Friday, May 27, 2011

Improv Block Progress

Good morning! How's everyone doing today? We have had a crazy week with my boys finishing the school year and then tornado fear and warnings on Tuesday night and Wednesday. It was pretty stressful and scary to watch the weather guy talk about the tornado heading towards my husband's work the other day. Communication was also difficult then as I guess a ton of people in our area were texting and using cell phones all at the same time. I'm so glad it ended up passing him by and not causing a lot of damage in our area. 

I spent a some time working on blocks for my Naked Bed Challenge quilt again yesterday and Tuesday, and I made some good progress! I now have 8 completed blocks and a few more in process (remember I only need 16 total). Here are some pictures I took yesterday:
2 more flea market fancy blocks
(above: finished but not trimmed)

flea market fancy blocks in progress
 (these ones aren't done yet)

I'm finding that it's easier to work on 3 or 4 blocks at a time than it is to work on just 2. That way I can set up to sew the next piece on a few blocks at a time instead of just one, and each time I go to the ironing board I'm pressing more than one as well.

I bought a fat quarter of gray Moda crossweave to see how I liked it, and it is going to be the sashing and border for this quilt! (You can see it in the top left block in the photo immediately above.) I ordered more yesterday and can't wait for it to arrive. I'm planning on another big sewing session today--going to spend some time cleaning the kitchen up first!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in my giveaway for Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day! It was so fun to get so many comments, and I appreciate all the kind things you guys said about the bag I made. I had fun entering a lot of the giveaways too, but I didn't have time to visit all of them! (Still crossing my fingers but afraid I didn't win anything this time.)

The winner of the Kathy Davis Journeys fabric, book, and greeting cards, is

#106, Alice! I have emailed Alice and will pass her address on to the people at Kathy Davis Designs as soon as I hear back from her.

And just for fun, here's a view of my sewing space/kitchen table right now:

I have been working on blocks for my king size quilt, more on that later!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May Giveaway Day! --Kathy Davis Journeys Fabric & More

Hi friends, and welcome to my May Giveaway!  But first I have to tell you about my new bag.

I was recently sent a gorgeous stack of fabric (plus a book and some cards!) from the Journeys collection by Kathy Davis. I have been wanting to make myself a new bag and had the Amy Butler book, Style Stitches, (affiliate link) checked out of the library. I decided to make myself the Teardrop Bag using some of the Journeys fabric:
my new bag
(I didn't get photos taken when the bag was brand new because I made it in a rush before vacation. It's a little bit broken in here--it's been a great bag and I really like it!)

My thoughts on the pattern and the bag--
*I used the recommended Shapeflex interfacing; next time I might try a stiffer interfacing or interline the bag with stiffer canvas or use fusible fleece instead. (It's a little floppy.)
*There is an error in the book for the larger sized Teardrop bag. If you want to make this bag, check out the correction for the pattern on this page.
*I followed the pattern for the handle and it turned out too narrow for my tastes, so I made another one and widened it.
*I found some good tips on inserting magnetic snaps here. I used 2 layers of interlock knit to reinforce the snap pieces, instead of fleece.
*I sewed some dividing seams in the pocket, you can sort of see them in this pic:
inside shot of teardrop bag
My phone fits just right in that center pocket.
*The strap. I lengthened the strap so I could wear it cross-body but I don't think I got it quite right. Someday I need to figure out how to make an adjustable-length strap.
*And, I used sewn-in interfacing on one side of the strap and added some sturdiness by using a layer of twill fabric in place of interfacing the other side of the strap fabric.

Ok, you made it! The folks from Kathy Davis Designs would also like to give a set of these fabrics to one of my readers. The giveaway includes:
Half-yard cuts of the following fabrics (this was my set, obviously I've used some of them):
Kathy Davis Journeys fabric
I like all of these... but I LOVE the text fabric, and the dragonflies are my favorite, too! The large floral in the top row is also super pretty.

Also included in the giveaway is the book Scatter Joy, along with a pile of gorgeous greeting cards, all by Kathy Davis as well.
Kathy Davis book and greeting cards
(The giveaway does not include the bag!)

**The giveaway is closed now, thanks so much! Winner will be posted in the morning!**

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below (one comment per person.) I'd love it if you tell me something interesting, but it's not required. :D I will choose the winner via random number generator on May 25, and the folks at Kathy Davis Studios will mail the prize to the winner. Don't forget to make sure I have a way to contact you! If you are a no-reply commenter, include your email address in your comment!

If you are interested, here are a few more places you can find out about Kathy Davis Designs and her products:

Now, go enter more giveaways at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blocks--Flea Market Fancy Improv

While we were on vacation I decided I am going to try to work on one project exclusively instead of bouncing constantly from one thing to the next. So here's what I got done this week:
blocks for my naked bed challenge quilt
These are blocks for my Naked Bed Challenge quilt. They are mostly about 17" square or a little larger. The plan for my (king size!) quilt was originally going to be 16 blocks, 16" square each, separated by sashing and surrounded by wide borders. I'm using my Flea Market Fancy fabric for the blocks, and the sashing/borders will be gray. I decided not to trim the blocks down to 16.5" though, that would be a waste of half inch (or more) strips of fabric here and there and I think in the end I will figure out a way to keep them all slightly different but still fit together well in the quilt top.

I was feeling frustrated a few times throughout the week, wishing I was getting more done, but we are finishing up the school year and it's a busy time. I was able to go and spend time with my boys at school, and also attend the promotion ceremony for my 5th grader who will be moving down the street (for school) to the middle school in the fall.

Also, these blocks are somewhat time consuming. I try to put a lot of thought into the color and value placement while making each block, and then it usually takes some time to get the layout of the quilt top just right as well. I had a twitter friend who said something about just pulling fabric and sewing the blocks randomly, and I actually think that would be a good exercise, but it hasn't been how I've made this style of block, so far at least. Have you made improvised log cabins or done other improvisational quilting? What is your process like?

So even though I was discouraged this week, and feeling like these were coming along slowly (and I might not make the June 2 deadline for a finished quilt top), I got almost 1/3 of the blocks I'll need finished. I am going to see if I can get another one done tonight, but I might need to play some video games with my kids. I'm just going to keep at it and if I don't make the deadline, it will be ok.

Monday, May 16, 2011

back from vacation!

So... we're back! We went to the beach in Florida for almost a week (more than a week, if you count the days spent driving.) It was so beautiful, and relaxing, and fun.
my peeps out to sea
We stayed in a vacation home that was just a couple blocks from the water. My husband's parents and sister met us there and it was really nice to spend time with them. Most of us went down to the ocean every day we were there... there was one day that I had to stay back and take a nap with my 2-year-old.

There were some unexpected fabric/quilty moments on the trip. I hadn't been really clear on our route before we left and when I realized we would be driving through Paducah, KY, I told my husband about the really big fabric store there, and we ended up stopping so I could shop a little bit. Hancock's of Paducah is a huge store, but I spent most of my time in there searching through the (half price) remnant tables. I ended up getting these 4 fabrics:
fabric from Hancock's of Paducah remnant section
From left to right they are: Art Journal by Bari J., Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler, the black and white line from Moda, and Oliver + S (that one needs to be a little girl dress next spring.) If you're ever in the area, and you like fabric, you should definitely stop by this store!

In other quilting news, we went to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola last Tuesday, and there were airplane quilts! (Lots of actual airplanes too, of course.)
navy quilt

navy quilt

navy quilt
This last one was my favorite. Here is where you can see more photos of quilts made to celebrate the Centennial of Naval Aviation.

We also saw some planes while we were there--the Blue Angels:
Blue Angels
(I was really nervous watching them.) 

I took some hand sewing with me on the trip too. I'll show you my progress on that another time. I will probably take that same project/scrap bag with me on our trip to Utah which is coming up soon.

I'm going to be posting a giveaway in the next couple days so check back soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Rainbow 9-Patch

I'm excited for another installment of the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Amy has done such a great job with it over the last couple years and I can't wait to browse through all the quilts that people are sharing.

A few weeks ago, I wasn't sure if I was going to have a new quilt to share for the festival this time, but I decided to get busy and finish this one up. I'm so glad I did! Here's my finished rainbow 9-patch (with my little girl peeking out from behind):
My son was the photographer for this one (above), but I found that I am not quite tall enough to hold it up nice and straight. I still wanted to share the straight-on view of it. Here's another shot of it spread out on the deck:
This is my second 9-patch quilt in this style (here's the first) and I had a lot of fun making it. I followed the one-a-day quiltalong instructions at Crazy Mom Quilts again, but this time I made a smaller quilt with 48 blocks instead of 70. It is about 58" x 74". For my first quilt like this I just made the blocks with whatever fabrics I liked, but this time I made them in a rainbow of colors, and I really like how it turned out.

It's kind of difficult to see, but the binding is pieced together in a rainbow, too. It was a bit of the challenge to figure out the math for that part, especially because the pieces are sewn together on an angle, but I think it worked out really well.

Here is the back: 
I had three blocks left over somehow, and I decided to put them into the back of the quilt. 
A few notes: 
*I free motion quilted this one with white thread, in an allover flower/loop pattern that you can see better in this blog post.
*All of the fabrics for the 9-patches were already in my stash, except the green print that is paired with the yellow henna garden fabric, and the purples in 2 of the purple blocks, which were given to me by my friend Kim. 
*I've been saying I was going to make a 3rd quilt like this, but I might be ready to take a break from 9-patches for a while. I am glad I made this second 9-patch--even though it is very similar to the first quilt, I feel like I learned more while making this one, mostly about color. Have you ever made the same quilt pattern twice? 

Thanks for stopping by; if you're new to my blog, I hope you'll come back again soon, or maybe even subscribe if you want! Now go look at more of the Blogger's Quilt Festival quilts! 
Amy's Creative Side | Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sneak Peek

I finished up a quilt this morning and I'm so excited about it. Here's a shot of the binding--I haven't done one of these rolled-up quilt shots before:
rainbow quilt binding
And here's what the quilting looks like:
quilting sneak peek
On the back, that is.

I'm going to wait to show off the whole quilt, because Blogger's Quilt Festival is next week!
Amy's Creative Side | Bloggers' Quilt Festival
Amy hosts Blogger's Quilt Festival twice a year--quilters are invited to share a blog post about any quilt they want, and there are prizes! I didn't think I would get a new quilt done in time for this next Blogger's Quilt Festival, but I did.