I want spring already! But as a tide-me-over until real flowers start blooming, I made this bright baby quilt last week for a friend's new little girl. After I had purchased the fabrics, she made a passing remark about not being fond of pink nursery decor... so I added just a bit more of the teal zigzag, and crossed my fingers that she wouldn't mind some pink, with a bunch of other colors, too!
I added a few applique flowers for a little focal point. And I've learned a valuable lesson for the future about using interfacing under light fabrics - I wish the yellow flower popped a bit more, but the teal ended up showing through a tad.
I backed and bound it in the grey floral hexie, and added a corner label. I really want to get little BBD tags made up to sew into the binding of my quilts, but I haven't decided if they should just be my logo or washing tips or what. If you have a small pre-printed/ woven brand label that you use, what info have you included on it? Name? Brand? Logo? Website? Washing instructions? I'd love any feedback you have to offer!
Wrapped up and ready to go! Happy to report that my friend did indeed love it, pink and all : )
See you Saturday for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge kick off!
See this? *gulp* It arrived a few weeks ago, but I've been kind of afraid to share about it. This is the result of, "Gee, I think I need just a few Kona solids to better work the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge. I'll only order a few quarter yards for the mini quilt I've designed." (Did you catch that - for a mini! Not a full top, not a completed quilt - I went way WAY overboard!) Yup. So this happened. It's shameful! Don't get me wrong, I love every single piece to death, but you can see that I clearly got a little carried away with purples, and then while I was in over my head, I added a few other things as well. (And I know Molli Sparkles - who's away and has left guest hosting to Mila+Cuatro this week - likes us to list what everything is, but I can't sacrifice the next two hours to typing them all out and looking up links. If there's a specific print you're wondering about, though, leave me a comment and I'll let you know what it is! And in the meantime, you can of course find them all over at Pink Chalk Fabrics : )
Here are some more detailed shots...
I'm happy to announce that Angela Bullard of Sewing with Squeak is the winner of my Valentine's Day blogoversary giveaway! I asked readers what they were doing to celebrate, and it sounds like her planned sushi date night ended up unexpectedly postponed, so I hope her $25 gift certificate to Westwood Acres Fabric is a nice consolation prize. Enjoy!
Ok, ok, and my one last reminder ; )
Next Saturday I'll be kicking off the 30/30 Sewing Challenge here at BBD.
A chance for you to sew 30 minutes a day for 30 days just for you!
I gave more details here & you can find all the dates and grab the button right here.
Join the goals link up on March 1st with a quick post about the project(s) you've chosen for the challenge - anything related to sewing, it's up to you! We'll share our progress weekly, and there will be a chance to win prizes when the challenge wraps up. Looking forward to a month of "selfish sewing" with you!
Thank goodness for planning ahead! Not only did signing up for The Library Project QAL hosted by Adrienne at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts mean I had to plan out a few projects in advance, but it also motivated me to jump right in, which means I've kicked off my miniQuilt Color Study in fine form, found the perfect inspiration for my girls' new birthday quilts, and managed to get a jump on all the quilting far enough ahead of this week's link up that the huge wave of illness sweeping through our house hasn't kept me from meeting my deadline. (But really, it wouldn't be school vacation if everyone in the family wasn't knocked down with coughs and fevers and ear infections, am I right?!) So despite not having enough energy to sew, let alone get out of bed most of the week, I have progress to report!
And in keeping with my miniQuilt goal of decorating my walls, there it is! I did sew corners into the back to hang it, but between the four (4!!) snowstorms we've had this week and all of us sick, I haven't had a chance to go purchase a narrow dowel yet.
For the next Library Project QAL link up, I hope to show some piecing progress on the two Improvised Herringbone quilts I'm tackling from Amy Ellis' Modern Basics II: 14 Easy Patchwork Quilt Patterns. When I chose the pattern as a goal, I had no idea what I'd do with it... and then I saw Wee Wander by Sarah Jane! Now I'm excited to combine them and make twin bed quilts for my daughters' spring birthdays. My fabric has arrived. *Fingers crossed* I'm not still on a Nyquil IV next week so I have some energy to get started!
Are you currently participating in any type of QAL? If so, please share in the comments so we can all hear about the fun projects going on. Have you found it to be a great motivator (I definitely have!) or do you find deadlines frustrating?
Also linking up with Lily Pad Quilting's Cabin Fever Party - particularly apropos as I've been stuck in the house with everyone sick all week!
These are my February Stash Bee blocks for Em at Sewing by Moonlight. She asked for any type of star block in blues and greens at 8", 12" or 16" - I just love that mix of guidance and freedom. These are my first ever star blocks, and I love how they turned out. I especially love the little bird I managed to fussy cut into the wonky star! I'm going to try and replicate the idea with the star I'm working on for my Mini Quilt Color Study.
It's finally all here! The last of the Wee Wander by Sarah Jane that I ordered finally arrived this past week. In my urgency to be sure to have exactly what I wanted as various prints sold out left and right the first few days it was available, I ended up ordering from three different stores - yardage from Hawthorne Threads, a FQ bundle from Westwood Acres Fabric, and one single print from an Etsy shop, Bee Quilted & More (who had a steal on pre-order - only $8.25/yard and free shipping!). Upside: I knew right away that I'd have what I needed for my project. Downside: two shops were pre-order and I had to waaaaait. Now it's all here to be made into quilts for the bunk bed my daughters are getting for their birthday. I'm delighted that when it arrived, they started rolling around on the floor giggling about how beautiful the fabric is. (And it is - the hand is so soft.) Considering it was a very pricey investment made without consult, *whew* thank goodness they love it!
Ok, want to see my BIG exciting Valentine's Day present?? It's sort of a new sewing tool. If you saw my "studio reveal" post the other day (the one with the blogoversary giveaway - have you entered yet? go! go! you have till Thursday night to enter), you might have noticed a dilapidated cardboard box from Amazon under my sewing table - my little makeshift foot pedal support since I'm quite short : P Well, I'm happy to report my dad loves me so much that he built a sturdy wooden riser wide enough for both my feet, and added a nice little lip to keep my pedal from sliding away! It doesn't look too pretty yet because it was way too darn cold this week for him to paint in his garage, and now it's still way too darn cold for me to paint in my garage; once it warms up a bit, though, I'll give it an all over coat of white. In the meantime, it's such a welcome ergonomic addition to my sewing space!
Um, see all that fabric goodness? Guess what?? I stole it! Well, not really, but close to it. Sadly the store Project Anthologies is going out of business, hosting a huge blowout sale to liquidate their inventory, and I went right ahead and took advantage. I ordered eight yards of fabric - including Anna Marie Horner, Pat Bravo, some Cloud 9 organic - plus an adorable Sarah Jane embroidery pattern and some No-Sew Fabric Glue (haven't yet tried glue basting, but I will!) for $26! That's like $3.25 a yard with a pattern and glue tossed in for free - see? A steal! I hate seeing small fabric businesses close, I truly do, but I suppose someone was going to buy up their fabric at a bargain, so I'm glad my stash could benefit even if it was in that schadenfruede sort of way. (I'll be linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash - pop over if you'd like more fabric eye candy!)
And below is the after - all my recent fabric purchases worked into my stash instead of in piles, ironing board off to the side so it stays useful and not heaped with odd things, cutting table turned and closer to my sewing table (two perks - now my rolling chair stays on the plastic mat between sewing machine and swiveling to use my laptop, also, I have declared the corner "Mom's personal space - no kids allowed!" and since it's more boxed in, they have a harder time getting past security than when the area was wide open ; ) Now I just need to hurry up and finish my Mini Quilt Color Study so I can have some inspiration up in the blank spaces. I have already finished my blue Arches quilt - I'll show that off this coming week.
And I upgraded my ironing board! (It's off to the right of my cutting table under the eave in the pic above.) Now I have a fancy rest thingy for my hot iron AND a place underneath to store my starch and extra vodka. But really it just being off on it's own is the best part - my husband is enjoying not having to unearth it every time he needs to iron a shirt : )
One last plug before I get to the really fun part of today's post... we're two weeks away from starting the 30/30 Sewing Challenge! I created the challenge to help make sewing a daily habit and to carve out time to sew just for me. If this sounds like a fun idea to you - or like a habit you want to start for you, too, then please join me for the month of March to have fun sewing just for you! All the details are right here. Planning to participate? Grab the button and circle March 1st on your calendar!
Ok, so guess what today is? Yes, yes, it's Valentine's Day, but even better - it's my 2 year blogoversary and I'm giving away a $25 gift certificate to Westwood Acres Fabric to celebrate! They're one of my most favorite online shops, carrying many gorgeous precut modern fabric bundles, as well as patterns to use all that fabric goodness for.
To enter, leave me a comment below telling me what your plans are for this special holiday - what do you have planned for your Valentine? If you follow BBD on either Bloglovin' or Facebook, let me know in a separate comment for a second entry.
*The fine print: The drawing is closed!
I'll draw a winner at random, announce it here on my blog and notify the winner via email.
The giveaway is open to everyone, but if you're a no-reply/anonymous commenter,
be sure to include your email address in your comment so I can notify you!
This is it! The last of the last in Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty Series. We started off back in November by reflecting on our abilities as sewists and quilters, then listing goals we wanted to work on to help improve our weaknesses or to be brave and attempt techniques we'd previously been afraid to try. I set four goals, and here's how I did...
1. Try longarm quilting: DONE!
The "Holiday Road" quilt that I made my parents for Christmas featured my debut longarming work. It was nothing fancy, but it came out really well for my first foray. I used three different motifs and even stitched a whole bunch of meaningful words about our family's annual camping traditions into the borders. (Isn't it funny how schools have virtually given up on teaching cursive handwriting, but it's about the easiest thing ever to quilt?)
Taking the class has gotten me really excited about longarming. There's a very good chance that a new machine will be joining me at home in the not-so-distant future!
2. Practice machine applique & hand embroidery: DONE and DONE!
3. New-to-me quilt binding technique: DONE!
Quick disclosure: if there is one thing about quilting that I hate - really truly wish I could skip - it's binding. I have a mother who adores this last step; she breezes through creating strips and then happily settles down in a chair, needle in hand, cup of tea at her side, for the rewarding and enjoyable task of binding her finished project. My mom taught me to quilt; if you know me well, you know that I'm like her in many ways, but this isn't one of them! I like to do anything and everything I can by machine to avoid hand sewing, and binding is definitely one of them. So when I came across this quick and easy machine binding tutorial by Ashley Hinton of Wasn't Quilt in a Day, I immediately pinned it for future reference. And now I've used it. You can see a detail of it on one of the doll quilts I made in the photo below.
4. Get better at FMQ: um, yeah, about that...
You may remember me saying "I'm also going to try and get creative with some free motion quilting on the doll quilts I'm making.... After all, if they don't come out perfect, my kids sure aren't going to notice and I'll be setting that great 'keep practicing and you'll get better' precedent that we parents/teachers are supposed to." Let's just say I didn't set any precedents. I did try curved lines (which you can also see in the doll quilt pic above), and they look lovely, but I was still too scared to FMQ! Another day perhaps.
Overall, I'm happy with what I accomplished during SWC. Branching out just in these little ways has given me confidence to try other things - I signed up for a bee, which I thought was for sure out of my skill set but is so far turning out great (as long as no one asks for paper pieced blocks any time soon ; ) and I just tried curved piecing for the first time ever on my blue Mini Quilt Color Study. Here's a quick snapshot of it - not too bad, right? Now I have to figure out the quilting... and bind it.
You can find all the great Sewing with Certainty topics we've discussed here.
Thanks so much for the great series, Jess!
For those of you who haven't been linking up with SWC, what's a sewing goal you have this year to master or even just make a first attempt at? How are you doing with your goal so far?
Okay, so I want to talk about my new long-term project, but first, how cute are these?! My latest Westwood Acres delivery: Kei floral polka dots! I bought them because I was thinking I might use the purple/green in my Pantone Quilt Challenge design, but in the meantime, I've changed my mind. Darn. Now I'll just have to find some other wonderful use for them ; ) Linking up with Molli Sparkles' Sunday Stash.
Back to the other thing.... Last month I reviewed a couple of new quilting books I received as holiday gifts, including Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts by Cathy Gaubert. Then shortly afterward, I decided to make one of the quilts in it for The Library Project QAL. But it was hard picking just one to work on - I love almost every single quilt in the book, especially because they're all small projects that are easy to finish. (And who doesn't welcome a few quick, easy to finish projects?)
I'd also been toying with the idea of a multi-part color study, and I kept spotting delightful minis adorning inspiration walls when bloggers posted about their studios. So I decided to roll all these ideas into one: I'm going to work my way through the book of quilts, tackling many of the ideas as minis in a rainbow of colors, and then hang them to brighten up my sewing space! I'm excited to get started. I've pulled blues for the Arches quilt by Jessica Berret of Urban Patchwork. Many of the fabrics I chose come from Constellations by Lizzy House, but I've added in some others to round out the range from warm to cool.
Have you tackled any type of a color study in your sewing and quilting adventures? Is your studio space filled with things you've created? If you've blogged about your work space or inspiration wall, leave me a link in the comments so I can check it out! It's always neat to see a little snapshot of what makes others tick.
We're nearing the end of Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty series and the topic today is one obviously near and dear to me: blogging about sewing. That said, I wasn't sure what tack to take with it. I brainstormed a bunch of components of writing a sewing blog - personal enjoyment, connecting with other enthusiasts, getting feedback on one's work, sharing tutorials, teaching technique, selling patterns or products - the list could go on and on. In the end I decided to share why I started blogging and what I've learned in the almost two years since I began. (Whoa! And then I realized I have an anniversary coming up, so I think a little giveaway come mid-February will be in order.)
I first sat down and started a blog to document my various craft projects and growth as a sewist* and quilter, and as a way to connect with others because I didn't have a group of friends nearby who shared my interests. Since then I've narrowed my focus, decided on a path to turn my hobby into a business, and have tried to take advantage of every free tip and tutorial out there that I come across. Here are four key things I've taken away from my experience that someone new to writing a sewing blog can use:
1. Jump in! I was sort of embarrassed by how unexciting and unenticing my blog was at the very start, so I didn't tell people about it and didn't link up with many others. I wish I had because I would've learned so much more quickly. The more blogs you visit, the more bloggers you meet, the more clarity you're likely to find about what you want from your own blog and the faster your blogging (and sewing!) skills will grow.
3. Learn something! There is a wealth of education and helpful advice out there if you look for it. From tutorials about blogging (I love the "better blogging" tutorials over at While She Naps), to tutorials about quilting and sewing, to tutorials about sewing tutorials, like this one from SewCanShe. (This is incredibly ironic: I found the tutorial a week ago and then when I went back to start drafting this post a few days later - ta dah! SewCanShe was featured on While She Naps.)
Plus sometimes you'll get helpful advice even when you're not searching for it because other sewing and quilting bloggers are incredibly friendly! A few months ago Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts tracked down my site and email address just to let me know that I was a no reply commenter; I had no idea, but thanks to her very helpful gesture, I'm now connecting with her and many other bloggers that I had been unsuccessfully trying to chat with for months. A Stash Bee hive mate of mine, Daisy of Ants to Sugar, recently helped me figure out an app so I could enter a linky contest. Considering it meant more competition to her own entries, it was an awfully nice and unexpected gesture!
*Okay now, somewhat off-topic, apparently "sewist" (from way back in paragraph two) is still sort of new enough to evoke a slew of polar reactions? I love (like really love - I'm a vocabulary geek) reading articles about language and word evolution (this TED Talk by Erin McKean on lexicography is delightful!), and since the term was marked as misspelled by my editing software, but had rolled off my fingertips with the ease of common vernacular, I looked it up. Despite the fact that seven of the top ten Google hits were for blogs with "Sewist" in the title, this fairly recent discussion of it in the sewing community had a wide range of reactions, many negative. I guess it sounds common to me because I read a lot of blogs from newer authors (amended from "younger authors," though I do follow a lot of young bloggers, but by no means do I think they've cornered the market on the term!) and news sites more likely to use trendy words? I think "sewer" sounds really static (and yes, the potential for misreading exists) and that "seamstress/tailor" is much too narrow for the breadth of what many do behind their machine. What do you think? When you say you sew, how do you phrase it? Feel free to add your two cents on sewing blogs, as well!