Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thread Thursday (on a Wednesday)

Yes, I'm a day early with the Thread Thursday.  I just didn't want to wait to share my new thread colors.
This month I got some new great colors of So Fine!  Look at that red, and rose, and brown!
This month I joined Massdrop.  I don't need most of what they sell, but I decided I needed this gauge by SimFlex.  I do recommend you shop around when you see a deal on Massdrop.  Not all deals are created equal.  In the end I only saved a couple dollars on the sewing gauge.

As always, none of these links is paid advertising.  I include links in case you are interested not because I am compensated in any way.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Stringing Along

I'm a member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.  In April we had a new mother in our guild.  Usually someone comes up with a plan and the guild works together to make a quilt for the new baby.  We decided that a string quilt would be a great quilt for a new baby.  Each block was supposed to finish at 8" by 8" and be sewn onto a muslin backing.
I broke out my bins full of scraps and strings and got to work.  I have entirely too man bits of fabric.  Great for projects like this, though.
It didn't take long for me to end up with a couple finished blocks.  All the blocks were handed over to our assembler at the March meeting.
She brought me the assembled top for quilting.  The first step was to trim batting and put together a backing.
We had a few blocks left over so we pieced in some of these blocks to make the backing wide enough.
I set the embroidery machine up to stitch out the baby's name.  I quilted it with this great flower motif I learned from Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.  This is a motif I really enjoy quilting with.  I think it is a great all-over design.  I need to take more close-up photos of the things I quilt.
Trimmed and ready to go back to the assembler who also volunteered to attach the binding.
For the record, sewing these onto muslin is not a great idea if you plan to use pieced blocks on the front and the backing.  Too many seams can pile up making quilting difficult or even impossible.  I usually sew my string blocks onto a paper foundation that gets torn away after trimming the block to size.

The finished quilt was presented to the new mommy at the April meeting.  I think it was a great project that allowed everyone to participate and created a great finish.

If you're looking for a good tutorial on string blocks I highly recommend Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville.  Her blog is full of free patterns, tutorials, photos of her quilts, stories about her travels, and you can buy her books directly from her.

Has your guild done any fun group projects recently?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flower Garden

What do you do when you look through your stash and find all these floral prints?
You plan a quilt that will take advantage of these fabrics.  I used my Accuquilt Go! die cutter with the 6.5" tumbler die to cut all these pieces.
The label was a great opportunity to use a set of embroidery designs by Urban Threads.
All the embroidery designs used in this quilt are from Urban Threads.  The set is called Miniature Menagerie.  I recommend you check out their great embroidery designs.
I used several from this collection to add detail to some of the blocks.
As a larger quilt I had to take this one out to my three-season room to the long arm on the 10' frame. Some day I will have room in my house for a 12' long arm.  Someday.
I decided to quilt this one with a motif I learned from Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters:  Choose & Use Quilting Designs on Modern Quilts called Flower Power. 
Flower Power is one my favorite motifs.
It scales easily and you can use it as a great fill with little effort.  You can add more petals if you need to fill in an area.
I couldn't think of a better quilting design for this quilt than this one.
The texture created was just perfect.
Scrappy binding is the best!
I really like this one.  For the record, it didn't make much of a dent my collection of floral print fabrics.

Do you have a go-to quilting design that you love to free-motion quilt?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Charity Quilting - Totally Blue

I realized that my collection of 2.5" strips was starting to overflow the box.  It was time to make up a simple quilt for Quilts for Kids.  I grabbed a stack of strips and got to piecing.  I didn't really do anything fancy, I just pieced the strips end-to-end and then did the same thing as with a jelly roll race quilt.  I did add one round of strips as an outer border to widen the quilt a little.  The finished size is around 36" by 44".
I kept the scrappy going with some scrappy binding.
I used my circle rulers to get some nice big circles quilted and then filled in with random swirls and a meander.
Labeled and folded and ready to go to the next meeting of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Open Wide Pouch

A few posts back I shared my wonderful swap package from the Sweet & Salty Easter Swap.  The pattern is from a free tutorial from Noodle-head called the Open Wide Zippered Pouch.  This is a great pattern if you want to try a zipper but find them intimidating.
I was almost caught flat-footed on this one.  The first check in arrived and I hadn't done a single thing.  Part of that was due to minimal information on my partner's Instagram account and part of that was that I sometimes need a nudge.  I pieced together the front and back of the bag.  For this swap I ordered several zippers from ZipIt Zippers so I would have at least a dozen on-hand for last minute projects.
I loaded these onto the long arm frame with a piece of muslin on the frame.  I used Quilter's Dream Green batting for this project.  The thread is So Fine from Superior Threads.
This batting is low-loft and is made from recycled plastic.  I have used it in a couple different projects and I like how it quilts.  Low-loft and easy to work with.
I didn't have a coordinating thread for the green, but I don't think anyone will notice.  
I quilted the purple strip by using one my circle rulers to make the petal shapes and then filled in the background with more quilting.  The blue print got a hook swirl.  This is another great quilting motif by Angela Walters.  You can watch a video tutorial from Angela.
I really like how this one turned out.
I used a great typewriter embroidery from Urban Threads to detail the zipper tab.  I've found that this little piece of fabric can make a big impact.
I really like these bags.  They are easy to make and offer so many options for making each one special.  I still have zippers.  I should make a couple more.

Have you made any fun gifts lately?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Embroidering the Bag

Step one:  Find this great design from Urban Threads Embroidery.  Try to figure out what to do with it.  Find out that a friend is having surgery and that you have been meaning to make something and then be reminded of this.  The ah-ha moment hits and it's time to get busy!  (Don't tell anyone that it is about two weeks late.  That isn't really important.)
Pull a plain canvas remnant out of the stash.  Decide that just embroidery on canvas isn't good enough.  You need at least one pocket.  This means you need another great embroidery design.
Is there an easier tote pattern than the one from The Green Bag Lady?  I don't think so.  I did do some modifications.  This bag is bigger and made from cotton canvas instead of quilting cotton but the basic shape is the same.
I also used the purple fabric to make the handles a little fancier.
The back of the bag sports this great big pocket with tentacles.
The front has this fun embroidery design to let everyone know a little about the fantastic lady holding the bag.
Finally, the inside is big enough to hold a crib quilt that needs binding.  I think this bag is a huge win.

Have you added embroidery, machine or hand, to your projects?

I'm linking up with the Sew My Stash 2015 Bag Challenge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Charity Quilting

Last week I got the most thoughtful package.  A friend was going through and doing some spring cleaning.  She knew that I could put some of this fabric to use so she boxed it up and forwarded it along.
I've had this quilt top around here forever.  The care package included the perfect backing fabric for this quilt.  Now, it is finished and ready to go to Quilts for Kids.
I also used some of that fabric to make up some preemie quilt kits.  These are great little projects to hand over to new quilters.  I have been making these with 16-patch centers.  You can find the 9-patch version here.  I found a copy of the pattern through AZ Blankets for Kids.  You should totally check out their wealth of resources.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Swap Share and Show

Way back in January I learned about a swap on Instagram called the Sweet & Salty Easter Swap.  It was hosted by the amazing Angelina!  You can find out a little more about the swap on the blog post from January.  This was my first swap of the year and a pretty amazing one.  The goal was to make an Open Wide zippered pouch using Noodle-Head's free tutorial and then fill the bag with a few goodies.  Sweet goodies or salty goodies or a combination of both.  I went for the salty, because while I like sweet I absolutely love lightly sweet and savory so much more.
I was a little sad when my package arrived and it looked like this.  The post office was kind enough to put a cute little note on it that says they received the package like this.  I don't know who they think they're fooling with that bullshit.
I set aside my annoyance with the postal service, stopped hopping up and down, and un-boxed all the goodies that were cowering inside.  Look at this bag!  We all know that red is my favorite color and this fabric is just awesome!
Look at all these goodies!  I was so spoiled.  I should stop doing swaps right now!  I still need to break into that giant chocolate bar.  The Peeps are long gone.  And that charm pack?  I think it might end up being used to make another rainbow mini quilt.  I'm not going to give a packing list, just know that I'm really happy with each little thing.  It was so much fun opening all the little things to find the next tiny secret.
If you're wondering where the salty is in this package, it is hiding in the bag.  I love this detail.  I need to load my next knitting project into this bag and take it to the next guild meeting.  Then I can be salty like a sailor and show off my sweet bag.

My partner Robin went above and beyond with this package.  She really made my day and my swap with this package.  Thank you so much!

Monday, April 6, 2015

In the Mail Monday - Knit Picks!

I saw this amazing sweater on the internet and mentioned it to a friend.  She kindly let me borrow her book so I could look through it and decide I need this sweater.  You can find out more about knit, Swirl! over on Amazon.
If you just want to learn more about the method and see many more styles, you should definitely stop by the knit, Swirl! site.  There you can learn all about the different sweaters and get some great tips on picking your favorite from the book and how to best match up your yarn for a project.  There are also some tutorials.
I decided to take advantage of a sale Knit Picks was having on their Wool of Andes Superwash.
I could not decide on a color and this sweater wants to be colorful so I ended up with a great selection of yarn.  I hope I bought enough.  If I didn't, at least I know where to find more!