Friday, October 12, 2018

Six-Sided Perfection / Beauties Pageant 4

I’ve made a few modern hexagon pillows—à la Modern Handcraft—to gift to friends recently. (See them here and here.) I had such fun basting and appliqueing the hexagons on those projects that I wanted to make something in the same vein for myself. I don’t need any pillows, though, and I realized a throw quilt with appliqued hexagons wasn’t super practical, so I came up with this ...

I have had this Essex Linen for a while, just waiting for an opportunity
to show it off.

The pattern is Anna Graham’s Market Bag, from her book Handmade Style. I made a Market Bag before, for my sister. With that first one, I used matchstick quilting and Pellon’s Décor Bond to interface the not-so-well-fitting lining. For this second one, I quilted a less-dense hexagon motif and interfaced with fusible fleece. I also took my time with the lining and made sure it fit well. This second bag doesn’t have the level of structure that the first one did, but I’ve already given it a test-drive, at my guild’s retreat. I give it two thumbs up.

The hexagons were made from a charm pack of Midnight Garden, by 1canoe2.

Note to my future self: I’m not 100% sure which way to go with a third Market Bag. Consider finding a compromise between bag 1 and bag 2, like matchstick quilting and the fusible fleece. In any event, this experience is testament to taking your time and getting the lining right. Your projects are worth it! Also: Definitely mark your quilting lines before you adhere the hexagons to the next pillow or bag; it makes the whole process saner.

I love this hanging pocket and the lining fabric, a Joel Dewberry print.

What are your recent triumphs at your sewing machine, friends? Bring out your beauties for the rest of us to see!



The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, September 28, 2018

Retreat Prep, a Beauties Pageant, and a Gift Certificate to Win

I have made a lot of Jane Market Bags in the past. Like, a lot.

There has not been a lot of sewing around From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters since my last post. In part, this is a result of my guild’s upcoming Cape Cod retreat. I missed our spring retreat, so I’m super excited to go and have been prepping projects to work on there.

I don’t find retreats conducive to being creative or to making important design decisions. To me, they’re temporary sweatshops, and I use the time to try to get through as much sewing as I can. I like to choreograph my weekend away by planning some smaller finishes and taking a bigger WIP or two.

This year, I have two Jane Market Bags cut and ready to go (see some previously made bags in the pictures above and below). And I have two quilts—both destined to be Christmas gifts—that are in process. All the remaining bits of those quilts have been cut and organized to minimize the math and rotary work I will do on retreat. (Retreats are also not conducive to accurate calculations and the cutting decisions based on them!)

This Jane Market Bag was part of a swap gift.

A weekend of sewing seems like a lot of time to get things done. It’s really not, especially when you factor in catching up with good friends, leisurely meals, and fabric shopping. Perhaps I’ll come home with two completed bags and one finished flimsy? We’ll see ...

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed. Carolanne is the winner!

In the meantime, I’m happy to announce my third Beauties Pageant and giveaway!

This week, Bernie, of Needle and Foot Fine Fabrics, has given me a $25 gift certificate to give away.

I have yet to meet Bernie in real life, but looking through her collection of fabrics for sale, I feel as if I know her. And clicking through her more traditional Christmas prints, to her bright and modern selections from Art Gallery and Andover, to her from her solids and blenders, she’s a well-rounded lady. You know, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. : )

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NeedleandFoot


You have two opportunities to enter to win this gift certificate: (1) Upload your link to the Beauties Pageant (just one link, please!) and/or (2) leave a comment on this post about whatever you’d like (just one comment, please!). Also: If you read my posts through Bloglovin’, click through to my original post to comment.

This giveaway is open internationally through 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, October 5. The winner will be notified via email, so if you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, September 21, 2018

A New Skill, a New Giveaway, a New Linky



Quilting friends, it’s Friday again, another opportunity to celebrate our fabric-y finishes. I revealed my finish for the week yesterday. It’s called Blaze and features a collection of wonky stars on a background of low-volume loveliness. It’s also my entry into this fall’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival.


A New Skill

When I haven’t been working on Blaze, I’ve been experimenting with a new-to-me technique: reverse applique. Have you tried it? I’ve been consulting the tutorials Campbell Soup Diary has posted on the subject and been referring to the materials from the Penny Sampler class I took with Stitched in Color years ago.

With its gentle curves, this 5.5-inch heart was an easy shape to do ...


But I am also reverse-appliquing 2.5-inch numbers and letters. I used freezer paper and a glue stick to manipulate my first attempt. I think I can make the characters neater, though. A second try will involve featherweight interfacing, starch, and my mini Clover iron. Wish me luck!




A New Giveaway

UPDATE:
The giveaway is closed. Janice is the winner!

This Friday is the second Brag About Your Beauties Pageant here at From Bolt to Beauty. To thank all of you for participating, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics!




You have two opportunities to enter to win this gift certificate: (1) Upload your link to the Beauties Pageant (just one link, please!) and/or (2) leave a comment on this post about whatever you’d like (just one comment, please!). Also: If you read my posts through Bloglovin’, click through to my original post to comment.

This giveaway is open internationally through 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, September 27. The winner will be notified via email, so if you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.

By the way, the winner of last week’s fabric bundle is Alice, aka alidiza. Congratulations, Alice! 


A New Linky

OK, so what have you been working on? Share your finish—whether it’s a quilt top, quilted project, or something else created at your sewing machine.

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button at the top of the post.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Thursday, September 20, 2018

BQF: Blaze Quilt

To readers old and new, hello and welcome! I’m Michelle, the quilter behind From Bolt to Beauty, and I’d love to introduce you to my entry to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Blaze.

Blaze was designed by Adrianne Ove and is included in
Classic Modern Quilts.

This quilt was a long time coming. In fact, I first blogged about it nearly two years ago. It wasn’t sewing the quilt that was difficult, though; it was collecting low-volume fabrics for the background that took years. But it was a fun process. Some of the fabrics came from low-volume charm swaps I helped organize. Others came from a fat-quarter swap we did in my guild. I found the remaining fabrics in quilt shops here and there across New England.

This quilt was my first time sewing wonky stars. It took me a while to get the
hang of it, but I think they look great.


I based my palette for the stars on the Maureen Cracknell floral in the middle.


When put together, the variety of low-volume fabrics creates great texture
in the background. I love it (and I am keeping it)!

If you have the time to look around some more, let me point out some other pages of note on From Bolt to Beauty:
If you are a collector of low-volume fabrics, I would love to hear how you use yours. (My last big low-volume stash buster was this stunner.)

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out other quilts in the fall 2018 Blogger’s Quilt Festival!

Linking up to Happy Friday Finishes, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Finished or Not Friday, and Let’s Bee Social, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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Friday, September 14, 2018

The Brag About Your Beauties Pageant (And a Giveaway!)


This past summer, I mastered crafty multitasking. After all, what can you do while waiting for your kid at soccer camp? Hand-baste hexagons! What can you do while playing a game of Pokémon? Hand-baste hexagons! What can you do when your children are acting like trolls and school doesn’t start for another two weeks? Lock yourself in your bedroom and hand-baste hexagons!

I should warn you, though: When this trend persists throughout different situations during your summer, you end up with a big backlog of hand-basted hexagons.

My first batch of hexagons resulted in this rainbow-adorned pillow. From the second batch I sewed another pillow, this one in black Essex Linen and Denyse Schmidt’s New Bedford line.


I used mini-charm packs for many of the hexagons I basted this past summer, but for this pillow I opened up a bundle of New Bedford and cut a 2.5-inch square from many of the fat quarters in it. Two of the fat quarters then went into sewing the back. With its French backing and simple knife edges, this pillow was easy-peasy to sew together.


Pageant Details

There are more hexagon finishes to come, but for now, I’d love to know what you’ve finished lately.

That’s my suave segue to the Brag About Your Beauties Pageant, a new linky that will run every Friday except the first Friday of the month.

The pageant rules are simple:

•    Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
•    Point your readers back here with a text link. (Because I haven’t designed a button yet!)
•    Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

A Giveaway

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed. The lucky winner is Alice, aka alidiza!

To celebrate the inception of the Beauties Pageant, Crosscut Sewing Co. has given me an eight-piece fat quarter bundle of Loved to Pieces, by Mathew Boudreaux, to give away. (Crosscut is my local modern quilt shop. The proprietor, Stephanie, has curated a beautiful collection of fabric, including fun novelties, a nice selection from my favorite Moda designers, and plenty of substrates other than quilting cotton. Local friends, Crosscut is in Melrose, Mass, and well worth the drive. Nonlocal friends, check Crosscut out online!)

https://www.crosscutsewingco.com/

You have two opportunities to enter to win this fabric bundle: (1) Upload your link to the Beauties Pageant (just one link, please!) and/or (2) leave a comment on this post (just one comment, please!). Also: If you read my posts through Bloglovin’, click through to my original post to comment.


This giveaway is open internationally. Due to the cost of shipping, if you’re an international reader and you win, you will get a US $30 gift certificate to a local-to-you quilt shop instead of the fabric bundle.

This giveaway is open through 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, September 20. The winner will be notified via email, so if you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.



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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blogging: Dead or Alive? (And a New Linky)


From the archives: My lumpy Rubik’s cube (2014)

I’ve been blogging about quilting for over four years. In that time, I’ve shared dozens of quilts, bags, and pillows (plus the odd Rubik’s Cube Christmas ornament). I have to admit it: I’m losing steam. Although I love sewing and quilting and writing, photographing my projects is a drag. And every minute I spend composing at the keyboard or fiddling with my husband’s fancy-pants camera is one fewer minute I have at my sewing machine.

From the archives: A Sew Together Bag (2015)

But here’s the thing: I believe in words! Sure, I use Instagram—it’s an especially good platform for sharing sewing projects—but it’s not the same as reading a well-composed blog post. So I’m still chugging away at From Bolt to Beauty, even if I’m not posting as frequently as I did when I first started blogging.

New Linky on Fridays

If you’re a regular quilt-blog reader, you’ve probably heard that Amanda Jean, of Crazy Mom Quilts, has decided to rein in her weekly Finish It Up Friday linky. And with good reason! She’s been at it for years. For the foreseeable future, she’ll be posting her linky once a month, on the first Friday of the month.

From the archives: Chelsea’s Giraffe Quilt (2016)

I understand her decision. I get a lot of traffic through Finish It Up Friday, though, and knowing that people are reading my posts and commenting on them helps me forge ahead. So I’m going to start a new linky—called the Brag About Your Beauties Pageant—to run every Friday except the first Friday of the month.

From the archives: My pin cushion production line (2017)

Prizes? Yes, Please

To stir up some excitement for the new linky, I’ll be posting a giveaway, open internationally, each of the next three Fridays: September 14 (tomorrow!), September 21, and September 28.

From the archives: Little Man in Blue and Brown (2018)

So if you’re with me and still love words and blogs and reading complete sentences, stop by tomorrow to enter that first giveaway. And if you’re a quilt blogger, stop by tomorrow to enter the giveaway and post your link.

Now, let’s hear it for blogging. Yahoo!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Crushing on the Kinley Pouch

Earlier this year, Jen Fox invited me to try out her Kinley Pouch pattern, and I was promptly distracted by other quilty commitments. When my guild announced that it was holding a zipper pouch swap, though, I knew it was time to give the Kinley a try ...

I enjoy sewing pouches, and it was easy to tweak the dimensions of the medium-size Kinley to accommodate a small panel by Alison Glass. (If you need this fabric for yourself, I got mine at Crosscut and it’s still available here.)

I love this panel! By using it on the Kinley Pouch, there is a cool side ...

And a warm side.

Following the instructions, I interfaced the exterior and lining with Pellon’s Decor Bond. It works well, giving the pouch needed substance and structure.

I lined the bag with an old Zen Chic fabric and bound it in Kona Cerise.

My biggest concern when I sat down at my machine was binding this project. I machine-bind all of my quilts, but little items are a different matter. Could I machine-bind and make both both the broad side and the end of the pouch look good? I could and I did! The secret was simple: glue-baste everything into place before finishing off the binding.

Look at that neatly sewn binding!

My favorite part of this pattern is how the binding is sewn to itself on one end,
creating a cute loop.

I don’t think I have ever sewn with a panel before. Actually, I have just one other in my stash: Merrily from Gingiber, and that won’t be sewn into a quilt anytime soon. If you use panels, I would love to hear about your experiences, whether you use them in quilts or smaller projects like this pouch.

I have more of the Alison Glass fabric left, and I am tempted to bang out more Kinley bags with what remains. If I do, you’ll be the first to know about it!

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Getting the Lining Right on Bags

Yahoo! I got the lining right on this En Pointe Bag!

Before I was a quilter, I was a bag maker, and an experienced one at that. I’ve made patterns by Noodlehead, Lazy Girl Designs, Amy Butler, and others. No matter how many notches I have in my bag-making belt, however, the part that has the potential to cause me problems is sewing the lining.

My most recent lining-related snafu was with Noodlehead’s Market Bag. When the bag was finished, the lining didn’t fit as nicely as I would have hoped. It was too darn bulky. Since I was working under a deadline—the bag was a belated birthday gift for my sister—I didn’t take my time and trouble-shoot.

To read more about this Market Bag, click here.

While making Kairle Oaks’ En Pointe Bag pattern for a second time, however, I decided to wise up and make a conscious effort to evaluate the fit of the lining before it was sewn into the exterior.

Now, the En Pointe Bag is a much simpler pattern than the Market Bag. Both its interior and exterior are rectangles. The pattern calls for using Pellon’s Décor Bond, which gives the bag pieces a crisp hand. Once pieces are lined with Décor Bond, however, it’s like sewing two pieces of construction paper together—there’s no give and no way to ease an ill-fitting lining into the bag exterior.

To gauge the fit of my lining, I cut the lining pieces a quarter-inch shorter in both width and height. Then I sewed a few inches along the top of both side seams. I finger-pressed those seams open and placed the lining into the bag to assess the fit. I did the same for the bottom, sewing a few inches in the middle of the bottom and finger-pressing the seam open. I decided to take a little more off the lining height as a result of these extra steps, and the completed project was better for it.

I used Essex Linen and Midnight Garden, by One Canoe Two.

Getting the lining to fit right had me so preoccupied that I didn’t realize until I was about to finish attaching the binding that I had twisted one of the straps. (NOOO!) I’m pretty sure this was a first for me and bag making. Instead of completely ripping out the stitches from multiple steps in the pattern, I managed to “unsew” one side of the bag, fix the strap, and get back to where I had left off.

Here’s the spot in question. I think the strap looks pretty good, considering the ordeal required to fix my mistake.

Here is the strap in question, all better!

The real test of my ability to take my time and sew a well-fitting lining will be my next Market Bag. I have all the pieces cut (including cute hand-basted hexies that are ready to be appliqued to the exterior!). Now I just need to find the time to sew it.

Do you have any words of wisdom about bag making and lining? What about cautionary tales, like my twisted strap? (I couldn’t help but remember an old post from Kelby Sews, about how a pattern-taping mistake resulted in the cutest tote bags. Read more here.)

Linking up to Main Crush Monday, Let’s Bee Social, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Save the Thread!

I’ll never tire of sewing half-square triangles. It amazes me what quilters can
create with them! Do you remember this quilt of mine from early 2016? It’s all
squares and HSTs.

Back in February 2017, I attended my first QuiltCon, in Savannah, Georgia. I didn’t spend too much time in the vendor section of the conference—there were too many other things to see and do—but at one point, I found myself admiring the wares in the Aurifil booth. This display was beautiful. A highlight was the quilt Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill made, featuring all 270 of the company’s thread colors. So, so pretty!

At one point during my visit, my friend Megan and I noticed water seeping from the adjacent bathroom toward the booth. With the rallying cry of “Save the thread!” we sprang into action and picked up product, including giant cones of thread, that was displayed on the floor. To thank us, the nice Aurifil folks gave us goodie bags. (This was super sweet but entirely unnecessary. I am a woman of priorities. If the thread is in jeopardy, I’m going to save it.)

One of the items in the goodie bag was a charm pack of Aubade, by Moda designer Janet Clare. That single act of thread preservation, and the subsequent thank-you, brought about this quilt . . .


For the quilt top, I bought some more Aubade charm packs, paired them with Kona Snow, and remembering a post I saw on Instagram, organized the resulting HSTs in ombre fashion.


To finish this project off, I quilted on both sides of the seams. (Read that as: no marking!)

The backing is a print from Janet’s Field Guide line, and the ocean-wave binding is from her More Hearty Good Wishes collection.


I’ve long admired Janet’s work and was psyched to play with fabric from three different lines of hers in this project. (A local quilt shop still has Nocturne in stock if I need to address an acute hankering for her fabric designs in the future.)

Do you share my love of HSTs? Is there a pattern full of HSTs that you recommend, or have you designed your own HST quilt?

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Modern Hexie Pillow


My projects fall into one of two categories. There are the ones whose inception I labor over. I plot the design, the palette, the fabric pull—sometimes for months. Then there are these other projects that come out of nowhere and I bang out with little thought.

This is the story of one of those latter projects. When I learned that a friend was leaving the area to tackle new adventures, I remembered this project I had seen posted on Instagram and decided to make her a rainbow of modern hexies. A few hours later, I was happily cutting some Alison Glass charm squares into smaller chunks and basting them, English paper-piecing style, into hexagon form.


This technique was developed by Nicole Daksiewicz, of Modern Handcraft. She has made oodles of projects by hand basting and machine appliqueing hexagons to quilts, pillows, and pin cushions. (For real. Check out her hexie projects here.) I probably could have figured out how to make this pillow on my own, but I was happy to pay the $10 to support Nicole’s work.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to tackle a modern hexie project. First of all, basting the 1-inch hexagons proved to be a lot of fun. I have two little boys who are hell-bent on depriving me of any daytime quilting time this summer, and by the time they’re in bed, I’m too tired to do much of anything. But the hexies I baste on the couch, TV on, the husband and 65-pound “lap dog” next to me. Fun!


Plus, the appliqueing was easier than I would have thought. After pressing the basted hexagons and arranging them in a pleasing configuration, I followed Nicole’s instructions and glued them to the background fabric. The subsequent quilting design, which depends on careful placement of the hexies, was somewhat forgiving. Granted, I made an 18-inch pillow, not a quilt, so the threshold for success was rather low. But it’s a triumph nonetheless!


The moral of this story? If you haven’t tried Nicole’s modern hexie technique, you should. I already have a second pillow in the works as well as another Noodlehead Market Bag that I plan on adorning with hexagons.

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday and Finish It Up Friday ...

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