log cabin quilt! a finished object!

I've got an FO for you! I made this beauty back in April and May. It came together, as usual, in the span of a weekend.

One Friday I was just babysitting and my sister called me and said she had the day off and wanted to see if she could come hang out with me and the babe. Obviously I said yes. We had a great time playing and eating and hanging out. Then it was time for those two glorious hours: naptime. My sister has been working on her very first quilt and we started talking about how she was going to come spend the weekend at my house and wanted to work on her quilt. And then I got that all-too familiar itch...to also be working on a quilt. How was I supposed to watch her quilt all weekend and not have one to work on myself?! We both got our phones out and started scrolling through instagram and pinterest for ideas. I of course have a whole pinterest board dedicated to sewing and so every five seconds I would click a photo of a quilt I liked and show my sister. I went through all my screenshots as well (because who doesn't have a camera roll filled up with screenshots of quilts they like?!) and kept coming back to this photo:

The Log Cabin quilt block is such a classic design in quilting (and knitting!) and I have consistently been drawn to it. There are so many contemporary interpretations of it today that I love and it has long been on my list of things to do. I loved the simplicity of the log cabin design with the solid colors of that pillow and it really inspired me to do something similar in a quilt. I'm kinda weird about shapes, though, and knew I wanted a rectangular quilt and not a square quilt, so the math doesn't work out as perfectly as it does with a classic square log cabin quilt. That didn't stop me from making the quilt, though! 

Measurements!

Measurements!

I bought all my fabric and decided on a somewhat risky move- using regular old quilting cotton for most of the quilt and then a yarn dyed cotton. The potential problem here was shrinkage- the yarn dyed cotton will shrink much more than the quilting cotton. It's also a rougher texture but I just couldn't resist the way the yarn dyed cotton looks- the colors have more variation than a classic quilting cotton and that provided a depth that a fully-solid quilt really needs. 

'grammed this, obvs

'grammed this, obvs

The top came together super quickly- from ironing board to full quilt top in about 5 hours. The actual quilting is always my least favorite part and I really really really considered tying it like I do for most of my quilts, but I loved the diagonal lines that the pillow had so I sucked it up and did real machine quilting. And you know what? It really wasn't bad at all! I loved seeing it come together into exactly what I envisioned. 

Every quilter has taken pics from above to see how the colors look from a distance. It's just a part of the quilting process. My sister had to stand on the counter to properly look at hers! #beentheredonethat

Every quilter has taken pics from above to see how the colors look from a distance. It's just a part of the quilting process. My sister had to stand on the counter to properly look at hers! #beentheredonethat

Sewing with my sister! So fun. We both sew on  Janomes  because they are THE BEST. I sew on a DC2012 and Lauren sews on a DC2015. 

Sewing with my sister! So fun. We both sew on Janomes because they are THE BEST. I sew on a DC2012 and Lauren sews on a DC2015. 

Usually I power through the binding but this project happened at the height of my arm/hand pain so I was taking it a little slower with the hand binding. It eventually got finished and the quilt now lives on my bed! This quilt finished up at a little less than 60"x80" which is larger than my usual 50"x60" and I don't think I am looking back from this new size. I had wanted it to finish right at 60"x80" but silly ol' me forgot to add in seam allowances #wecantallbeperfect. And yet, seam allowances forgotten, it perfectly fits on my bed and is still a great throw size quilt. I have washed it a few times and the yarn dyed cotton has softened and is perfectly wrinkly. I love the looks of the different textures of fabrics and the diagonal quilting. It is definitely a winner and one of my favorite quilts! 

I have yet to take photos of the quilt with the binding fully attached, but you get the idea with these :) 

A giant storm was rolling through right as I finished the top so a lot of my photos look like this. 

A giant storm was rolling through right as I finished the top so a lot of my photos look like this. 

Yay! Finished top. 

Yay! Finished top. 

Quilt sandwich time. 

Quilt sandwich time. 

Basting away. 

Basting away. 

Look at that quilting!!

Look at that quilting!!

Binding

Binding

On my bed. Don't judge the total un-glamourousness of this photo. 

On my bed. Don't judge the total un-glamourousness of this photo. 

Hanging out under my new quilt even though it still had clips. 

Hanging out under my new quilt even though it still had clips. 

Specs (I used up nearly every single inch of fabric, so beware if you are following my measurements that there is little to no wiggle room):
Bella Solids in White Bleached, 1 and 2/3 yards
Some sort of cotton (Kona, Bella, or possibly Cotton Couture) in a light peach color (I'm really bad about keeping receipts or writing these things down...twas the purpose of this blog but obviously I'm not doing that part well!), 3 and 2/3 yards (tiny 10" square used for the front, all the rest for the back)
Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax, 2 yards
Cotton and Steel Sprinkles in Anna Blue (surprise, surprise...I've used Sprinkles in nearly every quilt I have made in the last 2 years), 1/2 yard
Batting, 2 yards? It was 90" wide batting, so 2 yards seems right :) 
Completed in 1 weekend as usual (minus hand binding)

christmas quilt 2.0: a finished object

Last winter I started a second Christmas quilt. I was super enthusiastic about it because I managed to score some Cherry Christmas from Aneela Hoey herself. I had to have stalker-like behaviors to do so (you can read more about that and some specs on this quilt here), but it was totally worth it. I knew that it would be so great in a Christmas quilt and the top came together in no time at all. I bought the fabric for the backing and then...I pressed pause. I thought to myself, 'this is going to be super fast and easy, I have plenty of time.'

Y'all. It was December. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as 'plenty of time' in December. 

Christmas came and went and lo, I was stuck with one Christmas quilt from 2014 (or was it 2015?) (#firstworldprobs). 

And then a craft retreat happened! It was the perfect occasion for finishing my quilt! I was all excited and I packed my car with all the essentials- fabric, sewing box, sewing machine, IRONING BOARD (fun fact, an ironing board does in fact fit in a small car), and all the rest. I was thrilled to have a weekend in the country with friends, at a lakehouse, without wifi (ok, I resented the no wifi fact), and with all the crafts I could handle. 

We got there on a Friday evening. I had been at an eating disorders conference for 7 hours, went home to change clothes, packed some last-minute essentials, drove 3 hours to the house, and was ready to chill for the night. So I did. But bright and early the next morning, I busted out the Christmas quilt stuff...and realized I didn't have everything!!! In my haste, or optimism, I'm not sure which, I had left about half of the backing fabric at home. 

^I literally did that when I realized my mistake. 

^I literally did that when I realized my mistake. 

So I did what any good crafter does- I went to some itty bitty tiny country quilt shop. I will give it credit that there was A LOT of fabric, buuuuut modern fabric? Not so much. I couldn't find anything to fit my demands. I was resigned to working only on knitting and embroidery for the rest of the weekend. It was disappointing, but it also meant I could be lazier and sit in a recliner all weekend rather than at the kitchen table! Luckily my dear friend Katie made use of all my sewing equipment (and fell in love with my Janome, because hello, who doesn't?!), so it was not all for naught. 

So here we are, early December of this year. I would remember the quilt and how all the pieces were cut and ready to go...and then wouldn't work on it. Then I was scrolling through Insta one day and came across this post from artist extraordinaire Pam Garrison. It wasn't much but it was what I needed to get myself into gear and just finish the quilt. What good is a quilt if it's half finished, sitting in a gallon-size ziplock bag labeled "christmas quilt" with literally everything you need to finish it ready to go??? 

NO GOOD AT ALL. 

I proceeded to turn on Netflix, queue up Call the Midwife, and improv piece the back in like an hour. I, in a rare good decision of actual planning, had bought batting and pre-cut my binding when I first started the quilt, so I had NO EXCUSE to not finish it that weekend. AND I DID! 

So here she is, in all her glory. Some of these pics are bad, but you know what? The quilt is done, being used and loved (even now, a few weeks after Christmas), so this is a success story, people. 

December 16, 2016- laying out the pieces for the back. 

One hour-ish later, a finished back! I always forget how much I love improv piecing. I need to do more of it! 

December 18- y'all know I just HAD to take a ridiculous artsy photo with my turntable in the frame. 

Wearing a thimble bc poking the eye of the needle through your fingertip is a lot more painful than poking the point through your fingertip. 

Christmas night, Christmas quilt, and Christmas special of Call the Midwife! I think I watched ALL of season 5 while working on this quilt.

Top!

Back! Yeah, it was windy.

~aRtFuLlY thrown on the bed~

I only bought ONE FAT QUARTER of that Dear Stella Christmas bikes print and I'm so glad I could use it for the back! 

You may have noticed by now that I am obsessed with the Cotton and Steel Sprinkles prints. I've used them in several colors in quilts now. 

Lookin' cute on my bed, where it has stayed! 

So there you have it, my last FO of 2016! As usual I finished with hand ties bc I am lazy. I love the finished size and definitely want to make more quilts that are bigger than my go-to 50" by 60". I don't have any specs for it as far as specific prints or finished size this time around le sigh, but it's all pretty much Cherry Christmas or Cotton and Steel and I will one day get around to measuring :) 

Until next time! 

patchwork pouch

 

I have this thing about zipper pouches. I just can't stop making them. Luckily I am not the only one with this "problem". A lot of sewists I follow also can't resist the allure of a new zip pouch. They are just so darn useful and they're a great way to use fun zips and fabrics! They are easy to make and very versatile. 

A few weeks ago I was reading a favorite embroidery blog, Wild Olive, and I saw this ADORABLE patchwork heart hexi. I knew I had to make one and I knew it needed to be a part of a quilted zip pouch. Even though it was still Lent (I gave up unnecessary spending...oy vey), I headed to the fabric shop and bought some low volume fabrics that would work with one of my favorite Dear Stella scraps that I have been hoarding away for a few years. I have never done an improv patchwork project before, so this was a new experience. I love the way it turned out! 

Part of the reason I started this blog was to document details of my projects in case I wanted to do them again...well that doesn't work when I don't keep track of said details! I have no idea what my measurements are for this pouch...finished size is somewhere around 7" by 9". The zip is a 9" metallic zip and that's about all I know for sure! 

already adorable!!

obviously I posted this one on Insta

quilted! I sent this pic to a friend and she said it made her feel like she needed to floss. 

the back looked super cool! 

LOVE!!

 

just peachy: a baby blanket

 

I wanted to put up a tutorial for the quilt I showed last week, but ye olde scanner is not wanting to cooperate, so that will have to wait for another day. 

In the meantime, here is another baby blanket I made! This peachy blanket was made for a sweet baby that I have nannied for the last 9 months. She turned 1 last week, so I knew I had to make her something fun and special. I had so much fun picking out these fabrics and it took everything in me to not make a matching one for myself! It's no wonder I loved it so much, considering the colors are just about exactly the same as my favorite quilt

This blanket is super quick and easy to make. I bought 6 quarter yards for the front and 1 one and a half yard for the back. I had my friend who works at the fabric shop cut my quarter yards to exactly a quarter yard and she very kindly squared them all up for me!

From there, you sew all 6 front pieces together using a 1/4" seam allowance, then after pressing the seams open, sandwich your pieces like this: batting on the bottom, backing fabric right side up, blanket top right side down. You pin everything together, cut off the excess batting and backing fabric, then sew up all 4 sides using a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving about 6 inches on one side to turn everything right side out. You hand stitch (or in my lazy case, edge stitch on the machine) the hole closed, then add some tacking stitches every 6 inches or so. I based this blanket on these measurements and assembled using these directions. It came together in about an hour and a half the day before the birthday party, which is pretty ideal! 

 

gifts for a babe

 

Back in November, a good friend of mine told me she was pregnant. Being the crafty person I am, I immediately started thinking of things to make for the baby. When she found out it was a boy, I started getting more specific ideas in my head. I sent about 5000 screenshots of fabrics and blankets and bibs to my friend to make sure I was on track with her style and then I got to researching and making. 

I decided to go for useful, simple, and really cute but not babyish. The photos really speak for themselves, so here's what I made. 

Bibs (pattern slightly modified from The Purl Bee)

Pillowcases (simple envelope-style pillowcases with French seams; pillow form from Bed, Bath, and Beyond)

Quilt (pattern adapted from Quilty Love; I'll write up my own measurements and tutorial next week)

I can't wait to see the little one using it all! 

 

my favorite quilt

 

I have been exposed to sewing most of my life. When I was little, my mom would sew things for me- halloween costumes, dresses, and little accessories. We would go to the fabric store together and I would help her pick out a pattern and choose my fabrics. She would let me cut out the thin tissue patterns while she assembled the projects. I had no real interest in actually sewing anything myself until high school. 

After sewing on my mom’s Singer for a few years and getting increasingly frustrated with her front-loading bobbin, I asked for my own sewing machine for Christmas in 2009. It changed my life. It was a Brother sewing machine and it had a top-loading bobbin, which made my sewing life a million times easier. I remember the first project I made with that machine- a pair of lounge pants. My mom had jury duty the day I made them and she said that I wouldn’t be able to contact her if I needed help. Much to her surprise, she came home from jury duty to me wearing a finished pair of pants! The top-loading bobbin made all the difference. 

As I gained more confidence in sewing, I decided to work on a quilt. My very first quilt still has a special place in my heart even though it is full of mistakes. My second quilt was quite large and to this day I still laugh at myself because of the crazy way I assembled it (it’s a simple patchwork quilt…but I cut all 500+ squares by hand with SCISSORS. WHAT.). But they are full of lessons and memories, and so I love them. 

But this post isn’t about those quilts. It’s about my favorite quilt. Picking a favorite quilt is like picking a favorite child. It seems wrong. But there it is. I have a favorite. This quilt came about quickly and randomly (see this post for proof that most of my ideas happen this way). I was working at a local fabric shop at the time and a customer had come in to pick out some fabrics for her own quilt. I was so enamored with her fabric choices that I took a photo to use for inspiration. 

I still love this customer's combo!!!

So I got to thinking and one afternoon right at closing time, I bought a bunch of fabric. I had no idea what I was going to do besides a quilt- no pattern, no measurements, nothing. I don’t really recommend buying fabric in such a haphazard manner, but sometimes it works. I got really lucky. The next weekend I started sketching and figuring things out. 

my fabric stack

actual page from my sketchbook of the planning of this quilt

trying out some ideas

another idea

the one I decided on

Once I figured out exactly what I wanted to do, I sketched out a design and then scaled it (don’t ask me how I did this…I have no idea…I remember using algebraic equations and all of a sudden feeling like 8th grade math actually applied to my life) to 50” by 60”. I sewed it up very quickly and then brought it to work with me where by boss very kindly photographed it and wrote about it on her blog :) 

my finished scaled sketch with measurements!

THIS IS THE ONLY FABRIC I WAS LEFT WITH. I HAVE AMAZING GUESSTIMATING ABILITIES

the only good way to baste- with a netflix binge

don't mind my closed eyes

I am obsessed with tying my quilts because I am LAZY and actual machine quilting takes forever

For the back, I just pieced something together. No plans, no drawings, just happened in the moment. It was like a puzzle.

As I was sewing the pieced binding on I saw that the back corner didn't get sewn into the front of the binding (oops), so I made this awesome patch. I really love the Nani Iro selvedge, so I made it a design feature of the quilt. 

I wish I wrote down how much of each fabric I had bought…I wrote it down at one point at work because people were asking about it, but I no longer remember…I think I had 2 or 2.5 yds. of the Nani Iro, and a half yard each of the Kona and voiles? 

So there you have it. A peek into my strangely organized yet chaotic process! I still adore this quilt, 2 years after making it, and it is the softest and best napping quilt ever!

Fabrics used:
Kona Peach
Kona Ice Peach
Nani Iro Pocho Dots
Palos Verdes Voile in Malaga Cove
Palos Verdes Voile in Abalone

 

 

 

 

christmas quilting

 

For as long as I have been seriously sewing (about 6 years now) I have wanted to make a Christmas quilt. Most of the bloggers I follow make Christmas quilts seemingly every year and it just looked so festive and fun. Last December, I went to JoAnn to check out their Christmas fabric selection for an ornament project. Let's be really honest here for a minute: I have Strong Feelings about getting fabric at JoAnn. But I found some seriously cute Christmas fabric there! So I bought lots and made ornaments and also a simple Christmas patchwork quilt. It was everything I wanted it to be! 

Last year's Christmas quilt top. 

So of course I needed to make another one this year. 

This past spring, I struck Christmas fabric gold. Aneela Hoey is one of my favorite fabric designers. She made some truly adorable fabrics several years ago, before I was sewing, and because her fabrics are so popular, they are very difficult to find online. I have wanted her Cherry Christmas fabrics ever since I found out about them, but they are in very limited supply online and are outrageously priced. One morning, I was perusing instagram with my morning cup of tea (a favorite daily ritual of mine) and she posted that she was going to be listing some Cherry Christmas fat quarter sets in her online shop later that day. So I did what any sensible person does- I set my instagram to notify me when she next posted and had her website pulled up in Safari so that as soon as she posted, I would get on her site and order a FQ set! I succeeded in being one of about 10 people to get a Cherry Christmas FQ set and I was THRILLED. 

I was going to make a Donut Quilt with my FQs, but I couldn't find a background fabric that fit my artistic vision for this quilt, so I decided to stick with what I know and do a simple patchwork quilt. I bought some Cotton and Steel Christmas fabric earlier this year and the colors matched well with the Cherry Christmas, so this weekend I got to cutting. This time I wanted the quilt to be bigger, so I cut out 64 9" squares.

One of my biggest crafting pet peeves is when I have mostly finished a quilt- cut and pieced everything, basted and quilted it- and then I have to freaking cut out the binding, sew the binding together, iron it, and attach it. It's just the worst. So, I make my life easier and cut and piece the binding at the same time I cut and piece everything else so that when I'm ready to attach it, it's all there for me ready to go. I've got everything all cut out and now all that's left to do is get started on the piecing! I'm pretty excited to have a bigger Christmas quilt to snuggle up under while watching all my favorite Christmas movies. 

I use my high school math skills more for quilts than anything else! 

Making sure all the fabrics look good together. 

All of my squares cut out and ready to go! 


 

lessons learned

 

I'll start this blog off with my most recent finished sewing project. One day on Pinterest, I found this fabulous quilt. It immediately was stuck in my head. A whole cloth quilt with straight line quilting and a fun binding. I would love to copy this version exactly: grey fabric, hand quilting, neon pink binding and all, but I know myself well enough to know that I would do approximately 2 lines of hand quilting and go running to the machine.

My sewing inspiration tends to hit rather dramatically and immediately. I don't stew over ideas or wait until I have just the right fabrics and just the right pattern to make something. I'll usually see something so inspiring that I run to the fabric store and start sketching and making immediately for fear that the idea will leave me and haunt me for all of my days (dramatic, like I said). With this quilt, that's exactly what happened. I was at lunch and all of a sudden, an idea for a polka-dotted whole cloth, straight line quilt popped into my head. As soon as I got home, I started sketching and figuring out how much fabric I would need for my preferred quilt size (which is 50" by 60"- perfect for reading, napping, and netflixing). I then drove straight to the fabric store and bought everything for it. It was a shock to the wallet, as all of my crafting tends to be, but I knew I had to start it that day.

I got home and pieced the top and back within minutes (the biggest plus to whole cloth quilts) and got straight to basting. I got to work on the quilting. 'It's fast and easy,' I thought, 'Just a bunch of straight lines.' Yeah, no. My first mistake was not using a walking foot. I know better. From the get go I knew I should've been using a walking foot. But I get annoyed with all the clunking it makes and how I can never get the screw in right the first time. Plus, I couldn't use my quilt guide with the walking foot (or so I thought). Quickly, I realized that straight line quilting was not going to be fast. After a few hours, I was about 60% finished with the quilting. I unloaded the quilt from the machine and there it was, the dreaded puckering and wavy edges that come from only one thing: not using a walking foot. I thought that I could live with the puckering and with chopping off a few inches from either edge of the quilt, but I decided that since I was frustrated, tired, and my arms hurt from holding the bulk of the quilt, I would put it away and re-assess the next day.

I looked at the quilt the next day and yeah...I was pretty mad at myself. There was no way I would be happy with puckering and cutting off multiple inches from the sides. But the alternative (ripping out quilting) seemed so much worse. I took a break from the quilt for several weeks. I gave the quilt a good look and decided that I needed to rip out about 50% of the quilting. OY VEY. Then one night, I told myself to suck it up and get to ripping. I fired up The Mindy Project on Hulu and started the arduous task of ripping out every 8th or so stitch on the top of the quilt. Then I would lift up the top and batting and rip all the stitches through the back of the quilt. I was able to rip out about 3 rows per episode of Mindy, which wasn't the worst, but it definitely was not the best.

After many, many episodes of The Mindy Project, I had ripped out everything that needed to go. Then I went back to the machine, walking foot in tow, and after googling it, I found out that my quilt guide does in fact attach to my walking foot, so I attached that and got to re-quilting. Immediately everything was feeding through evenly, but since the walking foot loosens the pressure on the top, things were getting a little wobbly. After several rows of straight-ish lines, I busted out the masking tape and started using it instead of the quilt guide. When the quilting was finally done, I squared up the quilt and got to work on my fun binding.

wobbly quilting, not my finest crafting moment

yes, I am one of those people who loves to hand sew the binding on the back

this photo shows exactly where I started using the masking tape to help me line up my quilting

And so here we are, about 2 months after the first burst of inspiration, and I am enjoying my new polka dot quilt. Never will I make the mistake of not using a walking foot again. Let this be my lesson to do things right the first time. 

all finished!