Sunday, September 21, 2014

Some Long Overdue Knitting

When I got bit with the quilting bug, it completely took over every ounce of my creative self. Before quilting, I knit. A LOT. Like, all the time, even in the car. No, not while I was driving but whenever my husband drove, I was usually knitting. The last time I made a post about a knitting project was in July 2013. We moved to Florida that same month and I know I've not picked up my knitting needles since that time. That was 14 months ago!

Having spent this weekend with a fever I didn't get much sewing done, opting for more sedentary activities like binge watching HGTV.  I'm not sure why but today I dug out this sweater that I'd started 2 years ago. I'd stopped it in the middle of a row, one that has 252 stitches and a pattern chart. I'm lucky I could even figure out where I left off. 


It's hard to imagine knitting living in Florida, but I'm going to keep my knitting bag beside my rocking chair in the hopes that I'll finish this sweater. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lazy Day

We're 5 weeks into the new school year and my son finally came down with a cold. What started out as a stomach bug has morphed into a head cold and now the entire family is feeling under the weather. Given the overcast and rainy weather, it's the perfect Saturday to curl up on the couch, under a cozy quilt.


Even the kitties are taking advantage of the lazy day. Here's Emma getting a good brushing. She's loves to be brushed, even on her belly. She's our senior kitty, at 12 years old. With all her humans lounging around, she wasn't going to pass up an opportunity like that!


Not sure how much sewing I'll get done this weekend but that's okay. Quality family time, even with the sniffles, is always good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Low Volume Love Affair

I've recently fallen in love with low volume background fabrics, even if I'm not a fan of the term "low volume." It seems confusing to me since they often have dark or black prints on them, but whatever. Call them what you will, I like subtle black and white prints that work well for backgrounds. What really sealed the deal for me recently is this gorgeous quilt, Field Day, that Nicole from Modern Handcraft made.

Photo courtesy of Modern Handcraft
Photo courtesy of Modern Handcraft

Isn't it just gorgeous! Not only do I now want to make a quilt with low volume prints, I'm even contemplating curves! Okay, that might be a stretch but I really do love the orange peel pattern that the petals make. I definitely recommend that you check out Nicole's blog to find some really inspiring projects. You may recall that my recent Holiday Hexies project was inspired from one of her tutorials.

But back to the low volume fabric. I don't really have a ton in my stash, just a few fat quarters here and there. That's why I've joined the "Tone It Down" low volume charm swap that Chelsea from Patch the Giraffe is hosting.  It was perfect timing. It also gave me a good excuse to visit my local quilt shop. After browsing for a while, I finally decided on a Color Principles fabric by Henry Glass called Tuxedo. I don't really get the name but I love the geometric design that you can see behind the black flowers.


This little stack is 56 charms, from 1 yard of fabric. I purposely bought an extra quarter yard so I'd have some for myself. Can't wait to see all the great fabrics I get in return.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stalled

Almost two weeks ago, I basted this top so that I could start quilting it.


Guess what, it's still laying on our guest bed and hasn't been touched. I picked out a pretty thread color, Amethyst Frost by Isacord, but for some reason, I'm having trouble starting it. I'm just not sure how to quilt it. It's funny how most people choose to do a basic meander or allover pattern when the first start free motion quilting. Not me. I went all out and started custom quilting right out of the gate. After 2 years of quilt-making now I still have never done basic quilting. As much as I'd like to do an edge to edge pattern with this one, I think it just lends itself to custom quilting. I'm just a bit indecisive and have no game plan right now. Guess it's going to have to sit in the guest room a bit longer until I figure it out. Hope it's not too lonely in there.


Friday, September 5, 2014

September Compass Quilters Blocks

We are into month #2 for our compass quilters bee and our September queen bee is Nesta from Ella & Nesta's Little Room. For our blocks this month she wanted us to make these cute cross stitch blocks.


They were really quick to make and the color combinations are endless. Here is the tutorial that she had us use, requesting that we make the 6 inch blocks with pinks, yellows, or oranges with low volume or white backgrounds. I know my block in the upper right looks small but I promise, it's the same size as all the others. It's just an optical illusion from the camera angle and the placement on the edge of the ottoman.

I hope the bottom right one isn't too gold. It's definitely not as bright a yellow and the other two. Here are my 2 favorite blocks. Both of the crosses on these blocks are Riley Blake fabrics. What I really love about them though, are the background fabrics. I knew I'd be able to use this bicycle fabric someday, and the text fabric just matched perfectly.



She originally requested 2 blocks from each member of the bee, but we all agreed that we should do 8 since they were so small. I hope she likes them! Now to get working on my block for October.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DIY Professionally Hemmed Curtains

I've been meaning to share this on my blog for a while now but kept forgetting to take photos. With moving into a brand new home, we have LOTS of windows that need curtains. Ikea is a great place to get some inexpensive ones but they're always really long. If you've ever needed to hem curtains then this tutorial is for you! Not only is it fast and easy, you get great looking results. How? By keeping the original hem. I wish my curtains weren't white for the purpose of my photos but this is what I had to work with.

First, when the curtains are hanging up, take a safety pin and pin the bottom up to the length that you want. Just a few safety pins will do, just to get an idea of where it should be. Pin it with the right sides of the fabric together. Take the curtains down and head to your sewing machine.

The trick to this method is in the math. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm mathematically challenged but if I can do it, anyone can do it! Laying the curtain flat on your ironing board measure from the fold to the hem (the curtain should still be pinned at this point). In my example below, it was 7 inches.


We need to take this number and divide it by 2. In my example, that would be 3.5 inches. Remove your safety pins and fold up the bottom of the curtain to be your divided number, again not including the original hem in your measurement. Press and pin as you go along.


Now it's time to sew right along the edge of the finished hem. I like to use my zipper foot - it presses against the original hem nicely.


Once it's sewn, it's time to cut off the excess at the bottom. If you're not sure that you measured correctly now is the time to hang up your curtain and check. But trust me, it will be perfect. I like to cut off the excess leaving about a half inch seam allowance. I just eyeball it.


If you want you can leave it like this, ironing it flat, but I prefer to sew down the seam allowance so there's no chance of the hem rolling up. It's never happened before, but I think it looks a bit neater. It's also helpful if the fabric tends to fray. I just use my regular foot and just sew along the edge of the hem.


That's all there is to it! Honestly, it took me about 30 minutes to hem 2 curtains. And did I mention it works great on jeans too? Yep!

Closeup of the new hem on the left. Curtains hung on the right.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quilty Little Secrets


If you've not seen this on some of the other quilting blogs, you're in for real treat. Amy over at 13 Spools made a post about her 10 Quilty Little Secrets and it spread like wildfire. It prompted so many others to chime in with their list that she opened up a link party just to share our confessions. Some of them are hilarious, my favorite so far being Shauna's number 10 (I won't spoil the surprise, you have to click over to read it!).

I've decided to add my own little secrets to the list. You can find the others here.

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE polka dots! Nothing makes me happier.
  2. Like so many others have confessed, I too, iron. Pressing is for sissies and triangle blocks cut on the bias. Then it's okay.
  3. I don't understand the craze for the Cotton + Steel fabrics. They're okay but I don't feel the need to possess any.
  4. I don't like appliqué. I'll do it if it's the best choice for a project but it's usually my last choice.
  5. I have an addiction to Mary Ellen's Best Press. I have no idea what's in it, but I love it.
  6. I'm not a big fan of scrappy or wonky. Correction - I can tolerate scrappy but wonky drives me nuts.
  7. I cringe whenever I see the word Accuquilt. Maybe because it's a tool I know I can never afford (or justify the expense) but if I see that it's a pattern or project made using one, I tend to stop reading.
  8. I really want to try glue basting but I'm chicken (and I don't have a super fine tipped applicator).
  9. I have attachments and accessories to my sewing machine that I have NO IDEA how to use.
  10. I've been known to sell my son's discarded toys and outgrown clothing and use the money to buy fabric.

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