Sew Frou Frou Quilter

Spreading warm wishes one quilt at a time…


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Bee Blocks and fabric indulgences

So much has been going on this month with the kids and trying to keep up with my self-imposed quilty deadlines that my blog has suffered a little.  So let’s catch up.  First, the Albatross is not quilted (yet) but it is basted.

It's a good thing this quilt isn't any bigger or I would have had to baste it in the basement (shudder).

It’s a good thing this quilt isn’t any bigger or I would have had to baste it in the basement (shudder).

I actually ran out of safety pins and had to re-distribute them–I may baste a little too close together but I’ve never FMQ’d anything this big.  This quilt really brings home the phrase “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  My goal was to have this done by Valentine’s day but I still had to do my 2 bee blocks for the month.  Since I only have one machine, I switched over my foot and needle to work on those.  So, as soon as my sew kitschy block for February is done, I am on this.

BEE BLOCKS

On to the bee blocks.  First is my block for the Modern InstaBee.  Our queen bee Sarah chose the Stacked Windmills block in The Modern Bee book and asked for scrappy with a low volume background.  I was really nervous about this block since it asked for a scant 1/4 inch seam–usually that means my block ends up an inch bigger than it is supposed to be.  This block went together perfectly though.  I really love how it turned out and Sarah seems to like it too.  I love it so much that I decided to make a duplicate of all the blocks I do in this fabric combo.  The print fabrics are from Josephine Kimberling’s Field Day for Blend Fabrics; the gray/white dot was the last I had so I’m not sure what line it is.   The low volume backgrounds includes some white mirror ball dots by Michael Miller, the French text fabric that came in a blogger bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics, and a very light gray/white design by Dear Stella.

Stacked Windmill blockNext up is the February block for the Stash Bee.  Queen Bee Cheryl asked for a Dutch Rose block (which you will recognize as a smaller version of the Swoon block) using this tutorial.  Cheryl asked for shades of purple and gray on a snow background.  I was excited about this block because I have a Swoon pattern waiting in the wings for me to do out of a bunch of hoarded Bonnie and Camille fabric and I have just been waiting to feel confident enough in my skills to tackle it (yeah, I know I’m ready to do it but Lil Bee keeps reminding me that she is next in line and then of course the teenager starts moaning about being the last one in the family to get a quilt–major mom guilt).  Back to Cheryl’s block, I was worried that my selection of purples are slim but I managed to find some fabric in my stash that worked.

Dutch Rose block

FABRIC INDULGENCES, ETC.

Okay, I hinted at some fabric indulgences.  First, I won some assorted True Colors fat quarters back in January from Scott Hansen at The Blue Nickel Studios

My prize

Speaking of Blue Nickel Studios, Scott asked for birthday blocks bearing the colors of the woods.  My first attempt was a 6 inch bear paw which looked a little sad after I mis-pieced blocks twice (you may have seen it on Instagram) so I opted for just a quarter of that block at 6 inches:

Birthday block for Scott Hansen at Blue Nickel Studios

Birthday block for Scott Hansen at Blue Nickel Studio

Since I am participating in 2 bees, I decided I needed to beef up my stash a little so I bought a few blogger bundles at Pink Castle Fabrics.  I always think I should buy the rainbow bundles but every time, I chicken out.  These fabrics are really gorgeous though and there are a few text/low volume fabrics which I need:

 I also got some golden tickets with this purchase.

I also got some golden tickets with this purchase.

And finally, since I don’t have a lot of low volume fabrics I picked up a few botanics and Echino fabrics from my local quilt store, Crimson Tate:

The hexie bees and bicycles  were just too cute to pass up!

The hexie bees and bicycles were just too cute to pass up!

Have you seen the new tone on tone pearl bracelets by Lizzy House?  I think that may have to be my next purchase.  Am I right?

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A little bit of this and a little bit of that

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

In addition to working on my bee block, I have been trying to get my SkillBuilder quilt completed.  I was hoping to get it done by the Jan. 19 deadline but I still have 16 blocks left to quilt and  borders and sashing to piece.  Although it is very tempting to just stipple everything so I can finish, this quit is more about the journey and actually learning skills so I am not going to rush it.  With that in mind, I went a little eclectic in my fmq of the em-dash block:

Pebble practice

Pebble practice

More pebbles

Loopy pebbles

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren't symmetrical at all

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren’t symmetrical at all and I haven’t tucked in my loose ends yet.

I thought I had taken a picture of the feather I did–half of it looks pretty good; I realized after doing one side of the feather that I needed to put the presser foot down (ooops) so there will be ripping.  I think I will try a flower in the peach.  The quilting is going so much better than it was in June–apparently working with the right tools (bobbin washers, thread holder, pink teflon thing, gloves, extension table) makes a big difference!  You should really check out the group on Flickr–there are some people that have  amazing talent.

Last weekend, I also made my first block of the Sew Kitschy BOM (designed by Kristy @ Quiet Play).  I used the orange and blue DS Quilts fabric that I have been collecting.    I think I need to buy some varied shades of solid orange and blue fabrics to break up some of the prints  as this turned out a little busier that I wanted it to be.

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

I was going to make it in aqua and red but realized that I have barely any red.  I have maybe 5 reds and none of them coordinate.  This is beyond incomprehensible — my favorite color is red.  How is it that I have not been buying red?  Obviously,  I NEED to make buying red fabric a high priority.  Any suggestions on some awesome red fabrics that I should purchase?


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Starting the year out right

Project Endeavor 2014 is starting off well.  Of course, snowpocalypse is partially the reason I am getting so much done right now.  I finished my hubby’s pillow and my friend’s water bottle carrier (yes, they were late for Christmas but I finished them instead of putting them away for next Christmas).  First – the leg lamp pillow:

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

When I first saw that Sarah Bailey at Sew What Sherlock was designing a leg lamp pillow, I was giddy.  My husband has threatened to buy a leg lamp for years and now he has one that has my stamp of quilty approval.  I used Kona for everything except the shoe and garter belt which was a lacy print from Moda’s Little Black Dress.  I even added cheap nylon netting over the leg Kona like Sarah suggested.  This pattern is Awesome–go get her free pattern here.  As some of you may know by now, I kind of decide to do awesome things at the last minute (like this pillow) and then realize that I’m in over my head.  I only had a few paper piecing mishaps–not using a big enough fabric piece  here and there which I ended up patching in as another piece and mistakenly layering the netting in the wrong order when I sewed the leg –but I was able to get it all pieced in an evening.  (I added the “Fragile” to the side using scrapbook letter stencils to cut letters out of fabric which I glued on and then stitched around when I quilted the pillow.)  In fact, if I hadn’t completely forgotten to buy matching threads to quilt it, my husband may have actually received this pillow on Christmas Day.  Ok, maybe not because it did take me some time to figure out how to sew this zipper in the back of the pillow too–I found a great tutorial for that here.  I suggest that if you make this pattern into a pillow, put some sashing around the entire block so you can actually see the shoe.

The second project was a water bottle carrier that I made for a friend at work.  When I saw this boston terrier voile fabric by Kokka, I knew I had to buy it and make Staci something.  The easy answer would have been to make a cute voile scarf but Staci isn’t a scarf wearing kind of girl.  Staci has recently started volunteering with an animal rescue organization and devotes a lot of time on the weekend going to Pet Smart and trying to get abandoned pets with good families.  Staci is also a pretty thrifty person too so I know she takes her own water with her and since she’s kind of a germ freak, I know she’s not setting that bottle down just anywhere–thus, the perfect gift which she can use while volunteering and walking her own BT dog, Preston.  I used the pattern from Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Fabrics which you can find here.  This pattern is super easy until you get to the part where you have to sew the circle in at the bottom–that was a bear.

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I have also finally finished piecing all my Skillbuilder blocks and have borders on all of them now.  I may be optimistic in thinking I can get that done by Jan. 19 since I still have 17 blocks to fmq, and borders to make/quilt for it and I am waiting for 4 more yards of background fabric  to get here ( don’t you hate it when you buy a unique color of Kona at JoAnn Fabrics and they don’t order another bolt just in case you run out?–perhaps I should re-think my aversion to using Kona white).  I’m not counting on the fabric getting here until next week since over half the state is still under lockdown due to the snow.  I’ll save the Skillbuilder for it’s own post since it pretty much consumed my entire year-but here’s a glance at the most recent fmq attempt–not great but at least it’s not full of eyelashes on the back.  I still need to tie in some threads and quilt the dotty fabric–I think Alyssa did pebbles but I think a nice feather would look good…

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

Goodness, a week in and 2 finishes–Project Endeavor may be just what I needed.


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I think I need a craftervention

(Revised.) While I have loved doing the Skillbuilder BOM, it’s always been looming over my head and I’ve felt like that’s all I’ve done all year (mystery quilt and baby quilt aside).  Plus,  I’ve been watching all these fabulous bee blocks everyone has been doing and I really want to do one so I signed up for next year’s Stash Bee.  Also, last week, my traditional guild decided that next year we will do a charm swap every month and make a block.

Cue the 3 BOM e-mails I’ve received in the past week.  I don’t know if I can resist.   First is the Sugar Cube Block 2014 by Amy Gibson .  I have to say that I  have loved seeing all the sugar cube blocks spread all over the internet this year.  Amy’s BOM for 2014 is going to be a mystery though I’m sure it will be super-cute.  I don’t think I’ve seen her do anything that wasn’t cute since I started following her.  Even her children are adorable.  Then there’s Kristy at Quiet Play.  Have you seen the paper- pieced quilt that she designed?  How cute is that?  It doesn’t even have to be a quilt – wouldn’t these be awesome potholders to hang on your kitchen wall!  Gah, the cuteness…. (Actually, I know that I’m going to definitely do Kristy’s –I have to – just look at how cute that Sew Kitschy button looks on my sidebar).  Finally, Alyssa over at Pile O’Fabric has another fab BOM planned for next year It’s a sewing theme – I don’t know about you but I have been coveting sewing themed blocks ever since the Sew Out Loud QAL 2 years ago   sew out loud quilt along.  Seriously, I know I can’t handle 5 blocks a month on top of the to-do list of quilts that I want to do but these all sound so great. Maybe I should just do Kristy’s and hope for a couple adorable potholders.

By the way, did I mention that I started a honey cowl; yep after 3 hours of knitting, I have exactly one row to show for it.  It has been relegated to the after Christmas (maybe) pile.  I’m also seriously tempted to use my blue and orange DS Quilts fabrics to participate in the APQ quilt-along that’s gearing up.  Uh yeah, about that craftervention.

Wow!  look at that progress….

Wow! look at that progress….

I did manage to catch up on 2 more blocks for the Skillbuilder BOM-only 2 more to go and I can do all the fmq that I haven’t done since the first set of blocks…

Confession by finished, I mean it's fused.  I wussed out on the piecelique and I'm just doing raw edge appliqué.

Confession -by finished, I mean it’s fused. I wussed out on the piecelique and I’m just doing raw edge appliqué.

So do you have an elf on the shelf or a variation thereof?  Our “elf” took selfies the other night while riding on the broken airplane in our office and made a slide show.  Lil Bee was thrilled to tell her friends about it.  What does your elf typically do during December?

Flying elf


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I have been doing stuff

Between all the dentist and orthodontist appts, and play week and sick kid week;), I have managed to do a little bit more on the SkillBuilder BOM.
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Not too happy with this one – it looks like I put a pink circle on a paper bag-well, they can’t all look fabulous.
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These are the Candyland blocks – I’m happy with these.
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A stash pull for an orange and blue quilt that I am obsessing about. I think it needs more blue and maybe another yellow. What do you think?


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A weekend of progress

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was following all the sewing summit posts on Instagram or if it’s because I have 2 quilt guild meetings this week but I feel like I did more this week than I have in a while.  I probably still won’t have anything to show at the guild meeting since I seemed to jump around on projects but at least I am progressing forward.

So I am still working diligently on the my 3rd(4th?) attempt at the Diamond Carat.  Seriously, this block is kicking my butt.  I am just hand piecing it now and that seems to be working better than the attempts at EPP and paper piecing it (the directions called for EPP).  Hand sewing is a nice thing to have for the evening since I can do it in front of the tv with the rest of the family; I don’t feel as guilty doing that as I do running off to my sewing machine in the evening.  I have decided this pass at the block is going to have to be gold because I am not doing it again.  I think Alyssa was prepared for that instance since one of the blocks (that I haven’t made yet–did I mention that I’m a bit behind) actually ends up making an extra that Alyssa sweetly suggests we could turn into a pillow.

I, or rather TweezerGirl and I, finished my Broken Arrow Block.  Can I get a WOOT, WOOT?

I'm a little in love with this block.

I’m a little in love with this block.

Isn’t TweezerGirl cute?

Tweezergirl has it all together!

Tweezergirl has it all together!

After all the picking of freezer paper, she still looks happy and composed.  So with TweezerGirl’s help I am now ready to move onto Blocks Lesson 7.   Uh yeah, the group started Block 9 last week.  I haven’t even logged onto Flickr to see just how many people are actually keeping up.  I still have to quilt mine before I can actually say that I am caught up.

I worked a little on the “Jinxed” quilt.  I am so close to the end with this quilt, I really just need to finish.  True to form with this quilt, I realized that I cut a whole bunch of triangles down that should not have been cut down:-\   Fortunately I bought my black Kona with a coupon at Joann’s and told them just to give me the whole bolt (so I don’t have to worry about matching dye lots or anything).   I’ve started sewing blocks into rows and then got tired of pressing so worked on sewing the piano key border together.  Cross your fingers for me, I may just have a finished top by Thursday’s guild meeting.

My ten year old son has decided that he no longer wants his “baby” furniture in his room (actually he decided that about 2 years ago but we’ve been stalling because it was hard enough to paint over the mural of Thomas the Train back then).  We finally decided we would paint over it because It needed some serious cleaning if we wanted to sell it.  So today, I sanded and put the first coat of black paint over this…

It just broke my heart to cover this cute design up.

It just broke my heart to cover this cute design up.

This little dresser served as a changing table for all 3 of my children and I just have to face it, I don’t have any babies anymore.

Watched Mr. H. play his last football game of the season on Saturday.

wpid-20130810_135323.jpg

They lost.  Poor guys, they were doing so well in the first half and then it just all fell apart.  I’m going to miss seeing this little guy in his jersey and orange pants every weekend.

And lastly, I blogged.  I hope you all had a productive weekend too.