Friday, May 17, 2013

Marine Den Quilt Pattern

It's been a long time coming, but the Marine Den Quilt Pattern is finally here!

Here's the Quilty Stats for the most recent version: 
Post-wash dimensions: 56"x37"
Batting: Warm & White from The Warm Company
Front Fabric: Michael Miller Cotton Couture solid in Wedgewood, Kona Cotton Blue, Ash, Ivory, and Celery, a gray "wood floors" print, Pearl Bracelets in Citron, River Bend, and Sandbox.
Back Fabric: Pearl Bracelets in River Bend
Binding Fabric: Kona Cotton in Celery
Quilting: Free Motion and Stitching in the Ditch with the Janome Horizon 8900 QCP.

You've seen me work through a few versions of this quilt, but all the tweaking and double checking was worth it. I'm super proud of this modern quilt pattern that's been nagging at my brain since 2011. 

It's up and posted in My Pattern Store on Craftsy. I love their interface and the way they automatically alert you about updates or changes to any of the patterns that you have purchased. I also like that they send 100% of pattern sales back to the designer. That's not the way it works for PatternSpot or Etsy, so I like to release on Craftsy first. They're not paying me to say this; it's just true. They're awesome, and I thank them for it. 

I cannot wait to see the versions of the Marine Den quilt that ya'll sew up. Please email me with your photos, as I would LOVE to feature them on the blog. 

I'm participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival this week with this most recent Marine Den quilt! I'm not making the trek to Portland for spring market, so this is a fun way to celebrate from home. I will definitely be going to Houston for fall market, though ;-)

Happy Crafting!


Blogger's Quilt Festival: Cheer do. Good Stiches Quilt

The Blogger's Quilt Festival is allowing the entry of two quilts this spring, so I only thought is appropriate to enter our rockin' January quilt from the Cheer Circle of do. Good Stitches

There's been such a great response to the bright, cheery colors in this quilt, why not spread the love?

This is the Starburst Cross block from a tutorial by SewCraftyJess. It worked out well for a bee sewing project, since all the star points are situated towards the middle of the blocks.

I free motion quilted it very heavily to reinforce some scant seams and to get myself lots more practice! I tried all different kinds of patterns and looked to Leah Day, Angela Walters, and Elizabeth Hartman for designs that looked within my newbie ability.

Since two of the blocks came in a full inch too small, I pieced in two coordinating squares of fabric on the top, and worked the small blocks into the back.

I've never done so much FMQ, and this is only the second quilt I've attempted it on after my most recent Marine Den quilt.

In the words of Angela Walters, I quilted it to death. I'm confident that this quilt will survive many trips through the washing machine in the future.

I really love the sweet little touch of the appliquéd do. Good Stitches label. I'm so glad that I ordered a fat quarter of labels for the Cheer Circle. We'll be good on labels for years to come :-)

Quilty Stats:
Pre-wash dimensions: 56.5"x 45"
Post-wash dimensions: 54"x43.5"
Batting: Warm & White from The Warm Company
Front Fabric: Assorted prints from do. Good Stitches Cheer Circle Members
Back and Binding Fabric: Yellow plaid donated from my Mom's stash.
Quilting: Free Motion and Stitching in the Ditch with the Janome Horizon 8900 QCP.
Donated to Project Linus

Have fun with the Blogger's Quilt Festival :-) I can't wait to see all of these beautiful quilts!

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Clearing off the Cutting Table

This is a rare moment in The Clubhouse. You can see the surface of my cutting table. 

Truly, this never happens. I've gotta cut major yardage to attach giant background borders to my Terrain quilt, though, so I need real estate. 

I just wanted to commemorate the event before it's covered in clutter again. Those of you who don't have this problem, share your secrets!

The Marine Den pattern release is tomorrow; just another reason to love Friday. Get pumped!!!

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Background Fabric for Two Quilts

The first quilt seeing some background action this week is the Rose Star quilt. I cut up the first half yard of fabric that I ordered into hexagons and hexagon thirds. Then I pieced them into these little shapes that I'm calling sprockets.

I've been able to work on it a little this week, and I'm pleased with how it's coming together so far :-)

The other quilt in need of some background action is my Summer Sampler Series quilt top that I made last year. I made the blocks all from Terrain fabrics. I have one of the four giant background/border pieces put on, but I still need to cut and attach the other two. 

I couldn't find ten yards of a single Terrain print for the back, so I bought fabric from another line to be the quilt back. Mr. Pins didn't feel like it as much, which means we're now back to square one on the quilt back situation. I'm thinking of piecing something out of Terrain prints that I can get my hands on, or Mr. Pins likes this Beatrice Weave print in Raspberry.

Also, the Cascading quilt pattern got a little refresh today. If you purchased it on Craftsy, you'll be getting an update email to let you know that it was changed. The content is still the same, but it has the current logo throughout as well as a nicer cover. The Marine Den pattern is coming on Friday, so get pumped!

That's what's goin' on in The Clubhouse. I can't wait to see what ya'll are working on!

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Insert Your Own 50 Shades of Grey Jokes

I still have to piece seven half blocks for the Rose Star quilt, but this post is about picking the background!

I had a great lead on this awesome Shot Cotton in Latte from Form and Fabric, so I bought a yard of that and the Cotton Couture solid in Cream. Both Mr. Pins and I loved the Shot Cotton, but neither one of us felt like it was what we envisioned for the background. I was already feeling way out of my Kona White element. I wanted to use something other than white as the background, but none of the other prints or unlabeled gray solids that we pulled from my stash seemed to fit either. I will definitely be labeling all of my solids going forward. It would have been sad if one of those colors was a good fit and I couldn't identify it to buy more.

I wasn't convinced that any of the gray colors in my Kona or Cotton Couture color cards were what I was looking for. I went ahead and ordered a Stella Solids color card from Fat Quarter Shop along with thirteen gray solids. Can you tell I was invested in finding the right fit? Craziness. 

I asked that Fat Quarter Shop label the fabrics so I could tell them them apart and know which one to reorder, and they kindly obliged. The UPS man delivered the fabrics on Friday afternoon, and thus began the background picking saga. 

I had a really hard time seeing these blocks on a dark background. Don't get me wrong; I love a good dark background on a quilt. Hence my friend, Cindy's brain exploding Sedona Star quilt top

You're welcome. 

I had just been staring at these blocks on the white design wall for so long, that I was having trouble envisioning something other than white behind them. I pulled a really dark gray from my stash and threw it up on the design wall in wall in an attempt to train my eyeballs. 

Ultimately, getting input from folks on Instagram was a huge help. Ya'll are AWESOME! 

When I got down to three fabrics, I arranged the whole fabric setup on the bed hoping I would have a lightbulb moment seeing the blocks with a background as a finished quilt. This did make it a little easier to rule out the lightest fabric. At that point, the other two didn't seem that different and I picked the darkest one from my Fat Quarter Shop order, the Stella Solid in Gray.

For the record, this was Mr. Pins' first choice. He immediately liked it the best of all thirteen fabrics from Fat Quarter Shop. He's got the fabric picking gift, but I have to work a little a lot harder to see it. 

With the decision made, I started cutting up the half yard into hexagons and hexagon thirds. I pieced some of the background in and was very happy with it. However, it would have not bothered me in the least to pull out even ten hours of hand sewing if it didn't seem right.

Deciding on the background fabric is a huge milestone, but it feels anticlimactic now looking at all the background that has to be pieced in ;-) I've got another three yards of the Stella Solid in Gray headed my way. I'm going to do my best to get it chopped up into all of the necessary pieces quickly so that I can order more pronto if it's not enough

Alright, you can be honest with me. Am I the only lunatic who has made such a fuss about picking a background fabric?

Happy Crafting!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Arranging Rose Stars

With the Rose Stars all finished, it was time to pick a final arrangement. Here are the blocks on the design wall as they've been for the past few months. I did the quilty math at the end of January and pinned up the blocks I had finished to define the quilt perimeter before I started filling in the middle. 

Picking a final arrangement for blocks in a quilt top is not part of the process that I enjoy. It feels like a lot of pressure. Up until then, it seems like no big deal to pick out a seam here or there if you run across a problem. When a quilt top starts to form, though, it feels like a big commitment. 

I got out my step ladder and fiddled around with it. I took lots of pictures and recruited Mr. Pins for assistance. I'm happy with this layout, even though I did just go swap two blocks around on the design wall ;-)

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on the background. Pun intended!

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WIP Wednesday: The Last Whole Rose Stars

Alright. It's serious milestone time. The last two whole Rose Star blocks are finished. I give you #48 and #49.

This project has come a long way since I heard the siren song of Clare's Rose Star tutorial and began this quilt in January 2012. Don't ask me why I couldn't make a smaller baby quilt, or even a respectably sized throw. No, for some reason this needed to be a queen-sized bed quilt. I could have stopped at any time and made a top out of the blocks I had, but I pressed on!

I was going to knock out the seven half blocks at this point, too, but then it occurred to me that I should probably finalize the layout of all the blocks before I chose color schemes for the seven half blocks that will even out the edges. It's a little disappointing to pause with the half blocks still on the to do list, but like changing your machine needle, it's worth breaking your stride to have a better finished project.

The other thing I've started shopping around for is background fabric. Though, I've grown really accustomed to seeing the blocks on the stark white of the design wall, I was hoping the background of this quilt would get me out of my Kona White rut. I thought I wanted a light, neutral, non-directional print for the background, but so far, Mr. Pins and I are liking light gray solids. We're only beginning the process, so I'll keep you posted.

It's thrilling to be this far along. Thank you so much for your comments and kind words of encouragement along the way!

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rose Stars 46 & 47

It's still Tuesday and you're already jonesin' for some Rose Star blocks? Not to worry! I can hook you up. 

Taadaa! Rose Star blocks 46 & 47! That means I've got two more whole blocks and seven half blocks to go.

When I got down to about six blocks left, I realized that I needed some more red and purple saturated blocks, so that's the story with these two blocks and the next two blocks coming down the pipe. Get pumped! 

Happy Crafting!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Finished: The Anita Bag

My neighbor wanted a bag that could accommodate a file folder. I could totally appreciate this, as my Everything Bag can carry my laptop, iPad, DSLR, makeup, water bottle, wallet, and sewing projects without batting an eye. She wanted something with plastic handles. There are lots of interesting purse handles on Etsy, and these twisty tortoise shell handles were among the ones I found. They were so reasonably priced that they cost more to ship than they did to buy ;-P I pointed her in the direction of some good bag patterns, and she picked The Anita Bag from I Think Sew.

The goal was for the purse to be able to stand up on its own; another characteristic I appreciate in a bag. That meant it was time to pull out the super stiff Peltex in place of the lighter weight interfacing that the pattern called for. Thus began the complications. 

I made two super cute lining panels. One side had an inset zipper pocket with a deer waiting for you when you unzip the pocket. The other side has an open pocket that you can slide cards or your phone into. The pattern wanted me to sew the exterior parts together and then sew the lining parts together leaving a gap in the lining seam between the side and the bottom. Then, the goal was to sew the lining and the exterior right sides together and turn the whole thing through the gap. Boo. 

I was able to successfully battle the pieces ands sew the lining and the exterior together. I also managed to turn it, but I didn't like how it looked. I'd sewn through parts of the interfacing which resulted in some wrinkles. I had fused the Peltex to the lining pieces, but I felt like the exterior pieces would look better with interfacing as well. I went to JoAnn's and found some 60" Pellon 809 Decor Bond: a single-sided fusible. I turned the purse wrong sides out again and unpicked my stitches. I still had a lining "bucket" and an exterior "bucket," so I fused two layers of 809 to each of the exterior front and back panels without taking the buckets apart. 

Instead of turning the purse, I disregarded the instructions and snipped the fabric so I could fold it back against the interfacing. I glued each little tab down and heat set it with the iron. Then, I had two buckets with nice looking edges. I fit the the lining bucket inside the exterior bucket and pinned the buhgeezus out of the bag opening. It was challenging, but I was able to work the purse through the machine and topstitch all the way around the opening. 

I felt like the plastic handles weren't wide enough for the opening once I was looking at them with the bag, so I held them in front of the heat of my embossing gun until they became a little more pliable. Worked like a charm!

To attach the handles, I cut strips of fabric and fused 809 in the middle, folded them up, then fused 809 to the back. I put the strips through the handles and folded them so the seams were hidden, then I stitched squares to hold the strips together. The Wonderclips came in handy to hold the strips closed. Then, I used them again to position the strips on the purse. With pink thread in the bobbin and gray thread in the top. I stitched over the squares again. The sewing machine was annoyed with me, because the presser foot was all up on the handles. Again, more finagling to get the thing through the machine, but it came out well. 

Next time, I'd be more cautious about deviating from the pattern. Using the stiffer interfacing and the plastic handles resulted in changes that took lots of time. I really liked having the different pockets and the magnetic snap on the inside. Ultimately, I'm thrilled with how it came out. I'm excited about making more bags in the future, but I am definitely taking a break for awhile ;-)

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

April 2013 Recap

It's completely dizzying to see everything that I wrapped up in April. No wonder The Clubhouse is a mess ;-) Here's what I was up to!

It felt so good to wrap up a custom quilt and to have nearly finished a custom purse this month. Making it all the sweeter is the fact that I'm almost done with my English Paper Pieced Rose Stars. Wow! I'm looking forward to more progress in May :-)

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Rose Stars and a Purse

I have a couple of Rose Star blocks completed thanks to some Sunday sewing action :-D I now have four whole blocks and seven half blocks to complete. I've got some other blocks cut and basted. I'm a little disorganized right now, though, so I can't tell you what state the other blocks are in. Between Austin Modern Quilt Guild business, do. Good Stitches Cheer Circle business, and custom sewing projects, I'm all over the place - so is all of my sewing stuff.

The Clubhouse looks like a bomb went off. I'll spare you the pictures. I will share with you photos of this WIP purse for my neighbor :-D The goal was for it to stand up on its own, a quality I appreciate myself in a good bag. However, that meant I used Peltex when the pattern did not call for it. Teehee :-) I was still able to turn the purse like the pattern called for, but that was going to require a lot of hand sewing. 

Ultimately, I ripped my stitches and took the lining and exterior apart again. Then, I snipped the fabric to allow it to fold over the curves and glued it back onto itself so that I had an exterior "bucket" and a lining "bucket" that nested inside one another. I topstitched them together in a bought of machine and purse wrangling that made me wish for an industrial post sewing machine with a high, skinny neck and bobbin area. Seriously, I searched Craigslist halfway through. 

Now I'm down to attaching the handles :-D Yay! I'll take better pics as soon as it's finished. 

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's WIPs today :-) It always helps my nudge my own towards completion.

Happy Crafting!