17 December 2011

Quilt for a Smile: We have a quilt top!

As is par for the course around the holidays, things have been pretty busy around here.  Children's activities, meetings and my shoulder surgery have kept me away from the sewing machine more than I'd have liked.  But I did manage to eek out a quilt top.

 As I posted earlier, the generous Patricia Bravo sent fabric scraps from her studio to readers who volunteered to make a quilt for Project Linus.  I chose to make a Mod Mosaic quilt based on Elizabeth Hartman's Mod Mosaic floor pillow tutorial.  I absolutely love the Mod Mosaic block, but it is time consuming!  I think I'll keep to simpler blocks for charity quilts- the goal is to make them quickly so I can donate them quickly.

After watching me play around and make blocks with the scraps I received, Martina (my 8-year old) has become an ardent admirer of Patricia Bravo.  So much so that she has commissioned a Mod Mosaic quilt from me.  We went to Pat's blog and browsed though her fabric collections, where Martina chose the yet-to-be-released Poetica in the cool colorway for her quilt.  My parents gave her Christmas shopping money, and she decided to put aside some of that money to buy a 1/2 yard bundle of Poetica when it hits the shops in February.

The quilting of the Project Linus quilt will, unfortunately, have to wait until my shoulder completely heals.  This gives me a little time to decide how to quilt it.  Free motion quilting is out (never tried it), as is stitch in the ditch (which lines would I follow?).  Any suggestions?

16 December 2011

Giveaway Winner

Many thanks to everyone who shared their short-listed projects with me!  It was so fun reading through all of them.  In fact, I borrowed many of the ideas and now I'm going to have to short-list my short-list!
The time has come to draw a winner for the Sew Liberated Emmaline Apron pattern and Jennifer Paganelli FQ's.  Without further ado, the random number generator chooses:

Shana said...
I want to make a lap quilt for my Mom.
 Congratulations Shana... hope you can use the FQ's in your mom's lap quilt!

12 December 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day

With the year almost over, it's time for me to wrap up my projects from 2011 and think about what I want to do in 2012.  With just a year of quilting under my belt, there's still so much I haven't tried.  Paper-pieced hexies, New York beauties, and cathedral windows are all on the short-list.

Also on my short list is a giveaway.  Who doesn't love a good giveaway?  I know I do.  Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day provides a great way to reach a lot of people, so I'm jumping on this train.  My husband continually complains comments about my ever-growing fabric stash.  He'll be ecstatic to know that I will be offering up some of that stash as a prize.  (Of course, that just makes room for more fabric, right?) 

Not only will the winner receive 5 FQ's from Jennifer Paganelli's Bell Bottoms, but a copy of the Emmaline Apron pattern from Sew Liberated as well.

What do you have to do to win these this fabulous pattern and fat quarters?  Just leave a comment about what's on your sewing short-list for 2012.  Following me is optional (and appreciated), but not necessary to win.

The giveaway, open to both U.S. and non-U.S. residents, will be closed at 5 pm PST on December 16th, at which time a winner will be picked at random.  Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if you are a no reply commenter.  I'll contact and post the winner on December 17th.  Good luck!

Post now closed to comments

09 December 2011

Back in the Saddle

After an unexpected sewing hiatus due to a minor surgical procedure on my right shoulder, I'm finally able to sew again.  I probably should let the shoulder heal a bit more, but I've been itching to get in front of the machine.  Nothing like being told to rest and take it easy to get me motivated to sew!

One block I've been wanting to try (but didn't have enough scraps to make until now) is the string block.  Val at Pink Please! recently put out a call for 10" (finished) string blocks for a charity quilt she's making.  The perfect reason to try it out:

This was a fun block to make, though I probably agonized a little more than I needed to over fabric placement.  It's a scrappy block, so I should just be able to pick up any old scrap that's the right size, no?  But there I was, auditioning scraps, over-thinking as usual.  A 5-minute block became a 15-minute block as I hunted through my scraps for just the right print.  Here are a couple of smaller string blocks made for the Mini Scrap Basket Swap:

These 6.5" took 20 minutes to make.  I'm going to have to force myself to grab random strips if I want to finish 19 more in time for the swap.

I also completed my block for do. Good Stitches.  Before my shoulder surgery, I had finished one side of the December block for the Love Circle, based on this excellent Herringbone Block tutorial from Rachel at Stitched in Color.  After piecing the second half of the block three days later and trying to match the points, I noticed the first half had shrunk about 1/2 an inch.  No amount of re-pressing fixed it. 

And then a light bulb went off.  Normally I press my seams to the side.  I asked myself "Would it help of I pressed the seams open?"  Why yes, it does!  The block grew back to it's original size and the points matched up perfectly.

 I may have to re-think the way I press my seams.  Which way do you press, open or to the side?

01 December 2011


     My little guy loves to roll his Thomas trains all over my sewing machine.  All over.  Yesterday he kept having train crashes.  One of the crashes knocked the thread take-up spring on the tension unit out of whack.  To quote Sir Topham Hat, this has caused confusion and delay.  I didn't notice it until I tried to finish a secret swap project for this week's BAMQG meeting. 

     So now my machine has to have some unscheduled maintenance done.  I may try to do it myself... there are some good references on the vintage Singer yahoo group.  If I muck things up, I can always take it to a repair shop.  Thank goodness I have a backup machine.  Which the little one is now rolling his toy truck all over.

    There were a few things I managed to complete before the fateful crash.  Two 12.5" log cabin blocks for the BAMQG Heirloom Challenge

There was a third in the works, but I scrapped it.  I also made a gift for the guild's December Secret Swap, but the photo won't be posted until after the meeting.   

     My November bee blocks were mailed off just under the wire.  I usually finish bee blocks well before the deadline, but the procrastinator in me doesn't like to send them as soon as they're done.  I'm always rushing to get them off a few days before month's end.

    The November block for Piece Bee With You was Geese In A Ring in aqua and orange.  This was lots of fun to make.  The next time I make one, I'll pre-cut the fabric.  Although this isn't a quick block by any means, it took much longer to make than it should have.  Alisha also asked for a small siggy block.

     The theme for November's Design Camp [think outside the block] Swap was Ocean Dreams.  We were sent a mix of beautiful solid cottons and linens and asked to improvise a block with a beachy feel.  The block I made was inspired by striped beach cabanas along a boardwalk. 

It doesn't look as improvised as it is.  It sort of looks paper-pieced, but I suppose that will happen if you're rotary cutting with a ruler!