Thursday, January 31, 2013

QuiltCon Intro and Bloggy News!

The Modern Quilt Guild is having a linky party to get to know each other a little bit before QuiltCon! I love this idea, because I'm really bad at remembering names. I really should do that thing where I repeat the person's name as soon as I meet them (i.e. "Hi, Heather, it's nice to meet you!"), but I feel really silly doing that. So instead, I forget their name and then freak out later.

The Modern Quilt Guild is suggesting that I share a picture of myself and 5 things others may not know about me. So, here goes!

Stacey and Nick's Wedding!
Photo taken by Lark Photography
Me (left) and my sister (right), on her wedding day!

5 Things About Me!

1. My dad passed away 6 years ago today. He used to travel a lot, so at first it just felt like he was away on another trip. But it seems like the longer he's gone, the more I miss him.

2. Sometimes I'm really funny. And other times, not so much. There seems to be no happy medium.

3. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and my "normal" is a crowded, urban setting. I don't think of Chicago as a big city, even after living in a town of 2,500 people. To me, it's always just's my normal!

4. I love music that I can dance to, and yet I'm a horrible dancer. Classical music bores me, but I like a little bit of nearly every other genre.

5. I have two dogs, neither of which are very well training. They jump on people, sit on the furniture, and try to steal food. I love them anyway, but they also cause me a great deal of anxiety whenever we have house guests.

Wow, those are 5 really random things about me!

And now for a bit of bloggy news! This weekend I was thinking a lot about blogging and the fun friendships that I have made. I wish that I could read so many more blogs than I do, but there just aren't enough hours in the day! I was also struck with the feeling that sometimes I don't challenge myself enough in my quilty life. So I've decided to try hosting a monthly link party!

Each month I will blog about my challenge for the month. If you'd like to join in, link up to a blog post (or flickr photo if you don't blog) explaining how you'd like to challenge yourself that month. You don't need to learn a new technique, but let's keep in quilting/sewing/fabric/design related in some way. (Examples: Use more solids in quilting! Try sewing a garment! Tackle a zipper! Start a quilt blog!) The link party will be open the 1st through the 3rd of each month (with the exception of February, when the link ups will stay open through the 5th to get everyone started).

At the beginning of the next month I will blog again with a quick summary of my February challenge and something new for March. You can do the same!

I'm looking forward to visiting the blogs of everyone who links up - I think it will be a great way to get to know some new quilt friends!

I'll be back tomorrow with the first post of February. There may just be a little sometime extra for one lucky participant this month. ;) Check back tomorrow!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The last of the Christmas gifts!

When I was in Seattle last fall I found a great Echino print that reminded me so much of one of my best friends. I grabbed a 1/2 yard cut, not knowing what I'd do with it. I must have had pillows on the mind this year, because that's what I decided on! (Plus, a pillow is like an awesome mini quilt without the question of "what to do with it?"!)

Here's the back of the pillow, where I used the Echino print uncut:

Echino Pillow for Steph

Want to see that funky quilting up close? (This is stitch #112 on my Janome Horizon, which I used as is and mirrored.)

Echino Pillow for Steph

For the front of the pillow, I cut 1 of each of the framed animals and bordered them in a bright solid. Then I pieced those with some linen and added some straight line quilting!

Echino Pillow for Steph

For my friend's two boys I made stuffed animal sleeping bags. To keep them from looking to childish (her boys prefer rough and tumble to cutesy), I used 2 alligator prints. The light green flannel is from Connecting Threads (who, by the way, has the SOFTEST flannel EVER. I prewash all of my fabric, and this stuff is AMAZING! And cheap!) and the dark green cotton is from Ed Emberley's Happy Drawing line. I didn't use a pattern for these, but they were really easy to whip up! Though I am now tempted to buy this pattern, as it includes a built in pillow!

Softie Sleeping Bags!

I was really happy with how these turned out, and they have made it onto my list of children's gift ideas. In some way I find these to be "practical". I suppose because they are used with toys that children already have? Either way, they are lots of fun to make and "use"!

Softie Sleeping Bags!

I'll be back in the next day or two with a little giveaway!

And with that, I must go back to picking off all of the paper foundations on my sister's wedding quilt....wish me luck!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Japanese-y Pillows

When we moved to upstate NY last year we knew 4 people. My husband had become really close friends with a coworker in Seattle, who was from upstate NY and left Seattle to move back to NY just months before our move! We also knew our friend's wife and 2 sons, although not very well.
Matt moved out to NY ahead of me and Addy, and stayed with our friend and his family. They were so helpful to him, and very welcoming! Once Addy and I were moved to NY, we all began spending a lot of time together. Nearly all of our holidays include dinner at their house, and they love Addy as if she was their grandchild! They are the closest thing we have to family out here!

I wanted to do something special for them for Christmas, and my first instinct was a quilt. I had shown them the wedding quilt (that I'm still working on) for my sister's wedding, and they loved the design. Our friends are Japanese, and they thought that my design had a very Japanese feel to it. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make them a quilt. (Christmas of 2013, right?)

I had more or less settled on making them some large, new throw pillows for their living room, but couldn't decide on a design. Then one day I glanced over at a fat quarter set that I had picked up from Purl Soho a few months ago, and I *knew* what to do!

I wanted to chop the prints up so that the pillows were a simple patchwork of 2" squares. That small, simple patchwork has a very Japanese feel to me. (Finished size is 20" square.)

Japanese-y Pillows!

I kept the quilting simple as well with some straight lines 1/4" from the seam lines.

Japanese-y Pillows!

For the backing I splurged on some yarn-dyed linen blend in "denim" (to me, that cloth just oozes Japanese!):

Japanese-y Pillows!

And I finished the pillows off with (sort of) invisible zips!

Japanese-y Pillows!

I really love how they turned out, and I think they were well received! Our friends thought that several of the prints had a Japanese-y feel to them, which was a bonus, since I was winging it a bit!

These pillows reminded me that sometimes it's the simple things in life. They were pretty quick to create, and so simple to stitch up. And yet I was smitten with them the instant they were finished, and they are being very well loved by their new owners!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog news and Christmas sewing!

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I've spent the last 9 days working on my blog. I decided to buy my domain name, and it is now officially all set up! Feel free to continue to visit my blogspot address if that's easier, it will simply redirect you to my domain now!

Yay, it works!!

And now, on to the good stuff!

This year for Christmas I decided to make zip pouches for everyone in our family. I even made pouches for the guys, and they all seem to genuinely like them!

For the men, I made simple solid colored pouches with some basic quilting on them. Inside each pouch I included a first aid kit and a travel bottle of ibuprofen.

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

I had a little more fun with the girly pouches! In these pouches I included a lip gloss and some tea.

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

For our parents I also made some quilted placemats. I dug into my Flea Market Fancy for these, and I'm so glad that I did! I love how they turned out, and it was so nice to use up some of my stash that I'd been holding onto for something special. I used a 1/2 yd of 10 different prints for these.

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Each placemat is made in a different colorway with two different prints separated by a dark brown strip. I quilted the strips with dense, straight line quilting. I then quilted each colored print with a different free motion design.

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

Lastly, I stitched up this pillow for my step-dad's birthday. His birthday was actually a few weeks before Christmas, but I was behind on my sewing for the holidays, so I finished it up just in time to send off with the Christmas gifts!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

My step-dad loves elephants. I thought this print was quite appropriate with the smaller elephant "kids" and the larger elephant adults. :)
To make the pillow a bit less juvenile, I paired the elephant print with a bit of the new Kona Iron (which is officially my fav kona color now!) and a dark blue shot cotton. Some straight line quilting finished the pillow off nicely!

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

On the back I used the elephant print and straight line quilting, and I finished the pillow with an invisible zipper.

Christmas 2012 Gifts!

My mom tells me that my step-dad loves his pillow, so I'm sure it has a place of honor in his favorite chair!

Monday, January 7, 2013

9-Patch Puzzle Quilt Pattern - For Sale Now!

I'm so excited to finish my second pattern!

9-patch puzzle pattern! 

You may remember last year when I created this quilt for my good friend's daughter. Since then, I've had several requests for a pattern.

I wrote the pattern using a layer cake and included 2 design options:

Use the layer cakes to create modern 9-match blocks
Trim the layer cakes to size and use as is

I created this first quilt using 21 different solids (mostly Kona) for the blocks, 7 different neutrals for the borders, and the green and white stripe print:
Puzzle Me Not Quilt

Here's a detail shot (binding is Chicopee):
Puzzle Me Not Quilt - Detail
(This lucky quilt is one of the two that will be in the quilt show at QuiltCon in February!!)

This second quilt is an example of how the pattern comes together if you choose not to piece the modern 9-patch blocks, but rather use the layer cake sheets trimmed to size (fabric is Lucy's Crab Shack):
Lucy's Crab Shack Puzzle Quilt

The details:
Lucy's Crab Shack Puzzle Quilt - detail

The layout is deceivingly simple to create, and comes together very quickly!

The pattern includes detailed instructions and step-by-step illustrations for cutting, piecing the blocks, and creating the quilt top.

Finished quilt size is 64" x 72"

The pattern is listed for sale here in my Etsy shop and also here on Craftsy!

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the pattern!

I'll post more about each of these quilts in a few days. I also want to share the amazing work done by my pattern testers - more to come!