replacement quilt

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About a month ago, I gave away our favorite and most utilized quilt.  It was the quilt that we kept on the couch and snuggled under– pretty much– everyday.  {I had good reasons to gift it, trust me!}  So, I needed to make a replacement pronto.  For this one, I was determined to make something that would fit in nicely in our living room, which has lots of neutrals and brown leather furniture.  {I added hot pink to the mix because, well, I just can’t help myself.}  I used the color scheme from Laurie Wisbrun’s Llook! Llamas! collection to guide me when I selected the fabric.  I even tried to keep the ratio of neutral-to-brights similar to the way Laurie balanced it in that print.  I used strip piecing so that the top would come together quickly.  One of my favorite parts is that scrappy thin strip on the right side.  The quilting is a grid and the binding is my all time favorite text print.  {I’ve got a half yard of this print left.  It’s time to fall in love with another simple text print!}

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This is my favorite type of quilt.  It’s completely not-fussy to sew and relies on the strength of beautiful fabric to make it sing.  Wanna see the best part?  Below is a photo of the back of the quilt.  I decided I would take a bunch of larger cuts of special fabric that I normally have trouble using because I’m afraid I’ll be sad when they are gone. {Obsessed much?}  Just try to look at that big ole llama, with his perfect Peruvian hat, without cracking a smile?

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I’m going to end this post with one last bit of pretty amazing news.  At the end of the month, I am going to Houston to attend Quilt Market!  I’m going to tag along with my friend Laurie.   Those of you who are a part of the online sewing community understand the magnitude of this opportunity and how much fun it is going to be.  For those of you who follow my blog because you know me and love me, it boils down to this:  Quilt Market is trade-show heaven for the fabric-obsessed.  {And clearly I count myself among the fabric-obsessed.}  IT’S GOING TO BE SUCH A BLAST!

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orange

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I have a friend who made a very difficult decision to brave a very risky surgery, and very much triumphed in the end.  At the beginning of her medical journey, I knew I wanted to make her something that would brighten up her hospital room.  Since I “didn’t have time” to make a whole quilt, I decided on a pillow.  I took a couple of arcs that were originally intended for my snake trail quilt, and appliqued them to an out-of-print Echino fabric that I adore. Once I sent her the pillow, I realized that I needed to make her a quilt. I asked her about her favorite color and got to work cutting up all of my most favorite orange prints.  Somehow I found the time to put it all together.  Funny how that works.

favorite mojito recipe

mojito

I don’t ever want to forget this recipe so I am posting it here.  The original source is at food.com –  but you never know when a recipe will vanish from the internet.

10 limes- squeeze juice and get rid of pulp {10 limes typically makes 1 1/2 cups juice}
30 leaves fresh mint
3/4 cup sugar {don’t use simple syrup!}
1 cup white rum
club soda, chilled
-Place mint and sugar into a pitcher.
-Using a muddle stick mash to release mint oils, and dissolve sugar into juice.
-Add lime juice and muddle a bit more.
-Add rum and lots of ice topped with club soda. Adding more club soda to glasses if a lighter drink is desired.
-Garnish with fresh mint and lime slices.

thoughts on the snake trail quilt

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I’ve mentioned previously that I have taken on Denyse Schmidt’s snake trail quilt pattern as a long term project.  I thought I’d share my thoughts on the process so far. I am really enjoying making this quilt.

-I don’t intend to sound negative right off the bat, but I think I’ve found some errata with the pattern pieces.  As far as I can tell, pattern pieces A and B are supposed to vary slightly, but I have discovered that they are exactly the same.  This is slightly frustrating because I was keeping track of the B pattern pieces I had cut and was making sure that I was only sewing them onto the ends of the arcs, as the pattern instructs.  In a word, I was wasting time organizing pieces of fabric.  Boo.  I have since emailed the publisher and author for clarification and will report back if I hear back from them.  I am discovering that the pattern is working out fine without the slightly altered B piece, so I’m not really concerned.

-I am hand- and machine- piecing this quilt.  I have cut thin strips of fabric to use as a guide for my seam allowance when I am hand-piecing.   These thin strips of fabric are the exact same width of the seam allowance that is created when I use the quarter inch foot on my machine.  I’ve discovered that my quarter inch foot sews a generous quarter inch seam, rather than the typically recommended scant quarter inch seam.  The small strips of fabric ensure that my seam allowances are uniform, whether I am hand- or machine- piecing.

-Because my seam allowance is wider than it probably should be, I am piecing eight A pieces into my arcs, rather than 7, which is called for in the pattern.  I like having the extra wiggle room and am able to cut any excess down to size once the block has been assembled.

-I had plexi-templates of the pattern pieces made by this Etsy shop, which was recommended to my by a friend who posts the most beautiful quilts on flickr.  Many of you will know her as jwc.  The templates have made cutting fabric quicker and easier and have been a huge help with fussy-cutting.  Also,  I can tell that the A and B pattern pieces are identical when I stack the templates on top of each other.

-Sewing the scrappy arcs onto the background pieces has been easier than I had thought.  It is really important to line things up from the center, as the pattern instructs.  Sometimes I pin the curves, sometimes I don’t. I don’ think one way is easier or saves more time than the other way.

-I’m pretty sure that I am going to have to cut down my blocks to significantly smaller than the 12″ squares the pattern calls for.  I don’t think this is a flaw of the pattern.  I think it’s because my seam allowance is a tad wider than it should be. Still, I think it would be great if quilt patterns gave you a half inch of wiggle room for trimming blocks.  I sort of wish I had enlarged the pattern pieces a tiny bit when I ordered the templates to allow for this.  Live and learn, right?

I really love this quilt.  It’s going to take me good amount of time to finish, but it’s going to be gorgeous!

quick-ish gifts and fabric love

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I must be getting quicker at this pattern because I sewed six of them assembly-line style and didn’t get stressed out.  This is the famous and forever fabulous Open Wide Zipper Pouch that is offered as a free tutorial on Anna’s beautiful Noodlehead blog.  This is the medium size.  I think they make great cosmetic and project bags.  But really, they are great anything that needs containing. The fabric I used is from Melody Miller {retro look} and Anna Maria Horner {feathers}.

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I feel like the luckiest blogger in the world because on of my most favorite fabric designers ever, Laurie Wisbrun, sent me a very kind preview of one of her latest lines for Robert Kaufman.  It’s called Table Talk and it ships late summer.  Check out what Laurie is making with it.  I am completely smitten with the mix of color it presents. I have lots of plans for this grouping of beauties. The first thing I will do is fussy-cut little bits to add to my snake trail quilt.  Then, my four year old has order a dress made of the top print.  {I was pushing for the rolling pin/whisk print in the purple color-way, but my tiny baker has spoken assertively and that’s that.}  I also have this idea that I will make a bunch of simple potholders that I can have on hand as hostess gifts for when we go to parties and BBQ’s this summer.  Or, if we host a party this year, hand them out as parting gifts.  Confession:  sometimes when we are invited to parties, I consider asking the hostess if I can sew them something rather than bring food.  I never do it because I feel like I’m trying to get out of cooking, but maybe I should try it sometime. Happy summer!

slowly but surely…

breakfast mess  fave block 2nd fave block pattern emerges

…I am building a snake trail* quilt.  This hand-stitching** project is serving as an excellent reminder that, in my fairly busy*** life, I actually have quite a few small pockets of down time.

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*This is a pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s latest book.  I’m ALMOST completely sticking to the pattern, which is uncharacteristic — and really nice for a change.  I’ll write more on the process soon.

**I started this as a hand-piecing project, but when I do find time to use my sewing machine, I go for it.

***When I say “busy,” I mean “full.”  An abundance of good things.  I am SO grateful for that.