Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WiP Wednesday: The one with the ridiculously small PJ pants

Naturally, now that Thanksgiving is over, I'm feeling the holiday rush, big-time. I don't know about you, but I'm seriously suffering with holiday-itis at the moment - while I'm super excited about Christmas coming up, I'm running around in seventeen different directions trying to finish all of my handmade gifts, make my Christmas cookie plans, do my Christmas shopping, and so forth.  I feel like I'm almost spending more energy trying to harness all of my plans and projects than I am actually doing. I don't have a whole lot of progress to share this week, but I'm hoping that I've spent enough time figuring things out and making plans that I can just get moving on things.  Mental note to self: Next year when I think about encouraging Christmas in July sewing on my blog, I really ought to actually do it!  Maybe it would stave off some of this craziness...

Jesse's quilt (a.k.a. the Summer Sampler Plus quilt)

Summer Sampler Plus quilt - done!

Still going:
Munchkin's PJ Pants - I took a stab at creating my own pattern, which led to a pair of PJ pants that would probably fit a Barbie or something, so I'm thinking I might break down and buy a real pattern because I apparently stink at apparel making.  Seriously - I couldn't even get the pants up beyond his knees when I tried them on him.  :(  I bought some cheap-o fabric yesterday for my next practice pair, because I will inevitably screw it up again, but I'm hoping for better results this time.  I also let the munchkin pick out some Batman flannel for some future PJ pants when I get the whole pattern thing nailed, which made him pretty happy.

Bake Shop Project - Well, I ironed everything and started cutting, so that's a tiny bit of progress.  Now that I've got Jesse's quilt taken care of, hopefully I will be able to find some time to spend on this quilt soon.

Bake Shop progress

Charmed Prints Quilt Along - I actually started to get started on this one today, but I think I'm going to veer off course and be inspired by the quilt along, but adapt it a bit, since I'm not working with actual charm squares.  I really liked the small preview AnneMarie showed initially for the quilt-along, so I'm going to scale my blocks to be quite larger - probably 12" ish finished - with a total of 5 plain squares and then 4 of the feature blocks.

Charmed Prints QAL inspired quilt progress

Farmer's Wife QAL - On hold until after the holidays

Potholders for school - I volunteered to make some potholders to go in the kitchen-themed fundraiser basket for the munchkin's class at preschool, and I've got until Friday to actually do them.  I better hop to it!

4x5 blocks - Though these aren't officially due until January, I want to put them on my list before I forget about them and fall behind.  I don't have any specific ideas on these just yet, but I'm going to try to keep them in the back of my mind when I'm sketching.

So...what are you working on this week?  Write it up and share it over at Freshly Pieced's weekly WIP Wednesday linky, and hop on over to check out some other fabulous sewing progress!
Monday, November 28, 2011

Jesse's Quilt, the Summer Sampler Plus Quilt

It's going to be really hard to say goodbye to this quilt, but it's going to such a wonderful home, I think somehow I'll find the strength to do it.  Jesse, if you are reading this post, STOP NOW!  I will be very upset if you ruin this surprise (but I'm fairly sure you have been so busy that you haven't read my blog in eons, but I forgive you!).

When Lee, Katie and Faith started up the Summer Sampler Series, the blocks immediately spoke to me and made me think of my husband's best friend, Jesse.  The two of them have been best buds since they were little kids, growing up in the same small town in Connecticut, and despite the many, many miles between them now, they're still quite close.   Jesse comes to visit us at least once every year and has become my munchkin's favorite uncle.  He's a special part of our family, and when I saw the geometric blocks in the Summer Sampler, they just said "Jesse" to me.

Jesse's the one on the left, hamming it up with my husband at our wedding
After I finished my blocks, I just didn't quite feel done.  I knew I could add sashing to add size to the quilt, but I just felt like I wanted to have more blocks for the quilt, so I decided to ask my awesome 4x5 beehive to help me out and add some extra blocks to the quilt.

Finished Summer Sampler blocks!

All said and done, after adding my 4x5 blocks, I still needed 3 more to make the quilt as large as I wanted, so I put together one Japanese x and + block, one block made of four snowballs, and one rail fence block that I bordered with some white and extra blue.  I stitched them all together, and the quilt just felt more complete.  

Extra blocks for my Summer Sampler Plus complete!

I debated adding a border to the quilt, to give it some extra size, but ultimately decided against it.  I was too excited about a geometric doodle style of quilting I'd come up with to go along with Jesse's love for all things geometric.  I was nervous about trying something new, and in hindsight, I totally should've practiced on a practice quilt sandwich first, but I worried that I would lose my determination to do something different if I stopped to really think about it, so I jumped in and went for it.

Jesse's quilt #2 

I free-motioned groups of  interconnected boxes, which remind me of little labyrinths or mazes, stitching down the length of the quilt.  It was definitely more fun for me than straight-line quilting, but it also wasn't as precise as I like to be.  In the end, I'm happy I did something different, but I definitely need more practice.

Jesse's quilt - close-up #3

I'll be shipping this gift off real soon for the holidays...before I decide I can't part with it!  I know Jesse will give this quilt a good home, and I hope it will remind him of us throughout the year.

Summer Sampler Plus quilt - done!

Quilt Stats
Name: Jesse's Quilt
Size: 48" x 60"
Fabrics: Kona Peacock, Kona Lagoon, Kona Bahama Blue, Kona Aqua, Kona Charcoal, Kona Medium Gray, Kona Ash, Patty Young's Sanctuary, Jenean Morrison's Silent Cinema, Moda Hullabaloo Hoopla Aqua, Moda Modern Workshop Dots Artisan Aqua, and more
Binding: Moda's Little Apples Sweater Check in Pencil by Aneela Hoey
Quilting: Doodle boxes, quilted by me on my Husqvarna Sapphire 835 in white thread

I'm linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday today, hop on over there to see more recent modern quilting finishes!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends who are celebrating tomorrow!  I'm looking forward to getting started with all the cooking now that my house is clean enough for company again.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with family, fun...and maybe some shopping!

I'm guessing that many of you are planning on some holiday shopping over this long weekend, and in honor of the biggest shopping holiday of the year, my Pattern Shop is having its very first sale.  Both of my patterns, Fabricland and Xs and Os are marked down 25% through the end of the day Sunday, November 27th.  What a great way to treat yourself this weekend!


Have a wonderful weekend!  Happy Thanksgiving :)

WiP Wednesday: The one where I really should be cooking...

Thanks for all the well wishes for my little guy - he's doing a lot better this week, though one of the medications he's taking is making him a bit more hyper and crazy than usual, so that's made the week pretty interesting.  I cannot believe that tomorrow is going to be Thanksgiving already.  I'm sure it won't surprise you to know I've got a list of things to get started on today for Thanksgiving, so I'm going to try to make this one short and sweet.

Little Apples improv quilt

Finished Little Apples quilt

Soft books for my niece and nephew

For Katie's book (the pink pages), I used this awesome tutorial

SS Swap 

Still going:
Summer Sampler Plus - Finished up my three extra blocks for this quilt and mixed them in nicely, so next, I'm going to work on finishing up the quilt top!

Extra blocks for my Summer Sampler Plus complete!

Zero progress:
PJ Pants for the munchkin
New Bake Shop project
Charmed Prints QAL
Farmer's Wife QAL

And since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I'm hosting again this year, I don't see a whole lot of sewing getting done soon!  Hopefully I can have a Sewing Friday instead of Black Friday or something, clock some quality holiday sewing time.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Monday, November 21, 2011

Little Apples Improv Quilt - Done!

First off, I've got a winner to announce!  The winner of the Kona color card and two patterns is:

Commenter #19, Jessica from Sew Crafty Jess!!  Congratulations, Jessica, I'll send you an email shortly!

Did you have a good weekend?  I really did.  I finished up a quilt and I am really, really happy with how this quilt turned out.  After picking out these fabrics, and buying many of them in Salt Lake City during the Sewing Summit back in early October, I kind of hit a bit of a wall, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with them.  Aneela Hoey's illustrations used in the larger scale prints in the collection are just so darling that you can't just chop them up at will.


When I matched up my Little Apples prints with my Kona card, I snagged a few half-yards of the coordinating colors to add to the mix, and that was when I decided to go forward with a log cabin inspired improv piece.  I went about chopping my solids into strips of varying widths (1", 1.5", 2" and 2.5"), and fussy-cut 16 charms from my Little Apples fat quarters and half-yards.

The blocks came together really quickly, and as they multiplied on my design wall, I wasn't sure if I ought to add some sashing between the blocks to give the eye a less chaotic place to rest, but ultimately, thanks to some helpful Twitter and Flickr friends, I wound up skipping the sashing and piecing the blocks all together.  I think all the chaotic bits of color are part of what makes the quilt top visually interesting.


I did stick to my comfort zone when it came to quilting - I went with a simple, all-over stipple.  I really need to get out of my stippling rut one of these days, but I do enjoy actually doing it.  It feels natural to me, after all these quilts I've done this way.   That being said, though, I think that's going to be one of my quilty New Year's resolutions, to try more quilting techniques.


I bound this quilt using the same Kona Olive color I used in the quilt, but I did make a bit of a boo-boo - notice how skinny the binding is?  Totally an accident.  Instead of cutting 2.5" strips like I usually do for my binding, I cut 2" strips, but I made it work.


The baby who will be receiving this quilt hasn't been born yet, but he is on the way and I'm excited for him to arrive so I can share this lovely quilt with him!!   Happy Monday everyone!  I'm linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations, drop on by to check out some recent modern sewing finishes

Quilt Stats:
Name: Little Apples quilt
Size: 40" square
Fabrics: Aneela Hoey's Little Apples collection for Moda Fabrics, Kona Olive, Kona Bahama Blue, and Kona Coral
Quilting: All-over stipple in Gutermann white thread
Binding: Kona Olive
Pattern: Improv-y log cabin, totally made up on the fly
Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Girlie Charm Square Quilt Tutorial

I love quilts that are easy to put together.  This is one of those quilts!  Not only that, but it hardly takes any fabric to whip up a sweet little quilt like this one.  This tutorial will take you through creating the two different blocks this quilt uses and putting together the quilt top.  The open window blocks that utilize the neutral solid in the center of the block are great for trying out new free-motion quilting stitches. This quilt finishes at approximately 32" square.

Super easy baby quilt

Sweet Girlie Charm Square Quilt
You'll need:
1 charm pack
1 yd neutral solid
36" square piece of batting
1 yd backing fabric
1/3 yd binding fabric

Cutting Instructions:
From your charm pack:
    Set aside 8 charms to stay whole
    Cut the 24 of the remaining charms in half, yielding two 2.5" x 5" pieces from each charm


From your neutral solid, cut 
     8 - 5" squares
    16 - 2.5" x 5"
    16 - 2.5" x 9"

Block Assembly:
Note: There are two different blocks in this quilt: Block A and Block B.
To assemble block A:
1. Select one of your neutral charm squares, and begin to place a total of 6 halved charm squares around the neutral, like so: 


2. Starting with two sides of your square that will require two charm square halves, pair one set, right sides together, and seam together using a 1/4" seam. Press your seam open. Repeat for the opposite side.


3. Next, seam one charm square half to the top and the bottom of your neutral charm square as shown below. Press seams open and repeat for the opposite side of the charm square.


4. Pair up your seamed set of halved charm squares with your block so far, right sides together, doing your best to center this piece with your block.  The seamed set of halved charm squares will be longer than your block, but we'll trim it down, no worries :)  Use a 1/4" seam to join, press seams open, then repeat for the opposite side of the block.


 5. Take your block over to your cutting mat and trim off the little tails on the long sides of the block.  This block finishes at 8.5", so square up as necessary here.

Ta da! You've finished your first Block A. Now, you'll repeat steps 1-6 to create 7 more Block As, for a total of 8.


To assemble block B:
1. Lay our your printed charm square with two of the 2.5" x 5" strips as well as two 2.5" x 9" strips.  


2. First, seam the short strips to the top and bottom of your charm square, using a 1/4" seam, and pressing your seams open as you go.


3. Next, add the long strips to the block, using a 1/4" seam and pressing seams open.  Ta da!  A finished Block B!  You'll make 7 more of these, for a total of 8 Block Bs.  


To finish the quilt top, lay out your blocks, alternating your As with your Bs, like so: I started another quilt today

Sandwich your finished quilt top with batting and backing fabric, then quilt and bind as desired.  As always, if you make a quilt using this tutorial or any of my other tutorials or patterns, please add it to the Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy Flickr group!  

Super easy baby quilt

I've got a great giveaway for you all this weekend, too.  We've been housebound all week, between me getting over my cold and the munchkin coming down with bronchitis, and my sewing mojo has run out on me.  Instead of sewing, I've been trying to clean up my sewing room a bit, which is extra nice for you because I completely found the swag from the Sewing Summit I had planned to to give away!!  The lucky winner of this giveaway will win:

a Kona color card, with swatches of every Kona color available


two beautiful patterns, one from Izzy and Ivy and one from Brassy Apple


To enter, simply leave me a comment on this post, telling me what you are hoping to finish sewing for the holidays this year.  This giveaway will be open until Sunday, November 20th at midnight EST I will draw a winner on Monday, November 21st.  Have a wonderful, stitchy weekend!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WiP Wednesday: The one where I'm finally healthy again!

I am pleased to report that I have finally just about beaten my evil cold...only to pass it back to the person I caught it from, my little munchkin.  He's such a trooper, though, he keeps telling me, "I'm really not so sick, Mommy" after his coughing spells.  Poor kid.  I see some movies in our future today.

In other news, there's only another 37 days until Christmas.  Really!  Melanie and I have promised each other not to freak out about how quickly the holidays are coming up, so I'm going to do my best to just go ahead and add my holiday projects to my list and not panic.  Can you try to hold me to that, pretty please?  Thank you :)

A Dash of Fancy mini

A Dash of Fancy mini - full frontal

X and O quilt

A finished quilt in the street!

Red and white custom zig zag quilt


do.Good.Stitches November blocks

{Sew} Beautiful block for Lee

Tree block for Lee

Still going:
Little Apples quilt - Thanks to some helpful input from some Twitter and Flickr friends, I finished up this adorable quilt top and I'm just waiting for the binding to come in to finish this one off.

Little Apples - finished top!

Charmed Prints QAL - I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll wind up jumping ahead of this quilt-along, sorry, AnneMarie!  I'm pretty sure you guys know me by now.  When I get going on a quilt, I tend to not stop until the top is done!  I did manage to pick out some fabrics for this quilt, which will be heading to a baby boy who's due in December.  I'm really excited for his parents-to-be, and I think that excitement is positively going to carry over into this quilt!

Charmed Prints stack

Farmer's Wife QAL - I jumped back on the horse this week and made four blocks...but with the holidays coming up, I'm not expecting a whole lot of progress on this one for the rest of the year!

FW blocks all together

New this week:
Soft books for my niece and nephew - Loosely following my own tutorial, I've got some soft books to make for my niece and nephew for Christmas.  I'm still working on the themes for each book, but I think one is going to be a rhyming book...

Summer Sampler - I hung on to my Summer Sampler blocks so I could add to them and make this quilt a holiday gift for a friend, so now that I have all of my 4x5 blocks from last quarter, I can finally wrap up this quilt!  I need to make 3 more blocks, then put it all together.

Summer Sampler - and then some!

PJ pants for the munchkin - I've never made PJ pants if you've got a favorite tutorial, I'm all ears!  Despite the fact that we live in Florida, my munchkin still is obsessed with wearing flannel pants to bed, so I'm planning to make him some cute PJ pants for the holidays.  I picked up this cute little flannel print at Jo-Ann's yesterday.

Baking with Half Moon Modern - This lovely stack of fat quarters arrived this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting started on a new Bake Shop project with them real soon!

Half Moon Modern lovelies!

SS Swap - I got my partner, figured out an awesome book to buy for my mystery partner, and now I'm thinking about making something, too.  I'm thinking I'll make something festive - maybe a table runner?  A cute pincushion?  Maybe a pouch?  Hmm...

Finished: 5
Still going: 3
New: 5
Total projects this week: 8

If you're still actually reading at this point, you totally deserve a gold star.  :)  Stay tuned on Friday for a simple tutorial for the easy girlie charm quilt I shared last week, along with a fun giveaway!  Speaking of giveaways, you simply MUST visit Lynne over at Lily's Quilts today.  She is having the giveaway to shame all other giveaways, and you do not want to miss it!   Have a great day!

Super easy baby quilt
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Getting back on the horse

Thanks to some heavy-duty Sudafed and a waning cold, I climbed back up on the Farmer's Wife horse this weekend, which was both refreshing and infuriating all at the same time.  Let's start with the refreshing, shall we?

Block 38: Four Winds
This block has way too many pieced, but I'm really pretty happy with how it turned out.  I used a Joel Dewberry print from Modern Meadow, Lizzy House's pearl bracelet print in pond from Red Letter Day, a Kate Spain print from Central Park, and the green print from Erin McMorris's Weekends collection.   I love the little purple pinwheel in the center, that's what makes this block my favorite of the bunch.


Block 39: Friendship
This block was a breeze to put together, and I could definitely see myself making an entire quilt using a block like this.  I love how cheerful this block is.  The fabrics in this block come from Soul Blossoms, DS's Fairgrounds, Kumari Garden, and Metro Living.


And now for the infuriating...this block is #36, Flower Garden Path.  This block was terribly infuriating to put together.  In fact, I may just redo it at some point...just not today :)  There's just too much going on in the block with the Good Folks fabrics I used, and the dark DS print I used is actually supposed to meet in the center.  Oh well.


Block 40: Friendship Block
I used one of my favorite Good Folks prints in this block, which automatically makes me want to like this block.  That being said, though, I feel like it's a bit...loud.  It's hard to see the actual pattern of the block.  It just feels like the Sanctuary fabric and Good Folks fabric are competing with each other rather than working together.


For the record, I skipped block 35, Flower Basket, and block 37 Flower Pot.  I've decided that it's okay to skip the blocks I don't like, that it doesn't make a bad quilter.  It was kind of empowering to skip over those two blocks and keep on trucking.  So, having skipped those two, I now have a total of 38 blocks finished for this quilt.

Here's all my Farmer's Wife blocks all together, they're starting to look awfully pretty all together, don't you think?

FW blocks all together

I also managed to wrap up some bee blocks this weekend, for {Sew} Beautiful Bee and do.Good.Stitches. The block on the left is for Lee, an improv pieced tree paired with some gorgeous Essex linen and then the other two blocks are for the Bliss circle of do.Good.Stitches.  

Phew, there's a few things checked off my To Do list!  I cannot believe that it's going to be Thanksgiving next week, I really need to figure out my holiday sewing and get a move on!  

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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