Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zakka Along 2.0 : Patchwork, Please MarketTote

This week's featured project from Patchwork, Please! is a lovely, roomy tote that I wanted to have finished in time to use this weekend when I wander the booths at
 ( I look forward to this annual event and am making a list of "must-haves" ;o) 
 
It's a beautiful design, as well as an easy tote to make.  The hardest part was choosing which fabric to go with that delicious linen  (I finally went with some stashed treasures that would match my coat ;o).
 
 I love how linen goes with everything!
 
 
Check out Amy's clever design idea for the interior pocket!  Such a cute touch to jazz up a pocket.

 
Then there's the self-covered buttons for exterior pockets - another detail that I find irresistible.

 
Now I have a pretty new tote to fill (with fabric and threads this weekend...;o).

 
 


Let's pop over to  A Quilter's Table to have a look at the
other versions made this week in the Zakka-Along 2.0!

My new tote happens to be one item on my Selfish Sewing list,
 
so I'll be sharing it in the Flickr group,
 
and 
 
 I'm also linking up this finish with

What's your favourite quilt?

 
Mary over at Molly Flanders Makerie posted this question and now she has a linky party going on, if you want to  join in.
 
I had to take some time to think about this question as most of the time I simply respond with, "The quilt I'm currently working on".  ;o)
I like each of the quilts I've made - for varying reasons - but there's one that really stands out for me and that's my Orange Twirl Quilt. 
 
 
I love the simplicity of the design (click here to see a block layout), I love seeing all those different, wonderful orange fabrics playing so nicely together (thanks to some help from friends) and find that looking at this quilt simply makes me happy.
 
Now, tell me, "What's your favourite quilt?"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Granny blocks and Selfish Sewing Week ;o)

It's WIP Wednesday! Time to give my project updates...
Yes, I'm still sewing 1.5" squares cut from scraps,
 
 
  to make more granny square blocks for my quilt.  Here's a picture of the newest dozen:
 
Tutorial for these wonderful blocks is from Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches
 
Latest count?

 
72!
  I think I'm going to take the advice left as a comment the last time I posted about my hopes to turn these 5" blocks into a king-sized quilt... I'm going to use them as leader-enders for all the other sewing I get into.  That may help me get further along (while keep me from burning out on sewing granny blocks endlessly ;o).
 

Have you heard?
Sept. 23-29 is Selfish Sewing Week!
 
Jill from Made with Moxie and Rachel from imagine gnats have come up with a wonderful idea - a week of sewing for yourself. ;o)  Doesn't that sound like fun? 
 
Now, it's not as if I never sew anything for myself  - the above WIP is for my bed, after all, but this week I'm also going to do some oft neglected sewing for myself.  Clothing! I may be a little late in posting about my plans to participate, but I'm full of good intentions and ready to sew away the week. ;o)
 
All sorts of selfish sewing inspiration can be found on both Rachel's and Jill's blogs,
as well as in the Flickr group.
 
 
 
Here's my lofty hopes for some selfish sewing this week...
 
1. sew a pair of lounge pants (the previously made ones I share HERE and HERE wore out) from the pattern found in the book, In Stitches by Amy Butler.
2. sew a denim skirt
3. sew a corduroy blazer or two from pattern in  Stitch Savvy  by Deborah Moebes 
4. sew a new bag ( just in time for the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive being held this weekend)
 
Linking up with The Needle and Thread Network for another WIP Wednesday.  Hope to see you there!
 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Changing with the seasons

 It appears that I've "accidentally" started another quilt. ;o) 
 
How did that happen you wonder?
 
Maybe I just needed another WIP? haha...
 
I could blame it on a combination of the changing season (with its inspiring colours) or simply because I  replaced my summer pillow covers with these ones.
 
The softest pillows ever!  Can't beat fine wale corduroy and chenille for coziness.  Now they need a quilt to coordinate. ;o)

Add in the inspiration to be found in the Falling for Modern Maples Flickr group, it's not so surprising I couldn't help myself.
Anyways, I've jumped right in, by sewing...


Can't you picture swirling leaves with this combination? :o)

Block #1,
 
 
 Block #2,
 
I just love this Katie Jump Rope print.  I was lucky enough to receive this in a swap because I totally missed out on buying any when it was available.
 
 and Block #3.
 
Now, I admit that more would have been sewn, except for a shortage of that awesome background fabric.  Not to worry, though.  More is on the way from Fabric Spot. :o)
 
Block at left is 12" while Block on right is 9"
 
See how serious I am about making these?  I made blocks in 2 sizes...  initially to accommodate the little bit of background fabric I had to use.  Now I'm thinking I will continue to make different sized blocks as a design feature.  Ha!  ;o)
 
Here's a quick pull of fabrics selected for more blocks.  Not sure that all of these will make the cut, but it's so much fun to play!
 


Hey, why don't you join me?  The blocks are easy to sew and just think, you NEED a quilt for the cold weather ahead. Yes?  Yes. ;o)

The pattern for Modern Maples Throw Quilt by
  is from the book, Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays by
 John Adams.  
or...you can also download this pattern for free, HERE.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A handful more...

I've been a good girl this week by spending a bit of time arranging my 1.5" scraps to make more granny square quilt blocks. 
 Why?  To make a king-size quilt of course.  Don't laugh (well, too hard, anyways ;o)
Okay, so it's not as if I haven't had moments of thinking the idea is totally crazy.  I mean, c'mon 5" blocks?  Then I make a block and fall in love all over again with the scrappy goodness of these pretty little things and my hope is revived and I think maybe, just maybe, this isn't crazy after all.
 
 
You know my weakness when it comes to fabric?
Colour!
Totally smitten with every bright  colour that exists.  No surprise to see the rainbow assortment of blocks I have going on then, right? ;o)

 
 
The scary part of it all?  How long since my addiction with making granny blocks began.  
 I have Jolene to thank for this addiction (thanks, Jolene!!!). 
 
Joining the FAL at the beginning of the year, I thought would encourage progress on my crazy idea of turning scrappy 5" blocks into a king-size quilt.  Welll... great idea, but I've not been diligent in taking action like I should.  Still I want a quilt to go with these huge pillows made out of tiny granny blocks.  Which I LOVE.
  Currently, I'm up to 60 blocks.  Time to consider having a weekly quota of blocks for me to make.  Cause these grannies are just begging to become a quilt. ;o)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Patchwork, Please! iPad Cover

Look!  Another Zakka - Along finish for me, and I'm on schedule with the group, too. ;o)
 
This week's project from Patchwork, Please!, caught my eye,
 even though I don't own an iPad.
 
  I look at it this way, with my pretty, personalized new cover...
 I'm that much closer to owning an iPad  (think: Field of Dreams).
 
 
I made a couple of changes from the original design.  First, I decided to include a little paper-piecing and patchwork, because I love any project  that much more when I get to use my scraps to make it really unique.  My other change? I made curves rather than straight edges on the tab that overlaps to secure the cover and opted for a sew-in press snap instead of Velcro.
 
 
 Other details?
 
The quilting is straight lines only on the exterior,

 
with some curvy lines for the iPad sleeve on the interior.

 
I bet you're wondering what I will do with my iPad cover until I own an iPad?
 
It's a perfect fit for a notebook to use for journaling.  Yay! 

 
Once I own an iPad, this sweet interior pocket will hold the charger and cord.  For now, I will just admire the cuteness. ;o)
 

 
 
I'm just loving how this project finished and who knows... maybe an iPad will soon be nestled in this quilty cover!
 
Meantime, let's pop over to  A Quilter's Table to have a look at the other versions made this week in the Zakka-Along 2.0!
 
Perfect timing! I'm also linking up this finish with
 Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish-it-up-Fridays.




By the way, most of the fabrics used to make this project I bought from
 Fabric Spot - a lovely online Canadian shop...
 
just so happens that Karen has a discount of 10% off
 (use the coupon code: 10FABRICSPOT) - but you better hurry as the sale ends today!
 
As a happy customer, I can say that one of the features I really love about shopping Fabric Spot is being able to buy any fabric as a fat quarter.  Many shops don't offer that service!   I've found it's a great way to build a varied stash for quilting as you can create your own fat quarter bundles. ;o)
 
In case you missed it, HERE is my original post showcasing the pretty fabrics I bought from Karen.

 

Proof that I love a good sale...

I've been gearing up for some fall sewing and I'm pretty excited to get underway.
 
Last month I discovered Fabric.com and immediately subscribed.  My timing couldn't have been better, because a few days later,  I received  an email giving me a 20% discount on my total purchase of anything they sell, as my birthday gift from them. That's a great birthday present, don't you agree?
 
 Wahoo!  Nothing like a discount to get me fabric shopping!
 
I  began exploring nearly every page of their online store, filling my virtual shopping cart over and over (I call this virtual window shopping ;o) before making my final choices.  It was tough!  Since the quilting bug bit me a few years ago, I tend to fabric shop for quilting cottons, but Fabric.com also carries LOTS of lovely fabric for apparel.
  Realizing what a wonderful opportunity this was, I went looking for the perfect fabric  to try out  these Vogue dress patterns I found on sale locally.  Serendipity, no? ;o)
 
Here's a peek at a couple of my choices...
 
 
 How about pairing this jersey cotton/lycra knit from Robert Kaufman with a Donna Karan dress design?  Yes, please! 
The fabric is so soft and lovely,  you would never think that it's a knit fabric when you look at it, as the print looks dimensional.  Paired with this pattern, I'm thinking this dress not only will  this be really comfy to wear, it will certainly add a little style and fun. ;o)

 
The second dress pattern calls for linen, so I couldn't resist trying this beautiful print from Anna Maria Horner.  It's so gorgeous!
 
Now you have some idea why I'm quite excited to get some fall sewing done!  How gratifying to find a shop that sells such a wide variety of apparel fabrics.  I'm hard pressed to find things I like locally, which is part of the reason why I haven't been sewing clothes for a while.  The other reason would be the cost -  but in this instance I will end up with 3 dresses for under $100.  My wardrobe really could use the boost these will give.  Admittedly, that's not all I have planned to sew for myself this fall.  I've already started cutting out fabric for a few other garments.  Yay!  None too soon either, with the weather seeming to change overnight (our furnace kicked on this morning... a definite sign of colder weather ahead).  Time to get my muslins done and then I will be diving in with the  special "birthday fabric".  Stay tuned....
 
  Just a reminder...
 
 Have you had a chance to check out the sale this week at Craftsy?

 
I've been looking at several of their classes, trying to decide - there's so many choices, but time is running out on the sale prices, so I need to make my decision soon!  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Lucky me! I've got a lovely, rainy day at home to do a little sewing, so I can hardly wait to make some progress on a couple of projects.
 
I'm playing around with a little paper piecing for one small project...
 
 
and auditioning fabric combinations for  more granny square blocks needed to make a king-size quilt. 
This should keep me busy and happy for the rest of the day, especially when homemade soup is on the menu.  Mmmm... sewing and soup.  Oh, I love a good rainy day now and then!

 
What are you sewing today?
 
It's been awhile since I've done a WIP Wednesday post... so I'm delighted to be  
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I love a good sale...

 
I wanted to let you know that if you're looking to learn something new or looking to add to your stash (fabric or yarn!), pop by Craftsy this week.
Personally, I've had great shopping experience with them and am looking through their extensive class lists to choose a class or two myself.   I love a good sale AND sharing it with friends!
 
 
Craftsy

If you aren’t one of the 2 million members currently experiencing everything that Craftsy has to offer, here is what you are missing:
  • A wide selection of online crafting classes from the best instructors from around the world, ranging from quilting and knitting to cooking and fine art
  • Classes you can watch anywhere, from any device with an internet connection
  • Unlimited access to your Craftsy classes - watch them as many times as you like, as long as you’d like!
  • A wide selection of fabric and yarn at great prices
  • A community of like-minded enthusiasts to share your hard work with


Take advantage of the Craftsy sale to try one of their classes, starting at $9.99. The sale begins on Saturday, September 14th and runs through Saturday, September 21st.
 

Zakka-Along 2.0...Paper-Pieced Pencil Case 2.0

Do you remember that earlier this summer I stitched up my first version of the Vintage Pencil Case in Patchwork, Please!  as a gift ?
 
Well, I loved it so much, I wanted  needed to sew one to keep. ;o)
 
 
My second version is similar to my first - once again, I increased the size of the linen pieces surrounding the paper pieced pencils and I used letter stamps to add some text (...oh, and I couldn't resist including some polka dots again ;o).
 
A fabric marker was used to ink my letter stamps for the text I added around one section of the paper-pieced pencils.  The ink is permanent after being set with an iron.  A very simple way to add something extra to any project.
 
The quilting I added was minimal, because really, what can compete with those marvelous teeny, tiny pieced coloured pencils, anyways? ;o)


Draw. Print. Write. Create.  Worthy pursuits and all of which seemed so fitting for my new pencil case.
However, when it came to the reverse side of the pencil case, I wanted something more. Something that really would make this pencil case MINE.   So, with a loose idea in mind, I pulled out my scraps and began stitching random bits of fabric together. 

 
I do love tiny bits of scraps reworked into something new.  It's always nice to see even the tiniest bits given new life!  Looking over what I had made, I settled on a select colour scheme and then tossed in some scrap pieces of my linen, played around a bit with the layout and came up with this.
I love it!

 
The patchwork colours on the back helped me select the colour of the zipper and fabric for the lining.  Happy, bright and energizing! Colours to stir my creative juices. ;o)
A pretty place to keep my fabric markers!
Once completed,  I immediately began filling my new pencil case.  The increase in size from the original pattern given in the book ( I found the original size a little small lengthwise), allowed everything to fit in quite easily.

 
I now have my own pretty case to keep me organized and ready at a moment's notice for taking my writing/drawing tools with me.  A win, win project!
 
 Surprise, surprise, I even managed to finish in time to join in with everyone else in the Zakka-Along this week. ;o) 
 
So happy that I can add my pencil case to the link over at
 A Quilter's Table along with all the other creative versions that have been made this week.
 
I'm off to celebrate and marvel that our youngest is 19, today.  Whoa.  I can't believe that he's now the same age that my husband and I were when we first met as Freshmen.  Yikes!  Where do the years go?
 
Wishing you a very happy Sunday!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Patchwork, Please! Trivet

Obviously, I'm not quite in step with  sewing each project in the 
Zakka-Along 2.0 according to the weekly schedule. 
 
 I've skipped some projects, while the project I just finished, was featured a few weeks back.
 
Nonetheless, I'm delighted to have completed my own version of 
Ayumi's Trivet design from her book, Patchwork,Please! 
 
 I  was greatly inspired by all the versions shared on the Flickr group. 
 
What a fun and versatile design!
 
Couldn't resist using the barn board my Dad recently brought me from the 100+ year old barn on his farm.  Makes a wonderful background, don't you think?
 
Seriously, the hardest part was deciding which print I would fussy cut for the center hexagon. ;o) 
 
Once I had that sorted out, scraps were happily played with to form the surrounding hexie pieces. 
 
Best part?
 
 Not a single fabric was repeated. I guess that says something about the quantity of scraps on hand. LOL

Seemed a good choice to use a "frosty" themed fabric for "hot" project. ;o)  Love the colour combo!
 
 
Everything went smoothly, including binding.  Just follow Ayumi's instructions and in no time you will have a trivet that will be a show stopper. ;o)
 
I  highly recommend this beautiful project if you're in the mood for some scrappy sewing and paper-piecing fun.  Thanks for another great design, Ayumi!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hey there, sunshine!

Just as I had hoped, I was able to finish my version of Rachel's quilt pattern, Impromptu, this week.  This quilt is a cacophony of sunny, bright colours that make me smile and will have me thinking of summer, year-round!
 
 
Right from the start, I knew this quilt was going to be fun -  there's so much colour!  Admittedly, this was my first time using a text print for the background and even though I had my moments of doubt, I'm glad I chose it.  It adds more than a solid white background in terms of visual interest and in really making the other colours look even more lively (if that's possible ...;o)
 

In for a penny, in for a pound... I kept the colour amped up when I chose this "popping" blue for the binding.  Definitely adds some extra sizzle. ;o)
 
 
 
Deciding how to quilt this took some serious contemplation and then once I figured out that the style should be "loose and flowing", I wondered if I could execute the idea using my domestic machine.  I was trying to mimic a woven fabric look with my quilting as this quilt has me thinking of summer picnics (which also explains my choice of red polka dots for the backing - don't they say "picnics" to you? ;o).  The vision I had in mind, was that my quilting would not compete with the design of the quilt by being too fussy or dense. 
 
 Each quilt I have made, I try to challenge myself to try different quilting designs.  For this design, I began by free hand quilting a wavy line the whole length of the top - bisecting the quilt.  Going in the same direction with each succeeding line, working towards the edge of the quilt.  Once I had one half quilted with wavy lines, I worked to do the same to the other have in the same manner.  Previously, when quilting lines across a quilt, I would change directions with each line.  That led to some bunching issues, which I wanted to avoid and that's why I didn't change directions this time.  The added bonus of doing this method meant that the rolled up portion of the quilt that was on the machine bed was reduced with each successive line, making the quilt easier to manage as I went along.

I'm calling my version, Cacophony. ;o)

I'm pretty pleased with the results - both in using a text print for a background fabric and in the quilting (I think I accomplished the loose and flowing look I was hoping for ;o).
 
  It also makes me very happy to have found the perfect pattern to showcase those treasured charms that my lovely friend,
 Amanda Jean gifted me 
 (thanks again, sweet friend!  You know how much I love  Oh-Cherry-Oh).


 
she can quilt
 
Guess what?
My quilt was  on my FAL list for the third quarter,

 so I'm really happy to finally have something finished on that list.


It's Friday, so I'm linking up my finish
 
 
I've got family travelling here to spend the weekend with us, so I'm off to finish getting ready for our house guests. I'm looking forward to enjoying a weekend with extended family and want to wish you a lovely weekend as well.
Happy stitching!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Playing hooky...

Amidst the housework I'm tackling today, I couldn't resist sneaking in a little time fiddling with scraps ...
 
 
 and working on a charming paper-piecing pattern.


 
Now if only housework were this much fun. ;o)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nearing a finish...

thanks to spending time over the long weekend machine quilting!
 
This quilt has been keeping me company on the design wall in my sewing room for most of the summer, so as much as I've enjoyed it's bright colours while I work on other projects, I'm glad to return to it and get it DONE. ;o)
 
I just need to complete hand stitching the binding and working in thread tails.
 
Love those Wonderclips for keeping my binding in place while I stitch!
 
 
Finally, it looks like I may soon have a finish to cross off
 

she can quilt

 

Monday, September 2, 2013

More Swoon blocks

 After an initial burst of sewing Swoon blocks, I set this project aside to work on other things. However, in the past few days, I did manage to sew several more and re-learned a few things in making them.  Nothing like discovering that some of those fabric pairings I selected didn't come off looking as good as I thought they would.  Live and learn, right? ;o)
 
#1.  Really small prints don't read the same from a distance as they do when close-up (mental note: remember to stand back to view and then decide on fabric pairings before proceeding to make a  large scale block like this). 
 
 
#2.  Fabrics with large white areas can get a little "lost" when they don't have enough contrast with a mostly white background fabric.

 
#3.  Fabrics with huge prints don't read so well in this block design because they get "chopped" up.
 
 
#4.  Fabrics with a medium scale design work really well for this block design, especially ones with the right amount of colour contrast.

 
Okay, so I guess you know which is my favourite block out of the four I recently made. ;o)
 
Negatives aside, when I place 3 of my newest blocks with the initial three...


I think things aren't going as bad as I first thought. Funny, how a few "not so great on their own" blocks get a boost when placed with better ones.   That being said, you can bet I will try to carefully consider the fabrics I select for the next blocks. LOL
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