31 too cute not to share.

1.31.2013

Well I was going to share a fancy animation today of my finished #xplusalong blocks but it is taking me a lot longer to put together than I thought!  So instead I will share with you another picture of my dog.  I hope you're not getting sick of him yet?
The other day he was up on my cutting table keeping me company, and all of the sudden he just popped his head through my sewing machine to say hi!  Of course I wasn't actually sewing at this point, don't worry.  No puppies were harmed in the making of this photo.  I'm thinking he wants to be the next Janome spokesmodel, don't you think?

21 more + & x progress.

1.30.2013

I am almost finished making blocks for my + and x quilt!  Only 4 more blocks left to assemble, which won't take very long at all since all of the x pieces are made already.
My design wall is completely full, and I'll have blocks taped to the wall on both sides of it by the time I'm done.  This isn't the official layout, I'm going to take them all down and mix them up a bit before I sew them together.
My velveteen backing came this past weekend.  It is so soft and fuzzy!  I can't wait to wrap up in this quilt when it's finished. 
This quilt has been approved by Jackson already, he keeps snuggling up against the blocks on the wall!
He's been keeping me company as I lay out each block, although sometimes he decides it's break time and lays down on them while I'm working.
He's my favorite sewing buddy! :)

2 sunday stash.

1.27.2013

Happy Sunday!  I wanted to share this pretty stack of fabric that I got in the mail recently from Dear Stella.  It's from their Kallianthi line and it is so pretty!
There are lots of ikat and block prints in the collection in two colorways, Blue and Pink.  I love the blues and teals the most, and I'm tempted to add in a little coral too!  The mini ikat and foulard prints are my favorites, and they're great stash builder prints.
 I haven't decided what to make with these yet, but I want to start sewing with them soon!
You can find Kallianthi at Hawthorne Threads (on sale!).

And if you're in the mood for some shopping tonight...

Pink Castle Fabrics is having a bundle sale!  Save 25% off all precuts and bundles with code BUNDLE25.  I am resisting temptation to stock up on more black and whites with this bundle from Audrie at Blue is Bleu!

Stash Fabrics is having a 20% off sale on Japanese and Organic prints, including Stamped and MicroMod!  
Little Pink Rose has Tula Pink's Saltwater on sale for 20% off... and you can save an additional 10% off anything in the shop with the code SNOWDAYS.
I think that's it for today.  Hope you're having a relaxing weekend!

27 x plus progress.

1.19.2013

I've been making a lot of progress on my + and x quilt this week!

I just can't stop making these blocks.  I find myself running upstairs for an hour just to sew a few together even when I should be doing other things!  Which is good and bad at the same time :)

I've been making the blocks a few at a time, laying them out like this before sewing them together to make sure I'm happy with my fabric choices.

I have 12 blocks made so far, so I'm about a third of the way there!  My target is about 36 blocks, or 72" square, so a generous sized throw.  I'm going to back it in this AMH velveteen.  Doesn't that sound luxurious?  I am forever freezing so the thicker the quilt, the better.  I just bought the backing yesterday, so now it's official.  This quilt is for me!  I have never made a quilt for myself before!  I plan on spending most of the day today making more of these blocks.  Happy Saturday  :)

13 New Leaf Bee Block Blog Hop & Block Tutorial.

1.17.2013

I am thrilled to be a part of Daisy Janie's Bee Block Blog Hop today, showing off her newest collection, New Leaf.  It's a gorgeous collection made of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.  The colors in this line are really beautiful, saturated jewel tones.  I really love the purples!  It's hard to find good purple fabric!
Jan asked us to make a block using "turning over a new leaf" as inspiration.  I decided to make my block quite literal, I made a leaf!  I wanted to see if I could use foundation paper piecing to piece the curves of a leaf shape. I wanted to somehow portray the veins in the leaf without really making a bunch of veins, so I added the triangles in the center of the block for that purpose.  Plus I just really like pieced triangles :)
Would you like to make your own New Leaf block?  Here are the steps:

1.  Download the templates.  You can find them here.  Print two copies of Templates A1, A2, B1, and B2, and one of Templates C1 and C2.  Make sure to print at 100% scale if you want a 12.5" unfinished block!  Cut out the templates, lay them out and mark which color fabrics go in each spot if you're alternating the background fabric like I did.  Set the extra set of templates for A1 - B2 aside after labeling them.  These will be your cutting templates in Step 5.

2.  Piece your center strip of triangles.  I used 2.5" 60 degree triangles, cut with a Hex N More Ruler.  If you do this, you'll need 28 triangles to fill the middle of the leaf.  Lay out your triangles the way you want them to look in your block and stitch them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.
You'll need to piece two rows to do this, then sew the two rows together.

3.  Next we'll piece the inner curves of our leaf block (labeled #1 in templates A1 - B2.  Cut two pieces of fabric for A1 and A2 that are at least 6" x 5-1/2".  Cut two pieces for B1 and B2 that are at least 5" x 5-1/2".  For each template, place the fabric with the right side facing away from the back of the paper template, filling in the #1 spot.  Hold it up to the light to make sure you have at least 1/4" seam allowance along the curve and the edges.

4.  Now we're going to baste along the curve.  This will accomplish two things: it will keep your fabric in place while we sew the next fabric on, and it will serve as a marker for your seam allowance when we pin the next fabric to the template.  Make sure to use a large stitch length for this part.  Repeat this process for templates A1, A2, B1 and B2.

5.  Now we're going to cut our fabric for the #2 sections.  Cut two pieces of fabric that are at least 6" x 8-1/2" for A1 and A2.  Cut two pieces of fabric that are at least 6" x 6-1/2 for B1 and B2.  Take your extra templates for A1 - B2 that we had set aside in Step 1 and lay your fabrics behind them with the right side of the fabric facing away from the back of the paper.  Cut along the side labeled #1, about 1/4" away from the curve, as shown.  Repeat for templates A1 - B2.

6.  Pin your fabric around the curve of your sewing templates (the ones with fabric already basted to #1).  You'll want to pin the fabric with about a 1/4" overhang on top of the line you had stitched through the paper to your #1 fabric, as shown.  Note you are covering up the stitched line as you pin!

7.  Sew along the curve to attach the fabric.  Go slow and be mindful of puckers as you go.  I leave the pins in and slowly sew over them so the needle can go around them.

Press the fabric to set the curve and trim your templates down to size by cutting along the dashed line.  Repeat for A1 - B2.

8.  Pin your pieced triangles to the back of the C template with the right side facing away from the paper.  You can baste it in place if that's easier too.

9.  Continue using normal paper piecing technique to add fabrics 2 - 5 to the template.
Trim up the block by cutting along the dashed line when finished piecing the template.

10.  Match up the Side A Top and Side and Bottom pieces, and pin them right sides together along the center seam.  Stitch together along the solid line.  Press seam open.  Repeat for Side B Top and Side B Bottom pieces.

11.  Pin the Side A templates to Template C, with the fabrics facing right sides together and the bottoms of Side A and Template C aligned (there will be a little overhang on template C on the top, that's okay, we'll trim it off later.  Sew along the solid line to connect the blocks.  Attach Side B templates to Template C in the same manner.   Press seams open.

12.  Trim your block to 12.5", with the center of the triangles centered within the block and 1/2" excess along the tip of the leaf.

13.  Admire your pretty leaf block!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  Thanks so much Jan for letting me play with your pretty fabric!

Make sure to check out the other stops along the blog hop.
New Leaf Bee Block Blog Hop Schedule

Mon, 1/14 - Becky Moyer, My Fabric Obsession
Tues, 1/15 - Lynn Harris, The Little Red Hen
Wed, 1/16 - Candy Glendening, Candied Fabrics
Thurs, 1/17 - Holly DeGroot, Bijou Lovely
Fri, 1/18 - Melanie Thornton, Melanie Dramatic

Mon, 1/21 - Emily Cier, Carolina Patchworks
Tues, 1/22 - Rachael Gander, Imagine Gnats
Wed, 1/23 - Maureen Cracknell, Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thurs, 1/24 - Leanne, She Can Quilt
Fri, 1/25 - Cindy Wiens, Live a Colorful Life

Mon 1/28 - Cheryl Arkison, Dining Room Empire
Tues, 1/29 - Jacquie Gering, Tallgrass Prairie Studio
Wed, 1/30 - Shanna Bailey, Fiber of All Sorts
Thurs, 1/31 - Katy Jones, Monkey Do

If you're participating in the Fat Quarter Word Scramble, my secret letter is I!

15 #xplusalong.

1.16.2013

So remember yesterday when I said I was going to resist starting a new + and x quilt for the #xplusalong on Instagram?  Yeah, that lasted about six hours.  I couldn't get it out of my mind!  So I spent a few hours last night cutting into Field Study.  I'm using some low volume prints for the corner triangles, and some black and dark gray prints for the ends of the pluses.
I'm making the 12" finished blocks using Megan's measurements (Brenda made a helpful diagram too!).  One 5.5" x WOF piece from each fabric is enough for the legs and pluses in 36 blocks, with some leftover scraps.  I cut four 5.5" squares, four 2.5" squares, and one 6.5" x 2.5" piece from each strip.  I'll have some extra pieces leftover at the end, but I'll probably use them on the back or something.
 The blocks come together really quickly once all the fabric is cut.
It's so fun to come up with different fabric combinations!  I'm paying a lot of attention to value and contrast in my blocks.
I've finished two blocks so far today and I am counting down the hours until I can make another!  I am so excited to see how this quilt comes together.
Sewing for fun is, well, fun!!  I need to do it more often.  If you feel like joining along, tag your pics on Instagram and Twitter with #xplusalong, and add your photos to the flickr group!

10 finishing things.

1.15.2013

I feel like I'm finally getting close to finishing up a few of my WIPs, and it feels great!  I am determined to get the stacks of half-finished projects done so I can work on new things.  The start of the #xplusalong (an informal quilt along on Instagram) seemed like the perfect time to work on my scrappy + and x quilt for do.Good Stitches!  I finished up a few blocks and stitched them all together at lunch today.  I think I'll add a border around the blocks and call it done!
It amazes me how good this quilt looks no matter what fabrics are used.  There is a very eclectic mix of fabrics going on here and it still looks good to me!
 You can find the tutorial for these blocks here.  They are really fun to make!
I made progress on a couple more quilts last night too, finally stitching on the binding of my Cosmos Butterflies quilt, and making a pieced backing for my lone starburst quilt.  Some hand stitching and basting might happen tonight!
I'm kind of tempted to start another + and x quilt for myself now.  Maybe with some of my Field Study stash?  I'll try to resist a little longer!

145 Welcome Little Pink Rose Quilting & Sewing!

1.11.2013

Today I want to introduce you to my latest sponsor, Little Pink Rose Quilting & Sewing!  It's an online fabric shop that was just opened this past year by Marcia King in Northern Virginia.  Marcia decided to open up shop after she had finished homeschooling her two boys and had some newfound free time on her hands after they had graduated.  Such a fun new adventure!!

Little Pink Rose is a small, but growing shop that's continually adding new precuts, kits, and collections!

They currently have several selections from Art Gallery Fabrics, including my recent favorite, Luxe in Bloom!

The shop also has several selections from Riley Blake, including the always popular Chevrons!

You can also find the entire collection of Salt Water by Tula Pink, along with the Hex on the Beach Quilt Kit!

Little Pink Rose has some amazing sales!  This week you can get $20 off your order when you spend $80 using the code JAN20.  And there's always free shipping on orders over $150.

Now for the giveaway!  Marcia has offered up 5 quilt and bag patterns from Green Fairy Quilts, along with 2 yards of fabric of your choice!

There are a two ways to enter:

1.   Leave a comment here.  Tell me what fabric from Little Pink Rose you'd choose if you win!
2.  Sign up for the Little Pink Rose newsletter!  Enter your email address in the box provided on the left side of the shop's page.  Leave an additional comment telling me you've done this.

Please make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win.  I'll pick a winner next Thursday!

Update:  This giveaway is now closed.  Congrats to our winner, Stitchingandbacon!  Thanks to everyone who entered!

17 new cowls.

1.08.2013

I'm not sure what it is about winter (the freezing temps, perhaps?), but I always want to sit on the couch under a blanket and knit!  It's just so cozy.  I finished up two knitting projects in the past week.  Two new cowls!

I started this herringbone cowl last winter, and took a lot of breaks during the process.  The stitch required a lot of attention from me, so I would get tired of it after only a row or two.  
Aren't those herringbone stitches pretty?  I love the texture!!
  It's definitely not perfect, but you can't really tell much when it's on.
Next, another honey cowl!  I've made several of these in the past, it's a quick and easy project!  I started this one on my last trip to Boston, and almost finished it between the plane rides there and back and a couple nights of knitting in my hotel room.
 I think I'll be giving this one away since I already have one of my own.
I used Cascade Yarns Lana D'Aro for both of these, in Magenta and Hare.
I see more knitting in my future... I'm headed back to the yarn store tonight!  I think I'm going to try the Sophia cowl next!
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