Thursday, December 30, 2010

Measurements for Window Frame Quilt Block

The block I made for Mer's quilt was fairly simple once I worked out the measurements.  I really like the "semi-framed" fussy cut dogs and thought it would be fun to see more blocks like this.  I don't want to make a bunch more though, so I'm sharing the measurements with you hoping you'll show me what you've made with them!

All measurements are given in inches in the width x height format. 
Seam allowance is a strict 1/4"
Finished size of the block is 12.5" x 12.5"

A 5.5" x 5.5" {cut 1}
B 5.5" x 1.5" {cut 2}
C 5.5" x 3" {cut 2}
D 1.5" x 12.5" {cut 2}
E 3" x 3" {cut 4}
F 3" x 5.5" {cut 2}
G 3" x 1.5" {cut 4}

I hope this helps some of you.  If you use this, please let me know so I can see how you interpreted the design.  

This is meant for personal use or for use by independent quilt sellers, but I ask that you give credit back to me for the block design. 

If you have any questions, be sure to leave your email address with your comment or email me at irenedesign[at]ymail[dot]com so I can respond.

Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quilting Bee Blocks

The Modern Stash Quilting Bee does not officially begin until January, but since I am a host this month I had to get my block finished prior to the beginning of the month.  I have decided I want to do a Bento Box quilt for our living room (surprise, Hubby!).  I really like the concept of everyone's blocks being mixed together in this way. I'm totally taking the idea to use white in every box as well to tie it all together.

One of the keys to this bee is that we are supposed to use fabrics we have on hand rather than buying new ones or having others send us the fabrics.  I've really enjoyed that part of it and am planning to make at least one more box to use on the back of the quilt using these beauties.

Can you see a color theme at all yet? I hope so. I'm trying to go for a mix of 60/40 warm/cool colors. We have mainly warm and neutrals in our living room, but I really think it needs a pop of cool in there.

Before you get too impressed with me having all this together before January 1, I do need to say that our other January host, Mer, was way ahead of me. She's doing a yellow and gray frame improv quilt (see here).  After reading her post I laid awake for several hours wondering what the heck I was going to do and whether I even had any yellow in my stash.  I really should have spared myself and just gone to look, but instead I stayed up way too late thinking about it.  It turns out  I do have several shades of yellow, including a Heather Ross print that I cut into for those outside corners.  All that laying awake worrying about it payed off though because I dreamed about the design for this block and ended up loving it when all was said and done. See?!

In other news, Beth got a sewing machine (same as mine!) and I am looking forward to sewing together. I also have some Parisville on the way (finally!!) and I gave Della her quilt for Christmas--which she loved! She likes to roll around on it as if to say "Mine!". It's pretty cute.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I am still here!

I'm alive!  We've all been sick or fighting off the germs so as not to get sick the last week or so.

The last four and a half years of our lives are culminating with my hubby's graduation this Friday (he will have a Masters of Divinity) and we have lots of family coming in town for the big event.  It would be a gross understatement to simply say I am excited.  It is so nice already to just be able to do normal things like go to the store together or watch TV without feeling like he should be reading or writing a paper.  It is not only exciting, it is also a relief and a huge sense of accomplishment.  We have spent our entire married life in seminary, so it's going to be quite a (wonderful) adjustment to not have that be in the picture.

The Modern Stash Quilting Bee is officially full, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about all of the talent that is represented in this group of 12 ladies.  It's going to be a fun six months!!  I'm thinking that I will do a Bento Box Quilt when it's my turn to host.

This is the first in four and a half years of marriage that I am doing Christmas cards.  We enjoyed taking the pictures, but it was really difficult to choose which one to use.  This is the one I wish I had used but didn't, so you all get to see it here.  Also if you need cards of any type, Good Frau on Etsy is where we got ours. The service and quality are both really good!

So with all of that going on (especially the family in town and graduation events), you may not hear from me until next week.  I hope you all have a fabulous week!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Sew and Tell: Christmas Napkins

Remember on Monday when I showed you everything I finished last week? Well, I'm hoping this week is at least as productive. My goal is to have everything finished by Sunday so I can just enjoy a week with family and then sewing whatever the heck I want to over Christmas. 

Now that my sewing room is so clean, it's much easier to get things done. I love just grabbing what I need from a bin or a drawer and not having to side step 5 other things or dig through a giant mess of scraps for that one little piece I know is in there somewhere!

Last night I finished a set of 8 Christmas napkins for Brandon's granny. We are celebrating early with them, so I thought she would like to have some new napkins to go with her new Christmas plates this year. I used a poinsettia print from Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas line, and I really love all the colors here. I wish I had bought some extra fabric to make some for us!

This weekend I want to finish my gift for the Peaceful Traditions gift exchange and a bag for my mom.  Then it's time for some serious quilting! I have two in mind alread--one using a Bliss Charm pack and another using the Far Far Away II FQs I bought a month or so ago.  Also, I need to decide which square I want to request for the Modern Stash Quilting Bee since I'll probably be one of the January hosts. (There are still a few spots left if you want to join!)

You all know that I've been linking to Amy's Sew & Tell for a few weeks now. There are some really talented sewists who link there as well.  If you have a few minutes, check out some of the other links from this week and prepare to be impressed!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have you joined a quilting bee?

I know most of you are totally bogged down with holiday crafting right now, and I just want to let you know that you have not been forgotten. One of these days you'll come out from under that mess!

And when you do, I wonder if you'll want to do something fun, like join a quilting bee for example...?  I have seen more inspiration in the last week than one girl can handle, and I need to do something with that. Unfortunately, I don't have time for all 100 quilts on my inspiration board. I could, however, make a block or two each month to send to someone else who gets to do all the quilting, etc.

What about you? Doesn't that sound like fun?! (You know it does.) I have been looking into joining a bee, but they fill up so quickly or the ones that are open are pretty lame not my style, so I'm taking things into my own hands (and hopefully yours).

Since I have never done this before, I need a few suggestions as well as some bee members.  If you are interested, be sure you leave your email address here or send me an email separately so I can contact you.
  • This will be a 6 or 12 month bee with 12 members.  
    • If it is 6 months long, two members will host each month so every member will make 2 blocks per month.
  • It's a STASH BEE which means that you don't mail fabric to each member; they are going to use what they already have (or what the decide to buy). 
  • Each member will have enough blocks to finish one quilt top by the end of the year. 
  • The bee will start in January 2011.
  • The bee is open to international members.
  • The bee will focus on modern blocks, but the design will ultimately be up to the member whose month it is to host.
  • The hosting member will be responsible for providing links to appropriate tutorials for blocks or special skills.  Only free tutorials will be used since buying books or patterns each month will get expensive (albeit fun).
  • Skill level should not exceed intermediate. Host should be as specific as possible in communications regarding color preferences, seam allowances, pressing preference, etc.
  • Improv blocks are acceptable.
  • Fabric needs to be good quality quilting-weight cotton. This is not an excuse to use the cheap stuff you wish you never bought.
  • If a member cannot fulfill the commitment for any part of the year, that member should contact me as soon as possible so a replacement member can be found. 
  • The bee needs a name!
  • We will use Flickr to post pictures and communications, so a Flickr account is required (it's free!).
  • This should be totally fun and a great way to be challenged with new blocks and designs as well as make your own truly unique quilt.
What do you all think? Do those guidelines sound acceptable? Did I forget anything? I have never participated in a bee before, so I'm totally open to suggestions on this.  What is the normal time frame for making blocks? 3 weeks? 4 weeks?

For those who are interested, please let me know via email (irenedesign[at]ymail[dot]com) or leave me a comment here and include your email address.  If you have a flickr account, leaving that info will be helpful as well. I will open this to the "public" in a week, but wanted to give my readers first dibs (mainly because I know how freaking creative you are, and I desperately want your blocks!!). 


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The sewing room is finally clean!

My mom has always been very organized.. She wasn't a crazy neat freak or anything like that (we did live in the country with goats and sheep) but everything in our house had its own place.  We had plastic bins before they were cool, and Mom always found containers to help us keep things somewhat under control.

Fast forward 20 years and now I find myself needing more of this. Needing more space, more organization, more places for all our stuff to reside.  When my mom was visiting last week, I enlisted her help (and my step dad's strength).  We went through our storage room and took a huge car load of stuff we don't need or use to Goodwill and the city recycling facility. We also made homes for lots of loose items with those handy plastic bins.  And, best of all, we cleaned my sewing room

I got rid of at least 10 yards of fabric that I knew I would never use, plus we sorted the scrap pile into bins of warm, cool, and neutral colors. (hello, quilting!)  We sorted the larger chunks and the 1+ yard cuts, so now when I go to make something I don't have to waste time looking for certain pieces of fabric. I'm also totally motivated to keep it looking this nice, and having a place for everything is key to that for me.

I cleared all the miscellaneous junk tools off my sewing table and just have the necessities on there now: machines, cutting mat, rulers, scissors, pens/markers, and pins. Oh, and the tissue box? That is my trash can for fabric scraps and cut works great! Everything else is in a box next to the table but not cluttering the surface. I have a 3-drawer plastic dresser thing under the table as well, and that is where most of the medium size (like fat quarters) pieces of fabrics are. I usually keep the long ruler on top of the dresser when I'm not using it.

The rest of my sewing room includes a chair for sitting on draping works in progress, iron & ironing board, and a corner full of suitcases, empty boxes my hubby we are saving, and the Christmas decoration boxes. It's a great set-up, and I am so thankful for it! I'm also glad it's finally clean. After looking at all these pictures again I feel the need to go back up there and do some more sewing!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Meeting my goals and plenty of sewing

Amy's Creative Side

There is something truly satisfying about setting and meeting specific goals.  I do really well with writing out a goal, setting it somewhere visible, and then doing what I need to in order to finish it.  This week my goal was to either finish the Advent Calendar or my holiday decorations for the Holiday Traditions Exchange.

The Advent Calendar is as close to finished as possible. I finished my part anyways. I am still waiting on the ornaments to arrive. so you get teaser pictures until then!

I also finished one of two mug rugs for the exchange.  This was my first time making one apparently they are pretty "last year" in the quilting world, but they are so "right now" in my world! It's like making a mini quilt and super fun to put together!

Last week a good friend called to ask if I would make a placemat and napkin set for her mom's Christmas gift. I am not one to turn away table linens, especially not when I am give full creative license to choose any fabrics I want! So I chose these fabrics from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow collection, and I'll say I was near-drooling the entire time. These are beautiful, and I think the small floral print needs to become the back of one of my many quilts I plan to make.

I also cleaned my sewing room yes, pretty pictures to come and started a gift for Brandon's granny.  My goal for next week is to finish her gift and make a bag for my mom for her birthday.  After that it will be time for another quilt!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feast your eyes on these quilts

You all are going to have to bear with my while this quilting bug hits full force. We all know that I get fairly obsessed with projects, and this is the latest. You have got to see some of the quilts I have been finding on Flickr lately. I can't spend all day making them, but I can spend a little time looking at them!

You can see more on my favorites page.


Monday, November 22, 2010

{Modern} Relief: Supporting the fight against hunger

Now that Della's quilt is finished, I have a few ideas for several more quilts. The thing is, we don't need a whole bunch of baby quilts (or bigger ones) laying around our house. One thing I have considered is donating one or two to a charity auction at some point (after I get a little more practice!). I am clearly not the only one with this idea.

Fat Quarterly (a quarterly quilting ezine) has teamed up with 17 top-notch quilters to run a raffle called {Modern} Relief. Basically, each quilter has donated one or two quilts for this raffle, and we have the option to buy raffle tickets. All of the proceeds go to support World Vision, a leader in the global fight against hunger. (The quilts are gorgeous and worth a trip over to Fat Quarterly to check them out!)

If you want to add your support and have a chance at winning one of these gorgeous quilts, check out the post on Fat Quarterly for more details.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Della's *finished* quilt

After all that drama on my end, yes, I know, Della's quilt is finished!!  After finishing I can definitely say I have the quilting bug.  I loved making this quilt and already have plans for two more (plus finishing the original).

I stuck with a simple pattern--Elizabeth Hartman's Charm Squares Baby Quilt, and it truly was easy.  The pattern is very basic, so I would recommend checking out her blog, Oh, Fransson, for details on how to create a quilt sandwich and the binding. Or, better yet, get a copy of her new book, A Practical Guide to Patchwork.

I am kind of over sewing books because I don't really use the ones I have, but I can tell you that this one is one you will actually use--especially if you are new to quilting {and if you're not, the patterns are still worth it!}. Even with all of the free tutorials out there in blog land, I found some of the information to be really beneficial and I carried it all over the house as I was finishing the quilt.

The thing I was the most concerned about was hand sewing the binding. I typically think of hand sewing as horribly tedious, but I actually really enjoyed finishing the binding.  It's funny to look at it and see where I began and where I ended (and what a difference there is between stitches at the beginning and end).

I used a simple straight line stitch for the actual quilting. The stitches are approximately 1/4" from either side of the seams. I liked doing this because it was one less new thing to be trying to do with the quilt. Unfortunately my cheap-o plastic walking foot broke on the second to last line so I will be needing a new one at some point soon.

Oh, and that absolutely gorgeous fabric? Yes, that is from Heather Bailey's Freshcut collection that is sadly becoming increasingly difficult to find.  The sashing is a Kona white and the binding is made from one of Heather Bailey's Bijoux prints.

To you sewist readers who have not made a quilt for whatever reason, I say, "Go for it!" Get some help from a friend, a book, or a class and enjoy it.  One piece of advice Elizabeth gives in her book is to not give yourself a deadline for your first quilt (you know, like that baby shower coming up in two weeks...), and I totally agree.  I usually have pretty tight deadlines with my projects, but this is one that I really needed to be able to work at my own pace with.  Pick a simple pattern and have fun with it!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Shop Feature: Above All Fabric

I am asked fairly often where I find the fabrics I buy, and the short answer is "everywhere".  The long answer is that because there are so many options to choose from when it comes to fabric, I have a list I have of about 10 different online and local shops that each carry their own variety of fabrics. I browse a few of those each time I have a new project until I find the one that has just the right combination for whatever it is I am working on.

Above All Fabric is one of the shops I have consistently returned to over the last two+ years of sewing. Melanie carries a good variety of quilting cottons, corduroy, knits, velveteen, and many other fabrics.  She also offers great customer service, an easy to navigate online shop, a highly informative blog, and now she has added a wish list feature in the shop!

Here is a little look at my wish list!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Traditions Exchange

This one is short and sweet. I feel like I always find out about exchanges (particularly sewing exchanges) after the sign ups close. I don't want that to be you, Friends, so I'm letting you in on this one promise me you'll send me a quick email or tweet next time you hear about one?!

As of writing this blog, sign ups are still open for the Holiday Traditions Exchange at Sweet Bug Farm. Hurry though because this one is popular and sign ups close Saturday (or once 200 have signed up).


Monday, November 15, 2010

My weekend in pictures

It's funny to me that I have an iPhone, but I still consider it to be semi-archaic. I mean, two versions have come out since I got mine, and have you seen the camera quality on the iPhone 4? I know other phones have even higher quality cameras, but compared to my dinosaur, it's brilliant. (I still like mine and plan to hang on to it as long as possible.)

I still use my camera often, and here's a little peek at what our weekend held. 
 Enjoying the last few days of Fall's warmth before the cold sets in.

 A surprise gift from in my mail box from a friend.

Funny Story: My hubby called Friday while I was at work and said (in a very confused tone), "I think Wes bought you a book." 
Me: "What? Why? Wait. Which book?" 
Hubby: "I don't know--some quilting book." 
Me: "BETH!! It was Beth. She bought me the book!" 
Thank you, Beth! (Her hubby's name was on the Amazon return address.)

"Dr. Marvin, look, I'm quilting!" 
I sent an email to my mom and sisters with the above quote. Have you seen "What About Bob?" If not, that will make no sense--sorry.
 Quilting Della's gift.

 Starting the binding process

 Nearly-finished binding. I just have to hand-sew it to the back. 
(This is the part of quilting that has always scared me. I don't hand-sew anything, but I need to put on my big-girl pants and just do it.)

Making a Roman Shade with Beth for her kitchen window

Not included in pictures:
Lots of time with the hubby and baby;
Lunch with friends Sunday;
Reminder to be aware and weary of my grumbling;
Catching up on much-needed house cleaning;
The grief and praise that combine in the death of a very wonderful family friend who is now celebrating with her Savior a life well-lived and battle well-fought.

It is here, caught in the middle of the mundane and the extraordinary, that I live in gratitude for all the good gifts I am given.