Friday, June 26, 2015

Fabric Friday: June 26

Whew, what a week! It has flown by here. Summer is in full swing and we have the temperatures here to prove it, with the last few days hitting 100. Days like that, I'd like to sit inside a sew. But...I am a mom. And have mom tasks. Really fun ones, like laundry.

And, lately, I've been trying to make sure that I really take care of my responsibilities before I let myself sew. It's working, sort of. :-)

This week, I went up to Quilter's Haven in Bountiful. They are closing, and so they had some decent sales to liquidate their inventory. Not super, but pretty good. And, I may have gone a little overboard...but it was a really fun store and I'm sad that I finally made it up there for their closing. It's sad to see a great store go. I also went around the bend to another shop in Bountiful, since I was there, Quilter's Attic. Another fun store. I got a pattern on sale there, but everything else was full price...but their pricing wasn't too high. today's bundle is actually all from my new fabrics.

Top to bottom: Honor Roll by Anna Maria Horner, Modern Minis by Lori Holt, Studio 8 by Quilting Treasures, Haunted Gala by Eric and Julie Comstock, Block Party by Sandy Gervais, and Speedster by The RBD Designers.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mitered X lap quilt: a tutorial

When I started this blog, I was a little worried about creating my own patterns. So many of my favorite bloggers create their own patterns and I just didn't know if I could do it. But one day, the idea for this quilt just popped in my head. I was so excited, I quickly figured out the math and set about working on it. It took a few tries to get the method down for the center section (you can see that one of the blocks used different blocks), and I had a whole new appreciation for pattern writers! Once I got it down, though, the blocks went together so fast. They are big blocks--16 inches finished. And that means a fast quilt. Yay!

I opted to use just fabrics from my stash, and luckily, it worked out. Some aren't what I would have chosen had I not been making a stash-busting quilt, but I didn't want to buy any fabric for the top for this. I was saving up for a Bernina. :-)

For each block, you will need the following:

green: 2 - 4-1/2" x 8-1/2" and 1 - 7" square (alternatively, if you'd like extra wiggle room, cut 7-3/4 inch squares)
blue: 2 - 4-1/2" x 8-1/2" and 1 - 7" square (see alternate note above)
pink: 4 - 7-1/2 x 3-1/2
cream: 8 - 2-1/4 x 3-3/4

Each of the above needs to be out of the same fabric, but different blocks can use different prints. In other words, the 3 green pieces above all need to be from the same print. You could use different prints for the cream if you really wanted, but I didn't and think it helps unify the block to use the same print.

Print the attached paper piecing PDF twice per block (for a 12 block quilt, you will 24 copies). Make sure the squares measure 4 1/2".

Step one: make your HSTs (half-square triangles). Sew the green and blue squares together around the outside of the block using a scant quarter inch seam allowance.

Cut the blocks from corner to corner to yield 4 HST blocks.

Press all the blocks to the same color (just pick: blue or green, it doesn't matter, as long as you're consistent) and trim to 4-1/2 squares. You won't trim much; if you'd like a little wiggle room, use larger squares. Set aside.

Step two: Using the paper piecing templates, paper piece the x block quarters. (See my tutorial for paper piecing here) Prepare your templates by cutting them out, leaving 3/8" around the outside edge, and fold the templates to mark the seam allowances. Use a little glue to attach the pink rectangle to the center of the template on the wrong side, making sure it overlaps all the seam allowance. Trim the pink to the seam allowance and line up one cream rectangle to one side. Sew along the printed line, press, and repeat with the other side. Repeat with all the templates, making sure to keep your fabrics organized so that you end up with 4 blocks with the same fabric combinations. Trim your blocks along the outside printed line before removing the paper template.

Step three: Sew the paper-pieced x block quarters into pairs, pinning well. Press so that the blocks will nest together. Sew the pairs together and press, popping your center seam. Set aside.

Step four: Attach the HSTs to the matching blue pieces so that the HSTs both point toward the center with the blue sides matching up. Matching up these blocks is what will give your blocks the mitered look, so make sure you are careful here. Press toward the blue rectangle.

Step five: Attach the green pieces to the x blocks. Press toward the green rectangle.

Step six: Attach the blue strips to the x blocks, pinning well. Because you will be matching biased edges with unbiased edges, there can be shifting if you aren't careful. Press toward the blue strips.

Step seven: Arrange your blocks how you like, making sure to alternate the orientation so that the green strips border the blue strips. Piece together, and you're done!

I had Abby Latimer quilt it with the city windows panto, and I had her back it with pink minky. I bound it with one of the cream fabrics I used in some of the blocks. I really love how it turned out, even though I could have used just a little larger. It finishes at 48 by 64.

Mitered X Quilt
completed June 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fabric Friday: June 19

So...this was a big week for me. I got a new friend. I'm pretty excited to introduce you to her, she's really great. A little rough around the edges maybe, she's been well-loved in the past, but she's awesome.

Yes! I got a new (to me) Bernina!! I'm so pleased. I went in to test drive new machines, I was trying to decide if I could settle for the 380 or if I really wanted a 550, and the day I went in, they had a used 440. Luckily, it was late afternoon last Saturday, and they were closing soon, so I really had all weekend to think about it, and they promised to call before they let someone else take her home.

I thought about it all weekend. I had really decided against the 380...for a just a few cosmetic reasons, and wanted the 550. And the 440 was just almost the 550....for a little more than half the soon as I could wrap my mind around bringing home a previously loved machine, I knew it was the machine for me. I was bummed the embroidery module is $1,000 (!); I will probably try to find one online because it's intriguing to me, but I just can't justify that.

We got off to a bit of a rocky start...she stutters on the first stitch after I turn her on (only that one), but otherwise seems to be in great shape. And, I've been reassured that the stutter is just a very normal calibration thing. *shrug*

Unfortunately, I had finished up all my WIPs before I got her, so I brought her home and couldn't start sewing like I would have liked. But, that's been fixed and we're on our way!

My bundle this week is simple, and feels clean to me. I really like the light blue and red together, and the text print is from one of my all-time favorite lines: Hometown by Sweetwater. Love!

Top to bottom: April Showers by Bonnie and Camille, Hometown by Sweetwater, Dress Up Days by Doohikey Designs, Reunion by Sweetwater, and Wallflowers by Cluck Cluck Sew.

Have a great weekend! I'm hoping to get a lot of sewing time in with my new friend. ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lucky quilt

I don't usually make two quilts simultaneously; it's difficult for me to keep things straight. And I didn't exactly make these at the same time, but I did all the cutting together and I dropped them off at the quilter's at the same time, so I kinda made them simultaneously.

I chose to make my girls' quilts out of the same fabrics but with different patterns so they would coordinate but be unique.

I based my youngest's quilt off of Camille Roskelley's Lucky pattern. It look me a long time to settle on it; Spin Cycle was easy for me. I'm not sure why, and now I can't remember why I picked it; but I think it complements the fabrics nicely.

My youngest was SO excited when she saw I was finishing it up; I really loved that both of my girls appreciated their quilts. I hope they love them for years to come.

completed May 2015
quilted by Abby Latimer

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Took the Pledge

One thing I love about sewing is that there are a million possibilities. Times ten. I can make anything within my and my machine's abilities. It's just an amazing power, and a little daunting when I think about it like that.

Petal Pushers: link to post here

The real trick is the actual ability to do all those things rolling around in my head and my sketchbook.  Like many quilters, I keep a sketchbook for ideas and use it for a variety of purposes. I try out color on blocks, I sketch ideas of future quilts, and I make lists. I figure cutting math and fabric requirements, and I keep current WIP lists. I love my little sketchbook.

Butterflies in the Garden: link to post here

 But I already have so many things in that book that I don't have time to make. That can be frustrating. I see so many professional quilters who produce so many more quilts than I do and I wish I could keep up because there's so many that I want to make. I know even they have that same problem: there is too much beautiful fabric and so many millions of ways to cut it up and put it back together.

Sunny's quilt: link to post here

I only started this blog a few months ago, but even then, the idea of balance was already rolling around in my head. I had tried, unsuccessfully, to start THREE different food blogs. I'm also an avid cook. But each time, I lost steam. So, when I established this blog, I decided that I wasn't going to hold myself to any rules like I had tried to when I started those food blogs. And, I reasoned, it wouldn't be as much pressure because the amount of posting on a quilting blog cannot possibly keep up with that of a food blog. Whereas a food blogger really needs to publish at least three to four times a week, there's just not that much to show on a quilt blog. In my opinion.

I did set some ground rules for myself, to be honest. The first one was no guilt. I set up this blog for me because I like writing, because I like photography, because I thought it was the perfect way to blend three of my hobbies and keep a record of my sewing. If it stopped being fun, then I was going to stop, and I didn't want to push myself to post when I didn't have anything to say or didn't want to post. The second one was to be me. I didn't want expectations of what it means to be a quilt blogger (if there are any) to shape my blog and the way I posted. And the last one was privacy. I don't mention my family on here much at all, aside from the fact that I have one, and I will not post pictures of them. People have differing opinions on this one, and that's okay. See rule number two. My kids are still really little, and for their privacy and potential safety, I prefer to keep their photos and names off of the internet. I know I love reading personal posts on blogs and getting to know other sewists in that way through their blogs,, and that being real and sharing real life is important in a successful blog, but for me, that's just not what I want to do.

When I saw Amy Gibson's For Keeps Pledge, I didn't even think twice about taking the pledge myself. And it came at a good time. I had just finished my girls' bed quilts a week earlier and felt real joy in watching them love the quilts. The pledge made me think through why I am doing all of this and who I am.

Spin Cycle quilt: link to post here

This has been a really long post already, but I want to end by telling you exactly who I am. I am Becca. First and foremost, I am child of God, and I am a wife and a mother. I am privileged to be a stay at home mom, and in my opinion, it is the most important job I could possibly have right now. It is exhausting, and frustrating at times, but it is who I am. I am also a Mormon, and my faith is important to me. I am, of course, a quilter. But it is a hobby, not my day job. I do it because I love having finished quilts, because I love giving quilts, and because I love picking out fabric and designs. I need to remember this. Sewing is not a job for me. Yet. And possibly ever. Sewing is a hobby and it should come after my responsibilities to my first priority: my family.

Hazel Hedgehog accent pillows: link to WIP post here

This isn't a goodbye, don't worry. It's just a way for me to explore this issue and to encourage you to also think about why you sew and how it fits into your priorities. I love Amy Gibson's pledge; it's a beautiful idea to keep sewing special. Because it is. It's a beautiful, creative power that truly brings happiness.

So, go and create. And remember why you create.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fabric Friday: June 12

I've had a more productive week than most's been really nice to get some things finished. My neighborhood sewing group met this past Tuesday (every second Tuesday!) and it's amazing how motivating it is to sew with friends.

Now...truthfully, sewing night itself isn't always productive...this past week, I just did some cutting. I got a throw quilt trimmed and binding strips cut, and a couple of t-shirts for my girls cut out. But there's nothing like a group of friends getting together to recharge your creative batteries.
I came home and was ready to sew. I got my quilt bound yesterday, and one t-shirt made...but I had to sew it on my friend's machine because mine was acting up. It's not feeding properly, cotton or knit, but knit is obviously a bigger problem. I really need a new machine. I've just really got to decide and then hope for a sale. I've got my eye on a Bernina, but I am trying to decide which one...530 for a larger throat space? 350 for patchwork? 380 for the additional stitches? I can't decide. I'm really excited for the eventual purchase, however...
So, fabric! Yay for fabric. This week's bundle came about as I was brainstorming an alternate color story for a quilt I've been working on. I tried out Adobe Illustrator to do the design, but I really have no clue what I'm doing, so it was a complete joke. :-) In any case, I really liked the idea of purple with aqua, and thought the yellow was a nice touch, too. And then realized how similar it is to a bundle I pulled a while back...oh well. It's still a nice bundle. :-)

Top to bottom: (I'm missing the selvage on my stripe), I think the line is called Enjoy the Ride by Tina Higgins, (my fat quarter doesn't have the selvage, but it's by V and Co.), Wallflowers by Allison Harris, Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry, and Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter. Man, I'm missing a lot of designer information this go around!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Spin Cycle

After I had my second daughter, I started mulling over what to do with the girls' room. I knew we wanted to keep them in the same room for a variety of reasons, one of the main ones being that we weren't ready to give up our two other bedrooms (including my sewing room...)...but the biggest reason is that I think it's good for kids to share a room. To have to get along. I'm hoping that it will work long-term, but we do have space and could separate them if needed.

 I spent a lot of time brainstorming how to decorate their room, and finally had to decide. My baby isn't a baby anymore, and I knew the time was coming when she'd need a big girl bed. And I hoped to have a room ready to decorate when that happened. I finally decided on a couple of quilt patterns and a color scheme and set to work. I planned to let the girls fight over the quilts once they were done, but they were so interested by the process that the decision was made before the tops were even finished.

This first quilt is for my oldest's Allison Harris's Spin Cycle quilt, but I adjusted the size by making it with six rows of four instead of five rows of five. I felt like that made more sense for a twin bed. I really love Allison's patterns, I think they're so fun. Time consuming, but fun.

And for the color scheme, I knew pink would be involved. I also wanted to include gray, and then had to convince my girls that blue would look really fun, too. My oldest protested the dark navy herringbone, saying, "yeah, you can include it in the other quilt..." I took the hint and used less of it, but still really wanted it to be that contrast you really need. I think it turned out beautifully. I used several prints from Allison Harris's "Wallflower" line, as well as Gracie Girl, Sweetwater "Noteworthy," several from Zoe Pearn's "A Beautiful Thing," and a couple others.

It took me an extra long time to finish because when I got it back from the quilter, I was busy preparing to leave for Italy. I did manage to get the binding prepped before I left, but it still took a week before I was ready to bind after I got home.

And when I did, I took it in to her (she was already in bed, but definitely not asleep), and tucked her in with her new quilt. She was SO happy, it was heart-warming. She was so appreciative, and stayed up far later than she should have counting the flowers, and the plus signs, and the squares...and laying it out on the floor and dancing on it....and caressing the flannel backing...she even wrote me a note and delivered it, which told me she loved me and the quilt. It was very sweet.

I made sure to remind her of why I made her a quilt, and really, seeing her accept the quilt with such joy reminded me of why I make quilts. They allow me to shower people with love, and to bring joy to those I love.

And then, I remembered I forgot the label. *doh!* (I definitely unpicked a corner and added it on, don't worry.)

Spin Cycle
Completed May 2015
quilted by Abby Latimer

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fabric Friday: June 5

Friday snuck up on me this week...I almost didn't get a bundle ready in time. And I've gotten some sewing finished, including my two quilts for my girls and two Hedgehog blocks for pillow covers. But it's been a quick week.

It's the first full week of summer around here, and we started swimming lessons. My youngest daughter is too young by a few months (and definitely not ready) for regular swimming lessons, so we are in the parent-tot class while my older daughter is in regular lessons. The classes are only 30 minutes long, but I've been surprised that it kills our whole morning, and thus mostly our whole day as my youngest still naps in the afternoon.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the end. Luckily, it's only two weeks. I'll probably sign them up for another session; I want my girls to know how to swim for safety purposes...but seriously, it's keeping me busier than I like.

Anyway, it shouldn't really get in the way of my sewing, but it has been. I really need to get some cutting done, and I need to pick up some more background yardage...and then I'll get back to it all. Oh, and I need a couple of zippers.

Here's my bundle this week; I took inspiration from a photo I saw on Pinterest of a teal building with yellow shutters and navy shadows in the was so striking! And I think it works really well with this gray. It's a Kona, I think...but I have no idea which one.

From top to bottom: Oh Clementine by Allison Harris, Little Ark by Carina Gardner, Wallflowers by Allison Harris, Modern Meadow I think...) by Joel Dewberry, and Hometown by Sweetwater.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Hazel Hedgehog Accent Pillows

After our trip to Italy, it took a few days to get sewing again. But, while I didn't leave a lot in progress, I did leave my girls' room in progress. I had quilts ready to bind, pillowcases done, and fabric cut for Hazel Hedgehog blocks for accent pillows.

I got the quilts bound finally (posts coming soon), and I finally started my Hazels. Part of the reason I hesitated was that they seemed pretty complicated, and I've also never pieced an accent pillow before, so I was (and still am) nervous to finish up the cover.

When I finally sat down to sew them together, they went pretty easily. I did struggle a little with some of the bias sewing, but I probably need to change my needle, and my machine sometimes struggles with feeding issues anyway. I'm saving my pennies for a new Bernina... :-)

I did forget one time to bump my needle for a scant quarter inch seam, and I could really tell once I realized. I opted to not unpick and fudge the rest of the seams around the mistake. It actually worked out pretty well...though I don't recommend it!

And now, I just need to add another border around the outside. I think I'm going to go with the hot pink for both, and then use the dark gray as the back of the pillow.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.