Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quilting: A Quilting Journey Round Robin Bee


A Quilting Journey Round Robin Bee started about two weeks ago when I sent my starter block and I received my first block from Vickie. She sent along Alexander Henry's Spotted Owl print in green and white. The print reminds her of her grandmother. We were given free reign to create a block in any size that used a fussy cut piece of the owl fabric and incorporated a star.

Below you will see Vickie's starter block on the left and my contribution to her quilt on the right. She wrote in her instructions about the possibility of someone making a wonky house with a star in the sky and I immediately thought about a tree... with a star in the sky and a partial star as a flower.


This owl was my favorite...

I had a lot of fun making this block and I hope Vickie enjoys it! I can't wait to see her quilt come together!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quilting: Quilting Bee - The Hive

Work in Progress

June is my month in The Hive. I mailed out my packages today! They are filled with lots of black, white & grey fabrics... and a little bit of red. I left it pretty open as far as style of block. My only rules were size (12.5"), the only part of the block that can be red is the bird. There are 9 members in my group (10 including me) and we are a group that makes 1-4 blocks, most bees only make 1-2. So I can be expecting anywhere between 9 and 36 blocks... how exciting!!! Below is a sample block I made:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sewing: Fabric Origami


I tried some more fabric origami. This time an owl. It is for May's 'A Little Fabric, A Little Chocolate Swap'. My partner said she was a fan of owls. I made a little bag and sewed it to the front. The second picture below is the my swap for her including 3 fat quarters (owls, strawberries, and polka dots) a wool eater pot holder, some cute ribbon and of course chocolate!

Below is my swap from my partner. I got 4 fat quarters... all red, black and white which will work very well for my upcoming quilting bee project. I also got wide rick rack my newest obsession and a pattern for making sewing accessories that includes a sewing machine cover which I need!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quilting: Flora&Fauna Quilt Top


I finished my quilt top I have been working on. It is for my queen size bed. It is made with Michael Miller/Patty Young Flora&Fauna fabrics. I just have to the back ready and quilt it. I still can't decide what color thread to quilt it with, so I am nervous and excited to see how it turns out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quilting: May's Quilting Bee Blocks


I think I should probably stop joining bees, I'm in four! I spent my day on Tuesday working on all my blocks for the month of May and they all shipped out the other day. Here they are below:

First up, The Stitchin' Bee and my blocks for Lisa in South Carolina. She sent solid fabrics and requested Modern blocks. I created two for her. Including an "L" block since it was from Lisa to Lisa.

Next, The Hive, blocks for Melody in California. It was my first time paper piecing blocks. These are string blocks and signature block are made from the tutorials at P.S. I Quilt blog. She sent lots of fabric strips in pinks and the only guideline was that the brown fabric be the center stripe in the blocks.

Then for Sew2Speak, I had one more paper piecing challenge. This spiderweb block was made for Wendy in the UK. She sent strips of fabric in the above colors, blue, green and indigo and instructions for them to be pieced in a specific place because she is making a rainbow quilt. Other people in the group received different colors and have been posting their blocks and the colors look amazing. It is going to be really pretty when she finishes. There was a lot of planning and organization that went into this one.

Finally for my newest group, A Quilting Journey Round Robin Bee, my Chicago block. This will travel to 20 different places around the world over the next 40 weeks, if it stays on track, with the journal I created last week. I am asking that everyone create a block that represents where they are from in any style and colors they choose. Mine has already started it's journey and is on its way to Sara in Missouri. I am also awaiting my first package from Vickie in Kansas, she said it should be mailed by the end of the week! She is having us design blocks using a fussy cut owl fabric. Can't wait to get started!

In addition to bees, I joined a fabric swap called, A Little Fabric, A Little Chocolate. You are paired up with a partner and you swap fabric and chocolate. These are the requirements for each package: three fat quarters, chocolate, a little extra treat (notions, handmade items, gift item, etc.), a handwritten note and a photo. I just finished up my April swap and was paired up with Mari in Norway. The top photo is my package from her and the bottom photo is my package for her. The black item that is folded is an origami shirt.

I have been paired up with a partner in Kansas for the May swap. Should have that sent off to her in the next week or so.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quilting: Quilting Bee Journal

I joined another bee! This one is a different kind of bee though. It is called 'A Quilting Journey Round Robin Bee' - how it works: I make a starter block send it along with a journal to my assigned person on the mailing list and so on and so on... until this block travels around the world crossing the paths of 20 other people who will in turn make a block for me and share with me about themselves in the journal and eventually it makes its way back home to me! While my block is living it up traveling around the world on someone else's dime... I will be right here in Chicago working on blocks for everyone who is making me blocks! Each person gets to pick their own theme, I am having everyone make a block that represents where they are from in any style or colors they chose with just one stipulation the block be 12.5x12.5. My block will represent Chicago. I still have to make my block, but I have created my journal!

Several people in the bee group seemed interested in how I made my journal, so I created a tutorial. Sorry if any steps are unclear, feel free to ask questions and feel free to copy! Here it is:

You will need: cardstock, a glue stick, spray adhesive, scissors or rotary cutter, ruler, hole punch and sewing machine.

I started by folding my sheets of paper in half. Now this would have been the ideal project to use my Martha Stewart bone folder I recently acquired, but of course I couldn't find it! So a Sharpie works pretty much the same if you need some help making a nice crisp fold.

I decided I was going to leave a 2-page spread for everyone to write on and with 21 people in the group (including myself) I needed 20 interior pages, plus a front cover and back cover (22 sheets of paper total, it will make sense in a minute why I used so many sheets). I am utilizing the reverse side of each page including the front cover and the reverse side of the back cover as space for people to write, if you do not wish to set your journal up this way you can use how every many pages your want.

I then measured one inch from the crease and cut each sheet. Yes, it does leave me with some wasted paper, but if you are like me you will find a use for it in a project further down the road. Maybe a smaller journal for something else. You can chose not to waste any paper and make your journal skinnier.

The inch next to the crease in the paper is going to be where the holes are punched. I wanted to make that area stronger so I folded the paper over and used a glue stick to hold it down.

The next step is to punch holes, I decided to punch three sets of two holes each along the edge of my book. I only had a single hole punch, so I had to measure out where the holes would be and I used that sheet as a template to punch the remainder of the pages. My pages are by no means punched exact and don't line up perfectly. But they are approximate enough that once you tie the ribbon through they all line and you can't tell the holes aren't perfect, so don't sweat it too much. If you have a three hole punch then this step should be no problem.

I decided I wanted to make the book a bit more durable since it will be traveling all over. I used my machine to zig-zag sew a grouping of two pages together, so I was left with ten groups of two.

I then made the front and back covers, you can use your inside pages to determine the size. I cut two for the front and two for the back and glued them together to make the cover stronger. I did not use the fold over method for the front and back since I was gluing two pages together, it (a) wasn't necessary and (b) would have been really hard to fold over!

Next comes the fun part!!! You get to make you own journal block! It should be about 6x9 that includes the "seam allowance". I guess I didn't take a picture of my journal top by itself, but you can see it on the finished product below. The first two pictures above show you how I used the space that would normally be for the seam allowance and folded it over the edge and sewed it down to the back of the front cover page. Sew the edge that runs parallel to the holes last! And be sure as you sew toward the side with your holes that you don't sew all the way to the edge. You need to allow room to fold your rough edge under (like a hem) and sew it down as shown in the second picture. Also, I couldn't resist putting a little something on the back, so I sewed a heart with my initial to the back page. You can do something similar or you can make a block for the back as well!

Once you have your front and back pages decorated you will need to cut another page to be glued into the inside facing part of both pages to cover your edges and stitches. I used spray adhesive for the page that needed to be glued to the fabric and a glue stick for the pages that was only covering a few stitches.

Almost done! Line your pages up and weave some ribbon through, yarn will work too! When I finished weaving the ribbon through I had the two tails toward the back and I tied them off at both the top and bottom sets of holes then I continued bringing the ribbon up toward the middle set of holes and tied them together in a bow. If that isn't clear honestly you can make something up and if it feels sturdy at the end it will work just as well!

And the finished product! I hope it lasts on it's journey. It feels really sturdy and it lightweight so it shouldn't be too bad on mailing. I plan to have it travel in a ziplock in case it should encounter any inclimate weather. The front two pages are where I included a little info about me, a few pictures and explained to everyone what I would like included in their journal pages and their block. Now I better get started on my block!!