Scrappy Quilt Top

This improvisational quilt top happened a few weeks ago when I was staring deeply into the ever growing stack of quilt scraps crowding different areas of the house. I felt a bit overwhelmed. What should I do?  I just sat down, started trying out fabrics, and boom: quilt top started. I was cutting and pressing and sewing away for a couple of days. Then I folded it up and put it away (except to snap thess photos so quickly I didn’t even press the fabric smooth!).

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Improving is a skill I come to naturally in quilting; the first four quilts I made never saw a ruler or felt pins, and I thought those quilts were the best. The ruler is my friend now, and I use it unsparingly, but what I learned is that I’m a person that likes to explore a craft and all the different approaches.

The quilt top’s colors and lines are playful. Watching the sunrise from the window is such a great way to start off the day, and this quilt top turned in to a compilation of a few different sunrises. For the borders I would like to push my boundaries and go for a big lush floral print, because the clouds here are often large and crowded.

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On my travels I was able to stop by the beach a few times. Growing up coastal, I always feel grounded when I’m near the ocean.

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What have you been improvising lately?

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Diamond Star Baby Quilt

This is a quilt for a special person: first nephew I’ll ever meet! He comes from very bright and sweet people. When I saw Lizzy House‘s fabric line Natural History I fell in love with the playfulness of color and design. She seems pretty awesome. Check her out on Creativebug too (I am a huge fan of Creativebug, but more on that another time). I consulted School of Sewing‘s instructions for a baby-sized quilt, but then added in my own arrangement. IMG_5648.jpgIMG_5642.jpg

Carolyn Friedlander‘s new line Caraki tones down the color and adds to a structured effect. Bones are the best. We all need bones and they are beautiful to look at. Caraki is beautiful and strong. Perfect!

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I wasted no time using my favorite FM curved shape while quilting. I love this quilt, and I’m excited to meet the little guy it is for.

What have you been sewing up lately? Happy end of March to everyone!

Free-motion for the First Time

Yesterday held firsts. The Janome serger and sewing machine arrived! I’ve been waiting all month and it flew by. After  returning home safely, I wasted no time switching over needle plate, threading up, and trying out free-motion quilting; Lori Smith’s appliqued piece was my first choice.

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Complete satisfaction: I loved every second I spent trying out this new skill. The hours flew by while I stitched. I’m nowhere near steady, but am enthused to keep practicing; I want to quilt everything and am quickly on that path. Free-motion work is what drew me in to quilting for good: Fabric doodling! I was captivated by the work of other artists/quilters, and I couldn’t wait to join.

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Doodling is an activity I love. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to transfer my ideas from brain-to-fabric. Many draw with friction pens or use an overlay, but I was so excited to try out the machine and an eyeball worked best for me. The endless options are incredible!  Before I knew it, I had a sweet little table accented by a window. This stitching made easy with Aurifil thread.

The table was a little hard to see, and I wanted to play with texture, so in came some thicker thread paired with hand stitching and a great outline formed. All of the applique practice has paid off in the stitch regularity category.

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Happy Spring! It has been a busy and exciting March. The spring peepers are out and the trees are pushing to bloom. Have you been working on anything exciting?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tiny Cards & Applique Arcs

Valentine’s Day is fun. This is a sweet time of year, and I love to send out cards. For previous Valentine’s Days I’ve sent out postcards, embroidered hearts, glitter cards (and those turned in to glitter bombs after being processed through the mail!), and now these old school grade school valentines I found about a year and a half ago when helping a relative move.

These sweet animal cards were perfect. Time has been a bit crunched the past two weeks, but I still wanted to send out cards.

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The other evening I sat down with some Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Gold and set to drawing. It’s been about eight months since I used a calligraphy pen and nib, so there were some rusty moments and valentines were limited, but I was able to ease up on the amount of pressure my fingers wanted to apply to the pen and the cards turned out cute. The sun came out just as I was taking pictures, and the gold really sparkles.

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How and why colors coming together are constantly on my mind. I want to tell a story with each piece I make, and it should not be a story that leaves one wondering why it was created. The story should be steady enough to enter and fresh enough to the eye each time that one keeps returning; I’m thinking a lot about it! After trying many other combinations, these two were my final contenders.

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Chain-piecing was one of my favorite skills I learned in beginner quilting. The product makes me want to hang garlands all around the house.

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A new sewing machine is close to being a part of my life, but I still love my little Janome. It is doing a great job sewing up those seams!

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I decided to nestle the clouds between the solid purple and blue Arcs to give this more of a sunrise feeling. Catching the sunrise everyday is one of the most amazing times of the day, and the sun pushes the pinks, purples, and dark reds against the blue sky. With this much print, I felt it was important to create a balance within the already chosen colors, and then find the most cohesive union between these rows. I’ve been contemplating a border the entire week and have yet to settle on any one idea.

Any tips on how you decide on borders?

Happy Valentine’s Day! What are you doing to mark the day?

Applique Away

After a week of figuring out some technology–hello, YouTube!–the computer is free for roaming. The snow has been beautiful. Everything is quiet and the cars move slowly along. The sunrise colors are delicate here. IMG_5120.jpg

Post Card Party Swap is a fantastic way to share small quilted pieces with other knitters and totally hits all my favorite categories: mail, pen-pals, quilting, and applique. The LQS offers classes with postcard ideas and this was a class I joined that used wool. It was my first time doing wool applique, and I love how textured and sturdy wool is to work with. When the snow began to fall, I decided to hand quilt circles as the background, enjoying it so much I worked on it until I finished.  Hand-stitching is calming, centering, and adds a beautiful finish to this little postcard!

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Practice makes for more experience and so out came the scrap bag and the rotary cutter, and I cut out six more hearts to applique. The squares are sevens inches by seven inches and the heart is a basic template. Since I’ll always have scraps about this size I plan on collecting at least one heart from each piece of fabric from here on out. When there are enough of appliqued I will make a quilt. Right now eleven appliqued hearts exist. IMG_5161.jpgIMG_5170.jpgIMG_5173.jpg

Savor Each Stitch arrived and it is a wonderfully written book with clear explanations. The first project is cut and ready to be basted. Basting, I’ve just learned after pinning ten hearts, is much easier to work with when doing needle-turn applique. What I particularly liked about basting is how smoothly the round edges turned under. It was a revelation to me, because the pinning seemed to cause distortion overall, but the basting kept all in place! Looking forward to moving ahead with this project. IMG_5154.jpg

Everyone is posting such lovely work! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog.

 

 

Snail Mail Friday!

Receiving mail is thrilling! Writing letters to my friends & family is one of my hobbies & I love having return mail. At nine I signed up for a pen-pal program & was given a writing friend located in Canada; we exchanged letters until age thirteen. Now I exchange letters with friends & cousins, but I also love to receive packages of fabric in the mail too!

Today some fabric arrived for future quilts & bags I’m planning to make. I ordered some of Lizzy House’s Natural History, Carolyn Friedlander’s Carkai & two more slices of Honeymoon from Sarah Watts. All of the prints are incredible, inspiring, & ready to be made in to something!

What are you working on this weekend? Receive any exciting mail? IMG_4915.jpg

What I Sew On

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Meet one of the most exciting pieces of technology in this house, my sewing machine, the Janome 2212. Purchased off of Amazon when I wasn’t sure if sewing would be to my liking or not, this machine turned out to be great for what it is! Totally sturdy & great for a beginner. It doesn’t always handle the larger projects I’ve worked on perfectly, but I’ve been satisfied & don’t feel held back. The 1/4″ seam foot did not fit, & that was annoying, but I used tape to mark the throat plate. This summer, in an excitement, I bought a vintage Viking off of eBay, it didn’t work & returned it. After that I decided to work with the Janome 2212 & feel things out. Here I am loving every minute & a more advanced model is in my future! Honestly, having this model allowed me to understand what my expectations & uses of a sewing machine may be in the future.

Sewing Machines I Have My Eye On:

Janome’s 1600P-QC: This machine seems sturdy & the reviews I’ve read are great. I love Janome’s machines already, having had a great experience with my current machine. Straight-stitch only is what I’d like, and I’ll use a serger. Simple is best for my capabilities, in terms of technology, & this machine allows for great free-motion quilting.

Juki’s TL-2010Q: My seamstress auntie recently purchased this machine from her local machine shop ( she got a great deal!) & she loves it. Her work is always beautiful, but her free-motion quilting on a set of potholders blew me away! Each stitch looked fantastic. This machine is also straight-stitch only with great reviews.

The local sewing machine shop here carries Janome & I’m not sure I want to buy another one off of the internet. What has your experience been buying sewing machines off the internet? Do you use either of these machines? Any likes or dislikes (within reason!)?