Monday, March 20, 2017

spring break

My kids are on spring break this week, so I decided that it's a great time to take a little bit of time away from the blog. I'm going to try something new and actually try to relax. Hahaha! I'll let you know how that goes. See you in a week!

Happy Monday to you! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

dot your i's-a completed quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm extremely thrilled... my "dot your i's" quilt is complete! I have a bunch of photos to share, then I'll recap the details of the quilt at the end of the post.

Started: July 20, 2015
Finished: March 12, 2017
Inspired by: Carolyn Friedlander's Aerial Grove Quilts. Squircles technique from her book Savor Each Stitch. (Each one was hand appliqued.)
Background block size: 4" cut, 3 1/2" finished.
Squares used for the squircles: 2 1/2" cut
Quilting: I hand quilted in the ditch with gray perle cotton, then each squircle was hand quilted with white 25 weight thread.
Fabrics used: mostly out of print Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Flea Market Fancy, Katie Jump Rope and Hope Valley. (I used a little bit of my good neighbors fabric in it, too! That was super fun to add in! There are a few other random prints mixed in as well.)
Backing: Tiger Lily by Heather Ross for Windham fabrics
Binding: Citrus by Another Point of View for Windham fabrics
Finished size: 63" x 77".

As soon as I finished the quilt, I spread it out on the floor and my daughter immediately rolled up in it. Her grin pretty much sums up how I feel about this quilt, too!
A big shout out and thank you to my lovely neighbor, Mrs. Gohmann, for helping me out on my quilt photo field trip!

Since this quilt is finished, I'm about to jump into my next long term quilt project. I can hardly wait to get started! Woohoo!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

teach 'em young

Yesterday I had a few friends over for a sew day, so when my kids got home, my sewing machine was set up on the dining room table. My daughter said she wanted to quilt, so I said, "ok, let's get some scraps and sew them together." She said, "No, I want to quilt." So I asked her if I should put the walking foot on the Juki. No, it turns out she wanted to QUILT, as in free motion quilt. I was a little surprised, honestly, but I decided to let try. Why not? We picked out a scrap of batting and she picked out some blue thread. I offered her fabric, too, so we could make a quilt sandwich, but she didn't think that was necessary. Hahaha!
The first two swirls on the top left were done by me, just to get things going. As soon as she sat down, she got to work. It was amazing to watch her jump in and just do it. It was really, really inspiring! I took a quick video (it's like 11 seconds) and posted it on Instagram here. You can see how much fun she had by the grin on her face. I love that!

After she got started, I let her go for it and walked away. (That's the best thing to do, as a control freak, I've learned!) I loved looking at her attempts.
She even attempted the alphabet! She had a lot of fun, but admitted that it was harder than she expected it to be. I can't wait to see her try it again.
My friend brianne came to the sew day bearing gifts. She made me this sweet liberty log cabin pincushion. Isn't that precious? I love it so! Thanks, brianne!
And.... I finished my happy quilt top! A few people asked in the last post if it was appliqued, and the answer to that is YES! 

One more thing! I am giving a trunk show at the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild meeting tomorrow evening, March 16, 2017 at the Textile Center. If you are local (or local-ish!) you are invited to attend.

That's all for me today. I hope you are having a great week!

Monday, March 13, 2017

the happy quilt-a work in progress

This quilt has been called by a few different names in the past few years (waiting, still waiting, waiting for spring) but over the weekend I decided that it needs to be called "the happy quilt". Isn't that a fitting name?
Last week, the plan was to make 30 blocks for a lap size quilt, which would give me a finished quilt that would measure 62" x 74". I made the remaining 8 blocks and I thought I was done. But then....
I was rummaging around in my stash for possible backings and I came across this gem. It is an extra wide backing (it's called picnic gingham from Connecting Threads) that would work perfectly for the back. The thing is, I didn't want to "waste" a 2 yard cut of extra wide backing on a smaller sized lap quilt. I knew that I would use the leftovers.... not problem there... but it still seemed silly. After MUCH deliberation and consulting with a few friends, I decided to make the top a little bit bigger. I added 6 more blocks, so I will end up with a 74" square quilt. (The backing was generously cut, so I could get away with it. Hurray!) I did think about going all the way to a king size and ordering more backing, but the math for the quilt top didn't quite work out. Square quilts aren't my all time favorite, but I think that it was the best option for this one. Technically, I don't think I lost sleep over the decision of how big to make the quilt, but I was pretty darn close. :)
This quilt has sashing and cornerstones, so it is going to take awhile to assemble....
...but at least I got the first row together. I'm sure that this quilt is going to be a favorite! I love how this one is turning out! (Because I know someone will ask, the pattern is here.)
 Also... over the weekend I finished another quilt, so I'm down to 4 WIPs! It was a very happy day! I will say, that it is NOT my goal to get down to zero WIPs. I did that once, right before my daughter was born, so I don't feel the need to do that again. Haha! But, being down to 4 (however short-lived that will be!) feels pretty amazing! I'm very excited to start a mess (quite literally, hahaha!) of new projects, too.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 10, 2017

bright birch trees 3-a completed quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Last evening, just before 10 pm, I put the final stitches on the binding of my third bright birch tree quilt! (You can see the first one here. The second one is here. The pattern is available here.)
This pattern proves that every scrap deserves a chance! The blocks in this version finish a touch larger than 12" square.
I paired strips of scraps with a variety of solids from my stash. There are so many tiny details in this quilt. One could sit and look at it for hours. I love quilts like that!
For the quilting, I did a simple stipple all over with Aurifil thread, color 2615.
Did you notice the heart detail? I love little bits like that! The lattice print makes such a great binding! It's an old Denyse Schmidt print from JoAnn's. The polka dot backing was a gift from my friend Tara. I had just enough, so I figured it was meant to be.
The quilt measures about 48" x 60". This is my 5th quilt finish for the year. AND.... it brings my WIP total down to 5! I'm extremely excited about that!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

WIP Wednesday-only 6 to go!

I don't know about you, but I keep a close eye on my WIPs (works in progress). For awhile I went without a list, but that drove me absolutely crazy, so I went back to my list-making ways. I have been sitting at only 6 WIPs (!!!) the past few weeks. Since there are so few, I thought it would be fun to round them up and show them all today.
1. This quilt, called "dot your i's" is soooooo close to being finished....I have less than 2 rows of squircles to go! Hand quilting this has been a lovely way to recuperate from all of the busyness, deadlines and traveling that I've done in the past few weeks. (The details of the quilt can be found here.) I added the binding to the quilt after I quilted the background, but before I quilted the squircles, in order to prevent the edges from fraying as I worked on it. The beautiful thing is that once I'm done quilting that last squircle, I'm DONE! It will be a happy day!
2. My kaleidoscope quilt has been a WIP off and on (mostly off) for the past few years. I'm excited to get back to it, though. I LOVE the scrappiness and the bright colors. Many thanks to my friends in my Sew Sisters quilting bee for making me such beautiful blocks! (The free templates are available here and here.) I have a long way to go on this one.
3. I'm calling this one "need more coffee" and it will be a lap size quilt... someday. I think I only have 34 blocks to go! I'm glad that I kept the colors mainly red and white, although a full on scrappy version of this would be lots of fun, too! (The pattern is the same as my mini coffee cups, I'm just making 100+ blocks!)
4. This log cabin quilt is only 25% done. I'm itching to get back at it! I've considered challenging myself to make one block a day, to motivate me to jump back in. Maybe I'll start that next week. Ha! I want this to be a KING size quilt for my bed. It would be nice to get it finished in time for summer, although that doesn't seem too likely. (The measurements for this block can be found here.)
5. These are my waiting blocks. I only have 8 more to go to make a lap size quilt. (Pattern is here.)  I'm pretty sure that this is my oldest WIP. I still love them quite a lot, which is a good thing after 2+ years!
6. And this one....I'm in the process of quilting my BBT 3! I hope to finish it SOON! (The pattern is available here.)

My plan is to finish up one or two of the projects shown above, then I believe that I will let loose and start ALL THE THINGS. I can't wait! :)

Monday, March 06, 2017

miscellaneous Monday

Last Thursday & Friday I had the chance to visit Stitch Supply Co. in Altoona, Wisconsin. The store has been open for just over a year and this was my first visit. (For shame!) While I was there, I had the chance to take part in a retreat with a few good friends. The retreat space is AMAZING!!! (I failed to take photos, but you can see some here.) The store is quite lovely, too! Lots of amazing fabric, which made it overwhelming....but in a good way!
The first thing that you see when you walk in the front door is this amazing paper pieced elephant quilt that Ann made. Isn't it beautiful? (Pattern is by Violet Craft.)
There is a lot of gorgeous yarn at the shop, too. Everything is as cute as can be! The staff was wonderful and helpful! If you ever get a chance to stop by the shop, DO IT! :)
I took a bunch of tiny scraps to play with while I was there. They were literally flying. Hahaha! I did some tiny piecing.... I can't wait to get back to these scraps and do some more!
This mini is a brighter version of my remainders quilt (pattern is in No Scrap Left Behind). The mini measures about 10" x 12 1/2" and it took me all afternoon and evening to make it. It was totally worth it, though! I am planning on making a bright & white lap size version of this quilt sometime soon. Can't get enough of those tiny triangles!
I also made a 9 patch mini quilt, which took slightly less time. The squares in the 9 patch blocks finish at 1". That feels big to me....which is actually quite disturbing. Ha! The mini is about 15" square.
I immediately used the binding triangles from the mini above to make a little star pincushion. (Pattern for the pincushion can be found here.) The background fabric is a lovely chambray by Andover, which I also used in the mini. It's such a great fabric, so I bought a yard of it. It will be fun to incorporate into all kind of projects! I already gifted the pincushion. I LOVE giving them away!
On Saturday, I did my first trunk show and class from my new book at Gruber's Quilt Shop. Many thanks to the wonderful women who attended! It was a great day! It was awesome to finally show all the quilts that I worked on in secret in my basement for 6 months! It was also inspiring to see how the students dove into their scrap piles. Lots of fun, lots of progress!
I've been doing some stash enhancing lately.... these goodies below were purchased at quilt con, actually, from Cassie of Sew Stitching Happy. She makes the cutest bundles!
I finally broke down and bought an Uppercase fabric bundle while I was at Stitch Supply....such great colors. Such good blenders! My daughter squealed when she saw it. She wanted to claim it for her very own. I think we will be sharing it. Maybe.
I also purchased a quilt kit.... my first one ever! The fabric is Tag, by Cheryl Arkison for Connecting Threads. The pattern is Arithmetic by Jeni Baker. I'm super excited about this quilt!
One last thing for the day....
While I was at quilt con, I was on a panel about stash management, which was a lot of fun! When they showed this photo (above), there were several audible groans from the audience. Well, just to set the record straight, here's the rest of the story....
 ...this is the other side of the room. It needs a good cleaning!
And here's the reality of my cutting table today. See, I'm a normal quilter, after all!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 03, 2017

three zip pouches

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week has been an extremely busy one. Since I had so little time to sew, I'm going to share the zipper pouches that I made for my kids around Christmas time. I never got around to blogging them, so I'd like to think that today is a good time for that. :)
This first pouch is for my middle child, who loves penguins. I used scraps from a friend to make the pouch. After I gave it to my son, he told me that I had already made him one very much like it. I had to love his honesty. Hahaha! Total winning mom moment. Well, now he has two. :)
My daughter LOVES ta-dot fabric by Michael Miller. She can pick one out of a fabric line up faster than anyone else I know. It's equal parts hilarious and frightening. I definitely have a future fabric junkie on my hands! My daughter's favorite color combo is gray and aqua, so this is THE ultimate fabric in her eyes. I only had a scrap of this fabric... not even have enough to make one side panel, so I added some gray solid to the bottom to make it long enough. (I used this pattern, just modified the size of the two colored sections.) I love the proportions of it! I also love eeeking out as much as I can out of my scraps!
For the backside, I used more of the solid gray, but I quilted it in an uneven grid, with two colors of thread. It turned out better than I could have hoped! It has great texture.
On the inside, I had to add a splash of color. She LOVES the pouch so much. She filled it with markers and totes it around everywhere. (YAY!!!)
The last pouch was made for my oldest... my sheep-loving son. I used more scraps for this one (leftovers from the Maker's Tote that Anna so kindly sewed for me!) and surrounded the sheep with some Essex linen. This pouch gave me a reason to finally use the funky colored gold zipper that was in my stash for years. Last I saw, my son was using it to carry Nerf darts around the house.

I LOVE making things for my kids.... I love seeing them used. It never gets old.

If you want more zipper pouch inspiration (and helpful tutorials), my friend Kristin is doing a 52 week zipper challenge this year. It's been fun to follow along. You may want to check it out!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

show and tell bags-a new pattern

Before I start my post today, I wanted to let you know that free shipping on signed copies of my book ends tomorrow. On March 2, shipping and handling will be $4.00. Just a heads up!

Over the past few weeks, I've been prototyping and designing a new bag pattern! I wasn't expecting to share it quite this soon, but everything fell into place so quickly at the end, so here it is. Hurray for something going faster than expected! That hardly EVER happens, so it's noteworthy, for sure!
These bags were designed especially for taking quilts to show and tell at a guild meeting or large projects to a quilt retreat. A few years ago, I made a huge bag as a part of a challenge at my local quilt shop. I've used that bag an awful lot over the years. I have re-designed the bag construction and I also made it in three sizes... because one size is simply not enough!
The medium size uses 4" squares and it finishes at 17 1/2" wide x 17" tall x 4 1/2" deep. It is great for carrying baby or lap size quilts.
The large size uses 4 1/2" squares and it finishes at 20" wide x 19 1/2" tall x 5 1/2" deep. This one is great for large lap or twin size quilts.
The jumbo size uses 5" squares and it finishes at 22 1/2" wide x 22" tall x 6" deep. Admittedly, the jumbo size is a little bit ridiculous. It is HUGE.... it fits at least two king size quilts. (Because it's totally plausible that someone would have not only one, but two KING size quilts for show and tell, right?!?!?!) I love that it's so ridiculous. It will also be very useful!
Just to put the size in perspective, my almost 11 year old can totally sit inside this bag. :)
I love that the bag looks so different in each of the fabric choices. So many possibilities!

The pattern is charm square or layer cake friendly. Each bag exterior uses 20 10" squares or less, so if you have a layer cake with 42 squares, you could make patchwork for two bags from it!

The PDF pattern is available for purchase here, for immediate download, if you are interested.

This listing is for a PDF (electronic) file. The PDF pattern will be sent to the e-mail address in your pay pal account upon payment. The e-mail will include a link to download the file directly to your computer. This link will allow you to access the file a limited number of times, so please do not access the pattern repeatedly (on your phone, for example) without downloading and saving it on your own computer first. If you do not receive the file, please check your junk mail folder. After that, if you have problems, please let me know! :)

Happy Tuesday, my friends!