Friday, 30 August 2013

Summer Endings, Fall Beginnings!

School is set to start here and that always feels like a fresh start to me.  Back to routines, brand new school supplies and clothes.  It is so full of possibilities!  To celebrate, I'm offering 20% all fabric orders in my shop.  There's lots of great Moda to choose from so head on over to Ella's Cottage, fill up a cart and enter B2S2013 at the checkout.  I am more than willing to ship overseas, just PM to get a shipping quote.  And feel free to ask for a custom listing to save on shipping costs!!

When it comes to productive sewing time, August didn't start out too well.  But after a little whine, I realized I just needed to readjust my expectations.  Instead of expecting to get a lot done during the day, I had to set priorities and steal 15 minutes wherever I could.  Sometimes this meant sacrificing mindless internet time for my machine.  Seems like a fair tradeoff though!

Once that happened, I was able to finish String of Luck for the QAL at Christa Quilts.  This was my ALYOF goal for August

After that, I set to chain piecing Clementine Cross.  The orange is Bella Solid Clementine, the white is Bella Solid Bleached White.

And just this week, I finished up my Swoon quilt.  I couldn't resist joining #swoon2013 over on instagram.  But I wasn't feeling up to the full size.  So I cut back to four blocks and used Bella Zen Grey for the background.  The stars are made from fat quarters purchased from my LQS (I think 2 of them are Riley Blake?) and the green herringbone is from my stash (Robert Kaufmann, maybe?).  It ended up measuring approximately 54" x 54".  I'm really glad I decided to play along because I learned quite a bit doing these blocks.

1. HSTs are really nothing to be afraid of!  And they are so freaking versatile. 

2.  Ditto for flying geese.  I've been leery to try these for a while but nothing holding me back now!

3.  When working with HSTs and Flying Geese press seams open.  The first block was finished when I read Christa's Soapbox about pressing seams open.  I had some pretty bulky spots on that first block so I tried pressing the next one open.  It took a few minutes more but made a world of difference.  And I'm fairly certain I will be really happy when I'm quilting over some of those points!

4.  Don't wait until the last minute to take photos for the blog :)  It's rainy and windy today but I dragged my sick daughter outside to hold on for dear life #parentingfail  The pictures aren't great but I promise I will make up for it once it's quilted and bound.

Looking forward...

School starts next week which means a lot more sewing time for this lady!  However, not all of it will be quilty.  Christmas craft show season is rapidly approaching and my stock needs some beefing up.  Most of my time will be spent on that but I am setting my ALYOF goal to finish my Churn Dash quilt this month.

Linking up with ALYOF, Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sewing Room Clean Up Time

Sewing by Moonlight is hosting a sewing space clean along.  And boy could my space use it!  These are the befores.

Stuff got shifted around and moved into my space when we were building walls in other parts of the basement.  I was hoping all of the walls would be finished by now, so I put off organizing.  Obviously it's not done :(  But I still need to get things back to an efficient working space.

My "shipping" dresser.  The top drawer holds envelopes and packing material.  Middle drawer is shop items.  Bottom drawer is batting.  The top is supposed to hold my scale and act as a shipping prep surface.  Right now it's a catch all surface.  Not useful!

Next to the dresser is my cutting table.  Pretty good up top because I use it daily.  Underneath is another story. And I didn't even show you the floor.  It's not showable LOL.  The stacks of bolts do live there (I need more shelving desperately) but there is scraps and finished blocks buried in there.  And those are my scrap bins on top.

My work surface/ironing table.  This also gets used daily but it could definitely use a tidy.

UGH!  This is my desk.  Everything gets piled on here.  I have a lot of admin work that needs to happen right now and it's not getting done.  Could that possibly be due to large teetering piles of paper?  Yes, I think so.

The clean up has already begun and I'm committing to finishing by next week!  Linking up to Sewing by Moonlight.  I'm pretty sure everyone out there could stand to spend some time cleaning/organizing in your space as well, so why not join us :)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Fall is Coming!! WIP Wednesday

So waaaaaay back in June, when it started to get warm, I pulled the winter duvet off our bed. It had definitely seen better days. It was over 10 years old, discolored beyond even bleach's abilities and was clumping/losing feathers daily. I brought up the idea of throwing it out to my husband. "Will we buy a new one?", he asked. "Oh no!" I replied. "I will have a new quilt made for us long before it gets cold again!" 

Guess what folks? The nights are starting to get cooler. There have been a few mornings when it's felt downright chilly in our house. And that promised quilt is nowhere near done.

 Some of you may recall my restriction of one block per week on said quilt while I worked on more pressing deadlines. But this has now moved itself up the priority list. A lot. Instead of making one block at a time, I've switched to chain piecing. Much better, by the way. In the span of a week, I've gone from 3 finished blocks to 23 finished blocks, fitting in only 30-60 minutes a day.

I think I better get back to the sewing machine. 77 blocks left!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Challenge Accepted

After writing Wednesday's post I sat down at my machine and spent some time quilting.  As I quilted away I started to wonder if I could actually finish it for a Friday post.  I started calculating how long each section took to quilt and how many sections there were.  I figured I could probably do it.  And the challenge took hold in my brain LOL.

I stole every minute I could on Wednesday.  I even went down at 9pm after a hill workout.  I promise you that the only thing I WANT to do after running hills is eat, shower and sleep.  But I went down and finished the quilting.  As I prepared my machine for making the binding Thursday morning I figured I might as well piece it all together.

Thursday morning, the girls came down and played at my feet while I trimmed the quilt and attached the binding.  During afternoon nap I finished sewing on the binding and it was done!

If this is your first time visiting, I made this quilt as part of Christa's String of Pearls QAL.  I made my version smaller than the original design.  Her instructions were well written and the pace of the QAL was perfect for summer sewing.  I'll definitely join in any future QALs she hosts.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to use the Happy Go Lucky Dots for the center and grey strings (Bella Solids Graphite Grey).  It took me quite some time to decide on the Comma Dots for the background.  And as I assembled the quilt top I worried that I made the wrong decision.  It seemed like it might end up a little psychedelic.  But when I stood back from the finished top, I loved it.  It was subtle and fun all at the same time.

The quilting plan changed a half dozen times before I even started LOL.  But I think my final decision was a good one (if not the best one!).  I'm happy I decided to follow Christa's suggestion to outline the strings before beginning the FMQ.  It does a great job holding everything together throughout the quilting process.  I put spirals in the center of the squares.  The background got more spirals with curved lines around them.

The quilting process was quite enjoyable.  I feel like I've hit my groove with FMQ.  The combination of my Machingers and upping my tension has eliminated the eyelashing I used to struggle with.  I'm excited to try out some different patterns on the next few quilts.

The Details
Size: 44" x 55"
Binding: scrappy Happy Go Lucky Dots
Backing: Comma Swinging in Slate

This quilt is now up for sale in my etsy shop.  You can find all the details here.

Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts, Amy at Crafty Shenanigans and Melissa for ALOYF mid month check in

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Summer Sewing Blues

It feels like my blog reader and IG feed are filled with teachers accomplishing massive amounts of sewing on their summer holidays.  So much inspiration!  The situation in my home is the complete opposite.  Summer brings a 75% reduction in my sewing time as my oldest daughter is home full time and the youngest is home 4-5 full days a week.  This has led to some sewing envy and a bit of a funk where I feel like I'm getting nothing done.

To try and alleviate that feeling I snuck downstairs yesterday for 15 minutes to do some more quilting on my String of Luck project.  At the end of my time I figured that it would only take another hour or two to finish up the quilting on this.  Making an end of August finish totally doable!

We traveled last weekend and I brought along my critter sampler to work on in the car.  It's coming along nicely but my goodness fill takes a long time!

Since the Christmas Craft Fair season will be here before you know it (my first show is November 1st!), I've started to work on my inventory.  Some progress on a stack of bibs this week.  And I do  still plan on doing a tutorial for the tie bib.  Just a matter of finding some more hours in my day.  Which may not happen until September.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Show Me Yours...

Since I don't have a finish to share on this dreary Friday and I've been enjoying all of the stash sharing happening over at Sarah Quilts, here's a peek at mine!

I keep the majority of my stash in this monster shelf my husband built for me. And, no, I did not tidy before taking these photos.  Just keeping it real, folks! The hanging bits in the top right corner are pre cut pieces for a pillow.  I have another basket of minky on top of the shelf for making baby blankets.

I sort my stash by color and so far have purchased this way as well.  Although I think I may start buying some full collection bundles.

Blues (girly blues on the right)


Purples and greens

Yellows and Oranges


The last two pictures are scraps!  The top picture shows a bin of strings, a bin of larger pieces (around 5") and my unsorted scraps.  Bottom picture are all snippets!!  I also have a small amount of scraps cut down to 2.5", 3" and 3.5".  These are a lot emptier since finishing up Bits and Pieces and letting Ella use the 3.5" for her first quilt.  And then there is the baby wipes container holding binding corners and white scraps for my Up Up and Away quilt.

Also, this doesn't include all of my bolts for the shop which I am known to shop from :)  Oh my, I guess my stash is quite a bit larger than I had thought!!

Linking up with Sarah!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Global Scrap Bee

I'm sure that by now you all now I participated in Plum and June's New Blogger Blog Hop LOL!  To keep the party going two Bees have started up as an offshoot.  I am thrilled to be taking part in the international Bee named Global Scrap Bee.  There are some seriously talented quilters in our little group and I am so excited to see the quilts that come from it.

September's Queen Bee is Adrienne from Chezzetcook Modern Quilts and she has picked a beautiful block with a summer color scheme of greys, blues, teals and oranges.

 Because I have a little spare time I started pulling fabrics.  This is my first selection (with the right to edit as required!)

And it's NOT my best photograph, apparently :)  I'll make sure to go outside for the photo of the finished block!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Mostly Wordless WIP Wednesday

A stack of crayon rolls for craft fair season.

String of Luck Basted and ready for quilting

Critter Sampler from Little Stitches.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced