Thursday, October 30, 2014

Drunkard's Path Quilt

It all started with a stack of fabric right around a year ago. I set it on top of my fabric shelf and let it linger through the end of Fall and into the beginning of Winter, occasionally adding a piece or taking one away. And, over that time, a million quilt ideas came and went - maple leafs, churn dash, simple patchwork, stacked coins. And, then, right along with the New Year, I felt inspired to try something completely new and challenging...curves!

Making this quilt has been an exciting creative journey for me that has encompassed so much of what I've wanted to do as a quilter this year. And I'm so happy with the final product. As such, I've decided to share my quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I've entered it in the Small Quilts category. For years now, I've enjoyed following along with and being inspired by the other quilt bloggers through this Festival, so I'm super excited to participate this year! You should definitely go take a look around!

Never before had I really been drawn to curves in quilts. But, all of a sudden late one night, I decided this needed to be a Drunkard's Path quilt. I found this tutorial and template over on The Sometimes Crafter, printed it up and got started. There was, right off the bat, a fair amount of trial and error with learning to sew curves. It was discouraging, but I was determined for this quilt to have curves, and so I persisted to try and find a method that would work for me - and I did! For the record, if you scroll to the bottom of Christina's tutorial she describes an "alternative" method for piecing these blocks and squaring them up later - this is the method that worked for me!

This was a fun quilt to play with on my design wall. I squared off each curved piece at 6.5" square (to give a 6" finished block). I believe I started with 40 blocks with a low volume center and 40 with a bold center. I really had no idea how I wanted the pieces to go together, but in the end I came up with this concept. And, with this layout, I did have to make a few extra low volume blocks.

Oh, those raccoons! That print and several others from the Acacia collection by Tula Pink, were the basis for this palette and the reason I decided to make this quilt in the first place. The truth is, I really don't do a lot of pink. But, I happen to adore it paired with olive green...sigh. Such a lovely match, those two. So, Tula sold me on that gorgeous palette.  To it, I simply added a bunch of low volume prints, some black and brown, deep burgandy, one of my all-time favorite Joel Dewberry florals, and that fantastical paint splatter print by Jay McCarroll. And, perhaps a few more I'm missing.

Although not a dark quilt, the curves remind me of a dark moonlit night, with woodland animals peeking out through the glow. Filled with feathers, flowers, branches, and scripted text there is something very mysterious and soothing about this quilt.

For the quilting, I really wanted something wavy and somewhat abstract, reminiscent of the wind blowing through the night forest. I used this great tutorial for Ultra-Wavy Quilting by Janice of Better Off Thread. My friend, Valerie, introduced me to this method after she used it on this amazing quilt. It is such a fun design and I felt so happy with how it tied in with my whole concept for this quilt. Not to mention, it makes for a very squishy quilt.

I've been hoarding this Anna Maria Horner flannel to use as a quilt backing for so long. These are some of my favorites, people! But I couldn't deny how well they paired with the front of the quilt. And, yeah, they make the quilt extra soft too! I did have some puckering in spots on the back of the quilt. I think it was a combination of not basting enough and the shifting of the quilt that occurred with quilting this particular design. I was a bit disappointed, mainly because up to this point, this quilt was coming together so well. But, after ripping out and fixing some of the quilting I decided to just proceed. In the end, the few bad spots really aren't noticeable.

For the binding, I used this gorgeous tangerine dottie print from Cotton + Steel - with metallic gold, of course. I love how it just adds a bit more glow to the quilt.

I'm extremely proud of this quilt and I feel like it ties together a lot of things I've wanted to accomplish this year in quilting. I stepped out of my comfort zone with colors and design and came up with something that I love so, so much. And, that's truly the type of quilting that makes me happiest.

I told Maggie that this quilt could be her cozy couch quilt, although little sis is already trying to steal it. As am I! I'm just happy that it's staying with us!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Patchwork 241 Tote

This bag has been on my "to make" list for so long, it's silly. I'm pretty picky about bags that I carry day-to-day. I think it's the plethora of fabric options that always stumps I go patchwork or not, this print or that print? And, then the quilter in me can get carried away, and I wonder if I've made something that I really want to carry all the time or take a nap under. Is that just me? 

241 Tote

Anyway, a few weeks back, I dumped a couple of Umbrella trimmings packs (find them here or here) on my cutting board and decided it was time to try out this tote. If you aren't familiar with Umbrella Prints, they are a fabric company out of Austrailia that prints beautiful designs on organic cotton and cotton-hemp. The trimmings packs are fun little scrap packs of their lovely fabrics. I picked one up with the intention of putting something together for their trimmings competition last Spring and a sweet friend gave me another. Unfortunately, I just didn't get my act together for the competition...maybe next year.

Back 241 Tote

Anyway, I loved finding ways to fit all of the pieces together and squeeze in even the tiniest of scraps. I was able to make both front and back patchwork panels for the bag - each completely unique! I love all of the unexpected pops of color. 


I paired the outer panels with this beautiful double cloth cotton (from Rachael's shop - out of stock now, but she does have it in black). I'm kind of obsessed with this stuff!! All of the exterior panels are quilted for a little more stability. I did not quilt the pockets, but just used some light interfacing (Shapeflex 101). I also interfaced all of the lining pieces with Shapeflex. And, I added a bit of trim to the top of the pocket to break up the sides a bit.

Adjustable Strap

I decided to add an adjustable strap to the bag after seeing a couple of versions that Anna made using them. I used the instructions from this pattern and it worked out great! It's so nice to have an option to carry it cross body, especially since I have a very wriggly 2-year old on my hands right now.

Stuffed 241 Tote

So, here it is all stuffed up. I've been carrying it for a few days now, and I love it. Anna's designs are so well thought out in terms of being practical and stylish. This tote is the perfect size for the things I carry now. And, I love the side pockets for my phone and keys. The pattern, not surprisingly, is super awesome! Easy to follow and sew, as are all of her patterns.       

Top 241 Tote

I just had to take these pictures outside, because it's been so gorgeous here all week...sunny, cool, crisp and glowing. We've been spending as much time outside as possible. Fall makes me so happy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP: Indian Blanket Quilt

I'm feeling very thankful for the heavy cool rain falling on this second day of Fall. It's enough to justify staying inside this afternoon and resting up a bit from what has been a very busy few weeks. We are on our last week of our 3-week track-out here (year-round schools, if you're confused) - my kiddos go back next week to start their second 9-week quarter. I love having them home, but without fail, this last week always seems to be the hardest. So, today we're having cookies and setting up a game of Sorry while Lyla naps.   


I think one of the things that has been preserving my sanity over the past few weeks has been picking away, row by row, at my Indian Blanket Quilt. I'm loving how the addition of each row changes the overall look of the quilt and my perspective on it. I was so excited to finally piece and layout that last red row, as I love how that color pops in this layout. I have to be honest, this was not one of the quilts I thought I'd make when I signed up for the class, but I'm absolutely loving it and how it's all coming together.   


Only a few more rows to sew up! My plan is to finish this quilt with some simple hand quilting. I say simple although I've never actually done any hand quilting before. Eh, we'll see...


I don't usually have a bunch of WIPs going at one time, but it seems I've been having too much fun starting new quilts. Along with this quilt I have my Drunkard's Path quilt, that I'd like to finish up soon. And, I have a pile of awesome tent blocks from my fellow Grace Circle ladies (do. Good Stitches), that need to be sewn up and made into a fun quilt for a little boy.  So that makes 3 quilts to wrap up this October! Eep...I've got some work to do!    

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Over at Imagine Gnats: A Bess Top

Hello, friends! I'm over on Imagine Gnats today sharing a new top I sewed for myself as part of Selfish Sewing Week! It's a fabulous Bess Top sewn up in knit and a double cloth cotton. Think cozy and cozier people! Seriously, I'm pretty smitten with this pattern and top! Check it out, if you like!

I haven't shared any of my recent adventures in garment sewing here, but I have been dabbling in it more and my confidence is slowly growing. I sewed a couple of great pieces over the summer, and wear both of them quite a bit.  I never got around to sharing them here, because....I'll be honest...I'm still pretty awkward and uncomfortable and generally stressed out by the photo shoots. 

There's the setting and the timing and the lighting that are never quite right, and my poor husband who's trying to advise me on how to stand while our two year old is practically hanging from his shirt tails screaming bloody murder. Really, hats off to people that do this on a regular basis. I think they many of them use this ingenious device called a camera remote (ha!) that I haven't pulled the trigger on yet (pun intended). 

But, seriously, sewing garments is fun! It's a nice break and change of pace from my regular patchwork and quilting projects. I love that I can create a completely unique piece of clothing, and, I do think I'll be doing more of it.

Feel free to pop over and read more about my Bess Top, if you like. Also, be sure to check out the Selfish Sewing Week giveaway, other featured stitchers, or browse some projects on Kollabara, or instagram (#selfishsewingweek). You're sure to be inspired!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prepping for "Angled"

Recently, I signed up to take an online class all about sewing and quilting angles. It's called "Angled" and taught by Rachel of Stitched in Color...and it starts tomorrow! I've been a long time follower of Rachel's blog and an admirer of her work - she always, always wows me with the originality and pure beauty of her work. I tend to be a stubborn, independent learner when it comes to sewing (well, most things really), but this class came along at the right time...when I was yearning for a bit of direction and focus in my quilting. Not to mention, the quilts that we'll be learning are all amazing! I've sewn with angles before, but I don't doubt for a second that I still have a lot to learn...and I have a feeling that I will learn a lot in this class!

Angled Class: Indian Blanket Quilt Plan

The class includes 5 quilts total, but I plan, or hope, rather, to make 2 over the course of the next couple of months. Today, I pulled some fabrics and started planning for the first quilt, "Indian Blanket". I'm envisioning a Fall picnic blanket...something I can throw down at soccer practice or for a picnic in the crunchy leaves. I picked some bright striking reds, some deep blues, and mustard yellows, along with a bunch of low volume cream and white prints.

Angled Class: Indian Blanket Quilt 

I LOVE that Rachel included coloring sheets for each of the quilts. Particularly since Maggie came over and volunteered to do the coloring for me - score! If all goes well, I might take a shot at hand quilting this one. So, if you'd like...stay tuned...I plan to check in here and keep you all posted on how things are going!