Friday, February 29, 2008

Baseball is back!

It is about 20 degrees out today in New England but there will be LIVE baseball on my TV tonight. The Red Sox are playing the Twins in their first spring-training game at 7:00 PM.

Their first two college exhibition games seemed to go well: 24-0 against Boston College and 15-0 against North Eastern University.

In more good news, my Dear Jane book came yesterday. About 20 days ahead of schedule. I only flipped through it and those blocks are 1. small! and 2. complicated! This is going to be a challenge.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More on quilts

I never meant for this to turn into a quilting blog. I assumed I would engage in many crafty-sewing activities and then share them here. But this is where it's headed, it appears. I am currently working on this quilt above for Sean (husband), hand piecing hexagons which will someday be something quilt-like, and participating in the Sew, Mama, Sew! quilt month. Maybe it's the weather and once spring appears I'll want to make skirts and cute handbags.

I was out of commission for so long last week that I need some time to catch up. I completely missed the last Sew, Mama, Sew! blocks. And I had planned on having many more blocks completed on Sean's quilt.

And, get this, I've now signed myself up to work on a Dear Jane quilt. (Huh? Wha??) Anina of Twiddletails is recruiting participants to sew along with her as she embarks on piecing a Dear Jane quilt. She even started a new blog for the occasion. The book to help guide me through this massive quilt should be delivered in a couple of days. And I'll be going to the fabric store this weekend to pick out some new fabric.

Sean has come to terms with his quilt being completed for NEXT winter...maybe.

And thank you to everyone who commented on my last, sickly post. I really appreciate it! I am feeling much better just still a bit tired.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm on day 4 of the flu. Fever broke but still feel lousy. Haven't been online all week. I have 271 new entries on my Bloglines...lots of blog reading catch-up to do. Here's a picture of the hexagons I worked on over last weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm Blushing

I have been tagged AGAIN! I'm very surprised and honored to be called-out by Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Thank you Jacquie!

Jacquie's blog is full of quilting inspiration. I love reading about other people's projects in development and seeing the in-process pictures as well as the final pieces.

Since I don't want to bore you all with another list about me. I thought I would skip to the tagging part. And even that I'm going to do a bit differently. I am the administrator for two Flickr groups (Denyse Schmidt Quilts and Everything Patchwork) and I'd like to show some of the really nice projects that people have been posting there:

1. quilting- coloring book_kantha, 2. emma series :: nele, 3. Vote Pillow, 4. new heart medallion by Jen Anisef, 5. Dissappearing 9 Patch Lap Sized Quilt, 6. Five, 7. cormac's quilt, 8. Early Easter project - available in my Etsy Shop, 9. Square Motion Completed, 10. Slippers from Denyse Schmidt pattern, 11. denyse schmidt oven mitt pattern, 12. eye pillows, 13. heating pad cover, 14. my take on a denyse schmidt quilt, 15. latest bib, 16. a new little pouch

And if you aren't yet a member of these groups but have patchwork or Denyse-Schmidt-inspired projects to share...join and show us your stuff!

Happy Presidents Day you Americans!

Sew, Mama, Sew! Quilting Month - Part 3

I have been staying away from log cabin blocks -- this week's theme -- because it sounded like a lot of work trying to keep track of all those different sized rectangles. But with my minimalist fabric choice for the Sew, Mama, Sew! Block Along it was a cinch. I just cut my red square and long strips of the off-white and black fabrics. I sewed the strips on to the block and then cut them to size. Easy-peasy.

I may put together a Squares-in-Squares block today or tomorrow as well.

One thing I really wish I did from the beginning...make them all twelve inches. These are nine-ish. I've had to do more quilt math than if I had just followed the directions from the start. In fact, my Disappearing Nine Patch is a smidgen smaller than the other blocks. And I had to cut down the Log Cabin Block. And now I'm thinking that once it is pieced to the boarders it might look a big odd. We'll just have to wait and see. All in all I'm liking them though.

PART 2 - Nine Patch Blocks with Triangles
PART 1 - Nine Patch Variations

Friday, February 15, 2008

IKEA, I love you

(Prices a bit hard to read here. From left to right: Fabric $7.99 per yard, Twin flat sheets $2.99 each, Fabric $2.99 per yard. All 100% cotton.)

Here's to IKEA fabric on sale and long weekends! Sean (husband) will be playing a gig this Saturday which will eat up some of my time...but in a good get-out-of-the-house way. (I'm just realistic. Sunday probably won't be a very productive day after a night spent on a pub stool.) But I hope to get to a couple more blocks of Sean's quilt. I'll have the Sew, Mama, Sew! Block-Along to work on. And, as always, will try to get more of my cross stitch alphabet done...and now my new hexagon project.

I think I like new projects the best. Their kinda like initial love. I get all excited by the lust and dream of the perfect outcome. But then it looses its thrill and just feels like work.

(But not with you, Sean. I'll love you always. You too, IKEA.)

What a post for the day after Valentine's Day, eh?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hexagons (or Why Am I Starting Yet Another Project?)

I am the proud mama of this scrap pile. It is bound for a shoe box, along with the paper hexagon cut outs, scissors, pins, and a needle and thread. This box I will carry with me from room to room (much as I have with my cross stitch alphabet project box) and it will wait for me to get off of the computer, take my eyes of the TV, or refrain from some other time-waster. It will wait patiently and, hopefully, without judgment.

Thank you to everyone who ever posted a tutorial on hexagon paper piecing or shared their work online. You all rock.

And I hope you all have a very happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Jackie from Canton Village Quilt Works tagged Sew and Sox as one of her favorite blogs. I think it has more to do with being a fellow Red Sox fan than anything else but I still do appreciate it (Thanks Jackie!). Turns out, when called out by a fellow blogger, you have to complete a short assignment. Here's my go at it...

The rules are:
1. When tagged, place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite blogs
5. Send an e-mail letting those bloggers know they have been tagged

Helen, who tagged Jackie, had a nice format that I will follow:

1. Living arrangements
I live in New Haven, CT, USA with my husband. We are planning to move as soon as we can sell our house (which is taking longer than expected. Damn that sub-prime mortgage fiasco that is freaking everyone out!) We'll be moving to my husband's home town not far from here.

2. Schooling
I have a BFA in graphic design. The extra "F" makes it sound fancy but it just means I took a few extra academic classes.

3. Favorite food/drink
Pizza. Definitely pizza. The perfect food. It is delivered to my door, tastes great with soda, beer or wine, and is even better the next day when reheated in the oven. I am also spoiled living here in New Haven, though often disputed by those with less discriminating tastes, we have the best pizza anywhere.

4. Morning or evening person?
Neither. I go to bed early and would sleep late if allowed. I can also fall asleep anywhere and at anytime, just about. In fact, pajamas are my favorite clothes and my bed is my favorite place in my house. Excuse me...zzzzzzz....

5. Since when have you been quilting?
I'm not sure. My mom may be able to help out here (Hey, Mom, leave a comment if you know). She took quilting classes when I was a kid and I know that I asked her to then teach me too. I remember working on a log cabin block that I was going to turn into a pillow. I think I started hand quilting it but I don't know what came of it after that. I certainly haven't been quilting consistently since then. I started a nine patch quilt about 5 years ago that is lost in a box somewhere...not yet fully pieced. And then this fall I made a couple of quilts for Christmas gifts.

6. Pets
We have three cats. Casey and Rauiri (pronounced roar-ee) are sisters and were adopted from the pound. They are both black and about three years old. Izzy is a calico cat that I saw walking in a cemetery near our house. She was far too young (about two months old) to be out by herself so I brought her home. She is now one and a half and, as far as I can tell, very pleased that she found a nice home with other kitties to play with and warm radiators to lay upon.

(left to right: Casey, Rauiri, Izzy)

(See that big smudge of brown on her nose? She was so dirty when I found her that I tried my darndest to wipe that off as well! Poor kitty.)

7. Vacation

We've been to Ireland twice and France once in the last three years. We'll probably stay continental for the next few years since those European vacations can get expensive. We have had some really nice trips to Boston (for a week that included two Red Sox games and a tour of the park...really fun), Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and Portland, Maine. A friend just moved to San Fransisco so hopefully we will visit her soon.

And now for the blogs I have chosen to tag, in no particular order. It was hard enough to narrow it down to seven:

1. Anina of Twittletails - because she may not have been the first one to post a tutorial on paper piecing hexagons but she posted it at the very moment I was contemplating trying it. And I love it when bloggers read my mind.

2. Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts - because she just organized an online quilt-a-long and is planning another one. And I think that is what this whole online thing is about really: leading, tutoring, encouraging, sharing, etc.

3. Mette of Erleperle - because she is making the cutest little patchwork pincushions. And the latest ones have vintage embroidery as well.

4. Peg from Ivy Arts - because she is posting on a quilt she is working on as-she-goes much like I am. It's fun to see someone else's creative process at the same time.

5. A joint tag to Jennifer of Moving Hands and Alex of Moonstitches- because they both went to the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival and posted lots of excellent pictures.

6. Melissa of Tiny Happy - because hers was one of the first craft blogs I stumbled upon. I was inspired to make this bag from her tutorial in the fall and, while I haven't finished it yet (all my fault, the tutorial is very easy to follow), I appreciate the pattern. And she takes really nice photos.

7. Ellen of The Long Thread - because she has been posting Valentines Day project ideas almost everyday so far this month and that's just really nice. (I love the heart shaped soaps. They look like candy.)

Thank you all. I'm sure I forgot someone.

(I was unable to email Ellen of The Long Thread and Peg of Ivy Arts. I'll leave comments on your blogs.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quilt Design Process 6 - First Block Completed!

I was able to get to most of what I wanted to do this weekend. (Posting goals on this blog is very helpful in that area...makes me accountable.) I finished two blocks for the Sew, Mama, Sew! Block Along and one block for Sean's (the husband) quilt.

I think it looks smashing. I'm happy with the proportions of the block even though those smaller rectangles (at only one inch wide) are a bit difficult to iron flat once pieced. I realized too that it's a bit like a Courthouse Steps block.

I get bored easily doing assembly-line type work so I thought I would start at the upper left of the quilt, cut up the fabric that's in that block, then sew together that block. And I'll continue like that until all the fabric is cut and just piecing is required to finish. So now all of the brown and orange plaid fabric is cut and ready.

I need to figure out a system for storing the cut pieces. Ziploc bags? Maybe those cheap, reusable plastic food storage containers? Clear envelopes?

Unfortunately, I'm a tad short on fabric for all of the solid colors. Not surprising since I bought the fabric without knowing the final quilt size or pattern! I may just continue with what I have for now. As I lay out the finished blocks, I'll see if I want to just buy what I'm missing or if I could incorporate a new solid color (not likely). I have a feeling I'll end up editing the quilt size as I think the finished size is going to be a bit big.

All part of the process – well, my crazy process anyway.

PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sew, Mama, Sew! Quilting Month - Part 2

Using the same fabrics from the first week's assignment, I sewed up the Ohio Star and Shoo Fly blocks for the second week of the Sew, Mama, Sew! Quilt Month Block-Along. And I gotta tell ya, I like them. All the corners came out really well. And I finally learned why you should let your sewing machine do the work and not try to push and pull the fabric into submission...bias cut fabric will stretch! Finally! I get it!

After I figured out the fabric layout of these blocks I knew that I would add a black border once all the blocks were complete. It's very strange doing individual blocks and making decisions but not yet knowing how the whole project is going to turn out since someone else is in charge. Strange but fun!

The Shoo Fly (get tutorial) and Ohio Star (get tutorial) blocks were good introductions to right triangles and quarter triangles.

PART 3 - Log Cabin Variations
PART 1 - Nine Patch Variations

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ready for the weekend

I don't get much sewing done during the week since I have a full time job and just don't have time/energy at the end of the day to do much. So, you may have noticed that my posts tend to be very project-centric at the beginning of the week and then more inspirational towards the end. I'm fine with seems like a good pattern.

So, I think I will now officially dedicate Fridays to what has been inspiring me over the week (more like 'this instant and subject to change any moment') and what I have planned to do over the weekend (Haha, we'll see on Monday's how close I get.).

First, some Flickr love:

1. Quilts, 2. Embroidery Detail of Frenchy Bag, 3. Untitled, 4. Molly's Sketchbook: New Liberty of London + Amy Butler's "Anna Tunic", 5. The Big Day Finished!, 6. Sea Glass Necklace, 7. Checkers Quilt Detail, 8. Antique log cabin quilt, 9. Green Elephants and a Ladybug

And for this weekend? I have three things in mind:
1. Start cutting the husband's quilt and sew one block together to be sure it'll work out.
2. Sew Mama, Sew block-along continues! I think I'll do the Shoo Fly AND the Ohio Star in the same fabrics as my Disappearing Nine Patch.
3. Finish up that cross stitch alphabet project. No excuse for how long that's taking me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

You call that a craft site?!

Unusual sites to help with your crafting
Beyond blogs and forums there are lots of other sites online that can inspire and inform your crafting.

For Information:

Wikipedia -
So I got all into Sashiko recently and wanted to find more information. Craft blogs are not the best for searching and Google tends to list store sites first. So I tried this online, collaborative encyclopedia and got a pretty informative article with some links to more information at other sites. Now whenever I have a question about a technique or want a little background on a craft, I go to the Wiki first.

Yahoo Answers -
I can ask or search for questions...and hopefully get answers. Nada? I'll post my own questions and other users will answer them.
(Note: Need to register to ask or answer questions. You can search and read the information without registering though.)

YouTube -
Sometimes the words in a tutorial just don't click. I need someone to show me how to do it. YouTube has lots of videos showing basic to not-so-basic techniques. Check out this short video demonstrating hand quilting.

For Inspiration and Information:

Google Image Search -
So I found out some information about Sashiko from Wikipedia but there weren't any pictures (some entries do have pictures but usually not that many) and I like to see LOTS of pictures. Google Image Search results offer only images found on web sites. My search for "Sashiko" gave me almost 10,000 results. You may end up with some random volleyball pics but you will also see some really cool new ideas. (Turns out the volleyball player's first name is Sashiko.)

Flickr -
We crafters like to show off our stuff. Flickr not only lets you post your pictures for free, you can join groups to share your photos and information with other users. When I have a craft question, I go to Flickr first to ask other users. I get lots of good information and ideas really quickly.
(Note: Need to register to post pictures or participate in the forums. You can search and view images without registering.)

For Wanted Items:

CraigsList -
Need a new sewing machine? Shelves for all that fabric? I often forget to look in the classifieds for items I need. Here I can search the biggest classified section out there.

For Organization:

Bloglines -
There are many other 'feed readers' - Google Feedfetcher, My Yahoo, Firefox Live Bookmarks, etc. I just happen to use Bloglines. I'm able to collect all my favorite blogs in one place and I'm notified when they are updated. Makes my blog addiction much more manageable.
(Note: Requires registration and an initial set up.)

What unusual sites help you out with your crafty endeavors?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mini Post: Freebie!

Happy Zombie recently posted a free pattern for the cutest little needle book!

You can get the PDF download through this link. I have been wanting to make a needle book...I'm putting this on the list of to-dos for this weekend.

(Photo from the Happy Zombie site.)

Inspiration Wire

These 'inspiration wires' I've been seeing around blogland and on Flickr are right up my alley. Simple, useful and pretty. I've seen kits for sale but that just seems silly. Just takes two nails or tacks, a length of wire, cord or ribbon, and some clothes pins. All of which can be found in most basements.

Instructions: Hammer one nail or tack into the wall. Tie the ribbon or cord to the nail (or wind some wire around the nail). Stretch out the ribbon, cord or wire to where you want the second hole to be then hammer in the second nail or tack. Tie the other end of the ribbon to the nail. Easy.

To start off my inspiration wire (or 'ribbon' in this case), I printed out pictures of my pretty kitties and some of my favorite Flickr pictures.

See the full sized pictures (from left to right):

Monday, February 4, 2008

Quilt Design Process 5 - Quilt Math

Thank you all so much for your feedback on the quilt layout. It made me so happy that so many of you responded...and so positively! (Please don't be afraid to speak up if you aren't loving something...I can take it.)

Now the quilt math begins. I'm making 10 inch blocks for a final quilt size of 60 x 70. (The layout that I was working on had 6 blocks by 8 blocks but 80 inches is just too big. Husband wants a big quilt but that's just getting silly. So the bottom row got hacked.)

I mapped out the block exactly and figured out all of the dimensions including seam allowances.

Then I made the cut list...enter the math:

All patterned fabric (each patterned fabric repeats 7 times):

  • 7 – 4.5 x 4.5 (strip: 4.5 x 31.5)
  • 14 – 5.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 77)
  • 14 – 6.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 91)

Solid Fabrics:

Brown, Tan (each of these repeat 9 times):
  • 18 – 4.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 81)
  • 18 – 5.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 99)
  • 18 – 6.5 x 2.5 (strip: 2.5 x 117)
  • 18 – 10.5 x 2.5 (strip: 2.5 x 189)

Orange, Dk. Green, Lt. Green (each of these repeat 8 times):
  • 16 – 4.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 72)
  • 16 – 5.5 x 1.0 (strip: 1.0 x 88)
  • 16 – 6.5 x 2.5 (strip: 2.5 x 104)
  • 16 – 10.5 x 2.5 (strip: 2.5 x 168)
OK, I think I am finally ready to cut into some of this fabric.

PART 6 - First Block
PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sew, Mama, Sew! Quilting Month - Part 1

I don't have a huge stash of awesome fabric but I am very happy with the selection that I made -- from said stash -- for the first Sew, Mama, Sew! Quilting Month block. The theme of the week is the Nine Patch with variations. I chose to do the Disappearing Nine Patch (get tutorial here) and just make one block. I'd like to try the Crazy Nine Patch but want to wait until I: 1. have the time to do all nine blocks like in the tutorial and 2. pick out some new fabrics (see stash issue above).

I really like how the block came out though. I also liked just working on a single block. I took my time, made sure everything was even, ironed the bee-jesus out of it...stuff I might not do as well when I have a stack of pieces I'm trying to put together.

I'm going to wait and see what the next block is before I finish this one off...I may continue to use the same fabrics and then put them together somehow at the end.

Can't wait to see what everyone else did.

PART 3 - Log Cabin Variations
PART 2 - Nine Patch Blocks with Triangles