Friday, May 31, 2013

Dream On Chevrons quilt - finished!

Phew, it feels good to finally finish this quilt - it's been a long time in the making! Dream On by Urban Chiks was one of those lines that came out right around when I started quilting, and while I really liked the watercolor, vintage feel of the line, I had no idea what I was going to do with it, so I just started collecting it. Ultimately I wound up with several half-yards, four charm packs, and still no plan.

It's huge. My Dream On quilt.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I was packing for The Stash Bash...I had decided that I wanted to start using the collections that I've been just hoarding for the last few years, like this one, and so I grabbed some of those charm packs, cut up some of the half yards into charms, and brought them with me to The Stash Bash, planning to make a larger version of Jeni's patchwork chevron quilt. I was aiming for something simple where I could use larger pieces and finish it quickly.


At the Stash Bash, I plowed through making my nine patch blocks pretty quickly, and stocked up on a blue solid to use as my background fabric. Admittedly, I kind of hate this shade of cornflower blue. It's just too...dusty, I think, for my liking, but it does work well with the charms, so that was it. I started making my half-square triangles, only to find I was one nine-patch block short. So I improvised, and used some complementary fabrics from friends to make one extra nine-patch block. It doesn't stick out the way I worried it might, thankfully.

The not-Dream-On-block

By the time I left Atlanta, I had a finished quilt top, which was an awesome feeling. I then got home and spent a few days unpacking, thinking about how to quilt it, and feeling quite stumped. I made a back using a patchwork cheater print from Dream On as well as some of my leftover fabrics, and basted it, then let it sit. And sit some more.

A simple meander FMQ on some of the chevrons

Right before I left for Quilt Market, I decided to sit down and get started. I decided I wanted to do some heavier quilting in the solid areas, using some different FMQ stitches, and then do a simple echo straight line in the patchwork. I found a blue thread that matched pretty well and got to work. I managed to finish one solid chevron before I left. Then, when I came home, I got back to it, but it took a while. I got bored really easily working on this one, which isn't like me, so it took a while to get through all of the solid chevrons, then no time at all to straight line the patchwork.

A little bit of swirly FMQ

Quilt stats
name: Dream On Chevron
size: 84" x 108"
fabrics: Dream On by Urban Chiks
pattern: Patchwork Chevron by Jeni of In Color Order
quilting: various FMQ stitches, including swirls, loops, and a stipple in 50 wt Aurifil color #2805; straight-line echo quilting on patchwork chevrons in white 50 wt Aurifil
binding: Dream On stripes in pink
backing: mish-mash of leftover Dream On prints

Binding and backing

I'm happy with how it all came together, and I'm going to be happy to give this quilt to someone later this year when her birthday comes up. These fabrics just remind me of her, so I really think she's going to love it. Next, I want to try to think about what to do with my Wonderland stash. Wonderland is the first collection I ever hoarded, so it's kind of extra special to me. I definitely want to do something special with it, but I'm just not sure what yet. Time for my thinking cap.

My ever-growing Wonderland stash - thank you swapping friends!!!
note: this is a really old picture of my Wonderland collection - I think it's even bigger now!

What about you - do you hoard collections and then stare at them and wonder what to do with them, or is it just me? Have a great weekend everybody! And Lucky Stars BOM subscribers, check your inbox tomorrow for the June Lucky Stars block!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Divided Basket Headquarters

It's starting to feel a little bit like a sweatshop in my sewing room - I've been working on a lot of the same thing the last week, which is a bit unlike me. I'm trying to plow through my end-of-the-year preschool teacher gifts as well as some of the recipients on my Pay It Forward list.

All three together

I love Anna's great Divided Basket pattern. Have you made one yet? I highly recommend it, Anna's patterns are so easy to follow. I've officially made four of these baskets now, and I love each one dearly. I guess that's what happens when you use fabric you love. :)

Divided basket assembly line

The first one I made was for Marla, as a part of a post Stash Bash swap, using some of Ellen Luckett Baker's first line for Kokka, Stamped. I really love the colors in this one, and I was so pleased with how easily the whole thing came together. Seriously, I think the fabric and interfacing cutting took more longer than the actual sewing!

Basket for Marla

Then I decided to cut into some of my favorite Ruby Star Sparkle by Melody Miller for a PIF (pay-it-forward) gift. I only had a half-yard, so on the back side of the basket, the phones are upside down, but I think it's kind of endearing that way.

Melody Miller divided basket

I wanted to do one more PIF (pay-it-forward) gift basket, so I pulled out a stack of Anna Maria Horner fabrics, and grabbed the one on top, a cut from Innocent Crush. As soon as I picked up the stack, I knew who this basket would be for (but I'm not telling yet!!). Because Innocent Crush is a quilting weight fabric instead of a canvas or home dec fabric, like the pattern suggests, I used two layers of interfacing for extra stability - Pellon Fusible Fleece, as the pattern calls for, and a layer of Pellon Craft Fuse, another fusible that I tend to use a lot of. It worked out quite well, so I will definitely do that again if I use a quilting cotton for this pattern.

AMH divided basket

The last basket I worked on put some new fabric to use - a cheater Kokka patchwork fabric I got in Portland at Bolt. I saw Susan, the owner of The Quilt Asylum, walking around with this bolt, and she was generous enough to let me have a half-yard off of it. The lining is an Aneela Hoey print from Sew Stitchy, which I thought would make a cute lining for this divided basket. It would make a great scrap basket, don't you think? I've decided now I definitely need to make one for me if I wind up giving this adorable one away.

Kokka patchwork divided basket

What about you? Do you like to sew the same project again and again? Have a great Wednesday!
Monday, May 27, 2013

Dear Fat Quarters...

Many of you commented last week about my surprising rule against fat quarters, and I realized that while I wrote this post a while back, I apparently never published it. Whoops! So, here it is, my Dear John letter to fat quarters. Have a wonderful day!

Dear Fat Quarters,

It's not you, it's me. No, that's not true. It's you, it's totally you. I can't put this off anymore. I simply have to break up with you, because there's just not enough of you. Seriously, 18" x 22" is just not enough for me anymore. Because every time I make a quilt, or a pouch, or a bag, I go to reach for you, and you're just too small. Or worse yet, I cut into you, thinking I can make it work, and I can't. And then I get crabby, and there's just no need for such madness!

Haul from Modern Domestic

So I'm calling it quits. No more fat quarters for me.

Denyse Schmidt - Florence fq pack

Instead of falling for cute displays of you in quilt shops (I'm talking to you Modern Domestic!) and grabbing piles of fat quarters, I'm going to stroll right on by you. I'll pick up a bolt instead, and get a nice big half-yard cut, because a half-yard is just so much more usable in my stash than a measly, tiny fat quarter.

Preppy Sophisticate bundle from Sew Lux Fabrics

So, when I pass you by, don't look at me, Fat Quarter. Because you'll just be disappointed. There's no longer a place for you in my stash.


P.S. -  I'm talking to you too, Fat Eighths and Charm Packs and Jelly Rolls. Persona non grata!

P.P.S. - It's entirely possible probable that I will break this rule. For Oakshotts, at the very least...and maybe uber-expensive Japanese fabrics...
Friday, May 24, 2013

Spring Quilt Market 2013: Odds and Ends

Quilty people are the best people, aren't they? Every time I get to go to something like Quilt Market or Stash Bash or what-have-you, I'm reminded of this. Everyone was so kind and welcoming! I got to place lots of names with faces and I got to see lots of great people I'm lucky to call friends in Portland.

On Friday, I got to sit in on the Portland Modern Quilt Guild's regular meeting, which had a presentation on the new MQG membership model by Alissa Haight Carlton as well as an amazing trunk show by Jacquie Gering. I adore Jacquie, and being the tall girl I am, she asked me to help Jen hold her quilts, which was so amazing. Being up close and personal with those quilts was just incredible. And hearing Jacquie speak about her quilts, gosh... I'm not sure I can put into words how hearing her speak and share her passion made me feel. Suffice it to say, it was something I won't forget for quite some time.

Alissa and Jacquie at PMQG meeting

And I can't forget to mention Jamie...she lives in the Portland area and was kind enough to drive some of us about here and there. Her sense of direction caused quite a bit of laughter, the kind of laughter that nearly brings you to tears. I will never look at a bike lane quite the same way again, Jamie!! Thanks for the rides!

It was such a kick picking up my nametag and attaching a sneak peek of my book cover to it! It was positively surreal to talk to people and have them ask about my book. It made me kind of swallow my fear of talking about myself, and I had some great conversations with people as a result of that beautiful little conversation starter.

My nametag :)

Speaking of my inability to talk about myself, there's something kind of big I've been up to that I haven't really shared here on my blog yet. Since the end of January, I've been on a bit of journey. A journey to become a healthier, fitter me. I've never been a thin person, other than when I was a young child. I've always been heavier, in part due to my love of baking and also because I've always despised exercising. But something happened to me in January. I decided I wanted to make a change. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror and the way that I felt. I've half-heartedly dieted over the years, but there's something different about this change I've been making. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change, as cheesy as it sounds. I'm not just changing the way I eat for now, I'm doing it forever. And it feels good. I started doing Weight Watchers first, and after seeing some good results in the first eight weeks, I added in some exercise, starting with the 30 Day Shred. I spent 29 days doing the 30 Day Shred, and now I'm doing the Hip Hop Abs video series, and having a shocking amount of fun with it. It doesn't feel like work when I constantly see the scale moving and feel my body changing. I'm usually a pretty private person, but sharing my successes and seeing the success and accountability of others on IG using the #sweatnsew hashtag is really inspiring and keeps me going. I'm talking about you, Terri and Becky! My journey is not yet over, but I'm halfway to my goal, which is a great feeling.

This whole change in me made going to Market a really interesting experience - lots of people noticed that I looked different, which was both flattering and mildly mortifying at the same time. Sometimes I even have a hard time seeing a change in myself, so I thought I'd dig up some pictures from last Market to compare to pictures from this Market. Left side is last year, 40 pounds heavier, and right side is this year, with the lovely Cindy of Live a Colorful Life. Don't you love her gorgeous Little Folks raincoat?!?!

Side by side - last Market and this Market
left: Spring Market 2012
right: Spring Market 2013 with Cindy/Live a Colorful Life

So, this is my last Spring Market post for this year. Next week, I'm planning to get back into my sewing room and start making a dent in my ridiculous wip list, starting with end-of-the-year teacher gifts! Are you making teacher gifts this year? What are you making? I'm still undecided, and running out of time! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring Quilt Market 2013: Portlandia

Portland was a great place for Spring Market this year. I'd never been to Portland before, so it was exciting to get to see a new place, and to experience it with so many great people. If you haven't visited Portland before, make sure to arrive with an empty stomach - the food is unbelievable!

Mother's Bistro was a great breakfast spot, with quite possibly the best french toast I've ever had. Granted, I haven't been to Paris or anything, but I thought they were amazing. It could be in part because I haven't had the luxury of having french toast in a long time, but the ambiance in the restaurant was also really cool.

French Toast at Mothers

AnneMarie and I also walked on over to Frank's Noodle House for dinner one night, with their amazing homemade noodles and super tasty dumplings. It was a really interesting little place, and the food was just delicious. Definitely two thumbs up.

Frank's Noodle House - yum!

And who knew that Portland had awesome ice cream?!? Not me! After the Modern Domestic Happy Hour Friday night, a group of us walked over to Salt & Straw, a super fresh ice cream shop with very unique flavors, ranging from arbequina olive oil to more classic flavors like chocolate with gooey brownies. I had a mixed scoop of the chocolate with gooey brownies and the sea salt with caramel ribbon ice cream. Definitely an amazing match up! Even if it made the mild weather feel nearly arctic afterward ;)

Salt & Straw with some super fun girls
awesome photo of us in line *yes there was a line!* at Salt & Straw by Jamie
l-r: me, AnneMarie, Jen, Sukie, and Lee

Bolt - great fabric store in Portland

The other thing you'll need when you go to Portland is your wallet, because there are so many great fabric stores! On Thursday, AnneMarie and I managed to get out to a few fabric stores, thanks to our hotel shuttle and the kindness of strangers. We headed to Bolt, which was a beautiful little shop. Gorgeous fabrics, lots of modern finds, and lots of crossweaves as well. Definitely an inspiring kind of space. I picked up a few goodies there, and at the cutting counter, stumbled upon a kind stranger who was heading to Fabric Depot next. AnneMarie and I had planned to venture out to the public transit system to get out there, but our kindly new friends offered to drive us. How nice!

Stack of finds from Bolt

Fabric shopping with some good samaritans

Our new friends were Susan, the fabulous owner of The Quilt Asylum in McKinney, Texas, and her daughter, Audrey. Thanks again, girls! Fabric Depot was definitely an interesting experience - kind of Wal-Mart meets quilt shop, with loads, and loads of bolts of quilting cottons ranging from solids to popular collections. They even had a bridal fabric section! Definitely lots of variety there. I picked up some great stash builders there, as well as some fabric to put together a Super Tote for Jacquie with her signature color, orange, and a fun dark denim I found.

Fabric Depot - interior

Makings of a Super Tote from Fabric Depot

Quilting cottons from Fabric Depot

Last but not least, I did a bit of shopping at the Modern Domestic Happy Hour, breaking my no-fat-quarters rule, because they were too cute to pass up. If you get up to the Portland area, definitely be sure to check out the Modern Domestic class schedule, their teaching space is just breathtaking!

Haul from Modern Domestic

Don't you just love checking out quilt shops in other cities? I know it's something I look forward to when I travel to new places. Have a great day today. Happy Wednesday to you!
Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Quilt Market 2013: Fabric sneak peeks!

Though I'm happy to be home, Portland was really wonderful. From the awesome people to the great food and gorgeous scenery, it was a great trip, not to mention all that fabric! And thankfully, I brought my camera, so I can share it all with you guys :)

Today, I'm going to share the great booths and fabrics that I saw at Market, starting with....

Violet Craft's Waterford Park

Violet Craft's booth! Violet was sharing her upcoming Waterfront Park collection for Michael Miller, which should be arriving in stores this summer. Violet has such a bubbly, infectious personality, it was fun getting to visit with her. I especially adored the bridges quilt behind her, it's really stunning in person.

Waterford Park

Also in the Michael Miller booth, I spotted a great upcoming line from Emily Herrick. I especially loved the movie theater seats that Emily recovered in her new line, Technicolor. I adore the colors in this line, it's so bright and cheerful.

Emily Herrick's Technicolor

Emily Herrick's Technicolor - circle pack

I was also really excited to see Mo Bedell's booth. Mo is such a sweetheart! She featured her newest line, Full Moon Lagoon, in her booth as well as her next line, Hothouse Flowers, shown in swatches to the right of the seahorse quilt. Mo won a ribbon for her beautiful booth, for best new exhibitor. So exciting for her!

Mo Bedell's award winning booth

Mo Bedell in her booth

Another line I was pumped to see was Denyse Schmidt's upcoming Florence line, which should be in stores at the end of the summer. No surprise here, but it's gorgeous and brimming with all of the things we love about Denyse's past collections: beautiful, rich colors, small prints that are so easy to use, gorgeous stripes, and a fantastic vintage feel. I will definitely be getting lots of this collection!

Denyse Schmidt on Florence

Denyse Schmidt - Florence fq pack

The Kokka booth was also outstanding, full of Melody Miller, Echino, and Ellen Luckett Baker fabulousness. Melody's next line even has a small cameo of the viewfinders from her first line that have been so beloved and impossible to get. Melody also wore a fabulous dress made of the arrow print while she was at Market, but I didn't manage to get a good picture.

Melody Miller's new line


Ellen Luckett Baker's Folk Modern

I also enjoyed seeing Jeni Baker's new line, Nordika. While the colors aren't colors I would normally attribute to her, as soon as you see the fabrics, the collection is totally Jeni. I loved the embroidery hoops hanging in her booth and the mix of both fun garments and quilts showcasing the new line.

Jeni Baker's Nordika

The Cloud 9 booth was so cheerful. It's entirely possible that it's mostly due to a big dose of Pigeon. Oh yes, Mo Willems's famous Pigeon from his books has made it to fabric! I know my son would love to have a pigeon quilt on his bed.

Cloud 9 quilts

Cloud 9 Booth

The other fantastic thing I saw in the Cloud 9 booth was Rashida Coleman-Hale's upcoming line Koi. Rashida's booth featured booth Koi and her current line, Tsuru, but Koi definitely was the showstopper of the booth. With a similar color palette to her super-popular Washi line, but fresh, new prints. Rashida's sunny personality really comes through in this line, which will be available in both quilting cottons and voile.

Rashida Coleman-Hale's Koi and Tsuru

Koi sneak peek

And those are the fabric collections that I saw that really inspired and struck me. I'll write some more about the fabric shops I got to visit in Portland next in another couple of days, and I've also got lots of photos to share from an amazing trunk show by Jacquie Gering, too. First up on the lengthy To Do list I've returned to: laundry! Wish me luck! Have a great day :)
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

To Market, To Market...with a new bag!

Whenever I travel, especially on quilty adventures, I feel the need to make a new bag. And usually this feeling doesn't come over me until the last possible moment, so right on schedule yesterday, I found myself desiring a Super Tote. Have you seen these bags? It's probably Kelly's fault, because she made a gorgeous one adorned with applique leaves for Tracey, come to think of it. All the same, Anna, as always, wrote an amazingly easy to follow pattern that yields beautiful, professional looking results. I am super excited to board a plane to Portland today carrying my new bag. I love this bag.

Super Tote - done!

It's huge. I could probably even fit my laptop in here, but I'm not going to try on this trip. Inspired by Kelly, I made a few changes to the bag - I added the exterior pocket to both the front and back of the bag, because I like pockets and I added a crossbody strap rather than two shorter straps. At Market, you wind up lugging a bunch of stuff around, so I figured the crossbody strap would be way more comfortable.

Super Tote - top/side view

I used Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax for the linen bits, Melody Miller's amazing viewfinders in aqua for the exterior pockets, Madrona Road Sprout in Straw for the lining mixed with an old Kumari Garden print called Tarika for the lining gusset. I only wish I'd bought a whole bolt of the viewfinders when they came out, now that they're out of print!

Super Tote - interior fits SO much stuff!

All in all, I'm really happy with how this turned out and have plans to make a second one for Jacquie. She jokingly asked me to make her one to bring to Market, but rather than rush through it, I'm going to make it for her after I get home. She can use it to cart some of her necessities to all of her wonderful classes that she's teaching these days. You should check to see if she's teaching near you, because she's seriously awesome!

Cross body #supertote finished! Pay no attention to my messy closet please :)

I'll be back with loads of pictures from my trip next week, and I will indeed be posting to Instagram (with my terrible camera phone) while I'm away if you want to follow the #quiltmarket fun. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

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?
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