Monday, February 28, 2011

SUTK Progress Amidst Chaos


So despite the chaos of last week I did make progress on the gifts I'm creating for my partner in the Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap. The response from all of you was overwhelmingly in favor of my hubby's idea to keep it clean and simple and to use plain linen binding or to just add a splash of Echino in one area. Well, I loved the idea of adding the splash of Echino, but as the week, and weekend, progressed I got more overwhelmed so I kept it simple and just did the plain linen binding. But I am planning to make more of these placemats for myself and the hubby so I'm hoping to use that awesome idea on those!


I found myself finishing the binding on these in any stolen moment I could find. I took them with me so if I had a few spare minutes in the office or the car I would pull them out and work on them.

I decided for my second project that I would make matching linen napkins for her. I used tissue linen for the napkins. I debated binding these in Echino but the hubs won out again. I simply finished the edges and then stitched on a coordinating "patch" out of Echino or Ruby Star Rising and they were done! So quick and easy.


The only snafu in the whole process was that we had a little leak in our house during one of the torrential rains we've been having over the past week and the water leaked onto one of the finished placemats overnight. I laid it out to dry but it was clear the the deluge of rain had stained the placemat. Before I started to make a replacement, I threw all four of the placemats in the wash (I wasn't planning to pre-wash the placemats) hoping that would solve the problem. Thankfully it did! And now my partner has freshly washed mats.


I also included some Echino and Ruby Star Rising scraps, a kitchen magnet and scrub brush and some teas in her package to round it out. Now it's off on it's way to her. I have to tell you, this package was really hard to send off. I wanted to keep it for myself. I hope my partner loves it as much as I do!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sorry For My Absence

I am so sorry I've been absent. It's been really insane around here the past couple weeks. Between 100+ hour work weeks and trying to plan a vow renewal ceremony for the families I'm a wreck.


I've even taken to stealing moments when I am in the office to stitch under my desk to try and relieve the stress!


Be Back Soon! I promise!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SUTK Progress


I've been working hard on my project for my secret partner in the Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap on Flickr. My partner hasn't been extremely vocal on the message boards but I've been stalking her and I think I have a good idea of her likes and dislikes. I feel good about this one. I really do. Wanna see a sneak peek of what I've started for her?






It's not finished. I am planning to trim and start binding tonight. My adorable and sweet husband actually fell in love with these and he is super bummed that these are intended for someone else. He has ordered me to make a set for us. I actually really fell in love with them too. Hope my partner feels the same way!


One question though... How would you bind them? I was going to do scrappy Echino binding but then the hubby said he thinks plain linen binding would be better. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nice Surprise

Holy crap! I am actually a runner up in the Modern category at the Block Party that was hosted by Heather and Megan over at Quiltstory! Can you believe it?! I certainly can't. I never thought that I would actually place when I entered my blocks in their contest. Thanks to Amy for the heads up and the vote of confidence. You've all seen the block before, but here it is again...


Really, I am in shock right now. Thank you so much to Heather and Megan! If you haven't checked out their blog you really should. And check out all the other awesome blocks in the contest. I was in amazing company!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Yummy LQS

This awesome new LQS called Sew Modern opened almost two weeks ago, not terribly far from my house. Not only is it the new home of the LAMQG but they have amazing fabric selections.

My first trip to Sew Modern actually wasn't for the LAMQG Meeting. I had heard about the impending opening through the grapevine and got on their mailing list. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Grand Opening because it was on a Tuesday and pesky work thwarted that idea. Instead I made the trip out on a Saturday.

The space is bright, open, modern and inviting and the fabric selections are to die for, I swear! The great thing is that their fabric selection is very different from The Urban Craft Center so I don't feel like I'm cheating on them.


While I was there I had to stop myself from buying out the whole store. I reminded myself I was here to find some Echino for my Spicing Up The Kitchen partner. Well, I didn't find the particular Echino I was looking for but I did walk away with a few other goodies.

I'm planning to make placemats with the gorgeous Japanese linen that I splurged on. And I did pick out the Ruby Star Rising for my SUTK partner. The orange fabric is going to be binding on a quilt I am about to finish quilting and I couldn't resist the green. Come on! I know that will come in handy someday very soon.


If you're in the Los Angeles area you need to check out Sew Modern. Not only for their fabrics and wide selection of Kona Solids, but also for their classes and their amazing Longarm Machine! They offer Longarm classes and rent out the machine by the hour at a reasonable price.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Need Some Quilting Help


The other night I finally got around to making the quilt sandwich for Marc's Quilt. Unfortunately we don't have a large house so I had to move the dining room table over against the wall to create a space large enough to lay it out.


I know I bought way too much batting but my only choices were Queen or Craft size. There wasn't anything in between in stock. Oh well, I know the excess will be put to good use.


I won't say that making the quilt sandwich is my least favorite part of the quilting process but all that pining does get a little tedious, doesn't it?


So now that the quilt sandwich is made I am trying to figure out how I want to quilt it. What do you all think?


Option #1: I could simply quilt around the outline of larger circles.

Option #2: I could quilt concentric circles internally and outward of the fabric circles.

Option #3: I could stitch in the ditch around the actual blocks creating a linear square pattern.


I think I'm leaning toward Option #1 but I am definitely open to suggestions, so fire away. I do have another question, though... If I opt to quilt around the outline of the fabric circles should I do that with my Freemotion Foot or my Walking Foot? I don't want to screw this up since it's for my honey and it's also the largest quilt I've every attempted!

P.S. Don't forget to give me any questions you have for Jay McCarroll. I'll be interviewing him very soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Got Questions for Jay McCarroll?

My friend, Jay McCarroll just launched an amazing new fabric line called Habitat for FreeSpirit. I'll be showcasing his fabric and interviewing him very soon so I wanted to open up his interview to my readers. Is there anything you're dying to know about Jay? About designing fabric? About Habitat? Send in your questions for Jay and I'll get them answered for you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sewn Together January Blocks

I am so late with these blocks I can't believe it. I am usually ahead of schedule on all of my bee commitments and I have only fallen behind once before this. I am embarrassed but finally, this weekend, I was able to catch up on Paula's blocks in the Sewn Together Bee. What makes it even worse is that I am one of the Bee Mamas and so is Paula. Sigh.


Paula asked us to make a Spiderweb Block from Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial found on Sew Mama Sew. I don't know why but the first time I sat down to make this block I was a little intimidated and I think that's why I put it to the side and finally came back to it after I completed the rest of my January Bee commitments. Usually I churn out my bee blocks early on in the month. I try and attack them as soon as I get them in the mail. They're so much fun but also I don't want to leave people hanging. But these blocks caused a creative block. Seriously. Maybe it was the way the tutorial was written. Honestly, at first I didn't grasp that the black fabric Paula sent was supposed to be the foundation piece and I think I let that get the best of me. Luckily, one thing I have learned by participating in bees, is to ask questions first and then build your block. (Also read directions multiple times, not just two before starting!) I asked about the foundation piece on our bee message board on Flickr and learned that we were supposed to use the black fabric as the foundation piece so finally this weekend I found the time (and mustered up the courage) and attacked these blocks. And you know what? They are soooooo much easier than I anticipated. Seriously, I feel like a complete idiot for letting these silly little blocks get the best of me. I mean I've attempted much more complex blocks.



Now that all is said and done I am embarrassed that I put these blocks off. They were so easy and it's a gorgeous pattern. I also love Paula's fabric choices. I mean the black, green and grays are amazing! Really! So Paula, I apologize but your blocks are on their way home to you. Hope you enjoy them. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Join the Block Party at Quilt Story!

Fresh Poppy Design

So I've decided that I'm going to enter a couple blocks in the Block Party Challenge over at Quilt Story. There are three categories for blocks: Traditional, Modern and Creative. So I thought, "What the hell, I'll enter something!" So here are my entries...



I chose this Laced Star Block that I made in the Red & Aqua 2 Bee. I love the fabrics and although I abhor paper piecing I do love the end result. Sylvia requested this block from us and we used this pattern.



My Plaid Block that I made for Leah. I completely adore this block and I really want to make more. The tutorial for this block can be found here on the Block Party blog.



This was tough but I settled on an improv block I made in the Sewn Together Bee. All the circles are hand stitched onto the block.

If you want to show off your fancy blocks you still have time. Head on over to Quilt Story and get in your entries. The Block Party is open until tomorrow so run don't walk! Oh and they have fabulous prizes for the winners!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My First LAMQG Meeting

Tonight I finally made it to my very first LAMQG meeting! It's about time, dontcha' think? I signed up for the guild over a year ago after I took Alissa's class at the Urban Craft Center but I managed to miss every single Monday night meeting and Saturday Sew all year. The Los Angeles branch of the Modern Quilt Guild hosts meeting on the first Monday of ever month. Up until this month they were held at the Reform School in Silverlake. And while Silverlake is completely hip, cool and usually relatively close to wherever I work I always found it impossible to make it to a 7 pm meeting. I am usually just leaving the office around 7 pm on a good night.

This month they moved into a new home on the Westside. Not only am I excited about their new proximity to my house, I am also stoked about the new 7:30 pm meeting time. Also exciting is their new home in the recently opened Sew Modern! Seriously this new quilting store rocks. The carry different fabric lines than the Urban Craft Center and they have different classes. Plus, as an extra added bonus they have a brand spanking new longarm machine named Harley! She's gorgeous and they're offering longarm classes and rentals! I am planning on utilizing both!

I will admit that I was a little intimidated walking into my first meeting. There were over 60 people at the meeting and everyone seemed to know everyone else, so I kind of hung in the back and observed the action. I know the more meetings I attend the more people I will meet and eventually I will fit right on in. I am really not all that shy but it's always a little weird to walk into a place where you feel like you're the only one who doesn't know anyone.

The meeting was great. All the first-timers, like me, introduced themselves to the rest of the group. They announced a Denyse Schmidt weekend in June and there was a show and tell where so many talented guild members showcased their latest and greatest. If you haven't checked out a Modern Guild meeting in your area I encourage you to do so. It's a great way to meet other like minded people close to you. I can't wait to attend the next one!

Friday, February 4, 2011

International Fabrics


I realize that I haven't even shared all the fabric treasures that I brought home from my Asian Adventure. I've started collecting native fabrics and handcrafts from my travels. Someday I'm going to make a travel quilt that showcases all the places we've been in textiles. Who knows when that will happen, though.

Our first stop was Thailand, so of course I had to come home with some Thai silk. I mean this stuff is the real deal and it can easily set you back $20 a yard or more. When we were in Chiang Mai we visited a Thai silk factory and saw the entire silk harvesting and making process in action. I knew that the silks here were priced for the tourists but even at tourist prices I was still getting a steal. I swept up three yards of high quality Thai silk for about $13 a yard. Then when I returned to Bangkok on our way home I stumbled upon a treasure trove of Thai silk in the back of a tiny fabric store after scouring the fabric district in Chinatown. The sweet lady who owned the shop sold me two meters of Thai silk for closer to $8 a meter! She also gave me her card and told me that she would happily ship to me in the US!


In Laos I was turned on by all the amazing Hmong textiles sold at the night market in Luang Prabang. We ended up bringing home a beautiful duvet cover and matching pillow cases. Everything was 100% stitched by hand and it was incredible to watch these women work.The quality of the fabric isn't the best but the hand stitching is amazing and I am in awe of the beauty of the piece.



I also picked up several meters of woven fabric in the local market. I thought the purple and the green would compliment the fabrics I picked up in Guatemala earlier last year.


Finally in Burma I found an amazing hand painted piece. I didn't know what I was going to do with this yardage when I bought it. I knew I couldn't cut it up. It is just too beautiful. I imagined that it could be used in it's entirety as backing fabric when I finally put the travel quilt together. Or I might even use it as a shawl. Then my sweet husband had a wonderful idea last night... We're going to use it for our chuppah in our family wedding that we're having later this month.




I need another trip so I can expand this growing fabric collection. Any favorite fabrics or textiles out there from any of your travels?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Swaps Galore

I know I am over committed, in fact Natalie and I were chatting about it just the other day. And I swear I am starting to scale back... a little. In fact I am not joining in on the current round of the Scrappy Pincushion Swap on Flickr just for that reason. But I couldn't help myself from joining in the Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap and the Urban Home Goods Swap. Seriously, how could I resist?

During the Fall I participated in the SavVy {Seasons} Swap and Darci made me an amazing table runner that adorned my Thanksgiving table. Seriously, she is so talented! So when Darci told me that she was organizing a new swap and invited me to join how could I resist? I love to cook, although I don't ever have enough time to because of my crazy work schedule. But I have all the bells and whistles and kitchen gadgets a girl could want. I'm always looking to dress up our kitchen and dining room so I made a mosaic to inspire my secret partner.

Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap Mosaic

I've also been having a ton of fun stalking my secret partner. (Insert evil laugh here!) And last night I had a strike of inspiration. I know exactly what I am going to make for my partner. Now that I know the "what" 'm starting to gather design inspiration. I'm thinking, linen, Echino, clean lines and a pop of color... I smell a trip to the new fabric store that opened on Tuesday in my weekend plans!

Then I cheated and made one mosaic to inspire each of my secret partners in the Make Mine Modern Swap and the Urban Home Goods Swap. I figured they were similar so I could get away with it!

Urban Home Goods & Make Mine Modern Swap Mosaic

I've also started stalking both of those partners too, but I am prioritizing each swap by due date to keep things organized and moving on schedule without getting overwhelmed. Although since a lot of people tend to join all three swaps I am stalking all three of my partners all over the place! It's a lot of information to keep straight, let me tell you! But me, the super organized producer type that I am, of course, has an electronic file for each person I am stalking on my computer. Boy, that sure does sound creepy doesn't it?! Watch out partners I've got my eye on all of you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lucky Pay It Forward Ducks!

Okay, there were only four comments on yesterday's Pay It Forward post so I can't just leave one person out so I will be making something for each of you! Jewel, Anabel, Wandering Minstrel and Lee I'll be emailing you shortly to get your addresses. Watch your mailboxes because sometime when you least expect it between now and February 1, 2011 you'll be receiving something special from me made just for you. And once you receive your gift remember to Pay It Forward to three more lucky ducks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pay It Forward

Have you seen the "Pay It Forward" trend that's been sweeping through crafting circles for at least the past year? Well I was lucky enough to be the recipient of not one but TWO Pay It Forwards. A couple months back Cherie of Sew and So Quilts picked me and I am anxiously waiting to see what creation she makes me that will end up on my doorstep. That's part of the fun. The not knowing! The waiting! The anticipation!

Then just recently my very talented and amazing friend Carla posted a Pay It Forward on her Facebook page. Carla and I are old friends from college and she is a gifted crafter so how thrilled was I when these amazing handmade cards showed up in my mailbox the other day?!

I mean, could you just die. You seriously have got to check out her stuff. It's breathtaking!

So in the spirit of Paying It Forward now I am going to give three lucky readers a chance to play. And don't worry if you don't get picked this time around just know that there will be another chance coming up sometime... who knows when... but on that blessed day when Cherie's surprise lands on my doorstep.

So how do you Pay It Forward? The rules are simple... I have one year from this date to make something handmade for three lucky readers. Each in turn must commit to "Pay It Forward" to three people and so on and so on. You have one year to complete this challenge starting the day you receive your gift from me.

Do you want to join in the fun? It's simple. Just leave a comment on this blog post between now and 5 pm Pacific on Wednesday. I will use the Random Number Generator to pick three lucky winners from all the comments. If your name comes up then sometime within the next year I will make you a handmade gift. You won't know what or when but one day you'll open up your mailbox and there it will be. And on that day you'll spread the love and commit to Pay It Forward to three more lucky folks. Please, only one comment per person. International comments welcome. Good luck!