Friday, February 28, 2014

A Sewing Supplies Road Trip Case

You guys! Have you seen the latest pattern from Anna of Noodlehead? The Road Trip Case is a super versatile case that can be used tote and organize crafty stuff (or pretty much anything). I'm an organizational nerd, so as soon as Anna shared the cases she made for her girls and their Rainbow Loom supplies, I knew I needed to make one pronto. Of course, before making one for Maggie and her loot, I needed to make one for myself and my sewing stuff.  I call it necessary testing.


Road Trip Case Open

So, this is it and I LOVE it! Up until now, I haven't really had a great way to travel with and organize all of my sewing supplies. This case is perfect because it's so sturdy and has pockets for pretty much everything.

I thought this might be a challenging project, so I read Anna's pattern (which was completely thorough and full of great tips) numerous times before starting and also went through all of the blog posts that her pattern testers wrote. The things I thought I might have trouble with, like the vinyl pocket, turned out to be a breeze. I had no problem sewing the vinyl with my walking foot and Clover wonder clips holding everything in place.  

Road Trip Case Vinyl Pouch

Road Trip Case Alternate Pockets

I sewed the alternate pocket version, which gives you four separate pockets, one side longer than the other. Finishing the pocket - pleating and stitching it to the lining - was a bit tricky. I read the instructions repeatedly here and it helped.

Road Trip Case Long Pockets

Road Trip Case Short Pockets

I made my own bias binding and instead of sewing it on as described in the pattern, I essentially attached it the same way I would bind a quilt. I took a single fold bias strip and sewed it (raw edges aligned) to the inside of the case with a 1/4" seam allowance and then wrapped and hand stitched the bias to the outside of the case. This method just works better for me and gives me a cleaner finish. But, it does take more time. I also chose to use some cotton strapping for the handles, since I happened to have a couple of short pieces around.

Road Trip Case Binding

I knew this case would not be a quick sew (it probably took me about 6 hrs), but I took my time and enjoyed it. I think the next one I make will go a lot faster. The fabrics I used are recent favorites, listed below. I'm headed to Sew South in just a few weeks and I can't wait to fill this case up with all of my sewing stuff! And, I'm sure I'll be cutting out another one soon!

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:: Road Trip Case Fabrics ::

Outer Fabric and Binding: Prints by Juliana Horner for Fabric Traditions at Joanns
Lining: Lush Uptown Paintbox in Sky by Erin Michaels for Moda
Pockets: Comma Periods in Chalk by Zen Chic for Moda
Pocket Flaps: Prints by DSQuilts for Fabric Traditions at Joanns

Friday, February 21, 2014

Over at Imagine Gnats: Circular Quilted Placemats

Happy Friday, ya'll! I'm so excited to announce that in the coming months I'll be periodically posting projects, tutorials, or the like over at Imagine Gnats. I'm honored to be one of a bunch of fantastic contributors, brought together by Rachael. I'm sure you already know of Imagine Gnats...Rachael's blog is such an inspiring spot, chock full of projects and tutorials in all sorts of crafty avenues. Plus she's got some fantastic sewing patterns for kiddos and women, and a shop full of yummy fabric.  

Today I'm sharing a tutorial to make some very, very happy placemats to brighten up your dining table. Literally, I think they evoke happiness as my 5-yr old son was shouting "I love setting the table with these placemats!" just a few days ago. I'd love for you to stop over and check out the full tutorial. Have a great weekend! 



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Botanics Quilt

Presenting...my first quilt finish of 2014! I'm very happy with how this one turned out and the fact that I can finally check "a half-square triangle quilt" off of my long mental list of quilts to make. I don't know why, but I've always been intimidated by the idea of making an entire quilt with half-square triangles. Maybe it was all the trimming I knew I'd have to do. But, oh, all the possibilities that come with this simple, classic quilt block.

Botanics Quilt

Very much inspired by this quilt by Krista of Spotted Stones (which I found I had pinned numerous times - always a good sign that you like something), I chose to do a simple arrangement, playing with value. All fabrics on the quilt top are from the fabulous Botanics collection by Carolyn Friedlander, with the exception of one shot cotton (in latte by Kaffe Fassett). I chose to use mainly greens, blues, golds, a little bit of orange/red, and lots of low volume prints from Botanics. This fabric collection is just so unique and bold. I love how the prints play as solids from a distance, but, up close, explode with details and character. It's just a really cool collection.

Botanics Quilt Quilting

Botanics Quilt Binding

I quilted it with diagonal lines on either side of each seam to keep it nice and soft. This would have been a fun quilt to do some fancy free motion quilting to emphasize the low and high volume squares. Buuuut, I'm not quite there yet!  Thinking about it is always a good step, though, right? For the backing I chose this print from Dowry by Anna Maria Horner, which I thought paired perfectly.

Botanics Quilt Back

This quilt was a gift for my parents, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Amazing, right? Truth be told, I was sitting in their living room back in December and taking in the colors and decor in their house, and suddenly imagined a quilt made with Botanics. Their home is filled with lots of soothing greens and blues with little pops of reds or yellow here and there, and they seem to have a lovely collection of modern pieces that remind me of these colors and prints. So, that was that...off I set to make a quilt for them. Not just to celebrate their marriage, but to thank them...because truthfully, I don't think that I would be quilting to begin with, were it not for them. So, Cheers to you, Mom and Dad! I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.     

A Gift 

:: Quilt Details ::

Size: Approx 42" x 56"
Top Fabrics: Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander (I got most of mine from The Intrepid Thread
Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Latte (available here)
Backing Fabric: Tangle in Aqua from Dowry by Anna Maria Horner (available here)
Binding Fabric: Foilage in Teal from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander (available here)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow Days

Snow Days 1

Snow Days Little

Snow Days Big

Snow guy

Snow Walk

Year to year, we never know what we'll get, if any. So, when the big snowfalls head our way, not just once but twice, we have to enjoy them as much as we can. Even if it means going to school on Saturdays for the rest of the year - yikes! 

This year I really marveled at how beautiful it can be. Taking the dog out for a quick walk at night and finding our neighborhood buried in a beautiful thick untouched blanket of white. The snow lit up the quietest night sky and I could hear every little flake hitting the ground. Suddenly a chore that I had been dreading (typically Mark's chore, but he was out of town) turned into the most beautiful experience. I thought that I'd seen snow, but then I really saw it.

And staring out my sewing room window for an entire afternoon and seeing a sky filled with giant white flurries. So, so beautiful. I'm happy to live somewhere that we usually get nice mild dose of every season. But, I'm so happy Mother Nature gave us these beautiful  snowfalls, safe and sound at home together. Lots of memories in these days.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Me, in a Book! { Quilting With a Modern Slant }

About two years ago, I was contacted by Rachel May, who was interested in interviewing me for her upcoming book all about the modern quilting movement and community. I was equally shocked and flattered that Rachel wanted me to be a part of her book. She mentioned that she was talking with all sorts of people connected to modern quilting...established quilters and newbies, like me. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity! I had the most wonderful time talking with Rachel. As it turns out, she went to college in the small town I grew up in, and we had at least one acquaintance in common. And to think we are connected by one thing: QUILTING! Pretty cool, I think!

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Rachel's book, Quilting with a Modern Slant, recently made it's big debut. It is filled to the brim with beautiful photos of quilts, patterns, techniques, and tips and tricks. A new quilter could open it up and learn the basics of quilting just as much as an experienced quilter could open it up and discover a new technique. But, what I love most about this book, is the inspiration, both in the stories and the wide range of quilt styles portrayed (just take a look below at all of the different styles of quilts shown on one of the inside covers).  I love real stuff...I love to know why people quilt, what inspires them, and how it fits into their life. There is a LOT of this in the book and perusing it, I found an overwhelming sense of community among all of these different artists and quilters.

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I love Rachel's introduction where she shares how through 80 some interviews, she discovered so many common threads that tie "us" all together, and her personal story revealing why she thought it important to include such a range of artists and quilters. Rachel is both a quilter and a writer, and it really makes for a lovely read.

Flipping through, you will more than likely be amazed at the way an artist goes about making a quilt. I was blown away by the work of quilter and artist Kyoung Ae Cho, who literally sews pieces of nature into her quilts (embedding leaves or wood), sewing around them by hand. Also, expect to find someone who's work or thoughts newly inspire you in your own quilting. I kept returning to stare at this quilt by Alexis Deise, and have since looked her up to discover a load of amazing quilts.

Of course, it was so cool and exciting to open the book and see a page with my name and some of my thoughts in writing. During our interview, Rachel and I spent a lot of time talking about why I quilt and how it fits into my lifestyle as a stay-home Mom with a young family. I'm happy that she chose to highlight this on my profile. I also talk a bit about blogging and advocate for keeping the "personal" in crafty blogs (I'm good at that, eh?).     

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Along with my profile is a patchwork voile pillow I made. It's an oldie, but goodie that I never got around to sharing here on the blog. At the time that Rachel was collecting projects for the book, I was busy with a newborn baby, so I was very happy that she accepted this project of mine, in lieu of a new quilt. This pillow is a very favorite of mine and reminds me a lot of my beginning years quilting.  I spent so much time gathering these pieces of fabric (Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile), pondering them, and finally piecing this pillow (around the same time I made this quilt).

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I encourage you to take a good look at Quilting with a Modern Slant. I promise you will find it to be completely unique and inspiring. Above all, you will find a community of people that you connect with. You can read more about the book, Rachel, and all of the contributors, on the book's website here. Many, many thanks for Rachel for including me!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Progress

Do you enjoy progress posts?  Most of the time I feel like I would rather spend the time finishing something than writing about my progress on it.  But, sometimes when I feel like I'm slowly chipping away at a bunch of different things, it's nice to see how far I've come and remind myself where I've been.

Progress - knit and sewn

Such as this sweater (on Ravelry here), started just after Christmas, knit mostly on weekend nights spent in watching shows with Mark (we are currently back on a Homeland kick).  Only two sleeves left to knit and it fits, it fits, it fits (hurray)! Perhaps the oddest color choice ever on my part, but I love it anyway.  

Antrorse Body done

And this quilt, which I've hesitated to share here (it's a gift).  This one where I finally conquered my fear of half-square triangles and realized that imperfection is all good, that I spent many cold evenings and snowy days stitching during the coldest month I can remember.  All that's left is to bind it, tie it up with string and send it off to it's lovely recipients.    

Snow Day Stitching

Ready for Binding

What are you chipping away at these days?