Friday, April 11, 2014

Vacation Inspiration

Hola! We just got home from a little spring break action south of the border. Lots of sunshine, sand and maybe a few adult beverages. No shortage of beautiful sights - design inspiration is everywhere!
Ceiling on balcony of Casa Machado
Mazatlan, Mexico

Courtyard at a little boutique hotel/boarding house
Mazatlan, Mexico

Beautiful tile floor, Casa Machado
Mazatlan, Mexico
No quilt shops were encountered on this trip but what have we here?...
yep, we are everywhere, aren't we?
I haven't quite made it back into my own sewing room yet but I'm hopeful that after a little spring cleaning and yard work this weekend, I will find a few hours to lock myself away to play in the fabric.

Happy spring stitching!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Kitchen Chicken

Time for a little Spring spruce up. I'm almost too embarrassed to even show you the before picture of my much-loved, over-used pot holders that have been residing in my kitchen since forever. I decided it was time to do something about them so I whipped up a couple of new potholders recently.

Super easy and I really cannot think of a reason I haven't done this before now! Here's what you need to get started:
Front fabric, backing fabric and some special heat-resistant batting - in my case, Insul-Bright.

Cut an 8" square from the front fabric, backing fabric and the batting (I like to use 2 layers of batting because nothing is worse that taking a hot pan of lasagna out of the oven and having the heat start to get through before you get to the table!) I also, fussy-cut my chicken down a little and added a strip of the backing fabric for her "nest" because the rectangles I was starting with just didn't work for me.

O.k., now you layer and pin the layers all together.
(yes, I know this picture is upside down but oh well. Friday technical difficulties.)
 Time to quilt! I just used my walking foot for some straight grid lines.

See how I cheated and used a cross-hatch patterned fabric for the backing? No marking for the quilting lines necessary!
Trim them up, add some binding and voila! I didn't even bother with the little hanger loop on the corner because never in my life have I actually hung a potholder! They get tossed in a drawer in my house.

Now, to get these babies broken in and maybe I'll be ready to let the old ones finally go.....

Happy kitchen stitching,


Friday, March 14, 2014

Fruit Bowl Bullseye

"And the first shall be the last" least when it comes to quilt magazine publications! I'm happy to finally share this quilt with you - especially since this was the first quilt I ever submitted to a magazine. I've learned a few things during the past two years about publishing. One thing I know for sure: nothing is for sure, until you actually see it in print!

This is Fruit Bowl Bullseye and it is currently featured in Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting March/April 2014 issue. The lovely quilting on this one was done by my good friend, Tracey Fisher. (It should also be noted that Tracey graciously listened to my hysterical squealing on the phone when I got my first magazine acceptance - and she even told me she was happy for me :)
Fruit Bowl Bullseye
Adding the binding

F&P's Love of Quilting March/April 2014
This pattern was a jumping off point for me because it was the first quilt that was inspired by something completely non-quilty and I just dove in without a pattern or a plan. It started with a string of beads....

I was working on a lanyard with these beads and was really taken with the design and the colors. Starting to see it as a quilt design, I found this fabric line called "Fruit Slices" by Anthology Fabrics (good luck finding it now, two years later - sorry!) and then it slowly came together. How do I turn that bead into a block? What about the seed beads in between? I originally had a different layout in mind but once I got the blocks up on the design wall other ideas won out.

Follow your quilt inspirations, wherever they may lead you!

Happy Spring stitching,


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sue Spargo at the Museum

We so often take for granted the gems we have in our own backyard. This is definitely true for me. My little corner of the world is home to the wonderful La Conner Quilt Museum. I usually get there at least a couple of times a year and recently went down with friends to see the Sue Spargo exhibit and wow!

The museum is worthy of a visit any time but this exhibit is a must-see, if you can. The exhibit runs through March 23, 2014. From what I understand, it is the first and largest collective showing of her work in one place.

So inspiring. I have always been a great admirer of her work but seeing such a collection up close and personal was awesome. Before quilting, I did a fair amount of needlework and even though I don't spend much time on it at the moment, I still really love it and appreciate the amazing creativity.

Sue's work is right up my color alley and the detail is .... well, just plain beautiful.

Happy stitching,


Friday, February 28, 2014

Favorite Color Friday

Maybe because it's still middle of winter, maybe because there's more snow in our forecast, I'm not sure but today it would have to be....
Kona cotton solid "Caribbean"
I discovered/found/fell-in-love-with this color while making a quilt called "Rumspringa" by the awesome Tonya Ricucci (and not just because she has a great name!). I love her free-style techniques and her love of Amish-style-quilts-made-modern. The pattern was featured in the October 2011 edition of the Quilt Life magazine - that's it on the cover.
My top is completed but that's about it. Not quilted yet and no pictures so you will just have to take my word for it and rely on the "real" Tonya's blog post about it on LazyGalQuilting. Fantastic quilt and really fun to make - freestyle! My friends thought I was nuts while I was working on this at retreat, but that's a pretty normal reaction to whatever I'm working on so I'm o.k. with it...;)

Working on Rumspringa was my first real concerted effort to use only solids. I find that I am drawn to a lot of modern and Amish-style quilts but I really love fabric and I'm apparently a print-a-holic. I find it very hard to have any restraint and minimalism is just not in my nature. So my challenge is to find a place somewhere in the middle.

My compulsions run deep...I went on to use a whole lot of prints and a teensy bit more of Caribbean Blue in this quilt and some of you have asked about this crazy color...
“Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2014 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.”
 and a little bit in this one...

Now I seem to notice it everywhere! Wait, I think I'm just dreaming about vacation....

 Happy stitching,


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Baby Love

Talk about timing! If I were to have another baby (don't worry honey, I am definitely NOT having another baby), the timing would be perfect for this quilt for Valentine's Day - and I didn't even plan it that way. It's called "XOBaby!" and it's making its appearance now in the March/April 2014 edition of McCall's Quilting.
"XOBaby!", McCall's Quilting, March/April 2014

I made a pink version and a blue version for the magazine and my good friend and long-arm quilter, Nikki Crisp did the lovely quilting on these. She did a great job, as always, and I really like the swirly pattern she chose.

"XOBaby!", McCall's Quilting, March/April 2014

Here's a close up of the blue version:
You need to see the blue version in the magazine though because there's a real cutie-patootie modeling with it in the picture. (Not one of my cuties - they are both too old!) McCall's also included a free sweet pillow version of the pattern - also available on line. Nice! I may have to make one of those too!

These blocks are quick and very versatile. I liked the fact that you make each X and O with four of the same components so you don't have to decide too early in your process which blocks will be which, know what I mean? Just make them all up, lay them out wherever you like the fabric, and then commit them to either the X or the O block.

I'm also a bit of a rick-rack junkie and have used it several times. It adds a playful element that I like, especially on quilts for kids. For this project, I used the 1 1/2" jumbo rick-rack on the borders. You could just stitch straight down the middle, and for a narrower rick-rack, I might do that. But for the jumbo, I like to stitch down both edges so that it will still lay flat after washing.

I found the rick-rack at a favorite LQS in Bellingham called Fabric-Etc., and they just got a bunch more in too! Oh, the possibilities!

Well, I hope you have someone sweet in your life to quilt for - today and every day.

Happy Valentine's Day stitching,


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spiral quilting

Wow! I had so much fun trying this (new to me) technique for spiral quilting this past week. Amanda Jean Nyberg had a great tutorial on her blog Crazy Mom Quilts. I had a different quilting design in mind for this particular quilt but the more I thought about the spiral technique, the more I thought it would be a better design choice for my quilt - and I really wanted to try it!

I liked this technique for several reasons: 1. I could handle it on my home machine,  2. No marking necessary, and 3. Its modern, clean design worked well with my scrappy top. After finishing the quilting I would also add 4. It actually gets easier as the spiral grows and gets wider. Amanda Jean made it look pretty manageable so I took the plunge.

I pin-basted and marked the center circle and beginning of the spiral with a chalk pencil to get started. You can see in the close up shot, as I followed the spiral around, I just eyeballed the distance from my presser foot. I added approximately 1/4" so the space between the spiral lines ended up being about 3/4". It's not perfect, but I'm o.k. with how it turned out.

I'm so glad I tried this. I'm really pleased with the results and I will definitely use this again. Two thumbs up. Thanks Crazy Mom! The backing fabric on this is from Amy Butler called Midwest Modern.

Happy spiral stitching,