Saturday, February 26, 2011


There is always discussion about finding inspiration for color and design all around you.  I came across two great images today looking through the latest CB2 catalogue.  CB2 is the hip younger sibling of Crate and Barrel.  It's less expensive, cheaper and more modern.

The flor tiles look just like bento box blocks to me.  The giant abacus on the wall would make an awesome quilt.

What about this rug?  It looks like cobblestones with the shadow of the lamp post falling across them.
Those cobblestones would be a total PITA to piece, but you could probably substitute a subway tile or patchwork pattern and still do the shadow effect.  You could applique a paint puddle and footprints or let your kid walk through paint and then walk on the quilt for that improvisational element*.  Ah, something to aspire to!

There was a terrific bedspread in the catalogue too, but I can't find it online.  It reminded me of the sugar pop fabric.

*Those footprints remind me of what the floor looked like after Baby Girl stomped through the exploded sour cream.  We were at Target on Thursday and the clerk dropped my sour cream.  The container broke and splattered across the floor.  Baby Girl immediately came to investigate and walked through it before I could stop her.

Super custom quilt hanger

I mentioned a while ago that I had a super custom quilt hanging system.  It was really expensive and needed professional installation.  NAH!!!!  This is it.

Two large command hooks in a finish that coordinates with your house.  I choose the bronze since, that matches the hardware in our house.  Then you need an inexpensive curtain rod and some curtain clips or other kind of clamp style hanger.  I use pants hangers from Target.
 Voila!  One very sturdy, non permanent, adjustable quilt hanging system.  I don't know about you, but I hate putting holes in the wall.  This took less than a minute to put up and no power tools were needed.
Plus, I can never hit the stud, or the stud isn't where I need it to be.  I love these command hooks.  I have some in the master bath because there aren't any towel bars.  They support wet bath sheets and my super thick floor length terry cloth robe, so I knew they would be fine with a wall hanging sized quilt.

I was hoping that the quilt might distract the eye a bit from the ginormous TV, but it doesn't.  I can't even blame Hubby for wanting such a big TV.  I was the one who said we need a bigger one.  This is our living room and the kitchen is completely open to it, no walls at all.  When I stood in the kitchen, 20 feet away, the old TV looked too small.  Maybe I just need a bigger quilt?  Yes!!  That's the solution.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I cut up one of the crib sheets.  I got 14 blocks out of it.  I'm completely amazed.  I had counted the likely scenes and thought I'd maybe be able to get 9 blocks.  I need 25 blocks and if I can get a similar number from the other sheet, then I'm all good.  I don't need a plan for alternate blocks.  No pinwheel blocks, no other fabric to find, which is too bad, because I think I found the perfect print to mix with the toiles.

I sewed up a couple of blocks.  Here is one.  I'm just thrilled with the way it turned out.
 I had auditioned the blue and white print in the corner squares, but I didn't like any better than the paisley I had already cut.

It took two nights of TV to finish the binding on Framed Squares.  I can't believe how much I LOVE these fabrics.  I want to keep making quilts in these fabrics.  That's silly, it would get boring.  however, I keep find new patterns that I think would look awesome with these fabrics.
Did you notice?  I took these pictures outside, without a coat, because it was lovely today, and there was no snow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP- Baby Girl's Big Girl Bed quilt

I'm continuing to play around with design ideas for the BGBGB quilt.  I mocked up something last night and I think it will work.

 I still haven't been able to bring myself to cut the crib bedding yet.  I did one set of sashing and corner blocks just to see how everything looks together.  I'm so happy I found a purpose for every fabric in the half yard packs I bought.
I had been thinking about getting solid green and pink for the framing on the focal blocks.  Then I realized the green and pink with white pokka dots would work perfectly and use everything I bought.  The busy blue print for the corner square is the only one I'm not sure about.  I thought the simple blue with white floral that I used in the sashing would be too blue and draw too much attention if I used it in the corner squares.

It makes a huge difference mocking the block up vs just having the fabrics piled up.
Here is the inspiration pattern again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

framed squares

I'm trying to power through some unfinished projects.  Wednesday night TV is coming up soon and I need to have some handwork to do while I watch American Idol and Top Chef with Hubby.  I quilted framed squares version one and got the binding sewn on.  Tomorrow night I'll finish the back watching TV.

I've got to get a bigger table so all the fabric isn't just hanging straight down.
 I did a series of straight lines of stitching the width of the presser foot on either side of the seams.  I think I'm getting better at straight lines.  The secret to not pulling the fabric so much is to go a bit slower.  My machine has a speed regulator.  I set the regulator for 50%.  Then no matter how much I put the pedal to the metal, I don't go too fast.
I'm so pleased with the way the colors worked out.  The creams and beiges blend so nicely.  It isn't as energetic as I thought it would be, but it is lovely.
 For the backing, I just needed 2 inches wider than the fabric.  I added one off center stripe of the darkest beige.
 If you look closely you can see the stitching lines aren't quite perfect, but that's ok, no one will notice unless I point it out.  I don't mark my lines.  I just follow the seams on the front.
I'm using the lightest beige from the front for the binding.

Monday, February 21, 2011

framed squares

I've been working on finishing the framed squares quilts.  I think I'll make the pattern once or twice more and then write it up.  Here is the second version.
The higher contrast definitely makes more impact.

I quilted it stitching in the ditch around the sashing and then in a square spiral in the ditch for the center squares.  The border blocks got simple Xs. 

 I was going to do something free motion, but I chickened out.  I did a couple of tests, but just wasn't happy with my free motion skills.  I also thought about straight line quilting, but couldn't figure out what color to use.  I thought there was enough going, without adding more to it.

I ended up LOVING the backing.  I used the fabrics from the front and then two coordinating fabrics.
I used a dark brown with black dots for the binding.
I really want to start on Baby Girl's quilt, but I feel terrible about starting a big new project, before I wrap up the works in progress.  I need to keep feeling guilty about starting new projects before the old ones are done or I'll end up with a huge stack of quilt tops.  I hate quilting.  This little lap quilt didn't take too long, but I just don't like quilting.  I was happy to sit and hand sew the binding in comparison.  

Up next is the first version in cream and beige.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BGBGB quilt

Flickr and I have spent some quality time together tonight.  I love using flickr for research.  It's so easy to favorite anything that appeals and then be able to see them all together.

I'm thinking pinwheel blocks as alternate focal blocks.  Girly, shows of the fabric nicely, not too fussy, easy to use a bunch of different fabrics, size totally adjustable.  It looks like there was a pinwheel quilt along sometime last year.  If I can track that down, that would give me a bunch of different block ideas.  Then I just need to decide if I want to use one pinwheel block or a variety of blocks?

What do you think, pinwheels a good idea or not?

ETA- I found it.  It looks like Rachel at p.s. i quilt did the pinwheel quilt along a year ago.  I'm still thinking about this and would love some opinions.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP- Baby Girl's Big Girl Bed Quilt, AKA BGBGB Quilt

As you may remember, or not (probably not), I'm planning a quilt for Baby Girl's bed. She is closer to 3 than she is to 2.  It was time and we finally bit the bullet and got her a big bed.  Now, that is an excellent excuse to make a quilt if I ever heard one.  I showed some pictures of her room here.  Basically, I've done a pink, green and white shabby chic thing.  I've been collecting fabric here and there and just got a wonderful collection of half yards from Tanya Whelan's line Delilah.
Isn't it yummy.  I have some more fabrics that should coordinate, like the pillow cases I made last week.

Here is the Delilah fabric next to the crib sheet that I want to fussy cut and use as focal squares.  There is just a bit of blue in the sheets which gets pulled out nicely.

 When I bought Baby Girl's crib bedding, I bought the matching full sized sheets too, so she'd have them for her future big girl bed.  I love toile and I particularly love a chinoiserie toile.  I lusted over this bedding in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue for a year before I got pregnant and found out I was having a girl.  There was NO WAY I was going to let it get away from me.

As you can see the fabric has a fairly large repeat.  The pink toile scene is from another crib sheet, which is available for use in this quilt.  I think I'm looking at at least an eight inch square to fussy cut the scenes.  I won't have that many focal squares and I just can't decide what sort of pattern to use.  
Part of me thinks it would be fun to do a sort of sampler with a bunch of different blocks.  Part of me thinks that is insanity.  None of me wants to cut into the sheets until I'm sure I know what I'm doing.  This PBK line is so out of production I couldn't even find a stock image online.  I'm not going to cut up the full sized sheets, so I only have these two crib sheets to work with.

I have the pattern for this quilt, Spring Thyme by Nancy Mahoney, and keep coming back to it as a starting point.
The focal squares are only 4.5 inches and I need around 8 inches.  Then there's the overall size.  that quilt is only 64 inches on a side and I need a full bed size.  I like the frames around focal squares and I like all the different prints used in the background.  I'd probably loose the double border, since that isn't my style, but other than that it's a good starting point.

I still go back to the idea of a sampler quilt.  I'm stuck.  Any suggestions would be most welcome.  Send me some links.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I was all set to baste my new quilt.  I was looking forward to quilting.  That never happens.  I love the piecing and the designing, but not the finishing.
I got my batting cut. I put together the backing.  I think I like the backing better than the front.  I got my sandwich all laid out, only to discover I hadn't made the backing big enough.  I think I'll just see what's on the DVR and deal with making the backing bigger tomorrow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Framed Values or something like that

I've been working on a aversion of this quilt with more contrast.
I came up with this.
 It's really hard to come up with a four shade gradation of one color with the stock available at the smallest JoAnn's EVER.  the light shade is a bit light when next to the white sashing and the two darker shade are a bit too close.  I still think it works pretty well.

Then I decided I should try a more complicated border.  I did half square triangles (HST's) for the first time.  Pretty easy except for the trimming.  I won't be trying those again, until I save my pennies for a lazy susan cutting mat.  Now that I think about it, I have a large lazy susan on the dinning room table, maybe I should try that out.
 I liked how the border plays with values in a completely different way than the center blocks.  However, I think there's too much going.  Next time I'm going to go with a simple piano key border.
My HST's didn't turn out too badly for my first try.  bigger would be easier too.  Those little HSTsuckers are only 2.5 inches on a side.  The whole quilt is 45 inches on a side.

Next I'm going to try the pattern in different colors.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

can't sew today

Tomorrow is the first meeting of my MOMS club quilt group.  We are meeting at my house, which means that I can't continue to ignore the growing pile of dirty dishes and the disaster area that is the living room.  I hate housework.  You wash dishes and they just need washing tomorrow.  A quilt stays sewn and you can look at it and admire your handiwork.  So no sewing until the house is presentable.

Instead I'll leave you will my favorite find from the clearance section at target.
 These little condiment cups are the perfect size for a small snack, or some crafting supplies.  I keep them all over the house for holding safety pins, bits of thread or sewing supplies.

I've been working on organizing my fabric using comic book boards.  They fit very nicely in a canvas bin I got at Target, one of the itso line.
Aren't they purdy?

Finally, I never posted pictures of the wee monsieur's 5th birthday.
 I embroidered tee shirts with rocket ships on them for favors.
 Of course the birthday boy was sporting one for the party.
These little cuties were made for me, by my good friend Nikki at Tradewind Tiaras.  She makes the most amazing cakes too.  These little cupcakes are my humble efforts.  Nikki made the robots.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Work in progress

I'm working on a new quilt design.  I usually come up with an idea, figure it out on graph paper and start cutting.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  This one looked great on paper.  The fabrics were luscious.  Then something happened when I started sewing it together.  I'm just not sure if it's going some where good.  Let's take a look, shall we?
It's hard to go wrong with this creamy lusciousness.  There's some Moda Pure in there among other yummies.
 Something isn't quite working.
I'm not feeling this one either.

What about a completely different direction?
I built some new blocks for the center and used the old ones as a border.  I love the optical illusion of the color gradation blocks.  I love the creamy color story.  I think I need more color contrast and to be honest I think the original blocks that I used in the border need to be changed.

What do you think?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trio of delights

What better way to start the evening than with a little fabric porn.  I got a yummy box from  From left to right we have Prayer Flag by Moda, (it was all on sale), a neutral Moda jelly roll, a Kona snow jelly roll and  some random stripes and patterns.  I can't resist a fabric sale, especially Moda.  Anyway, I got a prayer flag jelly roll, a layer cake and some yardage cuts of whatever they had left that looked good.  I'm rather tempted to try the postage stamp quilt from p.s. i quilt.  I know the quilt along is over, but whatever.  

Once a month my M.O.M.S. Club has a craft group that meets.  Today was craft group and the project was a pillow case using the magic, hot dog or burrito pattern.  I'm slowly collecting fabric for Baby Girl's quilt and thought I'd do some pillow cases to coordinate.  That's the great thing about shabby chic, mo' patterns, mo' better.
 I picked up a yummy green and white damask and paired it with a tiny rose and pink stripe.  I also used a big pink rickrack instead of a 3rd fabric.  A solid white would also have been good, but I didn't think of it at the time.  Don't be afraid to mix patterns.  I get into trouble more when I fail to mix patterns sufficiently than when I do mix them.
 This is a close up of my first french seam.  Manifique, oui?!

Finally, I finished up a name tag for myself.  When I went to my first quilt guild meeting, everyone had the most beautiful handmade name tags.  It's a name tag, so it can't be very big and it has to be legible.  Those are hard parameters to work with.  I finally decided on something simple and used my embroidery machine to whip something up.  The pattern is from Urban Threads.  I got to use some truly tiny scraps for the applique.  I've been in a neutrals mood recently, so this fit the bill to a T.   The binding was another too thin to use scrap that I had saved.  There was just enough to turn under on both sides and catch with a needle.  The purple ribbon in the bottom left corner is for bringing a completed quilt for show and tell.  You get a ribbon for every quilt you bring in, but it has to be completely finished, binding and everything.


I LOVE leftovers.  I always cook too much so there is leftovers and I buy too much fabric so there is leftovers.  I took some of the extra blocks from the zig zag quilt and whipped up this little one for a friend who had a baby girl recently.  This is their 3rd girl, so I know she is totally set for clothes and toys, but one can never have too many quilts.

I love this color palatte.  It's so fresh and girly, but goes with any decor.  I didn't have enough of the lavender feather to bind this quilt completely so I added in some yellow.
 I also did a scrappy back.  Gotta use up every square inch of fabric.  when you are making a lap or baby quilt, both sides will be seen so you might as well do something pretty on the back.  I was careful when I did the binding to get the yellow binding over the lavender fabric in the backing so it would show up nicely.
I even quilted this one.  I did straight lines on either side of every seam.  I honestly don't like the quilting to be too dense.  The piece gets really stiff.  I'm still practicing my free motion quilting, but I probably won't tackle the real thing for quite a while.  Straight lines are completely acceptable for quilting.
I'm just waiting on some new labels I ordered before I mail it off.  I ordered some twill tape labels  that are embroidered from a seller on etsy to use on my quilts.  I ordered some with the date and some with out.  I'll use up the dated ones first and use the non dated ones on older pieces.  Hopefully, I'll have to order a bunch more soon!  I'm on a roll.  This makes 3 start to finish completed quilts so far this year and 1 pieced top and back delivered to the long arm quilter.  I'm going to count that as 4 quilts so far this year.  Coming up I have my Modern Quilt Guild challenge quilt, a lap quilt for my MIL and FIL's 40th anniversary, a full sized quilt for baby girl's big girl bed plus various other projects.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where the water meets the land completed

I finished sewing the binding this morning.  I curled up on the couch with a big mug of tea, the quilt and the remote.  I let the kids watch cartoons so I could sew in peace.

My quilter had suggested I try a 2 inch binding.  (She says she cuts hers to 1 and 7/8.)  That's 2 inches wide folded in half and sewn down to the front.  Then you fold the fabric over the raw edge and hand sew it to the back.  I think I'll stick with a 2.5 inch binding strip.  It was so tiny that I had to trim the edge of the quilt down to bare nubbin in order to have enough to fold over and cover the stitching line on the back.  Now I know I prefer a 2.5 inch binding and there's no shame in that.

Here we have "Where the water meets the land"
 Do you like my new photography studio space?  It's the hall closet.  Our house is open concept and has high ceilings and huge windows.  There are basically no walls.  I finally found that the crown molding over the hall closet is reachable and nice, but indirect light.  Those spiffy quilt hangers were very expensive and hard to find.  They clamp gently but firmly to the top of the quilt and then can be conveniently hung over the molding for display.  No, I'm just kidding.  Those are wooden pants hangers from target.  You get 4 for $4.50.  Wait until I show you my custom designed quilt display...

 Can you guess why I'm showing this image?  It does show the quilting nicely, but I also shows some of the more egregious places where the corners don't even come close to lining up.  Yes, I could have gone back and fixed them, but the pieces on the quilt are about the size of a quarter or smaller in some places.  Even if I fixed those pieces then other pieces would have gotten off.  So the lesson here is match up the corners where there is a dramatic color change and let go the corners where the color shift is subtle.  Even then you'll never see them once the quilt is quilted and hung or used.
Today's lesson- Don't sweat the small corners.