Thursday, August 04, 2016

taking a little break

I've decided to take a social media break in August...or should I say for the rest of August. Breaks are hard to take, but I also know that they are a very good thing! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and thank you for all your support in my quilting and other creative adventures. It means a lot!
I plan to be back at the beginning of September. Finish it up Friday will resume in September as well. (It will be here before you know it!) I'll see you then!

Monday, August 01, 2016

the pincushion challenge finale

It's August 1st! That means my one-a-day pincushion challenge is over. I'm happy to say that I have accomplished my goal...I made at least one pincushion per day for the entire month of July! It was an extremely fun challenge that was a great exercise in creativity (and perseverance). I may re-visit this idea again, but for now, I need a bit of a break from pincushion making. Can you imagine??? :)
 
Let's look at the last few:
 
Day 29...
I made this one with the leftovers from day 9. I love this version even better than the first one! It's scrap project # 176.

Day 30....
This pincushion was inspired by the cross cut quilt along that Debbie was hosting on Instagram. I love the colors and the simple design. It is scrap project # 177.

And for the final day of the challenge....day 31....
....an itty bitty sewing machine! This one took some time, figuring and stitch ripping, but it was all worth it! (I quilted the spool 3 different times. Gah!) This one is going in my permanent collection! It's scrap project # 178!

All together now...the 36 pincushions (!!!) that I made in July. It was a LOT of fun! Ridiculous, but fun!
Thanks again to all of you who cheered me on and encouraged me along the way. It means so much! THANK YOU!!!
Today, I am happy to announce that I am releasing a new pattern: Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 1. It's a single pattern that includes instructions for the 5 pincushions shown: Flying Geese, Friendship, Diamond, Pineapple and Sailboats. Two of the designs (flying geese and pineapple) are paper pieced. Those two are written with the assumption that you already have basic paper piecing skills. If you need to brush up on your paper piecing skills, there are many, many video tutorials out there on the internet. I know I need to re-learn paper piecing almost every time I attempt it. :)

To answer a few often asked questions:

Q: What do you fill your pincushions with?

A: Crushed walnut shells. They are available at larger pet stores and they are sold as lizard litter. You can also use play sand, crushed glass or emery in place of the walnut shells. If none of those are available, polyester fiberfill also works.

Q: What are you going to do with all your pincushions?

A: A few of them will go in my permanent collection. The others, I have plans to give them away!

Well, there you have it. :) Happy Monday to you!

Friday, July 29, 2016

a new quilt top and a few more pincushions

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Last weekend I managed to sew some blocks that have been sitting in limbo for a long time into a quilt top. According to Instagram, I was working on these blocks in February of 2014. Yikes! I guess some projects need to marinate longer than others!
These blocks were inspired by a little doo-dad that my son made out of perler beads several years ago. It just goes to show you that inspiration truly can come from anywhere! I started with one mini charm pack of Tula Pink fabrics, which are surrounded by Oakshotts. The colors of the cross weaves are so brilliant--they shimmer! The background is Essex linen in the color flax.
I like that some of the blocks have 4 squares inside and some only have 3 squares inside. I also like the setting of the blocks! The quilt is a twin size...and any name suggestions are welcome. :) I'm still mulling over how to quilt it, and hopefully that won't take me 2 years to decide!

I'm still on track with my pincushion challenge. It has been so. much. fun!
Day 26....
I made another diamond pincushion (based on my diamond pillow pattern). I love this simple design and it uses super tiny scraps. It measures about 4 1/2" square and it is scrap project # 172.

Day 27....
I made 2 pincushions for day 27 because I was testing some measurements. (I'm working on writing up a set of pincushion patterns...I hope to release them in a few days.) I made another diamond pincushion, but this time I used a striped fabric in place of the scraps. I thought that was a lot of fun twist...and much quicker! The pincushion on the right is a multi-colored version of the pincushion I showed on day 1. These are scrap project # 173.

Day 28...
I am rather fond of this little herringbone pincushion! It was foundation pieced onto paper. Again, the scraps are super tiny...most of the strips finishing at just under 1/2". (!!!) It measures 2 1/4" x 6" and it is scrap project #174.

One more thing for today...
I made these needle minders as gifts for my retreat friends last weekend. I thought they turned out pretty cute! (I love that I didn't even need to add a watermark to this photo. ha!) These are made from scraps as well, and are project # 175.
 
 
Alright! That's it for me today. Please link up you finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a safe weekend! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

pincushions galore

The pincushion challenge is still on....25 days down, and still going strong! I will admit that some days I don't look forward to making yet another pincushion, but once I get started, I'm always glad that I did. Here are the most recent ones...

Day 20...
This pinwheel pincushion is made of solid scraps. (A few weeks ago I gave away all my little print scraps...so I've had to dig into the solids. It's been good!) I think it took more time to stage the photo than it did to make the pincushion, but sometimes that's how it goes! It is scrap project #166.

Day 21...
This one is a variation on day 7's pincushion. I thought it would be fun to throw another bowtie in the middle. I like it a lot! I called this one "dumpster diving" because I had my friends dig in their trash to rescue their cut off triangles. (The name credit totally goes to my friend Cindy...it was her genius idea.) It is tricky to line up 1" squares when you use Essex linen, but it was totally worth the trouble. It measures 4" square. It's scrap project #167.

Day 22...
More solid scraps...these are Lecien solids and they were great to work with! I LOVE the colors. This one reminds me of a beach towel. The stripes measure at about 1/2"! It's scrap project #168.

Day 23...
Fussy cut scissors are the star of this pincushion! I love that Cindy's scissors match the fabric perfectly. I might need to purchase a pair of those scissors just for photos. They are too cute! I love the simplicity of this one. It is scrap project #169.

Day 24...
I really (really!) like this one! It was inspired by the iconic Aurifil spool. Oddly enough, I quilted the spool with thread from Connecting Threads. Hahaha! I love the irony! It measures about 3" x 4 3/4". It's scrap project #170.

Day 25...
I went old school for this one....paper pieced pineapple block in red and white. I was afraid that I would ruin it with the quilting, but I think it turned out alright. It finishes at just under 4" square and it's scrap project #171.

Once again, thank you to all of you who have encouraged me along the way as I work toward my goal of making one pincushion a day in July. It's been a lot of fun! Only 6 more to go...

Do you have a favorite?

Friday, July 22, 2016

dot your i's quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This weekend I'm hanging out and sewing with my friends for our annual Gruber's quilt retreat. This is year 7 (!!!) and it keeps getting better and better. I've appreciated having the time to sew and laugh with my friends and sew some more. I'm super excited, because it gave me time to finish up my "dot your i's" quilt top! I started this project exactly one year ago. I'm thrilled to have it in quilt top form. Already!
There are a total of 396 hand stitched squircles in this quilt. I used Carolyn Friedlander's needle turn applique method that she shares in her book Savor Each Stitch. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making this quilt! It measures about 63" x 77". It's an instant favorite! I'm looking forward to spending more time with it (hahaha!) as I hand quilt it. I do love a good long term project!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

the pincushion fun continues

I'm still keeping up with my pincushions. One a day in July! I haven't missed a day yet...so I'm hopeful I can make it through all 31 days. I guess we will see!

Day 15....
I paper pieced this little pineapple pincushion from solid scraps. I was tempted to make an entire quilt out of these, even though it would take for.ever. I willingly used purple in the corners...can you believe it? Hahaha! It finishes at 3 1/2" square and it is scrap project #162.

Day 16...
I went minimalist with this one and it was a nice change of pace! I don't sew much black and white, but I like it when I do! This is scrap project #163.

Day 17....
I finished stitching ALL my squircles for my dot your i's quilt on Sunday, so I celebrated by making a squircle pincushion. Naturally, right? I love, love, LOVE the quilting on the background and how it pops. This is scrap project # 164.

Day 18....
This was a scrappy block that was just hanging out in my sewing room, so I turned into a skinny pincushion. It was fun to quilt it in hot pink! This is scrap project #165.

Day 19...
This is a revisited design....all the way back from 2008! It seems almost wrong to combine fine Liberty fabric with a recycled tuna can, but I also love it for that reason! I free motion quilted the words on the Essex linen. Pin....sew....
....press....repeat. It's NOT a scrap project...but it is a finish! I love it!

So, if you are keeping track, that's 23 pincushions so far this month! Crazy. Fun.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mary's socks

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This morning I finished my 17th (!!!) pair of socks to date. These are for my good friend Mary. She purchased the yarn (isn't it gorgeous???) and I had the pleasure of knitting them up. I hope that she enjoys them for a good long time! The yarn is from Spun Right Round and the colorway is graffiti.
I used my basic sock pattern, which is available as a free download here. I changed things up a bit by knitting the ribbing pattern on the ankle/leg section only. I used a plain stockinette stitch throughout the foot instead of the ribbing. It makes for a comfy pair of socks!

Another finish this week...day 14 of my pincushion challenge!
This is a paper pieced courthouse steps pincushion. I left it un-quilted because I didn't want to mess it up. You can be sure that I will try another one, someday, and I plan to quilt it next time. I LOVE this little block. It's all I can do not to start an entire quilt of them. But, I really (REALLY) need to finish some other WIPs first! This pincushion measures about 4 1/2" square and it is scrap project #161.

One bit of business...Therese from Wichita...if you are reading, please email me! You are the winner of my bright birch tree starter kit winner. If I don't hear from you by Monday, I will pick an alternate winner.

That's it for me this week! Please link up your finishes. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a GREAT weekend! xo

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

the pincushion challenge continues

It's July 13 already and I've managed to keep up with my one-a-day pincushion challenge. Frankly, I'm surprised that I have managed to stick with it this long without missing a day! It's been such a great challenge, creatively.

Day 8...
This is a teeny tiny scrappy trip block made with leftover scraps from my log cabin blocks. Each of the squares finish at about 1"! This is scrap project #155.

Day 9.....
Each of the colored strips in this pincushion finish at 1/4"! The overall finished size is about 2" x 8 3/4". It's perfect for setting right in front of a sewing machine. This one started out as another idea, but it morphed into this, which I love! Did you notice the stitching in the negative space on the ends? They mimic the colored strips....it might be my favorite part! This is scrap project #156.

Day 10....
For this trio it was all about the quilting. I started with super soft double gauze (in a shade dangerously close to purple....hahaha!) then quilted each square heavily. I love the simplicity! These are scrap project #157.

Day 11....
Inspired by pick up sticks. I started this one day, almost threw it away...then finished it up a day or two later. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's acceptable and at least I gave the idea a chance. :) It's scrap project #158.

Day 12....
This was an orphan block (pattern can be found here) that I turned into a pincushion. The coffee cup fabric is a chevron print (from Dear Stella fabrics) that I used as a guide for the cross hatch quilting. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, but it seemed to do the trick! This one is a little larger (just under 5" x 5 1/2"), so I stuffed it with poly fiberfill. It's scrap project #159.

Day 13....
This is a scrap vortex in solids. I added the borders so I wouldn't lose any of the scraps on the outer edges, as they are SO tiny. This pincushion is just over 4" square. It's scrap project #160!

Thank you for following along with my crazy pincushion antics and for encouraging me along the way. I appreciate it very much!

I'd be curious to hear which one of these is your favorite!

Friday, July 08, 2016

a simple summer quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I've been on a mission to use up some scraps this summer. (Who am I kidding??? I am always on a mission to use up scraps. hahaha!) I had a tall stack of 6" squares that I have been collecting for years. It was high time to use them, so I had my daughter help me arrange the squares. When we were close to a twin size, I decided to cut about a dozen more squares to fill in the gaps.
There is something so charming about simple patchwork. I doubt that I will ever tire of this kind of quilt. Since I've been collecting fabrics for so long, there is a wide variety of fabrics included. It's apparent my tastes have changed over the years, but that is kind of fun to see. This quilt screams summertime to me.
After taking the photos, I realized that the darks weren't distributed very evenly. Ooops! Do you see how light the left hand side of the quilt is?
I did a little stitch ripping and added one more brown square to the left hand side.
It's amazing how changing just one square makes such a difference. I think it's much better now! I'm looking forward to quilting this one up!

I've been keeping up on my one a day pincushion challenge, too!

Day 6....
This is a revisited design, but since I gave away the first two pincushions I made like this, I had to make another one. (This one is paper pieced....or else my points would be laughable.) It's scrap project #153.

Day 7....
This one was an instant favorite! Teeny tiny bow ties. This is scrap project #154.

That's it for me today! Now it's your turn. Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend! xo

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

one a day pincushion challenge

I've been wanting to do a month of pincushions (one per day) for awhile now. July seemed like the perfect time to tackle the challenge, so I jumped in and gave it a try. I'm so glad that I did! It's been a great way to play with different ideas AND I appreciate the fact that I can get something finished fairly quickly. Summer sewing is full of constant interruptions, so this challenge fits the bill perfectly.

Day one...
I used triangle scraps that were cut off from a snowball block (or something similar) mixed with gray to make tiny little triangles. Each HST finishes at about 3/4"!!! (This was a bugger to make. I did a lot of stitch ripping!) But, it was worth it in the end. It measures about 3 1/2" square. It's scrap project #148. (I love it!)

Day two....
More gray background and more bright colored triangle scraps for day two. This one uses a stitch and flip method. It measures about 4" square and it is scrap project # 149. (I love this one, too!)

Day three....
I started with the stripe pincushion (top). I got the idea for the window pane pincushion (bottom left)while I was making the first pincushion, and I just had to try it out! I love the woven effect that it has. The last pincushion (bottom right) utilized the scraps from the second one. And so it goes! They were fun to make...and I love the bold color combination of lime and navy. This trio is scrap project #150. 

Day 4....
I got fancy on the 4th...I made a 4 tier birthday cake out of Liberty scraps. The cake idea was from my daughter...and it was fitting, since I share my birthday with my sister AND the entire country! The pincushion on the right was a birthday gift from my friend Mary. (Thanks so much, Mary!) The Liberty pincushion is scrap project # 151.

(A crazy side note about the Liberty scraps...they were sent to me by Anne Day back in 2010(!!!) when her and I did a scrap swap challenge. Time flies!)

Day five...
This one uses skinny strips...most of them were 1" wide or less to start with. It was simple and easy to make. I love the bright, happy colors. It's scrap project #152!
 
A few notes about the pincushions....each one is filled with crushed walnut shells (sold as lizard litter in larger pet stores). They each start as a tiny quilt block, essentially. I quilt the block onto a scrap of batting. The backings are regular quilting cotton with a light layer of interfacing, so that the fabric is a bit more stable. All of these elements add up to a soft, sturdy pincushion.
 
Now, to answer the often asked question, what do you do with all of your pincushions? I give them to friends! And a few of them become a part of my permanent collection. Just the way it should be. :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

bright birch tree kit winner

Thank you for all the comments and entries on my bright birch tree giveaway! I wish I had enough scraps to send to everyone! The winner is Therese from Wichita, KS. Therese, please email me so I can send you your prize. Thanks to everyone who played along!

Friday, July 01, 2016

a tinker tote

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

It seems like I'm finally getting around to projects that I've wanted to make for years, which feels great! This week I tackled a tinker tote. The project is included in my lovely friend Tara's Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags class on Craftsy. The bag is fairly involved, but the results are so worth it! Tara's class is excellent. I can't recommend it enough!
I added the mug in this photo for scale. This bag is big and roomy. I love it! Tara designed the pattern to use a quilt-as-you-go method, but I wanted to change things up and make one using my favorite scrap size of all time: 2 1/2" squares. I pieced the patchwork panels and then quilted them. I had a few problems with the quilting distorting, but after ripping things out a few times, I decided that finished is better than perfect! I do love the squares! I certainly want to try making one using quilt as you go method next. Of course!
I added 4 slip pockets to the interior and rather than adding a flap, I installed a magnetic snap to the lining.
Red polka dot binding was the natural choice for finishing things off. I used denim that I had on hand for the bottom, so it shouldn't show dirt very fast and it should be durable. I love the combination of all the fabrics. It's so bright and happy!
I'm quite pleased with my finish for the week! It is scrap project # 147!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! For those of you in the States, have a safe and great holiday weekend!