Monday, June 24, 2013


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I can't even begin to describe how despondent I am over the impending loss of GoogleReader.  When I found the reader a year ago, it exponentially changed my ability to follow and keep up with the quilting blogosphere.

Like many others, I will be switching over to bloglovin, which I am hoping to "love" as much as google reader... we shall see.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet Contrary Mosaic Bundle

Rachel at Stitched in Color is hosting a mosaic challenge called sweet contrary.  I just love the photos that she posted as inspiration and decided to try my hand at designing a fabric bundle.  I selected lovely fabrics from Lark Cottons - and I will say how much I love that you can purchase fat quarters from them - how wonderful!

I had a difficult time narrowing down my selections.  I wanted to pick fabrics that reminded me of springtime fruits and cool spring-time weather.  This is a bundle that I would love to create with and I think it would make a fantastic picnic blanket!!

Included in this bundle are:
1. Modern Workshop: Roundabout Dots Frothy Pink
2. Comma: Periods Slate
3. Nest: Berries Tangerine
4. It's a Hoot: Eggs Raspberry
5. Little Apples: Leaves Aqua
6. Comma: Swinging Mustard
7. Chicopee: Cross Square Green
8. Pearl Bracelet: Juniper
9. Farm Fresh: Halebale Pink
10. Origins: Graph Paper Vanilla
11. Architectures:  Crosshatch Grey
12.  Modern Workshop:  Textured Wave Frothy Pink

Don't you love it?!

Monday, April 8, 2013

WIP update

Quarter 2 update to my WIP list....  What did I actually accomplish over the last few months?!

1.  Megan's quilt - this is technically finished, but it needs to be washed and properly photographed.
done & gifted.  Blogged here

2.  Laura's quilt - again, technically done.  Needs washing and photography - need to find my camera's charger to do this.
done & gifted.  Blogged here

3.  Emily's quilt - this is fairly far away from being finished even though it was meant to be a Christmas present.  It's made using Cut to Piece's Super Mario Quilt Along pattern.  All the blocks are sewn in one direction currently.  I need to trim and iron the seams, then sew the other direction, trim and iron those seams, then sashing, etc.  The back is super secret and hasn't been started yet - I think I'll like the back better than the front!
Not as much progress as I had hoped.  I have a whole lot of ironing ahead of me before I make much progress on this.

4.  Farmer's wife quilt - I started this quilt last January.  I have 80+ blocks completed, 30+ blocks cut out and ready to go.  I will have to redo some of the blocks since my piecing techniques have improved since I first started quilting and the really mismatched points are bothering me.  I'm aiming for 121 blocks to make a king sized quilt.  Then I have to purchase the sashing (I'm planning to use Essex linen in steel), sash all the blocks, find a backing, quilt, and bind.  This quilt by the Quirky Granola Girl is my inspiration.  Gorgeous!
All of the blocks are finished.  Sashing is cut.  Need to sew all the pieces together still.  Blogged here.

5.  Single girl quilt - I started this quilt in September I think.  I finished all of the rings (I paper-pieced them), but stopped there.  I have to purchase the rest of the fabric (I'm thinking Essex linen in natural - can you tell I love Essex linen!), cut all of those curved bits, find the courage to attempt curves, and finish the rest of the quilt up.  This one will also be king size - 20 rings in all - yikes!
No progress.  Though I did make one single girl block for another quilt and it wasn't that hard.  I decided that I want to use low volume prints for the background like this quilt.

6.  Spiderweb quilt - This one is currently just a stack of fabrics.  I'm going to use my Denyse Schmidt chicopee fat quarters for this one.  I have to decide on a color/fabric for the center.  I think I'll take my stack to my favorite quilt shop to try out some color options.  I'm not sure how many spiderweb blocks I can get out of my stack, so I'm not sure how big it will be.  I would love for it to be at least full size, queen would be even better.
No progress.

7.  April baby quilt - a long-time friend is due in April and I have to get started on a quilt for her lovely baby - maybe I could practice my single girl curves and make a small baby quilt?
Finished and gifted, blogged here.

8.  July baby quilt - another really good friend is due in July, so I am planning another quilt for her.  It will involve ducks - that much I do know.
Fabric purchased, plan of attack, no other progress.

9.  Madrona Road EPP quilt - this one is decidedly stalled.  I have all the pieces cut, but lost the interest in piecing a million blocks by hand.  I might get re-energized again.  I think it will need more solids and textures rather than just stars...  I'm not thinking this will get done this year.
Nope, no progress.

10.  Stack of Hope Valley fat quarters - I don't exactly have a good plan for this quilt.  I thought of making the retro flowers quilt (and still might), but I'm not convinced I will love it.  A few thoughts I had were to make it similar to this vintage quilt - I would have to draft the pattern by hand I think but it could be done.  It's certainly beautiful and I think seems appropriate to the Hope Valley Fabrics.  Plus  I love the idea of adding solids to this quilt to increase the contrast.  This one needs more thought & should wait until I finish more of these WIPs.
No progress.

11.  Pile O'Fabric's Block of the Month quilt - currently up-to-date with this quilt after month #1.  Excited for the next installment.  Don't you just love the little houses on the back??!
On track and up-to-date.  See my progress in this flickr set
12.  Wiksten tanks - I have 3 more tanks cut and ready to sew, I have one more fabric that I purchased and one more that I want to purchase to make another.  I really do love these shirts, though I wish I knew how to make them with a cap sleeve, they would be much more versatile (rather than having to wear them with a sweater).
Ugh, no progress.  I'm hoping to finish by vacation in 4 weeks.

13.  Mod mood quit-along - this will be our guild challenge for the next few months.  I have my mood fabrics chosen and am about 1/3 finished with the improv curves.  Then I'll have to sew the beast together.

14.  Another baby quilt - I'll show photos soon, hoping to get it quilted up this week.

I think overall I would say that I'm making progress!  More things crossed off the list than added, that's always a good thing.  I'll keep you posted at the beginning of the next quarter too.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baby quilt season

So, it seems that almost everyone I know is pregnant.  I definitely have many baby quilts in my near future.  One of my best friends from high school (we're not super close anymore unfortunately) was due this month and I knew I wanted to make her a baby quilt for her little one.

I texted another friend to find out if Becky was having a boy or a girl, since I wanted to quilt to be a surprise.  (this was on a Tuesday)  Stacey immediately asked if I was coming to Becky's shower... that weekend... in my hometown, 5 hours away from Pittsburgh.  Well, I didn't know about the shower until that moment and thought for a minute about how I would like to give the quilt to her in person.

I worked like crazy to get the quilt finished in time for the shower on Saturday and shockingly was able to finish it Thursday night.  I didn't sleep much that week, but it was worth it to get it finished.

Since Becky was having a little girl, I was able to make it super cute.  I chose a pale pinky/purple for the main background color and used up an adorable hopscotch fabric in the same color.  I quickly made a single single girl ring (the original plan was to make 4, but because of the time crunch I only made one).  This was my first time piecing curves, but because I didn't have much time I wasn't able to agonize over it too much and just jumped in.  To my surprise it was much easier than I thought!  (Maybe now I'll have to courage to finish my king-size single girl quilt).  I improv pieced the rest of the quilt top.

For the back, I wanted to make a larger version of the Valentine's block I saw on Flickr.  This part definitely took the longest - cutting out so many little 2" squares, laying them out, and piecing them all together.  I finally finished up this part of the back late late on Wednesday.  Thursday evening I finished improv piecing the back of the quilt, basted it, and quilted it.  I really wanted to FMQ this quilt but the reality of time made me reconsider.  I was able to hand-sew the binding on Thursday night.  Whew - what a week.

It was worth it though to be able to give her the quilt in person and catch up with Stacey that weekend too.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


I know this isn't exactly quilt-related, but I also wanted to share some of the other crafts I've been working on.  One of my best friends is due in July and my other friend Megan (the one I made the quilt for in a previous post) and I are hosting her baby shower in June.

I'm super psyched for this shower and I want to make it very special for her.  We're doing a brunch shower with a French theme which basically involves really good food and drinks.  They will be crafts of course too.  While Megan and I were starting the planning, she asked what favors we would give the guests.  Favors were not something I really thought about before, but I finally came up with the idea of giving jam.

Jam is beautiful, useful, and kind of fits the theme of the shower.  I've never made jam before and I've never canned anything before, but that never really stopped me with anything else.  I also figured that we could use the jam to serve at the shower with croissants.

As many who know me will attest, I never really do anything half-way.  I decided to use beautiful Weck canning jars, which are apparently a little harder to use, but since I've never canned anything I didn't know any better.  They worked just fine and sealed up beautifully.

My plan was to make both orange marmalade and strawberry jam.  The strawberry jam will wait until it's strawberry season here in Pittsburgh, but oranges are still in season so I made 2 batches last weekend.

First up was rosemary blood orange marmalade.  I used this recipe from Canning Across America and it came out beautifully.  I made only a half recipe.  I know they recommend against modifying canning recipes but I couldn't think of a scientific reason why halving the recipe would make it any less safe.  I used 2.5lb of blood oranges and 2 lemons.  I peeled and chopped the peels and pith on Saturday evening and set it to soak overnight in the fridge.  The next day, I chopped the fruit and combined it with only half the peels (it seemed like too much to use it all) and 1/2C water (I also put the lemon seeds in cheesecloth to simmer along with the juice, etc).  I let that simmer away for 1.5 hours until it reduced nicely.  Then I added 4C sugar and one small branch of rosemary and let it boil for about 25 minutes until it reached 220 degrees (I took the rosemary out after about 20 minutes).  When it reached temperature, I poured the marmalade into the clean and heated weck jars, sealed them, and processed for 15 minutes in boiling water.  It made 7 whole 5oz jars of jam + 1/2 jar that just went directly into the fridge.  Delicious!  Next time I might not leave the rosemary in for 20 minutes since it was pretty strong - not too strong though.

Next I made Earl Grey orange marmalade.  I used the same recipe and directions substituting Cara Cara oranges.  After I added the sugar I also added 2 Earl Grey tea bags and let them boil with the jam for about 15 minutes.  This jam stayed beautifully bright and made about the same amount of jam in the end.  This was delicious and I will be making it again in the future for sure!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Finally photographed

I started this quilt for my friend Megan about 7 months ago.  It was meant to be a birthday present (her birthday was in November).  Megan and I have very different styles and so I agonized for months over what quilt to make for her.  If you came over to my house you would see bright wall colors and a mix of modern and more vintage items.  Megan's house on the other hand is more simple with Amish furniture and beige everything.  I love her dearly and wanted to make something that she would want to use.

When I saw the granny square quilt tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches, I knew that this would make a great quilt for Megs.  I used Denyse Schmidt fabrics - such a great combination of vintage charm with modern aesthetics.

I cut the DS fabrics into 2.5" squares.  I made a stack of warm squares and cool squares.  Half of the blocks I rotated cool alternating with warm; the other half were the other way.  I think it helped me maintain a sense of balance with the quilt.  Each granny square finished around 11".

I decided to keep it simple for the quilting and used straight line even quilting.  I intended to quilt in a complete grid but I really really hate straight line quilting and I couldn't keep it up for the entire quilt.  I think that this quilt was a good compromise for me and Megan absolutely loved the quilt when I finally gave it to her last week.  Only a few months late.

This finishes as a nice lap-sized quilt - 66x70"  It's backed in an Anna Maria Horner print called hugs and kisses.  I think it's perfect.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finished swoon!

I still unfortunately haven't found my camera charger, but I felt the need to really call this quilt finished. In addition, I had a chance to wash and dry my finished quilt this weekend -- isn't that the best part of making a quilt??!  -- and thought I'd have a photo shoot in the spare bedroom.

I bought a fat quarter stack of modern whimsy last March or so with the express purpose of making a quilt for my good friend Laura.  She is pretty obsessed with ducks partly because she grew up with ducks as pets and partly for reasons I cannot explain.  I was so excited when I saw the fabric and thought it would be perfect for a quilt for her.  I showed her the fabric I picked out and she pointed out to me that the birds were geese and not ducks.  Oh well, I still like the line.

I struggled for a while to decide on the quilt design but in the end thought the swoon design would be a perfect fit.  I chose 4 of the animal fabrics and 4 of the circle prints that matched.  I picked out 4 solids that matched well.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to mix up the colors or not, but in the end I'm really glad that I kept each block monochromatic.

I made a few modifications to my blocks to cut down on all the seams.  Instead of using a rectangle and flying goose block for all of the large blocks around the perimeter, I cut a large square and used smaller squares of white for the corner triangles.  For the points with the circle prints, I cut rectangles and then used a colored square and white square for the corner triangles.  I'm happy that I made these changes, though it meant I needed to use more of the solid fabric than 1/4 yard.

For the quilting, I used one of my favorites again from Oh, Fransson! It reminds me of stars which I think fits with the quilt overall.  On the back I used a Riley Blake chevron.  I really hope Laura likes this quilt.  It's pretty overdue since it was meant as a birthday present (which was in the beginning of December!)