Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gearing Up To Buzz

Even though it's not quite my turn to be the queen bee, I have to admit that I have been racking my brain for months not really knowing what quilt block to do for it. A friend of mine suggested to fish through my quilt bucket list and pick something, but all those gotta-try-before-I-die quilts are with some really complicated techniques, which I felt certain my other bee members would not appreciate.

I really wanted to do a block with curves this time since we've not had any drunkard's path blocks yet. Somehow I kept coming back to this inspiration WIP, and decided that the block was simple enough to make, but would give me the interest of curves that I was looking for. My plan is to have it somewhat of a scrappy quilt, and I thought these fun sherbert colors would be nice to work with in summer. Can't you just see yourself sitting at the ice cream shop now?

Despite the curved piecing, these blocks come together rather quickly, and I've been sharing quite a few of my block on Instagram these days...

Layout and design are just as important as the color scheme when making a quilt, and while the inspiration quilt is a horizontal layout, I've been thinking that an on point layout would be fun too:

I know, I know... no worries, I'm actually stopping now before my bee members don't have any blocks to do. Unfortunately I'll have to pack these away until summer, but I decided it would be best to nail something down now before summer starts and life gets busy.

 Linking up with Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Disappearing Act

We recently bought a new sofa for out living room that is large enough for the whole family, and the old one shifted into my husband's office. To my surprise, he has actually been using it a lot, and it's been nice for him to have a second comfortable place to retreat to when the first one is booked out.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I've accumulated quite a number of quilted cushions that have landed in our living room, but somehow recently they've been disappearing... a lot. The culprit, who shall remain nameless, keeps carrying them into my husband's office, and they are usually noticed missing when I want to sit down for the evening. 

So, as a birthday present, I decided that the thief "borrower" needed a few pillows of his own. I've always thought that Tim Holtz fabrics are just smart for projects for guys, and have had it in my head to use the map/expedition print since my husband has a large world map on his wall. I added a cigar box labels print to the mix since he enjoys a leisurely smoke on occasion.

The cigar labels print was my color inspiration for the Raspberry Kiss x's pillow (free pattern here). I have to say that it was a good challenge for me to find prints in my stash that are truly "guy" fabrics... I didn't realize that most of my fabrics lean more towards what I would grab for a girl project rather than a guy project.

As if my husband didn't already have enough to keep him busy for every hour of the day, he has taken on a new hobby/job working with wood. It would seem that his love for trees is growing just as much as his love for soil, for this through and through farm boy. I debated for a long time if a wood grain quilting design was the best choice for the more graphic x's, but since it is so fitting to him personally, and it's free motion quilting practice for me, I decided it was the best way to take out two birds with one stone.

With these three pillows to lounge on, there should be no more disappearing act excuses... fingers are crossed!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Ton of Bricks

A friend of mine shared recently with me about a quilting blog that she follows... beautiful and inspiring projects, but the quilter has 97 works-in-progress! To put it mildly, I was blown away. Now, I know I'm not really one to talk about starting new projects, but seriously? NINETY-SEVEN!?!... how does that even happen?!?

Even though it is not evidenced by this post, I've really been making a concentrated effort to be more disciplined with the number of projects that I juggle at one time. I'm a project jumper, which means I flip a lot and need to work on a project until I hit a mental road block, then switch back to an older one. Although I don't suggest this method, for everyone, it actually does work for me... and believe it or not, I still get things finished too without collecting too many WIP's.

Having said all that, let me just explain. A few weeks ago, my husband took me out for a fabulous birthday brunch... just the two of us. You know that feeling that you get when you treat yourself with something special like a fine meal at a fine restaurant? When it's not your everyday, you tend to soak things in, your senses are heightened, and everything tastes divine and just melts in your mouth. When it's accompanied with a beautiful ambiente in a quaint setting to capture and saturate ones thoughts, that feeling is multiplied. As I was looking across at my husband, I have to admit that my gaze keep resting on a vintage embroidery piece that was hanging behind him. As soon as the other guests left, I snapped a few shots to take the memory home with me. Well, as a quilter, you know how it is when something sparks an idea for a quilt... need I really say more?

Perhaps you've had that inner burning when an idea is hitting you like a ton of bricks and rolls along like a frieght train that can't be stopped? That feeling of nearly exploding if you don't translate that idea into something tangible...

... thus, quilt pattern number four. My inspiration piece even comes with it's own story... and I can't wait to share the rest of the story.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Q1 Finishes & Q2 Goals

It's been so helpful for me to section my to-do project list into quarters. When I look back, I have a better overview of what I've accomplished, which is a really good feeling, and what needs to get done. I was able to finish my top four goals from my super full, and super long 2017 goals list... among them was my second pattern release which was also my largest quilt ever! I even finished two other projects that weren't even on my list. (here and here) One of my general goals for this was to stretch myself with free motion quilting... and there's a big check beside that box too!

1. Tiptoe Through The Tulips quilt 2. Jeweled Kaleidoscope Alison Glass Pillow 3. Tiptoe Through The Tulips Pillow 4. Alison Glass Applique Pillow.
I know that practice makes perfect, but I am slightly overwhelmed with how many quilt tops I've collected that have to make it under the machine to be quilted... so let's just say that I have a good bit of actual quilting to do this next quarter.

1. My AMH quilt is basted and I've started quilting it... I didn't like how I first started quilting it, so I took the stitches out, and if you've ever done that before you know what fun it is (please tell me you picked up on my sarcasm?)

2. After I finally decided on a layout, my half square triangle quilt top came together pretty quickly. I've only made two quilts that I DIDN'T piece the back, and I think this one could end up being the most pieced backs... use up those scraps, right?

3. My bee block quilt top was assembled last fall, and I'm partially finished with the back, and using a few of the blocks that didn't fit on the front. I've decided on very simple walking foot quilting.

4. Penny Sampler is my slow stroll, stop-and-smell-the-roses quilt... I've been adding blocks here and there as I get time, but I'm in no rush to get to the finish line on this one.

5.Green Smoothie... what can I say? on the backburner, but not forgotten.

6. I'm about half way through putting together my 3rd pattern, but I've really pulled it out when it's our monthly sewing meetings. After I get a few of these tops quilted, this will move up on the priority. list.

So, there are actually two new projects that have been added to the list,

7. My Orphan Block Quilt, which is sort of a new project, but not really... is essentially giving a new face to some of those abandoned blocks from previous projects. It's nicer to finish them than through them away, don't you think? I had several squares that were left over from my Swell quilt, and these are perfect little fillers.

8. Pattern # 4 Well, this one just hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sitting with my husband during my birthday brunch date... somehow the artwork behind kept distracting and inspiring me, and I just couldn't get it out of my head... long story short, my first medallion quilt will be pattern number 4!?! Julie, I told you that you really got my brain churning with the idea of a medallion quilt... this will be a mostly applique quilt! Center block is finished and I'm working on borders now. 

**TIP OF THE WEEK**: I found this fabulous, world changing video on the Fat Quarter Shop You Tube channel for the starch applique method... let's just say that these 60 orange peel leaves were whipped up rather quickly with this method... and NO freezer paper removal from the backside!

Wheh... still with me? I'm already making my list and checkin' it twice.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Orphan Block Sampler

Do you have THAT box?... you know, the one with all the orphaned blocks from past quilts?

I've had it in my head for quite some time now to make good use of a few of the blocks that had been packed away in THAT box. I was first inspired to make an orphan block sampler from Julie... I just needed to accumulate enough blocks that didn't make the cut were set aside for their special day. It was actually quite fun to pull them out again and think about what had inspired me to make each one of them in the first place. 

You might even recognize a few from some of my previous projects. These first two blocks are actually from my most recent finish... any ideas?

... yup, that's Tiptoe Through The Tulips from my table runner project! Just a little redo to give a whole new makeover to these blocks.

I most certainly don't need to tell you how versatile half square triangles are. Since I was so undecided about my half square triangle quilt, it was nice to play with a few other arrangements that didn't make it in the original quilt.

Remember this finish from last year? My basket project, Modern Beauty table runner? I still had several orange peels left over to make another block.

ahhh... freezer paper, how I love you, let me count the ways. While working on my video tutorial for freezer paper applique, I ended up making several buttons in the process (free template here). These notions are far too fun to be left in the unfinished pile!

While in the middle of my let's-freezer-paper-everything phase (even if it doesn't need to be), I found this fun pinwheel/circle block, and just had to try it.

Even though I am very well aware of my color tendencies, I have to admit that I was quite surprised about the softness of the colors and the overall feel. The surprise is that it's not my usual popping contrasts that I so often lean towards.

With this quilt, I've tried to either use blocks from previous projects or fabric that was already cut from previous projects. The only newly cut fabric will be the low volumes that I use to connect the blocks. The cherry on the top is that it doesn't take much time for a quilt top to come together!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Design Wall

Before I share about all the moving and shifting that's been happening on my design wall these days, just in case you happened to miss it... today is the last day to say 20% in my Payhip shop to celebrate the release of my Tiptoe Through The Tulips quilt pattern (sale code: Tiptoe)

... so, you may recall seeing one of my most recent design debates when I started my half square triangle project with no real plan in mind... honestly, I was just trying to use up some too-good-to-throw-away cut-offs. 

but, as usual, I decided to add to it, it grew, and well, you know the rest. As I suspected of myself, I didn't go with any of the layouts that I had first played around with, but an offset flower/bloom design, filling in with the various low volumes.

... AND, of course my Penny Sampler is still on my wall, andI have to say that what I really appreciate about the pattern is that there are several techniques used throughout. I find that I get a little bored if it's just making what feels like 1000 of the same block over and over. I suppose that I really went through a freezer paper applique phase a while back... even using it on things that could be made without it. Despite putting to the side for a bit, I still totally love it, and it's been fun for me to pick it back up.

When I was making the Little Bird block, I was thinking about the best background choice for this. I decided that an all-time Tim Holz favorite of mine would be quite fitting with the music notes... this little bird is my songbird.

I love blocks that have fun names to them, and I really like how this Anna Maria Horner fabric adorns this little feathered friend, Dilly Bird.

 ... speaking for Ms. Horner, her fabrics were just made for fussy cutting... don't you think?

After spending so much time keeping projects under wraps, it's really fun to share a little of what I am working on at the moment. With my big deadline out the of the way, I'll enjoy a little "breather" sewing before the next big push.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips RELEASE!

May I formally and officially introduce you to...  

Tiptoe Through The Tulips, my second quilt pattern, for the intermediate to advanced quilter who enjoys working with a variety of techniques. With curved piecing, traditional piecing, bias tape appliqué, and traditional appliqué, there is a good mixture of quilting methods to make sure that there is never a dull moment. This pattern includes the required drunkard’s path and appliqué templates, two coloring pages to help you create your own custom version, as well an bonus table runner project. 

... and what better way to celebrate than with a 20% discount on my Tiptoe Through The Tulips AND Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt patterns now in my Payhip shop! (sale runs from March 15th through March 22nd, 2017) Simply enter the code: Tiptoe when you check out.

There are several finished quilt size options:    
  • Single Block (approx. 24" unfinished), which would be perfect for a pillow, table covering, wall hanging, etc.
  • Wall/Throw (approx. 69" x 69") 2 x 2 blocks + border/sashing
  • Twin (approx. 69" x 92") 2 x 3 blocks + border/sashing
  • King (approx.107" x 107") 3 x 3 blocks + border/sashing
  • Optional Borderless/Double (approx. 83" x 83") 3 x 3 blocks
  • PLUS a bonus table runner project (included in the pattern)

It's fun to see how patterns can take on a totally different look with just a simple background change. I turned this single block version into a pillow for my living room, and I love the dramatic effect of the dark background.

I've also included a bonus table runner project in the pattern for those who prefer smaller projects. Simply perfect for a spring table setting, don't you think?

I really love some the creative, think-outside-the-box ideas that my pattern testers came up with. Julie just made my head spin with ideas when she suggested to use the 24" tulip block as the center for a medallion quilt, so I decided to play around with another layout (not included in pattern). Wouldn't this be a fun version to explore? I can't wait to see her version!

Mareike has a keen eye for interpreting quilt blocks in her own way, while still staying true to the original pattern. She came up with this masterful layout of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern, and I thought it was just brilliant to seperate the tulip blocks and set them on point. You don't want to miss her lovely table topper that she made. (more on her blog here)

Speaking of pattern testers, even though it's the job of a pattern tester to thoroughly pick apart and search out every little tiny mistake, here are a few things that my pattern testers had to say about my Tiptoe Through The Tulips pattern:

“I love how there are so many varied aspects to the design...I've found with this, and other similar projects that I don't get bored just repeating the same block over and over. (Tiptoe Through The) Tulips is an interesting block pattern in and of itself (each block) and my eye travels over it, taking in each aspect. The little circles are like the cherries on top of an ice cream sundae and a little reward at the end of the block construction.”  Melissa from mtweedel


“The colors in the instructions are really pleasing to the eye. Cutting charts are really clear. I think it is a good idea to have the image of the part of the block you are cutting shown on the left. I thought the pattern overall is really clear and comprehensive, cutting, sewing and pressing. I thought the block came together beautifully and the illustrations make everything soooo easy.”  Carmen Attie


“This pattern is so detailed and really well laid out. I appreciate the amount of information that you've included. I like the extra table runner project. It's a cute design.” Becca from Cleaverr


“First of all, I LOVE the pattern! There are a couple of different methods which appeals to a more experienced quilt maker, but it is not too difficult. There are so many beginner’s patterns about, it is great to see one a bit more advanced, while it is not really too difficult for an improver.

The instructions include generously constructed parts, which means quite a lot of trimming to size. While that may not be a favorite method for everyone, I love it, because it means the parts fit together very well.”

I think your pattern is very original, clearly explained in a step-by-step way, and gives great results.
Sandra from Sew Of Course


Be sure to see what's happening under the #tiptoethroughthetulipsquilt hashtag on Instagram, and I can't wait to see what you add to the mix!
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