Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No fair!

I hope you all had a fun weekend. I was off of work yesterday for Memorial Day, which was a lovely treat. There was grilling, sorbet-making (dude, make this recipe post-haste!!), socializing, and sewing!

Saturday, my sister Jill came over to sew with me. She's sewn just a tiny bit before, including one previous visit last year where she made a coaster. This time, though, she had her game face on.

She raided my stash, and proceeded to make two lovely Jane Market Bags. Seriously?

I want to steal it.

I want to steal the jaguar bag. She used some lovelies from the stash, including that coveted Jaguar Echino print. Luckily, I distracted her long enough to keep some for my own version. I fully intend to copy her choices. I'm out of the lining print she used, which was this Dear Stella print. Expect to see another version of this soon. The Heath fabric really goes with everything! The straps are from Ellen Luckett Baker's Quilt Blocks.

Jill's first sewing

Jill is giving this aqua and pink bag to her boyfriend's aunt, when they visit her in Alaska next month!

Jill's first sewing

Fabrics used in the second bag: Echo (outside aqua), Paula Prass Flights of Fancy Pink Cobblestone (pockets), Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Herringbone (straps), Jay McCarroll Habitat (lining)

Moral of the story?
Stop hoarding fabrics and use them instead, or you might regret it!
Also, I fully admit that the title of this post is childish. I will always be a big sister.

I have some finished quilt blocks and a very-close-to-finished improv quilt to share soon!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wiksten Wednesday

FO: Mud Lace Wiksten Tank
Fabric used: Urban Cowgirls Lace in Mud, Kona Glacier for trim
Pattern here

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trying to get it right

After the HMQG retreat, I stumbled upon a sewing machine foot I didn't know I owned. A guild member mentioned her 1/4" foot, and said it came with the quilting foot she'd purchased for her Janome. Since I had a Janome and a quilting foot, I realized I most likely had the same foot.
Eureka! I found it, and immediately thought about how much easier it would make my life.
I attached it and went to town on sewing my second block for BaMS.

I finished, and put it with my first block to mail, when I realized that the new block was most definitely smaller than the first.

Too small

How could this be? The 1/4" foot should have made me more precise, and I was stumped.

Then I remembered that the needle position should have been adjusted to 4.0 (vs. the default 3.5) before proceeding.

OOPS.

The quarter inch foot

This week, I made a third postage stamp block, and now I can send Aylin her blocks.

And now I'll remember to adjust the needle each time I turn on the machine.

The too small block will go in my scrap bin. I'm sure I'll find a fun use for it!

I started a Wiksten tank this weekend, and almost finished. I'll share it soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A wedding quilt

I've been meaning to blog about this for just over three weeks now. Trouble is, I didn't get around to taking pictures, and I hadn't received the wedding photos. And this is the kind of thing you need pictures of, because words just aren't enough. So, first, a picture:

Starry Wedding Quilt

Each block in this quilt was made with different hands. It's a lengthy list, but I want to individually mention each person involved in this project:

Amanda
Amanda
Amy
Beth
Betty (my grandmother
Bryanna
Chawne
Chris
Cindy (my mom)
Fi
Freida
Gabriella
Jen
Jessica
Jill (my sister)
Jules
Kaelin
Liz
Maureen
Melissa
Nicke
Paula
Rachel
Robin
Safieh
Sally
Sam
Sara
Tammy

Starry Wedding Quilt

I cannot thank you all enough for making this quilt for us!
It's so beautiful, and when I opened it at the wedding, I was shocked, touched, and overwhelmed.

The colors are, of course, PERFECT! And the stars. oh. the stars. I love that each quilter shared a little piece of themselves in this quilt.

Nicke organized this endeavor, and quilted it! We've had so much fun enjoying each block.

Starry Wedding Quilt

Jules made the binding, and Nicke shipped it to Amy, who surprised me with it. Kaelin has devilishly named it, "The Babymaker". My mom especially loved that!

Starry Wedding Quilt

Thank you, friends! It means so much that you would do this for us, and give us good wishes for our marriage.

Starry Wedding Quilt

One last photo: this is CJ, Elliott's adorable dog, who is living with his parents for the time being. Since we will be living at my townhome (with no yard), he can't stay with us. We'll be visiting him often, though!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Finishes

Hello!

I have a lot to share this week! Over the weekend, I finished a small knitting project and more bee blocks.

Back in February, Rachel encouraged me to knit a dishcloth. For some reason, I skipped that particular rite of passage when I learned to knit, FIVE years ago. Wow, I just realized that's how long I've been knitting.

FO: First Ballband

I finally sat down to finish this little ballband washcloth over the weekend, and I love it! It's no secret that the Mason-Dixon pattern is a winner (it's been knit almost 8000 times on ravelry!).

I used KnitPicks Dishie cotton yarn, in Jay and Linen, about half a ball of each. I bought some additional colors of the yarn, so I expect to knit a few more of these.

FO: First Ballband

I just love the texture!

So, my other weekend progress was working on bee blocks for the month.

Wonky Bee: for Amanda

In the Wonky Bee this month, Amanda asked for 14" bear paw blocks, in her favorite colors. I was planning to just make the large portion a single print, but then Melissa upped the ante for all of us with her blocks. They were so fun to make! I've been working on organizing my stash, so I pulled a group of scraps to use.

Wonky Bee: for Amanda
Oooh, artsy.

Organizing - half yards

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working on the stash, and I have all of my half-yards together and sorted by color now. This new storage unit was purchased at Target, and was a little smaller than I envisioned, but I think it will work well for the purpose.

Organizing the stash

I also have all yardage together now (in the four top left bins). I've still got some sorting to do, but my fabric is a lot more accessible now.

Elliott and I went to visit his parents this weekend, so later this week I'll share some new Oliver pictures, as well as a special wedding present I received. And, I might have wedding pictures in my possession!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thanks, mom

Mom and I

I see my mom almost every day. We work together, and although I have moments of frustration, I know I'm lucky to have so much time with her.

Remember the pillowcases she made me? Well, I finally got around to taking some detailed shots of her embroidery and thought it was a perfect time to share, right before Mother's Day.

Closeup - mom's embroidery

Just look at those lazy daisies. Incredible!

Mom is so busy, between work, and building a retirement house in the country with her sweet husband.

I know she spent hours on these pillowcases, getting them just right before the shower.

She has crafty aspirations, but never seems to find the time for execution.

Mom's embroidery

I've already got them on our bed, and enjoy looking at the stitches in close detail.

Glitter

Thanks, sweet momma!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Precision and improvisation

At the HMQG retreat this weekend, I split my time between precise and freeform projects. Although, a good deal of time was also spent joking and having fun.

As usual, overpacking occurred, at least in terms of projects. I brought a laundry basket, which was essentially full of fabric and notions.

My goal was to focus on May bee blocks and my improv quilt top.
I also brought, but barely touched, a pajama set for Oliver. Oh, well. They'll get made someday.

But the positives! Yes, let's talk about what got done.

do.Good Stitches: May

First up, I happily crossed off my do.Good Stitches May blocks, for Deb. These are patchwork wheel blocks, using Don't call me Betsy's tutorial. I always enjoy digging through the scrap bin, and I made sure to pack lots of fun fabrics for these blocks.

Next month is my first month to plan a do.Good Stitches quilt. I hope I can come with something just as fun!

BaMS: May

One block got finished for Bee a Modern Swapper. Nilya asked for 2.5" unfinished postage stamps. I also managed to cut out the squares for my second block. That should be finished in the next few days.

It felt good to finish so many pieced blocks, and as a treat, I started assembling my improv quilt top Saturday night.

Improv quilt top

And I finished! There was a little bit of small piecing left, and then I just worked on assembling.

It feels so good to make serious progress on a large project like this. I've been mainly making minis, doing wedding stuff, and making bee blocks, so this was quite an accomplishment.
Want proof?

Me and my quilt top

Just look at my face!

P.S. Thanks to my friend Safieh for the two quilt pictures!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Polaroid Blocks

If you've never been a part of a quilting bee, let me share that one of the best parts is picking which block your friends will make for you.
For me, it's a process of sorting through favorite blocks in books, flickr examples, blog tutorials, until you find just the right block. And instead of making millions of blocks, your bee mates help you with the process.

For round two of the Wonky Bee, I chose Polaroid blocks. You've probably seen these floating around the blogosphere, and as far as I can tell, this was the first block, by Little Miss Shabby. Then, a tutorial was posted over here.

I asked the wonky girls for blocks with various gray backgrounds, wonky or not, as many photos as they'd like per block.

Polaroids received
Blocks shown from Sara, Melissa and Jessica.

I've received blocks from all but one member (and it's okay; I wasn't in a rush for them!). I haven't photographed Nicke's blocks yet, but you can see them here.

Funnily enough, Rachel chose this same block for do. Good Stitches last month. Honestly, that's great, because they aren't difficult to make, and each one is different. I know I won't get tired of them before my quilt is done! I've only made one block for myself so far, and haven't photographed it.

Polaroid Blocks for do.Good Stitches

Here are the blocks I made for Rachel.

I hope to make more Polaroid blocks soon! You should try them, too!

P.S. The HMQG retreat this weekend was so much fun!! It's already been decided that our guild will have an annual retreat. Over the weekend, I finished several bee blocks, and also, I have a quilt top!

More. More. MORE!

It's this one, all done! Now, I just need to figure out what to back it with, and I'll get started on the quilting! And take a picture of the top, of course!

P.P.S. Still no wedding pictures, but sooooon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

Thanks for all of your well-wishes! I really cannot wait to share wedding pictures with you, and I hope to be doing just that next week (fingers crossed!).

I managed to finish one item from my recent list! Truth be told, the Friday before the wedding, I was quilting this! Not all day, mind you, but I snuck in a couple of hours to work on it. The Sunday after we got back from our honeymoon, I finished quilting and started the binding.

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

A few days later, I have a little finished mini!

It feels good to cross an item off the list, and this mini makes me so happy. Echo is definitely one of my favorite recent lines, and I can't wait for the follow-up, Bella!

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

In addition to Echo squares, I used a few small scraps of other lovely prints and solids. There's a little Modern Meadow, some Suzuko Koseki buttons (!), Essex linen, Kona Slate, and a few others. I bordered with a burgundy Kona (not sure of the exact color, but I can check if anyone is curious).

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

I might love the back just as much as the front! If I do, I'm sure it's due to those lovely Anthology yellow flowers. I love that print! I used some leftover odds and ends to complete the back.

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

This is quilted in yellow again with random lines, and I bound with another Anthology print, from Bryant Park.

It feels so good to be sewing after a short break! I'm off to a retreat with my guildmates this weekend; I'm sure we'll have fun!

FO: Echo Postage Stamps

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's done!

Hello, hello!

I feel as if a lot has happened since I posted here, and it has! Let's see... I got married, for one thing, and I went on a honeymoon!

I don't have wedding pictures to share just yet, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from Vancouver, BC.

Truly? I would move there. It's a gorgeous city, with good food, friendly people and their idea of rain is a tolerable mist.

Vancouver - Waterfront

We enjoyed our short stay in downtown Vancouver, and ate many delicious meals around the city.
Public transportation is easily accessible. I know that might not be very exciting to some of you, but Houston is so spread out that a car is pretty much required. I love visiting cities with trains, subways, taxis and buses that are maintained well.

Vancouver mosaic

Here are some Vancouver highlights.
We visited Stanley Park, the aquarium, Granville Island (and their brewery) and even the casino!

I am not cut out for gambling, I know that much! I have only been a few times, and I'm always so cautious.

We had a lot of fun, though.

Stanley Park

Here's a favorite image from the park. You wouldn't believe the blooming flowers everywhere! Tulips, daffodils, and lots of other gorgeous flowers. The roses weren't in bloom yet, but we didn't miss them!

I feel sort of, all over the place, but I know the dust will settle soon!

I actually have some crafty finishes to show you, so I'll be back soon. I also have a few shots from Seattle to share. And of course, wedding pictures! I should have them in my hot little hands in the next week or so. Last, but definitely not least, I have an AMAZING gift to share with you. And a giveaway.

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