Saturday, February 28, 2009

PTQB-- March

For the Pieced Together Quilting Bee, this is the fabric that Stephanie sent me. I took the pictures at night, and if you know me in real life, then you know that my vision is absolutely horrible (that's my apology for the bad picture). These were some interesting fabric choices-- I know that everyone got an alphabet block-- which I ADORE and have no idea where Stephanie got them-- and are supposed to construct some sort of block around the letter.I made this block last night, but I don't want to post it until I know that Stephanie has received it. Plus, I'm still going back and forth on whether or not I'm brave enough to embroider that cute V.
I'm also in the process of making the quilt sandwich for my grandpa's quilt. I've decided to keep in the true scrappy style and pieced my batting and my backing. I've pieced my batting before, and while it's probably not my first choice, it's nearly impossible to tell after it's been quilted and washed. If you've never done it before, try it once. I'm thinking about quilting it in straight lines on the diagonal, to make diamonds. Stippling with all of those tiny pieces is making me tired, and it's gotten to be a little larger than I expected. I seem to have a problem of making long, skinny quilts. I added some of Max's "macho border" to make it a little more of a realistic size. Pictures soon, I hope!

Also--thank you guys so much for all the blog love! It's just so motivating and makes me want to continue to create and write about it. I hope I don't disappoint!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

nothing but scraps

Here is what I've been up to lately-- more quilting for men. These are my blocks for the "Nothing but Scraps" challenge. Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a scrap vs. stash. I say it's a scrap if it's smaller than a fat quarter, and something that has previously been cut by me. I have a hard time throwing away any piece of fabric, no matter how tiny or odd the shape may be, and I have all of these scraps loosely arranged by colour, in those three-drawer plastic rolling containers. It works well for me, especially because they fit under my sewing machine and cutting tables. Even the white for this quilt came from my scrap collection. Here are my 15 blocks. I did some free piecing and then trimmed the blocks to 12.5" square, then added 2.5" white borders. I'm not crazy about long pieces of sashing, and so this is my way around that (this time).Here are some of the blocks laid out on my living room floor, not yet sewn together. I'm not sure what I'll use for the backing. If I'm to stay true to the Nothing but Scraps spirit, I'd sew together my batting scraps for the middle and some of my bigger pieces for the back. We'll see. My 84-year-old grandfather recently fell on the ice and broke a few ribs, so he's recovering at an assisted-living facility (which he hates, naturally). I'm going to surprise him with this quilt. I figured it's bright and colourful, and will hopefully raise his spirits, at least a little bit. My family and culture really doesn't have any sort of a quilting tradition, which is good for me because that means that my family continues to be amused/amazed.

Update: Max got his quilt in the mail, and he was impressed. He called the cheater print a "macho border". He's anxious to use it on his couch-- before, he said, he'd get cold and put on a hooded sweatshirt and smush his feet under his basset hound. The quilt is a much better option.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I'm almost embarrassed to show these because these were so easy to put together. The cafe cutain clips are surprisingly strong and very, very easy to use. Originally, I was going to put grommets in the fabric and weave the rod in and out of the grommets, but I couldn't find a grommet puncher that made big enough holes. This project took me about thirty minutes, start to finish. This is the one window at the top of the stairs, and it was looking very ugly with the mini blinds that came with the house. Now, here's my pretty curtain rod and my new IKEA curtains:The curtain rod came from JoAnn Fabrics, and with a 50% off coupon, was cheaper than anything else I'd seen.Here's the view of the upstairs. Yes, that's a work-in-progress on the banister. I always use it to lay out my quilts, and to help with the basting process. One last picture, this time with the curtains open:I feel like the house is starting to (finally) come together, though the pictures make it look like I should paint the upstairs. Now I think I might use some of my latest IKEA stash to make a curtain for the back door off of the kitchen...

Friday, February 20, 2009

yellow Friday

OK, I know you have to look really hard for the yellow, but I had to show off my new Orla Kiely serving tray. All kinds of blog friends were excited for the collection at Target, and obviously I am, too. I'm in love with this print-- and it matches my red kitchen and aqua dishes nicely. This will probably be an inspiration for a future quilt. Wouldn't this be great yardage? While circles and curves still scare me, the colours are delicious and the balance of this is really, rediculously pleasing to me.

swap yumminess

This was a good mail day! First, I got an email from Katie saying that she got the block I mailed for the Pieced Together Quilting Bee. She seems pleased, which makes me very happy. Here's what I made for her:
I think it looks much better if you click on it to see it full size. My favorite part is the bit of selvedge I included on the left-hand side.

That alone would've made me happy, but then I got home from work and had a package waiting for me from Heather, my spring fat quarter swap partner. I finally have my very own Katie Jump Rope! YAY. I've been loving this forever but haven't owned any. Plus, the VW bus fabric is great, too. I've enjoyed petting these fat quarters today (what, is it weird I pet fabric?) These are going to be very hard for me to cut into-- I just adore them. Even my husband said these look fancy.Weirdly enough, these coordinate nicely with my latest work-in-progress. Is everyone thinking about pink and orange these days? I thought it was just me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

yellow Thursday

I'm pretty impressed that I've been able to keep up with this picture-and-post-a-day thing. Here's an exciting picture for today:These are my yellow quilting gloves. I only use them when I'm actually quilting, not piecing, and they are wonderful. I'll admit that there is a tiny hole on the thumb of the left hand where I got a little too close to the needle and managed to sew them to a quilt once (or twice...). The grips are great, even if they look funny while I'm wearing them. For more yellow-y goodness, they're on top of a work-in-progress AND on top of my yellow cutting mat. You'll notice I cut into the Amy Butler Martini print and have some other goodies in there. I'll post more about that project later.

Meanwhile, I sent off my fat quarters for Darci's spring FQ swap, and for Sew Mama Sew's swap. I should've taken pictures before I sent them, and will definitely take pictures of what I receive.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

yellow Wednesday

Here is a close-up of a wreath I made for my guest room door. I've had a lot of overnight guests in the past two years on Park Ave., and it's really been nice to say, "Your room is the one with the wreath". The sweatshop is very traditional in shape, and there are five doors, one window, and one linen closet on the second floor. The sunny yellow and orange brighten it considerably. This was a one-hour project; I made a matching one for my mother-in-law.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

yellow Tuesday

I know this is a crafting blog, but when I'm not crafting or working, I'm typically exercising (or drinking wine). For the second day of yellow week, I'm posting a picture of my 10 pound weights, which were definitely used heavily (ha) tonight in my aerobics class. I'm thinking of going up to 12 pounds, but sometimes the hardest part of my workout is lugging them (and my 8s, and my 3s) from my car to the gym and back again. Maybe someday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

yellow Monday

This week, I'll post a picture a day of yellow things that are around my house. Erin is the hostess of yellow week. I think the point of this is to take it all in, and to notice things that I'd otherwise miss. As I've mentioned before, photography isn't my strongest skill. With that caveat, here's my picture for yellow Monday:I use my mom's old tomato pincushion every day. There's something delightfully old skool about a tomato (that, and it's my very favorite food). I'm in love with these long yellow quilting pins. Someday I"ll invest in the glass headed ones, as I have a bad tendency to melt the tops with my iron. These are size 30-- it seems that most quilting pins are a size 28. I'm unsure if that means that mine are longer, or thicker, or what. I just know that I like these.


Here is the finished quilt for Max. I'm very happy with it! I decided to brave the cold this morning and took these pictures out on my patio.The backing is the only fabric I didn't already have in my stash. It's lime green flannel from JoAnn. I asked Max what his favorite colour was before starting this, and he doesn't appear to have one. He did say, "Geniuses like green." And, here's my favorite, all folded and ready to go:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

IKEA goodness

There isn't an IKEA within my state, but there are 4 in 3 nearby states. I was lucky enough to visit one this past weekend, and treated myself to 3 yards of fabric:

I love them all. IKEA fabric is wonderful, because it's canvas, or home-dec weight.. A handful of my favorite fabric designers have a couple of their quilting-weight cotton designs printed in the extra wide, heavier home-dec fabric. It's way more expensive then the average cotton, and inevitably, the designs chosen for this special treatment aren't always my favorites.
IKEA, meanwhile, has a pretty good selection of huge repeats that aren't available anywhere else. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with these. I could make some more purses, or throw pillows. The red and orange one seems to be a little lighter weight, and I'm kind of tempted to make a simple A-line skirt, if I can bring myself to cut into it.
Meanwhile, I am in the process of washing the Max quilt-- pictures soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

half day shopping

There are few better things in life than having a half day on a sunny Friday. I decided to go to a quilt shop a little further away than my usual one to see what they had. After about an hour of circling the store, I finally decided on these lovely pieces:I think I'm currently in love with pink and orange. The picture really doesn't do the fabric justice-- the orange looks just like a creamsickle. I bought a yard of each... if these don't end up in a quilt together, I might make some skirts.
In other happy news, I'll be going to IKEA this weekend and buying some more fabric-- hopefully some of this or this. Yay!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

in progress

This is the Max L. quilt in the process of being quilted. It turned out to be quite a big larger than I expected, since I added 2.5" strips of khaki fabric between rows. Then, realizing it was a lot longer than it was wide, and Max L. simply isn't very tall, I added a 5" border all the way around. I used a cheater print that I got on super sale. (It's the black colourway)

Meanwhile, Mom got the package I sent containing her purses, the make-up bag, and a matching tissue holder. She adored all of it, which made me very, very happy. Being the master seamstress she is, she only gave me one good recommendation: to use some stiff interfacing to make sure the handles don't wrinkle. Good advice, as always. She also said it'd be an easy pattern to modify by adding welting of the liner fabric where all those seams are. I responded with, "Yeah, that'd look nice... but it'd be much more tricky!" I really think she's getting a kick out of me finally sewing, after years of watching her stay up all night in HER sewing room, rolling my eyes and not getting it. Creating makes me feel both closer and further away from my mom. I guess it's the curse of being a Jewish daughter-- finally appreciating my mom, now that I'm grown up and married and living 1,000 miles away from her.

So I don't end on a sappy note, here's a picture of a happy purse I made for myself:
The background is my Marimekko shower curtain. This is a pretty good canvas-- you may be seeing it a lot!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

top secret

I'm making a quilt for a very good friend of mine, who may or may not read this. Since I'm trying to keep it a secret, I'll just show you the fabric I picked out:Also, I've been working on a variation of a stacked coin quilt for my brother, Max. Here's what I have so far, laid out in my upstairs hallway:
It's not nearly as wonky as it looks in this picture. There are 60 different fabrics, with each one repeated once. The sashing is the same khaki Kona that I show in the top picture. I bought a ton of it on sale about a year ago, and it's been sitting around, taking up precious space.

Quilting and creating for boys is a lot more difficult than quilting for women. I enjoy the challenge. It's a good thing to stretch myself, and to stay away from the overly girly prints (those will all go together in another scrappy quilt, maybe for myself). I hope these two guys like their quilts!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

quick belt

Here's a picture of a belt I made very quickly-- about 15 minutes before we went out for dinner and drinks with friends. Please ignore my painfully white skin! This was a strange self-portrait to take. The belt is just a 3" wide piece of fabric sewn in half length-wise, and topstitched on the top and bottom. I used some of my D rings left over from the purses I've been making. Just today, I saw that Sew Mama Sew's FQ project of the day is a patchwork belt. I'm not the only one thinking about quick belts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stitches and Scissors FQ swap

I love swapping fabric with other crafty people. Again, it's part of that community that I seem to crave. Darci, who is also part of the Pieced Together Quilting Bee, is generously hosting a Spring fat quarter swap. Won't you join us? Check it out here.

I'm pretty excited about Anna Maria Horner's new Drawing Room, especially the yardage called "volumes". I think a library-inspired quilt is in my future.

Geese in the Forest-- first block

I decided on my fabric choices, but also decided to abandon foundation piecing (for now). It's still a new task for me, because I had to figure out how large to cut the pieces and still end up with a 6" block. Here it is:The white is Kona Premium (of course), and the pink and orange are other Kona cottons. A real advantage to working with solids is that there isn't a "right" side. The Park Slope fabric will appear every once in a while in a triangle. My points aren't perfect, but I am still very pleased so far.

Monday, February 2, 2009

2 new projects

The start of February brought about two new projects that I'll be working on, craft-wise. The first is Twiddletails' Geese in the Forest BOM and the second is See Katie Sew's Pieced Together Quilting Bee. I'm very excited about both of them. I like feeling like I'm connected to other creators around the country (world?) doing roughly the same things at roughly the same time. But at the same time, it's all my own. I think that's partly why I create.

I got my fabric for February's block, which happens to be Katie's, today in the mail. So much fun in one little envelope: Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy, which is kind of a cult hit and hard to find these days, along with some solids and some other cute ones. I adore the brown and white polka dots! Katie wants a wonky log cabin-ish block, which is right up my ally. I won't post pictures of the finished block until I know she's receieved it, because I think it's more fun that way. I'm free to add fabrics from my stash, too, and the finished block will be 12.5" square. Here's a picture of the fabric sent to me:

I bought my fabric tonight for the Geese in the Forest. I'll post pictures after I make the first block!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

mystery fabric

My brother was kind enough to bring me back 3 yards of fabric from the UK. Besides my mother-in-law, this is the second time that anyone has ever chosen fabric for me, and I was really grateful, because these are not pieces that I would've chosen for myself. I was also happy because I had never seen these before. But that's where the mystery comes in: the selvage says "Kitty and the Muse" with a paw print after the word muse. I googled it, I etsy-ed it, I ebay-ed it, and I can't find any mention of this fabric anywhere. The selvage doesn't have the typical colour dots. I think it's 44-45 inches wide, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there. These are definitely 100% cotton, and the fabric is very high quality-- it feels as good as Free Spirit fabric (which, in my opinion, has the nicest hand). I don't think it's vintage. If anyone has ever seen this please drop me a line. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy it. The littlest yellow print would make a cute wrap skirt, wouldn't it?

lil zipper bag

After my success of putting in zippers, I'm hot on tutorials lately. This one came from the Moda Bake Shop and it took me no time at all. I like that it sits up by itself, and used 1 1/2 inch strips. These little strips are some of Moda's newest pre-cuts, and I don't think I'd want to create a quilt entirely out of 1 1/2 inch pieces. I decided to create my own, and used some scraps of Pop Garden and Ginger Blossom, two of my recent favorites. I think all the snow around here is influencing my colour choices.