Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Easter Dresses At Last!

This winter I found some coordinating fabric on sale at my local quilt store and bought a bunch to make the girls Easter Dresses.

Colleen wanted pink and Aleah choose the blue fabric.  Their dresses use the same pattern.

Here's the back.  I didn't cut the sashes quite long enough, so we are going for the sailor knot look in back - I'm just going to pretend that I wanted it that way all along.

Emily choose the green fabric - of course.  Her dress was a simple A line.  She is tall and skinny, so I tried to alter the pattern - and made it too narrow through the shoulders and had to add the green sash to bring the waist down.  Ugggg.

Kate was stuck with whatever fabric had the most leftovers - blue with a green polka dot collar and pipping.  I knew the pattern ran big so I cut her dress a size smaller.  It could still fit a 4 year old through the shoulders.

Why am I so crazy about the fit?  I totally blame it on LiEr.  She wrote a series of posts on drafting patterns last fall and now instead of just saying, "Wow, what a pretty dress I made!  It fits!"  I find myself analyzing how it fits.  She made a monster!

Here are all the girls together.   Kate did not want to be taken away from Daddy to pose for pictures.  On the bright side, this way you get to see her cute coordinating bloomers.  :)

More outtakes for your enjoyment.
Do you have any tricks for taking pictures of children?  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winner!

The winner, as picked by a random number generator, is 334!  Liz said, "I love dots! They are such great basics."  I have emailed Liz to let her know.

I was blown away by all of the entries!  Thanks for playing along.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway!

Now Closed!  For another of my giveaways that is still open click here.

I am excited to be participating for the first time in the Sew, Mama, Sew!  Giveaway Day.  I recently won one of my first giveaways and thought I needed to spread the love.  What do I love?  Dots.  Recently I have been drawn to dots - all shapes and sizes.  There are so many good ones out there!

I thought I would share a starter pack of basic dots - 5 fat quarters in a rainbow of colors.  Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite type of fabric is.  I will pick a winner by random on the morning of May 26th.  International entries welcome!

P.S.  I currently have another giveaway running to kick off the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  Up for grabs are some Denyse Schmidt fabric and Japanese prints.  Click here for more info.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fabric Recommendations for the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

I have had quite a few questions about how much fabric will be required for this sampler.  In general, I find that it takes a bit less than a fat quarter's worth of fabric to make a 12 inch block.  36 blocks times 1/4 yard gives us 8-9 yards of fabric for the blocks.

If you are not sure if you will make every block, I would buy less yardage upfront and purchase more as the year progresses.  Make sure the fabrics you buy are ones that will be available later if you want your quilt to be highly coordinated.


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  Because of the release of the book some posts have been removed.

What to Buy:

Sampler quilts come in all shapes and sizes and color choice plays a HUGE role in how the finished quilt will look.

You could choose to have your quilt be monochromatic like this, this or this one.  Notice how they still have light, medium and dark tones of the single color of fabric.  Including different tones of fabric will make the block patterns visible and interesting.

Your quilt could be made up of just a few prints like this or out of many different fabrics like this one.  Both ways result in beautiful quilts - the choice is yours.  I personally like to have a lot of different fabrics in my quilts - kind of a coordinated scrappy look.

When planning your fabric choices think about what you would like to use as a "background" fabric.   I will be using white, because I am boring and like white, but background fabric can really be any color.   In general, it is easiest to choose additional print colors and really make your blocks pop when you have a lighter background color.  (This is not a hard and fast rule:  note the popularity and effectiveness of dark gray as a background color.)  Your background does not have to be solid.  It could have a small tone on tone print or polka dots even.  

Here are some examples of different background choices:

These quilters chose to have a white background fabric.  Here, here and here.
These quilters chose dark background fabric.  Here and here.
This quilter chose yellow.
You might choose to do a mix of backgrounds like these quilters.
You might choose not to have any particular background color.  These quilts are excellent examples of that.

If you choose to have a set background color I would buy 3-4 yards of it and the additional 5 yards of fabric in a variety of colors.  If you want a coordinated scrappy look, fat quarters (a piece of fabric measuring 18x22 instead of 9x44) are a good choice for this project.  Be sure to choose light, medium and dark tones.

How can you tell if something is dark, medium or light?  You can either photocopy swatches of the fabric so you can see them in black and white or take a picture of your fabric.  In the photo editing tools, you can view the picture of your fabric in black and white.  Let me show you the fabric I will be using.

I have chosen a range of rainbow colored fabrics and a white background.  (Yeah, that bottom corner is suppose to be bright white, I don't know what happened.)

Here is my picture in black and white.  Notice the reds all read as the same dark color.  If I was doing a monochromatic red quilt I would need to find some different tones of red to add to the mix.  Notice how the orange and greens have the same value.  There are quite a few light and medium tones in the middle, but the darker toned reds, blues and purples balance them out.  Overall, I would say I have a pretty good mix of tones.

I went fabric shopping last week to add some purples to the mix.

When picking them out I tried to make sure they had the same feel as the other fabrics and also that I had a light, medium and dark.  Let's see how I did.

There is a good contrast of value between these prints and I could make an all purple block if I wanted and would still be able to see the block pattern.  If I tried that with my reds, the different sections of the block would merge together and look "muddy".

Another thing to keep in mind is scale.  If a print is very large and multicolored it can make seeing the overall design of the block hard.  There will be places in this sampler where large prints would look great, but please don't purchase all large prints.

Here are some additional great posts on fabric and color from The Skill Builder Series and Quilting 101:

Basic Info on Fabric and Precuts
Color and Value
Buying for a project
The use of neutrals

I highly recommend reading them when you have a chance.

I would love to see what fabric you choose to use for this project.  I have started a group on flickr for the Sampler.   For those of you not familiar with flickr, it is a photo sharing site.  You can join for free and upload pictures from your computer into your photostream.  You can then share those photos with different groups.
Here is the address of our group:  http://www.flickr.com/groups/wecandoitskillbuildersampler/

I have also added a gadget above the We Can Do It! button.  If you are not a total blog addict like me and want to make sure you don't miss any Skill Builder posts, you can enter your email address and all of my blog posts (not just the Sampler ones) will go to your inbox.

I will be posting tutorials for the blocks Friday mornings starting June 17th.  Between now and then I will write a few more posts on additional supplies you might need and basic cutting and quilting skills to know.

Thanks for joining in!  I can't wait to get started.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Tree Quilt


I finished this quilt just in time for the BQF.  Yeah!  I got the idea for this quilt after seeing all of the quilts with little houses in the center of large white spaces like this one.  I thought, "Trees would be nice," and when I sent out fabric for my month in the online bee Bee Improvisational, I asked the other members to make me "tree blocks."  I used some of them in this baby quilt.  I made a few more and used the rest in this quilt.  So, more than a year after I got my blocks back, I completed the Tree Quilt.

I sashed out the odd sized blocks to twelve and a half inches.  I did the narrow flange border and binding in Kona Espresso and stipple quilted the whole thing.  I like how you can see the quilting in this picture.  Can you see those feet peeking out?  That is my neighbor.  He was a good sport and held up my quilt - they have better light in their yard.  :)  I thought I would hand sew the binding but ended up using my No Fail Machine Binding.  I love it.

Have you ever tried improvisational piecing?  It is really quite fun.  If you want to learn how or learn any other quilting skills check out the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  Each month we will focus on learning a different quilting skill.

Thanks for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival again Amy.  It takes some of the sting out of not being in Salt Lake this week.   :)  Check out all of the other great quilts here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

On June 17th I am going to be kicking off the “We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.” You can just call it the Skill Builder Sampler or SBS if you want. :)  Some of the recent blogland talk got me thinking about things that I want to try out in my quilting. I realized I was just a bit scared and nervous about trying new things. It is always easier to try something new with a friend and so I hope we can all work through this sampler quilt together.  Each month I will focus on a different quilting skill and provide tutorials for three 12 inch quilt blocks using the month's skill.  Some of the skills you might already have – please, leave any advice or additional tips in the comments for us – but I know there will be something for everyone to learn.

I have designed this sampler so that a beginning quilter can easily move from block to block and build their quilting skills. The beginning blocks will review basic skills and concepts that can be applied to any quilt. I will liberally reference other blogs and tutorials which have already described and explained the techniques and skills we will be learning.

Here is the outline for Skill Builder Sampler:

Skills: Cutting, ¼ inch seam allowance and value.
Blocks: Log Cabin and Around the World

July: Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles
August: Flying Geese
September: Wonky Blocks
October: Foundation Piecing
November: Paper Piecing
December: Raw Edge and Needle Turn Applique
January: Curves
February: Improvisational Blocks
March: Working with odd shapes (tumblers, hexagons, apple cores)
April: Inset Seams
May: “There's no way I can sew that block!!!” - but you totally can because we now have the Skillz.
(we will also learn how to draft and use templates - those skill will be used in multiple months)

The first three weeks of each month we will make blocks based on that set of skills and the forth week will be a catch up week. Everyone who is caught up at the end of the month will be entered in a drawing for a special prize. (Probably fabric, because everyone Loves fabric, right?)

By the end of the year you will have 36 twelve inch blocks you can make into a queen sized quilt or you can divide them up and make several smaller quilts. But more importantly, you will have the skills and the confidence to tackle any quilting project you can dream up.  Priceless.


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  Because of the release of the book some posts have been removed.

For this to work, I need your help. Doing new things is fun and easy with friends, but truth be told, I don't have a million and one online friends. Truth is, not everyone will want to participate in this Skill Builder Sampler. That's ok, but I want everyone to be able to check it out and decided if it is right for them.

Could you help me get the word out?   I'll bribe you.... :)  I have two fat quarter stacks of fabric just waiting to go to a good home. One of Denyse Schmit's new line of fabric and a stack of Japanese fairy tale prints. 

For a chance to win:
  1. Leave a comment. Any advice, block suggestions or skills I am missing would be great. Oh, and tell me which fabric pack you will like.
  2. Blog about The Skill Builder Sampler, connect back here and leave a second comment telling me you did.
  3. Put the “We Can Do It” button on your sidebar and leave a comment telling me you did.

Three chances to win! Please leave a separate comment for each entry. I will close the drawing and announce the two winners on June 1st. Thanks for helping spread the word!  We Can Do It!

Edited:  I have posted fabric requirements here.
Edited:  Sorry this post disappeared for awhile - it is back!  The giveaway is now closed, but keep spreading the word and get ready for our first block on June 17th!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Would You Like To Snuggle With This Quilt?

My friend Alison at Little Island Quilting is "raffling off" this beautiful quilt to help raise funds for ongoing relief efforts in Japan.

Isn't it Beautiful?  
The more I look at it the more I realize how perfect it would look in my living room.  
Just saying.

She is also including a jelly roll (2.5 inch strips) of Pumpkin and Spice, a great line of fall themed fabrics.  For all of my non-quilty friends, this package is worth well over $300.  Only two people have made donations so far, so your chances are pretty good.  If you don't want the quilt, you could always donate, win and have her ship it to me - my birthday is coming up.  ;)

Donate to your favorite charity that is helping Japanese relief efforts (I will be donating here),  and leave a comment on her blog saying you have donated to be entered in the drawing.  Earn two more entries by spreading the word on your blog about her fundraiser.