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Moda

Herringbone Quilt

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Herringbone Quilt, by StitchfiedWell, this one took a lot longer than expected! I started this one back in March (!!!), and the recipient is now over a year old. So, yeah, I’m running way way behind on baby quilts.

I designed this quilt to use up a jellyroll that I had leftover from my niece’s quilt. I cut 7.5″ x 2.5″ strips, and (over cut ) 7.5″ x 1.25″ strips of white, and combined them in a herringbone pattern. I squared up after each white strip, so that the white strips finished at a half inch. All the squaring up helped to keep things straight(er), but made for slow piecing… and some unintended exercise! Sit to stitch, stand to press, walk to cutting table to trim, repeat.

I had every intention of quilting this one on my vintage machines, but I just couldn’t get the lines straight enough. I tried a walking foot and one of several vintage quilting feet, but they really couldn’t compete with my Janome’s Accufeed. Some day I hope to master quilting on a vintage machine, but in the meantime, I’m very glad that I have my Janome as backup. If you have any tips for quilting on a VSM, I would love to hear them!

Happy sewing!

Quilts For Pulse

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Boston Pride 2016This May we took our family to celebrate Boston Pride. We spent that rainy Saturday afternoon huddled under an umbrella with some of our closest friends, and watched the Pride Parade pass by in a flurry of rainbows, high fives, and hugs. I was reminded of my first march in the Boston Pride Parade back in 1998, and found myself reflecting on the progress that I have been so fortunate to witness.  Admittedly, there is still much progress to be made, but in those hours we celebrated one another. These are just a few of many happy photos that we took on that day.

Boston Pride CollageVery early the next morning, news broke of a massacre in an Orlando night club. We were out of town that day so I didn’t hear the news until late that night. But as the details emerged and the true nature of the crime was revealed, I found myself utterly broken.

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Months have passed since this tragedy, and words still fail me. But, thanks to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, I was able to put my hands to work in those first raw days and weeks; to be a small part of the change I want to see in the world. I am so very grateful to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for organizing the #QuiltsForPulse quilt drive, and for giving me the opportunity to help mend some hearts (including my own!). It has been wonderful to see these rainbow messages of love and support pop-up across the internet.Quilts for Pulse Sew-in

A few friends came for a sew-in at my house, and helped to piece our quilt top. None of them had pieced a quilt block before (let alone paper pieced!), and I am so proud of them for tackling something out of their comfort zone. A special thank you to our husbands who distracted the children while we sewed.  For the quilt label, I included a quote from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony’s speech, who I feel said it best:

“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside… Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.”

quilts-for-pulse-quilt-top-by-stitchifiedThis is one finish that I’m especially proud of. Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, happy Friday!

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I was enjoying a very relaxing New Year’s morning catching up on my blog reader and instagram feed… until I came across the new #economyblockalong. The next thing I knew, I was scrambling downstairs to cut up fabric before 8AM (even though it was my turn to sleep in). Luckily for me, my husband knew better than to question the flurry of early morning activity, and left me to my insanity.

I followed Rita @ RedPepperQuilts’ tutorial (here) for five inch (finished) blocks. She recommends over-sizing the blocks and then squaring them up as you go, and let me just say, I am a *big* fan of that technique. It keeps everything neat and tidy, and totally feeds my OCD tendencies. Which may be why I finished sixteen blocks by the next afternoon. Can you say possessed?

economy block along

I had planned to stop at sixteen squares, but I caught the economy block bug in a bad way. Once the first sixteen were done I dove right back in to my stash. Nothing was safe — fat quarters, yardage, and even my coveted Heather Ross went under the rotary cutter (Briar Rose, not Kokka. Let’s not be completely crazy!).  

Before the weekend was over I had cut up another fifty squares and have been sewing them up through out the week.  I’ve been a long time admirer of scrappy quilts, and I’m so excited to finally have a stash that is capable of producing one. And also a little horrified. I’ve been sewing for 18 months now, which begs the question — where the hell did all this fabric come from? Yikes!

Economy Block Along

 I’ve never participated in a quilt along, but it was one of my goals for 2014. I’ve had so much fun playing along on instagram and admiring everyone else’s creations.

Of course, there are some of my blocks that I like more than others. Like this one, featuring the little rabbit from Good Night Moon. How perfect is he floating in a lime green frame? And I was also pleasantly surprised to find Momo’s Oh Deer! playing so well with Kate Spain’s flowers. Who knew?

 Economy Block Along

If you’ve somehow avoided the #economyblockalong, I encourage to give in to temptation and join in the fun! Each block is a little fabric adventure of it’s own. So much fun! And besides, it’s stash busting. It’s good for you!

 

 

TGIF Zig Zag Style

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I have been in the zone this week! I was so pleased  with my gift-making progress that I decided to include 120 degree angles on my tumbler quilt. No, I don’t know what I was thinking either. It’s not like the dog will care about the fancy binding!So, I clipped the zig-zaggy edge (technical term) with my sewing shears and went to the trouble of making bias binding. Bias binding is pretty cool stuff once it’s all finished and neatly rolled up, but does anyone make bias binding when they don’t have to? It’s so much more work! And as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible to convert fabric yardage to “inches of bias binding.” So I generously guesstimated and have some leftovers. Good enough!

Bias Binding for Tumbler Quilt

With my binding in hand I followed Jaybird Quilt’s tutorial, and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to sew the binding down to the quilt top. At which point I faced an conundrum: sew the back of the binding on by hand, or use my machine? Now it’s no secret that I like a machine sewn binding, but I couldn’t find any evidence of someone using that technique on a quilt with 120 degree angles. It’s a crazy idea, right? All those angles. All that “catching” the binding on the back. I was almost deterred (hand stitching is lovely, right?), and then I remembered that this quilt is destined for a dog. D-O-G. And I don’t know about you, but my dog is NOT easy on her bedding. Dirty paws aside, dogs burrow and dig in their beds — this thing is going to be abused and washed. Often.

So, I decided to just go for it and rock out a machine sewn binding, crazy angles and all. It is a dog quilt, after all, and the canine recipient is not going to complain about a few missed stitches. I’ll be honest though… I clipped the hell out of the binding. Like I used my entire collection of 80+ Wonder Clips. And I had to carefully wiggle into the convex angles just right.

Clipping Party!

But you know what? It totally worked like a charm, and I did it without missing the binding on the back! Hoorah. Mission complete!

Finished Tumbler Quilt

The only hiccup in this quilt is the photography. The deep dark of New England winter is great for quilting, but horrible for documenting it. It’s dark by 4:00, so these photos were all taken waaay after sundown. I hope to update with some better photos soon. The one above has a certain “cozy winter night vibe” to it, but this one below? Yikes. That is just uuuuugly! No amount of photo editing is going to redeem it, either.

Finished Tumbler

Until then, linking up with Finish It Up Friday! Happy Friday everyone, and good luck with your holiday projects.

Edit: Well it won’t be winning any awards, but I managed to sneak out this morning when there was a brief break in the snow clouds. Updated photo below!

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WIP Wednesdays – Holiday Edition

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Tumbling blocks

 Holiday sewing is in full swing over here. I’ve completely taken over the house with my projects — there are stacks of fabric strewn all over the place, two ironing boards covered in WIPS, and thread snippits everywhere. Yeah, I’ve made a mess.

My first project is a small dog quilt for a family member. My poor dog will never have  a handmade quilt to call her own, but I know this quilt will make one person (and maybe one dog!) very happy on Christmas morning.

Since it is for a dog, I went with colors that would hide dirt — grey, tangerine, gold, and a touch of cream. Next I pulled coordinating prints from 2wenty Thr3e and Comma, and added Bella Solids in Tangerine, Mustard and Etching Stone.

I cut the tumblers using my new Accuquilt Go Baby, which I bought just for this die. In general, I prefer my Sizzix fabric cutter, but the Accuquilt Tumbler die includes special cut outs for the dog ears. At any rate, the Accuquilt made quick work a huge stack of fabric.   My little one helped randomize the tumblers for chain-piecing, and we had ourselves a quilt top in no time.

I followed the shape of the tumblers with some straight-line quilting, and ta da! We’re ready for the binding!

Tumbler Quilt in Autumn Colors

Linking up with WIP Wednesday’s at Freshly Pieced.

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When I made these quilt-as-you-go panels I wasn’t sure what I would turn them in to.  Now that they are finished I’ve decided to make them into little “Toddler Survival Kits” for Baby Bee’s teachers. I’ll be stuffing them with  sunscreen, hand sanitizer, tissues, and of course, chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
I had a lot of fun making these, especially fussy cutting the little critters to peek out here and there. And as much as I was dreading the zippers, they really weren’t so bad. I especially love the “zip ends” technique I found here from Sew Sweetness. The little zip ends keep things neat and tidy and give the bags a more professional look. See how cute they are?
A few notes on the specs, mostly for my own memory. These little guys started as square 8.5 inch panels, and I finished them by adding box corners to the bottom around the 1 3/4 inch mark. Why those measurements? Because they were handy on my rulers. Heh.
I have to admit that I’m particularly in love with the red and aqua one. Like, so much so that I’m planning a larger quilted tote in the same color scheme… which conveniently doubled as an excuse to add more Aneela Hoey to my stash. I call that a win-win 🙂
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I am fortunate enough to have my daughter enrolled at a fabulous preschool just a few minutes up the road. She spends her days playing *hard* under the watchful eye of four amazing teachers.

In just a few weeks we’ll be moving up at school, but I wanted to give each of her teachers a token of our appreciation. So this week I’m taking a mini-break from my Summer Solstice Quilt, and starting a few “quilt as you go” panels. I haven’t settled on exactly what I’ll be making with them. Pencil bags? Makeup bags? Gift card holders? Yeah, something like that.

This isn’t my first time using the quilt-as-you-go-technique, but I think I’ve improved since my first mis-adventure. I took Tara Rebman‘s “Quilt-As-You-Go-Bags” on Craftsy, and picked up a lot of great tips there. I just love projects like this – lots of improv fabric play, and a great excuse to visit the scrap bin. I’m excited to pull colors for the next two bags!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 🙂

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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I have two charm packs (one of them is 2wenty Thr3e! I just love that line!) that I want to make into cathedral window-like pillows, but without all that ironing and top-stitching. Not to mention the fabric waste. You know, easy-peasy piecing (except for all the curves and perfectly matching points)?

So I broke out my Robbing Peter to Pay Paul die from Sizzix for the first time and painstakingly pinned along each seam. And I finished a block. Yeah. I’m not posting a picture of what that looked like, and for good reason. Granted, I didn’t try that hard, but it was way too time consuming for a four inch block (3.5 finished, yikes!).

Enter the Curve Master Presser Foot. Careful if you google it (ask me how I know). Thanks to Amazon Prime, my foot arrived in two short days.

And then it was time to play. I installed the foot, which was able to snap-on to my Janome without any of the ankle adapters that come with the package. Initially, I was a little worried because my needle comes down in sort of a strange place on the foot, but it seemed to work just fine regardless.I will try to get a picture to add for the visual.

And then I cut out all the little shapes in two seconds flat thanks to my Sizzix. Bonus points since one charm square can produce three of the half-oval shapes.

And I started sewing all those beautiful little fabric bits together.  It is going to take a little practice, and it won’t ever be as easy as patchwork, but it is completely manageable. And the results are pretty great. This little block took me about 10 minutes from start to finish, isn’t it cute?

Even though this worked really well, I have to shelve this project for now. My fabric diet is over (yay!) and I have some serious quilting to get started on. And I have some doll clothes (long story for another blog post) that need making ASAP. More soon!

Cannot Escape the Plush

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I’ve been on a fabric diet, and I can’t seem to stop making softies. Not that I’m complaining, but I swear this sudden deluge of fluff was unplanned. I promise to get back to quilting soon. I have my first all-solids quilt planned and can’t wait to start!

But, back to this little foal (donkey? mule?)… My original inspiration came following the news of Moore’s devastating tornadoes. I had really hoped to find him a home there, with a little boy or girl who might appreciate the comfort. Try as I might though, I couldn’t find anyone who was able to find him a home — which is completely understandable. Handmade toys are a bit of a niche thing. As it turns out, hospitals generally won’t take stuffed animals either because of the infestation risk. Ah well, lesson learned.

At any rate, on the face of it, this seemed like a pretty easy project. The pattern came from Jill Hamor’s book Storybook Toys Sew 16 Projects from Once Upon a Time Dolls, Puppets, Softies and More . (As an aside, if you haven’t checked out her blog,  you should. The eye candy is amazing). The horse is my favorite project in the book. I just love his vintage look. In fact, I loved this horse so much that I decided to make a very similar horse in royal purple (Jill’s was navy blue).

Well, as it turns out, I’m still a bit of a novice at toy-making.  I really struggled with this pattern, and there are quite a few imperfections in this guy. For example, you need to hand stitch the head gusset around the muzzle first (as seen in the top right picture in the mosaic) because that curve is a little too intense for a sewing machine to handle on its own. Not to mention the fact that I was also fighting the mane and ears that were tucked inside.

Well, I’m too impatient for that kind of artistry. His crooked head just goes to prove that, ha! Luckily for me, his crookedness translated into “aw, the horse is tilting his head.” Phew 🙂

I also decided (a little too boldly!) to modify the pattern and give him three dimensional feet (it calls for the legs to come together as a two-dimensional seam). I used some of the techniques outlined in Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction to draft his foot pads. You can see my template in the bottom right photo above (it’s the light blue circle). Man, those little hooves were fiddly! The footpads were small and required sewing through 5-7 layers of wool in places. Not easy, but I’m glad I made my way through it… though only somewhat successfully. One of his hooves came out tiny and stunted, see it up there? He’s been affectionately dubbed Nemo ever since.

Nemo’s legs are stuffed with cotton batting scraps to give him enough structure to stand on his own. The rest of him is stuffed with squishy wool. I’m happy to report that the firm stuffing job went a long way in correcting his stunted hoof. His mane is wool yarn, and his hooves are 100% wool felt. Nemo’s saddle was made from Kate Spain’s Good Fortune collection for Moda. His saddle includes a metal snap (new trick for me!), so it can come on and off as needed.
As for his fate? My mom insisted on taking Nemo herself, so he’s going to make a not-so-surprise-birthday-present for her tomorrow. I know he’ll be loved there, and I’m pretty sure that she will take good care of him 🙂

And now I’m going to swear off curved seams and 3D construction for awhile. For real this time!

Boston You’re My Home

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To Boston With Love
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting, but I still don’t have the right words to talk about what happened in Boston this April. Marathon Monday has always been a joyous holiday in Boston, and now some part of that has been changed forever. More humbling still is the fact that any other year, or even just a different time of day, and it could have been me or any number of my friends and family standing at the finish line.

My heart breaks for the lives lost and it aches for those whose lives have been changed forever. But for me it’s important that I fill the heartache with goodness and love — and refuse to reward evil with fear and hatred.  In these situations it is especially healing to make and give, and that’s what I spent the majority of the day doing. It was cathartic and ever so therapeutic. Appropriately, this is the first block that I designed entirely myself — this one is straight from the heart.

I am so thankful to the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and Amy Friend for organizing this lovely tribute. I cannot wait to see the flags hanging proudly at the MFA.