Tag Archives: fabric

Summer Brick Road

4 Jan

Midwinter is the perfect time to make an “Indian Summer” quilt. The Christmas tree glowed cheerfully in the corner of the sewing room (aka dining room) while I stitched a quilt full of mountains, flowers, teepees, and wandering foxes. And mushrooms. So many adorable mushrooms.

I went nuts taking photos of this quilt, first at my house (before washing) and at a local park (post-wash).  IMG_7746

George Foreman is no different from most cats, she was pretty sure I was meaning to give her attention while I took pictures. Zero pictures were meant to be of her, half of them turned out to be. IMG_7747

If I could only one binding fabric for the rest of my life, Little Stripes would be it. The bias-look of the stripe, the fresh and modern pattern, and the fact that it’s grey (my favorite neutral color), makes it a clear winner. I may turn out to be wrong, but I don’t think it’ll go out of style.  IMG_7755

The backing fabric peeking through here is actually from a Target clearance sheet. So much fabric, for so little. And–the best part–no sewing.IMG_7758

The sun was almost at its brightest when I went out to take pictures. Not ideal, but I needed to get this guy in the mail post-haste. I tried to take advantage of the light, so I got these sunny, creamy-colored photos. On an old red caboose.

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The pattern is “Yellow Brick Road” by Atkinson Designs.

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Apart from Sarah Watson’s Indian Summer fabric, I used a few other Art Gallery fabrics, Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets and Kona solids.

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Sailboats of the Sky

14 May

Sometime last year, I looked over at my husband and said “Hot air balloons are the new owls. You heard it here first!” I think Past Maegan was pretty proud of herself for that proclamation (Past Maegan gets a little full of herself), but it does seem to be coming true. I see them on gift wrap, greeting cards, swimsuits, calendars, and so many other doodads and whatnots.

Even though both are still flying around today, owls and hot air balloons have a sort of yesteryear charm to them. In the case of the latter, there’s just something so lovely about flying around in a basket under a giant balloon. Also, maybe a bit terrifying.

Hot Air Balloons

1. Up, Up, and Away by Kayajoy, via Spoonflower

2. Couple Hot Air Balloon Card, via theadoration

3. Hot Air Balloon Garland by Claire, via youndheartslove

4. Hot Air Balloon Fabric, via marsearch

5. Retro Hot Air Balloons by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman, via studioFAB (also an adorable ModCloth dress)

6. Personalized Rubber Stamp by Kirsten, via hunnyscoots

Best & Brightest: Emerald City

4 Feb

There is probably a good reason why magazine editors think green is a curse on a magazine cover. (It’s true!)  Yet, I love green. Especially as spring peeks coquettishly around the corner. Granted, spring comes sooner for some than others–we’ll be picking daffodils before too long in these parts–but I think we’re all looking forward to the best parts of the season right now.

And, looking on the horizon, it seems like the design world is opening up to green after all. Pantone’s color of the year is Emerald.* At first, I wasn’t as excited at this announcement as I was last year’s, but lately I’ve seen a lot of great uses of Emerald and its cousins (kelly, mint, and seafoam) and I’ve come to appreciate for how fresh and surprising it can be.

In that spirit, I present: The Emerald City in Spring.Emerald City

  1. Love in Mint Green Water Bouquet by Amy Butler (Photo: trendysisters)
  2. Echino Spring Leaves by EtsukoFuruya (Photo: Tomodachikitty)
  3. Katie Jump Rope in Green Ribbon by Denyse Schmidt (Photo: Bolts and Yards Fabric)
  4. Hyperreal Garden Radiant Bouquet in Emerald by Art Gallery Fabrics (Photo: Taylor Jayne Fabric)
  5. Hello Pilgrim Leaf Scatter in Aqua by Lizzie House (Photo: Sew Fresh Fabrics)
  6. Simply Color Mod Blossoms in Grey by V and Co. (Photo: BeeYourself Fabrics)

*If you haven’t heard of Pantone, they’re the company who makes sure that every variation of every shade of every color is standardized. So, for example, when a fabric designer prints samples of their new fabric line, Pantone can make sure that the shade of pink the designer is looking at is the same as the one the printer sees. More or less.

My Quilting Kit

16 Jan

I have a confession.

I’m not always the best at using the right tools for a given task. I’d often rather use what I have on hand than go out and spend money on something I’d only use for one project. Examples:

  • I use a tea strainer in lieu of a flour sifter.
  • The time I trimmed the bushes with a hand saw. Or trimmed weeds with scissors. 
  • For a long time, I boiled water in a frying pan because I couldn’t justify spending the money on a stockpot.
  • After I lost my travel mug, I just carried my coffee to work in a jar.

The list is endless. Really.

So, when I offer up a list of the most necessary quilting tools, you can be assured that I’m not listing a single item that you won’t be using constantly. Stated another way, these are the items that will help you maintain your sanity if you’re getting into quilting even a little bit.

Keep in mind, I’m writing as a beginner, for beginners. However, I’ve done a ton of research so–in an effort to save you some time–I’ve provided many links to folks who can build upon the basics I’ve outlined here.

quilting-supplies

Batting: If you’re making a quilt, you’ll need batting. Currently, I use Hobbs Heirloom Premium 80/20 blend. I read lots of reviews before buying, and this one from The Tulip Patch was one of the most helpful. In short, I picked Hobbs because it has the traditional look and feel (like a vintage quilt), but at a lower price than similar brands. When I want to level-up my quilting, I’ll probably choose another batting, like the 100% cotton Warm & Natural.

Sewing machine: (Not pictured.) I have a basic Brother sewing machine that I found on Craigslist for $30. The previous owner only used it for hemming, so all of the doo-dads (technical term) were still with the machine.

Feet: As in, sewing machine feet. From left to right you’ll see the walking foot, free motion quilting foot, and quarter inch (1/4″) foot.

  • The walking foot is used last (so, of course I list it first), when you’re sewing the quilt sandwich together. This foot moves thick layers of fabric through the sewing machine from the top and bottom (instead of only the bottom) to make sure the layers stay lined up as you’re sewing. Note: This foot is not 100% necessary, but it will potentially save you a lot of trouble. If you don’t have this, test quilt a small quilt sandwich to see how your machine cooperates.)
  • The free motion quilting foot has yet to be used in my house, because I’m still quilting in straight lines with my walking foot, so obviously it isn’t a must-have. When I want to start free motion quilting, this will become a necessity.
  • The 1/4″ foot has seen  a lot of use. Basically, it’s used when you’re piecing (sewing the quilt top together) to help you get those important 1/4″ seams. The tinier the pieces and the more elaborate the design, the more important it is to those seams just right. In-depth information can be found at SewMamaSew.

Rotary cutter, rotary mat, and clear acrylic ruler: In my mind, these items are a team.  I didn’t have them for my first quilt, but I also didn’t do any substantial cutting. After I finished my first quilt, I purchased these as a set on Amazon and haven’t looked back.

  • The rotary cutter, for me, is much faster and more accurate in cutting fabric than using scissors. 
  • The rotary mat is a must-have if you have a rotary cutter. Mine is 18″ x 24″ and I’ve found that to be a good size for my workspace.
  • The acrylic ruler makes sure your lines are straight, and it was more useful than I could have imagined. Mine is 6″ x 24″, a pretty versatile size. You can cut small pieces or cut long lengths of fabric (like for this strip quilt at Cluck Cluck Sew). There are many sizes to choose from as you grow as a quilter.

Note: If you’re using pre-cut fabric (i.e. charm packs, layer cakes, jelly rolls) and have no plans of cutting it, you can hold off on the rotary cutter and mat. I “tested” my interest in quilting with my first quilt by using pre-cuts and forgoing almost all cutting. This way, the financial investment in a potential hobby was minimal.

Scissors: I’m not picky when it comes to scissors, which is probably a problem. From left to right, I have some thread-cutting scissors, a nice (but short) pair of titanium scissors, and a long pair from the dollar store. You definitely need a good pair of scissors, but this isn’t where I’d spend much of my budget. I’d rather have a rotary cutter any day.

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Pins: These, I’ve learned, are important. The first quilt you make will probably be simple enough that you won’t need to do too much pinning, so maybe you can get away without these right off the bat. But, they are inexpensive (especially on sale!) and will save you time, so I’d say go for it. The two types of pins you see here are straight pins and basting pins.

  • Straight pins are used for various tasks, like lining up seams when you’re piecing a quilt top or when you’re folding and sewing the binding (the fabric “edges” of the quilt). The only preferences I have for these is that they not be too long and that they have colored tips on the non-pokey end. I drop them a lot. 
  • Basting pins are used when you are basting the quilt sandwich together. (You can also use basting spray, like here at Film in the Fridge). They are essentially curved safety pins, which are made to hold the layers of fabric and batting together (while you are quilting) without warping the fabric.

Miscellaneous: There are three other items I keep nearby while sewing.

  • A seam ripper, to fix those crooked lines and the messed-up machine tension mistakes. 
  • A screwdriver, to change out the feet on the machine. When I finally get everything together to start a new phase of the quilt, I don’t want this to be what stops me.
  • An iron, because there is a lot of ironing (well, technically it’s pressing) involved in quilting. My iron is the absolute most basic one offered.

I’m sure I’ve left some loose threads (pun intended), so feel free to leave a comment if you’d like more clarification on anything!

1960s Home Office

14 Jan

Look what came in the mail this weekend! As Garrett said, “Maegan, if y0u were a fabric, this might be it.”

Now, the hard part. What do I do with it?

Type1

 

Purchased from Amanda at Westwood Acres.

Best and Brightest: Hand Drawn Design

9 Jan

So many of my favorite fabric designs are those that have a hand-drawn look to them. Many designers, such as Heather Ross, start their fabric designs with pencil on paper. It results in a lovely, organic design that has a surprisingly fresh finish. Here are a handful of my favorites:

HandDrawn Fabric

1. Out to Sea in Pirate Girls by SarahJane (Photo: BelloBerry Fabrics)

2. The Ghastlies Gallery by Alexander Henry (Photo: The StockRoom)

3. Constellations by Lizzy House (Photo: True Up)

4. Far, Far Away Unicorn by Heather Ross (Photo: Clay Deal)

5. Night Shade Apothecary by Tula Pink (Photo: VooDoo Rabbit)

6. City Love by Alexander Henry (Photo: Spice Berry Cottage)

Sew a Serenade

10 Dec

I just realized that I hadn’t actually posted a full photo of the front of Quilt #2. And then I remembered that’s because I didn’t really get a good picture of it before it went to its new home. I feel like I’ve talked about it enough in previous posts that I’ll just leave this picture here and go on to the next one!
Quilt 2_Cartwheel Serenade

A rocky start, a rocky middle, and a happy ending

28 Nov

Boy did I send a lot of time on this quilt. I received the fabric as a gift back in August and had the most trouble deciding what I wanted to do with it, pattern-wise. The fabric is Serenade by Kate Spain and I love it, but there is a lot going on–in color and design–and after I had the quilt top finished, I came to realize that I should have added some neutral color or some sashing (or both) to get the look I had intended. I was a little disappointed in my “creative vision,” so the project stalled. Fortunately, Garrett kept encouraging me to move forward. What a guy!

 

When I did get the motivation (and backing fabric) to move forward, I hit a snag with my machine. A literal one. I could not get the tension of the thread right. Not by guessing, not by Googling, not even by guessing some more! So, in a burst of inspiration, I found my sewing machine manual and consulted it. Now, I should say that I bought my sewing machine for $30 on Craigslist–and I’ve moved two or three times since–so I didn’t think I actually had the manual. Otherwise, yes, that might’ve been a good place to start. But here we are.

So I consulted the manual, figured out that the problem was simple, and fixed it. Unfortunately, I’d been sewing with the wrong tension for a long time without realizing it, and had to go back and fix a lot of shoddy workmanship. Bummer. In the end, I learned a lot about my machine (including the fact that it has a manual!) and I liked how quilt #2 turned out, so much that I gave it away. I wouldn’t give away something I didn’t like, or wasn’t proud of, and I was thrilled to give it to my cousin’s daughter on her first birthday. Technically, it was a late birthday present that I gave her on Thanksgiving, by putting it under my grandmother’s yet-to-to-be updated Halloween/Christmas tree, but that’s neither here nor there.

More photos to come later!

A Forest of Fabric

26 Nov

A friend made my week yesterday when she asked how much I would charge to make her a quilt. I know just how much I don’t know about making quilts, and my craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired, but I was honored nonetheless. Since she has taken up painting in the last year, I thought a trade might be a great way to share our new-found art skills with one another. Much of her artwork is beautifully themed on trees, so that is the theme of our swap. I’ve been scouring the web for fabric featuring trees and thought I’d share the early results. Each of these fabrics are fairly different in style, and some are more literal than others, but I’m still very open in the style of this woodland woven quilt, so who knows what the end result will be!

Woodland Wovens

1. Florine in Brass from Echo by Lotta Jansdotter (Photo from A Content Life)

2. Snow White in Yellow from Far, Far Away III by Heather Ross (Photo from Mountain of the Dragon)

3. Sparrows in Plum from Aviary 2  by Joel Dewberry (Photo by Silver Spoon Baby Co.)

4. Farmstead in Petal from Madrona Road by Michael Miller (Photo by Fat Quarter Shop)

5. Whispering Trees in Poppy from Bella by Lotta Jansdotter (Photo by Quiltvine)

6. Windy Day in Aqua from Back Yard Baby by Michael Miller (Photo by Allegro Fabrics)

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