Wednesday, July 24, 2013

poolside bundle {in the house}

When I entered my mosaic into Sew Fresh Fabrics's Summer Bundle Contest over at Lily's Quilts, it was in a "well-I-know-I-have-a-million-other-things-on-my-to-do-list-but-let's-push-all-that-off-just-a-bit-longer-while-I-compile-a-nice-little-bundle-of-blues-here-in-the-kitchen-at-midnight" kind of a way.  Did I think anything would come of it?  Not really.  {Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty great assortment of fabrics (if I may), but there were plenty of other amazing entries, too.}

So you can imagine my surprise as I'm perusing Lynne's blog last month and happen upon this very familiar-looking array of pool-blue fabrics (available now over at Sew Fresh Fabrics!)...

(!)  And then, as if it couldn't get any sweeter, look what showed up on my doorstep the other week (on my birthday, of all days!)  Thank you Peg and Lynne!

Now that's my kind of icing ;)

Naturally, I wanted to share my good fortune, so I'm working on a new pattern featuring these lovelies and will be offering it {on the house} as soon as it's properly tested, tweaked, and prettied up on {digital} paper ;)  Of course it's all in my head at this point so if for some reason it's a flop (there are curves involved! Eep!), rest assured I'll be sharing something with you, whatever that might be, when all is said and done.

Added bonus?  Looks like quite a few (if not all!) of these beauties will go perfectly with last week's succulent-inspired pull.  And on that note, while I love snapping beauty shots of fabric stacks, I love sewing with them even more.  T-minus one week-ish till I can pry the padlock off my machine.  Stay tuned, friends ;)

Linking up with Lee of freshly pieced, as this is very much a work in progress (read:  patience is a virtue!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

sunrise, succulents, ...standstill.

Like Cari, I've had a particular color palette fixed in the back of my mind for quite some time now.  It all started with a quilt that Emily posted to the Made With Pink Castle Fabrics! flickr group back in May.  Then, just the other week Design Seeds' fresh hues (do you Design Seed?!) reeled me back in with a stunning shot of succulents.  I mean c'mon, just try and tell me these two are not destined to be together in every single way:

1.  Untitled (by Mary Notarthomas).  2.  Morning quilt (by emmmylizzzy)

{Incidentally, the fresh hues photo took me on a quick trip to Pinterest and tumblr before sending me right back to a flickr photo taken many moons ago.  Perhaps I should go a little easier on it in spite of all those unbearable (and wildly confusing) changes?  Meh.  Jury's still out.}

The jury is also perplexed as to what should become of this alluring, lingering color scheme.  Though apparently uncomplicated, this whole two-colors-that-aren't-next-to-one-another-on-the-color-wheel bit is relatively uncharted territory for yours truly.  Good thing there's still a potential for gradients involved...  

~fifty fabrics, unlimited possibilities?!

...And good thing I've been stockpiling purple prints for years? ;)  So... any design thoughts for me?  One idea—in keeping with the natural inspiration behind these hues—is to mimic those succulents by taking a some sort of "floral" approach.  Another option?  Piece an array of outdoorsy lanterns for Jess of Quilty Habit's Lantern-a-long.  Of course that task would be doubly challenging, asin case you weren't already awareI have a thing about symmetry (particularly its mandatory presence in most everything I undertake), and her gorgeous lanterns come in all shapes and sizes (as they should! I'm the neurotic one here!) ;)  Perhaps the time has come to sew outside my comfort zone, a bit.  Just last week I was reading about how Julianna of Sewing Under Rainbow made that a goal for 2013, and my gosh I think we can all applaud that brilliant decision!

What do you think?

Linking up with Lee of freshly pieced!

P.S.  If mixing, matching and mosaic-building is your kind of thing, too, be sure to check out Rachel of Stitched in Color's {clashy bright} contest, sponsored by Marmalade Fabrics ;)  {You can see my ode to an unexpected color here.}  Entries are due by midnight on July 18, so you've got a teensy bit of time to try your hand at one (or even two!) custom clashy creations.  Go on, have at it!

P.P.S.  Added bonus?  Looks like there's lots of sales activity over at Marmalade ;)  (Everybody wins!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a communal cup o' tea

Sarah Fielke might be the coolest quilter I wish I knew.  (It's true!)  Not only does she spell her name with an "h" (is there any other way?, asks fellow Sarah with a "h"), but she also co-authored the first "modern" quilting book on my bookshelf, Material Obsession (since rivaled only by Material Obsession 2 and her own Hand Quilted With Love).

As if that weren't enough, she's currently calling for us, admirers near and far, to stitch up an "All That and the Hatter" cup for a virtual teatime of sorts.  The culmination of all that clinking china?  Her first community quilt.  Brilliant.

She said she'd be happy to share a copy of the teacup pattern with anyone who needs it.  For that and other important details (e.g. design specs and the December 1 deadline), see her Birthday Quilt Along post.

So.  Will you rise to the call {of a quilting great!} and raise your pinky at her tea party?

P.S.  When she says "clear colours," that means pure, right?  Knowing her style, I get the feeling it's as far from gray as possible... ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

gray is a color, too!

When I entered this tartan top into Rachel of Stitched in Color's "Festival of Strings" at the end of May, I couldn't help but smile upon seeing my (since completed) grayscale plaid amidst all the other, much scrappier and eminently more "colorful" creations in the show.  Dare I say clashed?

Well, as soon as I saw that Rachel-the-queen-of-color was hosting a "Clashy Bright" mosaic contest sponsored by Marmalade Fabrics, guess what popped into my head?

That's right.  GRAY.  In all its glory.  Because gray, my friends, is a color too.    It's the mist rising in the cool morning air.  Stones skipping across a lake in the summertime.  It's the color of pearls glistening in the moonlight.  It's the rain tapping, lulling on a tin roof during a late spring storm.  And gray is the trail of a pencil on paper as it's furiously trying to keep pace with a vivid imagination.  

My personal favorite?  The gravel crunching under the tires as the family car turned into Bochie's driveway every summer during my childhood.  That color symbolized a sound that could only mean one thing:  we were finally there.

...So, is gray feeling a little more bright and colorful, now?  I certainly hope so.

{Removing self from soapbox.}  

Now, be sure to check out all the other entries {or enter yourself!} ;)  I get the feelingas happened last timemine will tend to clash.

gray can be loud, too!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Hi there!  I'm Sarah.

(The one on the rope swing about to bellyflop).  Welcome!  As I imagine most of you are dropping by via Beth of (fellow "no caps") plum and june's 2013 Let's Get Acquainted New-ish Blogger Blog Hop, I've elected to answer a few head-scratchers for you today ;)  Let's get started...

cool-hued makes:  sea crystal + plaid, {rocky} chicago star, sam's quilt, my sister loves her all stars, my second quilt
sidebar:  you'll have to forgive those tacky watermarks splashed all over these mosaics.  my bad!

what's this about hats?
The somewhat nonsensical nature of my blog name has become increasingly apparent these days.  (Even I do a double take sometimes).  I hope you'll take a look at this tab for some {evidently} much-needed context!

...okay.  so, why quilts?
I've actually never really given much thought to this until now.  I guess it all started back in college.  I couldn't quite come up with the right gift idea for our (then) dating anniversary.  My (now) husband had mentioned liking quilts before (keeper!), so my mom helped me pick out a pattern and taught me how to cut, assemble, and quilt his present from start to finish on her trusty old Pfaff.  Of course if I were to include a picture of that quilt alongside anything that came after it, it'd without a doubt be the proper response to the question,  "Which of these things is not like the others?"  Maybe one of these days I'll dedicate an entire post just to that experience's influence on my approach to sewing ;)
do you still sew on that Pfaff?
I hijacked borrowed my mom's Creative 1471 for almost eight years.  Then, last fall, said husband who inspired this hobby o' mine bought me a beautiful new Pfaff, which admittedly had its share of issues this spring (quilt drag, veering seams, and predictably uneven stitching? Good riddance!) but has since been swapped out by my dealer for its much-improved and now well-loved counterpart.

why do you blog?
The reason I started blogging and the reason I keep blogging couldn't be more different.  I started blogging because I decidedbeing the thrifty then-grad student that I wasto open an etsy shop to try to generate a little extra cash (most of the shop owners I tended to follow were active bloggers).  No brainer, right?  Fast forward seven months, and I have yet to list an actual quilt for sale (whoops!  Though to be fair, I did discover craftsy and have refocused some of that original energy into pattern designing).  But I keep blogging because although to non-quilters it might be about as intriguing as, say, civil war reenactment, I'm a quilter, and I love everything about this community and its collective process.

paper-pieced bling:  amethyst,  diamond,  emeralds

what's your sewing style?
Being (up until recently) the aforementioned pauper student, I tend to sew more by color rather than by collection.  It's actually quite liberating to be able to pull a fresh and vibrant color scheme from a stash heavily comprised of prints from years past (did I mention I love prints?)  Don't get me wrong, I'm actually quite envious of all the amazing designer fabrics out there, and I do splurge every so often, but as a practical matter such a sewing philosophy would be personally unsustainable (and quite frankly, not really "me").  That's why more often than not, you'll see {predominantly} monochromatic colorstories coming from the house of {no} hats.

low-ish volume endeavors:  steam punk, forest qal, rocky diamond, sunshine on a cloudy day, hunter's star

so who's this sharpie character?
Interesting story.  When I first signed up for blogger a few years ago to enter a Centsational Girl giveaway, I thought the "name" field was akin to a unique username field.  Assuming "Sarah" would already be taken (isn't it always?), I opted for a spin on my last name instead.  Well, my heart nearly skipped a beat when blogger immediately accepted the alternatearguably equally commonalias (score!); it wasn't until after I started actively blogging earlier this year that I realized my mistake.  Not wanting to confuse matters (at least, not anymore than I already had), I figured I'd stick with sharpie.  The end ;)
ten other random "me"-bits...
01  I <3 alliteration.  Symmetry too.
02  I make up words.  And frequently ignore commonly accepted rules of punctuation and capitalization.
03  I have a slight addiction to paper-piecing.  And {less common} traditional blocks (enter, the INDEX).
04  I overuse "and" and "so."
05  I suffer from start- and 'along-itis.
06  I think quilt backs can be fronts, too.
07  I was once conversationally fluent in French.  (Mais c'├ętait il y a longtemps.)
08  I like math.  And logic games (or "mindbenders," as my grade school teacher called them).
09  I (really, we) love to travel.  Ireland + England are next up on the list this fall in case anyone has any tips!
10  I try not to take myself too seriously.  "Try" being the operative word ;)

Curious to see what's next?  My flickr faves are a good indication of what's inspiring me these days.

Still here?  For more {no} hats-ness in your house:

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And if you haven't already, be sure to say "hi" to other quilty friends on the hop this week:

Karen @ Quilty Creations  >>> Upcycling in your wheelhouse?  You're in luck!
Anne @ Play Crafts  >>>  If for some wild reason you haven't heard of her (Palette Builder 2.0, people!), change that.  Stat.  
Rachel @ Let's Begin Sewing...  >>>  Don't know about you, but I'm diggin' her Lucky Stars BOM blocks...
Jan @ Sew and Sow Farm  >>>  She literally does both.  Well.  How cool is that?
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain  
>>>  Solid-lovers out there?  Looks like you're in good company ;)
Cath @ Wombat Quilts  
>>>  "Paper Piecing Monday" ring any bells?  One look at her addictive aesthetic and it most certainly will if it doesn't already!
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house  <<<  Well, since you're here, I'll leave this one to you ;)  P.S. Thanks for stopping by!
Christen @ Love by Hand  
>>>  Because really, who among us doesn't love handmade?
Julie @ 627handworks  >>>  Fancy music as much as fabric?  Block Rock'n is right up your alley! 'Swear!

Hope to see you around again soon ;) 

xx Sarah

Monday, July 8, 2013

do.good, feel.good, all.good

The other month I was pleasantly surprised to see a note from Rachel of Stitched in Color pop up in my inbox.  I'd added my name to the do.Good Stitches waitlist this spring, but honestly had no expectation of getting an invite so soon (especially before the summertime).  Well, life's just full of good surprises that way ;)  Believe Circle members:  glad to be stitching with you on behalf of My Very Own Blanket!

This month, Nicole asked us to make yellow, cream/white + gray blocks using Katy Jones of I'm a Ginger Monkey's "wonky bullseye" design from Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop.

Having been fond of this color scheme for quite some time without ever having pulled coordinating fabrics directly from my stash (shocking!), I welcomed the opportunity to experiment with these smart hues.

Piecing, however, was a different matter entirely.  A few sections turned out quite well, but on the whole these blocks erred a little more on the "wonky" side than the "bullseye" side.  And unfortunately, a last minute decision to douse them in starch wound up highlighting the wrinkly warping rather than taming it.

The blocks shipped out just before the holiday last week.  I'm hoping both Nicole and the quilt's recipient will find their imperfect nature complements (rather than detracts from) Katy's playful design?  {Oh well, fingers crossed!}

Linking up with Lee ;)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

uncle sam + introducing the {sneaky} block INDEX

Happy Fourth, friends!

I’m sure we’ve all visited this mecca of quilts blocks at least once.  In fact, as soon as I spot something I like in my trusty encyclopedia, quilter’s cache is the first place I go for block assembly ideas.  Ordinarily, with much success.  But the last few times, I’ve had no such luck (Sam’s Quilt, Century of Progress {Star of Arcturus}, and Boston Pavement, to name a few).

Now, full disclaimer:  maybe it’s just me?  As in, it’s entirely conceivable that I am mis-navigating the site.  For those of you who aren't familiar, the patterns are sorted alphabetically by title on a few separate pages; since you have to click through to see the thumbnail, I suppose the ones I’m after might be listed under a different name and I’ve just missed 'em.  Or maybe they really aren’t there.  Either way, from now on, they’re going to be here.  ;)

You see, that’s where the INDEX comes in:  traditional blocks that have somehow {sneakily} escaped the quiltosphere.  Till now.  Let’s just call it my feeble attempt to fill in the incredibly-sparse-but-still-existent gaps out there.  Here’s how it’ll work… Anytime I come across a block in the book for which I can find no free online instruction (public domain, people!), I’ll draw up and upload the pattern to craftsy, after which I'll post a link to the INDEX tab.  And if you happen to stumble upon one of these elusive blocks before I do, just give me a heads up and I’ll add it to a running list of patterns to deconstruct on paper and reassemble in fabric ;)  

Sound good?  Good.  Now go help yourself to BB #3725.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

skimpy strips do the trick ;)

What feels like forever ago, I posted this preview pic of my BBP scraps asking for some advice (thanks for all the suggestions!):

It took some time, but after trimming all those obtuse triangles into their more workable equilateral form, I was back in {blooming} business and on a mission...

to. border. this. quilt.

And whaddya know?  All that busywork {and those beautiful scraps!} didn't go to waste ;)

Now it's officially bordered, backed, and basted... and awaiting a spare moment to be quilted!

Happy Wednesday, friends ;)

Linking up with Lee!