Tuesday, April 30, 2013

scrappy {selvage} st. louis 16 patch

I've been dutifully saving selvages ever since setting eyes on this lovely (you can see Jacquie's finished quilt here).  And by "saving," I mean {generously} trimming selvages before tossing the fabric into the wash (yep, I'm in that camp).

Let's just say that after four years of conscious collection, that s* adds up!  As in, almost seven pounds! {Not including the crate ;)}  To be honest, I always figured I would make that spiderweb quilt (still might!), but these slivers just weren't screaming spiderweb to me anymore.  Enter the st. louis 16 patch (aka BB #1102a, "Mosaic #20").  "Quick and oh so easy"?  Yes please!  Scrappily strip-pieced?  Sold.  And whadda ya know... just in time for string fever ;)

So my selvage elf diligently dove in, meticulously sorting through scraps...

That is, until she started nodding off on the job.

While she snoozed, I managed to pick up her slack in the sorting department...  {Imagine that!}

Get a little bit organized...

And even start sewing ;)

Okay, so I didn't get too far on the sewing front.  But I did manage to cut enough strips for at least 12 more blocks, so keep an eye out for those because this addictive endeavor is officially underway!

Of course, I hadn't been crazy enough didn't have the forethought to trim a full 4" strip along the selvage of each and every (or any) fabric, so I had to scale down the finished square size from 3 1/2" to 1 5/8".  Admittedly, doing so sort of negates the "quick" factor that originally lured me in as I'll need four times as many blocks for every one of Steffani's, but I think it'll be worth it to finally get some use out of these trimmings ;)

If this simple goodness sparks your fancy, be sure to check out Steffani's tutorial* for the "how to" and join Katy's flickr group for the "let's do this!"

*As I'm using selvage pieces, I did make a few modifications to her instructions.  I'll post a {modified} tutorial once I finish the quilt (I'm using very, shall we say, modest seam allowances along the selvage edges and want to make sure they hold up in the wash before I go on blabbing about how to do what I'm doing).


Happy Wednesday!  So tell me, any other selvage hoarders out there or am I by my lonesome?  {And if you don't want 'em, I'll gladly take them off your hands!}

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, April 29, 2013

chicago star: quilting outside the lines

A few weeks ago, I introduced my rocky start to this project, adding that completing it and sending it to its rightful receivers would be my April ALYoF goal.  Apparently, when you announce that you're {finally} going to finish a gift for someone, they give you an(other) occasion that calls for celebration.

So today, I want to share with you the {rocky} chicago star, a belated Christmas an unexpectedly timely engagement gift for my brother and his fiancée (!)  Perhaps the only thing bigger than this massive 90" star is the silly smile on my brother's face these days ;)

The simple quilting (1" spaced straight lines) was inspired by these gorgeous quilts (and if you think that's an impressive sampling, check out Folk Fibers' full collection here).  Incredible, right?

For the back, I used a nautical navy print paired with brown "paper hats" on ivory.  I outlined the third hat from the top because I miscounted the number of "brim" strips I had cut to pay homage to the quilt's coloring book design.  {In all fairness, I was originally planning to outline all the hats (brims+tops), but the end of the month came too quickly!}

I just couldn't resist sneaking in a diamond in the lower right corner though.  C'mon, they're engaged! ;)

Note:  If you feel like that diamond's giving you déjà vu, it's the same pattern I was testing out on this design.  I've finally gotten my act together and posted it on craftsy.  The sea crystal+plaid quilt showcased 16" gems, but I went all out with a slice of a 20" diamond for this one.  Set in "yellow gold," just like her ring ;)

Here's a snapshot right before I tossed it into the washer last night:

And one of it freshly folded right out of the dryer this morning:

And while I'm going on about this pattern, might as well add that there's also a princess cut version out there as well ;)  {Edited to add:  I'll be giving away a copy of each next week for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day, so come back then for a chance to win!}  Speaking of birthstones, I'm thinking my May ALYoF goal might have to be completing the amethyst quilt I started back in February... or maybe a selvage quilt that's in the works... or making a dent in my steam punk or Forest QAL blocks.  Or finishing up something I've been working on for my parents.  I just have too many projects to choose from...  (!)  Thank goodness for finishing what you've started through ALYoF ;)  Have you joined in?

Friday, April 26, 2013

straight-laced {a sea of shoes}

As I was figuring out how to (re)introduce this quilt, I sort of started feeling like Sonja's spokesperson because... you guessed it! Another Artisania paper-pieced pattern ;)  (She was also behind this crazy adorable horse).  It's not that I don't have my own designs (there's proof!)... I just have such great respect for truly original designers that most of the time I find their designs, quite simply, impossible to resist ;)

While this is a gift for my sister and her lovely boyfriend, if they don't mind I'd like to dedicate these 23 pairs of All Stars to those affected by the recent tragedy in Boston.  While maybe only Chuck Taylor himself could've managed to run 26.2 miles sporting these kicks, I'm hoping the thought is able to travel the 935 miles that now separate my hometown from my birthplace.  And now I think I finally know what to sew for my flag.  Thanks for the idea, mom ;)

The pattern for these roadworthy high tops was published in Quiltmaker's May/June 2012 issue (along with lots of other fun stuff), which I had in hand just in time for some expedited Christmas stitching (more on that in this post).  Short story short, my sister L-O-V-E-S her All Stars.  This pattern is called, "I Love My All Stars."  Need I say more?

I struggled with quilting ideas.  I knew I wanted uneven straight lines through the graded brown "shelves."  Apart from that, I was at a loss.  Then I started to notice straight-line quilting (pretty much my method of choice the only design in my repertoire) all over the place.  Here.  And here {side bar:  she is crazy good and posted a nice tutorial just last month}.  Also here.  And most recently here.  Okay okay I'll stop.  You get the point ;)  I opted for more organic lines to mimic the waves of the ocean, seeing as family summers at the beach served as my inspiration for the color palette.

For the back, I pieced "paper hats" from an assortment of blue prints, and paired them with a chocolate brown batik and a "cathedral window"-esque printed design.  I originally pieced together a completely different backing (i.e. very sunshine-y and quite yellow) and was good to go until I stumbled upon the blue cathedral window print in my stash.  Gah!  A perfect match!  Alas, it was too serendipitous to ignore, so I started fresh and came up with this.

On the plus side, I do have a good-sized spare backing just lounging around ;)

Linking up with crazy mom quilts.  Twice in as many weeks -- my my, to what do I owe this streak of productivity?!  Deadlines and sleep-sewing, no doubt.  But perhaps the Numi tea that's been running through my veins 24/7 these days has something to do with it, too... I'd better go brew myself another cup for good measure ;)

I was a few inches short on binding, so I used up some scraps from one of these blocks to finish it off ;)

What keeps you sewing strong?

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P.S.   In case you're wondering why you can make out hardware cloth and 2x4s in the background... I confess...I took these in front of our chicken coop!  Sadly, the ladies sought shelter before I could get their beauty shots ;)

Caught by the coop!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

steam {hunk}

If you haven't caught word of the steam punk frenzy instigated spearheaded by Jeannette of Gone Aussie Quilting and Amy of Badskirt... well, I suggest you check out the flipping brilliant blocks in the works and jump on this bandwagon!

I have to say, I knew I didn't stand a chance fabric-wise once I first caught a glimpse of these (umm.. are you kidding me?!)  So the pattern came... and two weeks passed with no cutting.  Or fabric pairing, for that matter.  Then the other night, as I was tidying up my sewing space, I (literally) tossed the pattern aside onto a pile of my husband's old dress shirts (I've been picking them out of the goodwill pile for a while now, just waiting for the right repurposing project).  Later on, when I went to fetch the pattern amidst that pile of tailored goodness, I figured hey, what the heck?  And with that, steam {hunk} was born ;)

Seeing this last week definitely helped rekindle the flame ;)  Thanks Jennifer!

Of course, once I realized that I was actually going to make something out of those old shirts... I immediately needed more.  So... I may or may not have encouraged a few more select donations to the resident charity pile ;)  I mean... it's still for a good cause... right?

Loving the change of pace that comes with working with such inherently masculine fabrics.  And the constant reminder of how much my husband really does love plaid ;)

Linking up with Lee!  So have you caught the steam punk bug yet?!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

birthstone block: round cut {pattern now available}

After all the amazing (and humbling) feedback from the "crystal" side of my sea crystal + plaid quilt, I finally got my batoot in gear (extra shout out to jeifner for the motivation!) and put together the round cut birthstone block pattern (available for immediate download for $5 on etsy and craftsy).

Sample gem designs for January-December modern birthstones:
garnet, amethyst, aquamarine, diamond, emerald, alexandrite, ruby, peridot, sapphire, tourmaline, citrine, blue topaz 

princess cut version is in the works and should be released within the next week or so.  Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful words.  Hope you enjoy ;)

- Sarah

P.S.  Does anyone know what's up with the new bloglovin'? Have you updated? What's that all about?

Edited to add:  For anyone who thinks I've lost it {ahem, Mareen ;)}, lately when I check my bloglovin' feed on my laptop, there's a prompt at the top of the screen asking me to "Try out the new Bloglovin'" (clicking through takes you to this beta site).  But alas, I thought I was already signed up for the new Bloglovin'?(!) Oh well, I've signed up for something and you can follow me here (wherever "here" happens to be now!):

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

{roue de charpentier} en nuances de vin

{carpenter's wheel} in shades of wine

So I have to admit I hadn't paid much attention to barn quilts until reading V and Co.'s post about the role they played in inspiring her Barn Dance design.  In fact, I don't ever recall having seen any. But to my surprise, on my family's latest ~13 hour semi-annual roadtrip out east, my husband and I passed dozens upon dozens on a route I've traveled as many (if not more) times (!)  So naturally, they were on my mind as I was brainstorming gift ideas for my sister-in-law, who has beautiful acreage in the countryside (complete with barn, horses, and all).

Knowing I wasn't up for the task of designing a permanent, painted wood emblem for their barn, I stuck with my strong suit and quilted a traditional Carpenter's Wheel block (y-seams to the extreme!) measuring 90" square.

My sister-in-law loves the colors of fall, so I went with a palette of deep wine reds and rich browns.  I can just picture this blanket strewn across a field for a family picnic on a warm summer day, right?  The backing is pieced from a tonal red harlequin print, an array of solid red "paper hats" on a mustard yellow batik, and of course, a sweet paper-pieced horse.  Note:  please excuse any loose threads... had to dash outside in a hurry during a brief break in the rain to snap these shots ;)

In case you couldn't already tell, I'm officially hooked on these symbolic barn-sized blocks (dare I mention there's at least one more in the quilting queue?)  I love their simplicity (and how {relatively} quickly they come together!), but I have to say I am more than ready to switch to maneuvering more manageable-sized quilts on my machine.

Too much of a good thing, I reckon ;)  Do you ever get stuck in a certain design rut and lose steam?  Any tips on keeping crafty variety in your sewing adventures?  Please, do tell!

Artisania's "peeping horse" pattern available here!

Guess I'm just glad it's out of the WIP pile and that I {finally} have something to show for finish it up friday ;) About time!

Thanks for visiting {the house} ;)

- S

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the {quiet} forest...

{low volume = quiet}  Get it?!

I've been brainstorming themes for Joanna and Julianna's Forest QAL for quite some time now.  Quite tough in light of all the amazingly inspiring fabric selections already out there!!  

To name a few that have been floating around in my mind...

{gypsy} floral forest:  all florals, obviously ;)
{wild} wilderness:  unexpected animal prints—think cheetah, zebra, snakeskin, and giraffefor the forest animals and their environs
{sustainable} forest:  only selvages, whichincidentallyI've been collecting for years!

For the time being, I've decided {low volume} is the way to go (it's been on my quilting wishlist, so hey, you know what they say about one stone...)

So far in our calm little community, we've got some wispy feathers floating in the air:

A noisy woodpecker:

Seriously, that red/cream stripe wasn't quite as low volume as I had wanted, but I guess if anyone's going to be noisy in this forest, it should be the woodpecker, right?

A {wildflower} grove:

(Okay, so I couldn't resist putting at least some florals in this forest...)

And a {purply} silver fox in the wings:

To be honest, I had high hopes of catching up this past week, but now that the fifth block has been posted (ah!)  it looks like I might always be a step behind.  If you're thinking of joining in on this paper-piecing challenge of a lifetime fun, click the button below for more information from one of the hosts herself! Still seven more fun designs to come ;)

Staying on task by linking up with Lee at freshly pieced ;)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

chicago star: {coloring book} style

So it's time to set my April goal.  Fortunately, I have no shortage of WIPs to choose from ;)  This month, I'm committing to complete a belated gift for my brother and his girlfriend up in the Windy city.  In light of the place they call home (also, the place they met), it seemed appropriate to sew up a nice, comfy "Chicago Star" quilt (BB #1777).

So I selected some shades of blue (frère's favorite color), stitched it all together, and was not impressed.  What made it worse, was that this was one of those times where I knew I wasn't loving the result as I was sewing.  Read:  I could and should have stopped myself before this point:

...But instead I kept going, sewing every last section of the 90" nine-patch until I had a completed top.  Blast!  I tried to set it aside, but even as I worked on other projects I kept kicking myself for ignoring my gut instinct on this one (oh, just another day in the life of my over-analytical self).

At the end of the day, I brushed off the {trusty} ol' seam ripper and started tearing through any section with blue fabric.  And as loose threads fluttered about, inspiration struck(!)  You see, my brother and his girlfriend have a sort of modern loft in the city.  Originally I was going for sentimental-yet-minimalist but ended up a little too old-fashioned for that aesthetic.  So I grabbed a deep navy solid and redid each blue section "coloring book" style (I actually am not quite sure what to call it, all I know is that top no. 2 looks like a giant coloring book page).  

Here's a sneak peak at the new-and-improved {bold} Chicago Star:

Within four weeks' time, I'll be revealing the completed quilt (and finally getting this gift to its recipients!)  One can only hope the finish goes more smoothly than the start ;)

A Lovely Year of Finishes   WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced