Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday - Align Twice, Sew Once

Madhuri quilting fabric collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake
I decided to get brave on Block #2 of my Madhuri quilt and use a directional print in the block's "frame" definitely involved more mental gymnastics than using solids.  The most important thing I learned from this block is to double check the "alignment" of your directional print before you sew any diagonals.  Just hold your fingers down where your plan on sewing, flip the fabric open using your fingers as a seam and make sure that your print is going in the right direction.  And yes.....I learned this the hard way.  I sewed all of the "frame" pieces for this block, CUT off the excess fabric from the diagonal seams and then realized I'd done them ALL wrong.  Yup.  Time to start over!  Oops!

Soooo....the moral of my story is NOT to scare you off from making this quilt.  Far from it.  It's a GORGEOUS quilt and I'm having so much fun making it.  I just want to let you know this isn't a quilt you can rush through.  You just need to slow methodical......carefully double check before you sew.  So instead of saying "measure twice, cut once" I'll just say "align twice, sew once." 

And if you look closely you'll see that most of the frame pieces aren't even attached to the center of the block yet!  This is kind of like a dress rehearsal to make sure I don't mess up again!

This week's stats:
Active WIPs:  UP TO 7! 
-Madhuri Quilt - almost done with 2 blocks 
-Little Lady - Haven't touched it in a week! 
-Going Coastal Granny Square Quilt - STILL ready to be sandwiched and pinned!
-Dollhouse Bakery - Oh how I miss "playing" with my dollhouses!
-Hooterville:  On the hand quilting phase....but haven't touched it in months
-Little White Dollhouse - STILL sitting next to my sewing machine.  

 -Vintage Valentine:  In a box....patiently waiting....
Must Make:  14
Back Burner WIPs:  4
Ready To Go: 12

New Projects:  None
Forgotten/Abandoned Projects:  None!

Happy Sewing,

P.S.  The quilt pattern I'm using is called Camping In Style by This and That Designs.  The fabric is the Madhuri collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Next Work In Progres.....

We have a winner!  Camping In Style in the Madhuri fabric collection is going to be my next pieced Work In Progress.  It won the "vote" by a very small margin with Victory Garden nipping at it's heels.
Madhuri fabric for Camping in Style quilt pattern
The first block is almost done and I already have a great piece of advice for anyone who is thinking about attempting this quilt:  Use solids or small, non-directional prints for the "frames" on the blocks until you get the hang of making them.  I can't even imagine the mental gymnastics I would have had to perform to figure out how to deal with a directional print on this first block.  It took a few extra brain cells just to figure out how to make it with solid borders....not many extra brain cells....just a few. 
Camping In Style quilt block made from Madhuri fabric
So far I can say that you don't need to be intimidated by this pattern.  It only looks complicated.  If you just go slow, read the directions and think each step through before you sew the next seam you should be fine!

And now I need to go fix that seam in the aqua border on the right side of the block.  That puckering is driving my CRAZY!

Happy Sewing,

P.S.  I'm using a Madhuri Fat Quarter Bundle and some Moda Bella Solids including Goldenrod, Light Lime and Robin's Egg.  I will probably use Muslin Mates White Swirls as my white as that has become my "go to" white for quilts these days.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Growing Up

My sweet little boy is growing up so fast!  It seems like he changed from a chubby baby into a long and lanky "teenager" overnight!  He's now able to take flying leaps off of things that once seemed impossibly huge to him.  He is eager and carefree and full of sweetness and love.  His mind and heart only seem to know happiness and joy.

He is also very hard to photograph while awake!  I've had some requests for more action shots of Baxter but so far I've only been able to capture new images of His Royal Cuteness while sleeping. But isn't he oh so cute as he blissfully dreams of his next big adventure???
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppyBlenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy
Morning snuggles with Baxter
Hugs from me and puppy kisses from Baxter,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday - Testing The Waters

Quilt made with Little Lady fabric by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods
I finally pulled out a needle and thread for the first time in about 3 months!  I decided that my first venture back into the quilting and sewing world should be something very simple.....very easy....very mindless - it's like I just want to dip my toes in the shallow end of the pool to test the waters.  I'll dive into the deep end head first on another day!  So the hand ties on the Little Lady quilt seemed like the best place to start.  I've only done a few ties but at least it's something.  I'm slowly but surely getting back in the quilting groove.  And I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again!  Funny how that works, isn't it?!

And even though I haven't been making progress on any of my projects lately, my stats have still changed a little over the last few months.  A few projects were removed from the Must Make list.  And a few new ones were added to the Must Make list.  And since I currently have no pieced projects in the works that means it's time to pick a new one to start on.  My rule that I try to follow is that I shouldn't have more than one of any type of project going on at the same time.  Did that make sense?  I mean that I only want to have one pieced quilt in progress.  One applique quilt in progress.  One hand tied quilt in progress, etc, etc.  Now.... please note that I said I TRY to follow that rule.  I don't always ever do it.  But it's my goal. 

Active WIPs:  6  
-Little Lady - Hand ties are back in progress!
-Going Coastal Granny Square Quilt - Ready to be sandwiched and pinned!
-Dollhouse Bakery - Oh how I miss "playing" with my dollhouses!
-Hooterville:  On the hand quilting phase
-Little White Dollhouse - Sitting next to my sewing machine.  They're keeping each other company.
-Vintage Valentine:  I've started prepping freezer paper templates! 
Must Make:  14
Back Burner WIPs:  4
Ready To Go: 12

New Projects:  None
Forgotten/Abandoned Projects: Haven't found any

Anyway....these are the five pieced quilts on my "Must Make" list.  One of these is about to get promoted to "Active Work In Progress."  Here they are in no particular order.  So tell me.....which one do you think I should make next?

Quilt Option #1:  Victory Garden in reds and blues from my stash.....
Victory Garden quilt pattern with red and blue fabric

Quilt Option #2:  Chain Reaction in pink, aqua, lime, orange, red and lavender with a grey background using fabrics from my stash.  I saw a Chain Reaction quilt using these colors on Pinterest and fell IN LOVE!
pink, orange, lime, aqua, lavender and red quilting fabric
Chain Reaction quilt pattern

Quilt Option #3:  A Swoon quilt using Old New 30s and a few fabrics from my stash....
red, green, pink, orange, blue, lavender quilting fabric
Swoon quilt

Option #4:  Around The Block using the brand new Sweet Things collection by Lakehouse Dry Goods.  I know I shouldn't say this.....and I know that I should love all my fabrics equally.....but that Petal Pink Rows of Cupcakes fabric is my favorite fabric in the history of ever!
pink, green, yellow, lavender, black and white girl fabric with cupcakes
Around The Block quilt pattern by Sweet Jane's Quilting and Design

Quilt Option #5:  A Camping In Style Quilt using the new Madhuri Collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake.  I'd use the large florals and fussy cut the elephants for the centers of the blocks.  And I'd use the smaller prints and a few solids for the block "frames."
aqua blue, green, yellow, orange, hot pink Indian style quilting fabric
Camping in Style quilt pattern by This and That Designs
Soooooo......what do you think?

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The World of Downton Abbey

Wow!  Where do I begin?  This is such an amazing little story!

Back in February Col Sew Fab went on a skiing "Mancation" with some friends.  And I happened to post on Facebook that while he was off having a "boys weekend" I was going to have a girly Staycation.  It was going to be full of sewing and working on my dollhouses and watching lots of t.v. marathons including shows like Vampire Diaries, Revenge, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.  Yeah....I know....that's a strange combination of shows....but variety is the spice of life, right?!

A lovely woman named Claire in England saw this and remembered that I mentioned Downton Abbey.  I've never met Claire in real life.  She's just a person who I've chatted with and laughed with and joked with online.  But this incredibly thoughtful woman decided to send me a gift.  I was thrilled to get a package covered in "Royal Mail" stamps and I tore it open and discovered this book inside!  Love it!  How fun!
And then papers started falling out of the book and I discovered that they were all tucked in front of this page.....
It says:
To Jen,
With Best Wishes
Julian Fellowes
15th March 2013

Hmmmm....Julian Fellowes.....Julian Fellowes......that name sounds really familiar....

Google to the rescue!

Oh. My. GOSH!  Thank you Wikipedia!

Oh yeah....of course!  Julian Fellowes is the man who CREATED Downton Abbey!!!  That's why his name sounded so familiar.  He also won an Oscar for his screenwriting work on Gosford Park.  And he's done screenwriting work for other movies such as Vanity Fair, The Tourist and The Young Victoria!  And he's a member of the House of Lords (the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom).

Claire included a sweet note in the book with a wonderful story!  The little library in her village was being threatened with closure but the locals wanted to save it.  They held a fundraiser which Claire catered for free.  And Julian, who lives in the next village over, came to the fundraiser to give a talk about his career and Downton Abbey.  And Claire had Julian sign a book for me.  And she sent it to me all the way from England.  Just because she wanted to thank me for some blog and Facebook posts which she enjoyed.

Knock me over with a feather.  It's moments like these that you're reminded that there are so many truly kind, gracious, generous, thoughtful, lovely people in the world.  People who will cater a fundraising party for free.  People who will send a gift to someone they've never met.  People who will give a speech to try to save the library in the neighboring village. Simply amazing people.

So if you didn't already love Downton Abbey can love it even more now because the creator is a truly good person with a kind heart!

And finally - Thank you so much Claire!  Your kindness is inspiring!  I am thrilled beyond words!!! 


Monday, July 1, 2013

July Giveaway - Madhuri Fat Quarter Bundle

 We Have A Winner!
The winner is Amanda who said "I want to make a skirt of the pink main floral! I super love this collection, I'd prob make a quilt from fat quarters. I love the colors and the tonal elephants."  Congratulations Amanda!
Madhuri by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake 
Happy July!  It's been waaaaayyyyy too long since we've had a Giveaway, don't you think?!  And we have so much to celebrate right now - new puppies, new houses, surviving the move to California, being halfway through the year and Sew Fab's 4th birthday!  Well.....the birthday was actually on June 1st but since I was a wee bit busy preparing to move across the country on short notice at that time I actually forgot about Sew Fab's B-Day!  Oops!  So, this year we'll just pretend that the birthday is on July 1st!  Better late than never, right?!
Madhuri by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake
To celebrate, we're going to give away a 12 piece Madhuri Fat Quarter Bundle by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake.  I just love all of the bright, juicy, summery colors in this collection!  

And the selvage.....oh my.....the selvage on these prints is just amazing!  There is a rainbow of elephants on the selvage.  Selvage collectors rejoice!  It's total cuteness overload! 
Madhuri Quilting Fabric by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs
As always, just leave a comment to be entered to win.  I'd love to hear what you want to make with the Madhuri collection.  A quilt?  Do you have a specific pattern in mind?  Or maybe a sundress?  Or maybe a tote bag?  Or do you just need to get your hands on some and see it in real life to find your inspiration?

I'm thinking this fabric would look great in the Camping In Style quilt pattern that I just ordered for the shop (I'll let you know when it arrives).  I think the larger floral and elephant prints would look great in the center parts of the blocks and the smaller prints and some solids would look great as the thinner "frame" portion of the blocks.  What do you think?
We'll pick a winner on Monday, July 8 so please leave your comment on or before Sunday, July 7.  Good luck!

Happy Sewing,

P.S.  As you probably already know, the selvage "dots" only shows the colors in THAT print.  So the prints with fewer colors won't have as many elephants on the selvage.