Thursday, January 29, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday-Book Review for Fun-Size Quilts

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

When I first opened this book, I scanned through the pages to find the one quilt that I knew I had to make.  I found a bunch of quilts that I thought would be fun to work with.  The closer I looked, I realized, these really are fun size quilts.  Like tiny quilts.  If you are looking for a small project, or a small area that needs a little brightening, this may be the book for you to check out.

White Stars, Julie Herman, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved
Fox in a Box, Jeni Baker, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved
Quiltilicious, Melissa Corry, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved
size 18 1/2" X 18 1/2"

I finally decided on this little quilt.  I am definitely drawn to patterns, I often look past color, and fabric choices to find the pattern I enjoy.  This quilt was perfect for that.  I generally am not drawn to purples and pinks, its just not my deal.   But, the pattern, was pretty interesting.

Making it- Pros and Cons
Getting to work was pretty fun.  I loved the instructions for cutting this quilt pattern.  I am a total nut, but I love it when I am cutting out fabric, and all the parts of the strips are used up.  Efficiency is like crack for me (well, maybe, I've never tried crack).  But, I did get kinda giddy that the fabric usage was so nice. (And conversely, I get kinda grumpy when I cut a strip and use less that a 1/4 of the strip).

Piecing it was pretty fun too.  Easy, and delightful.  But, when I started piecing the blocks together, I realized something.  The instructions call for making the half-square triangles, and then trimming them to the correct size.  I completely understand why the author wants to do that, it makes for perfect half-square triangles, and yet....I'm me.  That takes extra time.  I have limited time, and extra cutting isn't on my agenda.  I would rather spend the time stitching carefully and precisely, and have the half-square triangle be the right size after sewing, than have to trim later.  ****this is totally personal preference.

After I battled trimming (I know, my life is pretty tough).  I pieced this together in no time.  I loved the instructions for seam pressing, and putting the quilt together to make it come together nicely.  I could tell there was a lot of attention to the little details.

Now let's compare....Here's my version, navy blue, turquoise, red, and whites.  That's a little more me.  And that's what I love about good quilt patterns.  They work for everyone, with different preferences.  If you gave this quilt pattern to 20 different people, with only shaded portions (so they don't already see a color, and duplicate it), they would come up with 20 different variations.  Creativity is the best, and I love seeing what people come up with.

Want to check out the rest of the book?  Go here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For the love of a baby

I'm sure we all have them, those friends, the ones that are near and dear to our hearts.  You know, the ones that no matter what, you would do anything for them.  The ones you have grown up with.  The ones, that even though you may not talk to in way too long, they are still your best friends?

Well, one of my best friends, just had her very first baby.  This baby is certainly an answer to prayers, and I can't wait to meet her.  When I found out my sweet friend had her baby, I was so excited.  And then I also felt sad, I hadn't finished the quilt in time.  Lots of things have been filling my time lately, and well, I just put it on the back burner.


For this baby quilt I used one of the blocks I designed for Quiltmakers 100 Block's, called Traveling Eddie.  It's a fun little block, and it can be used a bunch of different ways.  But here it is, a sweet baby girl version.

The quilting on this had to be a little more special. I don't know why, but a baby that took a some extra time in getting here, needed a quilt that took a little extra time in the making.  I tried some quilting that I have never done before, and I quilted pebbles all over the white parts in this quilt (hoping to make the quilt pop).

For the colored portions, straight lines...I love the juxtaposition of lines and circles.  It's a weird thing about me, but I love it.

It really was fun to try some new stuff quilting, and while it did take me a little extra time to get this quilted, it was definitely a labor of love.  I'm so happy I can make these for my friends.  I hope each time I give a quilt, the person on the receiving end can feel my love for them.  Sometimes it is hard living away from many of my friends and all my family, but when I give a quilt away, I feel a little closer to my loved ones.  Like I have given them a little piece of my heart to always be with them (they already have a little piece of me anyway, why not have a quilt to show for it).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursdays Creative Eye Review- A Flair for Fabric

The first book I chose to review for my Creative Eye series is, A Flair for Fabric, Creative Sewing Projects from the Designers at Henry Glass, Compiled by Linda Lum Debono.  It's always fun to look through compilation books, because the styles are so different, and it gives a lot of opportunities to try a variety of new projects.

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

I scrolled through a number of projects, and a few of them really stood out to me as something I could work on, something I could change to my own style.   I was drawn to all these projects, I'll let you scroll through, just like I did.

Delightful by Jacquelynne Steves, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

I really liked this one.  I love how the colors in this quilt could easily be changed, everything could change, and it would represent the color scheme in your own home.  I particularly enjoy the creativity of the border.  I'm a big fan.

 Funky Flowers by Heather Mulder Peterson, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

 Blueberries and Bananas Place Mats by Vicki Oehlke, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

I really considered this pillow as well.  It's super cute.  And yet,....well, I don't make pillows.  My kids are delightful, they are wonderful, and guess what, they destroy things.  Like pillows.  But, if you have a non-destructive home environment, this is a delightful project to make.
 Close to My Heart by Linda Lum Debono, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Then I saw this baby.  Why was I drawn to this?  Where are the bright colors I usually use?  Not present, but the design, well, that totally calls my name.  I have often used Buggy Barn patterns, so I knew this could be fun.  But I knew I wanted to shake it up.  Change things to my unique style.

Starburst Maple Delight by Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Then I started pulling some fun pieces from my collection of fabric.  These fabrics just make me happy.

Little Note:  This block has about three million pieces (exaggeration?).  And quite a few fabrics.  Well, let's be honest.  Completely changing where each value is, and all the colors, etc.  It made it confusing.  So I organized.  And organized.  I tried hard to make sure I had all my ducks in a row before I started sewing.

One big tip I have, is to prepare.  I got each of the piece of the block prepped and ready to go.  Placing them on the ruler, to keep them all organized and at my finger tips for easy piecing.

Love seeing all the pieces coming together.  Seeing the fabrics actually combined, makes my heart do a little happy dance.

Chain piecing is my favorite.  I think this is one of the reasons I chose quilting as my art of choice, I get to be organized and mathy (it's a word, for sure, it's a word), and yet it is pretty at the same time.

And sometimes at the end of the chain, you might be tempted to cut the thread.    But not me.... I just pulled out another (yes, yet another) unfinished project, and I started piecing between the parts of the chain that needed to be separated. 
 (Luckily, I have a whole box of unfinished sewing projects...I'm a pretty big deal).

And after all that organizing  and all that sewing....I got, THIS.  
What do you think?  What's your style? Do you prefer the designers take, with fall colors, or are you drawn to bright?  Would you rather pinks?  Or black and whites?  

The real thing I wanted to get quilters to do, is look at a block with their own creative eye.  What do you think of the difference?  What might you do differently?

Does this make you want to try the book?  
You can get it here or here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

VINYL winners

Congrats to some of my readers..

Collette Mortenson
Heidi Lawson
Maris Brown

You will all be getting a little vinyl in your future..


Workin' It

Tuesday is my work day.  Where I get a little time to do my creative stuff, to write the blog, etc.  Ooops, today was full of meetings, and caring for a sick little dude.  But, here I am writing this blogpost in the Orthodontist Office.  I kinda love modern technology.

On Saturday, I got to spend a little time making parts of the block from A Flair for Fabric.  Working with fabric is my favorite.  All the planning and cutting, let's me get to spend a little time doing my favorite part.  I love seeing the colors coming together, I love the feel of the cotton.  I love it. 

A few Flying Geese

Marking lines, and making matches takes more time than you might imagine.  And yet, it's still pretty fun.

And, this,…Floor Quilt?  I learned about this while I was at Quilt Fest in Sept.  It was a little hard for me to wrap my mind around this idea.  Basically, you modge podge fabric to a linoleum remnant. My little piece was painted black earlier, but I have a feeling my fabrics call for a lighter color.  Saturday I spent some time repainting this, and then I'll get cracking on putting it together.

Are you interested?  Concerned?  Want to do one?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My mission....and new posts

The whole reason I got started with writing books about quilting, and blogging about quilting, was to share my love of this art, hobby, etc...  Even while writing my book, I felt SOOOO uncomfortable telling people what colors to use in their quilt.  Too often, I think quilters look at someone else's quilt, and want to duplicate it.  But, what I have always wanted to share, is to have quilters branch out.  Try the same pattern with completely different fabrics.  Maybe switch the values around...have the darks be lights, and lights be darks.  Just mix it up.  Try new things and don't be afraid of it.   What if you do mess up?  No's fabric.  My best lessons were from failures, from quilts and quilt blocks that just didn't work.

In the next year, I have a mission, to inspire others to break out of their box.  Every so often, I get electronic sample books from Martingale Publishing, to give book reviews.  But this year, my book reviews are going to be in depth.  I am going to make a block, a quilt, a little something from each book.  But, not just make it, but make it MY WAY.  Trying new things, switching it up a bit, being myself.   And, hopefully, showing other quilters, how to take patterns and make them into something unique and personal.

Join me on this journey, and let's see what happens.  Let's see how many crazy things I do,  what mistakes will I make, and what successes will I experience?  What will you learn along the way, and how will you change your quilting creativity because of it?  I would love for others to join me on this journey, share how you have tried things in your own way.  I would LOVE that so so so much.

Today, I started cutting out the fabric to review this book, A Flair for Fabric.  I thought it the perfect book to start with, since it's all about the love of fabric, and how to make a variety of quilts from a variety of quilters.  

Here's the beginning, let's see where this takes us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Make your own Lego Mat...

This Christmas, my husband and I decided we wanted to have a homemade Christmas.   He made me few awesome items for around the home.  I also made a few items for our family members.

This past summer we bought 45 lb. of legos.  Let's be honest.  It's a bit of a bear to clean all those up when it comes time.  I did some research and found a number of Lego mat's on the internet.  There were a ton of different ways to do it, but this is what worked for me.

Making a Lego Mat for yourself is actually quite easy.  Make sure you use a hardy fabric.  Home Dec fabric should do nicely.  I picked up fabric from Ikea.  I picked the cheapest strongest fabric I could, that was still pretty cute.  I got it for about $4.99/yard, and the width was  59".    Here's where you can learn from my mistake.  I didn't measure before I bought.  I just thought 2 yards would be plenty. I was wrong.  It was enough for one side, but I wanted my mat to be double sided, and have a little extra heft.  Anyway, think about how much fabric you will really need.

1.  calculate needed yardage:  figure out the circumference of the mat you want to make (you can make it to your specifications).  Then double it.  Then divide the inches you need by 36", to find the yardage you need.  Add an extra half or yard, so you can put the edge on the mat later.

2.  cut the circle. Mark the circle first.  Do this by tying a marker to a string.  Holding the string on the fold, and mark a half circle, as shown in the illustration.  Cut on the line. Cut 2.  one for the inside, and one for the outside.  

3.  Make the Border.  The Border holds the rope.  Depending on the size of your mat, the border will be different.

     *Measure the circumference of the mat, plan to make a border, about 4" short of that circumference.      The border will be added to each side of the circle, leave two small openings, opposite of each other...for the rope.
     *Cut the needed strips in 8" widths.  (you definitely could do this smaller, but nothing smaller than 3", but I wanted a thicker border).
     *Piece the Border end to end, to get the desired length.
     *At the end of each border piece, fold and sew each end, to finish it off.

4.  Put the rope in the border.   Cut 2 lengths of rope.  Each about 2" bigger than the circumference of the circle.  To attach the ends of the rope you can tie a knot, or sew a little fabric onto each end.
    * place the rope, following the illustration.  Each rope circle should follow the circumference of the circle.  With the end of one rope coming from one opening, and the other rope, coming from the other opening.

5.  Fold the border in half, lengthwise, and pin the unfolded edge to the outside of the circle.  Make sure the open portions, the parts of the circle without a border, are opposite each other.

6.  Using a 5/8" seam,  sew the border onto the right side of the circle.  I used a serger, to make this a little stronger.  But if you are using a sewing machine, I would use a straight stitch, followed by a zig zag.  The kids will really be pulling on this, having it be strong will be your friend.

7.  You're almost done!  (and so am I...)  Now, put both circles right sides together, and sew together as you did in step six.  Make sure to keep the rope from the seams.  Leave about 6" unseen, so you can turn the mat right side out.

8.  Turn the mat right side out, and sew the opening closed, making sure to secure each end of your sewing.

9.  YOU'RE DONE.  Now put those little legos in there, and never step on one and cry again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sewing Room .... in detail, and give away details

After receiving a few requests to see the sewing room in detail, I took a few photos, and labeled them.  Hopefully, this can help someone else looking to do a little organization of their own.

The contest will close in 1 week.  Next Tuesday I'll announce the winner.  What will you be winning???? Find out here.

My sweet hubby wanted me to make clear, that little sewing machine in the corner, is the kids.  I do have a grown up sewing machine, my beloved Bernina.  This little hanging shelf is over the cutting table, so I can have all my tools right at hand.

This little shelf is in the back corner, and it has most of my goodie for scrapbooking.  It's a little less pretty down there, but it holds what I have.

I love having a container for my embroidery supplies.  This makes it so easy to take my stuff on the run, and make progress on my hand projects.

These little baskets hold some great treasures. All those baggies hold unfinished blocks from old quilts.  I go here often to make small quilts, or other small goodies.

oh, I guess there's other fabric than quilting fabric.  That's what's stored here.

The rest of the shelf has a pile of my books, homemade gifts, and class samples.

 This holds all my precuts and scraps.  I have a lot of scraps. There's a lot of cool things you can do with scraps.......
oh....and the fabric.