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!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fabric Stashing

So, I have been on a bit of a fabric buying kick lately. I've tried hard to resist, but there's just too much greatness coming out right now. *sigh* I like to keep a relatively small stash (I think). I just find way too much of anything to be overwhelming. But, with the kind of summer we've been having, I haven't really been sewing. It's been nice, actually, taking a break to recharge, think about new projects, catch up on blogs, and such. And, I guess I decided it was time to recharge my fabric stash a bit. Mind if I share?

This lovely stack is a fat quarter bundle of Field Day by Alison Glass. Alison taught a class and shared her story with us all at Sew South, and she was such an awesomely delightful and inspiring person. I knew this collection was at the top of my wish list, and I found it for a pretty fab price here. Ever since it arrived, I've been thinking about this amazing Kaleidoscope Quilt I stumbled across on Pinterest. I think it would be a fitting pattern for this set.

Oh, Pretty Potent. I was quite sure I could resist this collection. But, it kept popping up on my Instagram feed and on blogs, and, then, I also read the story behind it. Gosh, what a story. As I've heard so many others say, it's a collection that is astoundingly more beautiful in person. I chose a fat quarter stack of the "by Sea" colorway and I adore it. I have a cool quilt block idea that I think would feature it well, so I'm excited to give it a whirl.    

Sometimes I just pick out some miscellaneous fabrics that I plan to use in different projects, and sometimes they show up and look surprisingly perfect together. That would be the case with this last pile. It's such a fun bright mix. Perhaps for a bag? Or throw a few more prints in the mix for some sort of plus sign or cross quilt? I dunno, its all just nice to look at and consider.     

From left to right: Kona Cotton in flame red, Quilter's Linen in Fresh Dew, Catnip in mint by Lizzy House, Diamonds are Forevor in Green by Made by Rae, Pearl Bracelet in Cosmonaut by Lizzy House, and Banner Days in Tomato by Anna Maria Horner.  

Last week I pulled down this old, and very dirty vintage box, and cleaned it up a bit. It seems like a great spot to store new fabric so I can see it and ponder it a bit while I'm working on other things. And before I dive in and chop it all up!

As much as I would like to dive into some new projects with these goodies, I still have several quilts I started this past Winter and Spring that I want to finish first. So, until then, I'll just sit back and admire them. Hope you enjoyed some pretty fabric today!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our Summer

So many times I've written about the season of summer and what it means to us. It is such a significant time of year, especially when you're a child. So much freedom, so much opportunity, so much magic...so much sunshine and water and popsicles and bare feet with wrinkly toes and sun bleached tangled hair, and late warm nights.   

We have such an interesting summer break since Maggie and now Joe go to year-round school. Memorial Day to Fouth of July is about it. Five weeks and bam...we're starting a new school year, back to backpacks and homework. Sometimes it feels completely strange to me - this short summer - and sometimes it feels just right. But, whatever the case, I know we must make the most of this time.

This year, my kiddos requested a camp free summer, which I'm cool with (so far!). Other than a couple of activities, we just kind of roll day to day doing what feels right. Some days we do all the summertime things and some days, say, when the toddler face plants on the pool deck and ends up with a giant busted lip, we leave the pool early, come home and lay around like lazy dogs.  It's good and I think we all need this kind of life right now.

It is still a challenge for me to meet the needs of a very active and mischievous toddler with those of two older and much more independent children. But, as much as I can, I try to take my cue from the older two, who are amazingly patient and flexible. If I just stop and look at them, I see that they are all so happy, smiling and laughing - oh my, there has been a lot of laughter in our house this summer.  Summer is not always going to be magical for them, so I'm very, very thankful for these beautiful days. I hope you're enjoying your summer, however you choose to spend it!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mini Quilt Swap

I recently became part of a fun swap group with six other ladies that also went to Sew South. We were all newbies to Sew South this year. Several of us live around this area in NC and the others live in SC, so we appropriately call our group "Sew Carolina". I love, love, love our little group, especially that there are just 7 of us, and how we've gotten to know each other.

To kick things off, we decided to do a mini quilt swap. I was so excited because 1) Prior to the swap, I didn't have a single mini quilt on my wall in my sewing space and 2) I absolutely love sewing small quilts...really, I could see myself getting addicted to these.

So, first I want to share the mini-quilt I received! Kelly picked my name and she nailed it!! Isn't it perfect?!  I've admired tree quilts like this for so long, I'm so happy to finally have one.

I adore the improv-style piecing, the assortment of greens and those little pops of aqua. Not to mention, the quilting is perfect!

I also shared with Kelly how fitting this mini quilt is for me...I truly love to be amid trees or wandering around on a path in the woods and this quilt reminds me of that. So, thank you thank you, Kelly for making me this quilt - it is so very special to me!  

I made a mini quilt for my friend, Tamie. When I found out she was my partner, I started following her on Pinterest. Right off the bat, I noticed that I loved everything she pinned - good sign! Her quilting boards were really inspiring to me and full of ideas. I noticed that she had a lot of quilts with flying geese or half-square triangle designs, so I decided to do something with those type of blocks. She also mentioned that she liked the look of linen with bright colors, which I incorporate in so many of my own quilts. I chose an assortment of bright prints, some low volume prints, and some Essex yarn-dyed linen in flax.

I'm typically so stubborn about using patterns when I make quilts. But, after playing with some of my own ideas for a while, I kept returning to this tutorial by the Purl Bee and decided to give it a go. It was so easy to follow and came together quickly. I made a couple of changes to the arrangement of the geese, but for the most part, I mimicked the design of the Purl Bee quilt. I think if I had not followed the tutorial, I would've been inclined to arrange the flying geese units in a very random fashion, which I don't think would've looked as appealing. So, in that sense, this was a good learning experience for me. 

I quilted it with straight lines about 1/4" apart. I'm so happy with how it turned. I'd love to try this design again! 

I gained so much from Sew South, but by far the best were the friendships I've made with other sewers and quilters. This swap was so much fun, but mostly I feel so lucky to be part of such a fun group of inspiring and talented ladies!