Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keeping with the Retro Theme...

I made a purse today using a retro-y canvas upholstery fabric and the Fat Quarter Handbag pattern at Sew Mama Sew. I added a magnetic snap in, which I was excited about. The package came sans directions, weird, so I found this quick tutorial for reference. It was a smooth, easy process, and I really like the purse, I do think that in hindsight, a rectangular handle would have probably been a better fit, but it's cute and surprisingly error-free for my first try at the pattern - guess that's a kudos to a well-written tutorial!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cute Top

I found an adorable tutorial by Sew Mama Sew. Just had to give it a try. Don't know if I followed it exactly, I was a bit confused at points, but I finally understand how to do pleating, it seems to have turned out okay. After finishing the first top and knowing what my mistakes were, I decided to try a second one. This time I got adventurous and added ruffles after referencing this tutorial which cleared up my confusion from the other tutorial's directions.
The ruffles really added to the top, and the cuts to allow armpit space were really necessary. I love the second try! Sorry for the myspace-style self portrait, but it was the easiest way to show the shirt. Isn't it cute?!

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I Want for Christmas...

Is a long-arm machine. haha, machine quilting on my regular sewing machine is a bitch. I love machine quilting, but I have to imagine a long arm would make it soooo much smoother and easier... someday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Machine Quilting on Vermont Leaves Quilt Started

As the title suggests, I got the machine quilting started on my fall leaves quilt. It's far from perfect, in fact there are some spots, especially the free-motion areas, that are downright ugly... but I'm happy to be doing it myself and getting the practice down. So far there are no fatal flaws like giant bunches in the backing or anything. I did all the bordering stitch in the ditch lines and did the border and outer edge so there are no more safety pins in it. Tomorrow I will add some more free-motion in the outer blocks, and I'll have to think about whether or not I want to do anything in the border. I kinda like how it looks pillowy without anything in it...

First Snow Storm!

Well it's my first snow storm in Vermont. Luckily I bought backing fabric for the quilt top I finished, so I have plenty to do. I made biscotti yesterday, so at the moment I'm enjoying some hot cocoa and homemade vanilla biscotti and watching the snow fall!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vermont Scrappy Leaves

Finally finished the "Vermont-y" quilt top I started in when I moved here. Tried to take a decent photo, but for some reason the lighting was just terrible. Maybe during the day I can take it outside for a better shot. It's clearly super scrappy. For the center I used the leftovers from the strips that were used in the leaf blocks.
And with borders added to tie it together:

Beautiful Stars

My cousin is the quilter who inspired me to start my own quilting. Here's a gorgeous quilt she made while using my apartment as a temporary studio during my time in England. My mother is very into rustic colors, and stars - here's just a hint of what they came up with.
The quilting was done by Madeleine Vail, who also did the machine quilting on my very first quilt =) The combination of their work together is simply stunning, as always.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful meal with their families, or friends.
I have to admit I'm a little disappointed that its not snowy and cold today. I had images in my head of my first white holidays. I won't be on the east coast for Christmas since I'm going home, so I was hoping for a snowy Turkey Day... oh well, as I've heard before, we'll soon have plenty of snow and I'll be sick sick sick of it. Yeah yeah, bring it on!
Here's an old post from my other blog about the mascot of this food-filled day, the turkey =)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Pies and Rolls

Well it's not quilts, but tis the season for baking! My other favorite past time besides quilting is cooking. (I'm a regular Holly Homemaker at 21).
I have the good fortune to live near King Arthur Flour's Baking Education Center. I try to sneak away from my law school classes to get some baking in. I figure even though it takes time away from studying and the courses are pricey, it's worth the education while I'm so close, and besides, cooking is as cathartic as sewing is for me.
Today's class was called Thanksgiving Take-away Pies & Rolls. We made pie crust from scratch, which I had never attempted before, then filled it with pear and cranberry filling, and topped it with an almond streusel. Mmmmm!
Our rolls were delicious Tender Chive Crescents. They where choc-full of butter and sour cream. Not a low-cal roll. As the instructor said, Thanksgiving is not about counting calories! I tasted one of them, and they're delicious. The pie and the rest of the rolls will be coming with me to Thanksgiving dinner at my law school's Dean of Student's home. Those of us who couldn't fly home for the extremely short holiday were invited into her home for the meal so we could spend it with friends. I am excited to be contributing a pie and I hope I'll have enough rolls to share!

Friday, November 20, 2009

NLQG Bingo Block

For my next quilt guild meeting we were supposed to make bingo blocks to play quilt bingo. After the game the blocks will be sewn together to make a community quilt to go to someone in need. Fun huh?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Since putting a question out there worked so well for me with zippers, I thought I'd ask if anyone knows a really good store (with a website to order from) that sells a wide variety of flannel fabrics? I've been to some incredible quilt shops, but I'm never that impressed with the selection of flannel fabrics to choose from. I would love to order some good flannels to make some blankets for the long winter ahead.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My First Zippered Pouch!

I made a little coin purse today based on the pattern from twelve22. Thanks for the responses to my request for zipper tutorials. It took maybe 15 minutes, was super easy, and turned out adorable except for the small detail that I guessed wrong on which way my directional fabric should face- my peace signs are upside down - oh well, I still think its a successful first zipper attempt!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Put a Zipper into a Bag?

Hi all, has anyone come across, or be willing to write, a good tutorial on how to make a bag with a zipper in the top? I've been making a lot of bags lately, and I would love to take them to the next step with a zipper, but I don't know how.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Purse and Wallet

It seems like in graduate school all I have time to make are small projects that can be completed in a day. Today I decided it was time for a new small purse with a matching wallet. I experimented with using thin cardboard (cereal box) for stiffness since I didn't have interfacing. Poor choice in retrospect, slightly too stiff. But still, it did the job this time around.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Practice Pillowcase

Last night I made a pillowcase pattern I found to see how easy it would be as a Christmas gift idea. I just used some fabrics that were given to me to use for practicing on. I think it turned out pretty good, and I was surprised at how much fabric it needed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Leaves and Log Cabins Quilt

In honor of moving to Vermont, I've started a scrappy "fall leaves" quilt.
I got six blocks done =) It felt good to be starting a new quilt. As much as I love making bags, there are a lot of skills that get honed every time I start a new quilt.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Project!

To ease myself back into quilting again, I've decided a bag will be a safe project. I've done the pattern at least 6 times, so its familiar enough to jog my memory as I move through the steps.
I chose black & white floral, and a lavender solid for the body of the bag, with a black and white and lavender Cypress block for the outside pocket design. Thinking solid black for the handles, we'll see.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Vermont!

Hey all,

I'm back, but this time I'm in Vermont. I've moved here and begun my first week of school at Vermont Law School. A bumpy start to say the least, but I absolutely love it here! I got my quilt studio set up, and once I get some more fabrics stashed away, and pick up some batting, I'll be ready to get going!
Hello again and check back, I'll be posting and sewing again soon!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

So Long for the Summer

Well, I'm a little torn. I will be off to Catalina Island to spend the summer as a Educational Naturalist for the Catalina Island Conservancy. Im thrilled and it should be a great summer. On the other hand, I can't bring my sewing machine since we'll be in an outdoor campground, so I will be relegated to a summer without quilting :( booo
When I arrive in Vermont in the fall I will have to quilt up a storm to compensate. In other news, my first quilt arrived back from the quilter today. Due to it's size and my time constraints, she also did the binding for me. It's absolutely gorgeous and I will try to remember to get a photo before I leave to show you all how it turned out.

Happy Quilting,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Finished the Twisted Bargello Top!

Sorry for the terrible, quality, I forgot my camera so this is a cell phone pic until I can get back to my studio to take real pictures. Here's the finished top! Minus borders of course.

More Bargello Progress

We added a few more rows Thursday. Hopefully we can add some more this afternoon. We're pushing to finish before I graduate and move away for my summer job.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bargello Progress

A lot more un-sewing than is necessary, even in a bargello, today. I overdosed myself on caffeine and it definitely messed with my brain. Even so, we're 20 strips in, 15 more to go!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Tote for a Friend

I made yet another tote for a girlfriend of mine. This one goes to USC, so of course I had to grab the JoAnn's USC fabric and made her a school bag.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bargello Progress

I promised photos, so here's the first 14 rows of my Twisted Bargello rainbow batik quilt. Marsh and I added 4 more rows, bringing us to 14 of 35.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Iron Burn

So about a week ago, as I was making my purse, I burned the crap out of my arm. It's about 2 inches long, and two inches from my elbow on the inside of my arm. It blistered up and a day or two ago the blister burst, it dried out and now the top layer flaked off. I'm told this is a rite of passage for quilters - talk about an initiation ritual - my cousin and aunt have burns in the exact same spot. Where have you burned yourself?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dress with No Pattern

So Monday afternoon I got a wild hair, and decided to make a dress. I had no pattern, I've never used one before and I don't know how to read them. I just grabbed some fabric and started cutting. It was from the cheap fabric bin my cousin put aside for me to practice new techniques with. I had no idea how to put in a zipper, so I put in snaps in the back, and I don't know how to do darts so the fact the sides fit as flat as they do is a miracle. I had no mannequin so I was constantly putting it on and taking it off as I made changes, but I have to say, I've never had a dress so tailor-made to fit me! I like how it turned out, and while I don't know how sturdy it is, I think I might wear it for my college graduation in about three weeks =)
Here's the end result:

So in other news, I have been working on the Twisted Bargello with my cousin. We used rainbow batiks and so far it's coming out gorgeously. We have it about a third of the way done. We probably won't work on it again until friday, but I'll try and take some photos then.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jess' Tote

I made yet another tote. This one is for my friend Jessica. She rides horses so I wanted something horsey, that wasn't country. I decided on flowers and horseshoes. I think it came out cute, I hope she agrees! I also learned to make buttonholes with my automatic buttonhole foot. It was ridiculously simple, I can now put buttons on anything!!! =) Of course I took advantage of my new knowledge and added a buttoned inner pocket on her bag. Good practice and too perfect.
The block I used for the front pocket is Maple Star
View of the horseshoe lining and the pocket with the button

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Own Purse!

I made myself one of the tote bags I've been cranking out, with a few minor changes. I made the body of the bag smaller and the handles shorter so it's a purse that tucks under my arm, instead of a tote bag. I also decided against a pocket on the outside even though I like them, I just thought it would detract from the cool pattern in the blocks. 

The blocks are from a project my cousin did in 2000 for a class, I think she called it Noodle Soup? Anyway, she never used the blocks and I asked her if I could make a quilt out of them, for practice and because they're so beautiful. She agreed, but there were many more blocks than I used for the quilt, so I decided I wanted a bag too!
The wallet is based loosely off a tutorial from That*Darn*Kat. It has cash and credit card slots, and the only thing I would have wanted was a place for coins, but I don't know how to add zippers yet. I still need to figure out what I'm going to do as a closure, maybe I can sneak a snap on there, there's a pocket behind the credit cards, so I could probably do that if I tried... hmmmm.
The wallet from the inside

I also want to add a closure to the bag to make it more secure, I'm thinking I'll add an elastic loop to the back and a button on the front for a loop closure. If I knew how to do zippers I'd do that, but I don't know how to do zippers or buttonholes!
The bag from the inside, using more of the blocks as pockets

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tote Ideas

Well I think I need to make a tote for myself! Katie looked so cute carrying her panda tote today. I think I want to applique a bird on the pocket of mine. Katie has pandas, my mom has tomatoes, I want a bird!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend Quilting

This was quite a prolific weekend for me. I took a bag class Saturday, which resulted in an adorable tote bag which I will be sending to my Aunt on Monday as a belated mother's day gift since the fabrics make me think of her.
Beachy Tote for my Aunt Libby

I finally, finally, made the panda tote, using the same pattern, for my friend Katie. She's really into pandas so I've been promising a quilted panda tote forever.
Katie's Panda Tote

I worked on the blocks for the surprise quilt I'm making my other aunt, using blocks her daughter (my cousin) made over 9 years ago for a class. Teamwork tackling a UFO.
UFO Quilt

Last, I began, but didn't finish a bag for my mom with tomato patterns on it for when she goes to the grocery store. She picked out her fabrics and sat with me while I worked on it. I also made her scones for breakfast. It was a fun Mother's Day.
Mom's In-Progress Tomato Tote

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

bargello class night 1

Tonight was the first night of the bargello class. I cut my 20 fabrics into strips, then sewed my strata together. Next I'll be making tubes and cutting those into the strips of various sizes to create the twisted pattern. Very cool! Ill add pictures soon I'm sure.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twisted Bargello Prep

I pulled fabrics for the Twisted Bargello class I'm taking Tuesday. Going for the rainbow batik effect with a black background and some multicolored options for the border.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I finished the baby quilt! It's my very first quilt that I did from start to finish (my first quilt top is off being quilted by a professional and friend since it was huge). There are loads of errors in it, but I am still pretty thrilled with it. It needs to be washed, then I need to get it down to San Diego, where baby Colette resides.
From the front
The back

My baaaad hand sewn binding

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Binding Sucks

After finishing the quilting for the baby quilt I learned to bind it today. I discovered I truly dislike binding. I learned French bias binding from my cousin. It was not fun! Now I'm hand-stitching the binding in place while watching a movie. At the last minute I was putting my bobbin case back in my machine and the little peg popped off! It's a plastic piece and I wasn't excited to see that happen. I'll call the Bernina dealer tomorrow to ask if I should just super-glue it back in place, or if it needs to come in to get replaced asap. Drat. Binding day is not a good day for me clearly!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quilting the Baby Quilt

I held my breath and jumped in! I stitched straight lines up the center of the chains with my walking foot, then free-motion quilted the flowers in the background squares. It was scary but for my first time, I'm happy with the results. Today I need to stitch in the ditch around the inner edge of the border, then add a decorative stitch in the border. Finally, bind, wash and send!
Finished quilt top

The pinning begins

Mostly finished front!

From the back you can really see the flowers

Close-up of a flower