January 13, 2012

This is for real

I'll try my best not to choke you with punctuation, but it's hard because.... I designed my first fabric! Do you see how giant these "selvage" dots are? Some are almost an inch across!

I thoroughly examined my collection of selvages to try and insert all sorts of charming quirky details. I had a yard of it printed at Spoonflower. Now, do I make crazy lots of stuff with it or just admire it in this state forever?

I feel so happy seeing it. I made it on the iPad one sleepless night, inspired by Suzanne's comment on this post about "selvages on steroids".

I think I'd like the print on a smaller scale too so I'm going to resize it and print some of that on Spoonflower as well. This first one is already on sale here if you love selvages too!

January 10, 2012

Good ideas!

I like all the ideas shared to improve free motion quilting. The most popular, by far, was... Practice! Including for #3, Eileen.

Congratulations Eileen, have fun practicing!

January 09, 2012

Modern Quilting Designs review

Have you heard about this book that's about to be released? I was so excited about it that I sent a hopeful plea to Stash books and asked for a copy of Modern Quilting Designs to review on the blog and the answer was yes, with one to giveaway too!

I'm so thrilled for this book by Bethany Pease because there's really nothing like it right now on book shelves. It seems like there are a few books dedicated to continuous line pictorial designs (i.e. dolphins, cowboy boots) and some that show geometric patterns for blocks or borders, but not much in the abstract, all-over, continuous line category. Modern Quilting Designs is filling that gap!

The book is pretty much just sharpie-on-paper drawings of quilting designs. There is not much text, so you can simply flip through the book and take in the designs. I learn visually, so I like that. Most of the quilting ideas seemed like things I could use in my quilts, although there was a section of flowery block-based designs that didn't seem like designs I would use. I was also surprised to see some designs that were not continuous-line. These don't make up the bulk of the book, though.

The best part of this library of designs, and what this author seems to excel in, are all the "mash ups" she creates: inventive, organic combinations of basic patterns. Think feathers plus spirals, or wavy lines plus pebbles plus scallops, or flamboyant vines full of variety. This is good for me because I tend to get stuck in one mindset - quilting something completely in spirals, or making all my leaves on a vine exactly the same, for instance.

Now, one downside to the book is that there is no explanation of how to go about stitching the designs. Feather first and then the wavy lines around it? Wavy lines first then fit the feather inside? For this reason, I'd say the book will be best for someone who has started to improvise with their quilting already. You'll need to come up with your own approach to creating the more complex designs you see.

I thought a thorough review of a book would include "trying it out", so I decided to stitch a design and see how it went. I decided on the captivating design featured on the cover. It was fun and the results were great! I used the stitched piece as the outside of the sewing caddy.

I'm happy to have this book by my side, and happy to have one to send on to a reader! If you'd like to include your name in the random drawing, leave a comment on this post (and make sure I can contact you if you win!). In your comment tell me...what is something simple you could do to improve your free motion quilting? I'll draw the winner Wednesday.

***The giveaway is closed now, thanks everyone for entering!***

January 05, 2012

The quilter's caddy

**Quick announcement! Another free motion quilting class is upon us! It's Saturday, January 14th at 9am at Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, WA. Bring your sewing machine and a darning foot and jump in!**

This is the gift I made Michelle for the PMQG holiday swap. I think this is such a fun swap. The recipient chooses fabric scraps from their own stash, then the gift creator adds a single fabric and makes them a gift. People make stunning, lovely things. Like entire quilts. This is a bit more humble.

Michelle comes to our PMQG sewing days so I thought she might like a little kit for taking her quilting supplies with her. I love the combination of lime green and cherry red together so I was thrilled that Michelle had both those colors in her scrap baggie. I chose a muted shot cotton to let the happy fabrics pop.

This kit has room for shears, rotary cutter, snips, seam ripper and thread, as well as a little velcro pocket and a hinged binder ring for bringing bobbins (I was pretty proud of that idea). The red stuff is elastic for holding a cutting ruler.

The caddy is nice and stiff with some thin foam core on the inside. The outside is simple with quilting that I hope she likes. And a red button because I'm convinced that red goes with everything. A better look at that quilting design will be in my next post.

Thanks for always getting me sewing PMQG! Looking forward to another beautiful year with all of you...

January 04, 2012


We spent the holidays in Arizona. It felt so good, the family and sun, the grapefruit off my grandparents'
tree, seeing the cactus and sunsets and grackles...

We stayed kind of far out. Like "drive to where the streetlights stop and turn left" far out. So I got a little
sewing done, thanks to my grandma's cutting table and my mother in law's sewing machine and a cadre of
aunties to keep up with our little explorer. It's the double disappearing nine patch! I'll get a better photo soon.

This sweet, wonderful, smart, strong little kid is three now. Here she is getting the full fire truck
experience from her grandad!

Santa brought me some Aurifil thread and I am going to use it up this year.

Or at least, I'll use what I can before baby #2 comes in July, after which all bets are off. Aha! That's why I've been such a cruddy blogger and emailer and doer-of-things. Because my only activities are:

Do you think I can grow a baby on pinto beans and yogurt and tangerines and chicken wings? 'Cause I'm trying.

Luckily I came home to a bunch of stuff to blog about so I'm about to pipe up after a very quiet month. I
wanted to share this quote by William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be
useful or believe to be beautiful". I was thinking, how nice that quilts are both! Happy 2012! I hope it's starting off grand.