striped chevrons quilt top (and tutorial)

If you would like to make a larger version of this quilt, or if you are looking for more detailed instructions that include fabric requirements, the pattern is now available on Craftsy and Etsy.  

I had some jelly roll leftovers sitting around and I needed to work on a project to help maintain my sanity, so I thought I'd put together a quick baby quilt.  And while I was at it, I thought I'd share a (really) rough tutorial.

Yeah, I made another Roller Skate Tunic

While I was sorting and organizing my stash last week for our impending move (more info on the when, where, and why of the move soon) I found a couple 1 yard cuts of Oliver and S knit prints that I bought a while back.  Even though knits aren't one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern I thought I'd give it a try.
knit oliver and s roller skate tunic
Sorry that there have been a zillion photos of my daughter lately and zero photos of quilts, I have been trying to focus on smaller projects since things have been absolutely crazy around here.  And I just noticed that she had tucked her leggings into her socks.  Silly girl.
knit oliver and s roller skate tunic
The knit fabric worked out fine with the pattern and this way I didn't have to worry so much about the exposed side seams unraveling.  I thought it would be too heavy or too stretchy but it ended up just fitting a tad bit bigger than other versions.  It should be the perfect size for her in the spring.
knit oliver and s roller skate tunic
In the meantime things are probably going to be a little quiet around here.  Sorry to be so cryptic about what is going on, I hope to have an update by the end of the week :)

Quilt Photography Workshop Link Up

I was super excited to see Beth's new photography link up.  I feel pretty comfortable with my camera (which came from A LOT of practice), but I wanted to participate because I feel very uncreative when it comes to taking photos of finished quilts.  And I am certainly no pro, I am always on the lookout for tips!
Plum and June
Some info about how I take photos:
  • My camera is a Nikon d7000. I adore this camera. 
  • I primarily use a Nikon 35mm 1.8 lens which is a prime lens. If you aren't familiar with what this is, it has a fixed focal length and can't zoom. That makes it smaller and lighter and, while I do have to take a few steps further back to photograph entire quilts since I can't zoom out, it means that I can shoot at a low aperture which helps gives photos that blurred background look (bokeh).  Plus the primarily reason I got interested in photography was for taking pictures of my kids and prime lenses are great for portraits.  I do have a zoom lens but I can't even remember the last time I used it.  
  • I take 100% of my photos in manual mode.  It takes some practice but it is completely worth it.
I ordered this stack of fabric from Stash Modern Fabric a few weeks ago as a preorder and was super happy and surprised when it showed up this week since I had forgotten about it :)
ISO2000 1/250 f/2.5
I have a giant sliding glass door in my living room. I normally take photos near it since it is the best source of natural light in my apartment, even though it is actually pretty shaded by the apartment building next door.

Most lenses will significantly start to lose sharpness at a certain aperture and that definitely varies from lens to lens.  For my lens that is f/2.5.  The photo above is taken at f/2.5 and the one below is taken at f/1.8.  The one below has more bokeh, but it's not a ton more and I generally don't think it is worth sacrificing sharpness. This one actually turned out okay, but I generally try to stay at or above f/2.5 unless I am in a super low light situation of I am going for the super-blurry-background effect.
ISO1000 1/250 f/1.8
You might have noticed that these photos were taken at a fairly high ISO. The higher the ISO, the more light there is in the photo.  But that does come with a price: higher ISOs are grainier and softer. One benefit of nicer DSLR cameras is that they have less grain at higher ISOs. I don't have a super big fancy camera, but mine is a step above the entry level models and it can handle apertures up to about 2500 without too much grain.  This is helpful since my apartment is pretty dark.

I do most of my post processing in Lightroom.  There are great photo programs that are free (Picasa, iPhoto, etc.) but if you are a little more serious about taking photos Lightroom is a great option.  Unless you are going pro, Photoshop is overkill.  I load all photos into the program and make a couple of quick adjustments. The adjustments that I usually make are:
  • White balance.  Since my apartment is dark and shady, most of my photos are too cool (blue).  I just warm them up a bit by increasing the yellow in the photo.
  • I generally increase the brightness and contrast just a tad.  Just to give them a little pop.
  • I always sharpen photos  so they look nice and crisp.
You can see the difference that post processing makes in this photo.  Some photos need it more than others, this one didn't need it too much but I think it's worth the extra effort.
I hope that some of this info is helpful and I would be happy to go into more detail if there is any interest. I am looking forward to reading all of the posts in the linkup!

Follow on Bloglovin

A Quilt for Pasquale (and a giveaway winner)

Harper with Pasquale
This year my daughter's kindergarten class has a stuffed koala named Pasquale.  Everyone gets a turn to take Pasquale home and take care of him, and last night was Harper's turn.  He came home in his own little backpack and a bright pink toothbrush but he was missing one thing: a quilt.  And everyone in our house gets a quilt.
Pasquale's new quilt
The silliness of making a quilt for a stuffed koala is not lost on me, but I did it anyway. Harper picked out the scraps and contributed to the arrangement (her attention span was a little crazy, but she helped here and there).  
Pasquale with his quilt
The quilt finished up at 16" square which, it turns out, is just the right size for a stuffed koala.

Thanks everyone for entering the destash giveaway.  The winner is Liz!  I have sent you an email and I will mail out your package as soon as I get your address.  

Oliver + S Roller Skate Tunic

I really liked the dress version of the Oliver + S Roller Skate pattern, but I LOVE the tunic version. It uses a much more convenient amount of fabric (less than 3/4 yard for size 5) and it is super cute.  Since my daughter wears leggings with both dresses and tunics, the tunic gives her a little more freedom to move around.

When we went to Joann's a few weeks ago my daughter loved the green colorway of the Juliana Horner prints.  I had been wanting to make her a Roller Skate Tunic, so I let her choose 2 of the prints.
Roller Skate Tunic front
I was not surprised that she chose the green print since she loves green and flowers, but I was surprised that she chose the black print.
Roller Skate Tunic reverse
I made the tunic reversible at her request, but I did roll the fabric toward the black side a little when I pressed the seams since I think she will wear the green side more often.
Roller Skate Tunic Side B
The only thing that I don't love about the pattern is finishing the back and side seams.  Below the elastic casing these seams are exposed.  Since I don't have a serger I have to zig zag them and I sincerely dislike doing that.  I considered trying French seams but I wasn't sure how to make that work with this pattern.  
Roller Skate Tunic
There will definitely be more of these in our future.  
Roller Skate Tunic
And now this sweet girl has made it through her first week of kindergarten.  
sweet Harper

Fabric Destash & Giveaway

Thanks everyone for your advice on destashing.  I decided to list a a few things on Etsy and do a giveaway.  If you are interested in the Etsy destash, you can find my shop here.

I had intended to do a giveaway when I reached 1000 Bloglovin followers, but I am currently at 963 followers so this will have to be the I'm-almost-to-1000-Bloglovin-followers giveaway.  If you would like to help me reach 1000 followers, you can find me here.

And now for the giveaway.  When I first started quilting I tended to buy larger cuts of fabric (now I usually buy 1/4 yard cuts, occasionally 1/2 yard if I really like something) and so I have quite a bit of fabric leftover from past projects.  There are some larger cuts here (four or five of them are a full yard) and some smaller scraps (including scraps from most of the Nordika prints).  But designers range from Amy Butler to Denyse Schmidt to Joel Dewberry and several Moda designers.
If this doesn't end up filling the flat medium rate box I will add more from my stash until it is stuffed full.

I like all of these fabrics but I just don't know if I will ever use them, so I would like them to go to someone who can use them.  If you would like to enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment.  No hoops to jump through, I just want the fabric to go to someone who needs it.  The giveaway will go through Thursday evening and I will announce a winner on Friday.

Because of the high price of shipping I am going to limit this to US entries only.  I'm sorry I know that's lame, but shipping is expensive and fabric is heavy!

p.s. The first FIVE people to comment to this post were all no-reply bloggers which means that I cannot contact them if they win.  If you aren't sure if you are a no-reply blogger, please check here or leave your email address in your comment.

The giveaway is now closed.

Follow on Bloglovin

Roller Skate Dress

My daughter started kindergarten on Tuesday and had her first full day yesterday.  She loves it, and I love it too, it's a great school.  But it is kind of strange to me that I went to an elementary school that had a bucket of soap bars in every classroom for the kids whose parents couldn't afford soap and now my daughter goes to a school where the kids look like the just walked off the runway.  Both are great schools, she is just having a totally different experience!

Since I made my daughter a dress for the first day of preschool last year, I thought I would make one again.  This year we chose the Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S.
First day of kindergarten
I used hot pink Robert Kaufman seersucker for the outer fabric and a lightweight cotton for the lining.  I really love the seersucker and I am pleased that I have plenty leftover to make her a skirt at some point.

Harper's measurements fit a size 5 so I made the size 5 without any alterations.  She is very slender through the shoulders so the top fits a little bit big, but it isn't unwearably big and gives her a little room to grow.
roller skate dress front
Overall I thought the pattern was very well written and the fastest and easiest dress pattern that I have made.  I do not sew a lot of clothes so if I can do it, you can do it.  
roller skate dress back
Harper really liked the dress and we already have fabric washed and waiting to make the tunic version :)

Thanks for all of your feedback about doing a giveaway as a way to destash.  I am planning on going through everything this weekend and I hope to get the giveaway posted on Sunday or Monday, so watch out for it!

Follow on Bloglovin

In case you were worried that I am running out of fabric . . .

No need to worry!  I was heavily inspired by Adrianne's post (plus the linkup at Sarah Quilts) about her stash this past week and decided that it was time to organize my own.  Needless to say, my husband has been walking around with a scowl since I started this process.  I keep telling him that surely some people have more fabric than I do, but I don't think that's making him feel better.

I have WAY more than I thought.
the stash
When I started sewing a few years ago I stashed my fabric in the back of my closet.  When I ran out of room there, I started to put it a dresser that my husband bought for my sewing supplies.  And when that filled up I started filling random baskets and covering flat surfaces around my house.  Clearly I have a problem.

I decided that I needed to organize my stash into a centralized location so I went and bought seven 27L plastic containers from Target.  Surely that would be enough.

I have my pinks and reds.
pinks/reds stash
The oranges, yellows, and greens.
orange/yellow/green stash
The blues and purples.
blue/purple stash
The rainbow-y, blacks, greys, and browns.
black/brown/gray/rainbow stash
The solids.
solid stash
These are neutral solids and some collections: Out to Sea, Far Far Away II, Nordika, Sherbet Pips, Melody Miller typewriters, Simply Color Ombre, Briar Rose, Lucky Penny, and some AMH.
collection stash
Clearly I really like Florence.  Also the low volume prints.
low volume/florence stash
I also have some collections here: AMH Voile, Glimma, solids, Happy go Lucky, and some more Lucky Penny prints.
more stash
Several quilt backings and some charm packs.
more stash again
And stuff for the Lotta Jansdotter quilt that I am supposed to be making for my bed but that I haven't worked on for at least 6 months.
even more stash
And no, that's not all.  Clearly the 7 big bins (plus 3 smaller bins) were not enough.  All of my larger-than-a-half yard prints are still stacked up in my closet.

Clearly a destash is in order, but I'm not quite sure how to do it.  Have you had any luck destashing fabric?  Would anyone be interested in a giveaway involving a box of random prints?  That seems like it would be easier than destashing individual prints and I would be happy to donate them to a new quilter if someone is interested.  

Linking up with Sarah Quilts.  

Follow on Bloglovin

August Blocks

So this month was definitely my favorite Lucky Stars Block.  I have been making the cute and tiny 6.5" version of the pattern.  Every month I am surprised how small those little templates are.
August Lucky Stars Block
Some of my points didn't quite line up, but I pieced these together with my walking foot and even using that I had a little trouble climbing over the bulky seams.  The seams aren't unmanageable, just not enjoyable enough to want to give it a second try :)

Here are my blocks from January to the present.  I didn't make the practice block; depending on what I decide on for the final layout, I may go back and make it in the end.  

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but my inspiration for the colors in the blocks comes from the colors in Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy line andI have used one FMF print in each block.  I did end up adding the darker blue color just because I felt like it.  
Lucky Stars Jan - Aug
I also put together a couple gemstone blocks as requested by Lynn for do. Good Stitches.  These were quick and fun and I love that she requested that the colors be scrappy and rainbow-y. 
August do. Good Stitches Block

Can you believe it is August already?  I feel like I say that every month, but wow this year is flying by! 

This is the first time I have participated in a block of the month and I have really loved it.  Have you ever participated in one?  Are there other good ones out there? I would love to do another next year.  

Follow on Bloglovin

sew positive

A few weeks ago I volunteered to test a pattern for Elizabeth.  She said that we could choose whichever size we wanted.  I went with the wall sized quilt because my blank walls are always in need of a little color.
sew positive wall hanging
I have a stack of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton scraps that have been sitting on my shelf ever since I made this quilt.  I just love how bright and pretty they are.  The background is the newspaper print from Collage.

The pattern was very clear and well written and quick.  I had all of the pieces cut out and sewn together before I knew it :)

Finished size: 24"x24"
Pattern available at Don't Call Me Betsy in the near future

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.
Follow on Bloglovin


WIP Wednesday

Wow this summer has really flown by.  School is starting here next week and my daughter is going to be in Kindergarten.  She is SO EXCITED she can hardly stand it.

1.  Last night I started on a Roller Skate Dress for her first day of school.  It is almost done, I just need to get some ribbon for a bow on the front and finish up the hem.  Even though I don't really enjoy making clothes, this is definitely one that I would make again. 
 2.  I am also pattern testing for Elizabeth and I will be sharing this one soon.

That is keeping me extremely busy right now because I am also potty training my son.  Holy cow, potty training is the worst thing ever.  
Follow on Bloglovin

a pillow for the boy (and some thoughts on followers)

I finished my son's pillow last night and he was quite pleased to have one to match his sister's.  My assistant, Batman, was kind enough to help me take some photos this afternoon.

My husband says it looks like a mullet pillow.  Business in the front.
jonah's pillow front
Party in the back.
jonah's pillow back
My son has already informed me that he will be sleeping with this pillow and not his other pillow. One of the things I love about sewing is being able to make personalized things for my kids :)

With the demise of Google Reader I have been thinking lately about followers. I created this blog to become more involved in the crafting community, not to gain followers, but it is still fun to see who is following me and appreciate the ability to follow them back. 

I notice that I occasionally still have someone link to me through Google Friend Connect and I appreciate being able to see followers through Bloglovin, but I wish there was a more centralized system.  

So my question is: How do you keep track of your followers?  

Diamond Flower Pillow with Pattern

Sorry if you are sick of seeing my attempts at creating a paper pieced pattern, but I promise this is the last time you will have to see this block :)  Well, probably.
diamond flower quilt block
I finally got the kinks worked out and was able to make the block look like the idea in my head.  I turned the block into a pillow for my daughter.
diamond star pillow front
She loves that mirror ball print.  I think she would be happy if we could just cover her entire room with it.
diamond star pillow back
And I backed it with this great Ann Kelle ballerina print that I picked up from the Fat Quarter Shop.  She makes the best kids prints.  I love that brunette ballerina with the glasses.  

I thought I would make the pattern available for download in case anyone was interested.

The layout of the blocks should look like this:
I bought an Ann Kelle robot print to make a similar pillow for my son, but he doesn't want a flower so I am hoping to get some more practice creating paper piecing patterns :)
Powered by Blogger.