Block Printed Goodness

I always have too many projects in my head.  I wish I could make them all.  After making lots of passport wallets for the Etsy shop on Saturday, I indulged in some more selfish sewing on Sunday.  There’s a backstory to it.

My lovely sister-in-law is a such a talented woman and my dear friend, too.  She’s a poet, college professor, animal lover, intellectual badass, and recently, a block printer.  She and my big bro’ (who also does not suck) have been carving away at linoleum blocks in their free time.  Their prints are so much fun that she finally gave in to all the requests from friends and family and opened an Etsy shop of her own, SentimentalAsylum, to sell some of their work.  Isn’t it great?

 

Of course, when I saw all their work I immediately though: “How do we translate that onto fabric?”  God love her, she went out, bought quilting cotton and got to work. She’s brought me several yards of printed fabric to play with.  I have a secret to admit:  I’m afraid to cut it!  I mostly just stare at it and admire!  This did not make Sista’ Friend happy, though, so I made a teeny attempt to actually use my printed fabric on Saturday:

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This was a safe choice with the small-scale print, but I love how it came out so much that I can’t wait to try to sew more with some of my bigger block prints.  Wouldn’t the wave print above look great as a fussy cut on a bag?  And those leaves as an all-over print?  Must get her to print some leaf fabric next… Can’t wait to make more.

They taught our whole family how to carve blocks when they visited a few weeks ago and we were all hooked.  My kids haven’t spent this much time away from electronics in ages! My snapshot isn’t great, but this kids and Super Uncle moment was too cute to miss:

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After all the lessons, Sista’ Friend says I don’t need her to do my fabric printing anymore, but with designs as cute as theirs, I plan to keep begging for more yardage!

 

 

Wanderlust

Spent yesterday making some new Family Passport Holders for my Etsy shop. These are great for keeping everyone’s passports together on international trips.  I’d sold out of all the large ones I’d originally made (yippee!).

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I started with a really great pattern sold by Amber of One Shabby Chick Hawaii, but I’ve given it quite a few mods for sewing ease, mostly.  I find installing snaps fiddly , so I’ve switched out snaps for velcro, and instead of a wraparound skinny strap, I prefer a wide short strap.  It holds everything just as well, but takes less time to close back up at the airport.  This project has a lot of bulk what with all the pockets and interfacing, so I find it much easier to get a nice result by rounding the corners using a thread spool as my template before stitching.  It reduces the corner bulk nicely when turned right side out and makes topstitching easier.  I also use a heavy interfacing  just on the strap and exterior fabric to give the wallet more structure when empty.  I don’t want it to feel flimsy when customers pick it up before they’ve added their passports.

I think it took me almost as much time to photograph and list these on Etsy than it did to make them!  I’m awful at photo editing and uploading!  Putting our passports into each of these in order to photograph them made me nostalgic for our travels as we haven’t used them in over a year.  I do wish we could use them more – without an overseas move!

Need a passport wallet for up to 6 family members?  Try Amber’s pattern or pick up one ready-made in my shop.

 

 

Snowed In

When it looks like this outside, there’s no excuse for not getting some sewing done!  I’ve been chain piecing for hours and days working on my Postage Stamp Quilt.

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I’m not done piecing all those strips together yet, but I’ve already got enough squares to fill up my design wall.  When I slapped up the first 3 or 4 squares, I have to admit I was thinking “Eyesore!” but now that more of the squares are on the wall, it’s really grown on me.  Scrap quilts are greater than the sum of their parts.  I like all that color, but I think in future I’d also like to try a scrap quilt with a more limited color palette, too.  The only rule I had when cutting for this one was no black, brown, or gray (though there are little bits of it in some of the prints).

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Still haven’t figured out how big I want this one to be.  I’ll have to see how many squares I end up with when all the piecing is finished.  I have lots of ideas for any orphan blocks.  Table runners? Accent strips on bags?  The possibilities are many!

 

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday!

 

Scraptastic Tuesday

Postage Overdue

When I’m working on a project I throw all my useable scraps into one metal bin and tell myself that I’ll sort those into their scrap drawers as soon as I’m done.  It’s a lie.  The scraps actually pile up in the bin as one project turns into the next. From there they spill onto a chair, and then the floor, and then someone plans to visit, and only then do I start sorting frantically so the sewing room looks slightly organized and like less of a fire hazard.

On my latest dive into the scrap heap it became obvious that I could cram no more into those drawers (except yellow…must buy more yellow fabrics…) and something must be done.  Step #1 in Scrapdown 2016:  A postage stamp quilt.

I’m combining the postage stamp and checkerboard tutorials from one of my favorite blogs, Red Pepper Quilts, to make my postage stamp quilt.  Most of my scraps are shorter in length, so I’m using the 2″ x 7″ strip size and using white strips to break up all that color from my rainbow of scraps.

I spent the better part of Monday and half of Tuesday just cutting scraps:

 

And half of Tuesday and all of this morning chain piecing strips together:

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And I’m still not done. I keep having to go back and cut more white strips to pair up with all those scraps.  I think I had about 430 colored strips to start, so once these are all joined into blocks I may have enough for a HUGE quilt or a few small ones.  This project is all about using up the scraps, not the size of the end result.

I wish I could say that my scrap bins were empty now, but the best I can tell you is that most of the drawers now close without too much stuffing.   And I have a lovely pile of strip blocks waiting to be cut and pieced into postage stamp blocks.

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More updates on this project and more scrap projects soon!

 

 

Feathering the Nest

Fall is in the air.  Okay, not really.  This is Virginia in the first week of September.  It’s currently 90 degrees out.  But I wish Fall were in the air.  It’s my favorite season.

I’ve been working on a project that has an autumnal feel to me:

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I call it the Bohemian Feather Table Runner.  It’s inspired by and adapted from this beautiful Anna Maria Horner quilt.  I just loved the design, but wasn’t sure I could manage the whole quilt.  The shape of the blocks just begged to be made into a table runner instead.

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It’s a great way to use up scraps.  I think the natural linen adds to the boho feel, but then again, I think linen should be used in everything.  Evening gowns? Yup, why not. Bathing suits?  They never flattered me anyway.  I have had the backing fabric in my stash for a long time and loved it but wasn’t sure where to use it.  It’s a fairly big scale print and I didn’t want to wreck it by chopping it up.  I love how it works with all the prints on the front.

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I’ve put it on sale in my Etsy shop, but I am tempted to keep it.  Might have to make a second one for me!

Fun with Floss

Sometimes I get tired of sitting at the sewing machine or I want to hang out with the family.  There is NO space for the family in the craft room.  It’s my selfish place.  And my happy place.  That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  Don’t judge…

Anyway, I recently discovered some creative fun for when I’m not hiding in the craft room:61Ou85QzfeL

I used to love to embroider, but I stopped because, let’s face it, people don’t really NEED that many cross-stitched wall hangings, and I can’t stand making things if they don’t at least have a hope of being useful in some way.

This book is full of cute little designs and projects that actually can be used or can embellish another sewing project.  I’ve made several houses from the Felt Winter Village project to use as tree ornaments.  They are pretty cute if I do say so myself. I’ll try to add some pics of those soon. I also made a larger project using the embroidery design, but not the same pillow design from the front cover of the book:

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I wanted mine to be square and I got a chance to use some of the fabrics leftover from my holiday gift quilts.  I like it so much that I’m tempted to keep it, but (for now at least) it’s in my Etsy shop.

Forgotten Finish

This one is an old finish, but a new post.  I made this baby quilt more than  a year ago before we even left Korea.

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Somehow (shocking) it got lost for months in the melee of the move.  The pattern is from a beautiful tutorial by Bonjour Quilts.  The fabric is a mix of Sweetcakes by Riley Blake and assorted solids from my stash.

IMG_0736Those pink prints remind me of Strawberry Shortcake Dolls from my misspent 80’s youth.  I can almost smell her fake strawberry-scenetd nylon hair…sigh…good times.  Hopefully the gray and the modern pattern offset that sickly sweet girly girl thing.

IMG_0741IMG_0737It’s sparsely quilted echoing the lines on the front of the quilt in pink thread.  This was made in the days before I even thought about learning to free-motion quilt.  I don’t think FMQ would have added much to this quilt, though.  The simple, straight lines make sense to me here.

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IMG_0744Time to add this one to the collection to be sold!

What’s new?

Been waaaay too long since I’ve taken time to post!  I need to get back in the habit.  Here’s what’s been cooking lately:

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Isn’t this fun?  It’s a bag I made using Riley Blake’s Union Jack fabric.  The pattern is modified from a Sew Serendipity Bags pattern that fits the size of the flag print just perfectly.

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I love how it turned out.  I kind of want to keep it for myself, but it is part of several projects I’m making to sell, so stay tuned for news of that.

IMG_0044I obviously have a lot of work to do learning how to take pics that aren’t BLURRY!  Must work on that!

Think Pink

As I took the table runner we usually use to the laundry room for a wash the other day I was thinking how I really ought to make more runners for a little variety.  The next day inspiration arrived in the mail.  You see, I’ve treated myself to the monthly Kona Solids 1/2 yard club at Canton Village Quilt Works (Shhh…lets not mention it to Handsome).  The price was right and I’ve been wanting to add more solids to my stash but I wasn’t sure about what I would get.  Would these be 6 ugly half yards per month?  All the colors CVQW couldn’t sell otherwise?  Since I could cancel at any time I wanted, I decided to take a chance, and I’m so glad I did!  Look at these pretty colors:

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They are perfect for adding a little Valentine spirit to the house and I got started right away.  When I saw this table runner in last winter’s edition of Modern Patchwork I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave in and made one for myself.  Here’s my Valentine’s version:

This was a great pattern to work with and it was an easy Saturday project.

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I wish the lighting and that honey oak table didn’t make it so hard to get a good picture!

It’s sweet and modern and probably too girly for the men in the house, but it’s just right for cheering up a gray February.  Even better, I have lots of fabric leftover from this bundle to add to my stash.  I can’t wait to see what color combination comes in next month’s package!

 

Vintage Holiday Twins

When browsing my local quilt shop this Fall, I came across a kit for the Vintage Holiday quilt pattern using In From the Cold fabrics on sale for a great price.  I couldn’t resist.  Well, maybe I could have.  But I didn’t.

It turns out that it was an even better buy than I’d originally planned.  When I got a good look at the pattern and included fabrics I realized that, with a little supplementing from my own stash, I could make TWO quilts!   And so the twins were born:

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Wait…that doesn’t look like two quilts.  Yep.  I am an idiot.  I made two, but forgot to photograph the second one!

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The second was exactly the same as the first, but that green backing that you see peeking at the edge of the picture above was the border fabric for the twin version.  One red, one green.

This was a great pattern and this collection of fabrics worked really well with it.  The extra red and green used in the outer borders was fabric purchased at Jo-Anns.  I should have thought twice about that – the red ran, even with color catchers – but with a second run through the wash all came out fine in the end.  I’m not a fabric pre-washer, but I need to start doing it with my reds, I think.  Especially when they’re not super high end.

I got adventurous and practiced a little free-motion quilting on these:

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They were sent off to their new owners just before Christmas and so far, there are no rumors of re-gifting!  I liked these so much, I was tempted to keep one.  Maybe someday I’ll even make one for us.