Ex Libris…and a small finish!

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While I was at work on Monday, I had a 17 year old patient and we started talking about a bunch of different stuff. I love kids of all ages but I think I probably bond more with the teen/young adult patients, probably because I have teenagers myself. Anyway, we started talking about books and how much we both love to read. She is a cute girl with lots of friends and a boyfriend but she told me the librarian at her school is probably her best friend, because she loves to read so much and spends so much time there. I loved that! She reminds me of myself at that age in the fact that she goes through so many books and would rather read than do just about anything, even watch TV or go shopping (although my librarian in high school was kind of grumpy and was definitely not my best friend 🙂

So yesterday was my day off and I decided to finally get a library card. I haven’t been to the library in ages – I usually just buy my books. But I am so glad my patient inspired me to start going to the library again. I was hoping they would have The Girl on the Train but I had to get on a waiting list for it. Oh well. I was still able to check out 2 other books on my temporary card:

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(please excuse my dusty table, I’ve been too busy sewing to clean up around here)

With all the money I saved on books I was able to make a little visit to the quilt shop for some fabric! In keeping with the literary theme of the day (haha) I ended up buying a panel from the Ex Libris line by Alison Glass and some Kona in a color called Sangria (which might just be my new favorite color…it is so pretty in person!):

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I wanted to make something small, to take a little break from My Small World quilt and the king sized Mad Stars quilt. I decided that a new makeup bag was in order, since my current one is overflowing:

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I ended up making a wide mouth zippered pouch using the quilt as you go method and I found this video on youtube that has a great tutorial for a quick and easy way to make this type of bag. I added some straight line quilting to the top of the bag, even though it doesn’t really show up in these pictures. I am really happy with the way it turned out, and it even holds my big eyeshadow!!

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On another note, I am trying to meet some of the other bloggers in the 2015 New Blogger group. I haven’t been the best at this because I have been sewing a lot, but I really do want to meet the other bloggers. I did have the opportunity to read a blog called midgetgemquilts and I highly recommend that you check it out if you get a chance! It is written by Helen, who is part of the Quantum Quilters Hive (the same one that I am in), which is a sub-group of the 2015 New Bloggers. She was kind enough to leave a comment on my last post and so I reciprocated and went to her site. I am so glad I did, she writes about quilting, family, travel, and coincidentally enough, BOOKS! It seemed to go together with my bookish post so I wanted to mention her blog here. She has interesting posts along with some book reviews (which is right up my alley and I now have a list of books I want to read! I will be putting that new library card to good use, I tell you!) And to top it all off, she said that if she could invite any 4 people to dinner, one of them would be Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII because her story often gets overshadowed by Anne Boleyn. How cool is that?  Pretty cool in my book (pun intended)….

linking up to Let’s Bee Social linky party at Sewfreshquilts! and Finish it up Friday at crazymomquilts.BlogSpot.com

Part 1 Finished! (Sort of…)

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I finally finished part 1 of My Small World Quilt! It is a very fun, albeit a VERY challenging quilt to make. It involves a lot of template piecing, which I struggled with. I used the freezer paper method and even though I traced the shapes very carefully and added in the necessary seam allowances, some of the mini blocks still came out too small. I am still not sure what I did wrong…

I didn’t let that stop me, though. I started making blocks the traditional way (like the pinwheel blocks) and then trimmed them down to the correct size. Apparently my math skills are not quite up to par because the sections still didn’t come out right, so I had to add in some fabric strips in places so the blocks would fit together:

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I really wish they would offer a class on Craftsy called “Quilter’s Math for Dummies”…. I would totally pay $29.99 for that 🙂

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And on the last block shown here I just totally went in my own direction and did some improv piecing!

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Overall, I am very happy with how it turned out, despite the mistakes. I am planning on using this as a wall hanging, so originally I was going to use a lot of solids, neutrals and a subdued color scheme. But I kept gravitating towards all of the bright, fun colors in my stash so in the end I just went with my instincts. Verykerryberry has a good tip on her blog where she says that she only pulls out the fabric for one mini block at a time. This is great advice because you could easily drive yourself mad by over-thinking everything. I pulled out fabrics for a few blocks at a time so I could make sure I had a good balance. It is very time consuming to have to hand select each and every tiny piece, but I’m glad I did it that way because I like my balance of bright colors with pops of black and white added in.

I’m going to take a couple of days off from this quilt to work on some smaller projects (and get some long neglected housecleaning done!) It was easy to get obsessed with this quilt and there was a day I spent 10 hours working on it! I need to work on my Mad Stars quilt and I would also like to make a mini quilt and use a technique for magic binding that I learned at the Modern Quilt Guild meeting on Wednesday.

Speaking of which, if you have been following my blog you know that I was debating about going to the meeting and bringing my Small World quilt along for the show and tell. I’m so glad I did! I have been trying to attend one of their meetings since last summer but something always comes up on meeting days. Finally this past Wednesday I was able to attend for the first time and I brought my show and tell piece along. I was kind of nervous about showing my work to a group of people I have never met before (and let me tell you, there are a lot of talented quilters in this group! One is going to be teaching at QuiltCon next year!). But everyone was so nice about it and it was a good ice breaker. It seems like a fun group and I am looking forward to participating and getting to know everyone.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at crazymomquilts.BlogSpot.com and also, since I am thankful for getting through part 1 of this pattern I am linking up to Thankful Thursday on quiltingjetgirl.com

Officially Obsessed

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After a whole day of obsessively choosing, cutting and piecing fabric, I have finished the first column of the second portion of part 1 for My Small World quilt. I even ended up making a run to the fabric store to find the “perfect” strip of fabric for one of the sides…

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I ended up with these 3 fat quarters that I think are perfect for this quilt. I ended up using the Kaffe Fossett with the houses (I had seen this on someone else’s quilt on Instagram and loved it so I couldn’t resist buying it when I saw it at the store). I also love the the other two prints as well so they will be making an appearance somewhere in this quilt.

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I have, however, been struggling with the template piecing portions in this quilt. I finally decided to deviate from the pattern and use some applique where I can and also I’ve been substituting traditional pieced blocks of the same size in place of some of the template pieced ones.  I want to try my hand at paper piecing some of these sections but for now I’m just kind of going in my own direction and I’m loving it.

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I’m hoping to have part one done in time to take it with me to the Modern Quilt Guild Meeting on Wednesday evening. It will be my first meeting and, you know, I want to make a good first impression (so the cool kids will like me!) Wish me luck!

My Small World ….is starting to grow!

image After a week and a half of sewing teeny tiny squares together, I finally have half of part one of My Small World quilt finished. I had the sky portion finished on May 23rd but I struggled with the low volume fabrics and I felt like portions were too dark so (after a trip to the fabric store for some new fat quarters) I decided to re-do it to make it lighter. Here is the original: image I may end up using this in another part of the sky, but for now it is just going to hang out on my design wall (and glare at me…)

I really like this quilt so far. I am trying not to rush through it but instead just enjoy the process. Even the process of cutting up white and beige squares was relaxing, up until a gust of wind came through the window and for one brief shiny moment I felt like I was in a ticker tape parade. Take a tip from me and never open the windows when you are cutting millions of 1.5 inch squares.  Trust me. image I am also still working on my Mad Stars quilt. So far I have 25 blocks done. Here is the fabric that i already have cut for the next 5 blocks:

image I’m trying to do 5 at a time so that chain piecing will allow me to work more efficiently. I have been jumping back and forth between Mad Stars and My Small World, depending on my mood. It has been working out quite nicely 🙂

In other news, my oldest daughter graduated from high school last Friday! image image I am very excited for her to be starting a new chapter in her life! But mainly the reason I am including this in my blog post is because hopefully I will have more time for quilting and blogging. She attended a private school an hour from our house, so to get her to school each day was a 2 hour round trip excursion. And then picking her up each afternoon was another 2 hours out of my day. It was worth it ( brag alert – she received over $100k in scholarship offers! And she also really loved her school) But I am really looking forward to having more free time. I have a younger daughter who keeps me busy as well, but she attends a local school so it won’t be as bad. With all of this new-found free time I am hoping to blog more consistently, and in an effort to make my blog better, I have joined the 2015 New Quilt Blogger group! I am really excited about this because I love reading other people’s blogs and I would really like to make new friends in the blogging community. I know I definitely need some help, especially with my picture taking ability, so I am hopeful that this group will help me in that department. Even if you are not part of that group, feel free to leave any comments about what kind of camera you use and any helpful tips you have. Right now I am posting pictures from my smartphone so the quality is not very good (my quilts look so much better in person!). I am in the market for a good (but not outrageously expensive) camera and I would love to get some ideas about what other people are using….

Another goal I have for the summer is to join the local Modern Quilt Guild. Their next meeting is June 10th, so hopefully on June 11th I will posting on this blog about what a great time I had and all the wonderful people I met! Stay tuned!

My Small World QAL – I’M IN!

I saw a picture of this quilt and just knew that I had to make it! It is a quilt by Jen Kingwell and is featured in the Spring 2015 Special Issue of Quiltmania Magazine:

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Something about this quilt just speaks to me. I think it’s a combination of the tiny pieces and intricate details as well as the whole ‘exotic foreign lands’ theme that I am always drawn to that makes me want to take on this project so badly. It is not a beginner quilt, but there is a quilt along taking place that starts in May and ends in September (a relatively gentle pace). There are portions of this quilt which involve curved piecing as well as English Paper Piecing with LOTS of tiny pieces, but I am hoping that what I lack in experience I will make up for in enthusiasm!

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Plus, there are 6 hosts for this QAL who will be posting helpful tips for each of the 6 quilt sections.(Please note that they will not be posting the pattern itself, for that you must buy the special Quiltmania issue). I am confident that I will be able to finish this quilt with the help of the quiltalong hosts, . That is not to say that I won’t dissolve into a heap of tears come July, or that  will finish by the end of September along with everyone else, but I am determined that I will finish this one. If you are interested in participating, verykerryberry has posted all the relevant details along with some helpful links. There is also an Instagram group with the hashtag #mysmallworldqal that I highly recommend checking out, even if you are not going to participate in the QAL. It is really fun looking at all the different interpretations of this quilt. Cuttopieces has a really cool NIGHT version that I am already really loving!

I have already started to pull some low volume fabric from my stash for the sky (that is another great thing about this quilt – you will be able to use a lot of scraps from fabric you already own) But I didn’t realize how hard it would be to choose which fabric to use!

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I think I am just going to start cutting these and not overthink it. The pieces are small enough that it won’t be too much waste if I decide not to use something.

Because really, if I can’t even make it through this part, how am I going to make it through EPP?

‘Mad’ Stars Quilt

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Hello again, friends! I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post! I sort of lost my quilting mojo last fall when I was unhappy with the quilting on my Halloween quilt, and after quilting the entire thing with wavy lines, I decided to rip out all of that stitching and start over. I ended up doing straight lines but in a random kind of way. I will post a photo when it gets closer to this year’s Halloween (I know you will all be on pins and needles..ha ha)

Anyway, it took all winter to get it fixed, so once that was off my table I was able to focus on something new! I was inspired by the “Little Stars in AMH” quilt from blue elephant stitches and “Starry Eyed” quilt by kelbysews.
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Originally I was going to make the stars out of Riley Blake’s ‘Madhuri’ fabric which I scored from etsy, but I had so much fun pulling fabric from my stash and making crazy pairings for the stars that I decided to just keep going. There is fabric from Kate Spain, Bonnie and Camille and Pam Kitty along with other Riley Blake collections. So far I love all the craziness! Hence the name ‘Mad Stars’ .
Even though the fabrics are all different and in kind of wild pairings, I think the uniformity of the pattern makes it all work together…at least I hope so….

This is one of my favorites:
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Anyway, it’s great to be working on something new and to be blogging again.
Will be linking up to WIP WEDNESDAY over at freshlypieced.com

“Organic” Quilting

image I have finally finished piecing my Haunted Neighborhood quilt and today I started quilting it. I’m not overly happy with how this is turning out…. first of all, I wish I had gone with an ivory background instead of the deep purple (but at this point I’m not going to rip it all out to start over.)

I’m also not really very happy with my quilting. I love the look of straight line quilting but I thought that random wavy lines would look good with this quilt….but I’m just not feeling it. Oh well, maybe it will look better when it’s finished, or maybe after I wash it.

On another subject, do you ever buy snacks at IKEA just to hear your spouse try to pronounce the names? image Well, I do!! (It’s especially fun if your spouse has a southern accent)

Unfortunately, my local IKEA was out of the Tidney fabric that was the sole reason for my shopping trip, but I still managed to score a decent pair of pinking shears for 6 bucks… and of course, the pepperkaka and morkrost!!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at freshlypieced!