Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Kerchief Girl Quilt

My Kerchief Girl Quilt was started way back in June of last year and is now finally finished, and I have to say I couldn't love it more. If you aren't familiar with the kerchief girls, they are a popular print from the Japanese fabric manufacturer Kei, and one of my favorite fabrics ever. I knew I wanted to make a quilt to showcase them in all six of their color ways separately. I went through my stash bringing out many of my most loved prints to coordinate with each of the girls and decided to make simple blocks inspired by this bee quilt of Rita's. It was so much fun piece! The six big blocks have actually been just sitting around in my sewing room for months now waiting for me to figure how I was going to incorporate them into a quilt.

After the holidays were over and I ticked a few WIPs off the list, they began calling to me again. Originally I had planned a much bigger quilt requiring more blocks, but in the end I decided sweet and simple would be best to show off the prints and colors. A little Kona white and a patchwork border finished it up.

The quilt was loosely free motion stippled, backed with a pretty turquoise blue print from Oliver & S's City Weekend line (from my stash - yay! - and is fabulous as a backing with it's silky smooth texture) and bound with a tiny ladybug check from Lecien's Minny Muu. It measures roughly 50x65 and is my new perfect knitting - in - bed cozy.

I can't resist showing a few more shots - we actually got sun in Seattle last weekend so I finally had an ideal opportunity for some decent photos! Normally I never photograph a quilt until it's had it's first wash and dry, but I literally raced through the hand sewing on the binding and darted outdoors to take advantage of the fleeting sunlight.

Another work in progress is finished! Now I'm off to work on my new WIP, my Single Girl quilt. I'm so  thrilled so many of you are joining in our quilt along - if you haven't signed up yet, pop on over to our Flickr group, The Single Girl Support Group. You still have plenty of time to get everything together, and we'd love to have you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Single Girl Support Group!

Don't worry, I didn't up and leave my husband with a baby on the way......we're having a Quilt Along!! Since I'm in the last time zone to post, you've for sure gotten the news by now - the crazy-talented  Katy, ingenious Nova and myself are making Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl Quilt and want you to quilt along with us!

This pattern has been languishing in my stash untouched for over a year now, and it's finally time to brave it. If you've been dreaming of making your own Single Girl Quilt, we've set up the Single Girl Support Group on Flickr, so we can all share tips and share this ride together, as well as keep each other motivated to finish our quilts.

Sound like fun? We're requesting that only serious Single Girl quilters join the group so we all stay on track to get it done. If a whole quilt sounds like too much of a daunting task but you'd still love to join, don't worry, you can make a pillow or baby quilt too. Here is what you need to do:

Go here, and request an invitation to join the support group. (You can still join the quilt along without joining the group as Katy, Nova and I will be taking turn hosting the steps right here on our blogs, but the Flickr group where be the place we can all have discussions and share our progress.) 

Get your materials:

* the single girl quilt pattern (there's a list of stockists at the bottom of the post)
* lightweight card stock or template plastic to make the templates
* a pencil for marking your fabrics (if you use dark fabrics a silver pencil or silver gel pen is a great tool)
* fabric scissors (yes - you have to cut those fabrics the old fashioned way with scissors)
* paper scissors (for cutting the templates)
* fabric - the requirements for each size are listed below;

Baby size (4 blocks) :: 43 x 50" :: 1/8 yard each of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 2 1/2 yards of background fabric
Twin (12 blocks) :: 64 x 88" :: 1/8 yard each of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 5 1/2 yards of background fabric
Queen (16 blocks) :: 85 x 92" :: 1/4 yard of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 7 yards of background fabric
King (20 blocks) 106 x 92" :: 1/4 yard of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 8 1/2 yards of background fabric

Scrap lovers - you will need strips of scraps that are at least 3 1/2" wide

The fun all kicks off on Valentine's Day, so that gives you plenty of time to get everything together, including your courage! But have no fear - although this pattern isn't suited to the novice quilter, it's really quite simple once you've got all your templates and fabrics cut. Curves can be a little tricky at first, but after a few tries you'll have the hang of it and we'll all be here to help you through it. Even Denyse herself will be keeping an eye on us, and has generously offered to clarify any of the steps if we run across any issues.

Here is the schedule we have planned:

14th February - Katy's blog - marking and cutting
21st February - 
my blog - piecing rings
28th February - 
Nova's blog - sewing the curves
7th March - Katy's blog - assembly
14th March - 
Nova's blog - marking the quilting design and hand quilting
21st March - everyone's blog - wrap it up!

Here are a few online shops where the pattern is currently available:
Pink Chalk Fabrics
Wish Upon a Quilt (on sale there!)Blue is Bleu (free US shipping!)The Stock Room
Sew Mama Sew

Are you excited yet?? We are! So come on, join the fun - you'll never regret having your very own Single Girl Quilt! And don't forget to grab our button for your blog!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Quilt and a Winner!

Thank you all so much who took the time to enter into my Dream On giveaway! You left over 800 comments and I loved reading all about your crafting goals for 2011.  And welcome to all of you who just found me here for the first time. I'll do my best to keep you entertained. The one lucky winner of the Dream On quilt kit is Jackie! Jackie, Congratulations and I sent you an email to get your mailing address.

While I've been finishing up my Kerchief Girl quilt, I got the unstoppable urge to start in on a new idea. I pulled this beautiful stack of prints for Brooke's block in the Bee Hexed In bee this month, and really became enamored with this color palette of deep golds, creams, ivorys, greys and light blues. I've started seeing this combination in different forms all around now, and I'm thinking it might be the new "red and aqua" of 2011!

Here is a little peek of what I've made of these fabrics so far:

I was feeling the need to work on something requiring little accuracy - free-flowing and a little improv-y. I've always loved the Drunk Love style from Denyse Schmidt's book, and this one is inspired from the Drunk Love Two-Tone, except using mostly prints instead of all solids. After a few blocks, I decided to change it up a little and add in a few rogue improv blocks to spice things up. So far I like where this is going, although I wish I had a bit more neutrals to add in. Does anyone have any favorite cream colored prints?

The great thing about this is that my oh-so-opinionated Mark loves this style of slight wonk and the colors, I suppose, are man-ish enough for him. So I've decided to go for a king-size on this one for our bed. Which scares the hell out of me when I think about the basting/quilting stage with my giant belly in the way. Maybe it's time to finally send one out to a long-armer!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and make sure you check back in here on Monday for the big announcement! Judging from a lot of your comments, this is going to be something a whole lot of you will want to join in on. You'll be able to find the same announcement over on the blogs of my partners-in-crime, the most talented Katy (i'm a ginger monkey) and ingenious Nova (a cuppa and a catch up), so make sure you pop in over there too!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Stuff

I just wanted to remind you all that today is the last day to enter the Dream On giveaway. I'll close comments at 9 PM PST tonight and announce the winner tomorrow. 

Also make sure you stay tuned for another big announcement on Monday!

I'm off to keep on quilting this project, so hopefully I'll be able to share it with you soon.

Happy Hump Day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dream On Giveaway! (Giveaway ended!)

I just realized I promised you all a giveaway today!

I am decidedly not in the "stash pact" or "fabric diet" camp this year. Actually I've ordered a bit more fabric than usual the last couple of weeks and bought more yarn than I could ever knit in the next coming months. Oh well, I've got other things on my plate right now than suffering defeat at another failed resolution. But in the spirit of supporting all of you who have made this resolution, how's about a gift of fabric?? It's OK if you didn't buy it yourself, right??

Dream On is such a gorgeous line from Urban Chiks for Moda, based on the designs of vintage sheets and ripe with sherbet-y pinks, greens, yellows, blues and oranges. I finished my Dream On quilt (you can see the whole thing by the link to it on my sidebar) this fall, and this fabric was truly a "dream" to sew with. Would you like to make one yourself? 

For this giveaway I have not one, but TWO jelly rolls, FOUR YARDS of the beautiful patchwork cheater print for the backing and a half yard of the stripe in orange for a binding for one reader. Just add batting and maybe a solid and that's enough for one HUGE quilt! 

Hopefully that will help someone lessen the pain of their fabric hunger pangs. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what is the number one project you would most love to complete in 2011, whether it be a quilt of a particular design, a crocheted granny afghan, a knitted sweater or just your first ever big sewing project. Be specific, I love to read the details! (My own goal is to complete my "Ode to Denyse Schmidt Colorwheel" quilt and my Liberty of London hexagon quilt!)

For a second chance to win, become a follower,

and for a third chance, blog or tweet about my giveaway!

Please, please make sure your blogger is not set to no-reply, or leave an email address so I can contact you. The winner will be chosen on Thursday the 20th of January. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pasha and the freakishly large pregnant belly

Sounds like the name of a story in a book of fables, doesn't it? Pasha is actually just the name of this hat I finished knitting late last night. I'm quite proud of how it turned out, actually fitting my head and my first lacework with no mistakes in it. I used my favorite yarn of the moment again, Madeline Tosh Pashmina, in graphite. This one will be getting lots of wear. 
Isn't that fabric it's sitting on gorgeous? It's a Nani Iro cotton/linen print that is currently being chopped up and made into a clutch (the market bags just aren't looking too sexy for toting around to dinners out).

And please forgive the terrible self-portrait-in-the-bathroom, but here is me and my giant growing belly. At only 15 and a half weeks, I realize this is REALLY big. I'm already getting tired of hearing "are you sure there's not twins in there?" quips. Nope, only one. One big baby, that hopefully won't top ten pounds at birth!

My other big baby is in bed so I'm off now to continue my super sewing blitz - but check back Friday for a GIVEAWAY!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sherbet Pips Snowball Quilt

The Sherbet Pips and Snowballs quilt is all quilted, bound and freshly washed. I started this one back in October, about one second after a layer cake of this delicious line showed up on my doorstep. I'd been thinking for days before it arrived how best to utilize the ten inch squares to get the most out of all the prints and have minimal waste. I'm happy I went with the snowball design, even if the piecing became a bit tedious. But I think it shows off Aneela's adorable prints quite well. I really love her first fabric line to pieces, and I'm even more excited because I know she has a ton more up her sleeves to keep us insatiable fabric addicts busy for years.
If you haven't been lucky enough to get your own Sherbet Pips yet, yardage is set to be released in April. There have been some pre-cuts floating around out there, but they're selling out like hot cakes, so if you see some, don't hesitate. Can you tell I'm really good at enabling?

Along with Aneela's super sweet prints, I added in some Bella Solids in popsicle, sisters pink, blue raspberry and medium grey for the squares. The binding is one of my favorite prints from Momo's It's a Hoot line and I couldn't resist backing another quilt in Bliss flannel. (I never pre-wash quilting cotton, but if you're backing a quilt in flannel, I've heard it is imperative to pre-wash due to a higher shrinkage percent. I wasn't going to risk it).

This is the first "real" quilt I've made for Lucy, but she's going to have to share it with me for awhile.

I'm on a real roll this week, with my energy level finally returned and Lucy deciding that naps are OK again (at least for now!). I just finished another quilt top and yet another is being sashed, so I should have lots more to show you soon.

I'll also be making a quilt-along announcement as soon as I get my proverbial 4%*# together, and a big, fun giveaway at the end of the week!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend Update

I love the holidays, but I have to say I'm glad when they're over. I was really missing a bit of peace and quiet! It has always felt natural for me to go into hibernation mode this time of year, retreating into the introverted part of myself and finding great satifaction in spending lots of time in pajamas. This year it may be even more true with the baby on the way.

So I have been getting some much-needed stitchy time in - some sewing, but mostly lots of knitting! I made these wee sweaters awhile ago, but honestly these poor Blythe girls have been getting zero attention lately. I was super excited to adopt a few of these dollies, but a combination of extreme fatigue, the holiday rush and Mark's horror that his wife is playing with dolls has put sort of a damper on this particular hobby. This last fact may actually be a good thing to keep me from attempting to aquire every Blythe I fall for. Anyways, this was a quick little knit adapted from the pattern by NxtDrGrrl, and I used my favorite sock yarn of the moment, HazelKnits, in Herbtopia and Strawberry Lemonade colorways.

What else is going on around here?

I've finally hopped on Twitter! You can find me here.

A friend got me to join Pininterest! Never heard of it? Neither had I! It is so much fun and a great way to put everything that inspires you creatively in one place.

Right now I've got Pasha by Jane Richmond on the needles. It's coming together quickly. I'm on a real kick to knit up a few more wintery accessories before the weather turns warm. I'm sort of obsessed with cowls right now, and this Burberry-inspired (free pattern!) one and the newest knit from the Purlbee (someone stop me from ordering the five skeins of  Blue Sky worsted I'll need!) are topping my list. I also just got the Fiddlehead Mitten pattern - I'm really aching to try some simple colorwork!

My Sherbet Pips Snowball quilt is all quilted up with only the binding to go! It looks like I'll be able to finish a few quilt tops this month and it feels good to knock some UFOs off the list. The Kerchief Girl quilt is ready to be sashed next.

There is now over 500 of you lovely people bothering to read about my little life! You know what that means - giveaway coming soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Good Start

As 2011 begins, I've been thinking about all I'd like to see myself accomplish this year. That is, besides making a whole human being. As you can see whomever has made his or her home in there is growing happily right along! A little bit freakish for 14 1/2 weeks, but this may also have something to do with my unbridled appetite for holiday sweets like the box of Jeni's ice creams we received and the gigantic celebratory dinners I've been indulging in. Weight loss is not on the New Year's resolutions for me this year anyways, although I am promising this little one I'll be making a point of consuming lots of vegetables whether the craving strikes or not.

I was quite prolific in quilting during 2010, and although I still have a long list of quilts I would like to start and others I'd like to finish, I've resigned myself to the fact that with a baby on the way I may not be able to tick off every one on my list. Here are a few:

 A new quilt for the baby. I started pulling lots of boy fabrics for a flying geese pattern in blues, greens and greys. If it turns out to be a girl, this will be a gift for one of the many boy babies we have friends expecting soon.

It seems my Kerchief Girl quilt is ready to be born. Remember these blocks? I just finished my Sherbet Pips snowball quilt top for Lucy and the kerchief girls have taken their place on the design wall.

The Lotus quilt. I started this in 2009 and I think it's time to get going on it.

The Paint by Number quilt. The ladies from the Bee-autiful Bee made some creative and inspiring improv blocks for me, and I just need to sew up a few more to make what I think will be a gorgeous quilt.

This list could really go on and on until I bore us both to tears. I would love to say I'll start my Japanese fairy tale quilt soon and finish my Liberty of London hexagon quilt too, but those may well be goals for 2012. Besides, I'm finding it hard to find time to hand piece lately, as the knitting bug has really set in and all that hexagon time has been bumped for yarn. My Kererra sweater desperately needs to be finished, especially since it is wearable even as my belly eclipses my toes. Speaking of toes, I've also become obsessed with trying out all sorts of sock patterns. The Marlene socks are on the needles right now. I love how they're turning out but you have to actually think to knit them, so I found myself in need of a simple garter stitch project, so the Noro Rambling Rows blanket was begun. 

I've always have a thing for Noro yarns, picking up all the skeins in the shops and trying to figure out what they'll look like all knit up. Watching the yarn change colors and deciding on which colorway to add next will hopefully keep my attention for the duration of this longer term knit.

My other goals of 2011 are these:

To get a handle on crochet. It just doesn't come naturally to me. Luckily I have a fantastic LYS with all kinds of talented teachers on staff so I plan to take a little clinic soon. I'd love to start that Granny Square blanket after I finish the Noro one.

To learn to make macarons. I still dream regularly of the ones I had at Laduree in Paris.

Get back to yoga. I would love to commit to more, but one prenatal class a week with supplementation at home will have to do for now.

To learn to make Waldorf dolls. I've wanted to do this ever since Lucia was born, and I think she is old enough now to start appreciating more handmade dollies.

I'm still waffling on whether or not to commit to 365. I think it will help in so many ways to make me a better photographer and I love the idea of recording our daily lives.  I'm onto a good start now so we'll see how I keep up, although I'm sure some IPhone pictures will have to do from time to time, like the first one up top.

I hope this list isn't too lofty and unattainable. I really should be adding "keep the house cleaner" "spend less money on yarn and fabric" and "remember to wash face at night", but those don't really sound very fun. Maybe in 2012, hehe!

Happy New Year, all! What are your goals for this year?