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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Stash swap

So this year the local guild that belong to decided to do a monthly blind swap of 12 -3.5 inch squares.  Every month, we get a random bag of 12 squares from someone else and by the end of the year, we will have a finished quilt.  These are the charms I received in December:

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IMG_0518Did I mention that this exchange was with my traditional guild?  No pearl bracelets here:).  (Of course, I didn’t give out any mirror ball dots or AMH squares either.  I chose a traditional looking charm pack  from my stash and cut 12 blocks down to 3.5 inches).  I’m hoping this exercise helps me grow.  Some of the quilts that I find most beautiful have some odd fabric pairings.  I decided to pair the red and blue squares with a scrappy selection of tan/cream and white fabrics and make HSTs for now:

IMG_0517That lower right fabric is Osnaburg (a linen looking cotton).  I have seen some beautiful quilts made by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen using Osnaburg so I have been stalking JoAnn’s  for months and finally found some.  Have you ever tried it in your quilts?


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I Feel Good

I knew that I would now.  Just pretend that’s Jackson Brown singing in the background (and not me).  I finished my the top for my Jinxed quilt.  This quilt and I have been through so much in the last 10 months that I literally feel like it’s one of my kids.  Not one of the good kids but the kid that constantly defies you at every turn and makes you dissolve into tears.  I still love it though.  As promised, here are a couple pics that I took.  Lil Bee was very excited to be in photograph assistant.  Hopefully once I get it quilted and bound, I’ll have better lighting for the finished shots.

JinxedOf course the finish wasn’t without it’s mishaps.  I marked all my blocks with a Frixion pen so that I wouldn’t sew them together wrong and thus far, the marks have stayed.  I’ve been assured on Instagram that these marks will fade once I wash it though.

Should I just quilt arrows all over just in case the Frixion pen doesn't wash out?

Should I just quilt arrows all over just in case the Frixion pen doesn’t wash out?

Can you believe that I bought most of these fat quarters of Art Gallery fabrics on sale 50% off.    My LQS has some crazy good sales sometimes:).   So any thoughts batting and quilting?  Should I buy black batting?  I’m not planning on using it for display and I’m kind of worried that it will make the lavender and cream fabrics look muddy.  If you have any experiences with black batting, I would love your input.  I’m think I’m going to hand quilt this one just because my fmq needs a lot of work and I don’t want to do straight lines with the walking foot.

One last photo–it’s my favorite one,

Lil Bee and Jinxed


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I’m just giddy with this idea

Last week on IG (note that I’ve now become completely addicted to Instagram), I saw a teaser for making your own text fabric by Latifah of the Quilt Engineer blog.  My first thought was “cool, I don’t have to search all over for the perfect text print”.  But this weekend, I had one of those lightbulb moments that well, just made me giddy.  It’s what I love about quilting–that feeling that you have just come up with the most amazing idea. Do you feel that way too?

My idea involves Lil Bee.

Her eyes light up over paint.

Her eyes light up over paint.

She loves to make art and she does so in large doses.  Note the 6 paintings above that were done in probably 30 minutes.  I love that she wants to create things-it makes my heart warm and fuzzy.  That being said, I’m constantly finding art littered all over the house.  A few weeks ago, I finally convinced her that we couldn’t keep it all (I know, I felt like the biggest ogre but I honestly don’t want to be on a episode of hoarders a couple years from now).  So we went through and picked her favorites that we would definitely keep and hang up in the toy room like

She put this one in the school art show--it's called Crazy...

She put this one in the school art show–it’s called Crazy…

The rest we took pictures of so that we could burn them to a CD or perhaps make a book on Shutterfly.

So anyways, I so want to encourage her creativity and nurture her interest in all crafts.  She so wants to be involved in my quilting/sewing and Latifah’s idea of making your own text fabric got me to thinking.  I could have Bee draw her own pictures on fabric with fabric paint/fabric markers and we could work together to sash all her masterpieces into quilts and give them as gifts to her grandmothers for Christmas.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be an entire quilt, we could make coasters, hot pads, or placemats with her artwork.  I’m really excited about this idea and so is Bee.  I think it will be a great way to ease her into sewing.

So what do you think?  Stay tuned to see how this works.


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Paper piecing rockstar..er, at least working on it

Paper piecing

So this weekend, I decided to tackle that Schoenrock cross so that I could at least make one for the QAL that Leila from Where the Orchids Grow is hosting.  I listened to most of Lesson 1 on my Strip Paper Piecing class with Peggy Martin on Craftsy and instead of easing into paper piecing with the Polka Dot Twist block, I felt I was ready to tackle the Schoenrock Cross.  I always like a challenge.  It didn’t go too bad.  It took me about 6 hours but I did have to rip the seams out of 4 of the triangles (one twice).  Admittedly, it wasn’t too wise for me to use fabric that should be fussy cut because I didn’t get those little girls and foxes completely in any of the strips and my birds that I did fussy cut were an afterthought (you may notice they aren’t centered either).  That aside, I’m happy with how it turned out for my first attempt.

Sadly, I was hoping that I would be able to do 9 blocks of this and make a baby quilt but I don’t think my 1/2 yard cuts of Walk in the Woods is going to stretch that far if I have to worry about where I cut my strips.  So it looks like I will just be doing a some type of strip quilt/simple block design for the baby quilt and using some other fabric for more Schoenrock Cross blocks.  Here is my finished block:

My Schoenrock Cross

My Schoenrock Cross

Isn’t that white embroidered dot cool?  I love it in the block–my machine however did not; since I don’t have a way to lessen the pressure on my presser foot, I was lifting it up every time I sewed over one of the embroidered dots (sigh, just another reason that I need a new sewing machine).  One day…..Anyhow, you should definitely go to the Flickr group that is set up for the Schoenrock QAL -there are some amazing blocks over there–beautiful use of fabric.

So I think I have conquered my fear of paper piecing; now I just have to get over my fear of wasting fabric.  I can see where the strip piecing probably saves on fabric as opposed to traditional paper piecing but I still ended up with a lot of odd shaped triangles (that I am saving but I don’t know that they are useable for something sewn).

Incidentally, the Craftsy class on paper piecing by Peggy Martin is awesome–I bought it during the pre-Christmas sale and it has 6 different paper-pieced quilt lessons in it.

 


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Mystery Quilt block 1

I put together the first test block for the Mystery Quilt.  It’s a 54-40 or Fight block.  At first glance, I thought it looked fairly simple but actually it was somewhat challenging.  I can see that I am going to have to be extra careful in cutting my tri-recs.  I’ve already encountered problems with this quilt since the directions are based on the Tri-Rec ruler.  I went to Joann’s and bought the Wonder Triangles ruler (I had a 40% coupon and the rulers are supposed to be similar).  I was not present at the meeting where they discussed the fact that the markings are different on these 2 rulers:/  While it would have been ideal if I had realized that after I cut the first triangle out of my background fabric, I did at least realize that there was a problem before I started cutting into my lovely Rock & Romance fabric by Art Gallery (yes, I admit it.  I’m a little in love with this fabric).  Thus, I jumped ahead to step 2 and put together a test block before I cut a whole bunch of strips from R&R.

I finished this block 2 days ago and did not notice until tonight that the 4 patches in the bottom row are wrong.

I finished this block 2 days ago and did not notice until tonight that the 4 patches in the bottom row are wrong.

That’s what a test block is for–right?  I’m going to have to be very careful cutting my tri-rec portions because I was really stretching those star point blocks to make my seams meet.  I cropped the photo so you don’t see just how unshapely the outside of my block is.  Hopefully, the next blocks will go smoother.

In re:  PileOFabric’s Skillbuilder BOM, I uploaded the photos of my fabrics to Flickr.  I’m going with pink, brown, yellow and orange.  I struggled and struggled with fabric selection–I wanted to use teals but the only teals I was finding were rather country looking and that’s really not me.  I’m probably a little heavy with the pinks.  I was trying to work with my current stash as much as possible so this is what I’ve come up with –

My fabrics for Alyssa's BOMI’m still not sure about that yellow.  Yellow is a hard color to find in different values too.  Anyways, I’m ready to start.  Both my mother and sister will be participating as well.

 


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Finished x 5!

WOW.  I did it-I finished all four pillows in time for Christmas and finally got my chair seat covered.  My mom helped sew the backs on the pillows since she has a serger (and I think the fact that I was still quilting on the fronts on Saturday was stressing her out a little :).  My dad helped with the chair cover since he has a heavy duty staple gun.

Pillow for my niece -a big Bieber fan thus, the purple.

Pillow for my niece -a big Bieber fan thus, the purple.

I quilted A1’s pillow with a echo of the Chevron design with my walking foot–I used some Art Gallery oval elements, the top triangle is Art Gallery Mauvelicious, and a random batik I had in my stash.   The background is Iron Kona.  I used a variegated Gutterman thread in purple for her pillow.

This pillow is for another niece that's the same age as Lil' Bee.

This pillow is for another niece that’s the same age as Lil’ Bee.

This niece is a big Bieber fan too (sigh, I know).  Lil’ Bee was very adamant though that she is a little girl so I couldn’t put black on her pillow, it had to be pink and purple.  I got the pink with silver stars and the purple ballet fabrics from my mom’s stash so I’m not really sure what they are.  The triangle at the bottom is a Kaffe Fassett and I used Iron Kona as the background here too with the purple variegated thread here too.  I quilted it with a circle design.

This pillow uses scraps from the Quilt I made for Mr. H since nephew C's favorite color is green.

This pillow uses scraps from the Quilt I made for Mr. H since nephew C’s favorite color is green.

I really like how the pillows turned out for the boys.  This one has the Summerville fabric for the main chevron, some Cool School scribble in the bottom triangle and scraps from an unknown fat quarter with peacocks in the top triangle.  The background is a green Bella solid.  I quilted it with a variegated green Gutterman thread (I’m kind of addicted to the variegated threads) in a free form continuous box.

I really like the yellow and gray fabrics together in H's pillow.

I really like the yellow and gray fabrics together in H’s pillow.

My last nephew is 18.  His favorite color is yellow (I was pretty surprised that it wasn’t black) and I love how these fabrics look together.  I used the Iron Kona and a yellow Kona.  The bottom triangle is from the Bella line.  I just did random lines using a yellow variegated thread and some gray thread.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Somehow my quilt math was off for the HST’s because I used 14 inch forms and my finished block turned out not quite 16 inches so I had to do some major trimming.

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I love the big flowers on this fabric.

I love the big flowers on this fabric.

The final reveal is my finished chair.  I had a hard time finding fabric for this because in my mind I want to paint my sewing space an aqua/turquoise color and I just wasn’t thrilled with any fabric that I found with those colors in it.  Everything I seemed to like would have worked better with a black chair and I had already spent so much time painting this chair 4 times.  I finally chose this fabric–it has a little more brown that I wanted in it (not that I don’t love brown, I have a lot of it in my wardrobe) but I really like the bright flowers.  I have enough of the fabric left over that I may make a big pillow to sit in the back of the chair too.

So I’m done sewing for the holidays–now on to bake some cookies so we have something to leave out for Santa.  Happy Holidays!


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That’s me the eternal optimist…

I must be delusional to think that I can whip something easy up quickly.  I seem to do this to myself every other project.  (I apparently read too many sewing blogs where everything turns out beautiful.)

I started quilting the robot star quilt–it’s not going well.  Here it is basted

Basted robot star

So far so good.

It went downhill after that.  I spent 2 hours machine quilting with a cream-colored thread.  I had originally envisioned doing something different in each triangle and doing some echo quilting in the blue Kona sections.  It was horrid.  I’m fine if I use my presser foot as my guide but when I try to use the seam guide to quilt in wider swaths, things just go askew.

Horrid quilting 1  So I spent 4 hours and ripping out the unfortunate quilting and posted it on my local modern quilt guild’s site to ask for suggestions since these women are super talented and everything I’ve seen them do is exceptional.  So many wonderful suggestions–most involving FMQ (cue scary music) which I’ve never attempted.  I do need to try FMQ but I’m not ready to do that on a baby quilt that I want to give as a gift soon (–um like last week soon).  At the rate I’m going, I should have just hand quilted it.  I would have had better control at least.

So last night, I went back to the drawing board.  I’ve got 3 echo lines done inside the star with a blue variegated thread–I’m ripping out the inner outline because I just couldn’t keep my seam guide where I wanted it.  Once I get that line of thread ripped out, I guess I’ll draw all my lines on and go back to using my presser foot as my guide since that’s what works for me.  On the upside, I’ve finally figured out how to pull my top thread to the top so that I don’t get a big nest on the back.:)

I did an embroidered label for this quilt too and it’s ready to go as soon as the quilting is done.

The label-I put a robot on my t-shirt for this one.

I’m still trying to decide what to do for the binding.  I toyed with the idea of doing continuous prairie points around the entire quilt but I think maybe I should do that another time after I practice it on something little first (seeing as how the quilting has delayed me).  Which fabric would you choose for the binding?  I pretty much have plenty of each except for the orange  argyle and the brown with blue dots.  I have a lot of the striped fabric (an organic cotton from Robert Kaufman that I got on sale at Crimson Tate)–this fabric is so soft -perfect for a baby quilt.

Well, off to seam ripping…