Solids For My Stash

I allowed myself some freedom to shop recently when I took a trip to a local quilt shop with a good friend. I went in search of solids or low volume fabrics, especially if I could find a good deal on them.

I did come home with a grey charm pack and two layer cakes by Jen Kingwell, and all at a discounted price. I picked these sets because they felt like great filler sets. Some simple, small polka dots and some neutral colored fabrics.

Recently I shared some tips in a Youtube for beginning quilters. One of the tips was to document the fabric or patterns you are working with so that if you ever lose sight of a project, you have pictures or posts to go back and look at for reference. I noticed on the back of the Moda sets, they list ID numbers for the colors and even some suggestions for cutting the fabric to get the most out of it.

I figured it was good to listen to my own advice and take a picture of it so that I have it documented somewhere in case something gets thrown away or lost over time.

This behind the scenes layer cake is simple and neutral. I look forward to using it with some of my other, more colorful fabrics.

The Just A Speck set is simple and colorful. Lots of variety to play with and match up.

I went out looking with my Cotton and Steel box set in mind. It’s been sitting there for two years and I’d like to play with it but needed something to balance the colors already included in the box.

So far I think these sets will work well with the fabrics in the box as you can see below.

I’m looking forward to trying something new as soon as I wrap up the few quilts I have already started.

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A New Year For New Things

Every year the same thing happens. I get the bug to start fresh. Try new things. Jump back into old projects that I promise I’ll actually work on and finish “this time”.

This year was no different than last year. Last year I went head first into hexies and paper piecing. I wanted to improve my skills and step outside of my comfort zone. Again, I’ve got that need to take on something new.

So why not attempt some 3D sewing? I’ve had a kit laying around my sewing room for over a year, a kit I picked up during the 2015 Quilter’s Run. It’s been moved around and misplaced a few times but I finally dug it out to give it a go.

It came with everything I needed. From the fabric to the matching zipper and instructions. And the only things I had never really done was the zipper and the lining. But the instructions seemed clear so I jumped into my new project with confidence.

Ah, starch, my best friend. I really like to use starch when I want my seams and lines to be as straight as possible.

The first step in the process was to create two patchwork panels, one for the outside and one for the lining. Once done, I had my husband help me pick which would look best for the outside. Then I had to muddle my way through the lining as I had never used the heated webbing for the lining. After a bit of googling I found some instructions and was able to bond the webbing to the lining.

Then came time for the sewing of the zipper. I’ve NEVER attached a zipper before. NEVER. Hell, I didn’t even know I had zipper foot to play with. And this point in the instructions was a little hard to understand. Once I played around with it, even opened and closed a few baggies I had laying around for a better visual, I was ready to sew.

And ta-da! A cute little baggie that I made all by myself! And it turned out to be super easy! I could have easily made this first one in under an hour but I took a moment away before I came back to finish it up.

The zipper was easy and came out looking so nice. I did have a seam that didn’t sew together cleanly and some of the lining was peeking out of a hole in the seam so I went in, ripped out a small portion, and worked it back together to grab that hole and close it up.

And as I mentioned, there was talk of a ribbon to be attached as a handle but I didn’t have one in my kit. I could have made my own but I just decided to focus on finishing.

After figuring out the instructions (which got a little tricky at one point) and making my way through this baggie easily, I can see how they are SO addicting! I could seriously sit and make a few in a row as gifts. I’m happy to have taken a chance and tried something new.

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TGIFF: Easy Peasy Jelly Roll Quilt!

Happy Friday!  I’m finally making a dent in my rather extensive WIP pile of quilts.  I finished my Jelly Roll quilt, and just love the Fall look of the colors.


I used a Moda jelly roll called Sunflower Song by Kansas Troubles Quilters.  I love these fabrics so much, I ordered a second jelly roll to use in a different quilt top!

 

IMG_5826.jpgThe tutorial I used came from (surprise!) Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Though Jenny Doan says you can complete this quilt top in 45 minutes to an hour, I confess it took me more like three hours.  With practice, I’m sure I can better that time!

Because this was a quick make, I made the choice to quilt it by stitching in the ditch with Isacord (which I LOVE), and instead of hand sewing the binding, I did it all by machine.  I also chose not to include any borders. This is the part of quilting I find so fascinating…the learning curve is HUGE, and finding my personal preferences is constant.  After finishing this quilt, I am convinced that hand binding is my thing.  I really enjoy the process and the look.  Live and learn!

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I used my binding tool to join the final seam of the binding.  It wasn’t as clean as I would like, so I’m thinking I have a bit more practice ahead of me in order to make my binding smooth and wrinkle free.

Have a wonderful weekend, and remember….be crafty, be creative!

Hugs,

DoriSignature

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The Splendid Sampler: Block 1 Hearts Aflutter

I had a crazy thought for 2016: I would seek out ways to improve my quilting/sewing skills. I mean, I have already job, a home to run, a 10 year old to get to and from football/soccer/theater/music lessons on any given day, not to mention my own visits to the gym and other social engagements we have as a family. So, my dance card is pretty full.

Like I said…crazy, I say. CRAZY!

I’ve never claimed to be super smart but it should come as no shock that I went ahead and joined a HUGE sew-along that promises 2 block patterns a week, 100 blocks total, and for a whole year.

Did I mention I am a bit crazy?!

Well you heard me right. I’ve joined up with many, many quilters from beginners to seasoned veterans to follow along with Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s Splendid Sampler sew along.

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Every Sunday and Thursday a new block is posted as you are allowed to do as you please. Use something from your stash to build the block or buy fabric as you see fit. Do the whole project in one night or spread it out over days. Collect them all and finish at your leisure. It’s up to you!

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The first block was posted Sunday, Valentine’s day, and it was appropriately a heart shaped appliqué on a simple four square background block with different corner fabrics. I was thrilled to see a fairly simple block was I was worried that I would not be able to keep up if the blocks were way outside my comfort zone.

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I originally went with a cream and maroon/wine colored mix and some stripes. I was really draw to this set of fabrics but I actually planned ensuing my Dragonfly Summer set by Holly Taylor. You can check out my Periscope broadcast where I show off my fabric choices that ended up getting ditched…

Not long after I set my mind on my fabrics, I found a fat quarter set in our stash I HAD to use.

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Hello, Little Black Dress 2!!! How beautiful are you!?! I love this French, shabby chic look and decided to ditch my original block and start over.

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But first, lemme show off my beautiful center points. Look how precise those are!!! Amazing, am I right!?

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I kept the original plan for the block (cream and maroon/wine) and left my appliqué heart as it was but decided to do my corners over again, this time using  a complementary fabric from Little Black Dress 2.

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A few things I did differently with the idea that I’m here to learn so to learn I must do things I normally wouldn’t.

  1. I used pins. YES, I pinned!
  2. I pressed my seams open.
  3. I also used a fabric pencil to mark my corners so I could get the most accurate angle possible.
  4. I also trimmed my block once it was done so that it was squared up the moment it was completed.
  5. I also (hold on for it) PRACTICED! Yes, I did a few practice runs with the appliquéing before hitting the official block.

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When it came time to appliqué, I went round and round on how I was going to machine stitch this down. I tried a few decorative stitches and none hit me with a WOW feeling. I also played with colors and while I wanted to use black to frame the heart (my favorite color to appliqué with) I ended up finding a shiny red thread that worked well with my color scheme. I stuck with a stitch I knew and went for it.

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And voila!! My first block is done! Now to wait impatiently for the second block pattern to arrive to my email box!!

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Quilt As You Sew Hotpad

Periscope has become one of my favorite places to hang out. I hear my phone notify me of a live broadcast and I flock to see who is sharing and what they have to say. I’ve learned so much and have really felt apart of the Honest Craft Roomies community.

While on one day, Marcia, from Crafty Sewing and Quilting, was sharing a simple hotpad quilt as you go project. We watched her work and listened to her share with us when she announced that she would send the pattern for her hotpad to anyone participating in the scope that day.

I was thrilled! I’ve been wanting to make some small projects just to practice some simple techniques and to improve my quilting. Plus I find that when I have a successfully completed project under my belt, I’m more likely to pick up another project and work on it.

So  I emailed Marcia and received the pattern with a simple request, to tag her on Instagram if I got around to making one. I made sure to do just that and share with you, my readers, my finished hotpad made with my Java set by Deb Strain for Moda. If you want to purchase and use this pattern, check out this link to her Craftsy store for the step-by-step instruction with pictures.

I love the rich colors of this fabric set and I’ve been waiting for a reason to use it again. Having this pattern from Marcia and the itch to work on a quick project for some instant success had me chomping at the bit to go. So I began with some strips, cutting them between 1.5-2.5 inches wide and varying the fabrics. I tried to allow it to build organically with enough variety but with just a touch of organization.

I used a heat resistant batting so that this project can be used as a hotpad or even a mug rug. This was a first for me and while I see its purpose, I may not go out of my way to make sure I have some on hand and might just continue using whatever batting I have available. But it’s nice to know that if I gift this, the batting will protect any surfaces or hands!

After everything was sewn together, it was time to trim the strips down to the batting so that I could fold and bind with the backing fabric. That’s when it happened…

WHOOPS! In my haste to continue working, I snipped my backing fabric. Damn!

Yeah, it’s not supposed to look like that. And try as I might, it would not work for the binding so I ended up trimming it off and going the old fashioned way with my binding. I made a simple double fold bias binding and used a decorative stitch to seal the deal.

Not too shabby! I used a red thread for the quilting and I like the way it came together. It really matched the fabric well. And it came together in under 4 hours. I am bummed I didn’t get the chance to use the backing for the binding but that just means it’s time to give it another go and this time be a little more careful with the trimming.

Thanks Marcia again for sending me the pattern and giving me the opportunity to create my own hotpad!

If you want to see some of my 2015 finishes, some WIPs I have for 2016, and my new projects for this new year, then check out our recent YouTube video sharing some 2015 successes and all that will be for Hobbies Up To Here in 2016!

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TGIFF Christmas Finishes!

We’re close to “C” day!  Yay!  It’s no secret that I love the Christmas season.  If I could, I’d leave my holiday decorations up all year.  Cleaning around three trees may be a challenge, but I’d enjoy every minute!

This year, I set out to make at least one runner for myself, and four mug rugs for gifts.  Last night, I finished my runner, and one of the mug rugs.  I’m really happy with the results!

Here is the runner, made with a 60 degree equilateral triangle and Christmas border fabric from the Holiday Magic fabric line by Lisa Audit.  This is only one way to arrange the triangles.  The options are endless!

 

  
The mug rug I finished last night, was made with Moda’s Joyeux Noel by French General.  I saw a mug rug on Etsy, and did my best to recreate it.  I loooove it!  I bought Insul-bright batting from Twisted Cedar Studios, and found it fabulous to work with.

I made another variation of this mug rug, and unfortunately, threw it in the wash with an article of clothing that bled onto the fabric, making it dingy.  I’m researching  color correcting methods in an effort to save this adorable project.  Here it is before the disastrous washing!

 Thanks for stopping by and checking us out!  Katie and I wish you the most wonderful, creative holiday season ever!

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Check out our side bar for all the great sites we link up with weekly. Today this post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at Crazy Dutch Bird Quilts, A Quilter Passion, and over at Richard and Tanya Quilts.

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Joyeux Noel! 

Thanksgiving is finally over. The turkey had been eaten, thanks have been given, and our tryptophan comas are wearing off.

You know what that means?

It’s time for Christmas!

Yes, Christmas. Winter. The next big celebration with family and friends and lots of food. Along with all the bright lights and tightly wrapped presents, my mom and I have been drooling over some lovely fabrics.

Especially this joyful and beautiful set of fat quarters by Moda called Joyeux Noel!

The stack is nicely organized with patterns and solids in each set and each set ranging from deep cheery reds to light creams and greys.

I broke into this bad boy and took a look at all the lovely fabrics we can play with!

I loved the addition of the grey to this set of traditional holiday colors. It brings in a feeling of winter to an otherwise normal Christmas set.

And the combination of the grey and cream with the little tones of red really give us a lot of options.

And then the stash flips entirely from reds with a hint of grey to grey with a hint of red and it’s still just as lovely.

It’s hard to tell but there is a hint of red running through one of these fabrics, it’s just not visible here in this set. But even these muted greys are lovely.

Now for the hard part…picking a project to make with them!

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WIP: Sew Day

Today my mom and I got together at her house to spend the morning sewing together. Some states have “snow days”, we have Sew Days!

The set up was in her spacious kitchen with two ironing stations and both of our machines. We had cutting stations on the island and lots of room to move around and get stuff done!


 I decided to work on my Playful Colors quilt top. I’m missing the fifth square so I’ve had to adjust my pattern. Instead of five squares with four filler squares, I’m using the remaining four and sashing them together. 
At first I was worried my fabrics would clash and be too busy but as I pieced it together it started really looking good. I’m happy with the stripes and how well they pull all the other crazy fabrics together.


My mom chose to work on her QAYG pattern. I’m super proud of her for working through this no matter what. She found one mistake and is working through some pretty bulky binding but she’s not given up yet!!!


She’s super close to wrapping this thing up! And I’m only a few sew days away from finishing too. We’re planning another sew day AND making time to podcast.
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Sew Fresh Quilts

CraftyAllie

WIP: CIRCA 1934 Layer Cake 

This past weekend I was gifted with a  beautiful, new, hi-tech Elna 760 and I’ve been dying to get going with it. But life has been busy with school and work and testing and the wedding this weekend so she’s been politely sitting on my desk waiting for me to turn her on and get sewing!


After Dori posted the other day about her layer cake fabrics and the simple layer cake cutting and quilting method from the Missouri Star Quilting Co, I was determined that this would be my first project. The instructions are simple and I’m all about the simple steps right now.  It simply doesn’t require a lot of cutting and I’d be able to put my new machine to work!


I had this layer cake called CIRCA 1934 from Moda just laying around in a box. It’s got a nice vintage/modern feel to it and after watching the video on how to cut and sew together this simple scrapy quilt, I was set. This would be my first project on my new machine!
I dug out the fabric and starting cutting away. It’s so simple. Just cutting the full square down to one 3.5 in strip and a 6.5 in strip first them mixing and matching them together. A simple straight seam up one side seals the two together and voila! You’ve got yourself a starting point!  
Then you press and cut again this time cutting the squares in half making them 5 in wide strips. I fed the pairs through my machine and when I was done, I had a nice little pile of squares at my feet just waiting to be snipped and pressed.
I took my long chain of squares and set up a pressing and cutting station downstairs so I could keep an ear on my son playing outside.  

I popped on Chopped and pressed and snipped while I watched some TV, totally in the zone! It was the first time in a long time that I felt completely at peace working on a new project.  By 11pm I had 49 squares made, 6 of which were already made into a long row. I’ll have 6 squares in a row and 8 rows from top to bottom. I have yet to consider sashing or binding options but I’m thinking a red to match the reds in this with some black and white pattern would look sharp!

After this day of sewing, I’m completely head over heels in love with my Elna! She’s smooth, fast, and really makes sewing simple. My favorite thing so far? The little button you push to cut your thread! Just a simple push and BAM! Your thread is cut for you within the body of the machine. How crazy is that!!!

I have tons of pictures so I’ll let them do the talking. I’m tired and ready for bed!


Look! I actually used pins!!!!

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Just Starting: Playful Colors Quilt

For a while there I was knee deep in things I could work on. I had a quilt on hand, one I was planning for my son and other little projects all floating around my head. Then I remembered a stack of sewn rows I found in a box not too long ago and got really excited. They were colorful and interesting so I planned to work on them after I finished my Peaceful Planet quilt.

Now with that blanket done I dove right in and started to work on the second charm pack called Lollipop by Sandy Gervais. I love this pack because it is so bright and playful. So I decided to dub this quilt the Playful Colors Quilt.

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My first set of rows are kind of a miss-mash of colors and combinations. I don’t think I had much of a plan to it so I went at this one with the same thought. Just play with it! Pull together colors and patterns that catch my eye and go for it!

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There are really so many ways to go about this so as I got going, I made up a few rules. Only one solid square can be in a row. No red and greens together (too Christmasy). Each row has four different squares, no repeats!

It wasn’t 100% easy as I ran into a few glitches at the end but nothing my handy dandy seam ripper couldn’t handle. When I backed myself into a corner I just took another square from a different row to mix it up. And in the end, I felt good about how they all came out.

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The second set of rows is finished but not yet pressed so I put them aside and decided to iron another day. While that was on hold, I pulled up the original rows and started pinning them together to make a double row. After my last quilt and all the issues I ran into in the end, I spoke with my mom about it and she gave me a tip to keep my pressed seams open while I sewed things together.

You see, I just learned to press them open and to distribute the bulk of fabric at the seams a little more evenly. But what I couldn’t get to work was sewing those seams down without one side flipping up as it passed over my machine’s feed dogs. Annoying! Every time I tried, the bottom seam would flip up and then I’d have a messy side.

She told me to simply take a pin and put it through the top and bottom front flap on the seam to hold them down as I sewed them together so that way the bottom on won’t catch on the machine and flip. Simple and effective!

Now all my seams are still flat and the bulk of all that material is still evenly spread out at each crossing point. Yeehaw!!!
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Next, I press!! And plan! I have a total of 19 four square rows. 8 rows have already been sewn together giving me 4 double wide rows. I’ve got an odd number of rows so one will be put aside. I could put a simple border around each row wide set then a thicker border down the middle. Or I could cut each row in half and make smaller squares. WHO KNOWS?! We’ll just have to see what comes next!

 photo wip_zpsbbf761bc.jpgSew Fresh Quilts