Wednesday, October 3, 2018

German Fabric

Recently my husband and I were able to go on our annual "Save the Marriage" vacation.  It's a trip we take without kids so that we can reconnect and enjoy some quality time together. 


This year we were lucky enough to be able to fly to Germany and Austria
 (my first overseas flight)
for 10 days.  

Lichtenstein Castle Art

We had an AWESOME time exploring medieval churches, touring castles, hiking caves, climbing mountains, and driving really really fast on the autobahn. 

 It was an amazing trip!

Novelty German Fabric

One of the souvenirs I brought back were these fun fabrics with traditional German/Bavarian designs.

Aren't they SO CUTE?!

I didn't necessarily go looking for a fabric store, but luckily we stumbled upon one while exploring the town of Rothenburg. Nothing else in the store really appealed to my bright modern tastes, but I came away feeling pretty happy with what I DID find!!

Traditional German Fabric Shopping

Here's a little cultural lesson for you...

Fabric with Novelty German Designs

Traditional Bavarian dress (think Lederhosen) for men includes a gingham button-up shirt in either red and blue (the most popular colors). Those colors are so popular because they are found on the Bavarian flag (blue) and the Bavarian Coat of Arms (red and blue).  Thus the reason my fabrics, with their traditional motifs, are only red and blue.

I haven't yet decided what to make, so for now I will just sit and stare at them until inspiration hits!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany

Auf Weidersehen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Way Up North Tree Skirt

It was SO fun to get to work with Jill Howarth's new Way Up North fabric line for Riley Blake

Jill Howarth Way Up North Fabric Stack

 As you can see
Jill gives a fresh approach to Christmas colors 
by adding navy and pink to traditional red and green.

Way up North fabric Houses Prints

Her illustrations are whimsical and fun

Jill Howarth Way Up North Fabric

while still blending seamlessly with timeless Christmas themes.

Jill Howarth Way Up North Main Santa Print

My favorite pieces of this line are definitely the main Santa Print and the Elf Houses Print. 
 Both are large scale prints that will make such CUTE quilt backs!!

Way Up North fabric Snowman and Flight

But don't underestimate the cuteness of the small scale prints!
I mean... snowmen and Santa flying through the air?! 
So Great!

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt using Way Up North Fabric

Since I could make anything I wanted....
I decided to make a fun new tree skirt

Holly Jolly Tree Skirt Pattern using Way Up North Fabric Riley Blake

The Holly Jolly pattern from my friend, Andy (aka
works perfectly to showcase all the fun illustrations in Jill's fabric.

(Andy's pattern is also super easy to make with well written, easy to understand directions.) 

Quilting detail Christmas tree skirt Way Up North Fabric Riley Blake

For the quilting I had my quilter do a very "Christmas-y" motiff. 
I think it turned out perfectly. 

Holly Jolly Tree Skirt Ties Detail using Way Up North Fabric Riley Blake

 Probably my favorite detail of the tree skirt is the ties.  
The pattern calls for using ribbon, but I loved using the last bits of this fantastic stripe
 (You can NEVER go wrong with stripes!!) to finish it off. 
 I mean... striped bindings are always my answer to "What should I use for the binding?"

Holly Jolly tree skirt pattern Riley Blake Way Up North fabric

Such fun fabrics and such a fun new tree skirt! 
Happy Christmas is JULY!! 
Now go enjoy a dip in the pool for me! :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Wonky Log Cabin Block Tutorial {Down and Dirty Method}

I am well aware that I am not inventing anything new here, as there
are a million tutorials out there for Wonky Log Cabin Blocks.
I'm just going to share my method for getting down and dirty with your scraps.
I'm also aware that my blocks are not "true" log cabin style blocks. I'm going for a loose interpretation, but the general idea is the same.

First off, I organize my scraps by color.  

rainbow shoe box scrap bins
 I keep them in these clear plastic shoe boxes from Wal-Mart ($1).  This make it easy for me to see what I actually have, besides making my shelves look pretty.  These bins contain my string-like scraps -- long skinny pieces I've saved from the trash can.

orange scrap bin
 I lay my scraps in the bin nice and flat so I don't have to iron them when I use them. (no reason to add extra work) Once a color bin is overflowing it's time to tackle the scraps!  

So here's where things get down and dirty...

Step one is to DUMP the bin on the floor! 
The dump method makes it easier to see what you have while sewing and sorting.  

Once you've dumped your scraps it's time to do a quick sort. Pull out scraps and sort them into equal lengths. But if you spend more than 5 minutes doing this, you are taking too long!  You don't need to sort the whole bin, just enough to get you started.

small pink scraps
Pull out the smallest scraps first.
Mine are about 1.5" wide by 2" long, but just use whatever you have.
These will be the start of your blocks.

The idea is to make multiple blocks at a time while using the size of the scrap to determine it's placement on each block.  By doing this you can think less with minimal trimming!! (Who doesn't want less work?!)

matched up little pink scraps
After pulling out all the tiny scraps, lay them out on your design board and try to match up similar sized pieces. (The picture above shows my matched pieces before they are sewn.)

chain pieced scraps
Once you have done that, chain piece them into pairs fast and furiously. 
These are now your block centers.   

Then it's time to iron.
(Iron open or to one side, it doesn't matter.)

Next, lay your newly ironed pairs out on your design board, dig thru your scraps for more small scraps, add them to each pair, and sew like the wind! Remember, you are trying not to trim so find similar sized pieces.

the start of log cabins
This picture shows how I've matched up scraps as I've added on. Sometimes I'll combine my initial pairs together (like the block in the upper right corner) and sometimes I'll add a new scraps, always letting the size dictate it's placement.

Once you are done sewing on a new scrap to your blocks, take them back to the ironing board, iron, find a scrap that is the right size, sew, and REPEAT. Over and Over and Over...  I can't stress enough that chain piecing will be your best friend!

pink log cabin blocks
The goal is to mix up the placement of lights and darks in your block to create more depth and dimension in the quilt.  If you put scraps that are too close in value together it will create less dimension.  But again, the idea is not to think too hard. That's why making multiple blocks at a time is so helpful. If a scrap doesn't work for one block it will likely work in another.

chain piecing log cabin blocks
And, because my fabric is all over the floor I can sort and find the length I need easily for each block without much effort.

trimming log cabin blocks
 Once the blocks get to a certain point I will need to start cutting strips to length. But I use my scissors. Again, fast and furious (down and dirty) is the name of the game. No need for a rotary cutter at this point.

back of log cabin block
You can see on the back of my block that not everything is perfectly trimmed.
I'm totally ok with that because it's so minimal. And no one looks at the back.

Let me stress again, that the only trimming I've done at this point is cutting off super long ends with scissors. The rest of the scrap is used as is. That is how it becomes wonky!

pink chain piecing
Once you get into a rhythm you can bust out blocks pretty quickly and tear thru your scraps fast.
Chain piece, chain, piece, 
chain piece...

Find a scrap, sew, iron, repeat! Easy as that!

pink log cabin block trimmed
Once your block is BIG, square it up to 12.5".  If your block isn't wonky enough, this is when you can add some extra tilt.

four pink log cabin blocks
 Up close your blocks might be a bit crazy, but once you step back and look at the whole picture (as I like to call it... using the "Galloping Horse" Method) you'll enjoy great dimension in your quilt.

pink log cabin quilt on fence
When you are done you'll end up with a beautiful quilt!
The idea is to have fun, work fast, and don't over think it!
Good Luck!

P.S. I like to think of this kind of quilt as being a "FREE" quilt, since the scraps could have easily been thrown away.

For me, one shoe box full of scraps yields 35 blocks (or a 60" by 72" quilt top)
(This pink quilt is made up of 48 blocks, or a quilt measuring 72" by 96")

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial {+Blog Hop}

 Welcome to my stop on the Give Me Liberty Club Blog Hop

I'm going to give you a quick tutorial on how to make this stunning color wheel out of your Liberty Prints. 

Liberty of London Color Wheel
I've wanted to make a color wheel quilt for quite awhile now but I'll admit that I was a bit intimidated.  You might feel the same after seeing my picture, but I assure you that it goes together *really* quickly.  My wheel was cut and sewn in about 1.5 hours.

Liberty of London Rainbow
First off I started with this gorgeous rainbow bundle.  
There are 40 different prints pictured here.
Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 I used my dresden ruler to make the wedges.
 But since the dresden size I wanted uses 20 wedges I pieced my fabrics to include all 40 pieces.  Besides, I liked the idea of using as much color as I possibly could.

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
From each fabric I cut a strip 2 1/4" by 9".
 By cutting and keeping each piece in rainbow order as you go you will save so much when you start assembling.

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 After cutting thru the rainbow I sewed the strips in pairs, again keeping them in rainbow order to make it easier.  I marked the center of the dresden wedge with a piece of tape and used that as I lined up the ruler on the center seam to cut each wedge.

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 At this point you should have 20 wedges that are pieced with your 40 fabrics.
Sew the wedges in pairs in rainbow order, then sew those pairs together again and again until you get a complete circle. Press all seams to one side.

Liberty of London Color Wheel
At this point you have a rough circle.  

Now it's time to cover the center circle opening. 
Grab any household item that is round and bigger than the inside circle to use as a template.  I ended up using a roll of painters tape.

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 I like using the interfacing stitch and flip method for this part.  Trace your fabric circle onto a piece of light weight iron-on interfacing and cut to the same size.  (DO NOT IRON your circle or the interfacing will stick to your fabric!) Sew the white fabric circle and interfacing circle right sides together all the way around the entire circle.  To flip it, cut a slit in the interfacing and flip the right sides out.  Pin it flat but DO NOT IRON it yet.

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 You are now going to do the same with the dresden circle.  
Use a lightweight iron-on interfacing and cut a circle the same size as your liberty dresden.  Sew right sides together, cut a slit in the interfacing and flip it. 

Liberty of London Color Wheel Blues UP close
 I really love using this method because, as you can see, it gives such a nice smooth edge to the finished circle with very little added bulk. 

Lay your circle on the center of your background square.  My square is 28".  YOu can find the middle of your square by folding into fourths. That should give you a nice center marking.

Pin your dresden to the background fabric.  Now you can iron it down to the background.  This will help keep it in position when you sew it down. 

Liberty of London Color Wheel Tutorial
 Sew around the outside close to the edge.  Then do the same for the center circle.

Liberty of London Color Wheel full view
Ta-Da! Now you have a beautiful color wheel.
Quilt and bind as desired.

Dont' forget to check out the other AMAZING projects from these crazy talented ladies!

February 24th: Kick Off! A Crafty Fox (here!)
February 25th: Astrid at Red, Red Completely Red
February 26th: Svetlana at Sotak Handmade
February 26th: Andy at A Bright Corner
February 27th: Chase at Quarter Inch Mark
March 1st: Emily at Simple Girl Simple Life
March 2nd: Ashley at Film In The Fridge
March 3rd: Lee at Freshly Pieced
March 4th: Audrie at Blue is Bleu
March 5th: Amanda at A Crafty Fox

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Improv Solids TV Pillow

If you follow me on instagram you'll know that this is not a recent project.  But since I'm *trying* to keep my blog a little more current and updated you get a an oldie but goodie. :)

Last fall our guild had a SOLIDS Only challenge.  The deal was to create whatever "quilted" item we wanted used only solid fabrics.  I put it off until the very last minute, pulled out some practice blocks I had stashed away and went to town on some improv.

Improv is a funny thing for me.  Sometimes I'm not sure if my design will end up as pure genius or purely junk.  It's a fine line, I think.  :)

I was able to come up with a little something I liked in the end. 

 Some matchstick quilting finished it off nicely.

I had planned on just turning it into a wall hanging mini quilt or something like that but decided I wanted it to be a bit more functional.

Instead I took an old couch cushion I had been hanging onto for some unknown reason and used it for the inside of a giant floor pillow covered in my new design. 
The floor pillow seemed way more functional than another mini hanging on my wall.
 My kids have used it a ton, so I'm happy.

So, I'd like to know...
Do you like or dislike Improv? And why?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Catnap for Crayons

 You knew I couldn't be done making little bitty zipper pouches just yet.

I'm telling you, little is always better!

Catnap for Crayons Little Bitty Zipper Pouch
Besides little sewing kits and purse treasure-hiders, these pouches are great for crayons, as well.
Believe me when I say, my 8yr old was ecstatic to have a cute place to keep her crayons.  

Catnap for Crayons Little Bitty Zipper Pouch Inside

I mean, doesn't everyone like to keep their treasures in pretty little things?!
I sure do!

Cat Fabric: Catnap Cattitude in Eggplant by Lizzy House
Inside Fabric: Wee Wander Nature Walk in Magenta by Sarah Jane

Friday, February 13, 2015

Little Man's Quilt

{You can read how this project got started Here.}

Over Christmas break we figured out that Little Dude only needed 8 more blocks to finish off his Scrappy Improv Quilt.  That number seems HUGE when you are 10 yrs old, but I promised him that he'd be so happy when he was done. 

 We spent the better part of a day, him sewing and me trimming/ironing, and finally finished about 5 of them.  He had been saying all along that he wanted the quilt to be big enough for his bed, but at that point he wanted to stop and "rest" for awhile. Block making is hard work, you know...

Boy Improv Wonky Quilt Blocks

 I haven't pushed him too hard on this project because I wanted him to be happy with it and feel accomplished on his own.

A couple days later he asked for my help finishing up his remaining blocks.  I figured out that he would need to finish up the last 3 and then make another 5 for it to be big enough for his bed.  Once he heard "big enough for your bed" he was ready to tackle the last of the blocks + the extras. 

Boy Improv Wonky Quilt Blocks

We spent another longish day in my sewing room, him sewing and me trimming again, and were able to persevere through ALL of the remaining blocks.  He was such a trooper!  I'll admit that is was hard for him to work for so long, but when the last block was finished he raised his hands up in the air and yelled "YEEEESSS!"  

He was definitely proud of all of his hard work!  

Ice Cream Treat

We celebrated by going to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. :)

I'm happy to say that his quilt is off to the quilter and should be ready for a final reveal in a few weeks.  Little Man can't wait until you see what he picked out for the backing and binding.  They are WILD! 

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday