Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scrappy citrus

June is my very first month to be a quilter in do.Good Stitches.

Blocks are piling up!

I'm excited, especially after seeing all of these lovely blocks appear in my mailbox! I asked for scrappy improv blocks in citrus colors, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results! I haven't made any myself, as I wanted to see how many I ended up with first. Since they are varying sizes, a few stitchers made extra! I might end up with enough for a bigger quilt than I originally intended! It was especially exciting to receive blocks in person from both Ara Jane and Maureen at the retreat! I'll share progress as soon as all blocks are received.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Handstitched things

I'm feeling a little behind on sharing over here, and today, I want to show you some fun handstitched projects. First up, Amanda made me an amazing wedding gift.

Us, in cross-stitch

She even included CJ, even though he isn't presently living with us. How fun! I absolutely love it, and am trying to decide where to hang it so I can enjoy it daily. I love that she used a, Anna Maria Horner Good Folks print for the matting, too! She used a custom pattern by wee little stitches.

I also completed a little cross-stitch on the retreat. Nicke bought me this pattern for my birthday (ahem, half a year ago), and I finally stitched it up. It took no time at all, and I just love it!

Finished...for now

It's from Shaun of the Dead and you can get the pattern here. Kaelin is pretty crazy about it, so I'm going to mail this one off to her, and stitch it up a second time for me.

There's one more handstitched project to share today.

FO: Swirly needlebook

I finished my reverse applique needlebook in Rachel's class! I love how it turned out.

FO: Swirly needlebook

Rachel supplied the felt as part of the optional class kit, and I used this Amy Butler Lark print. I mimicked the print in my applique cutouts. It was fun and quick. I may make a second needlebook!

I haven't made any progress on my Modern Medallion. I hope to work on that sometime this week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Home again, home again

Ah, it's good to be home. Although, hmmm. It seems I didn't really mention I was leaving! Well, this weekend, I felt like a lucky duck. I met up with new and old friends in Atlanta. Rachel organized a sewing weekend for some friends, and it was lots of fun. I'd already met Rachel, Holly and Amanda at Sewing Summit. It was great to hang out with them, as well as meeting Ara Jane, Nicke, Jessica, and Maureen!

Rachel, Maureen and Ara Jane

I'll share more pictures this week, but I thought I'd start with a few from Whipstitch. We visited on Saturday, and enjoyed the shop immensely.

Ella and me @ Whipstitch!

Oh, and I got to meet Ella! She lives in the Atlanta area, and was able to come by Whipstitch. We didn't get to visit for long, but it was awesome to meet her!


Deborah has created a very lovely shop! We all found some lovely fabrics for the stash. Here's my loot:

Whipstitch loot

I picked up some Monsterz, Lush running stitch, Melody Miller flowers, Laura GUnn Painter's canvas, and Ellen Luckett-Baker's Quilt Blocks!

Yes, my bag was a little heavier on the return trip, but that's normal, right?

I'll be back soon to share more pictures!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winner! and a consolation prize (!)

Well, there can only be one winner today, and that winner (via random number generator) is... #25, Steph! She said:

Favorite Halloween costume... one year when I was little, my parents dressed me up as a box of crayons. This involved a sandwich board painted yellow with the word Crayola painted on it. Hooray? LOL. I think I was three at the time! Thank you for the chance to win such a lovely bundle!

I've emailed Steph to collect her address, and I'd once again like to thank Stash for the Guising bundle giveaway!

Beth has offered up a consolation prize to take the bitterness away.

You can use the coupon code "jacey" at checkout in her shop for a 15% discount through Sunday!

Thanks to all that entered! I'm off for a little sewing retreat this weekend with some good friends. Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 18, 2012

FO: Improv quilt

Thanks to everyone who has entered the Stash Fabric giveaway! There's still a couple of days to enter here if you wish!

FO: Improv quilt

So, I have to tell you, I am over. the. moon for this quilt! It's so exciting to finish a quilt, but even more so when it really feels like you. And this one does. Feel like me, I mean. It's actually been finished for over a week, and has already been well loved and tested by both kitties.

FO: Improv quilt

The colors, the modern fabrics, the improvised blocks, the contrast binding, the large patchwork on the back, and the quilting are all happy-making choices. Speaking of the quilting, I have a confession to make. As per my usual, when people started raving about spray-basting, I refused to get on-board of that train.
"I like my pins!"
"Basting is soothing!"

And other such nonsense. Seriously? I spray basted this baby, with help from my sweet husband, and the quilting went so smoothly; I couldn't believe it. I saw a noticeable difference in the quality of my quilting.

FO: Improv quilt

You can also see I quilted this pretty densely, in one direction. I usually get tired of the quilting process, so I skimp on it. Truth be told, dense quilting is my favorite, but I never had the patience for it. I know many quilters use 505, but I was quite happy with the June Taylor brand I purchased.

FO: Improv quilt

As you may remember, this quilt was kick-started by a do.Good Stitches assignment from my pal Natalie to make improv chevron blocks and her lovely color palette. I started playing with the scraps from those blocks (because as Sara pointed out, there is some waste with the blocks, especially on the first attempt).

FO: Improv quilt

I'm so happy to have this one finished, so I can enjoy it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Stash Fabric Giveaway!

What better way to kickoff this happy Friday than to share a lovely giveaway?

While searching for Lizzy House's new Guising line a few weeks ago, I came across Stash, and was impressed by her pricing. Besides the Guising fabric, which was a gift, I also purchased some of the awesome Happy Drawings cut and sew.

Happy Drawings Cut & Sew Panel
I can't wait to make some of these little guys come to life!

I'm so excited to tell you that a brand new etsy shop, Stash Fabric, is my very first sponsor. 


I asked Beth a few questions about herself and Stash. Here's what she had to say:

Jacey: Do you sew? If so, when did you start? What type of things do you most enjoy sewing? 
Beth: I do sew! Well I guess I should say I've dabbled in sewing. I got my first machine nearly three years ago after my son was born. I've always enjoyed being crafty, but having children really brought out in me the need to create. I taught myself to crochet when I was pregnant because I just really wanted to make my son something. I don't think I finished that blanket until he was like 1.5 years old, but in the meantime, I learned to knit and started sewing. My favorite things to sew are home decor items because I'm super cheap when it comes to buying things like that and handmade decor really makes a house a home in my opinion. I'm currently practicing my quilting in a block-of-the-month class at my LQS, and I'm pretty much loving it. I have big plans for becoming a quilt ninja because of the beauty and timelessness of quilts. Not to mention all the different fabric that can go into them. I've also been seriously craving the ability to sew cute clothes for my daughter lately.

Jacey: What made you decide to start a fabric shop? 
Beth: Simply put, I LOVE fabric. It turns out you don't really have to do a whole lot of sewing to become completely obsessed with all the beautiful, modern fabric that is out there. I have spent more hours than I care to admit ogling all the lovelies, aimlessly cataloging them in my mind by manufacturer and designer and collection. After my husband suggested I might have a problem, I decided that instead of just looking for fun, I should turn my little obsession into an online shop so that
1) I am justified in my countless hours spent looking at fabric and
2) I can guiltlessly surround myself with all the fabric that I not so secretly want to hoard.
And so Stash Fabric was born. Fortunately I have a super supportive husband that is okay with the fact that I won't rest until all unoccupied space (and maybe even a little occupied space) in our home is completely covered in fabric.

Jacey: What do you think sets your shop apart from others?
Beth: This is a great question because this is one of the biggest challenges in opening an online fabric store in my opinion. The market is pretty saturated with shops and I was concerned with getting lost in the shuffle, especially as I build up my stock.
But I think what sets me apart currently from other shops is fair prices, unparalleled customer service and free shipping over $50 in the US (discounts internationally). When I personally shop online, I look for the cheapest prices with the fastest order turn around time, and I don't want to pay for shipping. That is why I guarantee shipping within 24 hours (most times much less) and include a free shipping policy.
I've been surprised by how few shops have a free shipping option available.
 I also have big plans for offering weekly sales to give people the opportunity to get newer fabric for great prices. Who doesn't love a sale? Plus I'm working hard to keep a strong pulse on what the modern quilter wants so I can bring it all in one convenient place. In the next few months, you can expect to see many of the heavily anticipated lines arriving in my shop along with a very well thought out, super user-friendly website that I can guarantee you'll want to check out!

Jacey: Who is your favorite designer? 
Beth: Oh goodness, where do I begin? If I had to pick one, I'd say I have a special place in my heart for Lizzy House because it was the Peeps collections that started me down this path. If she's designing it, I'm buying it. No questions asked.

Jacey: What upcoming line are you most excited about?
Beth: I'm pumped for Tula Pink's The Birds and The Bees, Lotta J's Bella, and Heather Ross' Nursery-Versy, all of which will be carried in their entirety at Stash around August. I also can't wait for Simply Color from V. and Co. due in October.

Jacey: Do you think you will carry patterns or notions in the future? Do you see yourself branching out from quilting cottons to apparel or home decor? 
Beth: I will definitely carry patterns at some point in the future. I already have several patterns in mind for this very thing. I also like the idea of selling quilt kits for those that get overwhelmed with fabric selection when planning a quilt. While my current focus is quilting cottons, I would love to be able to expand into the world of voiles, home dec, and even laminates. I imagine that as my sewing abilities expand and improve, you'll notice an increase in variety of fabric I offer. Heck, I wouldn't mind even carrying a small selection of yarn as some point.

Thank you so much, Beth! It was great learning more about you. Lizzy House is such a favorite for me, too! And I know Lotta Jansdotter's Bella line is one that I'm very eagerly awaiting this summer.

In addition the giveaway below, enter the coupon GRANDOPENING for 10% off your order in the shop through Sunday, 6/17. And don't forget, free shipping on U.S. orders over $50 (with discounts on international)!
You can also follow Stash on facebook, for additional giveaways and discounts!

Beth has graciously offered up a little giveaway for me to share with you all today!

One lucky winner will receive a fat quarter bundle of the ever-adorable Guising line by Lizzy House! That's TEN fat quarters! One entry per person, please. International entries are welcome!
To enter, leave a comment telling us your most favorite Halloween costume. The giveaway will close Wednesday the 20th, 10 pm CST.
Thanks, Beth, and Stash Fabric!

Comments are now closed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

FOs: Envelope Clutches

Shortly before my wedding, my neighbor Kim mentioned wanting to buy clutches for her bridesmaids. I'd contemplated making some for my girls, but ended up eliminating that task as the wedding approached. There just wasn't time. But in true crafter form, I volunteered to make her some for her bridesmaids.

Her wedding is this weekend, so in the last couple of weeks, I worked on getting these clutches made.

I used the lovely Anna's Envelope Clutch pattern.

FO: Envelope Clutches

I think the clutches turned out nicely, but I must admit, the finishing steps gave me trouble. This wasn't Anna's fault. It's just a little fussy, and I'm definitely not a professional bag-maker. Still, I learned how to install magnetic snaps, and I could see a visible difference between the first bag finished and the last. I made these in the smaller size, and I didn't include any pockets or zippers.

FO: Envelope Clutches

I used Joel Dewberry Aviary 2 prints from the stash (although I had to purchase a little more of two prints), to match Kim's wedding colors.

I hope her bridesmaids will enjoy them!

I also managed to finish my second Modern Medallion attempt last night.

Round Two

I'm much happier with those inner points and the smoothness of the block. I've added my next two rounds of fabrics to the block, so I'll share progress again soon!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Try, try again

I don't think I've mentioned that I signed up for Rachel's Handstitched class. I hemmed and hawed about it, partially because I have so many things to finish (and to start), and I wasn't sure if I "needed" a class like this. I talked to E about it, and he encouraged me to do it.
I realized there are many topics covered in the course that I have little or no experience with, and knew this would be a focused way to acquire those skills.
I knew I would learn these skills SOMEDAY, but Rachel's class will help me learn them NOW.
Signing up has already given me new tools and confidence when approaching a hand sewing project. I'm so glad I joined.
Not to mention, the Modern Medallion quilt. Ooh, such a beauty! Yes, out of all of the projects Rachel shared sneak peeks of, THIS project pushed me over the edge.
Fabrics have been selected for my MM version: Modern Medallion fabrics I completed my center block this week, but I was not satisfied with my work. With little applique experience, I dove in, completing the block in one evening. Since this will be the centerpiece of the quilt, I decided that I would take the things I learned from the first to make an improved second block.

Modern Medallion
Block attempt #1

I used too much starch on the edges, my stitches are not very even, my inner corners are messy, there are puckers (I bet partially due to too much starch) and to top it off, I trimmed the block too much.

I'm not this picky about small mistakes typically, but as I said, this will be the centerpiece, and I knew I could make a better block based on the experience. I've already started it, and I'm much happier with it so far. There was not another large piece of that lovely HTF Amy Butler Coriander in the stash, so I'm using an Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party for the replacement.

Don't worry about the fate of this block; I see a pillow or mini in my future!

I plan to share other projects from Rachel's class throughout the summer.


In other quilting news, I'll have a fun finish to share very, very soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thoughts on selecting fabric

Raise your hand if picking fabric (or yarn, for that matter) is your favorite part of the project process.

I'm pretty sure if we were in a room together, there would be lots of raised hands right now. I certainly love other aspects of creating a project, but raw fabric has so much potential. I'm sure this is why stashing can easily get out of hand. When I look at fabric online (or very rarely, in a LQS), I immediately think something along these lines:

"what could I use this for?"
this would be great for x or y."
"ooh, what about using this for binding a quilt?"

This week, I was working on pulling a stack of fabrics for a little quilt-along I'm doing with my good pals Amanda and Nicke.
I'd thought about several different fabric combinations, but Monday night, I started with a single Lecien print, from the Fabulous Blooming collection.
Selecting fabric
Less than an hour later, I was staring at a lovely little bundle.
Selecting fabric
This print was not purchased with any specific purpose, and I've had it for months. I purchased it here at Superbuzzy, if you're interested!
So, my first step was to pull prints that matched the various colors in the Lecien print. I went through my stashed grays, black/whites, greens, blues and reds. I held up individual prints next to the Lecien one, to make sure the shades matched well.
Selecting fabric
It's good to be broad in this search, and you might end up with something unexpected. I chose twenty additional prints. The pattern size I'm making requires seventeen prints, so I then eliminated my least favorites.

Selecting fabric
I will be using this stack to make Cluck, Cluck, Sew's pow-wow pattern found here. I'm not crazy about the name, so I'm going to call it, "which way?" instead!
Some things to keep in mind when choosing fabrics:
  • Keep the pattern piece size(s) and shape(s) in mind as you select fabrics. Most of the prints I chose are small or medium in scale, since larger prints could get lost in this type of piecing. 
  • When starting with an inspirational print like I did here, be sure you consider how each print works with the group, as well as that first print. 
  • Don't be afraid to try combinations you may not have previously considered.
  • Consider value of the prints. In my stack here, I tried to choose prints of similar value, since there are so many colors involved. When you have only a couple of colors involved, it's easier to be free with the values.
  • Having a varied stash certainly helps with this sort of exercise. In fact, this is a helpful way to identify missing colors/prints. As you can see, the lime/chartreuse green color is highly represented in my stash!
I'm going to speak to this process again when planning future projects, because I think it's interesting. I hope you do, too! If you have any questions, please let me know!
The girls and I will be starting the quilt soon.
Feel free to join in with us if you like!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Enabler alert

I often joke with crafty friends about my enabling abilities, especially when it comes to buying fabric or starting new projects. I guess that comes with the territory of crafting or any hobby, really. There is a constant influx of new media to excite us, and that is more true in the fabric world than in most communities. I'm sure there is less temptation if you, say, make model airplanes.

With that being said, I have one current fabric crush to share with you, as well as one new swap I've joined.


I'm sure you've seen Tula Pink's Nightshade by now. That cloud print was just too good to be resisted. I bought it in all three colorways, and then had to grab some of the bird lace as well. The flowery print in the background is fun, with little skulls strewn about.

I've bought some other new things as well (although I'm trying to be good!), but this is one of the recent stashings that I'm wanting to cut into first.

I know we all go through the constant desire to start something new, while works-in-progress sit patiently waiting for attention.

I've been steadily progressing on my finishing list. It looks as if I'm about halfway done there! Of course, the glaring missing finish is Swoon. As soon as I get my Improv quilt finished (eta: this weekend!), Swoon is next.

Speaking of improv, Nicke chose improv chevrons for her month of Wonky Bee. Since I enjoyed them so much in March for do.Good Stitches, I jumped the gun, and have already completed them for June.

Improv chevron blocks for Nicke

It's a testament to how fun this block is. Six White Horses came up with such a fun technique! And Nicke's colors are awesome, based on the custom bundle she created for Pink Castle.

And one last enabling effort for today, I've joined a new swap. After a long hiatus from public swaps (for no reason other than trying to get through some lingering projects), I thought the Modernista swap sounded fun. For the first round, we are making something for the sewing room/area. I've been wanting to make a new machine cover, so this seemed like a great opportunity to have one made.

Inspiration for modernista swap
1. Sewing Machine Cover, 2. Sewing Machine Cover, 3. Triangle Mini Finished!, 4. new sewing machine cover, 5. NestingChairs-Sewing-Machine-Cover-003, 6. Sparkle punch potholder ready for binding, 7. Pillow Talk Swap Progress, 8. herringbone, 9. side 2, 10. Scrappy HST Quilt, 11. Sewing spot, 12. Just Swell sewing machine cover

I'm hoping my partner can make something nice and structured for my machine, with bold color and geometric patterning. It should be a fun swap, and there's still a little time to join! The swap closes this Sunday, so don't hesitate if you're interested in joining!

Whew! I'm wordy today. I hope you have a fun weekend! I'll be seeing some friends, and finishing that quilt!

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