Saturday, June 30, 2012

{handstitched week 3} Progress...better late than never

I have been consumed by this week's assignments for handstitched class. It is so challenging but so fun. There is a TON of embroidery to be done....heres what I've got so far.

I finally finished all 48 (yes 48!!) half square triangles. I felt so accomplished!!!

Lately, if I have been sitting, this is what my lap has looked like. Any free time I have had has been dedicated to this project because it is so portable. I am able to take it with me when I am sent out of town for work, which I can't do with my machine. It has been a nice change of pace. 

I just started on the jewels this weekend. I practiced on my least favorite colors. Haha. It definitely takes doing a few to get the hang of it. (I promise that the brown looking red color is actually a dark raspberry).

And yes, I have had tons of help from the kitties. Balls of thread are WAY better toys than anything sold at Petsmart apparently. Back to stitching!

Friday, June 29, 2012


And the winners are......

Kirsten (Pajama Mama), Jennie Bobbins, Heather, and Jessica E!! Congratulations. I will be contacting you all soon (possibly in the morning since I still have to get home and unpacked)! And thank you random number generator! I would have never been able to pick myself! Thank you for all the wonderful comments. Solids are fabulous and I can't wait to roll out some of my ideas for solid quilts!

Also, here is a peak into my week. Hotels, stitching, exhaustion.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

solids and the Color Card

In the last couple of years, I have noticed that quilts made completely of solids are popping up everywhere. I love the crisp look you get from using just solids. When I was much much younger, I wanted to make a quilt out of solids, and my mom said something like 'no no, it will be too flat. you need to use  fabric that reads as a solid but is not actually solid'. Well here we are years later and solids are all the rage! Denyse Schmidt has a way of using solids that is really inspiring for me. Here are a few of my favorites:

Recently, I was chatting with some people from my handstitched class and came to find out that some people don't know what a color card is. I can't imagine how one could go about buying solids online without one! A color card is made by the manufacturer of the solids (ie, Robert Kaufman Kona or Moda Bella) that has a small swatch of all the colors that they produce.

Not only does this allow you to match solids of the fabrics you already have in the house, but it provides the exact name and number of that color so that you don't have guess when you go to buy it! The biggest dilemma people face buying solids online is not knowing how true the picture is to the actual color of the fabric. This is true for all fabric, but it presents the most problem with solids.

Here is the exciting part. Fat Quarter Shop has kindly offered to sponsor the giveaway of two Kona color cards and two Bella color cards! I will pick winners on Friday (since I will be working in the field all and all you have to do is comment about solids to enter! I use my color cards religiously and they are truly a great tool to have in your sewing arsenel. You can also find them on Fat Quarter Shop here and here.

Kona solids are the trusted, turn to line of solids that everyone knows and loves. They have quite an expansive range of colors (over 230!) and are carried by most fabric stores. I have recently, however, fallen in love with the Bella solids. The are more of a newcomer in the last couple of years, but they have some fantastic colors. They are winning right now as my favorites. Oddly enough, very few colors repeat between these two lines. If you have both color cards, there is almost no color that is lacking. I have both tacked to my wall (because I think they are beautiful, haha) and I consult them on a daily basis.

I hope this helps if you have been struggling to find the perfect solid online! I know that the fabric stores near me don't carry very many solids, so I have had to start buying mine online as well. If you buy solids online regularly, a color card is a must have!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Camera Strap Tutorial

I looove my Anna Maria Horner Good Folks fabric, particularly the green one with the diamonds (Buttoned Up in Sea). I knew I needed to make something out of it so I could see it every day, but I didn't know what. I was taking pictures of my Modern Medallion when the idea struck me to cover my camera strap! After some trial and error, here is how I did it.

Besides your fabric of choice, you will need a ruler, rotary cutter, some pins, and a sewing machine.

First, I measured the strap I wanted to cover. Mine was an even 19 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Allowing myself some wiggle room and room to fold the ends under, I cut my piece of fabric 20 inches long by 4 inches wide. I added a 1/2 inch to each end of the length of the fabric so I could fold the ends for a clean look. For the width, I doubled my measurement (1.5x2) plus added 1/2 inch to either side for folding again (3+0.5+0.5) leaving me with 4 inches. 

Next, I folded the short ends of the fabric over 1/2 inch since I cut my piece 1 inch longer than need be. Before you sew anything, you want to measure your folded piece to make sure it is the length of your strap. If it is too long, just fold a little more under with your iron.

I sewed these folds down using a wide zig zag stitch in a dark blue thread that just blended right in. The seam was 1/4 inch of the end of the fabric as with most piecing. Once both sides are sewn, measure again to make sure your length of fabric is the same as the length of your camera strap. 

Next, fold the long sides over 1/4 inch with your iron. This will leave your fabric piece wider than your strap, but that will be accounted for when you attach the fabric to the strap. Again, it is better to have too much fabric here than too little. 

Once more, I sewed the folds down with the same zig zag stitch 1/4 inch off the edge of the fabric. My piece of fabric with all the ends folded and sewn over measured 19 inches by 3.5 inches. This gave me the exact length I needed to cover the strap as well as some extra fabric to overlap when folding the fabric around the width of the strap. 

To attach the fabric to the strap, I first changed the needle in my sewing machine to one that is a little heavier weight. At first, I wasn't sure if my machine could handle the leather on the Nikon strap, but the needle slid through it like butter. I was impressed. I pinned the first side of my fabric down the middle of the inside of the strap (the part that would touch your neck), taking care not to catch any fabric on the underside of the strap

I then did the same zig zag stitch down the center of the strap to tack the fabric on. 

After that, I wrapped the remaining fabric snug around the strap and pinned in it place.

Mine crossed right in the center, so I was able to sew down the center line again to tack the final piece in place. 

This time, you do sew through all of the layers of fabric, so you want your bobbin thread to either be an accent color or an invisible color since it will be on the outside.

Then you are done! This is what each side of my strap looked like in the end. I used blue on the inside and a suuuper light grey on the outside. 

The only challenge left was how to take a picture of the finished product when the finished product was part of the picture taking device. 

Hope you enjoy! It is super easy and quick and adds the perfect amount of personality to an otherwise boring camera!

Monday, June 18, 2012

oh Monday

mmm, my least favorite day of the week. I spent the weekend at home for Father's day which, naturally, meant I was playing in the sun instead of sewing. I did, however, get my medallion all finished up!

Tomorrow, we begin the embroidery border which will be so fun. It will go in what is currently the white portion of the border. Also! I added some personality to my camera strap.

I am beginning to think that I need to employ some of the people in my life to do some picture taking. The bathroom mirror is getting too much use! Look for a tutorial on this tomorrow! It was super easy and I can't wait to share.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

{handstitched week 2} the Decision

After all of the wonderful input from everyone, I finally decided on this

It is a rather saturated version of periwinkle I would say. It looks rather blue, but the purple in it is very strong in person. I know this color as 'blue shock' because that was the name of the paint I picked for my bedroom once....that was this exact color. O youth. Anyway, I really really love this choice and it compliments the will be raspberry elements so well. If you look really closely, you can see where I began the reverse applique stitching in raspberry Perle cotton thread. I am still finishing up the borders, but the final reveal of 'part one' of this quilt will be soon!

Also, did you notice my needlebook? That was the third and final project for this round of projects. It is made of felted wool and is so perfect for fitting everything you need for a nice hand stitching project.

I used a piece from the Flea Market Fancy Legacy line for the inner lining. I love some FMF. Now back to borders so I can be ready to start week 3, the second round of projects!

Monday, June 11, 2012

some Modern Patchwork in my mail

Yep, its finally here! Elizabeth Hartman's new book, Modern Patchwork.

I was so excited to get it because I find her so inspiring! I mean everyone has new ideas, but often (mine included) they are built off of inspiration from old quilt blocks or something somewhere out there. To me, her quilts are like nothing I have ever seen before, very outside the box. And I love it!

My favorite part is that she always includes alternate colorways for each quilt. It is such a nice thing to see because it helps you to see how the pattern is able to morph with color. If you have never checked out either of her books, you can find them on my book page, or visit her blog. Happy sewing!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

{handstitched week 1} Accomplishment and a Request

Handstitched class has started! Our first project was this flocked tank. I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like this project. It did not seem like something that I would wear. Since I decided to be 100% committed to my class, I went for it anyway. 

Can I just say revealing that first petal completely changed my mind! I have no idea why, maybe because I made it, but I LOVE it. And now that it's done, I really love it. Too bad I didn't have someone to take my picture though! Ahaha.

The tank is dark blue and the fabric I chose has a white background with cute tiny little flowers on it. The flowers are all in a cool color palette with blues, greens, and some purples. I chose a light blue pearl cotton #8 thread to do the stitching in. The pattern is done using reverse applique which went rather quickly! I am amazed at how well it turned out. As you can see, I put it on as soon as I was done, not even bothering to pick off the threads. Thanks Rachel for a great first project!

Now, I need your help. This fabric above is the fabric that I will be using as the center of my medallion quilt, (Rachel's version pictured below).

Made by Rachel from Stitched in Color

I absolutely cannot for the life of me decide on a background solid for the medallion. Suggestions?!?! I was originally planning to use a raspberry color (more towards the red side than the purple) and have numerous yellow and raspberry prints to go in the quilt. I am rethinking now though. I just haven't gotten that 'perfect!' sensation yet. I know I have been staring at it way to long so perhaps some outside eyes will give me the perspective I need! Feel free to step outside the box! I am not set on anything except the coveted Amy Butler Wall Flower that I already cut. Haha!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Do you ever get to that place where you are just officially blocked? I am frustrated with my projects, irritated that I don't have endless money to buy new fabric, full of creative ideas that I can't seem to get on paper, and completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. Every time I pull something out of my closet its just not exactly what I was looking for. Can you tell by the state of my sewing room?

I get so inspired watching all of my blogger friends create amazing things, but I feel like I just don't have enough hours in the day. I am my most creative in the morning.....but every morning I find myself at my desk at work, instead of in my sewing room (this dilemma is the source of my frustration). Lately I have been traveling so much on the weekends that I can barely form a thought, much less start a project.

Even though I am completely stuck creatively, I still keep taking on new projects. Isn't that the definition of insanity? And, I totally wish someone would just give my fabric to create with. Who doesn't though, right? As a quilter, there is always more time than money. Story of our lives I suppose.

I am currently considering the possibility of turning a few of my ideas into patterns. This is literally the most daunting idea I have come up against yet. I thought starting a blog was hard, it was nothing compared to this. I am literally entering into unknown territory with no idea of how the end product will be received.

My hope is that my handstitched class (which started today!) will push me out of the box I am stuck in. Although the class isn't as much about quilting as handstitching, once you get that inspirational boost, it is all you need. Today my sewing room will stay a mess, tomorrow is a new day.

and the Winners are.....!

June 1st was the last day to submit your entries for the grand prizes in the Retro Flowers Quilt Along. After much deliberation with the judges over the are our winners!

Christina's pick: Jennifer from Knotted Thread

Our other two grand prize winners are:

By Pam

By Diane

These choices were incredibly hard to make! So many of the submissions had amazing layouts and fantastic quilting. I was so impressed with everyone's work. Winners, I will be contacting you later in the day (after work) so that you can get your prizes. Congratulations! 

Thanks again to everyone for participating. Bianca and I had so much fun hosting this quilt along! Thank you also to our fabulous judges; Rachel, Christina, and Nova. We enjoyed having you on board!