Monday, October 29, 2012


Well, it looks like I took an unexpected hiatus from blogging.  Fortunately there was plenty of sewing, knitting and other craftiness going on behind the scenes so I have a lot to share.  My "Six Projects in Six Weeks" went pretty well despite my failure to blog each week. 

The first week I shared my Entrelac Pillow.  Then I fell off the face of the earth   was abducted by alien invaders    fell into some quicksand   finished my purse with that great Floralicious fabric I snagged while in Ohio last time.  I used the Tahiti Tote pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs.  I didn't get any progress shots but here are some finished ones.

Floralicious Bag

My favorite part is that outside pocket is actually two pockets.  There's the little zippered pocked on the outside and an open pocket behind. Genius. 


Inside, more pockets!!  Six more.  I'm hoping that all these pockets will help keep my organized. Yeah. Right. . .


The pattern was fairly easy.  I did email the designer because apparently I can't read a pattern at 2am.  I kept trying to make my lining bigger than it was supposed to be.  And yes, the correct measurement was clearly written in the pattern, and yes, I did misread it four times.  (Nothing that a little chop with the rotary cutter wouldn't fix)  The designer was really great about emailing me back quickly, even though it was totally my mistake.  My only other advice is to use a walking foot for all those layers.  There were a lot of layers! 

Uh-oh, my family is waking up.  I guess I better go make some breakfast.  I'll be back tomorrow with another completed project.  See you then.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 1 ~ Entrelac Pillow

Week one officially ended on Sunday so I'm a bit late in posting this.  I finished the first project in my 6 projects in 6 weeks series!! 

Entrelac pillow

This entrelac pillow was fun to knit and very quick to sew up.  Like less than 15 minutes including the time to iron the back hems.  And good news, Gus loves it!! 


He totally swiped it while I was trying to get a few photos this morning. 

Entrelac success!

It was love at first sight.

And now you can see how this pillow inspired my last mosaic.  It's an almost perfect match.

Softly on Black #2
Entrelac pillow

I've already cut out most of the pieces for my new purse. So exciting!!  


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mosaic #2

This is my second entry for Rachel's mosaic contest.  

 Softly on Black #2

I think I like this one way more than my first.  The inspiration for this mosaic came from the entrelac pillow I've been working on.  Hopefully I'll have it done tonight to share with you all tomorrow.  That will be the first project done on my "6 projects in 6 weeks" tour.  Hooray for finishing!

Which mosaic do you prefer so far?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mosaic Contest

Rachel over at Stitched in Color has joined together with Fresh Modern Fabric to create a mosaic contest titled "Softly in Black".  The original palette submitted by Rachel was inspired by a quilt from Anthropologie. A store that I love but can rarely afford! This is what I came up with for the contest.

Soft Black Palette

  My inspiration came from the middle(ish) fabric with the cute house and bold colors.  I love that piece.  And I love how black seems to make everything else jump out at you.  It is so much fun to play with color and be inspired by other people's color choices. Come on over and join the fun!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

6 Projects in 6 Weeks. . .

Or "Am I Crazy?".  A is off to Charleston for the next six weeks and with all of my spare time I'm going to challenge myself to finish a project a week.  Some of the projects are already started so I'm confident that it is possible.  I might not sleep for the next month and a half but that's what coffee is for.  

In no particular order here are the players:

Floralicious for me!

This fabric is destined to be a new purse just for me.  I can't wait to start this one since I desperately need a new bag!

Next up is the shoulder bag for my A's mom.  This will be either her Christmas or birthday gift.  I haven't decided yet.


This is the entrelac pillow I started this weekend.  The colors of the yarn and the cooler air outside are whispering that fall is coming.  Hooray for cooler weather!  I finally turned off the air conditioner this morning and opened all the windows.  Ahh, sweet, fresh air. 
Entrelac Pillow

All women, deep in their hearts, love cowboys.  I didn't run away with any cowboys in my life (well not yet anyway) but I did start this cowboy quilt.  Which I love.  I started piecing this an embarrassing number of years ago.  It was languishing because of a mistake that needed taking out.  I just un-pieced and then re-pieced most of the top in the past week due to a friend's cajoling.  Thanks Mel!

Cowboy Quilt

I've had the fabric for this gem longer that I've had the Cowboy Quilt.  I bought the all the fabric for a quilt and then decided that I didn't really like the pattern after all.  One night while sitting on the couch and staring at my fabric for awhile it hit me: the fabric wanted to be a plus quilt.  All this little beauty needs is to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.  Easy peasy right?

Plus quilt

That brings my total queue to five.  I have a few more options waiting in the wings.  I haven't decided yet which one it'll be.  Although at the rate I'm going I'll be lucky to get five projects done in six weeks.  

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday wips

The first week back at school is just about over.  I'd like to say that now that it's Friday we've hit our groove and have a decent routine down.  Sadly, it's not true.  I could say it, but it would be a lie.  Even if I did have a pretty good routine this week, next week is going to be so crazy it would be impossible impractical to keep it.  This week we just had to get used to getting up, getting ready and heading off to school every day.  Next week both of my kids start dance (that only takes up three days a week).  Yes, Gus is taking a dance class.  He loves dancing.  Loves.  With all his wee little heart.  How could I say no?  Plus we'll have Girl Scouts, Nutcracker practice and some other stuff thrown in for fun.  Yikes!  But my crazy schedule is not what I intended to blog about today.  I wanted to show off a few of the projects I'm working on.

Thanks to the encouragement of a friend I'm finally finishing up this cowboy quilt that I started about 6 years ago.  Maybe 7.  I had to rip apart several nine patch blocks that I had already sewn and were the reason I set the quilt aside in the first place.  Happily, all the blocks are now sewn back together in a much more pleasing arrangement and the top is almost finished.  Hooray!

Cowboy Nine Patch

I've also been working on these very fun granny squares.

Silky Granny Squares

 It's been so long since I crocheted anything.  I forgot how quickly it goes.  I've had a crush on an afghan displayed on the show "Parks and Rec" that hangs on the back of Ann's couch (if you watch the show you know the one I mean) and I had several colors of Malabrigo Silky sitting around from this project:

So I decided to put them together.  Now a silk/merino wool blend is not something I would normally choose for a throw but since I already had several partial skeins it didn't seem quite so blasphemous.  I need a couple more colors, like red, to round out my collection but the granny squares are coming along nicely.

I also started this knitting project:

Ishbel Beret

The Ishbel Beret by Ysolda Teague in Madelinetosh Pashmina.

And this one:

Recycled Sari Yarn Scarf

A simple linen stitch scarf from some yarn in my stash.

And I laid out some fabric for a Gus quilt:

Modern dino quilt

Now that I have a just a few projects started, let's see how many I can finish this year. . .


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Catching Up

It's been a whirlwind around here lately!  I feel like so much has happened in the last couple of weeks I just need a minute to catch my breath.  First of all everyone in our house shared a round of viral pneumonia {that was fun. . .}, then my phone broke, then the car died, then I discovered some weirdness going on in the garden, then I made some stuff, then we found out that a dear family member has cancer, and then, my baby turned two today.  How did that happen? 

Anyhow, I'm finally in a blogging state of mind again and I have so many ideas for projects I'm having a hard time jotting them down quick enough!  Hopefully when school starts next week I'll be able to keep a {semi} regular schedule and share some really cool projects with you.  

For now, this is what I've been working on:

My August Block for the Cheer. Circle of Do. Good Stitches.

August Block

I was convinced that the requested colors would be horrible together and that I would hate this block.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  I love the way this block turned out!  One of the reasons I wanted to join a quilting bee was to stretch myself as a quilter.  I knew that there could be months I possibly wouldn't enjoy a particular color scheme or that I would be challenged to try new patterns and this was definitely one of those months.  

I started out ho-hum about the pattern and with serious doubts about  the colors.  Wow, am I glad that I just went with it!!  I would probably never have put these colors together, but I love it.  I'm going to be sad to send this off.  {I'm almost always sad to send off my handiwork}

I have more projects to show you but it's time to get Chickadee off to Nutcracker rehearsal and Birthday Boy is still in his birthday suit so I have to run for now.  I'll be back SOON!!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Groovy {I won!}

I won a contest!  Well a random drawing at least.  Today I won a pattern for the Groovy quilt by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks.  I decided to join in the Quilt-A-Long started by Alyssa over at Pile O'Fabric.  We'll be stitching along while receiving some instruction and helpful hints about curved piecing.  I can't wait to pick my fabric and jump in.  Here's a button just to prove that I am actually planning to play.

Pile O' Fabric
Pile O' Fabric

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Snail's Trail Tutorial

Warning:  This is my first tutorial.  Ever.  Please let me know if you find any errors or have suggestions or comments.  These instructions make one 8 1/2" square. 

Snail's Trail



Small scraps for the colored swirl
1/4 yard of grey


Inner Squares ~ 1 1/2"  {cut 1 orange and 3 grey}
Round One ~ {cut 1 orange and 2 grey squares 2 1/2 "}
Round Two ~ {cut 1 orange and 2 grey squares 3"}
Round Three ~ { cut 1 orange and 2 grey squares 4"}
Round Four ~ {cut 1 orange and 2 grey squares 5"}

For round one through four squares cut each square in half to make half-square triangles.  Do not cut the four 1 1/2" inner squares.  You will end up with one extra (insert your color here) and grey triangle.

Snail's Trail

All seams are 1/4".
Start by sewing one orange square and one grey square together.  Then sew two grey squares together.  Press seams to one side and pin sets together.  *Note: this is really the only time I pinned anything on this block.  Feel free to place pins to your heart's content but I didn't find it necessary.*

Snail's Trail

Snail's Trail

To get the center seam perfectly aligned (usually) I iron the seams to opposite sides and line up the center seam like so:

Then I rub my forefinger and thumb together until the seams sort of "click". 

I end up with this:

Round 1:

Begin by sewing the first (smallest) colored triangle onto the top of the 4 x 4 square.  The top contains the colored square (green in my case), which is on the right.

So your first triangle of round 1 should look like this:

Snail's Trail

For this pattern it is very important to line the triangles up exactly in the center of the previous block.  This is what gives the trail that curved illusion.  To make sure my triangles were lined up I  centered the point of my triangle with the center seam.

The other crucial thing to remember is to make sure you have a truly accurate 1/4" seam.  To sew on the next triangle in the round (grey), rotate the piece a quarter turn to the left.

Continue rotating and sewing the other two grey triangles on in the same manner.

Trim your block to just shy of 3 1/2".  I believe mine measured 3 3/8".  This step is important because you want your next round to have exact 1/4" seams so that the points of the first round are flush with the next round.  This preciseness is what gives the block the illusion of turning.  It makes the "trail" curve.

Round 2:

Again you want to make sure that your next colored triangle is sewn to the "top" of your block.  The top rotates with every round.  To ensure you're at the top, make sure the last colored triangle is at the top right of the block.

Remember to make sure that the point of your next triangle is centered on the square below.  This is a bit trickier since there is no center seam at this point.  I just sort of eyeballed it to align it in the center of the first square.

Continue sewing the grey triangles as you did in the previous round. Trim square.

To trim the last two rounds I lined up the 1/4" mark on my ruler with the point of the round and trimmed.


The next two rounds are the same, sewing the triangles starting at the top and continuing counter-

Trim to 8 1/2" square and you're done!


To make my block for the Quiltcon Challenge I added a rectangle to the bottom of each of my Snail's Trail squares to make more of a "wave" than a traditional Snail's Trail.  My rectangle was 2 1/4" by 8 1/2".

I think that this "wave" version of the Snail's Trail would be an excellent border for a quilt.  I have a few projects in mind that use this technique.  If you make your own version please share!  I would love to see what other great minds come up with.  

Let me know if I've made any mistakes or if anything is unclear.   This is my first tutorial.  I've never done it before and I won't learn if no one points out my errors.  Thanks!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Modern Quilting

In early June the Modern Quilt Guild asked for submissions for their Quiltcon challenge.  After a little thought, a lot of shopping and some procrastination I finally finished my first entry.  I settled on a modern take of the traditional Snail's Trail block.

Quiltcon Challenge

To me this juxtaposition of modern and traditional is the very definition of modern quilting.  Modern quilting isn't about creating a whole new craft out of thin air.  It's about taking traditional methods and bringing them into the 21st century.  It's about building on the techniques and patterns established by creative women {and men} who came before us.  And throwing a few new things in there too.

Sometimes I feel like modern quiltists are dismissing traditional quilting as "old-fashioned" or "out of date" or just not relevant.  I think that's missing the whole point.  When I quilt or sew, I feel a kinship with the women around me who are also busy designing and stitching away.  I'm not just inspired by the popular bloggers around today, the most recognizable up and coming fabric designers or even my wonderful crafty friends.  Although these women are terrific sources of daily inspiration and encouragement, I'm also inspired by the woman who hand stitched the quilting on my red and white, Civil War era floral quilt.  The stitches are tiny!  The quilting is done in a 1/2" grid pattern over the entire quilt.  BY HAND!!  It's amazing.  The thought that it was probably done by candlelight after all 18 children were in bed makes it even more amazing. 


So, what I'm saying is that the Modern Quilt movement is magnificent, but we should also remember the legacy of past quilts and quilters.  They are truly a gift and in their time, they were the modern ones.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Let me just say, these little bags were hard to let go.  I had fun making them and I love the way they turned out.  I did not get them made before the birthdays they were for but I did finally get them in the mail yesterday.  Just a few days late!  The went out to be loved and adored or at least used. 

Perfect Zip Bags

The pattern was wonderful.  I'm usually hesitant to buy bag patterns because I like drafting my own but Elizabeth Hartman's pattern was well worth the splurge.  They were easy to make and went together really quickly {when I didn't have a 2-year old "helping" that is}. 

Perfect Zip Bags

Perfect Zip Bags

Perfect Zip BagsPerfect Zip Bags

Perfect Zip Bags

Perfect Zip Bags

To make the handles, I deviated from the pattern and used a key fob set that I picked up at my local quilt shop.  I took literally five minutes to make each handle and they look so, professional. 

Perfect Zip Bags

I really love both bags.  The Mendocino log cabin is definitely more "me" but the brighter 16-patch is so happy.  I'll have to make some just for me now.  And everyone else of course! 

Perfect Zip Bags

Tomorrow I'll have a peak at the next project for you.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mendocino and Birthdays

I finally did it.  I cut some of my Mendocino fabric.  It was a little nerve wracking, but not as much as I thought.  The fact that it was for someone wonderful helped a lot.  I made some plans last night for a couple of last minute birthday gifts for two of my favorite people.  Their birthdays are two days apart, the first is this Friday and the other is this Sunday.  {Of course} I decided last night to make gifts to send 700 or so miles away.  I'm making the Perfect Zip Bags from Oh Fransson!  I finished piecing the first patchwork block this morning and  I should be able to finish both bags by tonight.  Since the two lovely ladies live close to each other, I really want both bags to go in the mail at the same time.  With any luck I'll get them out tomorrow morning first thing and they'll have them on Saturday.  Right in between their respective birthdays. 

I thought about drafting my own pattern but there are already so many good ones out there and realistically, I don't have time to perfect a pattern in one night.  Besides, I really love Oh Fransson's! {Elizabeth Hartman's} bags.  

So what do you think of the first round of patchwork?  Me?  I'm in love.  


I'll be sure to take pictures before I put the bags in the mail.