Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stash Bash Pouches 2014 Edition

You may recall the pouches I sewed up for the 2013 Stash Bash. I made one for a bag swap and two others afterwards. This year I sewed up a medium sized pouch for my secret swap partner Jenn Thurston who runs the Quilted Thimble Cottage fabric shop. I used some fabric leftover from a quilt I made at the 2013 Stash Bash and pieced a little wonky star. The bottom is a gray grunge. 

The stripes wrap around the back and I machine embroidered on both sides so she would forever be reminded of a great weekend. 

I filled the pouch with goodies including chocolate, twizlers, pens, post it notes, twine and washi tape.

It barely fit in the pouch but that is just how it should be.

We got a mini charm pack of Kona solids at the Stash Bash. When I got home I couldn't wait to play with these perfect little squares. I decided to make another open-wide pouch (free Noodlehead tutorial) and send it to Chris (The Stash Bash Goddess Coordinator and puppy rearing queen) as a thank you for once again putting on a stellar retreat. The layout is a simple 4 x 7 grid on the front with a little hand-stitched embroidery. 

The back is made up of a few coordinating prints:
I failed photography 101 as you can see my shadow in most of the pictures. I also don't care one iota.

I just HAD to line the pouch in teapots:

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Stash Bash 2014

Who wants to hear my recap of a sewing retreat from last May? Totally! The 2nd annual Stash Bash was amazing. Recap from the inaugural Stash Bash can be found here. Chris (aka Frecklemama) is my kind of event planner. She made the event so much fun while still being laid back and relaxing. The concept is sewing in a beautiful location...


...in a huge room overlooking the lake. And you are with about 50 like-minded people who want nothing but to chat, sew and eat sweets. There were occasional breaks for meals (in between eating sweets) and a fabric shopping trip to the Scarlet Thread was optional. I didn't go to the fabric store this year because I wanted to sew, sew, sew the whole time.

The dining room is right next to the sewing room so there is pretty much no travel time needed to eat and then get back to sewing ASAP. Bonus - you could hold a mock UN meeting here.

There was a large seating arrangement at the far end of the dining area. This was the perfect spot to take a break or do some hand stitching. 

There was also ample floor space for laying out monster quilts like my string-a-hex quilt.

Like last year, I camped out in the back corner with Katie (Katie's Korner) and Elizabeth (Don't Call Me Betsy). We were missing Kim (who had to go and move to California which was tragic) but still managed to have loads of fun and get lots done. I pieced the top of my string-a-hex quilt (above pic), finished two totes (only took a pic of one), caught up on my bee blocks, and started cutting out a courthouse steps quilt. Not bad for a weekend!

Commissioned bag for a family friend.

Churn dash bee blocks.

Chinese lantern style courthouse step quilt.

The swag haul from this year was seriously amped up from last year. But sadly I didn't take a picture of my goodies all together. But we got lots of fabric from Moda, Stash Fabric and elsewhere, an Olfa splash rotary cutter, an Omnigold square ruler, an official The Stash Bash screen printed tee and a lot more things that I don't remember seeing as I am writing this post months later. Everyone won prizes (I think at least twice) lottery style. I got some soak nail polish which lasts forever when you paint your nails. I also got another T-shirt with a sewing machine on it and it says "power tool" underneath. It is neon green and awesome.

More goodies were received via the Secret Agent Swap. I remember it being called the Secret Ninja Swap but apparently I was wrong. Anywho...I got all of these lovelies and more from my secret agent during the course of the weekend:

99.9% sure I am not making it to The Stash Bash in 2015 which makes me very sad, but I will have 4-5 month old triplets and apparently they won't be independent functional members of society yet. Plus, since I moved to St. Louis it is not a quick 3 hour drive to the retreat like it was in years past. As much as I may want a weekend away to relax, sew and catch up with old and new friends it is just not going to happen. Maybe 2016?? 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

At the Beach

Just popping in to say that I am at the beach! Wish I was British so I could say I'm on hols. I'll be back in 10 days tanner and well rested...or more likely sun-burnt and cranky. I was so excited for my trip that I stitched up a new beach bag to take with me.

The bag is enormous. It will easily hold everything I need to relax by the water. I used a free online tutorial from Muse of the MorningOverall a serviceable pattern and it came together fast. I cut all the pieces and interfaced them in an hour or two (taking my time to make sure the directional fabric was going the right way) and then I sewed it up the morning after. I used a medium weight interfacing with home dec fabric from Ikea on the outside and terry cloth on the inside. I used a bit of canvas on the straps for added interest. It does not stand up on its own but looks nice when filled. Consider using heavier interfacing if you want it to have more standing power. A strap length of 22" perfectly fits over my shoulder.

I changed the pattern a little bit. I inserted a pocket into the body of the bag with a terry cloth scrap I had. This should prevent small things like my room keys from getting lost. One thing I wish this had were snaps to keep the bag closed on the sides or a zipper across the top. The bag opening is rather large. I may add some velcro.

It's been a while since I sent you some puppy pics. With tile or hardwood floor all over the new house there is no shortage of a cool spot to veg out. Each pup has found their own favorite lounging spots during the day:

Leuko likes to lie in the major intersection of the house where doors to the kitchen, basement, dining room, office, guest bed and main bath all come together (weird old St. Louis architecture). This way he can keep an eye on anything going on in the main level of the house.

Cypress prefers a quieter existence and can usually be found upstairs in our bedroom on one of the dog beds. She's so prim.

Friday, July 11, 2014

iSpy Quilts {2 Finished Quilts}

My mom asked me to make some iSpy quilts for coworkers who are expecting babies or grand-babies. I made these gender neutral and full of fun things to find. 

Each 9 patch is made up of 3" squares (finished size) of different novelty fabrics. I sashed the blocks in one of the fabrics I got from Korea, a white on yellow dot which was just the perfect complement to these busy prints.
Just a sample of the iSpy fabrics: spaceship, car, whales, atoms, underground creatures, green eggs and ham, pear, Paris map, sharks. There is also a block with DNA so the kids can get to learning science early!

 I couldn't decide how to quilt them so I did a spiral on one:

And a stipple on the other:

I chose a safari print for the back of one and a numbers print in black and white for the other.

I'm really happy with how they turned out. I'll take them with me for my trip to Baltimore tomorrow. I am FINALLY going to the beach with my family for the first time in almost 10 years I can go!!
See... equations front and center for the learning of the maths.

Incidentally, would anyone be interested in a traveling iSpy fabric box? The iSpy fabrics are really fun but you usually don't want to buy a fat quarter of all these different and potentially weird fabrics that don't necessarily play nice with others. My idea is that the box could be sent around to different quilter/bloggers who are interested in making an iSpy quilt. They could fussy cut what they want from the box, add another fat quarter or two to replenish the stock, blog about it and then ship it off to the next person in the queue. Let me know in the comments if you are interested.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baby Wipes Tutoriolito - A great way to use up random flannel scraps

I like to back quilts in flannel occasionally. It is so soft and makes the quilt extra snugly. But what does one do with all the odd shaped remnants left over? No brainer if it was backed with quilting cotton I would just throw the scraps into my scrap box and use for piecing later. But I don't like to mix my flannel or other fabric scraps up with my quilting cottons because I rarely (if ever) piece with a mixture of fabric types. And throwing them out is not an option because the flannel is still good! So I ended up with a pile of weird long rectanglish flannel scraps that I never used.

My friend Cassie keyed me in on a great way to use up the flannel scraps - make reusable flannel baby wipes. These are a great option for when baby goes #1 because they are super absorbent so you only need one and they won't be sopping wet, so less diaper rash. Plus you can just throw them in the wash and reuse over and over.  If you already cloth diaper or are considering it, these are a perfect accompaniment.

There are tutorials already out there such as this one by Sew Much 2 Luv. But I thought I would just give you the TLDNR version.

1)  Take two scraps of flannel and cut them into an 8" square or 9" or 10" or make it slightly rectangular. It doesn't much matter as long as the two pieces are the same size. Really I let the size of my scraps dictate the size of the wipe so that I was as economical as possible with the fabric. 
2)  Sew them together right sides facing with a 1/4" seam leaving a 2-3" gap in the center of one of the sides. 
3)  Snip off the excess fabric at each corner to remove some of the bulk
4) Turn them right side out and press taking care to press the opening down nicely
5) Topstitch around the square 1/8" from the edge making sure to stitch the opening closed. 

 The top row were made with 8" squares and the bottom were made from 10", 10" and 9" squares.

So go ahead and dig through your flannel leftovers and make a few for yourself or for a friend who is expecting. They take 5 minutes each (or less) and you can wrap them up with a pretty bow and be the star of the baby shower (not that these things are competitions, yeah right).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bee blocks

Today's post is all about catching up on bee blocks. I'm a member of That Stash Bee, an online quilting bee where you use your stash to make blocks for the other hivemates each month. I like the challenge of searching through my stash for the perfect complementing fabrics. This has been particularly challenging because I haven't bought new fabric for months and I recently was without my sewing machine for about 2 months so I was a bit tardy on the May blocks.

March - 8 darting bird blocks that were so pretty but uh...I didn't photograph before I mailed them... 

April - 8 churn dash blocks in brights with LV background. Made these at the Stash Bash retreat and sent them off to Ginny the bloggess behind Fish Creek Studio.

May - 2 St. Louis 16 blocks. These were the first things I sewed after moving to St. Louis. How appropriate! These made it to their destination about a month late ooopsie! Sent to Cathy.

June - 2 asymmetrical 9-patch blocks (FREE pattern by Don't Call me Betsy). These I sent to Debbie at A Quilter's Table.

July is my month and I am asking for Christmas in July! 2 Christmas themed 12.5" blocks out of squares. Either a 4-patch or a 9-patch AND a 16-patch or a 36-patch. I mixed up some themed prints with other fabrics that fit in my color scheme. A sprinkling of ridiculous Christmas fabric such as the Chihuahua fabric below is strongly encouraged. I made one of each as examples:

    4-Patch   9-patch

16-patch   36-patch

Once all these blocks come in, I am going to make one crazy Christmas quilt. I will be making more blocks in the meantime. I want this one to fit on my guest bed.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Korea Trip Part 4: Fabrics I purchased at Happy Quilt

This is part 4 of 4 chronicling my experiences in South Korea. I came back  from a 10 day trip to South Korea and thought I would share some of my experiences with you that tie in with sewing and quilting. Of course, through a quilter's eyes, everything can spur inspiration or remind you of something sewing related. This will be at least a 4 part series.

Part 1: Quiltspirations - quilting ideas inspired by things I saw during my visit
Part 2: A finished quilt I made for a Korean colleague and now a new friend
Part 4: Fabrics I purchased at Happy Quilt

As I said in part 3, I bought about 40 yards of fabric from Happy Quilt. They had an amazing selection of quilting cottons and notions. Here is everything I got:

First up Korean textiles. First off, the quality of these fabrics are superb, soft and drape well just as you have come to expect from quilt-shop quality fabrics in the US and elsewhere. The Koreans are rivaling Japan in the cuteness factor. They had a great selection of novelty prints.
The spread.

Horses and sweet elephants.

Amazing sheep- plaid, rainbow, stars, clouds etc. and Russian dolls.

Jars and Robots. If you look closely at the prints that make up the robots you will see a lot of "girly" prints which I think is a fun way to mash up a traditional boy icon with traditional girl prints and colors.

A few florals.

And a perfect dot. The back one is white on yellow so it is hard to see but lovely and subtle in person. I really had to restrain myself from getting these in every color. I couldn't have packed my suitcase otherwise.

 All the Korean fabrics had selvedges in Hangul (the Korean alphabet). Now I am normally not a selvedge saver but you better believe I cut off all the selvedges to use in the future.

Then other fabrics which you can get in the US but not at these LOW LOW prices. It looked like they carried more of the last year's lines which was fun. I picked up a few random fat quarters:

Some great basics:
Just an example of how good the pricing was, that fat quarter bundle of 9 FQs was only $10 (US).

And a few more novelty prints: maps, lightning bugs, hedgehogs, geeky glasses, cross-stitch letters.

I mostly stuck to novelty prints because I thought that would help remind me more of my trip. I have already started using these fabrics and integrated them into my stash so look for them in upcoming projects!