quilting flowers

i decided to really step outside the box on this one and do flower quilting. I had seen the idea on this blog - which also just happened to be posted on my birthday of quilting big, loopy flowers!

I know the pictures aren't the best but the sunlight helps show the flower with the dark thread. I absolutely loved doing these and I seem to be a lot better at flowers than stippling...

I think I may try this on a bigger quilt if i take the chance and do some bright, fun fabrics even though i have a house full of boys! It went fairly fast too. It does definitely use more thread and by the 3rd or 4th loop the center of the flowers become stiff with all of the stitches. I would like to try this in a variegated thread on a child's shirt without any extra fabric, but just the stitches as the pattern - hmmm....



here is an up-to-date picture of the quilt in progress named 'rocketboy'. i have the main blocks done, I am going to add another strip of orange to the outside of the row to complete this part.

one of my favorite parts of making a quilt has become choosing the binding and putting it on. I love coordinating this part of the project....so i'm happy to say I made a stash-addition and ordered this awesome print for the binding. It is amy butler's lotus full moon polka dot tangerine and I found it at Pink Chalk Fabrics. This is an older print and becoming harder and harder to find.

I took a couple shots testing it out as 'binding' - I think it's gonna be fab-u-lotus!

Originally, I wanted something w/ red in it to bring out the bit of red in the blocks, but I couldn't find the lotus in the red color anywhere, so i thought tangerine would be the next best option.

can't wait to finish so i can get this binding on there....must finish placemats first!


not for the faint at heart

Do you drive in the left lane, when deep down you know you should be in the right lane? Do you tap the brakes often? Do you run out of patience easily?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then stippling might not be for you! I finally dove in head first with a set of the place-mats I'm making and tried my hand at stippling. It isn't my favorite quilting pattern, but some people do it and make it look really nice and easy. i read several people say it goes much faster than straight line quilting, so i wanted to try it.

I thought I'd put my pride aside and show you my first attempts - and they are rather ugly i tell you! The entire time i was doing this i kept thinking of sea anemone or bad maple leaves. The hardest part was getting my foot to work with my hands and get my stitch length adjusted.

I found this explanation of stippling: Stippling is a common form of "filler" quilting. Either done by hand or by machine, it creates a pattern of closely-sewn, roaming lines that fill background spaces on a quilt.

I dove in without a real plan as to which way to go or how to fill in the space other than the few online tutorials i had watched. Looking at it now....i think i can do better and practice will make 'better'! I had some 'harsh' edges when i wasn't sure where to go, but the faster i worked the better off i was.

My stitches started really long so i needed to get comfortable with the pedal more depressed and working quicker. It did go quickly and I did remove some of the really bad stitches that were too long.

I think i'll try it again, maybe on some pot-holders or another small project - i think it would be a great skill to have and develop as well as an addition to my quilting options! Tell me your story about learning to stipple!


A peek inside my Studio

I thought it might be fun to show you a little peek into my studio. I was taking some pictures this past weekend, and it was fairly clean, so a good time to snap some shots! Here is an overall view of the room with my sewing area and cutting table. In our home in Indiana I had turquoise walls, which I miss dearly. This is way bland for my taste, but it works for now!

A different view including my window overlooking the canal.

Some Scrapbooking Supplies / Stash

A jar with my leftover bindings / triangles left

My many colors of thread for appliqueing and the left-over spools...I don't have anything else to fill this jar just yet, and it's somewhat rewarding to know how much you've sewn and used your beloved machine!
Lots o' ribbon for crafting

And that's the tour! As my number of quilting projects grows I may need to find a new way of organizing. Believe it or not my fabric stash is limited to 1 large metal basket housed in our laundry room shelving. I have 1 small bag on the floor inside my cutting table where i throw my scraps. I have only made a handful of quilts (less than 10) so i don't have a need to color sort scraps or organize them further at this point. It has taken much willpower to keep my stash at this level...as you can tell my scrapbooking hobby didn't include the same willpower! I am living the motto 'less is more' and using what i have, as hard as it is!


what i'm working on....

Here's a look at what I'm working on this week:

I finished 4 of the strip quilt blocks and have 4 more in process, a look at what a 'big' block will look like - do you see the 'X' through the middle that forms when you put them together?

Here is one of the Robot blocks for my bigger guy - he wants a new quilt. It will have oranges, greys and blues. A bigger modern pattern - inspiration here.

And here is a new small system for organizing projects (instead of piles on my cutting table / ironing board) It will work for now. Top row: placemats / sailboat quilt. 2nd row: Strip quilt blocks / fabric. 3rd Row: Pillowcase / fabric backing / Improv quilt fabric.

I have 4 more placemats done and pinned ready for quilting and binding. A bigger look at my studio / sewing space tomorrow!


i'm a winner!

One of my favorite things about reading blogs, besides the inspiration and friendships, is the chance at a random giveaway. You leave a comment and then cross your fingers all week in hopes that you've been chosen by the random generator. Do you comment first, last or somewhere in-between....what are my chances? I have left many comments and never won a quilt-blog giveaway until about 2 weeks ago!!! Not only did i win this giveaway, but I won something awesome!

I joined the Improv(e) Your Butt Challenge on Tallgrass Prairie Studio's Blog and by completing my weekly goal was able to enter to win part of her scrappy stash. After finding out I was the winner I will admit I stalked the mailbox / carrier for about 10 days and was so excited to find it in the post.

An overall view of my goody bag

A little bit better pic of each fabric. I can't decide what to do with these....the challenge is to exercise more regularly and the reward part was a piece of fabric for every mile completed - forming an improv project / quilt. I thought it would be perfect to use this stash to start my improv project.

My absolute favorite scrap!

The collection of my most favorite scraps out of the pile!


String Quilt Blocks

I love the look of the string quilt block and how the 4 blocks form a pattern with just the strip in the center. I'm trying to use up the rest of this older Amy Butler Fabric and thought this would be a great way to use up scraps and my remaining yardage. This is my first finished block, although since this pic I finished 3 more!

this is a simple pattern and makes for easy sewing - I used this tutorial from Ashley at Film in the Fridge. The little tiny corners are also a great way to use those little triangles left over from mitering your binding!

These blocks are a tad more difficult to chain piece, for me at least. I tend to get 3-4 projects going and then spend time at the machine chain-piecing, then chain ironing and then re-pinning new pieces and then back to the machine. How do you do it? Do you just do one project or sew one piece, then iron then pin the next piece?


1+1 = 2

I finished another set of placemats to add to my mom and grandma's collection I'm making them. They already have 1 apiece and now they have 2!

They each have the same theme of fabric, but I thought it'd be fun to try different quilting on each of the 4 mats. The brown theme is my mom's and the first one had quilted square on it.

This one is my grandma's where i tried organic quilting this time....must say that i *loved* it - no boundaries and so fast! Her first mat had random circles intersecting each other (I just traced a bowl with chalk and went for it with the circles!)
4 more to go!