Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City of Angels

So a couple of weekends ago, I went down to LA to watch the World Baseball Classic. It was a fantastic experience. It was AMAZING how spirited the fans were! We were rooting for Japan, and they won! Chris caught a baseball. We were sitting in the South Korea section (by accident), and we had made posters, but since we were so outnumbered we didn't use them. Thank goodness, because those posters prevented the baseball from rolling out of our aisle!
We stayed at my cousin's house in Santa Monica, and when I wasn't at a baseball game, we were eating or looking for fabric shops. Here is my loot for the weekend...
Fabrics from F&S Fabrics in Los Angeles
From F&S Fabrics, I got some yardage of bamboo knits for shirts and dresses, scraps (25 cents a piece) for Dear Jane, another bobbin saver for my featherweight, and some rickrack to make some napkins.
Loot from Sewing Arts Center in Santa Monica
From the Sewing Arts Center in Santa Monica (GREAT store), I got some fabrics for my Dear Jane, and transfer paper so I can make those ornaments I never finished last year...
And best of all, I got to raid my cousin's scrap pile! I see more Dear Jane blocks! Thanks Cousin!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mmmm... ninepatches...

Chaletgirl Blockswap Round #1
Here are my first set of nine patches for Chaletgirl's Block Swap. It was fun to try to match fabric from my stash to these. Hope they like them!! They seem huge after the Dear Jane blocks, 9.5 x 9.5 unfinished.

More photos of blocks (separated by owners) here.

A-9 Cabin Fever

A-9 Cabin Fever
This block has a ton of little pieces! It was pretty fun to make though. I like log cabins (the quilt block, I don't think I've ever stayed in a real log cabin), but they take so long to make. As a HUGE fan of chain piecing, log cabins just seem so inefficient! I do like the final result though, and this block really did turn out well.

The fabric is from my cousin's stash, and is Alexander Henry's Country Road Check in blue. It worked out really well for this block. The block was freezer paper pieced.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dear Jane Progress - 101 Blocks!

Dear Baby Jane - 101 blocks
I am all caught up with the quilt along!

I guess all my frantic sewing the past 2 months have paid off. Now what am I going to do with all my free time?

TR-8 Brigadoon

TR-8 Brigadoon
This block was humbling. I thought I was getting the hang of hand applique, and then this block comes along. The points were so difficult! It actually doesn't look too bad when looking at the photo of it, but it was tough. I feel like the fabric will start fraying at the points, but oh well. It's done! :)

The fabric is from the Sonnet Collection by Moda, used for my Half Moon Bay quilt. Most of the block was hand reverse appliqued, and the very top piece was machine pieced on.


G-5 Poof

G-5 Poof
Whew this block is cutting it close. You can't tell because I crop the photo to the finished size, but there is VERY little seam allowance on this one. It's because I made it from a charm square (of Anna Maria Horner's fabulous Small Gathering in Citrus from her Good Folks line). I have at least 1/8 inch on each edge, so it should be ok. I will probably be using Oh Fransson's trick of ironing freezer paper onto the block so I have a 5 inch square when I am sewing the blocks together.

This block does make me smile though. It reminds me of cotton balls, and really, how can you look at that fabric and not smile?


H-12 Hannah Lou's Hearts

H-12 Hannah Lou's Hearts
This block was fun. It was made using hand applique with freezer paper on top. The fabric was bought as a fat quarter from the Granary, but no idea what is is. It is cute though!

This block was made as part of my trip down to LA to watch the World Baseball Classic. SO much fun. I cannot believe how crazy excited fans from South Korea were. Japanese fans were excited too, but not as well organized. In the end, Japan retained their Championship status from 2006. I guess we'll see where USA ends up in 3 years!


I-4 Stability

I-4 Stability
Another favorite block. I think I liked blocks that have curved piecing and regular straight piecing together. This block was made with the center piece hand appliqued with freezer paper on top and the outside pieces freezer paper pieced. The fabric is a fat quarter from the Granary, another colorway of the fabric used in Brandon's Star.

I have been taking yoga on and off for a couple years now, and I have the most trouble with balance poses. Especially that tree one on one leg. I am definitely not stable. Maybe this block is something that I should be imagining when I'm practicing yoga. A nice wide balance between yellow and white, curved and straight.


Monday, March 23, 2009

A-10 Which Points West

A-10 Which Points West
I think this is one of my favorite blocks. And I definitely couldn't have done it without the tutorial that Anina made. The block was made with careful machine piecing and a lot of turning to one side or another with set in seams and applique. Whew! No wonder I did a couple steps and then put it aside for a month.... The fabric is from Heather Ross' Mendocino line.

I love the title of this block because Chris has no sense of direction whatsoever. Good thing we got a GPS. I LOVE it. It's really handy for when you're in a strange place and you get a little peckish. The best part is when it has trouble with pronouncing names. Dairy seems to be especially hard.


G-1 Hattie's Hen House

G-1 Hattie's Hen House
The title of the block reminds me of Hawaii. Must be all those Hilo Hattie's everywhere. It's funny to imagine that Hattie has a hen house somewhere too. Must be a lot of chickens!

This block was made with Amy Butler's Pressed Flowers in Turquoise from her Daisy Chain line. The block was machine pieced and freezer paper on top appliqued.


F-6 Deanie's Daisies

F-6 Deanie's Daisies
I was terrified of this block because of the TINY applique in the center. While still not perfect, at least it's done! I used freezer paper on top for the applique and freezer paper piecing for the rest of the block. The fabric was a charm square of Anna Maria Horner's Filigree in Dust from her Good Folks line.

Daisies have always made me happy. In fact, all through high school Gerbera (aka African) Daisies were my favorite flower.


Friday, March 20, 2009

D-11 Snow Crystal

D-11 Snow Crystal
Mmm. Snow. Living in California, I don't see snow unless I actively go to find it. I usually find it too cold, but there really is something magical about those snowflakes. One of my favorite activities when I was younger was to make those paper snowflakes. None of them were as simple and classic looking as this one. They usually had hearts and happy faces and other random stuff.

This block was made by freezer paper piecing (with set in seams!) and hand applique. The fabric is Alexander Henry's Hollywood in Turquoise. It's very art deco, and it was fun to fussy cut it for this block.


L-4 St. George's Cross

L-4 St. George's Cross This block is one of those blocks that I noticed when I first started making the quilt. How was I supposed to do it? It seemed like a simple nine patch, but with those extra white lines... I was at a loss. Thanks to the quilt-along though, it is now simple again. I cannot imagine making these blocks without paper piecing (even though it is still not that accurate) and I am amazed by how many skills I have learned so far in making this quilt.

The fabric is what I am using for my nine-patch swap, Anna Maria Horner's Fortune in Sea, from her Good Folks line. It is paper pieced.

78-15-0- 1752

Thursday, March 19, 2009

M-8 Enchanted Square

M-8 Enchanted Square
When I was younger, I loved math puzzles and "magic squares" where you had to put the right numbers in the right places. I find it funny that I'm not really a fan of Sudoku. This block reminded me of those math problems. How many squares to you see in this picture? Something about it being enchanted really makes me happy.

The fabric is from my Half Moon Bay quilt, which was made out of Sonnet by April Cornell for Moda. This particular one was something like orange polka dots, but I see it more of a salmon color. I used it as the binding on my quilt. Block was freezer paper pieced, and I am thrilled with the results.


I-3 Family Album

I-3 Family Album
I really really really like how this block turned out. I feel like it's looking out a window onto some beautiful scenery. It's just so calming. And it's fitting that it's a paint by numbers fabric, because I feel like it's like a beach or something I would watercolor.

The fabric is from Jacquie via the Common Threads Quilting Bee. She sent this fabric (Day Dream in sky from Erin Michael's Lush line for Moda) as part of the fabric we were to make her blocks out of. I had this piece left over, and loved it so much that I kept it to use for a Dear Jane block. Thanks Jacquie! The block is freezer paper pieced.

Edit: Updated 3/23 because I realized that the borders are supposed to be the main fabric, not white! I still love it!


BR-13 Argyle

BR-13 Argyle
I loooooove argyle. Chris thinks it's a bit weird. I love it in brown, so I chose this brown fabric. It's from Heather Ross' Mendocino line again. I remember in college, we were playing trivia pursuit, and my roommate had gotten to the point where her game piece had pink and brown wedges in it. I definitely remember the my roommate saying something like "Pink and Brown go so well together. It's the best color combination." Well looks like she's right. Add a little orange, a few octopi and seahorses and you've got something pretty fabulous!

This triangle was freezer paper pieced and I am pleasantly surprised at the points.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

H-10 Ben's Bowtie

H-10 Ben's Bowtie
So this past weekend, Chris' little sister had her Presentation for NCL. It was a bit like a debutante ball when the young ladies are presented to society. Chris' dad had to wear a tux, and he mentioned that that it was only his third time ever wearing a tux. He had a normal black bowtie, but imagine if he had one made out of this red fabric!

The fabric is Alexander Henry's Sunny Side. I loved this fabric when I saw it going around the blog world and was SO excited to see it at Joann's. I still love it. It looks better when you see the whole print. The block was machine pieced and freezer paper pieced.


F-13 Tour de France

F-13 Tour de France
When I hear "Tour de France", I immediately think of the bike race. But literally translated, it means Tour of France. I really enjoyed Paris when I visited. I won't say France, because I am sure that other parts of the country are very different from the capital city, but still, Paris was amazing. The Eiffel tower was as wonderful as I had imagined. The food was fantastic. And I don't think the people were rude either. It was amazing to just walk around the city and museums and take in all the culture. I think my favorite part of that city was going to Centre Pompidou and seeing the paintings by Vassily Kandinsky. He became my favorite painter during my college years and I even had a poster of one of his paintings in my room.

This block was made from a charm square of Anna Maria Horner's Polka Line in Raspberry from her Garden Party line. I used the freezer paper on the inside method for this block.


Monday, March 16, 2009

D-7 Meeting Place

D-7 Meeting Place
Alright, so this block was a nice easy one, freezer paper pieced. The fabric is Alexander Henry's Bird Seed in aqua. There's a bit too much white in the pattern for this block, but I like how it lines up on the bottom right corner.

I do like birds in fabrics. Most animals actually. For some reason I'm not really a fan of butterfly motifs, although I do like real ones. We went to visit a butterfly garden in Penang, and it was amazing. Huge butterflies everywhere! At one point, one landed on the back of someone we were traveling with, and surprisingly, it stayed there for about 2 minutes.


Friday, March 13, 2009

E-3 Paddle Wheels

E-3 Paddle Wheels
Hurray! I love this block. I used one charm square of Anna Maria Horner's Festival in Dusk from her Good Folks line. I love the turquoise and the gray together. Something about her fabric is just so bright and happy. I think it's because it reminds me of the song Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn and John. It's the song with the whistling. What a good song.

Anyway, this block was machine pieced. A nice change from all the freezer paper piecing.


K-1 Crooked Creek

K-1 Crooked Creek
Every year my family goes to Yosemite for the fourth of July, and when I was little, I remember spending all of my time playing in the Merced River that runs through some of the campsites. I remember rafting down the river. It's a different experience now, but when I was growing up California was going through a drought, so the river was pretty low. I remember places in the river where there were rocks everywhere... this block reminded me a bit of that.

The fabric is Amy Butler's Daisy Bouquet in turquoise from her Daisy Chain line. The block was freezer paper pieced.

G-3 Four Leaf Clover

G-3 Four Leaf Clover
Ah, another jury duty block. I chose this fabric because the background pattern in the fabric echoed the applique, but the pattern was so big it was hard to see. The fabric is Giant Octopi in orange from Heather Ross' Mendocino collection. I did the freezer paper on top method to applique the pieces down.

I recently bought some applique needles, and they make a huge difference. When I use bigger size needles I can definitely feel my fingers working more. My current favorite needles are the John James straw needles in size 11. I like my needles long, and I like to buy a lot of them because I tend to lose them.


Quilting Bee Updates

I made another block for the Bee Inspired Quilting Bee. This one is for Dianah, who is making a quilt of vacation homes. This one was different from the rest of the blocks I've made because she supplied us with a pattern and the fabric. I think the houses will be cute together. She sent me a striped brown fabric and a leafy fabric, so I imagine this vacation home is a log cabin with a thatched roof.
Dianah's Tropical Log Cabin
Also, I am going to be sending out my fabric for Chaletgirl's Block Swap today. This is the nine patch swap that I mentioned before. I am using Anna Maria Horner's Fortune in Sea, from her Good Folks line. There is something that I really like about this line of fabric. I think it will make interesting nine-patches, as it is a pretty large print.
Anna Maria Horner Good Folks Fortune in Sea
I am so excited for these swaps! Hurray!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Common Threads: My Month!!

Common Threads Fabrics
I'm early, but I'm so excited that it's my month for Common Threads! I put up my specifications here, which are pretty much anything goes. I mailed out my packages last Friday since this week is abnormally busy for me and I wanted everyone to get their packages by the 15th.

Funny story though, when I was in line at the post office, one of the ladies in line asked if I was sending out college applications. And then the post office man asked if I was an ebay seller. They were both a little incredulous that I was sending fabric to friends I met online.

Monday, March 9, 2009

H-7 Bennington Star

H-7 Bennington Star
I decided to make this block with stripes after seeing another block, and it turned out great! I didn't realize how much more brain power you need to make sure you are aligning the stripes correctly. I think the effect is worth it.

The fabric is from the shop hop of 2008. I bought the fabric from the Hand Maden, a cute shop in Pacific Grove. I bought a half yard, and neither end said who make the fabric. Freezer paper pieced, for more accuracy. I just realized that those points didn't match up quite right. Oh well, it's finished. A bit wonky.


K-10 Quandry

K-10 Quandry
I didn't like this block so much when I saw Jane's, but I think sewing it made me appreciate the pattern more. It really did look like a quandry to me. Why did she make this block? Did she purposefully spell it "quandry" instead of quandary? In any case it was fun to make.

The fabric was another fat quarter from my local quilt shop, the Granary. Once again I did not get a selvedge edge. It is cute though.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

L-1 Widow's Pane

L-1 Widow's Pane
Another nice and easy freezer paper pieced block. The fabric is from the Granary, and it's Bunny Buds on Stems in the green colorway by In the Beginning Fabrics. I think it's so cute.

The neighborhood of the house where I grew up was known as the "bunny neighborhood". We used to have escaped pet bunnies running around, and it was not uncommon to see bunnies scampering across the front lawn. They were very cute, but it made it a bit difficult to go rollerblading with my Samoyed, Sunny. Whenever she saw a bunny, she would take off after it, even if I was holding the other end of the leash.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

K-13 Brandon's Star

K-13 Brandon's Star
This block was nice and easy. The nine patch in the center was strip pieced, and the rest was freezer paper pieced. The fabric is from the Granary, but unfortunately I was not lucky enough to get a selvedge edge.

I think my favorite block is a nine patch. I just signed up for a nine patch block swap that I'm very excited for. There is something so simple that I really like about the block. Or maybe I'm just lazy and I like them because they're easy to put together?


Quilting Bee Blocks

So I am now part of three quilting bees. How fun. These are nice because they get me to the sewing machine, even if I'm in a sewing rut.

Common Threads blocks:
Block #2 for Jacquie Block #1 for Jacquie
I'm super excited, next month is my month! I bought my fabric so long ago, it will be a bit of a surprise for me too.

And my bee inspired block:
Bee Inspired block for Rachel
This block was fun to make. Rachel asked for pinwheels. This block seemed huge after all those Dear Jane blocks I have been making!

Friday, March 6, 2009

M-13 Lynette's Diamond

M-13 Lynette's Diamond
This block was fun. The four quadrants were pieced by hand while I was waiting for jury duty! E-1 Aunt Exie's Phlox was also completed during jury duty. This was my first time that I was required to go to the courthouse and it was a good experience. I wasn't selected to the jury, but it was interesting anyway.

The fabric is from the Granary, and isn't a fabric that I would usually choose but I loved it anyway. I am not sure what it is, but it reminds me of Hawaii. I think it's the lush plants and the rich colors. This block is also special to me, not only because it's the last block (lower right corner), but it's the block that is closest to my name! Lynn, Lynette, close enough.


L-8 Box Kite

L-8 Box Kite
This block was easy. Freezer paper pieced. The fabric is Heather Bailey's Finery in Cream from her first line, Freshcut. I am not sure how I found her blog, but through it I found Anna Maria Horner's, and they are great inspiration. I definitely use more color now after reading their blogs.

So kites are funny. My dad taught me how to fly kites when I was younger, and I remember flying a kite in our front yard on windy days. I even entered a competition and won a 2nd place trophy for kite flying! I also remember reading Snoopy and wondering why Charlie Brown always seemed to have so much trouble flying kites...


E-1 Aunt Exie's Phlox

E-1 Aunt Exie's Phlox
So I have been dreading doing this block. Not sure why, because I have done melons before, and I have done applique. For this one, I did the freezer paper on the inside method. It was not too bad. The only thing I did incorrectly was that I marked lines with a disappearing marker, then ironed over it. Whoops! I think I set the lines. Could be worse though, at least the lines match the colors of the fabric! I will definitely be using this method again, although I think I get better points with the freezer paper on top.

Once again the fabric is from Heather Ross' Mendocino line. I bought a stack of 6 inch squares of the entire line, and they sit right in front of me, so whenever I can use one of those squares to complete a block that's what I grab.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

K-4 Thea's Turn

K-4 Thea's Turn
This block isn't quite right. There is too much white in the fabrics so you can't really see the triangles too well. It doesn't have the same feeling as Jane's original block, but it's still fun.

The fabric is Amy Butler's French Wallpaper in orange from her Belle collection. I'm pretty sure I got the fat quarter in a pack from Willow Tree Quilts, which unfortunately closed a couple years ago.


F-4 Old Windmill

F-4 Old Windmill
Ah, sometimes it's nice to do an easy block. It makes me so happy when I go to measure it and I don't have to fudge anything.

Freezer paper pieced, fabric is a fat quarter from the Granary. Not sure what it is, but I LOVE the color!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

LS-6 Suzie Q

LS-6 Suzie Q
Wow, this block was strangely difficult for me. I am happy with how it turned out, even though I left the iron on the block and burned (and yellowed) the fabric a bit. I just wasn't paying attention when making this block. Sewed pieces together incorrectly, didn't take the time to line things up properly, and the seam allowance a little bit small at some parts. Oh well.

Apparently the Suzie Q is a dance step. Also a song, a movie, a TV series, a manga character, a snack cake (!!) and a drug. And all along I just though it was a cute nickname!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seams to Me Project: Pincushion Caddy

Funny that Oiyi left a comment yesterday saying she has yet to make anything from Seams to Me, because I finished my first project from that book last night. I borrowed the book from the library just so I could make the Pincushion Caddy, but lucky for you, I also found out that this is a free pattern online!
Pincushion Caddy 1
So. This pattern was kind of fun and kind of easy. It was definitely fun picking out the fabrics, but there is a ton of hand sewing involved. Thanks to my Dear Jane quilt, hand sewing doesn't frighten me as much as it used to, so it was ok.
Pincushion Caddy 2
At one point in the pattern it tells you to sew the eight wedges together with a 3/8 inch seam. I found this too small, and had to go back and sew about half the seams to 5/8, so I would recommend just sewing with a 1/2 inch seam to start. I used Peltex 72, which is Pellon's stiffest double sided fusible. I can't find any reason why it called for double sided fusible. One sided fusible I can see, but I never fused anything to both sides of the interfacing. It was also not stiff enough, as you can see by this photo. It sort of collapsed into itself, but it doesn't really bother me because it's cute unless you look from this angle. Plus you can stuff it full of stuff and you'll never notice it.
Pincushion Caddy 3
The reason why I made this is so I can work on my hand applique Dear Jane blocks in front of the TV and have everything there with me. Oh, and also so I don't leave needles around on the table. It turned out a bit wonky, but I love it anyway.

As for the other patterns in the book, I'm a bit split. There are a few that I can see myself making, like the smock and the one of everything bag, oh and maybe this gorgeous taxi tote, but I think for now I'll just keep it on my wish list.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Review: Weekend Sewing

What's that? Finally a book review? I received my copy of Weekend Sewing at least a week and a half ago, and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. I LOVE it.
weekend sewing
Alright, first the book itself. It is BEAUTIFUL. It is also very similar to Weekend Knitting in that all the projects can be completed in a weekend (or two), and there are cute little recipes sprinkled throughout. I love Heather Ross' writing style (love her blog), and I read the entire book, although I did not make anything from it yet. It starts out with an introduction of how she began sewing, and then goes into setting up your sewing space. I found this very helpful and this past weekend bought an ottoman in which to store my (new to me since friday!) Singer Featherweight. The end has an appendix with the terms she uses. The patterns are fabulous. The few that I skimmed seem to have clear instructions. Here are a few I intend to make:
cosmetic case
everyday dress
kimono dress
There are cute patterns for women and kids, but surprisingly, considering the current trend in a lot of books I buy, nothing for pets, although Lucy did point out the Pup Tent to me.
Pup Tent
I really do like this book. Most of the patterns in here are ones that I can see myself wearing and using. Hurray for Heather Ross!

There is another review on a blog I follow here and you can see more images from the book here. Also, Heather Ross is having a cute contest right now. You should check it out!