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! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

And the Sewing Goodies Go To...

Thank you to everyone who entered the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!


In honor of Mother's Day, I asked for entries to be comments on your mama's best advice.

The best advice my mother gave me was: "If you're going to do something, do it well or don't do it at all." That advice has helped me to power through and get things done and also to know when to say, "No!"

I was blown away by the wisdom your mothers shared with you. I let random.org pick the winning comment: #330

True Random Number Generator  330Powered by RANDOM.ORG

That comment belongs to Dana whose mother's advice was to follow your heart!

Please join me in congratulating Dana. This box of goodies is headed her way!

sewmamasew giveaway box

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's that time of year again: Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!


If you're stopping by Mama Love Quilts for the first time, welcome!

I'm Nicole, the Mama behind Mama Love Quilts! I love to make modern quilts and other home decor items using improvisational and traditional techniques. Check out this mosaic to see what I've been stitching lately.

My creation

1. Sew South Jelly Roll Race2, 2. Stacked Quilt_Closeup, 3. Adapted Palimpsest Quilt (Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer), 4. The Motley Wheel_Center Circle, 5. Modern Petals, 6. Kaleidoscope Quilt

The Giveaway

Do you need some sewing supplies? I'm giving away this set of sewing essentials!

Sewmamasew giveaway

One lucky winner will get:
  • A charm pack of Modern Basics
  • Sewing machine needles
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Thread set
  • Glass head pins
  • Wonder clips
You've got four (4) chances to win: 

1. Leave a comment answering this question: In honor of Mother's Day, what's the best advice your mom or maternal figure ever gave you?  (one entry)

2. Follow my blog (via Bloglovin, Google Friend Connect, email, RSS, etc.) and let me know in a comment. If you're already a follower, leave me a comment letting me know (one entry).

3. Follow me on Instagram (@mamalovequilts) and leave me a comment letting me know. If you already follow me on Instagram, leave a comment letting me know (one entry).

4. Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment letting me know. If you have already liked me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, let me know in a comment (one entry).

The giveaway will stay open until Sunday, May 10th at 8 p.m. EDT.

I'll let Random.org pick the winner. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you win. If Random.org selects a winner that does not have an email address available, I will use Random.org to select a new winner. If you are not sure whether or not you are a no-reply blogger, check out this post by Adrianne at On the Windy Side to find out.  

The giveaway is open to folks in the U.S. and Canada. 

While I will be unable to reply to comments, please know that I read each comment and appreciate the time you took to enter the giveaway.

I've got these goodies boxed and ready for shipping. Will they be headed to you?

sewmamasew giveaway box

Thank you for entering! Good luck!

The giveaway is closed. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Introducing Stacked

I'd like to introduce you to "Stacked." She's the result of me feeling like I needed to do something with my scraps. Can anyone relate?

Stacked Quilt

One day back in February, I started pulling out blues and greens. I put them on my design wall and felt like a little orange was in order.  I added background fabrics in shades of white, cream, beige, and tan. I stitched them together improv style and voilĂ ! Stacked was born!

That was fun until it came time to quilt her. I couldn't decide what to do so she sat for a while on my design wall. 

When it was time to set goals for April's A Lovely Year of Finishes, I decided it was time to finish up Stacked.

I started the quilting thinking that Stacked needed matchstick quilting. After a few rows, I decided that she needed something else! So then I tried echoing the stack of blues, greens and orange fabrics, but after a few echos, I realized I wasn't up for doing the marking that was necessary to keep the lines straight. So then I settled on tiny boxes to mimic the randomly stacked pieces of blue, green, and orange. I added in straight lines back and forth in the stack and the negative space.

Stacked_Long arm quilting

I'm still not sure this is the quilting that Stacked needed, but it's what she's got! 

Stacked Quilt_Closeup

This was my first time quilting these tiny boxes. It was easy and quick, which means it might find its way into another quilt some day.

Stacked Quilt_Closeup2