Monday, October 31, 2011

FTLOS Received


Still playing catch up over here. And I am sorry it's taken me so long to show off this one! I participated in the For the Love of Solids Swap on Flickr and I got a wonderful package from Marie.


She made me the most gorgeous bath mat. I could just have easily gone in the kitchen...


...but I thought it fit our bathroom perfectly! She used yummy cream linen and improv pieced circles in gorgeous blues, greens, greys and yellows.


She even found this awesome rubber coated fabric for the backing so it's not slippery. Genius!


And she included the sweetest hand stitched canvas that I adore. It's the perfect addition to my sewing studio.


Marie, thank you so much! I really love everything you sent to me. It was a gorgeous package and you really got my style. You're the best!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2011


This is my third time participating in Amy's amazing Blogger's Quilt Festival. I am always inspired by this event, seeing so many amazing quilts and being introduced to an incredibly talented bunch of fellow quilters. As always, thanks to Amy for hosting the 2011 Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival.


If you are a regular reader of my blog you will recognize my entry into the festival: Ivy's Quilt. Forgive me for showing her again, but she's really my favorite finish to date. My wonderful and amazing husband implored me to make a quilt for Joel, his roommate from law school and subsequently one of his best friends, and his wife Sarah who were expecting their second daughter. I was flummoxed at first. I admire Sarah for her grace, poise and style so I knew that I wanted to create something that reflected the amazing qualities she embodies.


On a recent journey to Sew Modern, my favorite LQS, I had picked out fabrics for a swap partner and, of course, came home with extra yardage. Looking at the stack I realized that these fabrics had the elegance I wanted to encapsulate in the quilt.


From top to bottom: Bazaar Style "Gems in Terra" by Patricia Bravo, Bazaar Style "Mosaic in Cream" by Patricia Bravo, Kumari Garden "Stone Tara" By Dena Designs, Mod "House Genie in Lilac" by Annette Tatum, Parisville "French Lace in Sky" by Tula Pink, Bazaar Style "Belly Dancer in Sand" by Patricia Bravo, Central Park "Plaza Trefoil" by Kate Spain & Central Park "Floral Carousel" by Kate Spain.


It was so romantic, and yummy. Seriously I was in love with this stack. I decided I wanted to keep things simple and showcase, not only the fabrics but the way they played off each other so well. I started to cut strips and made a simple, yet elegant, log cabin of sorts.


The quilt actually came together very quickly. I was on a deadline, but the pattern was also simple and I pieced and quilted the entire thing in a weekend. I decided to use swatches of the leftover fabrics to piece the back as well and I made a scrappy binding to match.


I did simple, straight-line quilting and stitched in the ditch so the thread wouldn't overpower the fabric but the quilt would still have a comfy crinkle to it. I also liked the simple rectangle pattern it created on the back.


After it was completed and sent off to it's new home I missed this quilt. These fabrics are so special and I fell in love with this quilt so I ended up running back to Sew Modern to buy up more yardage of each. And the ones they no longer had in stock I found online. These fabrics still sit in my studio in a simple stack, just quietly apart from the rest of my stash. One day, hopefully soon, I intend to make an adult-sized version of Ivy's quilt for myself. And that quilt will be all for me. But until that day comes I look at that expectant stack and smile. It makes me happy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little Stitches Week 8 - Pattern A - Snuggy Baby Wrap

It's Week 8 of the "Little Stitches" Sew-Along. This week I'm sharing the Snuggy Baby Wrap that I made for Karinabelly - a nickname that started when she was pregnant with her first baby.

Pattern A - Snuggy Baby Wrap - Difficulty Level: 2


Karina is another one my my oldest and dearest friends. I've known her as long as I've known Caroline and Ehren who welcomed little Arden into the world in July. All of us travelled together for a year in Up With People way too many years ago, now. I don't remember exactly how we met but all I know is that she is one of my closest friends from that year. I even spent a night at her parent's house in Germany on our semester break and I've been close with her entire family ever since. Not only am I lucky enough to still have Karina as a close friend in my life, I also have the luxury of living near her. She's been living in the Los Angeles area for many years now.


After having two gorgeous little girls, Karina and her husband Jeff welcomed a little boy (Sawyer) into their tribe just last week and he is a cutie. A few weeks before he was born, several of us gathered together to celebrate her with a shower. She had requested no clothes, and had much of the baby equipment she needed since this is her third, so I knew the snuggy wrap would be the perfect gift for Sawyer. And I wanted it to be extra snuggly so I opted to use flannel over the required cotton.


I cannot stress enough the importance of reading, re-reading and sometimes re-reading a third time the pattern instructions. My biggest frustration across the board is that occasionally the pattern instructions in the book are a little difficult to decipher at times. I swear I read and re-read the instructions for attaching the lining strips to the main fabric but I got super confused and ended up laying them out incorrectly. Thankfully, after a frantic email to Caitlin, I realized the error of my ways. Caitlin was really my saving grace. She quickly explained what I was doing wrong and then I re-read the instructions a final time and embarrassingly discovered that I had mis-read them all along. Thank you Caitlin! You saved me on this one!


My mistake was that I was initially trying to line the strips directly up against the edge of the main fabric NOT the required distance FROM the edge of the fabric. Yeah, as soon as I figured that one out it all came together in a snap!


I did make one other, rather large mistake that was unforgiveable. Thankfully not SO unforgivable that I couldn't "pretend" it was intentional. Thank god it was for a boy and it was a frog theme otherwise I would have had to scrap the project altogether and start over. That's what I get for trying the whip this entire project up in the two hours I had before I intended to give it to Karina. Let this be a lesson to you all... Don't Rush and Sew!


Yeah... that plate was supposed to be put down the opposite way to make the hood correctly. And as a result the frog has eyes! At least that's what I'm calling them. And if I had more time I would have run to the nearest craft store and bought googly eyes to attach to the little peaks I created in the hood. Thankfully, Karina loved it anyway!



Finally, in my sprint to the finish, I decided to follow Caitlin's lead and attach the strap by sewing it on. Honestly, it was because I couldn't find my buttonhole foot and I was running out of time. But I did also like the way Caitlin's turned out. And I also decided to make the inside the outside which worked because I was using flannel instead of cotton.



This project was so super simple and quick, really. If it weren't for my rookie mistakes and trying to rush through it I wouldn't have had any issues at all. I am planning to make more of these for my friends since it's such a fast and easy project to whip up in a pinch. Not to mention it's super cute too!


So what are you working on? Link up your latest projects here and show everyone what you're making. You can share your projects in any state from start to finish. Remember, you can also show off your "Little Stitches" Sew-Along projects anytime in the Undercover Crafter Sew-Along Group on Flickr. See you next week when I'll show you my latest finish, Pattern E: The Comfy Jumper Dress.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PTS6 and Habitat Progress

Last night I unexpectedly had the house to myself for the evening. I actually left the office at a decent hour and my wonderful and amazing husband was detained at a business dinner much longer than expected so I made some major progress on my PTS6 pillow and my Habitat challenge project.


Over the weekend I was able to piece all the little stars for my PTS6 project. So last night I pieced the larger, center star, played with the layout and pieced the whole top together. So I swapped my 1/4" foot for my walking foot and went to work on quilting it. Initially I was going to alternate aqua and lime thread in the quilting but once I got started I opted for the "less-is-more" approach and kept it simple with basic aqua echo quilting around the stars.


The LAMQG is also revealing out Habitat Challenge projects at our November meeting. The rules are simple. We have to make a quilted item using any of Jay's fabrics from the Habitat line and the only fabrics we're allowed to otherwise add are solids.


It's all quilted. I just need to finish it off now. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with this one! The big reveal will be coming in November.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And for the first time, in what seems like months I'm linking up with Lee!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Final A Dozen Quilters Block

I got way behind in A Dozen Quilters Bee, and sadly September was our last month for that bee. It's for the best I suppose. I have been seriously over committed and my hectic work schedule wasn't making matters any better. Patty was in charge of our final project: a breast cancer awareness quilt. She sent us each some fabrics and asked us to make one block that would finish to 12" in any style we wanted.


I had been wanting to try a block like this for some time and I thought this was a great project for it. I like the linear quality of the block and I knew it would go well with some of the other blocks I saw come in for this project. I can't wait to see the finished product. It's going to be one gorgeous quilt. I loved working on a year of charity project with these 12 ladies. Thank you ladies of A Dozen Quilters!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bottled Rainbows for April

More catch up my friends... This time it's bee blocks. I was so far behind on my blocks for April in the Sewn Together Bee. Her month was August and truth be told, I didn't send her block out until October. I know! I'm a bad bee mama. April asked each to make one Bottled Rainbow Block made from Rachel's tutorial. She sent out packets in one of two colors, Red or Aqua and I scored an Aqua packet! I love aqua!


I have never tried this block before, nor have I tried the quilt as you go method so I was excited to broaden my horizons on this one. April had sent along a bunch of scraps and I went to my scrap bin to add some of my own. I know that I always love when my fellow bee members add a bit of fabric form their own stash to my blocks when appropriate. I was a little concerned about getting the block to lay flat and puckering a little when I was basting the border. I thought that it might become an issue when I started sewing on the scraps but it wasn't at all.


This block was a little time consuming because I did a lot of fussy cutting to make the scraps "fit" together. But that was my own choice and I was having fun with it. I have always loved puzzles. I used to put them together almost obsessively as a child and I looked at this block as a puzzle where I could manipulate the pieces. Hee hee. I don't have kids, so I don't have a glue stick handy so I ended up using my spray baste instead of the glue stick that Rachel recommended in her tutorial and it worked out just fine.


I really fell in love with this block as I was working on it. It's a lot of fun and a very creative way to use those scraps. I keep even the tiniest of scraps hoping that one day I'll be able to put them to use and this block is a great way to showcase your favorite fabric scraps, no matter how small they may be. And the best part is, my wonderful and amazing husband actually noticed this block and commented how much he liked it so there may be more Bottled Rainbows in my future. Sorry for the delay April, but I hope you like the block as much as I do! Thanks for helping me learn a new block and a new skill.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Little Stitches Week 7 - Pattern M - Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag

Welcome to Week 7 of the "Little Stitches" Sew-Along. This week's project was the Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag that I whipped up for my very dear friend Nina.

Pattern M - Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag - Difficulty Level: 3


Nina and I have been close friends for over 15 years. We first met when she transferred to my university and joined our theatre program. During my junior year we did a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof together (I played "Big Mama" and she played "Mae Pollitt") and we became fast friends. We also lived in the same off-campus apartment complex so we spent many a late night together. After I graduated I moved from Los Angeles to New York City but we remained close, so close in fact that I was able to convince her to move out to NYC once she graduated and we became roommates (and co-workers) until I abandoned her moved to Chicago in 2001. Despite the distance (I now live back in Los Angeles and she, thankfully, moved back to Las Vegas so we're closer) we've remained the best of friends throughout the years. Nina is expecting her first baby next month, so of course I had to make her something and I helped her family throw her baby shower too!


Nina and Jorge have decided to keep the baby's sex a mystery but they're going with a "Jungle" theme for the baby's room, so the Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag couldn't have been a better choice for her first gift. I decided to go with green polka dot fabric for the bag portion to simulate a tree and keep it gender neutral.


My first, and really only, glitch was working with the Wonderunder I bought for the project. Thankfully I could tell it was going to be a problem right off the bat as I was reading through the directions so I was able to come up with an easy work around.


The directions say to apply the Wonderunder directly to the fabric before cutting out the facial pieces. The problem is that the Wonderunder I was working with didn't have a protective, removable backing (as I can only assume some brands have based on the directions in this pattern) so if I were to apply the Wonderunder at this stage as directed I would have inadvertently applied it to my ironing board cover. Instead I cut out the Wonderunder pieces separately from the corresponding fabric pieces and then applied them to each other later when I got to the stage of fusing those pieces onto the main pattern pieces.


My good machine (my Baby Lock) has been fussy lately. It just means that she's in desperate need for her annual tune up. So, I resorted to using my inexpensive little Janome for this project. The stitches are limited on my Janome and it doesn't do a Satin Stitch so I had to get a little creative with the Zig Zag Stitch. I went around the applique pieces twice to create an intentional "messy" look.


My only gripe with this pattern is the monkey head. The head isn't actually attached to the bag, it's Velcro-ed on. While I think this is for easy removal of the monkey head so you can wash the bag without washing the head, I think it makes the head lie a little wonky when it's actually attached to the bag. Mine doesn't look as good as hers does in the book.


It's a pretty easy project and it comes together quickly, and while I think this project is super-cute, I'm not sure I would make it again, unless I could figure out a way to make the head lay better.


So what are you working on? Link up your latest projects here and show everyone what you're making. You can share your projects in any state from start to finish. Remember, you can also share your "Little Stitches" Sew-Along projects anytime in the Undercover Crafter Sew-Along Group on Flickr. See you next week when I'll show you my latest finish, Pattern A: the Snuggy Baby Wrap.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Surprise From Rachel

I received the most amazing surprise in my mailbox last week. As most of you know, I have been leading the Hope Circle of the do. Good Stitches Bee on Flickr for well over a year now. If you haven't heard about do. Good Stitches, it's a charity Bee started by Rachel of Stitched in Color. She started the group back in June of 2010 and since then the bee has grown to 13 circles filled with 5 Quilters and 5 Stitchers. Each circle works together to make one quilt each month to benefit a different children's charity. Well, Rachel decided that she wanted to tank each of the hosts for all we do to facilitate our circles and she surprised each of us by making us these amazing journals.

She individualized each journal to reflect the style of each intended recipient. She stalked me and discovered that my favorite color is green, I love playing with fabric through creating texture and that hand stitching makes me *swoon*. Boy, did she nail my style right on the head!

I mean, seriously, how gorgeous is it? I am totally in love!

She inscribed the front page with a sweet dedication and included some of the newly designed Bee labels so we can use them on future quilts.

Since I am one of the longest-running circle Hosts (Alecia and I started the Faith and Hope circles in September of 2010) Rachel also sent along some yardage of this terrific blue fabric that I am planning to use in a future do. Good Stitches quilt. I don't think it's the right backing for the soon to be completed Red Stripe Quilt but I think I might be able to use it in the next one I design. I mean how incredibly generous is she? Rachel is truly amazing and I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing group.

If you would like to join in our endeavor you can join the waiting list over on the Flickr group. There are new circles starting up all the time. It's a wonderful group of quilters and a great way to give back to the children in need out there in the world. Thank you Rachel. You're an amazing and talented woman and I am proud to "know" you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Great Weekend

I am always so sad when Monday rolls around and I have to start another work week. I had a great weekend and I didn't want it to end. On Saturday Marc and I stayed around the house all day and then we were lucky enough to meet up with a bunch of our friends at the Hollywood Bowl for the Clinton Foundation concert. It was absolutely amazing and it was streamed live on Yahoo! (and I believe they're replaying it there as well if you want to catch it). It got a little chilly when the sun went down, but I brought Marc's Quilt along with us and was able to snuggle up while Bono and the Edge played an acoustic set.


Then yesterday we ended up at LACMA for the Tim Burton exhibit. I have been a huge Tim Burton fan for years so this was just so cool. He is such an imaginative genius and there were several rooms filled with his sketches, sculptures, short films and costumes from his movies. It was magical. I couldn't leave empty handed so I bought a T-shirt which I thought was appropriate in more ways than one...


And I also started on my pillow for PTS6. I'm going scrappy and small. I think it's going to work. I got everything cut this weekend. Now it's time to sew. Wish me luck that it all comes together as planned.


How was your weekend? Hope you had a good one too!