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Aug 31, 2011

Vote! and my little Interview for Halogen TV

Aug 31, 2011
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Today is the last day to vote in Connecting Threads Fabric Design Contest.....  stop by and VOTE for my friend (and roomie at the Sewing Summit) Lee of Freshly Pieced.

Her design, pictured above, is called "Flourish".  Isn't it lovely?  The winner gets to design a line of coordinates for Connecting Threads.  Please vote if you haven't already!

In other news, I was contacted by a reporter at Halogen TV (a cable network that focuses on socially conscious entertainment) over the weekend about a piece on the Arts & Crafts revival.  Go here to check it out!

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Aug 30, 2011

{Sew} Beautiful Bee - My month

Aug 30, 2011
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bee fabrics

I've been really excited for my month in the {Sew} Beautiful Bee since I started watching Camille put together her Farmer's Wife blocks using both Ruby and Bliss.  Those colors were just shouting to me.  Absolutely gorgeous.

I already had one Bliss charm pack stored away and I was able to get 3 Ruby charm packs to make plenty of charms for my quilt planning.

dutch pinwheel sample block for {Sew} Beautiful Bee
Sample Dutch Pinwheel made with Strawberry Fields

I'm choosing Dutch Pinwheel blocks (based on these I fell in love with first and inspired the tute).

packet layout

Here's the layout of what I'm sending out.  Each little row will be one block.  This was before I added any Bliss.  Can't wait to see everything coming back!
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Aug 28, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along: The Farmer's Wife is back!

Aug 28, 2011
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30 end of day
#30 End of Day

It's been over a month since I've posted about the Farmer's Wife QAL.  That's because I hit a mental road block.  After I attempted this block....

34 Flock
#34 Flock

which tested my patience with tiny HSTs and ended up being completely not square.  I was frustrated.  I didn't know how I would complete any of the more complicated and intricate blocks if I couldn't get #34 Flock right. I pull the whole project to the side....

Then, thankgoodness for Michelle of City House Studio, who blogged about joining a group for the FWQAL where there were paper piecing templates.  Ah ha!  That was my answer!  No better way to get perfect points every time.  Thank you so much Michelle!

39 Friendship
#39 Friendship with a little improv
So I started with some easier blocks to remind myself how to paper piece (until now, I'd only done one circle of geese for our Bee).  Sweet.  Don't mind the improv on the Friendship block.  After I'd paper pieced the whole thing, I realized I forgot to check the scaling on my printer.

A lot easier in my opinion.  Not necessarily less time consuming, but overall less frustration so far.

And no cutting 12 triangles from templates.
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Aug 26, 2011

Follower Friday: Meet Leila of Sewn by Leila

Aug 26, 2011
Pin It Hello Friday!  It's the end of summer and school has started (well, not for my pre-k guy yet).  Anyway, my favorite time of year!  We're even heading out to watch some high school football tonight!

So another Friday, of course, means another wonderful quilter feature here today!  Today the spotlight is on Leila of Sewn by Leila.  She has a fantastic style that I think perfectly blends the best of both modern and traditional quilting.  She is also heading up the popular Skill Builder Sampler to help all of us expand our horizons.  Let's learn more about her....


Hi!  I am Leila (pronounced li-la) from Huxley, Iowa.  I am a stay at home mom with four daughters (ages 11-2), one cat, six chickens and a husband who is so patient and supportive of my quilting fetish.  Last October I started my own blog, Sewn by Leila and learned about flickr where I post as L.Meg. The online quilting world is amazing, huh?
Tree Quilt

I started to quilt 10 years ago when a friend talked a group of us into participating in a Block of the Month program at our local quilt shop.  If you brought your completed block back each month to their meeting you would get the next month's block for free.  Perfect for a college student with no money - I was hooked.

I have sewn on a variety of machines - most of them found at garage sales or thrift shops - but my current and favorite machine is a Bernina 801.  It is an older machine with all the quality of a high priced new Bernina.  I cannot say how much I recommend buying a used quality machine.  You can get so much more for your money.

I don't own many quilting books, but love to check books out from the library, surf blogs and talk to "older" women at quilt shops and guilds to learn new techniques.  There were so many things I said I would never do when I started quilting.  One of them was applique and another was hand piecing.  I have since appliqued several things and am almost done with a queen sized English paper pieced Flower Garden quilt.
Girl in Grandmother's Flower Garden

 When the whole "dumbing down" conversation happened in blogland, it made me think about my own skill set.  I realized that there were still a whole host of techniques and skills I would love to do, but was simply scared to try.  (Paper piecing, curves, reverse applique to name a few)  I figured there were more people like me out there and decided to start the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  (Yeah, it's a mouthful.)  

Skill Builder Sampler

Every month we focus on a new skill (this month is flying geese).  Then each Friday for three weeks I share a tutorial for a 12 inch quilt block using that technique.  The first block is easy, the next intermediate and the last block is challenging.  The fourth week is set aside to catch up on the month's blocks and talk about the quilt math that goes along with the new skill.  If you have completed all three blocks by the end of the fourth week, you are eligible to enter a giveaway.  I know fabric prizes motivate me!  Here is the link to all of the sampler posts.  I would love to have you stop by and check it out.  Feel free to join in at any time.  You can start with Block 1 or jump in where we are now.

Here are some of the blocks we have made so far up on my design wall.  My design wall is just a cheap vinyl tablecloth tacked up on the wall, but I don't know how I lived without it.  


Lisa, who lived here before us, is an artist.  She and her husband transformed a small dark basement room into a crafter's paradise.  Cabinets for storing fabrics.  A sewing height table, cutting counter and a great paint job.  There are even some hanging thing-ies that I use to hang finished tops on.  The only thing it lacks is natural light, which is a problem when I take pictures.  This year I started posting tutorials and it is challenging to take decent pictures downstairs, but not practical to bring all my stuff upstairs.  Any hints?  

Writing tutorials has been fun and challenging.  I wrote up a tutorial for my favorite Diamond Quilt.
It is a hexagon shaped quilt made out of diamonds.  Love it!  It was a present for my new niece, but I would really like to make another to keep.
Diamond Quilt

I am quite honored to have been featured here.  I know I look forward to learning about new quilters each week and am tickled to be one of them.  Thanks Anne Marie! 

If you'd like to keep up with Leila and all that she's up to visit her blog Sewn by Leila.  Have a great weekend!

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Aug 24, 2011

Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

Aug 24, 2011
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Cosmo Bag

I've been bitten by the Travel Handmade bug.  I can't help but get excited for the Sewing Summit - but I've got just over a month to get some bags, pouches, etc made.  I must get to work!

I've decided to make the Amy Butler Cosmo Bag.  It's Project #1 in Style Stitches.  And although it's supposed to be the easiest pattern in the book, I must confess I'm intimidated!  I've heard her patterns are a bit difficult, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.  I'm very confident at two dimensional quilts, but as soon as we go 3D, I tend to waver and sweat.

I need your help...  I'm looking for opinions....

Here are my fabric selections.

fabric selection Cosmo Bag
1.  Josephine Kimberling for Robert Kaufman Just Dandy
2.  Amy Butler Midwest Modern
3.  Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Dogwood Bloom

This bag style typically does a good job of showing off large prints, like the Modern Meadow print.

But I want to use this bag at the Summit and this fall, so I'm wondering if the Modern Meadow print is too summery??

Modern Meadow Main
A.  Modern Meadow

Just Dandy Main
B.  Just Dandy

I like both prints and will have a hard time hiding one as the lining.  But please let me know what you think is the best choice?
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Aug 22, 2011

Hello Sunshine Queen Quilt Finish

Aug 22, 2011
Pin It Hello Sunshine is FINALLY finished!  The individual x-block used in this quilt has always reminded me of a railroad crossing sign.  So for this quilt's finish photo shoot I decided to head to a historical village with some railroad nostalgia.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #1

This quilt is queen sized for our master bedroom.  It's the first one I've made for our bed.  Yikes!  I can't imagine doing a king - this was big enough for me!  I started with a half yard bundle of 10 Nicey Jane prints that I received for Christmas.  I absolutely love how it pairs with the Kona Maize - it's so cheery and bright.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #2 edited

What started out as an x-block has a lattice effect when you look at the whole piece put together.  I think it was the right choice for the garden and vintage-y florals of the prints.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #3 edited

I was trying to learn how to use EQ7 when I designed this quilt (that was also a xmas present).  After having done a couple designs with the software, I have noticed it seems to overestimate yardage requirements.  When I first started this quilt, it was only to be lap size, 16 blocks.  I ended up making 42 - 14" blocks for the queen.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #4 edited

I quilted it at my LQS on a HQ Avante.  I love working with that machine!  It makes doing a large quilt so easy.  It only took me about 1.5 hours to quilt the whole thing.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #5 edited

I know you can't see very much of the quilt, but I just love this bench shot.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #6 edited

I uses one of the green prints for the binding, and struggled with whether I should hand or machine bind it.  In the end, getting it done quick won out.

Nicey Jane Hello Sunshine #7

Overall, I'm really happy with how it came out and it's really warm to sleep under at night!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Fresh Poppy Design
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Aug 20, 2011

Sponsor Specials this Weekend

Aug 20, 2011
Pin It Sew Obsessed is having a special this weekend....

Also, Sew Delightful Fabrics is back open again!  Kristen is having a great sale on:

Now through the end of August all Precuts and Bella Solids will be 20% off. 

Happy Shopping!

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Aug 19, 2011

Flickr Friday: End of Summer - Summer Fair Favs

Aug 19, 2011
Pin It Hi everyone!  As school gets ready to start and summer is coming to an end, I thought we'd celebrate (after all, Fall is my absolute favorite season) by taking a look at a few of the Summer Fair entries.  These are my favorites.  Thanks again everyone for linking up!

To find the original entries, find the details here at the Summer Fair post.

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Aug 15, 2011

Rockin' Robin Quilt Along: Quilt Tops

Aug 15, 2011
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The big day!!  The whole quilt top is put together and revealed.....

I am extremely happy with the way my quilt top came out and can't wait to see it quilted.  I'm thinking some playful quilting by the houses will be a lot of fun....  I'm SO glad I decided to go with the color gradation across the quilt.  I think it makes the Central Park prints visually relaxing since there are so many prints included in a layer cake.

How is your Rockin' Robin quilt top coming along?  Remember that all quilt tops finished by August 22 will be entered into the GiveAway....  so hopefully, we'll see your big reveal before then too!!

Rockin' Robin GiveAway (3 winners chosen at random) - 2 - $25 gift certificates for the Fat Quarter Shop and 1 Metro Market (8) fat quarter bundle from the Fabric Shoppe

Be sure to check out the other host's colorways to see their finished quilt tops:

Heather and Megan's at QuiltStory

Lisa at That Crazy Quilty Girl

Melissa at Lilac Lane

and Jen at Reannalily Designs.
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Aug 12, 2011

Follower Friday: Michelle of City House Studio

Aug 12, 2011
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Welcome to Follower Friday!  Today's guest is Michelle of City House Studio.  She has a fantastic modern style and an impressive 15 years of quilting obsession!  How cool is that!  Let's learn more about her.....

Michelle of Saint Paul, MN

Significant Other/Kids/Pets:
husband Brian
twin girls Holly & Alexia, age 5
cats: Dusseldorf & Tallulah

# Years Quilting:

How you learned to quilt:
I learned to quilt the summer I graduated from college.  I moved home for the summer, and before starting graduate school, I told my mom that I wanted to make a quilt.  Of course I chose a queen sized pattern!  So my mom and I spent many hours together trying to figure out how to "quilt."  We bought a good reference book and a rotary cutter, but we actually used a wooden cutting board on the kitchen counter to cut out all of the pieces!  We pieced it on my mom's old Singer, which hadn't been used since my 4H project in 8th grade.  We didn't quite finish it before my classes started in the fall, so she quilted and bound it herself (this was quite a job for a brand new quilter!), and delivered it to my apartment when she visited me at Thanksgiving.  What an amazing mom, huh?
My parents bought me a sewing machine for my birthday after I got married, and I've been quilting ever since.
Life was crazy busy after my twins were born, but I'm a much happier person if I can spend a little time each day with my sewing machine--so I've always managed to find time for quilting.  My nephew was born 4 weeks after my twins, and to finish his quilt I figured out how to sew with a baby on my chest in a Baby Bjorn!

One of my favorite projects was making a birthday table runner for the girls -- I bought a pattern at a quilt show, and machine appliqued the girls' names at each end.
On their first birthday they had fun rolling around on it, but now each year we celebrate with it on our table.

Favorite Completed Project Description:

 double hourglass (I'm in the process of handquilting this one!)

Quilting workstation setup:

My sewing room is also our office and guest room, so it needs to be pretty and (usually!) organized.  For bigger projects I usually move to the dining room table.  I still have my old Elna 3007, which is great for decorative stitching and wavy line quilting.  But now I sew on a Juki TL-98Q, which I would have to say is my favorite tool in my sewing room.  This machine is amazing.  I used to think that I just wasn't talented enough to free motion quilt -- but this machine changed everything!  I've been free motion quilting like crazy for the past year.

If you'd like to keep up with Michelle and all that she's up to visit her blog City House Studio and flickr stream.

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Aug 10, 2011

Tutorial: How To Add Piping to a Pillow

Aug 10, 2011
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I've piped a couple pillows now and the tutorials I've referenced before didn't explain things how my mind works.  So of course, I thought I'd write my own!  Hopefully, this will help you add the piping with less frustration.  Because in the end, it adds such a professional touch and is worth it!

Now, the important thing to realize BEFORE you even begin sewing is that you will end up sewing around the cording three times before your pillow is finished.  In order not to see the previous stitching line, it is important that each consecutive stitch line gets closer to the cording.

So the first line you sew is basically a basting line just to secure the cording inside your fabric strip.  It should be loose, with room to sew 2 more stitching lines inside the original baste.

The second stitching line attaches the cording wrapped in fabric to the pillow top.  This stitching line should be inside or to the left of the baste.

The third stitching line is the last one (!) and attaches the back of the pillow to the front plus piping combo from the previous step.  Again, this third stitching line should be inside or to the left of the other stitching line.

Clear as mud?  Let me show you with a little more detail and photos.  Just remember, each consecutive stitch line should be closer and closer to the cording to prevent seeing any unwanted stitches.

      Sew stitch line #1, the basting line.  I like to use my zipper foot for piping.

      Make the piping similar to how you would binding in terms of finishing.  Leave 2 inches or so open so   you can tuck the opposite end inside for a finished look.

      Pin all the way around and clip at the corners for ease of turning.

      Sew stitch line #2 to attach the piping to the pillow front.

      See the 2 stitching lines?  The right is #1 basting line and the left is #2, attaching the piping to the pillow front.

      Place your pillow front on top of the pillow back, right sides together.  The stitch line you see in the picture is stitch line #2.

      Sew stitch line #3 to attach the pillow front and back together.  Again, sew to the left of #2!

      Leave an opening for turning the pillow right side out.

      Here you can see stitch line #2 on the right and stitch line #3 on the left.  When you turn it right side out, stitch line #3 will conceal all the other stitching.

      Right side out....

      Stuff..... and hand sew the opening closed.

      That's all!  Hope this helps you make perfect piping next time!

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