Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eye candy

 Block using Michael Miller Cotton Couture for guild quilt
 Stack of Valori Wells Cocoon from Free Spirit- my winnings!
 Love this one, like a collection

 Wait for it...
Pow! So amazing! The colors are so saturated, it is wonderful in person, and so soft.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review of Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman

I took advantage yet again of being part of the Creative Troupe at C&T Publishing and got Elizabeth Hartman's new release Modern Patchwork.
This book is an excellent sequel to Ms. Hartman's first book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork. It has many of the same elements for layout and projects- some easier, simple piecing progressing to more challenging work and different skill sets. Luckily for us, she also kept the alternate fabric suggestions at the end of each project along with example photos. This little touch really makes the difference for me; I love to see what else can be done, because often the first time I see a pattern I don't like it, but love it in different fabrics. These alternates are a stroke of genius. The other genius bit is instructions for completing the back, in case you don't want just a whole piece plain-jane backing. Plenty of the backs would make a great quilt on their own! I found at least 5 projects in here I would love to do immediately, and several more I put on my longer term to-do list.
I knew I wanted to do a project for this review, so I just set my sights on making one block to see how well the instructions read, etc. Well, of course they read well, the author is an experienced pattern writer and blogger, but just to tell you, they are easy to use. There are lots of diagrams and photos to compare what you are doing at each step, which is extremely helpful. I'd rather everyone went way overboard with photos and diagrams for step-by-step rather than being stingy.

The fail in my block is not Ms. Hartman's design or instructions but my fabric and color choices. I do love to experiment and see what I can get away with, and I had these old pillowcases and pair of pants lying around...well, bad news there.

The non-quilting cotton fabrics were really difficult to work with and the lines got all wonky (not in the good way) and made the whole bit look rather, well, ill done is the nicest way to put it. I fought the urge to pitch it every step of the way past piecing block 3.

My second mistake? Using fabric that behaves badly and has lines it in that make it super obvious that you have messed something up. Heh. It stands to reason (in hindsight) that there was a reason that the author used a lot of solids and few patterned fabrics- gets a little wild, even within the same line (Peacock Lane by Violet Craft from Michael Miller if you're asking. Not that this is its most shining use here.) Lesson learned and all that.

So imagine I made better fabric choices for my block- it would be pretty cool huh?
Stay tuned for another try at a block from the book, and eventually maybe a whole quilt. After Memorial Day though, for sure.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Zakka style sew along- pencil case

I am working my way through Zakka Style in a very picky way, and this pencil case was perfect for this week, since I wanted to make a gift for my second cousin who just moved to town and started kindergarten, sort of a welcome to school gift. What better match than a pencil case made with Little Apples scraps?

The linen I used is actually cut up from an old pair of pants that my husband wanted to give away, and I grabbed them for this sew along! Yes, upcycling is very Portlandia. I am happy with the scrap details even if they are not perfect- that linen is hard to work with. Doesn't hold its shape very well.
 As a consequence I ended up using the interfacing on the exterior rather than the interior as the directions read. I also seemed to have less room than necessary on the scrap band to hold the top in- did anyone else have this issue? I fell like instead is trimming it to 3" I should have left it a bit longer and pinned with room to spare. My top gets a little cramped in there (maybe you can see in the top photo).

Fun stuff, and easy to whip up, yet again. Just took an hour and a bit one night.

Zakka Style Sew Along

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lucky duck! And great news for my ego.

I'll start with the lucky duck part, since this is a chance for all (ahem, 29) of my followers to get in on something good.
I won yet another awesome fabric prize from Free Spirit Fabric- 6 one yard cuts of Valori Wells' Cocoon!
from Free Spirit Fabrics
You really should follow the blog. This is the third (!) time I have won fabric- I also got a full fat quarter bundle of Taza and 6 one yard cuts of Curious Nature. They are wildly generous.

My big ego-building news is that I am going to have a quilt exhibited at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show! Portland Modern Quilt Guild has a special exhibition there this year and the board selected 20 quilts to represent us there, and my Little Apples Valentine quilt was chosen!
Thankfully my mom said I could borrow it for the show.