Thursday
Jul262012

Low Volume?

What the heck is THAT? 

I mean as in quilting, not as in "Turn that music down 'cause I can't hear myself think"  or "Dude, that color belongs back in the 80s".

Well, maybe you already know what low volume means. 

But apparently I've been quilting under a rock because it's been around for a while and I've been clueless.  HOWEVER, I finally got an invitation to the party from Amanda Jean & Cheryl and I am TOTALLY OFF THE HOOK STOKED about it!

In fact, I'm about to make my very first "low volume" quilt.  (Eeep!)

Never in a million years would I have thought of making a quilt with all my low volume (a.k.a. "white") scraps.  I don't know why.  It makes perfect sense ... now that my scraps are organized by color, that is. 

My whites bin is chockerblock FULL of my most favoritest prints ... TONS of whites/creams with small prints ... mostly little pink flowers.

(I know, I oughta warn you to sit down before springing that sort of earth-shattering revelation on you ... tee hee)

I'm tellin' ya ... NOTHIN' is floating my quilting boat right now like looking at all this white, pretty, floral, girly, scrappy, fabric-ribbony goodness.

It is just the.best.thing.EVER when I learn something new and super cool!

"Amanda Jean & Cheryl, YOU GUYS TOTALLY ROCK!" ... she said with the volume cranked WAY UP HIGH!

Monday
Jul232012

R.O.Y.G.B.I.V.

In case you're like me and made it to adulthood without knowing what that means (it's true ... my daughter enlightened me when she was in Grade 2) it stands for the colors of the rainbow in order.

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Purple

(Let me clarify that I DID learn the colors of the rainbow in school, just without the acronym.)

In this amazing new book by Amanda Jean and Cheryl, they recommend sorting fabric scraps by color.  

Well, smack me up side the head with that one!  LOL!  Why on earth didn't I think of that?!  (Amanda Jean, thanks for letting me share this information!)  It SEEMS so obvious to me now ...

They also suggest asking a friend to help sort unruly scrap collections. 

Well, I wasn't prepared to lose a friendship over my scraps (even my quilting friends would probably rather have a root canal than deal with that monster!)

HOWEVER, since I spent a combined 18 months pregnant and a total of 60 hours in labour, and have lost COUNTLESS hours of sleep that I will never.get.back, I figure MY DAUGHTERS OWE ME!!!  So I dumped my scrap bin into the middle of the floor, gave them 7 bins and let them go at it.  

And then I fed them water and stale bread when they were done.  ;)

But most importantly, look what I have now!

(Am I the only one who is totally disturbed that pink is not in the rainbow?)

It feels so good looking at my "organized" scraps!  I can actually see potential here. 

And inspiration.

Just like Amanda Jean & Cheryl said I would.

But this trick is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the really amazing information in their book.  They go much farther than just sorting scraps by color.  You really need to get "Sunday Morning Quilts"

Just sayin'.

Thursday
Jul192012

Sunday Morning Quilts

Hey y'all!

I wonder if you guys have seen this book yet. 

It came out a few months ago and - as with any good quilt book I buy - I've been studying it ... a LOT.

It's more than just a pretty book with great modern quilt designs (which isn't why I bought it, 'cause I'm not much of a "modern" quilter, per se.) 

I'd consider it a mandatory textbook for all quilters on how to manage fabric scraps (which is EXACTLY why I bought it!)  And when I say manage, I mean everything from acquiring to classifying to storing to using.  It's the A-Z encyclopedia for fabric scrapology.  I kid you not.

See, I have a serious problem with my scraps.  Don't know what to do with them ... can't bear to part with them.  And if you're a quilter like me who hasn't yet figured out how to cope with scraps, then you know what I'm talking about.

Exhibit A

I've already started using some of the things I learned from Amanda Jean & Cheryl (the brilliant authors of the book) and let me tell you ... I've finally found a cure for what has been my nightmare of a fabric scrap bin these past 25 years. 

Seriously. 

Stay tuned.  ;)

Monday
Jul162012

Farmer's Wife Quilt - The Big Assembly

I wouldn't be surprised if you thought I was ignoring my FW quilt because you know how OCD I am with block placement and all my silly rules about colors and prints etc. not touching and all that.  Some of you even (rightfully) poked fun at me and how hard a time I was going to have with the layout process of my 98 blocks.  Remember the nightmare I had with only 12 blocks?!  LOL!

Lucky for me I still have a few brain cells that operate on common sense and they made me realize it was totally, utterly and completely IMPOSSIBLE for me to lay out this quilt AND follow all my rules ... AND keep my sanity.

So.

I let all my silliness go ... (ok, maybe just most of it ...)

I really only made sure that:

  • the reds were evenly distributed (100% successful)
  • the blocks - which I sorted into "lights" and "darks" - weren't clumped anywhere (mostly successful ... found a few problems after the top was put together ... I just practice taking deep breaths when I notice them)
  • and of course I tried to avoid any obvious color/print touching (much leniency was required in this regard)

So now let me show you how it all came together. 

It's not often a quilt looks as good or better in real life than it did in my mind when I started.  It's always still a bit of a surprise to me.  Sometimes I'm close, others are total disappointments.

But never mind.  My Farmer's Wife quilt is an unmitigated success.  For me.

Remember my pink sashing disappointment ...

because I was trying to make my quilt look like this ... ?

Well, I officially forgive that pink fabric for not cooperating because I gotta say, I'm THRILLED with how the white turned out.  I especially love how the white background blocks "float". 

The red.  Ok.  I'm not much of a red girl ... unless it's for Christmas or Valentine's Day.

However, from the very start - before I even made my first block - I pictured this quilt with red ... sparkle ... you know?  I didn't want any bold or heavy redness so I carefully used it just as little bits here and there.

For the few red (& white) only blocks I used prints that weren't dark, but had lots of white or other colors in it, like these.

(There's a reason why this block is going on the back ... )

And the red posts?  They finish at a mere 3/4" and seem to hold everything together.

When I stand back and squint my eyes to look at this quilt, I'm fascinated by the pretty, "random" geometric pattern created by the red punctuations.  (I overexposed this photo to help you see what I mean.)

Oh, and one more thing about the posts.  I wasn't wild with the finish in the book and how the outside posts were cut in half. 

That would have driven me banana nuts crazy.  So I made mine full squares.

And I am so pleased with how the light blue side-setting triangles frame the blocks without being too .. chunky.  Subtle, but effective to my eye.

Also the book only has one large border.  I wanted something a little different.  So I added an inner border the same fabric & width as my sashing.

And then I went with this happy blue dot - mostly because I have limited "Flower Sugar" yardage in my stash. 

But I wonder if I had a choice of every print in my quilt that I would have picked this one anyways.  It's perfect.  Grounding, happy, love the personality of the dots ... it's strong enough to hold up as a frame, but not too busy as to take the focus away from the intricate piecing in the blocks.

No, it's not pink. 

And no, I don't care. ;)

For width, the outer border finishes the same width as a block (4 1/2").  It always seems logical to me to repeat a dominant measurement from the body of a quilt for the border. 

I'm also going to bind it with the same border fabric.  I was originally planning either red or scrappy, but now I think both those options would be too much.  I'm just gonna keep it simple.

Now.  I'm still not sure about these blocks being stuck in the bottom corners.

I don't know why, but I assumed the signature should go in the bottom right corner .... you know ... like where you sign a letter.  That is until someone suggested placing it in the middle.  Oh that would be so nice!

And I'm not happy with the other horizontal striped blocks so symmetrically placed.  Looks ... predicable?  And maybe boring.  Not sure what I mean.  So I'm thinking about moving at least one of them. 

But I haven't yet.  Cause doing stuff like that makes me cranky. 

Sigh.

I should probably just do it.  I think I'll be unhappy if I don't.

Oh WHO AM I KIDDING?!! They are staying put.  The end. ;)

And a quick mention about this "Flock of Birds" block ... I set it so the birds are flying east ...

... 'cause remember my crazy birding sister?  She lives east of us.  So the birds are flying in her direction.

But now to the quilting decision.  I have a habit of cheaping out on things sometimes - either with the border, or the backing ... or in this case, the top-stitching.  And then I live to regret it.

I can do it myself with a cross-hatch - classic, acceptible ... but not necessarily the best option for taking this quilt to the next level of amazing, right?

I could free-motion quilt it, but my FMQ repertoire is limited at best and totally inappropriate for this quilt at worst.

So lucky for my I've let my BFF talk me into having it longarmed ... so now I'm saving my pennies.

Friday
Jul132012

"With Fabric & Thread" Marigolds and Jam Placemats II

So I started out with this ...

and these ...

and turned them into these.

What do you think?  (They've already been laundered ... hence the wrinkled/puckered appearance.)

And they're even reversible! 

I forgot to pick fabrics for the "back" but I lucked out with these stripes that came from the same collection as the gingham.

You know, this pattern is a great introduction to scallops if you've never tried them before. 

But you want to know the best thing about these pretty placemats?

They're gonna make my cooking taste better ... and my cooking could use all the help it can get!

Speaking of which, where are the takeout menus?  Mama deserves a break after all that sewing!  LOL!

Or should that read:  The family deserves a break from my cooking?

However you want to spin it ... works out for me. :)

Wednesday
Jul112012

A Love Letter of Sorts

Joanna Figueroa wrote a curious thing in her book, "With Fabric & Thread". 

In the Introduction, she wonders who will read her book and what things people will make from her patterns.  I want Joanna to know that among what will surely be thousands of creations inspired from her book there is a very special, very pink quilt that was made by one kindred spirit for another - by one quilter for another - by one mother for another - as an expression of warmth, hope and above all, love.

                              *               *               *             

Sigh.

Somewhere between me planning this quilt and me finishing it I received some scary news.  A very dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I've known too many women now who've faced this disease, but she is the first who is my age (younger, in fact).  I met her 7 years ago when our oldest children were in the same pre-school class.  But we didn't really connect then. 

No, it took another full year later when our little ones were again in the same class.  Quilting came up in a conversation we became fast friends.

After a while she started saying things to me like, "You HAVE to start a blog", "You HAVE to write your own patterns and sell them online" and other such silly nonsense I didn't understand.  I'd never heard of a blog.  I didn't know I could do anything online except buy stuff on eBay!  LOL!  I was totally clueless.

And as I'm apt to do if I don't understand something, I filed her words in a drawer in the back of my mind under "Sweet Encouragement That Makes No Sense".

And then she moved away.  Four years ago last week, in fact.  It was sad and painful for my soul.  We kept in touch, a little.

(Note:  I purposefully chose dotted prints for the backing.  I wanted this quilt to feel very happy and I can't think of a happier print in the world than dots.  And these polka dot/roses are most especially awesome for this quilt)

But then she did something that changed my life.  No exaggeration.  In fact, if it weren't for B, you and I would have probably never met.  One day, quite out of the blue in January 2010, she sent me a book - Tara Frey's "Blogging for Bliss".

I shamefully admit now that when I first read the title I kinda felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening what was sure to be an amazing gift from Santa, only to be majorly disappointed by a pair of really ugly socks.  I remember wondering why on earth she'd sent me THIS book!  I don't know anything about this stuff ... I'm not even INTERESTED!  I really thought she knew me better.  I wished it had been a pretty quilting book or something like that.  ("B, I know you're reading this ... tee hee!")

So I set it aside and forgot about it.  Until many weeks later when my husband needed to be in the hospital for a few hours of testing (he's fine).  I didn't want to pay for hospital parking, 'cause that's like at least a few FQs worth of change, but there's a Tim Horton's coffee shop across the street where I could park for free (less the cost of a cup of tea and a donut).  I will never know why, exactly, but on my way out the door I grabbed that book and stuck it in my purse.

I was only a few pages into the book when doors started opening and lights started turning on to rooms in my mind I didn't know were there.  NOW I get what B was trying to tell me!  OMG I TOTALLY GET IT!!!  THIS is what I want to do!  I got really excited.  Turns out she knew me better than I knew myself.

And now she needs a whole lot of love & support.  I wish so badly I could be there to give her a hug and fix her a cup of tea and take her mind off things with idle chit chat about quilting and stitching and kids and stuff like we used to.  But I can't.  What I can do is send her my love the best way I know how.  With my sewing.  Funny how the universe made me make this pretty pink quilt ... that I KNOW she LOVES ... at this very exact moment in time.

I started this quilt for the pure joy of making things.  And I finished it with the pure joy I have for my friendship with her.

I don't know what B will do with this quilt.  I imagine she might snuggle under it while watching tv.  Or nap with it when she's exhausted.  Maybe wipe her tears on it when she's having a really down moment.  Or barf on it while enduring chemo.  Or hang it on the back of a chair or sofa as decoration.  Or maybe even let her daughters play tea party on it. 

It doesn't matter to me. 

The only thing that matters is whenever she sees this quilt she will remember I love her and think the world of her and I'm sending her my very best thoughts and prayers ... always.

Love you B! xo

Monday
Jul092012

"With Fabric & Thread" Marigolds and Jam Placemats

Today's Show-And-Tell is again brought to you by "With Fabric & Thread" by Joanna Figueroa.

This project is from the "Dual Projects" section of the book, meaning it combines both sewing & quilting techniques.

Ok.  Can I just take a second to say "Wow!"?  These placemats are fabulous. 

Oversized, scalloped edged, quilted, REVERSIBLE, great for featuring pretty fabrics ... just the kind of placemat that would make me drool if I saw it in the store (and then not buy because they'd cost a fortune!).

As is often the case with me, the hardest part was picking fabric for my placemats. 

Let me qualify that by saying ONE of the fabrics - by Susan Branch (love her) - was a sure thing ...

I mean COME ON!  If you had like 10 yds of this stuff in your stash, and it was 5 years old, and you had a reason to make placemats, and you DIDN'T use this fabric ... well, I'd be calling the quilting police to have you arrested for the crime of wasting an opportunity to use appropriately themed fabric. ;)

It was the coordinating print that gave me trouble.  (Not enough yardage of this, that color doesn't work, not ready to part with that one yet ... )

Then I noticed these diagonal checks from Rosalie Quinlan's "Folkheart" line ... FOUR of them!

Since I have a family of 4, I think these colors will make for a very happy summer tablesetting.

And now can we please have a moment of silence to acknowledge the total awesomeness of these color matches?

...   ...   ...

Thank you.

Thursday
Jul052012

How This Quilter Mends Pants

Ok.  I hate mending.  Seriously.  I would rather make something from scratch than mend.  Even hemming pants or reattaching a button ... yuckeroni.

HOWEVER.

If I can figure out how to turn a mending chore into some semblance of a quilting task ... well ... THAT is something altogether different.

This is a pair of my daughter's leggings with not one, but two holes.  (She's an overachiever in this department.)

Not expensive.  And she'll probably outgrow them next week.

But never mind.  I've got an idea.

                         *               *               *               *

I drew a few hearts on my computer, printed them out, traced them onto fusible web, made fusible patches from pretty coordinating fabric (Lecien's Flower Sugar) & found matching thread. 

Then I spent all of about 10 minutes at my sewing machine.

Tada!

Only the top and bottom hearts are covering holes.  But they're so far apart I thought it would look better with a few connecting elements. 

I don't think anyone would ever guess this was a patch job! 

AND she really likes them.  Bonus!

Wednesday
Jul042012

Daisychain Sampler "Z"

Or rather "ZED" as we call it here in Canada ... to much irritation of some foreigners. ;)

Is it just me or is it kinda sad that my Sampler is done?

Well, I guess now I'm faced with deciding on how to finish it.

I know for sure it'll be a wall hanging of some sort.

But do I just stick it in a store-bought frame?

Or do I do some sort of patchwork frame around it?

'Cause remember, I based all my floss colors on these fabrics ...

and these ...

So, I've got a lot to work with.

Any suggestions?

Find original pattern here.

Tuesday
Jul032012

Daisychain Sampler "Y"

Find original pattern here.

This letter makes me smile.

Wanna know "Y"? 

(LOL!  Ah geez, sometimes I just crack myself up ... !)

It reminds me of Laura Ingalls from "Little House on the Prairie".  Laura had long brown braids.

I remember a scene from one of the books where Ma was in a hurry getting Laura and Mary ready for church and accidentally tied Laura's pink ribbons onto Mary's braids and Mary's blue ribbons onto Laura's. 

Laura noticed the mistake right away, but didn't say anything because she was so happy that she got to wear something different.  She stared at them all thru Mass.

I have absolutely NO idea WHY I remember that from some 35 years ago ... but I do.  And it makes me smile.

See?  Totally looks like braids.  That chain stitch is amazing ... one of the coolest stitches I know.

Monday
Jul022012

Daisychain Sampler "X"

Find original pattern here.

Ok you guys, here we go.  For all of you who've been waiting for me and gently nagging me ... I'm finishing the Sampler this week!  Cross my heart. 

Get it?  Cross?  X? ... ;)

X marks the spot.

The third last spot to be specific.

Slight modification again due to my smaller scale ...

only did 3 rows around instead of 4.

If I'd added the 4th row the letter wouldn't be hollow.  I kinda like the hollow.  Plus omitting the 4th row = less stitching. ;)

I only have TWO MORE LETTERS!

Yay! 

No, wait, I mean ... Xcellent!

Friday
Jun292012

"With Fabric & Thread" Cherry Blossom Quilt II

I.love.making.quilts.  I just do.  I can't help it.

I love picking all the fabrics.

I love cutting all the pieces.

I love building the blocks.

I love pressing the seams.

I love perfectly nesting seams and clean points (when they happen ... 'cause they don't always ... happen, that is).

I love it when a quilt top is all put together.

I love pin basting. 

No, wait. 

That is a total lie. 

I reeeeally don't like that part at.all!

And yes I use a pink tupperware for my basting pins ... ;)

I love top-stitching.

Especially my true love grid-on-point ... people, you simply cannot argue with a classic.

I love binding ...

hmmmm ... no, that was another fib ...

I TOLERATE binding,

... when there's something good on tv.

But I FOR SURE FOR SURE love washing and drying a quilt for the first time to magically turn it into a family heirloom - all puckered & soft & loved.

Yes. 

Making things with fabric & thread. 

That's what I love. 

Oh and chocolate. 

Can't forget about chocolate.

Thursday
Jun282012

Daisychain Sampler "W"

Ok, so how cool is this leaf?

I made it with really small, tight fly stitches. 

This is not how the leaves are stitched in the original pattern ... I just felt like making mine this way.

They're fun to stitch and look pretty realistic, I'd say.  Sorta like a Boston fern, maybe?

And I had to do more alterations to this letter.  The flowers on the original design are really cute, but because I've reduced the size of my Sampler by 30%, those flowers became too small to look good.

So.

I came up with these tiny little pink bells.  I have a thing for bell/drop type flowers.  I just made 4 or 5 straight stitches for each flower.  Easy peasy.

I'm not sure these flowers exist in real life.  I think of them as stylized pink Lily-of-the-Valley.  I bought one once from a mail-order garden nursery.  It died.  I'm not a very good gardener. 

On the other hand, however, I'm a decent embroiderer ... happily these little pink bells will last forever!

Oh, and I added a little yellow knot - single strand only - to really emphasize the bell-ish-ness.

I think it worked out rather nicely.

Speaking of work, there are a TON of stitches in this little W ... (actual size is less than 1 1/2"!) ... and totally worth every single one.

Wednesday
Jun272012

Daisychain Sampler "V"

LOL!  V stands for VERY LONG TIME since I worked on this poor, neglected sampler! 

It was a bit of an archeological dig to even find it buried under layers of Quilt Market sewing fabric & mending & ... stuff ... you know how it goes. ;)

ANYHOW, here's where I left off ... 3 months ago?  Yikes!

I used the same brown as U. 

And that long/short stitch again that I love so much.  You just can't beat that texture!

The palest pink makes for a sweet little scallop trim.

And pale blue for the dots.

Reminds me of a nursery.

Which reminds me of my babies.

Which makes my ovaries ache.

Better move on to the next letter quick!

Monday
Jun252012

"With Fabric & Thread" Cherry Blossom Quilt

The first several times I went thru Joanna Figueroa's new book, "With Fabric & Thread" I was CONVINCED I was going to make this quilt ...

... in solid pink and white.  Crisp, graphic & classic.  And beautiful.

A 2-solid-color quilt has been on my to do list for years now.  And I really thought it was gonna happen.

But then I realized I didn't have enough solid pink in my stash (what?!).  But I do have this very lovely pink tonal that refused to play nicely with my Farmer's Wife blocks - haven't totally forgiven it yet ...

so I'm gonna use it for this quilt.

And THEN I got another idea.  See, the book has another pattern that is very similar, but with smaller blocks, a reverse color scheme and little 9-patches.  (Love!)

So I got to thinking ... why not use the pink tonal for the background and different white prints for the blocks?

(Some days it really is a heavy burden ... you know ... being so clever and all ... tee hee!)

Please don't blame me if you get a cavity looking at my fabric selection ... it's VERY SWEET!

But I seriously love these white florals and dots all together. 

I'd understand if you thought I was making a baby quilt ... but no, this quilt - I've decided - is going to be for me. 

Just me. 

Unless one of my daughters ends up claiming it.  I could live with that. 

As long as she lets me share it with her on family movie night.

Friday
Jun222012

So, Like, I Totally Killed a Squirrel The Other Day ...

I know.  I'm very sorry.  As much as I hate the little rodents (yes, they're all cute and everything in an animated Disney movie, but they destroy gardens in my neighborhood), I don't like KILLING them!

In fact, I used to trap them in my yard and whenever I caught one, I'd drive to a very large park several miles from my house and set it free.

So this WAS an accident.  I swear.  The thing darted out from underneath a parked car and I didn't have enough time to react. 

Well, that's not entirely true ... I had enough time to lift my feet off the floor of my vehicle like I was trying to prevent it from running up my leg ... ??? ... !  Weird how that was my natural instinct.  It's not like the critter could get INSIDE my van while I ran over it.  But I still felt the pthump, pthump as my tires ... you know ... (shudder).

The worst part is that it's still lying on the side of the road and I have to drive by it at least a few times a day. 

(Did I cross the line with my crime scene photo?  Sorry.  I have an occasionally hard.to.control gross streak.  It escaped today.)

Wednesday
Jun202012

"With Fabric & Thread" Pin Cushion Buttercups

Today's Show & Tell is brought to you by ...

... Joanna Figueroa's new book "With Fabric & Thread".

Who can resist a cute pin cushion pattern? 

Certainly not me. 

I love 'em.

Joanna's "Pin Cushion Buttercups" are the epitomy of practicality & prettiness ...

... right up my alley.

I couldn't wait to start making one with Fig Tree's "Strawberry Fields" fabric leftovers from my Mystery quilt.

And then another ... with some beautiful Rachel Ashwell fabric ...

and then another! 

(with Lecien scraps)

You know how it goes. 

They're like potato chips ... "Betcha can't make just one!"  And of course the more you make, the faster you get.  I think this is my new "go to" gift for sewing friends for Christmas, birthdays, thank yous, something special ...

They are super fun to make.  And because they don't require much fabric, you won't mind using some of your extra special most very favoritest pieces either.

And since I think EVERY pincushion deserves at least a few pretty little decorative pintoppers (from my friend's Etsy shop Pinks and Needles) I found some for each of my buttercups.

I love these pins!

That shop is DANGEROUS ...

... consider yourself warned!

NOTE:  Pinks and Needles is undergoing a computer upgrade at the moment so if you're looking for something specific but don't see it in the shop, just ask ... she's more than happy to oblige!

And where do you think I'm going to keep all the templates I made?  (I prefer to trace a copy onto freezer paper and keep the originals intact.)

In the book's template pocket of course!  So I will never lose them. 

'Cause I'm gonna need them again.

(And again, and again.)

Tuesday
Jun192012

"With Fabric & Thread"

So I got an email a few weeks ago.  From Wiley.  A publishing company.  Asking if I'd like a review copy of Joanna Figueroa's new book (yes, THE amazing woman of Fig Tree fame.)

Seriously?  At first I thought it was spam.  Then I thought maybe I was being punked.  (That makes me sound paranoid, doesn't it?)  But no, the offer was genuine. 

Then the heavens opened and the angels sang ... and the UPS guy rang my doorbell with the best non-Christmas package EVER!

When I haven't been obsessing over my Mystery Block quilt layout and Farmer's Wife mishaps these past few weeks I've been obsessing over this amazing book.  No joke.  I've been carrying it around with me like a security blanket. 

And I've never "just watched tv" since I got it either.  I've been more listening/occasionally glancing at the tv while I read Joanna's charming and insightful anecdotes about her road to here as entrepreneur, employer, quilt designer, fabric designer, pattern designer, instructor, pattern writer, photographer, blogger ... and oh yeah, wife & mother as well.  Sheesh!  I feel productive when I've had a shower AND tidied the kitchen ... in the SAME DAY! 

Kidding ... maybe. ;)

I've met Joanna (briefly) a few times at Quilt Market but it was absolutely delightful to get to know her a little better through her stories.  You really feel like she's talking directly to you.  I'm sure I'll never think about buttons on an airplane or a yellow dress the same way!  (You have to read the book to understand those references ... )

Today, I'm going to share with you what I love about the book.  And then over the next few weeks I'm gonna make stuff from the book and show you.  'Cause that's what I live for (besides my family) ... to make pretty things ... with fabric & thread.

Ok.  For starters, love the hard cover. 

What's not to love about a hardcover book?  Sturdy and durable to withstand being lugged about in my purse and mercilessly & repeatedly thumbed thru.  And doesn't a hardcover book always look nicer on the bookshelf, coffee table, craft table, ottoman, kitchen table, kitchen counter, nightstand, ... passenger seat of a minivan ... ?  Trust me, it does.  I've checked.  In all those places and then some. ;)

Coil spine.  I love how the pages stay flat and open while I'm actually using the book. 

I don't have to crack the spine which wrecks the book or find one of my big quilting rulers to lay on top of the book (and still sorta see thru it) while I work my way through a pattern.  Very utilitarian.

Sturdy back pocket to hold all the ...

wait for it ...

 

FULL-SIZED PATTERN TEMPLATES!!! 

That's right, people of earth!

No photocopying required. 

Brilliant.

Photography.  Ok, this is where Joanna's book goes from being a terrific collection of projects to what I would classify as first rate craft pornography. 

One of my favorite things about her blog is the stunning photographs and this book is full of them ... pages and PAGES of 'em.

And not just beautiful pictures, but the objects & projects too.  Total.eye.candy ... can't stress that enough.

"With Fabric & Thread" is a smart craft book with an inspired twist - Joanna cleverly bridges the gap between "quilters" who are hesitant to try making something "not flat" and "sewers" who are nervous about straight seams and consistent seam allowances.  We've all met them.  And you might even BE one of them!  Joanna confesses that she used to be one.  But this book guides you very gently from one world to the other - no matter which one you live in currently - with tons of information, tips and beautiful/inspirational things to make. 

The book has 3 main project categories:  Sewing Projects like aprons, basket liners and pincushions ...

Dual Projects like woven floor mats, pillow shams and placemats ...

and Quilting Projects like slippers, a table runner and, well, quilts of course! 

There is definitely something for everyone here. 

And there are several somethings for me in this book. :) 

I'm gonna make & show you at least one thing from each of the 3 sections.  It was harder to decide what NOT to make than what TO make.

So check back to see what I made first.  I'll give you a hint:

And if you haven't already seen Joanna's cute video from Quilt Market, here's a link ... you can see many of the projects from the book.  I DARE you to NOT find something you want to make. 

No, wait, I DOUBLE DARE you!

Monday
Jun182012

Look Ma, NO SCORCH!

SEE?!!!!!

I KNOW!!!!! 

I feel like a magician!

"Bonnie, you are my Fairy Godmother."  And to all you other oh so very lovely people who shared remedy ideas, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."  You guys totally rock! :)

Bonnie was the first person to leave me a comment on my scorched block crisis post last week who not only suggested there was hope for removing scorch marks (I thought they were forEVER!) but recommended I Google peroxide as a remedy.  I found this link.  As per the instructions I used hydrogen peroxide and a clean cloth.  (I used an old flannel burp cloth from when my kids were babies.  They make THE best pressing cloths!)

And an hour later my block was cured!

Well, maybe not 100% ... but I'd say a good 90 to 95%. 

I think if you look closely you might detect the slightest hint of yellow.  (I did replace the sashing strips.)  But that doesn't bother me because I have a few other "whites" in the quilt that aren't "white white" either.

And in the interest of full discosure, the peroxide made the red bleed a little.  But I was warned about that.  And quite frankly I don't care ... I'm just so happy I don't need to remake the block!!!

And now I'm MOST happy knowing that A) I HAVE THE BEST INTERNET FRIENDS EVERRRRRR and B) I learned through this ordeal that scorch marks CAN be removed - or at least faded - from fabric.  There are other remedies involving things like OxyClean, vinegar, salt, lemon, sunlight, onions (?!) ... just Google "scorched fabric remedies" and you'll come up with something!

This is me raising my glass of champagne ... or rather cup of tea, as the case may be ... (I don't drink & blog) ... to happy endings.

CHEERS!

(clink)

PS:  Just how DID we survive as a species without Google?

Friday
Jun152012

Oh You Have GOT to be Kidding Me!

Okay. 

So.

(Sigh.) 

I got a new iron.  Which boasted - among other features to justify the $160 price tag - that it WOULD NOT scorch fabric.

May I present to you Exhibit A ...

Seriously?  Are you KIDDING me? 

I think I might have used every bad word in the English language. 

More than once.

Because "picklejuice" and "fiddlesticks" weren't cutting it.

Don't worry, I spared the children by using my inside-my-head voice.

But I'm pretty sure Martin Scorsese woulda been impressed.

So now do I use one of my reject blocks?  Or replace this one ... because it WAS one of my favorites ...

I think I need a break from this quilt.  Clearly I'm being punished by the quilting gods for not making that 111th block.

Besides, I got a fun new book I want to show you next week.

And I really need some fun right about now. 

"Look out Weekend, here I come!"