Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one with lots of disinfectant

It's been a long week at my house, thanks to a super fun bout the munchkin had with pinkeye.  Thankfully, everything is now officially disinfected, he is fully healthy, and back at preschool again.  Yay!  I'm glad he's feeling better and I'm even happier that we're no longer under quarantine!

Stash Trad blocks
I forgot to bring my fabric for an Arkansas Traveler block for Lee on my trip, and February is quickly escaping, so this weekend I worked on her bee block.  I think this quilt is going to be really stunning once it's finished, and you can see a sneak peek of how the blocks are looking together so far at Lee's.

Arkansas Traveler for Lee

I also did our March block for Amy, which is a winged square block.  I started with my center print, a cut from Melody Miller's awesome Ruby Star Shining collection, and then started to match up the light teal and then the coral red.  I used some of Kate Spain's Terrain, Khristian A. Howell's The Woodlands, Dena Design's Leanika, Moda's Half Moon Modern, Cosmo Cricket's Tailor Made, Tula Pink's Prince Charming, Aneela Hoey's Little Apples and Free Spirit Solids.  I really love how this block turned out, and the Essex linen for the background I think makes it even more awesome!

Winged Square for Amy

For the Love of Solids swap
Done!  I finished up my small item for my partner, a simple bookmark, and now my items are all set to go.  I really love how the mini turned out, though I forgot to photograph it in daylight, and I might just put together a block tutorial on how to put that block together soon!

Solids bookmark

For the Love of Solids mini - done!

Secret stuff
I'm still working away at several different secret projects, but gosh, I hate keeping all these secrets.  I can tell you this much, though - everything is really pretty :)

{Sew} Beautiful March blocks for me
I've got the bee gang putting together squaretastic blocks using my Little Folks voile stash and I spent a good chunk of time this week designing the blocks and divvying up fabric to send out.  I cannot wait to see how these blocks come together!

Bee blocks on their way out!

Star Crossed Stitch quilt
I kind of forgot about these blocks until I made up my list this morning, whoops!  I've only got three more left to go, so I'm hoping I can find some time for those this week.

So, what are you working on this week?  Link it up over Lee's and have a great Wednesday!
Monday, February 27, 2012

A trip to the quilt museum

I realized last night that I'm almost back in the swing of normalcy again and yet I forgot to share some photos from my trip!

We saw some snow, which was great.  The kiddo was super excited about the snow, though it was only on the ground for a day or so.  He made his very own teeny tiny snowman, a few snow angels and several snowballs.  It was so great to see how happy the trip made him.  We celebrated his fourth birthday on the trip as well, complete with a fantastic Batman cake that put a huge smile on the kiddo's face.


Lee and I also took a trip to the Wisconsin Quilt Museum, which was full of unexpected surprises.  The first thing we saw when we walked in and hung up our coats was a very familiar looking quilt block - the star crossed block I just wrote a tutorial for last month!  It was interesting to see how the quilter chose to sash and border the quilt, which I suspect might just inspire me when I finish up my star crossed quilt.  I've never added cornerstones to sashing before, it might be kind of fun to try that for once.

Star crossed block quilt!

The museum also had a quilted representation of the museum itself on display, which was really amazing.  Inside were several "quilts" hung on the walls, all cross-stitched.  Seeing those lovely blocks and quilts made me want to cross-stitch again.  I haven't done that in eons!


When we moved into the barn, there were two exhibits to see.  One was a Girl Scout exhibit, showing the history of the Girl Scouts through quilts, but none of those photos turned out very well.  My photos from the second exhibit turned out much, much better.  The second exhibit was called Connecting Thread: A Line of Design.  Each piece had a piece of red cording or thread running through it and connecting it to the other pieces.  It was definitely a unique concept.  I haven't seen a whole lot of art quilting before, so I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I.  We saw a lot of stunning quilting stitches in an art quilting exhibit featuring work by the Milwaukee Art Quilters group.  Here are a few of my favorite free motioned designs:

by Terri Kirchner

by Roberta Williams

by Mary Ellen Heus

These quilts really showed off some amazing FMQ'ing and I will definitely be looking at these photos before I free-motion my next quilt.  So inspiring!  To see the rest of the quilts on display in this exhibit and read more about the challenge, click here.

Lee also showed me her local quilt shops, and naturally, I found a few things to bring home.  I totally plan to hang the quilter's star block lights in my sewing room to brighten things up a bit.  They are just so cute!  I was excited to see the King Tut thread, I've really been wanting to try it for a while now.   The Hera marker has also been on my shopping list as of late, I've been wanting to try using it for marking quilting lines and designs after I saw Kati use one with great success.

Wisconsin goodies
(top row: L-R: Busytown On the Move yardage, Riley Blake Fly a Kite, Robert Kaufman Stockholm, Moda Salt Air; bottom row: L-R Hera Marker, Quilter's Star Block Lights, and King Tut Superior thread)

I'm looking forward to actually turning on my sewing machine and hopefully sewing a little bit today!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one where I'm back from vacation

Phew!  Back home at last.  It's funny how a vacation can totally wipe you out, when you think it will  rejuvenate you. Then again, a vacation with a kid isn't really much of a vacation at all, but I can tell you that we really had a wonderful trip to Wisconsin.  It was cold, but not bitterly so.  We did manage to have one day of play in the snow, which was great, and there was definitely some sewing fun as well.  In fact, Lee and I took a trip to the Wisconsin Quilt Museum, which was very interesting, as well as to a few local quilt shops, and I'll tell you more about all of that tomorrow when I process all of the photos!

While I was out in Wisconsin, I was working mostly on bee blocks.  I got to use Lee's little Hello Kitty machine, rightly nicknamed The Hulk, and it was a lot of fun to get to sew with her, though I was seriously missing my 1/4" foot!

For my block for Emily in {Sew} Beautiful, I was truly stumped as to what I wanted to do for her.  She asked for a block with an offset center of our own choosing, and I was terribly indecisive at first, until I tossed out the idea of doing a mini bookshelf.  I wasn't sure if it would work out, but I think it's really cute, and since Emily works in a bookstore and enjoys books, I thought she'd appreciate it.

Emily's block for {Sew} Beautiful

I also fooled around with a test block for my month of {Sew} Beautiful - I'm thinking about asking the girls to make square-tastic blocks, using my mammoth stash of Little Folks voile fabrics, but I wanted to stitch up a square first to make sure it's not too crazy slippery.  The verdict?  This quilt is going to be soooooo soft!

Test mini block for {Sew} Beautiful March

I kept plugging away at my Stitch blocks and managed to finish up three.  Only three more blocks to go before I start tackling the sashing and bordering of this one.

More Stitch blocks!

I also worked on some other bee blocks, three of these rainbow-y log cabin beauties.  These were so easy to put together that I almost had a hard time stopping at just three.  Super awesome stash busters, for sure!

Rainbow log cabin goodness

There's only a few more days left in February, but I've still got lots to finish up, including a bee block for Lee that I intended to make at her house, if only I had remembered my fabric, and the rest of my For the Love of Solids swap package.  I still need to decide on my small item and do it.

I'm looking forward to dusting off my machine this morning and putting it to use.  What are you working on this week?  Write it up and share it over at Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.   Happy Wednesday!
Friday, February 10, 2012

Modern Mini Quilt Blog Hop: Friendship Hexagon Mini and Tutorial

Hello Modern Mini blog hop friends, welcome to my little corner of blog world!  I was super honored that Jennifer asked me to share some of my miniquilts with you all today to inspire you to enter the Modern Mini Challenge.  The contest opens up in just a few short weeks, on March 5th and you can link up your entry at Ellison Lane Quilts.  I hope that you might just see something that will inspire you today, and if you do, I'd love to hear about it!

I love making minis, and I've surrounded myself with them in my sewing room, both made by me and by my friends.  One of the things I adore most about minis is that it allows you to try something new on a small scale, without committing lots of time and fabric to an idea you're might just be unsure about.  I also use minis to practice things I want to get better at doing, like hand-finishing binding and hand-quilting.

Another super fun thing about minis is that they can be really fast to make.  Sometimes quiltmaking can be a very slow process, but minis speed up that process a boatload thanks to their size.  I also love the lack of rules and guidelines for minis - they can be whatever you want them to be!  Want to make a 9" mini quilt?  Great!  Prefer something larger, more like 18" x 24"?  Go for it!

Here's what I've made to enter: the Friendship Hexagon Mini, a twist on a traditional Friendship Star block.  I worked on improving my hand-stitching, hand-binding and even tried out some new batting.  Did you know Pellon makes batting now??  Yes, the kings of interfacing have started to make batting and they've got a zillion varieties available.  I tried out their natural cotton batting, which is comparable to Warm & Natural, and really enjoyed working with it.  The hand and drape of it is just fantastic and it was so easy to sew with!!  I definitely recommend it if you come across it in your travels to your local quilt shop or Jo-Ann's.

Friendship Hexagon mini - full

Friendship Hexagon Mini - detail 1

Want to make your own Friendship Hexagon block?  Here's a super easy tutorial to follow for a 12.5" unfinished block.

12.5" unfinished
all seams are 1/4" unless otherwise noted

mini note: Want to make a mini block?  Divide all of the measurements in half to create a 6 1/4" unfinished block!

1. Cut your fabric as follows:
Yellow (accent fabric) - one 7 1/4" square
Dark blue - one 7 1/4" squares
Medium blue - one 7 1/4" squares
Light blue (star) - one 7 1/4" square and one 4 1/2"

2. Pair one yellow square with one medium blue square and sew 1/4" all the way around.  Repeat with one medium blue square and one dark blue square.

3. Bring your sewn pairs to your cutting table and make two diagonal cuts across the corners of each pair as shown below.

Friendship Hexagon block tutorial - detail 1

4. Press your new HSTs.  I press with seams open, but do what works best for you here.

5. Trim your HSTs to a uniform 4 1/2".

Friendship Hexagon block tutorial - detail 2

6. Lay out your HSTs with your one remaining light blue square and sew together in rows to complete your block.  Press well.

Friendship Hexagon block tutorial

Still need some more inspiration?  I've made a lot of minis over the last two years, here's a few of my personal favorites:

Have I convinced you to make a mini for the challenge yet?  I sure hope so :)
Mark your calendar!  Here's how the challenge is going down...
2/6/12 - 2/19/12 
Weeks 1 & 2 - Inspiration Weeks - Modern Mini Challenge Blog Hop  
Bloggers share their modern minis and kick-start your creativity. Get inspired, get creative, get those ideas flowing!
2/20/12 - 3/4/12 
Weeks 3 & 4 - Sew. Sew. Sew! 
Work on those minis and create your Modern Mini Challenge piece. 
3/5/12 - 3/9/12 
Week 5: Enter the Contest!
Link up your Modern Mini Challenge piece at Ellison Lane Quilts. Voting begins that week and winners are announced on February 9th!

Get out your sketch book - you don't want to miss your chance to win one of the 5 fabulous prizes

A BIG THANKS goes out to Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop for generously sponsoring all five of our fabulous prizes. 

The five winners will be chosen as follows: 
James’ choice (my husband chooses his favorite) 
Viewer’s choice Mug Rugs
Viewer’s choice Mini Quilts 
(mug rugs and mini quilts- the viewers choose from a selection chosen by myself and three other bloggers) 
Luck of the Draw (Random Number Generator chooses 2 winners)
So what are those fabulous five prizes? Hold on to your hats! 

Viewer’s Choice Winners will receive a fat quarter bundle of the FULL LINE of Flea Market Fancy reprint by Denyse Schmidt.   James’ Choice Winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.  Both Luck of the Draw Winners will receive a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

I hope you'll make something for the challenge, I think it's going to be a lot of fun!  Looking for more inspiration?  Check out the rest of the inspiration posts at the blogs below to get your creative juices flowing!

2/6: Stitchery Dickory Dock

For more contest details, visit Ellison Lane Quilts for the nitty gritty details!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one with my new obsession

It's been a busy sewing week at my house with lots of progress all around, especially on the vacation front.   We're all excited for the trip now and I'm just trying to check a few sewing projects off my list before we head out of town.  In between sewing this week, I have jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon.  Have you seen it yet?  I finished up season 1 last night and I'm looking forward to getting caught up on season 2 now.  So seriously addicted!  I am so pleased that it actually lives up to all of the rave reviews I've read online as of late and I'm even more happy that I am now "in the know" about all the Downton drama!  I highly recommend it :)

4x5 angel blocks
Off in the mail today!

Still going:
For the Love of Solids swap
My big project is moving right along, but I'm still at a loss as to what to do for my second smaller item for my partner.  Just some binding to finish and my mini will be all done!

FTLOS progress!

Star Crossed Stitch blocks
Made a few more this week, and gosh, I'm loving this block more than ever now.  I'm really enjoying putting this quilt together so far!

Star Crossed blocks coming together!

Modern Mini tutorial
I'm putting the finishing touches on my Modern Mini post and tutorial for Friday as a part of Jennifer's Modern Mini Challenge and I'm really excited about sharing this one with you all.

New this week:
Sew Beautiful block for Emily
Emily sent along some gorgeous fabrics for her block, and has given us an interesting block to work on, so I'm excited to work on this one soon.

Sew Beautiful yummy fabrics

Stash Trad block for Lee
Lee has asked us to make her Arkansas Traveler block from the Summer Sampler using beachy tones of blue and green with some sandy tones thrown in.  Need to pull some fabrics and get this one going so I can maybe bring this block with me to Wisconsin next week!

What are you working on this week?  Write it up and share it over at Lee's WiP Wednesday linky!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Monday, February 6, 2012

Did you really think I'd watch the Super Bowl?

I'm so not a sports girl.  Never have been, with the exception of a phase when I religiously watched college basketball with my dad.  So I was not one of the millions of people watching the Super Bowl last night - instead, I sewed.  I'm pretty sure I had way more fun. :)

In the 4x5 bee, life got in the way, so to speak, for one of our caretakers, so Amy and I are working on angel blocks for the members of that hive.  We chose Faith's Star block pattern for them, and after an intense round of rock paper scissors, I wound up making two blocks, for Rhonda and Jessica.

Rhonda asked for rainbow fabrics for her block, which was somewhat of a challenge with this block.  Ultimately, I decided to split up the rainbow into warm and cool colors and throw in some gray for a neutral to tie it all together.  I'm not too sure it really works, honestly, it feels a little haphazard, but I'm hoping that Rhonda digs it.

4x5 angel block - hive 10, q1

Jessica asked for aqua, gray and orange for her block, and I dug out some Heirloom scraps for her.  I'm happier with how her block turned out, even though it is awfully scrappy, it feels a bit more unified and well thought out.

4x5 angel block - hive 10, q1

I think I may have forgotten to share with you the lovely blocks I received in this first quarter of the 4x5 bee - look at all these lovelies!!  There were some wonderfully talented people in my hive, so I was really happy with each and every block I received.

4x5 bee - hive 12, q1

I also finished up ironing and cutting my fabrics for my Stitch quilt last night, so I'm looking forward to getting some more of my Star Crossed blocks done this week.  So many HSTs!!  I trimmed these while I watched my first episode of Downton Abbey (love it already!!), so that made it a much more bearable task.

Stitch HSTs ready, trimmed and ready to become blocks

I'll leave you this morning with a sneak peek of the mini I'll be sharing with you all on Friday as a part of Jennifer's Modern Mini Challenge!

Modern Mini sneak peek
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one where I forgot it was Wednesday

It's been another busy week in my household, gearing up for the munchkin's fourth birthday, which is going to coincide with a huge business trip that my husband is taking.  We're going to tag along with him and have ourselves a little vacation in...Wisconsin!  I know, you must think I'm crazy to go on vacation in Wisconsin in February, but I think snow is going to be a fabulous birthday present for the munchkin, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with a good friend up there as well :)  Naturally, lots of lists are being made as we prepare for the trip, from things to pack to things to take care of around the house before the trip, so there's lots of life progress this week, and not a whole lot of sewing progress I can share at the moment.

Star Crossed quilt block tutorial - new on the blog today

I did finish up a little block tutorial on Monday, the Star Crossed block, which was a lot of fun.  I've gotten two blocks into this quilt so far, but I did finish cutting up the rest of the blocks this morning, so I'm all set to make some more blocks now.

I had to whip up Hug Bot 2.0 over the weekend for the munchkin - the first edition was coming apart, thanks to my shoddy embroidery and a munchkin who has a tendency to pick at threads and things, and I've been saying since Christmas that I wanted to make him a new one, so I'm glad I finally got around to it.  The munchkin is very happy with Hug Bot 2.0, even though it's a bit different from the original.

I also finished up one of my secret quilt projects over the weekend, only to start another one.  Here's a sneak peek of the finished one...

I totally heart FMQ'ing

I'm also hard at work on my For the Love of Solids swap package for my long as you count shopping as work!  I've picked up some solids I think my partner would dig, and worked up another sketch that I think might be more her speed.  I think I still might try to tackle the other sketch I came up with last week, perhaps in another project.

Does this float your boat?

Now, I'm off to Lee's to link up for WiP Wednesday and to try to catch up on what everyone else is up to this week.  Thanks for stopping by!

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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