Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

 Seriously, this fabric is too cute.  In cutting, I accidentally mostly omitted the little foxes which is a shame, only catching a few tails on the side seams, but a happy accident was that little red riding hood wound up front and center!

This is the "Snack Size" version of Jeni's lined drawstring bag pattern.  The pattern includes eight size versions, as well as instructions for making a custom size bag.  Totally worth the $6.50, I think.  There is also a free tutorial on her blog for a version that finishes at 10" tall.  The Snack Size, pictured above, finishes at 8" tall.

Very cute little mushrooms, no?  All three fabrics used are from the "A Walk in the Woods" line by Aneela Hoey.  This little bag is going to my 2yr old niece, and I thought this fabric was perfect for a sweet little girl!

The bag finishes with a fair bit of space between the drawstring casing and the top of the bag, which forms this nice little ruffle when closed.  Love it!  For the drawstrings on this one I followed the instructions in the pattern for making them out of fabric.  It worked pretty well, but next time (as I'm sure there will be a next time!) I will use regular ribbon or twill tape for the ties, just so there is a little less bulk having to pass through the casing.  Otherwise, this pattern is great and now that I have made a few {mini version here}, it's very easy and intuitive.  I highly recommend it!

Linking up with:
Sew Darn Crafty @ Sew Many Ways
Sew Modern Monday @ Canoe Ridge Creations
Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Friday

A few random thoughts for today.  First off, thanks for all the kind comments about the Pure quilt, I do really appreciate it!  Regarding that, I had a comment from Annie Walsh asking how many jelly rolls I used.  I'm not able to reply to you via email, Annie, because you don't have a email address linked to your profile {if you'd like to know how to fix that, read this link}, but if you happen to be reading this I still wanted to reply!  The jelly roll had 42 strips, and I used 32 of them.  So I do have strips leftover but like I said, I plan to use some of the leftovers for the quilt binding once I get to that stage.

Next, here we have the two 1422yd spools of 50wt Aurifil thread I ordered from Pacific Rim Quilt Company:

I haven't cracked them open yet, as you can see, but I did a little math today.  The thread I have normally used up until now is Gutermann 100% cotton, which comes at $3.50/274yd spool.  The Aurifil {which I found locally the other day, just the basic colours} is $11.00/1422yd spool.  If my math is correct, the Aurifil is actually cheaper!  Crazy, hey?  Granted, I haven't tried it yet but given the rave reviews of so many fellow bloggers, I have high hopes for it.

I have a little project coming up, which I'm going to start working on today.  You quilters will recognize these fabrics as A Walk in the Woods by Annela Hoey:

I'm going to be making the "Snack Size" of Jeni's lined drawstring bag pattern for my sister's sweet little girl, who loves to tote things around.  CJ, you'll probably see this but I think you can keep it a secret from A, right?  ;-)

I'm going to be participating in Lucy's "Fugly Fabric Party" this time around.  The idea is that you look through your fabrics and pull out the ones that maybe aren't so pretty, or ones that you don't love anymore, or ones that you just don't think you'll ever use, and put them up for swap/giveaway/contest, whatever!!  The link-up will be starting on Lucy's blog on May 8th so start sorting through your fabrics and participate!  I don't have very many to offer up but I know I have a few that I'd love to get rid of.  P.S.  There's an awesome prize up for grabs as well!

Charm About You

Happy Friday, and have a great weekend everyone. We have a few things up this weekend, one of which is that Levi (10yrs) is going on only his second sleepover birthday party, which is great and he'll have an awesome time but they are going across to a nearby island via boat and I am a bit of a worrier so wish me luck!!  Life jackets and very responsible, trustworthy sleepover parents are involved though, so all should be well.  :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Pure Strip Tube Quilt

My first time using a jelly roll -  I chose to follow this strip tube quilt tutorial from "A Bright Corner".  

 Fabrics: Sweetwater Pure jelly roll, Kona Snow background
Finished size: 50" x 70"

Unrolling and sorting the jelly roll was a lot of fun!  I was a bit delusional about the concept of a jelly roll though, as I thought it meant that the quilt would make itself!  So......I was a bit wrong about that, and it actually still took quite a bit of work!  hehe

The wind was blowing fairly strong as I attempted to photograph the finished top early this evening, but it was actually kind of fun to see it flapping in the breeze as I waited, patiently, to take these few photos. 

I struggle a bit with my camera, achieving accurate colours - things tend to be a bit on the "blue" side as it is, then a quilt top with a fair bit of blue fabric and photos taken early evening do not help the situation!  You get the idea though, right?  

I still intend to add a 2" border of Kona Snow around all edges, and  will use some of the leftover jelly roll strips for binding.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This week, most of what I've worked on is the strip tube quilt, using a Sweetwater Pure jelly roll and Kona Snow for the background.  The method is super quick, and using the jelly roll, I feel like I've had to do very little actual cutting.  The making of it is a little boring, but it's coming together nicely and I'm pretty sure I will be happy with the results.  There is no intended recipient yet, but it will likely be gifted as the colours aren't really "me". This quilt will eventually finish at about 50"x70" (what's shown is less than half of the rows complete), and I may add a narrow border to finish it off.

Just today I received a little pack of fabric for my first bee block!  The bee members are each making a triangle log cabin for Rebecca of Sew Festive Handmade.  I couldn't wait to get started so I pressed the fabrics and sewed together the block this afternoon/evening.  Very fun! 

All of the fabric I ordered last month has arrived, as well as two spools of Aurifil thread, but asides from the above I haven't dived into any of the rest of it yet.  Still on the agenda:
  • re-cover living room cushions using Reunion fat quarters
  • small lined drawstring bag for niece's 2nd birthday - fabric arrived and is SUPER cute, but a secret for now.  :)
  • finish "Fast Forward" - I bought this fabric for backing
  • choose a colour for borders and binding for the scrappy postage stamp top.  I'm still being indecisive, you can see the discussion here and offer your input if you like!
  • finally, somewhat non-sewing, I saw this on Miss Sews-it-all, a Lego sewing machine!!  The one pictured below is hers (photo used with permission), and I intend to have my 10yr old son make one for me.  :)  He's pretty awesome at figuring things out, and let's just say we have a litttttle Lego problem in this house so supplies shouldn't be an issue.  ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kona Overload Update

Thank you, everyone, for all of the great input earlier today on my colour dilemma {and yes, I will spell colour with a "u" no matter how many times blogger tells me it's misspelled!}.  I spent some time this afternoon making a few mock-ups of my favourites, and I think this one is the front runner:

Kona Pacific borders, Kona Chartreuse binding

I'm not totally decided yet, so here are the others that I have narrowed it down to. Thoughts? 

Clockwise: Kona Chartreuse, Kona Daffodil, Kona Wine, Kona Lagoon

And an unrelated question: do bias edges not fray?? I've been working on a strip tube quilt this week and realized once the blocks started coming together that I'm now working with 100% bias edges (a first for me...eek...actually, so far so good) and they are not fraying! I'm enjoying this. :)

Kona Cotton Overload

I'm trying to decide which Kona solid {link to Marmalade Fabrics, highly recommended} to use for bordering my scrappy postage stamp top.  I've narrowed it down to 12 choices and I'd love your input!  You can click on the photo for a larger view.

Clockwise from top left, we have: Tomato, Tangerine, School Bus, Robin Egg, Olive, Grass Green, Wine, Butter, Chartreuse, Daffodil, Lagoon, Pacific.

What do you think??

By the way, I just found out that my mini quilt has been nominated as one of the finalists in the Festival of HSTs! Go here to vote, for me or any of the other great finalists. :) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I don't think I even posted a W.i.P. Wednesday post last week, so I have a bit to update. In the last few weeks, I have finished a few things. The Octagonal Orb cushion {blogged here} and this "Fast Forward" quilt top, named by my son Levi! I need to purchase a backing for it (always where I get stalled out) and get to quilting.

Next up is my very first jelly roll project. I purchased a Sweetwater Pure jelly roll that Tracey was destashing. Brown and blue are not my favourite colours, and certainly not ones that I naturally gravitate towards when choosing fabrics, but I've just been dying to have a crack at using a jelly roll, the price was right, and it will make a lovely gift for someone. I've started working on a strip tube quilt, using this tutorial. Kona Snow will be the background colour, and I've set aside the lightest coloured jelly roll strips and will use some of them for the binding.

Postage Stamp Quilt - no progress on this one in quite a few weeks. It's still hanging on my bedroom wall, affixed with green painter's tape! My plan is to frame it with wide, off-set borders, but I need to peruse the Kona solids some more and narrow it down. I want to be bold and use a colour, as opposed to white or gray.

Upcoming projects:

* four cushions for living room using Reunion fat quarters
* lined drawstring bag for niece's birthday, "snack" size
* awaiting first fabric package for my bee, will be making a triangle log cabin for Rebecca

P.S. I've been wanting to try Aurifil thread for quite some time but am not certain that it is sold anywhere locally. I searched online, and asked around to a few bloggers, and came across this website. They sell the 50wt cotton thread for $4 for the small spools and $10.50 for the large spools, with only $2 shipping to Canada and the U.S., no matter how large or small the order! I haven't received my order yet, but from what I understand the price is comparable to other places, and really, the shipping can't be beat.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mystery Charm Swap!

**Edited to add: both swaps are now FULL!**

I have not participated in very many online swaps so far, but this one seems fun! The "Mystery Charm Swap" is being organized by Jenelle @ Echinops and Aster, and Sunni @ Love Affair With My Brother, together with Pink Chalk Fabrics. Each of these ladies is hosting a separate swap, and you can sign up starting today for either one, or both! Sign-ups will end on April 30th, unless the swaps are full sooner than that. For each swap you sign up for, once payed, you will receive a charm pack with 56 5"x5" charm squares, chosen and cut by Jenelle and/or Sunni. That's the mystery part, you don't know what you're going to get until it arrives in your mailbox!

The Polka Dot Swap is happening at Love Affair With My Brother, and all details can be found by clicking on the button below:

And the Orange/Aqua/Grey Swap is happening at Echinops and Aster. Click the button below for details:

Orange / Aqua / Grey Mystery Charm Swap

Sign ups are on a first come, first served basis, so if you are at all interested, don't wait!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Festival of Half Square Triangles

Over the last few weeks there has been a 'Festival of Half Square Triangles' being hosted by Megan of Canoe Ridge Creations. There was a great summary of the festival posted yesterday, you can find it here. This week, it is our turn to share HST projects that we have completed within the last 6 months. The link party will be hosted on Megan's blog from April 16 - 22.

I've shown these before, but they're getting one more feature here! This pair of cushions were made last fall to go with my Swoon quilt, though they were totally an after-thought. I didn't realize when making Swoon how many leftover HSTs I would end up with after trimming the flying geese units! I used the leftovers to make blocks and then turned them into cushions for our bed {there is a third cushion in this set, but it is not made with HSTs}. I love them, partly because Hometown fabric is still one of my ultimate favourites, and also because I never even planned to make the cushions and sort of winged it, yet they turned out better than I thought they would!

Be sure to visit the linky party by clicking on the button below to check out what everyone else has made!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Orb Cushion

{finished size: 18" x 18"}

The scrappy Octagonal Orb block {tutorial found here} I made last weekend became a cushion yesterday. The top is not quilted per se, as in I did not use batting, but I did back it with a muslin like fabric and did four rounds of stitching, one around each of the patchwork rows, just to keep all of those seam allowances in check! For assembling the pillow cover, I once again used this tutorial by Julie Herman. The fabric I used for the back is "Man's Best Friend" by Henry Glass, in Polka Dot Red:

And in other news, yesterday I received this lovely FQ bundle of Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda (ordered from Fabric Shoppe on etsy). My intentions for this fabric was originally new cushion covers for our livingroom, but I'm not totally sure....orrrrr maybe I should just stick with the plan as our cushions do need a bit of a makeover. :)

Linking up to Finish It Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts

Sew Darn Crafty @ Sew Many Ways

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Octagonal Orb

I mentioned in my last post that I have joined my first online quilting bee. This particular bee has 10 members, and each member has claimed one month between now and February 2013. Each member chooses a quilt block when it is her month, then sends the block instructions and fabric to each of the other members. My month is not until January but of course I'm already considering my options! I really love this Octagonal Orb block by Elizabeth Hartman, but with some feedback from bee members I wondered if it would be a good choice.

So this weekend I made a test block, and while I looooooove the results and the block was totally do-able, here are my thoughts on why I probably won't choose this as my bee block:
  • this block uses a lot of pieces - 82 cut pieces to be exact! I don't think it would be fair to bee members to expect that of them.
  • I think it would be quite tricky to figure out exactly how much of the print fabric would be necessary to send to each participant, given the large number of pieces of various shapes and sizes.
  • having now made one of these blocks, and realizing that with this type of construction it is necessary to trim here and there to make the edges line up while assembling (in particular when joining the two halves of the octagon as recommended in the pattern), I don't know how plausible it would be to expect all 9 bee blocks to end up the same size. Even in the pattern, Elizabeth says that ending up with a square block is more important than ending up at a specific measurement.

BUT, even with all that said, I still highly recommend this pattern! It is extremely clearly written and easy to follow, and as long as you have some patience for precise cutting and you pay close attention to accuracy when seaming and pressing, this block is not nearly as difficult as it looks at first glance. Anyone with some sewing/quilting experience could certainly accomplish it!! Mine is going to become a large throw/floor pillow {with the borders I added, it measures 20" square!!} ...... as long as I can find a pillow form big enough! Some day I would love to make an entire quilt using this block, but for now, the pillow will do.

Linking up with the following: {Sew} Modern Monday @ Canoe Ridge Creations, Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story, Sew Darn Crafty @ Sew Many Ways, Made by Me @ JAQS Studio

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random weekend thoughts....

I'm going to be a bit random today as I've had lots of thoughts floating around in my head these days. My "get to the point" statements/questions will be in bold and I'd love any input you'd like to offer!

~ the Fast Forward quilt top is finished and I'm contemplating where to go next with it. I have a difficult time adding accurately sewn borders onto quilts (ditto with sashing) but I'm considering it for this one to increase its size a bit and use up a bit more of the white fabric. What are your feelings on borders, and does anyone have any border tips???

~ I've joined my first on-line quilt bee! 'Don't Worry {bee} Happy' on Flickr and I can't wait to get started! My month isn't until January 2013 but I'm gathering some block ideas already. I like the Octagonal Orb Block, Liberated Churn Dash block, this new Kaleidoscope Quilt block, I love Bow Tie quilts like this one..... SO many options! Many of you have participated in online bees - what have been some of your favourite bee blocks?

~ Any tips for increasing accuracy in piecing? I struggle a bit and would love a few tips. Do you use a 1/4" foot? Do you press with steam or without steam? How much do you think the quality of fabric has to do with accuracy in piecing?

I have more but I think that's enough questions for one post! I look forward to hearing from you. Happy Easter everyone.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mini drawstring bag

Being so excited today that my sewing machine received a clean bill of health, I felt the need to sew something small and quick! Enter Jeni's lined drawstring bag pattern. So many bloggers have been using this pattern and posting about how quick and easy the pattern is, and I must concur. This one is the smallest bag version, which I will admit was a bit finicky, being SO small (only 4.5" high, 3.5" wide), but it's pretty adorable, hey??

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts
Sew Darn Crafty @ Sew Many Ways

All's well that ends well...

Guess who came back home with me?

I went in to the shop this morning - 1.5hr drive each way which really was kind of enjoyable to be honest. The people in the shop were all so great, again. That makes it worth it to me. A number of different people looked at it, including the tech guy who even called the head dude at Baby Lock Canada, and no one knew what that mystery part was! Seriously, is that not the weirdest thing? He called it a "bonus part". ha! I hadn't tried the machine since my discovery yesterday, but they tried it in the shop it was running great!

So I'm trying to let that whole thing go, but still it was making a weird little noise since hitting a pin a few weeks back so they checked into that too. There were no obvious pock marks or snags in the bobbin case or needle plate, so what she tried was adding a bit of oil around the bottom edge of the bobbin case as well as the part that the bobbin case sits in, and you know what? That made a huge difference!! No ticking sound anymore!

They charged me nothing (awesome!) and I came home with my machine. Phew!! :) Thanks for all the encouraging comments earlier today. Onward......

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday {and a tale of woe}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday again! I have a little bit to show, a little bit on the way {I've shopped, read the end of this post if interested}, and a sad story to tell.

So you know how I've been working through my scraps?? I thought I had exhausted the majority of my supply, but believe it or not I've squeezed yet one more quilt top out of scraps! The white, I purchased - it is a sub-par, craft store cotton...kind of ugh to work with - but the prints are all from my scraps. Who knew that what I thought was a small amount of scraps could go so far!!!?? I certainly didn't!

I know that these look like traditional flying geese, but they're actually half square triangles sewn together to give the same look. My older son looked at this and said he thought it looked like a bunch of fast forward symbols, and he's definitely right!

Okay, so my sad story. I'll try to keep it brief. Ooooh, maybe point form will work....

~ few weeks ago I hit a pin with my (two month old) machine....we're talking badly. As in loud noise, pin disappeared, all that was left of it was the little plastic ball from the top of the pin.

~ talked to my saleslady who told me that if the pin truly did go into the machine, it is very unlikely that it wouldn't be found after taking the bobbin/bobbin case out and needle plate off, etc.

~ did that, looked and looked, vacuumed, etc., and never found it. So maybe I'll never know if it actually went in or if it flew out into the room somewhere.

~ machine has pretty much worked normally since then - not jammed, no tension problems, nice stitches - only problem is this annoying tick-tick-tick sound when running. Saleslady gave me the go-ahead to continue using it until I was able to go into town to have it checked.

~ fast forward to today - ticking sound annoying, decide to clean it out again, unscrewed the top panel cover where the thread tension mechanisms are just to make sure there wasn't a thread stuck somewhere or anything else obviously wrong. Took panel off, and THIS fell out:

~ can we say freak out???

~ email saleslady with picture, she shows it to their tech who says it's not a familiar piece

~ bottom line, I'll have to take my machine the 1.5hr drive in to get checked. I'm mad at myself that maybe I caused this, have no idea how soon it can be fixed or if it will be covered by warranty, etc. Grrrrr.

Okay, so that wasn't brief but I had to get it off my chest. Thankfully I still have my mom's machine as back-up, which I will most definitely be using in the meantime. Thanks Mom!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April ~ Fresh Sewing Day

Lily's Quilts

It's been while since I've participated in Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day {click button above to check out what others have been up to as well}, in fact I think this is my first of the new year! Fresh Sewing Day is a chance to look back at the month past and look ahead to what's next.

Half of March was spring break for my husband and my kids, but I still managed to get together a good number of finishes.

{top left: Chrysalis, top right: Scrappy Zig Zags, lower left: Sixteen Sparkles, lower right: Scrappy Postage Stamp top}

Also, this mini quilt that now hangs happily above my sewing machine. I love the bright little splashes of colour that it brings to the room.

Now, in regards to my last post about fabric shopping, let me say THANK YOU to everyone who offered their imput and suggestions. It was all so very helpful and I have bookmarked several more online options that I didn't know of before. I do try hard to keep my crafting as economical as possible, while still trying to afford quality products, and I'm really happy with the alternatives that many of you suggested. So far, what I have ordered since that post is the following:

~ from Marmalade Fabrics, 3yds Kona Snow, 3yds Kona Ash, 2yds Kona Coal

~from Fabric Shoppe on Etsy, this lovely FQ bundle of Sweetwater Reunion for making cushion covers for our living room

~ and finally (for now anyways), from fellow blogger Tracey {see her blog here}, this Sweetwater Pure jelly roll that she was destashing in her etsy shop. I've never used a jelly roll before and have had my eye on this strip tube quilt tutorial for a long time and am excited to give it a try!

Alright, time to wrap things up for today, and congrats if you made it all the way through today's post! Time for me to get on with my day - I have a lot on my 'to do' list for the week, getting the house back in order now that everyone is back to school. Fun fun! I'm sure I'll still squeeze some quilting in too.....