Monday, November 24, 2014

Fraidy Cat for Color

Cheryl’s first Looking Glass quilt,
featuring Into the Woods, by Lella Boutique for Moda
You can’t say I’ve led you astray. I’ve been completely honest about this: I am afraid of color.

I can handle a little color. Four rooms in my house are painted a shade of yellow (five are a shade of beige). I wore a bold red shirt this week (under a navy hoodie). When it comes to my quilts, this tendency translates into slabs of white and negative space. My preferred fabric to achieve this result? Some Kona Snow, please.

When I offered to test the latest quilt pattern from Cheryl Brickey, of Meadow Mist Designs, I thought I was headed in the right direction. I bought a layer cake of Bonnie Christine’s Winged and yardage of Kona Snow. When it came time to join the pieced rows to the sashing, however, I got cold feet. I feared there was too much going on color-wise—light teal, medium teal, deep eggplant, salmon, pale coral, gray, aqua, yellow!—and sent out a call for feedback. (Many thanks to those of you who chimed in!)

In the end, I decided to split the five pieced rows between the quilt top and backing instead of following the pattern. The top features three rows broken up by chunks of Kona Snow.

The back highlights the remaining two rows sashed with Kona Sage.

The result is true to my gut feeling about the fabrics I was working with, but it doesn’t make me the most helpful pattern tester! My next step is to learn how to free-motion quilt so I can finish this project up in time for Christmas. (My procrastination efforts on this front have been most effective.)

If you would like to try your hand at Looking Glass, Cheryl is offering this pattern for $5.50, a special price good through December 6. It’s available on both Etsy and Craftsy. This pattern works well with layer cakes or charm squares. If you start today, it’s definitely doable by Christmas. : )

To celebrate the release of this pattern, Cheryl is giving away a PDF version of Looking Glass to one From Bolt to Beauty reader (my first giveaway!). To enter, include a comment on this post, sharing with us your top sewing or quilting priority at the moment. If you’re a no-reply blogger, please include your email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway will remain open through Monday, December 1. I’ll post the winner here on my blog and contact him or her via email on Tuesday, December 2.

I am just one stop on the Looking Glass blog hop. To see other testers’ quilts, and for additional chances to win the pattern for yourself, visit the other participants:

Friday, November 21: Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Saturday, November 22: Lin @ Lin’s Quilts
Sunday, November 23: Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
Monday, November 24: Anna @ Fresh Dew Drops
Tuesday, November 25: Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe
Wednesday, November 26: Shauna @ Shauna’s World
Friday, November 28: Shelley @ The Carpenter’s Daughter Who Quilts

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Oldies but Goodies

My stint as a knitter was illustrious but brief. I loved making scarves and baby hats and even more scarves. My arms, however, couldn’t keep up with all the repetitive motions. After more doctor appointments than I can now remember, I had to acquiesce: I wasn’t a knitter after all.

My friend Miss C has had the opposite experience. As an art-school graduate and graphic designer, this lady knows her way around a sewing machine. Her arms are on board but her heart isn’t: she’d rather knit and pearl than thread her vintage Singer any day.

Miss C and I, we make a good pair. She welcomes my knitting and graphic-design needs and knows where to go when she wants something sewn. So far in the bargain, I’ve received a fancy-pants header for my blog as well as a big box of fabric-y goodness. I will transform some of this, most notably the unidentified print with the Matryoshka dolls, into pillows for Miss C’s living room. But I have yet to determine the destinies of the rest of these older-but-still-beautiful fabrics.

When I first opened the package from Miss C, I spied various Marimekko designs. My favorite is a red fabric with 11” red dots on it. This swath is a generous 54” in width. The repeat is huge, and photographing it requires more ironing than I can be bothered with. You’ll have to wait until I use it in a project to see it. : )

Other highlights include a fat quarter of Heather Bailey’s Freshcut ...

... and this lovely unidentified green print.

The real gold in this booty? Denyse Schmidt.

There are three fat quarters of Katie Jump Rope, which I should have stockpiled by the bolt when it was released. I know I won’t cut into these anytime soon; I’ll visit them regularly in my stash cabinet, though. And there are 2 yards of Flea Market Fancy. I don’t know what to say about such a find—something so coveted and so large!—other than WOW.

Rediscovering out-of-production fabric designs is like spending time with old friends. Man, it makes me happy. I have my sources other than Miss C, both online and brick and mortar, for older bolts. I’ve shown great self-control on that front of late—passing up on bolts of Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, and Denyse Schmidt—as my friend Sarah at Smiles Too Loudly can attest to.

How about you? What oldies but goodies do you covet or have to buy when you encounter them?

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

X Marks the Spot

There are so many contests and sew-alongs in the quilty corner of the blogosphere. I often find it difficult in deciding what to participate in and what to let pass me by.

It’s hard to say no to Le Challenge, however. Each month, the creators of Le Challenge—Lucy of Charm About You and Nat of Made in Home—post a theme. Crafters then interpret that theme, sometimes in very different ways, and post a project in line with it the next month. Previous themes have included nature, charity, and small.

I joined the party back in September, when the theme was era, and made a Rubik’s cube Christmas ornament. In October, the theme was mix, and I made a Christmas tree of cross-stitch blocks. (The tutorial is available here.) And then the theme for November was revealed: X.

The beauty of that—for me!—was my October project fit the bill for November. So I made another Christmas tree of cross-stitch blocks. The first one will be gifted. This second one is for me, me, me!

I like working with the tiny 2½” cross-stitch blocks. My seams match up well, but my Xs are a bit off in places. I think that would bug me if the blocks were bigger. Somehow the dense patchwork of smaller squares seems more forgiving. I stitched in the ditch, as I did with my first tree. Admittedly, that part was a little annoying. I like stitching in the ditch, but the seams in this project are bulky, and it shows in my quilting lines.

I still have a stack of cross-stitch blocks in Christmas fabrics waiting to be made into something. With two quilts to wrap up before Christmas 2014, I think those X’s will have to wait until Christmas 2015.

With one submission for Le Challenge complete, I opted to make a second one that interpreted the theme completely differently. X can also represent the Roman numeral for 10, so I made 10 quilted tissue holders as teacher gifts for Christmas (my goal is to make 20!) ...

These are identical to the tissue cozies I made last month for myself and are based on this tutorial from Leland Ave Studios.

Lucy and Nat have unveiled December’s theme: ink. I have zero idea what I might do for that. If you have a suggestion, I’m all ears. Share it in the comments below, or post it to the Le Challenge blog!

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