December 29, 2012

2012 in the Rearview Mirror

Here is a list of all of my finished projects for 2012 (with the exception of the last two at the bottom right, which are completed tops, waiting to be quilted).  When I look at it on the whole, I'd say 2012 was pretty productive from a quilting perspective, given that I also work full time and have to wrestle a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old each day!  I've tried to challenge myself with new techniques in 2012 and also opened a little Etsy store to sell quilts that didn't have a home in mind, hoping to finance my next trip to the fabric store.  I've been lucky enough to sell a few quilts and I really appreciate the chance to share my quilting with others.

So, what's on the horizon for 2013? I've got one online bee (Color Bee Shocked), one online Block-of-the-Month (Lucky Stars BOM) that I am pretty excited about, and lots of unfinished projects from 2012 still waiting in the wings.   I am very active in my local quilt Guild and will continue to do that to spread the word to young women about how awesome quilting can be as a hobby. 

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wrappin' Up the Hustle

Kelsey Sews

OK, time to see just how much of the list I've completed.  Let's survey the damage results.

(2) Red, White and Blue donation quilt - DONE but didn't snap a picture before it headed out the door :(  rookie mistake, I know!

(3) Flurry Christmas Star  DONE (and sold on Etsy)Flurry Christmas Star

(4) Gypsy - no progress - I lost some inspiration on this and put it aside.  

(5) Tipsy Quilt Kit - I decided to repurpose these fabrics in my stash. The end result was going to be very similar to the Twister quilt below and while I really loved the fabrics, I thought they would be happier going to another quilty home in the future.  So, I call this project DONE!

(6) The Twister pattern using Sassy by Sandy Gervais - I finished the top on this and blogged about the fun Twister tool here.  I'm about 1/2 finished with quilting the top, should finish her soon. She'll go on Etsy and find a new home in 2013.
Twister Top 

(7) Salt Air Baby Quilt - I decided to put some of my hexie makin' skills to use here and made about 50 hexagons to appliqué on to this quilt.  So, some progress made. About 1/3 of the way done on this one.

(8) Granny Square Baby Quilt - the blocks are done but need to be assembled and then quilted. This will be donated to Baby Bundles this year!

(9) Reindeer Wall Hanging - no progress, maybe Christmas 2013 :(

(10)  Bee In My Bonnet Row Along - couldn't kick start this into gear.

(11) Flea Market Fancy - sadly no progress either - but it is still calling to me.

(12) And finally, my beloved Hexa Go-Go Christmas Quilt - here is the top, finished on December 24th!!  I cannot wait to quilt this one, but to be very honest, I think I'm at the point where I need to step away from the quilt for a week or two before I do so.  It was a labor of love, for sure!

A Very Hexie Christmas


So, there we are fellow Hustlers! How did you all do, I can't wait to visit your blogs and find out! All my best for a happy, healthy 2013 to all of you.

December 24, 2012

A Very Hexie Christmas

Well, I will close out the holiday season without finishing this, but I gave it my best and I just love the way the top looks. I still need to add a border (maybe?) and quilt it but I don't want to rush and be unhappy with the result.

Here are some pics of the top - I'm just in love with this quilt, probably because so many hours have gone into it!

It's such a great size for snuggling in front of the fire or on the couch :)

Techniques used: English Paper Piecing Hexagons by hand and paper foundation string pieced blocks. There are 16 blocks made up of four smaller blocks each, which are then pieced together with the hexagon appliquéd to the center of the block.

The hexagons are made with 100 different fabrics that I received in a charm square swap so there are very few repeats in the hexies.  The fabrics for the blocks are 5 different christmas fabrics from Moda.



I will debut this finished quilt in 2013. For now, I'm off to get ready for Santa Claus tonight...

November 15, 2012

Winner, Winner

Woohoo! Thanks to Rachel at P.S. I Quilt and Fat Quarter Shop, I just won this fantastic Amy Butler Spots fat quarter bundle with 30 fat quarters!  I don't think I've ever bought a full bundle of anything before - the possibilities are just endless with these great colors. 

I think this might be the fabric I hold on to and use when it's my turn to host at Color Bee Shocked.

I love it when a plan comes together :)

November 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday - The Crazy Hexie Lady

Do you ever get giddy while making a quilt and with each block, you just get more and more excited about how it's going to turn out?  That's me with this quilt.  I'm becoming the "Crazy Hexie Lady" -  I'm only on block 3 of 16 but I have been working on this quilt for about 2 months because I had to make the 112 hexagons by hand and then sew them into 16 rosettes.  Now that I've done this many, I am even more in awe of people who do a whole grandmother's garden with thousands of those little buggers :)  I'm sure many of you have done this before but I've never stitched anything by hand, so this was a big deal for me to go outside my comfort zone and try this :)

Maybe I'm excited because it is getting me motivated for the holidays.  I love that you can find a cup of hot cocoa, elves, snowmen, gingerbread men, and wrapped presents all in this quilt.  I sure hope I can get this finished before the holidays.  The kids are already jockeying for "ownership" of this one.

The setting blocks are four individual quadrant blocks string pieced on a foundation which makes for nice, square blocks every time.  I like having everything line up nice and tidy for once!

Hexagon WIP

It's been several weeks for me, but I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced today for WIP Wednesday.  Head on over there and check out what our fellow quilty friends are up to today. 
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Have a great day - go sew something amazing!


November 11, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop

Plum and June

I am so thankful that I was able to get a spot on the last week of Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop.  Welcome! Sit back and stay a while.  In the next few minutes, I'll answer a few questions and tell you about some of my latest quilts and tutorials.

A Little About Me

How long have you been quilting?  I have been officially quilting for about 3 1/2 years now.  It all started with taking a baby quilt class at a local quilt store and it just snowballed after that!  I joined and became active in the local quilt guild and have met wonderful people who have taught me a lot about the craft. I love to take classes and workshops any chance I get.

Favorite quilting tip(s) - I tell everyone that quilting is not hard but you have to be very serious about that quarter-inch seam and about ironing.  If you can sew straight, and use an iron -  you can quilt.

Favorite blogging tip(s) - I'm a new blogger so I'm not sure I have a lot of tips to give, but I'm always looking for new tips if you have any you want to share.

Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric) - favorite designers are Amy Butler, Kate Spain, Sandy Gervais, Bonnie & Camille.

Favorite craft book - I am a sucker for a quilt book and am amassing quite a library. My latest is Hexa Go-G0 and it's fueling my new obsession with hexagons.  I just finished 112 hexagons to go in this quilt.   Here's the block I am working on - I absolutely cannot wait to see this quilt finished!!

Favorite book (or book you are currently reading) - ok, I will admit it, I just finished reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Don't judge me :)

Favorite children's book - The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Favorite quilting tool - so many to choose from, but I will have to say my latest favorite is the FriXion gel pen with the ink that disappears with heat. I recently did a post on my Sewing Room Must Haves with my top five can't live without items.

Favorite TV show while hand stitching - I usually have the Roku going while I am sewing - favorites include Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice, Modern Family, Glee, Parentood, Downton Abbey, Mad Men.

Binding - by hand or by machine?  Almost always by hand unless I think it will get washed a lot, then I machine bind it.

A Few of My Favorite Finishes This Year

Here are a few of the quilts I just adored this year - I could go on and on, but I'll limit myself to three:)

This was for a dear friend's boy/girl twins and I just loved the way they came out:

I really liked this carseat quilt because of the color contrast and the piping:

Vintage Modern car seat quilt

And, then I finished my Flurry Christmas Star - my favorite part of this is the quilting in the star, it really makes the quilt:
Flurry Christmas Star


I've just started doing tutorials, but my lasagna quilt tutorial is a great starter quilt for the new quilter.
Lasagna Quilt - March 2012

I'm working on a second tutorial for the holidays and am hoping to have it out soon.  It's a No-Sew Folded Fabric Christmas Tree. Tutorial should be out in the next week so please check back.

Thanks again for stopping by - I hope you've learned a little about me and will be back soon!

100 Day Hustle - Half Way Link Up

Kelsey Sews

Here we are at the halfway point of the 100 Day Hustle.  It's been a very busy fall for me and I haven't quite accomplished everything I'd hoped I would have done but, I'm going to forge ahead through the end of the year.  I'm going to have to focus a future post on #12, as it has taken up a lot of my time and I think it will be a real stunner when it's done.  But for now, here is where I stand on my list!

(2) Red, White and Blue donation quilt - DONE!
(3) Flurry Christmas Star  DONE!Flurry Christmas Star

(4) Gypsy - no progress - I lost some inspiration on this and put it aside
(5) Tipsy Quilt Kit - no progress :(
(6) The Twister pattern using Sassy by Sandy Gervais - I finished the top on this and blogged about the fun Twister tool here.
Twister Top

(7) Salt Air Baby Quilt - no progress :(
(8) Granny Square Baby Quilt - no progress :(
(9) Reindeer Wall Hanging - no progress :(
(10) I still really want to do the Bee In My Bonnet Row Along - they are only on Row 5 and I guess I could technically still have time to catch up if I can get myself organized.
(11) Flea Market Fancy - sadly no progress either - but it is still calling to me.

(12) Hexagons - I have spent A LOT of time making hexagons for a quilt in Hexa Go-Go and I have made a lot of progress.  In fact, I finished the 112 hexagons and made them into 16 rosettes.   Next is the string pieced blocks and then it should come together.

Here's a sneak peek of the blocks - I cannot wait to see how this looks when finished!

November 4, 2012

International Quilt Festival Houston

I'm exhausted from my weekend in Houston but wanted to share a few of my favorite photos of quilts. I uploaded a bunch to my Flickr site, click here for all of the pics...

These are only just a few - if you can ever get to this show in Houston, you must go. It is impossible to leave and not be inspired.  Plus there is more quilty-shopping than you can imagine.  I spent an entire day shopping the 900 vendors and then the second day just looking at quilts.  What an experience!

I won't narrate all of these - but I wanted to say that on this quilt, the best in show - words just cannot do it justice.  There are 5,121 Swarovski crystals on this - she did all of the piecing and quilting on her 20 year old Bernina - just goes to show you don't have to have all the fancy bells and whistles.  It took her 10 months to make with over 1,000 hours of time.  Wow, just wow.

Here is a You Tube Video that I found interviewing the quilter where you can see some of the details up close.

I cannot wait to get moving on my projects with all of the inspiration that I gained over the weekend!

Best in Show @ Houston #quiltfestival Untitled Untitled Untitled

#quiltfestival  gorgeous African style.
#quiltfestival  another stunner! Dream Quilt #quiltfestival

October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Josh!

They broke the mold when they made this one. Not only is he fiercely independent and adventurous, he has broken the all time pizza eating record at his pre-school without breaking a sweat (9 pieces!). He usually can be found wearing one of a dozen superhero costumes in our house or doing 100 piece puzzles "by himself" (one of his favorite phrases). There is always a twinkle in those big brown eyes. He tests my patience every day but also the limits of my love - Happy 4th Birthday to Josh!

October 21, 2012

Color Bee Shocked - November and December Blocks

I finally got a little bit of time carved out for sewing and I had two fun blocks to make for my new online bee buddies from Color Bee Shocked.

Anna is kicking us off for the year with these cute green, purple and white fabrics. She asked for anything to do with circles.  I've been really thinking this over and found a tutorial by Angela from Cut to Pieces on doing a set-in circle.  I decided to string piece the inner circle with the coordinating fabrics and use one print alone for the background.  Note to self, don't go experimenting with other people's blocks.  It all turned out fine, but I was so stressed trying out a new technique with someone else's precious fabric!!

My block ended up a little short, so I had to add a border, but in the end, I actually liked the contrast the purple added.

Color Bee Shocked November block for Anna.

Erin sent us some gorgeous Kate Spain fabrics with directions for a flying geese block.  Her instructions were great and the blocks went together very quickly.  Here are my two blocks for her:

Color Bee Shocked December block for Erin.

All in all, I felt very productive for a Sunday - since I was also trying to catch up on laundry and clean up a little as well.   These will go off in the mail this week - we are off to a great start!

And what's a post without a fun linky party??  Linking up tonight with Plum and June and WIP Wednesday from Freshly Pieced - hoping to meet some new bloggers this week!!

Plum and June    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

October 16, 2012

Sewing Room Must-Haves

I couldn't really come up with an earth shattering post idea, so here are five things I couldn't live without in my sewing room:

(1) Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Scissors - and they are!  I bought these at a workshop I attended - they are sharp, they are slightly serrated and they are awesome!

(2) Pilot FriXion pen - this changed my sewing life. No more chalk that doesn't show up - I can write on my fabric with a pen and it disappears with the touch of an iron.  I bought mine at my local quilt shop, but you can buy them at Office Depot as well.  This is a MUST for making half-square triangles in my preferred method.

(3) Fons and Porter Quarter Inch Seam Markers - hard to tell from the picture but this is a great tool.  It helps me make my HST's as mentioned above - it shows you exactly 1/4 inch from a straight line.   But I end up using this for lots of other tasks as well - especially small cutting projects

(4) Aurifil Thread - I've tried lots of different threads, but I keep coming back to Aurifil.  It's high quality and very sturdy. I use it for piecing and quilting and haven't been disappointed!  The Jolly Jabber is doing a big Aurifil giveaway now on their blog - check it out!

(5) Mary Ellen's Best Press - this is great for when you want to crisp up your fabric - it smells great and doesn't have the starchy feel to it!  I'm using it quite a bit these days to stabilize my hexagons and I just love it!  I like the Lavender Fields scent.

Linking up to Sew At Home Mummy for Tips & Tricks Tuesday - she has an awesome post today on adding social media icons to your blog.

October 14, 2012

The Twister Tool - A Review

I've blogged about this new tool I purchased at the QuiltFest and, as with many tools, you wonder whether it was worth the investment and whether you will use it after the particular project.  I have to say that my conclusion is that it's definitely worth having this little template and I was able to whip out a great lap quilt in just two sittings, pretty impressive.  It also gives the illusion of lots of patchwork when you really hardly did anything.

 As I mentioned in a previous post, the first part of the instruction is to take your layer cake and sew it together in a 6x6 formation. You could do a more random arrangement, but I chose to take each different color family in the layer cake and  make a diagonal line in the same color.
 The next thing you do is add a border.  Note, you have two borders - the "pre Twister" border and the "post Twister" border - and I always like to pin each fabric with its intended use to prevent any accidental cutting!
 After I added the border, you place the Twister on the top and align the cross with the seams and start to slice!

A couple of notes, you are now on the bias, so things become very stretchy!  After I cut the first row and joined each of the squares, here is what you have:

 and then the next row is added:

I am not one to use pins unless I have to, but because this was so stretchy and I really wanted my pinwheels to match up, I pinned both before and after the seam to ensure perfect matches - and it worked!


This top measures about 52x52 and I actually think I like it better like this without the additional border - I think it looks a lot more difficult that it was, and this took me only a few hours of sewing time to produce a pretty impressive looking top.

The pros:  durable template, good instructions, fast quilt top to piece
The cons:  there is some waste when you are cutting the twister blocks - but they end up being about 4 1/2 inch squares so I think they will be good scraps for another project.

You can find the information about the Twister HERE.

All in all, I give the Twister tool a thumbs up and would recommend buying one if you're looking for something to do with your layer cakes - also great for a beginning quilter - because there is so much trimming your blocks are exactly the right size every time - and your quilt ends up nice and square!

Again, here's the before and after:

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday today as well - for our weekly dose of inspiration!!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced