So It Begins

AMH EPP piecesThe time has come to assemble my AMH EPP project. I started the first row over the weekend. I have many, many small stitches to make before this done, but I cannot tell you just how happy I am with this project.AMH EPP coming togetherI love everything about these flowery stars. Those fussy cut pieces just make me grin from ear to ear. And the jumbled diamond stars are the perfect thing to make your eye pause. AMH EPP up closeIt’s enough to make me giddy–although that could be attributed to the coffee, I suppose. All I know for sure is this project is one of my all time favorites.

As I work on these rows, I’m listening to lute and guitar. Very relaxing and it seems to fit into the Christmas spirit somehow. Maybe it’s the fact that lute music makes me think of medieval halls with hung tapestries, roaring fires, spiced wine and the wandering minstrel.  Very Kingkiller chronicles, that. I’m not sure why I would equate all that with Christmas and Yule but I do.

Do you have music you find especially suited to handwork? Or do you prefer to work in silence?

Rewind

 

KF bundleChristmas gets closer and closer, the days going by so quickly I find myself wishing I could hit the “Rewind” button. Life, however, doesn’t come with a “Rewind” button, which I suppose, is a good thing. It means it doesn’t have a “Fast Forward” button either. While waiting for the backing for Mr. P’s quilt, I cut into this bundle of Kaffe fabrics.KF pcsIt’s a wild and wonderful quilt top using the same design as the one for Mr. P’s Parson Gray Shaman quilt. When I have them both quilted up, you’ll be able to see just how different these two quilts from the same pattern look. I’m madly in love with this Kaffe version. But we’ll talk more about that when I post the reveal. In the meantime…Ray of Sunshine kit sampleyou’ll find the free pattern I designed for Westminster Fibers for this fun Kaffe bag over at MakeItCoats. The kit to make this exact bag has already sold out on Craftsy, but you can still sign up for a waiting list. Just click here to head over to Craftsy. The bag is a simple floppy bag, perfect for carrying sweaters, snacks, mobile devices and some reading material wherever you’re headed.

Free Style Applique Pillow in Kaffe 2013

Free Style Applique Pillow in Kaffe 2013

Remember this pillow? It has to be one of my favorites. I really love how it turned out. During all the commotion of Market preparation, I had the chance to make another version (and write the pattern, finally). Here it is done in three prints:Sunburst pillow kit sampleYou can buy the kit to make this version on Craftsy. Click here for the link. (It’s currently on sale for 30% off, by the way.) If you want to use your own Kaffe stash, find the free pdf pattern at MakeItCoats here.

So, if you get the itch to play with some bright color, you now have two free patterns to get you started. Of course, during this time of year looking at photos of bright color might be just enough to get you through to New Year’s. Either way, you’ve got some options.

As for me, it’s time to cut the last of the fabric bits for my AMH EPP project. Just 36 little diamond shapes and I’m ready to sew it all together. I may even make my goal of beginning the final assembly before the end of the year. (Shocking, isn’t it?)

Have a fabulous Friday and colorful weekend!

A Weird Week

sunny succulentWe had rain this week! Almost 1.85 inches in 24 hours. This is a huge deal here as the drought is severe and the last several opportunities for rain passed us by. Nature is very, very grateful and the plants are putting the extra moisture and nitrogen to good use. Succulent bloomWhen the clouds started rolling in, I felt the pull to sit and do some yarn work. It was the perfect time to finish up the thread crochet project I started last week. I got as far as putting a garland together, adding some felt balls to the riot of color. ColorCrochetFeltGarlandNow it’s just a matter of adding the special touches–beads and sequins and any other number of sparkly embellishments. Once it’s complete, I’ll write up all the details for you. Just in case you get inspired to play.

The rest of the week was filled with tedious but necessary business paperwork. It wasn’t easy to shift gears from colorful creating to boring administrative tasks. A weird week, indeed. But I did manage to cut into this bundle for a brand new project.PGShaman bundle (2)Mr. P was startled to learn that this quilt will not be leaving the house, that it will be his new lap quilt. So many things pass through here, he’s grown accustomed to seeing things he likes find permanent homes elsewhere. I figured it was time for another quilt for him. Parson Gray’s Shaman collection is just the thing. You’ll find it in stores now. PGShaman scrap pileWith less than three weeks until Christmas, there is still time for handmade gifts. Don’t forget to check out the Freebies section for ideas. This post from last year highlights some quick and easy projects you can make in an afternoon or less.

December?!

zoo floraLike most of you, I’m wondering how the calendar hit December already. Let’s not even talk about New Years. Where does all that time go?! After the Thanksgiving festivities, I had the urge to make something Christmas related. It may be the only Christmas related thing I do this year, so I figured it was best not to resist.SB Xmas prepA quick stop at the Dollar Tree last week resulted in two foam cones. At $1 each, I decided I would figure out what to do with them at a later date. That later date came over the weekend when I grabbed some Sis Boom scraps and got to work.SB trees and garlandTo make these trees you need the following:

  • Two foam cones, 6″ x 3″
  • Four 2 1/2″ x Width of Fabric strips each of two different prints
  • Two small fabric flowers about 2″ in diameter, or other decorative elements such as pom poms or jingle bells
  • Two small decorative buttons
  • Small floral pins or craft pins
  • Needle and thread

To begin, fold one strip in half wrong sides together. (Strip now measures 1 1/4″ by Width of Fabric.) Thread the needle with a length of thread about 18″ long. Knot the end and begin gathering the strip along the folded edge by stitching every 1/8″ to 1/4″. Gather as you go, backstitching to secure sections of stitching. The length of your gathered strip should be somewhere between 22″ and 24″. Secure the end with a knot.

NOTE: You could gather the strips on your machine to save time. However, gathering by hand gives you more control. And you can do it front of the fire or the TV or wherever.

Gather each of the strips in the same manner. Starting at the bottom of one cone, pin a gathered strip in place. The first row of ruffle should be even along the bottom of the cone. Work your way up the cone, hiding the pins beneath the upper layers and between gathers. End with the upper edge of the ruffle even with the top of the cone.

Pin a small fabric flower (or other decorative element of your choice) to the top. Glue a button to the center. Repeat for the other cone.Starry Sis BoomFestive, fun and most importantly with Christmas only 3 1/2 weeks away, easy!

Color Infused Days

Crochet thread beginningsIt appears I’m a total failure at Doing Nothing. I’ve been trying over the weekend, after another bit of unexpected work popped up last week. But Doing Nothing is going to require more effort on my part. I think it might help if I could remove all the color temptations around here. This bit of crochet quickly turned into this:Crochet roundsAnd I couldn’t resist playing with the fat quarters Jennifer Paganelli sent me of her upcoming Jenny Eliza prints. Thank you Jennifer! (Jenny Eliza is her brand of fabrics available at Joann’s.) She asked me to do my thing, and maybe throw in some fussy cutting, or not. I obliged. You can see how easy it was.JP JennyEliza blockThe whimsical print is just begging for fussy cutting. Here, I have isolated four of the designs in this 10″ block. I will keep adding some borders and details before deciding on its finished state. There will be a free pattern forthcoming. In the meantime, I have the rest of the prints to play with.JP JennyEliza FQ]And then…it was time to make the Color Therapy block for November. So I chose more Kaffe prints and started sewing. Royal Blue and Sky are the colors for the month. Without even looking at my Kaffe stash I knew I’d find the perfect prints. ColorTherapy#9It makes me think of the beach–blue sky, deep water and a bit of sand.

This week is Thanksgiving here in the US. We’ll be getting together with family and eating too much food. It’s the first of the holiday festivities and a great chance to stop and think about all the good things in our lives. Just a few of the Good Things on my list:

  • Time to create and make
  • An outlet to share all of the creations
  • A great group of readers who share my passion for color and creativity–you’re all wonderful and I’m so grateful for you!
  • People who inspire me to keep creating and doing
  • And of course, a friendly neighbor cat who has made Casa P her second home.Stinka Star LandingI’ll try to do better at Doing Nothing this week. Maybe after all the eating and visiting on Thursday, I’ll be in the right frame of mind. What do you think the odds are of that happening?

Friday Feline

kitchen chair & stinkaHappy Friday!

Slowing Down, Sort Of

At my desk there is a piece of paper called Deadlines, Etc. Every month I update it to reflect the current month and the two upcoming months. It’s taped right where I can’t miss it. And where it’s easy to draw a big red line through completed items. This is the first time in a long time that there isn’t anything on the third month. And until yesterday, there wasn’t even anything on the second month. It feels weird.  PG EPP trianglesGetting off the hamster wheel of all those past deadlines is taking a bit of effort. In order to help me slow down and work at a more reasonable pace, I decided to start a new project. I’m not exactly sure what these triangles are going to turn into. But I do love the possibilities. Yesterday afternoon, I dove into my Parson Gray stash and started cutting. By the time the light was gone, I had a nice stack of EPP triangles.AMH EPP starsThe morning’s activities included laying out the AMH EPP project to see just how many of these diamond stars I still need to make. (The answer…10. Plus 36 single diamonds.) Barring unforeseen circumstances, I might actually start piecing this project together before Christmas! Or not. Only time will tell.

Color Therapy block 8And I forgot to post the Color Therapy block of the month for October!! So here it is. The colors for the month were Golden Saffron and Tango. No one does these two colors better than Kaffe. Warm and happy, this block wants to be the life of the party. I particularly like the way the piecing is arranged in the nine patch center. It creates the illusion of a lattice of brilliance over a beautiful red orange star.

With any luck, this week will be the calm, slow week I was expecting, but didn’t get, last week.  Or not.

The Last of the Market Samples

My last batch of sample sewing for Market included Amy Butler’s Glow in both voile and knit. Each substrate needed to be used for a large pillow. For the voile, I adapted Amy’s free Bloom quilt pattern (with her permission, of course) to make this pillow. Giant, large, medium and small yo yo’s grace the front. It’s a real eye popping piece in real life.AB voile Bloom pillow Then, it was on to the knit. We settled on a false woven design for this large pillow. It’s the kind of pillow that makes you want to touch it–a visual and tactile experience. To make it work, I used Shape Flex for the back panels and gathered all the “blocks” onto a muslin base before putting it all together. False weave AB GlowKnit PillowAnd last, but certainly not least, are two bags in Anna Maria Horner’s two new collections. First up, Honor Roll. The pattern for this bag should be available this month or next on the Make It Coats website. Honor Roll should be shipping to shops this month.263Folk Song will be in shops in the New Year. I’m so pleased to see this old favorite back in play. I put together a patchwork carryall bag for this collection. The free pattern for this one will also be available on the Make It Coats site, but not until February or thereabouts.Patchwork Carryall AMHIt’s a big roomy, slouchy bag with only one strap. I boxed the corners on the outside by pulling up the corners and securing them with pearl cotton and a decorative button. This version is not quilted but you could go a little crazy with the quilting and add even more interest.435And that’s it for the Market samples! After it’s all over, I have a tendency to forget the sheer quantity of items. It’s all a bit of blur to be honest. Writing these posts for you helps me see just how productive I have been.

Now, I need to get back to some fun sewing. There’s still a bit of pattern writing to be done for some of these projects; however, I’m forcing myself to focus on creating just for me, just because. And for a few minutes every day, I have been able to work on my EPP project–something I’ve been dying to do for a while now. Of course, there are stacks of fabric around here calling for my attention. Clamoring is more like it.

So, stay tuned and see what comes next.

More Market Samples — Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey & Tula Pink

Sewing samples for Market is a bit of theater, at least for me. Sometimes I have a script to follow. (i.e.  specific patterns with specific prints.) Other times, the times I like best, are pure improvisation. In these instances there may be some direction (e.g.  a large round poof) or none at all.TP Bumble FQ'sFor Tula Pink’s Bumble collection, I was given the direction of large round poof, preferably with hexies. I received this little bundle of fat quarters along with some yardage for the rest of the piece. Since the days were quickly speeding by, small hexies were out. Just not enough time for something so involved. Not when I had a lot of stuff still on my list and about two weeks to get it done.Tula Bumble poofThis is what I did with large machine pieced hexies. These are 5 1/2″ hexies cut using Darlene Zimmerman’s template for EZ Quilting. I quilted it very simply using a 1/4″ line on either side of each horizontal row of hexies. Just enough quilting to enhance the shapes but not too much to take up all the time remaining. Nice fat piping circles the poof.

I should tell you, if you haven’t read this elsewhere already, this fabric is peached and has a very soft hand. Ideal for baby stuff, which is exactly what Tula had in mind. I particularly love the bee print. And those gradient hexies.HB Clementine Butterick 5603For Heather Bailey’s Clementine collection, I had the script–namely, a pattern and the fabric. (Sorry the lighting isn’t great in this photo. I was in a rush to grab one before it went in the box for shipping.) I had a bit of trouble with the zipper. It happens sometimes. You just aren’t in a patient frame of mind and you have to put a zipper in a fitted section. Trouble, my friends. Nothing but trouble. After the third attempt to get this dang zipper in, I gave up and put it in by hand. HB Clementine dress zipper closeupAfter it was in, I realized I really liked it this way. The dress is a retro pattern and the hand stitches have that haute couture feel you expect from an old fashioned fancy dress.

DS Franklin pillowsNext up was Denyse Schmidt’s Franklin collection. My instructions…make a couple pillows in Denyse’s aesthetic. Fortunately, that was an easy task for me. Denyse’s style is uncomplicated, plenty of negative space and a good variety of prints. Cut, mix and stitch. Viola!DS Franklin round placematsPlace mats and napkins were also requested using this tutorial by Laurel Krynock for imaginenats.com. Once a plate is centered on one of these mats, you’d have a nice edge of patchwork to look at.JD Pocket Totes both colorwaysWorking up these two little totes was a last minute rush, but worth it. It’s a nice way to show off the large floral of Joel Dewberry’s Flora collection. I’m glad I got these out the door in time.

Still to come…two pillows in Amy Butler fabrics and a couple of bags in Anna Maria Horner’s two collections. Phew! I think my final list of items completed for Market was right at or just over two dozen. No wonder I’m falling behind on other stuff!

Since no Friday would be complete without our feline superstar, here’s Stinka to wish you a Happy Friday and a great weekend!549

Prairie Chic — A New Collection From Jane Sassaman

The second batch of fabric to arrive at my door in need of sample sewing was Jane‘s new collection, Prairie Chic. She never disappoints. Time after time, she brings us designs to inspire and excite us. And of course, plenty of eye catching color.Jane's Dandy Dancer quilt (638x1024)Dandy Dancer is a free quilt of Jane’s which will be available through Free Spirit. It is bright and full of movement, showing off the blue colorway. It’s all about fussy cutting and letting the fabric do the hard work. The back is pieced as well with large simple squares in two prints.Prairie Chic pillowsI made four pillows to highlight some of the prints. My favorite is the one in the top left box. Lots of big stitch quilting added texture. And of course, I had to throw in some buttons. Just imagine one of these as a repeating quilt block. Wouldn’t they make for a dramatic quilt?PrairieChic travel bagJane asked me to make a bag, a big one that would stand up on its own, preferably something of my own. That’s how the Traveling Companion Bag came about. I played with some ideas but this one really seemed to be the best canvas for her larger than life designs. Having such great designs to play with really does make my job easy. I’m a lucky girl. No doubt about it.Stinka Dandy Dancer quiltOf course, Stinka had to give her two cents. She’s all in favor. Can’t you tell?

Next up, a few projects in Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey and Tula Pink collections. See you then!