Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baby Allison and other friends

Welcome baby Allison! I received this picture in the mail along with Alli's birth announcement the other day, and it brought a huge smile to my face to see my quilt in one of Alli's first professional baby pictures! I'm so happy that mom, dad and baby Alli seem to be enjoying the quilt, because it is one of my favorites that I've made.

As far as my mod sampler quilt, it's moving along, while giving me a run for my money all at the same time. I seem to have made two new friends througout the quilting process this time around.

Hello seam ripper, hello lint roller, it seems we've been seeing alot of each other these days. It all started when I became overzealous and decided to try a free motion flower pattern described by Oh Fransson! in a recent tutorial of hers. I read through the tutorial, and thought "piece of cake, I can do this" and dug right in. Well 4 flowers later, I decided that my flowers were nowhere near as nice and I hated it. So after an hour of contemplating scrapping the whole quilt and just starting over, I decided to try and rip out the quilting and start anew with my good ole standby, stippling, that I love so much.

So thats what I did. I tried to make sure I heavily stippled where the punctures from the old quilting was, its still noticeable (to me at least), but I'm hoping once it's washed that will help make it even less noticeable when its all crinkled up.

I have the binding sewn together, pressed and ready to go. It's an Alexander Henry print called Mod Dots. I'm in love. I think it maybe my favorite print in my stash right now. (and how fitting "Mod dots" binding on my "Mod Sampler" quilt)

Hopefully tommorow I'll get the binding on the quilt and will have more pics to share!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mod Sampler quilt top

In between our busy busy weekend filled with birthday parties and lounging poolside I was able to get my mod sampler quilt top finished! We had wonderful weather this weekend (in Pittsburgh, weather like this is sometimes few and far between) and my parents have a pool, so we were able to spend today relaxing by the pool. It was perfect.

This was the first time I had done a quilt with sashing, and I'm really liking the way its turned out.

I'm always disappointed with the pictures I take of my quilts, they never do the "real thing" justice. The colors on the quilt are so much more vibrant than they are in the photograhs. Alas, I guess I need to play with the settings a little more on the camera, and not just use the "easy" setting for optimal performance.

Anyways, in the process of working on this quilt top, I have discovered 3 new quilting tools that I don't think I can live without from here on.

1. Spray starch. I couldn't believe how easy it made ironing! And it made the fabric have a slight crispness which really helped with getting accurate 1/4 inch seams

2. Freezer paper. I know that freezer paper has a multitude of uses in quilting, but as I still consider myself a "newbie" this was the first time I have experimented with it. I used it as described here by Oh Fransson! for correcting blocks that are slightly off in length (i.e. I had a few blocks that ended up being 8 1/8 inches wide/long as opposed to 8 1/2 like they should be).
...Yes I know that I purchased the worlds largest box of freezer paper, but thats all they had at the store!

3. Pressing seams open! Again, I know this is nothing new, but when I was learning to quilt, my instructor always had us press to one side, so thats the way I did it also. I tried pressing the seams open on this quilt, and I can't believe how flat it helps the blocks lay (lie?? I never was good with that distinction!). I think I may be converted to a open seam presser.

Anyways, I'm hoping to get the back put together and then get this bad boy finished this week, so I can post to finished for friday/sew and tell. I'm thinking this quilt will be another Christmas gift either for my mom or mother in law, hope they like!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

sampler blocks

So I was able to finish my blocks for the Mod Sampler quilt, and I think I like it! I played around with the layout for a while, and this is what I've come up with:

I used 12 of the fat quarters that were in the Amy Butler Love fat quarter bundle, and I like the combination of fabrics. I took a trip to Joann's today to decide on a sashing fabric (I may have looked slightly crazy, as I brought a million little scraps with me to decide, and had them layed out everywhere!) I decided on Kona Bone, its not white, but not quite ivory either, I'm a fan. Then I wanted to pick my fabrics for the pieced backing and binding.

I'm in love with this binding fabric, and definitly bought extra to add to my "stash"

I'm hoping to get the sashing and quilt top completed over the next few days. As much as I loooove summer, its not so conducive to getting quilting projects done, as it seems were constantly running!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back in action

Over the weekend the hubby and I were out of town, so alas, no quilting or sewing projects have been worked on. Friday was my birthday, and it just so happened to coincide with a trip a few of my friends and our respective hubbies had planned a month or so ago. We drove up to New York (lower state NY, basically in Jersey) to visit our friend's new house, and the boys golfed and worked on a few projects around said friend's new house, and us girls went shopping! Now while I love crafting/quilting/sewing, and of course reading (on my new Nook!) I also seem to have a small shopping habit, and a weakness for fun snazzy shoes! I picked up these beauties at Nine West in the most amazing outlet shopping complex I've ever been to (woohoo for sales and discounts!)

While I dont have much quilting progress to show, I feel its only fair to share the fruits of my shopping labor with everyone. I think these may be my new favorite shoes. Yes, they slightly remind me of a bumble bee, but I just love the black and while with a splash of bright yellow. I imagine these sprucing up a boring work outfit in no time!

Anyways, enough about my shopping habit. I have made some progress with the Mod Sampler quilt. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to feel about this quilt, or for that matter the fabric selections I made, but as I'm putting the blocks together, I'm really liking the way the blocks are turning out!

These were the first weeks blocks, super easy to put together.

And the second weeks

Here's the third weeks

And the fourth weeks. These were by far the most time consuming to make...I pieced them together as was described in the instructions, but the more I thought about it, it probably would have been easier to piece together some strip sets and then cut rows of the strip sets to make the blocks, but this wasn't too bad.

They are by far my favorites, and I am amazed at how accurate I was when cutting and sewing the tiny squares together! I attribute this to my newly replaced rotary cutter blade. I only suffered one small battle wound on my thumb, but definitly worth it for how easy it made my cutting!

Hopefully tommorow I will finish up the last 2 sets of blocks (2 square in square blocks, another fav of mine). I also need to pick a sashing fabric...I'm thinking of just a cream Kona solid, but I'm not 100% sure yet...any suggestions??

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lesson Learned

Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ENTIRELY too long since I changed my rotary cutter blade! Seriously I know I haven't been quilting for all that long, but I think knowing to change that blade frequently is pretty basic.

I had started to cut my fat quarters for the Mod Sampler quilt (Quilt along by Oh Frannson) and was having a heck of a time, and it was like a lightbulb went off! After changing the blade cutting was smoothe like buttah! haha Seriously, I was beginning to think I was developing Carpel tunnel from pressing so hard while cutting. Like I said, lesson learned, I vow to change my cutter blade more frequently.

Anyways, I wasn't so sure about the fabric combinations I had selected so far for this sampler quilt, but as I'm cutting, I'm loving what I'm seeing. I haven't gotten very far, but heres a peek:

Like I said, not much to report on today, and we're headed out of town for the weekend tommorow to visit friends, so there will be no quilting this weekend, but I'm taking Monday off as a "sanity day" so it may be a quilting bonanza! Anyways, the friend I'm visiting is pregnant and due in a few months, so I'm hoping to get a sneak peek of the nursery so I can begin to plan her baby quilt!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mini Finishes

So I've had a few mini little projects that I had wanted work on once I finished my last quilt. A coworker of mine desperately wanted a set of these to give her daughter as a gift the minute I had showed them to her. I cant blame her, they just make me smile looking at them.

I really can't get over how easy they are to make! I think start to finish it took about 3 hours to finish all 4. I took them into work today to give them to her, and she was thrilled!

As for my second little project, on Sunday we celebrated Fathers day and my birthday with my inlaws. I had taken my Nook and my mother in law was playing around with it, and decided that she also needed to have one! So we ran over to Barnes and Noble so she could buy one, and she wanted to know if I could make her a holder for it like mine.

Of course I said yes and came up with this little number. I went back to my stash of Amy Butler fat quarters and used about 8 different prints between the outside/lining and binding.

I followed more along the lines of the tutorial with this one, however did not do the applique or fancy stitches, instead just stitching in the ditch. I used 2 inch strips, so when they were sewn they were 1.5 inches wide (the far right and far left strips were trimmed slightly smaller so that the finished product was appx 9.5 inches wide).

After seeing how the holder with the strips came out, I think I need to make one like this for myself also!

As for whats next...I think next I'm going to work on a quilt for my mom to give to her as a Christmas gift using Oh Fransson's Mod Sampler Quilt-Along and I think this will be the perfect quilt to use some of my favorite fat quarters from my Amy Butler bundle!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


It's finished! I absolutely love the way this turned out. It measures 76 inches x 67 inches, and is by far the largest quilt I've made! I think my arms were actually sore from moving this bad boy around while quilting.

It's so bright and just looks like it belongs on a beach somewhere! I don't know that I'll actually let anyone use it on the beach for fear of it getting ruined (haha) but I think I at least need to take it to the beach and get some pics of it at home on the sand.

Here's a pic of the back of the quilt. I used a few of the leftover blocks from the front and sashed them with some Kona Charcoal and then used a bright aqua for the rest of the back. The picture doesnt show it very well, but it shows off the stippling wonderfully!

I've determined that I really hate hand sewing the binding. I came across this tutorial from Rita at Red Pepper Quilts and have been using it to machine sew my binding on the last few quilting projects I've done. I think I've gotten progressively better on each quilt, and this time I didnt even have to go back and resew any parts of the binding! Its much quicker and much less of a pain in the butt than hand sewing, and I think it looks pretty good.

Just one more pic...

I'm not quite sure what to start next...stay tuned!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy (early) birthday to me!

So after my love of quilting/sewing or crafting in general, I love love love to read. I have about a book a week habit. So I have been eyeing this for a few months now, and have not kept it a secret from my hubby that I want it. Imagine my surprise when Tuesday evening dear hubby asked if I wanted my birthday present early! Now I am one to not want to wait for things, but I said "I can wait" (my birthday is next Friday). He apparently really wanted to give it to me early, because after a few minutes of my holding out, I gave in and said I would open my present early.

He got me a Barnes and Noble Nook! I absolutely love it. After playing around with it for a while, my next thought was "I need to make a cute little holder for it!" So I went to my trusty list of favorite blogs, and came across this at the Moda Bakeshop. I decided I need to make this immediately, and kind of improvised and came up with my own version:

While I was perusing last week (just looking, I swear! haha) and came across this fabulous Amy Butler Love fat quarter bundle and decided that I needed to have it.

Since it came in the mail, I have been dying to make something with it, and thought this little project would be perfect for it!

I used the Paradise Garden for the outside and Sunspots in Tangerine for the lining and binding, and straight line quilted it with criscross diagonal lines.

I am linking my post today to Lit and Laundry's Finished for Friday and Amylouwho's Sew and Tell

Hopefully my next post will feature a finished beach quilt! Just a sneak peak...I finished quilting it, and just have the binding left to do!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Completed beach quilt top

Its finished! I really love the way this turned out, it's so bright and vibrant and just makes you smile!

The top measures 76 inches x 66.5 inches, and is by far the largest quilt I've made

I'm still not quite sure how I want to quilt this bad boy, I was initially thinking of free motion stippling (thats my favorite) but the more I look at it the more I think maybe just straight line quilting would be best?? Hmmm...

As for the backing I'm thinking of using these:

It's a bright aqua/blue quilters cotton solid and I think it's Kona Charcoal, and I'm thinking of piecing in the extra 4 color blocks I had leftover into the charcoal color. I'm so excited to finish this up so this quilty goodness can be put to good use!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Half a quilt top

I have my beach quilt top halfway finished! I was actually hoping to get the whole quilt top pieced together, as my husband was working all weekend and I didnt really have any plans...however life and other things got in the way. Saturday turned into a manicure/pedicure and shopping date with my mom for most of the I guess I can't complain, I think getting a pedicure might be the equivalent of heaven. And my mom and I don't go on shopping trips together nearly enough! We both had some Kohls cash to spend, so of course I ended up spending about three times as much as my cash amount, so typical! However I did come home with some super cute sparkly sandals among other summer clothing purchases.

Anyways, as I was saying, I didn't get much sewing done Saturday, but today I had the majority of the day to play with, and I finished all my color blocks

I just love looking at them, they turned out so bright and vibrant!
I cut the white fabric and the black and white squares and started to sew those together, and decided that I just could not wait to start piecing my rows together because I wanted to see what the final project was going to look like. My initial plan was for my blocks to be 10 x 10 when sewn, but I quickly realized that apparently I was not careful enough either when cutting or sewing because my blocks weren't quite matching up! So I ended up cutting back the blocks so that they were 9.5 x 9.5 inches (so dont look too closely at the outer ring of my blocks because they are 1/2 inch shorter than I intended!) I dont think it's too noticeable, and its made piecing my rows together easy peasy, and everything is lining up perfectly.

So far, I'm loving it, its so bright and cheerful, I can't wait to finish piecing the whole top, I'll post when I do!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bad dog & log cabin fever

Don't let this adorable face fool you. I affectionately like to call her "destruction on 4 legs," as she is the reason I am now blogging with a new camera...because SHE ATE MY OLD CAMERA! Seriously, what dog eats a camera??!? I guess I honestly should not be surprised, I will add this "chewing" to the long list of other objects she has destroyed, including: TV remotes, a pin cusion, the area rug, pillows, flip flops, the artificial rocks in our fireplace...but seriously, a camera?!? It can't taste good. This dog is doomed to her crate for all of eternity when we are not home...

I suppose shes nothing if not thorough...not only did she break the camera, but she chewed the cord as well, so even if there was a chance of the camera working, its not like I could have done anything with the pictures...ugh. It's a good thing she's so cute...I might have killed her by now.

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. On to more things beach quilt is a work in progress, I've gotten some more of my color blocks done...



I still have red, purple and orange color blocks to make, and then the white framed geometric black and white prints as well....this is quite an undertaking for me! I'm pleased so far with the bright vibrant colors, and can't wait to finish the blocks to see what it will look like pieced together...hopefully as perfect as I'm envisioning in my head! Stay tuned...