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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

etsy 1

It has been far too long since I’ve restocked my etsy shop, but I finally had a chance to update it, and now it’s filled with some soft and cozy goodies!

etsy 5

I made a large batch of upcycled scarves last year for craft shows, and I had a few left, ready to be listed for purchase! All scarves are made from sweaters containing only natural fibers that felt when washed (i.e., lambswool, merino, cashmere, etc.), and I always chose sweaters that were both soft and colorful for these projects!

etsy 4

My prism scarves were always a top seller at the craft fair, I think because people just can’t resist all of that color!

etsy 2

My latest twist on this last year was when I started working with JUST cashmere– and let me tell you, I am in love with the results! I made a test scarf that I wear nearly every day because it is so so soft and warm. My skin is sensitive to scratchy or itchy fibers, and I never have any problem with the cashmere. Cashmere can be a bit stretchy and slippery when sewing it, so to keep things sturdy and stable I made these scarves double-sided, with all raw seams enclosed on the inside. This makes for a reversible (and extra warm!) color blocked scarf. I try to keep similar colors together, as they tend to blend well and look nice no matter which way the scarf is tied.

etsy 3

etsy 5

I have a handful of these listed now, so get them while you can! I also have a few new baby quilts listed, which I’ll post about soon!

etsy 3

And through the end of the month I’m offering a 15% discount for Greenleaf Goods readers– just enter the coupon code GreenleafFan when you check out!

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Simple voile patchwork

I’ve been dreaming of making an all voile quilt for a while now, especially since I have been sitting on a stack of gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile. For the longest time I mulled over what would be the best pattern for this quilt, and it occurred to me last weekend– with fabric this gorgeous, I want to just highlight the prints and colors, and a simple patchwork would be best.

voile patchwork quilt top

As soon as I decided on this, I got to ironing and cutting my fabric, and within a couple of days I had this pulled together!

volie patchwork quilt top

Now the big questions are– should I back it with voile, or with flannel? All voile front and back would be so luxurious, though the flannel/voile combo is soft and cozy! Also, hand quilt or machine quilt?? I love the idea of using perle cotton in different colors and using running stitches along the length of the quilt, though machine quilting would be so sturdy and fast.

Finished voile quilt top

What would you do? Flannel or voile back? Hand or machine quilted? Help me decide!

voile quilt top from behind

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Justin's half square triangle quilt

Wow, time has been flying by this Winter! We had a great break, and were able to take a long road trip to visit family. Before Christmas, I was sewing like mad to get all my hand made gifts done in time. I barely got it all done– had to finish some binding on the road! But it was totally worth it to be able to give the gifts I made to my family.

Detail of Justin's quilt

There was one in particular that I was so happy to make this year– a quilt for my wonderful husband.

A long view of Justin's quilt

Although we have a number of quilts around the house, Justin would jokingly say that I had never made a quilt for him. I knew I needed to remedy this, so while he was at work I pieced the quilt top and back, basted and quilted the quilt, and hand finished the binding– all in the course of one week! I was careful not to let him see the quilt pieces so he wouldn’t know this was coming.

quilt back

I decided to make a quilt using solid fabrics in a half-square triangle design. To add a little visual interest, I also sewed some log cabin blocks that became half square triangles to sprinkle into the quilt top. I used my left over log cabins in the back of the quilt, and I love that it is reversible. I had seen some really gorgeous HST quilts in the last year, and I really wanted to make one myself.

Justin's half square triangle quilt

I love to see Justin using the quilt, and I’m happy it’s sticking around our house. One of the perks of sewing for your family!

Justin's new quilt

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Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve had a minute to stop in here for an update! November kept me hopping, with travel for both work and family, and an extended stay at my sister’s house where I got to spend a good bit of time cuddling with my new niece. Now I can’t believe it’s December already! And although I haven’t found time recently to blog, it’s funny to see where my photos and work pop up around the internet– today I discovered my city reflection quilt over on BuzzFeed! It’s number 26 in the lineup of quilts to eye, create, or buy!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I finished up this quilt top for the Love circle of Do. Good Stitches a little while ago, and I’m now working on binding it– so close to being done! I love these bee quilts, because they give me a chance to reflect a bit on some of my favorite things about sewing. Receiving blocks from all across the country, and knowing that my bee-mates will take a leap of faith and follow the instructions I made up for the quilt, is awesome.
Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Everyone did *such* a perfect job with these blocks, and in the quilt top you can see how well they fit together– it’s hard to tell where one block ends and another begins!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I’ll be sharing the final product here soon, along with a slew of other projects I need to blog about! Baby quilts and christmas decor are piling up!

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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Spiderweb

As anyone who has ever moved can attest to, moving is tiring and challenging and time consuming. And I’m not even talking about the actual move itself (although it is all of those things, too). I mean the learning a new city and a new job– figuring out how to get around town, where to go to get your hair cut or to see a movie or to get some takeout, and learning new work skills and beginning new research projects– all of this has left me with less time to sew than I like! We’ve been in Boston for a little over two months, and some things are starting to fall into place, but it takes time to find a comfortable pattern to our days.
When I can’t find time to sew regularly, I feel a little off. A little frustrated. Creatively backlogged and unproductive. And I have been sewing, just not at the pace I’m used to. I like to see my ideas realized, and sometimes that means sewing like mad to get things done. But lately I’m just so dang tired I haven’t had that finishing power I’m used to.

Spiderweb Quilt..

So: here it is. My halloween quilt. Exactly 1/2 of the quilt top is done. The other half? Still needs to be cut and sewn. And now that halloween is here and it’s not finished, well, it may just be waiting around for a while. In my head, this is already done! I even know where I want to take a picture of it, I can see it so clearly! But, I just didn’t quite make it.

I have a number of other ideas (and upcoming birthday and Christmas gifts!) that I am dying to get to work on– I just need that drive to finish my projects to return! And in the meantime, I have begun hand quilting my single girl, and I am really loving it. This hand quilting thing might be around to stay!

Single Girl Hand Quilting

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People, I hand quilted an entire quilt!!

Hand Quilted Hope Valley Filmstrip Quilt

You can knock that off my bucket list! But seriously– I loved working on this quilt.

Love the drape and the crinkle

I made up the filmstrip quilt top last spring (using the tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts). It’s not my first filmstrip, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last.

Hanging around with some fall colors

I used my favorite line of fabric– Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt, and I love how the colors play together. In general, I am more of a fan of mixing lines of fabric, but these prints are just so lovely together that I couldn’t resist. I used perle cotton (size 8) for the stitches to get that chunky look.

Bound and Backed in Little Folks Voile

I decided to back the quilt in Little Folks voile from Anna Maria Horner, and I would *highly* recommend this as a backing for a quilt you’re hand quilting. It’s so so soft and easy to hand stitch. I used a pastry line print for the binding, and I love how it frames the quilt.

Hope Valley Filmstrip folded up

When I started quilting (on my very first quilt, actually), before I had purchased a walking foot for my machine, and long before I started free motion quilting, I tried hand quilting. And I was miserable. It was hard to sew through the batting, and I couldn’t get into the groove. I thought that if that was what quilting was like, I wouldn’t be making any more quilts! When I discovered the joy of quilting on my home machine, I was hooked, and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would sew a quilt by hand. But slowly, my thinking on this matter changed. I love a long term project, and looked forward to having something to hand stitch in evenings and on car trips. Hand quilting this quilt saw me through all of our trips this summer, including finding a new place to live and making our recent move. It represents more than just my favorite fabrics, it represents the time and care I devote to this craft. I’m so happy with this quilt, and although I never thought I’d say this, I’m excited to get to work on my next hand quilting project!

On the rocks

And a note about the batting– one reason I believe it was so difficult to hand quilt that first quilt was because I did not use a batting that was optimal for hand stitching. This time around I took the advice of some of my knowledgeable guild members in Ann Arbor and went with Quilters Dream Request Loft Batting made from 100% cotton. It made such a difference!!

Hope Valley Filmstrip in the Breeze

And– if anyone out there who happens to read my little blog is considering hand quilting, I encourage you to give it a try! And know that you might not love it the first time around, but that’s ok– there will always be another quilt calling your name on which you can give this a try.

(Simon can’t help but get in a photo of the quilt)

Simon in the picture

I’m linking up with The Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side. Each Spring and Fall Amy hosts this wonderful virtual event that coincides with quilt market to celebrate all of these wonderful quilts, and I’m so happy to join in! Click on the link below to visit her site, and to check out a TON of gorgeous quilts!

Quilt Stats:
Size: 54″ by 62″
Fabric: Kona cotton bone and hope valley (front), little folks voile (back) and pastry line voile (binding)
Special Techniques: Hand Quilted!!! (umm, I’m excited about this, can you tell?)
Quilted by: Me! (otherwise this would be much less impressive)
Best Category for the BQF: Hand quilted, throw quilt, or quilt photography

Amy's Creative Side

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October Do Good Stitches Bee Blocks

This month I managed to get my bee blocks done well ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline!

October English Paper Pieced Bee Blocks

It’s been a little quiet around my blog because we’ve been settling into the new house, I’ve been spending a lot of time learning new things at work, and I’ve been traveling for a the last few weekends to visit family. The bee blocks were perfect for all the travel, as they were english paper pieced using Rachel’s template. Perfect for riding in the car (or for a little stitching while playing Settlers of Catan and Carcassone!).

Hand stitching and settlers

More EPP and carcassone! I'll have my bee blocks done in no time.
My pile of quilts to share is piling up again, as are some crafty makings for other events, so I’ll be back to share more soon!

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a quilt with a view

I have been waiting a *long* time to share this quilt top, so warning– there are a lot of pictures in this post!

single girl 1

I started the Single Girl quilt (pattern by Denyse Schmidt) with the Single Girl Quilt Along, which started quite a bit ago– as I look back at the group, it looks as though it’s been 20(!) months. This is definitely the longest it’s taken me to finish a quilt top! I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to make this as a queen sized quilt for our bed. Now that the quilt top is done, I’m soooo glad I did it, but I likely won’t make another, at least not this size!

single girl 2

After finishing the quilt top, I knew I wanted to take it somewhere special to take some photos, and the perfect opportunity presented itself shortly after our move to Boston. We headed out one evening to climb Mount Wachusett, and since finishing this quilt top felt a bit like climbing a mountain, I thought I’d schlep it up there with me.

single girl in the wind

The light was perfect, and the top of the mountain gave us the most amazing views. It was a bit windy, and I think I put my quilt holders to the test, especially as I kept directing them to “just ONE MORE spot” for photos. Thanks so much to my mom, Justin, and Liv for putting up with me!

quilt and tower

At the top of the mountain there are 360 degree views, and an industrial looking tower that was just gorgeous, and provided a nice platform for holding the quilt.

tower supports

windmills

There were also a bunch of grasshoppers hanging around, and we spotted a frog lounging in the pond on top of the mountain.

cricket

frog in the pond

grasshopper

Simon loves hiking and climbing, and he stayed a few steps ahead of us all on the way up and down.

Simon

As you can see, he’s a very fashionable dog, with cans of dog food on his collar. He loves his wet food!

Simon's dog food collar

I just couldn’t help myself, and took about a million pictures. There was something so ethereal about a night like this, with the light just right, hanging out on top of a mountain with family and a new favorite quilt.

single girl 1

single girl 6

Call me crazy, but I’m planning to hand quilt this beast over the winter. I’m almost done hand quilting my lap quilt, and I am loving how slow and deliberate it is to quilt by hand. Plus, I think I will back this one in voile, which I have found makes for VERY pleasant hand quilting. I managed to snag some from Pink Castle Fabric for a great price before it sold out, and I’m so glad I did– if you ever have a chance to hand quilt with voile, do it!!

single girl closeup

I’m sure I’ll be sharing some process pics as I work on this over the next few months. I’m so glad it’s finally ready to quilt!! It took more patience than any other project I’ve attempted, but it was well worth it, and I can’t wait to put this on our bed in the spring!

single girl on the rocks

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hourglass bag

I was really excited when my circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee decided to do a swap! I have only participated in a few swaps previously, because it can get overwhelming to load up on sewing obligations, and truth be told, I am a little protective of my sewing time! However, a swap among friends is always welcome, and I’ve loved getting to know the women in my quilting bee!

love circle swap

I was lucky to draw Rachel as my secret partner because I think I have a good sense of her style. Rachel loves rich, saturated color and patchwork, and appreciates text based prints. She also has expressed a love for linen as a neutral fabric– something I’m totally on board with! So, when I put this all together, I wanted to juxtapose the dense color with the black and white text, and soften it all with the linen. I got to business by making a bunch of hourglass blocks, and decided to form the front of the bag with these.

scrappy handles

I set one block in some patchwork for a pocket on the back, and I made the bag a little larger than usual so that it could hold a quilt or other sizable projects.
I love swapping handmade goods with friends!

Outer pocket on love circle swap bag

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Wonky Pinwheel Tutorial

This month it’s my turn to design the quilt for the Love circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee. Each month, one of our members designs a quilt and all members make blocks from their own stash and send them to the quilter who puts the blocks together and finishes the quilt. Our finished quilts get sent to Wrap them in Love. I always look forward to designing the quilt, because there are so many quilts I’d like to make, and it’s awesome to have blocks made by so many friends roll in to see my design come to light!

Do Good Stitches September Colors

This month, I am asking my bee-mates to make scrappy, wonky pinwheel blocks using a range of fall colors. Did you catch all of that? They’re scrappy because I’m asking that the pinwheels are all made of different fabrics, instead of matching the 4 “pinwheel” sections. The pinwheels are a bit wonky, as the pinwheel sections are all pieced a bit free-form, and don’t all need to be a precise size. Finally, I thought that using a variety of neutral fabrics for the background (instead of just one color) would add to the warmth and patchwork-y feel of the quilt. So, how do I make this block? Glad you asked! Here’s what you do:

DGS 1

1. Cut 16 squares, each 3.5 inches, from neutral fabrics. (I raided my scrap bin for neutrals here, and came up with a few kona solids in different shades and a few essex linen/cotton blend fabrics, though any neutrals will work).

DGS 2

2. On the BACK of each neutral square, draw 2 lines emanating from one corner, and ending about halfway between the opposite sides of the square. We’ll be sewing along these lines to create our pinwheel sections, so be sure to vary how wide these sections are.

DGS 3

3. Next, grab a scrap of fabric and lay it down right side up. Lay down your neutral square right side DOWN (remember, we drew the line on the back of this fabric) and line it up such that you leave approximately a quarter inch of your scrap fabric above the line for your seam allowance. ** It’s important to note that you want to be sure your scrap is large enough to fully cover the corner of your neutral square once it’s sewn. You can test this by holding it in place and flipping it up over the corner, though I found that after a few squares of trial and error it’s easy to eyeball this. And if in doubt, grab a slightly larger scrap to start! **

DGS 4

4. Sew directly over the line you marked on the neutral square, taking care to make sure you keep your scrap lined up so you have a quarter inch seam allowance.

DGS 5

5. Flip your square over and press your scrap fabric up over the square. This is where you want to be sure the corner of your neutral square is covered!

DGS 6

6. Repeat steps 3-5 and add a second scrap to the square using your other line as a guide.

DGS 7

7. Press the second scrap, and lay your square face down on your cutting mat to trim. Using the neutral square as a guide, trim off the excess scrap fabric.

DGS 8

8. Using scissors, trim the extra scrap fabric off the back of the square, creating the usual quarter inch seam on the back of the blocks (this reduces bulk overall).

DGS 9

9. Flip your block over, and you have one small piece of your wonky pinwheel complete!

DGS 10

As I completed blocks, I laid them out following this grid to be sure I placed the blocks correctly. It’s pretty easy to see the pattern emerge once you have a few blocks done, but with the first few I was a little disoriented, so having this visual helped!

DGS 13

Once all blocks are complete, lay them out in the pinwheel pattern. You should have 4 pinwheels in the middle of the block, and a number of half pinwheels around the edges. When I join up all the blocks, these pinwheels will be complete! This was another reason that this block is a good scrappy choice, as this will help the pattern look continuous when the blocks are joined.

I sewed my blocks into 4 rows, and then joined the rows together. Be careful to use a *scant* quarter inch seam so that your block comes out to be 12.5 inches unfinished.

One small issue to address: On one block I veered off from my line slightly.

DGS 11

When I flipped the block, I could see the line through the neutral fabric. Yikes!

DGS 12

In this case, I simply went back to the sewing machine and re-sewed this line and it was fine. It would also be a good idea to mark your lines with a water-soluble or heat sensitive pen, as these lines will disappear completely when using steam to press your seams.

Wonky Pinwheels

And there you have it! A scrappy, wonky pinwheel block!

Wonky Pinwheel Block for September

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