Monday, June 29, 2009

Quilt Inspiration - loads of links

I've definitely been bitten by the quilting bug! As a newbie, I've been collecting ideas and inspiration left and right. With so many gorgeous designs out there, it's hard to know where to start and how to choose. But it's definitely fun browsing!

I've become a big fan of all things Denyse Schmidt:
her quilts, her fabric lines, style. Clearly, I need to get her book now too!

A few great quilting/sewing blogs:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Quilting' Like Crazy
Film in the Fridge
Tallgrass Prairie Studio
See Katie Sew

Quilt-a-long groups on Flikr -- I love looking at quilts! It's also fun to see how so many variations in color and scale really change the overall look even with the same basic pattern. Here just a few, but you can really get lost for hours looking for quilts and quilt groups on there.
Old Red Barn Quiltalong
Coin Quilt Piece-a-long

Cool tutes:
String Quilt (paper pieced) - someday I will make one of these!
modified Bento Box
Wonky Log Cabin
Crazy Nine-patch

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Birdie Sling

I finished this bag Thursday night and spent all Friday collecting compliments on it! I literally had strangers stopping me in the streets asking where I bought my gorgeous bag. You just have to love that. :)

Sometimes I wonder what I'd have to charge to make such a bag. It is not a quick whip-it-up project. I have 3 different fabrics (exterior, handles, lining), plenty of two types of interfacing (you can't skip this - you want those pleats to be crisp and the bag to be sturdy), 2 interior divided pockets. There are a lot of steps but when the end result looks so polished and professional it is worth it!

The pattern is Amy Butler's Birdie Sling. Again I chose two heavier fabrics for the exterior like with my first Birdie Sling here. I have no idea what the lotus flower fabric is but I love it! It took me forever to decide what print to use for this. I wanted something that would match what I was wearing all the time - black, brown, pink, orange, whatever. I think this will come pretty close.

I chose a yellow print for the lining - no dark linings if you ever want to see what's actually in there!

I think Ben was confused why I wasn't taking pictures of him...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quilted Trivet

Small is good. Small means trying out a new pattern, techniques, materials without much fear of waste. But above all small means fast (or at least relatively fast). I love fast!

I'm still slowly finishing up my table runner's hand-stitching but I took a break and made this adorable quilted trivet instead. Again, I so so love these Lizzie Dish prints! I had tons of scraps and wanted to try making a log cabin quilt square. The log cabin is perfect for making any size you want so it seemed a good choice for making a trivet too. The finished size of my trivet is about 10" square.

Small also meant that the machine quilting was a breeze! No struggling with fitting a big quilt under the machine, quilting just one square is easy! I decided to try out one of the few decorative stitches my machine included and it came out pretty good. NOT perfect, but decent. I also used a variegated thread for the first time and I think it looked particularly good with the heavier stitch pattern.

So... it's quite busy! Here's a picture of the back which I almost like better. But I did have fun making it and it's definitely a useful project too. I used a layer of Warm'n'Natural and a layer of Insul-Bright as the batting. It works as a trivet or a pot holder.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I hate hand stitching!

I have no patience. Or time. In theory it seems like hand sewing and watching TV would work out. But it's summer and there's nothing to watch. When I do sit down, I'm either cutting out my next project or folding the never-ending mountain of laundry we seem to generate. See? No time to hand stitch.

I would love to unveil my latest project, a quilted table runner, but it's not *quite* finished. I have that pesky hand stitching of the binding to do. I love how the runner came out and it would be put in use right away if only I could actually finish it. Unfortunately for the runner, my table, and me, I've already started my next project: my summer birdie sling. No hand stitching in that one! ;)

So I'll just leave a little teaser pic. Here is one of the squares of the runner. Can you tell what pattern it is? It's deceptively easy to make but so visually interesting. It looks even better when you join up the squares and the pattern continues...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nigella Rail Fence

Wow, I can't believe how long this quilt sat in my "in progress" bag and how quickly it got finished once I really worked on it. I started this quilt (my very first!) way way back in January 2008. Yes LAST year.

I'm a rather haphazard sewer and I was definitely careless with having my pieces be the exact size and then again with having an even seam allowance. So my squares ended up all different sizes. Of course when I attempted to put them together it wasn't working at all and none of the seams were lining up. (I must have thought it would just work out magically!) So very frustrated with my "good for beginners" rail fence quilt I put it aside.

Fast forward a year and half and some much-improved skills and appreciation for a 1/4" seam allowance and I felt confident enough to tackle this mess. I first had to trim down all the squares to an even size. Very unfortunately for me, the pattern of the prints meant I had to trim down every single side of every square. Not the most fun.

But this time putting the squares together was a snap! Amazingly, when you do things right and take some care it does actually work out. Not magically -- but it feels like magic when it all comes together perfectly. I added on my border and binding and my lovely mum was wonderful to finish it up by doing the hand-stitching of the binding to the backing on her visit. Thanks mom!

The fabrics are all Amy Butler Nigella, a light home dec weight. The quilt pattern is a basic railfence with a few squares of a single fussy cut flower tossed in. It's backed in a furry fabric I got ages ago and no batting.

Yes this turned into a baby modeling session, but I just love taking pictures of little Ben!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Several WIPs

Oh my it's been quite a while without a post! I have been sewing but I had two pretty disasterous projects that I had to scrap so that was a big letdown. Fabric gone to the scrap pile, time wasted and nothing to show for it all! They were both clothing projects for me so my next few projects I'm keeping away from anything that has to FIT. (Fitting is hard!) But I will definitely be returning to clothes sewing soon. I'm also determined to learn to shirr this summer!

So here are a few snippets of my next 3 projects (why am I always working on so many at once??)

First is a rescue of a quilt (my first) that I started in January 2008! Yikes. But I'm happy to report that it's almost complete, just a tiny bit of binding left to do.

Next are more yummy prints from the Lizzy Dish line. I'm still head-over-heels for my gorgeous oven mitts, they make me so happy every time I use them. So here's another fun way I'll get to see them. No more hints about that one just yet.

If you squint at the picture you can tell what this will become - a Birdie Sling! I use my Country Fair version daily but I really want a summer one too!