Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Reading for Quilters and Modern Sewists

I've been wanting to share some books, old and new, that I've enjoyed reading over the last couple of months.  Each one of these books has been an inspiration and is a source of several projects on my list.

I'll start with one I just received--Not Your Grandmother's Quilt: An Applique Twist on Traditional Pieced Blocks.  This book is written by Sheri Howard, and Sheri was so wonderful as to give away several copies on her blog.  I have to say I love every quilt in this book...simple piecing combined with delightful applique' adds up to wonderful projects!  Sheri also includes a beautiful quote (I love quotes!) and a recipe with each quilt.  The book is filled with gorgeous photography which includes beautiful vintage accessories and settings as well...this book is a "must have" for quilters!

Next up is I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale.  I've been enjoying Rashida's blog, I heart linen, for quite some time now and absolutely love her book as well.  She has a beautifully written introduction that I found to be very interesting, and she also has a wonderful technique section that is perfect for the beginning sewist. Rashida has a variety of wonderful projects, little bags, kitchen accessories, a delightful table runner, pincushion, coasters and placemat....and many more. I also loved learning about zakka, a word I didn't know the meaning of before...another must have for anyone wanting to sew or quilt beautiful projects for their home.

Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces: Fresh and Modern Projects for Your Life and Home is another wonderful resource.  Joel and his wife Laurie have a fun blog as well...with free project instructions and even a yummy cookie recipe. Sewn Spaces also has an incredible section at the beginning showing step-by-step instructions on a variety of stitches and techniques. The book is full of patterns for clothing, home decor, and quilted and stitched projects.  Joel describes his style as "eclectic modern," and every design and fabric truly fills this fun description.  Again...several projects in this book that I want to make!

Organizing Your Craft Space by Jo Packham is a 2006 publication that I've been trying to check out from my library for quite awhile.  It turned out that every copy in our library district is missing, which is too bad, because this is a great book. Another of my favorite organizing books by Jo is Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women.  Of course I read the quilting section first from Organizing Your Craft Space, but every section has great ideas for crafters and sewists of all types. Every photograph contains a world of inspiration...another must have!

Finally, I'd like to discuss Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear by Kay Whitt. After making one of Kay's patterns (on my blog here) I was really looking forward to this book.  Again, this book is user friendly, well-written, and has full-size patterns included.  Patterns include several variations for several skirts, tunics, dresses, and jackets.  I love how Kay incorporates "quilting fabric" into her clothing designs...and her directions are clear and precise enough for even a beginner garment sewist.

Whew...I guess that's a pretty long list for today...every one of these books is one you'll want to look at over and over again--I heart them all! I hope to do more book reviews in the future...there are quite a few that will be published in the next few months that I'm really looking forward to...And...just had to add in this picture of my little Katie Jump Rope stash...I'm so appreciative of the e-mail I received a few weeks ago from a fellow blogger letting me know where to find these fabrics!  Have a wonderful day...hope you get some sewing in!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Day and the Dress

It was her big day today...

She trusted me to make her dress...I was soo had been 25 years since I'd made a wedding dress (my own)...

She picked the design ( I used Vogue 2842 and Simplicity 4014 to put it all together). Congratulations Candace and Spencer...I wish you both every happiness and joy!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Design Wall

 I've wanted a design wall for a long time...and just a couple of weeks ago found the perfect idea for me.  (You can see Lori's amazing design wall (the inspiration for mine) and her wonderful studio here). Lori's idea was perfect because it was big enough to hold several blocks but not too big for my sewing room...and because I already had the thrift store frame in my garage.  One can of primer, one can of spray paint...some batting from my stash...and I was finished! I smile every time I walk in and look at it! I'm going to make some other fun changes in my sewing room in the next few weeks...but for now...I'm just so happy to have this project completed!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Is...

Summer is a brand new Americana quilt--finished just in time so that it can be part of our 4th of July decor...I'm in love with this quilt!

The blocks are from FatQuarterShop's  2009 Designer Mystery Block of the Month...each month as I pieced the blocks that came in my kit, I also pieced this quilt and challenged myself to use only fabrics on hand.  Luckily I had quite a few Minick and Simpson fabrics to use...and the various lines coordinated so well! There are fabrics from Nantucket, Prairie Paisley, American Primer and Bar Harbor in this quilt. I wanted to set it a little bit differently...but stuck to my goal of using only stash fabrics!

I even had fabrics for a scrappy back! I still need to set together my Glace' version of this quilt...but definitely wanted to finish this one first!  Hope you have a wonderful day!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Accuquilt Go! Fabric Cutter...

I've been seeing circle quilts everywhere...on blogs, in magazines and in books...and have really wanted to make one--but of course worried about cutting out "perfect circles." Thanks to the wonderful folks at circle problem has been solved!

I was super excited when I got the e-mail from Carolyn at Accuquilt asking if I'd like to receive a Go! Cutter to use and demo...but I had no idea until I used it how amazing this device is...I absolutely can't believe how fun and simple it is to use.  It is accurate and much faster than using a rotary cutter--and because it's so easy and fun to use I'm really motivated to cut up my scraps so they're ready for projects!

The Go! Cutter is lightweight and takes up very little space. It also folds up easily for storage and travel. My family was kind of teasing me the day it arrived...because all I wanted to do was cut fabric!

First I cut my 12 Days of Christmas scraps into 5" charm squares...then I cut the scraps from that into 2 1/2" squares. From now on all of my 2 1/2" and 5" squares will be cut using the Go!Cutter!  

Next, an Odyssea charm pack with 42 squares quickly became 21 three-inch circles which I then sewed to the remaining charm squares. I mixed in a few extra charm squares and now have a pretty good start on my circle quilt! The circle die is also perfect for making yo yo's...finished sizes of yo yo's for each size circle die are included on the package.

The Go! Cutter comes with a starter set of dies which includes a 2 1/2" square, a 4 1/2" square, and a 2" finished half square triangle (cuts four triangles at once to make two squares).  I also received the circle die which will cut 2", 3" and 5" circles, the 5" square die (cuts two at once), and the 2 1/2" strip cutter die which cuts three 2 1/2" strips at once. I can't wait to add to my collection of dies...the hexagons and the 1 1/2" strip cutter are at the top of my list!  So...I'm not announcing anything just yet...but there just might be something big coming up soon here on my blog.  Let me know what dies you think would be the most fun to have with the Go! can look at them all here!  Have a great day!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Things

Summer is flying by...I can't believe June is half over already...and with June came the arrival of the first block from FatQuarterShop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month...I really love this block and had to put it together the day it arrived...can't wait for number two! Yesterday's post over at the Jolly Jabber tells all about this block of the month...and they're having some fun contests right now to get this party started!

I've also been working on my "one flower Wednesday" project.  These little flowers are the perfect take-along project.  I cut one out each Wednesday and then put it in my purse to work on when I'm out and about...the one with the strawberries might be my favorite!

And I've been working on these cute little criss cross blocks...the third project from the Fig Tree Club.  These blocks are really fun...I'm going to chain sew the rest, so they should go really fast...and they're fool proof...the criss crosses will end up "floating" so there won't be any chance of cutting off the kind of project for these lazy summer days!

Recently I found a new blog I love...and was honored when they asked to feature one of my quilts on their post today.  Quiltstory shares different quilts from other bloggers and tells the story behind each one.  I've been following along for a couple of weeks now and love reading about every quilt...thanks so much Heather and Megan for including me and for taking the time to share so many stories!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another Quilt I Heart...

This quilt...."Saltwater Taffy"...this fabric...Fresh Cottons...both by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company...I ♥ the pattern and the fabric. I loved sewing the Fresh Cottons version for Joanna before market (Joanna shares the introduction to this quilt here)--and knew I'd be making the identical quilt for me! There is just something about the combination of shape and movement in this quilt that draws you to it...and in looking at it I can picture it in so many fabrics...the pattern would make a fun Christmas quilt or a beautiful baby quilt, too.

And I love the way the pinwheels appear to be dancing...happy pinwheels (but then...I think all pinwheels are happy)! Not only do I love the pinwheels in this quilt, but I also love the way the border looks wavy even though it is all done with straight piecing--reminds me of ocean waves.  After I finished setting this together last night I left it I could keep looking at you ever do that with quilts you love?  It seemed as if every time I looked at it I saw something else to love about this quilt...and it's not even quilted yet!

On Thursday I got to meet one of my blog's always so fun...and Vickie has been one of my blog friends for quite a while (I know I've been reading her blog for at least a year and a half), so I was really glad for the opportunity to meet up with her at Quiltique!  I'm afraid I might have talked her ear off, though...but seriously, I think we might have talked for about an hour...and then of course after I got home I thought of more things I wanted to talk about.

And this is what I'm going to start sewing with today...City Weekend by oliver + s for Moda (if I can bring myself to untie the ribbon that is)! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lily & Will and a Pattern Review

Some gorgeous fabric arrived yesterday...I won a giveaway from Anne of Bunny Hill Designs, and her new line for Moda, Lily & Will, is absolutely beautiful!  Anne sent along a charm pack which has the blue, pink, and green colorways, and then a fat quarter bundle of the green colorway.  I think my first project will be a table runner for my dining room using the green and beige bundle.  The neutrals in this line are absolutely wonderful too...they will be great backgrounds to have in so many projects.  The colors are so soft and sophisticated...and yet fun and whimsical too!  I really love them...thank you Anne!

I've had this Sew Serendipity skirt pattern for quite a while now...and after seeing some great versions from market on Kay's blog I decided to make my own.

I used three different Meadowsweet fabrics for my for the yoke, one for the skirt body, and another for the hem band; I wish I could have used the same fabric for my yoke as for the hem band, but I didn't have enough fabric.  Really, I would highly recommend this pattern.  It was simple to make and had so many options. I have done a lot of garment sewing before, but I think anyone could sew this pattern...the instructions are that clear. The pattern has all size options included and suggests you don't cut the pattern but rather fold it back to make your size. I'm glad I did this since I fell between two sizes and made the larger one, but I think there is plenty of ease built into the pattern, and I'll make the smaller size next time. I think instead of folding, though, that I'll trace my size onto some pattern paper I have so that I can still use the pattern to make skirts for my daughters in their sizes. I love the top-stitching and edge stitching that really makes the skirt look "finished."  Also, the pattern calls for an invisible zipper, and Kay has a great tutorial listed on her sidebar which really helped (you don't have to buy the invisible zipper foot, either)! Another great thing about this pattern is that there are options available from knee length to ankle length with a variety of other embellishments you can add...double hem bands, ruffles, gathers, bows, and even a fabric flower!  This is a great was the first piece of clothing I've sewn for myself in so long...and it was kind of fun...but I'm back to quilting again already!  Have a wonderful day!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jelly Parfait

                                                               Photo courtesy of Kim Kight

Kim Kight over at True Up has been giving great recaps of the new lines introduced by various fabric companies and designers.  One of her Moda posts showed Joanna Figueroa's booth and had some amazing close-up photographs of the quilts and accessories. The picture above shows "Jelly Parfait" in the Breakfast at Tiffany's version that I was grateful to be able to piece for Joanna. It was really fun to see this picture and especially to see the stunning quilting up close!

Seeing the photo above motivated to finish up my own version (sorry about the wrinkles...I should have ironed my quilt before taking these photos). My quilt uses three Fig Tree lines: Mill House Inn, Fresh Cottons, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. (I think my quilt is about half Mill House Inn, and then about one fourth each of the other two lines). I really love how the Fig Tree fabrics all coordinate so well--Nicole has been posting about this recently tooAfter auditioning several fabrics I decided to use the sashing and border fabric used in the Fresh Cottons version of this quilt.

It was fun today putting each row together...there are just so many fabrics in this quilt that I love...the blues and browns in Breakfast at Tiffany's just might be my favorites right now.  And the large red floral print from Mill House Inn...glad that is in here too!  And this's can use a single jelly roll (and you'll have left over strips at that) to make all of the diamond blocks, or you can use 2 1/2" strips from your stash. I also loved the construction of these blocks and this went together really well, and I'd only worked with diamonds on a small project once before. 

Hope you have a wonderful day...and that you are inspired to sew soon!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sneak Peek and Parade Winners

First up...a little sneak peek.  While making the "2009 Designer Mystery Block of the Month" from FatQuarterShop, I made a second set of blocks using my red, white and blue Minick & Simpson scraps.  I used mostly Prairie Paisley, with some American Primer, and a little bit of Bar Harbor added in (actually, there is even some Nantucket in this quilt too)I challenged myself to use only fabrics in my stash for this quilt, and I was able to do it (although it got a little tough at the end piecing the back from the smaller pieces that were left--luckily I cut my binding strips first). I spent some time on Memorial Day setting the blocks together, and I'm hoping to share this quilt again, quilted and bound, for the 4th of July!

 Now on to the prizes...(the way we do this each month is that Sinta and I randomly select the winners from the other's blog, and Carrie selects a winner from each of our blogs), without further adieu... from FatQuarterShop the $50 gift certificate goes to Cindy of Hyacinth Quilt Designs from my blog.

And from Quilt Taffy, a 10$ gift certificate will go to Thelma from Sinta's parade.

And from Kari of Fresh Cut Quilts...her new book and a 12 Days of Christmas layer cake! The book will go to Sasha from Sinta's parade...

The layer cake from Kari goes to Lindz from my parade!

Quilter's Paradise is donating a $25 gift certificate, and the winner is Regena from Sinta's parade!

Bear Paw Quilts has donated two charm packs of Fruitcake by Basic Grey for Moda...and the winner is Mary of Quilt Hollow from Sinta's parade!

Cottage Quilts has donated a $25 gift certificate which goes to Bea' from my parade!

And from Carrie  we have two from each parade!  Simone of Quilting and Stitchery from Sinta's parade and Edith from Red Door Quilting from my parade will receive a Layer Cake of Garden Party.  Congratulations to everyone...can't wait to see the "State Fair" Schnibbles showing up in my in-box!  Have a great day!

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