4.11.15 Stars vs Preds Game Recap (Anyway, Here’s Wonder Chart)

Deep in the Heart of Hockey

This game recap is going to be a little bit different because a) I was at the game in person, and b) I’m still reeling from the events of last night.

You see, I wasn’t even going to go to this game. I didn’t have tickets. And then Wednesday, when it was clear that Jamie was tied for the scoring title, I was thinking about it. On Thursday my friend Mary said she’d go with me. By Thursday evening, I told her I had to be responsible and save my money since I was already going to a Texas Stars game on Friday. And then by Friday afternoon, I’d had my YOLO moment and we had tickets.

We drove into Dallas and it was like a fog lifted. Because it did. Literally. Austin is grey and damp this weekend, but Dallas was sunny, mid 70s, and perfect for splitting a…

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A year in review – thoughts on using Instagram for quilt inspiration (part one – the good)

It’s been about a year since I first discovered Instagram as a great way to network and meet other amazing quilters. I’ll have to credit Molli Sparkles with being the first quilter I followed, and from his page, the three or so hundred I now follow. I think the easiest way for me to work through my thoughts on this would be a simple pro/con list, because I do have a fair few of both.

1)This one is easy, really. Getting to “meet” amazing quilt artists from all over the world and being able to expose myself to a huge variety of quilts and styles. I’ve mostly followed the modern crowd, but I do have a few more traditional quilters on me feed as well.

2)The fabrics! I would have never, ever known about some of the amazing lines of fabrics that have come out this year or in the past. This has been a bit of a double edged sword (as you’ll see in the cons list), but overall it’s been quiet positive. I’ve learned about some great shops, both larger internet ones, small etsy shops, and my local modern quilt shop.

(Denise Schmidt fabrics are  my jam, yo)

3)The quilts, duh – Of course, amazing quilters using amazing fabrics are going to make some killer quilts. I confess, I have hundreds of pictures of quilts and quilts in progress saved on my phone just to easily refer back to and look at because so many are so gosh darn pretty.

4)Global participation/swaps/trades/etc – I think it’s just awesome that I’ve made some quilt friends from all over the world. I love it. I love thinking about how even though they might be on the literal opposite side of the world, we all share a common interest and spend many of our days sitting at our sewing machine, taking photographs of our work and sharing and commenting. Even better, that some of these people take it upon themselves to organize swaps so that we can gift each other with what I consider basically beautiful pieces of art, created from the heart of someone else for another, regardless of skill level. Through these swaps, I’ve learned how to appreciate fabrics and aesthetics that I might have overlooked as “not my taste” and never thought about again, but by using fabric out of my comfort zone to make something to the taste of my partner, or my receiving something my partner has made for me, I can see fabrics, techniques, everything in a new, refreshing, and inspirational light.

(Minis I’ve received in swaps so far)

5)Branching out – Not only have I really stretched myself this year in quilting, but I’ve also decided to pick up a few other hobbies. Many of the quilters I follow also do embroidery and cross stitching, so I’ve picked up some materials and have started a few projects I’m really excited about, too.

A year long sampler I am so, so, so behind on (this was for 2014)

6) Motivation – I don’t think I have ever sewn so much in such a short span, but this last year I have finished so many quilts, tried so many new techniques, just seen SO MANY new things. Plus, seeing other quilters just crank stuff out so quickly lights a little bit of a fire underneath my rear, so I’m really itching to get to a few unfinished projects that have been languishing so I can post them and call them DONE.

Winter’s Lane Quilt top finished

This will be a short entry – I just need something up so I can enter into the #sewmystash2014precutsparty contest 🙂

It took me a bit longer than I thought, but here is the quilt top from my Winter’s Lane fabric (see previous entry). I went super simple, because otherwise I’d never get it done. It’s not amazing, but it’s just supposed to be just a cuddly throw I can put on my couch during the holidays, so I think it works. No idea how I will back, bind, or quilt it. Will worry about that later.

I wanted to make a matching pillow with the few extra layer cake pieces, but I screwed up my flying geese and it was just a mess, so no pillow.

Swap progress, and a finish!

It’s been quiet on the blog,  but not at all in my house or my sewing area!

After I finished the high-stress wedding quilt, I took a little breather for a few days before jumping into new projects. That quilt was so much fun to do, and I was so happy with it, but it hung over my head for a good long time, and so having it completed was a huge weight, and I wanted to bask in the Don’t Have Any Project Timelines feeling for a bit.

But that time is over, and now I need to get started on some new projects. I’ve signed up for two swaps. One is a mini quilt swap called the Spring Fling Mini quilt swap on Instagram (where I find out about all my swaps, because as much as I’d like to, I just can’t keep up with blogs regularly). The next is a Tea Lovers Mug Rug swap, which I’m actually a little nervous about. I’ve made mug rugs, but my partner, at least according to the mosaics she’s posted on IG, has much, much different tastes, not only in regard to fabric choices but quilt preferences. Every one of her example pictures has fancy applique, and I have never, ever done applique and I don’t want to use this as a first for it. I’ll need to think on it a bit more. At least a mug rug is small and fairly quick, although I don’t quite know what I’ll do for extras at the moment.

The Spring Fling Mini is a little more straightforward. My partner was clear on her interests, and thank goodness I already had fabric of her favorite designer. She loves Bonnie and Camille, so I am putting together a granny square mini made of several of the fabrics from the April Showers line. I’ve got most of them cut, but not photographed.

Another new project is for the Sew My Stash 2015 challenge this month. The theme this time is using up some of our precuts. I decided to use my Winter’s Lane layer cake bundle to make a little Christmas throw quilt for our couch. It’s super simple – just mostly random placed fabrics in a chevron design, but I think it will look really nice in our living room. I need to get cracking if I’m to finish the top by the first week of March, though!

And now for my finish! Do you remember YEARS ago when I started working on some placemats? Well, they are DONE. Six placemats, all bound and now in use.

I’m actually really happy to finally have some placemats, and even two years later, I still love the colors on these. Green, gray, blue and orange are probably one of my favorite combinations.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, I’ve also decided to join a quilt-a-long for spring. The pattern we will all be using is Alison Glass’ Timber pattern.

First, let me just say, I love this pattern. I love how bold and geometric it is, and I think it will make an amazing quilt for my husband. I’m also really excited about how customizable it is. I plan on making mine completely symmetrical. I’ve been wanting to make this quilt since I saw it, and a QAL is a perfect chance to do so. My fabric choices are going to be a lot darker.

Sorry this is such an ugly mock-up, but it’s just a general idea to work from when I get started. The main fabric will be black, with various grays and taupe making up the stripes, accented with Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer  line in place of the brights.

I’d like to make it queen size as well, so we can put it on our bed. I already have the wool batting (I’ve never used wool before, but it feels luscious!). My hope is that this will turn out, for lack of a better way of describing it, very “dwarfy”, as in fantasy/Tolkein/World of Warcraft dwarf, because my husband loves them and I love the design in the fantasy architecture and armor.

Linking back to the link up page!

The wedding quilt is done!

With two weeks to spare!

Even though I’m feeling some quilt fatigue (you know, when you have been working on a quilt on and off for a while, so the novelty and excitement you got from cutting into the fabric and trying a new pattern has completely gone?), but I still really like this quilt.

Here are a few different angles of the quilt after it was all completed

The pictures on the left are prewashing, and the pictures on the right are post washing. I don’t typically prewash any of my fabric before I cut into it because I like that it’s a bit crisper, and I like the crinkly look of a quilt after I wash it when it’s completed. Plus, for a quilt that’s intended for on the couch snuggling, I wanted to make sure there weren’t any leftover residues from dyes or marking pens or anything.

I went for really simple feathers in the colored areas

and a slightly more complicated stencil in the white

The back

The whole process for this quilt was quite enjoyable. There were a few times when I felt bogged down because I hadn’t decided on the quilting I thought would work best, but once I solved those problems it was smooth sailing. I tried some new techniques, like using a piece of plexi to audition some quilting motifs before committing and marking the quilt.

I used the pattern and ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful, called Metro Medallions using the Quick Curve Ruler, and I was really, really please. It was simple to use, I had no problems piecing the curves, and whenever I had a question there were tutorials readily available. The ladies are also pretty easy to reach on Instagram as well! I look forward to making another of their patterns someday.

I’ll leave you with a few process pictures.

..And that’s another finish for my quarterly link up!

Sew My Stash 2015 – Taking Inventory

I use Instagram A LOT for my quilty networking. Some people are just so much more organized and enthusiastic about setting up little challenges, and it’s a lot of fun to join in with other quilters to accomplish some task, be it for charity or just to help yourself.

Around the end of 2014, Project: Leasa started up a little something called Sew My Stash 2015 to encourage us fabric hoarders to use up some of our own stash. My stash is unfortunately some horrible by product of rabbit DNA manipulation, and I swear multiplies by itself while it sits in my craft room (cheesy innocent face here, accompanied by whistling), so I really need to do something to cull the fabric madness.

First thing’s first. I am officially off buying fabric. Mostly. Well, there is a collection coming out in March that I want, and another in May, but those are planned and will be budgeted! And just ignore that I might actually be waiting for some fabric coming in the mail this week. But it’s okay, though! Those are “investments”. Yes… See, they’ll go out of print, and if I don’t get to use them, I can sell them and maybe make my money back! Yeah?

Okay, my resolve is weak, but I really will try, for the sake of my pocketbook, marriage, world peace, and so I don’t end up on hoarders one day.

Now that I’ve admitted I have a problem, the next step is taking inventory. I can’t plan and create beautiful works of art without knowing what I have!

Here’s what I’ve got (cries):

These photos are all from an old CD and book shelf. This is the top half of one

The bottom half

The bookshelf part. This is where some of my backings, solids, and popular fabrics for my etsy shop are. The bottom of that shelf is where I keep my quilting books. It’s actually neat and tidy, so no picture.

This is my bin of shame. I only discovered the wonderful world of designer fabrics about a year ago, and so this bin is full of miscellaneous fabrics I was either given, or purchased from local big box stores. Not to say there is anything wrong with that AT ALL, and I’ve cleared out most of the really low quality stuff, but to be honest, my fabric tastes have changed a whole lot in the last few years. This is my main problem area, and where I would like to make the biggest dent in the stash. I need to find a way to fall in love with all of these fabrics again. I love looking at a designer’s collection and seeing how they all coordinate is so pleasing, and all the matching work has been done already, so it’s hard to see a lot of random fabrics and put something cohesive and beautiful together. I used to be better at this, before I started buying collections. I’m ashamed that I’ve fallen out of practice. These are all organized by color, and while the drawers aren’t opened, trust me when I say it’s quite an assortment.

Here are my scraps – bits of fabric smaller than a fat quarter. I have my scraps somewhat organized. All of the fabrics in the plastic zip bags are organized by color, and when they get small enough I cut them into 2.5″ squares. I don’t like to store anything smaller than 2.5″ because while I know someone, somewhere could make some use of them, I already have a problem and don’t need to take up space with some someday project I’ll never do. I’m extra bad, too. I just toss the scraps. I don’t even save them for pet beds or anything. The scraps in the little bin and paper bag need to be sorted. Sigh.

Nothing bad here – just backings for baby quilts.

Now this is really awful. Last June a good friend told me his mother was having an estate sale, and since she had quite a bit of fabric, he just gave me this. Free fabric is such a double edged sword. One one hand, it’s free! On the other, you always get too much. In these bins are large pieces, most over a yard, and some as much as three to five (I’m guessing). She had slightly different tastes than me, but I’ve been able to use some of it as backings and sashing and whatnot. Oh, and that black batik is the backing for a UFO I would like to finish this year and give to my dad. It’s for the Apocalypse bargello.

Now for the designer stuff.

Most of my precuts. I’m not going to name them all because you can probably see and recognize them. At the bottom are some Asian themed fabrics. I bought those because I was going to make some little wall hangings for one of our bathrooms, but I still haven’t done that yet. I think I may still make wall hangings with them, but for donation to a charity like Love Without Boundaries or something (see the button on the right)

This is the entire line of the first round of Downton Abbey fabrics. I think that includes Lady Mary, Edith, Sybil, and The Dowager Countess. In half yards. What was I thinking? I have since learned that when I quilt, I rarely use more than a fat quarter of a particular fabric, maybe even a fat eighth or layer cake. I like little tastes of fabric.

I’m not much for Christmas fabric. This is all I have. Obviously, I need to make a tree skirt, because I don’t have one. Maybe a table runner? These fabrics are the only ones of Kate Spain I can stand.

When I said that was all the Christmas fabric I had, I was mistaken. I have this Valori Wells collection set aside, all either half yard or full yard cuts. I love the designs, but they’re so big I have had a really hard time finding a pattern to show them off. And so they sit… Any ideas? (sorry for the terrible lighting. I had a toddler turning the lights on and off and only just saw how dark this was)

Various lines from various designers. I can see some Carolyn Friedlander (just got that! Well, I preordered it in Nov and it only just came into my possession), some Denyse Schmidt, AMH (?), the Arizona line from April Rhodes (I LOVE this one, but still haven’t found the perfect project), and I can’t recall the name or designer of the bottom right.

Here are some Bonnie and Camille and Kate and Birdie. I wrote about when I first got them here. Still haven’t used them. I’m in a swap and my partner said she liked Bonnie and Camille, so April Showers would probably work. Not that a mini will make much of a dent in what I have, but it’s a start. I have fat quarters and half yards.

My Tula Pink. Like I said before, I am fairly new to designer fabric, and I am not going to fight or pay $7 a fat quarter for out of print lines, so what I have is pretty new stuff, aside from a random piece here and there I was able to get a good deal on or someone just wanted to unload (yes, there are actually people who just “unload” Tula Pink. For free, or for less than what they paid. Those people are saints.) I don’t have that perfect project yet. I’m really torn about what to do with these, actually. Part of me feels like it’s cheating a bit, creatively, to use the designer’s fabric in a quilt that same person designed, but at the same time, at least with these fabrics, I think some of the quilts Tula Pink has designed really show off part of what I love about these quilts. Some frame the fabric designs beautifully, and some really showcase the gorgeous color saturation. I’ve thought of making the 100 Modern Quilt Blocks City Sampler, but just last night I was browsing and realized I am a  little afraid to cut into some of these, and I would have a hard time choosing which fabrics for which blocks, and so on. I know, silly problem. I’m going to have to cut them up eventually!

This last photo is a bin of fabric I am never going to use. Every once in a while I try to sell some of it with varying degree of success. After a while, I just donate it. This will slowly fill as I pull out more fabrics I just can’t even see myself using.

So that’s where I am. I have a lot to use up, and that’s AFTER I finish all my WIPs!

First finishes for 2015

Yesterday was a really productive day for me! I was able to get my Schnitzel and Boom mini quilt finished, gather all of the extras, and mail it today.

Please forgive the bad lighting, on this one. I finished it late at night. I really liked the fabrics, although I am not totally in love with the layout. If I had it to do over again I might have picked something more cohesive, like chevrons or something, and I am a bit nervous about the quality of my hand stitching, but I still do like it overall and I hope my partner likes it.

I sent a few extras along with the quilt. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they make their way to Australia!

I also finished a ring bearer pillow for the wedding of some close friends. The wedding is in about two weeks, and the person who was originally going to make this wasn’t able to. I think I did a rather nice job, considering I wasn’t totally sure what the bride had in mind.

Now to finish the wedding quilt!

2015 quarter 1 link up party

These Finish Alongs are such great motivation to get all these half finished projects done. I’ve been feeling really creative lately and have drawn out patterns for several different quilt ideas, but I don’t want to start more projects without getting the ones in limbo all over my house completed. The further away I get from them, the less likely I am to actually finish them, and the thought of an unfinished, no longer loved, quilt project makes me sad.

My list of UFO’s

1. The wedding quilt. It’s so close to being done, and it needs to be finished by Jan 31
2. The Danica quilt. The anniversary of the death of the little girl that inspired this quilt is in just a few days, so it seems fitting I should complete it near that time. If I can, I will write about that precious little girl. I can’t promise though, because it is something I still get very emotional about, and I’m not quite sure if I want to share on this blog.
3. Bargello: Apocalypse. It needs borders and quilting.
4. Mini for schnitzel and boom mini swap. This one is a sure-fire finish, as I need to ship it in just a few weeks.
5. The blue and gold quilt kit from years ago. Yeah, I still haven’t finished piecing it. I won’t get it done this quarter, but I’ll sure as hell make some progress, dagnab it.
6. Christmas tree skirt. Yeah, I said I was going to make a table runner, but then I realized I didn’t have a tree skirt!
7. My arizona fabrics quilt. Not even cut, but lately I’ve had dreams about a lovely pattern I’ve started to doodle out.
8. practice quilted placemats from ages ago
9. Spring Fling Mini quilt swap using April Showers fabric



botm block 415067187596_f3ac1a27a0_k

oh boy

oh boy

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Schnitzel and Boom Mini Quilt Swap

I’ve joined my first Schnitzel and Boom mini quilt swap! I enjoyed my last swap so much I joined this one and another.

My partner this time has very different tastes than I do, so I hope she likes what I’ve come up with.

I decided to use the charm pack I won from the Celestial Star QAL, Birch Farm from Joel Dewberry, and really just made it up as I went along. I cut a bunch of half square triangles and rearranged it until I liked it.

My partner also said she likes hand quilting, and while it’s not my favorite (I haven’t done it in YEARS and when I did, it wasn’t that well), I would like to use these mini swaps as opportunities to try techniques that I might not otherwise use.

It’s not taking as long as I thought it would, and I can see some improvement in my stitch consistency. Still, not something I’m going to do often.

Linking up with Fiber of All Sorts’s goal setting party, as this needs to be done before the end of January.

IG Mini Quilt Swap completed!

I can finally post the finished pictures from my first swap! I didn’t want to write about  it on here so I wouldn’t give away the surprise, but now that the recipient has received it I can post pictures and talk about it a little bit.

Swaps are pretty popular on instagram, and I really wanted to join in on what seemed like a ton of fun, and I loved the idea of pretty mini quilt presents coming in the mail, and mini quilts are a small enough project that you can try something totally new, or do something really intricate, and it not take a long time.

When I got the information for my partner, I was initially a little intimidated. I’ve never made anything for another quilter, and so she would probably be quite able to pick apart all of my mistakes. What if I got her aesthetic wrong? What if my skill level wasn’t up to par? Everyone is usually such a good sport, but still, what if she was disappointed about what I made for her?

Her likes were Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, and she seemed to like really modern, clean and geometric patterns. She liked paper pieced patterns, and wonky stars.

I found a few different patterns (and then as I looked through her IG I realized one of my options was something she’d actually made before, so I didn’t want to make that).

I ultimately decided to make another quilt using the Celestial Star pattern from From Blank Pages, but instead of the normal border, I wanted to do flying geese because 1) they are really popular and 2) because I’ve never done it before.

15820605786_1d87c253bd_oThe entire top is paper pieced, which (especially the flying geese), was tedious as hell. I don’t regret doing it, but it just took a long time and I don’t think they’re something I’m going to do a lot of.

I went ahead and stayed within the entire Carolyn Friedlander Botanics line because she said she liked them. I was initially “meh” about the line, but as I worked with them they really grew on me. Normally I don’t like to stay within just one line of fabric because it feels a little too easy, but sometimes you just need everything to work together, and so sticking within a line works.

15846623245_804c86a0dd_o15820777766_b8bc012e60_o15225164464_13b8490fa8_oHere are a few detail pictures of the fabrics and quilting. My piecing isn’t perfect. I’ve got chopped off corners and some puckers, but I’m improving I think.

For quilting, I thought some echoing lines and semi-matchstick would work well around the center star and on top of the flying geese, which proved pretty difficult to decide on a quilting scheme that would work with the flying geese.

15660298489_fa2dc61620_oNow to wait for my mini to come in the mail!