Friday, August 1, 2014

#opgivewarmth {august 2014}

After a month off track, we're back in business!  And I even whipped up a couple blocks with some gypsy wife leftovers just to show you that uncomplicated little blocks spread warmth just as well as the intricate ones :o)  

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!  And if anyone's itching to get their hands on some liberty of their own, I know that Massdrop has two FQ bundle options ending in the next day or so, and I also just saw on IG that Queen Bee Fabrics (a U.S.-based etsy shop) is closing ;(  So grab her liberty—scrap bundles, yardage or FQswhile you still can!  (Plus shipping is free through August 4th, so there's that.)

For those of you who missed the announcement (or would like a refresher), this project is a monthly callout for charity blocks that will benefit My Very Own Blanket (specifically, children in the Indiana foster care system).  All styles and piecing methods are welcome.  I only ask two things:  (1)  that your block(s) fits a 3" grid system (i.e. finished sizes of 3", 6", 9", 12", 15", etc., so add a ½" to each of those to allow for seam allowance), and (2) that they mesh with that (or any prior) month's color palette.
Address for #opgivewarmth blocks:

My Very Own Blanket
c/o Sarah Sharp
P.O. Box 4586
Carmel, Indiana 46082


Monday, July 21, 2014

sewvivor - {no} hats in the house - sarah

After finally sewing something this summer, I'm back to the arrow that started it all... The radiant one ;)  And since things didn't pan out for the pantone challenge with this little quilt, I figured I'd have a go at Rach of Family Ever After's Sewvivor auditions!  Because why not throw my name in the hat?  After all, it is quilter's edition this season! :o)

So I've had my heart set on handquilting this one for quite some time... I even handpicked an assortment of neutral anchor floss to complement the mismatched feedsack tones in the background:

But knowing any quilting would have to withstand quite a bit of washing (naptime quilts are weekly loads at our house!), I figured I should give myself a little bit of insurance by straight-line quilting on the machine before getting out my thimble.

The lines fall roughly every inch on the diagonal.

And in a surprising twist of preparedness, I have the perfect binding—a bluish/purple striped oakshott—all ready to go just as soon as I add all those handquilted stripes and echo stars.

...Make that almost ready to go thanks to my little helper.  ;o)  (I'm guessing the handquilting will be a much bigger task than rewinding that binding, anyhow.)

And with any luck I'll finish the pattern by the time I get this little cot quilt bound!  (Which would be quite the feat, as it's been on my list since teaching elements of this design back in April.  <<insert ashamed emoticon here>>)

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

slacking {...and swapping}

Oh hello there ;o)

So... where've I been the past month and a half?  According to the archives, not here.  (Oops!)  And not really at the sewing machine (I only wish I were cool enough to have that many secret projects going on).  No no, instead I've been preoccupied with work (the non-sewing kind), closing on our house, and spending some much-needed time with the fam'.  So not too shabby, really :)

But I have had a few snippets of time to catch up on some sewing.  Namely, my Schnitzel & Boo mini swap!

So I had Shannon (@piecefulkwilter) and I was smitten as soon as I saw the questionnaire:

Jewel tones.  Low volume.

Plaids.  Stripes.  Dots.  Scrappy.

Bright.  Bold.  Graphic.

And of course I couldn't resist adding some more feedsacks and earthy oakshott to the back.  Plus a sharpie label.  Boom.  Done.  :)

Of course the upside to parting with this little quilt was knowing it was always destined for such a deserving (and appreciative!) recipient.  Because at the end of the day, it's the giving away that fuels most of the making in this house :o)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#opgivewarmth {june 2014}

Another month gone by means another palette for #opgivewarmth!  I've been a bit absent from the IG hashtag this month but I'll be packing for Camp StitchALot tomorrow night and I can tell you one thing that will definitely be in tow... our April and May blocks!

And for those of you who missed the announcement (or would like a refresher), this project is a monthly callout for charity blocks that will benefit My Very Own Blanket (specifically, children in the Indiana foster care system).  All styles and piecing methods are welcome.  I only ask two things:  (1)  that your block(s) fits a 3" grid system (i.e. finished sizes of 3", 6", 9", 12", 15", etc.), and (2) that they mesh with that (or any prior) month's color palette.

Address for #opgivewarmth blocks:

My Very Own Blanket
c/o Sarah Sharp
P.O. Box 4586
Carmel, Indiana 46082

June 2014 Palette | #opgivewarmth

Saturday, May 31, 2014

love liberty? and aurifil? read on!

When I first started collecting liberty last summer to make my double diamond wedding ring quilt, I scoured etsy and ebay for little charm packs to get a small sampling of what evolved into a collection of hundreds of prints.  And then while in Europe for my cousin's wedding last fall, I picked up some celebratory prints from the London mecca itself.

It turns out regularly ordering yardage or crossing the Atlantic every time I need a little more liberty in my life isn't in the cards for me.  But I certainly am open to the idea of picking up a fat quarter bundle every now and again.  And guess what?  Remember how I told you about Massdrop last month and the classic bundle they had on offer?  You know the one...

Well there's another one up for grabs(!)  And guess what? Yours truly picked out the prints (...nervous silence.)  Yay...? Nay...? (Eep!)  But really, tell me what you think or what you'd rather see next time :)  Pretty please?

And as you might've guess from the rather prominent "Print Set B," they're re-offering the classic bundle as well ;o)

So if you missed out last time or are looking to bolster your collection with some new prints, then head on over to the group buy page and join now or commit!  Only need a few more to unlock the lowest price :)  And while you're over there, you might notice that they're rerunning the Aurifil drop, too.

And just kicked off one for OLFA cutters and blades.  So go on!  You know you want to...  And of course spread the word, because the more is truly merrier when it comes to Massdrop ;o)

Friday, May 30, 2014

in LOVE {AMB blog tour :: Indiana}

I have to say, I was pretty ecstatic to get Candice's invitation to participate in the American Made blog tour the other month.  My mind immediately started off in a million directions.  (...One might even say it was racing.)

At one point I was considering jampacking all-things-Indiana into a checkerboard layout; as in, sixteen snippets of Indiana-isms, each in its own 1.5" square package.  (I do have an affinity for tiny piecing, after all!)  Because really, there's so much to choose from!  Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home, Hoosiers and basketball, home to Raggedy Anne, James Dean, and the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post; a small town in Indiana even stakes a claim to the former "Circus Capital of America."  What's not to love about all that?

But at the end of the day, I decided on something a little more, shall we say, straightforward...  simply in LOVE:

Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE symbol embossed on a checkered flag (a nod to the ever-popular Indy 500, which just celebrated its 98th running this past weekend).  A big shout out to my friend Amanda who encouraged me to use our state's abbreviation rather than the full name ;o)  To mix things up, I jotted it down in lowercase cursive, and then used a gray perle cotton that my friend Heather gave me.  (Aren't creative friends the best?)

And because I couldn't make just one, I also started a little red, white and blue tribute...

American LOVElies.  Which are soon to be joined by the full spectrum of colors, as I couldn't resist cutting into all 50 hues that AMB sent my way!

Want to make one, too?  Great!  The only special items you'll need are template plastic, your paper-backed adhesive of choice (I used Therm O Web HeatnBond Ultra), and the 5.5" LOVE template, which I will upload soon, so check back in over the weekend for that :o) Just remember to print at 100%!

Here you can see my various stages of progress:  
reverse LOVE template (bottom right) | traced+pressed LOVE emblems (left) | (partially) cut out LOVE (top right)  

The quick (as can be) and dirty for a 6" block:
Using 2" squares, piece two sixteen patches, pressing seams open as you go.  One of these will be for the LOVE lettering, and the other for the background.  Then, after creating a plastic template of the LOVE symbol, use it to trace the *mirrored* lettering onto the paper side of the adhesive.  Loosely trim around the symbol, leaving a little room beyond the letter lines (you'll cut more precisely once it's fully bonded to the fabric).  Next, center the adhesive on the *wrong side* of the sixteen patch (the one you made specifically for the lettering), and press according to the setting instructions.  Once it's secure, carefully cut out the symbol and then remove the paper.  Finally, overlay and line up the checkered LOVE symbol on the background block, press to secure, and channel your inner Casey York and finish the applique in your method of choice!

The block will finish at 6" x 12"
And if you're lucky, you just might be able to get started on your own American Made love... because the AMB folks are giving away a pack of eight fat quarters!  (And not just Indiana, but one for every state in the whole U.S. of A., so go check out the other states'  plates!) 

To win here, just leave a comment on this post :o)  Easy peasy!  A winner will be announced June 3.

Edited to add:  Congrats to No. 63 Carmen N.!  

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

attention new bloggers! {and new quilt blogger blog hoppers}

Plum and June

Beth of plum and june's New Blogger Blog Hop holds a special place in my quilty heart.  (My intro post from last year is over here.)  For those of you who aren't familiar, the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop is a really fantastic way to meet and connect with a group of bloggers with whom you share one major thing in common:  newness!  Which, to be fair, carries with it a certain disconnect (at least until you get more solid footing and a little followership).  So when Beth wrote asking if I'd share some advice for new(er) bloggers—thanks Beth!—I immediately started thinking about all the things I wish I'd known before hovering over the "Publish" button for the first time.

As Erica mentioned in her advice post, quality visuals are a definite plus.  In that spirit, I've scattered a few throughout this post ;o)

Link up!
For as vastly distributed as we are across the globe, there are a surprising number of spots where you can really feel like a "regular" every week if you just take a look around and put yourself out there.  By way of example (this is by no means an exhaustive list!): WIP Wednesday at Lee's, Needle and Thread Thursday at Kelly's, Finish it up Friday at Amanda Jean's, Paper Piecing Party every weekend at Kristy's, and Sunday Stash over at Molli's.  And then there's the semi-annual Blogger's Quilt Festival (going on now!) over at Amy's.  And don't even get me started on the quilt alongs...

Link to!
That's right! Were you inspired by something you saw on flickr? Pinterest? Another blog? Or, are you talking about a project that you previously posted about? Click the "Link" tab, highlight that text and show me exactly where to go.

A sketch from my high school doodling days.
Because I like it.

Be genuine.
It'll come through.  Of course at first you might struggle to find your voice.  (I distinctly recall not really knowing who exactly I was addressing—...myself?—when I first started blogging.)  You're at a really great advantage having a solid group of peers (and onlooking alums!) stopping by via the hop, but also give some thought to your dream audience, and write to them, too.

Feel the love.  Spread the love.
I've found that (most) quilters are inherently welcoming.  Embrace it.  Emulate it.  The end.

This is a mock-up of my *January* do.Good Stitches design.  (Or, how not to be accountable.)

Be accountable.
No one wants to start a quilt along only to be left hanging and without full instructions at the end, right?  Try not to be that person.  Or at least communicate that life has gotten in the way and you have no choice but to be that person in that moment (by doing so you'll actually still avoid being "that person").

One of several free patterns in my craftsy shop.  Clearly not overly concerned these days about giving anything away ;o)

Figure out what works for you.  And be willing to adapt.
When all is said and done, you have to carve out your own place in the interwebs—preferably one that you'll stay motivated to maintain.  I initially started blogging as a complement to my Etsy shop, where I planned to sell only quilts, not patterns.  (In retrospect... Ha. Ha. ...Ha.)  So for whatever reason, I swore early on that I'd never post WIPs because (1) I didn't quite understand why other people would want to see my process to begin with, and (2) in a world marred by copycats, I was nervous about "giving too much away."  Let me tell you, after I started blogging (in a vacuum) those two points went out the window about as fast I came up with them, leaving me with a completely (and somewhat frighteningly) blank platform.  But you know what?  That forced me to explore other blogs I admired, and really helped me make this my "happy place."

#opgivewarmth is one way I try to give back, along with giveaways, free patterns and free palettes.

Give back.
(In whatever way is meaningful to you.)

And finally, think outside the blog.
I have to say, I avoided joining Instagram for the longest time. As far as I could tell, friends joined IG and (their words, not mine), "basically stopped blogging." Gasp! Determined not to let that happen to me, I avoided IG altogether. And then I met my coworker-blogger-friend (not in that order) Amanda of Material Girl Quilts, who—within a day, tops—told me that I *had* to get on IG.  So I did.  And between that, flickr, and the blog, I've ended up with a nice little trio for getting (and staying) connected.  I encourage you to explore outlets beyond your blog if you're anxious to get more engaged in this ever-evolving community.

And that's all I've got to say about that!  Thank you again to Beth for organizing such a wonderful event.  I very much look forward to meeting some new friends over the next few months.  And for those of you who are interested but haven't yet signed up, you can check out the hop guidelines and leave a comment expressing said interest on Beth's post over here.