Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Cindy and Elizabeth invited me to join their Leap Day Superior Thread Giveaway. I had never used Superior Thread before but had heard Cindy rave about it on her blog. Sadly, the closest distributor is over 50 miles from my home. But Superior Threads has a great online store where you can order direct. I was given the three spools of King Tut quilting thread pictured above to giveaway to you! I also received one spool to try out,
along with a package of their titanium coated topstitch needles.
I didn't have a lot of time to play with the thread before this post. I did practice a little free motion quilting on a quilt sandwich, and I constructed this half square triangle pillow with my Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush scraps from this quilt in order to highlight some straight line quilting.
My initial observation was that these neutral threads were just beautiful. I love the colors. They are just the sorts of colors that I like to use when I quilt. The King Tut thread is described as an "extremely low lint #40/3-ply extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton." As I have come to expect with high quality thread, there was very little lint generated as I stitched. That claim is definitely true. The thread was easy to thread through my machine and I didn't have any problems with tension or breakage, especially because I followed the information that Superior Thread provides with each different kind of thread. For the King Tut, they recommend a Topstitch #90/14 needle, 3-4 tension setting, and a 50 weight bobbin thread.
I tried the titanium-coated #90/14 needle and I noticed a big difference while quilting using this needle.
Sometimes, while straightline quilting near seams, I will notice that my machine has trouble getting through the thickness caused by multiple seams and my seam might jut out a bit rather than maintaining the straight line. Using this needle changed that. It took the thickness like a champ. I have nice straight quilting lines to show for it.
I finished my pillow off with a natural Essex linen backing (just the color of the King Tut Col. No. 999 thread that I used to quilt, by the way)and a beige invisible zipper closure. The pillow is in my shop.
If you would like to learn more about Superior Thread, check out their website.
To enter to win one of these spools of thread, please leave a comment below. I can only send to US residents this time (sorry!). I will use the random number generator to pick a winner on Friday, March 2nd.
For additional chances to win and more opinions on Superior Thread, please visit:
Elizabeth from Occasional Piece-Quilt!--http://www.opquilt.com
Cindy from Live A Colorful Life
Lee from Freshly Pieced
Sherri from A Quilting Life
Leanne from She Can Quilt
Thelma from Cupcakes 'n' Daisies
Jeni from In Color Order
Carla from Lollyquiltz
Jennifer from That Girl, That Quilt
Corey from Little Miss Shabby
Terri from Sewfantastic
The giveaway is now closed 3/2/2012 8:00 am...I'm going to go pick winners now.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I finished up my Cocorico bee block for Megan last night. She requested blocks with a carnival theme with no restrictions on size or color. Her one request was no clowns. I was sorely tempted to include one just to freak her out but I behaved myself. After all, my month in this bee has yet to come and she could get me back!
I made a ticket booth using this image as my inspiration. I was so excited to have an occasion to use my Ticket Booth in Blue from American Jane Fairy Tale Friends by Moda. I got it at Sew Fresh a number of months ago and hadn't found the right project till now! The ticket borders make the block quite large but Megan can always choose to cut them down to one row of tickets if she wants.
My favorite part of the block is the Tickets sign. I used a Circa 1934 dot to edge the sign. The dots were evenly spaced in rows so they were just right for the lights that outline ticket booth signs. I then found a free font called "Circus" and used it as a guideline when embroidering the letters on the sign.
I hope this works for you Megan!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
My latest "Sew What" project is on the Basic Grey Blog today. I was inspired to make a tutu when I received one of their delicate, airy Bounce Blossoms. I wanted to include some of their Hello Luscious fabric as well so I used it for a self ruffling waistband and dangling leaves. My littlest cutie is my model. She really makes the tutu, don't you think? If you have a little one in your life, click over to the Basic Grey blog for the tutorial.
Monday, February 20, 2012
My husband made another small batch of seam rippers for my shop. I've had a number of people asking me when he'd be making more so I expect that they will go quickly. If you like one, don't hesitate! I am hoping he will work on making a new laundry closet in the back hall before he works on another batch.
This time, he made one new variety. This handle is made from an exotic wood called bloodwood. All the seam rippers are shown closed here but there are pictures of them open in the Etsy listings.
Ayumi and I are swapping. She told me what her two all time favorite projects of mine where and I have made her something to hang on her quilty wall. This is just a portion of the finished item to hopefully make her anxious to receive her package! I will show the rest once it arrives in Japan.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Look who I got to meet yesterday! Peg is on the left and Becca is on the right. They are the ladies of Sew Fresh Fabrics and they kindly invited the Boston Modern Quilt Guild into their shop space yesterday for a little shopping. I didn't get to talk to Peg much (my fault, I am shy and not exactly outgoing) but did talk with Becca a bit and she is just as nice in person as she is in her Etsy convos.
We knew that we had found the right building when we were greeted with this view at the top of a set of stairs.
There are Japanese fabrics on the right and organics on the left. I love the way the photo makes it look like the end of the hall is glowing. It's as if the road to heaven is paved with Japanese and organic fabrics!
Inside their space, there are piles of fabrics everywhere! This is the Kona section.
I thought that it would be less difficult to shop in person but it was overwhelming! I came away with plenty though. Here is a selection of things I picked up for the Sew Out Loud QAL.
Then we headed to the local library for our Boston Modern Quilt Guild meeting. It was a brief meeting because of the shopping excursion. We had show and tell and I even remembered to take pictures this time but my camera was set to have the flash off and I didn't realize it. All the pictures ended up blurry so I don't have any to share.
We surprised our president with a baby shower. She received some adorable handmade gifts. She doesn't know if she is having a boy or a girl so we made gender neutral items. I made these booties.
It was a nice afternoon and my first time out of the house in a couple of weeks except for trips to the foodstore or doctor's office. I think everyone is finally healthy here for the moment though. Phew!
Friday, February 17, 2012
I drafted a pattern to piece this block called Calico Grove. I like the block design but I think that the name drew me in at first. This block is illustrated on page 180 of 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone. The block was first printed in Quiltmaker in 1992. I am sure that it would be possible to piece this block without foundation piecing but that is what I chose in order to keep my straight lines nice and even. If you'd like to try this block, I am sharing my templates with you. Just click here to download the pdf pattern pieces and here for the title page. I broke it into two pieces because the pattern pieces are landscape and the title page is not.
The blocks are reasonably time consuming. I have just made two. I was contemplating a quilt but might stop at two pillows. I'm not really sure. These aren't my usual colors but I was inspired by the colors of Basic Grey's new Plumeria paper collection and decided to go for it. They are springy and I need a little spring at the moment.
I used several shades of celery and lavender, grey and orange. The original block design was not scrappy but I decided to go that way. All the fabrics seen here can be found in my lovely sponsors' shops (see sidebar) except for the two polka dot prints which are DS Quilts from JoAnns.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Sew Out Loud Quilter's Word Play quilt along has begun! Did you see the new block design? It's a great Zipper designed by Julianna.
If you are interested in joining, click here to join the Flickr group and here to download the first free pattern.
Our quiltalong is sponsored by the wonderful Fat Quarter Shop.
My fabric choices:
Circa 1934 Gold Solid
Hometown (originally from the FQS but they seem to be sold out)
Aqua Cross Weave
Live Life Clothing by Yuwa
and a charcoal cross weave that I can't find a link to!
I am looking forward to the next block! I hope you will all join us. My block will be coming in April.
Monday, February 13, 2012
I am happy to announce that I completed a new paper pieced pattern that is now available in my Etsy shop! This PDF pattern is called "Vintage Skier." It is my original design based on imagery found in vintage ski posters. The finished block measures 10.5" x 14.5."
Pattern includes a numbered, colored diagram as well as mirror image pattern pieces, ready for foundation piecing. There are also a few helpful hints. Basic paper piecing directions are not included. This pattern is for the intermediate paper piecer. It does not have any Y seams or curves but there are many small pieces and seams to be matched.
The fabrics in the block as it appears on the cover are Basic Grey Grunge prints, Kona Navy, Kona Pale Flesh, and Kona Ash.
I first created the design in November when I made the block above for a bee. It took me so long to refine my design and to piece it that I had to set the project aside for awhile after finishing it. Once we had enough time apart, I tackled the pattern making.
I am looking forward to seeing your finished blocks! If you make one, I'd love it if you'd add it to the During Quiet Time Flickr group.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
If you haven't read the post below, go there first. The Pinewood Derby was a hoot. Timothy, our cub scout, didn't do all that well and was a bit disappointed. Then we moved on to the family race. My husband (car shown below) was racing against our six year old Lily and other brothers, sisters and parents of scouts. Mark was surprised when his police car turned out to be fast. He was counting on it being slow and trailing the other cars with its lights on. As it turned out, it was second fastest. Lily, with her pink car, completely designed and painted by herself, was the first place winner! Her car blew the others away. It was quite hysterical. People were cheering for her. Her car is pink with green on the front for grass and a pink paper barn on top (using my barn template on the sidebar). Daddy had spent all morning telling her that the race was just for fun and that there was no way she was going to win with the barn on top of her car causing drag. He wanted to make sure she wasn't crushed when her car was slow. She got a trophy and definite bragging rights.
If you have been wondering why my husband hasn't gotten any new seam rippers into my shop lately...this is why. He has been spending every spare second on his Pinewood Derby car. No, he isn't a cub scout...my nine year old is. He is the den leader for my son's troop and likes to make a car each year as well. He printed many an image of police cars from the internet to sketch the profile of the car, the front, the back, the top. Everyday when he'd get home from his commute into Cambridge, he would report on the coloring schemes of various police cars he saw in his travels. He made water slide decals for the sides of the car and for the top, using the den number. He then dissected light up balls from the dollar bins at Target in order to use their blue and red LEDs for the lights on top of the car and in the front. He welding them all together and there is a little mercury tube in there and when it is flat, at the bottom of the ramp, the lights should go on. Let's hope it works as he plans or he will be so disappointed. He expects his car to be slow so it should have its lights on as it trails the faster cars in the race. I am off to see the race now and hoping to sell some of our excess girl scout cookies from our Daisy troop while I am at it!
Friday, February 10, 2012
Not much sewing is getting done at the moment, or cleaning, or laundry. My middle child has not been feeling well for awhile now and is having a particularly hard week. We are hoping that things will improve when she gets her tonsils and adenoids removed next month. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you this little project that I made for BasicGrey about a month ago. I used three monogram chipboards to make the word "SEW." I created a silkscreen in a typewriter font with repeating lists of sewing terms. I'm calling the design "sewing abcs." I printed it in pink ink over the chipboard to give it some texture.
Each letter was filled in with a patchwork of BasicGrey's Hello Luscious and embellished with a little machine embroidery. I connected the letters with zippers from Zipit. That was actually my husband's genius idea. Then I used an awl and hammer to punch holes along the upper edge. I hand stitched through the holes with embroidery floss and a few tiny essential buttons. In the lower right hand corner, I added a die cut tag and another BG essential button to secure it. I stamped the word "what" since the monthly series that I participate in on the BasicGrey blog is called Sew What.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
The Fat Quarter Shop asked me to help spread the word about their 5th annual Designer Mystery Block of the Month program. This year, the quilt will feature the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics. That alone tells me that I will like it! It's going to be a vintage sampler full of traditional blocks. The monthly designers include: Aneela Hoey, Blackbird Designs, Bonnie & Camille, Bunny Hill Designs, Cosmo Cricket, Fig Tree Quilts, Me & My Sister Designs, Kate Spain, Minick & Simpson, Pieces from My Heart, Primitive Gatherings and Sweetwater. Each month a new block pattern will be revealed and you will be sent the fabric needed to make that block. The blocks are all designed with the beginner to intermediate quilter in mind. They are all pieced blocks finishing at 12." Does it sound like fun? Click here to find out more.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I am participating in Basic Grey's Cupid Countdown! I crafted this Be Mine Wreath using Basic Grey's new collection "Kissing Booth."
The papers and embellishments in this collection are so beautiful and perfect for Valentine's Day. Next, I am hoping to find the time to make some Valentines for my family using the papers I have left.
Pop over to the Basic Grey blog if you want to know how I made it!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
We've only had a dusting of snow since I finished my Blitzen quilt top. I decided to just take some pictures for now and more later if we get snow! I'm calling this quilt Christmas Cogs.
The top measures about 56" square and is made of interlocking cogs. I used Basic Grey's Blitzen exclusively for the quilt top and binding.
The backing incorporates a large 27" pieced block made of Blitzen scraps. The rest of the back is Ruby Dot in Aqua and Grey. I found it at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.
I will be posting a brief tutorial for making this quilt on the Basic Grey blog in March. I'll be sure to let you know when it is up.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I swear that this is the prettiest laminate I have ever seen. It's Belle Rose from the French Journal Collection by London Portfolio for Michael Miller Fabrics. Kristina sent me a strip of it as a gift and I can't tell you how much I love it. I would like a raincoat or umbrella out of it!
I settled for a cosmetic bag. I only have two pieces of laminate besides Belle Rose and it just so happened that one of them, a laminate by Jennifer Paganelli, is a perfect coordinate. I used it for the lining so that the bag is laminate both inside and out making it a very function bag.
I did find it tricky working with laminate for both the exterior and the lining. I tried putting tape on my presser foot since I don't have a Teflon foot but I needed to put tissue paper under the project so that it didn't grab hold of my sewing machine. I wanted the Belle Rose on the exterior though so I could enjoy the beautiful print with the handscript but thought that a laminate lining made more sense for functional reasons. This was the end result.
Friday, February 3, 2012
March is my month in the Stash Trad Bee...the month where I choose the block design and get lots of fun blocks in the mail! I settled on the Winged Square block.
Here is a picture of the traditional color arrangement in the block. The center square is one color and the HST "wings" another. I decided to change that a little bit. I am asking that the bee members choose a fun, favorite print for the center square that is primarily made up of two colors. Here, my center fabric is primarily pink and aqua. Then each wing should be made of scrappy bits in those colors, one color on one side, the other color on the other side.
To begin, you need two 4 1/2" squares and twelve 3" squares of your background material. I am using Natural Essex Linen. Then cut one 4 1/2" square for the center block. I chose Kokka Trafle Milk Caps. Then you need six 3" squares in each of your two scrappy colors.
Pair the linen and the scrappy colors and draw a diagonal center line. Stitch 1/4" from the line on either side. Cut units apart, iron the seams to the scrappy side (away from the thicker linen).
Trim each HST unit to 2 1/2" square.
I then assembled all the HST units in rows and attached them to the 4 1/2" squares. I prefer to iron my seams to the side so I ironed the first group of HST seams to one side and then next group to the other so that the rows were easy to join. Then I sewed row 1 to row 2 and then to row 3.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Are you familiar with Pippi Longstocking? She is a fictional character in a series of books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. I remember reading the books as a child and thinking they were hysterical. Pippi lives alone, without parents, and does things in very unorthodox ways. She sleeps with her feet on the pillow and her head under the covers. She has a horse that she keeps on her front porch, and a monkey as a pet. For this month's Cocorico bee block, Muriel asked us to make blocks inspired by Pippi Longstocking.
I found this image in one of the books. Pippi attends school for all of one day. While there, she shocks her classmates by drawing a picture of her horse on the floorboards and baseboard of the schoolhouse.
I used a variety of techniques in this block. Pippi is done in raw edge applique with some "thread sketching." The horse is embroidered. The floor and walls with window and blackboard are pieced.
I look forward to seeing the other blocks and Muriel's finished quilt top!
You will have to pop over to Kirie's blog this morning to learn about an exciting quilt along! 11 of us will be designing quilt blocks, mostly paper pieced blocks I believe, using text, text fabrics and a sewing theme. Does it sound appealing to you? Check it out! There are great giveaways and prizes and a contest to design the final quiltalong block.
We are sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop who graciously provided the designers with fabrics to use during the quiltalong. I received the stack above! I noticed that another one of my favorite sponsors, Sew Fresh Fabrics, is providing one of the many prizes.
My block will be coming up April 2, block #8. I hope you will join us!