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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winter Inspirations - Blithe Fabrics Blog Tour

First, apologies for being late today - I thought I was being "fancy" and scheduled my post for the morning, but I must have done something wrong... :( (so much for my blogging skills!), so here we go now:

Hello everyone!

What better to get me back to my (always?) neglected blog, than fabulous Blog Tour to celebrate BLITHE - a magical, beautiful, philosophical, new fabric collection by my ever-talented friend Katarina Rocella, for Art Gallery Fabric ? (Well, there is more to this "neglected blog" story now, will tell you later!)
Blithe collection is inspired by WINTER - a season of nature's rest, season that I always felt was unfairly deemed bad, or boring, or colorless... so not true! I love winter. I really do. I always found so much inspiration in winter, took countless photos, spotting unusual glimpses of color... All so very beautifully captured by Katarina in this amazing new fabric collection. I am so thrilled she did it - spring, summer, fall - those seasons are celebrated and captured in countless fabrics, but winter is somehow always an underdog? Not any more!!

AHHH BLITHE... where do I begin?? It has beautiful colors,

 unexpected motifs,

little the bunny, the baby deer...

Not to mention the quotes and writing.... And that Owl!! <3

I have so so many ideas in my head! But as usual, not enough time... However, I do have TWO projects to show you today, YAY!!

First is a quilt that I actually made before the Blog Tour and it was commissioned quilt. I very rarely do this, but when friend of a friend wants to have a very special and surprising birthday gift for his wife - I can't say no! When I was told that they want a modern, simple design and colors to be blues and grays, and Blithe just became available - I jumped to make a quick design in my EQ7 and color it with Blithe fabrics!

I had a few designs, but this one was chosen and you know what - I LOVE this simple pattern when showing off beautiful fabrics is a primary goal! It is just SQUARES!! Just simple squares (in this case 6" finished), set on-point and colors arranged as you like.
Here is my beginning (there is just something so exciting when you start placing your design, in fabric, on that design wall!!!)

After laying out the whole quilt and setting triangles on the edges, rows were sewn (in diagonal direction) and - VOILA!: (yes, I did change few fabric form the EQ coloring)

I decided on wool batting and flannel on the back and chose (for the first time!) a thicker thread for quilting  - 28wt Aurifil!! I have to say - falling in love with this combo of wool batting and thread that shows a bit more!!

(and yes - those were snowflakes actually falling on the quilt as I took photos - how cool was that? )

I used my regular, 50wt Aurifil for the back

Here is the flannel back:

For quilting, I just let each and every print in this beautiful collection guide me for inspiration on motifs - flowers, waves, leaves... It was really so much fun!

I really LOVED making this simple quilt! And I am so thrilled that the birthday girl also loved it! It is called WINTER'S DREAM.

The actual Blog Tour idea that I had since I saw Blithe fabrics was somewhat different... Have you ever made a BARGELLO style quilt? I love them, I teach them, I p[lay with that style a lot and when I saw that Evergreens Frozen fabric, I knew I had to try it!!
It was a toss-up between using Frozen Forestland colorway or Mist Woodland colorway... oh who am I kidding - I want to make it from BOTH!! :)
This was initial fabric pull:

Traditionally, bargello quilt is made by cutting all your fabric strips the same width (2.5", for example), but I wanted to use the Evergreens panel in its entirety, therefore all other fabrics were 2.5" strips, but Evergreens was a 12.5" strip.
For Bargello, you join all your strips, lengthwise, in order you want, and then you finally join the first and last strip to form a tube - here was mine:

After that, you cut "rings" out of your fabric tube, in different widths, and open those rings as you like, to form the design. Here is what I came up with:

It needed another thin strip, I thought...

Now I was ready to sew them all up and quilt!
I used the same, 28wt Aurifil this time too (did I mention I was falling in love with it? LOL!), and look what happened with my LAST few swirls of quilting!!

Yup, you saw that right!! - to the very last inch of thread!! Nothing left!! PHEW!!

So here is my bargello-style wall hanging!

I kept thinking...WINTER SUNRISE?
What do you think? Somehow that glimpse of peach and pink colors...jut like winter sunrise!

Of course I had to take it out, in the first morning light, for some photos...

And look - I found just the colors in my sleepy, winter garden that are in Blithe fabrics!!

You noticed, it doesn't have binding yet. That is because I think I want to do a FACING on it (so nothing is visible from the front, I like it just as it looks now!), but facing requires hand stitching, and of course I ran out of time for that.

But of course this is not the end of my winter-inspired, Blithe-filled projects! The other colorway bargello is in my head, maybe some pillows with that amazing canvas print, and look what's draped on my mannequin - beautiful VOILE!!

Promise to be back with more Blithe projects (and actually much more, and new blog home and domain is in the working!!), but in the meatime, make sure you follow the entire, beautiful and so inspiring Blithe Blog Tour - the list and schedule is all HERE !

See you all soon, have a fabulous, inspiring winter!!

Friday, November 4, 2016

My quilt, SWEET APRIL in McCall's Quilting - sooo excited!!!

Hello friends,


I am so over-the-moon excited and incredibly honored to have my first quilt pattern, Sweet April, published in McCall's Quilting magazine !!! It truly is a dream come true when it comes to my quilting, doodling, teaching and pattern designing! I am just so, so excited and happy!!! 

that is shipping now to subscribers and will be on the stands November 22nd and even better - digital issues are available now HERE and even a pattern or a kit too!! 

Can you tell I am just a bit excited?? 

Oh wait - THE QUILT!! 

I have some of my own I can share, but first two beautiful photos taken by professionals at McCall's Quilting:

Aren't these fabrics just breathtaking?? It is one of my favorite collections so far, LAVISH,  by my super-talented friend Katarina Roccella, for ever-inspiring Art Gallery Fabrics.

Don't you just want to smell the flowers?? Lavish is just so beautiful, colorful, well balanced with prints of different textures and designs and so... so.... LAVISH!!!
Did I mention you can buy an exact KIT for this from McCall's, even the beautiful backing fabric?

I simply can't wait to see all the beautiful quilts made from Sweet April pattern!! 

Another exciting part for me is that I will be a guest blogger on the McCall's Quilting Blog, by the end of this month and will be able to share some of the story behind this quilt, my design process and making of the quilt itself. Even better - there will be a contest for all of you, with a prize to be won!! WOOO-HOOO!! Stay tuned!!

Until then, I just want to say that this is a really simple pattern, made from two basic blocks - Nine-patch and Hour-glass block and all the magic comes from the color placement. This quilt was made and quilted by me - I LOVED every minute of it! I used my trusted and beloved 50wt Aurifil thread for both, piecing and quilting

 I am really so excited  and so honored to be able to share this quilt pattern with so many of you!!
Please, please let me know what you think of it, how you like it and if you have any questions about it of course - and THANK YOU!!!

I am off to float some more on cloud 9... :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sewing in Grandmaville

Hello everyone,

I hope you had fun and safe Halloween!

Over here, with all grown-up children, I now rely on our granddaughters and all friends' and neighbors' kids for some fun, making costumes and all that.
Juliana wanted to be her beloved Peppa Pig!

Since baby Natalie really doesn't have an opinion on the subject yet, we decided she will be one too. I gathered some pink and red fleece and few other things, and with a help of a jacket hood pattern and a lots of looking at various Peppa pictures out there, here is what I came up with:

Once I made a pink fleece hood, it was all in doing the eyes, blush and that smile just right - that made the whole thing! I winged it all the way, but those shapes are all really simple. 
Once the simple red dress was made, I realized it will not quite stand wide enough, to look like Peppa, so I made a pink tutu to go underneath the dress - for both girls! I figured they will play with tutus later anyway... I never took a good photo of the tutu unfortunatley, but I am hoping there will be other opportunities to do it, when they play with it...

The most important thing - Juliana loves it - hoorayyy!
And seriously, how cute is she?! If you ask this grandma - cutest Peppa Pig ever!

I was also inspired to make some fall-colored outfits, specially after seeing this beautiful large orange polka-dot fabric.

Some of that, combined with a soft, orange knit and  big sister - little sister matching dresses were whipped up in two evenings...

I used again the Tinley Tee pattern by GYCT designs and just added the full circle flounce at the bottom, plus the made-up pocket, since my little cutie loves pockets! <3

Little sister dress was a bit of a improvisation (Tinely Tee pattern starts from 6-12 months and that was a bit too big), between measuring the baby and adopting the front of completely unrelated pattern that I had and just making a smaller flutter sleeve shape... we will see how that actually worked out, once their mommy tries it on! :)

But it sure looks cute and grammie loved every minute of making it...

Here is a quick comparison in sizes...

Of course there had to be some matching hair accessories, so grammie (or Bai, how Juliana calls me now) made some! Hair clips for big sister (who doesn't like head-bands much) and head-bands for baby sister (who doesn't have any hair for clips! )

What do you think? Aren't these cute?! I was giggling all the way while making them!

These are so much fun and so easy to make, once you have these cute flowers, bows, feathery things and elastic. I found two great sources on-line for these: Fleuriste Craft Supply  and Hairbow Supplies Etc.  - just inc case you are inspired to make some... :)

Now that Halloween is over, lets get one with other tasks of the season, right?

One for me (not really season related) is to make this blog better and actually useful for all of you. Tutorials come to mind... Have you seen my question in the previous post? Have any opinions?  Please let me know!

Wishing you fun and joy every day,