Thursday, August 30, 2012


On my sewing table tonight.

Check out all these buttons! I'll be covering them soon! This pattern requires three sizes. I had to search to find the smallest and the largest sizes! I did find them from Cute Stuffs on etsy. They made a custom listing for me and shipped quickly. I'm pretty happy with their service and prices.

Buttons are fun!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just playing

I'm a bit in between projects right now (who am I kidding I have about half a dozen up in the air!)...
I'm at a breaking point on a couple of my projects - waiting for supplies on a couple of them, waiting for further instruction on another. 

I didn't want to start anything new, but came across these random tiny blocks from a year ago. I decided to play with them a little bit. Give them some fresh air and bring them out of the dark closet for a little bit. 

I added a couple borders and pieced a couple of the blocks into sections. I was really diving into it, and I kept thinking, "What should I do with this quilt? Who can I give it to that would actually appreciate it for it's craziness?" It hit me, my sister. :) So this one is going to you Roseann! I hope she likes it. I have no solid layout in my head. None.

So far I'm thinking scrappy but with a limited color combo (limited pink and purple), and I may attempt to come up with a cool quote or something to write in free-pieced letter blocks. 

Don't you just love it when a random sewing night really ignites a lot of fun ideas? I'm excited to keep working on this!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bella Solids FMQ Sampler

The quilt that has been finished for weeks - but I couldn't get wally to hold up for me! :) This is the quilt made with the samples from each of my days of the Bella Solids Parade. I joined them together using a quilt as you go method. I'll probably break it down with pictures here. I did take pictures along the way - but they're a little dark. 

I used strips of all my Sketch fabrics for the binding between the panels (on the back). I also used Pellon Wonder Under tape. It made those strips more manageable! 

I have no idea how this will wash up/shrink up though since the density of the quilting is so different in each block! We'll see! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bohemian Friendship - My Precious QAL Finished!

It's finished!! 

I'm so in love with this quilt! It's been hanging on my design board for months... waiting for me to be sure about what size I wanted it. I had decided on this size (about 37" x 37") but was frustrated since it's not quite  small enough to hang on the wall (I have no room for it!), and it's not quite big enough to use.

Last night I bit the bullet and left it this size. This is the size my drawings worked out to be - the size the quilt wanted to be. Emily came over last night to sew and talk about QuiltCon. We decided that it's a "Knee Quilt" it will lay over your knees as you're sitting in a chair. Perfect for admiring, not so perfect for warming. :)

I love it either way! It is backed in some lovely super-soft light weight fabric that I received in a swap from Shruti (DQS10? or 11? I can't remember now). And it's bound with some beloved Dobby Dots Pastry Line. Yum it's so soft and lightweight! 

Oh and I quilted it without my walking foot (which I had previously broken by going full Juki speed - apparently that's a no-no for walking feet!). I didn't have very much shifting at all. 

If you're wondering about the quilt's name? The prints in this quilt are all from Anna Maria Horner's first line of fabric "Bohemian" There's at least a partial star of each and every fabric from that line. How'd I manage that? By the generosity of sweet friends on flickr who shared the love! :) Thus "Bohemian Friendship." You can read more about the story here and here. Oh or you could read about the same generousity that Anna Maria herself witnessed - from one of the same sweet flickr friends! Thanks ladies for making this quilt possible!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking forward...

This past week I was busy finishing up some projects that are not ready to be shared just yet. It feels good to have these done since they've been in process for most of the summer!

My little sewing room Mickeys holding a teensy quilt block. Yes. That is a 1/4 border.
Now I'm in the mood to look forward. I have my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild fall retreat coming up in about two weeks. I've already started my lists of "Stuff to complete before the retreat" / "Stuff to work on at the retreat" / "Stuff I need to buy to have on hand at the retreat." Those are the most exciting sorts of lists! I'm sure I'll post a bit more about what I'm planning on accomplishing at the retreat as we get closer. Also, we should have internet while we're there! We had no internet access the whole weekend last spring because the Sisters were updating their wireless network! Oh yes, did I fail to mention - we retreat at a lovely convent where the older sisters like to stop in and visit - they like to see the fun things we're making! 

(In case you wondered, I LOVE nuns. I do. Especially these ones. My very favorite sister/sister lives there!)

Some pretty fall colors? I love Kona Curry & Grass Green!
In other news, CMQG is sponsoring QuiltCon and I just got my discount code for registration!!! Eeek! Talk about exciting! I can't wait!!

Is there anything you guys are looking forward to? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

CMQG - Modern Art Challenge (part 2)

As promised here is the picture of the fabulous quilt I received in the guild challenge!

Sara had chosen my bag - which included a picture of Bernini's Baldacchino, which is within St Peter's Basilica in Rome (well Vatican City, if you want to be precise). My instructions were that I don't like brown or gold, and that she shouldn't take it too literal - I love the texture and the movement of the piece, as well as the way the light shines in... and the Holy Spirit window behind it (the dove).

Click here to see the picture I sent her - it's the first image. 

I love that Sara pulled grey fabrics for the main part of the piece, and added in the bright sunshiny yellow up there- and the piecing in the yellow has so much great movement just like sun shining through a stained glass window! Her quilting is flawless too! I'm so happy with this quilt - even though I know she fretted about it for a while. I really didn't mean to provide such a challenge! 
(Photo taken by Rachael from the CMQG flickr page)
I can't begin to express how excited I am with this quilt!! Sara did such a great job at interpreting it into a quilt!!! I really feel like the quilt gives me that "home" feeling that St. Peter's gives me! Thank you so much Sara!!! 

For a little bit of background, I have visited Roma three times. One of those times was for a college study abroad, where I lived around the block from St. Pete's. I was studying Catholic theology so it's not surprising that this basilica holds my heart in a special way. I long to return to Rome. One day we'll retire to a little apartment in Rome. :) I can dream! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicago Modern Quilt Guild: Modern Art Challenge

Today was the day that we swapped our challenge quilts! Our Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting today was so fabulous! It was a love fest of amazing quilts and fun speakers! I'll tell you a bit more about the meeting in general (and the AMAZING quilt that I received later this week, but for now I want to show off the pretty little thing that I made for my partner!

Emily and I organized this swap (who's idea was it ladies? I don't even know)... and I blogged about it here and here (the details about the swap are in those posts. In short we each chose a work of art and a piece of fabric to inspire our partner. We brought them to the meeting in a bag and then chose a bag out of those that the other people brought. :) Random selection! 

Natalie & I and the finished quilt!
I chose Natalie's and I'm glad I did! First off she is a really awesome lady and it was a real joy to make this for her! She sent along a picture of a piece of art she has hanging in her home. I came up with this. Pixelated, ruffled, and wavy quilted! I was insanely inspired by the bag she brought her art in (pictured below), as well as Shruti's recent quilting piece here

Finished quilt, fabric sent (used as backing and for color inspiration), art sent, and bag.
For this quilt I tried some new things. It was a first for me to add a ruffled border (what's the technical term for that?). It proved to be a little challenging since my center portion was stabilized with interfacing.... But it turned out great! Also, it was the first time I've ever buried my thread tails. Yes, I know... I should be doing this all the time. I'm getting to the point where I have no excuse for it other than laziness. I used Ebony's method (video here) for burying them (there were a TON of tails to tuck under!

A simple label. 
I also added my little tiny prairie points to the side edge. I really enjoy those. My thoughts for this piece is that it's like the layers and layers of a lush garden. I highlighted some of the details. 

I'm really glad to have taken part of this swap. I feel like doing swaps like this with our guild helps us to form tighter bonds with each other. We grow as a community. I feel so much more connected to Natalie now, after working on this quilt for her, and I hope that that happens with all our participants (there were about 25 of us!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Playing with the lights...

I'm hoping this makes a huge difference in the amount of real sewing I can get done. For the past month I've been doing a step here, a step there, of projects that I need to photograph each step. I sew at night and my pictures are TERRIBLE at night. So after a chat with Sara the other day about her set-up, I stopped by Home Depot and picked up a couple new (cheap) lights. 

It just so happened that my walls and wardrobe are white. This saved me from really having to do much else. I used a random sheer curtain panel from Ikea to diffuse the direct light. The light bulbs are "daylight" bulbs like Sara used. I think the next step is to paint the other side of my blue board white. A pillowcase worked in a pinch, but it was hard to get it pressed exactly flat. 

Here's to being able to actually get whole projects done late at night! Wish me luck while I start crossing projects off my list! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Check it out!

I'm focused on the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Blog as a part of our "Meet the Members." 

I'd like to challenge my fellow Guild members to go to our BigTent forum to get the questions and fill them out - I'd personally love to have the chance to chat with each and every person - unfortunately our meetings aren't long enough for that! So, instead I'd love to read about how and why you sew! Go do it guys! :) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Late Night Sewing...

I've been doing a lot of sewing, but not in big chunks of time. 

I am itching to finish some projects that have been lingering - 1 quilt is basted but not quilted. Another quilt top is finished, but the backing has to be pieced (and I keep forgetting to buy white thread for it!). I have a couple smaller projects in various stages too. At least one of these will be finished this week (deadline!)

I'm really looking forward to having some daylight sewing time soon. School will be starting in another month and then I'll have at least one of those mornings to sew / take daylight pictures!

The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild fall retreat is coming up soon too! I can't believe it's so close. The round of blocks that I added to the quilt pictured above was the first that I'd added since the spring retreat! It's been slow going since that project has no deadline! I'm loving it but it's so very complex. Each step makes my brain hurt a little. It's fun to be so challenged sometimes though!!

There are some really great things on the horizon. I'm pretty excited to share them with you all. 

Until then, I'll be sewing late at night. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

{Sew} Beautiful Bee - Paper Pieced 3 Layered Star & Tutorial

Last night (last week) I broke down and finally started on my July Bee block. I've had it in my mind for a while, but was deciding whether I should draft the one I wanted to make, or take the easy way out (easy?) and use a pattern that I could just print out.

I decided it was worth the effort, so I broke out the freezer paper and drafted paper patterns for this star. In a stroke of genious I realized that I could simply print copies of the pattern using my printer/scanner. I guess I could have used the other method (I can't find a proper tutorial for it, and have no idea where I learned it). For the other method, print one copy of the pattern and then staple a few sheets of paper together with the pattern on top. Then simply sew over the pattern lines with your machine using a long stitch and no thread (no thread!!) this will make several identical copies of your pattern. So easy!

Alright, I managed to get the pieced sections done (all 16 of them). It really was a struggle to get all the sections pieced out of the fabric Kati sent - since I didn't plan that part ahead! I did manage to finish one quadrant of it, and will finish sewing those sections together today! It's finished!

I'm calling this star a 3 layered star, since I think of it as being three different sized stars that are stacked. (and because I'm too busy to think of a cooler name for it.

Stats: 12" finished
Made for: Kati / From the blue chair
Pattern: drawn by me, maybe I'll share it later this week. Here it is!

Free paper piecing pattern here

Download image from googledocs.
Open using Microsoft Office, and print as "Full page fax" (no margins etc)
Double check that the square at the top of the print out is 1".

  • Cut along the outer lines, and across the three diagonal lines (at the arrows) 
  • Sew pieces in order 1-4 leaving 1/4" seam allowance around the outside of the paper pattern.
  • Use the same fabric for each number (in my example 1 is bright yellow, 2 is dark grey, 3 is light yellow, 4 is light grey)
  • Trim sections leaving 1/4" around all sides
  • Sew sections together in order. 
  • Four of these blocks will make one 12" finished block (12.5" before sewing full stars together)

Enjoy! If you use this pattern I'd love to see it! Feel free to drop me a line, and add it to the Mommy's Nap Time flickr group!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm not there yet...

What I'm working on today...
Learning to bury my thread tails!

I'm doing a bit of quilting tonight.

Not a lot, nothing crazy, just a little doll quilt.

I'm adding the quilting to my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Modern Art Challenge quilt, and I'm contemplating.

I'm contemplating whether I should finish the "sister quilt" that matches this one. If it's worth spending the time making another (everything past the first step) so that I can enter it into a show.

Getting a quilt into a show is one of my goals. I'd like to get some proper, serious exposure to the general quilt world because ultimately I'd love to teach at one of these shows. This is a pretty lofty goal, and it's still something that's only on the edge of my thoughts. I think that's where I want to go as an artist  (look at that, I dropped the "A" word). I don't know what I'd teach should I get to that point - that'll work itself out - but I'd like to teach something to people who know what they're doing (not beginners).

I'd love to teach solid intermediate - advanced piecing. I'm not sure if I've found my specialty yet - or if I'll ever stick to one thing. Maybe I'm bound to continue my work on teeny tiny piecing, or paper piecing. Perhaps it's free piecing / design as you go that I'm into. It doesn't really matter right now, I'm still perfecting my own work. I'm not there yet.

Back to my original train of thought. I'm not sure if I want to make another one of these quilts to enter into the show - I could - and the deadline is still a few weeks away... but I'm not sure if I should go for it now or just wait.

I am planning on entering a quilt or two into the show for QuiltCon - but that's different. I don't know how QuiltCon will grow and change. I don't know what to expect from it now or in the future. Maybe one day I'll want to teach there - but for now I feel too intimidated by the talent there. The people teaching at QuiltCon are people who I have been following and learning from since I started quilting.... I don't know that I would feel good enough about my style to stand among them. It may be because I'm not as not as knowledgeable about the teachers at the national shows that I am not worried about comparing myself to them.

So I guess I'm putting it out there in writing for the first time. I do want to teach. I want to share my love of sewing and quilting and playing with fabric with others. (I just don't want to have to teach them how to use a sewing machine first!).

PS - I'm learning to bury my thread tails as I'm quilting. Ugh it's annoying (but it's very pretty and tidy). Thanks to Ebony's video tutorial I know how.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reasons why I love my landlords...

This one tops the list!

The sewing gods (aka my landlords) dropped this beautiful Singer 301a on my door step last week! They told me that a friend was clearing out their house and no longer wanted it. They had no idea if it worked or if I'd have a use for it - but told me that the friend had sewn her kids clothes on it, and that she may find the extra parts at some point in the cleaning (lol).

Yes indeed it does work!

With a little bit of searching online I found the full manual, so I could thread her up! I only have one bobbin so I haven't yet checked to see if the bobbin winder works, otherwise everything is in working order. With only the very little searching that I did, I found that this machine was manufactured in the 50's - it's amazing that after about 60 years it's still working beautifully!

What a nice machine. After scanning through the manual I do hope that the extra parts turn up - it seems like it came with a lot of feet! I could use a spare bobbin too.

If you know me, you know I'll have to mention how fast it is... up to 1500 stitches per minute? that's pretty fast! :) That's just about as fast as my Juki, and much faster than my other Singers!

I'm lucky to rent from such nice people (they're nice all around), but this is pretty fantastic! Now I want to go play with it!

(PS does anyone have experience with this model? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear what you think of it!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

WIP Weds (thursday)

CMQG Modern Art Challenge for Natalie
Where has the last week gone?

I'm knee deep in WIP's this week. I typically don't leave things hangning when I haven't surpassed a spacific step (a full block done. etc). But not this week. I've got half projects all over the place!

Let see:
I have a bee block that's half finished - hand drawn paper pieced... all the sections are pieced, but only one quadrant is sewn together... I guess I'm a little late on that one since it's now august! Eep!

This little guy measures just 3.5" square... yep that's a 1/4" border. 
Then I've got some teensy peicing done for a special tiny piecing blog post... but you'd know that I have the blog post written and had to go back and take pictures for all the steps. Now I have all the steps photographed but no desire to add them in to the blog post / edit. lol. Soon soon. It'll be a fun one.

I'm wrapping up some loose ends with my QuiltCon funding - have a couple pouches to deliver this weekend and a couple more to ship out tomorrow. My lovely MIL has put money down for an order of mug rugs for Christmas gifts for all her co-workers --- which means: I've hit my goal and I'm going to QuiltCon! :) lol. This will actually cover some of my hotel stay too! I'm a little excited to work on some mug rugs too - I haven't made one in a while!

Also, this little girl helped me sew up this little mug rug for my MIL for her birthday. Allie was so excited to help. She picked the fabrics and helped me feed them through the machine. She was very patient, which I'll need to keep in mind for the future!

I finished reading a book yesterday (this counts as a project finished?) It was a quilting related book suggested to me/loaned to me by my quilty friend Emily. The book was "O the Red Rose Tree" by Patricia Beatty. It was a pretty good read. It reminded me of my days in 4th grade when I was reading through the Little House On the Prairie books.

Ok now for the WIP count - this is a very imprecise list.

  • Lindsey's quilt - ran out of white thread - back needs to be pieced, then basted, quilted and bound. I'm getting close!
  • Bella bella quilt - no progress.
  • CMQG Modern Art Challenge: mostly finished with the quilt top - but need to finish the same part on the "sister quilt" so that I have one to keep.
  • My Precious QAL - basted and ready to quilt. Not sure if I'll quilt it now or wait - I really aught to buy a new walking foot first.
  • Bee block for July - in progress
  • Some pouches - one for my mom specifically --- I need to get that done!
Actual finishes:
  • Bella solids quilt - finished!! I need to take some pictures of it though!