Wednesday, February 6, 2013

paper piecing and stuff

Oh, man!  Do I even blog anymore?  It's been a while, right?  So, what's been going on... I started a new job (part time at a quilt shop!)... went away for a long weekend... because it was my birthday! (yesterday. I'm officially old)... broke a toe... had to stop 2 quilts in the cutting stage while I waited for more fabric... and tried some paper piecing.

my crazy messy design wall
I've done paper piecing before, but never really loved it.  I love the detail you can achieve, though.  So when Kristy at Quiet Play was looking for pattern testers for her new paper piecing patterns I jumped at the chance.  Trying new things keeps the brain from turning to mush, right?

if only real pots stayed this clean
I'm pretty impressed!  Despite my best intentions to get going on this as soon as the pattern hit my inbox, I just kept putting it off.  Until today, that is.  A few hours at the machine later and I have a cute mini quilt for my sewing room.  And it wasn't all that painful.  I had to unpick a bit, but I remembered a tip I'd read to baste iffy pieces first before commiting to sewing them with those teeny stitches, so it wasn't as bad as it could be.

blocks "stored" on the floor
Not as bad as the tidying job I really should be tackling.  One scrap vomit, one scrappy trip, an x+, bee blocks, paper piecing, and not fully unpacking from retreat equals one horrible mess.  At least the cats like it.

beat that babe,
c

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Friday, January 25, 2013

xing and +ing


The x+ block has made a huge resurgence lately, and like the scrappy trip along, I'm jumping on that bandwagon, too.  These are a lot slower going than the scrappy trip, so I won't be posting a finished top anytime soon.  But I'm loving playing around with fabric combinations, spending the time to get every one just right.


Coincidentally our February blocks for happiness at do good stitches are also x+ blocks.  Bigger and in a more controlled colour scheme, but still as awesome.


But back to the blocks for my project.  After all, it's all about me, me, me!  These are really challenging me to make interesting fabric choices and to carefully consider scale and value.


Recently Rachel over at Stitched in Color wrote about building a fabric stash and the addition of helpful fabrics.  I loved reading her thoughts on this because it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, too.  When I got back in to quilting a few years ago my stash was mostly multicoloured, look at me fabrics.  The star prints of the collection.  And nothing played well together.  I've been slowly building my stash of helpers, but it's hard when they cost just as much as those glamazons.


I've also been really studying the fabric choices of quilters I admire and trying to dissect what makes their work so dynamic to me.  This has meant really looking at what I'm buying and why.  I still love those bold florals, but I realize I don't love them so much in quilts.  What I do love are text, 30s, and quirky Japanese prints.  Fuchsia and acid green.  A little bit of clash.  I really need to print out a picture of my ideal bundle, block, or stash, and tape it to the computer.  No more impulse shopping, everything will fit the plan. Yeah right!


happy sewing,
c

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Monday, January 21, 2013

something new sampler: scrap attack!

something new sampler header

Welcome to my stop on the something new sampler blog hop!  I've got a bit of a problem when it comes to quilting - scraps.  They're everywhere, bins here, bags, there.  Because I want my hobby to be as low footprint as it can (hard when we're talking shipping, dyes and non-organic fabrics) I don't throw out any scraps.  The teeny tiny ones are slowly stuffing a dog bed.  Today's project tackles some of the slightly bigger ones.


You can use this technique with any of your scraps.  Go monochrome, build a rainbow, choose a colour scheme.  I decided to go the monochrome route since a few recent projects has left my bins overflowing with aqua scraps.


Once you've chosen your scraps, just start sewing them together!  Channel those improv skills, don't worry about perfect ¼" seams.  We're building new, more useable yardage (ok, maybe fat quarter-age) out of otherwise difficult to use scraps. Don't worry about seams matching up or edges being even.  We can cut around that!  I don't normally press my seam open but I found it essential with this technique.  Anything that makes our new scrap base fabric flatter is awesome!  I can't use steam in my iron because of a really high iron concentration in our well water (hello rust spots), but if you can, steam will be your friend.


We're going to be cutting four pieces 3"x7½".  You might want to think about this while building your new fabric.  If your scraps are really small it might be easier to sew together only enough pieces for one 3"x7½" segment at a time.  If they're larger you can sew a much larger piece of scrap base and cut them all at once.  I sort of combined the two.  I sewed enough scraps together to cut the first three pieces then figured out where I had to add on in order to cut the fourth.

Now we need some sashing.  Since the large pieces are so scrappy I decided to go with a solid for my sashing, one I just happened to have in my scrap bin.  You'll need to cut four pieces 1½"x7½".


Sew one sashing piece to each scrap base segment, then sew all the sashing + scrap base segments together.  Done!  Now I know that a rectangular block (in this case 7"x14" finished) isn't the norm, but the scrap base technique can be used with so many other blocks.  My advice is to keep the scale larger and the piecing simple.

Don't forget to stop at the other blogs on the hop:

Jan 14th
Amy @ thecutelifesmiles.blogspot.com | Bargello piecing

Jan 21st
Heidi @ buttonsandbutterflies.com | folding 
Chelsea @ pinsandbobbins.blogspot.co.uk | a scraptastic technique

Jan 28th
Jess @ theelvengarden.blogspot.com.au | sashiko
Lindsay @ lindsaysews.com | reverse applique

Feb 4th
M-R @ quiltmatters.blogspot.com | trapunto
Heidi @ fabricmutt.blogspot.com | cathedral windows

Feb 11th
Alyssa @ pileofabric.com | pinless curves
Becky @ myfabricobsession.blogspot.com | machine applique


And stop by the cute life on Fridays for tips and tutorials on how to set these rectangular blocks! Posts will be up on the following dates:
Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15

Be sure to join the flickr group to keep up with the hop, the chatter, and some inspirational photos.

Amy has arranged some amazing prizes, so don't forget to link up on her blog if you've create anything using our tutorials!

xox,
c

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Friday, January 11, 2013

scrap tripping


I actually finished this Tuesday, and somehow now it's Friday, and again I'm behind.  Again.


But I guess I'm also kind of ahead of the game since this is going to be a gift for friends we're visiting in Toronto in April.  Watch me start quilting it the night before we leave!!

the perspective is really weird on this.  the quilt is 6' across, the dog a lot less than that
I love that this quilt along was so spontaneous, so no pressure.  I love that it finally made me click with instagram (I'm chelseafr).  I wish it had put more of a dent in my un-loveds.  Maybe a scrap vomit is in my future?


Not that I'm saying any of these fabrics are particularly ugly.  (Not that Amy Butler or Lizzy House et al are reading this and will get offended).  I'm just kind of over them.  At least they can be used unlike lipsticks I'm bored of.  Why did I ever think frost was a good finish?


And because I love it so much, here's a sneaky peek of a quilt I'm quilting for Katie.  So much yummy grey to fill with quilting!

happy friday,
c

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Monday, January 7, 2013

coming soon.. something new

something new sampler header

Looking for your next project?
Resolved to learn some new sewing skills this year?
Want to win some great prizes?

Then join in the blog hop for The Something New Sampler!

Each week, one or two bloggers will present a block tutorial with an uncommonly used technique. There will be a total of 9 blocks presented. And, just to mix it up, we're going with a funky modern block size - 7" x 14"! We'll have plenty of suggestions on how to use this block shape along the way. There's no need for our modern blocks to always be square :)

Here's our schedule:

Jan 14th
Amy @ thecutelifesmiles.blogspot.com | Bargello piecing

Jan 21st
Heidi @ buttonsandbutterflies.com | folding 
Chelsea @ pinsandbobbins.blogspot.co.uk | a scraptastic technique

Jan 28th
Jess @ theelvengarden.blogspot.com.au | sashiko
Lindsay @ lindsaysews.com | reverse applique

Feb 4th
M-R @ quiltmatters.blogspot.com | trapunto
Heidi @ fabricmutt.blogspot.com | cathedral windows

Feb 11th
Alyssa @ pileofabric.com | pinless curves
Becky @ myfabricobsession.blogspot.com | machine applique


And stop by the cute life on Fridays for tips and tutorials on how to set these rectangular blocks! Posts will be up on the following dates:
Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15

Be sure to join the flickr group to keep up with the hop, the chatter, and some inspirational photos.

Prizes!!
At the end, link up a blog post or flickr photo with anything you've done from the sampler series, even if it's just one block! There are two categories for prizes:

- finished projects, winners will be chosen by popular vote
"finished" includes an entirely completed smaller project, like a pillow, table runner, mini quilt, etc.
pieced quilt tops also count as "finished", even if not quilted

- participation prizes, winners will be chosen by a random number generator
link up any progress you've made!

Prizes for the Something New Sampler

Fort Worth Fabric Studio is an online fabric shop with yardage and some fantastic custom bundles you won't find anywhere else! One of these bundles - the Lagoon bundle - is a prize, and it is centered around Michael Miller's Lagoon line, with 18 fat quarters. You can also sign up for their newsletter to be eligible for a monthly prize. In addition to the bundle, they are also offering a $25 gift certificate.

Cotton Blossom Farm stocks great designer fabrics with plenty of modern options. One great feature of this website is the ability to search through fabrics based on categories such as color - it's just like shopping in a brick and mortar shop! You have the chance to win a set of ten 1/2 yards (of your choosing!!) of Simply Color from them.

Fat Quarter Shop is another online shop that sells yardage and precuts of some of the most popular fabrics. They offer next day shipping and have an incredibly large selection! Fat Quarter Shop also has a great selection of other items, such as books, magazines, and kits. They have generously donated a jelly roll of Paris Flea Market and an Amy Butler pattern for prizes.

Sew Me a Song is an Etsy shop that stocks Japanese and contemporary fabrics. Becca puts together some fabulous bundles of texty prints, polka dots, and - of course! - lots of Melody Miller prints. Don't miss the great collection of Type by Julia Rothman. She has created two custom bundles especially for our sampler event, one with six texty fat quarters and one with eight japanese prints.

So start rounding up your scraps for my tutorial!  I know my bins are overflowing.

xox,
C

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

scrappy strip trip... or something like that


I've jumped on the scrappy trip around the world bandwagon.  I can't quite get the name right, though.  Scrappy strip trip?  Trip around the strip?  Faster Pussycat?


Anyway, it's fun and fast, and it's nice to start the year with a new project.  Especially since I decided to use my scraps (of which I don't have a lot of the long strip variety) and my un-loveds.  Now I guess I could call my own version the ugly quilt, but I'm calling it the non-ugly quilt instead.  Because none of these are most of these aren't ugly.  In fact I wanted all of these fabrics in my life at one point or another.  The just don't work with what I'm feeling now.  So this is perfect.  A fun,easy stash buster to use up the stuff I don't want to look at anymore!  I'm having so much fun with this, I might actually make one after with fabrics I love. 

So... I need to come up with a new sign off for a new year.  All I can think of for now is "beat that babe", the annoying catch phrase my sister and I used to yell at each other after throwing down a particularly awful hand at cards.  I think I need to keep thinking...

beat that babe,
c

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Monday, December 24, 2012

jingle jingle

Merry, sexy christmas all!

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