Friday, September 29, 2017

Original Sewing & Quilting Expo 2017

The Original Sewing & Quilting Expo is happening in Schaumburg this weekend, and of course, I went! Schaumburg Convention Center is literally 15 minutes from my house, and though it's not a big show, it's still got plenty of vendors and lots of eye candy. Although I really think of this as more a sewing show and less a quilting show.

I took just a few photos of my favorite quilts on display today. Disclaimer: These photos are for personal enjoyment, not for reproduction.

Left: Essence by Susan Mann
Right: Sailing the Ocean Blue by Diana Minor

Left: Primordials #5 by Rahel Elran
Right: Tactile Architecture by Simona Peled

One fun feature of Sewing Expo is their Make-It Take-It projects, where for a small fee, I get to make something and take it home. I stopped at the Babylock station and made this bag with a serger. This is my first time ever using a serger. How cute is this bag!

I'm primarily a quilter so I really don't need a serger, but it was fun to use. And who knows, maybe one day I'd wake up with an insatiable urge for a serger. (That happened with my longarm.)

I was in the area when the BurdaStyle fashion show was starting, so I thought I'd sit and watch. What a treat! The models were beautiful, and the clothing was very cute and on trend. I'm pretty sure all of these are way, way out of my skill range, but it was a fun experience anyway. Here are some of my favorite pieces:

And then ... at the very end, BurdaStyle announced a collaboration with Spoonflower / Sprout coming up. I didn't get too many details but it sounded fabulous. I adore Spoonflower, and it sounds like we get to pick a fabric, pick a size, and it'd come shipped to us with the cutting lines printed on it. The worst part of garment sewing, to me, is dealing with the paper pattern. And that's not an issue! I saw this adorable top that had my name written all over it, and maybe I'd try it come November!

I stopped at both Babylock and Janome to look at their sewing machines. I really, really want a new sewing machine. I admit I'm very much fed up with my Pfaff, but shopping for a sewing machine is really scary. Not only is it a big hunk of change, but I don't know for sure that it'd solve my problems with my Pfaff, and I will have to learn the ins and outs of the new machine. Besides, my Pfaff still works, so I can't justify getting a new machine, either.

But what's a quilt show without some shopping? I found this gorgeous yellow / blue quilt kit, and I picked up a few more Akonye Kena bowls. I'm obsessed with them! Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, but they're fair-trade and made in South Africa. And they're amazing thread catchers because the thread never sticks to the bowl. I've got enough thread catchers now, but I'm sure I'll find some uses for them!

You know you visit too many quilt shows when the cashier of Missouri Star Quilt Company recognizes you. However, I think I'm done with quilt shows for the year. My next show will probably be ... QuiltCon!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Poppy Infinity Scarf

I was on quite a long knitting hiatus. I blame it on the weather, though. Who can think of wool and cashmere when it's 85 degrees outside? (I'm sure my lack of knitting has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my new longarm is taking up a lot of my attention.)

But something magical happens when fall starts to think about kicking in. Suddenly, my box(es) of yarn starts to look much more appealing, and then, I wanted to knit again! It helps that I fell in love with a gorgeous pattern called the McCallum Cowl. And so, my Poppy Infinity Scarf has become my first finished knit project of the year.

The yarn I used is Dream in Color Jilly, and it is a truly beautiful, luscious yarn. Jilly is a single-ply 100% merino yarn that is super soft and completely luxurious feeling. It is actually superwash ... but I wouldn't have known without reading the label! A lot of superwash yarn feels so dead, but Jilly is vibrant and amazing.

The pattern is easy enough to be relaxing, but interesting enough to be fun. When I first read it, I was very unsure about it because it seemed really complicated for a simple looking project. But once I started working it, it was quite easy to follow. I love that this cowl is bias knit, making it more interesting looking, and the best part about bias knit stockinette is that the edges just don't curl as much.

I'm primarily a quilter and will remain so for the foreseeable future, but I'm happy to bring back knitting into my life. After all, when I'm watching the kids, or on a 6-hour car trip to visit the in-laws, I can't quilt ... but I can knit! Knitting is a different experience as it's so much slower, and as much about the process as the results.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Trio of Heart Builder Quilts

This week I have not one, not two, but ... three finished quilts to show! I was sent 3 quilt tops from Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders and I got to finish them. (I didn't have to piece these. Whew!)

The first quilt made me smile as soon as I opened it up. Monkeys! It was all fussy-cut, and just far too cute. I did an allover swirl hook design but quilted all the monkey blocks differently to make them stand out.

The second quilt was a red/white/blue quilt, so I did an allover swirl / paisley design.

And last but not least, the final quilt was made of chevrons, sashings, and cornerstones. I did some custom quilting for this, putting different fillers in each chevron and tying all the sashings together with a square chain.

My oldest child retired her crib a few months ago, and I knew just what to do with one of the railings ... doesn't it make a nice quilt rack? So officially ... here's the rack of quilts! (Included is Pixel Maze which I posted about last week.)

And now for the toughest part of charity quilting ... finding shipping boxes to fit them in!


Link parties joined: Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and My Quilt Infatuation.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

National Sew a Jelly Roll Day

Apparently there's a day for everything. I had no idea that September 16th was National Sew a Jelly Roll day until it kept showing up in my social media feeds, along with pictures of delectable quilts and jelly rolls. Well ... it worked, because suddenly I was seized with the urge to sew a jelly roll quilt.

I sort of have a love/hate relationship with jelly rolls. On one hand ... I love them because they're so adorable and so convenient. But mostly the adorable thing. On the other hand, I've gotten far too many jelly rolls that are either too wide or too narrow, and they make precision sewing difficult ... like it isn't hard enough as is! (I've even gotten some bowed strips ...) But despite my best efforts, I still managed a little collection of jelly rolls.

Well, it's time to use some. I've spent some time looking for patterns, and getting ideas of what I want to do. I collected my top contenders into a Pinterest board.

After careful consideration (and there's quite a few on there that I plan to make) I think I'm going to start on Zen Cabin!

The jelly roll I decided on is Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics. It's one of my favorite collections this year. Before I started, I measured ... and sure enough my strips were a smidge too narrow. Well ... that's the good thing about not using a quarter-inch foot, and using my standard zigzag foot but adjusting the needle position. I was able to sew a smaller seam allowance, and pretty much get my blocks to come out the size it's supposed to be.

I'm so excited to keep going! I think it will be a great quilt, and my, I just love that fabric!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pixel Maze

I've been involved with Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders charity program for awhile as a machine quilter, but by mistake, I was sent some fabric to make a top instead of my usual materials of batting and backing fabric. At first, I wasn't sure what to do, but then I quickly got some ideas. I only had two goals: it needs to be simple, and it needs to be fun.

So I came up with a maze quilt. I looked for some maze generators for some ideas and this is one of the randomly generated maze that I then put into Electric Quilt:

When I opened the actual fabric pack up, I realized it was not just blues as I thought. In fact, there were a lot of colors in here. I hope the inspiration still comes through though, and it doesn't just look like I put the squares together randomly!

This quilt was asking for a design that highlighted the maze nature, so I thought a geometric allover is perfect for this!

And this quilt is ready to be shipped! I don't make kid quilts very often, so this was a really fun experiment. I hope whoever gets this quilt will enjoy the maze!


Linking up with: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quilt Expo 2017

Last year I found out about Quilt Expo literally the day before by a complete accident, but this year I marked it on my calendar and planned ahead, and I went with a blogger friend who lives in the next town over.

Although I usually take some photographs of my favorite quilts, I didn't do that today because I wasn't feeling too hot and the place was so crowded. I did see a lot of gorgeous quilts of course, and my favorite display has to be the kid quilts exhibit. There were kids as young as 5, making quilts, and doing beautifully!

I already have a longarm and don't feel the need to upgrade right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not still curious to try other longarms. Back in April when I was longarm shopping, I tried a bunch of machines and some of the longarms felt so heavy and clunky. I wasn't sure how much of that was due to the fact that I didn't know what I was doing. So now, I wanted to see if they would feel any different. Well ... I'm more sure than ever that I made a great choice in my APQS Lenni! Some machines still felt like I was driving a truck, but the APQS machines were by far the smoothest machines I tried today.

I stopped for a demonstration of a fabric weaving method using a tool called WEFTY. In fact, the person who demonstrated it was none other than Tara, who invented it! As she told me about how she started doing it by printing it on her 3D printer, I was utterly amazed. The fabric panel she created is so beautiful, unique, and has a great texture. I picked up a WEFTY and I'm curious to give it a try sometime!

I used to go crazy at quilt shows, but recently, I'm starting to spend less and less money. That's probably because I already have all the tools and notions, and I've already seen most of the fabric online. But I was happy to pick up a few kits and of course, WEFTY!

The next show I'll attend will probably be the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Schaumburg. It's small, but it's a mere 15 minutes from my house. Hopefully I'll get to take some photographs of the quilts in that show, and have more room to move around!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Think Pink

Happy September! I dreaded September when I was a kid, because I hated that summer was ending and school's starting ... but now, boy, do I feel the opposite!

The Shattered quilt from Jacquie Gering's book Quilting Modern has always been on my "someday" list, because it is so very aligned with my style. However, until recently, I wasn't ready to make it, because what I loved most about the quilt is actually the quilting: gorgeous echoing straight line designs, which is best done on a longarm using a ruler. But now that I finally have a longarm, I'm so ready to make this quilt! I decided on some coordinating hot pink fabrics and a gray for the asymmetrical borders.

I have to be honest, I actually hated making this quilt top. Not only were the improv blocks very stressful, but there are 8 border strips to put on! If I didn't like assembling a quilt, that's nothing compared to how much I hate putting on borders. The only thought that kept me going was how fun it would be to quilt this.

And quilting this really was so, so much fun. The main attraction of this quilt is the spirals in each of the sections in the improv strips part, and that part took forever to do for it was all ruler work, and each section required breaking thread. The result is totally worth it though, and if I wasn't 100% comfortable with rulers before I started this quilt, I sure am now.

To contrast with all those straight lines, I did some curvier designs in the gray borders. In the border all around the improv blocks, I did a very dense filler with swirls, pebbles, leaves, and lots of echoes. In the outer border, I did the wavy wavy design which is probably the easiest, most forgiving border design in existence.

I really love the back, too! Although I usually use extra-wide backing to avoid seams, I found some solid pink yardage on sale, and I thought it was just perfect for the back. Not to mention ... it really shows off the quilting, too!

This is one of the more modern quilts I've made, for sure. I really like it, and I'm quite mesmerized by the echo spirals!


Link parties joined: Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, My Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

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