rainbow curtains

After I made my son's curtains I started browsing around for fabric for my daughter's room.  This turned out to be impossible because my daughter is super particular.  Originally we had agreed to use a Clover Sunshine print but when I measured her window I realized that it is 70+ inches wide, I needed something wider than 44".

Harper and I browsed dozens of websites to try to find a rainbow-y home decor fabric but she didn't like any of them.  And then we found Michael Miller's Mighty Stripe.  It is actually quilting cotton, but it is 57" wide.
And it is glorious.  The stripes are 2.75" wide and they are bright and rainbow-y which is perfect for my rainbow loving 5 year old.

I used the same tutorial this time and I used blackout fabric for the lining.  We get quite a bit of sun here in San Diego and it's nice to be able to shut it out when we need to :)
michael miller mighty stripe curtains
And it matches her very rainbow-y rug.
We hung them up this morning while she was at school, I can't wait to go pick her up this afternoon!
michael miller mighty stripe curtains

fall table runner

Our new place is almost twice as many square feet as our apartment in LA so I am a little intimidated by decorating for the holidays.  The dining room table was looking particularly bare so I thought I'd take a break from the queen sized quilt I have been working on and make a table runner.
fall table runner
I saw this block when I was looking through 500 Quilt Blocks (which is a fabulous book), it's called the Cheyenne block.  I used a variety of oranges, browns, reds, and yellows, including a couple of Juliana Horner prints from Joann's. I REALLY love that collection.
fall tabler runner
It has been a while since I did any free motion quilting and it was a little rough.  I am a lot rustier than I expected to be!  Just don't look too closely.
fall table runner
Now this can decorate our dining room table for 2 more weeks when it is time to decorate for another holiday. 

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Remixed Geese Free Pattern

I have received a few emails asking if there was a pattern for my Remixed Geese quilt.
remixed geese
The good people at Robert Kaufman contacted me recently and asked if they could share a pattern for the quilt on their blog, so if you are interested in making this quilt you can find the directions here (it's free!).
If you do end up making a quilt with the tutorial I would love to see it!

November Blocks

I had a little bit of a hard time deciding what to do for my Lucky Stars block this month.  I am not super happy with how it turned out, but it's going to have to do. I tweaked mine a little from the original block so that my diagonal points were different from the other points.  I'm not sure if that was the right decision.
November Lucky Stars Blocks
There is only one more block left for the year but I am considering going back and making the test block and maybe adding an extra block or two from the previous months
Lucky Stars Blocks Jan - Nov
This month for the do. Good Stitches Wish Circle we have one of our stitchers, Kirsten, who has taken on the responsibility of being a quilter for the first time.  She chose + and x blocks, which is such a fun choice.  I previously made a quilt using a smaller sized version of this block but this was my first time making the 12" version.  She wanted the background and the plusses to be low volume, the rectangles at the end of the plusses to be black or gray, and the x to be scrappy.  This should be a fun quilt!
+ and x blocks - November wish circle block

WIP Wednesday - I have a design wall!

It has been a long week.  A few nights ago my son developed croup and has since infected the rest of us with a yucky virus.

I did manage to get half of my design wall put together and I finished a few blocks from my Rocky Mountain Puzzle quilt.  The quilt is going to be queen sized so I am making 64 blocks.  That is 640 little half square triangles.  So. Much. Trimming.
Even though my sewing room is a pretty good size, it kind of has a weird layout so there isn't much wall space (there are 4 doorways, including a giant sliding glass door).  My plan is to have two halves of a design wall that I can put together for big projects.  I made this using Elizabeth's tutorial, though I did use a gray flannel sheet instead of batting.

One thing that I did not anticipate when putting this together was that the foam insulation was about 2" taller than my ceiling, so I had to take the sheet off, cut the insulation down and put it back together.  But I am loving having somewhere to hang my blocks so it was well worth the effort!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Photography - Custom White Balance

I know it sounds scary.  If you have never tried custom white balance you might think it's something that professional photographers do, but it is actually pretty easy.

What do you need?

  • A camera with a custom white balance setting (dSLR cameras and some point and shoots, check your manual if you aren't sure)
  • A gray card or a sheet of white or gray paper
  • To shoot in a mode other than automatic.  Most cameras will only let you use custom white balance if you are in manual, aperture priority, or shutter speed priority mode.  
When you set a custom white balance with your camera you are defining what white or gray look like in your current lighting situation.  This is particularly important when you are photographing a quilt because you want the colors of your quilt to be accurately portrayed.  

This is a photo I took one morning of some fabric hanging on a branch in my backyard.  The photo is SOOC (straight out of camera) meaning it is completely unedited.
The photo is okay, but notice that the coloring is a little blue. 
This is a photo taken with the same settings and is also SOOC, the only difference is this was taken after I set a custom white balance.

I am not going to go into technical detail about how exactly to set custom white balance since it varies depending on your type of camera, but I will give you a basic overview and will provide some links at the bottom of the post for camera-specific tutorials.  If you don't see your camera model listed, let me know in the comments and I will track down the details and add it to the list.  

I am pretty sure that all dSLRs have this feature, and some of the fancier point and shoot cameras have it too.  I personally use and adore my Nikon d7000.  

I also use a gray card. You can also use a sheet of white or gray paper, though it might not be as accurate.

1.  Set the exposure on your camera.  I shoot in manual mode so that means adjusting the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed until I am happy with the exposure. 

2.  Set the white balance on your camera to custom.  On my camera that means pushing the white balance button and turning the dial to the custom setting.  On some cameras you will actually make this switch after you take a photo, so check your manual. 

3.  Fill the frame of your camera with the gray card like the photo on the left.

4.  Take a photo.  On my camera this doesn't actually save a picture of the gray card, it just makes a clicking noise like I'm taking a photo and automatically sets the white balance.  Some cameras have you take an actual photo of the gray card and then use that photo to define white balance in the menu.  

That's it.  Once your white balance is set you can keep taking photos as long as your lighting doesn't change.  If the sun goes behind the cloud or you move to a different location you will need to reset the white balance, but once you have done it a few times it only takes a few seconds.

Of course you won't always have a gray card with you so you can adjust white balance on your computer or use one of the white balance presets on your camera.  Notice how close the "custom" and "cloudy" photos look.  Using custom white balance will take the guess work out of picking a white balance and is especially handy when the lighting is really weird.  
And custom white balance doesn't just take better photos of quilts, it takes better photos of people too :)
The photo on the left is SOOC with auto white balance.  The photo on the right was taken with custom white balance with minor edits to brightness and sharpness in Lightroom.  These photos were taken at sunset with the sun in the background.
If you don't see your exact model listed, let me know and I will try to track down a tutorial.

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