Think Pink

As I took the table runner we usually use to the laundry room for a wash the other day I was thinking how I really ought to make more runners for a little variety.  The next day inspiration arrived in the mail.  You see, I’ve treated myself to the monthly Kona Solids 1/2 yard club at Canton Village Quilt Works (Shhh…lets not mention it to Handsome).  The price was right and I’ve been wanting to add more solids to my stash but I wasn’t sure about what I would get.  Would these be 6 ugly half yards per month?  All the colors CVQW couldn’t sell otherwise?  Since I could cancel at any time I wanted, I decided to take a chance, and I’m so glad I did!  Look at these pretty colors:

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They are perfect for adding a little Valentine spirit to the house and I got started right away.  When I saw this table runner in last winter’s edition of Modern Patchwork I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave in and made one for myself.  Here’s my Valentine’s version:

This was a great pattern to work with and it was an easy Saturday project.

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I wish the lighting and that honey oak table didn’t make it so hard to get a good picture!

It’s sweet and modern and probably too girly for the men in the house, but it’s just right for cheering up a gray February.  Even better, I have lots of fabric leftover from this bundle to add to my stash.  I can’t wait to see what color combination comes in next month’s package!

 

Vintage Holiday Twins

When browsing my local quilt shop this Fall, I came across a kit for the Vintage Holiday quilt pattern using In From the Cold fabrics on sale for a great price.  I couldn’t resist.  Well, maybe I could have.  But I didn’t.

It turns out that it was an even better buy than I’d originally planned.  When I got a good look at the pattern and included fabrics I realized that, with a little supplementing from my own stash, I could make TWO quilts!   And so the twins were born:

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Wait…that doesn’t look like two quilts.  Yep.  I am an idiot.  I made two, but forgot to photograph the second one!

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The second was exactly the same as the first, but that green backing that you see peeking at the edge of the picture above was the border fabric for the twin version.  One red, one green.

This was a great pattern and this collection of fabrics worked really well with it.  The extra red and green used in the outer borders was fabric purchased at Jo-Anns.  I should have thought twice about that – the red ran, even with color catchers – but with a second run through the wash all came out fine in the end.  I’m not a fabric pre-washer, but I need to start doing it with my reds, I think.  Especially when they’re not super high end.

I got adventurous and practiced a little free-motion quilting on these:

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They were sent off to their new owners just before Christmas and so far, there are no rumors of re-gifting!  I liked these so much, I was tempted to keep one.  Maybe someday I’ll even make one for us.

 

 

Mini Moxie

It has been so long since I’ve made a blog post that I was tempted to just give up on blogging altogether. When looking through the pictures on my phone the other day I realized how many projects I’ve done since leaving Korea in July – so many that I’d started to forget them all. That was my point in blogging to begin with: I wanted to keep track of my many makes. Time to play catch-up. Let’s start with the most recent and work backward.

After a season of sewing and knitting holiday gifts, I wanted to start out the new year making something pretty for ME. Rememeber when I bought a bundle of Tula Pink’s Foxfield way back in the Spring? Well, it had been taunting me for months. When I unpacked our house, I intentionally left it on the cutting table where I could see it and be inspired. It was waiting to become a Moxie Quilt to be used it as a wall hanging. I have to confess I’m not sure how I feel about hanging up my quilts. I like to see them used. Snuggled. Moxie is a great take on a color wheel and it needs to be seen whole.

Tula Pink's Original Moxie

Tula Pink’s Original Moxie

The original Moxie pattern finishes up at about 50″x59″ which is a LOT of wall covering. Never having used a quilt as wall art before, I decided to start smaller. Behold the “Mini Moxie”:

Mini Moxie in progress

Mini Moxie in progress

I took the free original pattern pieces and sized them at 75% of original. Actually I first sized them down to 50%, but soon discovered that would be a mighty small wall hanging (can you say Micro Moxie?). Math is not my strong suit! At 75%, and leaving out the strips at the top and bottom in the original pattern, my Mini Moxie finishes at 36″x36″ – a great size for a wall hanging if I do say so m’self.  If you added the top and bottom background strips that I omitted it would make a great baby quilt, too.

This was a fun project. It involves curved piecing, so I did have to pin while piecing, but the curves are gentle and it went quickly and smoothly. I actually spent more time trying to figure out how I wanted to quilt it than anything else. I even took time out to try to beef up my WEAK free motion quilting skills by taking Christina Cameli’s The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting class on Craftsy. It was well worth the time and money. Christina is a great teacher (and not just because her hair is awesome). I also love her book, First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting.

My FMQ still needs work!

My FMQ still needs work! Whew, messy!

 

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But at least I’m brave enough to try, right?

 

My free motion skills are still pretty weak, but all they say about practice is true. I do see slow improvement. Meanwhile, I’ll just hope no one looks too closely at the stitching while taking in this quilt!

I do love the finished quilt on the wall:

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One of the best things about my Mini Moxie:  I have so much fabric leftover from all those FQs!  What should I do with them?

Halloween Decor

Halloween is not a holiday I tend to go all out for. First of all, I hate how the horror industry has stolen it from little kids and made it terrifying for them. Have you seen what some people do to their yards and houses to make them “festive” for impressionable young kids to stop by for candy??? Seriously people!

Nope, you’re never going to see severed heads decorating my front porch, but I do have a family room in need of some improving.

We have only been in our new house for  about 2 months and we only just got the family room furniture delivered last week, so I had been procrastinating about what to do with our mantle.  I’d just let the unhung pictures and mirrors lean up against the fireplace and moved on to something else.  Thankfully, our friends came to visit from Texas and I HAD to do something to make it presentable before they came.  Rather than commit to permanent decor, I decided to use what I had or could get on the cheap and go seasonal.

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Some creepy gauze fabric, lanterns and bat vinyl wall stickers from Target (under $10 for all) were paired up with old kids art frames (bought about a decade ago from PB Kids) and some candle sticks (also about 10 years old – Target clearance) and I had a start.

I thought about buying pumpkins – either paper mache or real – but thriftiness got the better of me and I dug into the fabric stash and onto Pinterest.   Here’s what I came up with:IMG_0008IMG_0006IMG_0007

Reusable pumpkins made with fabric from my stash.  I started with this tutorial and made some changes.  Once I’d made one pumpkin according to the tutorial, I started playing with the size and scale of the pumpkins so I’s have some short and fat and others tall and narrower.  I like the variety.  I also played around with the stems, making some curly to give them a little spunk.  I really love how they look on an old tea stand I’ve just inherited from my grandmother.

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I’ll get to enjoy these for a few more days and then I guess I’ll have to pack them away for next year and actually think of something to do with my mantle!

Happy Halloween!

Travel Sewing

We’re finally getting down to our last weeks before our big move back to the States.  This has meant lots of errands, paperwork and closet cleaning.   In addition to move business, it’s almost the end of the school year, and we have Bink’s high school graduation around the corner.  Other than fixing some loose draping on a prom gown, I haven’t had much chance to sew or knit anything.  If Handsome sees me working on a project this close to the move, he just gets wiggy, so it’s not worth it.  This our 10th move in 20 years and yet I still can’t seem to convince him that we could do this in our sleep.

Today I snuck in one teeny bit of crafting.  You see, any time we are traveling anywhere I am always thinking about what I am going to bring to DO.  I can’t stand sitting on a plane or in a car for hours just watching movies or reading.  This summer will be all about traveling by car and plane, so I need to plan for that, right?

I will pack some small knitting projects, probably socks, but I hate the idea of not getting to play with fabric until all of our household goods and the sewing machine show up again in August or September.  Thankfully, I’ve got lots of work to do on this English Paper Piecing project:

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I just needed a way to keep it organized and portable for a car or plane seat.  I probably should have stuffed it all into a ziplock freezer bag and gotten back to cleaning out the junk drawer, but that’s no fun!  So after a little internet searching and a few hours of sewing I have this:

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This little kit holds just what I’ll need to work on the journey.  I plan to stuff some more uncut fabric and work already done in my suitcase to replenish as needed.  This project came from a great tutorial by lots of pink here!  It was quick and easy to follow – thanks loph!  I used three fat quarters from the Waterfront Park fabric collection by Violet Craft.  Thankfully, I have plenty of scraps leftover to use in another project – I love that fabric!

Wonder what that dark  background is in the pictures?  Handsome finally finished (maybe with some help from the wood shop guy) my sewing table just in time for Mother’s Day.

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It was worth the two-year wait!  This is a work of art.  It has drawers for all my sewing stuff and a cupboard that holds my smaller Brother sewing machine.  My Janome sits on a hydraulic lift, and when it sinks down under the table and the whole thing folds up into a cabinet.  I just love it.  Pretty cool, eh?

 

 

When life gives you a month of lemons…

Remember March, when I cranked through THREE quilt finishes?  I was sure that was the start of something big.  I was becoming a finishing machine, right?  WRONG!

Apparently March needed to be epic because April was going to be a total fail!  What a rotten month.  It was full of stress and frustration and no time for sewing to make it bearable.  Let’s hope I don’t see another month like that for a long time!  I have a feeling with the move coming up and my sewing machines getting packed into a shipping crate to sail across the world, my whole summer might be craft-deprived.  I’d better sit down and plan some hand sewing and knitting to take with me.

I realized late last week that, not only was I missing out on the fun, but I was also letting down my Believe sewing circle from do. Good Stitches.  I’d completely forgotten to make my April blocks, so this weekend was time to catch up and get those in the mail, even if they are a little late.  Maybe the best way to get over an awful month is to try to do something that will brighten someone else’s life.

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Viola – the April blocks – Scottie dogs!  I have to admit that when I first saw the block that had been chosen for us to make I wasn’t all that excited.  “Picture” blocks aren’t really my thing.  They’re too primitive and traditional for my taste, but of course, this quilt isn’t for me.  That’s what I love about belonging to a charity quilt circle.  It forces me to stretch out of my comfort zone a bit, all while spreading some joy to someone else.  I might not make a scottie quilt for myself, but I can just imagine the joy it will give some little girl to snuggle up and name all the dogs or pick which bow she likes best.  I know I’m going to love seeing this finished quilt.

Since I had taken so long to make those April blocks, the May block assignment had also been posted, so I got to work on those, too.  These were more my thing: wonky improv-pieced fun.

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These are intended for a boy’s quilt, based on this design.  I just love this block.  I do think its a challenge to piece in the strips and then match up the background fabric.  I’m really not good at angled piecing.  There must be a trick, but I haven’t learned it yet.  I just started with a 15″ square so I had plenty of wiggle room to cut it down to the 12.5 finished block.  Looking at these pictures, my finished blocks look crazy and way out of square.  It kind of freaked me out and I just went back and checked.  Nope:  optical illusion, they’re really square.  Whew!

Well, these will go off in the mail tomorrow and I will feel a little less guilty!

One of our great quilters from the group, allisonsews,  just posted the finished pictures of our February quilt:
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Isn’t this gorgeous?  I love the way she laid it all out!  It’s such a thrill to see our little blocks come together into something amazing like this, and so much more interesting than what I could make on my own.  Normally, our Believe Circle quilts go to foster children, but this one is going to victims of the Oso, WA landslide disaster.  Maybe it will bring some beauty and comfort to someone who has lost nearly everything.

True Confessions

I have been bad.  Very Bad.  I have more fabric than one person could use in about a decade of daily sewing, and I live in the land of cheap fabric.  And yet, I ordered this: Fox_Field_large

It’s Tula Pink’s Fox Field fabric and I just couldn’t resist.  Looook the colors are so pretty!   And the patterns are adorable…

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I just love each collection Tula Pink designs.  Full of color and fun but not childish.  I wish I could get them here in Korea at Happy Quilt, but I have never seen any Tula Pink in all my shopping, even though it is made here.  Must be in the super-secret 4th warehouse – I only just made it to the 3rd on my last visit, and only because I followed Missie who brought gift booze to the owners!

If it justifies my spending even a little, I do have a project in mind for this.  I usually make quilts to be USED.  By used I mean snuggled, wrapped around people, and drooled on.  I think this is fabric to drool over not on, so this time I’m going to make a quilt for hanging.  I’ve been wanting to make a color wheel quilt for a while and it just so happens that Tula’s website has a free pattern (thanks, TP!!!) :

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Isn’t that fun and gorgeous?  It’s called Moxie, and I must have some if I think I can get away with this fabric secret buy.  Let’s not mention it to Handsome, okay?  Shhhh, We’ll just let him admire the finished quilt hanging on a wall of the new house in DC and think I got the fabric on the cheap.  And, yes – I know – if I buy any more fabric I will not be able to afford a house to fit it all in! :)

It’s a March Trifecta!

Well, March is over, but I have one more finished quilt to show off:

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This is Cluck Cluck Sew’s Pow-Wow Crib Quilt made from a kit purchased here.  I have loved this pattern from afar for a long time, and when the kit version went on sale I couldn’t resist, even though I didn’t know who would receive the finished product.  Our neighbors are such sweet people and so patient.  Not only do they share a wall with our noisy family, but he also works for Handsome.  Nothing like living 6ft. from your boss!  They are having their second baby next month – a boy – and it seemed like a baby quilt was in order.

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The original kit made a throw size, and I cut out enough fabric to make all of those blocks so I could use some on the back side.  I added in a plaid shirting print I have had in my stash for about 5 years, and I really like how it works with the rest of the quilt.  I think it adds to the boyishness, too.  This was a great pattern, and really fun to make in a weekend from start to finish including straight line quilting on my machine.  Now it’s all washed, dried and crinkly soft, waiting to be gifted.  What?  I’m done with a project ahead of time?  Impossible!

I still have blocks left over and the pattern includes a scrap saver technique that leaves you with loads of leftover half-square triangles, too.  I’ll have to find a way to use those up in a future project.

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One of my favorite bits is the one camo chevron on the back, since this is for a Navy baby!

March Bee Blocks

This month’s charity bee blocks for the Believe Circle of do.{Good Stitches}:

March Blocks for Believe Circle

 

The pattern is available from Fresh Lemons Quilts – a site I’ve loved for quite a while now.  If you’d like to see the blocks made by other members of the Believe Circle you take a peek here.

I can’t wait to see this finished quilt!  I think it’s definitely going to brighten a foster child’s day!

Finished!

Wahooo!  I finished another quilt this week.  That’s TWO this month, although I started them a looong time before that!

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This is my Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt – a great way to use up scraps.  (It was also a great excuse to buy more blue and green fabrics, but the least said about that the better!)  I was having a dilemma about what to do for the back, but my friend Missie came up with a great idea and the perfect solid from her stash:

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I love the way the teal seems to harmonize with all of the shades of blue and green in this quilt.  Of course, I didn’t manage to get the backing on quite straight, but c’est la vie.  If I wanted perfection I could buy a quilt with perfect lines and immaculate – but soulless – stitching, right? Let me tell you, this baby’s got soul!  :)

Speaking of stitching, I’d originally thought I’d quilt it with wavy lines all going in just one direction, but I tried about a line and a half before I decided that I didn’t like the look.  Better to rip out one or two lines of stitching than live with a bad choice.  Instead I quilted on either side of all of the seam lines in both directions for a grid pattern:

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I used Aurifil Creme de Menthe thread, which is one of their variegated  colorways.  I have been wanting to try variegated thread for a while and this seemed like a good time.  Honestly, I don’t think it really shows up on this quilt on either side, so there wasn’t much point, but the price was the same and the finished stitching looks fine, so no harm done.

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My favorite goofy little part is that little smidge of Navy camouflage on the back.  Most of that square ended up being trimmed off with the excess backing after quilting, but that teeny bit remains.  It’s like a little personalization, since we’re a Navy family.  I’m actually thinking of adding a little scrap to all of my quilts as a signature. What do you think?