Monday, February 27, 2012

CMQG and {Modern} Robin

{modern} robins swapped! Now we'll each add another border to our own!
Yesterday was the February meeting of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. We worked on a project making mini quilts to donate to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. But truthfully? I didn't sew much at all... it was too much catching up with everyone. :) Thankfully I have gotten a good start on my AAQI quilt already.

Highlights of the CMQG meeting for me? Meeting Sally (finally!). We've been following each other's blogs and chatting back and forth for .... forever! This was her first meeting and it was great to finally meet her in real life! I hope she'll come back to more meetings too!

Another highlight of the meeting was .... Seeing a copy of Jacquie's new book!!!!!!! It was so sweet to see how excited and proud of it she is. And it's always inspiring to see the work of an artist who I really respect, but also is so much in the style that I'd love to achieve so seamlessly. I always fret over being too simplistic in my quilts but don't seem to find the balance always. Jacquie's quilts have that balance. I'll be buying that book when it's available!

And.... Emily and I swapped our {Modern} Robin quilts again! I'm so excited about the borders she added to mine! These are coming along really nicely! I am loving them so far! I have no idea what I'm going to add to it next though! ... maybe some Kona Curry? lol... Always curry.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear no-reply-blogger,

I'd like to thank a no-reply-blogger, iguanabanana, for making my day today. :) 

Thanks for the self esteem boost left on a blog post from a year and a half ago. 

You totally made my day! 

Don't you love when things like that happen?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DQS12 - in progress!

I've been making some progress on my Doll Quilt Swap quilt. I've got some lofty goals for this one, and I hope my partner likes it! Here are my initial sketches:

Starting with a small NY beauty block in the center, I'll then start adding borders. Finally ending with a larger circle of flying geese. I think I'd like this quilt to end round, but we'll see what the quilt tells me while I'm working on it!

So far the center is a 7" NY Beauty. It could have been a bit smaller if you ask me, but I didn't want to fiddle with trying to reduce the pattern any more than by 75% If you're wondering, I printed the pattern from this site. I used the first block on the page, and printed 4 pages per sheet (thus reducing it to 1/4th of the original size). I used freezer paper ironed to the wrong side of the small middle sections to control them while sewing the arcs together. I didn't do it perfectly ... there are a couple tiny puckers... but I think it'll come out in the quilting. 

Here are the hexies I made in preparation for the later rounds of the quilt... there are quite a few of them. I hope my partner likes bright fun colors with a splash of grey!

I am excited to work on this more tonight!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I think it's safe to say that I've revisited them. If you've been following my ramblings for years then you may remember this. The post where I swore off hexies (at least ones made by me). Well, my mind has been changed. I went on vacation and needed a fun little project to add a bit of color to my days (and the 14 hour drive there and back). I expected to make a half dozen or so... but that ended up being 30! I used every bit of fabric that I'd brought with me. 

And then today I decided to make some more... this time to be added to my {modern} Robin piece. I whipped together another 13 while watching Beauty and the Beast this afternoon. 

If you're wondering where I got my papers? I'm too cheap to buy the packaged ones... so I printed mine out here. I printed mine at 1" and black ink. That one inch is the measurement of each side. I just printed the sheet and cut them out. Using just plain computer paper they've held up pretty well - I've used each paper about half a dozen times. 

Hmm... who knew that I'd eventually come around to liking hexies!

Linked up for Fabric Tuesday at QuiltStory.

To do:

  • Start Alzheimer's quilt for CMQG meeting (sunday)
  • Pillow Talk Swap - due March 12th
  • DQS12 - due April 9th
  • Harry Potter Swap - still deciding when/what
  • {Modern} Robin - swapping again Sunday? 
  • Finish hand sewing Swoon binding (how long have I been working on this?)
  • Raise another $300 to meet my goal of raising $1000 for childhood cancer research. 
  • Play with the tiny scrappy fun quilt... 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quilts in the Smokies.

You may have noticed that I haven't been here all week. Yep, we went on a big grand family vacation. 14 of us (including four children) in one big cabin near Gatlinburg Tennessee. It was really a great time! 

The picture above shows the deck of our cabin (yes there was a hot tub out there!) ... with a nice view of three of the four made-by-me quilts that were brought on vacation by family members! Rosemarie's quilt was being used for a movie-time cuddle so it's not pictured. :) Such an awesome feeling to know that everyone loves their quilts so much. 

Here are some highlights of the trip in photo display... Cute cousins sharing a menu.

Crazy tons of family squishing together for a photo.

Girls sharing the experience of a visit to the aquarium.

The little ones helping Mimi (grandma) with breakfast.

And posing for a picture near a pretty stream. 

It's been a relaxing week -- but I can't lie... I'm pretty happy to have Internet again! :) Not that it wasn't fun trying to steal wi-fi from our neighbors in the rain, in my sister's car, at midnight.... lol. 

More cool things to follow!

Friday, February 10, 2012

I must be growing...

I remember a time where all my sewing projects looked the same - not the same - but the same because my fabric choices were so predictable. I have never been a "use only this line of fabric" kind of quilter, but I've come a long way since the early days of playing it safe.

Last night I was working on adding a border to Emily's {Modern} Robin block. She had generously sent a wide variety of fabrics (mostly solids) that were impeccably matched and chosen with the skill of an art student graduate (which she is). Now I have never taken color theory or anything of the sort... I go with my heart and that's where I am in color design.

So as I was saying, I was adding a border to her block and I'm proud to say that I didn't take the predictable route of adding a grey border around my added pieced border... instead I used this pinkish - Kona Mellon that she'd sent with the block. My point is, I spent half the time worrying if it was going to look ok, and if it would be "Emily" enough (her Emily, not me Emily lol). With the morning came clarity that I do indeed like the melon borders. (I'll still wait Emily's reply though - it may not be her liking).

Now looking at my design board, I'm seeing how I've grown. No more singular color palate for every project! On that wall alone I have:
Emily's {modern} Robin (light blue, salmon, purples, and oranges),
My Pillow Talk Swap piece (scrappy blue, white, light green, and grey),
My swoon quilt for Linda (pinks and purples with a shot of orange backed in white),
My tiny scrappy project (bright bold red, blue, green, yellow, orange - everything bold minus pink and purple),
And a random Harry Potter block (yellow and dark grey).

On second thought, maybe I just have a lot of WIP's laying around! lol.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Which are you?

PPTS - a start

When sign ups go live for the Doll Quilt Swap on flickr (and other swaps) the discussion always comes up about what level of a quilter you are. It's so hard to determine and I'm sure so many people have different ideas about what makes you a beginner, intermediate, or expert. My flickr friend Shayla came up with this explanation. It gives me a lot to think about. I like to think of myself as being somewhere between intermediate and advanced, but according to this breakdown I'm closer to the advanced to expert category. I wonder how my quilts would be judged at juried show. I have been thinking about this a bit more since I'm somewhat interested in submitting my work to a local show or two this summer. We'll see, but without further rambling, here is Shayla's breakdown of quilting levels. 


A beginner is someone who ranges between the just learning to sew squares together all the way to accurate points meeting, not chopping off corners, and can handle things like log cabins, churn dash, square-in-square, maybe even some basic applique. They probably would only do basic quilting if any. They need instructions and patterns for most projects. The top level of beginner can complete a quilt with pieced/appliqued blocks which they will probably send to a quilter but may do something like stitch-in-the-ditch or echo quilting. I expect to see mistakes in a beginners work, but by the time they get to the top, those mistakes should be minimal and only occasional.

An intermediate level would be someone who can handle at least basic paper piecing, more detailed applique, curves, probably some y-seams, and can make a completed quilt for sure with better quilting details--probably at least in the process of learning free motion. Their work should be consistently accurate and clean (no sewn puckers, straight seams, accurate cutting) not sloppy. They could enter their work at the county level and win ribbons. There is a HUGE range to intermediate which really depends on how the individual pushes themselves. They also will often design or adjust patterns to fit what they want. This is usually the level where quilters begin to break away from solid borders into multiples and pieced borders. Top of this level usually starts publishing patterns that become very popular because the instructions are precise and understandable and the designs have lots of appeal.

My idea of an advanced quilter would be someone who has basically mastered a majority of the quilting techniques (various applique methods, piecing, paper piecing, free motion and regular quilting, etc.) and consistently turns out superior work (not perfect, superior). They may or may not have also mastered things like thread painting, fabric painting and other artsy type techniques depending on their particular style and interest. They almost always design their own patterns. I would expect to see their work in state level, possibly national, competitions, even if they don't choose to actually enter such things. Now days, most can do some pretty good free motion although this wouldn't (in my mind) be a requirement because some quilters prefer to send quilts to someone who has really put the time into learning the fancy quilting or can handle the larger quilt sizes and so may or may not have mastered this. This is especially true when it comes to competition quilts. I would think in the mid to top range of advanced the quilter would be able to handle a scalloped or shaped edge without blinking an eye. This is the level that one should be to write a really good quilt book (not saying an intermediate wouldn't, but these are the better ones generally). 

Experts or Masters are people who have mastered all the things like piecing, paper piecing and applique. By this point all their work is self designed and near perfect. By this point they've usually found a particular format and style that suits them and have really started exploring what they can do with this area. They often add lots of details to their work, complicated piecing, hand or machine stitching and thread painting, etc. They have the "rules" down pat and can now break them with superb results. I would see their work at international level competitions. These are the ones who make quilts that just blow your mind (think Tokyo International Great Quilt Show stuff). Even at this level, many choose to team up with an expert quilter who will custom quilt their very complicated designs--I do know of some who quilt their own quilts though.


What do you think? I love the breakdown of all the categories. I feel like there is so much room for all of us to grow - to constantly be learning new things. A while ago there was a whole trend of talking about the "dumbing down of quilting" but I think we're doing the opposite here, making everything accessible and encouraging each other in learning new things. Let's keep growing!

For the love of Harry Potter!

I think I may have mentioned it a time or two that I'm pretty obsessed with Harry Potter. Having first read the series in high school, and re-reading it more than half a dozen times since, I'd say I'm a pretty big fan.

I'm a seeker of the Deathly Hallows...

I found this picture on flickr recently, made by Amanda Hall. And added it to my inspiration mosaic for the Pillow Talk Swap -- which spurred a conversation with a fellow Pillow Talk Swapper about doing a Harry Potter themed one on one swap together. Although Ale and I haven't set out any dates etc for this swap, we've talked a bit more about it, and I'm excited to say it looks like it will happen! I'm excited to get my HP sewing on!

I've already been playing with some of Jennifer's paper pieced fandom patterns. The symbol of the deathly hallows was first! I love that.

I'll keep you all posted on my fan-crazy sewing! :) I've got so many ideas floating around my head, now to find some time to sew them up!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Teeny Little Ipod Cozy: A Tutorial

Today I wanted to make a little protective case for my ipod nano. I have been carrying it around in my purse pocket for a while and maybe that's why it's acting up a little. So I went looking for a zip pouch with a front zip, I found these by SewWhitney on flickr, but I just didn't find any tutorials that looked like what I wanted to do. This method uses french seams to enclose the raw edges on the inside. Nothing new, but it's quick, easy, and pretty too.

So lets get started; here's what you'll need:

  • two pieces of fabric 5.5" x 3.5" (one lining fabric and one outer fabric)
  • One scrap of batting the same size, 5.5" x 3.5"
  • Four pieces of fabric 5.5" x 3.5" (two lining fabric, two outer fabric)
  • Two pieces of batting 5.5" 3.5"
  • One scrap of fabric 2" x 2" 
  • One zipper longer than 6"
First prep your tab piece (2" x 2") by folding it in half, then opening it up and folding the raw edges to the center. Fold in half again and stitch 1/8" away from either long edge. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Set aside.

fabrics sandwiched and sewn
Next sandwich one side of your zipper fabrics in this order:
lining fabric right side up, 
zipper right side up,
outer fabric right side down, 
then batting. 

Sew 1/4" from the edge with them all lined up (you can pin if you'd like, but I don't).

after top-stitching and tacking the zipper (notice the zipper pull is  INSIDE the zipper tacks)
Press the lining away from the zipper, then flip it over and press the outer fabric away. Top-stitch 1/4" away from the edge of the fabric. Repeat for the other side. 

Now, with the zipper pull in the middle of your piece, use your machine to sew over the zipper about 1/8" from the edge. I forward, then back-stitch a few times over each end. Trim off the zipper ends at the edge of the fabric (note, don't use your fabric scissors to do this, use some duller ones because that zipper will dull them!)

Lay the folded pull tab on top of one of the zipper ends and baste it with the raw edges facing the raw edges of the zipper end.

Now layer your fabrics as follows:
Lining fabric right side down,
outer fabric right side up, 
top section right side down.

Stack them right on top of each other (Be sure that your zipper is at least halfway open) and sew around all four sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim the corners being sure not to clip through your stitch line, and trim the seam allowance down to about 1/8". 

Liberty of london... ipod case!
All trimmed!
Turn the whole thing inside out and poke those corners using whatever you have handy, a chopstick, pencil, awl, etc. Then press it all flat. Topstitch around the whole thing about 1/4" from the edge and you're done!

Liberty of london... ipod case!
That was easy!
Simple and easy! Now enjoy your little ipod case thingy. Of course if you're all hip and cool you'll have a larger/cooler/awesomer Ipod - in which case, just increase these dimensions to fit your device. :) Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

DQS 12 Starting Soon!!

DQS12 Inspiration mosaic
DQS12 inspiration mosaic
The time has come, the Doll Quilt Swap is about to start! This will be my fourth round (wow!) and I can't wait! I really think that this is the best swap on flickr! For the first time this round I'll be a Swap Mama (oh the power!) lol. :) I'm really excited and it's looking like we've got an awesome group of ladies swapping!

Sign-ups are over, and partner emails will be going out this weekend -- which means I get to stalk my partner (another Mama is pairing me up so I won't know who has me). I have so many exciting ideas already! The cool thing about being a mama, is that I've already stalked through everyone's flickr pages so I've seen all the talent out there! Pretty awesome!!

Emily and Emily {Modern} Robin hair looks awesome. I can't wait to shave it again!
Also, Emily and I met up today to swap our {Modern} Robin blocks! This is our first round and I've been thinking about what sort of border I should add to her mini swoon block! :) Her brother took a picture of us together with our starting blocks - so that'll be added here whenever she posts it!

Hm here are some things I want to do tonight... to get my sewing fix before company comes over!
  • Sew an ipod case and earphones case... just because I can.
  • Refashion some pj's of mine into pants for allie.
  • Plan my border for the Modern Robin.