Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oakshott Lipari Tote

Have you heard of Oakshott cottons? They are GORGEOUS. And their Lipari line is nothing short of stunning.

 The colors are rich and the fabric itself is beautiful to work with. Thanks to Sew Mama Sew, and their Oakshott Lipari Tote Challenge, I was able to play with these beauties and designed this tote.

Once I saw the fabric in person, I knew I wanted to keep the design of the tote simple to show off the fabrics themselves and the gorgeous colors. In fact, I used every single color in the line because it was too hard to leave any of them out!

This tote measures approximately 13" x 14" which makes it small enough to use as a purse but large enough to hold a laptop with ease.

The inside includes some useful features such as a cell phone pocket and a key clip. I hate losing my keys at the bottom of a bag!

There's also a large zippered pocket for other essentials that you don't want rolling around at the bottom of your bag.

This is the first time I've ever used this type of handle for a bag and I must admit - I LOVE it! The handles were very easy to attach with pre-made holes for stitching and I think they really elevate this from a simple tote to a pretty classy bag.

I will definitely be using more Oakshott in the future because it is wonderful to work with and very high quality, beautiful fabric. What's not to love?

Check out the other totes made for this challenge:

Teresa of Dandelion Drift
Jennifer of Sewplicity
Megan of Monkey Beans
Michelle of Falafel and the Bee

Made it this far? Want a chance to win a sample swatch book of Lipari? Leave a comment telling me what you would make with this fabric line and I'll draw a winner next week.

                                        Sample Swatch - Lipari

Monday, February 3, 2014

My Favorites Quilt

I finally made a quilt especially for me. The idea had been percolating for awhile and I knew I wanted to use my stash of coveted Japanese prints. All of my favorites are in here.

I began cutting the triangles before being completely sure of the layout. It was both nerve wracking and exhilarating to cut into fabrics that I had been saving (hoarding) for so long. But really, what good are they sitting on a shelf? I didn't buy fabric to create a museum. I bought it to make awesome stuff!

The back is a fantastic text print from IKEA.

When I first started laying out the triangles, they were completely random. I knew I wanted to add the white sashing but the look was still very chaotic. As I played around with it all, I started to pair up the triangles into semi-coordinated diamonds. I think it really helped to bring some small sense of order to the various prints and colors used.

I really love this quilt. Like, REALLY love this quilt. It was extremely liberating to cut into all these beauties and now I get to enjoy seeing them every single day. Lesson learned: use your fabric. It gives you much more joy than just piling it on a shelf.

The binding is yarn dyed essex linen, which is one of my all time favorite fabrics. Ever.

Ahhhh....what a joy. Buy what you love, use what you have, enjoy what you make. Life is really too short to do it any other way.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy New Year

I can get away with that since it's still January, right? I sure hope so!

One of my first projects this year was this little mini quilt I made for a friend's birthday. Not just any friend, but a particularly mathy friend.

It's another fractal and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It was lots of fun to work in a shape that wasn't square or rectangular, especially when it came to the binding. I used lots of precious scraps from my favorite Japanese fabrics for the triangles and black yarn dyed essex for the binding.

The back is also a numerically heavy Japanese print.

Just a fun little something to get the new year started off on the right foot. Lots of other projects in the works and a few giveaways coming up as well!

I hope you've recovered from all of your holiday festivities and that 2014 is treating you well so far. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Wow! This last week was CRAZY! Sorry I didn't get to posting the winner of First Steps to Free Motion Quilting until today. So with no further ado....
The winner is:

My biggest fear with FMQ is I'd ruin a quilt it took me hours & hours to make. Thanks for sharing your FMQ samples & thanks for the chance to win.

Congratulations Joyce! I've sent you an email and you can look forward to reading Christina's book and learning all about free motion quilting!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway!

I am thrilled and honored to be today's stop on the blog tour for Christina Cameli's new book, First Steps to Free Motion Quilting! Even if Christina wasn't a dear friend, member of Portland Modern Quilt Guild, kick-butt quilter, and all-around amazing person I would have reviewed this book for you because it is That Good.

I have always admired people who can do free motion quilting and do it well. It always seemed like such an unattainable skill to me. Then Christina taught at PMQG about fmq on your home machine and I was hooked. Still nervous about screwing up a big project but I loved the personality and individuality free motion designs could give to quilts.

This book not only teaches the basics for learning how to free motion quilt but also has a bunch of great smaller projects to get you practicing. Even this amazing quilt is done just one square at a time - and is a new-to-me take on quilt as you go - so you don't need to worry about practicing on a super-beloved project right at the start.

Christina shares her wealth of knowledge about free motion quilting as well as lots of tips and tricks to help you feel comfortable as you work on this skill. And the projects are all simple to construct so that the focus can be getting in that fmq practice time.

I've always been a huge fan of leaves and branches so I really loved the placemat project featuring botanical designs.

I followed Christina's advice about practicing and doodling first, just to get a feel for how the design worked.

Then I got to stitching on simple placemats pieced from scraps from my last table runner project.

I even tried some of the pebble designs because, you know, why not!

And this is the back of the first practice piece/placemat! Seriously! I totally did that!!! High five!

I moved on to an all-over branching design on the next piece and L. O. V. E. it. This is how far I got before my bobbin ran out and made me stop and take a break.

I truly thought this was a skill beyond my grasp, but Christina's book is so encouraging and inspiring that I know I will be adding much more free motion quilting to my work from now on. In addition to all of the fundamentals and the practice projects, there's a GREAT section in the back on troubleshooting.

Does all this make you want to get your hands on a copy? Because Stash Books has generously offered one for me to give away! Just comment on this post and tell me what your biggest fear is about free motion quilting and I'll randomly choose a winner next Wednesday, October 9. If the winner is in the US they may choose a paper or e-book. An international winner will receive an e-book.

Check out what others are saying about Christina's book here:

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps

Friday, August 2, 2013

Another one.

Are you tired of my table runners yet?

Because I've had the fabric for this one set aside for, um, 2 years. Seriously.

What on Earth took me so long? It was a piece of cake to stitch up, quilt, and bind - not to mention a joy to work with these beautiful fabrics.

The whole piece is very organic - no measuring, no real pattern. The quilting is random not-so-straight lines. I love it.

And I'm very pleased that I have enough scraps left over to make a set of place mats! Sweet!

This summer is flying by and I can hardly believe that school starts up in only a month. But if I'm being perfectly honest then I have to admit that I'm looking forward to having a bit more time for sewing and being creative. I seem to still have the expectation that summer is this amazing expanse of freedom, but really it's the kids who get the freedom. The parents work harder in the summertime! I'm definitely not complaining and I love my kids like crazy, but this was a hard truth to wrap my brain around.

Maybe I'll have something OTHER than a table runner to share next time!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer sewing

Please tell me that you've seen Lori Holt's new line for Riley Blake, Bake Sale??? It's ridiculously adorable.

I stitched up this sweet little runner using Bake Sale and some of the blenders from Happy Go Lucky and I love how bright and playful it is. This is where I must confess that sewing 2 1/2 squares of fabric together makes me stupid happy!

The black gingham binding frames the cheerful prints nicely. I made enough squares and binding to put together a few potholders as well.

The backing is a green cherry print from Cosmo Cricket from a couple years back.

This is about the only kind of sewing I seem to have time for this summer, between heading out to the park, swimming lessons, ballet for the girl-child, and piano for the boy-child. Of course, there's also lots of time being spent picking berries, swinging in the yard, reading, and making tasty messes in the kitchen so I can't complain. I do have a new quilt rolling around in my brain so we'll see if I can make any headway on that during the rest of break or if it will need to wait until school starts up again. What are you up to?