Monday, December 10, 2012

Back Into The Swing

3.5 weeks in our new place, and we're mostly unpacked, and I have my sewing table set up and supplies mostly set up. A sewing table! My own space! No more sharing the dining table, which was inconvenient for both uses, and always somewhat stressful. That said, right now my sewing table is sharing with our little table top tree.

Dashiell admiring our mini tree

The first project here has been some mug rugs for the kids' teachers and aides. Dashiell has several people who work with him in and out of school, and have for the past 2 school years to, so I wanted to make something special for them. I've also wanted to try out the mini Churn Dash blocks from the Purl Bee blog. To this end, I cut into some of my Denyse Schmidt stash. Isobel immediately made herself at home on some of the strips. Cats have fabric radar, I swear.


Churn Dash in Progress

Partially Done

I tried to pick contrasting colors, somewhat high vs somewhat low volume when possible. I like the pairings of 3, but the last pairing I'm not entirely sure about, being the top left one.


Even with the colors in each part repeating back in ways, the navy, the orange (that's inside the little dots on the purple-ish fabric, and the fact that orange and blues work well, somehow I feel insecure about that one. It's probably mostly in my head though.

At present the little mug rugs measure about 8.5" square. I have 2 of each design, so that puts me at 8 mats so far. Now to dig up the batting from a box somewhere, and pick out some backing and binding fabrics!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


A few more pictures in somewhat better light yesterday morning, before this top too disappeared into a moving box...



Now all my projects, supplies and tools are packed away, I feel all antsy. It's a bit strange as I can often go days or weeks without touching any project if I'm too tired or busy or distracted to work on anything, but as long as the option is there, I feel fine. Take away all those options, and I feel a bit uncomfortable. Whilst outside catching a little natural light for a few last pictures before things were packed away, Miss Matilda wanted to snap some too, focusing (or trying to) on the fabric that caught her fancy: the moons with the clouds:

Spellbound Detail

I just liked how she ended up framing the shot, with a chunk of leaves.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fossil Squared

Over the summer I finally finished my brother's quilt. This was the quilt I'd hoped to finish back in May to take with me when I visited, but sadly it didn't work out that way. I was unhappy with the random straight line quilting I was doing, and had to take all that out. I ended up running out of time to take it out and re-do it.

Fossil Squared

The pattern is based on How To Be Jenna's Dusty Springfield quilt (which she now sells a pattern for on her site!) I made mine larger and made it 6x7 colored squares rather than 5x6. I wanted to be a nice big quilt for a 6 foot guy to snuggle under, hence sizing up. At this size it'll also be a decent throw across the end of his bed too.

Fossil Squared Back

For the back I used a charcoal batik from Joann's with 2 more squares from the Benartex Fossil Fern charm pack. As my brother liked quilts that ran from warm to cool colors, I picked one of each. In the future if I go the route of (Joann's?) batik again, I will likely pre-wash the batik, or not forget the color catchers in the wash. I think it was the batik that bled through a bit and left some staining on the white on the front around the stitching. It wasn't hugely noticeable, but it was a rather devastating find, as I had wanted it to be amazing. The color catchers would likely have really helped. I quilted it with straight lines through the white between the color blocks and the crosses.

Fossil Squared

Besides the bleeding issues, I'm really happy with how this turned out. When my dad and step mom came to visit from the UK in October they took it back with them and will be giving it to my brother when they see him in December. I hope he loves it as much as we here all did, it was hard to let that one go!

Monday, November 12, 2012


With about 12 minutes to spare, I managed to finish my Spellbound quilt using Tula Pink's Nightshade fabrics to be able to participate in the Sew Sweetness Tula Pink Sew Along!

Tula Pink Sew Along

Things have been a bit chaotic here lately, especially as we're in the process of packing to move to a new apartment this upcoming weekend. The move was fairly short notice, so my plans to finish the Nightshade quilt before Halloween went out of the window. As did our Halloween plans, as Hurricane Sandy hit the area. We were extremely fortunate to miss out on damage and power outages (unlike last Halloween's snow storm), even as towns around us were hit much harder, including my kids' school district just miles down the street. Even as I packed away all my fabric, I left the Nightshade out, just in case I found some time to try and squeak in before the deadline of the sew-along. The pattern is the Spellbound pattern for the Nightshade fabric from Freespirit's website. It's an easy pattern to assemble, and I picked it because I liked the way it showcased the portraits nicely. The pictures aren't what I'd like, but at 11.48pm in a house overflowing with boxes and mess, the staging areas are lacking...



For the backing and binding I have a white-on-black pin/polka dot (Free Spirit Designer Beads) that I'll be using. I saw it used in a Nightshade quilt, I think the Snow Globe pattern, and decided it'd be a good fit. And so, my last quilt top in this house. Kind of strange...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday #9

I'm feeling pretty good about the progress I made on the weekend with my brother's quilt, which only has the hand-stitching on the binding left. A task that's being accomplished in the evenings whilst watching TV.

Then there was the Flip Side top I finished, which now moves towards another stage of completion. Or, rather, the stack of finished quilt tops that need assembling and quilting. With that one, I have the backing fabric, and won't need to agonize over the choices for a pieced back (Ghastlies quilt, I'm looking at you! And my Lotta Jansdotter Echo quilt for that matter.)

Over the past few days, though, I've been working on a Sparkle Punch (Wonky Stars) quilt. I'd cut 3.5" wide strips of about 81 Lizzy House fabrics back in April, and now came time to convert those strips into squares. 80 pairs of 5 squares for whole stars, and then more squares for the partial stars.

400+ 3.5" Lizzy House squares

Monday I sliced up some white cotton for the 384 neutral squares I'd need. Then more cutting as most of the patterned squares needed slicing into triangles. Presently I'm sewing the star points. Hopefully by the weekend I can get most of those sewn, trimmed and sewn some more and ready to plan the layout of the entire quilt.



Echo sitting on a project in a more embryonic stage, which will be an adapted Jaybird Quilts' Chopsticks quilt, with Wrenly fabric and Kona solids. This will have to wait a little longer, as I want to clear a few more WIPs off the list, or make some more progress on them first, before I end up with a huge stack of quilt tops and too few finished quilts.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Little Kitties

As long as I can remember, I've loved Russian Blue cats with their intense graphite color. I remember being a little kid and seeing them in an ad for some cat food, and that was where the love affair began. I'm not alone in loving them, as it happens Jeff does too. Somehow, a while back, a seed was planted to add a Russian Blue to our existing clowder. We weren't really planning on adding one immediately, as the place we're presently living in isn't the largest.

Echo & Tesla

After scouting a variety of Russian Blues in the area, and missing the boat on them too, a lucky find of a listing for a Russian Blue at the local SPCA led us to go have a look. At 2 brothers. As the above picture shows, we didn't just get the one kitten, but both. We just couldn't split up a pair of bonded brothers.


They're super-duper cuddly, in no small part, I imagine, due to the fact that they were rescued and taken to the SPCA when they were about 2 days old and hand-reared. It's been 3 weeks, and they've settled in well with our other 3 cats. I'm also enjoying watching a bonded pair of kittens grow up together. Their interactions are a lot of fun, and it's so cute to find a little sleeping kitten pile every so often.

Echo & Tesla

Echo's the darker and skinnier one. Tesla has a more round face, and gets that Russian Blue smile going quite well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Too Long!

It's been much too long since I posted. A trip overseas, to visit family in Holland and England, and a bit of a sewing funk too, conspired against me. Or rather, one was a pretty valid reason but covers only a 2 week period, and the other just left me with nothing much to post about and made me feel guilty about being in the funk and not having anything to write about or show off.

My birthday was May 25th. The middle of the 30s, eep! With my dad and stepmum we planned a trip to Europe to coincide with my birthday. A trip just for Jeff and myself. While grandma and grandpa would have loved to see the kiddos, sometimes it's nice to just get away together. Also my dad and stepmum will be visiting in September and will get to see the wee people then.

I had tried very hard to get my Fossil Fern quilt finished for my youngest brother, but I ran out of time. I'd started quilting random straight lines on it, and ended up unhappy with how the couple I'd sewn looked. Rather than keep going and be dissatisfied about the result, and not having enough time to do it the way I wanted to (while also not having settled exactly on what I wanted to do) I just put it aside and told my brother he'd have to wait a little longer. This was as far as I got just before we left:

Fossil Fern Squared

It's pretty big, about 76" x 65". Not quite a bed sized quilt, but as both my brothers are over 6 feet tall, I wanted to give my youngest brother a good sized quilt for him to be able to snuggle under. You know, manly snuggling...

This weekend has been the first weekend in about 6 weeks that I've had to myself (literally, as Jeff's working in Raleigh NC this weekend), and have been able to sew uninterrupted. The kids' dad was away for several weeks, and so they were here the entire time. The summer seems to have zoomed past... summer day camp has come and gone, and now the start of school is almost here!

Yesterday I completed the quilting on my Fossil Fern quilt, made the binding and sewed that on. It just needs hand stitching on the back and it'll be ready for my dad and stepmum to take back with them for my brother.

Then, after getting that quilt out of the way, I pulled out my Flip Side quilt top, one that had given me a headache last year and that I'd put away. In hindsight the issues weren't so terrible, but at the time it had me so frustrated and annoyed that I really needed a mental break from it. I managed to fix the problems and complete it, so I'm very happy about that!

Flip Side

A quick picture on the couch with less than ideal light, before I headed off to bed. The pattern is by Rachel Griffith, and the fabric is Kate Spain's Central Park.

I'm happy to be out of my funk a bit, and glad to have gotten some overdue projects done. How's everyone else doing?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIP Wednesday : #8

A continuation from last Wednesday's WIP, it's the Fossil Fern quilt.

Fossil Fern Squared WIP

This picture is actually from yesterday, as I was assembling the smaller rows into larger blocks. Taken indoors as we've been having rain the past 2 days, and mostly to show my brother how it was going too. I have a little over a week left to finish piecing this and to assemble the quilt sandwich and quilt both this and one for my step mom and my dad. Eek!

I realized this morning that I'd also pieced some of the green squares into the orange row of one block, and had to re-do that earlier. Besides what's visible in the picture, there'll be a row of blue and purple.

Somehow this quilt is also a little larger than I thought it'd turn out to be. The top looks like it'll be barely a bit wider than my queen sized mattress. It's mostly meant to be a good size snuggle-on-the-couch (and also a thanks-for-letting-us-stay-here-you're-an-awesome-brother) quilt for a guy clocking in at a little over 6 feet though, and I think that'll suffice.

Presently it sits in 6 large pieces waiting for me to press seams and assemble more, but it's time to deal with the evening's dinner, being Heidi Swanson's recipe for Baked Farro Risotto, which is made with the whole grain Farro, and a dish which I end up finding very similar to Lasagna both taste wise and the way the grains remind me a little of pasta.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: #7

I've long been a fan of Jenna's "Dusty Springfield" quilt, which she made for a Kona Solids challenge, and not long ago the opportunity to make one presented itself.

In May Jeff and I will be traveling to the Netherlands and the UK to visit my family. Whilst in Holland we'll be staying with my youngest brother, and I asked him if he'd like a quilt. I had him look through my Pinterest quilt board, to get an idea of what kind of design tickled his fancy. And while his first suggestion was an art quilt well outside my skill levels, he then settled on the Dusty Springfield quilt. Only he didn't want solids, and asked for something with a little more pattern/texture. I suggested batiks, and he did some Google searching and said he liked the Benartex Fossil Fern batiks.

A charm pack was ordered, and I set about selecting squares that would give a similar effect. A kind of rainbow progression from warmer to cooler colors. I decided to make the quilt bigger too. Instead of the 30 squares Jenna used (5x6) I added another row and column and needed to select 42 squares (6x7).

Fossil Fern selection

Jenna didn't include a pattern or full tutorial, but posted a diagram on her blog about how to make the white and grey parts in between the charms. I've been keeping track of the amounts of fabric I've been using as best I can, and maybe I'll cobble together a tutorial that has fabric requirements and such in it, after I acquire permission from Jenna to do so. [permission granted! woot!]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Feline Horde: #1: Shiloh

I figured today I would introduce some of our feline horde.

Back in June 2010, about a month and a half after I moved out of my ex's place into my own, I fulfilled a desire that I'd had for ages: a cat. As there had always been an intention to move back overseas, we held off on pets as quarantining them wouldn't be nice or very fair on the animals. He also preferred dogs and I preferred cats. Then we split, and things changed, and there won't be any moving. So, an opportunity to get a furry new friend!

After heading down to the ASPCA in NYC and having a disappointing experience there, I followed it up the next day by a trip to the local SPCA, where the staff was much friendlier and Miss Matilda and I left carrying a box with precious cargo: a 3-month kitten, later to be named Shiloh.

Shiloh–at the time still unnamed.
On her first night at home

Sneaking a nap in the laundry.

I've had and been around quite a few cats, and my first cat Abby was a super sweet cat, but Shiloh almost puts her to shame. Her favorite spot in the house is my lap and she's very attached to me. She doesn't really miaow very well, either they're silent or sound more like squeaks, which has resulted in one of her nicknames: Squeak.

Mostly she likes to hang out and be left alone by the other cats. She likes Isobel well enough, but doesn't tolerate Lieam too well, likely as he enjoys a lot of wrestling and hijinks that she's not into. As our biggest cat, she also manages to be the biggest wuss. And she's also a little neurotic.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday #6

In between trying to tidy the house and packing to go to PAX East in Boston where I'll be working at the booth for Jeff's company I haven't done a lot, but I did manage to get 3.5" wide strips cut from all the Lizzy House fabrics I have been stashing for a while for the Wonky Stars/Sparkle Punch quilt I'd like to make.

Lizzy House Fabrics

Lizzy House Fabrics

Lizzy House Fabrics

So pretty having all the various colors and shades!

Most of that is just for the full stars. 5 squares per star, of which 85 are needed, off the top of my head. I need some more for partial squares, but much less. I do think I need something like 300+ white squares. Eep!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Boxed In Echoes Progress

I managed to finish my Echo quilt top. After having a burst of early Spring, verging on Summer here in NY, the weather turned frigid, gloomy and super windy, and so I couldn't take any outdoor pictures for fear of the whole thing taking flight. Taking pictures indoors with cats, though, is always such a tricky prospect! If I have quilt pieces on the floor, I have to lock them out of the room or they're sitting on it in under 13 seconds. If I'm trying to hang it up, such as below, well then it becomes a fun curtain to dive under and around.

Boxed In Echoes

I haven't quite decided what to do for the backing yet. I have 2 Echo charm packs that I won a while ago, I may use some of the charms in the back with some white and grey solids. The Kona Ash and Coal I have go quite well, though I don't have enough of either to piece together a substantial back yet. Sometimes figuring out how to piece the backs is more complicate than the front.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday #5

Remember this quilt top?

Kitchen Window Quilt

Well, yesterday I finally got around to basting it to the pieced back I made a few weeks ago. The top ended up sitting in a box for a while, and then it was hard to actually be left alone by the cats long enough to actually put it together. On the weekend Jeff and I rearranged the furniture in our bedroom, and suddenly we have a wealth of floor space! Enough to put down a quilt exactly that size. And it's much easier to lock the cats out of one room, than to try and catch them and sequester them in a room. Now I just need to pick out a matching thread to quilt it with.

With some of my Christmas gift money, I picked up the book Modern Blocks a few weeks back, in part because I really wanted the pattern for Faith's Blocked In block, the pattern she used in her Echino Squared quilt. I decided to use the Echo I bought with some more of the Christmas gift money. I redid the math so that the blocks are actually the size in Faith's Echino Squared quilt, being 18" for each 4-quadrant block, as opposed to 12.5". I wanted fewer larger blocks rather than more smaller ones. A lot of the prints in Echo are larger scale, and I felt it would work better.

Blocked In Echoes WIP
My "design floor"

My only real disappointment is having bought what I thought was Kona Snow, and realizing after I'd pieced all the components that while that might have been what I ordered, it wasn't what I received in the mail, and it didn't match my Kona color card either. Doh! Of course I didn't think to check the color when it arrived, assuming it was the right one. It did strike me as being a bit whiter than I thought it was supposed to be as I was cutting it, but I kept going anyway. It's not egregious, and I'm not about to take it all apart. However, given that I bought enough Snow for 2 more projects besides this one, it does throw a spanner in the works with at least one of those projects, namely the one in which I was going to use some Valori Wells' Wrenly, and the background on the birds is definitely not white-white. With the second project, I don't think it'll make a huge difference, so I won't sweat it there. I'm a bit disappointed that I'll have to buy more fabric that I didn't think I needed, just to do my Wrenly version of Jaybird Quilts' Chopsticks. At least white's a solid that will get used quickly enough, but I already had about 6 yards of that lying around as it was, and really didn't need another ~7.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday #4

It's been a while since I got any real sewing done. The holidays interfered a bit, and some personal stuff too. Recently I decided to start cutting into half of my Fandango layer cake for the Jaybird Quilts' Carnival pattern I've had lying around for a while. I did quite a bit of the cutting the other weekend and on some random days here and there along with a little of the piecing too.

Fandango Carnival

Yesterday I finally sewed together most of the blocks, and then the rows and the rest of the quilt top.

Lieam helped while I pieced the rows...

Fandango Carnival

Blocks all done and now awaiting the borders:

Fandango Carnival

And roughly 5 seconds after laying the blocks on the couch to take the above picture, Shiloh made herself at home on it...

Fandango Carnival

I'm not sure what it is about fabric and quilts, they are like cat magnets! I do look forward to one day having a living space that has a separate room for me to use as a sewing studio, and for Jeff's music things, one where we can restrict the access of the furbeasts (and sometimes even the teacup humans!).

I'm glad I got some more progress made on this quilt though, it felt good to be able to sew anything more than 15 minutes worth.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello Aunt Edna!

This morning I headed out to my local Joann's store to see if some of Denyse Schmidt's DS Quilts Aunt Edna collection had arrived. I saw it appear on Flickr or a blog, and figured it might be in stock. I was in luck, and some of it was!

DS Quilts Aunt Edna

I'm missing 5 of the prints (the houndstooth, plaid and large dots from the second colorway, and a floral print from both), but as one of the bolts was one I spied behind the cutting table, still shrink-wrapped in plastic, the others may yet arrive or need to be unpacked. Because I forgot some of the notions for the Daisy Girl backpack pattern I have for Miss Matilda, I need to go back at some point anyway.

The new collection is lovely, and it matches the Hope Valley pieces I have well (I only have the New Day blue/grey colorway of that though, so far.) The oranges are a little less neon-y than in the picture, but the sun was blazing this afternoon and even the color correction in Photoshop couldn't fix it entirely. It's not hugely different though.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wip Wednesday #3

Back in August, I was lucky enough to win 2 charm packs of Kate Spain's Terrain over on Melanie's blog, and a while ago I decided to indulge my love of whirligig pinwheels and make some. For this, I used the Charmed Whirligig tutorial over on the Turtle Hill Quilter blog.

Terrain Whirligigs

Now I have a stack of lovely colorful Whirligigs!

Terrain Whirligigs

Of course, in a moment of inattentiveness, I messed it up a bit too, and cut 2 of the charms the wrong way, so they whirl in the opposite direction. Doh!

Terrain Whirligigs

I'm considering using the two wrong-way-round whirligigs in the backing. No real loss, but it shows you what happens when I start cutting before a morning dose of caffeine!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year!

A belated Happy New Year!

I hope everyone made it through the silly season okay. Ours was a fairly low key affair, and I have to say I enjoyed it that way, no stress and just some quiet enjoyment of the season. The kiddos were with their dad for Christmas this year, and we let them open their presents on the Solstice. Miss Matilda loudly exclaimed with everything that it was just what she wanted, which was pretty funny. I'll have to dig a few pictures off the boyfriend's phone camera of the event.

My big gift to Jeff this year was a Kindle Fire. He had asked for one, and once I knew nobody else was getting it for him, I got one and surprised him with it. Of course this also meant a new Kindle case needed to be sewn:

Kindle Case

As he rode professionally for a couple of years, bicycles were a natural choice. I had picked up some of the Michael Miller fabric a while back with him in mind, though no real project. Whilst going through some stash fabrics to figure out what to make the case out of, I grabbed that one again, and realized that the piece of Kyla May fabric from her Smirk line matched really well. Voilá!

I did pretty well this Christmas and got some lovely stuff...

Jeff and his dad each got me a quilting book I'd asked for:

Holiday Spoils!

Jeff's mom sent me some money, and unsurprisingly I bought fabric, from the awesome Hawthorne Threads:

Echo by Lotta Jansdotter

Some Echo by Lotta Jansdotter. They were out of the aqua colored blooms (which I have in the orange also), so that's the only print I had wanted that will have to wait a while. I've seen some amazing uses of the saffron yellow prints too, but I will have to try and resist that temptation!

A FQ bundle of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley in the New Day colorway:

Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt

A few prints from the "Cut Out and Keep" and "Across the Pond" collections from Cloud9:


Rendezvous by Khristian A. Howell:


And from Sew Lux on Etsy some Magic Beans/Pez by American Jane for Moda:

Magic Beans (Pez)

And some Cape Ann, by Liesl Gibson for Moda:

Cape Ann.

A bit of stash building!

I hope you got some nice spoils this season also!