Friday, May 29, 2015

You Can’t Go Wrong with Moose

Woo hoo! I have another quilty finish to share with you, friends. This rail-fence quilt, which I originally pulled fabric for last July (eek!), has been quilted and bound, ready for the little guy who will receive it next month.

I was planning on making this quilt my first real free-motion quilting project. I envisioned big loopy swirls adorning the front and softening all those right angles. I ultimately decided, however, that such an approach might be more feminine than I wanted, so I came up with an alternative.

I consulted Amanda Jean’s post on her own rail-fence quilt and Lorna’s insights into quilting designs, and then I traded my darning foot for my walking foot. Without marking anything, I quilted wavy vertical lines.

Originally, green was going to play a part in this color palette,
but I decided it was a little too 1978 for me.
I swapped the green for aqua. Mmmm ... much better.

After a first pass I decided those organic lines were the right fit for this child-size quilt. What I didn’t like was the weight of my thread. I used an orange cone of Aurafil—that is, 50 weight thread. I love it for piecing; I think that thin thread helps me with precision and pressing. But I often prefer something thicker for the kind of quilting I do. It seems more forgiving; little imperfections are less noticeable to me with a thicker thread.

The pieced backing features two Denyse Schmidt prints,
one from Flea Market Fancy (legacy run) and one from Hadley.

So, inspired by the sketch stitching I did on my Dogwood Blossom Quilt, I quilted a second wavy line on top of each line of Aurafil, using a polyester thread from Gutermann. (Don’t judge me! I often use Gutermann’s polyester thread because it’s easy to find. I could have tried a green cone of Aurafil, which is the thicker 40 weight, but no one stocks it near me.) Sometimes this second line of Gutermann is right on top of the Aurafil thread; at other times it winds to the left or right. The result is chunky and ropy. I love it.
More detail of quilting on the back.

The majority of the fabrics used were from my stash, many of them initially bought for other projects, and my scrap bin. Among the creatures in this quilt are Rae Hoekstra’s orange frogs and mustard snails as well as Ann Kelle’s sweet raccoons. But it’s the wide-eyed moose, also by Ann Kelle, that steal the show.

Frogs? Check. Snails? Check. No puppy-dog tails here,
but the moose more than make up for it!

So what are your thread preferences? Am I the only quilter in the world who uses polyester?!

Linking up to TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, Oh Scrap!, Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social and Scraptastic Tuesday ...

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dogwood Blossom Quilt

It is with jumping-around-my-sewing-room joy that I reveal my latest finish, my Dogwood Blossom Quilt ...

This quilt top was designed by Rachel Hauser, of Stitched in Color.

I started this quilt top at the end of 2013, before I began blogging. It was my first adventure in applique, and as far as applique goes, it’s very me. I love the bold graphic nature of the dogwood blossoms and the orange and cranberry and pink of the petals that compose them. I wouldn’t say that the applique was difficult. It was, however, time consuming and, as a result, easy to brush off for faster and higher-priority projects. (You know how that goes!)

To celebrate this finish, I’m entering this quilt in the applique category of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.

If you’re visiting from the quilt festival, you should know that I’m a fairly new quilter, so many of my posts examine techniques I’ve tried out—for piecing, quilting, binding, you name it. In case you’re interested, here’s the nitty-gritty on this quilt ...


Fabric for the petals came from my scrap bin. Perhaps most note-worthy is the two Free Market Fancy fabrics (original run)—my last, last bits of them!—that are used in multiple blossoms. The petals are appliqued to squares of Kona Snow. The sashing and border are a soft cranberry from French General.

I'm crazy about the polka-dot binding. I definitely need more polka dots in my stash!


I sketch-stitched each petal to the Kona Snow backed with a stabilizer. The chocolate-brown thread and imperfect-on-purpose stitching gives the petals a little character, I think.


I started quilting by ditch-stitching in a cranberry thread along the sashing and border. My original plan was to FMQ around the blossoms, but all of my attempts were seriously ugly. In the end, on the advice from someone at my LQS, I used my regular piecing foot to echo-stich around the petals. The lip from the edge of the applique helped keep that foot on track. I really, really like the results. I didn’t really, really like turning my quilt around and around, however, which is why I echo-stitched just once around the dogwood blossoms instead of two or three times. : )

The quilting is best seen on the pieced back.

There’s a lot of inspiration on display during the Blogger’s Quilt Festival—I highly recommend checking it out! To view the other quilts, go to Amy’s Creative Side. Voting opens on May 22 and wraps up on May 29. The other quilt I’m submitting, Oh Christmas Tree, can be found here.

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Finish It Up Friday, and TGIFF...

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Oh Christmas Tree!

Spring has finally come to New England. You may have been enjoying warmer weather for a while now where you are, but it’s only in the past few weeks that the forest around From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters has turned lush and green.

That’s not to say I’ve forgotten about the winter past. We New Englanders were scarred by the record snowfalls of early 2015, not to mention the coughs and colds and missed school days that came with the snow. It was during this past winter that I decided to tackle curve piecing with projects that ranged from potholders to journal covers, throw quilts to pillows.

Perhaps my favorite project from that period is my Oh Christmas Tree mini quilt ...

Featuring a variety of fabrics from my scrap bin and based on a design from Rachel Hauser (Stitched in Color), this mini measures 18.5 inches by 19.5 inches. I look at this project and think how I never would have made anything quite like it just two or three years ago. Back then, I didn’t have solid piecing skills for straight lines, let alone curves. I also didn’t have the confidence in fabric selection to put together what you see above.

If you follow my blog, you know that the most intimidating part of quilt making for me is the quilting itself. Despite that, I’ve quilted all of my projects, big and small, myself. My plan of attack is usually to do as little quilting as I can get away with in a project! I’m not to the point where I think my quilting, to date almost exclusively straight-line quilting, adds anything to my creations.

This project is the exception. The quilting here adds something to this mini. It brings movement and life to an otherwise simple Christmas scene. The final product would be something altogether different without it, don’t you think?

To celebrate this little beauty and show Mother Nature that I harbor no hard feelings about the winter of 2015, I’m submitting this quilt to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival in the mini quilt category.

There’s a lot of inspiration on display during the Blogger’s Quilt Festival—I highly recommend checking it out! To view the other quilts, go to Amy’s Creative Side. Voting opens on May 22 and wraps up on May 29. The other quilt I’m submitting, my Dogwood Blossom Quilt, can be found here.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!

UPDATE: The winner of the B&C bundle is #313, dcargill. Congratulations!

Hello and welcome to Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day bonanza! If you’re a first-time visitor, I’m Michelle, a stay-at-home mom to two little monkey boys who sews in her every spare moment.

Mostly, I’m a quilts-and-bags kind of gal, as you can see from my most recent creations ...

Clockwise from top left: Cargo Duffle Bag, Oh Christmas Tree Mini,
Miranda Bag, Orange Peel Pillow

When I’m not chasing after my boys or sewing my latest project, I’m searching for my phone. If I have my phone in hand, then I’m looking for my slippers. Sigh. Sad, but true.

I’ve recently decided to start hoarding Bonnie and Camille fabric for a future quilt. Why? Moda does not rerun its fabric collections, and more often than not, I find myself missing out on fabulous lines, including those designed by B&C. And before I was a sewer, I was an antiquer, buying and selling post-WWII glass. I have all the antiques I need now, but I miss the hunt and it’s fun to troll off-the-beaten-path quilt shops for overlooked B&C gems.

I’d love someone to join me in this effort (read that as: I want to be your fabric enabler!), so I’m giving away eight fat quarters to jumpstart one lucky reader’s B&C stash. Some of the fat quarters are from Happy Go Lucky, and some are from April Showers. There’s even a fat from Marmalade for good measure.

This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world. For a first chance to win, comment on this post, sharing an old fabric line that you love. One of my favorites is Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley.

Both old and new readers receive a second chance by following me and leaving a second comment. Please indicate how you follow me, whether it’s Bloglovin’, Feedly, RSS, Instagram (@frombolttobeauty), etc. Please don’t say that you follow me on Facebook—I’m not on Facebook!

This giveaway is open through Sunday, May 10, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. I will email the winner and announce his or her name on this post by 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. Please note: The fabric will not be shipped out until Monday, May 18, because I’m taking a sweet childless vacation with my husband. (Do you know of any quilt shops near West Palm Beach, Florida?!)

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed.

I know your reading time is limited, but give From Bolt to Beauty a shot. Both here and on Instagram, it’s all crafts all the time. If after a few weeks, my crafty adventures aren’t your cup of tea, no worries—we’ll part as friends.

Enjoy this round of Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day and good luck!

BTW: I typically respond to comments on my blog via email. Since I expect a lot of people to want a chance to win this prize, I doubt I’ll be able to follow up with everyone on this post. My apologies! Rest assured that I read every comment, though. : ) 

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Second Verse Same as the First

Hello, dear readers! It’s your favorite broken record of a bag maker here with her latest creation.

It’s a Sew Together Bag. Shocking, right? I’ve shared three other STBs here on my blog, but this is actually my sixth. Every time I finish one, I vow that it’s my last—and then quickly start plotting my next one.

It’s not the zippers that frustrate me; it’s getting the machine-sewn binding nice and neat that proves to be the time suck with every bag, even the sixth. Another blogger recently wrote that she thought it took her two hours to churn out a STB. There is no way these bags take me a mere two hours.

This most recent one, however, is my favorite. It’s a very “me” color palette—in fact, I think there will be a quilt in these colors in the once-my-WIPs-are-under-control future.

My previous STBs started with the fabric selection. This one started with the zippers. I figured, if I was going to make yet another STB, I should at least use what I had on hand. So it was the Coats & Clark zippers in cadet that led me to use my fat quarters from Josephine Kimberling’s Turkish Delight line. I also had some Kona Indigo in my stash for the binding. Wow, I love that color and how it frames the bag. I think if I hadn’t used the indigo, the final product would look very different.

I would say that this is my last STB, but you and I both know that’s not true.

To read my hints on tackling this pattern and see my previous STBs, check out:
Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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