Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections + Made in 2011

Hi friends! It's almost the New Year, time to think about the year past and make a whole bunch of resolutions I'm not going to keep. Or, maybe this year will be different. I've bought my copy of the 2012 Workbook and Planner from the Goddess Guidebook site, I've started filling it out, and I'm planning on using it to help me plan out my projects and goals for the year.

Sew, Mama, Sew has a year-end questionnaire and I decided to share my thoughts on some of their questions. But first, the Made in 2011 Mosaic! Here are a bunch of my projects from the past year:
Made in 2011 
(If you want to see any of the individual photos bigger, click the mosaic to be taken to flickr where you can see the links to each photo, ok?)
Onto the questions....
Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
The Kona and Habitat challenges within the various Modern Quilt Guild branches, rainbows and bright colors. Projects including both hand and machine quilting. 

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year? 

Getting a little more creative with my free motion quilting.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
I finished up my first PDF quilt pattern; it's called Ruffle Crush. Writing and making the pattern took forever and I'm glad I finally got it done. I have a couple more ideas for patterns that I'd like to get written up soon.
Ruffle Crush Baby quilt  
What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
This pair of quilts by Amy and gooma8x, seen on flickr. They collaborated to make this intricate and beautiful pair of quilts; I love the colors and the detail and someday I would love to be part of a similar project.

Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?I got Material Obsession II this year and I think it's a great book, really one of the more creative newer quilting books in my opinion. I also got a copy of Natural Patchwork by Suzuko Koseki, and love the simple cute projects included in that book.

Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Don't hate me, yellow and gray. It's just not my thing.  

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I still love reading blogs and I enjoy the feeling I get of actually glimpsing part of the author's life. I like pinterest for the eye candy, but it gets too overwhelming for me very quickly. I guess I like the stories behind projects and pinterest doesn't provide that.

Did you have a favorite fabric collection or print in 2011?
Not really. I have a good rainbow of stash fabrics that I enjoy sewing from. I still really like Tula Pink's Neptune, and I only ever had a honey bun from that line (remember those?)--maybe that one should be reprinted some day.

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?
Popular fabric colors are changing to more muted colors, people are trending towards using offwhite, cream, or tan backgrounds instead of stark white. Orange and blue/aqua will continue to be a popular combination in quilting. Someone else said more quilters will branch out into sewing clothing; I think that's probably true. I still wish we could get some more clear blue blues and green greens (as opposed to lime green and baby blue or aqua) in newer fabric collections. Like the blues and greens from the Katie Jump Rope collection.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?
Sewing wise, my goals are to continue to whittle down the UFO list, to make Dan's new quilt and Laura's baby quilt and finish J's quilt and my king size quilt (machine quilting it myself!), continue submitting project ideas to magazines, and finish more PDF patterns to sell on my own. Also to make and donate at least 3 quilts to charity.

As far as blogging, I'm hosting Focus on Free Motion Quilting next month (starting on January 3!) and would like to do a series here on the blog on how to sew clothing from patterns later in the year.

Christmas gifts

I made just a couple gifts for Christmas this year; first is a set of potholders and dishtowels for my sister-in-law Amy C.
I was excited to use my Go! baby cutter to make this set after it had been stored away for a while. I think the tumblers are so cute and would like to make a bigger project with them sometime. For the dishtowels, I just used bar mop towels that I had on hand. I want to buy more flour sack dishtowels to pretty up, but I don't know if people (who I might give gifts to) would like them as much as I do.

And for Josh and Laura (my brother and his wife) I made this set:
orange and aqua kitchen gift 
I wasn't planning on including the aqua fabrics at first but they just sort of needed to be included. I like this color combination a lot. I put grommets in this set of potholders and had help from kids who were excited to help hammer. I am running low on the Katie Jump Rope red-orange fabrics and need to find a replacement!

And I got to open up this beauty on Christmas morning!
quilt made by my mom 
My mom made quilts for her grandkids the last two years (there are 15 with one more on the way!) and this year she made a quilt for each of us 6 kids. I asked for a fall quilt and I'm really happy with this one. :) I have a jelly roll of this same fabric line, I might make some pillows to go with it.

p.s. I'm working on getting things ready for Focus on Free Motion Quilting, please come by next Tuesday (1/3) for the launch!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Not a fan of the big guy. 

The kids at the beach on Christmas Eve. Seattle was so nice yesterday.

Dark pic of our tree last night.

scrap blocks, tiny 9-patch 
 The quilt blocks I've been making the last couple weeks. These scrap blocks are 6 1/2" and I think I'll make a big quilt with about 80 of them. Tiny 9-patch for no reason, I just wanted to make it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finished Baby Quilt

A couple weeks ago I finished up my niece's baby quilt and sent it off to her in SLC:

rose baby quilt 
I started this quilt in Kansas, with hopes that it would be finished and sent off quickly. Then we found out we were moving.  I finished the quilt top while we were living in our temporary apartment, and then quilted it right after we moved into our house in November.

Here's the back:
It's about 45" x 45". A little bigger than I usually make baby quilts, but that's ok. I had fun quilting it. The strips in each block were each quilted with one of three different designs:
I used loops, S-curves, and loopy zigzags, and just tried to make sure that adjacent strips were quilted with different designs. The roses in the centers of each block were quilted on the outlines of the roses and leaves. This was kind of similar to the quilting I did in my vintage sheet quilt, but in that quilt I did a different design in each strip of each block (designs were repeated in multiple blocks, though). Using only three designs made the quilt look more unified, I think, and there was less thinking/decision making along the way, too. 
So, overall I am pretty happy with this quilt, and I'm excited to make my next baby quilt for another niece who's expected in February. :)

Don't forget about Focus on Free Motion Quilting next month; we'll have how-to's and encouragement, along with a free motion quilting link up at the end of the month. Beginners and quilters with all levels of experience are welcome!
p.s. Feel free to get the button over on the sidebar. :)
focus on free motion quilting

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Circle Quilt Top, and Giveaway Winner!

Hi everyone! Thanks to all who stopped by to enter my giveaway this past week. I really enjoyed reading about the projects you made this year. The winner, picked by, is #161, Nancy Sue, who said,

"I crocheted a baby afghan for my newborn nephew in 2 days this past summer. I took yarn and a hook with me on a camping trip. Between 8+ hours in the car and time around a campfire and porch, I finished it. I could then enjoy the rest of the week camping without that deadline hanging over my head :)"

That's amazing to me, I have always been quite slow when I crochet.
I've emailed Nancy Sue and will be sending her the mini-quilt in a few days.

I also finished up this not-mini quilt top yesterday, I'm excited to show you:
circle quilt top, finished 
This is our back fence; the quilt has one more row of quarter-circles (half circles, I guess) hanging over the top of the fence. The quilt measures 60" x 80". This was fun to put together and it didn't take me too long. It will be a little while before I'm ready to quilt it but I have something fun in mind for the quilting.

My boys are out of school for winter break now, so we'll be trying to do some fun activities over the next couple weeks, and I'm going to work on fitting some sewing in as well. I hope you're having a good holiday season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Day!

***giveaway is closed now, check back soon for a winner!***

Hello friends! Today is the beginning of Giveaway Week at Sew, Mama, Sew, and I have a little Christmas mini quilt for one lucky commenter.
mini quilt for SMS giveaway day

It's about 10" x 11" and the appliqued tree and presents and the binding are from Moda's Merry and Bright line from a few years ago. 

And quickly, before you leave to go enter more giveaways, I wanted to let you know I will be hosting Focus on Free Motion Quilting next month! We will talk about getting started with free motion quilting (non-beginner quilters are welcome too!), and I have some great guest bloggers lined up to talk about their experiences with it as well. At the end of the month we'll have a link-up for participants to share projects with their new free motion quilting skills and there will be a few prizes as well. There's a button in the sidebar if you want to spread the word--and please check back on January 3 if you're interested in participating!

To enter to win the Christmas mini quilt, just leave a comment (one per person) telling me about your favorite thing you made this year. Make sure that you're *not* a no-reply blogger, or put your email address in the comment if you're not sure. The giveaway will be open until 12/16 (that's Friday) at 5 pm PST, and I'm willing to ship anywhere in the world this time. :)

Don't forget to head over to Sew, Mama, Sew for tons of other giveaways!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Bright colors

I got this pretty stack of fabric on my doorstep yesterday:

quilt back fabric 
This pile is for making the back for this quilt. These colors match the flea market fancy fabric (and others) in the quilt top really nicely. From left to right, they are Kona charcoal, coal, melon, ice frappe, and lime. The binding's going to be lime, too. I'm still not sure how I will quilt it, but I'm excited to get going again on this quilt.

I've also been working on my knitting; I try to do a little bit every day so my cowl will be done soon.
gaptastic cowl--progress 
My purling has improved a ton since I've been working on this project. Here's the link to the pattern if you want to know more. I cast on 10 fewer stitches than the pattern called for, to make it a little shorter. 

I am still working on some gifts and my circle quilt. I have the blocks for 5 rows (out of 8) completed now. I also found out the other day that my new home, the greater Seattle area, is home to the top 15 cities with the least sunlight in the US. So even though I'm now in a house with big windows and more light, this is the time of year when there's less and less light and I'm in one of the darkest parts of the country. So that's my excuse for all the dark pictures lately. I'm doing my best to learn a little bit more about photography and see how I can improve my photos. Please be patient. :)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Circle quilt progress

circle quilt progress 
I got the blocks put together for the first two rows of my circle quilt. So far, I'm liking it! The first blocks on the left of each row have a little paper pinned on with the row number, to help me keep everything straight while I'm sewing. I haven't pressed any seams yet; I'm waiting until all the blocks are done and I can make sure I like the layout. Then I'll press the seams alternating "in" and "out" so the top will go together smoothly.

I have a couple of small projects I want to make for Christmas gifts and I think I'm going to work on one of those this afternoon. I might sew 6 more circle blocks together first though.

Also--I wanted to tell you about something I'm working on for January.
I'm going to host a free motion quilting challenge. My hope is that people who haven't tried free motion quilting will give it a try, and that those with a little (or a lot of) experience will maybe try something new with their free motion quilting. I'm planning on having a link-up at the end of the month for people to share projects with their new skills. Oh yeah, there will be prizes, too! I'm still working on the details, but for now if you have any questions or problems related to free motion quilting, let me know in the comments and I'll work on including answers next month, ok?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Christmas spirit

 I pulled out my favorite Christmas quilt the other day and have been enjoying snuggling up with it.
my snuggly Christmas quilt 
I love the colors; the figgy pudding fabric by Basic Grey is just perfect. I would love it if they reprinted this line, I'd totally buy more. The red and white would make a gorgeous little girl's skirt.
We also finally got our Christmas tree up after not having enough lights, and then buying the wrong lights (bright white and warm white *don't* go together) and then finally getting the right lights. I am not a very fancy person when it comes to my Christmas tree, but I love my tree and my ornaments. (I will try to get a good pic of the tree in the next couple days.)

I wanted to remind you of my scrappy stocking tutorial; it was posted last year over on the Sew We Quilt blog. These aren't difficult to make and I think they turn out pretty cute. I'd love to see a picture if you make one, ok?
Also, are you on Pinterest? I am trying to find (and pin) the cutest handmade ornament ideas and then I think I'll pick one or two to make a few of this year. You can follow my boards here if you want.

I've also been knitting and working on my circle quilt; more on that soon!