Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Hubby and I had a great day with my family.  We carved pumpkins together, stuffed ourselves with homemade goodies made by Mom (Thanks Mom!!) and celebrated our nephew's first Halloween.  Hubby's pumpkin was Baby Stewie from the Family Guy and I gave myself carpal tunnel carving out a witch sitting in her cauldron.

(We couldn't get Luigi out of the picture ... poor little guy just wanted to lick the pumpkins)



Hope your Halloween was just as great!!

Don't forget!  Today is the last day to submit your Le Petite quilts for October to either http://pinkpincushion.blogspot.com/ or http://www.aquiltinglife.com/.  Can't wait to see the parade of quilts tomorrow.  Here's a little sneak peak of mine!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pacific International Quilt Festival Favorites, Part II

One of my favorite parts of going to quilt or trade shows is getting to discover new (or at least new-to-me) fabric and pattern designers, so I thought I'd share my favorite new-to-me designer from PIQF: Verna Mosquera from the Vintage Spool.  Her applique quilt patterns are absolutely to die for!  To be honest, I would have to say that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday - so I was really surprised that my favorite Vintage Spool patterns were BOTH Halloween pieces.  But, if Halloween isn't really your thing either, she has some gorgeous Christmas and Valentine patterns too!

Pattern #1 is a Block-Of-The-Month project aptly named "EEEK!"  All the blocks are so adorable!

(Pattern and Photo Copyright: Verna Mosquera, The Vintage Spool)
Pattern #2 is another beautiful Block-Of-The-Month project called "Happy Hauntings."
(Pattern and Photo Copyright: Verna Mosquera, The Vintage Spool)

For more yummy pictures (including close-ups of the blocks) or to order a pattern, visit the Vintage Spool website.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Etsy Treasuries ...

Have you ever checked out the Treasury section on Etsy?  It's a great place for Etsians to showcase their (themed) favorites from fellow Etsians.  Up until recently, Etsy only allowed a certain number of treasuries to be in rotation at any given moment, so it was really difficult to create your own ... but lo' and behold, for some reason, I was able to create today!  Check it out -- I hope you enjoy!!

Mr. Darcy's Girl


   

Dreaming in Blue



 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Introducing - Cherish: A Quilt Pattern


I'm so excited to (finally) be releasing this quilt pattern!  The quilt finishes at 40" square and features square and diamond checkboards offset by sleek, brown polka dot borders.  One of the things I really love about this pattern is that it works equally well either using fabric yardage or 5" Charm Squares (my fav!!) -- instructions for both methods are included.

Fabric requirements are as follows:
Brown Print: 1/2 yard or 24 - 5” Charm Squares
Blue Print: 1/2 yard or23 - 5” Charm Squares
Green Print: 1/2 yard or 23 - 5” Charm Squares*
Brown Polka Dot Print: 1/2 yard
Cream Print: 1/2 yard
Batting: 44” x 44” piece
Backing: 44” x 44” piece or 1 1/2 yards

Note for using Charm Packs:  There are typically about 42 charm squares per Charm Pack.  I used 3 Charm Packs in Cherish Nature by Deb Strain for Moda Fabrics for the sample  As different lines have different numbers of blocks per colorway, you'll probably need 2 - 3 Charm Packs to finish your version ... and you'll have some leftovers.  Feel free to use fat quarters or yardage to augment you supply of charm squares if you find that you're still a little short.

The sample quilt is off to welcome a sweet, little girl who's ready to make her debut any day now, but if you'd like to make the quilt to welcome your little one, you can purchase the .pdf pattern at either my etsy shop or my bigcartel shop.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pacific International Quilt Festival Favorites, Part I

Yikes!  I've been slacking on my blog posts!  I have a number of finishes (actually with pictures!!!) to share, two make that THREE new patterns to release, an update on the status of my five little boxes, and a stash update!  These will all be posted over the next couple of days, but to hold you over until then, I thought I'd share some of my favorite quilts from the Pacific Internation Quilt Festival (PQIF) that was at the Santa Clara convention center last weekend.

A big thank you to my wonderful hubby for being my "date" to the show and for taking these pictures!  I know there were SOOOOOOOOOO many things you would have rather been doing. :)

By far, my absolute favorite quilt from the show was quilt #1086: "Natural Wonders," an original design created by Kathy McNeil from Tulalip, WA.


The quilt won first runner up for the entire show and seems to be quite the favorite among my fellow bloggers.


The finished quilt measures only 63" x 60" and was hand appliqued and machine quilted.

Kathy, the artist, describes the quilt as, "All about the simple magic of discovery.  103 different fabrics were hand appliqued together to create the seascape.  For now it exists in my mind, but I expect to find it someday."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Another quilt that really caught my eye was quilt # 1024: "Pandora," an original design by Vicki David and Terry Breazeale of Santa Rosa, CA.

The quilt is exquisite and the autumn-y fabric choices were fantastic!!

* * * * * * * *


Another favorite quilt was #1048: "Wedding Birds," and original design by Sue Green of Pioneer, CA, made as a wedding gift for her step-son and his wife.


I love how the lovebirds come together to form a heart in the center and the quilting is so beautiful!


Stay tuned!  More PQIF pictures and all my promised updates are coming soon!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pattern Review: "Hot Cross" by Carrie Nelson

Pattern: “Hot Cross” in Schnibbles Times Two, by Carrie Nelson, of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co.


(Carrie Nelson's Version)

Quality of Pattern: As mentioned with the “X-Rated” and “Plan-C” reviews, I’m a big fan of Carrie Nelson’s patterns. They’re straightforward and concise – no extra fluff, which is nice. It’s inspired me to go back and re-work a couple of my own patterns.

Difficulty Level & Technique: I feel that I can classify most of the patterns I write and the other designers’ patterns I try somewhere in the range of “Confident Beginner to Early Intermediate.” I feel like this baby is more firmly in the Intermediate range. Perhaps I was a little cocky in thinking this was a super easy pattern that was going to go together really quickly – and don’t get me wrong … the blocks just fly together. The re-sizing and assembly, however, were a bit tricky.

I figured that based on the instructions, I could just measure 3.5” from the center of the block to the edge, trim, and I would be ready to put the squares together. Um … nay nay. Now, perhaps this is because maybe I wasn’t as careful or meticulous while I was putting the blocks together, or I wasn’t super-careful while I trimmed the first two blocks, but my corner-stripes were nowhere near the centered right angles they were supposed be. I had to scrap those first two. For the remaining blocks, I used my water-soluble marker to draw lines down the center of each X, and then used those lines, plus my measurement from the center to correctly square the block. I was much happier with the results.

Adaptability: Because I was using fat quarters, rather than layer-cake squares I opted to start with 9” squares to make better use of my stash, rather than the 10” squares the pattern called for. I left all the other measurements the same and just trimmed off the extra fabric.

As with my “Plan C” quilt, I also opted to skip the piano-key border. I wanted this quilt to be more of a lap-sized quilt, so I kept the cream middle border, and added just a top and bottom famed checkerboard border so that it was more rectangular.

Speed: This blocks in this quilt go together really quickly, but accurately trimming the squares takes some time, especially if you use my method of marking the centers of the “X” before cutting. Still, without Carrie’s border, my quilt top went together in about a week.

Would I make this pattern again?: Despite the problems I had with trimming my first couple of squares, I definitely think I’ll be revisiting this quilt soon. I’m planning a red-white-and-black quilt as a Christmas gift that might be super cute with this pattern, and I have an idea inspired by this pattern for more of a latticed type quilt floating around in my head as well … so we’ll see!

Pattern Review: "Plan C" by Carrie Nelson

I'm so disappointed!!  I've been putting off posting my two Schnibbles quilts reviews because I couldn't find the photos we took of the finished quilts.  After searching every computer, zip drive, and camera card in the house, I think I just have to accept the pictures were accidentally deleted somewhere along the line.  I can't tell you how bummed I am because I was so pleased with the way the turned out.  So, here are my pattern reviews anyways, and if by some miracle, I can find the original pictures, I'll post those too.

Pattern: “Plan C” in Schnibbles Times Two, by Carrie Nelson, of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co.


(Carrie Nelson's version)
Quality of Pattern: I was just as happy with this pattern as I was with the “X-Rated” pattern – everything was clear and concise. I really only used the cutting instructions and then referenced the assembly diagram to lay everything out on my floor. I did have to do some planning before I cut into my stash so I could create a bit of a pattern

Difficulty Level & Technique: This pattern is fairly easy, although much like “X-Rated,” I would say that it’s better suited to quilters who have a little bit of experience under their belts.

From this pattern, I learned a new technique for assembling the flying geese blocks 4 at a time – the process is also outlined on this great blog. This method requires some prep-work, but works great – however … you have to be very careful to reshape and straighten your flying geese units as you press them to make sure that the fabric doesn’t bow out of shape. I obviously wasn’t paying very close attention as I ironed, as I had a bit of problems with wonky blocks. I was able to get them to work with a bit of steam and some starch, but I would have been a bit happier if I had just done things better from the get-go.

Adaptability: I didn’t really change very much on my version of this pattern. Because I unexpectedly had to go out of town for a couple of days, I opted to leave off the piano-key border and used the time for some free motion quilting instead.

You could easily replace the piano-key border with a pattern of your own choosing, thanks to the middle “white” border between the body of the quilt and the border. With a little math, the middle border could be increased or decreased to the specifications of your new border.

Speed: Like the “X-rated” quilt, I feel like this one took me awhile. The quilt is assembled row by row, rather than block by block, so maybe that’s why it feels like it takes quite awhile. I also worked on various stages of this quilt while starting and completing a bunch of other projects, so maybe it just seemed like this one took forever, when in reality, I only worked on bits and pieces here and there.

That being said, this pattern is more of a “commitment” pattern than a quick “weekend” pattern.

Would I make this pattern again?: Probably some day, but not any time soon. I absolutely adore the way this quilt turned out and I love the Martinique line, but I’m not in any hurry to do it again (at least right now).

Monday, October 11, 2010

I joined "Le Petite!"

One of my favorite quilt clubs last years was "A Year of Schnibbles," hosted by Sinta of Pink Pincushion and Sherri of A Quilting Life.  While my schedule was way too hectic to join in the fun, I enjoyed the monthly parade of beautiful Schnibbles quilts - wow, are you ladies talented!!

Well, September was the last of the Schnibbles months ... but Sinta and Sherri are starting right back up in the month of October with a new club: Le Petite: A Year of Small Projects.  The first project of the month is ... The Paganini Schnibble.  I've had my eye on this pattern ever since it came out ... so I'm thinking that this must be a sign from the heavens that I should join Le Petite!  Plus, since the number of expected babies among my friends and family has just risen to 6, I'm in need of lots of little handmade gifts!



If you're interested in joining too, sign up with either Sinta or Sherri first, then grab your Paganini pattern and have pictures of the completed project submitted no later than October 31st -- you still have almost three full weeks, so it's not too late!


If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a big fan of Carrie Nelson's patterns and am really excited to start Paganini.  One of the beautiful things about this pattern is that it is really four-patterns-in-one, so it may take me a little while to choose which one to make!

Version #1 (shown belown) was made with Figtree & Co's Fresh Cotton and has a beautifuly delicate scalloped border.  I'm also a fan of quilts that use my favorite fabrics offset by a crisp, white background, so right now, this is the forerunner for me!


... Version #2 is very similar to #1, but made with solids and squared borders ...


...Version #3 uses quarter-wheels instead of eighth-wheels ...

... and Version #4 has more of an "X" shape, rather than the wheel, and has that great scalloped border over a square one.  Love it!



Are you participating in Le Petite too?  If so, which pattern did you choose?  I can't wait to see everyone's results!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Poplun shop available!

I'm happy to announce that Poplun has jumped on the BigCartel bandwagon. 



Our new shop can be found at http://www.poplun.bigcartel.com/ and will feature Poplun's top five patterns.  Patterns and other goodies will still be available through our etsy shop as well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Table Runner Palooza - Saturday, October 2nd

Today's Table Runner Palooza showcase is all about some fall favorites.

First up ... remember this picture?


Well after many hours for trimming squares and squaring half-square-triangles, I'm so happy to introduce my latest pattern: the Haunted Home table topper, made with Sanae's Haunted Mansion fabric for Moda.


The finished project measures 33" squares, which makes it perfect either as a table topper, or as a wall hanging.  The .pdf pattern is currently available in my etsy shop at an introductory of $4.49.


If you love the topper/wall hanging, but don't have time to make one for yourself before Halloween, the sample is also available for sale in my etsy shop as well.


Next table topper, Modern Haunts,  was also created using Haunted Mansion by Sanae:


This is more of a modern piece, featuring 5" circle-in-squares that have been "loose-edge" appliqued, so fter a few washings, the edges will start to fray.


This topper is currently available for purchase in my etsy shop.


The last featured table runner today is my Autumn Daisies table runner.  It was inspired by my embroidery class with Shirley at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks in Sacramento.  I had been playing around with a daisy pattern, mentioned in this post, but once I had finished the embroidery, I was kind of at a loss as to how to finish it, so I set it aside for awhile.  Several months later, I had stumbled across a fat quarter pack at JoAnn's and the colors and daisy print made it seem like they were meant to go together.


The finished runner measures 32" x 16" and is currently for sale in my etsy shop.