30 May 2012


Well, as it turned out, due to an, um, interesting technology glitch, there are TWO winners for last week's giveaway.

So, the random winners are:

#51, Lindsay, who said: "I like to quilt to get some time alone! :)"


#74, Kimberly, who said: "I tend to sew by myself when I am able too, but sometimes little ones and cats come to visit me!"

You'll both be getting some Mendo in the mail soon!

I really loved reading all your comments about the cute furballs, inquisitive children, fun husbands, and serene silences you sew with!  It is also so great to get new ideas for things to watch and listen to.

Thank you so very much to you all for visiting and entering, hope to see you again soon!

21 May 2012

Giveaway Day: Mendocino!

I'm so happy it's Sew, Mama, Sew!'s Giveaway Day, where there are all kinds of amazing handmade prizes and sewing and crafting supplies to win this week. It's also a fantasitc way to find new blogs and sources of inspiration. I KNOW I'll just be trolling through all the entries in my free time.

If you're finding your way here from that giveaway mother ship, welcome!  It's so nice to see you!

For one reader, I'm giving away some of the sweetest, softest fabric in my stash: three prints from Heather Ross's much-loved Mendocino line. I've just been letting them sit on a shelf in my fabric cabinet, and they want some fresh air/to be made into something fabulous!

1 Fat Quarter of Giant Octopi ~ Blush
1 Fat Quarter of Seahorses~Rust
1 (regular) Quarter yard of Swim Class~Sunset

(They've all been pre-washed.)

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm EST on Friday, May 25 telling me who or what keeps you company while you sew or craft. Your kitten? Your quilt guild? CSI?

I'll pick a random comment and notify the winner by email by the 27th, so please make sure you leave an email address in the comment (either through your Blogger account by making your email address "visible" or by including it in the comment text) to be eligible.  Make sure you're not a "no-reply" blogger (I used to be one without knowing!), or leave your email in the comment, please!

International?  That's fine!

When I sew, I am usually accompanied by two furry friends who like to be quite "involved" :D

I like to listen to the Joy the Baker podcast, or watch/listen to junky TV shows while I'm stitching. Most recently, it's been Once Upon a Time on Hulu.  What about you? Any podcasts or TV series you'd recommend?

 <-- lots more giveaways!

18 May 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

Today I'm linking up to the Bloggers' Quilt festival, hosted by Amy of Amy's Creative Side.  If you've found your way over here from there, Hi!  Nice to see you!

I've chosen the Improv Chevrons Quilt that I finished up in April.

Amy asks entrants to "Share one quilt, and its story."  I love this idea, because most of my quilt posts focus on the details about the quilt, it's size, the fabrics used, and not so much on the motivation or process behind them! Let's get storytelling!

A while back, I pinned this pillow from Anthropologie, after ogling it in a store.  I ogle lots of things in that place. 

I had made some very precise chevrons before, but the ones on the pillow felt liberated and fun!  I love how the chevron rows "point" in different directions, and that there is a big variety of both color value and strip width.  I'd still like to experiment more with this idea!  I set out to replicate them with some improvised chevron blocks.

You can see more about how I made them here.  I picked a somewhat limited and deliberate palette, since I usually lean more towards scrappy projects.  Here, I used Curry, Cerise, Snow, Teal, and Gray.  Dreamy. I managed to make it through four big improv blocks before calling it quits, and set them up with some white and cerise sashing.  It became: 

It measures about 40x40 inches in the end, so its a small throw or great baby quilt.  Since I've already written a bit about its construction, fabric quilting, backing, binding, etc., I thought I'd give you a glimpse into what happened next!

To take photos of my finished quilts, I use my trusty Canon G12's auto setting.  Yep, auto.  I'd like to learn more about manual photo settings, but I'm usually really impatient to just get some decent shots.  Luckily the G12 takes lovely auto pictures! 

To get photos of entire quilts, I usually enlist a trusty assistant to hold it up for me, or I use two pants-hanger thingys (the hangers with the clips?) hung on a white wall from the crown molding. A clothes-drying rack is quite nice for a "folded and hung" shot. 

I try to take advantage of the the limited natural light that fliters in (somehow) to my Manhattan apartment.  In the photo above, the window is about 2 inches away from the right side!  

I used to think that I needed to wait to take pictures for the 20 minutes when sunlight streams right into my place, but overcast days actually give me the most even lighting, while those lovely warm sunbeams wash out part of my photos and leave the rest in shadows.  

I try to get an up-close shot that shows the quilting, 

and one that gives you a good idea of what the back looks like.  

I tweak things like exposure and saturation in iPhoto, eyeballing it until things just look nice. Then, all there's left to do is write it up, and post it here!  

Sometimes I'll have a recipient in mind when I'm making something, but more often I pursue ideas that interest me, like these chevrons.  In many ways I feel like I'm still trying to find "my" quilting style, and what an exciting process it is! 

Thanks for stopping by, and make sure to check out all the amazing quilts in the festival! 

Amy's Creative Side

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13 May 2012

Picnic String Quilt and Happy Mothers Day!!

I'm so happy to reveal my latest finish, which I had to keep under wraps, since I decided to give it to my mom for Mothers Day!

Although this string quilt has always been intended as a gift to her, quilt-worthy occasions for just kept creeping past me!  When I finally got around to finishing it a few weeks ago, I needed to squirrel it away until a holiday, and luckily Mothers Day wasn't too far off.

I used mostly Denyse Schimdt's line for JoAnn, (DS Quilts) Picnic and Fairgrounds, and threw in a variety of other prints that fit in with the pure navy, red, blue, and green tones. Whenever my mom comes over and inspects my fabric and projects, she always loves the modern retro prints like these, so I knew this line would be perfect for her.

It measures about 60x72 inches, and I backed it in a lovely large-scale DS Quilts floral. I quilted it in various straight lines along the diagonal white stripes, as well as the horizontal and vertical seams.  I really like the plaid grid that resulted! ( those disembodied Vans...)

The scrappy binding is made up of leftover fabric from the strings, and I think it goes really nicely with the random feel of the rest of the quilt.

For some reason, this quilt attracted a LOT of, um, "help" along the way.

I usually don't let these two become quite so involved in a project, but since I knew my mom doesn't mind a little cat hair, I was more lax than usual.

I had piecing, quilting, and binding assistance. All steps covered.

When it came time to try for some "quilt on a bed" photos, it was just hopeless.

If you can't beat 'em....

...join 'em. Little hams.

Happy Mothers Day!!

Edit: Since this is the Summery-est thing I've made so far, I'm linking up to Ellison Lane's Summer Sewing contest!

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03 May 2012

Bright Windows Baby Quilt & Free Pattern (ish)

Right now, it seems like I have about 16 long-term, complicated projects going on.  The kind that I can only work on in little chunks at a time (telling myself, "ok, all you have to do for this one today is press open 50 HST's, and you can put it away").  

So it's very nice to take a moment and look back at a simple and sweet finish from last summer.  Its long quartered rectangles remind me of tall windows, so it's named Bright Windows, and it was very easy and fun to put together!

I sliced up a Valori Wells Del Hi charm pack, and just played around.  The fabrics are girly without being sticky-sweet, and I think the palette is really interesting.  This quilt, which finishes at around 36"x 48", really lets them shine.  

Want to make your own?  Here's a loose pattern. I don't have step-by-step photos, but the quilt is so simple that I hope a finished shot will be enough of a guide. Unlike my current endless projects, I completed this quilt top  in one weekend morning sewing session!

You'll need:

~(32) 5"x5" charm squares in assorted prints
~1 1/8 yards white (or other) sashing (I used Kona Snow)
~3/8 yard binding fabric
~40" x 52" backing of your choice
~40" x 52" batting (I like Warm and Natural cotton)

Get started!

1. Cutting: 
-Slice charm squares in half to make 64 2.5" x 5" rectangles
-Cut white fabric into 8 4.5" x Width of Fabric strips, trim selvages off.  (You could probably squeak by with just a yard of white, but since you need exactly 36 inches, I like to play it safe with the few extra inches an eighth provides)
-From 5 of the white WOF 4.5" strips, cut 20 9.5" x 4.5" units.  Save extra fabric for another project, or use it for a pieced backing.

(Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance in all sewing steps.)

2. Play around with your half-charm rectangles, pairing them up.  Chain piece them together into 32 4.5" x 5" units. Press seams to one side.

3.  Play around and pair up again, matching each new, double-rectangle 4.5" x 5" unit with another one, lining up along the shorter 4.5" sides.  Arrange so that the seams lay in opposite directions and can nestle together, and join to make 16 4.5" x 9.5" units. Press open, and your "windows" are done!

At this point, refer to the finished quilt for layout visuals.  I pieced this quilt in horizontal rows. To make the rows:

Pair up each "window" with a 4.5" x 9.5" white sashing unit and join along the long sides.

5. Arrange the resulting 8.5" x 9.5" window+sashing units into 4 rows of 4. For each row, join each window+sashing unit to the next, and add one additional white 4.5" x 9.5" unit to the end of the row. Press seams in one direction, ideally the same direction as the bottom half of the "window" unit.  

Rows done!

6. Lay out your (now complete) rows, and sew one of the remaining 4.5" sashing strips to the bottom of each of the first 3 rows.  Press seams towards the sashing and trim excess. 

7. Join the top two units (both composed of a window row+sashing strip). Press seams towards the sashing.

8. Join the bottom two units (window row+sashing strip and just window row).  Press seams towards sashing, creating two halves of the quilt top.

9.  Join the two halves together, press seam towards sashing, and your quilt top is complete! Square up your corners (using a 12.5"x12.5" ruler is my favorite way).

10.  Finish your quilt with the backing, batting, quilting, and binding of your choice!  I used an extra "window", some leftover sashing, and some fun orange butterfly yardage from the line to make a pieced backing.

For binding, I chose a fiery red pindot fabric, which echoed the bright red in some of the prints, and there's a tiny piece of white inserted, too.

I machine-quilted this one in simple straight lines along the windows to make a grid. I also added some nice red hand-stitched details.  

This little one has yet to find a good home! (quick, someone, have a kid...), so it's in the shop for now! (SOLD)

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