Friday, January 31, 2014

City Sampler Blocks 1-8

One of my goals this year is to finish all 100 blocks from:

Her blocks are untitled and she asks you to name them when you make them. I decided to keep them as numbers similar to Shakespeare's sonnets: beautiful in their own way, no titles necessary. They have been so soothing to create. I've enjoyed taking my time to meditate while finding colors that work well together. It will be my Rainbow City Sampler when all is said and done. 

Since they are so small, I hope to finish 2 per week and have them all done by the end of Dec. It's a perfect way to use my Tula Pink fabrics that I've hoarded for a while now. I've also added scrap jelly roll strips, polka dots, and Kona solids to give some contrast to her bright Acacia line.

Here's what I have so far:

(Love this raccoon peeking out here!)
Blocks 1-8

[Please forgive the bad lighting in these photos. There has been no sun here for days!] 

The challenge has been to work with such tiny pieces and to make those seams accurate. I've made a few short cuts with strips when possible so they are a little easier to manage. I'm pretty smitten with these 6.5 in unfinished blocks and look forward to building this collection. I'll post them at the end of each month so please stop by to check their progress. 

What projects are keeping you busy this year?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Birthday Month's Almost Over

January is almost over and I feel like I just celebrated New Years yesterday! It's been a spectacular birthday month and I am now able to sit down and start sharing some of my swag since my last posts.

My friends and family know exactly how to spoil me. The fun fabrics and Angela Walters books are already being put to good use. I am pretty excited about future projects that I can dream of making.

Here's part of my haul:
Place mats from Judy!
I love how well they match my table runner.
Pressing mat with pockets and a trash holder.
Fabrics from my love.
The little scissors make me smile.
This love letter fabric is amazing.
J'adore the center where is says,
"Holding your hand over the rainbow".
The following came in a goodie box from my in-laws in PA:
Precuts - too many to spread out.
I'll just share the finished projects later.)
This photo does not show the awesomeness of these batiks and
hand-dyed fabrics she found online.
My favorite way to have sweets!
These ethnic prints are so fun.
My favorite is the wax print elephants, of course.
Rainbows, butterflies, colorful elephants,
yes please and thank you!
Great colors to use for piecing and borders!
I am open to suggestions on this one!
A yard of pink, gray and black animal print has me stumped.

I hope you get lots of fabric from those you love this year!

Works in Progress:

Switching gears now for a bit, I wanted to share something fun I worked on today.

A very generous Beth let me have some time on her long arm to work on some quilting. Here's the Halloween quilt and am finishing for my godson. I am forming a giant spider web using free motion quilting with glow-in-the-dark thread. I get a little giddy when I turn off the lights as I am pretty excited about how it's turning out. I can't wait to see his smile in person instead of on Skype since they are coming down in a few months for a visit.

I'll try to get a good picture of the glow-in-the-dark thread work
when it's all finished and bound later this week.
(He's now very into Wonder Woman which has my brain already thinking of another project for him. Perhaps I'll make a pillow? You may not know I feel about Linda Carter but I love her! Can't wait to start sketches for that!)

I also worked on my friends' baby quilt that is coming along nicely. I didn't get any good pics of it yet but I'll be sure to post those when the sun decides to come out.

I'll stop here for now and share my other projects in another post this week.

Thanks for reading to the end of this one! Enjoy your last few days of January.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


After losing a fight with scant 1/4 in seams, I was quite victorious in the battle. Once I figured out that my presets on my machine were gone, I played around to find the sweet spot. (Now, they are saved. Whoo hoo!) I was able to get a lot of blocks put together successfully on Saturday and part of Sunday. That kind of success makes me want to kiss my own biceps.

I had a great time at the Orlando MQG Sew Day on Saturday. The company is always great and the food is always delicious. I finished the two blocks that I failed to piece correctly last week and started designing my next quilt project.

Here are the highlights:

Stash Bee January BOM
Orlando MQG February BOM

On Sunday, I also finished up by last two blocks from the Skill Builder BOM from 2013. Finally! The paper piecing was insane but the results are worth it.

Strip Triangle
Starlight Block

My goal is to have them put together sometime this century. I decided to do the quilt-as-you-go technique after all. This way, I can quilt with each thread color needed and only change out the colors once. I can also manipulate them on my home machine and practice my modern quilting. I'll work on the piano key border once I have all of the squares joined and I can measure the finished sides accurately.

The birthday fairy did bring me both Angela Walters books on modern quilting so I'll be able to practice her techniques along the way. I'll be sure to post the blocks as I finish them.

I'm so grateful for the day off on Monday. No work=more time to quilt.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

So I failed...twice!

Today was the first day of the new year that I had a chance to sit down and sew. Catching up with work from the holidays was intense. I even missed our first guild meeting of the year which was depressing. I did get to spend some time with a dear friend visiting from Korea in between the chaos that was my week back to work.

Round 1

Sew...I decided to work on small tasks to see if I can make a dent in my "To Do" list for the year. I started with my Block of the Month for the guild's February meeting. It's such a cute pattern!
I started cutting and sewing along thinking, I've made a Bargello-style block before. I've got this.
I needed six strips so you know what I was thinking:
rainbow time!
I sewed my strips and made the tube needed to subcut each row. And voila:
My super cute block came together in less than an hour. I placed it on my board to square it up to 12.5" and low and behold, I was very short! I'm talking barely made it to 12" short. I thought I had it lined up for a true 1/4 in seam but something must be off. (I can't be that rusty, right?) I pressed and stretched as best as I could but it's really 12 1/4 which makes me want to cry a little inside.

I decided, I'll remake it later. Perhaps I'll use Sew Day this month to try again.

Round 2

I joined the Stash Bee in Dec and was placed in Hive 6.  I really liked the idea of joining this group to start using up my stash. I have so many scraps that should make something adorable  but are not big enough for some other projects I'll be doing this year. Plus, it's an International Group so I am curious about fabrics that others will use for their blocks. I'm pretty excited!

Sew...I sat down to work on my BOM there. It's really cute and exactly what I wanted to make next. I was eager to use my Accuquilt cutter for some 2" blocks since I needed 45 of them. I took out my buckets and grabbed a ton of fun fabrics to chop up. I cut out a bit more than 45 so I could play with the color placement since I have to make 5 nine-patch blocks with scraps.

Once I found the order for each block, I started sewing away. (I even moved the needle over more to ensure that I would be ok for these blocks.)
It's a great trip down memory lane to
pull from the bottom of the baskets.
I remember each project I originally
used all of these fabrics.

I love the heart that made its way to the center of this block.
After making all 5 blocks, I took out the cutting board to square them up to 5" so I can put them together and again I was off for each one. They measured about 4 3/4 each. (At least I was consistent in my failure.) Logic states, I should have checked them after the first block to avoid making 5 duds but I didn't think that far ahead.

They are too adorable not to use for something else.
Any suggestions?
I think that's the universe telling me to stop sewing tonight.

I clearly need to work on my 1/4" seams since my machine came back from getting serviced last month. I will have to play with the needle placement when I am not so frustrated.

Please feel free to leave comments on how you achieve the perfect seam when piecing. I'm open to suggestions.

On a brighter note, I was able to spend a fun night with some guildmates to celebrate our birthdays.  After missing Wed's guild meeting, Judy sent me a message to meet up this weekend. (Judy's 1/10 and I'm 1/12.) I was so happy to get out of the house for the first time in a week.

It was great company, delicious food, and a live band that turned it out! Check out this super sweet gift:

I made 2 projects from it during our guild retreat back in November so I can't wait to play with more of the designs now that I have my own copy. Thanks, Michelle!

Wishing you a great rest of your weekend. May all of your 1/4 in seams be accurate!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's Re"sew"lutions!

Happy New Year!

I hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful holiday and shared some great memories. We kept it pretty simply around here and it was so nice. I can't even explain where the time has gone!

Here's my favorite book, a gift from my love:
I've wanted to learn this technique for a while.
I am so excited to play with dimension this year.
So cool. I love that there are no
crazy seams to achieve these looks, too.

 I have many re"sew"lutions this year including:

- Regular blog posts showing works in progress/completions
- Finish UFOs hanging in sewing room
- Learn new techniques and experiment with the art of quilting
- Finish 2 blocks per week from Tula Pink's City Sampler (100 can easily be done in a year.)
- Improve free motion quilting skills
- Create blocks on EQ7 and share some tutorials
- Use up more of my stash (so I can get more to replace it, of course.)
- Have more fun! (Try not to stress over work!)

My dear friend is visiting from Korea and brought an amazing gift from her travels. She teaches overseas and is able to take several weeks to travel to various countries. She recently went to China and jealous!
She did stop for shopping there and brought me this:
They feel as luxurious as they look.
I love this red!
Love, love, love this one!
This photo does no justice to the softness of the blue
and the boldness of the gold dragons.
Part of me has no desire to cut this fabric. The rest of me want to make something practical so I can see them on a regular basis. I am open to suggestions in the comments below.

She will be on the lookout for bojagi cloth when she returns home to Korea in Feb. I hope she can find some to bring back next year when she returns stateside.

How were your holidays? Did you do anything/get anything fun?