Little Folks Voile Summer Quilt

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy First Day of Summer! I'm happy to have a finished quilt to share! This is my first week back after spending the last week and a half in Ohio visiting my family. I managed to get three finished quilts photographed, including the one I'm sharing today!

I've been hoarding yardage of some voile prints from Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner since they first came out in 2009 (!!). I wasn't sure how best to use the panels, which is why the fabric languished in my stash for so long. After making my double gauze quilt, I felt inspired to pull these out. I paired the panels with a fat quarter bundle of Pastry Line voile prints (also from 2009).

I cut eight large squares and eight small squares from three panel colorways. I used the striped voile to frame the small squares to bring them to the same size as the large squares. I luckily had just enough fabric to make this quilt happen 8 years later!

This is a big quilt, so I sent it to Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting for quilting. I chose a feather design that I really love. The batting is the wonderful Dream Orient by Quilter's Dream. It's a blend of bamboo, silk, tencel and cotton. This is my second time using it, it's truly dreamy. So light and airy, a perfect match for the voile.

For the backing, I pieced together some voile yardage that was originally earmarked for garments. It's bound up in more voile, for an all voile quilt!

This is going to be my summer bed quilt. I've been using it for about a month now and really loving it. It's super lightweight and the texture is so nice. I think it will keep my nice and cool this summer! I've really enjoyed trying out alternative fabrics for quilts. I've made a flannel quilt, a brushed cotton quilt, a double gauze quilt, and now this one. Now to decide what's next!

Happy Quilting!

Double Zip Box Pouch

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recently I did some more pattern testing for Aneela Hoey, this time for her new Double Zip Box Pouch Pattern!

I think this pouch turned out so cute! It's a sweet boxy shape and feature two separate pockets. I stitched it up in an afternoon without any trouble.

It's a nice size, approximately 10" wide, 4" tall, and 5" deep. Perfect for a few bits and bobs. Would be a good pouch for traveling. I think I'm going to keep stationary supplies in mine, I thought that would be appropriate given the fabric.

When I am tackling a zipper pouch project, I generally like to pick out my zipper(s) first if I have the right length. I like to keep a pretty large variety on hand, so it's nice to be able to use from my stash. From there I look for fabrics that will match the zippers.

 I buy all my zippers from Zipit.

I've been looking for an excuse to use this SS Bluebird print. I pulled some simple blenders to match it for the accents and lining, I didn't want to take away too much from the sweet print!

Find the Double Zip Box Pouch Pattern in Aneela Hoey's shop, here.

Happy Sewing!

Scrappy Pineapple Quilt in Progress

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share a new long term quilt project that I started last month.

Dana of Old Red Barn Co. started an informal scrappy pineapple quilt along on Instagram (#superscrappypineapple), and I knew I had to join in. I've been wanting to make a pineapple quilt for a long time, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to start.

For my quilt I pulled fabrics around this crazy Jay McCarroll Center City splatter print, which I'm using for the background. It's a number of years old, but I managed to snatch up enough for a background/backing last year in Nashville.

I'm normally not into buying specialty rulers, but I decided to try out the Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool. I thought about paper piecing my quilt, but using this ruler seemed easier.

Since I was new to this ruler, I decided to make a test block. Lately any test blocks I need to make I've been making in my fantastic quilt voyage colors so that I can just add it in to that quilt. It's been great in avoiding orphan blocks!

I haven't made a ton of progress on this project yet, but I did pull it out last week to work on while I've been in Ohio visiting.

My first four blocks. I was a little nervous that these colors would be too crazy, but I'm really loving it so far. It's a little outside of my comfort zone, but that's good!

I've been getting more used to using the ruler, and I like how easy it is to be accurate. There is some waste, but there would have been with a paper pieced method as well.

Since I ended up cutting from yardage instead of scraps, I measured out what size strips I'd need for each round to make the cutting easier. I cut up a few of each size strip from all the prints I've pulled, and for now they all fit in a little box. We'll see how my process evolves as the project progresses!

Happy Quilting!

The Fussy Cut Sampler Quilt Along

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Happy Wednesday! I'm excited to share a brand new book with you today, The Fussy Cut Sampler by my friends Nichole (@catwithfins) and Elisabeth (@elisabew). I'm participating in their instagram/blog hop to celebrate the launch, which I'll chat more about at the end of this post.

You guessed it, this book is all about fussy cutting! Through making the 48 sampler blocks in the book, you'll learn techniques and tricks to make fussy cutting easier. The book is broken down into thirteen chapters, and twelve of those are focused on a specific technique illustrated in the blocks. The last chapter includes two different quilt layout options.

For the quilt-along, I was assigned block 2 from the stripes chapter! A few of the other chapters are focused on fussy cutting your background fabrics, directional prints, and how to create a narrative in your blocks.

I was a little nervous to tackle stripes partly because I didn't think I had many in my stash. Turns out I had more than I thought! For my block, I started by pulling my stripe from Geometric Bliss and pulled other stripes in those same colors. For the middle, I needed something to fussy cut, and these kitties were perfect (they're from Hello Petal by Aneela Hoey).

Voila! I consider myself a pretty experienced quilter, but I wouldn't say precision is always my priority. Knowing stripes would really accentuate my mistakes, I paid extra care while cutting to make sure everything turned out neat and tidy.

It's no accident that my block matches my fantastic quilt voyage, which I'm hoping to get back to soon. I am planning to make a few more blocks from the book for it!

The Fussy Cut Sampler Quilt Along is running for 12 weeks (we're in week two!), each week dedicated to a chapter from the book. I hope you'll think about sewing along, it's been so fun seeing the blocks that have been made so far. Plus, there are prizes for participating! So go grab a copy of the book from your local shop, amazon, or get a signed copy here.

Follow along with the tag #thefussycutsamplerqal on Instagram, and check out their post with all the quilt along information here.

May Monthly Report

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy June! It's time for May's monthly report. See past reports here.

Stitched up my Minny Muu Prism quilt this month, now it's back from the quilter and ready to be bound! I can't wait to get this quilt done.

Found one of my favorite striped vintage sheets still in the original wrapping this month. Every few months we make the trek out to the Columbus Antique Mall and we always seem to find something! I love finding sheets still in the package, so fun!

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in May:

May Fabric
Used up: 7.25 yards
Brought in: 27.25 yards
Net: +20 yards
Year to date: -5 yards

May Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: -1789.5 yards

So, I did not do great on my fabric yardage this month. I have a few excuses, but the bottom line is that I bought a lot of fabric this month. The first major buy was another quilt backing. I was all ready to use the gingham I bought last month to back my Minny Muu quilt, only to realize I under bought by 1/4 yard. Boo. I was going to piece something in, but with such a busy design, I decided not to. It certainly won't go to waste, and will be a great backing for a different quilt. The vast majority of the rest of the yardage that came in this month was knits. Since my successful Plantain shirt last month I've been bitten by the knit bug. Ready to reign things back in for June.

Knits in the above photo purchased from Imagine Gnats.

I didn't finish a lot this month, so that certainly didn't help my yardage issues. I did send two big quilts out to be quilted, so those will get counted in June. I made a few blocks here and there, but mostly I worked on projects I can't share here quite yet. Soon! I sort of need a May do-over in terms of my goals and sewing. I didn't really make any progress on my goals this month, but am feeling ready to recommit to them in June. Double wedding ring quilt, I'm looking at you!

On a yarn related note, I did something fun this month. I dyed two skeins of yarn last year, and I hated how both of them turned out. So this past month I over-dyed both of them a deep dark purple/black. It was a fun experiment and now I'm excited to use both skeins. Excited to do more dyeing this Summer.

At the beginning on the month I went home for a short weekend for my brother's graduation. I snapped a quick photo of Blackie! I'm leaving to go back home next week for two weeks this time. I'm excited!

And of course, George the bunny. He was snoring when I took this photo! Bunny snores are so funny. He is doing well, but just started his big shed for the year, so we have to cut back on his treats. It's torture for him and us. I just want to give him all the treats!

Have a Great Month!

Patchwork Essentials: Radiant Baby Quilt

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One of my goals for this year is to stitch up old works in progress and leftover blocks. For my book, I made a block and in some cases an entire second quilt top of each design as a suggested variation. This means from that exercise alone I have 12 completely different blocks/quilt tops to work through. This project is my first to use up one of those variations.

Lucky for me, the single variation block I made for my Radiant quilt in Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle, was pretty big to begin with. I decided to turn it into a baby quilt!

© 2015 Lauren Hunt for Lucky Spool Media.

Here is the original Radiant Quilt from the book. I used lots of long-hoarded black and white prints in addition to a rainbow of colored prints. The color scheme was inspired by this pillow I made a few years ago for a swap.

I added some half-square triangles with a single fabric, to subtlety continue the design of the block and make it larger. It's difficult to see in the finished quilt photos, but in person I think it really adds something extra.

I didn't think about it until later on, but this quilt design is in the color chapter of the book. Each quilt in this chapter is focused on how the colors you use on either half impact the look of the quilt. It's sort of funny that I happy to experiment with single color half-square triangles on a quilt within that chapter!

I wanted the quilt to be nice and soft, so I kept the quilting minimal. I used a thread to match the background solid.

I used a long-stashed floral for the backing, it happened to be the perfect match. It's bound up in more of the background fabric, so that the prints on the front really pop. I didn't the binding to take away from that.

I had to make a drawstring bag to gift it in of course. I used more of the same floral for the main body of the bag. I even had colored ties to match, so it was really meant to be. This is the Artist size from my Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern. It's a great size to hold a baby quilt.

Another goal of mine this year is to build up a stash of baby quilts. Instead of adding this quilt to that stash, I decided to finish it for Natalie's sweet baby girl. The colors reminded me so much of Natalie, I couldn't get it out of my head. I'm happy this quilt went to a good home!

Happy Quilting!

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Sewing Space

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the transition back to warmer weather and all the changes in the scenery as the trees and plants wake up. The best day is when I can finally open all the windows and air out the apartment. This always leaves me itching to clean and purge.

My sewing room is never spared from this, and probably needs it more than any other room. I am lucky to have an entire room in our little apartment dedicated to my sewing. Since I work from home, it sees a lot of wear and tear, and things can get out of sorts pretty quickly. Not only does reorganizing help provide extra breathing room in a small space, but the lack of clutter usually leaves me more inspired and motivated to work. Whether you have a dedicated sewing space or not, it's valuable to take time to go through your supplies periodically.

A couple times a year, I like to reorganize my fabric. There are two reasons for this. First, the stacks of fabric generally need tidying every few months, so it’s nice to get things back in color order and folded nicely. Another reason is that it reminds me of fabrics I may have forgotten about and can spark new ideas. I usually end up with a nice stack of fabrics for new projects by the time I’m done. Bonus!

The most important thing to remember when tackling spring-cleaning in any capacity is that it usually has to get worse before it gets better. In my sewing room, I like to start this yearly task by emptying out my wall of closets. This includes boxes of project samples, works-in-progress, paperwork, craft supplies, and let's admit it, lots of fabric. It is a good idea for all of these things to be aired out once a year anyways, but it is also an opportunity to take inventory of what I have. Plus, I always manage to find a few things I have forgotten about, which is fun.

As I go through things, I decide whether to keep an item, give it away, sell it, or store it somewhere else. I like to be pretty ruthless at first, and then go back through my give away/sell pile a second time to make a final decision. I find I accumulate a lot of things I don't really need, and I am especially bad about holding on to craft supplies. I'm trying to be better about setting a time frame for supplies that I've had for a long time. Either use it or loose it. We'll see how that works out over time!

A few ideas for what to do with excess craft supplies:
- Give to a friend (someone just starting off would probably really appreciate it!)
- Take to your local quilt guild
- Ask your local library/school/community group if they accept craft supply donations*
- Bring to a retreat to share

*Sew Mama Sew has a great article with 12 places to donate fabric to.

I added some Work in Progress Bags (read more about them here) to my project organization this year. I also use gallon and jumbo ziploc bags and a few ArtBin Super Satchels for larger projects.

When taking inventory of all my supplies, I like to be sure I have enough stock of the essentials. I keep plenty of needles, neutral (white) thread, and rotary blades on hand at all times. There's nothing worse than breaking a needle in the middle of a project and not having a replacement! After replenishing those, I will restock other supplies like batting, pins, muslin, and interfacing.

After I've tackled the storage portion of my sewing room, it's the sewing machine's turn. I perform regular cleaning and maintenance on my main sewing machine throughout the year, but in the Spring I like to do a deep cleaning on all of my machines. Often times I will do this myself, but once a year I try to schedule a service appointment. Lately, I have been really good about keeping track of when I oil, change the needles, and change my rotary blade. I'm sharing a printable maintenance sheet to keep track of these below as well as some general cleaning tips. Don't forget about your scissors, this is a good time to have those checked and sharpened too.

Maintenance Tracking Printable Sheet
Download your printable maintenance tracking sheet here.

General Sewing Machine Cleaning Tips

1. Un-thread your machine and remove the bobbin and needle. Remove all the dust bunnies that have collected on the outside of the machine, around the needle, thread path, and bobbin area. I use a combination of a small vacuum, compressed air, and the lint brush that came with my machine. I also remove the needle plate so I can get around the feed dogs. Wipe down all surfaces with a soft cloth when finished.

2. Give your machine a new needle, if you're anything like me, it probably needs to be changed!

3. My main machine takes oil every 8 hours. Not all sewing machines do, so check your manual to see if you need to oil it and where. Only use sewing machine oil to do so. I love using a precision oil pen, it allows you to place a single drop at a time, so less mess.

4. After cleaning is a great time to check that the tension of your machine is set properly. Thread it and sew some quick test seams. Adjust as necessary according to your manual.

Here are a few other posts you may find relevant while tackling a bit of Spring cleaning in your sewing space:

Fabric Folding Tutorial

Tips for Good Quilt Care

How to Track Your Fabric and Yarn Yardage

Happy Sewing!


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