Category Archives: Inspiration

My Small World QAL – Fabrics + Plans

VMQ-my-small-world-QAL-00

Welcome to the My Small World Quilt-Along! I am in love with this pattern – like all of Jen Kingwell’s designs, it is unique and adorable. It combines a lot of traditional block designs and techniques, including a bit of embroidery. It’s meant as a wall quilt, finishing at around 33″ x 52″.  I’m going to make mine larger by expanding the background so it finishes around 88″ x 64″ – a better size for a twin bed or throw.

VMQ-my-small-world-QAL-01

A quilt like this just wants to be scrappy and I’m happy to oblige. I pulled 14 fat quarters from my stash as a starting point and I’ll add scraps to fill in as a I go. I noticed while reading through the pattern that there are a lot of 2 1/2″ and 4 1/2″ pieces, which are great for Moda candy (2 1/2″ squares) and charm squares (5″ square) so I’m working some of those in from my stash, as well. My only rule is no pink or purple (at least not as a main color in the print).

VMQ-my-small-world-QAL-02

I’ve also rounded up a selection of low volume prints from my scrap bin. I suspect I’ll end up having to purchase a few more once the main part of the quilt is complete. Low volumes are hard to come by and I’ve been using them up quite a bit in recent projects.

VMQ-my-small-world-QAL-03

My plan is to cut all the background bits first since those are rotary cut. I went through the pattern and made a tally of all the necessary pieces of each size. Then I’ll make my templates for the rest of the pieces and jump in with section one.

If you are joining us on this quilt-along journey, be sure to take a look at the erratum from QuiltMania for section 1. You can download that {here}.

And also pop by to visit my co-hosts! The hastag #mysmallworldQAL is already filling up with wonderful inspiration on Instagram.

Cindy of  Live a Colorful life  {@liveacolorfullife}
Megan of Lucy and Norman {@lucyandnorman}
John of Quilt Dad {@j_q_adams}
Danielle of Mes Petits Elefants {@petitselefants}
Kerry of verykerryberry {@verykerryberry}

My Small World QAL

MySmallWorldQAL

Next week we are officially starting the Quilt-Along (QAL) for Jen Kingwell’s fantastic My Small World pattern. You can find the pattern in Quilt Mania’s special 2015 spring edition. It’s in bookshops like Barnes and Noble or get the digital version online {here}. NOTE: Looks like that’s actually a paper copy. See Kerry’s detailed post about where to buy, including online shops in the US that carry it. One is Happiness is Quilting, one of my local quilt shops. It’s a great shop so I’d recommend buying from them. ;)MSWqal300

I’m co-hosting with some super talented people. We will be posting on our blogs and quite a bit on Instagram, as well, so links for both are shown below. Be sure to check out the IG hashtag – #mysmallworldqal.

Cindy of  Live a Colorful life  {@liveacolorfullife}
Megan of Lucy and Norman {@lucyandnorman}
John of Quilt Dad {@j_q_adams}
Danielle of Mes Petits Elefants {@petitselefants}
Kerry of verykerryberry {@verykerryberry}

I hope you can join us!

A Little Makeover

VMQ-hoop-chairs-03There’s just something so cute about tiny kid things. I found this pair of hoop chairs at HomeGoods last week and knew they had to be mine. I’ve been looking at vintage MCM chairs on Etsy and Ebay for weeks and these were a steal compared to the ones I was eying.

VMQ-hoop-chairs-02 They were originally lime green and teal. Very new looking and far too bright. One can of spray paint later, they are a perfect retro orange. I used Montana Gold, a brand you can buy in art stores or even at Michael’s. It’s probably two to three times the cost of regular spray paint at $12/can but it comes in a huge range of colors. I think it’s blendable so it would be fun to experiment with on canvas.

VMQ-hoop-chairs-04I used a bit of fabric that I already had – a Japanese linen blend (note the odd phrasing and misspelling, but it’s still cute!).  It’s a fabric I’ve always loved but never wanted to cut into so I’m really happy that I did. It’s silly to hold onto so much fabric for the “right” project.  VMQ-hoop-chairs-06These tiny chairs were supposed to go in the playroom but I may pair them with a tiny end table and make a spot for them in the living room where the kids will use them every day.VMQ-hoop-chairs-07Diana is certainly enjoying them already. Wish they were my size!

VMQ-hoop-chairs-05 It’s very satisfying to jump in with both feet and end up with something that looks exactly like what I had in mind. It was a fun and quick project, just the thing I needed this week.

Settling In

VMQ-april-05We’ve been in the new house a month and things are mostly organized. Mostly. We still have a storage unit of stuff that we will have to come to terms with at some point. Will it be like Christmas morning, opening all these things I’ve forgotten about in 2 months time? I doubt it, but a girl can dream.

I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of sewing lately, too, which has been AWESOME. Sometimes I just stop and stare out those glass walls. It’s so dreamy.  I am also loving that the kids’ play area is in my sewing space. I can easily keep an eye and ear on what they are doing. The only downfall is sharing my snacks with sneaky little people.

VMQ-april-04Their play area has given my Pottery Barn shelf a new home as a display for vintage Fisher Price toys. I wasn’t really ready to part with it so this new use makes me smile. And Ben loves to rearrange the display.

VMQ-april-03I finished a big {secret sewing} project this weekend and it’s both exhausted and inspired me. As usual I have way more ideas than time, but it gave me a big push to start going through my Moda precut stash – which is quite extensive.

VMQ-april-02I spent a lot of time sorting and staring at fabric this weekend. I’ve pulled fabrics for a Christmas quilt, a Halloween quilt and an American Jane quilt, but the rest are still sorted by color, waiting for their day in the sun.

VMQ-april-01

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

The coolest thing happened yesterday that brought several of my favorite things together: my dog Moose, midcentury modern design, and crewel. Sounds like a weird combination, huh? Let me explain.

I posted this photo of Moose to my Instagram account, hashtagging it with all sorts of things, including midcentury modern.

He’s resting his chin on one of my newly reupholstered midcentury modern walnut chairs (that particular one was free. Yes, FREE. I got it at a publisher’s warehouse off Industrial Blvd here in Dallas when they were moving to a new location. They also sold me a Jens Risom desk for $75.)

That photo was “liked” by Vladimir Kagan designs on Instagram. He is a well-known MCM furniture designer with some really beautiful pieces (and he also has a charming blog). I Googled him and read on his Wikipedia page that he was married to the late Erica Wilson, the goddess of the 1960s/1970s crewel revival. I’ve been obsessed with her kits and books for years.

I got such a kick out of the idea of these two creative people together and what a neat couple they must have been. I found a blog post with a tour of their home and he said that his favorite piece was the embroidered rocking chair that combines both of their work:

Image via sarahsarna.com

Now if only I could get a picture of Moose in that chair…

Tutorial: Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

I have a fun tutorial today as part of the Pillow Collective hosted by Amy Ellis over at Amy’s Creative Side. There are lots of creative and super talented ladies participating so be sure to check out all of the links below.

My pillow design was inspired by an obsession with a set of mini templates I purchased earlier this month. They are made by EZ Quilting and are designed to be used with 2½” strips (jelly rolls) and they also work really nicely with Moda Candy (2½” squares). The specific template I used for this tutorial is the 60° diamond – you can purchase one here. You can also download a template here.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

You will also need:

  • 24 – 2″ squares (scrappy or choose a palette and focus fabric)
  • Background fabric:
    1 strip measuring 2½” x WOF, subcut into 6 diamonds using the template
    2 strips measuring 4″ x WOF
  • 1 fat quarter for pillow backing
  • Needle and thread
  • Polyfil for stuffing

Fabric placement and color is important to this pillow design. My test block used a traditional 4-patch with repeated prints set diagonally to each other. I decided that this block would look better with a scrappier feel, but kept the mini diamonds in the same fabric.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

Let’s start sewing!

1. Create 4-patch units from your 2″ squares – you will need a total of six 4-patches. Press and starch the 4-patches.
2. On the wrong side of each 4-patch. draw a line from corner to corner with a pencil or washable marking pen.

3. Line up the diamond template along the line and use a rotary cutter to trim off excess fabric.

4. Piece together the 4-patch diamonds to create a six-pointed star. Starch and press.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

5. Piece the background diamonds the the star. Yes, these are y seams but don’t be intimidated. The key is the start at the outer point of the star and stop sewing a scant ¼” from the edge of the background diamond. If your patchwork foot has ¼” markings that makes it super easy to know when to stop, but you can also mark the stopping points. Then flip the diamond and start sewing up the edge of the adjacent star point. Starch and press once you’ve sewn all six background diamonds.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

6. Now we are going to use our 4″ strips to make this hexagon shape a bit bigger. My finished pillow measures 17″ across at the widest point. If you want a larger pillow, cut these strips wider than 4″ (but this will affect the size of the backing fabric you’ll need). Line the raw edge of a strip along the edge of the pieced hexagon and sew together. Press and starch. Use a ruler to trim up the overage to match the adjacent edge.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

The above photo shows my hexie after I’ve added 4″ strips to two sides and “squared up” (really hexied up makes more sense!). Repeat this process until you’ve outlined the pieced hexie with background fabric.

7. Trim the fat quarter backing to match the front hexagon shape. Place right sides together. I like to put two pins in to remind me to leave an opening – one marks the start point and the second pin tells me to stop sewing. Turn pillow right sides out and press.

8. Stuff with polyfill and blind stitch closed. All done!

Eventually the filling will become lumpy and you can either open it up and re-stuff or turn it into a mini quilt (that’s probably what I’ll do).

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed my project. Here are the other stops on the Pillow Collective:

Economy Blocks…Hello, There

Economy Block Quilt-Along

The Economy Block Quilt-Along (perhaps better known stateside as the square in square block) is in full swing. It’s 2014’s version of the crazy popular Scrappy Trip-Along that started about this time last year. (Raise your hand if you’re still working on the quilt!).

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I usually let these quilting trends just pass me by because they distract me from other projects, but given my need for fun sewing this year, I jumped in with both feet.

Ages ago I went through my Munki Munki stash and pulled out bits that were fussy cut or duplicates. I set them aside with some coordinating scraps thinking someday I’d make an I Spy quilt…one day. The economy block is absolutely perfect for this!

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I’m doing the 5″ block pattern from Red Pepper Quilts, but if that’s too small for you, there’s a handy calculator for making the block at your preferred size. I pre-cut dozens of blocks and have them in a basket next to my sewing machine for easy access (see this post for more info).

Table Top Sewing

Are you making these blocks, too? Link up in the comments so I can see yours!

More inspiration from the quilt along in the {Flickr group}.

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Sometimes I pull fabrics together based on a graphic I love or even a piece of clothing, but these fabrics practically threw themselves into the basket at my local quilt shop.

The Botanics + Honeysweet prints are really, really, REALLY  pretty together,  I added in some Shelburne Falls, Acacia, Hand Drawn Garden, and few repros to round things out.

Color Palette: Modern Prep

I’m not sure if this stack of fabrics will ever become a quilt, but I do so love the combination. It is preppy and classic with the jade, navy, and mustard, and the minty and peachy shades add some fresh zing to a palette that might otherwise be quite simple.

What colors do you think of as “modern prep”?

 

Table Top Sewing

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably very much like me in that you’re obsessed with quilting (and fabric). We all want to sew as much as possible and actually finish projects. I have some big things going on in 2014 that will limit my personal sewing time to a degree, but I still want to make time for some just-for-fun projects.

My solution? Table Top Sewing. I changed things around a bit in my sewing space (tour to come soon) so I now have a lot more surface space. That means more room for stacks of fabric and papers and notions and other random junk, right? NO! I’ve set up five baskets on my table tops with sewing projects mostly ready to sew.

Table Top Sewing

Top Center: Mini quilts. Currently working on Camille Roskelley’s Mini Puddle Jumping quilt

Bottom Left:  Scrappy 4-patches. All scraps!

Bottom Right: Economy/Square in Square Blocks with my Munki Munki stash

Table Top Sewing

Left: APQ Quilt-along Tone It Down quilt (still need to finish cutting this one out)

Right: Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks. Lots of them.

How is this different from what I used to do? Most of my WIPs are in bins in a closet and out of sight is out of mind. I pulled several projects that lend themselves to being sewn in short stints (i.e. nothing with complicated instructions or fabric placement that needs a design wall, etc.). My thinking is that I can sew one or two blocks from a basket each time I go in my space (whether its to work or to sew) and I”ll slowly whittle down each project.

Since there are likely going to be large gaps of time in between when I work on these projects, I’ve made a check list to help me keep track of where I am. This is a good habit to start for any sewing project you’re working! I usually make a post-it or keep track on the pattern page – never quite as formal as the this:

VMQ-table-top-sewing-3

I am a super nerd for organization though….

RESOURCES: Mint berry basket {World Market}, Bird tray {IKEA}, Teal baskets {Target}, white bins {IKEA}

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

I made this quilt as a sample for a demo I did at QuiltCon in February 2013. Yes, it has taken me almost a year to photograph and blog about it! I was kinda busy last year.

The binding is Pezzy Prints (goes with everything!) by American Jane and I quilted it with a free motion Christmas tree design that I just made up. It does require you to be able to quilt the design upside-down, as well. I’m sure there are better digitized Christmas tree quilting patterns out there, but I couldn’t find any for domestic sewing machines (i.e. free hand!).

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

This quilt may look tricky with the improvisational curves but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of the technique. It used 90% of a layer cake plus about a yard of coordinating solids for the quilt top.  This was the first-ever Christmas quilt I made. My son was about 14 months old when I was working on it and he was obsessed with the snowman print. The fabric line is Aspen Frost by Basic Grey – a good modern Christmas line that you can probably still find in stores.

Dimensions: 51″ x  60″

Fabrics: Aspen Frost by Basic Grey,  Pezzy Prints by American Jane, and Bella Solids by Moda Fabrics

Pattern: Original design by Lisa Calle {free tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop}

Quilting Thread:  Aurifil #2600, 50 wt cotton mako

Quilting Design: free hand Christmas trees

Started: February 2013

Completed: February 2013