Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival - The Chicken Quilt

Blogger's Quilt Festival time has come around again and I wanted to show my Chicken Quilt.  I finished it in December but I am still as in love with it as ever!

I made this quilt for my friend Becca (ok, for her new baby, but really for her).  She loves all things vintage, is an avid reader and baker and keeps twenty plus chickens - it makes our flock of six look wimpy.  :)

I had been wanting to make a red and white quilt since I saw pictures of the the red and white quilt exhibit in NYC last year and the bow-tie block made for a clean classic vintage-y quilt.

I raw edge appliqued two chickens onto the front and another on the back.  It was my first time doing a lot of raw edge applique and I was surprised at how well it went.  This chicken is my favorite!

I machine quilted it with a basic meandering stitch.  It is the first quilt that I had a hard time giving away and I must admit that it lived in my living room for a few weeks before it finally got sent to her.  :)

To read more about Becca and her Chicken quilt check out my original post and be sure to stop in and see all of the other great quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!

Giveaway Closed.  Thanks for stopping by!
The winners are #83 and #484

yummy fabric! I recommend Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs detective novels, set in the inter war years and wonderfully written
Thank you for making the giveaway open to internationals xx

Have you read anything by Jennifer McMahon? Her books are a little dark, part fairy tale, part ghost story, and hard to put down!

I decided to jump aboard and participate in the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day.  It is so much fun to see new blogs - not to mention the possibility of winning some great stuff!

In this giveaway, two lucky people will receive a mini layer cake of Echino fabrics (twelve 9 inch squares of various Spring 2011 Echino prints.)   Perfect for small projects, bags and zipper pouches!

To be entered to win just leave a comment.   If you don't know what to say, recommend a good book.  I am in desperate need of some new reading material!  :)  I love sci-fi, historical fiction and good young adult reads and I have exhausted the supply of decent reading material in our tiny small town library.

Some of the things that I have made recently
Yup, I live in small town Iowa (the corn is just starting to come up!) with my husband, four little girls, cat and six chickens.  I love staying home with my four girls (and another on the way) but quilting provides a welcome creative break from the everyday mom stuff.  I am rather obsessively obsessed.  Somehow quilting is much more fun than washing dishes.  :)

Last year I decided that I need to expand my quilting skills and started the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  The Skill Builder Sampler is a series of quilt block tutorials that teach basic to advanced quilting skills.  The Sampler started last year with basic blocks and skills and we will be making "There-is-no-way-I-can-make-that! Blocks" in June to finish off the sampler.   What a journey!  Feel free to join in at anytime and check out the amazing blocks people have made in the Skill Builder Sampler Flickr Group.

For a second chance to win, hop on over and check out the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler and tell me what your favorite block tutorial is or what quilting skill you would like to learn.  I would like to continue to post skill building quilt blocks tutorials in the future.

PS.  Giveaway is open to anyone anywhere - just make sure I can contact you!  I will pick two winners on Friday.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I made the next block in the Skill Builder Sampler yesterday and it didn't end up working well.  eek!  I have come up with an alternate block - even better looking - but it won't be up today.  It probably won't be up until Monday or Tuesday.  Sorry.

Amy's Creative Side

But you can drown your sorrows by perusing the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  Becky has entered her Skill Builder Samplers as an entry!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I have been cutting a lot this week.  I decided to jump into the Patchwork Prism QAL and this is what I have on my design wall so far.  I think I need a bigger wall...  ;)  I was originally going to have the quilt be dark in the center and fade out to light, but it just didn't look good when I laid it out.  I am rather nervous about starting to sew this one.  I have a huge mix of fabrics: 100% cotton, cotton/poly blends, linens and muslins and some of them are going to be hard to sew with, esp. as they are cut on the bias and prone to distortion.  Let's not even mention the fact that I used a template to cut them and template cutting is notoriously inaccurate (well, at least when I am doing the cutting).

Last night I also cut out a huge pile of white squares to alternate with my vintage eye-spy charms.  I have discovered that I need to be listening to something if I am doing a lot of cutting and I have been listening to the Harry Potter series this week while I cut fabric, do laundry, wash the stacks of pots and pans that have built up...  Somehow, listening to Harry Potter makes everything more enjoyable.

 I also finished these improv. fans last week (tutorial here) and sewed them together.  At last!  Do you think it needs a narrow white border on the sides or should I just quilt it up?  I am very tempted just to quilt it and get it done with at this point.  :)

What have you been working on this week?

Friday, May 11, 2012

32 - Hexagon Flower

Tutorial for a finished 12 inch block
 This week in the Skill Builder Sampler we are going to use English paper piecing to make our block.  English paper piecing is a great way to deal with shapes that require inset seams.  Of course, it does mean sewing by hand, but I think English paper piecing is the perfect project to bring to soccer games, the beach or to work on while you are waiting for all of those end of year concerts and school assemblies to start.

When you English paper piece, you baste the fabric to a piece of paper and then whip stitch the edges together.  There are many ways to baste and sew, but I will show you my personal favorite way to English paper piece - perfected in the piecing of this quilt (80 inches square now!!!)


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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Girl and Her Japanese Quilt

Last week we went in for an ultrasound and found out that we are having a healthy baby girl!  This will be girl #5 for us.  My husband is hopelessly outnumbered with all his little girls, wife, 6 hens and a female cat.  Poor guy.  ;)

But now that we know that it is a girl, I can officially start sewing baby things!  The only problem is that I am not in the mood for sewing with a bunch of pink.  I want to use all the special fabric that I have been saving.  Great idea, huh?  Only it happens to be gender neutral/boyish.  Oh well, people never seem to pick up on gender clues anyway.  I don't know how many times I have taken my baby girls out all dressed in pink and someone congratulates me on my baby boy.  ?!?

Anyway...here is baby quilt #1.  I made it with about half of the 5 inch Japanese Charms I received in two swaps last year.  It is made out of 4 super-sized granny square blocks.  It was relatively fast and easy to piece.  The slowest/funnest part was laying out the squares and rearranging them until I was pleased with the layout.

 The blue block.  I love the frogs, fruit and owls!

 The red block.  I tried a lot of different fabrics and placements for this block.  I ended up cutting some of my own Japanese fabric to have enough red to make the outer round.  I think the fabric placement/contrast worked out well.

 The green block.  This block layout came together fast, except for the pesky center square.  I'm still not sold on it, but it was the best looking option.  I am loving the Echino cars and blue Scandinavian inspired prints.

 The pink block.  At first pink was going to be the outer round in this block, but it just didn't play well with the other block colors.  I like the final layout and the pop of brown in the center.  The pig and reindeer fabric are too cute for words.

And there it is!  Baby Girl #5's Japanese Squares blanket!

I'm linking up with Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenge.  My goal was to finish this quilt top and I did it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Waiting for Inspiration and Design Walls

Last year I participated in two rounds of a Japanese Fabric Charm swap hosted by AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters.  Ever since then I have been on the look out for the perfect project to use them in.  I didn't want to cut down the 5 inch squares, but I didn't want to make a simple eye spy quilt with them either (I have another stack of fabric set aside for that!).

Then last week I saw a jumbo granny square block made out of 4 inch squares and made into a pillow.   I feel awful that I can't find the link to it now - but it totally inspired me.  Edited:  It was Elena's pillow for the Modern Mini Challenge I saw!  Thanks!!!

I would use my Japanese Charms to make a jumbo granny square quilt!   I started playing around...this was my first layout.  I ran out of space on the bottom of my design wall but just use your imagination.  Not great. I kept on playing....

...and this is how my wall looks this morning.  Much better, but I might try switching the position of the red and green granny blocks.  What do you think?

I also have a stack of My Folklore dala horse fabric by Leicen that I have been trying to find the perfect quilt for.  I want something somewhat simple with largish blocks that would show off the fabric.   Perhaps something that would be a good Christmas quilt.  This quilt by baileygirl might be the ticket.  I might just use the red and black fabric for the quilt so it has more of a Christmas-y feel.  Or I might keep looking for awhile...goodness knows that I have enough other projects going on right now without cutting into more fabric.  ;)

Do you have a stack of fabric that you are trying to find the perfect pattern for?  How do you decide what to make?

 Before I started laying out granny squares, this was up on my design wall.  It was suppose to be my entry in the Tangerine Tango Challenge, but then I got sick and it got put on the back burner.  I used the same process for these squiggles as I did for the wonky fan block.  The wedges are 5 inches tall and I will machine applique the squiggles onto white fabric.  Then I want to do some fun free motion quilting that echos the squiggles.

I usually lay out my bee blocks on the design wall as I get them, but as it was otherwise occupied, here are the blocks that I received for the first quarter of the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee.  Thanks ladies!  I signed up to be in a paper piecing group for next quarter.  It should be fun!