Tuesday, October 28, 2014

where do I start?

I've neglected you dear blog but never fear - lots has been going on, really.  I have been sewing, traveling and swapping...and enjoying some great weather for October which is surprising.

Let's see, first off I started another quilt and I am enjoying working on it very much.  I got snagged into the Moda Modern Building blocks pattern ~ here is a webshot

The pattern is sold separately or along with a kit of all Bella solids.  There are a bunch of quilters posting progress pictures on Instagram and here are a couple of mine, I really like this sunshine-y one:

There are 48 sampler blocks in this quilt and they range in size from 36 inches to 6 inches finished!  

I was super tempted to buy the solids but decided to use mostly stash fabrics on this! I'm pretty excited to have a place to use up some 'squared elements' and polka dots along with some solids!  

This block has 48 pieces in it and finishes at 6" - what in the world?  Loved putting it together though :)

Last week I traveled to California for work and decided just 2 days prior to leaving that I needed a cosmetic/travel bag.  I don't know why I need to make something for trips but I usually do.  I signed up for the Travel Essentials class on craftsy by Annie and went for it with the cosmetic bag ~
 I mostly had everything ready for final assembly after a few hours of sewing then finished the bag up the next day!

The pattern designer recommends using her soft and stable by Annie product which gives bags good body to stand on their own and I loved using it!  I really recommend trying it out.  I want to stock up on it now! :)  Before I made this bag, I hadn't tried sewing with mesh or vinyl but Annie led me through the steps and in the end I really love how this turned out!  The bag happily accompanied me on my California trip where I saw just a little bit more than conference rooms - at least for a bit.

Marina DelRey is absolutely beautiful :)  

Have a great rest of your week.  xx K

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gypsy Finish

I did it!  I finished my Gypsy Wife! :)  I am absolutely thrilled to have this one complete!!  Just a couple days ago I was stitching and stitching to wrap up the hand quilting

I have no idea how many hours I've spent on this quilt hand quilting but I thoroughly enjoyed the process.  As I was getting closer to finishing I couldn't wait to get binding on!  I went through nearly 2 complete balls of DMC perle 8 at 87 yards each!  I worked on it Friday evening then again Saturday morning.  It helped that the weather cooperated by lowering our temps to around freezing!  Way too soon for that.

Then, just before I had to spend time working at my real job it was done but for the binding.  I added the binding on late afternoon Saturday then couldn't start hand stitching it until Sunday evening....because I just had to do some canning :)

My single habanero plant produced so many peppers that I needed to use some before they expired.  Currently I have strawberry habanero and garlic habanero jam/jelly - yum!  OK, back to quilting:

I finished stitching the binding super early before work this morning (Monday) and done!!  This one will hang in our basement as it is a representation (or close to) of a bunch of stuff that both my husband and I love.  

You have a great week!  xx Karen

Monday, September 1, 2014

swappy time

Get it?  Last time I was stitching time and now I'm swappy time.  Don't worry, I won't take off on this theme as I'll likely forget!  Hehe.  I mentioned in my last post that I had actually sewn a Noodlehead 241 tote for a swap and now I can show you some more pics.  

I ordered a bunch of Cotton+Steel prints since I simply could not resist them.  They are gorgeous really!  Here is a pic of my stack

While I'm typically drawn to brighter prints, I love the soft colors in these fabrics and the prints are amazing!  If you haven't seen these and are on the fence, look, order and buy - like now! :)  Some have border prints too which I'm thinking will be great additions to quilt block borders, towels, you name it!  

Anywho, my partner was quite detailed in what she liked and these were not a fave.  So, I pulled in the dark arrow print along with my favorite backup ~ solids!

Peppered cotton solids that is.  These are really beautiful!  But, again I didn't see this as a fit for my partner since they weren't bright enough.  So, checking my solids stash I pulled out and used red and orange and I think it works!

How's that for true daylight photos?  On top of my game for a moment I guess.  I love the arrow print, and about any color could be used with it for some pop I think.  

The pattern calls for adding in a magnetic snap and Anna (Noodlehead) has a tip to add in a layer of interfacing to make the snap stable plus iron in another piece on top of the snap backing.  This makes a big difference I think, no sharp metal flap feeling in the bag.  

I will make this pattern again, perhaps in a canvas or a quilt as you go.  It is versatile and a good size bag without being too big.  Very fun to make!

I also spent some time getting some jalapenos picked off of our stoop garden and wanted them to get used and not tossed out.  We do enjoy the jalapenos with cream cheese and bacon but there is a limit right?  Food network came to the rescue with an easy pickled jalapeno recipe ~
  All 4 jars popped I cannot wait to try 'em!  xx K

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A stitching time

There's always a time for stitching right?  Or, a dream to be able to do more of it at least for me.  I have been very busy stitching away whenever I can, hand quilting my Gypsy Wife.  I'm maybe 70% done, well that could be a stretch..maybe.  Here are a couple of photos

It is taking some time and while I am usually not too patient, it is also very relaxing to lose myself in hand stitching.  The slower pace also slows my heartbeat and I usually feel like I just woke up when I break from it :)  My stitches are not super even nor are they consistent across the blocks, but hey that's OK!  

I used my ever favorite 505 spray baste to baste the layers of the quilt together but wanted some extra security for dragging this around with me often; so added some basting pins too

I've got a few blocks left to quilt then I'll decide how many of the strips to run stitches down.  I don't want to over-quilt it since this will be on my wall in my basement (maybe) and not laid on (maybe).  Once I'm done stitching and adding the binding I do want to wash it for that crinkly quilt goodness :)

Here is a before and after of my DMC spool so far 

I think I'll put a pretty good dent in the new one before I'm done, but have a 3rd spool just in case!

In sewing machine news, I made my first 241 tote by noodlehead for a swap and shipped it off this week.  I don't want to give away too much since my partner knows I'm making this for her but I made the strap super long messenger-style and didn't plan this too much or too closely but look at my join ~
See it?  :)  Have a great rest of your week!  xx K

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gypsy Finish

I did it!  I actually completed the Gypsy Wife quilt top ...and I'm sort of sad since I had so much fun putting it together, I didn't want it to end!  I think being sad when I finish is a consistent feeling with Jen Kingwell's patterns and me.

As with the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt, I got completely immersed in this one...it was like coming out of a super-darkened movie theater after a lengthy movie - going from extreme air-conditioning to blasting middle of the day sunshine once I was done.  Know what I mean on that?

I think I used about every fabric in my stash for this, and added a couple 1/4 yard cuts that I scored on Instagram.  There are a few strips that are fairly long so width of fabric was helpful in those instances!

I didn't use many fabrics more than once in this either!  If I did use any more than once it was because I simply had to because I loved it so much...well, actually I love all the fabrics in this quilt :)

Since there are so many seams with all the strips and blocks, I took the opportunity to grab a couple pictures of the back

Do you press your seams open?  I tried it a few years ago and now I find that when I press seams open my blocks lie much flatter and my block sizes usually measure just right

As I was sewing this up I kept thinking about how best to quilt it and ran through a bunch of scenarios/patterns in my head.  In the end I have decided to hand quilt this one.  I have not ever hand quilted any quilt but I just kept thinking that would be the best finish...well, given my stitching turns out OK that is.  And if my patience lasts...

I am using DMC perle 8 with a hoop and finding that I absolutely love hand quilting!  I hope that my stitches even out a bit and that I get a little speedier.  There are so many great tutorials and so much advie online in the quilt blogging community but there was a lot of consistent advice too.  

It is quite hot to hand quilt during the summer but I don't care...I think it's worth it! 

It could take a while to finish it, but it's a good size (59 x 68) to hand quilt and maybe i'll get fast :)  Have a great rest of your week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gypsy Wife Jigsaw

Do you like jigsaw puzzles?  Every so often when I put a quilt together it makes me think of a puzzle.  I then find myself reflecting on my younger years and putting puzzles together as a family.  We would irregularly have a puzzle 'in the works' on a corner table at home and we'd all put in a piece or two when we could.  My Mom still loves to work on them when she can.  

The Gypsy Wife is definitely a jigsaw puzzle to me!  I have completed the 73 - yes 73! - blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilt and am moving on to assembling it, jigsaw puzzle style!

First let me show you a few blocks I have ready

The blocks for this quilt allow for fussy cutting and focus fabrics and I've had so much fun pulling some oldies but goodies from my stash for it!  I simply love the movie The Wizard of Oz and watch it about anytime I see it on one of the cable channels whenever I come across it.  I have had the above Judy Garland fabric for like 6-7 years and haven't used much of it to date.  I LOVE this block!

Of course I had to use some fish fabric for the square in a square blocks when I could too :)  The fabric in the center above I got in Door County, WI last year or the year before.  There are a few fishy print blocks in queue and I'm really loving these sprinkled in the quilt top.  

The above is also a favorite block made with Sweetwaters Road 15.  It looks a little plain maybe?  Well, back when the gals at Sweetwater asked their blog readers to send in addresses so they could design this print, I did!  And you know what?  My childhood home address is right in the mix of the square above...pretty cool huh?  

Yes - I am keeping this quilt for me!!

Here is some assembly progress ~

It is a little challenging, which I am addicted to!  There are strips that run through the blocks that match from top to bottom.  My design wall is getting a workout!  I hope to have this one put together soon and on the blog. 

Also - I have to make a correction to a previous post!  I had said my hydrangea was a limelight when in fact, it's actually a quickfire hydrangea - here is a recent snapshot. 

At any time during the sunny hours of the day there are quite possibly dozens of varieties of bees and bugs on these flowers.  There is a sweet scent just bursting from it but it's not too too much, just simply perfect!  I read up on this type and it seems that the more you clip it/trim it pre-growing season, the more it flowers...

I say, flower away :)  Have a great rest of your week!  xo Karen

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fair Weather

Did everyone have a good weekend last weekend?  As it was the 4th of July (already!) my husband and I escaped to northern Wisconsin.  We visited a lake in the Chequamegon National forest (I still have no idea how to pronounce it!)

The lake we were on is Ghost Lake and it is absolutely surrounded by trees.  So very quiet and so very filled with mosquitoes but we enjoyed it.  Northern Wisconsin is beautiful!  The area has a bunch of wildlife which I did not capture but we saw an eagle, a deer in the lake and heard many wolf.  There is a controlled group on Elk in the area too!  The weather was perfect and not a single firecracker was lit.  Love it!

Then back home I was anxiously awaiting the opening of the N Wisconsin State Fair.  This fair is not a large fair as they typically get about 70K people through the gate annually.  Remember I entered a couple quilts?  Well, last night we finally went and my husband and I walked by the display a couple times until we realized my Green Tea quilt was on the wall!

With a ribbon :)
These are cell phone pictures but you can bet I'm going back to get better photos!  I was truly surprised and jumped up and down like a little girl seeing a puppy in the window. :)  

While we were looking at other crafty displays, I was approached by the local quilt guild to see if I was interested in joining.  I had thought about this group before but was thinking I wasn't mature enough as the group meets at the local Senior Center.  I surely may be the youngest new member - nothing like feeling young right?

You have a good weekend!  xo K