March 23, 2017

Nature Sweet Pattern

The blocks for my newest pattern, Nature Sweet, are finally ready! I should be stitching them together tomorrow. The fabrics are so cute! Butterflies, bugs, and blossoms in this fun collection called Perch by Dear Stella.

The pinwheels were easily made using the Strip Tube Ruler, which has become my most favorite method of making HSTs. I just have to look up at the table to find out the width of the strips I need to sew together as a tube, then place ruler on the stitching line and cut, press, trim ears. Two straight stitching lines on the strip set is all it takes.

The photos I took while assembling the blocks will be featured in the instructions to make the pattern easy to follow and the blocks fast to put together.

I am thinking that these blocks would also look great using ombre' fabrics. I will save that idea for when I make this quilt again. The pattern will likely be available as PDF for download next week on Etsy store (Quilterly).

Progress despite two days with migraines. Yeah!

March 21, 2017

Birds of Spring

I am working on a couple of new quilt patterns, and have chosen for both of them Dear Stella's new fabric collection called Perch, designed by Rae Ritchie.

The beautiful, soft colors will complement my designs very well the .  The first pattern should be available in one week or so. The birds, little bugs, and flowers make me feel as though Spring comes from inside my studio and spills onto the garden, not the other way around.

Toby gave up watching me. Apparently, the sewing machine's hum can lull him right to sleep!

The day is very gray but I have a few more hours to play with these gorgeous fabrics, which are taking my mind off the monochromatic palette outside (that is, until Toby decides it is time to go for a walk).

What are you up to today?

March 16, 2017

Spellbound Quilt Along

Welcome to the Spellbound Quilt Along hosted by Fat Quarter Shop! My version looks a little bit different from Fat Quarter Shop's pattern because at the last minute I succumbed to the "What if..." urge!

This pattern uses one print jelly roll, one background jelly roll, and the Creative Grids 90 degree Double Strip Ruler. It is super fast to make because you sew jelly roll strips together and use the ruler to cut patches.

I chose gorgeous Hoffman batiks for this project: Dot Pops batiks for the prints (40 2-1/2"-strips ready to use), as well as yardage for the background (Snow), and the beige fabrics (Fresh Linen Abalone Key Stripes and Papyrus Flower Vines). These batiks provided color and texture to the quilt, all the while complementing the quilt design instead of competing with it.

Look at this magnificent backing, also by Hoffman, called Fresh Linen Batiks Abalone Sunflowers. Melissa from Sew Shabby Quilting saw this backing and chose the perfect quilting motif to match it!

This great modern quilt design would look great with any fabric. Since I am in the midst of a hot love affair with batiks, I could not think of using anything else.

Fat Quarter Shop's pattern is available for download. The video will show you how the ruler speeds up the patch-cutting process, and you will make this quilt in no time at all. Head over to their blog to check out other versions of this quilt by the participating bloggers, so you can get ideas for your own fabric combination.

In the meantime, happy sewing!

March 13, 2017

Crochet Baby Gifts

One of the young ladies at my trusted UPS store just had a baby girl. For a change, I decided to crochet some gifts for her baby. Crocheting or knitting gifts for babies is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, it was one of my favorite gifts to receive for my own babies. I have kept all the beautiful items they got, as well as the baby afghans I made for each of them. I guess I need to write another post to show them to you!

The gray is not showing correctly on the photo above, but at least you can see what I made for baby Quinn: one pair of booties, a hat for when she is about 6 months old, and a baby blanket.  I am loving them! My collection of crochet books covers all sorts of projects, but I chose to use the patterns in this book I had just gotten for review:

9 Months to Crochet by Maaike van Koert, published in the US by Martingale is great for when you need ideas for gifts for babies. However, the book itself would be a very original and useful gift for expectant mothers! Maaike's projects are reminiscent of the ones I've seen over the years, except for the modern twist she gave to each one. Her choice of stitches and colors is perfect for today's nurseries and beginner crafters. However, even seasoned crocheters will enjoy them precisely because of her fresh ideas.

Maaike divided the book into three chapters corresponding to the three trimesters of pregnancy: beginner-level items for the first trimester, a bit more challenging ones on the second trimester when expectant mothers are feeling better, and quicker projects for the third trimester as they rush to get everything ready for the big day. Genius idea!!!

Onto my projects: I had never made booties before; luckily for me, the pattern was very easy to follow. Then, I moved on to the hat but could not stop there because I was having so much fun!

Photo by Simon Pask for Quantum Books. Used with permission.
I saw the stripped blanket above and thought: Hmmm...

Where is Brent Kane, Martingale's photographer, when I need him? He is a master at staging!
I chose to stick with the gray and yellow palette, adding the rose to customize it for the baby girl.This blanket comes together very fast...

... and its simple edging made it possible for me to listen to a book while I was working. Double relaxation as I did not have to count stitches, just rows. I worked with Bernat Softee Baby yarn in gray (Flannel) and yellow. The rose yarn is a little thicker, but the store was not open at midnight when I needed this color, so I used what I had in my stash.

Although I have been crocheting since I was 6 years old (my maternal grandmother taught me), when I read patterns in English I need to refresh my memory as to which stitch is which. I always rely on quick guides, so I appreciated so much the sections at the end of the book with step-by-step photographs for each stitch.

If I weren't so late with these gifts already, I would have also made this mobile:

Photo by Simon Pask for Quantum Books. Used with permission.
Isn't it the cutest thing ever? And then there is a banner, a ball, hanger covers... which is another reason why I like this book as the projects are for the entire nursery - not only for the baby.

Baby gifts made and delivered. I received this book just in time, phew!

Speaking of books, I read on Martingale's blog that they are having their semi-annual warehouse sale with 90+ titles at $5.00 each (What?), from March 13-23 until supplies last. Headed over there now. See ya!

March 10, 2017

Dwell Quilt Blocks

Two more blocks for my Dwell Quilt! I love to mix and match the fabrics from the Olive's Flower Market collection by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics, to figure out what to add to the door or what block to insert in place of it.

The hymn "Love at Home" gave me the idea to applique' the heart to the door...

... and I had to have that brown/black dots fabric on the chimney so I pieced the scraps I had left over from that fat quarter to make it (in the true spirit of scrappy quilts!).

This is the other block I made, trying to add more green fabrics to the houses as my quilting friends and I noticed we were neglecting that color.

Made up this simple way to showcase these flowers...

... and loved piecing this roof. The Dwell pattern comes from the Simply Retro book by Camille Roskelley; it is quite easy and has a few options for changing the basic house layout. Once you start, though, the possibilities abound.

Making the houses has been a lot of fun, mainly because I am not rushing. My friends and I make a couple of blocks per month to exchange and, in the end, we each will come up with our own setting for the quilt top.

And this is my finish for today. I hope you have a great weekend!

March 8, 2017

Storing my Quilts

I finally got a tall shelf unit from IKEA to store my quilts. I did not want anything with doors so it would be easy to get to them, pet them, show them to friends, and use them. One change I made: I used to fold them with the backing out to 'protect' the front. Forget that! This winter has brought so many gray days that it has me craving colors every day! Now I can see them in all their glory.

Although I have moved my quilt room to a larger room in the basement, there was no room for the quilts (there are about 65 on the shelves, plus another 25 in other rooms, plus 6 or so at the magazines waiting to be published, about 10 that need quilting, and a few more already cut! Ai ai ai...). So, they now live in the great room, lighting up a corner.

It is so fun to look at them and remember when and why I made them... As you can see, I do not discriminate against color way, technique, or fabric line!

This storage system also makes it easier to refold quilts when it is time, to prevent long-lasting creases from forming.

You cannot tell but they are separated by size/function: bed sizes on bottom shelves, wall hangings and table toppers above them, then more wall hangings (rolled because I don't want any creases on these), and table runners...

On the very top, Santa Claus has taken up permanent residence. My sister made him for me a few years ago and he has lived in my quilt room since. However, he now presides over my quilt collection, to remind me that each quilt I made, and the very fact that I am able to make quilts, is a gift!

How/where do you store your quilts? While you think about it, I have a hot date with the root canal guy. Wish me luck!

March 1, 2017

Bella Solids Skill Builder Sew Along

Welcome back to the Bella Solids Skill Builder Sew Along, hosted by Fat Quarter Shop and using Moda Fabrics Bella Solids!

This month we are practicing the Orange Peel blocks. One block has 16 dark peels, another is a lighter version of same block, and the other block has only 6 peels. Easy!

The pattern said to use your preferred applique' method so I will show you below mine:

1. Start with HeatnBond Light fusible web from Therm-o-web. I buy it by the bolt because I don't want to run out. It works great with wool, too.

2. Trace template onto smooth side of fusible web. Rough cut it and fuse it to the wrong side of the fabrics according to manufacturer's instructions.

3. Using sharp scissors, cut on the shape outline. These are my favorite by Fiskars - I cannot live without them! I've had them for years and they are still sharp. Their points are perfect for small cuts so I keep them by my ironing board when I am pressing seams in case I need to trim or cut a V on them so they will still flat.

4. Use a pin to score the paper close to one edge, without poking through the fabric. Now, I easily peel the backing of the fusible web.

5. Press shape onto background fabric and machine applique' with matching thread. I almost always use blanket stitch because I like the texture it adds to my applique' work.

I love this process because it is so relaxing. The blocks are looking great! To downloaded this month's pattern go to the Jolly Jabber. Then, check out the blocks of the other participating bloggers. There is still time to join the Sew Along as we will make blocks together until November.

Thanks for stopping by!


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