February 23, 2017

Blog Anniversary and Giveaway


This month I am celebrating four years of blogging as Pieced Brain! I have gotten to know so many wonderful people, have enjoyed sharing my projects and tutorials and, most of all, have been touched by so many of you.

Let's celebrate your welcoming me to the virtual quilting community with a fun giveaway:

A book and some fabric! The Farmer's Wife 1930 Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird (includes CD with templates), and two yards of digitally printed fabric by Hawthorne Threads, all courtesy of my quilting friend Deb.


These prints are sooooo cool (It is snowing outside so these are the best pics I can send you!). All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you like about quilting blogs. If you are a noreply blogger, leave your email like this - soandsoatclouddotnet - so you don't get spammed. For an additional chance, let me know how you follow this blog in a separate comment.

Winner will be announce on Monday, February 27.

Thank you for four wonderful years!



February 21, 2017

More scrappy quilts


All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used by permission.
I began the day today by looking through this book for quilting inspiration: 12-Pack Quilts: Simple Quilts that Start with 12 Fat Quarters, by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson. Scrappy quilts have captured my imagination for the past few years, and the 12 fresh designs in this book make me glad I started on this journey.
Caught in the Middle, page 16.
Not all scrappy quilts work, though. Choosing fabrics for them can be confusing. Do all the tips about color, value, and minding contrast apply? After all, if it is scrappy I might be able to just pull fabric from my scrap stash and use it, right? Well... not so fast. Barbara and Mary begin their book with a Q and A session with Julie Karasek, who owns a successful quilt store in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, called Patched Works. Julie's answers provide guidance on how to select fabrics so we can confidently create beautiful scrappy quilts.
Heart's Desire, page 20.
Using Julie's idea of selecting 12 fat quarters to make a scrappy project, Barbara and Mary designed delightful quilts featuring fat quarters from their stash which go together specially well, as well as fat quarters from fabric collections (I don't know about you, but sometimes I fall in love with a fabric collection and those are the only fabrics I want to use. We can still make the project look scrappy, as shown in the book).

Although the blocks are fairly easy to put together, the instructions are very detailed down to how best to cut each fat quarter.
Bobbins, page 24.
The Village, page 46.

The quilts I've shown are my favorites. I can't stop looking at "Bobbins" and "The Village"... I need to go to my studio and get going on my current projects so I can start these new ones!

Who knew 12 fat quarters could create such beauties? 12-Pack Quilts: Simple Quilts that Start with 12 Fat Quarters gave me lots of with ideas on how to use those bundles I loved and bought but had no idea how to use. Better yet, after reading this book I can confidently select fabrics from my stash and make scrappy quilts that look wonderful. 

And this is all the inspiration I needed to start my week. Enjoy yours!

February 10, 2017

House Blocks


These are my first house blocks for the Dwell quilt two of my quilting friends and I are working on. We are trading blocks so I made three of each and gave them the extras. So fun! ( It is a very cloudy day here, again, so these are the best and fastest photos I could take, because I have a lot of sewing to do this morning).

As many quilters have done, I will depart from the pattern and add different blocks to the 'body' of the house. Four-patch and churn dash were on the top of the list, and I hope to add paper-pieced and applique' blocks next. Aurifil 50 wt neutral thread helps me be as precise as possible with the stitching with hardly any fuzz in the machine - an important feature of this thread for me because I have had no time to send out the trusty Bernina for service. Phew!

We are using the Olive's Flower Market fabric collection by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics. The prints are amazing and, even though the quilt pattern calls for only 16 fat quarters, we "had" to get the whole fat quarter bundle... When you become a quilter the verbs 'need', 'have', and 'want' acquire a whole different connotation, with lots of urgency to them!

The Dwell pattern comes from the Simply Retro book by Camille Roskelley. The designs in the book are amazing and this will not be the only one I will make, even if I have to stay up between midnight and six am for the next few months.

Now, for some sewing... Enjoy your Friday!

February 8, 2017

Jacob's Ladder Quilt

Have you seen Fat Quarter Shop's newest pattern? I am loving it. Jacob's Ladder is such an easy and beautiful quilt to make, with different sizes for many purposes. I chose to make a wall hanging (or table topper?). Indoor photos will have to do because of the rain...

This is the first time I use this block and was pleased with how fast we came together. The pattern instructions are easy to follow, too. This close up shows one of the fabrics from Timeless Treasures: the Porcelain Collection by Tim Coffey (Timeless is the perfect name because I've had these blue fabrics for years and have used them sparingly so they would last). I quilted it with loops and lots of curves with white thread...

... except on the border where I used Aurifil's monofilament to show all its glory. This fabric is from the Florentine II collection by Peggy Toole for Robert Kaufman. I've had it for many years and have NEVER before had the courage to cut any of the ones I got from that line. Until this week when I realized this one was perfect for the Timeless Treasures duo.

Here it is on my table. You can find this pattern on Fat Quarter Shop's blog.

As for me, I think this quilt will be really a table topper and will feature it next to my TeaPots quilt (had to repost it because the link to previous post was broken. Ai ai ai). What do you think?

Head over to Jolly Jabber to see the projects that participating bloggers made. Then, have an inspired day!





February 7, 2017

Teapots wall hanging

[Edited: I got teapots from the book: Teapots 2 to applique' by Kay Mackenzie.]

I have been wanting to make a quilt with teapots for a long time, and finally got around to making it. Although smaller than the one on the pattern (which I cannot mention because it is PACKED for the move! Dang it!!! I promise to update this post as soon as we settle in), I think it turned out nice.

This quilt reminds me of my grandmother, and I will call it "Grandma's Cupboard".

I raided my stash of blue fabrics, choosing fabrics with small prints to emphasize the shape of each tea pot (except for the butterfly fabric, which I purposedly used on a large tea pot). The tea pots were fused with Heat'nBond Lite and were machine appliqued with blanket stitch and matching threads. I love machine applique...


 
I doodle-quilted it with Signature white thread on the background, and made flowers on the border. Fun and relaxing quilting, no marking.

Wall hangings are really all I have had time for lately. While I am traveling I will post more book reviews, which I hope will help you as you decide which ones to acquire for your quilting library this Summer.

Have a fun week!


February 3, 2017

Big Book of Knit Stitches

All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used by permission.

I am almost finished knitting my latest scarf. As I contemplate my next knitting project, I decided to look at this great reference book by the editors of Martingale: The Big Book of Knit Stitches. Oh, my! They have chosen the most beautiful stitches for this collection, and I am having a hard time deciding which one to use.

Divided into five major categories, the stitches are well photographed with their construction smartly described so knitters can easily decide how many stitches to cast on in order to repeat the pattern with precision. Once I choose what type of stitch I want to work with (cables, laces, textures, or slip stitches, for instance), it is great to be able to go directly to that category and select what I want - efficiency is the name of the game!

Beginners and long-time knitters alike will appreciate the Special Instructions section of The Big Book of Knit Stitches because it describes clearly how to execute each major stitch. I fall somewhere in between...

The back cover gives you an idea of what you will find inside. L O V E the solid colors used on the stitches as they not only inspire me but allow us to see every detail of each stitch, unencumbered by the specs, knots or other feature of many yarns. This book is a great reference tool and will have permanent residence next to my ever-increasing stash of yarns.

Knitting is one of the ways I can relax while being productive. Wait, I may have just coined the newest oxymoron! Ai, ai, ai...

Have a happy weekend,



February 1, 2017

Bella Solids Sew Along


Welcome to the Bella Skill Builder Sew Along hosted by Fat Quarter Shop. I am so excited to learn new cutting and sewing skills, which is what I like the most about quilting - there is no end to learning. I would love for you to join us!

Mark your calendars: the Sew Along begins today and every 1st of the month until November another block will be presented. After November we will all have acquired new skills, will be acquainted with different rulers (more gadgets, yeah!), and will have all the blocks we need to put together this beautiful quilt:

You can make one just like this one (here is the link to the Bella Solids Skill Builder quilt kit), or you can select different colors - Fat Quarter Shop has a huuuuuuuuge inventory of Bella Solids by Moda to choose from.

I have chosen different Bella Solids to play with, and these are my first blocks:


This is block 1, and then you make 8 of these but in smaller scale and complete 2 blocks 1a:

As I was making these blocks I realized this was the first time I made kaleidoscope blocks. I think this Sew Along was created we me in mind.

Head over to The Jolly Jabber, Fat Quarter Shop's blog, to get the pattern and tutorials. This is going to be fun!

Something else I am excited about: this February marks the 4th anniversary of this blog. Four years... Let's celebrate together! More on that later on this week. Until then, happy sewing!







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