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

October 9, 2012

Let's Do the Twist

Hexies are fun, but I was starting to miss my sewing machine after about a week of hand sewing every night.  Here's a quick update on the hexies:

need: 112 individual hexagons
done:  about 50

need: 16 rosettes
done: 5 :(

I now know why I hear people say that they work on their grandmother's flower gardens for years.

Let me digress for one minute - one of my favorite quilts at our recent show was this grandmother's flower garden quilt which was not only hand pieced but also hand quilted.  Can you see how amazing this is? It was so cool in person - those are teeny tiny hexagons!  Yes, traditional - but so beautiful and timeless.  It won three well deserved ribbons in the show and provided me the inspiration for my current project.

Grandmother's Flower Garden by Inge Hayes

So, it was time for me to break into a new project.  I was looking for something fast, and I think the Twister might just be it.

I wrote a previous post about the Twister tool I bought at the 2012 Capital of Texas QuiltFest. I'm excited to break it in and review it for you all.   It's a simple acrylic template with an offset cross in the middle for cutting blocks.

Fingers crossed, there will be a quilt top to show next week!

So, it all starts with a layer cake.  I chose Sassy by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I've loved this color palette for a while and I think this quilt will be awesome in Sassy.

You can really see the vibrant colors here - I am so drawn to orange, black, teal and green.  Can't wait to see this come together

The first part of the instruction is to sew 36 of the layer cake blocks together in a 6x6 formation.  I did that in no time flat tonight while my Roku kept me company :)

Next up -  add a border and the start slicing away with the Twister tool.

More to come on this project next week.
What are you working on this week?  I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced's W.I.P Wednesday and Quiltsy for a weekly dose of inspiration - go check out what our blogging community is up to this week!

PhotobucketWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tips and Tricks Party

Since I've been known to sort of take a pattern and change it up a little, sometimes I'm left trying to figure out exactly how much backing and binding I may need to finish it up.  So, today, I'm sharing my favorite high tech device for quilting for Erin's new link party, Tips and Tricks Tuesday.  Erin and I are fellow Color Bee Shocked members and will be sharing all kinds of quilty projects over the next year. Check out her inaugural tip today!

Sew at Home Mummy

This is a great free (*yes free*) iPhone app by Robert Kaufman called QuiltingCalc.  It's so neat because you can figure out exactly how much fabric you need for your project!  I love it - I use it all the time when I'm in the quilt store mulling over my purchases!

I've also found some great quilting size reference charts and posted them to my Pinterest Board for Quilt and Sew Projects if you're curious about the amounts of fabric needed for traditional quilt sizes (quilt, lap, twin, double, queen king).

Happy Quilting!

October 7, 2012

Still love hexies but...

I guess like with anything they can be overdone - about 70 basted and about 49 assembled in flowers! About 2/3 done... More later 😄

October 2, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

Lots of fun progress this week - I am officially a hexie addict.   I've decided to use the 112 charms from my Christmas in July charm swap hosted by Manda over at Manda Made Quilts to make 1 1/2 inch hexies.  Charm squares really are perfect for that size - there's not much waste.  I bought Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher last week and I haven't been able to stop making these little cuties.  Here's some progress

I've basted about 30 hexies.  I bought my papers online from Paper Pieces and I followed Tacha's directions and the rest is piecing history!

And here's the first rosette (7 hexagons all sewn together).  Don't you just love the little gnome and the gingerbread man?  The quilt will definitely have an I-Spy feel to it when it's done.

I keep looking at this little guy - he just makes me smile.

The cool thing about the charm swap is that no two hexies will be alike on the quilt.  I've found the pattern I want to try - now, the only question is whether I can get it done by Christmas.  It takes 112 (yikes) of the hexies. I didn't think I would like anything hand sewing-related, but this is great fun so far.

I have enjoyed my charm swap so much, I decided to try another swap - so I've signed up for this color wheel swap - sounds like a great way to build up the stash!  I think there are spots still available, so check it out if you get a chance.
City Stitches
I do have one finish for the week, my Christmas Star quilt - I posted about it over the weekend, but I'd like to thank the 100 Day Hustle for motivating me to get moving on some of my UFO's!  And finally, I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced as well for their always motivational weekly WIP Wednesday.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedKelsey Sews