Friday, October 09, 2015

ladder leap in Konas

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Well, I did it! I finished a big quilt this week and man, it feels good. This twin size quilt is called Ladder Leap. A big thank you goes out to Cindy for giving it a great name!
I designed this quilt to be sewn up in my good neighbors fabric, but the fabric wasn't available when I was designing and testing it, so I used Kona cottons for the first go round. Once I sewed up the quilt and knew the measurements were accurate, I set the top aside and it hung out on the WIP pile for a good 5 months or so. Sometimes they need to marinate there, I guess!
I knew it would be impossible to pick a single thread color for this quilt, and an all over quilt pattern just wouldn't do, so I quilted the elements differently. I chose a free motion loop-de-loop for the background and straight line quilting-in 8 different thread colors-for the blocks. (I used this technique to bury my thread ends for all the starts and stops.) All of the quilting was done on my Juki. I enjoy being able to quilt my own quilts on my home machine, but let me tell you, I was a sore for a few days!
I am always looking for ways to use up scraps and adding some on the back never gets old. It was a bit of a risk to use all solids on the back, because there is no room to hide less than perfect quilting stitches...and I prefer to have a safety net at all times. :) But in the end, I think it worked well!
I really like the texture that the quilting adds, even to the back.
I auditioned a lot of different binding options-I even got the family involved in helping me choose. In the end, we picked the good neighbors gray stripe. It finishes off the quilt amazingly well! I like how it ties the different grays used on the front and back together.
I cut my binding at 2.25" for this quilt, so it's a little thinner than my normal 2.5" binding, but I love how it works on here! It was an absolute delight to hand stitch down.
The quilt measures 64" x 88". My middle son is trying his hardest to claim it for his very own, but that hasn't been decided yet. It's nice to know that this quilt will be well used and loved!
I slept under it last night and I give it my seal of approval, too. :)

Pattern: Ladder Leap (available in my Craftsy shop)
Finished Size: 64" x 88"
Fabrics: Solids are Kona Cottons in Steel (background), Snow (block borders), Kumquat, Capri, Ash, Limelight, Lime, Corn Yellow, Buttercup, Cyan (blocks) and medium gray (backing).
The binding is silver lining two toned stripe from Good Neighbors.

One BIG announcement that I am excited to share, Connecting Threads now ships to the UK and to Australia!!! So, if you live in either of those countries and you want to get your hands on a bundle of good neighbors fabric, you can, as of this week! They are offering free shipping on orders over $75, too.

If you'd like to win a chance at a free Ladder Leap PDF pattern, leave me a comment in this post. In your comment, I'd love to hear what you plan to do this weekend! I'll pick a few winners in a few days.

Ok, now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

scrap happy pillow (with tutorial link)

My scrap happy pillow is a featured project over on the Olfa blog, complete with tutorial.
There is a little interview, too, as a part of their designer spotlight program.
This pillow cover is a great scrappy project that takes about a weekend or so to complete.... long as you don't get distracted. :)
It would be cute sewn up in a specific color scheme.
Think fall, Halloween or Christmas.
But, full on scrappy works, too!

The pillow cover measures 20" square and is scrap project #111!

Monday, October 05, 2015

ladder leap quilting in progress

My latest quilt finish was 7 weeks and 4 days ago.
That's a long time (for me) and it makes me twitchy.
If all goes according to plan, that will change this week!
I am looking forward to snuggling under this quilt while hand binding.
Amazingly enough, I'm not even dreading the 100 thread ends I will need to bury.
It'll all be worth it!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, October 02, 2015

finish it up Friday, 10/2/15

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I turned the little log cabin hexagon block that I was playing around with a few weeks ago into a coaster/mug rug/mini mat. I can't believe how much better it looks finished! I trimmed down the gray borders a bit, which helped balance the proportions. I love what the quilting adds, too! It matches my favorite coffee mug perfectly!
This tutorial was super helpful for binding those tricky angles. 5 out of 6 of the angles were spot on, so I'm calling that a win! :) I'm giving myself extra bonus points for using up some bias binding that I had leftover from this was just enough! The black and white binding reminds me of an old diner a good way! This is scrap project #109.
I had a few spare half square triangles floating around, so I turned them into this cutie pie little pincushion. I hate to pick favorites, but this one HAS to be right up there. Look at that little chick! Eeep! I love that something so simple can be so cute! This is scrap project #110!

The pincushion party for Good Neighbors has wrapped up this week! Check out the amazing work by Adrienne, Cindy, Amy, Chase, Rene, Erin, Nicole, and Teri. If you want a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Good Neighbors fabric, be sure to enter here!!! (Open to US and Canada only.) In that post you can also see ALL of the pincushions from the entire party in one mosaic. So much fun! I hope you enjoyed the pincushion party as much as I did!

Now it's your turn to link up. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

dot your i's progress

I really, really love this one!
114/??? blocks done.
Not bad progress for only being two months in!
More info about the quilt can be found here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

a few new things

On Friday I had the chance to attend a day retreat with some of my fellow Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild members. It's always a lot of fun to visit and sew with others--such a nice change from sewing solo in my basement! My friend Brianne and I have been planning on making this quilt together (each making our own version) for a few months now. We figured it would be a great way to bust some scraps and by sewing together, we could keep each other accountable along the way. We don't get the chance to sew together in real life very often, so this weekend was a great chance to start it person. Sharing scraps from across the table was definitely an added benefit!
The top two blocks are Brianne's and the bottom two blocks are mine. Looking at this photo, I like her blocks better! I was afraid to throw in any multi-colored fabric, but I see now that it adds a nice amount of interest without detracting from the palette. It's good to know going forward!
I even jumped out of my comfort zone and made a purple block. (What on earth?!?!) I'm thinking of limiting my quilt to green, aqua, purple, gray and black/white for the color scheme. It will be difficult to restrain myself from using ALL the colors, but then again, it might be nice to change things up.
The pattern is Quilter's Palette by the super talented Rita of Red Pepper Quilts.
This was a little project that I've wanted to do for quite some time! I bought felt balls over the weekend, but they were just too big for my acorn, as much as I was resisting, I HAD to make my own. (Sometimes it's the only way!) I used leftover wool yarn and felted them by hand in my laundry room sink. I used this video for reference, and was delighted that I was able to use yarn (it has to be 100% wool) rather than roving. I couldn't believe that it actually worked! I was squealing like a school girl when I made these. Thankfully my family is used to my many crafty endeavors and they take it all in stride. :)  I have plans to make many, many more in various colors. It was so much fun to play! If you've ever thought about giving this a try, I would highly recommend it!

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

sweet tweets giveaway winner

The winner of the sweet tweets giveaway is Naurispelto! Thanks to all of you who entered!

Friday, September 25, 2015

finish it up Friday, 9/25/15

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week I recovered my ironing board. My old one was nasty and I decided that enough was enough. I used this tutorial and the other half of the fabric leftover from making the original one last September. I bought a new cover or two since then and used them, but they never fit quite going back to making my own was a good option!
I feel like this fabric was made exactly for this purpose! The fresh new cover makes my whole craft room FEEL a little bit cleaner....and I'll take any help I can get in that department! :)
The week wouldn't be complete without a few new pincushions, right?! These are quilt-as-you-go log cabins that finish at about 4". I LOVE the tiny pieces and I had so much fun making them! They are scrap project #108.
That is one low-calorie bowl full of happy, wouldn't you say?
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! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

creativity and the importance of play

I came across the video How to Overcome the 3 Fears Every Creative Faces recently and it really resonated with me. He's a funny speaker and I think it's 20 minutes well spent. Christoph talks about the importance of playing around with new ideas and how that can fuel your work down the road. He calls it "creative life insurance." I enjoyed the part of his talk relating to the fear of running out of ideas. It's a real thing! I also appreciated that he mentioned how important the process is, not just the end goal. Lately, I've been guilty of head down, sewing all the things that I "have to" for one reason or another, but I can tell you, that definitely takes the joy of creating after a while. I haven't been able to get to the point of playing every single day, but I've been trying to make time to do so a little more each week. It's a good thing!

Here are few things I've been playing around with....
I can not resist playing with tiny pieces of fabric...and stringing a bunch together is a lot of fun. These are spare parts to put into something, someday. If I didn't have to worry about raw edges, I'd put them together in a layout very similar to this. I love the free-form randomness of it.
Could a log cabin block be built around a hexagon? Yep. And after googling it, I realized that has been done quite a bit. :) I decided to give it a try anyway, and I added in a strip of scrappy patchwork to change things up. I don't know that I will ever pursue this idea on a larger scale, but was a fun experiment.
Of course the flip side of this constant play is creating a WIP list a mile and a half long. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with that, but I do see the value in taking time to explore new ideas.
I also pulled out my scrap vortex quilt and I have been slowly chipping away at that. This one satisfies my need to play (it's fun to see what color combination emerge in each block) AND I'm making progress on a WIP. Putting the existing blocks together makes for nearly instant gratification progress....and that NEVER hurts.

A few close friends of mine talk about this subject, specifically, sewing for fun vs. obligation on a reoccurring basis. I know that it's a real struggle for people who create...whether you create for a hobby or as a job. So, how about you? Do you find that balancing work vs. play is something that you struggle with? Which side of the fence do you find yourself on more often? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

pincushion party update

The pincushion party is still going strong and there is a whole week's worth of cute pincushions to check out. My goodness, it has been so fun to see everyone's creativity! Be sure to check out the amazing work by Cheryl, Penny, Amy, Debbie, Anne, Melissa, Amber, and Nettie.

Also, if you haven't entered the Sweet Tweets book giveaway, you still have time to enter!

Monday, September 21, 2015

sweet tweets

Today I'm happy to be a part of the Sweet Tweets blog hop. Sweet Tweets is written by Erin Cox, who blogs at Why Not Sew? I've been a fan of Erin's work for a long time--she has a knack for putting beautiful fabrics together and making the sweetest things! Her book is full of cute little projects that are fairly quick to construct. I want to make several of them! I was deliberating quite a bit on which project to make first--and I kept changing my mind--so I had my 12 year old son pick one for me. (That's a great way to solve indecision!) He chose the rainy day bird coaster, which was perfect, because I wanted to stretch my skills and try my hand at the crochet trim.
I knew I was going to be out of town and quite busy during the weekend, so I planned ahead. (I was trying something new! ha!) On Thursday, I worked on piecing the coaster...I did a little hand quilting....broke a hand sewing needle during the process!...
...and got the coaster constructed. It was fun to make!
I worked on adding the blanket stitch (to prep for the crochet trim) on my way to quilt guild on Thursday night.
I showed it to my kids on Friday morning and we squealed with delight! (Ok, so the 15 year old didn't squeal, but he liked it, I could tell by his huge grin.) My 12 year old asked if he could keep it, to which I selfishly replied "no". (Isn't that terrible of me?) I took the project with me to Fargo over the weekend so I could work on finishing the crochet trim. It's nice that it's portable! When I was on the road traveling home, I realized that my unfinished coaster was still sitting on my friend's ottoman in her living room back in Fargo. Doh! So much for planning ahead! I was too far away to turn back to get it. I decided that I would just have to make another one.
When I got home, I made this version especially for my son. I skipped the crochet trim and top stitched around the perimeter instead. He is quite pleased with it! (This is scrap project #107!)

I'll have to show you mine (crochet trim and all) when I get it back and finish it. :)

Congratulations, Erin, on your beautiful book! You did a great job on it!

If you would like to win a digital copy of the book Sweet Tweets, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment I'd like to hear your thoughts on applique. Have you tried it? Do you love it? Needle turn? Fusible? Both? Neither? I love to dabble in both needle turn and fusible applique....there are so many possibilities! I will pick a winner in a few days. International entries welcome! :)

Also, be sure to check in on the other stops on the tour. Erin will be having a big giveaway at the end, so be sure to check that out when the time comes!

Tuesday, Sept.8 - Erin (Introduction post) Why Not Sew?

Wednesday, Sept.9 - Heidi Fabric Mutt

Thursday, Sept.10 - Debbie A Quilter's Table

Saturday, Sept.12 - Jacque Brown Dog Prims

Monday, Sept.14 - Amy nanaCompany

Tuesday, Sept.15 - Svetlana s.o.t.a.k handmade

Wednesday, Sept.16 - Renee Sewn With Grace

Thursday, Sept.17 - Martingale Stitch This! The Martingale Blog

Friday, Sept.18 - Heather Vintage Grey Handmade

Saturday, Sept.19 - Clara and Jennie Clover & Violet

Monday, Sept.21 - Amanda Jean Crazy Mom Quilts (You are here!)

Tuesday, Sept.22 - Cindy Live a Colorful Life

Wednesday, Sept.23 - Carla Grace and Favour

Thursday, Sept.24 - Mary Molly Flanders

Saturday, Sept.26 - Erin, Big Giveaway Post!!! Why Not Sew?

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A plus pillow

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I need another pillow cover like I need another pincushion (hahaha!), but it turns out I needed a finish most of all!
This was a single block that I made at camp stitch a lot in Jacquie's slice and insert class back in 2013. I liked it enough to keep it, but I didn't have the energy to turn it into a full quilt. So, yesterday I added a border to make the block a little bit larger and I quilted it up. It makes a dandy pillow!
An envelope backing (in polka dots, of course!) was an easy way to finish it off. The black and white border print came from my friend Cheryl, who recently sent me a generous low volume scrap pack. (thanks Cheryl!) I love that my quilting friends that I met through the internet (and are now real life friends) are represented in this pillow. It's pretty special.
The strip of patchwork finishes at 7/8" and the text print finishes at about 1/2". I LOVE tiny pieces! The dense quilting, which was inspired by Jacquie, was a delight to work on. The small size of the piece made it easy to turn in the machine and it didn't take forever. The resulting texture is pretty wonderful!
Can you see the hidden A+? I thought that was a fun surprise! The pillow finishes at about 19" square. It's scrap project # 106.

Hurray for scraps...and finishes!

Now it's you turn to link up your finishes. Thank you for joining me each week for finish it up Friday!