Monday, December 28, 2015

December ALYOF: Stocking Complete!

Woo hoo! I finished my only homemade Christmas gift, which also happened to be my December ALYOF goal, in time! This stocking, for my new nephew, coordinates with his older brother's and his parents' stockings. Here's hoping Santa was good to him! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

December ALYOF Goal...November Repeat!

I didn't achieve my November goal (didn't even pull the fabric out!), so I'm recycling that goal for December:
My December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to finish my new nephew's stocking. Below are his parents with their stockings, which I made several years ago. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Block Happy again!

Every few months I do a post of all the blocks I've made recently--either for my do.Good Stitches group (Believe), the GLMQG online activity, or for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, which I started strong on and have been woefully behind ever since...
I just checked and my last block update was in April (!), so this will be long! :)

First, do.Good Stitches blocks:

April blocks:

May blocks: (aren't these fun?!) The ended up raw edge appliqued onto a dark background. 

June blocks:

July block:

August blocks:

September blocks:

October blocks: (I loved making these--this is a quilt as you go block--improvisationally pieced). GLMQG might be seeing this block concept again soon for an upcoming challenge--they're super fun!)

November blocks: 

If you want to see some of these blocks made into quilts,
visit our Believe group's Flickr page.

Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild Online Activity Blocks:

LOVE this patched liberated Churn Dash block! This was our challenge block in May. After making this, one block, I really want to try an entire quilt, either with this block or a similar content. Find out more about the block tutorial/quilt, made by Sarah at Sew Joy Creationshere.

Our September block was this "Hexing Around" block was designed by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced. You can find the tutorial here. I liked this block because it is a hexagon without all the Y-seams and piecing drama of your typical hexagons.

BTW, here is my new resource, both for personal inspiration and for the GLMQG online activities.
Check out all these block tutorials!

Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks:
I was on top of this year-long challenge in January and February. March and April, I was a bit behind on, but I caught up (see below). I have May (green), half done, and haven't touched it since. Yes, I realize I'm making it more difficult for myself by doing six blocks in each color scheme, but as long as you have the scraps might as well use as many up as possible, right? Plus, think of all the scrap quilts I'll have at the end of the year (if I get back on track!). Each month, I am trying to make two 25-patch star blocks, two Log Cabin blocks one rectangular "slab", and one improv piecing block. 



A look at my January-April Log Cabin blocks all combined together--can't wait to see this with eight more color combos!

And the January-April star blocks together:

In September I ordered Jackie Kunkel's book, Splash of Color. I love the quilts in this book and the cheeriness they exude! I am definitely going to use her quilts as inspiration for assembling some of my RSC blocks into quilts when I get to that point. Love the idea of surrounding these blocks with dynamic black and white prints! 
Love the pin, bookmark and postcard that came with the book!
Thanks Jackie!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

ALYOF November goal: It's stocking time!

I am the unofficial stocking maker for both my family and my husband's family. And there was another baby this year, which means it's time for another stocking! 

I made these stockings four years ago for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Then in 2013, I made a stocking for their son (which I can't find a photo of?!). They had a second little boy this August and he needs a stocking to hang by the chimney this year.

Normally I make stockings in December, but this year I'm trying something different. :) 
So my November goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to pieced and quilt the stocking front and back. (I have a friend who embroiders the names, so I'm only committing to finishing the stocking up to the point of adding the name because I'm not sure when I'll get the name from her.) But if I have the stocking ready to be assembled by the end of November, I'll be in great shape for Christmas! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

ALYOF: The purple "N" pillow

I tried to make this month's ALYOF goal a lot harder than it needed to be. My plan was to make a pillow for a good friend with Northwestern's "N" on it (we both went to school there). I intended to piece the pillow front, figuring that with a few well-placed HSTs, I'd be set.

Not so much.
Even though I looked at that logo for 4 years of college and umpteen times (especially every Saturday in fall, when I put my shirt on for the football game!) in the 15 years since, apparently I'd never examined it with a quilter's eye.
Not so easy to piece.
So I took the easy route--applique!
And finished the pillow (which has been on my mental to-do list since August) in about two hours, mainly because of all of the straight line quilting.
(badly lit phone photo because my good camera and
my computer were not on speaking terms tonight!)

Hoping I can find a few other fellow Northwestern alums who would like one, as this pillow was fun to make!
Linking up with ALYOF at Sew BitterSweet Designs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry: Ocean Waves

My second entry for the Fall 2015 Blogger's Quilt Festival is another quilt I designed myself, 
Ocean Waves. 

I pieced this quilt entirely with turquoises from my stash. (Yep, clearly I like turquoise!). In direct contrast to that, I had to buy 6 different grays to round out my gray stash for those 4 blocks. I have plenty of gray, too, but gray is such a tricky color! 

After I designed this quilt, I submitted it to Modern Patchwork magazine. It was accepted (yay!) and then I asked my friend Diane Oakes to quilt it. She did, in record time, and I sent it off to the magazine. 

Quilting close-up:

You can really see the quilting motif on the back, too:

More recently, this quilt also hung in the modern row of our guild's show,
Quilts Kalamazoo. 

Quilt stats: 

Size: 56" x 66"
Designed and pieced by: me
Quilted by: Diane Oakes

See more about my two quilts featured in Modern Patchwork here.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry: My Gwen Marston quilt

I was recently a part of our guild's bi-annual quilt show, Quilts Kalamazoo. I had four quilts hanging in the show, including this one, which I called "Look through My Window." It's the quilt I started in a a Gwen Marston liberated medallion workshop in April 2014. This is currently my favorite quilt that I've made, and I'm entering this quilt in the Fall 2015 Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Here it is hanging at the show:

And here's a closer look. I'm embarrassed to admit there isn't a picture of me standing with any of my quilts in the show. I'm blaming that on the fact that I was in charge of taking photos of all 250+ quilts in the show for a commemorative CD, and by the time I finished that, I was DONE taking pictures. 

Flashback pic: Here is my medallion in progress (with Gwen!)--I came to the workshop with the center done out of made fabric and the first brown windowpane border. I added the next four borders during the workshop.

A close-up of the center, quilted.

A close-up of the rest of the quilting. 

Quilt Stats:
Size: 46" square
Designed, pieced and machine quilted by: Me!

As I said above, this is my current favorite quilt. I love the techniques used to make it (thanks, Gwen!), I love the color palette, and I'm proud of the quilting I did on it. Now that the quilt show is over, the next step is to hang it on the wall in our family room. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October ALYOF: A Pillow Birthday Gift

I have two (secret) quilted birthday gifts on my to-do list and I'm making one of them my October goal for  A Lovely Year of Finishes, the super-effective monthly motivator hosted by Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts.

Right now the project consists of yardage of these two fabrics:

And an idea in my head. 
Here's to transforming that idea into reality! 

And, since the only photo in this post is fairly boring, let me up the cuteness factor with a picture of my newest sewing assistant:

Pretty sure I'm going to think he's a little less cute when he trips over that ruler and breaks it in half...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September ALYOF Goal: A whole lotta quilting!

I finished my September goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, hosted by Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts--quilting my liberated medallion quilt started at Gwen Marston's workshop last year--with 3 hours to spare. 
So pretty much right on schedule for me! 

I had almost as much fun quilting this as piecing it. I did a different motif in each border/section of the quilt, and because I was working in borders, it all seemed manageable (well, that and the quilt's smallish size--48" square!). Much of my motif inspiration came from  my go-to free motion quilting resource: Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. Love that book! 

Here's the center:

And a few of the borders:

And the outer border:

And a look at the texture of the quilt:

This quilt (and three others) are hanging in the Quilts Kalamazoo show in nine days. Which means I'll be carving out some time the next few days to bind this quilt and add hanging sleeves to all four quilts. It's totally acceptable to attach hanging sleeves with safety pins, rather than stitching, right?! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pellon Flex-Foam blog hop!

Pellon has just launched a fusible version of their Flex Foam. They asked me if I was interested in trying it out, and let me tell you--the timing was perfect--I knew just what I wanted to make! 

My third son just turned one. Which means I've had a lot of years of diapers and lugging around a diaper bag. Whenever I can, I'd rather just grab a few supplies (diaper, wipes, changing pad) and bring them along instead of an entire bag. I threw my last changing pad out when the fabric separated from the padding and the padding balled up inside--so frustrating! When I heard about fusible Flex-Foam, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it!

This Grab-n-Go Changing Pad folds up to hold a diaper and a travel case of wipes, and then unfolds to be used. Compact. Cushioned. Easy. I like it! 
Click here to find the tutorial for the Grab-n-Go Changing Pad.

The Flex-Foam adhered to the fabric so smoothly--not wrinkles, no pulling. And it stayed adhered! It's such a nice layer of cushiony softness! 
I can't wait to make something else with it. (And I have something in mind...which I will share as a soon as I find time to make it!)

Here's a little bit more information about the Flex-Foam, and then at the bottom of this post are a few additional photos of my project, links to the rest of the Flex-Foam blog hop, and details about a giveaway so you can try Flex-Foam yourself!

Pellon® Flex-Foam™ is a lightweight stabilizer consisting of a layer of foam sandwiched between two layers of soft fabric. It is excellent for use in crafts, accessories, and home d├ęcor projects for an elegant finished look. It can be used in place of or in addition to other stabilizers. Flex-Foam is a breeze to sew through and adds shape and body to projects such as computer cases, eyeglass cases, purses, tote bags, cup holders, diaper bags, and more! It is compatible with a wide variety of fabrics. It is available as a sew-in, a 1-sided fusible or a 2-sided fusible. Available 20” on the board and 60” on the roll*. 

*60” roll isn’t as readily available as the board at the moment, but that should change soon!

See the various Flex-Foam products here:

Here is the changing pad unfolded. I used a few prints from Kanvas' Safari Playground collection. I love these fabrics because they're a nice mix of cutesy and more mod. (After three babies, I'm sometimes done with cutesy!). I chose this (dark colored...don't need to explain that choice!) animal word print for the changing pad surface--something cute for my son.

And the outside is this neat circle print--something that doesn't scream "baby" for when I'm carrying it around. (I can almost pretend it's a clutch, right?!)

For the giveaway:
Comment here for a chance to win a yard each of each variety of Flex Foam:  sew-in1-sided fusible, and 2-sided fusible.  Leave a comment letting me know what you'd make with Flex-Foam. One random winner will be chosen (US & Canadian residents only). The giveaway is open through Sunday, September 20th at 11:59 pm EST. Please make sure I have a way to contact you!

Make sure to check out the other stops on this blog hop! 
9/10 – Cut to Pieces
9/11 – My Crafty Crap
9/13 – Pellon
9/15 – Sew Sweetness
9/17 – Anjeanette Klinder 

9/18 – Pellon

Monday, September 7, 2015

September ALYOF Goal

My September ALYOF goal is to quilt this quilt. Beyond the personal satisfaction of meeting my month goal, there's another deadline attached--I entered it in our guild's local show--Quilt Kalamazoo--which is October 9 and 10. So assuming I make this goal, I will then have at least one week to bind it and add a sleeve!

Time to get started...!

Monday, August 31, 2015

August ALYOF Complete! (and bundle winner)

My August ALYOF goal was to transform this pile of fabric into a quilt top for a soon-to-be-born nephew. 

Goal: Complete! 
I was excited to get this quilt top made! I checked back in my pictures and posts--I posted my goal on August 7 (on a tight deadline like usual) and stitched most of the quilt top that evening. Then it took me from the 7th until today, the 31st, to add the blue triangles to the corners, photograph it, and post! 

Nothing says "baby" like a little Grunge fabric, right?! 

We have plans to see our new nephew toward the end of September, so I need to get the quilting started on this so it doesn't come down to the wire. I'm planning lots of straight line quilting following the on point square shape. Then maybe a red binding? We'll see...

Speaking of babies, thanks to everyone who visited and left comments on my Baby Blocks in a Box post! The randomly selected winner is Linda Lawton!

Congratulations, Linda, please email me at lequilter (at) with your mailing address so I can pass it along to Windham.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Baby Blocks in a Box Tutorial

Happy Monday! It's hard to believe school (and fall) are both right around the corner...
although we still have two weeks of summer vacation left here in Michigan!

I'm starting out the week with a tutorial as part of Windham's Lotta Jansdotter blog hop

My oldest son is six and my youngest just turned one last week, so babies have been on my brain for, oh, about 7 years now. :)

When I saw the Stella fabrics by Lotta Jansdotter, I knew I wanted to make something baby related. I love the gray and citron addition to the basic blue and pink. Plus, some of the prints are corduroy! I decided to take advantage of the corduroy and make textured baby blocks. And, because toys are constantly spread out all over my house, I also made a "box" to store the blocks in. Both the box and blocks are super easy to make, and I think the box concept could have plenty of other uses, as well. Enjoy! 

The fabrics: Stella by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham
(Those bottom four are corduroy!!)

You'll Need:
1/2 yard gray star corduroy (for outer box and blocks)
3 additional corduroy fat quarters (for blocks)
4 cotton fat quarters (1 for box lining, 1 for box binding, and 2 for blocks)
2/3 yard Pellon Flex-Foam
1 yard medium weight fusible interfacing

From the gray star corduroy:
One 18" square
Four 4-1/2" squares

From each of the additional 3 corduroy fat quarters:
Four 4-1/2" squares

From 2 cotton fat quarters:
Four 4-1/2" squares

From the lining fat quarter:
One 18" square

From the binding fat quarter:
Two 2-3/4" x 21" strips

From the Flex-Foam:
One 18" square

From the fusible interfacing:
Twenty-four 4-1/2" squares

Making the Box:
Step 1: Layer the 18" Flex-Foam square on the wrong side of the 18" gray stars square and pin in place. Fold in half with right sides of corduroy touching and pin the sides. Sew both short sides using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 2: Cut 4-1/4" squares from the bottom (folded edge).

Step 3: Fold so the side seam touches the middle of the bottom on each side as shown and pin. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance to box the corners. 

Step 4: Turn the outer box right side out. Repeat steps 1-3 using the 18" lining square (without Flex-Foam).
Step 5: Position the lining inside the outer box with wrong sides facing. Line up the raw edges along the top. 
Step 6: Sew the two 2-3/4' x 21" binding strips short ends together. Prepare your binding and sew to the inside of the box (through all layers). 

Step 7: Press the folded edge of the binding over the top edge of the box and pin or use Wonder Clips to secure. Topstitch the binding to the outside of the box. Your box is done!

Making the Blocks:
Step 1: Press interfacing to the wrong side of each 4-1/2" square. 

Step 2: Sew four squares together in a row, starting and stopping 1/4" from the edge and then join the ends to make a "tube."
Step 3: Position a 4-1/2" square on top and pin to secure. Sew to the sides, pivoting at each corner to stitch along the next side. 

Here's what your block should look like now:

Step 4: Pin the remaining square to the opposite end and stitch in place, leaving one side open. 

Step 5: Turn block right side out, stuff with fiberfill, and slipstitch the opening closed. Make four blocks. 

Tuck the blocks into the box and you're done! Babies will love the variety of texture the corduroy provides! 

Windham is offering a giveaway of a bundle of the Stella collection! Visit the Windham Facebook page or blog and tell them you like these Stella fabrics. Then leave a comment below letting me know if you've ever sewed a baby gift for a chance to win the Stella bundle. Giveaway open through Thursday, August 27th at 11:59 pm EST.