Friday, July 03, 2015

charcoal socks

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I finished knitting another pair of socks this week--my 14th pair to date! I love gray and I wear a lot of it. It was surprisingly difficult to find a decent gray sock yarn, but I found some on a trip to Duluth earlier this year. I used my basic sock pattern, which you can find here. I'm sure that these socks will be in heavy rotation this coming fall/winter. They are so comfortable!
One year ago, I had a sock finish as well! Isn't that funny?

Also, today, I am finishing up my 30's. That's right...I turn the big 4-0 tomorrow. I'm not sure that I'm excited about that finish, but I guess it's better than the alternative! Ha!

One more thing...thanks for all your sweet comments on my upcoming Craftsy class. I appreciate your support more than I can say! xoxo

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me! I hope you all of you in the US have a great and safe holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

win my craftsy class!

Hello, hello! I'm super nervous and a little excited to announce that my Craftsy class is scheduled to released next week! I haven't really said much about it since I spilled the beans in May, but today I'd like to share a little bit about the projects in my class. I plan to write a post about the process another was quite an experience! At the end of this post, I will offer you a chance to win my class!
I designed this colorful row quilt specifically for my Craftsy class. The quilt features 10 different rows of patchwork. In the class, I share tips on fabric selection and walk through the construction of each block/row, step by step. 
In the end, I used over 170 unique fabrics from my stash to make this quilt. (It was FUN!)
Rather than using a plain white background for the quilt, I used a small black and white polka dot. It tones down all that bright happy color (in the best way, of course) and gives it a bit of a vintage feel.  This version is BIG, measuring 72" x 96". I love how it turned out so very much!
I also offer a smaller option--a baby size---which uses some of the same elements of the large row quilt. This is a good way to explore some of the techniques, but with the ability to finish the quilt more quickly. The baby version was made in a completely different color way, which changes the overall look and feel of the quilt. I love to explore and imagine all the possibilities that you can obtain by simply changing up the fabric choices. I would love to make yet another version of the large row quilt, but this time using all Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I think it would be fabulous!
If you would like to win my class, you can enter here. (You must be a craftsy member or you can sign up to become one, if you aren't already.) If you win, you can tell me what you think about the class, because I'm not sure that I will be able to watch it myself. :)
(By the way, isn't that last photo funny? I laughed out loud so hard when I saw it. I hope it gives you a chuckle, too!)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

scrap vortex QAL, week 5

Welcome to the final week of the scrap vortex QAL! I'm thankful that so many of you have joined in and quilted along with me. It's been delightful to look through the #scrapvortexqal hashtag on Instagram. So many scraps are being put to good use! Hurray!

Before we get on with today's post, I wanted to share a few quilt tops made by others!
This one was made by Amanda of Material Girl Quilts. It measures about 46" x 63".
This one was made by Linda of Flourishing Palms. It measures a whopping 89" x 91"!
And this one was made by debpotteringabout. She used all of her scraps...ALL of them!!! How is that for a success story?

Didn't they all do a great job on their quilts??? Many thanks to Amanda, Linda and Deb for letting me share their work here!

Over the past few weeks, I've shown how to fit the pieces together based on the random sizes of your block. I would recommend using that method, if you are up for it. However, I would imagine that some of you may want to rely on a block format for construction. I've done a few quilt block mock ups to show a few options if the random layout isn't working for you.
For this first mock up, you could use all 12" blocks. This isn't a bad option at all, just a bit more structured than the typical randomness of a scrap vortex quilt. When you start the assembly, at least you are guaranteed that your blocks will fit together!
This second layout uses just 3 different block sizes: 12" squares, 12" x 18" rectangles and 6" x 12" rectangles. In this layout, you will lose the grid of the patchwork (which is a good thing) and it becomes more random, but it's still orderly and predictable. This isn't a bad option, either! These are just a few examples to illustrate my point. Of course, they can be sized up or down as desired. Completely random is good, too!
As far as quilting goes, I would recommend doing spiral quilt (tutorial here) to keep with the vortex theme.

A pieced back....
and scrappy binding are options that I would recommend as well!
It just makes sense, right? :)

Well, that's all I have for today! As always, if you any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments!
Thank you ALL for quilting along with me!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

a personalized pillow

My daughter has a friend that celebrated her birthday last week. I wanted to make her friend a pillow (I've had it in mind for months!) and even though I didn't feel like I had the time to make it, I whipped it up anyway. It's amazing how much one can get done with a little bit of focus and a deadline.
A lot of these cute scraps came from my friend Mary. (Thanks Mary!!!) My daughter had picked them out and squirreled them away as her favorites. I couldn't think of a better project to use them for! I used a regular sized bed pillow for the form and added an envelope backing (similar to this) so the pillow cover is washable. An absolute must!
With a name like Mandara, I knew that personalized items are hard to come by, so I wanted to be sure to include her name somewhere on the project. I used my rustic embroidery skills (heh) to add her name to one patch. I like that it's included in the mix, but that it's not necessarily the focal point. When I was stressing over the lack of perfection, my husband reminded me that the recipient is 9, and not to worry about it. It's always good to have a voice of reason!
I'm happy to say that Mandara loved it! She and my daughter had fun looking at all the different fabrics and finding cute things to squeal over. It was delightful! It felt pretty good to be able to cross something off my list, too.

Monday, June 29, 2015

you inspire me to quilt winner

The winner of the hard copy of Cheryl's new book "you inspire me to quilt" is The Joyful Quilter.
The winner of the digital copy is Lisa from Canada. Congrats to both of you!
Many thanks to all of you who left such nice comments about my date stamp quilt. I appreciate each and every one!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 26, 2015

deluxe pin cushion

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This morning I made a deluxe pin cushion and I LOVE it so very much! The pattern is in the book Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples. I have a feeling I will make at least 20 more of these pin cushions. For real!
For this version, I dug into my most precious scraps of Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope fabric. The sweet floral that I used for the body of the pin cushion is my absolute favorite fabric at the moment...I only had a fat quarter of it, but I used it anyway. I just love it!!!
Before I stuffed the pin cushion, I showed it to my daughter and we thought it would make a good sleeping bag for a small stuffed toy. She pulled out my little My Melody doll and we tried it out. Oh, my goodness!!! We squealed at the cuteness for a good long time. My boys were a little dubious, but they were also half smiling. (I love that!)

I mean, c'mon! The cuteness! I think I might be 9 years old inside. :) Also, I think I will be sewing up another one for a sleeping bag this afternoon!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a fantastic weekend! xo

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

scrap vortex QAL week 4

Welcome to week 4 of the scrap vortex quilt along! I didn't touch this project all week, sadly. I got my blocks out this morning to take some photos for today's post. I had fun playing around with what I have done so far and I think I might put the "to-do" list aside for an hour or two today to PLAY! The vortex quilt has a way of sucking you in! (Hahahaha!)
This week is more of the same...take two pieces of the same size and sew them together. The top piece is about 11 3/4" x 16 3/4" and the bottom piece is about 14 1/2" x 16 3/4". (The only reason I mention the size is so you can visualize the scale. Your block sizes will be different that mine, no doubt. Don't get hung up on measurements at this point!) Since the patchwork pieces are the same width, and since they look good together, I will sew them up. Once again, notice the staggered seams. This is important so you lose the grid of the patchwork in the larger piece.
I like these two blocks together, but the one on the left is too short, so I will add a pieced strip to the top of the left block. I could add a single string to the top, but it would be too big compared to the rest of the pieces. A pieced string will look better. Whenever you are pairing two blocks together, you have to option of adding to the shorter block or trimming the taller block. I prefer to add pieces as much as possible, trimming only when there is 1/2" difference or less. (That's a general rule, not a hard and fast rule.)
Here I have several larger pieces completed. They range from 21" to 12" on each side. I would encourage you to spend some time playing with the pieces as if you were putting a puzzle together. Arrange and re-arrange until you get a few pieces that you like together, then sew them up. Fill in the gaps with patchwork as needed. This is such a fun and freeing way to least I think so! I hope you have discovered it to be, as well!

If you would like to look back, I've linked to the previous posts below for easy reference:
scrap vortex QAL week 1
scrap vortex QAL week 2
scrap vortex QAL week 3

If you have any questions, please let me know. I'd love to hear how your quilt is progressing! Thank you for quilting along with me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

date stamp quilt

My friend Cheryl has a beautiful new book out called "You Inspire Me To Quilt". It's a collaborative book all about using someone else's idea for a quilt design rather than your own. It's a brilliant concept and I love that it's so much more than a book of quilt patterns. It's also about the process of getting to that final design. (It's so true to Cheryl's approach to quilting!) I love that it tells the story behind each and every quilt!
I designed a quilt for the book called Date Stamp. This quilt, however, was my husband's idea. He NEVER has a shortage of ideas...quilt or otherwise. In fact, I may wince a little bit when he starts off a sentence with "you know what would be cool....." I really do love that he has so many ideas-I just wish I had more time! :) ANYway, he thought it would be neat to make a quilt that looked like a clock radio, but instead of the time, use someone's birth date. He had this idea years ago, but I never caught the vision. It's so hard to make a quilt based on an outside idea rather than an internal one. In fact, I find it nearly impossible to start a quilt unless I have the vision for it. One day, when we were watching the movie Groundhog Day, about the 3rd or 4th time they showed an alarm clock scene, the birth date/clock radio quilt idea finally clicked in my head. (Finally!) It was so cool to have a vision for the quilt that my husband had mentioned so many years before! Never mind that I was already working on a different quilt design for Cheryl's book. I emailed her and I switched gears almost immediately.

This quilt isn't girly AT ALL, and I found that to be quite challenging. The colors are not my normal "go-to" colors, either. It was out of my comfort zone on so many levels. But, a few different times while I was working on it, my boys would come downstairs and exclaim how cool it was and that encouragement really helped! It definitely has some "guy" appeal, which was/is reassuring.
The instructions for this quilt include assembly for all the numbers, so you can use any date that you wish, not just my husband's birthday. Handy, I know! Also, I feel like I should mention that this quilt is big! It finishes at 98" x 72", but based on the numbers you choose, the size will vary. I love that the pattern is so customizable.

The best part of this quilt story is when the quilt came back home. The physical quilt traveled from to my house to Canada, then to California, back to Canada and then back to my house. It was gone almost a year in all. It arrived here the day after my husband's birthday...the same day that he returned from a pretty stressful work trip. The timing was perfect! I used the quilt to wrap up/disguise his new Taylor guitar that I bought him for his birthday. He was quite surprised by all of it, which was delightful for me and my kids. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried. I do love a happy ending!

I have an extra copy of the book that I would love to give away. If you would like a chance to win it, please leave me a comment on this post. Please be sure to include your location (country is fine) because I will pick one winner from the US, who will win a hard copy, and one winner from outside the US, who will win a digital copy of the book. Please, only one comment per person. Thanks for reading! And happy Tuesday! :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

chenille shams

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

My dear friend Tara and her family have been here visiting this week and it's been wonderful! They just left this morning and it was soooo hard to see them go. We squeezed in a little sewing time during the visit, which was delightful. We definitely had to squeeze it in, since we had 5 kids running (and crawling) around. A good time was had by all!
Tara gave me (and more importantly taught me how to use) an invisible zipper foot for my Juki. So, a project that spent a lot of time on the "someday" list got finished this week. Sweet!!! I made simple pillow shams from a chenille bedspread that I got at a garage sale for a dollar. (Or maybe it was free?) I love them so much!!! They are a nice, fresh, summer look for my bed.

edited to add: the quilt on the bed is one I called window panes, which I blogged about here. The tutorial is here, thanks to Ashley. :)

Thanks for all of you who weighed in on the conversation last week about finish it up Friday. The comments helped me! I've decided I will keep things going throughout the summer. I will keep it as FINISH it up Friday, not a work in progress party. (Lee has a WIP Wednesday link up, if you would like to share your in progress photos there.) I will also not expect myself to finish something each week, because that IS just crazy! I'll try to cut myself a little slack. :)

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

scrap vortex QAL week 3

We are on week 3 of the quilt along already! I hope you are having fun with it! I know I am!
This week is more of the same...sewing two pieces of patchwork that are about the same size together. See how the blocks are getting larger and larger? That's what you want. Don't worry about a specific block size at this point. I know that goes against the grain of what you may be used to, but it will all work out in the end! Trust me!

I'll give a specific example of block construction again this week, because I think seeing it step by step is helpful. At least I hope so!
Select two pieces of patchwork that look good together. See the piece on the left? It is shorter than the one on the right, so I decided to add an orange string to the bottom of the left hand side.
After adding and pressing the orange strip, the left side is still a little shorter. I could add another strip to the bottom to the same side, but the additional strip would be pretty skinny.
Instead, I sew the pieces together, but rather than aligning the top edges, I align the bottom edges. Why? Because the patchwork pieces on the top right hand side are taller and better for trimming in this case. If I trimmed off the bottom of the right hand piece, that cute little teal crosshatch fabric (on the bottom right) would have been just a sliver after trimming. Can't have that!!! :) Also, if you look along the center seam, you will notice that the seams are nicely staggered with this alignment. That's what you are after!
Trim up the block so it's a square or rectangle. I'm not super fussy about the sides being at a PRECISE 90 degree angle, but close is good! Isn't it amazing how much better the block looks after it's trimmed up? That never gets old!

There was a question last week about trimming. At this point in the block construction, I do trim the block after each addition with my rotary cutter and ruler. I try to keep the pieces relatively square or rectangular, because it makes the fitting the larger pieces together so much easier.
This week I felt like I was lacking variety (or getting sick of my scraps), so I scrounged (hahaha!) in my craft room to find some new things to add to the scrap basket. I had a bunch of bags of scraps that I had separated out for "someday" projects, (Heather Ross, Echino, Kaffe Fasset, some Anna Maria Horner and even a few of my own new fabrics) but liberating the scraps and adding them to my others will breath new life into the quilt. Plus, I have 3-5 fewer bags floating around the craft room. So, it's a win-WIN!

You may find that you have to go back to square one and start making new pairs for your quilt. I know I will need to!

That's all I have for today. I hope you have FUN sewing! Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Liberty Giveaway winner

The winner of the Liberty fat eighth bundle is Lorinda! Thanks to all of you who played along! It was fun to read your comments. :)

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 12, 2015

finish it up Friday, 6/12/15

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

No finish for me today. Not even a pin cushion! But I'm slowly plugging away on my hand quilting. I'm getting so close to finishing the stars, then just borders and binding. This will be one happy finish when I get there!

I've been teaching at the MN quilt show in Duluth this week and it has been so lovely! The views are gorgeous, the weather has been idyllic and my students have been delightful! I have photos I wanted to share, but due to technical difficulties (ugh) I can't load the photos like I had hoped. (Oh, well!)

Summer is in full swing! I've been trying to figure out what to do with finish it up Friday. I certainly can't post a finish every week (even though I try my hardest!) and I feel weird posting a non-finish on Friday. There is a good chance I just need to get over my issues (ha!) and keep on going. Or we could break for the summer and start back up in the fall. Any thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think! 

Well, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!