Busy Little Hands

Here she is in her new natural habitat.  Isabel has been asking for me to sew with her for ages and I wasn’t sure that she was ready to be safe with needles, iron or machine.  But, I could not put her off any longer and so off we went into the WIP pile, along with the scrap basket.  As you can see above, she is learning to press open the seams.  Check out the look of concentration on her face;  She loved it!

This is a very old UFO which has not been completed since I cannot make up my mind what to do with the strips.  Hop, Skip, Jump quilt?  A version of This Quilt?  Isabel says she is thinking about “What we make whid it” and she’s going to let me know what she decides.

Her first thing to make was a mug rug for daddy’s coffee cup.  She carefully selected some scraps and she sewed this together with very little help (and intervention) from me.

Clearly, we have a quilting prodigy on our hands.  ;p

 

 

Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids

It’s a good day for quilters.  A new line of solids feels somewhat like when you were a kid and you got a big box of new crayons.  You know, the one with the sharpener in the back.  You opened up the box and saw all the possibilities along with the rainbow of color.  That’s how I felt today opening up the cutest color card imaginable.

I needed a yard of a deep blue or indigo for a quilt binding and was expecting to choose a lovely Kona cotton.  But lo and behold the Cotton Couture solids had arrived at Hart’s and I had to check them out.  My girl Dana pulled down a few colors I wanted to look at.  What struck me at first was the tone of the color range.  By comparison with other solids, the colors are softer, as though they are the solid versions of shot cottons.  Rich, but not dark or heavy.  I think these solids will play nicely with the harder to co-ordinate prints.  I’m thinking of Japanese fabrics, which seem to have a palette all their own and fabric designers who use more jewel-like colors.  I especially liked the neutrals, including several wonderful greys and taupes and off-whites which are so important to modern quilters.   I noticed distinct colors that I feel are missing in other solid lines.  HOORAY!

What cannot be underscored enough is the feel and drape of these fabrics.  Made with long staple cotton, these solids are soft and luxurious feeling.  I wouldn’t think twice about making a pillowcase or clothing with them.  Of course, they will do very nicely in quilts.  They feel lighter in weight than Kona cotton, which I quite like.

Though more expensive than Kona cottons, in my estimation, I’ll be using these solids a lot in the future.  Well done Michael Miller!

 

So Many Stitches

Before rampant holiday sewing set in, my older daughter’s school hosted a craft fair as a fundraiser for the school.  Local artisans were invited to come and sell their goods as well as donate one item to be auctioned off.  I was thrilled to participate.  I worked like mad to be able to produce a decent offering.  I started with baby and kid quilts.

This is a small, hand-tied double hourglass quilt made of vintage reproduction fabrics.  I made this with wool batting, creating a nice and lofty quilt.

Then came the castle quilt.  I think this one is my favorite.

This is how it looked before quilting.  Obviously, this design is borrowed heavily from Lizzy House, the wonderful fabric designer behind Castle Peeps, which you can see in the border.

Here we are, all quilted.   Can you see the quilted “grass” and “stones” that make up the tower?  I had a lot of fun with this one.

Then there was this one:

I imagined a little girl who likes pink, but likes other colors too.

And then I really started having fun.  A bunting quilt made with “Hullabaloo”

I really wish I had a picture of this one washed and crinkly.  I really loved these prints.

In the middle of all this, I started thinking about how so many girls at Suzannah’s school talk about their American Girl dolls.  I realized that these dolls need their own quilts and that they’d be a good thing to offer for sale.

I really had fun making such small quilts.  All that fun color made me so happy while stitching.  This was my first dresden plate, and I loved every minute of making it.  Above, you can see a simple doll’s quilt made from Sarah Jane’s At Play border print.  I quickly stitched over the balloon strings and bound it.  Lastly…

Far, far away, tiny laundry line, Snow White, and a few fabrics to frame it.  It was the first to be sold.  I will look forward to many more doll quilts in the future.

 

 

Local Modern Quilt Guild

Not one to keep secrets very long, there it is.  My news!  I’ve started a local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  I’m so excited!  I have been inspired by Alissa who along with Latifah started the Modern Quilt Guild in Los Angeles in 2009.   Alissa’s blog was one of the first I discovered ever since I started quilt blog stalking back in 2008.  Local guilds started popping up everywhere and I longed for one locally.  I did visit the closest one to me, but after a long day of work, I really just wanted to cocoon at home with my kids and my fabric.

We held our first meeting earlier this month and 12 people came and showed great enthusiasm.  It was exciting to talk about what we might do in the way of quilting together, sharing ideas, shop hops and group challenges.  Here are a few pictures from that night.

This incredible quilt is made by Carolyn, on the right, made from Amy Butler’s pattern and fabrics.  Completely paper-pieced, my hat is off to her for sure.

This is  Adrianne’s fresh and bold plus quilt.  This would look good in my girls’ room.  You know,  just in case you’ve run out of storage space.  ;-)

Here is Dana’s Single Girl Quilt.  Oh be still my heart!  Putting Joel Dewberry Trees in the middle is  a stroke of brilliance.  What you can’t see is the incredible hand quilting she’s doing.  I continue to love the combination of mustard and greys.  This is really more incredible in person.  Dana wants you to know that the kona background color is MeringueKaren made this quilt as a gift for a couple who are getting married.  I wish you could see her piecing and the obvious care she took in making this beauty.   What an heirloom!

We will be meeting at the very fun and vibrant SueDee’s shop in Scotts Valley.    If you are in our area and are interested in the Modern Quilt Guild even a tiny bit, please join us for a meeting.  There is much silliness and  inspiration to be had here.  You can visit our facebook page here.

 

Half Square Triangles & Stuff to Mention

Hello there…anyone still out there visiting me?  I’m so grateful that you do check in on me.  Lots of goings on in my sewing room here this summer and so I’ll have lots of posts in the near future.  First, I did finish my half square triangle quilt for my living room and it’s new color palette.

Here’s the flimsy, all ready for quilting.  I need thoughts on how to quilt this.   Normally, I’d just be very happy with an all over stippling or loops, but this one wants something a bit more orderly.  Hmmm…feedback please.


The precision of getting the seams nested together rewards you with nicely lined up triangles.  Just when I think that I don’t need anything to be balanced and precise, and that improvisational piecing is the thing that I love the most, I fall in love with all the nice clean lines here.   I do apologize for the less than stellar pictures.   Here in Northern California, we have had the foggiest summer I can ever remember and I waited and waited to take this picture and a bright, sunny day never came.

Some of my favorites from Anna Maria Horner appear here, along with a little Cake Rock Beach, Alexander Henry, Parisville from that fab girl Tula, a Japanese print with an apple…

and do you see right here…below the apple?  Yep, it’s something that doesn’t often come up in contemporary quilting.  It’s a Civil War Reprint.   I absolutely love it for the color and the little squiggly lines.  I think it looks right at home here with the other prints on this quilt.

Other Exciting News!

I joined a virtual quilting bee with some fabulous peeps!  This quilting bee is unique in that we’re only using two colors; orange and aqua.  Accordingly, it’s called  To Bee Orange & AquaI was happy to make some blocks for my quilting pal IRL Beth who is an incredibly talented quilter.  She used to come visit me at Hart’s when she lived here, but now she lives away and I can’t chat with her about fabric or her fab tattoo.   With the fabrics she sent, and requesting maverick stars, I made these…

Gotta love that grumpy owl!

I have more to share, but I think I am going to save it for tomorrow.  School has started and the early morning routine means no more sewing until 1 a.m. like I did all summer. ;)  Speaking of the kids being back in school… the always lovely Katy wrote this bit about that very topic and I think she speaks what many feel, but don’t say aloud.  I appreciate these kind and honest words about needing one’s own quiet space and time for creativity as moms.  (Or mums in her case…thank goodness I speak U.K.)

Now…off to bed.

 


A Chair is Nice

The other day, I took a good hard look at my living room.  I looked at what I liked and what might need some help.  My reading chair really needed help.  As usual, when presented with an idea or opportunity to start a project, I did so and straight away.  So, in my usual haste, I do not have a “before” picture here.  Let’s just say that it would be pushing the limit to say that the covers on these cushions were shabby chic.  Maybe they were shabby, not so much chic.  Anyway, this is what can happen when kids are in bed early and you have a few movies sitting around waiting to be played.

So I had a fresh chair just like that and I liked it.  I had that back pillow from Pottery Barn from a few years ago.  It’s a wood-block print from India.  The little pillow is a lovely Kaffe Fassett shot cotton with a wide strip of an Amy Butler print.  The bottom is a large-scale Anna Maria Horner print from her Innocent Crush fabric line.  They all play well together I think.

Then the inevitable happened.  The bright and new cushions made the rest of the room look sad and neglected.  “A quilt for the couch and some throw pillows” was my very next thought.  Never mind my idea of not starting any new projects until the old ones are done.  I started thinking of my color palette and what would look nice in this room.  I looked around the room and looked at this:

And this:

This:

And these:

I thought about the colors; pale aqua, ruby, even bits of pink, garnet, pale grass greens.  I started pulling fabrics and made many, many half square triangles.  They look like this:

With any luck the cushion and the future quilt here will live on my couch very soon.