Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday playtime and a new tool

I got to play with a new ruler today!  It's the 25" - 10 Degree Circle Wedge Ruler by Phillips Fiber Art.  It makes a 50-inch circle and it's perfect for making the patchwork wedge Christmas tree skirt I'm working on.

I've never used a wedge ruler before, but it's easy-peasy, makes perfect wedges and lots of these:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

City Sampler Blocks and a little Christmas preview

Happy to say that I finished my three blocks for the City Sampler Quilt Along at Sew Sweetness this week ~ it seems like I'm always behind a week or two, so Yay Me!

I realize the fabric I'm using is pretty low-key compared to those in the book, but I like it that way.  Besides, since I'm new at this quilting business, I'm looking at this venture as lots of good practice!

Today was a monthly get-together for the Naples Quilters Guild called Gathering Stitches and I did these blocks there.  And then ... got started on Christmas ~ it's sneaking up on us way too fast and I promised my four girls I'd make them tree skirts.

Here's a preview of the first one ~ I'm using charm packs from Countdown to Christmas  (an older collection by Sweetwater) and Christmas Countdown (Deb Strain), both Moda collections.  Just starting to stitch a few together and find the right combinations ... It will look totally different once I'm done!

OK - no more peeks of this one.  I have to keep it a surprise until I can give it away!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Finish Friday

I'm happy to say that I accomplished my goal of finishing the Pinwheels & Postage Stamps quilt!  I spent the last two nights in front of the TV hand-stitching my binding on.  I've always been a "finish it fast by machine sewing" kind of person, so this hand-stitching was pretty new to me ~ I actually loved the experience and I'm so happy with the way it turned out!  I found the tutorial at Sew She Sews.

Here are the pics of the front and back ~ 

I'm debating whether to throw it in the washer for that crinkle effect that everyone seems to love.  Aside from my Christmas tree skirt (that I didn't wash), this is really the first quilt that I've done.  All in all, I feel really good about this finish!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it Friday!

Edit:  Also linking up with iSew Monday

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Wednesday ~ Adventures in binding

Today was binding day on my Pinwheels & Postage Stamps quilt ~ I thought for sure I could do it all in one day ... dream on ...

They say we learn from our mistakes ~ I sure hope so!  I started out OK ~ I trimmed the quilt down cutting off the excess batting and backing.  So I thought I'd stitch along the edges to make them a little flatter so they'd stay still while I'm sewing on the binding.  Silly me, I must have sewn 1/4" away from the edge ~ not realizing that I needed to sew the BINDING 1/4" away from the edge.  Big mistake!  

Here's the binding all clipped on and ready to sew (I was really optimistic at that point!)

Once I got the binding sewn on, guess what showed up underneath?  Yup ~ the first line of stitching.

So I started doing a lot of this

and ended up with a whole bunch of visible little stitch holes.  Not happy.  I guess I'm just hoping that those little holes will eventually go away once the quilt is washed?

So tomorrow, my goal is to put on a good movie (or two) and hand-stitch the binding on.  I don't trust myself to machine stitch it!  Hopefully, I've learned something from today's adventures.  :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Grace and I spent some time today quilting my Pinwheels & Postage Stamps quilt.    It was all straight-line quilting with the walking foot ~ good enough for now until I learn how to free-motion quilt.   It took me a while just to decide what I wanted to do with the pinwheels, but I'm happy with the result!


I'm amazed at all the quilters out there who quilt full-size quilts on their machines ~ even with this small one, it took quite a bit of wrangling to do the pinwheels!  I'm debating on whether or not to add some quilting to the border, but I think I'll just leave it plain.  It's hard being a newbie quilter ~ I'm still so unsure of myself and I guess I'm just afraid I'll mess it up.  

Next up is the binding, so tonight I'll spend some time going over some binding tutorials.  I've got the binding all made (using this tutorial by Jona Giammalva), so starting on that is my goal for tomorrow!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back in the groove

I actually got a few things accomplished this weekend!  Got all caught up on my City Sampler blocks (43 ~ which I forgot last time ~ 47, 48, 49,50 and 51)~

So that means that I'm halfway through the 100 blocks (I'm patting myself on the back for sticking with this) ~ Yay, me!

And ~ I got out my Pinwheels and Postage Stamps quilt and did some machine quilting on it.  I haven't taken the free motion class yet (the teacher is a snowbird and I hear she'll be back in October), so I'm just doing some straight-line quilting with my walking foot.  I did straight lines on two of the sashing strips and some diamond shapes on the postage stamps.  This is only the second quilt I've done, and I like it so far!  I just have to figure out how to quilt the pinwheels.  My goal is to finish the quilting and binding by the end of this week ~ they're having a Show & Tell at Flash Sew & Quilt and I'd love to be able to show something!

That's it for this weekend's projects.  Think I'll spend the evening dreaming I was back here :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Finish Friday

Being gone for the last week, I've only got one finish to speak of ~ Block 4 of the Hop Skip & Jump Block of the Month over at Sew Lux Fabric.  At first I thought it required paper-piecing, but alas it did not.  (I'm new at paper-piecing, so I need the practice)

I really like this block!  I love the fabrics for this Block of the Month ~ I'm using the Happy-Go-Lucky collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.  Here are the other 3 blocks that I've done so far:

OK ~ back to spend time with Grace (my machine missed me!).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aragon Bag pattern release

Remember the sneak peak I told you about a couple of weeks ago?  Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness released the pattern today and posted about it on her blog.  Here are a few pics of the bag I finished as a pattern tester.

I can't say enough about this Aragon Bag!  I took it with me to Las Vegas this past week and used it as a carry-on ~ it was perfect!  Plenty of room for everything ~ love the two zipper pockets (inside and outside)  ~ I used the outside one for passports and boarding passes (secure and easy to get to).  The bag has elastic side pockets for water bottles on the outside and the same pockets on the inside that I used for my phone ~ and two larger elastic pockets on the inside.  I quilted the outside and I'm really happy with the way it looks.

Love Love Love it!  The fabric is from Patty Young's Rendezvous collection which I came across at Joann's ~ beautiful!  I sent some photos to Sara when I finished the bag, who sent them to Patty, who featured my bag on her Modkid blog, along with some other cute projects made with Patty's fabrics.

Big "Thank You" to Sara for letting me test this pattern!  If anyone wants to make one, you can find the pattern here.  :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Playing catch-up

Between shopping and packing for our trip out west, I've been trying to play catch-up on the City Sampler Quilt Along ~ I was already two weeks behind as of Sunday, so I cut pieces out for 6 blocks (I thought).  Apparently I cut seven and forgot to sew one of the blocks for LAST week (the pieces were hiding in the pages of the book).  Here are the six I did sew (40 through 46  ~ I forgot 43).  Today is my last day for a while and I've still got a bazillion things to do, but I think I can squeak out that one block.  I'll catch up for sure once we get back home!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Class today!

At the last minute (like this morning), I decided to attend a class today at Flash Sew Quilt (one of our local quilt shops) taught by Bev Young.  The pattern for the table runner we worked on came out of Back to Charm School by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene.  Bev is such an awesome and fun teacher ~ and she always has the most invaluable tips for cutting and piecing the fabric!

I finished two blocks in class ~ using a charm pack called Midwinter Reds along with a couple of browns and a grey.  To do the table runner, we need to make 10 of these blocks and then add dark brown sashing and binding.  I'm usually not much of a red fan, but I think this would look good as a fall/winter addition.

This makes two weeks in a row that I've taken a class ~ last week's class was for a Pineapple Log Cabin block.  For that class we used the most amazing ruler ~ the Pineapple Trim Tool by Creative Grids.  It took a little getting used to, but it's fabulous!

Here's my block for that class ~ I love it except for the center square and the light blue (they just don't work for me!)

So no more classes for me until I get caught up on what I'm doing ~ and I need to start working on some tree skirts I promised!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finish Friday

I actually do have a couple of finishes this week!  The first was actually an order through my Etsy shop, JeniLuScraps, for a teacher who was buying 35 Little Zipster Pouches for the kids in her class ~ how nice!

Finish #2 was the bag for the pattern I was testing that I mentioned on Monday.  Unfortunately, I can't show you yet, but let me tell you ~ I LOVE it!  It's a perfect travel bag for me, but it could be used as a diaper bag as well!  While I was putting the final binding on I got a chance to use the Clover Wonder Clips everyone is talking about and they are FABULOUS!  Here's a pic of them in action ~ can't wait to try them out on my next quilt binding project.

That's it for this week ~ I have four more sewing days before we head out west for a week, so hopefully I can catch up on my QAL and BOM before we leave.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

QALs and BOMs

So yesterday I mentioned that I'm working on the Tula Pink "City Sampler" Sew Along hosted by Sara at Sew Sweetness, and the Hop Skip & Jump Block of the Month over at Sew Lux Fabric.  How fun it is to do quilt projects on a schedule!

I really look forward to getting a new block pattern and fabric every month for the HS&J BOM from Sew Lux (and I love the way they package their goodies!).  Last month's Block 3 forced me to learn a new skill ~ my first paper-piecing ever.  Happy with the way it turned out!  and I just got Block 4 in the mail today ~ more paper piecing ~ but I'm feeling confident.  :)

For Sara's City Sampler Quilt Along (or Sew Along, whatever), I'm afraid I've fallen a couple of weeks behind (could have been the order for 35 Zipster Pouches that I had to mail out before school started! combined with the test pattern that I need to finish this week!).  Anywho ~ I had a bunch of fabrics that were grey, white and light blue, so I thought I'd use these for the 100 block sampler.    Here are some of my favorites for far:

Both the QAL and the BOM are great practice for me, so thanks to Sara and Chrissy and Linda for putting those out there so we can play along!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I'm starting my list of WIPs (works in progress).  They don't change very quickly, because I don't usually get things done very quickly.  

It's been 11 months since I took my first class at my local quilt shop ~ that was a Christmas tree skirt that I finally finished in May.  My biggest problem in finishing?  I think I'm just terrified of the actual quilting.  I love the piecing part of it  ~ and then I get stuck, so my projects just hang on a quilt stand that my stepdad made for me.  :)

Here's a photo of my one and only finished quilt project.  The pattern came out of Back to Charm School by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene.  I used the Cherry Christmas collection by Aneela Hoey.  See the wavy quilting?  I went for easy.  But I do love the way it turned out for my first quilt!

I've actually pieced two other quilt tops (they're small, but that's where I'm at at the moment).

The first is an hourglass quilt using Verona by Riley Blake.  I found this pattern here at Cluck Cluck Sew.  My first hourglass attempt, but I'm pretty happy with it!  I just have the top done ~ and I've made the binding for it.

The second is a pattern called Pinwheels and Postage Stamps from the Sew She Sews blog.  I bought a layer cake called Meadow Friends by Deb Strain and thought it was perfect for a little boy's quilt!  I do have the backing and binding made for this one and actually have it pin-basted.

Aside from these two quilt tops, I'm working on the Tula Pink "City Sampler" Sew Along hosted by Sara at Sew Sweetness, and the Hop Skip & Jump Block of the Month over at Sew Lux Fabric.

It looks like all of these will be on my WIP list for a while, but I'm OK with that!  I know once I get the "quilting" thing down, I'll get them done eventually. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sneak peak

Who knew?  that I would be lucky enough to actually test a bag pattern for one of my favorite designers!  This is a sneak peak of what I'm working on at the moment ~ love the colors in the fabrics (which I actually found at Joann's)!

I'll let you know when the pattern is published, so you can see it for yourself.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

And so it begins ...

I'm not much of a blogger, really ~ I just wanted a place where I could keep track of my sewing projects.  There are so many great sewing/quilting blogs out there ~ it amazes me how the people who write them make us feel like we've known them all along.  

And so, being kind of a shy one and never knowing quite what to say, this little blog of mine will probably just contain a few pictures of (a) what I'm working on, (b) some things I've done in the past and (c) some of the projects out there in blogland that really inspire me to sew.

With that said ~ meet Grace!  We met last Saturday (after my Brother locked up on me and proved to be unfixable) ~ she's not fancy, but she's the first Babylock I've purchased and I love her!

So here's to lots of projects and blog posts to come ~ Cheers!