. I always collect a handful of the patterns from nearby shops & have been known to incorporate portions of rows into projects, but I've never actually made one of the rows before (much less made a whole quilt of them, but that's still true).  When I saw the row at Urban Spools this year, I knew I wanted to make it. Of course, the fact that it was designed by my friend Melissa made it even more special! And, I LOVED the fabrics they had chosen for the row, so I actually bought the KIT! People, that is something I NEVER EVER do.... I'm totally not a kit person. I like to put my own spin on things. So you KNOW it was awesome if I did this!

This Dallas skyline is all paper pieced (and some of the pieces were teenie tiny! scared me to death) but the pattern was super easy to follow and I love the way it came together. Dallas has been our adopted home for 14 years now, and though I miss my buddies back in the midwest, I honestly can't imagine ever living anywhere else! I may grumble a bit on the 100+ degree days, but when my pals are shoveling "white stuff" in January & freezing their noses off, I'm quite happy in the south!

And now I'm happy to have this finished row to hang in my studio. Thanks Melissa for your awesome design!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

pillows

Another finish for my third quarter finish-along goals!Six pillows for Ally's apartment done and happily hanging out on her couch.
Fabrics are all black/white/gold cotton prints from Hobby Lobby (with added kona black in the patchwork pillow). Two 18" pillows, one 16", one 14" and two 12"x16" rectangles. They look so good in her happy new home!

Just one more finish to go for this quarter for me.... and it's a doozy! I've been cranking away on My Small World quilt & hope to have the topper done very soon.... whew!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

matching dresses

I haven't made matching dresses for my girls since they were little. Really little. As in, say one and seven? I do believe the last matching dresses I made for them had bunnies on them. So when they asked me to make them matching San Francisco Swing dresses in gray I thought they were nuts. And then I thought, what the heck? I mean, they live clear across the country from each other so the likelihood of them wearing them together is slim to none. 

So, the dresses are made and delivered and they both love them! Yay! Ally & I went out for a bit of a photo shoot today. She found this quote on a building that made her smile....
And Leigh Anne sent me this great shot from New York City (seriously, they have THE BEST graffiti there!)
 These dresses are my third finish in the 2016 Finish along for this quarter. I'm really happy about that. Oh, and if you need a giggle, check out these shots of Ally....


Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

crosscut quilt along



Ever since Debbie at A Quilter's Table posted a tutorial for her awesome Crosscut Quilt I've wanted to make one. When she announced that she would be hosting a quilt along this past week via Instagram I was all over it! I quickly prepped my fabric and was ready to start on Monday when she posted her first step.
I chose a variety of low volume prints from my stash for the background and an assortment of red strips for the accent. Honestly, I chose red because that's what I had the most strips of!

Day one, we made X blocks, and day two we trimmed them all to equal size an sewed them into a 3x3 grid. My blocks were trimmed to 9 inches, finishing at 8 1/2 inches.
At this point we had what would be a lovely quilt top, don't you think? Even Ally approved. But that was not the end of it.....

The next day we were instructed to cut up our quilt top into smaller squares. Some members of the quilt along balked at this step. Not me! I was excited to chop it up and see where it would go. And so I did.
I cut 16 six inch blocks. Then I scrambled them around and sewed them back together to make this...
hmmm I'm not sure what that extra red piece is in the bottom corner, but you get the idea.

And now I have a confession to make. In my usual fashion, I couldn't stop. Once I got to this point I had to finish it. So, without waiting for the rest of the quilt along gals, I quilted it up and put the binding on that same day!  I'm impatient like that I guess.

I started out straight line quilting on a diagonal, fairly densely. My quilting lines were about 1/4 inch apart, give or take. Since this project was all about improv, I didn't worry about consistency much. Ok, let's be honest, my straight line quilting is often imperfect! When I got tired of going in one direction, I would turn and do a section of straight lines in a different direction. I continued in this manner until the whole thing was quilted.
And the binding? scrappy low volumes with some little red pieces tucked in here and there. Can you see them?
I think you can see my quilting a bit better in this picture. 

At this point, Ally came in to see what I had done and she was APPALLED! I think her exact words were "MOM! This is a MESS! There's no symmetry!" then she proceeded to inform the dog that I had made something ugly. Ha! When she asked what it was for I told her it was for her new apartment, hahaha. NO WAY! this baby is MINE. 


 I had so much fun dabbling in improv, exploring a new to me technique. Thank you Debbie for hosting this awesome quilt along! I loved it! There are so many fabulous crosscut quilts being made... check out #crosscutquiltalong to see them all.

My crosscut quilt finished at 22 inches square.

Friday, July 22, 2016

sewing with handwovens

I've shared before that I am enjoying incorporating my handwoven fabrics into my sewing projects. I really like combining them with purchased quilting cottons. Here's my latest, a Lola Pouch (pattern by Sotak Handmade)
Having found no real tips or examples that suit me online, I've been experimenting and have come up with a method that works for me. I thought I'd share my tips here. Maybe they will help someone else? At the very least, I will have them documented for my future projects.

First off, I learned early on from my awesome weaving friend Kathie to make use of every inch of my warp. I usually put enough warp on my loom to weave 2 or 3 dishtowels, plus extra. Once I have woven the towels, I plain weave the rest of my warp into fabric that can later be used for whatever I choose.
I am really loving weaving my 8/2 cotton yarn (very thin) onto my thicker cotton warp. It makes a sturdy fabric that still has a bit of drape. After I remove it from my loom, I zigzag the edges, wash & machine dry, just like my towels.

The trouble (not trouble really, the interesting thing) about handwoven fabric is that you can't just cut into it. The edges will unravel if you don't finish the edges first. Here's how I have done this for the bags I've been making.

First, I iron ShapeFlex 101 (SF101 my favorite interfacing) on the back of my fabric piece, and draw the pattern pieces right on the SF101 with a pencil or marker.
I set my machine to a small, tight zigzag (these are the settings that are working best for me, you'll have to experiment on your machine!) You want the zigzag to be less than a 1/4 inch wide so that it ends up in your seam allowance later on.

Now I do a zigzag stitch all the way around inside the drawn lines of my pieces.
It's a good idea to zigzag on the outside of your lines too, so that your leftover fabrics will still be useable. Even small strips can be made into bookmarks or perhaps sewn into a patchwork project. I don't want to waste even a tiny bit of fabric I have worked so hard to create!

Now I simply cut apart on the drawn lines. I like to use scissors for this part. I suppose you could use a rotary cutter if you have very good control. And your pieces are ready to be sewn into a project! 


Monday, July 18, 2016

Pow Wow baby quilt

This is my first documented finish for the third quarter of the Finish-along. I finished another before this but I can't share it just yet! Anyways, here it is, a baby quilt for the final KNOWN pregnant person in my life. It's a Pow Wow quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew. Baby's room is being decorated in black, white and gold. I used solid black Kona Cotton and white cotton with gold polka dots and triangles from Hobby Lobby. I chose to bind the quilt in black & white stripe which always makes me happy!
I did the quilting myself, just some straight lines & echo quilting in the white sections. I wish I had more confidence in quilting on my domestic machine, but this worked out pretty well.

I had grand plans for photographing this one. Our public library has some bright blue metallic walls which I figured would make the quilt really pop. And it would have. However....

The packing tape which I tried to bunch up and stick the quilt on the wall with stuck to EVERYTHING... my hands, the wall, my camera. Everything except the quilt! Ha. I got lots of shots of the quilt falling to the ground and gobs of tape stuck to the wall. sigh. So I went with the tried & true quilt holder-upper.

Hubby always does a great job, but it's not quite what I was going for! If I was more photo-editing savvy I'd photo shop out his fingers & legs. Oh well, you get the point. For the record, packing tape does not stick to quilts. At the advice of Debbie at A Quilter's Table I've ordered some industrial strength sticky velcro to try next time. Meanwhile, this little guy is in the mail.

Oh, another plus! All those flying geese (each "arrow" is made of 2 flying geese) yielded me 100 extra half square triangle blocks (2 1/2" square). Since Ally is decorating her new apartment in the same colors, I put these together into a pillow topper for her! Score! Also, I picked up a bunch of different black/white/gold fabrics to make more pillows. Stay tuned.


Friday, July 15, 2016

San Francisco Swing Dress

More pattern testing! I recently got to test out Caroline Hulse of Sew Caroline's newest pattern, the San Francisco Swing Top & Dress, available today. 
Ally was the lucky recipient of two dresses. She loves to wear little knit swing dresses & this pattern fit the bill.
The pattern calls for knit with at least 40% stretch. I did see that one tester made the top out of a woven and was happy with the result. My dresses are both knits. This one is a blend, cotton/spandex and the blue one below is cotton interlock. It's a quick make, front, back, neckband and sleeve bands and easy to assemble. The high neck is very cute & easy to do.



I made the dress version. The top also has an option for a split back, which is adorable. 


I'll be making more of these for sure! Had a great time testing it out for Caroline.