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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Inspiration time! - The Heartland Blog Tour

Hello friends,

and welcome to my stop of the beautiful, inspirational Heartland Blog Tour!

I hope you already visited Alicia of Sew What Alicia and Paola (on Instagram as @loveoffabric) to see some gorgeous creations posted yesterday!

We are celebrating the release of Pat Bravo's newest, fresh, gorgeous Heartland fabric collection!
It is fresh, beautiful and with colors that just sing along with my current surroundings and inspirations - bold yellow and gold/mustard, some stormy-sky grays, and then everything in between... Love it!
So of course I was excited when Pat put out a "call for makers" and over the moon when I was one of twenty makers chosen!! I just feel so humble and grateful and...HAPPY!! :)

I immediately pulled out my handy Quilt Planner with all those graph-paper like pages and started doodling... Pat said - think Scandinavian!! That, together with some of the fabric designs made me doodle this...

It was an idea for a table runner with some tall pines and some big sky stars. Then it developed a bit and got colored in EQ7, and became this:

I call this one Big Sky Runner. 
What do you think? Yes? 
I played some more and with different backgrounds and also wanted to expand it into a bigger quilt, so this is what precipitated at the end:

This one is Big Nordic Sky. 
There is many more versions of these designs, but that can be a whole another post - design process.

Now, on to the REAL FUN - playing with fabrics!

Aren't these just gorgeous?!

I really love my table runner idea, but in order for it to work and be a good size (actual table runner!) there were some itty-bitty HSTs to be made...YEIKS!!
Trusty Thangles to the rescue and it wasn't really that bad...

They really are only 1 1/2" big!
My friend Robi, a miniature specialist, would be so proud of me! (Hi Robi! :)  )

And some utterly cute little stars were born... (if I may say so myself).

That little Hoot owl!!! Just too cute! I might have to design a whole quilt around them, and also get some of the knit fabrics for my little grand babes...

But after few more HSTs and some quarter-star blocks, here is basic layout on the wall:

And then for some tall pines...

I really liked it at this point!! One of those moments when real life design looks just as good as the virtual one! (not always the case, right?)

It was time to quilt!!
Now, here is where my struggle was: I love, love, love free motion quilting! And I am much better at that then straight line quilting! But hey, we need to challenge ourselves and grow, right? Specially when design call for it. So with beautiful gray 50wt Aurifil in the machine, off I go!!

Those owls just beg to be photographed!! :)

And yes, I just posted that real close-up, with all my imperfections! Oh well, practice, practice, practice...

Here it is, all done and bound:

I think tall pines do need some more quilting... What do you think?
But to be on time for this lovely blog tour, I left it at that for now. I will update you on final decision!
I apologize for not the best light in my sewing room. I have my hubby working on that...
So time to take this Big Sky Runner outside for few more photos!

I am working on that lap quilt too and promise to post it here as soon as I am done!
I am also working on posting both of these patterns as free patterns on Craftsy - what do you think? Would you make it? :)

I hope you are inspired as this wonderful Blog Tour takes flight - make sure to go visit Lisa Chavez today too and then tomorrow it is Lisa Serino's  and Aimee Leptic's turn!
And there is so much more to come!

 Bookmark Pat Bravo's blog post with the whole list and - keep hoping and being inspired!! I can't wait to see what everyone makes!!

I would love to hear what do you think about this design and how do you come up with your ideas - leave me a comment and thank you so much for spending some time with me today!

Wishing you joy and inspiration,

PS - is it crazy that I remembered this picnick table we have at work and brought the table runner with me, just to take another photo today? Yeah, it probably is. But I like the photos so here they are! Ha ha!

#TheHeartlandBlogTour #PatBravoDesign #ArtGalleryFabrics #HeartlandFabrics #Aurifil

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fun with weaving!

Hello everyone,

You know that great feeling of excitement when you try something new? And it works? And it's fun? And you just can't wait to do more? And share, of course... :)

Well, that us how I felt last Sunday! 

If you haven't already "met" (in social media) Mathew Boudreaux, aka Mister Domestic , you need to do it pronto!! Such a creative and fun guy who shares his talent so generously and creates some really amazing things! So, GO!!
Anyway,  Mathew recently started a Weave-A-Long, teaching us all how to do this really beautiful weaving with fabrics strips, on an angle! You can find the step-by-step on his blog HERE.

I have a love affair with all things weaving anyway, but if you combine beautiful fabric and weaving - well, I just can't miss that! And yes, I have a million other things I should be doing, a long, long TO-DO list of projects, but I just had to quickly order the WEFTY fabric weaving needle, cut some strips and try it!
I quickly pulled a nice stack of Pat Bravo's beautiful Rock 'n Romance fabric (it is an older collection), cut  my strips, pressed them and started the process. The WEFTY needle is a simple tool, but it really makes it so much easier!

Here is my start - all vertical strips (layer 1), pinned to the board and first few 30 degree angle strips (layer 2), started - I loved it already then!


Here is Layer 2 completed - isn't this a great look and texture?

Yes, lots of pins are needed...

Now on to the layer #3.
It took me a few trials to get the hang of it, but once you see the design emerging, it kinda all makes sense. Since WEFTY needle comes in two sizes, larger one used in this project - I used the smaller one to help me "guide" the large one when coming under the layers (it can get stuck in the folds of the fabric).
Here is that first strip going through...

And then some more...
(sorry for the bad light - I moved downstairs to the living room to hang out with my family at this point - kinda like that this project is somewhat portable like that!)

And here it is DONE - YAY!!
I really, really like this look and texture and...everything! I can see it in so many different color combinations too.

After following Mathew's great tips on how to finish it and take it off the board, here it is trimmed and ready to be something!!
I think pillow...?

Love all the trimmings too! LOL!

YES - at this point I am sure it will be a pillow, but I want to do another one in slightly different combo of these gorgeous Rock 'n Romance fabrics. My youngest son's girlfriend really loves this color combo, so it just might be a pair of pillows for their little office window bench... :)

But you know why else I want to do a pillow? Mister Domestic, being a total overachiever that he is, (but that is why we love him!!) also shared a really cool way to make the back for a pillow and I want to try that! You can find it HERE .

In the meantime, I already cut and pressed a new set of strips for that second one. I realized that pressing goes much faster for me if I leave all my strips the full length (a width of fabric) and cut them later. Also, a HUGE help with pressing is my 1" grid on the ironing board canvas cover! Not sure what I would do without it!!

Last night, after cutting for another project (more about that next time!) and pressing all of these strips I got tired... So, again, taking advantage of portability - here I am weaving in bed! Hey, what can I say - my feet were achy and this worked! 
Of course, having a snuggle-buddy right at my feet is a pure bonus! :)

It was getting late, hubby was already grumbling that we have to get up early, but I had to go to the Layer #3, just to see the color combo...

OK, now I was happy and ready to sleep. Yeah, it was after 1 AM, but hey, it's all worth it, right?

'Till next time, wishing you joy and creative inspirations,

PS - if you go to try this weaving, let me know!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gearing for fall...

Hello my friends, 

I am emerging from lots of sewing, most of which I can't share yet... I know! A bit frustrating, but also very exciting - I simply CAN'T WAIT for the end of the year when both, McCall's Quilting and Quiltmaker Jan/Feb issues are likely to come out - with my quilts in them!! EEEEK!!

Rememeber that second stack of lovely colors I showed you earlier?

It is a queen size quilt now and I am so happy how it turned out!! I wish I can share it all now, but here are few little sneak-peeks...

I quilted it all on my friend Robi's Nolting, and it was so much more fun! Both because I love, love love quilting on a long arm (doodling is so much easier!) and even more so because I could do it in a good company - Robi was sewing up a storm behind me and a whole quality control department - aka her lovely cats! - were there too, of course! At the end I had to do it in a bit of a tight time, but it was still just fun!
The thread of choice was 50wt Aurifil - I use this taupe, neutral color cone for all my piecing, did it in this quilt too, and it actually turned out to be the best choice of color for quilting as well! 
I quilted some leaves...

And some flowers too...

I used Dream Wool batting for the first time and I really love the enhanced definition of quilting it gives! It is also very light!! Definitely doing that again... 

After quilting fun was over, I decided to do that "faux-piping" binding and I just love it!

You know, I realized that I didn't do a queen size quilt in a while now, and boy was that a pile on my sewing table!! Not to mention some unusually hot and humid Buffalo weather while doing it... (yes, no AC in our old house...) - but it was all so worth it!

Of course I had to take few photos, just for myself and while doing that, found that this lovely new mum, a "just because" gift from our next door neighbors, was such perfect color for my little photo-shoot!

Did I mention I love that binding? He, he...

Once that quilt was in the mail, I had to do a quick baby quilt - a coworker is having a baby boy any day now and this needed to be done fast! So digging through my sizable kids fabrics stash, I found this lovely (and wide!) border print with animals - a dozen happy pinwheel blocks, some polka-dot background fabrics and those border strips and - VOILA!

I used minky for the back and this happy, sunny yellow stripe for the binding. I really love how quilting actually showed well on the minky!
Beautiful, turqoise 50wt cotton Aurifil was a choice for quilting

Look how quilting shows!

I had fun with just doodling different designs in pinwheels, some fun messages in between - like "smile", "dream", "love", "skip" and "jump"...

..."hug"... :) All the things I wish this little one will do all the time!

Speaking of baby quilts... One that is so extra special is still not done! My precious Natalie is still waiting for her quilt from Grammie... I know, really bad Grammie. :( But you know what, it is important that it is made with love and just as it should be in every detail, so I am OK with that. So is she, he he...
I just wasn't happy how it all looked when I started placing it all on the design wall, and it also needed to be a bit bigger, so back to making more HSTs, in few more color combos...
Yeah, I do things whenever I can - so this was taking Thangles paper out - in bed! LOL! Smesometis my poor husband just shakes his head...

So after making more, here is what I have. I did this lineup on my design wall literally just this morning, early, and then had to go to work! Snapped this photo quick just so I can look at it during my lunch break and see what needs to be changed later today...
Quite a few things, I see, but that's OK!

I am trying to create a lower contrast and lighter area in the lower middle, where elephants will be, and then darker, more contrast  on top and bottom... Not quite happy with this one yet, but I do have some extra HSTs to play with. Later tonight...
In the meantime, cooler weather is here and pups are much happier during our walks - I just love this photo from this weekend... Marley is really such a great big brother. And Charley is learning and growing into a great, lovable buddy. They make me smile every day.

At the end, I have to share my beautiful photo - Labor Day weekend was first time we were ALL together again (since our daughter and her hubby came to visit ). It was a time to treasure and I am so happy we took this photo. I call it - MY EVERYTHING. 💗
My family is my heart beat and I am so grateful, every day. <3

Wishing you beautiful days of autumn,