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 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,'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.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bags for Quiltcon Part 1

I've always been a bit envious of all these bags I've seen online on various blogs. I finally built up the courage and tackled the Sew Together Bag by SewDemented. Thanks to the additional instructions from The Quilt Barn, I was able to put this bag together successfully. This bag took me three nights to put together. The first night I cut all the fabric, attached the interfacing, and created the outside quilted cover.

The second night I put the inside of the bag together with the sides. The third night I completed the outside of the bag and the handles.

I was able to use the leftovers I had of the Carnaby Street collection to put this bag together. It's a beautiful collection, and I think it was a wonderful choice for this bag.

The inside lining just pops, and I really love how it turned out.

I was also really happy that I had enough of the pocket lining fabric. Along with the zipper colors, this might be my favorite part.

This has been a wonderful bag that I've truly enjoyed using the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to taking it to Quiltcon!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Broken Herringbone

Hi everyone!  January was filled with lots of things: sewing, illness, sewing, illness, work, stitches, illness, etc.   I'm hoping my kids are done being sick/hurt because I no longer have any sick days left.  Oh, the joys of parenthood.  I've been spending a lot of time this month finishing up 2 quilts, getting ready to teach a basic quilt-piecing class, and getting ready for Quiltcon, which is only 15 days away from today.  Before I can launch into what I'm currently working on, I still need to finish up blogging about the last quilt I made in 2014.  Without further adieu, here is the Broken Herringbone quilt.

This quilt is the gift we gave my brother-in-law for Christmas.  He's a bachelor in his early 30's.  I wanted to make him a quilt that was masculine in fabric selection and in design.  The broken herringbone has those wonderful rough edges. The majority of the fabrics come from Parson Gray's collections, which is the epitome of masculine fabrics. 

I wanted to throw in a pop of color, so I went with the burnt orange.  There isn't a speck of orange in any of the prints, but I really love how it turned out.

For the back, I utilized all the remaining scraps.  It almost created another quilt top on it's own.

The binding is a scrappy binding which really blends in well with the quilt.  

Now that I've finally wrapped up 2014, I promise to catch up on 2015 very soon.  I have so much to share!
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