Sunday, December 30, 2012

The year that was

It is always good to look back and see how far one has come over the course of a year. 

I started as a novice quilter and continued to learn something new with every project. This years biggest achievement was free motion quilting. Also did a bit of hand quilting, improv quilt blocks and English Paper Piecing.

I also branched out sewing small items like pouches, bags, hot pads, pillow covers, etc. I would like to get better at making these items. In addition, I experimented sewing with varied materials like minky, outdoor fabric, selvages, voile & fusible interfacing.

In the coming year I already have the following things lined up:
  • Participating in the Madrona Road Challenge
  • Signed up for the following BOMs. I will learn quite a few new skills along the way primarily paper piecing.
  • And of course workshops and events hosted by the CNJMQG quilt guild.
I am ever thankful for the online quilt community that has supported my learning effort and encouraged me with their kind comments. Hopefully it will be another year full of fun and learning. Happy New Year to all and hope you have a great year ahead.

Linking up to:

Craft Buds

Lily's Quilts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The word seems to have spread

Oddly or obviously enough for the first time most of my holiday gifts consisted of quilting parapharnelia. The word about my quilty dabblings seems to have spread. This year I was lucky enough to receive these

In order: 1. My aunt gave me her old serger, a white superlock 2000 she doesn't use anymore. 2. A stack of Northcott Color Works fat quarters in Flower Power Pink. 3. A layer cake of Salt Air from Cosmo Cricket. 4. A fat quarter bundle of Architextures by Carol Friedlander in black colorway. 5. A perpetual calendar with some amazing quilt blocks from Martingale. 6. A silver thimble with Aztec inlay work. 7. A bundle of fabric scraps. 8. Vintage print duck cloth. 9. A fat quarter bundle of Bike Path from Lucky Penny collection by Alison Glass. 

Hmm must tackle some substantial quilt projects in 2013, now that I have no excuses. Also the Serger looks super complicated to thread. Any one can suggest a class I can take locally to acquaint myself with this machine?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Stockings

One last sewing project before I call it a year. Very soon the house will be filled with family and I doubt will be able to get much sewing done. Anyway I decided to make holiday stockings for my little niece and nephew who will be visiting from Seattle. 

I used this tutorial with a few modifications. I made it reversible, in the sense the front and back of the stocking have a different pattern.

Front of stocking

Back of stocking
I also sealed off the edge under the cuff unlike the tutorial, not a big fan of exposed seams. Kept the quilting to a minimum, just enough to stabilize the layers. The fabric itself is very busy. I thought heavy quilting was not necessary.

The fabric is from Pennington Quilt Works, it was on sale at 25% off when I went by to pick up fabric for the Madrona Road Fabric Challenge

I have only made one so to making the second.
Linking up to :

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, December 15, 2012

100th Post!!!!!

This is the 100th post since I started my blog about a year ago. Quite a milestone. Cannot believe I have had so much to say but it's been a very fun exercise. I have met some talented fellow quilters and have been greatly inspired along the way.

What more fitting for such a milestone than this wide mouthed pouch made using this tutorial from Noodlehead

I made this for my mum to carry around her crotchet paraphernalia.

She had been carrying around her project in a Ziploc bag which sprung a hole and she lost one of her crotchet needles. Decided to make her this pouch to avoid anymore needle loses. I modified the pattern a bit to add this cool zipper pocket on the inside to hold the needle.

Fabrics used: Michael Miller Ta Da Dot in Lime Green, Quilter's Linen by Robert Kaufman in Charcoal and Amy Butler's Twilight Peony in Azure from Soul Blossom collection.

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday

Saturday, December 8, 2012

EPP Cushion Cover

Last night finally finished up the EPP pillow cover I had started as part of the Sewing Confrontations blog series. 

The quilting on the hexagons was something I had seen done on one of the blogs. I cannot find that blog anymore to give proper credit. At last I found it here. It gives a nice texture to the pillow. For the back I used Valori Wells - Wildfield in citrus.

Recently at work they had a seminar about taking pride in your work...a lot of corporate chatter but one thing I got from it was good workmanship. Even aesthetic is subjective but not good workmanship. The reason I mentioned this was because I sealed all the seems on the inside with binding. This way there is no fraying at all and makes one sturdy pillow cover.

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday & TGIFF Fridays

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quilted Case

My mum was looking for a small case that can hold her computer mouse. It's one of those new fangled mice that does not fit into the standard sized cases available commercially. She asked me to make something sober so I pulled out scraps from the Kaffe Fassett workshop and churned out this QAYG number ;) Some of the scraps were given to me by my workshop partner Lori. Thanks Lori. I put the scraps to good use.

When my mum laid eyes on it she vaguely remembered asking me to pick a sober color and then forgot all about it :)

Linking up to:

Friday, November 23, 2012

English Paper Piecing

When Jess from Quilty Habit approached me to join her blog series "Sewing Confrontations" I decided to use it as an excuse to try English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have seen some wonderful things made in blogland using EPP including this sewing machine cover made by Jess herself. The only reason I had not tried it so far is because it involved hand sewing and seemed like a very time consuming process.

Recently I have seen Anna use adorable little hexies to make a little doll quilt and Elizabeth make this amazing pillow. I knew I had to give it a try. 

I started by creating the right size template. This required graph paper and bit of math. I printed the graph paper from here. The hexagon template measures 1 1/8" inch on each side. You can totally skip this step by buying some precut paper pieces or templates from Paper Pieces or similar store. I decided to make my own since it is a learning process and I did not want to take any short cuts.

Image courtesy of

I cut the initial template from thicker card paper. Dark colored card paper works better than white. It makes the edges easier to see when cutting hexies from lighter colored paper. You can use an acrylic sheet to make the template too. Then I used this template to cut hexies from regular paper. I used junk mail lying around the house. Preferably pick white or light colored paper. This will ensure that the paper print does not show through the fabric. Cut squares just large enough for the hexagon template, in this case 2 1/4" x 2", place the template on this square and snip off the edges. It's a tedious process but not too bad once you assembly line it. You can use freezer paper too and iron the fabric over it to hold it in place.

Next cut out squares of fabric 2 1/2" x 2 1/4". You may or may not trim off the edges. I prefer to. Pin the paper hexies to the wrong side of the fabric and begin creating hexies.

There are two ways to do create a hexagon piece. As shown in this tutorial and as shown here. In the first tutorial you can reuse the paper hexagons but I found that I needed to iron some of the pieces to prevent the hexies from unravelling. Using the second tutorial you may damage some of the paper pieces but no ironing needed and the fabric stays put in place. You can pick your preferred method.

I used the second tutorial to create hexies as I wanted to avoid the iron. 

To my surprise they go real fast. In no time I had a whole stack of them. Plus they are convenient to make while watching TV, in the park, in the backyard or wherever. I even found this clear plastic box to carry them around in.

When sewing the pieces together, for two adjacent pieces use thread that matches the darker fabric.

I used this color palette to make my hexies. 

Played around with some configurations and finally settled on this. I think this will make a great pillow cover.

A lot more to come so stay tuned.

Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 2: Jess at Quilty Habit - Accurate Cutting
Nov. 9: Rebecca at Sew Festive Handmade - The 1/4 Inch Seam
Nov. 16: Val at PinkPlease! - Ruffles
Nov. 23: Rachel at Let's Begin Sewing... - English Paper Piecing
                  Nov. 30: DOUBLE POST: Katie at Swim, Bike, Quilt - Sewing with Knits
Kristina at Ornamental Confectionary - Making Pants
*AND link up at Quilty Habit!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gathered clutch

Last night I was itching for a quick project, since I hadn't sewn in a while. I remembered the gathered clutch tutorial by Noodlehead I had bookmarked almost a year ago. I decided to give it a go and here is what I came up with.

I went all out and even added the divider and credit card holders.

I used Warm Company Steam-A-Seam Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible which worked well but made the needle all sticky. This interfacing is very lightweight, a more medium weight interfacing would work better. 

These would make great little gifts.

Linking up to:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I made these hot pads for a swap at CNJMQG last evening which I could not attend. This is the second meeting I have missed in a row. Arrgh!!! It's the year end and things are increasingly busy at work. This has made it difficult to leave work to make it from NYC to Pennington, NJ in time for the guild meeting. Oh well, shall catch up via blog updates. 

I made my first set of hot pads about a year ago as a Thanksgiving gift. Decided it was time to make another set keeping with the holiday theme. I increased the level of difficulty this time around and came up with this set.

I used a commercially bought potholder as a reference guide to make these. It's pretty quick to make.

You will need 
  • quilting fabric: 8.5" x 8.5" and 8.5" x 5.5" pieces
  • cotton duck cloth:  8.5" x 8.5" and 8.5" x 5.5" pieces
  • cotton batting: 2 pieces of 8.5" x 8.5", 2 pieces of 8.5" x 5.5"
  • thermal insul: 8.5" x 8.5"
  • 2.5" x 40" quilting fabric for binding
Create a 8.5" x 8.5" quilt sandwich with duck cloth, 1 pieces of batting, thermal insul, the second of piece of batting and quilt fabric.

Create a 8.5" x 5.5" quilt sandwich with duck cloth, 2 pieces of batting and quilt fabric.

Quilt the two pieces as desired.

Add binding to the top edge of the 8.5" x 5.5" piece and square up the pot holder as shown below:

Use a spare coffee tin to round of the 4 corners.

Cut out a piece of the binding for a loop and attach it where desired. I could not decide if the loop should go towards the front or back of the potholder. I attached them differently for the two potholders.

Attach the binding and finish. I you want to machine sew the binding that's fine too. I prefer hand sewn.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

You can help...Hurricane Sandy Relief

Michelle Foster over at Quilting Gallery organizing a quilt block drive to aid Hurricane Sandy victims in the NY - NJ area. She is looking for quilt block makers and assemblers and the quilts made will be donated to  Bumble Beans Basics group that Victoria Findlay Wolfe organizes. You can help by volunteering to make quilt blocks or assemble quilts. You can even donate quilts you already have made or store bought quilts. Every little thing counts for millions of those in the area that have had their homes destroyed and are still without power in the cold.

I volunteered as a quilt block maker and looking forward to making some Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin blocks. More details here if you are interested.

Sandy Quilt Block Drive

Here are a few blocks I mailed to my team leader. I finally settled on dark gray borders for them.

Designing Modern Quilts by Weeks Ringle

As an affiliate for Craftsy I was recently contacted by them to register for one of their online courses for free and blog about my impressions on the course. They have a great course selection to choose from and I settled on Designing Modern Quilts by Weeks Ringle.

Recently I have been looking to learn more about original quilt design, how to draw inspiration from everyday elements around you and incorporate them in the quilts. I have especially been keen on color play and this course seemed to cover all the elements I was looking for. Weeks Ringle in association with her husband Bill Kerr have always inspired me by their take on modern quilts. Their recent book Transparency Quilts: 10 Modern Projects: Keys for Success in Fabric Selection: From the Funquilts Studio particularly caught my attention and their Infinity quilt is an all time favorite of mine. The Tankini quilt is unlike anything I have seen before.

As suggested in the beginning of the course, I started to go through the course material with an open mind and was surprised at the valuable insight I gained along the way. This is definitely not a course to listen to while doing laundry or watching TV. To get the most out of it you have to clear your mind and follow along with Weeks especially the explorations. You can share your thoughts and ideas on the platform and even ask questions which Weeks answers very promptly. Just reading questions posted by other students is very insightful and makes it a very fun and interactive class.

Online Quilting Class

The course is over 4.5 hours long divided into 10 sections. It covers a lot of ground starting with color theory basics, use of color, designing with prints and solids, color composition and color distribution. She talks about drawing inspiration from everyday things and steps through the process on how to put your ideas into execution. 

During the course, Weeks uses her own quilts as examples to walk you through the design process and use of color. As she talks about her quilts and the creative thought behind them, you learn to appreciate the minor subtlities that make or break a quilt. She also covers elements of modern design such as asymmetry, controlled chaos among others and introduces the concept of creating a "Maquette" which will help you experiment with the design. She covers the construction details of a quilt which basically helps convert your ideas to reality. She demystifies the design process and by the end of the course you are left with the confidence of being able to come up with your own original quilt designs.

I would highly recommend this class for novices and experts alike. It provides a very fresh perspective on design and as she says the possiblities are endless. You never know what "Big Idea" lurks around the corner. It is also a great resource for traditional quilters who would like to transition to modern quilt making.

I viewed this course on my iPad using the Craftsy app and it was a really great experience. You can make video notes, go back to the lessons and post questions. It made the power outage during hurricane Sandy more bearable and a thumbs up to the neighborhood Panera Bread for keeping my devices charged:)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sewing Confrontations Blog Series

Starting Nov. 2 Jess at Quilty Habit is hosting a month long blog series 'Sewing Confrontations' where she has challenged a bunch of us to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. 

Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 2: Jess at Quilty Habit - Accurate Cutting
Nov. 9: Rebecca at Sew Festive Handmade - The 1/4 Inch Seam
Nov. 16: Val at PinkPlease! - Ruffles
Nov. 23: Rachel at Let's Begin Sewing... - English Paper Piecing

Nov. 30: DOUBLE POST: Katie at Swim, Bike, Quilt - Sewing with Knits
Kristina at Ornamental Confectionary - Making Pants
*AND link up at Quilty Habit!

I have been looking at English Paper Piecing (EPP) projects all over blogland and always wanted to make something using hexies. For a number of reasons  I have been putting it off and it was time to get over the inertia and give it a try. 

Be sure to check back here starting next week. Each week you will learn a new skill and follow along with the blogger's personal challenge. You will also have a chance to discuss your own personal challenges on projects you've tried. This will be followed by a linky on Nov. 30 where you will be able to link to your own sewing confrontation projects and win some free fabric. 

I hope you are looking forward to this, I know I am. It will be a great opportunity to learn new skills.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry

Woe me but I just found out about Blogger's Quilt Festival happening over at Amy's Creative Side. So want to enter my flying geese quilt as an entry, but my previous post is a week old so need to create a new post to enter. Pardon the repetition but here goes:

I started this quilt in January of this year and has taken me a while to see it to completion. It started with my love of homespun madras cotton. I love the coarse crisp feel of the fabric. I do tend to lean towards triangles and flying geese seemed like the perfect way to showcase the fabric. I went with 'stich-in-the-ditch' quilting which emphasizes the blocks beautifully. You can read more about the making of the quilt here, here, here, here & here.

Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures: 65" x 85"
Quilted by: me, Rachel Singh on my home machine
Best favorite categories: Bed quilt,Home machine quilted
Entry #87

Linking up to the quilt festival. I just took a quick peek and some amazing quilts have already been entered, looking forward to spending some time this weekend perusing other entries. Can't wait.
Amy's Creative Side