Monday, April 30, 2012

Slash the Stash - April

Binding attached

FMQ with gray Aurifil
Playful Puzzle Shaped quilting
I recently helped my SIL order fabric to make Dr Seuss quilts and we both got all sentimental about having read the books to our kids when they were little.  So when the opportunity came up to make a family friend a baby quilt, I just had to go there too.  There are so many adorable designs in this Robert Kaufman line and I hear they'll be releasing it in minky.

Most of the fabric was generously given to me because she had "extra" from her project. I did purchase the two larger pieces on the back and the binding but the rest I'm proud to say is from my stash. Primary blenders were pretty easy picking.  I finished the last of the hand stitched binding tonight - after all, the baby is due in 5 days.
Linking up to Slash the Stash - this and most all of my sewing in April has been from my trusty buckets including this sneak peek project.  How about you, any slashing going on?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Sides to every Story - and Quilt

Dr Seuss backing Stripe
When I first started making quilts, the backing was just something needed to hold the front and batting together.  For years it was a solid piece. Then it became a few chunks of fabric.

Now, it feels like another opportunity to tell a second story. The relationship to the front; how it compliments or competes is really quite intriguing to me. 

The freedom to explore the limitless possibilities when designing the backing, especially when the design of the front is uniform or predictable is very appealing.  I've found that sometimes, I like the back better than or at least as much as the front.  In the case of Dr Seuss Sparkle Punch, I'm certainly having more fun with the sequel. 

The inspiration for my back design came from a combination of the one I saw at The Stash and this one by Iheartcharms. Linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations and Manic Monday at SewHappyGeek - go take a peak for a wealth of ideas.
How about you - what's your feeling about the back of a quilt?

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's like a Puzzle

The stack of 5" squares I prepped for the BAMQ Sew In last weekend seemed like a lot, but I had underestimated the number needed for a 45x54 baby quilt by a lot.

"Quilt math" as I like to call it is my least favorite part of the process but this should be easy, 10x12=120 less75 made = 45 more to go, right? Well, yes and no.

Because there are full and partial stars in Sparkle Punch I was faced with the dilemma of determining exactly what parts to the puzzle were missing.  After way too much thinking and placement fiddling - I decided to throw it up on the design wall and just fill in what I needed visually. A way better approach than math for me - this is the end result.

Elizabeth's QAL has the assembly done in quadrants so I'm splitting this into four and hope to have a top to share soon.  

Wait 'til you see what I have in store for the backing.....

BeeBlocks:Raspberry Papaya Daffodil
Teal We Meet Again

Finish It Up

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts along with these two because although the Dr. Seuss top isn't done, the parts are all accounted for and that qualifies in my book!  Who knows, maybe by mid-night I can get it all sewn together and then I won't be such a rule bender.

Here's a question about the Dr Seuss quilt: Gray or What?
I get a bit of grief on a regular basis for using so much grey... but because I didn't want white (impractical for a baby and besides, the Thing One and Thing Two fabric would blend out). What other color for the background could I have chosen?
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Row Robin - Attached and Close Up

I'm so happy with the row for Susan now that it's attached to the top.  The grey negative space played out just like I'd hoped to give the fabric some room to shine. I think it also compliment Dana's mid-section circles on grey.

My Row added on the bottom
The journey continues and the swap gets closer to completion with only Jacqueline's to go before this top heads back to Susan where it began.
Left Segment
 Here are close ups of the three segments.

Center Segment

Forgive the warped effect that sticking them to the design wall creates - it's just an illusion.
Right Segment
Hard to believe I've already made six rows for six amazing quilts as part of the Around the Bend and Across the Pond bee Check out the flickr photo pool.

linky party at SewHappyGeek Manic Monday


Dr Seuss Sparkle Punch Squares
Row Robin for Susan
Yesterday, Tina, Rebecca and I had the extreme pleasure of joining the ladies of BAMQG for a Sew In.  Their hospitality was wonderful and projects so inspiring.

I packed lightly, with 5 projects on my list:
Susan's Row Robin,done
Teal we Meet Again top,done
3x6/4x5 Bee Blocks top,done
Dr Seuss blocks, partial (75 or 120 done)
Tassels blocks, nope

Tina tackles Granny -relentlessly
12hrs of quilting was a dream and it was terrific to meet and chat with those who attended. Putting more faces to the buddy icons of my flickr friends: "real humans" LOL.
I wish I'd taken more pictures! Here are just a few...

Thank you again BAMQG for such a memorable and productive Sew In Day.

Rebecca's final stitch - hand sewn binding

Friday, April 20, 2012

Zakka:Twin Cushions

Finally got to cut into my European Linen and chose the color Oatmeal to offset the bright yellow floral.  They aren't perfect but they are done and I think kind of cute.  It was so refreshing to have a little project go so quickly and to work out of my new Zakka Style book.

They're not identical twins because I just had to go my usually scrappy on one.  The closure was sewn whip stitched and then with a blind stitch to see what I liked better.

I must say working with linen for the first time was kind of fun.
the back sides
Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Up Friday. Speaking of link ups...
Last call for Q2 Finish Along at Quilter in The Gap , it's closing in a couple days. I've got my to do list, do you?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stacks of Squares - WIP

Where has the week gone?!  I'm excited to be attending BAMQG's Sew In on Saturday and meeting many quilters in person that I've only knows virtually.  The perfect project for a quilting marathon day is my Dr. Suess sparkle punch.

The baby is due cinco de mayo - which sounded so far away in my head, but isn't.  It'll feel good to complete the first item on my FAL Q2 list.  I've been collecting fabric in primary colors to coordinate and have way too much.  The background will be in Kona medium grey because babies and white just don't mix in my opinion.

NYB QAL is buzzing ahead without me - ugh, I did manage to get one part of one quarter done which is pretty pathetic.  I do love the fabrics that I chose but it's a far cry from real progress.

WIP at Freshly Pieced link up.
Happy Quilting.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Finish It Up Friday

I love Fridays. Especially when I can link to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Up because I actually got something accomplished!  Even when I don't get to participate I always browse everyone who has posted because it's so inspiring.

X Binding 

My stash proved invaluable yet again with what I think is the most perfect binding fabric for the Asterisk quilt, if I do say so myself!  I knew I had a blue/green in the buckets to choose from but to find a print that creates an X when folded over was a bonus. Usually it takes a few sessions to hand stitch the binding on but I was so excited that I sat and sewed continuously until it was done. My hands have yet to recover - not the smarted move on my part but there was no stopping.

Trying to do too much in one little block design

This picture detail is of my experimental Extended Bar Asterisk block. I like to modify and play around to try and bring to life what is envisioned in my head. This was a near miss but it still blends well with the overall scrappy, modern quilt. 

My husband thinks that the horizontal and vertical bars should extend out further than the diagonal ones to more accurately represent an asterisk and I agree.  The problem I ran into was trying to mix a double bar design and stay within the 12.5 size - because the inserts were especially large, it grew too big quickly.  This concept deserves a revisit for another project.

If you are not already a fan and follower of Amanda's blog be sure to check it out.  Funny story: I was looking in my old, old bookmarks for something totally unrelated to quilting and ran across a link to one of her tutorials from way back - before my flickr days.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quilt National 11

Since I list photography as one of my interests, I thought I'd share a few pictures that I've taken for a glimpse of what catches my eye.
Often I see fabric designs or quilt patterns in nature and hope to translate inspiration into projects more often -not necessarily in a literal way like my Hanalei Pier mini but with more of an impressionistic influence.  
Art Quilts are on my mind lately, especially after a recent field trip with several ladies from SBAMQG last Friday to see....

Quilt National 11

.....the 17th biennial juried exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles featuring 46 amazing works.  There is a two part video on their website which is pretty awesome because it is narrated with information about the artists and  their quilts.  Although I would say that the textures, details and feelings they provoke could not be captured in the same way as seeing them in person, it's worth checking out if you aren't able to attend before the show leaves on the 29th.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

FMQ conquered & Teacher Tuesday

I Want to be Teacher's Pet

Today was definitely a new day.   I look forward each week to Teacher Tuesday announcements on the Sewing Summit but today was such treat.  Two of my favorite bloggers are teaching a paper piecing class together: Lee of Freshly Pieced and Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy.  When the class schedule goes live, I'll have my finger on the trigger!  Also big news for me; the hunt for a SLC room mate is now officially on - wish me luck!

FMQ Conquered

I was filled with excitement which is not exactly relaxed but certainly not stressed out and uptight like yesterday either.

So... FMQ was back on the table.  More accurately, two folding tables - all sprawled out. I had to climb over to get to my machine.
Aurifil is my new best friend.  I know there's a lot of give aways and promotion of the thread lately but you don't have to sell me on the stuff - it's fabulous.  A nice medium aqua worked well with the Amy Butler honeycomb backing.  I'll do a full reveal of this project once complete.
Linking up to Lee's WIP (because it's already Wednesday in other parts of the world - and morning have been rough since my work schedule change)

This weeks tally:
Completed: Dana's Row Robin
Great Progress: Asterisk Quilt
QALs were a bust this week/Zilch: NYB, Quick Curve, Zakka (although the book arrived so that kind of counts!) 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Churn Dash Whimsy

Hedgehog to the Rescue

I was in a bit of a sewing funk today. I'm working on a secret project that I'll be able to share soon but not yet.  Great progress was made this weekend and I am loving how it's turning out - happy to have it all basted and ready to go - smooth sailing until I found myself too uptight to FMQ.  
The required state of mind to tackle FMQ is critical, wouldn't you agree? I just felt like if I started without having my head wrapped around the process I'd fail, so it was smarter to wait.  What do you do to gear up mentally for FMQ?  Tomorrow is a new day and fingers crossed that I'll relax enough to pull it off.   
Rather than let the evening escape entirely, I pulled out the bits of whimsy and solids that I had chosen to use in Dana's Row Robin for Around the Bend and Across the Pond! Her inspiration was a needlework sampler and I found the Farmer's Wife book the perfect resource settling on the classic Churn dash.  Just the ticket to cheer me up.    An adorable hedge hog, pink rooster, a pony and more did the trick. Dana and Mandy included scissor fabric in their rows so I added a pinking shear detail.

A love affair with Japan

Tonight at our Guild Meeting for PVQA
Tracey Brookshire was the guest speaker and shared slides of the amazing Tokyo International Great Quilt Show . This is a nine day festival and in 2007 she was invited to have her basket quilt in it. She also presented a small trunk show of her work and patterns.  

The Bento Box was the first quilt pattern that I ever purchased and still think it's great after all these years.  This one I made for our bed is 105x105 - huge for me - and this one was made as a gift for a very sweet young lady. I wonder if she ever expected that there would be crazy/wonky versions popping up all over flickr. I've been in two swaps myself. 

Shoji and Jigsaw are a couple of my other favorites that I have yet to try.  When youngest was on a little league team with her son many years ago I had no idea who she was which is a good thing I guess because I would've been way too intimated to have made the coach a quilt - which he loved. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Linky Party Love

Finish Along Qtr 2 by capitolaquilter
I was lucky enough to find out about Quilter in The Gap's Finish-Along 2012 last quarter and joined the fun.  I'm proud to say that I finished all of my goals - amazing what a little accountability will do to motivate a person.
Congrats to all of the many prize winners. 
The Linky Party for Quarter #2 is going on right now so dust off your UFOs and let's get those projects completed together.  It may be a bit ambitious to double my goals form 3 to 6 but I'm going with the aim high approach.
1)Asterisk Quilt, 2)Cat & the Hat, 3)Tassels Quilt, 4)Curio Quick Curve, 5)Teal We Meet Again, 6)Zakka in Echino.
Wish Me Luck and Good Luck to YOU.

Speaking of Lovin'  - great job ladies, passing the love along with your Liebster Blog award nominees. Some blogs were new to me and some I had visited before - all were clearly deserving.  Be sure to check them out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blogland is the Best

Life is full of surprises - in a good way.

I now have 31 followers and 16 posts under my belt. Can you believe it? I'm so thrilled with the growing number of people that have stopped by.   It's kind of silly just how much I like getting comments.

Less than three weeks ago I got it in my head to just jump in and make one. If I was really attending Sewing Summit as planned, it was high time to see what blogging was all about from the other end.

I hit the New Blog button on my dashboard not even knowing what was next to come and I'm so glad I did. Here I thought I'd be talking to myself, and there you are listening, thanks.
You're too kind Beth, I'm blushing
Now for icing on the cake, one of my flickr friends Beth at Smazoochie honored me with the Liebster Blog Award.  I've seen the award given and know what it is, but it didn't occur to me that I'd be chosen - especially in the infancy of my blog while I'm stumbling around trying to get my footing.  Beth is so sweet and always making flattering, supportive comments on flickr of my swap/QAL pictures so I shouldn't be too surprised - it's her nature to be so thoughtful.  I'm touched. 

Here's the scoop:
“The origins of the Liebster Blog Award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it means favourite or dearest to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.”

Here's the rules:
1. Thank my Liebster Blog Award presenters.
2. Link back to my presenters' blogs.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on my blog.
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to five blogs with 200 or fewer followers that I feel deserve to be noticed and post links to their blogs on my blog.
5. Let the recipients know they have been given the Liebster Blog Award by posting a comment on their blog.  next on my list of to do.

Be sure to visit them and let me know what you think.
Drum roll, the envelope please... in no particular order, my nominees are:

Deb at Trio Stitch Studio: One look at Deb's buddy icon and it's obvious why she made the list. She is just so perky and witty, how could you not smile while reading her bog and looking at the cheery quilts she creates. I'm tickled pink that we get to meet in person at Sewing Summit.

Linda at Surrounded By Scraps: There is something so inspiring and liberating to me about Linda's approach to quilting and I am especially drawn to the richness in the color pallet that she often uses.  I've pushed my creative envelope because of her influence. Even my blog subtitle Second-hand scraps has a familiar ring to it.

Sarah at SoSarahSews: Quilters are notoriously generous and this gal takes it up a notch, above and beyond.  I've had the pleasure of contributing blocks for the treasured quilts she makes foster children Quilting for Kids and I really appreciate the opportunity, it feels great and she makes it so easy. Her own quilts are awesome and her baking make me drool.

Jenn at Sunny in CAL: The thing about Jenn is that she's a mind reader. Or at least she can read mine because every time she posts a new project it's exactly the one that I've had in my head to make. She's literally taking my wish list of patterns and creating them one by one. It's gettin' kind of freaky! Although I'd never dream of hand stitching a queen for my bed - that'd be more of a nightmare to me.

Anne, Gillian & Jane at Play Crafts... design.create.share: I didn't see how many followers they have on the blog and hope I'm not breaking any rules by choosing them but I'm going to anyway!  Check them out, you'll be inspired - I know I am.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Official - I'm Going!

I'm so excited to be one of the lucky ones. I'll be attending Sewing Summit and am no longer worried that I won't know anyone. There are familiar buddy icons popping up around flickr saying they got their ticket too.  I'm itchin' to stalk the Google Group and view everyone's profile but ugh... I'm headed out the door.  It will have to wait.  
I'm one of the Lucky Ones

 At first it seemed kind of silly when I arranged to go into work late just so that I could click the registration button when the link went live, but it wasn't.  A hundred ticket gone the first minute and completely sold out in 10 hours, oh my these are some serious folks. I'm sad for those who didn't make it in - it promises to be a great time.

A Glorious Guild

At the SBAMQG meeting last night we had our big reveal of the first Guild Challenge, the Photo Inspired quilt.  Some sneak peaks had been seen on our flickr group - like mine, because I just cannot NOT share - but they were so much better in person and there were some surprises.  The participation was great for our very first go at it.

Here are a couple stunners by Anne and Julia (not sure how to insert the picture but it's worth taking a look).

Fixed my upload problem but didn't get the best shots so I just made a mosaic. Other cameras had better luck capturing how special these were.  There's even one of me and the Hanalei Pier Quilt  I made for my friend's birthday. Hope you'll check the amazingly talented and sweet quilters in our glorious Guild.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - Small Blog Meet

I discovered a couple of wonderful Link Ups and am excited to blog about them.  Figuring out how to grab a button requires more than one cup of coffee this morning, so for now I'm just going suggest you visit Lily's Quilts and learn all about it.

Later today I'll edit this post and fill you in more.... in the mean time, check out the March Madness mosaic and let me know which project catches your eye.

What did you do in March that stands out? Make a comment and let me know!

Fresh Sewing Day - March Madness