Sunday, March 30, 2014

chicago flag

A while back we were given a challenge at our Naperville Modern Quilt Guild to make a Modern in the City quilt.

I was quite lost and almost decided not to participate in the challenge at all. I thought of doing skyscrapers, windows, busy roads, or urban gardens, but the whole time it felt like I was trying to come up with a quilt that simply was not "me".

And then I came across a picture of our Chicago flag. Amazingly I've lived in Chicago + Chicago suburbs for over 16 years and I never really noticed the flag. Who knew cities had their own flags!?!?

I drafted my own pattern for the star, I broke tons of paper piecing rules and wasted lots of material making it, but I was quite happy with the way it turned out.

Thankfully this aqua circular outline was also a lot less nightmarish than I thought and it all came together pretty well (all those geometry classes I had to take in high school are finally paying off :) ).

Then it was on to quilting. I first quilted straight lines about 2.5" apart to stabilize the whole thing and then gradually filled in all the matchstick quilting. I must say, the transformation was amazing.

My quilts are usually all about piecing and quilting is there just to hold the layers together, but this matchstick quilting totally makes this quilt. ♥♥♥

And look, no more snow!!! Yay, spring has finally decided to show up.

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

Thanks for reading friends. Hope you too are having a beautiful spring day. Svetlana

Thursday, March 27, 2014

more scrap play

Lately it's mostly been about scraps and smaller projects with me. Have you noticed? I'm also seriously addicted to making drawstring bags.

I made a larger version of my little drawstring bag.

 Once again, I made this bag the same way I make simple drawstring bags, but this one is a little larger and I boxed the corners so it can stand on its own.

I don't think I will ever get tired of striped casing, or binding, or any other striped accent :)

Finished size of this bag is  8" x 5" x 4".

Another very fun, and just as addictive project I discovered are these scrappy lanyards and key fobs. I simply adore the combination of pretty scraps, leather, and a chunky cross stitch.

I used Amy's pattern from her book Zakka Handmades for this project.

How about you? What are you into these days? Svetlana

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

double wedding ring

A traditional double wedding ring pattern has been on my mind for a very long time. I kept admiring all the beautiful quilts made using this block but I simply did not dare to give it a try. All those little pieces, templates, curves, and "melons" seemed too tricky to handle.

And then, out of nowhere, I suddenly decided to give it a try the other day. Still very cautious and not sure how things would turn out, I went small and made this pillow cover.

I found a free pattern on Free Spirit website. I love that I didn't have to use any tiny templates since the scrappy arches were paper pieced.

For some reason the only way to find this free PDF pattern is by googling free spirit double wedding ring

I have mixed feelings when it comes to this very black fabric I used. Sometimes I love it other times not so much. I think using white would have been a lot more staying in my comfort zone, but this pillow was about stepping out and trying new things :)

My favorite part is the combination of  this chunky straight line hand stitching and striped binding.

All in all, this was a pretty fun experience. I already have plans for another double wedding ring pillow (or maybe even a quilt), only next time I'm using "my colors" which means black will still be there, but only in a supportive role, not being a star as it is now.

Finished size of this pillow cover is 19" x 19".

Thanks for reading. Svetlana

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

an apple a day

keeps the crazies away :) 

At least this one did. Isn't this the sweetest, most adorable pincushion ever? When I woke up yesterday morning I knew I had to make one of these cuties before the sun came down or else...

So I did. I bought this pattern a while back so it was just the matter of locating it, and finding the right colored felt and a few pretty, bright scraps and I was good to go.

Now it's back to things that need to be done, plus a huge pile of laundry.

Hope your day is happy and bright. Svetlana

Monday, March 17, 2014

one of those days ...

Yesterday was one of those days. You know, those very annoying days when you have time to sew, and you so looked forward to it, and get all excited, and then can't decide WHAT exactly you want to work on. And you change your mind, and jump from one project to another, and couple of hours go by and you have nothing to show for all that wasted time. Yes, that kind of a day :(

So, after much thinking, sewing, ripping, and re-sewing again I ended up with a simple courthouse steps pouch. (which I actually like so I can't complain much)

I combined one of my very favorite Suzuko Koseki fabric (that red color is amazing) with some gray scraps to make courthouse steps blocks which I outlined with some hand stitching.

I then added more Suzuko Koseki, this time text print, for the lining and the matching red zipper. I thought about adding a gray zipper, but that would have made the pouch too busy looking.

My most favorite part, though, is this little pincushion zipper pull. Isn't it such a fun little feature? I got the inspiration from Nova's amazing sewing set I pinned long time ago.

All in all, definitely not the most productive, but still kind of ok sewing day. You know, one of those days :)

Hope today will be better and I will actually work on things that need to be done. Svetlana

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

spring will come

I started a new quilt last night. I decided not to go my "usual" route and traded colorful scraps for mostly solids (plus gingham, I really love gingham these days).

I'm quite loving it so far, but I do question this bright saturated green I chose. I'm starting to think it's my mind letting me know how much I really miss seeing green grass. This winter has truly been way too long and cold.

And, to make matters worse, this is what we woke up to this morning. Beautiful, that's for sure, but it's March and we're so ready for spring to come.


Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday.

Friday, March 7, 2014

value zig zag {all finished}

So, I did it again - stayed way too long last night basting and quilting my Value Zig Zag like there is no tomorrow :)

I quilted it on my Juki and while it was not a horrible experience it was quite challenging, to say the least. It's a pretty large quilt (72" x 72") and since I decided to back it with minky this thing weights a ton. Plus, this was the first time I gave a continuous eight FMQ pattern a try. I practiced loops on smaller quilts a while back but once this guy was under the machine I decided eights would be better than loops and I went for it.

The quilting is far from perfect, but it will do for now. I'm really glad I finally had enough courage to give it a try. There was a lot of maneuvering and pulling going on the whole time I quilted and consequently my right arm feels like it might fall off any minute but who needs two good arms when there's a new quilt to be admired, right?

I used only scraps for this quilt and the array of patterns and colors is fantastic. This quilt has it all, from flowers and geometrics to skulls, cars, deer, bears, turtles, letters, ... :)

I was so very tempted to use either black or gray binding (definitely my go to colors) for this quilt but at the end I went with this blue/ white stripe. I thing it makes for such a happy binding.

I followed Katy's value quilt tutorial and used 5" squares (leftover charm packs work great) to make my blocks. And then I came across this amazingly fantastic method for trimming them. I hope you'll pop in and have a look, this method saved me tons of time and made trimming my blocks a breeze.

And now we have three large, scrappy, minky backed quilts for our family room (the other two are Scrappy Celebration and Economy Block). I hope my kids no longer have to fight over who gets to snuggle in the softest quilt. Three kids, three very snuggly quilts. Perfect if you ask me :)

Thanks for reading this very long post. Hope you all have an amazing weekend. Svetlana

Monday, March 3, 2014

this and that ...

Focus, focus!!! that's what I'm trying to tell myself as lately I jump from one project to another and before that gets finished I start yet another new, totally unrelated project. Want to see?

I've been slowly making progress on HSTs for my value zig zag quilt. It's going quite well, but since I'm using all scraps for this quilt I constantly had to deal with giant piles of messy scraps before any blocks could be made. 

So I decided to follow Lori's fantastic instructions and bring some much needed order to ALL my scraps as I go. It feels so very incredibly good to have them cut into ready-to-use sizes. But, all that cutting and organizing means a very slow progress on HSTs :(

I'm also working on my Woodland Sampler to keep myself from going "scrap crazy". I'm not that great at cross stitch and I make a lot of mistakes, but I love seeing these adorable woodland creatures emerging with every stitch. And I only have two more months, plus a bonus square to go before I'm all finished, yay!!!

I even persuaded my 8 year old son to join me and work on his own Grumpy Cat cross stitch (pattern bought here). I think he's doing an amazing job considering he's never done cross stitch before.

These projects, however, might be put on hold because I came across this totally amazing quilt by Kathy Doughty. It's from her newest book Making Quilts and I'm so in love with this grass green + scraps combination. I simply have to make a few of the blocks asap or the world as we know it will certainly end :)

See, I really need to focus or nothing will get finished at this rate. What are you working on?

Thanks for stopping by. Svetlana
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