Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{WIP} Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

You know? I love traveling to see family and friends, but MAN, is re-entry hard!

We spent a fabulous spring break week in LA seeing old friends and just really enjoying being back. Really. Sprout and I went to a LAMQG weekend sew, and got to see our buddies there. We went to Sew Modern and bought loads of yummy scrummy fabrics from Lauren. I bought some prints for stash and for swaps. (and, let us just be real, here...I bought them just to pet and admire).

I bought a lovely, rainbow array of Kona solids. Some for Stitched in Color's Bottled Rainbows Ticker Tape Quilt-along, and some for the next round of the Hexagon Swap on Flickr.

Bottled Rainbows ~ Solids

We went to Momen+ and bought too many fat quarters.

We ate at In-and-Out Burgers, and the Omelette and Waffle Shop. We went to the Aquarium. We spent time with people we love. Good, good times. I miss my LA friends and my LA life. People often ask if I'm glad to be back in Colorado, and I always feel bad for saying "Not really", even though it's true. Colorado is wonderful and beautiful and has lots of wonderful and beautiful things and people, but it's just not the life that we had created in LA.

Then the girls and I traveled to Phoenix to spend a few days with my brother and his wife. There's a whole lot of mutual idolizing going on between Uncle Robbie and Mookie. I took pictures, but they're on the other computer, so I'll try to upload some later to my other blog.

Because we were gone, I don't have much in the way of finished works. Really only one. I finished my February block for the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month. March is ready to be stitched. And the April design comes out Friday. Oh how I love to be behind.

Birdie Stitches BOM ~ February

I am doing each month in a different color, so January was pink, February was red, March was orange, April will be yellow, etc. And I decided to use embroidery thread to match the block color, for the most part. I was really surprised to see the stark difference between the pink January stitching and the red February stitching. Hopefully in the end, it will all be cool and I'll love the finished quilt. :o)

Birdie Stitches BOM ~ January and February

But while I was gone, I received two gigantic and bountiful packages of scraps. I participated in Sew Sara's scrap swap, and Mariliz and Jessica both sent WAY too many scraps. :o)

And check out this rogue, super cool scrap from Mariliz! I'm desperate to know what it is, and where I can find loads more of it. I don't drink coffee or tea, really, but I just LOVE this design!

Eventually, I'll be using those scraps to make my own Bottled Rainbows Ticker Tape quilt.  I have all the supplies now, so I can get started on it whenever I want, but I've got a zillion other projects that MUST get done, and that one would be just for fun, and just for me, so I'm going to wait.

Speaking of other projects, I decided to use some of my hexies from the Hexagon Swap to start a quilt to send to a survivor of the earthquake in Japan.  I am taking a class on how to use a long arm machine at a LQS, and we're supposed to bring a quilt to practice on, so I decided to hustle up and get this one finished so I can quilt it there at the shop.  Here's the quilt top so far.

Quilts for Japan ~ The top

I used 52 hexagons (cut using the Accuquilt Go! die), and I'm so glad that I participated in so many rounds of the Hexie Swap so that I would have enough to sort through and have enough of each color to really use. Needless to say, I totally love it. It's symmetrical, it's rainbow-ey, and it's modern. My kind of quilt. My next task is to applique the hexies to the top. THAT, my friends, is what's going to take me a while. :o)

And, I've still got Libby's bee blocks, Yolanda's bee blocks, Janice's bee blocks, Audrey's mug rug, mug rugs for other friends, a camera strap, a quilted purse, squares to cut for the next round of the hexie swap and more to cut for the Around the Circle swap. Oh, duh. And my Kona Solids Challenge quilt.

Ugh.  You know I loved that trip to LA and Phoenix, but it was hard to be away from my sewing machine for so long! There is just SO much to do!

But that, my friends, is what's on my {WIP} list this week. I hope you have a great, and productive week!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

{WIP} Wednesday (on Wednesday, even!)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Yes, I had a busy week. Lots to do, lots to get done, lots more on the list.

Here are a few finished projects from last week. I didn't blog about this first one because I totally spaced on it. :o)  No, really. Can you believe it?! :o)

It's an adorable felt book with removable cupcake shapes. You may remember I made a felt board for Mookie last year, and she still loves it. Calls it her "games".  Don't know why. :o)  Anyways, a few weeks ago, I saw this tutorial by Wild Olive, and thought about how easy it would be and how pretty much every kid I know would just LOVE it. :o)  We had a birthday party to go to on Saturday for a little 3 year old, and so I made this for her. On the front cover, I glued a cupcake and the letter K for her name.
Cupcake book ~ cover: Cupcake Book ~ Cover

Here is a picture of the inside. If I make any more, I will insert a piece of fabric along the top edge so that I can fold it down and help keep all the pieces in place. You know felt sticks to itself, and it's pretty indiscriminate about which piece of felt it's sticking when it's closed, it's nice and tidy, but when you open it up, the pieces are all skewhiffy. And I just didn't like that!  So, again. I'll insert fabric along the top, and fold it down before I close the book.
Cupcake book ~ ingredients: Cupcake Book ~ Ingredients

Since I knew all the pieces were going to go everywhere, I decided (at the almost-last minute) to create a little bag for K to put her pieces in. It's pretty crappy, but it's not bad for never having done one before! And I just kept telling myself that it's for a 3 year old, you know? It's not going to be judged at the county fair, or anything! :o)  I, of course, had to stay within the theme.

Cupcake bag: Cupcake Book ~ Bag

K was very pleased with it, as was her mother. Mookie was all over it. Wanting it, interrupting the gift opening process to go get it to play with it, asking me repeatedly to make one for  You know what they say about the children of cobblers and doctors, right? It's the same for the children of crafters -- Mama's always making for other people, and doesn't make for her! One day. Maybe in May when she turns 3. :o)

I also finished my Barcelona skirt! Yay!  Let's just all promise to not show Mrs Wadsworth my hem, okay? Because she would not be very proud of her student... :o)

I shortened the 4th panel because I wanted it to hit my knee, but that's the only modification I made. And other than the zipper being a bit tricky, the instructions were VERY VERY clear! I can safely say that this is the first garment pattern I used that didn't make me feel like a complete, single-digit IQ, idiot.

And for the summer, I'm going to make one with some rrrrred fabric I have yet to find. :o)  I've always wanted a red summer skirt, and now I'm gonna get me one! :o)
Barcelona Skirt: Barcelona Skirt and Big Girl

As for my works in progress, I'm still working on Libby's house blocks (with no pictures because that's how much progress I've made, ahem!)

And I'm designing a mug rug for a swap within my modern quilt guild. I got Audrey's name, and I'm totally stoked. I have the design all done (in my head), now I just need to get it on paper and then execute it. It's going to take my mug rug expertise to the next level, lemme tell ya. :o)

I'm also part of a couple of scrap swaps, so I need to get my scraps all sorted and in the mail. Like, yesterday!

AND...I'm pretty excited that I think I've decided on a design for my Solids Challenge quilt! I'm almost 100% sure I'll blog the process because I'm not eligible for any prizes, and I just want to share what I'm doing! :o)

Now. I must get my nose back to the grind stone. I must get Libby's blocks done. I must get my scraps sent. I must, I must, I must.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

{WIP} Wednesday (even though it's Friday)

I met a cool girl last week, and we were talking about what we do for "fun" since we both have two young children. She mentioned that she sews, and I invited her to join our modern quilt guild. She said, "Oh, I don't quilt." I laughed and said "Yeah, well, neither do I." :) At least it doesn't seem like it! I just seem to spend my sewing time making things for other people!

Speaking of making things for other people, I've been stumped by Libby's blocks for the Bee Happy Bee. Stumped! It's just like with Lori's dessert blocks. I have an idea in my head, it's just that the execution of it seems impossible. I know it's not, but it seems like that. But you know that old saying about eating an elephant? One bite at a time...

She sent us fabrics and asked us to make 2 "neighborhood" blocks, with a herringbone gray for the sky. Because she lives in LA, and the sky is more often gray and gloomy than blue and brilliant. Here is the layout for the beginning of my first block. I've still got to add a door and windows. And the gray, of course. :o)

I've also been making more infinity scarves. Traci showed me how to reach in, pull out, twist, shove back, sew, reach in, pull out, and sew so that the seams are now hidden. I like it a lot better than my first, where the seams were exposed, and it wasn't any harder at all, really! Once I got my brain around it. :o)

Actually, I have been making a few things for myself. :o)

First up, a skirt! With a ZIPPER!! (which strikes fear in the hearts of most sewists I know!)  But it's a fairly simple pattern, and it's really cute. It's the Barcelona skirt pattern from Amy Butler. I decided to make it in denim first, and then if I want to make it in a different print, I can. Here is part of the back. Last night, after I took this picture, I decided to add one more panel since it seemed a little short. And I really like it! I'm going to sew the front to the back today, then I've got to do the lining (more fear-in-heart striking!), then the seam at the top and the hem at the bottom. SO...maybe I'll be done by, oh, July. :o)

Barcelona Skirt ~ In Progress

This is an update on my Birdie Stitches block-of-the-month stitch-along (that's a LOT of words!). I finished the stitching on the January block, and built the February and March blocks. You can't really tell, but I did trace the embroidery pattern onto the center of the block, but my "water soluble" transfer pen seems to be evaporating in this arid climate...which shouldn't make any sense. :o)  Some of the others doing the stitch-along are using one line of fabric for their outer rings, but I decided to use fabrics from my stash and change the color each month. So far, I'm liking it. :o)  I am not much of an orange fan, but I have to say that I like this orange block more than I expected to! I fully expect to be caught up with the embroidery by the end of March. Just in time to get behind with my April block. :-/

And, last, but mostest certainly NOT least, is a lovely charm pack. Of lovely Kona solids. From the lovely Robert Kaufman team. They offered a charm pack to every member of every modern quilt guild with the idea that we would make "challenge" quilts. Every guild sets their own challenge, and it's really been cool to see what the guilds have been coming up with! There's a new Flickr group where all the finished quilts are posted, even! There is some inSANE talent there, my friends. In. Sane. Love it!  We will be handing these out at our meeting on Monday. I, personally, have about 5 legitimate designs in my head, and just need to decide on one. :o) Our parameters are that we must use at least some of each charm, and that we can only use one fabric for the front. The back and the binding can be whatever we want, and the finished quilt must be at least 40" x 40", and we'll show-and-tell the finished quilts at the June meeting. I promise to keep you updated as I challenge along.
Hello My Name is: Charm Pack!

I'm sure I've got about 18 other projects half complete, but I can't think of any of them right now. :o) Isn't that the way it goes!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Following A Trend...the Plus Pillow

Spectrum Plus Pillow ~ Finished

Have you seen the plus pillows and quilts and wall hangings all over the internet like I have? They just seem to be the hottest design right now!

In February, Sew, Mama, Sew had the I ♥ Pillows theme going on, and when Aunt Spicy, Erica and I saw this one by Cherie, we were all hooked! And got to scheming. We decided we wanted to make this pillow. All 3 of us. With the same fabrics. Because they're cool like that and I want to be like them, frankly.

A few days (and many emails) later, we had divvied up the colors and agreed to mail each other the appropriate strips so we could have have matchy-matchy pillows even though we all live a million miles apart. I got busy coloring in squares in my MS Word doc, and pretty soon, we had a pattern to work with! The problem was, we didn't have each other's fabrics! I'm not entirely sure why I didn't think about making it with other fabric first, but I tend to have tunnel vision to the nth degree, and just can not seem to modify my original plan once it's in my head.

Thankfully, though, Kelly stepped in and tested out the pattern for us. She made this lovely pillow with her scraps, and said that the pattern was easy to use and easy to modify. Which, YAY!

Aunt Spicy and Erica and I finally got our swapped strips, and I started to sew mine together. As I was motoring along, I wasn't sure I was going to love the final result (but I do!), and I didn't know what color border I should use since I wanted to make a 20" pillow cover to go on the 20" pillow I already have. :)

PlusPillow Backing Auditions

I knew wanted the pillow cover to be quilted, so after my internet friends helped me decide on Kona Charcoal as the border, I added some backing and some muslin to the top and quilted it corner to corner. I really like the effect, and will probably do that again when I do another plus pattern pillow or quilt.

Spectrum Plus Pillow ~ Quilting

Along with the suggestion for a charcoal border, a few suggested a Kona Aqua binding. Well... I wasn't about to do a binding on a pillow, but I loved the idea of something extra around the edge, so I used some aqua scraps and made what I'm calling a "flange" around the outside.

Spectrum Plus Pillow ~ Lovely Colors

It was fairly simple to do, and I imagine the installation process was similar to using ric rac or pompoms or piping. I just laid the strips along the edge before I joined the back to the front, and sewed it all together.

Spectrum Plus Pillow ~ Flange Layout

I kept the back very simple, mostly because I just wanted to be D.U.N. Done. with this pillow. :)

Spectrum Plus Pillow ~ The Back

And D.U.N. it is. It's living on it's new home, our new (to us) Ikea couch I found on CraigsList for $50.

I know Aunt Spicy has made a few of these now, too, following our pattern, with great success. And, without further ado, you can have the pattern for yourself!

(please excuse the highly unprofessional format of this get what you pay for!)

I hope you feel empowered and able to make this pillow, now! To me, it looked WAY more complicated than it really was. :o) If you make one from this pattern, please come back and leave a comment (with a link to your blog post with pictures??!!) or email me to let me know how it went! I don't ever plan to sell this pattern, but I would like to make sure it's user-friendly, you know? :o)

Have a great day!

While this isn't the point of this post, I have decided to enter this pillow into Stitched In Color's Blogger's Pillow Party for March. You should TOTALLY go over there and see the fabulous (and highly inspirational) pillows that people are entering! Wowzers, Man.

Blogger's Pillow Party