Pinwheel Perfection!

Got another completed quilt to show you! It was a lot of fun to put together- it went quickly and easily, and I LOVE how it turned out!

I actually designed this quilt based off of a picture I saw on Pinterest, and used a fat quarter bundle from Connecting Threads that was on sale. I cut out four 8.5 inch squares from each fat quarter and used the four-at-a-time method to make HSTs for each one using white fabric.

And then I cheated.

I didn’t trim my HSTs before sewing the blocks. Somehow, my blocks still came out beautifully! My points were, well, on point. Either luck or skill was responsible for that, but we’re going to pretend it was all skill and no luck.  img_1253

Got it quilted with a swirling bubble pattern that I really enjoy. It’s backed and bound with a gorgeously lush purple that matches the sashing/borders in the quilt top. (It doesn’t look like it, but it does match!)

We’ve had some snow recently (Thanks, Helena!) so I coerced the hubs outside in the cold to hold it for me while I snapped a few pictures. I really enjoy this quilt, and it will be up for sale on my Etsy shop! Check it out here.

I’ve also started a weekly quilt along with Pat Sloan called The Winter Solstice Challenge. Each Wednesday, Pat posts the directions to a block and we make the block. I’m using up fabrics from 13 fat quarters I bought at my local quilt store. They’re themed with Asian motifs (think Koi/blossoms/cranes/etc) and in shades of green, pink, blue, and grey.

Here’s the first three blocks I’ve finished! I’ll keep updating each week. If you’re interested in joining, I’ll always link to her page so you can find the directions for the blocks. Happy sewing!

 

A quilty gift!

My husband’s best friend from college got married over the fourth of July, so we decided that rather than buying her a blender, I’d make her a quilt instead. So, I searched Craftsy.com and Connecting Threads, and finally found this (kinda) little beauty over at CT. I’m a huge fan of CT because their prices are very reasonable and the quality of the fabric is pretty awesome for the price.

Anyways, it was a full-size quilt (mostly) and for some reason, I really struggled to get it together. Not for any skill related reason, but simply because when I sat down to quilt I just never wanted to quilt it. It was a mental block, I think, most likely because by this point Dan had left Charlottesville to head to Cleveland for his law internship, I was home alone with the kiddo, it was the last two weeks of school, and I was just tired all the time.

But, once I joined Dan up in Cleveland, and once school finished, I found that I once again had the energy to quilt, and the quilt came together quite quickly. Plus, once I got past my mental block, I absolutely fell in love with the quilt. I sent it out to be quilted and chose a simple swirl stitch, but the quilter was wonderful and put some little flowers in the center of the nine-patch blocks to match the flower theme of the quilt, which I absolutely adore!

Anyways, enough talking, here’s the rest of the pictures!

I’ve been practicing my photo skills, and as an added bonus the apartment we are sub-leasing for the summer has fantastic natural lighting. But yeah! I really enjoyed how these photos turned out. Hopefully you do to!

2016’s Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show

Last year, I learned of the existence of one of the largest quilt shows in Virginia. Unfortunately, I learned of this show the day before it opened, and there was just no way for me to make it there that year. BUT, that meant that I planned ahead for this year! And despite being sick, I made it to the show.

Fair warning, this is going to be just a GIANT post with a TON of pictures. I really should have brought my camera along, since getting the pictures from my phone to my computer without a cord was a giant pain in my butt.

These quilts absolutely took my breath away with how intricate, colorful, ambitious, and ingenious they are. My favorites will be the first three, since I play favorites with quilts.

The picture with the pillows was probably my overall favorite. It looks like a photograph; but everything is applique. It is absolutely incredible. You’ll also see a strong rainbow preference in the second and third place favorites; I’ve realized I *love* rainbow quilts. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the rest:

 

Anyways, I’ve been able to have some of my quilt tops quilted (by check this time) and bound up, so next time I’ll post a couple photos of them. See ya!

Owl Baby Quilt & Asian Panel

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post. And you know what? Not sorry! I am sorry for being not sorry, though. Kinda. No I’m not.

Life has been busy lately, what with my first year of teaching almost halfway done (what?!) and my husband in his second year of law school. He accepted an offer at a Cleveland firm for next summer, so if all goes well that is where we will be resettling to Ohio in 1.5 years. (The one place I NEVER thought I would end up… Ohio.)

Halloween was a ton of fun, what with my son being a cowboy and me being a mad scientist. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and then after that is my favorite time of year: Christmas! (That and snow, because snow days are awesome.)

I do have some exciting news, however; I have had two friends approach me and ask to make them quilts! And while I would love to do it free, I am a lowly teacher and have no money, so they were my first two commissions! And hopefully I can use the money I earn from these two to send out some other tops that need quilting that I can also put up for sale.

The first quilt is a baby quilt. The requirements were colors pink & grey, and an owl theme. Well, I couldn’t find owl fabric that I liked that was in pink and grey, so I got a bunch of grey and pink fabric. My original intent was to do a simple 5” square quilt and then quilt on the diagonal (my little brother machine, while a trooper, can’t handle anything more complicated than that and can barely handle straight lines). But then, after cutting the strips of grey and putting them together I *really* liked how they looked. And I could include some owls by doing a rough-edge applique of an owl in the corner. So this is what I wound up with:

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The backing and binding are the same fabric: a cute pink with white poka dots on it. It brings in a little more pink since the front is mostly grey. Which I actually really like. The owl in the corner was rough-edge applique, and it was probably the hardest part.

But I like how it turned out!

But I like how it turned out!

I’m still new to the whole applique part, but I had a lot of fun and next time I might try something a little harder when I applique again. And I will do it by hand as well.

Here are a couple more pictures: of the two with the quilt on the crib, which do you like the most?

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The second commission quilt I did was based off of my Asian fractured-panel quilt I did. (I’m almost done with that quilt as well, but that will be for a later time!) This one wasn’t quite the same style; the pattern is much different. Instead of doing strips, I had framed fussy-cut squares that I got from a fat quarter pack off of etsy (thanks, Shiboridragons!) If you like Asian fabric, they are my go-to. Anyways, here’s the quilt:

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I really, really love how this one turned out. It was a lot of fun to piece together, as well, and honestly was not as complicated as I thought! All of the fussy-cut squares were from 6 different fat quarters. Asian fabric is great for this because they can have some seriously cool designs on them where you can have two totally different squares that came from the same piece of fabric. The background is very slightly off-white, because the white background on the center panel is not actually true white. Each square is framed with the same gold fabric, which I think really helps it come together. One of my favorite fabrics in this quilt, however, is the backing fabric.

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It’s a beautiful Asian fabric that is quite calming, with gold, pink, and blue dragonflies on the back with cherry blossoms delicately floating on the wind. The quilting was not done by me: we took it to our local quilt shop and sent it out to a long-arm quilter, Kelly. She did a great job with the quilting!

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But anyways, that was my weekend! Enjoy the rest of yours!

Also: I’m still trying to figure out the whole “photographer” part works out, since photography is not my strong point. What pictures are YOUR favorites, and why?

Q & A with Ayumi from Pink Penguin

I have been a huge fan of the blog Pink Penguin by Ayumi Takahashi for quite some time now. (Make sure to go check out her blog- she is seriously talented!) It started when I saw a pattern of hers on Pinterest to make a bento/lunch bag. Her tutorial was easy to follow and straightforward, even for a beginning sewer like me! The bag turned out absolutely adorable, too. (Again, I will post pictures when I get a new camera!)

Well, I have been following her blog now for several months, and finally got up the courage to ask her if she’d be willing to answer a few questions. I was very intrigued – she lives in Japan and sews/quilts over there, as well as designs her own fabric. So, I went out on a limb and asked her if she would be willing to do a quick little Q&A with me. I really expected her to say no, so imagine how surprised I was when she said she would be happy to!

So, without further ado… Here you go!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Ayumi Takahashi and I blog at Pink Penguin. I was born and raised in Japan but I spent 8 years in the US where I went to a college and also met my husband. We moved to Tokyo 4 years ago, had our first baby a few years later, and the next one will arrive in September this year.

2. How did you get into quilting and/or sewing?

I was much inspired by sewing/quilting blogs I randomly found online. My mother-in-law was also huge inspiration because she is a great quilter. She convinced my husband to get me a sewing machine for my birthday several years ago. (The best birthday gift ever!!) And I never went back to life without sewing regularly.

3. What is your favorite part of the process?

Thinking/designing a new project is so much fun! Choosing fabric for it is also thrilling! I like to learn new techniques, so if my project has any process that requires a new technique, I am intrigued. When I think I master the skill, it satisfies me and I love it!

4. What is the most challenging?

Finishing a project lol! It is very easy to start a project, but I get side tracked by other projects so easily. I have boxes filled with many work-in-projects from years ago!

5. Of everything you have done, what was your favorite project? Why?

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I love paper-piecing, especially designing a paper-piecing pattern. I discovered love for paper-piecing from joining a quilting bee called Ringo Pie bee where we made many original paper-pieced blocks. I enjoyed making all my blocks, but if I were to pick one favorite, I may have to say it is this popsicles block.
6. How did you get into designing your own fabric?
I had an annual column for a Japanese magazine called Patchwork Tsushin. The chief editor introduced me to a fabric manufacturer, Kokka, who was then looking for a designer who would design a fabric collection for patchwork/quilts. I was very nervous but thought it was a great opportunity to turn what I love into fabric I can sew with!

7. What is the biggest difference between living in the U.S. and in Japan as a sewer?

I wouldn’t say there are a lot of differences since I now have access to as many supplies as I used in the US. Some things I miss are rulers/measurement tapes/ cutting tables in inches. Everything is in metric here, but my brain still prefers inches/yards. I miss easy access to a lot of American quilting weight fabric too. Another difference is that quilting is still for older generations in general in Japan. There are a lot of younger people who sew but they often make zakka items like bags and clothes. Quilts are not often used practically here. They are rather art to put on the wall. I feel very lucky that I have spent enough years in the US to appreciate practice use of quilts.
8. How do you think up your designs for your fabric?
I had some ideas for my first fabric collection, Lighthearted, from a long time ago which were
Plaids by Ayumi! (Borrowed from her Etsy shop)

Plaids by Ayumi! (Borrowed from her Etsy shop)

– Small kitchen design that can be fussy cut for hexagons etc.
– Plaid because I just love plaids in general
– Text design because I can rarely finish a project without including a few texty prints
– Small polka dots for blending
– Little floral design which can be used for clothes making etc other than patchwork/quilting
Basically Lighthearted was a collection of all the things I love to use for my patchwork projects.

9. What is the hardest part about designing your own fabric?

I designed using my computer and was quite surprised when I first saw samples of printed fabric. They were pretty different from what I thought they looked on my computer. Unlike simple designing on the computer, there is a lot of knowledge you need to have about colors when it is actually printed on fabric. There are some colors I needed to give up because they just wouldn’t look good on fabric even if they were beautiful on my desktop screen. The stronger contrast is, the finished fabric comes put prettier, which I didn’t know, so working with color with consideration of a limitation due to nature of fabric printing was very difficult for me partly because it was fully my first time.

10. Could you tell me a little bit about the timeline of creating your own fabric line?

My manufacturer was hoping to debut Lighthearted in April 2014, which is about 4 months after I begun the whole process. It didn’t give me enough time, so the debut month kept extended til September 2014.
If you want to read more, visit Ayumi over at Pink Penguin or stop by her Etsy shop!