Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February Stash Builder Box

When Amanda, owner of the Stash Builder Box subscription service that changes lives by contributing 20% of all purchases to help make quilts for kids, asked me to review the February Stash Builder box I said, "Yaaaas!"
After all, what's not to love about three yards of quilt-shop quality cottons produced by top-notch companies such as Art Gallery Fabrics, Cotton + Steel, and Cloud 9? The fabrics are from new collections and geared toward the modern aesthetic, but not too outlandish, so they appeal to traditional quilters also. To get an idea of the types of fabrics chosen for the boxes, check out the Stash Builder home page to see those selected for previous boxes.
Ever a collector of Cotton+Steel fabrics, I was gleeful when I sighted the selection of yard cuts chosen for the February box, Yours Truly by Kimberly Kight. Aren't those strawberries darling? This bundle reminds me of the Honey Pot Bee January block.
Three one yard-cuts is the perfect amount of fabric for starting a quilt project. I like to combine three yard-sized cuts of printed fabrics with a favorite neutral solid fabric, which serves as a low-cost background and makes the feature prints stand out.
Fabric and a contribution towards making quilts for kids, specifically the current donation organization Give Kids the World Village, isn't all that you receive in a Stash Builder Box. It also includes a spool of coordinating Aurifil thread, signature sewing truth pencil (Mine says "Makers Gonna Make."), and an exclusive quilt pattern. This month, the exclusive pattern was Kiss Me Red by Cheryl Brown from Quilter Chic. All the Stash Builder Box contents are immediately applicable, so you aren't paying for extras you won't use or already have. For even more fun, the Stash Builder Box blog has a free block pattern every month. To see the blocks being made, check out the hashtag #BOTMSBB
Stash Builder Box offers different subscription options, varying from a contract free, one-time gift box to a year-long subscription. The more months you purchase, the less you pay per month. Remember the cutoff for any given month is the 15th. To save $3 off your first month's box, use code IHEARTSBB.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Four is Greater Than One, A Blue Moon Quilt Group Quilt Con Charity Quilt

I'm so excited about today's big reveal! I'm especially excited because the complete work exceeds what I could hope to accomplish individually. I am so fortunate to have found astoundingly talented individuals to collaborate with, that are not only extraordinarily talented quilters, but wonderful people that encourage me with their friendship. I speak of the Blue Moon Quilt Group composed of Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, Renee of Quilts of a Feather, Sara of Blue Quail Studio, and I. We decided to take part in the 2017 Quilt Con Charity Quilt Challenge, and this magnificent quilt is the result.
We chose to use the Storm at Sea Block as a foundation for our design. Yvonne transferred our ideas into a working design using Inkscape, and we all began to play with color options. You can read more about the process in Yvonne's introductory blog post.
We narrowed the color palette down to Fog, Lagoon, Gold, and Royal Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids. The Blue Moon Quilt Group is very grateful to Michael Miller for generously supplying the fabric for this quilt.
Yvonne is a professional pattern designer, and she worked up pattern instructions and fabric requirements for us. We printed out paper-piecing units using EQ7. Everyone helped with the cutting, and Renee helped me label the units with the appropriate colors. All of us took part in the piecing. My (literally) small contribution was the center block.
Composed of 25 units and 141 pieces, the center block finished at 7" before sashing was added.
Renee and I pin basted the quilt, and Renee began what we refer to as "quilting the life into it." She did a spectacular job. When the 2016 Quilt Con Frameless Machine Quilting winner spends over three dozen hours turning her hard-earned talents into art, the results are incredible.
Moreover, she bound the quilt and added a sleeve and label before it was shipped off to Savannah, where you can see it in person if you will be in attendance at Quilt Con East. Speaking of, who's headed to Quilt Con?
I am so appreciative of the sponsors who enabled us to create our charity quilt; The Warm Company was kind enough to supply us with batting, and Aurifil provided the thread. Thank you Michael MillerThe Warm Company, and Aurifil!
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Few Thoughts

As a warning, I'm about to go very random on you, but here are a few tidbits of interest anyway.
First of all, this little guy is due to emerge July 7. That's right; I'm pregnant, and it's a boy!
In other news, Quilt-non is coming up for all of you who are lamenting missing out on Quilt Con East. It promises to be a fun event.
Also, I found a great travel case for sewing machines at Harbor Freight. The 20" Rollaway Tool Bag by Voyager was only $24.99 before I used a 20% coupon, so I was one happy customer.
Well, that's all the scattered thoughts I have at the moment. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 13, 2017

10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About: Clip 'n Glide Bodkin

Here I am with the final installment of 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About. Today's tool is the latest and greatest bodkin.
The Clip 'n Glide Bodkin allows you to pull elastic, ribbon, trim, or cording through casings 3/4" or larger. It's easy to clip, doesn't accidentally pop open, and bends for use with curved casings.
So what did I make? I created the Simple Halter Dress by Jamie of Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom using the free pattern provided. Here are my pieces minus the bodice back that I forgot to cut until I got to that step.
What appears to be underpants with suspenders is actually me assembling the bodice, thankfully!
Also fortuitously, I had my Point 2 Point Turner at the ready from my last venture into the realm of clothing to help me press out the sides.
That wasn't the only one of the 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About to make a cameo appearance. The Hot Ruler played a key role in pressing the side edges over a measly 1/4".

Then I moved on to creating the casing. After cutting out and pressing the back bodice piece in half, I used a Clover Extra Fine Air Erasable Marker to mark lines 3/8" down and 1 3/8" down from the fold.
Once I had stitched on the lines, it was time for the fun of using the Clip 'n Glide Bodkin. I lifted the white lever, clipped the elastic, and pushed the white lever back down.
 The pointy end of the Clip 'n Glide Bodkin fed easily through the casing.
The next step involved attaching the front and back bodice. For whatever reason, my front bodice piece was 5/8" longer than the back, so I cut it even before gathering and attaching the skirt. I omitted the ruffle and instead turned the bottom edge of the skirt over twice with my trusty Hot Ruler before topstitching it in place.
The good new is that the dress turned out super cute. The bad new is that the size 3-4 fits more like an 18 month jumper. User error may be the predominate contributing factor. Either way, my sister-in-law's baby may be the lucky recipient.
Thanks for joining me!
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Monday, February 6, 2017

10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About: Point 2 Point Turner

This week I went way outside of my quilting comfort zone, and made a tunic for my daughter. I was very glad to have the Point 2 Point Turner on hand. This handy gadget is one of the 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About.
This versatile notion may resemble an eating utensil for preschoolers, but do not be deceived. It's a serious multi-tasker for sewing projects.

The functions are so numerous that Clover put together this diagram.
I used the free Pleated Square Tunic Pattern by Schwin & Swhwin because I love not having to put in a zipper and the look of box pleats. I selected a print from Jane Sassaman's retired Sunshine & Shadow collection due to its ombre dot pattern. The Point 2 Point Turner helped me press the shoulder seams.
Then, the Stick n' Stitch Guide and I had a little reunion party in celebration of 3/8" seam allowances.
Before my Point 2 Point Turner could get jealous, I used it to push out the long seams around the neck hole.
I omitted the bottom band and the sleeve bands, adding their length onto the main pieces because I didn't have another fabric I wanted incorporate. To finish the bottom edge and sleeves, I turned them over 1/2", then 1/2" again using the Hot Ruler, before top-stitching.
Lest you think that's the full extent of my Point 2 Point Turner use, rest assured. I'm moving onto my Gridster Bee block for February, and the Hera Marker function is coming to great use.
Next week, I'll be presenting the last of the 10 Sewing Notions You Need to Know About. You won't want to miss it, especially if you're sick of feeding elastic through casing with a safety pin.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Gridster Bee Blocks: January

Susan Snooks at PatchworknPlay requested an 8" New York Beauty block. Her color selections included royal blue, pink, and red with touches of black and white and/or yellow. She mentioned a lot for dots. I pulled a bunch of fabrics, but some of the pinks weren't getting along with the other colors.
Susan helped me narrow down my selections, and I added in some black and whites.
 I designed a couple of blocks in EQ7 to paper piece.
My first block came out about 1/4" too small. I removed the center quarter circle and the outer corner. Then I cut new pieces with the same curve, but oversized. I found the mid-point, pinned from there, and sewed. I squared up the block again without having it turn out way too little.
Getting the Cotton + Steel bears aligned in their places was a doozy, but I couldn't help myself. 
 Thanks for joining me for my online quilting bee adventure.
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