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WIP Wednesday: Finding My Mojo

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So, the sewing mojo remained at level zero for me for most of the past week. In fact, I don’t think I even sat down at my machine until yesterday. With the tragedy in Connecticut and various other (much less important) things happening in my own life, it was hard to get excited about much of anything over the weekend. But it’s a new week now, and with my kids’ smiling faces to urge me on, yesterday I decided it was time to get back behind the machine.

Part of the reason I wasn’t sewing? I think I was avoiding the handmade-gift conundrum. As in: Do I make anything? And if so, for whom? I was determined not to make anything for anyone this year, because, well, I just didn’t feel like it. Some years, Starbucks gift cards are just more feasible, right?

Bow clutches for teacher gifts

But sometimes it’s nice to give something a bit more personal, so last night I started these cute little chevron bow clutches for the girls’ teachers. I had to stop before they were done because of course I didn’t have the foresight to buy the zippers, but so far they’re adorable, and very quick to make. So depending on how these turn out, I might even whip up a few more. I might. (You can find the bow clutch tutorial right here.)

Fox Hollow for baby quilt

I’m also cutting up this stack of Fox Hollow from Monaluna for a baby quilt for some friends. The baby’s already almost three months old, so no time like the present! I think the parents will love these cutie fox prints.

Be sure to come back here tomorrow, because I’m releasing another pattern! I’ve had to fill my time somehow, so instead of sewing, I guess it’s been pattern-writing. : ) Tomorrow I’ll be releasing Chain Reaction as a stand-alone pattern (the pattern previously appeared in Quiltmaker magazine). Once again, I’ll be giving away three copies and offering it on sale for a short time, so don’t miss it! And that means today is the last day to pick up Cartwheels on sale – it can be purchased in my pattern shop or on Craftsy or Threadbias.
Okay, what are you working on this week? Whatever you’re sewing, link it up here! Just remember the rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?

Have a great week!

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WIP Wednesday: With Guest Host Debbie from A Quilter’s Table

On the first Wednesday of every month, WIP Wednesday gets a guest host! I’ve chosen some of my favorite bloggers and WIP linkers to take the reins for me on those days. -Lee

Hello! I’m Debbie from A Quilter’s Table, and it is certainly my pleasure to be guest-hosting W.i.P. Wednesday today! Thank you, Lee, for having me! Considering W.i.P. Wednesday was the first link-up I joined when I started blogging, I have a special fondness for it. Plus it helps keep me on track!

Ongoing projects
Modern Crosses quilt – I’m still in the beginning stages of this project, but have at least doubled the amount of blocks since last week.

Mod Pop Quiltalong – I’m kind of having to force myself on the piecing of the curves. The actual assembly should be alot of fun though, since the pattern is so striking!

Nametag for Sewing Summit – Patchwork is done and embroidering the details is in the works!

Weekender Bag – Oh my. This is where my time has gone lately. So far, so good, but the scariest steps are yet to come! I had a layer cake of Lotta Jansdotter’s Bella  that I cut up to make the patchwork which I’ve been straight-line quilting as I go. Alexander Henry’s Heath seemed perfect for the piping, handles, and lining. Next up is the zip!

Christmas quilt and Dresden projects – no progress.

Upcoming projects
* scrappy Metrolink – who knows when, but I still really want to!
* another frame purse
* use Polaroid blocks
* placemats
* Binary quilt using blocks from Modern Blocks Bee
* Sew Lux Challenge project
* UR Priceless Blog Hop project
* Christmas!

So what are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress.
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. If we each comment on just 2 or 3 other links, everybody will get so much comment love!

Happy sewing!

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WIP Wednesday: With Guest Host Michelle of CityHouseStudio

Happy WIP Wednesday!

My name is Michelle, and I blog at CityHouseStudio. I’m delighted to be guest hosting WIP Wed this week! Thanks so much for having me, Lee!
I have found that summer is not my most productive season for quilting. Summer in Minnesota is short; we spend every possible moment enjoying the pool, the parks, and our backyard! While I’ll really miss the kids after they start school (the Tuesday after Labor day), I’m giddy thinking about a whole day to myself to sew!
Here’s what I have finished recently:
a Baby Quilt for my cousin’s new baby
(9 blocks of wonky stars, using this tutorial)
My helper, Holly—she loved helping me lay out the design!
She also requested that we make a fish to go with the quilt, but this didn’t go so well. I just couldn’t figure out how to get the tail to look right!
Another “Read” Library Tote—pattern available here.
I need to make a few more of these! Each of my girls has requested one, along with a friend with twin girls, too. Luckily the letters are really fun to paper piece!
I’m close to finishing up these projects:
Asterisk Quilt (tutorial for the scrappy asterisks is here). This was my choice for my last month as “quilter” for the Peace Circle of do. Good Stitches. I quilted this with FMQ loops, but still need to sew on the binding.
I’m working on pattern testing a bag for a friend—more to come on this project soon!
Just started project: Vintage Holiday QAL with Fabric Mutt
I’ve finished 2 blocks so far, and they were QUICK! The QAL is officially on blocks 7 and 8 (out of 12, yikes!), but I don’t think it will take too long to catch up.
These are such fun blocks to make! I’m using red and green fabrics that aren’t necessarily “Christmas” fabrics, with grey seeds from FMF for the ornament tops and binding.
Now it’s your turn to link up. Here are the rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other links—because what fun is a linky party without comments?

 

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WIP Wednesday: Guest-Hosted by Katie

Hi, everyone! Lee tells me today is August 1, so that means it’s my turn to stage a (friendly) takeover of W.I.P. Wednesday. I’m Katie, and I blog over at Katie’s Korner.  I live in Alabama with my husband and our 5-year-old son, and I work full time as a copy editor for a magazine. Stop by my blog and say hi!

My crafty time has definitely been limited this summer (I know I’m not alone!), but I did manage to make some progress this week, especially on some bee blocks.

Finished:
Star for Kati
Pioneer's compass for @the_blue_chair !
I made this bee block for Kati using this pattern from EQuiltPatterns.com. It was definitely a challenge, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

do. Good Stitches July block
Cracker scraps for do. Good Stitches.
Meg requested Cracker Scraps blocks using Angela’s tutorial (a welcome change of pace from the paper-pieced star!)

House block
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This house block is on its way to a new home too.

In progress
do. Good Stitches Host Swap

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The hosts of the do. Good Stitches circles are having a little swap. I sewed up this Jane Market tote for my partner. I need to make another small item for my partner, and the deadline was…yesterday. Eep!

Happy Drawing quilt
I’m making a Happy Drawing quilt for a friend who is about to have a baby. I have less than 2 weeks until the shower…

Diaper bag for Claire
My little niece has requested a toy diaper bag. Need to get to work on this asap!

Tula Pink Quilt!

I’m excited to make a quilt using The Birds & The Bees. Soon!
Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Postage Stamp quilt
Arcadia Quilt

To do:
Half Moon Modern quilt borders
Swoon
Hand-stitched class homework
teddy bear sleeping bags
Tracey’s French Kisses
June block for do. Good Stitches

July block for do. Good Stitches 
Yellow/Gray star for Kati

Bag for me

Okay, it’s your turn! What have you been working on this week? Here are the rules for linking up to WIP Wednesday:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP)
2. Somewhere in your post, link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other links—because what fun is a linky party without comments?

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Ruffled Zipper Pouch

Today’s the day—my first tutorial for the Art Gallery Fat Quarter Gang is live!

I’m showing you how to make this little ruffled zippy pouch. You can always use another one of those, right? And this one’s a little bit tailored, because you know, Art Gallery fabric is just too posh for a scruffy one. : ) And it’s easier to make than it looks—you can throw one of these babies together in about an hour! (Trust me, I’m the original bag-ophobe).

Click here for the full tutorial on Art Gallery’s blog.

I used fabric from Art Gallery’s Rhapsodia collection. I fell hard for the big hexagon print that I used for the exterior of the pouch, and then of course couldn’t resist echoing that with the little hexies for the lining.

Want to win a stack of fat quarters from Rhapsodia’s “Sweet Journey” color palette? Of course you do! To enter the giveaway:


My rules: Leave a comment (any comment) on this post

Art Gallery’s rules:
• Subscribe to the Art Gallery Fabrics blog
• Follow Art Gallery Fabrics on Pinterest
• Like Art Gallery on Facebook (optional)

The giveaway is now closed.

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A Chevron Tote

I did it! I made another bag! This one is for my wonderful friend Lisa—it was part birthday gift and part thank-you gift for a recent babysitting favor.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve never been much for sewing three-dimensional items. If it doesn’t lie as flat as a quilt, it scares me. But sewing more non-quilty items was one of my goals for 2012. Also, I’ve been dying to make a bag out of this yellow chevron fabric ever since I saw these Vera totes that Katie made. So I’m really excited that I finished this bag, and that it turned out so cute!

I used Betz White’s Isabella Tote pattern (available here or here—I love that the pattern includes an option to make this bag out of a repurposed pillowcase). I wanted my bag to be more structured, so I added the optional interfacing, even though I was already using a heavier upholstery-weight fabric. I also did the optional Timtex-interfaced panel in the bottom of the bag. I would have liked to add a pocket on the inside and maybe a magnetic snap closure, but I ran out of time! (Because, as usual, making this bag was a total last-minute decision.)

The only thing I didn’t like about the Isabella pattern is that, because of the way it’s constructed, it isn’t possible to line the bag in a different print. I would have liked a touch of contrast on the inside. But it’s that same construction method that makes it such an easy bag to put together (and makes it possible to use a pillowcase), so I guess I can’t complain about it too much.

Anyway, my friend loves it. In fact, she posted it on Facebook and I had several requests from her FB friends to make bags for them as well! What a nice compliment. But I think Lisa’s tote will have to remain one-of-a-kind for a while (well, three-of-a-kind, counting Katie’s inspirational bags), because I think I need to go back to nice flat quilts now. : )

P.S. The upholstery-weight yellow chevron fabric I used is on sale herefor $7.21 per yard for 54″ wide cuts! What a deal! They have other colors as well.

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Busting Out the Dance Bag

So, this adorable kid has been taking dance classes for the better part of three years now. And I have been intending to make her a dance bag … for the better part of three years now.

This is the dance bag I finally made for her, after all this time. It took me the better part of three hours. Yep, gold-star mom, right here. : )

Anyway, this is from a free tutorial by Simply Modern Mom. I love that it’s a hobo bag, instead of a too-cutesy little tote bag. E. feels pretty stylin’, in fact. The fabric is Peacock Lane, with a Michael Miller Dumb Dot for the lining. You gotta have pink and black for a dance bag, right?

I made a few changes from the tutorial—since I used lightweight quilting cotton, I added some fusible interfacing to the lining. (I hate how fusible interfacing always seems to bubble and wrinkle in the finished product, so my solution was to fuse it to the lining instead of the outer fabric.) I also eliminated the braided handle, and I added a magnetic snap, because I know my daughter, and I know the contents of this bag will just end up on the floor of my SUV without some sort of closure. I used this fab tutorial from Sew Crafty Jess’s blog to put in the snap—magnetic snaps couldn’t be easier! Really!

Edited to add: I’m linking up to TNT Thursday at Happy Quilting and the Threading My Way linky for bags and totes! Great idea, Pam!

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Christmas Swap Round-Up

So how was everybody’s Christmas? Is the whirlwind done at your house? It is for me—we had a lot of fun and the girls looove their gifts, but I can’t say I’m sorry it’s over now. : ) I actually have a few moments to breathe again!

But before we usher in 2012, I need to share a few last swap goodies from 2011. I swore off most traditional swaps a few months ago, because I seem to just spend way too much time on them, but Sukie suckered me in with her Twitter Secret Santa Swap. We weren’t required to send a handmade item, but of course when it came down to it, I couldn’t resist making something. After all, my partner was the amazing Katy of I’m a Ginger Monkey and Fat Quarterly! Send her a secret santa gift that didn’t include something homemade?? As if.

So here’s the gift package I sent to Katy (which she finally received yesterday, so now I can show it to you!) Thangles, a Clover marking pen, some hand-dyed perle cotton, and a FQ from Denyse Schmidt’s Picnic and Fairgrounds line from Joanne’s. (I was thinking those prints may not be available in the U.K.?)

And I made her this mug rug using Badskirt Amy’s x-and-plus tutorial and a newspaper-print fabric. I used wavy-line quilting on it because that’s one of my favorite quilting tricks, and I learned it from Katy! I hope she enjoys it!

 

 

My Secret Santa swap package came from the talented Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock. Check out the incredible stuff she sent to me: How adorable is this notebook?? I’ve loved this fox paper-piecing pattern for ages and she totally nailed it with the colors and prints.

 

And that’s not all—she also sent me this coffee cup cozy, the travel mug that’s in it, and she filled the mug up with candy! Whew!

I love the cozy’s Half-Moon Modern prints and handstitching. (You can find a Moda Bake Shop tutorial by Amy for this very cozy right here.) And it just so happens that I have another one of these Copco mugs
and it is my absolute favorite, so I’m thrilled to have another one. It fits in my Keurig coffee maker (many travel mugs don’t) and it’s nice and simple, functioning like a basic Starbucks disposable. Except that this one has a reclosable spill-proof lid, which I’ve never seen on a Copco mug, and I couldn’t even find it on Amazon! So yes, I love it—clearly, the fact that I’ve gone on about a mug for an entire paragraph should indicate that I will treasure it forever, LOL. Thanks, Amy, I love it all!

I also swapped recently with Becky from My Fabric Obsession. I designed a new blog header for her and she sent me these fun goodies in return—a Jane Market Bag in Neptune, and some coordinating FQs! You guys—it’s Neptune! I love this collection so much. I bought a layer cake way back when it first came out, but frittered most of it away on some pillows that I didn’t even end up liking (this was back when I still didn’t really know what I was doing). I used most of the remaining scraps in my Single Girl quilt. So I’m super excited to get a second chance with this hard-to-find collection. Now I just need to decide what I’ll do with it! And the bag is so roomy and useful—I’ve already used it probably a dozen times. I even packed some stuff in it when I went out of town for the holidays. Thank you, Becky!!

And here’s one more Christmas present for me (and my girls). I won a giveaway from Kylie of My Addiction to Quilting. She sent me this soccer ball entirely hand-pieced from hexies! The girls love it—it’s so nice to have a ball they can freely chuck at each other, LOL. Kylie also sent some beautiful purple fabrics, and I seem to be eternally short on purple in my stash, so they are much appreciated. Thank you, Kylie—you are so sweet to send these all the way from Australia!

One of my favorite things about having this blog is how I’ve been able to send items all over the country and the world, and receive things right back. Australia, the U.K., Europe, Canada–what a wonderful exchange. Here’s to more swaps in 2012.

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The Sewing Summit: Swaps

My two favorite things about Sewing Summit: Friends and fabric (in all its many forms). Happily, the weekend offered plenty of opportunities to combine the two!

Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy, AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters, and I arranged a little in-person roommate swap. How often do you get the chance to exchange swaps in person? It was so fun to receive things made by my closest blog-friends-turned-real-friends. : ) From Elizabeth, I got this adorable hexagon zippy pouch with hand-quilting around the hexy. I’m determined to learn how to embroider someday soon, and this pouch will be perfect for my supplies!

The back is one of my fave blocks, the x and + block!

AnneMarie made me this gorgeous paper-pieced pillow from Heirloom. I LOVE Heirloom, so she definitely nailed it with this. It looks great on our couch too, as you can see. And guess what—there’s a zipper in this, too. You ladies are totally putting the pressure on me to figure out those darn things! : )

Speaking of AnneMarie, here’s something else she made me a while back, that I have yet to share, and which came in handy at the Summit. This sweet linen lingerie bag! How could you not love that underwear print? And the linen and decorative stitches are the perfect finishing touches.

And here’s what I made for AnneMarie—yep, I’m still obsessing on the paper-pieced stars from Carol Doak’s book 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars. Since all the stars in the book are named after states, I thought it would be symbolic and meaningful and just plain cool to use the Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Utah stars in my mini-quilts for the girls. One star for each of our home states, plus a star for the state where the Summit was held. (No, that’s not my awesome carpet in the photo. That would be the carpet at Little America hotel.)

I wanted Elizabeth to get the same thing, but in different fabric. Sadly, this plan was far too complicated to execute in the time I had available before leaving for the Summit. I knew I should try to come up with a simpler plan, but once I thought of the state-stars idea, I couldn’t unthink it. I had to do it. But I’m hard at work finishing up Elizabeth’s and I hope to get it in the mail to her in the next few days. Thanks for your patience, E!

Moving right along, Kristie of OCD gave me this insanely cute framed clutch while we were at Summit, as payment for creating a couple of blog buttons for her recently. LOVE the fabric, the flower, and the blue doodads on the frame. Also, this particular clutch is famous, because it’s straight from Kristie’s framed-purse tutorial for the Moda Bake Shop! Click here to see my clutch’s 15 minutes of fame (and learn how to make one yourself!)

The inside of the clutch, with Kristie’s cute label.

Here’s a stack o’ goodies I scored at the Summit FQ swap, organized by Kaelin of the Plaid Scottie. We were all expecting the swap to be a full-contact sport, but everybody was super calm and orderly. After the swap, several of us used our FQs to test Elizabeth’s Rain-Man-like knowledge of fabric lines. That red and orange print in the bottom-right corner was the only one that stumped her! Anybody know it?

Yet another swap I participated in was the Color Wheel charm swap organized by Kati of From the Blue Chair. I would love to make a pixelated color-wheel quilt like Kati’s, and with these charms, that should come together nicely.

I think that about covers the swaps. Come back tomorrow for my final Summit-related post: The swag, plus a swaggy giveaway!

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Gifts and Giveaway Winner

Two teacher gifts down, one to go! Thank you, Ayumi, for a wonderful lunch bag tutorial. This is the perfect gift for teachers who stomp around in the mud and bogs with their students every day. : )


And now, the reason I know you’re really all here: We have a giveaway winner! Congratulations to comment #318, Jenny:

I do love an ironic giveaway winner. : ) Jenny, I’ll be sending you an email for your mailing address.