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Monday, April 13, 2015

FAL / Q2 Goals

I'm fresh from a 2 week sewing hiatus and excited to get started. My parents made their very first trip to Germany, so we've had 14 days of exploring, relaxing and spending some great time together. I haven't seen them in just over 2 years, so this was a really special time.

That said, I'm also fresh from my most successful quarter since I began participating in the FAL last year. I finished 6 of the 7 projects on my list. My secret? No bees and swaps this year!

It has been so difficult  not joining the themed swaps that seem to pop up weekly on Instagram. I've also taken a break from the Doll Quilter's Monthly Swap and Stash Bee. I felt I was sewing a ton and I didn't have much to show for it which can get discouraging! I'm very gratified that the result has been sewing for my own home and kiddos. I haven't quite worked out how to use the word, but I think I'm also "chuffed."

Anyway, onto Q2!

1. Ninja pillow - the 1 rollover from last quarter.
2. Picnic Quilt using Crabtastic - an older bundle I've had a few years. I'm thinking either a rolling stone or simple squares pattern.
3. Succulents Wall Hanging using this pattern  from Material Girl Quilts
4. Granny's Quilt - I won't need this for a few months, but I'd like a bloomy pattern.
 5. Mod placemats for new kitchen table
6. Improv table runner
7. Shopping totes - need to make a few sets for Mother's Day
 8. Finish up bee quilt - I only need to make a couple of blocks to get this up to size and then I can finish it up and get it on the bed before it's too warm!
9. Ballet bag - maybe a drawstring backpack for the munchkin.
10. Continue with Confetti Stars 
11. 1 hour basket from this tute to replace my Noodlehead one for now ;) 

 I have high hopes this quarter, but there's nothing super urgent here so we'll see how it goes!
Linking up FAL Q2

FAL / 1st Quarter Goals Update - 6 out of 7 isn't too bad

  1. Noodlehead Basket  - finished, used for a few weeks and then whisked away by mom so I need another! 
  2. Preppy Stroller Quilt - finished & gifted to adorable baby Logan! 
  3. Birthday Quilt - Finished and gifted to my Dad for his 60th Birthday. He loved it although it's pretty warm in AZ already lol.
  4. Wonky Pinwheels - from Stash Bee 2014.  Finished!!! 

  5. Messenger Bag for Beans - Finished! I used the Mini Messenger Bag pattern from The Littlest Thistle and her bag came out really great and has already visited Munich and Paris! 
  6. Ballerina Pillow Cover - Finished! 
     
  7. Ninja pillow cover -unfinished and rolling over to Q2 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Stash Bee - my fave finish

Just last week, I had another exciting finish: my Stash Bee quilt. In July of 2014, I sent out instructions and a sample palette for a Wonky Pinwheel block (inspired by Greenleaf Goods) to 12 lovely ladies. Over the course of the next several months, the blocks came rolling in.

In early October, I got the blocks sewn into a top and was very pleased with what I was seeing.
Sometimes my bee mates included fabrics that I wouldn't always have necessarily chosen, but they all work together! I even have a couple that are closer to silk than cotton and they give a nice little surprise feel when you come across them. That's what made this project so fun - other perspectives make this quilt far more interesting.    
The gold and grey floral adds a silky surprise
In an effort to force myself to get this one finished, I put it on my Q1 list and it worked! 
 The back was a bit of an experiment. As I fancy myself addicted to paper piecing lately, I decided to play around a little. I used this letter set from Craftsy to make myself a label.

 The back is half Kona ash and half Kona white and just love how it came together around the letters and the binding is Kona navy. You can see that the quilting is a simple diagonal and a double straight gridline.

Ready for naptime! 

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linking up On the windy side

Dad's Quilt

That special birthday quilt mentioned at the beginning of the year in my Q1 goals was another great finish! I even almost delivered in time ;0). My dad turned 60 this February and I wanted to commemorate this big event with a special quilt.

I'd had several charm packs of Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Marks for a several months with this project in mind. Their decor is pretty neutral and I thought it would look great in the family room. After much deliberation, I decided to go with half square triangles laid out in an arrowhead pattern, Since the HSTs were to be sewn together in 4s, I did the 4-at-a-time method in constructing them. Boy, did this lead to some stretch!! 

The first time around, the borders were so wavy, I had to go back and start over. Thank goodness for friends who happen to be visiting who don't mind spending time with the seam ripper! Miss E took out my wavy borders and had me straight again in just one evening ;).
Miss E wasn't the only friend to pitch in on this one either! My friend Lee was kind enough to whip up an embroidered label for me and it looks fantastic. My disks for my embroidery machine accidentally went into storage when we came to Germany, and I haven't had the time to make new ones.
The quilting design was a separate challenge. I decided to go with a spiral pattern inspired by this one at 107 Quilts.com. I didn't want to quilt through the embroidery in the center because of the light background and brown thread, so I skipped it and did that separately. If I could do this one again, I would not have offset the beginning triangle because it made it difficult when I got to the center.

Eh, you live and learn and it came out fine in the end.
It finished about 70" and is the perfect size to snuggle up on the couch. 

Linking up on the windy side
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Noodlehead Divided Basket

Just before finishing that last pillowcase, I FINALLY finished this basket! I think it spent the entire last year on my FAL list with not much progress! Originally, I had chosen different fabrics with the intention to make it a new baby gift and fill it with baby goodies. Fairly Merry has definitely inspired me as she cranks out beautiful baskets like clockwork!

Once the baby shower passed and the moment was over, I changed over to some fabrics for ME! I used 3 different Kokka  fabrics from a website in China called Modes4U. Although they take a bit longer to arrive than I'm used to, the prices are much better than any shop I've found since moving to Europe, and they offer free shipping with a minimum order.  The cacti fabric on the pocket fabric reminds me of my Arizona roots.

My basket is happily holding all my bedside table junk and looking pretty! If and when I make another, I'll use a stiffer interfacing, but I really love this one! 

FMT

a cute new pillowcase!

In continuing with my quest to backwardly document my finishes for this quarter, next up is the ballerina pillow! 

This was just a simple effort with fabric I purchased at least 4 years ago. At the time, I had vague plans for a quilt, but it never seemed to make it to the top of the to-do list. I guess I wasn't inspired, although I loved the multi-cultural little ballerinas! 



In comes the pillowcase idea!
 I just went with a simple cover and a contrast edge, separated by a cute pink ruffle.

The back is mostly white with more of the splash of dancers and more ruffle. I'm happy to report that she loves it!

FMT

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

walking backwards

Hey stranger!

Boy, I've caught a lot of blog posts recently by people expressing their difficulty in finding time to write. It's so easy to post to instagram and move on! I've been sewing a bit & traveling a bit & planning projects these last few months and haven't made myself sit here and catch up - and the longer you wait, the harder it is!

I think I'm addicted to paper piecing .. at least to searching for beginner patterns and printing them. I have quite a stack going and it's hard to narrow down what to work on next!

Last night I found this free pattern called Confetti Star. I think it will be fun to work on it as I have time and build it into something rainbowy. I pulled out 3 baskets worth of scraps and realized that I am keeping way too many!

Realistically, I will never work with tiny pieces so I started throwing them out and what a great feeling!

Now I just need my son to come and empty my can so I won't be tempted to dig anything (else) out and keep it.

Anyway, back to paper piecing: I found a really cool (and also free) pattern called Graceful Dancer a couple of weeks ago and had it in mind to turn it into something for my daughter.


Happily, it worked out well as a front panel for the messenger bag I needed to make as part of my Finish Along 2015 goals! As I was multi-tasking and actually testing a pattern for the famous Katy of The Littlest Thistle, I can't show the whole thing yet, but it has already made it's first journey and received lots of compliments! Here's a little sneak peek. & the pattern will be released in early April.

FMT
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