Feather Bed Quilt in Liberty of London’s Stile Collection

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It has been a year since I last posted here, I didn’t forget about blogging but as I was doing the groundwork for this article I think a couple things hit home for me: 1) sewing is a really solitary activity and coupled with being in a new place, it can get lonely and 2) I had to start using sewing as a way to connect with people in my area.

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I live in the Mid-west, and it is no surprise to anyone that Quilting thrives here. There’s a small group of clothing sewers but they’re small (and wonderful). I soon realized that if I wanted to meet more people I’d have to go with the flow a little bit and dabble in quilting. So I started quilting and I was unprepared for the level of joy it brought to me!

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I dove right in and and started working on Anna Maria Horner’s Feather Bed quilt pattern. When I showed the folks at my LQS (Local Quilt Shop), they were amazed at my progress, and my willingness to jump headfirst into a more complicated pattern. They were so encouraging, so helpful, and happy to share tips and tricks on how to make it as beautiful as I possibly could.

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Bit by bit, I plugged away at this quilt using a beautiful half-yard bundle of Liberty of London’s quilting/craft cottons “Stile” in the “spice” colorway (inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh). By May, I was finally able put it on a Long Arm and (with great help!) quilted it (using a computerized design, so not really much involved on my part). I finished (hand) binding it in September (watched a whole lotta Outlander!). Of everything I have made, this is the thing I am most proud of. I gifted it to my husband on our third wedding anniversary and it is happily used and loved.

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The pattern is available here on Anna Maria Horner’s Make Page. I am so grateful to Meredith of Olivia Jane Handcrafted for her efficient cutting tutorial. If you are planning on making this quilt, I highly suggest you start here. After a while I got tired of making so many feathers and enlarged my quilt to a queen size with a scrappy border. I used Robert Kaufman’s Kona Snow  Solid for the background because it is readily available everywhere (in case I ran out, which I did). For the binding I used a DS Quilts (Denyse Schmidt) print from one of her collections available at Jo-Ann’s. For the batting I used Quilter’s Dream “Dream Orient” and I’m very pleased with the drape and the warmth of it. I went with a plain white 108′ muslin for backing, there’s so much white in the background, I didn’t want any backing color or print showing through.

I pre-washed all my liberty, background and backing fabric, but not my batting. Many people warned me that reds bleed and the fabrics had quite a bit of red so I wanted to be on the safe side. I’m not sure where I stand on the pre-washing debate, I’ve serged fat eighths and pre-washed them and they shrank a little but it was a time commitment and I don’t know if I’ll do it again. I think I draw my limit at prewashing Jelly Rolls or Charm Packs.

Anyways, I think I can happily say that I’ve found some balance in terms of connecting with local area quilters through quilting and with the online sewing community through my love of apparel sewing. I’ve been sewing steadily through the year and I hope to share many more pictures of what I’ve been up to. On another note, I have a much nicer phone now and I joined Instagram, if you want to find me there I’m @BeautifullySewn.

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Thankful for a New Year!

Happy New Year! May 2014 bring out the best in all!

Here’s what I was working on as the new year approached:

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The Postage Stamp quilt! My first ever finished quilt! I didn’t use a pattern, just played around with what scraps I had and the dissapearing nine patch block (thanks to Blair over at Wise Craft) and some half square triangles (love those).  I started this in October with the intention of making it a gift. It’s not a full size quilt, more like a lap quilt. I played around with the sizing until I thought it was comfortable and chose to quilt it with simple vertical lines. Note to any beginners out there: I advise you not to make your quilting stitch length less than 3mm. Unless you are a real pro and know that you will never rip them out. Anything smaller will make you cross eyed! It has been gifted and it is loved so I’m happy. I’m working on a few more that I’ll share.

and, meet the newest members of my sewing family:

Walking Foot

A walking foot – oh I learned the HARD way that you really do need this for quilting. Um yeah, spending a week ripping out horrible quilting stitches (and then getting help from my mom to complete the task when I wanted to give up and cry) taught me never to ignore the advice of more experienced quilters. There were no instructions on how to install this ginormous presser foot but this tutorial helped tremendously.

and…

Serger

MY SERGER! Oh happy day I am in love with this machine! It’s a Janome 8002d (such a fangirl) and after watching the instructional video three times I can safely say that I know how to thread it!

Serger Threading Guide

In 2014, I want to focus more on pattern manipulation and drafting (sloper I’m looking at you), cutting and sewing on the bias, and of course more quilting and serging. I also want to continue to expand my local circle of sewing friends – I love the energy and creativity when people get together to sew and help each other. And of course, I suppose I should say something about working primarily from my fabric stash before buying new fabric but we’ll see how that goes 🙂

May 2014 bring joy and contentment to all! And so much sewing too!

Birds of a Feather

Two more completed blocks, it seems like this quilt is developing an aviary theme. There’s this paradox between letting go of the design and guiding it as I pick up scraps and join them together. I really love this process. Excerpts from two poems came to mind as I was stitching these.

Modern Log Cabin Block

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I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
        When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
    When he beats his bars and he would be free;
    It is not a carol of joy or glee,
        But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
    But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
    I know why the caged bird sings!
Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Wonky Log Cabin Block

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
Hope – Emily Dickinson

 What will I call this quilt? Do people name their quilts officially? It’s good to keep track of the things that inspire me as I put it together.

Follow your bliss
XOXO

Block Party!

Lately I’m obsessed with quilting. For over a year now I have slowly been working on my first sampler quilt using Craftsy’s 2012 Block of the Month class taught by Amy Gibson  (an AMAZING teacher!). I made The Asterisk Block and the Wonky Pound Sign Block way back in January 2012. Now I have six more blocks to share with you bringing it to a total of 8/20 blocks! In no particular order:

Sunny with a chance of Hex (not entirely finished)

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Hexagon Row Block

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String Block

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Broken Spider Web Block

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Chunky Chevron Block

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I wish I had better pictures but the phone pics will have to do for now. I have trouble keeping my bias edges straight, my balkan puzzle block is slightly distorted but I’m going to leave it as is, a memento of the learning curve.

xoxo

 

 

Quilting and Crocheting

I can’t believe my one-year blog-aversary flew by! Thank you for all the kind comments, encouragement and support that you’ve all given a newcomer like me over the past year. I came back to sewing after a somewhat trying period in my life, sharing my sewing journey with you all has been so rewarding and fulfilling and I’m so grateful. Here’s to another year of love, health and craft for all of us, for everyone.

Last week I took two classes, one in beginner crochet and one in modern patchwork. I’m not finished with either project yet but here’s what I have so far.

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It’s a cowl and I love the deep eggplant purple. It’s crochet in the round, cast on using a chain stitch and then alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet until it is about 8 inches in width. I wish I could tell you more but as I’m just a beginner I’m still picking up the lingo. I will say that having tried my hand at knitting, I think I’m more of a crochet person. It’s easier on my fingers.

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And here’s my first ever quilted — something. I guess it’s a square placemat. I love the fabric though, it’s a solid orange and an Anna Maria Horner print. Next time I go in, I’ll work on binding it (I can’t figure out why my pictures are so blurry, if you click on them they’re clearer).

Things may be quiet around here over the next few weeks as I’ll be spending some much needed time with family and friends. Be safe and I hope to see you and your projects in the new year!

The Wonky Pound Sign Block

I completed the second and final quilt block for the month of January via Craftsy’s Block of the Month Course with Amy Gibson. It’s called the “Wonky Pound Sign Block” and uses the same slashing method as the “Asterisk Block”.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

This time I used IKEA’s Cecilia print as the background fabric and the IKEA Ditte fabric as the two vertical strips. I wanted to use the bird in the middle as the focal point for this block, giving it a mod topiary theme. I also wanted to use this block to introduce more colors into my quilt so I made the horizontal strips out of my remaining cotton quilting fabric scraps from Cranston Village’s V.I.P collection. I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out even though even though some of my wonky strips don’t match up perfectly (yeah, its a really wonky block). I haven’t squared up my two blocks yet, I’m holding off on that until all my blocks are complete.

So that’s that for quilting this month (or is it…?)

On to the muslin for the Minoru jacket, wish me luck !

The Asterisk Block

I’m so excited to share my very first completed quilt block with you!

The asterisk block is the first of two quilt blocks featured for the month of January via Craftsy’s free year long course “Block of the Month” taught by Amy Gibson. Both fabrics are from IKEA and have been sitting in my stash since the summer.  The solid green is from IKEA’s “Ditte” line, and the printed one is “Cecilia”. As an absolute novice quilter I have to say that after watching the first video, I love the Craftsy teaching format because you can watch the video as many times as you want, and the patterns are provided in pdf format to download and print if you need constant reminders during cutting (I definitely did). Amy Gibson is an amazing teacher and the pace of the course is perfect (two blocks a month) and by the end of the year I hope to have a cute mod lap quilt completed.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Can you believe this block only took me two hours to complete?! I thought quilting was so much more complicated but not with blocks likes these!

That’s one new years resolution off to a good start, next up is the wonky pound sign block!