Friday, March 29, 2013

Crazy for Blue

My take on Fun Quilts’ Call Me Crazy quilt has been over two years in the making. I don’t remember exactly when I made the first block, but I restarted this quilt in April 2011. It was my first introduction to improv piecing, and I loved every minute I spent working on it. I found the colors and fabrics soothing to work with, and the technique invigorating.


Sadly, progress on this quilt stalled after I pieced the rows together. I looked upon its incompleteness daily until I realized what the hold-up was: I hate borders! Yes, they look lovely on some quilts, but I thoroughly dislike actually sewing them on. Since I intended for this quilt to be a lap quilt from the beginning, in the end I simply left the quilt without borders and moved forward.


I quilted Crazy for Blue with straight line quilting, and used blue Aurifil thread on the crazy pieced blocks and white on the sashing. The binding is 2” binding left over from my first ever quilt. (I inadvertently made double the binding needed for that quilt.) Part of me is sad that this quilt is finished, but the rest of me is pleased as punch to be using it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adventures in Quilting: La Conner, WA

If you ever find yourself in need of a fun, laidback quilty day trip in Western Washington, check out La Conner. Recently, my mom, grandma and I headed there to visit the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum and had a fun, memorable day.

The museum alone is worth the trip. Housed in a Victorian mansion, the museum itself is beautiful, with a solidity that you seldom find in more modern buildings. When we visited, the main exhibit was “Color, Design, & Inspiration: Kaffe Fassett & Brandon Mably, with Liza Prior Lucy.” While familiar with Kaffe Fassett’s fabrics and books, I had never seen any of his quilts in person before. Sadly, photography was not allowed, although each quilt was tagged with the book it appears in. Turns out that the majority of my favorite quilts in the exhibit can be found in Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts: 23 Original Quilt Designs. The helpful lady at the front desk mentioned that the fabric store in town carried Kaffe Fassett’s fabrics, so we headed there after lunch.

Fabric D’eva is a nicely laid out store with a pleasant combination of quilting basics and current trends. I was especially charmed to have my purchases rung up by the burliest man I have ever seen working in a quilt shop, and who engaged me in light chitchat on the merits of Aurifil thread. Another clerk asked if we had been to their Stash Builder sale across from the museum. We had not, so we decided to check it out on our way back to our car, lured by the promise of fabric by the pound. We were not disappointed. There were tables and tables of quilting cottons for $5 a pound! After a stunning display of self-restraint, I walked away with approximately 15 yards of Benartex fabric for under $25. I’m still a little giddy about that!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Delicious Macarons Class

I have long been a fan of macarons (not macaroons), but was too afraid to try making them at home, due to their notoriously finicky nature. Luckily for me, it turns out that my local Sur la Table store offers classes on how to make these delectable dainties. Last weekend my mom and I took the Delicious Macarons class, taught by Michelle Mrkota. We had a blast, and came home with three different kinds of macarons: Chocolate with Pastry Cream and Crème Brûlée bits, Pumpkin with Maple Buttercream, and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing.

I seldom take a cooking class, but was so glad I took this one! The instructor’s obvious experience (two and half years of making macarons daily!) and easy-to-understand tips made every minute of the class valuable. Plus, it was fun to learn alongside my mom, who taught me pretty much everything I know about baking. At the end of the class, we walked away feeling confident about our ability to make macarons at home. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gridlocked Tank

You know what’s fun? Basting a quilt and finding out that you have enough backing fabric left over to make a shirt. Also fun is wearing that shirt to La Conner, where the closest thing to actual gridlock is the polite maneuvering of quilters in the narrow aisles of a stash building sale. (More on that later.)
Photos by Debbie Jeske

Fabric is Gridlock (Navy) by Dear Stella and pattern is Wiksten Tank by Wiksten.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Twinkle Twinkle Wiksten Tank

Ever since I fell in love with Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelet fabric, I have anxiously awaited each of her new collections. I was especially excited about Constellations, since it features fabrics in several shades of blue, a color I can never get enough of. Then I started to see pictures of Twinkle Twinkle in Natural on the blogosphere. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be my favorite fabric out of all the awesome Constellations fabrics! While I look forward to using it in quilts eventually, I couldn’t wait to make a garment out of it. Since I already owned the Wiksten tank pattern, when I found myself in possession of a few free hours, I broke out the pattern, some freezer paper and a few yards of fabric, and set to work making a Twinkle Twinkle Tank.

Photo by Debbie Jeske

Last time, the instructions for finishing the armholes and neckhole left me baffled and I ended up winging it. This time, I read through the instructions several times and studied the accompanying photos intently. All at once, I realized my previous mistake. I had been trying to bind the garment like a quilt! Once I let go of that preconception, finishing this tank was a breeze. In fact, I was able to finish this shirt the same day that I started it! I’ve already set aside fabric to make another one. Sewing my own clothes is just too much fun.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Scattered Seaglass

Oh, improv. So soothing, so meditative. Give me a stack of scraps and I could make crazy blocks all day long. I started these blocks in Katie’s class last July, and I took full advantage of access to her scrap bin.


Back home, I just kept adding more and more of my own scraps, with no particular plan in mind. When I evaluated my WIP list at the end of 2012, I found that I had enough blocks to make a decent wallhanging to complement Seaside Cabin, also from Katie’s class.


Ruthlessly, I chopped up any incomplete blocks and incorporated them into the backing. For the quilting, I had a blast with straight line echo quilting. I’m sure I’ll come back to crazy blocks again sometime, but for now I’ll continue to whittle down my WIP list.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day: February 2013

Oh my goodness! It feels so good to be making things again! You know, actually finishing projects instead of just plugging away at them. Here’s to small finishes!

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day.
Lily's Quilts