Friday, March 29, 2013

improv logs

I'm so happy to share my Improv Logs quilt with you today. 

I made it as part of the Log Cabin challenge at our MQG. And it truly was a challenge. (BTW, the official reveal date was our yesterday's meeting and all the quilts were absolutely amazing. It was wonderful to see a humble log cabin being interpreted in so many wonderful ways.)

I do love log cabin blocks, but once the time came for me to decide on a specific design, I was stuck. I had so many ideas, none of them seemed right though.

This very rough sketch was my jumping off point once I decided to improv piece my blocks. I know, very professional looking :)

I made 9 randomly sized blocks and then the hard work of piecing the quilt together started. I won't lie, it was not quick. I kept the blocks on my design wall for quite a while. Some days I really liked the way it all looked, other days I was ready to scrap the whole idea and start all over.

Once my quilt top was finished, I knew exactly how I wanted to quilt it. I've been admiring Karen's improv quilts and her spiral quilting for a long time and I knew this kind of quilting would be just perfect for my Improv Logs.

At this stage I usually consider my quilts pretty much finished as I don't consider attaching the binding on to be a huge job. This time, however, I was far from being done.

I decided to piece my binding to blend in with the quilt. Debbie always makes the most intersting binding, so I thought I'd give it a try.

It took a looooong time and I seriously started questioning my sanity, but once it was finished..... I absolutely, positively love the way it looks and finishes the quilt off in such a perfect way.

Finished size of the quilt is 36" x 36".

Wishing you all an amazing weekend. Svetlana

Linking up to AmandaJean's Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I needed some easy, "not thinky" sewing the other day so I started another scrappy quilt. I pulled out tons of already prepared 2.5" squares and got to work. Once again, I followed Katy's tutorial.

After just a few hours of sewing I had a messy pile of block A strips,

and these much better organized strips for blocks B. I was about to press all those seams so I could piece the blocks together when my iron decided it was time to stop working :(

Thankfully I had other projects I could work on while waiting for my new iron to be delivered. 

I managed to do quite a lot of hand sewing on my Marcelle Medallion. I'm outlining all the borders and shapes, just a few more geese to go and I can move on to the border #5.

And, I decided to give cross stitch a try. I'm working on Woodland Sampler, loving the look of all those teeny tiny stitches, just not sure if cross stitch is really for me. I definitely need to give it more time.

Thankfully my new iron arrived this afternoon and I got to piece all those scrappy blocks. Actually, I have tons of strips left over since I was planning on making a large 70" x 70" quilt, but I changed my mind and made a baby sized quilt top instead. 

How about you? What have you been up to lately?


Friday, March 22, 2013

marcelle medallion {hand quilting}

I finally basted my Marcelle Medallion quilt.

I had no idea how to quilt it (all those pointy triangles were making it hard to decide), I simply hoped that once I had my quilt sandwich all nicely basted, the idea would come. And it did, phew!

I decided to machine stitch in the ditch around each border to secure all the layers together and now I'm slowly hand quilting the rest. Nothing fancy, mostly just outlining the shapes.

Unlike previous times when I used either perle cotton or embroidery thread for hand quilting, I'm using regular quilting thread this time. It's thin but sturdy and the stitches are almost disappearing into the quilt. Just what this quilt needs since it's so very busy with all the colors and patterns competing for attention.

A big thanks to Chase who wrote a very nice guide to hand quilting.
Wishing you all a very lovely weekend. Svetlana

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Pinks and pastels seem to be on my mind a lot these days. I don't know what it is, but since I made that pink/ yellow pouch the other day I want to include pink in every. single. project. 

Now, since my family does not really care for pinks or pastels, I'm taking it one step at a time. Also, who knows how long this phase of mine will last?

I suspect pouring through these (Mollie Makes Home magazine, Homespun Style, and Happy Home) has something to do with my newly found obsession. All three are full of amazingly beautiful pictures of wonderfully colorful and creative interiors. Eye candy on steroids, seriously. These books make me so ridiculously happy. And there's so much pink in each one of them :)

To start any big, pink project would totally be unreasonable right now as I have quite a few WIPs that need to get finished first. So, to scratch the itch a little bit, I finished up these needle books.

 Do you remember my patchwork pillow that became a pouch? Well, I had a little bit more of that heavily quilted patchwork left over, so I turned it into these little cuties.

One can never have too many needle books, right?

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you all have a very lovely day. Svetlana

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Hello, happy Sunday.

How is your weekend going? I hope it's going well and you have time to relax and take it easy. That's pretty much what we're doing these days, staying home, taking it easy, trying to get over this nasty flu/ cold/ cough that's been going around. And, we're also wishing very, very hard for spring to finally show up.

Staying at home, of course, means some sewing time. Nothing huge, just a few small projects here and there.

This patchwork pouch was such a great exercise in restraint. As you know, I usually go all out and make very colorful things, so this time I limited myself to pink, yellow, and black/ gray. And white, of course. 

I must say, this was fun! I should do things like that more often. Plus, I really like this color combo and I'm thinking it would make for a wonderful baby girl quilt. But first I have to get some more pinks in my stash.

Oh, but when it came to the zipper all the restraint went out the window and I had to go with this bright turquoise one. I love how it contrasts and complements the patchwork all at the same time.

So, I've been wondering. Do you have your favorite go to colors or do you like to mix things up. Do tell.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

lesson learnt ...

 I made yet another pillow the other day. We did not need it since our house is flooded with patchwork pillows, but I had an idea floating in my head and I had to give it a try.

I made a scrappy strip of patchwork, sandwiched it between two strips of Kona blue, and I started quilting. And I mean quilting! - first I used white thread and quilted my would be pillow cover using very dense unequally spaced straight lines. Once that was done, I decided to switch to the lime/yellow variegated thread and quilted randomly between the white lines.

I must say, it looked pretty cool so I happily continued with my original plan for a pillow.

Once it was all finished, however, I realized that all that quilting made for a very stiff, not at all pleasantly squishy pillow. Dah!!! Pretty, but not useful. And, since I dislike not functional things very, very much, this called for some drastic measures.

Out came the seam ripper and a new idea popped into my head. Want to see? Ta-da!!!!

I turned the unappealing stiff pillow into a pouch. Not bad, right?

This lovely patchwork and heavy quilting suits the pouch so much better. It's nice and sturdy, and pretty stylish (in my own, totally biased opinion).

I just love this bright yellow metal zipper, and I even remembered to add a charm for a zipper pull.

Finished size of the pouch is 5.5" x 9.5".

All in all, I'm going to call this a pretty successful experience. And, I still have one more piece of this quilted patchwork left, it really wants to become a needle book, but on that later.

Thanks so much for reading. Have a lovely day everyone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

marcelle medallion {finished quilt top}

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It's cold, and windy, and dark, and absolutely dreary outside, but I'm all happy and full of warm fuzzies inside because I finished my Marcelle Medallion quilt top.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to see it all finished. I spent a week being totally consumed with making it, and there were quite a few times along the way when I questioned why I possibly started such a complicated quilt and the fact that I agonized about each border and the fabric I chose did not help.

This process was full of firsts for me. I have never cut out and pieced so many small triangles or flying geese before and I was pretty scared that things would go horribly wrong. Fortunately I was extra careful about the seam allowance and it all worked out wonderfully.

I think it's such a happy looking quilt, just the way I like my quilts to be. And, I was able to use up tons of my scraps - always a bonus.

Finished size of this quilt top is about 58" square, a great size for snuggling. Now I just need to figure out the backing and how to quilt it. Any suggestions?

I used pattern by Alexia Marcelle Abegg from her book Liberty Love. If you'd like to read more about making this quilt top you can click here and here.

Also, if you're on Instagram, you can look-up #marcellemedallion to see other wonderful quilts made by incredibly talented peeps. I'm quite new to Instagram, but enjoying it very much so far. You can find me @sotakhandmade if interested.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope you all have a very lovely day. Svetlana

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Monday, March 11, 2013

marcelle medallion {part 2}

I've spent the weekend slowly adding borders to my Marcelle Medallion quilt, digging through my scraps as well as stash and questioning myself every. single. step. of. the. way.  Let me show you what I mean.

Once I finished my flying geese I realized there's such a thing as too much text print. See? All the three borders were sort of getting merged into one texty scrappy mess.

After a lot of thinking and pulling out an unbelievable amount of fabric from my stash, I decided to replace that middle texty border with white and light blue striped fabric. I think it separates the triangles and the geese really nicely and it calmed things down, too.

Then came more borders which of course meant even more fabric thrown all over the room and more decisions. I even thought of doing some "quilt surgery" and replacing the blue text print. Thankfully I stopped myself just in time.

At this point I just need two more borders and I'll be all done with this quilt top. Oh, I'm getting so very excited!!!

How was your weekend? Did you get any sewing done?

Friday, March 8, 2013


Last few evenings were full of scraps, and templates, and cutting, and piecing borders for my Marcelle Medallion. And, while I enjoy working on this quilt tremendously, it's a slow process. I needed a little instant gratification sewing for a change, so I decided to finish up two more dumplings.

Aren't they the sweetest? I was able to use up some of my scraps (always a good thing since they seem to multiply when I'm not looking).

I used Michelle's free tutorial. Her instructions and pictures are clear and easy to follow. The only tricky part was installing the zipper. Measuring and pinning was absolutely necessary - I learned the hard way after one dumpling ended up being such a distorted shape because of an uneven zipper that it ended up in the trash.

Once I was careful with the zipper, things went smoothly and I would highly recommend to give these cuties a try.

Now I'm happy to get back to my medallion. I have all 64 flying geese ready to be pieced together into a border. And the good thing is that the next few borders are not as complicated, yay!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a lovely day. Svetlana

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

marcelle medallion {part 1}

Last night I started a new quilt. I know, it's sort of crazy to start two quilts in two days, but I just could not help it. As soon as I saw Marcelle Medallion quilt in Alexia Marcelle Abegg's book Liberty Love, I knew this was the quilt for me.

I worked on this medallion last night. It took me hours to decide on fabric and cut out all the pieces. This quilt has templates, tons of them, and they are on that thin brown tissue paper and need to be traced, none of which are my favorite things to do, but I was determined to make it work. 

Today I added this text border,

then the second (scrappy triangle) one - again tons of templates and tracing, but so well worth the effort.

I even managed to add this third white text print border. Phew! After that I totally needed a break and hope to work on my next border tomorrow - it's flying geese, wish me luck!

I can't leave without sharing a picture of our backyard. Can you believe it? We got 10" of snow today, schools were closed, and it would have been a perfect snow day, the only problem is we were really hoping for some spring, not winter again.

And here is  my little boy all snuggled up, enjoying the no school day, watching Pokemon, making me very happy because I do love seeing my children using the quilts and pillows I made.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Svetlana

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Monday, March 4, 2013

seeing stars

Hello, happy Monday.

I got my Juki back from the "machine doctor" on Saturday so my weekend was finally filled with sewing. Tons of it, I might add.

I was going to make progress on some of my wips, and suddenly (totally completely out of nowhere) I started working on a new quilt.

At first there were just these two pretty stars (I'm following Allison's tutorial) and by the time I was going to bed on Sunday night I had 16/ 36 made.

As you can see, I'm still very much on low volume and brights combination. I wonder how many quilts it will take before I get tired of this combo.

I also made a few Dumplings . This was the first one, two more are half way done so I'll share pictures once they are finished.

How was your weekend? Did you get any sewing done?

Wishing you all a very lovely day. Svetlana
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