Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stacey's Hope Valley

My family came to visit for my birthday this weekend, so my sister brought her quilt and camera along.  She lives in the middle of Chicago, where there are few photo opps for a king size quilt.  We didn't have too many options around my house either, especially with it being really bright out today.  So we just grabbed a few chairs and tried to arrange ourselves in a bit of shade.

Quilt details:
Pattern is Stacking the Odds by Denyse Schmidt
Fabric is Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt.
I used the king size arrangement (queen size has 1 less pieced strip), but I cut a few inches off of each side to make it fit on the quilting frame.  I think finished size was about 88" tall and 99" wide.
My sister chose a loop pattern for the quilting, and a dark grey (kona coal) for the back.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rainy day activities

It's been rainy and dreary here all day, so I took the opportunity to finish up a few things that I had on my to do list.

Modern Siggy Swap 2 blocks, DONE!

And I also altered my Coffee Date dress.  I ended up taking it in by an inch on each side, and I still have some room.  I was trying to avoid any puckers with the belt, but I just don't think that's possible...  Either way, I really like it now that it's altered and I found a great belt to go with it!

I also started on the next Frock By Friday!  I'm using some Amy Butler Love that I had sitting around.  I actually intended it use it for the Amy Butler Liverpool shirtdress, but I liked this design more.  And following along with the group gives me more motivation to finish it faster!  I'm hoping to wear this next dress for my birthday this weekend. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Hope Valley Pillows

I created each of our bedroom pillows from simple ideas that were floating around in my head.  I had very few scraps left to play with, and I didn't want to overwhelm them with too much pattern.

The 12"x16" pillow was cut and pieced from a scrap block that didn't make it into the quilt top.  This pillow includes all of the prints from the top, grouped by color.  I love the random look but my eyes and brain find it much more calming to look at something with a bit more order.
A few offset pieced strips, button closures, and this pillow was done!

The second pillow that I worked on was the selvedge strips.  I used paper foundations to piece 4 6" squares. I drew a diagonal line through each square, covered 1 side with grey kona and on the other side I added selvedge strips.  The only marking that I did was to make the diagonal of the foundation.  After each block was covered, I trimmed the edges to 6" square.  After playing with several different layouts, I decided on the striped design.  I left the paper foundations on the blocks until after I had all 4 blocked pieced together.  This pillow also has a layer of batting and some straight line quilting.  I finished the pillow with purple piping, grey kona for backing, and purple buttons on the envelope closure.

The last pillow is probably my favorite.  I wanted a pillow with out last name initial, "M".  But I didn't want the look of machine embroidery.  So I drafted a paper pieced block pattern!  It's a really easy process, especially if you already have some paper piecing knowledge.  And it resulted in just the look that I was going for - crisp but not perfect!  I also had the initial idea of using elastic thread to smock the border fabric, but decided to try using my ruffler foot instead.  I left the ruffler stitches in until the pillow was complete, but I found that they distracted from the print in the border.  I'm so glad that I pulled them all out.  I love how the fabric has kept it's print even with all of the gathering.

I have a few more Hope Valley scraps left over.  I'm hoping to try a log cabin style block with selvedge strips next.  First I need to get to work on Addy's quilt and pillows, though.  She had a ton of fun "helping" me with these, and she can't stop talking about her new quilt and pillows. :)


Whew, that was a lot of Hope Valley.

I've finished 2 of the bed quilts on my list!

The first one that I completed was my sister's.  It ended up just smaller than king size.  I trimmed a few inches in each direction so that it would fit on my quilt frame without extending the table, but it's certainly larger than a queen size.  I hand bound most of it on the drive up to Chicago for our Seattle trip, and finished it at my mom's house that night.  I don't have any pics yet.  I left the quilt for her with strict instructions that she take pics with her dSLR soon. :)

I also finished our bed quilt plus 3 coordinating pillows.  I have more scraps to play with, so I will probably add to the pillows as I have free time.


I have a separate pillow post in the works, you may see it by this afternoon. :)

I'm also trying to keep afloat with the Mendocino quilt for Addy's room.  It has turned out to be much more time consuming that I imagined, and I had to put it down for a few days.  I'm hoping to have it pieced and quilted in no more than a week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coffee Date Dress - from the first "Frock by Friday"

This is my finished dress from the first Frock By Friday that was in April of this year.

I didn't fnish it that Friday, because I drove up to Chicago to see my sister that day.  But it was finished within a few days.

I need to take it in a bit, and find a cute white belt.  But it's been sitting in my sewing room closet waiting to be photographed, so here it is!


I felt a bit like Dorothy with my blue dress and red shoes. :)  Please excuse my awful hair and less than fabulous pictures.  I left my hair straightener in Seattle, and Matt never seems to photograph me from the right angle!

(There is another Frock By Friday, taking place this week!  Hop on over to see what's going on!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peek-a-boo Redwork

I started this quilt a year ago.  We took a short trip to St. Louis last May and I wanted something to work on in the car.  I've loved this redwork quilt ever since it was featured on the cover of American Patchwork and Quilting in August 2004.

Whenever we took a road trip in the last year, I would bring this project along.  It certainly isn't a huge project, and I could have finished it in a few short weeks.  But I typically save any hand work for car trips, and spend my time at home working in my sewing room.

The top and most of the back are pieced from red and white prints that I collected from the quilt shops in St. Louis.  The white is Kona bleached muslin.

I embroidered and pieced this quilt without altering the pattern.  In an effort to finish up my UFOs while my quilting machine was in the shop, I quilted this one with straight lines on my Bernina.  I really like the straight lines, and I'm glad I didn't have to maneuver around the redwork at all-which would have been the case if I quilted it on the frame.


I'm not sure where this quilt will end up living.  It's almost too cute to give up.  So for now it's folded neatly in my sewing room closet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sonnet lap quilt

I started this quilt last winter.  The fabrics used in it (April Cornell's Sonnet Collection) were the inspiration behind our living room design.

I had 2 charm packs from the collection, and a yard of my favorite print.  I wanted a large lap quilt, so the easiest way to show off all of the charm squares was by simply adding some sashing!  I used kona espresso for the sashing, and the outer border width was determined by the fact that I only had a yard of that print (which I couldn't seem to find more of anywhere!).  The finished size is 60" x 66".

The sashing may be a bit wide, and the border may be a bit too narrow.  But I wanted a large lap quilt and I couldn't find my favorite prints from the collection at any retailers.  I actually do love how it turned out, though, partly because I can look at it and know how hard I worked to use just what was on hand in my stash!  I did purchase the backing (a cream dot similar to the one in the collection), and 1/8 of a yard of the espresso because I was 1 strip of binding short.

Oh, I almost forgot to explain why I started this in the winter and just finished it recently.  This was the quilt that I was 2/3 of the way finished quilting when my machine quit on me.  Several times I debated pulling it off of the frame and finishing it on my Bernina.  But I'm a stickler for continuity, and I knew that my quilting would be different when I switched to another machine.  Plus I forgot to take the spool of thread off of my quilting machine when I took it into the shop.  And was I too lazy to drive a mile and a half down the road to pick it up!


A peek at the backing:

I haven't decided on a living room theme when we move, but I love this fabric collection regardless. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 quilts in less than 3 weeks?

To say I'm goal oriented would be an understatement.  I love to do lists, or really lists in general.  I also love to challenge myself.  I think I purposely put more on the to do list than I can possibly accomplish just to see what I can get done.

So with our move looming somewhere in the near future, I decided to really challenge myself.  I intended to make a new queen size quilt for our bed and a full size quilt for Addy's bed when we moved into this house last fall.  But suddenly I wanted the bed quilts done before the move.  New house, new quilts.  So I made myself a schedule.  Yes, a quilting schedule.  I wanted to have everything but the hand-sewn bindings completed by the beginning of next week.

At the start of my challenge, I had the top to our quilt done.  Addy's fabric was purchased and prewashed, but I hadn't settled on a pattern.  Oh, and did I mention that my sister asked me to make her a king size quilt?  And that the pattern involved lots of templates?  I was about 1/3 of the way through her top before I started my schedule, and I made her quilt my top priority.  I didn't want to ship it from Seattle, as that's where we are most likely going to end up.

Currently, our bed quilt is just waiting to be bound by hand.  I also made 2 throw pillows to match, with hopefully 2 more to come.

Here's a sneak peak of our quilt.  I took this when I was trying to decide on a binding color:

My sister's quilt is also ready to be bound, and that's what I'm going to work on this week.  It's neatly folded and ready to travel in the car with me, which is where I do most of my hand sewing.

Addy's quilt is in the process of being pieced.  I wanted to have the top and backing pieced and ready to quilt by this weekend, but we are going out to Seattle for a few days so I'll have to put that off a bit.

Assuming we like Seattle this week, Matt will accept the job.  Our current plan is for him to move out there right away to start work, and Addy and I will stay behind until the Peoria house sells (fingers crossed!).  I'm hoping to have our quilt, Addy's quilt, and a few more pillows finished before the move.

So if I seem especially quiet, I'm probably just busy quilting.  Although I could also be trapped under a stack of bed quilts. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day gifts

I went simple this year.  And practical.

One of my favorite gifts ever is a reusable shopping bag that one of my college roomies gave me for my birthday.  It wraps up and fits in my purse, so I never forget it!  Such a simple gift, but I use it at least twice a week and LOVE it.

So when I saw these strawberry cuties on the ikat bag blog, I knew I had to make a few.  I even had the perfect batik fabric sitting in my stash!  I did have to purchase the elastic, the plastic toggles, and some kona (ash) from the bag body.

I love how they turned out, and I think the moms liked them too!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm a finalist!!

Remember the three tops that I entered in Spring Top Week 2010?  Well my yellow floral top (blogged here) made it in the top 60 finalists!  I was beyond excited when I found out yesterday.

So here's where I need your help!  Each day there is a new set of 12 tops to vote on over at Made By Rae.  My top is open for voting for approximately 24 hours, and then the next set of 12 tops are posted.  Head on over to Made By Rae and vote for your favorite, you have until sometime early tomorrow morning when the next set come out.

Anyone can vote!  Visit Rae's blog, pick your favorite, and vote on the right hand side where it says "Vote for Thursday's Best Top!"