Thursday, May 30, 2013

scrapper's delight {a finished quilt top}

I can hardly believe it, but last night I managed to finish this Scrapper's Delight quilt top (pattern from Sunday Morning Quits).

I started making this quilt for my son about two weeks ago but after getting these 8 - 12.5" blocks done I was stuck. I sort of liked how busy and crazy it was, and my son liked it too, yet there was something "not right" about it at the same time.

Here's where most of my dilemma came from. If I made all 36 blocks as planned, the finished quilt would finish at 72" square. I was not sure my seven year old son needed such a giant quilt. If, however, I decided to make one less row of blocks, the pattern would not match and I did not like that. So, it seemed I would either end up with a quilt that was too small (4 x 4 layout) or too big (6 x 6 layout).

And then it struck me. Why not make larger blocks (15.5" square), do a 4 x 4 layout, and end up with a 60" square quilt top?!?! So that's exactly what I did. And I like it :) 

I especially like the middle square sort of coming forward - a totally unintentional, but fun design element.

Festival of Strings

I'm linking this quilt up to Rachel's Festival of Strings. Hope you'll stop by to see all the beautiful stringy quilts already submitted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

sprucing things up

Our living/ dining/ family room is the most used room in the house. That's where we eat, read, play, watch TV, do homework, and I sew. I'm telling you, lots of action happening in that one room every single day. So, over the weekend, my husband and I decided to spruce things up a bit and splurged on a new dining table as well as a new couch. I know, happy day!

New couch, of course, needed some pretty pillows, because the ones it came with were simply boring. I decided to use a charm pack of Boho by Urban Chiks (this might be my most favorite fabric collection at the moment) to make new pillow covers.

They both are about 18" square and so wonderfully plump. I used home decor fabric from my stash for their backings and finished them both by installing invisible zippers. 

I love how they turned out and they definitely make our couch so much more cheerful and cozy. Lola thinks so too, as it's become our fluffy girl's favorite spot to nap.

Monday, May 27, 2013

more placemats

My quilting mojo seems to have left me for the moment :( I was sure I'd make quite a few Scrappy Delight blocks for my son's quilt over the weekend but I simply did not feel like it. Instead, I did some small project sewing and quilting. Nothing too fancy or complicated, though.

 I decided to cut into this lovely cheater print by Suzuko Koseki and make some placemats for our new dining room table.

 I've been thinking about my quilting and use of color for quite some time and one thing I'd really like to concentrate on is using deeper, saturated colors more. It doesn't come easy to me, I must say, so using this mustardy yellow for the binding was a small step in that direction. Plus, there's some BROWN in Suzuko's print. I'm learning to embrace brown, too.

Do you have certain go to colors? Or some you tend to avoid? Do tell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

marcelle medallion {blogger's quilt festival}

First off, thank you for all the kind and encouraging words I received from so many of you over the last few days. Unfortunately the toe is still as broken as it was a few days ago (of course it takes weeks for these things to get back to normal, I'm just too impatient), but I can sort of walk without crutches now, yay!!! Hopefully I'll get back to my machine soon, fingers crossed :)

I know many of you have seen this quilt before, but since we're allowed to submit two quilts to Blogger's Quilt Festival, I decided to enter my Marcelle Medallion in hand quilted category.

I so very much loved working on this quilt. I wanted to make a medallion quilt for quite a while and once I came across Alexia Abegg's Marcelle Medallion quilt pattern in her Liberty Love book I knew this was a quilt for me.

Once the quilt top was finished, hand quilting it seemed the only way to go.

I did not want the quilting to compete with the pattern of the quilt, so I used hand quilting thread to outline all the shapes and borders. It makes for lovely stitches that disappear into an overall design, adding the extra dimension without standing out too much.

Oh, I so love how the quilting looks on the back.

Finished size of this quilt is 58" x 58" and you can read my original post on this quilt here.

Thanks for reading. Svetlana

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

almost wordless wednesday

getting there... less than 20 hexies and I'm done :)

Have a lovely day. Svetlana

Sunday, May 19, 2013

change of plans

Hello, happy Sunday to you all. How's everyone doing? Hope you all are having a lovely weekend. I had big sewing plans for this weekend....and then I broke my toe :( 

So, instead of making a planned progress on this quilt (scrapper's delight from Sunday Morning Quilts) for my son, I spent hours at the doctor's office.

 My foot was then placed in the ugliest shoe possible and I was told to keep off my feet for rest of the weekend and go see the specialist on Monday (another very sad face here).

What is it with those medical things that they have to be so ugly?

So, to make myself feel a little better while still obeying doctor's orders, I decided to work on some EPP hexagons. Aren't they pretty? I'm thinking of turning them into a small wall hanging or a pillow. Maybe something similar to this beauty by Malka.

Hope your weekend turned out much better than mine. Talk to you soon. Svetlana

Friday, May 17, 2013

single girl {blogger's quilt festival}

Yay, Blogger's quilt festival hosted by a wonderfully talented Amy is here again.

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -

Unlike previous years, this time I knew rightaway which quilt I wanted to submit. My Single Girl quilt is without any doubt my most favorite quilt I made up to date.

I so love how the low volume background is wonderfully setting off all the bright, happy colors of the rings. The fact that I used tons of my scraps which remind me of all the previous projects I worked on is definitely a bonus.

This was not an easy quilt to make. All those templates just about killed me, but the result! Oh, so well worth all that work.

I planned on hand quilting this beauty from the moment I started cutting first templates. I just knew big chunky stitches using embroidery thread were the way to go.

Finished size of this quilt is 60" x 60" and to read my original post on this quilt you can click here.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope you all have an amazingly creative weekend. Svetlana

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

patchwork placemats

Yay, I finally made placemats for our kitchen table. I don't know why I procrastinated so much, these were a lot of fun to make and came together rather quickly.

As much as I like seeing light colored placemats people make, I chose dark fabric for the centers simply because it's so much easier to keep them "clean looking". Stains do camouflage so well on darker fabric :)

I used 2.5" squares to border the main  fabric and I loved choosing and fussy cutting these prints. My 7 year old son claimed this placemat for himself as it had the most of his favorite prints.

I used home dec weight fabric for the backing and did simple straight line quilting about 1/2" apart.

I then bound them the way I would a quilt, the only difference being I cut my binding 2 1/4" wide instead of the usual 2 1/2".

I hand stitched the binding on which I might regret later since these will probably see a lot of washing machine action :) I do, however, love the look of hand stitched binding so all the extra work would definitely be worth it.
Each placemat finished at 12" x 16.5".


In case you'd like to make placemats of your own, here's a quick tutorial.

Arrange 24 - 2.5" squares around 8.5' x 12.5" center fabric.

Piece the top and bottom sets of 6 - 2.5" squares, press the seams, and attach them the the two 12.5" sides of the center fabric.

Piece the two remaining sets of 2.5" squares together, press, and stitch to the sides. 

Make sure to use a consistent 1/4" seam allowance so everything matches up nicely once you stitch the side patchwork to the main fabric.

All you need to do now is make a quilt sandwich using insulbright or batting of your choice and backing fabric. Quilt as desired and bind.

That's it! Easy peasy, right?

Thanks so much for stopping by. Svetlana

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

quilter's favorites

The amazingly talented Geta Grama over at Geta's quilting studio had a fantastic idea for a linky party.

The idea is for bloggers to share their quilting favorites as well as some tools, tips, and helpful tricks. Anyone is welcome to join in and I've even seen quite a few links to free tutorials, too. Hope you'll join in the fun :)

Here are my answers to some of the questions Geta provided.

Any advice for a successful color scheme of a quilt?
Mix things up. Follow your instincts. Don't stick with just one fabric collection for the whole quilt. Use many shades of the same color to achieve more depth and movement in your quilts.

Remember, you can always change your mind. I keep constantly adding and taking away fabrics throughout the whole process of making a quilt.

Tips for easy piecing?
I find the most important thing is the consistency in my seam allowance. This way once it's time to match up the seams everything should fall in place without trouble. 

Hand quilting tips? 
I love big, chunky hand stitches so I'm usually using perle cotton or embroidery thread for hand quilting. I don't use any quilting frames or loops as I find them very cumbersome and uncomfortable. I just sit on the couch with the quilt in my lap and go for it. Most of all, have fun.

Other tips related to quilting?
If you can, get a design wall. I does not have to be anything fancy, even a piece of batting tacked to the wall will do. Having a design wall will make it possible for you to step back and evaluate your blocks/ quilt in a much better way.
 I made my design wall using this tutorial. It was pretty cheap and easy to make. Since I don't have a sewing room, my design wall has a permanent place in our living room and functions as an ever changing art constellation :)

Do you have free tutorials on your blog? Share the link.
Yes, here's the link to my tutorial page.

Do you have a favorite quilt designer ? 
It would have to be the amazing Denyse Schmidt. Her quilts are so wonderfully modern yet they all have that little nod to traditional, too.

Would you like to share one of your favorite quilts, made by you ? 
My Single Girl is by far my most favorite quilt up to date. 

What would be the perfect gift for your best quilting friend ? 
Books, definitely books. And they don't have to be only quilting ones. I find a lot of inspiration for my quilts and especially for combining colors in beautifully staged home decor books.

Don't Do Like Me!
When something doesn't feel right, stop and rethink. I tend to ignore my instincts and end up paying for it later.

See how different these two blocks look? The first one has barely any contrast in fabrics used and lacks the graphic boldness that drew me to this block. I questioned my fabric choices from the very beginning, but kept going on until the block was almost finished when I finally accepted the defeat, pulled another stack of fabric and made the second block which I love so much better.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you'll hop on over to Geta's and check out other helpful tips and tricks shared by many talented quilters.

And a big thank you to Geta for organizing this blog hop. 

Hope you all have a very lovely and creative rest of the day. Svetlana

Monday, May 13, 2013

drawstring bag {a tutorial}

 Hello, happy Monday to you all. As promised, I'm back with a tutorial for a drawstring bag. I love these bags, they're quick to make, don't use up too much fabric (just two fat quarters is all you need), and are a wonderful way to keep things organized.

To read more on how and why I came up with these bags, you can click here

Enough talking, though. Let's start, shall we?

Materials needed:
1 FQ main fabric for the exterior
1 FQ fabric for the lining
2" x 17" strip of solid fabric for the casing
50" 2mm leather cord or ribbon for ties

for the label:
leather scrap about 1.5" x 2.5"
1/2" wide cotton webbing 2.5" long

you will also need leather hole punch if you're making labels

step 1: cutting fabric

from the main fabric cut two 8.5" x 10" rectangles
from the lining fabric cut two 8.5" x 10" rectangles
from the solid fabric cut two 2" x 8.5" strips for the casing
cut the leather cord in half to have two 25" cords

step 2: making the label

With your leather hole punch, first punch 3 equally spaced holes on each side of leather base about 1/4" from the edge (these are the holes for attaching label to the bag).

Also, punch out 2 more holes about 1/2" from each edge (these holes are to attach cotton webbing to the leather).

Fold the two short edges of the webbing under and press. Attach the webbing to the leather label using strong thread of you choice ( I used perle cotton).

At this point, you can use stamps, fabric markers, or pens to write on your label or leave it without any writing (as I did here) and stamp/ write on it later. Please set the label aside for now.

step 3: making the casings

Fold the short edge of the casing 1/4" in, press.

Fold over one more time and press again. Repeat with the other short edge.

Topstitch along both short sides, fold in half and press. Make second casing the same way and set both aside for now.

step 4: attaching label to the front exterior panel

Find the middle of one main exterior panel and center a leather label 2" from the bottom.

Stitch the label in place using perle cotton or some other strong thread.

step 5: attaching casing and lining to the exterior panels

Center one casing along the top edge of exterior panel, pin, and stitch in place using 1/8" seam allowance.

Place one lining panel on the flat surface, right side up. Place the exterior panel with the attached casing on top, right sides are touching. Pin along the top edge (where the casing is).

Stitch in place using 1/4" seam allowance and press as shown in the above picture.

Topstitch along the exterior panel using 1/8" allowance.

Repeat the whole step with the second exterior panel, casing and the lining.

step 6: finishing up the bag

Place the 2 panels from the previous step on top of each other, right sides together. (make sure your lining is on top of lining and exterior panel on top of exterior)

Line the panels up and pin all the way around.

Using 1/4" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the panels, leaving about 4" opening in the lining (that's where you turn your bag right side out).

Press the seams, clip the corners, and turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining. Smooth out the corners and seams with your fingers and stitch the opening closed. Now push the lining inside the exterior panel. Looking good, isn't it? All you need to do now is thread the leather cord through the casing and you're done.

step 7: leather cord ties

Attach your leather cord or ribbon to the safety pin and pull it through both front and back casing. Tie the two ends together in a strong knot. 

Thread the other leather cord the same way, only starting on the opposite side of the casing so the final knots will be one on each side.

To close the bag, pull both knots in the opposite direction. 

Congratulations, you're all done. Now, wasn't that fun? Any questions or comments? please let me know. I'd love to hear from you. Svetlana
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