Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Storytelling Bag

Work has had me busier than I'd like, which means my sewing machine has been gathering dust. I dusted it off this weekend to make a little bag as part of my mission to give my girls more storytelling practice.

More storytelling practice should make learning to read easier. I found an excellent book on Amazon - Show Me A Story by Emily Neuburger - that is filled with great storytelling ideas.

One of the ideas is to use photos as prompts for stories. I clipped photos from old magazines, glued them to card stock and laminated them.

Storytelling photos

I thought a patchwork bag would be a nice way to hold the photos and make it easy to bring on trips. To save time, I used this mini charm pack from the Airmail collection by the Comstocks.

Airmail mini charm pack

I used the tutorial on In Color Order to make a patchwork version of the lined drawstring bag. In case you are interested in doing something similar, I used 30 mini charms. I stitched two 3 by 5 patchwork units and a center accent piece that was 5.5" x 10.5" to make the main exterior sections. For the accent pieces, I used Essex linen in black. For extra stability, I added interfacing to the main exterior sections.

Thanks to the great tutorial, the bag came together quickly.

Storytelling drawstring bag

The drawstring is perfect for making sure we don't lose any photos, while being easy for little hands to open and close.

Storytelling drawstring bag_casing

The bag holds all the photos and has plenty of room for digging around in and holding more photos.

Storytelling drawstring bag_inside

I am thrilled with how the bag turned out and even more thrilled that the kids are already starting to tell stories.

Storytelling drawstring bag_photos

Mission accomplished!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Triangle MQG Quilt Challenge

Back in March, the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild put forth a challenge to members to create a charity quilt using fat eighths of these Spoonflower fabrics and 3 solids.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until a week before the challenge was due that I figured out what to do with the fabrics.

I decided on making quarters of log cabin blocks. I started with a big log cabin and sliced it into quarters. Here's the first set of four blocks.

After making this one with white, navy, orange, and yellow, I decided to add some red to the white and blue and loved it!

I'm going to stick with the red, white, and blue color scheme and do something else with the first set of blocks. It could be the inspiration of last weekend's 4th of July holiday, but either way, red, white and blue it is!

If you want to check out the quilts of members who actually finished their quilts on time, click here.

Happy stitching to you!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cotton and Steel Mini Finished!

Allow me to introduce to you the mini quilt I made for the Instagram Cotton and Steel Mini Quilt Swap!

Cotton and Steel Japanese X and + mini quilt

It's made primarily from fabrics from the Mochi collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale, with a few prints from other Cotton and Steel collections and a few solids.

With only 9 Japanese X and + blocks, it came together quickly. For the tutorial I used from badskirt, click here.

I kept the quilting pretty simple with vertical, horizontal and diagonal straight lines. A cool secondary design emerged where the lines intersected.

Cotton and Steel Japanese X and + mini quilt_DETAIL

I used the back as an opportunity to use up a few orphan blocks that were part of my design testing. It feels good to give those blocks a home.

Cotton and Steel Japanese X and + mini quilt_BACK

The mini quilt arrived safely at its new home and is getting lots of love!

Linking to Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cotton and Steel Mini Quilt Swap

A few months ago, I signed up for the IG Cotton and Steel Mini Quilt Swap. The June deadline seemed so far away at the time. Now it's almost here, I'm buckling down to get the mini quilt done.

I pulled fabrics mostly from the Mochi line by Rashida Coleman-Hale, with a few other prints from different C + S collections.

Cotton and Steel fabrics

I went back and forth with what to do with them, but decided on the Japanese X and + quilt block. I'm using the tutorial posted by badskirt. It's perfect for a mini as the blocks finish at 7.5" squares.

Japenese x and + blocks

I've got the blocks laid out and ready for stitching!

Japanese X and + block stack

Linking up to W.i.P. Wednesday!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Recommitting to WIPs

In an effort to clear some space in my closet, I'm recommitting to getting my WIPs done. I had an "Aha!" and a "Duh!" moment the other day when I realized that the faster I get my WIPs done, the more room I'll have in my closet.

The first WIP I chose to work on was this almost finished quilt top.

Improv Wonky Star Quilt_Patchwork

I started this top about two and a half years ago when I was on a mission to use every little, itty, bitty scrap. I used improvisational piecing to stitch together the teeny pieces of scraps into "made fabric" and used those to make stars. If you'd like more info on this technique, check out 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

The top has one jumbo star in the center and little wonky stars surrounding the large star.

Improv Wonky Star Quilt Top

For the backing, I chose this Dear Stella dot fabric in a bright green. I think it will be a nice contrast to the subdued gray background fabric on the front of the quilt.

Improv Wonky Star Quilt_Backing

I'm still debating on how to quilt all the negative space, but am leaning toward using it as an opportunity to practice my swirls.

Improv Wonky Star Quilt_Patchwork Stars

Now for some time to turn this top into a quilt. Wish me luck! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A New Sewing Tote

For the longest time, I've been carrying my sewing gear in whatever was on hand - a old black duffle bag, old totes - none of them pretty.

When Sew South came along, I decided it was time to have a nice tote to lug my stuff to the retreat.

I decided to make the Elizabeth Hartman Sewing Circle Tote. I started it four days before the retreat. I cut and sewed like a woman on a mission, but alas dear reader, I did not get it done. There were too many steps (88 in all!) and not enough time.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I got back to work. I stitched in bits and pieces of time and finished it yesterday.

Sewing Circle Tote

It's made from Essex yarn dyed linen in black. The pocket panels are made using a "quilt-as-you-go technique" in my favorite colors: pink and orange.

Sewing Circle Tote_Front

There are lots of pockets on the inside - eight in all.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining1

Three are zippered and the rest are gathered with elastic.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining2

I did a few things differently than the pattern. One thing was adding a layer of interfacing and a layer of fusible fleece. The pattern didn't call for them, but someone told me she had seen the bag and it looked a bit floppy. I figured it couldn't hurt to add the extra layers to make it a bit sturdier.

The other thing I did was add a recessed zipper. The pattern didn't call for it, but I figured that on occasion, my sewing gear may need some privacy. It was my first time installing a recessed zipper. I found the video tutorials from So Sew Easy and A Fate So Twisted helpful.

Sewing Circle Tote_Back

I also went with just one set of straps, rather than the two sets instructed in the pattern.

If you ever work on this pattern, give yourself plenty of time to make it. It's well written and pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of pieces and a lot of stitching involved.

I can't wait for my next sew date so I can try out my new tote!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Power of Practice

Last month, I had the privilege of attending Sew South. It was fantastic! It was my first sewing retreat. It was well organized and had a great balance between free sewing time and workshops. And I met so many wonderful people! For more on Sew South, check out the Jennifer's recap and the Sew South Facebook page.

One of the things we did at Sew South was a jelly roll race to make quilts for Quilt Lemonade

Between Quilts

I volunteered to quilt one of the quilts. This quilt was made using a jelly roll donated by Free Spirit Fabrics from Tula Pink's Elizabeth collection.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race3

I quilted the top in an all over swirl pattern. I've been wanting to practice my swirls and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race1

I'm happy with how the quilt turned out. I still have to work on my spacing between swirls, but I can see the progress that I've made over the years in my quilting. Working on this quilt reminded me that getting better at quilting is all about practicing. There is no magic formula other than putting in the time to stitch.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race_Whole

Seeing the progress I've made in my quilting makes me want to get out the tops stored in my closet and get to stitching!