Bags, bags, bags

I don’t endorse things I don’t really believe in, so when I say something is great, I really think it’s great. I had heard and seen plenty about the Noodlehead 241 tote bag, and I decided to buy the pattern when I was looking for that one thing that I’d like to make for handmade Christmas gifts. It was so straightforward (though it took me a few minutes to realize I needed to tape some pattern pieces together) and good for people like me, who experience a tiny bit of anxiety when faced with making something three-dimensional.

Though the bags were fun to make, the real fun for me was picking just the right fabric for the recipient, and figuring out which fabrics would play well together. I’m really happy with how they all came out.

All in all, I made six totes (the last of which I gave yesterday, which is why I’m writing a post about Christmas a month late). Here they are. Roll call!

Cotton + Steel butterflies plus Meadow plus Kona Navy:

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Cotton + Steel check and tigers with Andover gray chambray:IMG_1460

Cotton + Steel (again!) with a Dear Stella pinstripe and Kona Navy:IMG_1587

Amy Butler with Carolyn Friedlander Botanics and Kona Navy:IMG_1594Cloud 9 Miscellany with Kona Pink and Kona Black (with a peek of Carolyn Friedlander Architextures inside):

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Cotton + Steel (I know) with Zen Chic and Kona Navy:

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Have a great weekend! Thanks for visiting!

Mini quilting

I did something a little outside of my comfort zone and joined an Instagram Mini Swap! Schnizel and Boo’s, to be precise. I thought it would make a fun blog post to show my progress shots as documentation of the entire quilting process.

My partner likes low volume and pretty florals, so I decided to pull some favorite low-volume prints that feature gray. They would contrast nicely with the peach and yellow florals that I chose to feature.

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The final pull was slightly different than this stack. The grid, crosshatch and succulent prints are from Carolyn Friedlander. The large gray floral is Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9. The gold with tiny flowers is from the appropriately named Petit Fleurs collection, and the peach is from Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9 Fabrics.

Next up was cutting and block assembly. I decided to do quarter-circle blocks for a mini Trill design (I’m a little obsessed with that shape at the moment), so I laid them out and glue basted the blocks four at a time.

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Top assembly. Part of the appeal of mini quilts for me is that they encourage a level of detail that would just be too overwhelming on a large quilt. I usually press to one side to help nest seams to make rows and then press them to one side again to save time. But open was possible and looked great, so open it was.

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Here is the finished top.

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The next step was quilting.

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I added texture with my favorite wavy walking foot quilting. This is the back, with another Elizabeth Olwen fabric, from her Grey Abbey collection.IMG_1848

And the back. I put some pockets in for easy hanging.

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And the big reveal:

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I don’t think my partner reads this site, but just in case I won’t reveal who the recipient is until she gets it. It goes out Monday morning with a few little treats.

NJMQG will be having a mini quilt swap in February. Have you swapped before? What do you do with the quilts you receive?

#makeaquiltmakeafriend #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap

Peek blocks of a different flavor

It’s been a glorious, productive week back at my favorite sewing spot for the first working week of the year. Though the temperatures outside were frightful, we got a pretty dusting of snow that didn’t interfere with life, just gave some bright natural light.IMG_1762_2

I visited Rock Paper Scissors to talk about the new class lineup, which includes a class for Peek blocks! It’s a great chance to practice that necessary 1/4″ seam allowance, and it’s such a fun block to put together. I talked with RPS’s owner Beth about showing different flavors for Peek blocks, and she let me play with some of Carolyn Friedlander’s collection Doe for the class samples.

Here’s what we picked:

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Isn’t it great? I’ve been looking forward to this collection so much. I just love Carolyn’s sensibility. I went right home and made the first Doe Peek block that night: IMG_1763

Scrappy and addictive. I can’t wait to make more of them. I tried another flavor with slightly different scrappiness:

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And it works in a whole different way.

Here is the first Doe block with the original Peek in Kona solids:

IMG_1785_2   So different, right? I’m tempted to make a sweet floral one next. It’s rare that I want to make a quilt twice, but I’ll make another full one of these at least. (Here is Peek in original flavor).

If you’re in the North Jersey area, the Peek block class will be held at Rock Paper Scissors on Monday, January 26 at 7:00. If you want to find your 1/4″ seam allowance on your own machine, you are free to bring it! Students will also get an early version of the Peek pattern, which will not be available for sale until spring.

The quilts of 2014

2014 was a big year of growth in my quilting life. I started to define my quilting style more, trying to stick with the principles of “simple and stunning.” But I also tried to learn as many new skills as I could. While I learned a lot about precision, I didn’t make it all the way through my Skill Builder course (thank goodness you get the whole course as a pdf at the end). But I did learn how to sew curves by taking a leap of faith and following a magazine how-to. I loved them so much that many of this year’s quilts feature them, and I taught a Quarter Circle class three times! I also got to go to SewDown Nashville and take classes with some of my quilting heroes– Anna Maria Horner, Angela Walters, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Carolyn Friedlander.

On the teaching front, I had a lot of wonderful firsts. In addition to starting the Skill Builder classes at my local fabric shop Rock Paper Scissors, I got to teach a full-day Quilt Camp in August (the sample is included in the quilt round-up) and a two-day class at the Montclair Art Museum in October.

I published a walking foot quilting tutorial at Sew Mama Sew and was so honored to be included in their “My Favorite Quilt” series. I also made two quilts that ended up in the Cloud 9 Fabrics Quilt Market booth. I love those people and the beautiful fabric they make. I entered quilts in my first ever show in the Warwick Valley and get to send one to the show at Quiltcon.

Most importantly, I connected with so many kind and talented quilters through the North Jersey MQG, this blog and Instagram. You all are so great to have for company in this solitary pastime, and I look forward to continuing those relationships (and meeting some of you for the first time in Austin in February!).

Now, on to the quilts! This year, they were either baby-sized, mini-sized, or nearly twin sized! There are 14 in total. If you click on the photo, it leads to the finished quilt post.

The BFF quilt

The BFF quilt

The Hexacabin quilt

The Hexacabin quilt

You Are My Sunshine

You Are My Sunshine

The Mihow quilt

The Mihow quilt

Aerial Quilt - Design by Carolyn Friedlander

Aerial Quilt – Design by Carolyn Friedlander

Love Letters

Love Letters

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Mason’s quilt

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Breeze

Quilt Camp sample

Quilt Camp sample

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The Wojo quilt

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Monster Hexies featuring Cirrus Solids – designed by Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cloud 9 Fabrics

Trill

Trill

Peek

Peek

The Christmas quilt

The Christmas quilt

There is so much to look forward to in 2015–  I have big plans for the blog, for myself and for Quiltcon! I had hoped to publish some digital patterns, but put that on hold until I do more research into the VAT situation in the EU and do a little bit of fun branding work. I’ll be keeping you updated for sure.

Happy New Year from me to you.

The Christmas quilt

I finished it before Christmas, but because of celebrations and weather the photos had to wait until today.

IMG_7751I’ve written about this quilt at almost every stage of its creation, but I have to tell the full story here.

This was a bee quilt for my NJMQG block party group. I decided I wanted a Christmas quilt to go with our holiday decorations, one that would come out for snuggling in the darkest months of the year. I found some inspiration and designed something rather traditional that would use a palette of red, white, and gray. I found a way to use a single block that, assembled, would make stars and “snowflakes,” which are both major themes of our Christmas tree ornaments (the pattern is here).

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It is quilted in loops by the lovely Stephanie of Late Night Quilter (who, by the way, is still offering 10% off and free batting to readers of this here blog). It crinkled up perfectly.

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It’s bound with a perfect understated stripe from Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics line.

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It looks great in the living room (I put it on the floor because the couch is on the opposite side of the room from the tree). IMG_7731

Thank you to my bee mates and Stephanie for making my Christmas wishes come true.