Where have I been?

Apparently it’s been a very long time since I’ve visited this here blog. VERY LONG. How embarassing. And it’s not like I haven’t been busy sewing, I’ve been very busy. I’ve been sewing up a storm. I made some clothes for my girl, I made several quilt tops, I made some bags and embroidered some shirts. I had a booth in my first ever craft fair and sewed up a storm for that. And probably a bunch of other things that I can’t even remember.

But of all the things that I worked on in 2014, it was something that I started in 2013 that I may be the most proud of.

Way back in January 2013, I signed up to participate in Alyssa’s block of the month over at Pile o’ Fabric. There were many of things about this quilt that intrigued me. It was free motion quilting for the entire thing, but you broke it down and quilted each block individually. The great thing about this technique is that you can practice on a smaller scale, as opposed to sticking the entire quilt into the machine at once. I hadn’t done a lot of FMQ prior to this quilt and had been wanting to increase my skill set and get more comfortable. I think it’s safe to say that by the time I finished this king size quilt, I was pretty comfortable.

Alyssa also covered some techniques that I didn’t have a great deal of experience with and it was nice to have some instruction and insight from someone else. There was a bit of EPP (English paper piecing) applique that I hadn’t done much of, and that was very cool. I’m not sure I’ll ever make a full size hexie quilt, that block was a bear, but never say never.


This is by far the largest quilt I’ve ever made. It’s almost a full king, it’s a wee bit narrow. I don’t think it was supposed to be that big, I didn’t exactly follow the directions as they were written (not shocking considering I’m not the best direction follower). Alyssa’s blocks were 14″-ish when trimmed and mine were 16. Consequently, everything was bigger. No matter though, I LOVE this quilt. There are some glaring quilting errors and I didn’t follow some of the tried and true quilting “rules” but I don’t care. I LOVE it. It washed up beautifully and is perfect for my bed and these cold nights. I’m seriously motivated to keep it up and continue improving my skill set.

Hello again

Apparently I took the summer off from writing. And part of the fall. I’ve missed you. I’ve composed many a post in my head but haven’t put much on paper. Or screen, as the case may be. But I’m still here, working away, raising children, sewing, exercising, wifing (I’m not sure that’s a real word), friending – busy. Busy busy.

My sewing life has been insane of late. There are days when I feel like I really know what I’m doing and things are beginning to click. I’m ripping out fewer stitches and finding it easier to follow directions. I’ve been doing all kinds of sewing – quilting, dress making for both myself and Courtney, applique work for my kids and friends, bag making, clothes making and on and on.


The 2 dresses I made are both for me, as well as the skirt! I’d seen an image of the black dress, for a pattern I already owned, on Pinterest and I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect dress to pair with leggings or jeans in the fall and winter or to wear on its own in the summer. The skirt I made following this Craftsy class following the Sew Mama Sew Online Challenge. I didn’t win for the skirt, which I love, especially the hidden pops of color in the pocket and waistband, but the dress below DID win!

I almost didn’t enter this little dress in the competition because there were some amazing dresses in the challenge. Dresses that I wish I had made! But I love how this dress came together. It’s hard to tell but the bottom section has trees with flower blossoms blowing and the top has cute little blue birds. The one thing I did learn while making this dress, Courtney is now big that she requires more than 1 yard of fabric to complete a dress! She’s getting so big. I had to add the orange band at the bottom to complete the dress length but I do think it looks great with the fabric.

I have also been working on tons of new applique designs – all in my Etsy shop!

And of course there’s the quilting! The quilt on the left was more of just a fun, play piece. Something I could put together without a ruler, cutting on some angles and just generally playing around. The quilt on the right is the 12th Street Quilt that I helped test for Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics. I’d been dying to make a “fall quilt” in browns and greens and oranges and I an thrilled with how quickly this came together. Of course, it’s taking me forever to get it quilted and bound but that may actually happen in the next 24 hours!

The bag on the left is a little cosmetic bag I made for a dear friend while the shirts on the right I made for another friends twin 5-year old boys.

A birthday gift for a 5 year old princess!

And lastly, I put together this table runner for my quilt guild. We were doing a fabric challenge with Hip Holiday fabric that Blend was kind enough to give us. I can’t wait to add this to my holiday table this year!

Well that’s enough for today. Hopefully someone will actually read this but to myself, I promise to do some more writing!

A quilt in the making

I picked up some fabric (shocking, I know) at my local quilt shop a month or so ago. They’d pre-cut the fabric and there were these adorable little bundles and it just screamed little girl quilt and so I bought some. Or maybe I’m just a sucker and I can’t resist ANY fabric. I think that’s more likely.

Anyway, I’d seen this quilt on Pinterest and I was all inspired. So I cut squares and then made triangles and then sewed them back together and then ironed this huge stack of fabric. And then I had to figure out how to lay them all out. So I played.

And then I played some more.

And some more…

And I felt I was getting closer but knew this wasn’t quite it.

And then I got it! I’m thrilled with how this is working. Except for the fact that I’m short fabric. HOW CAN I BE SHORT FABRIC!?!?!

But I did have a few extra blocks, just not in the right colors. I was thinking of making a couple of pillows but Patrick decided to make a bed.

(Please excuse my terrible pictures, this is what happens when you take pictures in your pathetically lit basement.)

Slow sewing

Things have been moving slowly in my house the past several days. On Friday I had surgery, it was planned, and yet I was surprised at how it knocked my on my butt for several days. The doctor said I’d be uncomfortable but having never had surgery in my life, or at least the kind where they knock you out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Apparently 3 days of complete exhaustion is what I should have expected.

My surgery was outpatient so I was home on Friday morning by 9:30 or so. But I spent all of Friday on the couch, as well as all of Saturday and all of Sunday. As a matter of fact, I felt far worse Sunday morning than any other morning. I did decide on Saturday night that perhaps the drugs I was taking were making me feel worse, crazy dizzy and lightheaded, so I stopped taking them and that may have helped. But the anesthesia. Ugh. Who knew that would be the worst part? Needless to say, here I sit on Monday afternoon and I’m still fall on my face tired but I have walked more today than the past 3 days combined. I mean, I walked ALL THE WAY to the mailbox, it was huge.

By yesterday afternoon I was able to do some work on my hexies for my block of the month quilt. I think I’ve decided that hexies may not be my thing. But at least I had them to work on because sitting on the internet for 48 hours was melting my poor brain. Poor, poor brain. And my poor fingers, this hand piecing thing is causing me sewing calluses! Gross.

What next?

My dad came to visit this weekend and we had a wonderful visit. I love when we get to spend time together and he gets to spend time with the kids. They just love my dad and he’s so great with them. The weekend went quickly, as they always do, and I was sad to see him head out early Sunday morning. While he was here, my dad asked me how many projects I have going at a time. Ha, funny question. Maybe 10? Maybe 12? I’m not totally sure. In my head I have about 1000, or so it seems. 
Now that I’ve finished both Courtney’s quilt and my star quilt, I’m without a couch project. Sort of. I enjoy taking a break from the machine at times, relaxing on the couch and watching a movie or catching up on my Hulu queue. But I’m not a person who can just sit so being able to hand sew on a binding or sew buttons is a nice way to pass the time. Sure I can sit and lose myself on the Internet but I get bored and can’t help but feeling like my mind is turning to mush.
When I was at QuiltCon in February, I heard a speech by David Butler, the designer behind Parson Gray. I’ve loved the “manly” look of his line but I think hearing him speak (and seeing him in person – yum) pushed me over the edge to buying some of his fabric. I found 2 fat quarter bundles of his line at the conference as well as a bundle of Kona solids that matched. I’ve pieced the designer fabrics to the solids, using Xylophone by Elizabeth Hartman as my inspiration,  and now I have to figure out how to put it all together. 
I’m also working on my Block of the Month with Alyssa and have taken my first journey into English paper piecing. I’m not sure how I feel about it but I did enjoy being able to sit and sew during ballet class this morning. I can see this becoming addicting but I can see how it would take FOREVER to make a full quilt this way.
And then of course there’s the day to day fun projects that keep coming. I put this fun watermelon shirt together for Patrick and will list it in my Etsy shop when I take a better picture. I’m also making some ties for my dear friend Kelly so she can use them on the cutie pies that she photographs. 
I have patterns for at least 3 dresses for me that are cut out and I have some kids clothes I’d like to make out of fabric I have on hand. I also have a quilt that I’d like to start for Patrick’s next bed as well as 2 quilts that are already in progress. And then there are all the things that I’ve started but haven’t finished. The “work in progress” pile is dangerously high and I’d almost be afraid that if some small person gets under there, they could get hurt!  
Well, off to the sewing table I go. What are you doing today?

Finished stars!

Last year I took a Block of the Month class at Whipstitch. It was the second year long class I was taking and I was super excited to be taking the class with some lovely ladies I knew from the previous year.  We chose our fabrics in February or so and the idea was to make the fabrics last all year long. I started with the orange, grey and green/white/orange fabrics to start. The theme for the year was the star and I was thinking I could do the entire thing in just 3 fabrics, I was wrong. I added the blue fabric later in the year when one of our blocks required at least a 4th color. The blue seemed like a natural choice and I love the pop that it gives to my blocks.

The other idea behind this quilt was that each star would “float” on an orange canvas. I decided in October or so that there was NO WAY I could look at an orange quilt on my lap forever and I desperately wanted to add some color. After talking with a color expert, we decided that green was a natural addition to bring out some of the green in the white fabric but it was also a good balance to the other colors. I had also seen this quilt from Fresh Lemons on Pinterest and LOVED the way she’d pieced the front. I was much more interested in doing something like this so back to the fabric shop I went and bought even MORE fabric.

As for the back, I love a pieced block. I had almost EXACTLY enough fabric to piece the back and I’m really thrilled with how it turned out. For the quilting I echo quilted around each star and then did some sort of quilting IN each star, mostly in the ditch. I then quilted two inch diagonal lines all over the quilt but not IN the star blocks. I ended up burying a zillion threads but I’m really pleased with how the quilting looks. Overall, I love it. Love love love. I’m thrilled with the quilt and now that it’s quilted and completed, I can’t wait to see how it looks when washed.

Jelly rolls and geese – quilt top finished!

I could not be more thrilled with how Courtney’s quilt turned out. It’s the perfect color pallete for her personality (and her room) – it’s bright, it’s sunny and it’s heavy on the purple – her favorite color! The quilt top itself was super easy to make. I was drawn to this fabric line for the colors and the spring like feel, I think I bought it in February and I was definitely channeling some spring. The jelly roll quilt 1600 is crazy easy to make and doesn’t take long – you sew, you chop, you sew, you chop and on and on and on – but that alone wasn’t enough for a twin size quilt. I went ahead and bought a charm pack (precut 5×5 squares) to make the flying geese around the edges. I added some white sashing and voila, my largest quilt to date!

At my Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild meeting a couple of months ago, a woman showed a quilt she’d made using flannel on the back, “good flannel” she said. I went ahead and bought some good flannel (aka expensive) while it was on sale at QuiltHome.com for the back. They were super helpful in helping me match the right colored back to the front and I’m THRILLED with how it looks.

Because this was my largest quilt to date, I wanted to go ahead and try it on a long arm machine. A local sewing machine store has one here that you can rent and I decided to give that a go. I learned a lot by using it. For example, I learned that we’d loaded it wrong and that it’s super important to drop the presser foot or you’ll spend 30 minutes taking stitches out… I used a meandering stitch on the top, which I think was perfect for my first long arm experience. There’s no right or wrong and you can’t really mess anything up.

I also wanted to leave a little note for Courtney on the bottom and that was crazy easy to do on the long arm…. 

Lastly, I went ahead and added a purple on purple polka dot binding. I wanted to incorporate more purple (favorite color and all) but almost any color for the border would have worked.

I’m really thrilled with this quilt, as simple as it was. I love how the geese add a little something to the top and how all the colors are just so happy together. I really hope that Courtney enjoys years and years under her new quilt and as she grows up, she’ll always think of me when she cuddles up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Quilts, Quilting and QuiltCon

I’ve been a sewing fool of late. The white thread spools are flying into the trash left and right. I feel like I’ve gone a bit over the deep end. And I LOVE it!!

I’m loving the QAL with Alyssa and the blocks I’ve made for that. I love the contrast with the red, grey and blue. I still haven’t quilted my blocks for the quilt-as-you-go because I’m just not so sure I’m going to love them as much when I’m done. You know, these are such HARD decisions. I may feel differently after my QuiltCon class this weekend so we shall see what comes of it.

The Mood Block

Em Dash Block

This week is also the much anticipated (by me) QuiltCon in Austin, Texas and I head out Thursday morning for 4ish days in sunny Austin. I am SO excited and am really hoping to learn a LOT. I’m taking a quilting negative space class with Angela Walters, the wiz of quilting, as well as a binding class. I have really high hopes for the binding class as my binding skills are crap. Actually, my quilting skills are crap so I’m really hoping to get a lot shoved into my little brain. The binding class required us to make a block to bring with us so I put this together for that class:

QuiltCon block

I’d received all this fabric for free and loved the block so decided to give it a whirl. I’m not hugely crazy about the pinks/maroons but I didn’t have enough of either color to make that my ONLY color for those spots. But isn’t this a fabulous block.

In other news, I finished quilting my star quilt and have “squared” it up. My hope is that after I take this binding class, I’ll be a binding phenom and can knock out the binding on my quilt beautifully. Although, I have a ZILLION threads to bury so that’ll take some time as well. But I do love the quilt and can’t wait to show you when I’m done!

Will I see you at QuiltCon? I hope so!!

Bees and Quilt-a-longs

I’m super excited to be participating in a Quilting Bee at Whipstich this year as well as having decided to participate in Alyssa’s Skill Builder quilt-a-long (QAL). I’m really hoping to enhance my quilting skills, learn some new things and actually complete a few kick-ass quilts.

I’ve completed the first 2 quilt blocks for the QAL. I am LOVING these blocks and my color choices. Now that I’ve laid out all the fabric, I’ve decided this is a pretty “bubbly” quilt with lots of circles. I may try a lot of stippling when I do my quilting. This quilt is also a quilt-as-you go which means that instead of completing the top, sandwiching it with the batting and the back and then quilting it, you quilt it as you go. I haven’t ever done this before and I’m a little nervous as to how this is going to look but I’m going to give it a go.

I’m going to use the same blue for the back, I’ve just decided, and keep it simple.

The only thing I don’t love about this QAL is that Alyssa doesn’t post the new blocks until the 17th of the month. I’m already itching to make the next 2 blocks but good things come to those that wait, or some such.

I’m also trying to decide what quilt I want to make for the bee and March is my month. I think I’m going to go with this quilt in yellows and greys. One of my dearest friends in the world is moving to Dallas and I want to make something for her to remember me by. I’m not sure she needs a quilt in Dallas but that’s neither here no there. I just need to pick my fabrics and go from there.

I also have 2 quilts that are in the quilting stage now and I’d love to see those completed within the next month. Wish me luck!

February goals

I was out running this morning and I was thinking about my goals for February. I don’t normally have monthly goals, or daily goals for that matter. But when checking my running mileage for January, I came in just shy of 90 miles. Not too shabby but just a few more miles and I could have hit a huge number for me. Anyway, I was thinking and planning about what I want to get done this month and the list is long but maybe doable:

  • Run 90 miles. It will be a challenge, especially my going to QuiltCon for a long weekend but it can be done if I stick with it.
  • QUILTCON!!  Woohoo, I can’t want to go to QuiltCon. 4 days in Austin with my tribe and their fabric! Or something like that.
  • Finish my star quilt as well as Courtney’s Richard Scary quilt. I’m quilting the star quilt now and the other quilt is small, they shouldn’t take long.
  • Finish Courtney’s new twin size quilt for her big girl bed.
  • Get some items up on Etsy, as well as SewHub, for sale.
  • Remember to buy a toothbrush to clean my serger.

OK, that last one wasn’t a goal as much as something I need to remember to do. I went to 2 Modern Quilt Guild meetings last week and I’m feeling all motivated to get some quilting done. And again, I need those extra 4 hours in a day.