Thursday, March 26, 2015

TGIFF!


Hello Everyone! It's another wonderful Friday and time to show off what you've finished this week! I finished a quilt called Diamond Pastures. I used a Cotton and Steal layered cake of Melody Miller's Mustang collection. I paired up my HST with one warm fabric and one cool fabric. It really helped this pattern pop!


This was a pretty easy quilt to put together with large HST, but the design really does stand out due to the color pairing.


I straight-lined quilted the quilt using Aurifil 50wt white thread.



The backing is a collection of Cotton and Steal scraps from the mustang collection as well as some other coordinating Cotton and Steal fabrics.


I pulled a solid out of my stash for the binding. It coordinates nicely, but doesn't necessarily match  everything. I think it compliments the quilt nicely, but doesn't really draw attention to itself.


Now it's your turn to link up those fabulous finishes here. Don't forget to tour the other finishes and spread the comment love! Please include a link and/or button for TGIFF! so your visitors can see other fabulous finishes.

Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Gift of a Quilt

I've been giving quilts as gifts since the very first quilt I made back in 2011. I find a real joy in using my hands to put together a gift that comes directly from the heart. I know every piece of fabric in a quilt. I know every stitch. I know the joy of overcoming a challenging pattern, and I know the frustration of completely having to redo a section that just didn't come out right. In the end, I always have a quilt that was made with love for the intended recipient(s).

There are always scraps left over when I finish a quilt. I try to be a good steward of the resources in my sewing room and not be wasteful. I save my scraps to be utilized at a later date. This scrappy flying geese quilt is really the culmination of all those gifted quilts made before it. I can look at each fabric and remember the story of its origin. I can see the babies that were born, the children that were adopted, and the couples whose weddings celebrated the beginning of a wonderful journey. I no longer see a simple piece of fabric, but a life story.


I truly love how all these fabrics came together. I couldn't have asked for a better result considering I didn't have a plan when I initially started piecing everything together back in November. It's so bright and cheerful. It's also a simple flying geese pattern that gives off the impression of complexity with the use of all those scraps.


For the back I found this fabric at Joann's that really complimented the front perfectly. I had some help from Kelly (My Quilt Infatuation) and Jenny, two fellow members of the Memphis Area MQG. I picked this sketched-orange fabric for the binding to add a pop to the quilt. It blends in nicely with the front but really pops on the back.


When I started making this quilt, it didn't have a purpose other than to be just another quilt to snuggle under. A few weeks ago, I was approached by my best friend, Camille, to make a quilt to help raise money for an international adoption by a local Memphis-area woman who wants desperately to grow her family and bring her new 9-year-old daughter home from Central America. I knew this quilt, a collection of life celebrations, was perfect in welcoming home a child into a new home.

I have personally seen the wonderful world of adoption through Camille, the aforementioned best friend. She has adopted 5 children into her family, ranging from newborn babies to fully grown teenagers. Her heart is bigger than most, and she doesn't hesitate to reach out and help others in their own adoption journey. The chance to win this quilt requires only a $25 donation. You can read in more detail about the fundraiser on Camille's blog, Embracing the Odyssey. She has links on her page where you can make a donation and also learn more about the family you will be helping. Every little bit helps and brings this family that much closer to being together at last.

How to Give

There are two options for giving. Click this button:

Make a Donation Button

Or visit Kellie’s You Caring page and use your credit card to donate there.

Of course, if you’re feeling exceedingly generous (or just really have a thing for quilts), please feel free to contact Camille at cclebel@gmail.com for details on how to make a larger, tax-deductible donation.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

QuiltCon Pin Swap & Mini

Since getting back from Quiltcon, I haven't had a chance to sit down and truly process the entire experience. It's been a bit overwhelming being back home with the daily demands of life along with a few hiccups...namely coughs, congestion, sneezes, fevers, and upset stomachs. I wish my life as a mother didn't always have to take precedence, but it has. Thankfully, I think we are all on the mend.

The first thing I would like to share with you is the QuiltCon Pin Swap. I'm sure most of you on Instagram are very aware of the pin swapping that was going on at QuiltCon. It was an amazing way to be able to introduce yourself to new people and strike up a conversation by simply swapping pins. Of course, while you are swapping pins, your lanyard starts to get a little heavy as you attach each one. By the end of the day on Saturday, my lanyard was becoming a bit cumbersome with several pins in my pockets since I had completely run out of room.


Even the Sewlebrities were joining in on the pins!  I just had to add a picture of my favorite fabric designer, Denyse Schmidt in there!  :)


By Saturday night, I had transferred all my pins to my conference bag to give me some relief.


I ended up collecting different mini-charm packs at QuiltCon through the swag bag, venders, and presenters. I put my Riley Blake solids, American Made Brand solids, and my Alison Glass mini-charms together to form this fun little mini quilt to hold all my QuiltCon pins now that I'm home.


I also built up the courage and did a little FMQ on the mini quilt. I really like the way it turned out.


My pins now have a lovely home on the wall in my sewing room.  I will be able to look upon them with fondness as I remember my first Quiltcon experience.


Friday, February 27, 2015

British Love

I have always been a big fan of British literature, the BBC, Harry Potter, British movies, etc. I have found that I'm not alone in my admiration and knew this would be the perfect baby gift for a fellow British-loving friend.


I searched for a while for tutorials for the Union Jack but couldn't decide on one to use. I also thought about creating a large paper-piecing template to create one but changed my mind. I ended up finding a Union Jack panel by Riley Blake on Fabric.com. Not only did is save me lots of time, it also was the perfect size for a baby quilt.



For the quilting, I kept my lines tight and echoed the Union Jack pattern. I also changed the thread color to match the color on the flag.  


I was hoping the thread color change would give the illusion of the Union Jack on the back of the quilt, but I think the print on the back didn't allow for the quilting to come through quite as well. I love the backing fabric too much to care in the long run.


The mopeds on the back tie in perfectly with the travel-themed nursery and the road map of London hanging above the crib. Such a great theme for a little boy!


Once the baby outgrows his quilt, this will be a perfect wall-hanging for decoration.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gone to Texas...aka Quiltcon!


I have been anticipating this day for a year and a half, and I might need to pinch myself in the morning when we (my mother, son, and I) load up the car and start our road trip to Austin, TX. This has been a dream of mine, and I'm having a hard time believing it's going to be a reality very soon.

I've spent the last month and a half prepping for Quiltcon.  I made a name tag and a lanyard.  I completely missed the lanyard swap for Quiltcon, so I went ahead and made my own.


I ordered pins so I can participate in the pin swap.


I ordered pins for my local guild so we can represent while we are there.


I put a box of my business cards in my supplies so I have them readily available to hand out.


I made two very practical bags to utilize while at Quiltcon.  The first was a Sew Together Bag by SewDemented. 


 The second was a Sewing Circle Tote by Elizabeth Hartman.


I prepped for the two classes I'll be taking.  The Dot to Dot Quilting with Angela Walters is just a supply fee, so that was easy.  I love straight line quilting, but I want to explore more FMQ.  I thought this class would be perfect.


These fabrics are all set for Playing With Value with Cheryl Arkison.  I feel like there is so much for me to learn about color value and I jumped at the chance when I saw this class.


I've been slowly collecting my supplies in a basket so I don't forget anything.


I've also been building a list of things I want to do in Austin while I'm there.  I use to live in Austin for 8 years while I was a student as the University of Texas and later as a young teacher.

I will be:
  • spending some of my time catching up with old friends and meeting precious children of the aforementioned old friends.  
  • going to church where my husband and I attended and where we were married.  There are lots of precious people there that I can't wait to hug.
  • eating a lot of food!  Chuy's (my favorite restaurant), Texas BBQ, Whataburger, breakfast tacos, food trucks, etc.
  • visiting a HEB and Central Market grocery store.  You have to be a Texan to understand this.  I probably won't buy much, but I will enjoy it's general splendor and try not to loose the contentment I've finally achieved with my local Kroger here in the Memphis-area.
  • going to IKEA.  We won't be getting an IKEA in Memphis until spring of 2016.  I can't wait that long!
  • trying to savor the time spent with my nieces and nephew.  I don't get to see them as often as I would like.
  • Last, but not least, I will finally be meeting all these wonderful quilters I've had the pleasure to meet through the blogging/online world in person.  I can't even begin to contain my excitement!
This is going to be a great trip! I have a feeling I'll be using the word AWESOME to describe my week after it's all over.  Safe travels to all those who are traveling as well.  Looking forward to meeting you!

I won't be on the blog while I'm away, but I'll be posting pics on Instagram: @simplypieced
Check it out!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bags for Quiltcon Part 2

After making the Sew Together Bag by SewDemented, I knew I wanted one more bag to take with me to Quiltcon.  I needed a larger bag to help hold all my Quiltcon class supplies and purchases. I decided on the Sewing Circle Tote by Elizabeth Hartman.


This bag was a pretty big undertaking, but it was totally worth it. I found this tonal herringbone print at Joann's that I thought would be perfect for the exterior fabric. It turned out better than I hoped for.  The straps are a Denyse Schmidt print from Joann's  The exterior front and back pockets along with the interior elastic pocket linings are Anna Maria Horner's LouLou Thi Summer Totem Strudel print.  I've been hording this print in my stash for over a year now and decided it was about time for me to use it. I ended up using coordinating prints to create the exterior side pockets and the interior zipper pocket linings since I didn't have enough of the main print. I think adding addition fabric in these select places really compliments the feature fabric nicely.


I will go ahead and say that not just any machine can put this bag together.  My old Bernina wouldn't have stood up to the challenge, but my Juki did pretty well even with the three broken needles.


The finished product is wonderful. I don't think I could have picked a better bag to fit my needs.

  
There are so many pockets that I can't imagine using them all, considering I'll also have my Sew Together Bag inside this bag at Quiltcon. I might surprise myself in the end, so I'm not completely ruling them all out. 


If I ever make this bag again, there are two things I would change. The first is not to forget to put the lining fabric on one of the outside pockets.  I was totally in a groove and missed it. I didn't even realize it until it was way too late. It was one of those moments when you realize you have extra parts laying around and you shouldn't have. Oh, well...it's not noticeable.  The second thing would be to put the top handles a bit closer together where they attach on the bag. The instructions said to line them up with the shoulder straps, and I'm not completely convinced that it's the best placement. It works fine as instructed, and it's definitely not a deal breaker, but I would move them closer together if I could rewind and do it again.

So excited to be putting these bags to use very soon. I'll be showing them off at my upcoming guild meeting first.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Layers of Charm

Fat Quarter Shop is releasing a new pattern using a layered cake and a charm pack called Layers of Charm, and they asked me to help them reveal the pattern. This simple pattern makes a bold statement when put together that allows the prints of the layered cake to shine while the solids of the charm pack create focal points throughout the quilt.


For this quilt I chose the ever-popular Cotton and Steel August collection by Sarah Watts. The colors and prints are bright and bold. I wanted to choose something that would shine with the large cuts of fabric.



This quilt is going to be a gift for some friends of ours. Although this pattern makes the perfect lap quilt for people of average height, it is a bit inadequate for someone of great stature. I added the border and the remaining charm squares to the corners to add a bit of size to make it an appropriately proportioned lap quilt for someone of unusual height.


The back of the quilt utilizes the remaining pieces left over from the layered cake along with some coordinating yardage.


I found the coral fabric with metallic dots that worked wonderfully to tie everything together.


Enjoy this quick quilt tutorial from Fat Quarter Shop to create your own Layers of Charm Quilt.


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