Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday #14 Lark Quilt Top Finished

Getting back to normal is something that you don't truly appreciate until life gets turned upside down for a while- and then normal feels like the best thing ever.  For me, getting some sewing time this week was the just the thing I needed- I am so happy to have a finished quilt top, some free motion quilting in my very near future and a life that has mostly returned to it's normal paces.  This baby quilt, made from my own design that is currently being worked into a pattern, is 42" square and made from half bright white solid and half charm squares from Amy Butler's Lark collection.  It is cheerful and bright, scrappy and fun- and I have loved every single second of putting it all together.  I timed myself making this and it went together in about 6 hrs- pretty fast- and with no major hiccups.  There are a lot of seam edges to line up though, so a consistent 1/4 inch seam and some pinning is imperative.  I have also learned while sewing this top that ironing all seams open really reduce bulk and make it lay much nicer.  I don't always iron my seams open- depending on the design and how many seams come together I like to iron to the darker side when a quilt allows for it, but with this one there are just too many seams coming together for that.  I am very pleased with my quilt top and already know exactly how I want to free motion quilt it- so hopefully by Thursday I will be well on my way to that.  This is my only work in progress besides wrapping up the free motion quilting on my 1st customers quilt- I have said before- I am just not the type to have several things going at once, I am much to impatient to get things finished- but that is what happens when your favorite step is the second to last step.  I love the FMQ part so much that usually I am sewing with a major push to get to that stage, which for me is pure bliss- and once you get that far- binding goes quick too because you just want to see it all done!  I already have 2 more baby quilts designed which will be next on my list- all will be for sale in my etsy shop very soon.  Hope you all had a great week and thank you Lee for hosting Work In Progress Wednesday

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WIP WEDNESDAY #13 back in the saddle!

Well to say it has been a very long and arduous two weeks for me would be quite the understatement!  From visiting family to a week of doing taxes (UGH) I have been very sewing deprived.  As a matter of fact I just got my first opportunity to sew today- after those darned taxes got put in the mail.  C'est la vie... death and taxes can't be avoided.  It has been especially hard as I broke away from the madness last week to cut and lay out all the pieces for my newest quilt.  I have been looking at it longingly all week long.  I got to put the first block together tonight though and for that I am extremely grateful.  This quilt pattern is one I designed just after Christmas.  I did a quilt in all prints from Kate Spain's Flurry collection as my annual holiday quilt- but I felt it just didn't show off the pattern that well with all the fabrics being prints, so for this one I have chosen a bright white for half - and Amy Butler's Lark collection for the other half.  I am in love with Lark and can't wait to get more of it finished- but for now all I have is one block- it sure is pretty though!  Hope you all had a better week then I did and I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone's progress in WIP Wednesday this week.
 I am linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  WIP WEDNESDAY

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WIP Wednesday # 12 reverse applique, a new tutorial and a challenge

Wednesday has come again and I have some fun things to share from my sewing studio this week.  I spent some time last week making 4 reverse applique letter pillow covers for my Sister in Law's birthday- which is tomorrow.  I am super excited to see what she thinks of them.  They spell out HOOD because she just bought a new vacation home in Hood River OR, and I thought it would be really fun to have these on her new couch.  I thought of so many other fun things you could do with these reverse applique letters that I decided to make you all a tutorial- It isn't terribly hard, but if you have never done reverse applique then there are certainly a few tips and tricks that might help out.  My Tutorial is Here.  I also got up the gumption to try my hand at a paper pieced Circle of Geese block- thanks to Tartankiwi's gorgeous block she made.  She and I got to chatting about it and I confessed I was scared to try something so challenging, having never one paper piecing before- she challenged me to try it and promised I could do it.  I did try it, an though it wasn't easy it was very gratifying to get that lovely block done- I am very proud of it an think I will turn it into a tiny quilt wall hanging for my studio to remind me to challenge myself to conquer what scares me.  Thanks to you Juliet for encouraging me.  Here are some pics of my pillow covers and my block- I apologize for the wrinkly pillow covers- I need to iron them before wrapping them up- they have been folded for a few days now and are looking a bit crinkled!

My finished projects are the Circle of Geese Block and these HOOD pillows-
In Progess- My first customers quilt- making lots of progress but not done yet.
As Always I am linking to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday
Also my dear friend and fellow blogger Marisa is giving away one of the aprons from my etsy shop as well as a few others goodies on her blog this week- if you would like to win an apron or are interested in tons of great gluten free recipes please stop by her blog and have a look!  The Food Sensitive Foodie

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reverse Applique Letters Tutorial

Last weekend I spent my sewing time creating 4 pillow covers for my sister in law's upcoming birthday.  I typically don't go this crazy for birthdays but there are 2 special reasons why I was inspired to give this gift.  My sister in law recently closed on a lovely vacation home in Hood River OR, and she and her family have come down from Seattle to visit us for her birthday.  This present is really a combination housewarming gift and b-day gift.  My Sis in law really likes simple design, and this is a girl who truly loves letters and words in her decor- her new home is very modern and clean lined, so I backed away from my typical bright over the top style and toned it down a bit so these would look great on her sofa in her new living room.  I am really hoping she likes them.  I killed two birds with one stone and decided to create a tutorial for you all about reverse applique and how I made my letters.  This is a super fun and fairly easy technique and could be used in so many ways.  I can imagine a big quilt with the whole alphabet, or a quilt with a special quote ect- the possibilities are endless!  If you do make anything using this tutorial please shoot me an email with a pic and let me know, you just might find your creation featured on my blog!  Okay, I am doing this through pictures this time so here goes-
To begin you will need 2 contrasting fabrics, I used a solid gray and a lime green print.  You will want to have equal amounts for the blocks (if you are making pillows like I did you will want extra of the solid for the backs)  I made my pillows 16" finished, but I started out with 17" squares of each fabric- this gave me extra room to square them down to 16.5 inches and then make a 16 inch pillow (or block)
a few squares- note this is the top piece of your applique block

next you will want to find the center of your blocks and press a little crease so you can line up your letter

you will need to print out some letters from your computer unless you have large stencils.  I would recommend thick letters in a blocky simple font for this, as curves are much more complicated then straight lines

lay your letter template on top of your block making sure it is centered- I did this by folding my fabric in quarters and then pressing the center corner, then folding my letter in quarters and finger pressing the center of that, then unfolding and matching up the creases.  I weighed my letter down with some thread spools to make sure nothing shifted.

next you will want to trace around your letter carefully with a disappearing or water soluble marker

once your letter is traced you will want to carefully cut from the center of the letter leaving a half inch seam around the inside edges of the letter- do this carefully, not enough seam allowance can make your life hard later.

here is my H all cut out, notice how I trimmed down the seams on the inside corners of my letter so when I fold my seams back they won't be bulky in the corners.

now you want to clip down to the outside corners of your letter and carefully iron your seams back to the marked lines of the letter- be careful, and don't burn yourself and go slow- I would recommend turning off the steam on your iron while doing this.

Here is my H all pressed and ready to layer with the print fabric behind it- came out pretty good eh?

My next 2 letters were O's and they were definitely a bit trickier- you have the center of the O that you need to leave 1/2 inch seam allowance around the outside of and all those curves to deal with- notice how on this one I did lots of little cuts down to the seam line so the curve would fold over nicely- my cuts were all around 1/2 inch apart- ironing this is even trickier but if you go slow it comes out nice so take your time. 

here is the front of my O after turning the seams but before adding the center part of it.

this is it with the center part added

and the back side of the center part of the O- on the straight sides I didn't need to do my little clips in the seam but on the curved sides I made my clips around 1/4 inch apart as it was so much smaller and tighter area to work with- be careful when ironing and take your time and all will be fine.

Here is the O all layered with the backing print fabric- I secured this by stitching 1/8th inch seam around the gray fabric letter edge- this very close seam really ensures there won't be any fraying when washing.

Here is my H all layered and sewn down.... for the record I didn't make her a set of pillows that said HOO - I added a D to spell HOOD as she lives in Hood River!  I can imagine these bright fun HOOD pillows down her long modern couch. 

So that is it- pretty simple!  If you are handy with an iron and take your time you will find these are an easy and fun project- Just imagine doing a bride and grooms last name for a wedding gift- or a new baby's name.  Even if you don't have a sewing machine this could be accomplished with hand sewing around the letters.  Hope it inspires you and you give it a try- three cheers for reverse applique!