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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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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Kona White, white clothes and white shoes

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

I avoid having and using all 3 of these things.  I don’t like buying anything white.  It will get dirty.  Whenever I do buy something white, it inevitably gets something on it by the end of the day and it’s not that I’m more careless or messier than the next person, but I can’t keep white things nice.  It doesn’t help that I live in the rust belt/limestone belt of the nation either.  Anyways, as any good phobic person, I try to stay away from bright white (except for my brief delusion that white kitchen cabinets would be divine with 3 kids).   I will buy  cream, Kona Snow, and off-white items though.   So imagine my dismay when the first block asked for by our Stash Bee hive mama, Heather,  called for a bright white background (ugh).  I can do this, I thought.  It’s just one block-I’ll do it real quick, ship it off and  everything will be fine….

The block is a paper pieced Kite/Mill and Stars block.  It’s really nice.  I unfortunately used a glue stick to keep the fabric on my paper and then scorched the glue when I was giving it a final press.  I’ve dabbed it with water but I can still see the scorched glue so I will be making a second block and not using glue this time–wish me luck or I’m going to have to go buy more white Kona.


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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 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.