Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the needles

I've been trying to squeeze in some knitting this winter break. Knitting is great for those times when I'm with the boys and have a little free time, but can't get to my sewing machine or the cutting table.

This is Traveller's End, a cardigan pattern by Stolen Stitches. It's knitted top-down, my favorite method of construction. The collar and button band are knitted on at the end, so it's also seamless. The yarn is also lovely to work with (as with all Debbie Bliss yarn) and has a soft but substantial feel.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Printable Notecard

I'm always writing notes to the boys' teachers (yes, I'm one of those parents), and it seems that the only paper I can ever find around the house has been written on, cut up, or glued. That started me thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have notecards that were cute but not too fancy for everyday use?

So I created these little postcards to look like loose-leaf notebook paper that we used to have in school. It's printed on a sheet of 8.5" x 11" cardstock, and then cut into four. I then used a little corner punch to make the rounded corners.

Here's what the PDF looks like. You can download it here for your own personal use -- enjoy! Shoot me a comment if you end up downloading and using the postcards--it always tickles me to know if something I've made appeals to someone else!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Handmade Holidays!

For my 5-year-old niece, to whom we gifted last night on Christmas Eve.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas day. Happy Holidays!
The Louisa Dress - Pattern: Compagnie M; Fabric: Up Up & Away by Skinny laMinx for Cloud 9 Fabrics.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Block 2 - Dutchman's Puzzle

Block 2 - Dutchman's Puzzle
Block 2 - Dutchman's Puzzle
The Dutchman's Puzzle has always had a certain appeal for me, but I haven't had the opportunity to make one up until now.  I was fooled by its simple, clean lines.  It actually takes a bit of focus and precision.  It's all flying geese and triangle points that have to be lined up just so.

Anyhow, I love this block.  It's the second block in my 16" block sampler series.  If you would like to read more about the sampler, my first first post about the sampler is here. If you would like to sew along with me, you can download instructions for the first block (X-Quartet) and this block by clicking on the following links:

Block 1 - X-Quartet
Block 2 - Dutchman's Puzzle

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Over-Sized Four/Eight Grid Sampler Blocks

Fabric: Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt
I started working on a new sampler quilt. The blocks are based on blocks from Judy Hopkin's 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks. My plan is to make between 12 to 16 blocks and end up with a queen-sized sampler quilt.  In order to make a quilt this large with a relatively modest number of blocks, I'm super-sizing the blocks I'm using to 16 inches. Anything beyond simple math befuddles me, so I stuck to 4 and 8-grid blocks, because they translate easily into 16-inch blocks.

So this is the first block, X-Quartet. I'm using Denyse Schmidt's Shelburne Falls, and I've roughly calculated needing 10-12 fat quarters, plus about 2.5-3 yards of a background solid, for all the blocks. I haven't decided about the sashing and border(s) yet, but I have a rough idea of what I want to do. But I still need to do the math (ugh) to figure out yardages. 

If you are interested in directions for the block, I've created a PDF with fabric requirements and cutting and piecing instructions.  You can download the PDF here.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumnal Knitting: Rocky Coast Cardigan

Rocky Coast Cardi 1The rain held off for morning soccer (#2 made his first goal, yay!), but now it's coming down in buckets. So just in time for the wet weather, I have a knitting finish to share!

This is my version of the Rocky Coast Cardigan. Looking through my Ravelry page, I figure it took me almost two years to knit this thing!! My last finished sweater was in September 2011. As the primary incentive for finishing a project is to start something new, I'm pretty sure I started this one fairly soon after I finished my Leaflet Cardi.

For the longest time (yes, months!) this sweater sat with just one cuff to be knitted. For some reason, I could not force myself to do it. There's something about an un-blocked, mushy bunch of knitting, with all those loose threads hanging about, that is immensely unappealing to me. I finally picked it up the other day, and it took me all of a few minutes to knit the few rows required, and maybe 20 more minutes to weave in all the loose ends.

Now I'm happy. I like having a new sweater. My 6-year-old wonders why I always make cardigans with no buttons (what's the use in that, he says). He asks next time, will I just make the buttons, please. I say yes, but I know that I won't, because I hate making buttonholes and sewing buttons.

So this, the Blank Canvas, is going to be next project.  Or maybe Shift of Focus? I like them both.  What do you think?

The yarn, by the way, is Malabrigo Worsted, in Emerald (although it looks teal to me).  It's a lovely yarn to work with, and I previously made a hat out of the same yarn for Mr. Elvy.  With wear, the yarn tends to felt up a bit, which gives it a little more strength, IMHO.

Rocky Coast Cardi 2

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Longarm Quilting Spotlight - Twin Sparkling Cider Quilts

These two quilts were pieced by my friend Sasha for her twin girls' birthday.  Sasha used a fat-quarter friendly pattern called Sparkling Cider and chose two different fat quarter bundles for each quilt.

Sparkling Cider 1 This first quilt (above) I quilted with a free-motion flower pattern.  I saw the quilt after it was bound and went through the wash. The relatively dense quilting puckered up and gave the quilt a lot of texture -- exactly the feel we were hoping to achieve! This has been one of my favorite quilts to quilt so far, simply because the "blooms" pattern flows in such a nice rhythm.

Sparking cider 4 This second quilt I used a Baptist Fan pattern, again mostly wanting to give the quilt texture in the open spaces without detracting from the prints and piecework.This pattern is a little more technically challenging but satisfying in a different sort of way.

Sparkling Cider 3
Sasha did a lovely job piecing both of these tops for her girls. She's currently working on Pow Wow for her youngest boy (one of the most adorable kids ever).

Sparking cider 5 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

(Denim) Skirting My Way to a New Summer Wardrobe

A-line skirt 1 Every once in a while I get the urge to do some garment sewing. The urge does not last very long, but usually just long enough for me to get a few pieces done. This week, I made three pairs of summer pajama shorts for the boys. Today, I finished this skirt.

I used Simplicity 1717, which is a nice, basic a-line skirt that is part of Simplicity's Amazing Fit series. The only modification I made was the red piping around the patch pockets.  The fabric is a stretchy denim that I bought as a remnant for $5 a long time ago.  I have some ideas for more tweaks to this pattern, so maybe there will be some more skirts in the future.

A-line skirt 3
Kinda proud of my invisible zipper installation -- too bad I didn't have a matching color on hand!
A-line skirt 2
Some very big patch pockets with pre-fab piping.
A-line skirt 4
And finally, the waistband facing using some American Jane Pezzy print -- scraps from the boys' pajamas.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Riley Blake Basics Bundle - Giveaway

This is bundle of basics by Riley Blake, also obtained during Quilt Market.  This bundle includes six fat quarters of orange prints.  There is a cute gingham, as well as a chevron, print and a couple of polk dot prints included

RB Basics 1

For a chance to win this bundle, leave me a comment.  If you are a no-reply blogger, please also leave your e-mail address.  Comments will close next Sunday 6/2!  Sorry, the winner has been selected!

RB Basics 2

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Stripey Jersey Knit Scoop Top Pattern from Skirt as Top

Tshirt 1Most days I pretty much live in t-shirts, so my shirts take quite a beating.  I do have one shirt that I love dearly, but it is so disreputable, I can't even take a picture of it.  That's why I was so happy when I found this free pattern for the scoop top by Skirt as Top.

The shirt has an A-line fit, so combined with the scoop neck, it's pretty flattering around the middle section.  I also love the high-low hem.

I quickly bought some more knit jersey, as I can see adding a couple of more of these to my summer wardrobe.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quilt Market Swag Giveaway

The first day of Market I attended a Schoolhouse session with Lila Tueller.  She has a new collection coming in June for Riley Blake, called Priscilla.  The collection features lots of pretty pinks, yellows, and blues with floral and damask designs.

L Tueller 3

Lila generously gave me this notepad holder, and I thought I would pass it along to you.  I love the sweet little rose button closure.

L Tueller 1 Just leave me a comment, and then stay tuned because I have a bunch more pictures to share with you, as well as some more Market swag to give away.  I will pick a winner for the Priscilla notepad holder next Friday, the 24th.  Good luck!  Sorry, the giveaway is over!
L Tueller 2

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sensory Overload - Spring Quilt Market 2013

Having read so much about Quilt Market on blogland, I never thought I would be able to attend.  Lucky for me, though, this year's Spring Quilt Market just happened to be in my hometown, Portland, Oregon.  And, wow, I can't even begin to describe the scope of this event.

It actually started yesterday with a series called "Schoolhouse." I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be pretty easy to navigate.  The short version is that Schoolhouse is a series of break-out sessions running between 15-30 minutes each throughout the day, covering a variety of quilty topics.  There were about 270 different sessions to choose from, if that tells you anything.  I could only stay for half the day, but it was plenty for me.  I was wiped out by the end of the morning.  I attended sessions with Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, and Lila Tueller -- lovely ladies all.  Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me so I didn't get any pictures that are good enough to post.

Today made up for the that in a big way, and I snapped pictures galore.  I didn't even know where to start when I first walked into the room, but I happened to stumble into the Birch booth almost from the start.

Birch 4 Just a few days before Market started, Melissa Lunden of Lunden Designs and I happened to strike up a convo through the store, so we were able to chat in person this morning. Melissa is a very talented pattern designer for Birch, and all of the quilts hanging in this picture were designed, pieced, and quilted by Melissa.  These pictures can't even begin to depict how lovely these quilts are. 

Here are a couple of collections I'm looking forward to having in the store.  This first collection is called Eiko by the in-house design team of Jay-Cyn Designs.  The dress that Cynthia has on in the first picture is made with one of the Eiko prints called Birds Blossoms in Paprika.  The quilt pictured below is Melissa's pattern called Tatami Mat, which you can purchase through her shop.  Eiko comes out in July.

Birch 2 This next collection is one that I am dying to get my hands on, Charlie Harper. The strike-offs were available for view in the booth, as well as these quilts made by Melissa.  As nice as Melissa is, I'm seriously jealous of her.  I mean look at all that lovely fabric she was able to surround herself with!

Birch 1 I've been a long-time of Charlie Harper's art, so it just tickles me that his work has been translated into the quiit world as well.  Great job, Birch!

Birch 3

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Swoon Pillow Covers and Baptist Fans

This is a block orphaned from the Swoon quilt.  I also have another cut, ready to sew, so I thought I would turn them into oversized pillow covers.  This is the first one, and I quilted it with a Baptist fan pattern.  Love!

Pillow Cover

I almost forgot! I'm switching over to Bloglovin, I need to claim my blog. So, if you don't mind... Follow my blog with Bloglovin!
Pillow Cover

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Catch-Up and Mustard

Slowly I am digging my way out of the black hole that was March. I don't even know what happened, how I got so busy and far behind on everything. Unfortunately, my bee commitments suffered.

I finished my March block for Stash Bee the evening of the 31st. Jan wanted us to make a block following this tutorial.  It's not evident from the picture, but the block finishes at 17 inches!  I can't wait to see Jan's finished quilt when it all comes together.

Stash Bee - March 2013

Yesterday I finished the March block for Simply Solids.  Charisma wanted an asterisk block, and I ended up loving this block.  The instructions were written without diagrams, so it was a bit confusing when I first read it over.  However, everything began to make complete sense once I followed the step-by-step instructions.  It's rather like turn-by-turn directions instead of using a map.

Simply Solids (Puce Group) - March 2013

As it turns out (and I'm still not sure how I managed this), I am the queen bee this month for both Stash Bee and Simply Solids.  I had been looking at different block options for a long time, but all of sudden with April looming, I had to make some final choices.  For Stash Bee,I chose Road to Oklahoma, and for Simply Solids, I chose a paper-pieced Star Block.

Finally, these were my February blocks for both bees, which I never got around to posting about.

Duck Creek Puzzle - Puce Group (2/13)
Duck Creek Puzzle - February block for Simply Solids
Stash Bee - Wonky Star - February 2013
Wonky Star - February block for Stash Bee
Stash Bee - Wonky Blocks - February 2013
Wonky Log Cabin - February block for Stash Bee

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jellyroll Sampler Quilt - Finished!!!

This quilt is for my third grader, although there was some argument as to whose turn it was for a quilt.  All was resolved when their dad explained that over the course of their lives, they would probably be the recipient of many more quilts.  I'm glad my boys like the quilts I make them. :)

You're probably bored of hearing about this quilt, but...the fabric is Hullabaloo by Urban Chiks for Moda Fabrics.  Unfortunately, it's long out of print.  The quilt pattern is from the book Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.

Here are some pictures of the quilting.  I really had some fun with with quilting each block a little bit differently, but I tried to repeat some of the motifs in order to tie everything together.



The nicest thing about finishing something is that I can now move onto something else!  I'm linking up with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Quilting - WiP Wednesday

XG6Q6684 Here is a peek of the quilting for the classic sampler.  Trimming and binding may have to be pushed to the back burner for a while, though.  There's so much going on.  I'm scheduled to help out at the boys' school tomorrow and Friday.  The MIL is arriving soon for the bi-annual visit, which always entails some re-organization.  And the list goes on!

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  I really like the idea of having a mid-week break to take stock of where you are in any given project, and it's great motivation to get them done!

This weekend I'm devoting to my bee blocks.  I just realized February is almost over.  Yikes!

Longarm Quilting

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

The boys and I are home today in observance of President's Day, so this was our morning activity.  Cooking is not really my thing.  I do it out of necessity and would rather sew on any given day.  However,  I do get the urge to bake every once in a while, so I thought I'd share my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The Corelle plate is part of the same set we used growing up, so it's a testament to durability (and nostalgic 70s kitsch).

This recipe produces a buttery, not-too-sweet, chewy cookie.  Just a few notes though if you do decide to try it:
  • Try to use semi-sweet (or even dark) chocolate chips -- milk chocolate will make the cookies too sweet (IMHO); 
  • Make sure your butter and eggs come to room temperature;
  • I added 1/4 teaspoon baking powder just to give it a little lift (the original recipe produces a really chewy but flat cookie just using baking soda, but I like a little oomph in my cookie); and
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sale Announcement

Looking for some good deals on fabric bundles?  Go here.  Now through next Sunday, February 24th, all bundles are on sale.  Yikes!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WiP Wednesday - FMQ

FMQ - A Good Start Here is a sneak peak of the quilting for my Classic Jellyroll Sampler.  I've been diligently stitching-in-the-ditch -- so time consuming but necessary.  Linking up to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time Flies When You're Quilting; Color Me Retro

It feels like a while since I've posted about ongoing projects, but it's because I'm working on them, really.  I can't wait to show you how the Classic Sampler is turning out.  It's not quite at the picture stage yet.  In the interim, here is Color Me Retro by Jeni Baker.  You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Recent Longarm Quilting Adventures (Lots of Pics)

I'm still working on the sashing and border for the Hullabaloo sampler quilt, so I don't have any interesting WiP pictures to show you today.  Instead, I thought I would talk about some amazing quilt tops that I've had the pleasure of quilting recently.

This first one is by Jennifer of Seams Crazy. Jennifer did a spectacular job piecing this American flag tribute.  Do you see all those curved seams?  Even more impressive in real life.

Jennifer chose a stars-and-loop pattern for the quilting, which was perfect.  It didn't overpower the quilt but instead blended into the background nicely, so the focus stayed on the piecing.

As a last note, go check out Jennifer's blog -- she has some mad applique skills going on over there that shouldn't be missed.

These next quilts were sent to me by Anna, yet another talented sewist and quilter.  The first one is Anna's interpretation of Chopsticks.  I've always thought this pattern was lovely, so I'm glad Anna gave me the opportunity to quilt it up without actually having to piece it myself!

Chopsticks by Anna

The quilting pattern is called Pretty Plumes, which is the same one I did for this quilt. I really like how it gives the quilt texture, but again without detracting from the piecing.  Here's a view of the back of the quilt:

Quilting Pattern - Pretty Plumes

These next two are Anna's granny square quilts.  They use the same block pattern, but the different color combinations resulted in two quilts that are strikingly different.
Granny Squares by Anna
Granny Squares by Anna
Here are the back views of the granny square quilts -- like I said, completely different color interpretations!

Quilting Pattern - Mountain Laurel

Quilting Pattern - Oh My Feathers
Thanks again to Jennifer and Anna for entrusting me with their quilts!