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.   

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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.   

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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...

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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!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Drunkard's Path Quilt Top

Last week, thanks to several looong naptimes, I finished up a quilt top that I began quite a while ago. It'd been a while since I worked on a new quilt, and it felt wonderful!

Drunkard's Path Quilt Top

This one seems so different from my usual quilts (to me at least). I'm honestly not much of a pink person - I tend to love seeing it in others' quilts, but I don't often make it a focal color in my own work. Also, this design, with curves, was totally new to me.


I believe it was the idea of pairing olives and pinks that originally got me going on this quilt. That, and the crazy cool racoons

Closeup Drunkard's Path Quilt Top

I'm excited to finish this one up. I have the perfect flannel (from my stash) for the backing. But, I'm still undecided on the quilting. Originally, I thought I'd just do straight lines, but now I'm thinking about trying a new free-motion quilting design - maybe baptist fans or wavy lines.

Details Drunkard's Path Quilt Top 

This quilt, even with all of it's bright features, just seems destined to keep me warm on a cool Fall night, admidst the crunchy pine needles and mossy wood cuttings. Not that I'm done with Summer or anything! What are you working on these days?

Friday, August 8, 2014

{Tutorial} Tent Quilt Block

Hiya, strangers! It feels so good to be writing an actual blog post - woot! And, I'm super excited that I have a fun and quick tutorial to share with you today. I've always wanted to sew a camping-inspired quilt as I happen to love camping (although our last family experience was not so pleasant).

 
As it is my month to lead my circle of do.Good Stitches, I thought it a fun opportunity to give this camping idea a whirl. The obvious concept that came to mind was a block that resembled a tent. So, naturally, I Google-d "tent quilt block" and I came across this cool quilt by Andy of A Bright Corner blog.

Andy wrote a great tutorial on how she put together her quilt - do take a look. I don't think that Andy had tents in mind when she sewed her quilt, but many people commented that it looked like a little tent village. I was inspired for sure! However, after reading through Andy's tutorial, I realized I needed to come up with a different way to assemble these blocks as I wanted the tent part (middle strip) of my blocks to be uniformly darker, thereby defining the tent motif. So, that, my friends, is what my tutorial is all about.

This is a super quick, simple, and fun block to sew.  Let's get to it!

For each block, you'll need:
  • one 4.5" square - lighter/low volume for outer
  • one 4.5" square - darker/high volume for tent
  • one 2.5" square - lighter/low volume for inner tent


Next we'll make two half-square triangle (HST) units from the 4.5" squares. Take the two 4.5" squares and place them right sides together. On the wrong side of the fabric, draw a line on the diagonal from corner to corner.



Stitch 1/4" from this line on both sides. 


Then trim on the marked line. Open and press these two HST units as desired. You do not need to trim yet - we'll do that at the end.


Align your ruler and trim a small triangle off the darker side of your HST 1 5/8" from the seam. Repeat for both HSTs.  Psst: if this looks backwards to you, it's because I'm a lefty.


 
Take the 2.5" block and cut it in half on the diagonal. Take one triangle and sew it to the trimmed block as shown below. Make sure that your triangle is centered on the edge. Repeat with the other side and triangle and press seams as desired.


Now, square up each piece to 4". If you are new to squaring up a HST - make sure to maintain the seam points in the corners. I take my square quilting ruler, shown below and align the diagonal line with my seam. Then I trim the right side and top, turn the block 180 degrees, and trim the other sides.


You should have two 4" squares as shown below.  Place these pieces right sides together, pin to align the seams and sew together. Press seams as desired. Your tent block should measure 4" x 7.5".
 


And, that's it! Go make a slew of little tents. 


I've asked my Grace Circle ladies to make two blocks with 4 stacked tents each. We're using this very boy-ish color scheme of dark blues, greens, neutrals, and low volume. It might be the most limited color scheme I've ever chosen or used in a quilt - eek! I can't wait to see it come together.
 
Thanks for stopping by today and hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Happy Camping, errrr...Sewing!