Friday, June 29, 2012

Adventures in Charm Squares

I'm experimenting with charm squares and getting, admittedly, mixed results.

Under the subheading "SUCCESS!" we have Urban Cowgirl charms in the beginning stages of this fabric/yarn throw. This is a great bit of handwork for meetings and movies. I only have one charm pack of UC on hand, so I'm using white muslin as backing and will cut into some coordinating prints from Moda's Curio line to complete it. I'm thinking Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool for the crochet edging. Hmm...

Also under the same category are two charm packs of Quilt Blocks by Ellen Luckett Baker. Love this line - so many great greys! I added slightly wonky black corners because, well... for the same reason I add spinach and cheese to my frozen pizzas, I guess... Personal touch, maybe? This will be a cute baby quilt.

But this is what it looks like for now:  chain pieced halves of four patches.

Under the "NO!" category we have three Fairy Tale Friends charm packs worked into nine patches. Enh... Something just doesn't do it for me with these. Maybe its the blue? The garish primary colors? The fairy tale character prints? Whatever it is, I am considering either donating these blocks or eventually having a quilt for charity.

Individually they're not so bad, I suppose. I'll let them be for awhile and see if they grow on me.

To end on a positive note, meet my wee lamb, a companion of my sewing space for several years. Shavings, scraps and strings are deposited therein, but he mostly earns his keep by looking at me funny.

Here's to a cheery weekend! May all y'all in this record-breaking heat stay hydrated and healthy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rolling Stone Tutorial

The artist of Lillian's Stitches can now be found at Walking With Feathers.

At long last, my month approaches for the Orange You Glad Bee! After much contemplation, I've settled on the Rolling Stone block.

First, credit where it's due. The interwebs have no lack of Rolling Stone block tutorials. So why am I reinventing the wheel? Well, I wanted to avoid paper piecing, mostly (though if you like it, check here or here). Also, the video tutorial has some discrepancies with the way measurements are communicated, and furthermore, not everyone wants to watch a quilting video.

Thus, I bring you MY version of the Rolling Stone! 

Good for gathering no moss and roosting angels.

You will need:

16 2.5 inch squares of background fabric (grey)
4 4.5 x 2.5 inch rectangles of background fabric (grey)
4 4.5 x 2.5 inch rectangles of focus fabric (orange)
5 4.5 inch squares of focus fabric (orange)
marking pencil or hera

Start by matching each background rectangle with a focus fabric rectangle. Stitch 1/4 inch seam along one 4.5 inch side. Press seams open.

With your marking pencil, draw a diagonal line across the center of each 2.5 inch square. Align 1 of these with a corner of 1 of the 4.5 inch squares. Stitch along these marked lines. Repeat with 3 other 4.5 inch squares.

Press along the stitched line, flipping the background fabric up so it aligns with your original square.

Trim off the excess background fabric and focus fabric, leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Repeat with 4 more background squares, sewing onto the corners across from the initial corners.

Repeat with remaining 8 background squares. The photo above demonstrates the order in which you attach your 2.5 inch squares (clockwise from top left). Once all 4 background squares are attached, precision dictates to be sure your piece is still 4.5 inches square. (Clearly, some of mine are not, but clearly, I care not.)

Lay out your pieces so the background fabrics form a "ring" around your remaining 4.5 inch square.

Stitch rows using a 1/4 inch seam. Press top and bottom row seams towards center, and press middle row seams away from center. This will help "lock" your block and make it easier to keep your corners aligned.

Stitch top to middle to bottom using 1/4 inch seams, then press these seams open.

Hopefully you can tell by these blocks that (a) I am no stickler for perfection and (b) the center square is a great place to demonstrate my off-beat humor ;-) If you have questions, let me know! Thanks OYG ladies, and enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

June Bee Blocks

Midway through June and I'm already done with my Sew Blues Bee blocks and my Orange You Glad block!

Annaliese sent bits for paper pieced star parts:

Lisa asked for "strippy flowers":

Tiffany created her own block and tutorial! Must say, it reminds me of a certain university I may or may not have associations with...

But why the impetus to finish quick? Well...

Next month is the last month for Orange You Glad, and in Hive A, the privilege is mine! Stay tuned to see these prints again. I've a bit more cutting to do, then I'll reveal the block I've chosen and write up my own tutorial.

Music City Modern Quilters Guild meets tomorrow - hooray! Looking forward to catching up with those fabulous ladies and seeing what they've been up to. May your weekend be equally as full of things that make your heart sing!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Butterfly Wedding

My maid of honor duties are now officially over, so as I sort through the emotions of the experience and let the reality sink in, I thought I'd document a few bits and pieces I had my hand in.

Officially, my bride gave me one duty:  stand by her side on The Day. Other than that, if I wanted to throw a shower, I could. Of course, I did (and helped out in more ways that she knows). I found this tutorial for origami butterflies and taught the ladies how to make them. We made some from starched fabric and crowned the bride at her shower, and others we made in origami paper. Later, I took scraps from the bridesmaid dresses and made a few more for our hair. One ended up on a flower girl, another on the mother of the bride, and I nestled one among my braids.

I'm polishing off leftover key lime pie from the rehearsal and reflecting on all the moments surrounding this experience - friendships old and new, learning fresh dance moves, and hanging from the rafters (literally, as I am wont to do). And just as I was thinking that my wedding involvement is over for awhile, I got a text from another newly-engaged friend... "Wedding planning party at my mom's in a few weeks!" Mm-hmm... here we go again!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Thanks, Heidi, for participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day, and thanks for the delicious fabrics!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In Bloom Dress

Early Saturday morning I found myself scoping dress patterns and fingering two pieces of fabric in my mind. They had been waiting for quite awhile, so when day broke, I set about putting together what I'd pondered. I knew how the skirt would attach - the fabric screamed for it - but the bodice, well...

My first attempt was on the order of Anna Maria Horner's Museum Tunic tutorial. Alas, I am not built like her, and the result was wacky. (No need for photo documentation - the odd "sleeve" below bears enough witness.) In the end, I went with what felt right - and the result was, strangely enough, not too dissimilar from her Evening Empire Dress, as you will see.

Orange is Metro Living by Robert Kaufman, drawstring is vintage woven ribbon, blue is a cotton piece from Thailand (maybe?) that was in a bag of oddments given to me by a friend. Dress is pictured with my front-porch orchids and backyard rose of sharon, white dance pants and Chacos underneath.

I've not sewn clothes for awhile, and I remember now why. Things get complicated when they are in three dimensions! As I stitched, my friend was nearby cutting bridesmaid dresses, so a suggestion or two from her helped it come together, and her company kept me finishing it properly. Results? Couldn't ask for better! I certainly feel like my life is reflected in this dress - I am in bloom!