Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Japanese Quilt Books

It was a three-day weekend for me but not for Mr. and Miss Main Street.  They had their usual Saturday class schedule, graduation on Sunday (lovely ceremony, all the faculty and underclassmen attend to give the seniors a big send-off), and exams began on Monday.  (When you are in independent school, you can make your own schedule and ignore holidays.)  So, I had a lot of time in which to entertain myself.  I got out my my collection of Japanese quilting books, had a good browse, and found some items to add to my list.

In this book, I found an idea for the seed packet panel

It is a kind of log cabin block variation where the center square (or rectangle) is large and the strips are very narrow.  I am thinking of doing this in green, with black as the final strip.

This book is pretty much all about making bags.  I found one that I might need to make.  We've got a family wedding over Labor Day weekend.  I'm planning to wear a dress that is eggplant colored, and don't have a suitable bag to go with it.  I need one that looks dressy but is big enough to hold my glasses and camera, which excludes most of the evening bags I saw at Nordstroms.

I have quite a stash of vintage linens and lace that I could raid and combine with some eggplant colored fabric (assuming I can find a good match to the dress).  The side gussets make the bag bigger than it looks in the model's hand, certainly large enough to hold the required glasses and camera (plus lipstick, hotel room key, and tissues).

The wedding is that of niece #2.  Niece #1, married almost three years, just announced she is pregnant.  Woo-hoo!  An excuse to make baby quilts!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Quilt

It's time for the patriotic quilt to go up on my kitchen wall.

I have a space in my kitchen that is perfect for wall hangings so I rotate a series of mostly seasonal quilts in this space.  Memorial Day marks the start of the patriotic season, which will end shortly after the 4th of July.  I just hung up my red, white, and blue quilt.  The border fabric is a print of fireworks - perfect for this season.

I'm having a lovely three-day weekend so far, with plenty of time in the sewing room.  I hope you are having the same!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Seed Packets

While I was ordering the patterns, I "threw" this fabric panel into my "cart."  It is from a fabric line by Lakehouse called Annie's Farm Stand.

I intend to turn it into a wall hanging for our kitchen.  I just need to figure out exactly what to do.  Each seed packet is a 3.5" by 4.5" rectangle.  My (vague) idea is to put some kind of sashing in between or piece them into blocks - maybe use them as the center of courthouse steps or log cabin blocks.  But it needs to be something simple as the seed packets are quite busy looking.  I welcome any ideas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quilter-Chic Earrings

Flaunt your hobby with these cool earrings made from sewing machine bobbins.  Unique and cool, no?

They are the work of Rama Rejman and are available in several colors for $30 from her etsy site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Patterns

A big thank you to all the quilting bloggers who attend Quilt Market and post pictures of the booths and displays.  I love seeing all the new fabric and projects.  This time, a few patterns caught my eye so when I saw that Fat Quarter Shop had them in already (just days after Quilt Market ended), I placed an order.  My patterns arrived yesterday.

I've been wanting to try applique but been a little reluctant to start with a full size quilt, fearing it could easily turn into a UFO.  In photos of the Fig Tree booth at Market, I noticed several small wall hangings.  Each is approximately 18" by 22" which is a nice size to go in our powder room downstairs.  I couldn't decide which pattern to buy so ordered three.  I like them all but think I'll start with the robin.  This could be another hand work project for the summer.

Fig Tree has four of these patterns so far, but according to the copy on the pattern, there will eventually be 12 in the series.

Anglophile that I am, I could not pass up this pattern, called Victory Garden.  I thought it would make a good wall hanging for my kitchen (using just six blocks) but after reviewing the pattern directions, I see it is too big for that space.  Oh well, it will make a good lap quilt for when I watch Masterpiece on Sunday nights!  Or, I could Thelmasize the block.  Hmm...

I want to make my version using red, white, and blue floral prints.  I don't have much blue in my stash.  Oh well, must visit the quilt shop!

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Block

I finished the first block of the current projct.  Let me make clear, I have not made all 700 flying geese yet!  I've made in good start on them but needed to get an idea of what the blocks were going to look like, and feel some sense of accomplishment, so I made one block inorder to see how it all comes together.

I put the block on top of the fabric that I am planning to use for the sashing strips.  One of my inspiration pieces for this project is below; it gives you an idea of how the colors come together.

This quilt is rather labor intensive.  There are 81 mostly teensy weensy pieces in each 10" block.  I need to take it at a moderate pace or else things become wonky.  I'm hoping to have 10 blocks finished by the end of Memorial Day weekend. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

700 Flying Geese - YIKES!

I bought Sew Scrappy last fall (I think you can still get it at Barnes & Noble and maybe your LQS); it is a special publication from Better Homes & Gardens, the American Patchwork & Quilting publishers. 

The magazine has several projects I like a lot, not least of which is this quilt called Five-Star Tribute

Each block (five stars) finishes at 10" and each sawtooth star is 4" finished.  I knew this from reading the directions but it did not really sink in until I began cutting.  The pieces are tiny!  And there are a lot of them!  700 flying geese, each measuring one inch by two inches, finished size.  A bit of a challenge.  I've begun...

Here are some of the pieces, cut and organinzed on one of my new 15" block boards.  The block boards are coming in very handy - I highly recommend making up a few of your own.  The fabric is from an older Moda line by Blackbird Designs, called Beach House.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mashup, Or My Latest Project

From Wikipedia:
In Web development, a mashup is a Web page or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services...The main characteristics of the mashup are combination, visualization, and aggregation.

My latest project is a bit of a mashup, drawing inspiration from several sources.

postcard found at a store in Paris


quilt that appeared in BHG Sew Scrappy special edition


Beach House fabric line by Blackbird Designs for Moda

I am using the project directions for the sawtooth star quilt from Sew Scrappy and using the Beach House fat quarters plus some additional background yardage to yield a design that will be similar in color to the quilt on the postcard.  Here's a close-up from the postcard:

 I've got it visualized in my head.  I hope the aggregation works out favorably.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Summer Romance

Summer Romance, 2009-2010

Making Summer Romance was a big departure for me because it required sewing with abandon.  It was string pieced on paper foundations, using stash fabrics cut in random widths, from 1.25 to 2.5 inches wide.  There was nothing to measure, no fiddly little pieces to match up in each block, no concerns about nipping off points.  Just make the blocks, use a ruler to trim them to size, then sew together.

Here's a little of the process.  I put a strip of solid white down the diagonal center of each bloc for some uniformity. 

More strips added to one side of the center strip.  Use the longest strips first and save small pieces for the corners.

Strips added to both sides of the center.

Trimmed to size with square ruler and rotary cutter.

Four blocks together

The finished top

Quilted, bound, and on the bed!

To see more entries in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, click on the button below to go to the list of participants on Amy's site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quilting Magazines

Saturday afternoon, while waiting for our dog Reggie to be washed and clipped at the dog grooming "salon," I ran into Barnes & Noble to peruse the magazine section.  There was a bonanza of riches waiting for me in the crafts section and I came home with three new magazines for bedtime reading.

100 Blocks is the third in an annual series from Quiltmaker magazine.  I have the prior editions, which are nice references for a quilter's library.  The editorial team has cleverly persuaded 100 quilters (some famous, some not - at least to me) to contribute an original block design to the publication.  It does not include any specific projects made from the blocks, though it does cover some layout ideas for sampler quilts or even quilts made by repeating an individual block.  The only catch is that all of the blocks are 12" square.  I'd like them to try a different size (10" or 9") in a future issue.

I rather like this block called Commencement, designed by Jennifer Chiaverini, the author of the Elm Creek novels.

Quilts and More is a Better Homes and Gardens publication, a sister publication to American Patchwork & Quilting.  My eye was caught by the cover quilt design, a neat way to use a lot of small scraps.  I like the straight line quilting on the cover quilt, which is something I can do on my own sewing machine.  This issue holds several cute small projects, including the ice cream cone pincushion pictured in the lower right hand corner of the cover.

Quilt Sampler is a semi-annual publication, covering ten quilt shops across the US (and sometimes Canada).  While each profiled shop provides a quilt project for the magazine, I buy it more for the eye-candy qualities of the shop photos and descriptions than for the featured projects.  But in this issue, two of the projects grabbed my attention. 

Pave the Way is an easy-to-make quilt using rectangles, with no seams to match.  It looks perfect for some of the larger, colorful prints out now.

Cross and Crown really caught my eye.  It finishes at 47" square (but could be make larger with additional blocks) and looks like a good use for my extensive stash of neutrals and scraps from a few other projects.  It is going on my to-do list. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sisterhood - A Quilting Tradition - Book Review

After weeding my shelves of no-longer-wanted quilting books,  there is a bit of space to be filled.  So when I saw the enticing Sisterhood A Quilting Tradition, I felt justifed in poking the Amazon.com buttons. 

And I was far from disappointed when the book arrived.  Author Nancy Lee Murty and members of her family made all the quilts in the book.  For each project, there is at least one alternative colorway shown.  I love this because it helps me as quilter think beyond the fabrics shown in the original sample. 

I like this little applique block, in which the flower petals are in the shape of hearts.  I don't have much use for table runners but maybe I could use the block in something else.

I find myself increasingly drawn to applique, like this little quilt.  But the book includes pieced projects as well, including the standout cover quilt that uses the very easy to do Shoo Fly block.  But for me, a project called Family and Friends is the star of the book.

Prior to now, I did not have any interest in transferring photographs to fabric and using them in a quilt.  I had seen it done but never in a way I wanted to replicate.  But I love this family tree quilt, with the appliqued trees in the center, surrounded by sawtooth stars.  The center square of each star is a photo.  This is going on my long list of future projects.

If you are looking for some quilting inspiration, consider adding Sisterhood A Quilting Tradition to your collection.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Making Pillowcases

Touched by Carol of Brown Quilts account of her friend who has been making and delivering quilts and pillowcases to soldiers in the hospital and rehab centers, I offered to make some pillowcases.  Well, I don't like to procrastinate so Friday evening after dinner I got started.  I sifted through my stash for patriot prints, found some things that were perfect (and in just the right amounts - it was meant to be!) and whipped up two pillowcases in no time. 

And I really mean no time.  We're late diners but I had these two made and was reading in bed by 10 pm.  I'll mail them to Carol later this week.  If you'd like to help, read her story here and let her know by leaving a comment.  She'll get back to you with her mailing address.  There are many tutorials for pillowcases out in blogland, so if you're not sure how to make one, Google pillowcase tutorial and take your pick.

Pillowcases are so quick and easy, I really should make more to match my quilts.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I've been cleaning up my space after the making of Cobwebs and started cutting out what will be my "portable" project for the summer.  I will be taking Miss Main Street on a college visit roadtrip and anticipate a fair amount of down time out of the reach of my sewing machine.  That calls for a portable, hand-work project. 

Last fall, I got this magazine, Sew Scrappy, a special edition from American Patchwork & Quilting.  It holds several projects I want to make.

First up is this one, called Lots of Dots in the magazine.  I've never worked with wool or done hand buttonhole stitch, but no matter; I'm game for something new. 

I bought a bunch of small pieces of wool at a vendor's booth at a quilt show (Attic Heirlooms in Maine) and augmented with more wool from an Etsy seller (Quilting Acres).

I have the circles cut out, and I bought a piece of black wool for the background.  On Saturday, I'll swing by Michaels for the embroidery floss and I'll be ready to go. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Going, Going...Sold!

Rermember this quilt?

The school fundraising auction was this past Saturday night.  Mr. Main Street and I attended and had a great time.  I found out my quilt, part of the silent auction, sold for $400. I think that's pretty good and am already thinking about what else I can do in blue and gold for next year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Halloween on Main Street

We'll be ready on Main Street when Halloween comes 'round.  My spiderweb project is a finished flimsy and I'm calling it Cobwebs

I used the white on black spiderweb print for the borders, as so many readers advised, and I think it was a good choice as it sets off the bright colors in the blocks so well.  I'm still not sure about the binding:  black, dark gray, orange? - but I can decide after it is quilted. 

If you are interested in making something similar, the tutorial I used for the spiderweb blocks is on the Quilt It blog.  Be careful how you handle the finished spiderweb blocks.  You end up with a lot of bias edges on the outer edges of the blocks and they can easily become distorted.