Saturday, February 22, 2014

Layer Cake or Charm Pack for Christmas Stars

This post contains bonus cutting guides for the Stargazer Quilt Block Tutorial. For the original tutorial and piecing guide click here. 

When I worked out the math for the Stargazer blocks, I did it with layer cakes and charm packs in mind. I like using as much of the fabric as possible in as few cuts as possible. If there are extras, I know I'm more likely to use them for other projects if they are usable sizes. So with that in mind, here is a way you can cut out your pieces either from layer cakes, or charm packs.

I used a layer cake of Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey for my Christmas Stars quilt.

For each block you will need:

Star Fabric
(1) 4.5" x 4.5" square
(8) 2.5" x 2.5" squares

Background Fabric
(8) 4.5"x4.5" squares

A layer cake is a pre-cut stack of ten inch squares. You will need one layer cake square plus background fabric for each star. If you cut carefully, you will have enough fabric for your stars and a bonus stack of five inch squares for your stash.

A charm pack is a pre-cut stack of five inch squares. You will need three matching charm squares plus background fabric to make each star block.

There is one more trick to make piecing your quilt top even faster. Instead of diagonally marking each squares, place a piece of painters tape in line with your needle to use as a piecing guide. I also use this technique when making flying geese and snowball blocks.

Note: I originally posted this video on Instagram and in order to make it fit, I had to speed it up. I don't really sew this fast!

Monday, February 17, 2014

For the love of stripes

The Ma Belle Amie scarf pattern is perfect for a stripe lover like me. The color changes cause each stripe to blend into the next. I found myself getting so excited to add next color. Even though I had my colors picked out in advance, I couldn't wait to see them stitched up.

The yarn is a wool-silk blend that is very soft and squishy with excellent stitch definition. It's called Gloss by Knit Picks and it comes in about twenty four different colors. I used Tranquil, Aegean, Hawk and Honey for this project.

The finished length of this infinity scarf is long enough to wrap twice around my neck, which is perfect. The edges are finished nicely and it gently curls under.

I'm inspired to work more with stripes, maybe another scarf with shorter sections of color changes. Or maybe just different colors. Can anyone recommend another fun striped knitting pattern?

You can read about the start of this project here.

Pattern: Ma Belle Amie by yarn-love on Ravelry
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK in Aegean, Tranquil, Hawk and Honey
Provisional Cast On Tutorial from YouTube

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stolen Minutes For Economy Blocks

Economy Blocks #1-15

No one told me that as my kids get older that even though they need me less, I spend more of my day with them. How is that possible? I'm finding myself more involved and committed with kid stuff than ever before. One one hand I love it. They are good kids and it's fun to watch them grow and take in all of these experiences. This time with them is just flying by. If there was a way I could slow it down, I would. In-a-heartbeat!

One the other hand, I'm having a hard time fitting in a little creative time here and there. Nap times and early bed times are long gone. I find I am constantly reorganizing to fit everything in. This is not balance but rather a pendulum that swings wildly from one side to the other. I find myself holding on during each downswing, and squeeing with glee when I hit the upswing on each side (the Mama side and the Creative side).

If I could, I would sit down and sew for hours at a time and make big chunks of progress all at once. That is just not possible right now. I know a lot of you can relate. Today was a good reminder that any progress is good progress and if you only have a few minutes a day, a few is better than none.

I used my minutes for sewing and it felt good! Don't you love that point in a project when it starts to actually look like something?

Thank you so much for stopping by today and spending a few of your minutes with me. I am always happy to see you here! : )


Previously posted about this project here.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Catnap Critter Pouch

My daughter has a few of these Calico Critter sets and they are so tiny and all of the little pieces that go with them are even smaller. They needed a home of their own. Something easy and cute to store them all in.

Jeni's lined drawstring bag tutorial was the perfect for this. I liked this tutorial because there were no exposed seams, you can use a fat quarter even if it's directional (which this one was) and it was just the right size to hold the critter collection. The top opens wide enough for my daughter to see inside and pick out her critters. The strings make it easy to carry it from one room to the next.

Choosing Fabrics

The fabric is so cute it makes me smile when I find it tossed on her table.  I was lucky enough to win it at my local guild meeting! My daughter spied it on my worktable the next day and asked me what I was going to do with it. I recognize fabric love when I see it. Her eyes were aiming huge heart lasers at the kitties. While she was at school, I made this for her birthday. She hugged it immediately upon opening it.

On the worktable
Pattern - Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial by Jeni Baker, In Color Order
Fabric - Catnap by Lizzy House for Andover, Kona solid in Cerise by Robert Kaufman


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