Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Introducing My Little Bookworms...

My second finish of 2013...yikes!  I've finished a quilt a month since December.  This is far and away the most productive that I've ever been (sewing-wise) and I'm a little afraid it means that I might go into sewing hibernation until I emerge for spring.  Hopefully not, but if so at least I went out with a bang.

I know that I've gone into exhaustive detail about each of these blocks and how I made them, so I won't bore you all by rehashing it, but here's the complete list just in case you don't recognize the characters:

Top row (left to right):  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Olivia by Ian Falconer, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna DewdneyI Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn
2nd row: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Pinkalicious by Victoria & Elizabeth Kann, Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
3rd row: Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire, Fancy Nancy by Jane O'ConnorIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Bottom row:  Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maisy's Bedtime by Lucy Cousins

I wanted to take a different approach in quilting than I did with Elephant Parade and stick with simplicity.  All I did to quilt the Bookworms was to outline each character square once and then quilt the colored stars using Angela Walter's suggestions for irregular shapes - it's really hard to see in pictures (and even in person) because I matched the thread to the dominant color, but you can kind of see the arcing petals in these pictures:

The binding came out quite nice - the black and white french phrases are not really noticeable on the front of the quilt, but you definitely notice it on the back side.

I am so in love with this quilt for my girls and I'm so happy to report that the girls seem to love it just as much!  My littlest loves to sit and look at each block, pointing out her favorites.  They haven't quite noticed the detailed label on the back, but it still makes me melt a little bit.

I'm going to try to remember these warm and fuzzy feelings the next time the girls are really pushing my buttons....which will probably be in the next 30 minutes.  Happy crafting everyone!

Linking up:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Fresh Poppy Design

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Salty Sisters in February...

Well even though I was super on top of my January blocks for the Gen X Quilter's Sisters' Ten BOM, the Little Bookworms have pretty much consumed all of my sewing time for the month.  February most definitely has fallen to the back burner...until now, that is! 

The block for February is called Susannah - and the hardest part was picking which fabrics to use!  My plan going forward is that for each month I will do one block mostly in green and one mostly aqua with a couple splashes of coral thrown in here and there for contrast.  This month because there were only two fabrics beside the background, coral got set aside, but I was still pretty happy with my pull. 

Even though the middle swatch isn't nearly as big as the Grandmother's Frame blocks, it's still pretty great for fussy cutting, so the green focused on the seashells and the aqua was perfectly framed around a pair of seahorses.

So my finished blocks are looking pretty good and didn't take too long to put together. 

My biggest problem was that after working with the Bookworms so frequently over the past month (where I'm not too concerned with hitting a precise quarter inch seam), I had pretty much blanked out on exactly where my scant quarter inch position was and so my seams on the green block were a, ridiculously off.  I ended up self-correcting by the time I did the aqua block.  I'm sure that I'll end up going back and redoing the green block so that they're precise, but I'll leave that for another day.

Linking up:

Live A Colorful Life
Plum and June

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Last Trio of Bookworm Blocks...

I don't know what my problem is - probably my typical phase of getting stuck at the tail end of a project - but I had a really hard time getting these last three blocks finished.  Actually, I had a hard time getting any sewing done at all for about a week and a half while I battled a really bad cold that I caught from the girls.  All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with some Downton Abbey - and I barely even touched my hexies!

But I managed to get my butt in gear as my wealth of scheduled blog posts dried up with nothing else to fill in the void and my self-imposed deadline of a February finish was looming.  Withouth further ado, the last three books in our favorites list include: Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

My favorite little detail from these three is a little pop of text in the Giving Tree block - family.  Gives me the warm and fuzzies just looking at it.

Yahoo!  The last three Bookworm blocks are completed and now it's off to quilt and bind this sucker!  I found a really cute text print a while back that is black and white (the perfect complement to a rainbow quilt, IMHO) french phrases with their english translations.  So perfect!

I can't wait to share the completed quilt with you all - stay tuned!

Linking up:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bookworms Are Backing It Up...

We had ourselves a monster snowstorm up here in New England a week ago and while literally snowed it (but still with power - yay!), I managed to piece the back of my Little Bookworms quilt and do some of the detail stitching on it.  When I was first putting all the ideas together for this quilt, I saw the cutest bookshelf fabric online and decided that it would make the most perfect backing for a quilt all about books...doesn't it fit to a tee?

But that alone wasn't quite enough...have you seen this amazing tutorial by Don't Call Me Betsy for a bookshelf mini quilt?  I loved it and wanted to incorporate that as well - plus it would be my first time working with selvedges.  I get the obsession now - it's fun!

So I laid out three shelves to divide the backing fabric.  The top two are pretty much straight from Elizabeth's tutorial and here are the results:

For the bottom shelf, I made a vertical stack of books with a little mascot on top:

And a special little label for the girls:

So here's the big picture all ready to off to finish the last 3 blocks and complete the top!

Linking up:

Plum and June
Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feather Brain...

A while back when I was tossing ideas around, I posted this inspiration picture:

Even while I was typing the post, I connected the dots between that gorgeous color combination and this patchwork feather pattern by Anna Maria Horner.  I couldn't get it out of my head and fell more and more in love with the idea, so much so that (of course) I started buying fabrics here and there. Now I think I've built up a good but not too crazy pile that is all ready to be stripped and cut into feathers!

The deep purple with pink and the pink with gold swirls are my two favorites of the bunch.

And check this one out - this is all one swatch of fabric, but the strips each have different patterns. I can cut this up and make it look like I bought 6 different fabrics!

I went back and forth while choosing a solid for the background - I was originally leaning toward a light yellow like Kona's maize but when I brought them all together, I just wasn't feeling it. Instead I played it kind of safe and went with Eggshell (I think).

But that feather pattern looks like an awful lot of work that is going to take some serious time.  It's hard enough getting the girls to leave simple blocks alone and unstepped on (Site Note:  The peril of not having a design wall is that you have to spread out blocks on the floor at random points.  This creates some kind of siren song for children.  They see something on the floor and have to immediately run over and step all over it.).

Thankfully, the BMQG annual retreat is coming up in March.  Circumstances as they are right now, I couldn't manage to make the entire weekend but I was so excited to hear that they gave us the option of a "day pass" for the retreat - come up and spend as much of the entire day sewing and socializing as we can manage and then go back home for wrestling children into pajamas, teeth brushing, and bedtime.  Sounds like a good compromise to me!  So my stacks of fabric are washed and pressed, my templates are cut, and I am counting down the days to the retreat to begin my feather brained madness. 

Linking up:
Live A Colorful Life

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Bookworm Block and Book Review...

I mentioned last time that the next post about the Bookworm quilt would only have one block and a book review.  Usually I like to do groups of blocks, but this block covers a pretty recent book and it's a good one.

I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn is an adorable story about a girl with a favorite dress that she wears every Tuesday, her favorite day of the week.  But she grows, as all kids do, and soon her favorite dress doesn't fit anymore. 

It's pretty fortunate that she has an awesomely crafty mom who teaches her not to make molehills out of mountains and can remake her dress into different things for her for the rest of the year with a simple snip, snip and sew, sew! 

The illustrations are by Julia Denos and they are gorgeous.  The watercolors mixed with some collage elements really make the story pop.

This book is a big, big favorite over here.  It teaches days of the week, calming down in the face of wardrobe catastrophe, sewing appreciation and showing some love for your hard-working, crafty mom.  Seriously, what mom doesn't like a book that makes her feel like a superhero for sewing?

So here is my Favorite Dress block, and of course it had to have a pink corner. 

I couldn't believe it when I held up some leftover Pearl Bracelet fabric from my paper pieced sewing machine and it was a perfect match to the illustration!

Only 3 left to go, and then I can move onto the back!  Or maybe I'll just skip to the back to shake things up a bit...

Linking up with:
Fresh Poppy Design
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced