Monday, November 22, 2010

A grinding halt...

That is what crafting productivity has slowed to around here lately. Okay, well I have been knitting. In bed.  And baking. And eating a lot of the baking. But mostly napping when I can (which isn't as much as I'd like with an 18 month old girl who has decided she doesn't much care for her own naps!) and tucking myself into bed after dinner to make it only part way through a movie before falling asleep. My sewing machine is lonely. I'm getting behind with bees and swaps. I won't even tell you about the pile of dishes in my sink and the mountain of laundry piling up.
But you know what? I'm kind of enjoying this little vacation from the pressures I normally put on myself to produce crafty things. I've decided to ignore the perpetual list of crafting "must-dos" for now and focus on sleeping, eating, reading and spending time with my little family. I'm happy as a clam. And I expect to be back in full creative force in about another four to five weeks:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pips and Pickledishes

I guess it's an Aneela-project sort of month around here! I waited about one hot second after receiving my precious Sherbet Pips layer cake in the mail to start slicing and dicing. 

In anticipation of it's arrival I had already decided on the design I wanted to go for and ordered some coordinating Bella Solids in scarlet, sisters pink, grey, blue raspberry and popsicle. I'm liking the "snowballs and squares" look - I think it showcases the prints nicely and the solids give everything a little 'pop'. I love these fabrics so so so so much! This is about as far as I've gotten in piecing the rows. It's a little tedious so it's slow going.

And I'm a little late to the party, but you've all heard about Aneela's Pickledish quilt-along, haven't you?

Now these are fun to piece! I haven't sewn any blocks together yet so can't attest to the difficulty or lack thereof for the arc piecing, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I've already tackled curves so I'm not too frightened.

I love having all of this Christmas mess strewn about my sewing room. I suppose it isn't yet appropriate to bust out the holiday decorations so this is tiding me over until after Thanksgiving. I started collecting all these holiday prints last year but never got around to them, but I'm hoping we have a nice little Pickledish Christmas quilt to cozy under during December. Realistically, that will probably be December  2011!!

I'd love to get sewing on all of this right now, but Lucy is sleeping and honestly, mama needs to go have a nap too!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's A Hoot Triple-Squared Quilt Tutorial!!!

As promised, here is my version of the "Triple Squared Quilt" tutorial I originally planned for the Moda Bake Shop. If you need to catch up on the story behind the tutorial, read this post. I just want to say that Moda has been very kind and gracious throughout this little debacle, but regrets they won't be able to re-post it. Thank you all so much for your supportive words, I'm really happy so many of you still wanted the tute, so here it is! And of course we all know there are dozens of different variations on this design floating around out there, my little version is just engineered to help you get the most variety of print and color combinations out of ten inch squares of fabric.

If you want to whip one up out of your favorite layer cake, here is what you'll need:

  • One or two It's a Hoot layer cakes, depending on whether you'd like to make a baby-sized or large throw quilt. You could easily convert this to a jelly roll, fat quarters or yardage also and make any size quilt you like.

  • 3/4 yard It's a Hoot print 32377 45 Fudge Turquoise for the binding

  • 4 yards It's a Hoot print 32371 15 Sky for the backing

  • a Design Wall (I  highly recommend this, even if it is just a piece of batting tacked to your wall - that's what I use! I will make designing your quilt so much more easy and enjoyable.)                                           

  • First, open up your layer cake(s) and pet all the yummy new fabrics:) Next divide them into three piles, trying for a good diversity of prints and colors in each stack. Then, combine two of the stacks into one pile. You will have one stack with 14 (28) prints and the other with 28 (56) prints.

    You will begin by rotary cutting the larger stack as follows:
    • 1 strip 6.5 by 2.5 inches
    • 4 strips 4.5 by 2.5
    • 4 squares 2.5 by 2.5

    Make yourself a little cutting map of this diagram for easy reference. The cross-hatch sections indicate portions unused in the pattern - set those aside.

    With the smaller pile, cut the following pieces:
    • 2 strips 6.5 by 2.5
    • 3 strips 4.5 by 2.5
    • 3 squares 2.5 by 2.5

    Here is the cutting diagram for that pile.

    Phew! All done?

    Now you can separate all the pieces by size.

    You will start building your blocks by pulling two squares of different colors and prints and sewing these right side together. Finger press your seams to the left.

    Next, chose a 4.5 inch long strip matching the square on the left and sew it, right sides together, to the top of the squares. Finger press this seam towards the new strip.

    Chose another contrasting 4.5 inch strip and sew it to the left of your new square, finger pressing again to the left.

    And finally add the matching 6.5 inch strip to the top and finger press again toward the new strip. Now, press your finished quarter block and start making a pile.

    After I've completed a dozen or two, I like to start placing them in a pleasing way on the design wall, arranging four mini - blocks to make one larger window-paned square, or bento box. Try and be as diverse as possible with your combinations. 

    When you get near the end of your strips and squares, you will have some left over. I added these in with my cutting scraps and made myself a new mug rug and patchworked the front of a new tote! You could also use them in piecing a backing, if you wish.

    Now you'll want to sew you quadrants together, and press your seams open to minimize bulk in the center where all the seams meet.

    Here is what your finished block will look like!

    Now sew these beauties up in rows, 4 by 4 blocks for the baby size,

    or 5 by 6 for the throw quilt!

    Baste, quilt and bind! Enjoy your cozy new quilt!

    This will yield one generous baby quilt, approximately 48 by 48.

    Or, if you used two layer cakes, one 56 by 68 throw quilt!

    I hope you all enjoyed my little tutorial - it's my first so go easy on me! But please let me know if there are any changes you find that need to be made:)

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Show and Tell

    First I want to say thank you to all of you who left such sweet comments about my last post. You instantly made me feel so much better about everything! I'm still waiting to hear if the tutorial will be re-posted on the Moda Bake Shop, but no matter what you will see it here or there soon.

    I just can't make enough of these Jane Market Bags! Not exactly as fashionable as the handbags I used to carry, but these have become my carry-all tote for knitting, diapers, wallet, water bottle and every other on the go necessity. My first one has been going everywhere with me so I decided to make more before I trash it too much. I love the fact that one or two of these can be whipped up in an evening.
    The first one is made of twill cloth from It's a Hoot by Momo, and is probably my favorite print of the line. The yardage is supposed to be out any day now. I used up some scraps from the quilt to do a little patchwork on the pocket, paired with a little japanese linen. 
    The second bag is a buttery soft linen by Megumi Sakakibara from Superbuzzy that I just couldn't resist. I have a half yard stack of the cotton prints by this designer that have been marinating in my stash for awhile, so I cut a little up to patchwork the pockets of this one, too. And the lining is one of my favorite Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry prints, Herringbone in Maple. That guy is just a genius with coordinate prints, don't you think?

    My stress relief knitting project of the week is this super simple Drop Stitch Scarf. Looks complicated? Well trust me, it's not! If you can knit and count, you can make this scarf. I love this Manos del Uruguay Maxima merino wool yarn soooo much. The colorway is Chrysanthemum and it makes me happy to see the cheerful colors changing as I go along. Having a simple knitting distraction is a necessity for me because my big long-term projects tend to be above my skill level and drive me crazy more than occasionally. I'd really like to finish my Kererra sweater up but I keep encountering road blocks. If anyone has experience with knitting double garter stitch in the round, please PLEASE contact me - I beg of you!

    And I just finished up my block for Brioni (flossyblossy) in our first month on Bee Hexed In. She chose blue and green and I think this quilt is going to be just lovely! 

    I have lots more to show you soon - don't ask me where all this crafting energy came from! Right now I am ready to hit the sack and it's only 7:15:)

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    It' A Hooty Dilemma

    Here it is, my It's A Hoot quilt I finished awhile back but haven't been able to show you until now. This quilt, along with a full tutorial for constructing it out of a layer cake, was scheduled for the Moda Bake Shop this weekend, but had to be yanked after only twelve hours. Needless to say I'm disappointed after pouring so much time, thought and energy into the tutorial and making of this quilt. But unbeknownst to me, the name I used for the tutorial is under copyright. Because of all of the countless variations on this design and the many different versions of tutorials already all over the web, I wrongly assumed this pattern belonged to the public domain. All I set out to do was to try and show you how to cut up a layer cake to make this design.

    So yeah, I'm bummed.

    With all due respect to the owner of the copyright for the name of this design, I wonder where the line is drawn if the quilt is by a different name. Like everyone else out there I detest copy catting and plagiarism and completely understand the right of the designer to protect their own creations. But when a design is so simple it can be made in a million different but similar ways, who owns the design? I know this issue strikes a cord with a lot of you, especially those of you who feel your owns designs have been ripped off. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Anyways, the quilt is done and I think it turned out beautifully. I knew the moment I saw the previews for Momo's new line "It's A Hoot" that I couldn't wait to get my hands on these fabrics. The color palette is full of yummy jelly bean colors that really speak to me, and there are some great stash must-haves in the line like the egg dots and the branches print. I love the large scale prints, too - I think I already showed you the peek of the back as I binded ~

    And here is a shot of it against a clear blue sky not often seen around here these days! These photos were taken in the beautiful gardens of acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant near our tasting room in Woodinville, Washington. 

    Anyone have any new name ideas for this quilt???

    And of course I couldn't resist showing you my little Mouseketeer on her first Trick or Treat outing! She would only wear the ears for a few minutes so this is the best shot we got of her in the full get-up. 

    Happy First of November - today is official "start your holiday projects for real" day!