Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sister Love

My sweet sister was kind enough to photograph the table runner and place mats that I made for her this month so that I could add them to my blog. The runner was made from Kate Spain's Fandango fabric. I just did a simple strip design backed with a length of Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry. The two adult place mats are almost identical to the runner, but I also made two mats for my nieces using children's fabrics by Lizzy House, David Walker, and Monaluna. They're also done in a strip style, but they're meant to be a take on an I-Spy format too.  The backing for the mats was a mixture of Half Moon Modern and Meet the Gang prints, and I bound them with a yellow wood grain print from Aviary 2.  I really had fun putting these pieces together and am glad to see that my sister's family is enjoying them.

I'm almost finished with the other quilt I've been working on and will hopefully have pictures to show tomorrow. Ah, the joy of productivity...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Something Done

It's incredible to me how difficult it can be at times to carve out time to sew. With three little ones under the age of five clamoring for attention at all hours, there are days when the door to the sewing room just has to stay closed. However there are those magical afternoons when I can grab five minutes here and there to get something done, and before I realize it...I actually got something done! Today was mercifully one of those days, and I was able to finish a quilt top that I've been planning for a friend of mine using charm squares from Kate Spain's gorgeous new line of Good Fortune fabric. I'll post a full shot of the lap quilt when it's done.

As a bonus, I finally put together a quick pincushion after months of procrastination. I had been wanting to sit down with a pattern and do it right, but I just couldn't face trying to manage my pins again without something to hold them. So I grabbed a few scraps of Ruby by Bonnie & Camille and improvised. The pincushion actually fits perfectly next my machine, held in place by the cords at the end. All in all, I'm feeling pretty satisfied tonight.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making New Friends

Busy today working on some new friends for my girls. Bunny asked for an Alice in Wonderland birthday tea party next month, so I'm cooking up some ideas to go with that. This project definitely falls into the experimental category for me; my sister is the expert when it comes to working with felt. We'll see how it all comes out. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Little Organization

 The last week has been spent working on a set of place mats and a table runner for my sister, all of which I forgot to photograph before passing on, of course. It was fun tackling a different project, and I've tucked a few more lessons under my belt which is always a good thing. My other goal for the week was to get my new sewing room organized. My three little girls -- Bunny, Bear, and Mouse (nicknames, of course) -- all moved into a room together over Christmas vacation, so that left one room free to be our new sewing room/library. There's much left to do, but it feels great to have started the process of organizing my materials so that I can actually find everything when I need it. The new room also has a little reading area which I set up for the girls so that they can look at books and play while I sew. This was always a problem before, and I'm thrilled to have a spot where they can entertain themselves and still be within reach. Bunny also loves to help me sort my scraps into their new color bins. It's a project that keeps her busy, helps me out, and reinforces her knowledge of colors -- so everybody wins.

I'm starting a new project today for Bunny's birthday party next month which I'm very excited about. Hopefully I'll have some pictures in the next day or two.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Table Runner

Using a variety of small blocks and Circa 1934 fabric by Cosmo Cricket, I put together this runner for our dining room table. The vintage look of the fabric is just the sort of thing I love, and I like the way the colors go together. I look forward to seeing it on the table when I come down for breakfast in the mornings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lattice Quilt

For the next few weeks, I'll be working my way through the projects in Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts. What fun. I'm learning some new techniques, and getting instant gratification at the same time -- small quilts that I can make in a day or two! This lattice quilt is a gift for my grandmother who is absolutely crazy about dolls, so I thought it would be a good fit. It marks the first time that I've been brave enough to make my own binding, and now I'm wondering why I didn't try this sooner. I definitely need to work on my binding skills some more and possibly invest in a few more colors of thread, but it's a start. Some time later in the year, I'd like to try this quilt again and see if I can take it in a different direction. For now, it feels good to be growing in my skills.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doll Quilts

Birthdays are wonderful things, dropping all sorts of lovely surprises in your lap. My family was kind enough to indulge my new love of all things sewing this year, so I was able to build up my fabric stash quite a bit. I was also able to purchase a copy of Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts, which is currently my favorite book in the whole wide world. Inside those incredible pages I found a pattern for the Dream Doll Quilt by Aneela Hoey, who incidentally had designed the fabric I had set aside to make quilts for my daughters, a darling Red Riding Hood pattern called "A Walk in the Woods." The fabric line will not be fully released until early spring, but I was able to find a few sets of charm squares available online. I backed the quilts in another one of her prints from the Little Apples line. The original doll quilt pattern is quite a bit smaller and more detailed than my version. I wanted something that my girls could sit on while they played with their dolls, so I made the quilts long and placed the dolly quilt pocket at the top. I made the pockets large enough that they will fit more little friends if I get around to making them in the future. So far they seem to be a hit. In fact, my girls are snuggled up on the couch with their new friends even as I type this entry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Picking a favorite quilt may be somewhat like picking a favorite child -- how can you do it and still look the others in the eye? Yet I have to admit that this simple lap quilt is high on my happy list. I used two packs of charm squares in the Hometown fabric line by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics. The muted colors and simple patterns are a delight. I had laid out the squares in a completely different pattern to begin with, but it just didn't quite click for me. I went back the next day and pulled it apart, stacking the squares in color groups and separating them with cream colored strips of muslin. One of the floral designs in the line serves as the quilt backing. I had thought about giving it away, but I just couldn't give it up. So now it sits quietly at the end of my bed, making me smile every time I see it.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Apparently the seamstresses of old used to include a deliberate mistake in each of their pieces of sewing. The flaw was to serve as a reminder that only God is perfect. Unlike those ladies, I don't need to continue this tradition because my work has enough flaws to keep me in a state of constant humility. Which brings us to this quilt. When I saw Lizzy House's brilliant adaptation of the cover of a Vivaldi recording, I was determined to make one of my own. I changed the design and colors slightly and spent hours cutting out all the squares. I thought it would make a perfect quilt for the girls to use in the family room, even possibly filling in as an impromptu tool for teaching them their colors. I can honestly say that I have never had so much trouble with a quilt. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong with this project. My measurements were off, my impulsive -- and short lived -- attempt at free form quilting was a disaster, my binding had to be ripped off and reapplied. Still, I was going to finish that quilt if it killed me. When I finally sewed the last stitch, I shamefacedly brought it to show my family. They lovingly insisted that it was a triumph. I told my mom that I just didn't know how I had made such a mess of things. She thought a second and then said, "You're pushing it too much. If you just try to throw things together that fast, it won't be fun anymore." She was right. So the quilt lives on in my living room, a daily reminder to me to slow down and enjoy my life...even the messy parts.
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