Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Follow the Leader

(Trying to ) Follow the Leader

In the beginning of May, I  saw a pretty quilt block on  Blossom Heart Quilts , made by Alyce.  It is called Follow The Leader, and is made with flying geese . Alyce is an awesome quilter and paper piecer.  I am always in awe of her projects!

She wrote  that  And Sew We Craft  is hosting a Modern Blocks Quilt A Long, using the book,  Modern Blocks, compiled by Susanne Woods. The  'Follow the Leader' block came from this book. And it hit me.... I HAVE THAT BOOK!  yay!

The book used for patterns in the Quilt A Long

Modern Blocks Quilt Along hosted  at And Sew We Craft  

This is the schedule of the blog posts for each block:

May- Follow The Leader with And Sew We Craft
June- Spool with The Crafty Mummy
July- Megan’s Star with Anorina of Samelia’s Mum
August- Quatrefoil with Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts
September- Escalator with Cate of Life Behind the Purple Door
October- Best Friends with Anorina of Samelias Mum
November- Pogo Stick with Ros of Sew Delicious
December- Crosswalk with Amy of Actually Amy
January- Everything Equal with Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts
February- Parisian Star with Tonya of Crafty Mummy
March- Binary with Cate of Life Behind the Purple Door
April- Stacked Squares with Ros of Sew Delicious

Each month, they  will be sharing a tutorial for the block as well and  a linky  will be open all month for you to link up your blocks. Plus,there will be prizes each month.

Since I have the book (and fabrics stacked stocked up)...
I took that as "a sign" to hop in, and sew along with this group to learn some new quilt block techniques.  :)

I like this kind of Sew Along, because it gives me ideas I would never have thought of before, it gives me deadlines  , and  I can get inspiration from  other talented quilters. Another important benefit is that I can get tips and help from their blog posts.  I just can't understand some sewing terminology on my own.  (I am a late-starter quilter.)

Just "sew " you know....I am stepping WAY out of my comfort zone in doing this , so I can learn to piece some blocks that I have ran shied away from in the past.
I am admittedly a BEGINNER.  I won't be able to "light a candle" next to these talented quilters in the group.....
My  blocks in this sew along will never be "perfect",
and  many seams will not line up properly.  Things will be a little uneven, I am sure. 
And I know I will be late some months.  (We all know that, "Life happens."  )

So, here we go on my journey of learning and practice...

Fabrics I am using
Fabrics:  FQ bundle of Stitch Floral Square  by Michael Miller
              Happi   by Dena  Fabric Traditions
            White-    Garden Pindot  white  by Michael Miller
Happi       not sure if for backing or sashing or binding yet....

May Block :  Follow the Leader    design by Sherri Mconnell

Chain piecing the flying geese
I picked 4 colors to make the flying geese with.

Follow the leader  block

Some of my "better" geese

Notes to myself:  
  •  Try to get all triangles the same size
  • One improvement- I got the top points of all of the triangles pointed.  (Last year, on my first attempt of flying geese,  a lot of the top points were  caught in the seams.) 
  •  I did not use steam to press them.  
  • I think I will use starch on the block pieces in June.

There is a linky hook- up for blocks being made at:  And Sew We Craft Modern QAL Block One.

 I am excited to learn new blocks and join in with a new group of talented quilters!  I can't wait to "Follow the leader" on this journey into sewing!  I need the practice, that's for sure!
I'm off to my sewing room!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blocks and Paper Piecing

This week, my computer died on me.  I was not too frustrated, because I have been storing my pictures and embroidery files on an external hard drive.  And the laptop was a 'hand-me-down' from my husband.    But as we all know, it takes time to figure out what you are even looking for... in features and spec's, and then it takes time to go to the stores and actually look at them and try to type on them!  Then it takes time to get everything running on it at home.  So I didn't get much sewing time in this week.

But....I  did squeeze in some  time to sew a Dr. Who Tardis block, for my daughter.  She is a big Dr. Who fan ( on BBC tv ), and  got my husband and I watching it .  We enjoy it's quirkiness.  
Her Tardis cookie jar

Her mini Tardis , posing in a snow drift

The Tardis pattern,  designed by Caroline of Trillium Design, is the first block in the Dr Who Along!  The Dr Who Along is being  hosted  at Whims and Fancies.  Soma,  Whims and Fanices blog,  has some awesome paper pieced patterns and really fun sew alongs!  Check out her blog and Craftsy shop.

Dr.Who. Along

This pattern came along right in time for my daughter's birthday! I love Caroline's  pattern!

The Tardis block       (my husband picked out the starry background)

I made it into a mini wall hanging,and mailed it to her.  She has it hanging above her desk now.

The Tardis        Susie
Mini wall hanging

Another  block that I made this month, is the May block in the  And Sew On BoM.
Kristy's  "Keep Calm and Press On"  May Block    courtesy of Quiet Play

  Kristy, of Quiet Play, has designed these fun blocks with the sewing theme. Isn't this iron pattern so cute!  May's block is free, and can be downloaded on Craftsy  during May.   While you are there, look at all of her patterns!  They are delightful!
I decided to make my iron pink .  I have always thought that would make ironing more fun!

Press On!  block     My little pink iron by Susie

Keep Calm and  Press  On !

Half of the blocks so far...

Other half of the blocks up to now

All of the blocks so far!
Kristy has a new Friday Feature.... a Paper Piecing Linky Party!  You  can link up a picture of something that you made this is foundation paper pieced, and see other great projects!  I love this , because I'll get so many new ideas for patterns and projects!

Linky Party at Quiet Play on weekends

Well, time to go learn more things on my laptop.  
I hope you have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

I'm off to my sewing room!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring Inspiration

Even though it was a rainy weekend here, the  vibrant purple and pink flowers in my yard 
seemed to jump out of  from the greens, and say, "Hey!  Look at me!!"

From my backyard
I love these colors together!   I have not worked with a lot of solid colors for the main fabrics of a quilt, but would like to make a quilt in  a modern pattern someday.  I love reading about modern quilting and try to   absorb the  style and  technique information  from all of the talented modern quilters' blogs out there.

After I saved this picture on my computer, I remembered  seeing a blog,  Little Bluebell, where Adrianne told us about a really neat tool, called  Palette Builder 2.   (Thanks for this great information, Adrianne!)

I just went to Play Crafts, and clicked on  load image, to upload my photo.  Look what colors I have picked out, to inspire me to find these colors of fabric!

Purple Wildflowers 
Isn't this so neat?!
I went ahead and made these other palettes... and filed them under "Inspiration."

Bleeding hearts fuschia and greens

Mossy and lilacs

Oh, I could spend hours playing around with this new toy!   That link is:  Palette Builder 2 @Play Crafts

Those yummy browns and greens remind me of a Diaper Bag set that I made this past month.  I wanted to make a diaper bag, which could "double" as a tote/purse, and include  a few fun and useful pouches , made in coordinating fabrics.  

The Pattern:    Pocket Parade Tote    by Penny Sturges at Quilts Illustrated.com

The fabrics:   
Kate Spain's  Fandango     photo courtesy of  Fat Quarter Shop
I used the brown and green and blue colorways of this Fandango.  I added some blender brown fabric  from  Connecting Threads.com

Mirage Brown

The Pocket Parade Tote Diaper Bag set...   note the four outside pockets on the tote

Pouch Patterns:     The Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch from  MichellePatterns.com
                                   Open Wide Zippered Pouch     by Anna of Noodlehead.com   * this is a tutorial,  and if you look for the link on this page, you can see the measurements for 3 different sizes !

Special touches that I added:
Pocket Parade Tote:    I added a zippered pocket in the  inside lining
Open Wide Zippered Pouch:

  •    I used   Insul-Brite  for the batting  (to keep bottles cold or some food warm).  I machine quilted this to the outer fabric.  Don't iron it!
  • I used the PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) White from  Fabric.com  for the pouch lining. This is a laminated knit fabric, that is waterproof.  (I just used clips instead of pins, as I didn't want to make any extra pin holes in the laminate .)  It was easy to use.
  • I made the pouch the medium size.... big enough for 2 small bottles and various food containers for babies

Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch:     I made the largest size.  It has a pearl snap closure.

Diaper Bag set.  The pouches match the lining fabric.
I wanted the set to look modern... I think I succeeded.  Her mother told me that when she opened up the diaper bag, and pulled out the Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch.... she said, "Oh, what's this?  A clubbing clutch?! "     giggle
Hope you are finding inspirations all around you!

I am linking up today :     to a new feature found  at Ali Makes  blog....   called  Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party 

Your  Link up is a project you recently made or are currently making in the form of a blog post or Flickr picture. This can be anything sewing related.

Hop on over (Alie Makes ) and see other great tutorials that folks have found!  This is a great way to find  blogs , and find awesome tutorials!  Great idea, Alie!

Also linking up to  :     Sew Cute Tuesday @ Better off thread
                                 Sew Darn Crafty @ Sew Many Ways

I'm off to my sewing room!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bindings and a Basket

This week,  I read some beautiful and thought- provoking blogs about quilting , as an art form and as a way of life. 

Amanda, The Patchsmith, opened up about herself and thoughts on quilting.  She says she is a  " strong supporter of the make-do-and-mend philosophy."  This post is titled, " Fabric of Life." 

Amanda's first mug rug... made from scraps

I especially  loved this eloquent phrase by Amanda ....
. Quilting and using scraps is not about getting back to basics either as basics have never left the quilter or home sewist – basics are woven with every stitch we make, every weft we follow and every needle we thread."   

  * note...  "weft"  - an article of woven fabric, or  the horizontal threads interlaced through the warp in a woven fabric.

Amanda  then goes on to talk about the connections quilters have through the generations.
How we are bound to each other.

The word "bound" made me think of a song that I learned a long time ago.   It is called, Blest Be The Tie That Binds.  (by John Fawcett  1782)

Blest  be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

I like the image of hearts being held together by a tie... a binding.

And then I read the latest post by Amy,  of Amy Made That! 
She gives a thank you to Jodie  ,of Pleasant Home, whom she  greatly admires and  and has learned so much from.

Amy's heart mug rug     tutorial by Pleasant Home

Amy's post is an excellent example of how much we learn from our fellow quilters, sewists and designers.  And how much we  encourage and mentor each other in our networks....our blogworld.  This is so special and heart warming, and heart-binding.

There's that binding again!   This leads me up to pointing out an excellent binding tutorial,  posted by Alie of Alie Makes !  Alie has a  feature - Tutorial Tuesdays.  This week she shows us how to make the Fold-Over Binding.  The tutorial has  precise directions and pictures.  

Alie Makes   a Fold Over Binding Tutorial
I really do LOVE Alie's style , in the  projects she makes ,and in her color and fabric choices!  

Pixelated  Heart  wall hanging   by Alie

And this week, until  Friday, May 17th at 11:59 pm, Alie is having a GIVEAWAY! 
 Her giveaway is for a $25 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song. (with free shipping!)
Hop on over to see Alie's blog.... Alie Makes  , to enter for the giveaway and see  just how talented Alie is.       

A last thought on binding  ....   sewing bees and sew alongs.  Isn't that a fun way to share patterns and ideas,  to learn from each other ,  and to  get inspiration and cheer each other on ?! 

That's why I love our Across The Pond Sew Along!  

May's Theme is :  baskets

Honey bee fabrics     The Divided Basket  pattern by  Noodlehead

These are super roomy inside!
If you make ANY kind of basket, take a picture and upload it into our Flickr Group!
We love seeing what you make!     The friends that have already joined in with us are just Bee-utiful!  

I'm off to my sewing room!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Lusciousness

Spring Lusciousness

Spring and the month of May.....


Clematis close up

Japanese Maple

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley plus a guest.  See some pale purple ones, too?

Mint -  I love to make mint iced tea,  and just smell the mint!

 is bringing out  more than new growth and  blossoms around here...

Michelle Patterns    The Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch
.....I may be acquiring a new addiction to pearl snaps!  

I saw this adorable pattern on Michelle Patterns  website,  and had to buy it! 

The Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch    by Michelle Patterns

 It is pure instant gratification.... I got it in  a pdf file as soon as I paid for it!
  And, (plug your ears now)   excuse me while I squeal out in glee, 
 (you can unplug them now)   .... it comes in FIVE, yes 5 , different sizes!!
The medium sized clutch

I made the medium sized clutch, which is big enough for my keys, cell phone and a mini card wallet. Just what I want for short errands.

Loaded for a small shopping mission

Did anyone happen to notice that the fabric matches my pouch set?

The pouch set      blogged here

I love adding the pearl snap!  I'll blog  about installing pearlized snaps soon.

If you join in and make  one,   you can link your blog and picture up at Quilt It Out blog.  Susanne is having a Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch Sew Along,  with a giveaway .  I am a devoted follower to her blog and love what she creates!

Is it just me... or does anyone else think those rain drops on the leaves  look  a little like pearl snaps?!
Happy Mother's Day to all Moms, Mums , and special sisters , aunts and friends .... those who love and nurture .    

And thank you, Mom, for helping me figure out how to thread and use my sewing machine about 4 years ago!  I love you!   xo
I'm off to my sewing room!