Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Bee Blocks

Since I am Miss April in the Bee Sewcial bee, I only had two bees to sew for this month. First up is Carlie, Stash Sewciety Bee. She asked for Union Square blocks in navy and grey with low volume backgrounds. I once again used the method to make 8 HST at a time and the blocks came up to size just right.

Stitch Tease Bee found Cindy asking for plus blocks in bright colors and low volume backgrounds. These blocks were a pain to make. Sometimes the easiest things give me the most difficulty. I could not get my seam allowance right and ended up un-picking each block at least twice. In the end, they are as close to 11-3/4" square as possible.

The blocks from my Bee Sewcial bee mates have started arriving and I am loving each and every one of them. This quilt is going to be my most modern quilt and is sure to become my most favorite quilt.  I am so lucky to be in these three bees with so many talented and truly loving and giving women. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Michael Miller Challenge, Sewtopia

Before going to Sewtopia in Chicago, each attendee was sent a bundle of 6 Michael Miller fabrics. We could make whatever we wanted and add as many other fabrics to the bundle, as long as they were all Michael Miller fabrics.

I added a bunch from my stash and used the Michael Miller Cotton Couture Indigo solid as my background fabric to make a flying geese baby quilt. I call it Wrong Way because some of the geese are flying in the opposite direction as the others and those are the geese that were also made the "wrong way", using the HST cut off from the larger 5 geese.

Michael Miller Challenge
I found a perfect Michael Miller bird print for the backing with all the colors of the fabrics used on the front.

I quilted it with straight lines spaced 2" apart.

This collage shows most of the submissions. There were some really creative projects submitted.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Wrong Way
Fabric: All Michael Miller prints and solids were used on the  front and back.
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. cotton thread. Quilted with Perma Core Polyester 40 wt. in Turquoise
Batting: Warm and White
Size: 42.5" x 43.5"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sewtopia Swap

I participated in the swap at Sewtopia.
I've been itching to cut into my stack of Doe by Carolyn Friedlander and thought this would be the right time. I also used some of Carolyn's Architectures collection, a few from Moda's Passport collection and one piece of the famous Nummers print from IKEA.
I just started making blocks and sewing pieces together and ended up with a mini quilt that I really had a hard time parting with.
Angles quilt
The back is made with the leftover pieces from the front and a print of DS Quilts Collection from JoAnn's.
Quilted in a one inch grid pattern and bound with another print from Doe. Navy seems to be my new favorite color to use in my quilts lately.
Quilt Stats:
Name: Angles
Fabrics: Doe and Architectures by Carolyn Friedlander, Passport by Moda.
Backing: DS Quilts Collection
Binding: Doe Navy
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: Pieced and quilted with  Aurifil 50 wt. #2600 Dove Grey
Size: 25" x 25"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sewtopia Chicago

I was so looking forward to Sewtopia in Chicago. Mr. Romance and I planned to make a week's vacation of it, spending the first 4 days enjoying Chicago. As you can tell by the photos, we basically ate our way through Chicago. We love special dining experiences and nothing is more special than Alinea. It's a dining extravaganza, with innovative food and excellent service.
We also like shopping for food and Eataly is an Italian food market owned by Mario Batali and the Bastianich Family. You just can't go wrong with this combination of families for food and everything Italian. This market and it's small kiosk dining shops were so much fun. I could have spent the whole day in this store. We had a yummy lunch at the pizza and pasta bar.
The weather was crazy cold for us. The silly mid-westerners thought it was warm, but we were freezing most of the time. We had two really nice days and took advantage of one of them to walk along Lake Michigan and see the lake up close. Even though we lived in the Chicago area when we were first married, we never went downtown. This was fun and a gorgeous day. We met up with a dental school classmate of my husband's and his wife, whom we had never met. We really enjoyed our time catching up with the last 40 years.

Sewtopia started with a shop hop on Thursday. Three shops and a busload full of shop happy quilters was really fun. The best part of that day was hanging out with Angela. We had a nice lunch and learned a little more about each other; sharing and swapping stories and facts about our lives. Quilty friends are so fun.

Sewtopia is run by Amy and Jemelia and was assisted by Jen and Rossie. They did a great job making everyone feel welcome and are each fun and helpful.

The real reason I went all the way to Chicago was because the teachers scheduled were two of my favorites. First up was Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts. YES! That Rita. She is such a sweet person and so giving of all her knowledge.
Our class was the Kansas Dugout block, which has a million Y-seams.
I took my little featherweight along for the ride and Margaret performed perfectly.
When I got home I put all the blocks together. I will be making a mini for my wall with this project. To tell the truth, I have so much more admiration for Rita after taking this class. I only made 16 blocks and it took forever. One of the projects she brought to share had 100 blocks! That's more Y-seams than my shoulders can handle.

kansas dugout block

The next class was the Molehills pattern by Latifah Saafir.  I am lucky enough to be in the same guild as Latifah, so I have been privy to some of her tutorials and wisdom that she shares at meetings. She is a natural teacher and is very thorough in her instructions. If you have ever made any of her patterns, you know what I am talking about. 
Once again, Margaret (my featherweight) performed perfectly. I am a confident curve seam piecer so this project, with it's gradual curve was a fun one for me. 
I made 22 of the 24 arcs, needed for a generous lap size quilt, in class. When I arrived home I made the last two arcs and I am working on getting this quilt finished.

molehills quilt

There was also a swap for anyone wanting to participate. I'll share what I made at another time. I received this cute rainbow mini made by @mifarley on Instagram. It is going to be a great addition to my mini wall.

Sewtopia was a great experience. I was able to catch up with people I had met at other retreats and also met some new and very fun people. It's always so nice to get together with people who love cutting up fabric and sewing it back together just as much as I do. The next Sewtopia will be in the fall in Portland (it's already sold out). That event is a sew only event, with no formal classes. The next Sewtopia with classes will be in April 2016 in Atlanta. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chicago, Day 1

We timed this trip perfectly as far as weather is concerned. 
Today was a beautiful day. 
We spent the day enjoying the cool air and sunshine that the locals look at as heaven sent. Actually, we Californians think 60'F is a welcome relief to our hot, Southern California temps. 
All sewing equipment arrived unharmed. I'm looking forward to Sewtopia but also enjoying a few days with Mr. Romance first. 


Posted from my iPad. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3

When I saw this pattern on Susan B. Anderson's Instagram feed I knew I wanted to try making it. I have known how to knit since I was a teen but have had a love hate relationship with the whole process until I discovered knitting socks 18 months ago.
Last month I decided to change it up and try making a shawl. This pattern is so easy and looks so good. It's big and squishy and oh, so soft. The Yowza yarn was a dream to work with.

This shawl is big. It measures 80" from end to end and is 20" at the point. It's big enough to cover my shoulders as a shawl and if I wrap it around my neck it will keep me toasty warm. I just hope I get some cold weather so I can wear it in Chicago next week. Otherwise it gets packed away with moth sachets for 6 months.
The entire shawl, except the ribbing portion is knit in garter stitch,  so it knits up quickly.

I think it looks like a giant moth in this photo.

One thing I am pretty proud of is that I finally learned how to knit and purl continental style. That means I don't throw the yarn anymore. My stitches are looser but the whole process is easier on my hands not to mention learning a new technique is good for the brain cells. I've noticed that with all the sewing and knitting I am doing I have Repetitive Motion Pain in my shoulders and wrists.

I really like this shawl and think I will make another one in another colorway.

Shawl Stats:
Pattern: Youza Weigh It Shawl 3 by Susan B. Anderson (available on Ravelry)
Yarn: Miss Babs Hand Dyed Yarn Yowza weight, 4 ply worsted, 100% Merino Wool
Babette, Morticia Colorway, 8 ounces
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace, US Size 8, 40 inch circular needle 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Star Plus Quilt

This quilt was one of my finishes for the first quarter of 2015. I included a finished photo in my blog post about my first quarter finishes but I think it deserves a blog post of it's own.
There has been a lot of sewing going on at Casa Stanley, but I have not taken the time to photograph the finishes let alone blog about them. Instagram is just too convenient, isn't it?
This lovely pattern is by Claudia, whom I met at the very first Sewing Summit. I couldn't believe she came all the way from Germany for the retreat. Now I know that people (including me) travel all over to meet their quilty friends. You can find the pattern on Craftsy.
This quilt is a birthday gift for my friend's 60th birthday later this month.
Made with Happy Go Lucky fabrics by Bonnie and Camille, one orange print that coordinated with the line for the largest block  and Kona Snow for the background; this quilt came together easily. The pattern was simple to follow. I tweaked the instructions just a bit and used the make 8 HST at once method. Here is the link if you would like to try this method.
We went to the park the other day to take photographs, but arrived just as the sun was going down, so some photos are a little dark.

I quilted the quilt on my Bernina 820 using loops and swirls in an all-over pattern. I think it's fun to quilt words into the design so I included a "Happy Birthday, Doreen" in the quilt.
I snapped a few photos in the garden to try and show the quilting and the true colors of the fabric.

For the backing I used  Riley Blake Medium Dots in Boy. The dots are navy, grey and orange and go well with the Happy Go Lucky colors.
For the binding I used a navy and white print from the Happy Go Lucky fabrics.

I have two more projects I need to blog about. Both are for Sewtopia. I am frantically trying to get ready for the trip to Chicago this coming weekend.

Quilt Stats:
Quilt Name: Happy Go Lucky Star Plus
Fabric used: Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille, Kona Snow, one orange print from stash.
Backing: Medium Dot in Boy by Riley Blake
Batting: Warm and White
Binding: Navy and White print from Happy Go Lucky
Thread: pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. in White, quilted with Aurifil 50 wt. #2310
Measurements after Laundering: 56" wide x 75" long. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

First Quarter Finishes 2015

I finished three of my four projects for the first quarter of the Finish Along.
My blog post with the hopeful list can be found here.

I did not finish the medallion quilt. It still remains folded in a little corner of my studio. I did hang it on the design wall, but gathered no inspiration from it. I think it might need to be made into a pillow and then it could be on next quarter's list. My friend, Darci, suggested removing the last green border. Maybe that's what I am not loving about this project.

My three finishes are:

2. The Fit for a Prince Baby quilt.

3. My most recent finish is the Star Plus quilt for a friend. I still need to do a proper photo shoot and write a separate blog post for this lovely finish, but with all the Easter prep, this is the only photo I had time to take.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side