Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mad For Solids ~ March Madness

When I was asked if I would like to participate in Paintbrush Studio's March Madness event, I jumped!  

Inspired By Fabric Blog
Painter's Pallet Solids is a new line of 84 colors, all gorgeous and the quality is really amazing!  I had the pleasure of working with these fabrics in the recent New Block Blog Hop, and I can assure you the fabric is wonderful!  This is my kind of March I am 'Mad For Solids'!

Each of the sixteen bloggers were asked to pick our ideal color palette from the Painter's Palette Solids.  We were provided a fat quarter bundle of our picks and asked to photograph, name the bundle and say why we picked those colors.  

Today, we post our photos on Instagram with all the info and start the games of 'competing' against the other bloggers on the Inspired By Fabric Blog.  The winner will receive one yard of each of the colors in our bundles.

But...there will be prizes for voters as well!  There will be two 1-yard cuts from the winning bundle!  The 'Bundle Bracket' voting will be held at the Inspired By Fabric Blog.  Please play along...hop over the their blog and vote! 

I named my bundle 'WILD DANDELION'.  You are probably wondering where the heck that came from?!

I've always thought of dandelions as the first show of Spring.  From golden golds to yellow, they command attention.  This bundle was inspired by dandelions against the evening sky at dusk. Dusky Spring evenings are plain and simply...magical!

I  love the bright yellow of dandelions, and watching them transform to a big fluffy puff ball! We may not like them in our lawns, but there is no denying that those bright spots of color are welcome after a long winter.   

Flying Geese?
From left to right, the colors are:
Pencil Yellow
Pale Silver

I had so much fun photographing this bundle!  I kind of went a little crazy!

I want to thank Cindy who blogs @ Live A Colorful Life.  She was the one who hooked me up with this March Madness Event.  

And of course, a big thank you to Lisa who invited me to join the other 16 bloggers for this March Madness extravaganza! 

There is going to be some stiff competition and I have my game face on!  But, I will need your help!  I would love your vote!!    

Round one starts tomorrow (3/31), my bundle is in round two (4/1)... April Fools Day!

Click this link to vote! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Off Kilter ~ Wonky Quilt Finish

Before I share my tutorial, I thought sharing the finished quilt might be the best way to start off.  I will have a tutorial for a block made with Charm Squares in the next couple days!

Off Kilter
44 1/2" x 60"
When I first posted about this Wonky madness, I hadn't had a chance to work some quilting goodness on it.  

I'm happy to say I actually free motion quilted the entire...the entire thing! Sounds impressive right?  Actually, the majority was stippling.  Pretty quick and easy.  Last time I did stippling on a big quilt, I sewed through my finger!  That was a few years back and a big lesson was learned!

I just want to dive on top of this quilt and eat a hot dog...isn't that what you do on a picnic?!  

Each block I did a fan/flower type of FMQ.  That part went pretty well.  I didn't flub up too much!  

The stipple might be a little dense and it isn't exactly smooth and free flowing.  I just kept saying to myself:  'it'll be fine after washing'!  

You know that's true!  Look!  I also may have crossed over a couple (few, several) lines in the frenzy of my quilting adventure.  It does happen!

The back was a pieced wonderland!  In an effort to use up some of my Feed Sack stash, I used BIG pieces.  I still have far more than I want, but I imagine I'll use it one day. 

The binding was also piece together.  I continued the rainbow from the front into the binding.

From beginning to end, this was an enjoyable finish.  I may not be a feed sack lover any longer, but I appreciate the fabric and style.  The wonkyness of the blocks always appeals to me, they ooze carefree fun!  And the quilting, I did it!  Trying to get comfortable with free motion quilting isn't easy, practicing isn't fun.  When you finally put it on a quilt and see the finish...that is super fun and makes me feel a little proud of myself!

I hope you check back for the block tutorial in a couple days!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Paintbrush Studio ~ New Block Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2016 Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop...and welcome to my blog!

I'm going to share my block for the event, and I encourage you to check out all the other participants from yesterday, today and tomorrow!  There promises to be some amazing blocks and always a ton of creativity!

Midnight, Daydream, White, Peach, Coral, Bordeaux
Using the Ocean Sunrise Palette, Paintbrush Studio has generously provided each participant with six fat quarters for our blocks.  The rules are simple.  Create a 12 1/2" (unfinished) block using at least three of the colors provided.

I've named my block ASCEND.  To go up, rise or move toward the sky. Much like that of a bird gliding across the water.

12 1/2" x 12 1/2" Unfinished
Let's start the fun!  


4 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" Rectangles
16 - 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" Squares

6 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" Rectangles

2 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" Rectangles

2 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" Rectangles
2 - 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" Squares

2 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" Rectangles
2 - 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" Squares

Step #1:
Once you have all you pieces cut, mark a diagonal line on the 16 -  2 1/2" x 2 1/2" white squares. These will be the 'sky' to the 'geese' for the Flying Geese blocks.

Step #2: 
Following the diagram below for the Flying Geese Assembly, place one white (2 1/2" x 2 1/2") square on the corner of each blue (2 1/2" x 4 1/2") rectangle, stitch along the marked line, trim and press seams open.  Repeat on the opposite side to complete the Geese blocks.  

You will end up with six (6) Midnight Blue and two (2) Daydream Blue units.

Step #3:
Layout your pieces following the diagram below.  Stitch each row together using 1/4" scant seam.  Press seams open.
  Step #4:
Sew each row together to complete your 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" unfinished block.

Naturally I have to give some examples of how this block would look in a completed quilt, right?! Using this exact color scheme it might look something like this:

Or maybe something like these:

Now please check out these other blogs to see their block tutorials!  I know they will be amazing!!  

If you would like a chance to win a half yard bundle of Ocean Sunrise, check out Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl ~AND~ the Inspired by Fabric Blog  

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal  (that's me!)

Check out all the blocks from this three day event on my Pinterest Board!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Replenishing Some Favorites

I've been on the straight and narrow lately by not buying fabric.  It got to the point where I was overwhelming myself!  I went cold turkey!

However, there is always a need for yardage in solids.  For backing, for whatever.  In my case I needed more for a project I have been working on.  Kona Nautical is perhaps my favorite of the deep dark blues and Kona Silver is a good neutral to always have on hand.  


I ran out of Nautical which I have paired with...wait for it...Kona Highlight!  Yep!  Another Highlight project!  This project involves paper piecing, which I do love!

In the end the finished squares will be 2"!  I had an idea and decided to just run with it. What I will do with it remains to be seen.  I just keep making blocks, and trimming them up. 

Because I'm sure it will all come together eventually.  At least that's what I keep telling myself!

Because I'm not sure how it will all come together and I still have a long, long way to go...I'll share some Quilting Porn instead!

I think I have nearly 200 blocks, but I'm looking to double that in the coming weeks.  It should be enough for my idea.  If not, back to the drawing board!

Paper piecing always mesmerizes me.  Just look at that perfection!  Naturally, I'll keep you posted on my progress. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

No Slacking Allowed!

In case you all thought I have been slacking, I promise...I have not!!  

I've designed a block for Paintbrush Studio's New Block Hop (coming March 28th - 30th) and made a quilt with said block.

I'm in the process of participating in 'March Madness', also a Paintbrush Studio event.  This is going to be fun...imagine March Madness with fabric as the teams!  My kind of fun!  

I ransacked my stash, such as it is, and feel the need to throw it all in a quilt.  That I haven't done yet, but it is going to happen!  

Instead I decided to use up some Feed Sack fabric.  My tub runneth over and frankly...I'm not as into them as I once was.

I didn't make much of a dent, but it wasn't for lack of trying!  The quilt had to be a fast finish, something I could power through without much effort and time.  We all like quick finishes!

I wanted a good mix of colors, something that would all work together, and a rainbow seemed the perfect choice.  I got all my squares cut and ready.  For some reason I cut them at 5 1/2", when I maybe should have gone with the basic Charm size of 5".  Maybe next time?!

I've always liked these little prints with white, they stand out more and it makes for a nice clean design.

I pulled out the Kona white and began the quick process of strip piecing.  Really fast, really simple and in no time at all they were ready for the next step.

One good thing about wonky blocks, you don't have to have them perfect.  The plan is to give a good 'wonk' to them!

While I did pick a rainbow of color, I had no intention of making a rainbow in the design. It just happened like that.  You know how it goes when you don't have a concrete plan...things just happen.

I've decided I will make a tutorial on how to make the blocks/quilt.  My way of giving a simple square that wonky goodness!   

Do you think I should modify the pattern for charm squares?  We sometimes don't know what to do with our charm squares and it's always nice to find new way to use them up! 


Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Has Sprung!

I love Spring!  The temperature is rising, the air is fresh and everything is sprouting!  Of course that means those pesky weeds too!  I've spent the past week weeding like a mad women!  It also means the windows can be open all day long.  Good-bye stale winter air...spring is here!

Spring.  It inspired me to make some thing springy.  Light, airy and fresh.  Too bad it didn't work out! Or did it?!

Have you ever began something with great confidence only to realize too late that you messed up?  Maybe you back tracked and fixed it, or maybe you didn't.  Maybe you thought it won't make that much of a difference (or will it?), so you decided to power through and hope for the best.

That would be me!  I needed to make a gift, something I have made a couple times before and really didn't think it would be such an ordeal!

Hazel the Hedgehog.  Oh Hazel.  With Spring on the mind I carefully picked fabrics that were light, airy and fresh.  I began feeling very confident, after all I've made Hazel a few times, and I was sure I had it in the bag even before I started.

I was careful.  I knew there was one step that always tripped me up, but I aced it!  I made it through without a hitch.

But my cockiness was short lived.  I screwed up!  What the heck was I thinking?  I missed one step, but had sewn and trimmed before I realized it.  At this point I was at a cross roads. The right thing would be rip it out, re-cut and start over.  The right thing.  

I may take a little heat for this, but I totally didn't do the right thing.  Rationalizing, I decided to move on and hope it would all come together and look fine.  

What did I do?  Where was the mistake?  Look at Springy Hazel and now look at my previous Hazels...

See the dark strip between the ears?  I forgot to add it.  I missed that step.  I was betting it wouldn't make that much of a difference.  That after adding the glasses, it would be fine.  

I'll let you be the judge of that!  In my mind, she still turned out to be a winner, a keeper.  

I know most everyone would take the time and make it right.  I should have.  But plain and simply...I did not.  

After adding the glasses, and they did help, I finished her up with the usual straight line quilting. Naturally highlighting her highlight!  

The question is:  Was I wrong or was I right?  Is it okay or is it not?  I don't know that there is always a right or wrong way.  How many times have you modified a pattern to make it easier or different?  I feel like I should have gone the extra mile and fixed the mistake.  Then again, she doesn't look bad either!  


Monday, March 14, 2016

Second Try, Nearly Perfect

Determination.  I knew I would have to give this design at least one more try.  This was my first try:  Playing With Highlights.  The second time was nearly perfect, but there is room for improvement.

With the last stack of Peppered Cottons, fresh templates, hot iron and my glue bottle, it was time to give it another go.

28" x 37"
I may have run out of the main colors, or was it planned that the side pieces are a different color?  Okay, I didn't have enough so I had to improvise!  It's a test, right?

The quilting is very similar to the first piece, except I didn't go quite as dense with this one.  I used Pink, Purple and Grey thread and as always, it makes for some 'pretty' on the back!

The back is Moda Black Cross Weave.  It was the perfect size.  I'm surprised at how slippery this fabric is.  I ended up spray basting (and I never, ever do that) because I thought it would stay in place better.  It did and it didn't.  I think I should have used more spray!

With every design, there is a learning curve.  A slight change here, a little adjustment there. It may work, it may not.  I'll keep trying, plugging away.  You never know, I may get lucky or it might even turn into something completely different!

For now it can be put on the back burner.  I'm itching to jump into some Improv!!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Quick Project ~ Pixie Basket

Are you looking for an easy and fast project?  Every once in a while we like to have a little distraction.  Something to give us a kick in the pants, jump start our day or get us out of a slump.  I believe I found the perfect solution!

Pixie Basket
2" x 3" x 4 1/2"
I first saw this the Pixie Basket on Debbie's blog: A Quilter's Table.  It looked adorable and promised to be simple to make.  With it filed away in my mind...I was waiting for the right time to pounce!

The pattern/tutorial is available here:  Pixie Basket Tutorial , courtesy of Fabric Mutt!  

It came this morning!  I was in the mood for something quick, easy and functional is always nice too!  Viola!! The Pixie Basket hit all three of my criteria.

Maybe the hardest part is picking the fabric. I had to go with Anna Maria Horner 'Echinacea'! This is going to be my new thread catcher, it had to be gorgeous!

From the second I started the first stitch, this basket took 30 minutes!  Yep!  You might be able to finish it quicker depending on your skill, not so much!

I forgot that the majority of the print would be lost on the bottom!  But it's a gorgeous color none-the-less!

It turned out really cute! should go and make one for yourself!  30 minutes!  Think of it as a warm up, muscle stretching start to your quilting for the day!

We all love a quick project!  What is your go to quick and easy project?


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Did You Know This?

It's always nice to learn something new, right?  Sometimes it's the little things that surprise us the most!

I think many of us are big Aurifil fans.  That's pretty evident on a daily basis.

Yesterday, I discovered something I never knew about Aurifil!  And please, tell me I'm not the only one who didn't know this!  I follow Aurifil on Instagram and saw this post:

The bottom of the spool comes off!  A simple twist and viola! it's off!  The question is why? One person said they put the bottom on the other end because it works better in her machine.  Alex Veronelli said that that's where the beginning of the spool is.  

Interesting, don't you think?  I may be a complete dork, but I find it interesting!  And then I thought...

You know when you store your thread and the end comes undone creating a big mess? Or your off on retreat or sew-a-longs, toss some thread in your sewing kit and it unravels?  Now you can avoid that!  Pop the end off, place the end underneath the spool and screw the bottom back on. 

No more mess!  I'm beside myself with this new discovery!  I'm a dork, it doesn't take much to excite me these days!  

I know I'm not the only one who didn't know...come on...who grabbed a spool and popped the top off?!