Friday, January 16, 2015

Tiny Patchwork Sew Together Bag

I have been meaning to make a renowned Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented for a couple of months now. With the holidays gone and minimal deadlines to complete, I figured I had some time to spend on myself and make this bag that I have been lusting after for the past year.

When I did my initial fabric pull, I pulled very low volume fabrics and planned on having the zippers add the pop of color. As I started cutting it out I soon realized that this wasn't me, and that I am way too colorful to just go with one solid fabric for the outside. I have been making some good progress on using my scraps and so thought that this could be a great continuation of that resolution. After looking at several different options for the outside of the bag, I stumbled upon this beauty from Three Owls Handmade. OMG. I was sold. Hands down I am making that, right now, no stopping go, no collecting $200. I wish it was my idea, but it wasn't all credit goes to Three Owls Handmade.

She outlines the dimensions that you need to do and then points you to this great tutorial on tiny patchwork on the Sew Mama Sew blog by Elizabeth from Oh, Fransson!. I definitely see myself using this technique in the future.

A cutting away I went, rainbow style, my favorite, creating a stack of itty bitty squares to create this wonderous masterpiece. :)

1.25in squares for my first sew together bag!!!

The only part that was "hard", more mentally than technique wise, was the pressing open of the seams. So many open seams so close together means very delicate pressing. :) I spent more time pressing than I did making the rest of the entire outside of the bag.

Such a pretty pile of trimmings. :)

Once I finished the outside of the bag, it went together according to the pattern. I opted to hand stitch the binding down because: 1. I love hand stitching binding and 2. I personally suck at machine binding and personally prefer the look of hand binding.

Working on the side binding of my #sewtogetherbag this morning. Hoping to finish it by lunch!!

After an afternoon and the following morning, I had my dream bag complete.

My #sewtogetherbag is complete!!! I can join the cool kids club now!! #mplsmqg

I finished the inside with a low volume print and then added the pop of color in the zipper sections. :)

A peek at the bright pops of color on the inside of my #sewtogetherbag :)

Let's just say that I love this bag. I already have my hand sewing zipper section, my EPP zipper section, my business zipper section, my.... I could keep going. Love it. I could certainly see myself making another one but it would be for someone else, as mine fits everything I need in it. :) If you are intimidated by this bag, don't be. My machine did not have trouble will the bulk, I just went slow and hand cranked through the super thick parts. It came together without a single visit from the seam ripper, which in my mind is a success. Try it out if you haven't already, you would be surprised at what you can create. :)

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Sew Cute Tuesday

Fresh Poppy Design

Sew Fresh Quilts


Friday, January 9, 2015

Improv Zippy Pouches and First Etsy Sale!

Welcome to the New Year! I had a great holiday with my girlfriend's family in Wisconsin and am now back in the grind of real life. :) I wanted to show you one of the projects I have been working on and share some exciting news as well. :)

This holiday I wanted to make most of my presents myself. I feel like if I can hand make things then they are more meaningful and unique. On the other plus side, they are "free." :) I wanted to make my girlfriend's sister a zipper pouch so I thought up a design in my head and went to work.

The design that I came up with incorporates small scraps and also the fun improv quilting technique that I have come to love so much. :) I drew it up and cut out the pieces, made the middle panel, and added a top and bottom piece to complete the front. I trimmed it to the size I wanted and made the back piece the same size.

This is the sketch. Let's see if it turns out anything like this. :)

It came together pretty quickly and it was super fun to make. Great project for an afternoon or some night sewing.


I posted a picture on instagram and my friend Veronica asked me to make one for her. Here comes the exciting news..... :)

I have been prepping to open an Etsy shop for about a year now, creating branding, moving to a real .com site, making business cards, etc. Veronica spurred me to get my act together and finally open it. She wanted to buy something from me. :) I took some pictures and wrote some postings and tada! I opened an Etsy shop!!

You can find the link to my shop here!

I made her a similar pouch with the same design and posted it in my shop the next day.


She bought it right away and was my first sale!! I am super excited about finally opening my shop. I have done lots of commission work over the years but have always been scared to put myself out there and actually sell my creations. I'm sure you can relate, as artists, we never fail to see the imperfections in our work.

I just got an order of zippers in this week and will be making many pouches for my shop. I would love to hear what kinds of things you would like to see in a shop like mine. Right now I have quilts that I have made that I had good pictures for and am waiting on good weather to take pictures of some more. I would love to put more pouches, journal covers, and tea cozies, but am also thinking of doing some yoga accessories, as I have a great friend, Kathleen, that has asked me to work some stuff up for her and her yogi friends.

Let me know what you would like to see and I will whip up some samples and would love to hear feedback on them. Super excited for what this year will bring. :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts! and

Quilting is more fun than Housework

Sew Cute Tuesday

Scraptastic Tuesday

Happy Sewing!!!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Lucky Stars Table Runner

Over Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of visiting a LQS close to LaCrosse, WI called Olive Juice Quilts. On Black Friday, they had a BOGO yard of fabric.... Someone did some damage, but talk about a deal. I bought LOTS of fabric at low prices, and we all know that I needed it and that I will use it, so I can't get too mad at myself.

This is what happens when your LQS had a Black Friday BOGO sale. Oops.

I went with my girlfriend and her sister and brother in law, so to keep the girls busy and engaged while I oogled and shopped and Doug went to the auto shop, I tasked them with picking out fabrics for a project that I wanted to make for their mom. They did a great job and provided me with a nice palette to work with. I knew I wanted to do some paper piecing because I haven't done it in awhile and I love the intricacy it produces. I have been eying several of the Lucky Stars BOM blocks and thought that would be a great set of stars to choose from.

I started with this one, I was not happy with it. The corners did not match up and I pretty much lost confidence and felt like I failed at life after this attempt.

100% complete after 4x ripping out the middle. F paper piecing star centers. That's just as good as it's going to get. This is why I don't show quilts, I don't have the patience for perfection. Improv is way more my style. #mplsmqg #luckystarsbom

The next one I tried went much better, I was happier with the corners and the color choices were more bold as well. I took the paper out before I sewed the individual wedges together. That helped a lot. I do wish that I would have altered the coloring in the center star with the orange so that the shading showed better, but hey, you can't win them all.

The Arcadian Star is complete!! Such a better experience. 1. I used tons of starch. 2. I tore out the paper after the first round of sewing pieces together. 3. I used a pin to match the points and checked before I sewed. Much better I would say since ther

The next one I tried I felt even better about. It was simpler and had less pieces so I felt more confident. I did scorch one piece of it, but you can barely tell so I let it pass.

Galactic Star complete!!! So many perfect points!!!! Happy dance!! I have learned so much in just three blocks. Starch is my new bestie for the pressie. #luckystarsbom #Christmassewcial

When I put those three blocks together they just didn't look right. The color placement didn't work so I decided that I would need to make another block to even out the coloring.

Marlow's "mom we are usually in bed by now" face. #catsofinstagram #Christmassewcial
3 pretty blocks but I'm not sure they are pretty together as a table runner. Should have left the navy out of the corners on the bottom one. Looks like a 4th block will need to be made... Sigh. #Christmassewcial #luckystarsbom

This is the last block I completed. I needed to bring the navy into the outer parts of the block to even everything out. This was my favorite block. I finally got color placement, piecing, and patience combined to make a beautiful block.

Sparkling Star complete! #luckystarsbom #mplsmqg

I put them all together and felt good about the placement. Because this was a table runner I wanted to challenge myself with the quilting since the piece was smaller and very maneuverable in my machine. I did very dense quilting in the negative space and accentuated the star shapes with lines and FMQ.

Love the look of the dense swirls in the negative space.
That one time I decided to challenge myself. :) I should do this more often. ������ #mplsmqg

I am very happy with how the piece turned out. Jessie's mom loved it. Here is the finished front of the runner:

Never got a full picture up of the finished runner with the FMQ on it.

Here is the back of the runner. The fabric on top is the inspiration fabric. It is actually my favorite one out of the entire set but unfortunately I couldn't use it in the paper piecing because I feel like in order to have successful paper piecing you need fabrics that read certain colors, and this fabric had such a large scale print, it was very hard to get pieces that read as one color instead of many.

Does anyone know what line the top fabric is? I love it and would really like to use it in something else that could showcase it more next time.


Linking up to:
Sew Cute Tuesday

Scrappy Fabric Cards

I have seen lots of scrappy projects floating around this year and after realizing how many itty bitty scraps I have collected due to Amanda Jean's inspiration, I decided that I needed to use them in more than just the traditional quilting ways. I wanted to write my friend a card and instead of pulling out one from the drawer that I already had, I decided to try using some scraps to spruce up a card and make it more personal.

I used fairly blank cards to begin with and then just cut scraps and placed them on the card, sewing them down with about 1/8 in seam allowance. This is very similar to tickertape, a technique I absolutely LOVE doing.

First fabric scrap card. This might be a new thing. :)

When picking fabrics, I tried to pick ones that were more graphic and/or allowed me to fussy cut to give more interest to the individual pieces. I was able to do 4 cards in less than an hour, pretty quick I would say for something that gives a much more personal touch than a pre-made card.

4 more scrap cards. :)

I definitely see much more of these in my future. Great use of scraps and fun to make and quick to complete on a day you need an easy finish or don't have enough time to make some progress on another project.


Improv Triangle Quilt

When I saw the quilt "Didn't Get the Memo" by Alissa Carlton, Los Angeles, CA (shown below) I knew I wanted to make one.

February Example
I thought it would be a great bee block so this February the Harmony Circle of do. Good. Stitches. took on this challenge and created some wonderful improv blocks. My directions were the following:

Background: True white
Triangles: Black/grey solids

Please make 2 12.5in blocks with 16 squares each, 4x4. Each square will be trimmed to 3.5in before being sewn together into a 4x4 block.

Make sure that the squares are made as shown below:
- Triangles facing the left
- Wonky triangle should only cover one corner, the other 3 corners being open, allowing for the "floating" look of the triangles

I pieced the top back in May, but it took me a while to actually find the time in the summer to quilt it, so hence the delay in posting the finished product. :)

Harmony #dogoodstitches February top done. I think I'm going to do wavy line quilting on this one. Any other suggestions? #mplsmqg

Here is the finished quilt. I bound it in a multi color stripe to add some pizzazz and color to it.

February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Front

I also wanted to add a pop of color to the back so I did some solid piecing with scraps down the middle.

February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Back

We had a bit of trouble with the wind while we were trying to take pictures. Here are some of the outtakes.


Overall, great block and great quilt for a bee. Thanks to Alissa Carlton for the inspiration and to my Harmony Circle mates for great execution!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Minimalist Stripes Improv Quilt

I am really getting into improv quilts. I feel like I am myself when I do them, that I can be free, that I can mess up and no one will judge me. No one will notice that my work is not perfect, for the imperfections are part of the design. I also love the fact that when you do improv pieces, every single piece you create is so unique that it cannot be replicated, every piece is one of a kind. Just like me.

I have shared before how I enjoy use improv blocks for bees due to the unpredictability that comes with bee piecing, but I had to show this quilt on it's own because I am so in love with it.

For the Harmony. do. Good. Stitches. circle we recently completed our Minimalist Stripes Improv Quilt.This quilt was inspired by this block that I found on the Modern Quilt Guild website:


I instructed the group to create 2 blocks based on the following guidelines:

- True white backgrounds
- Bright solid of your choice for the inset stripes
- Please piece the stripes horizontally or vertically, NOT diagonally
- Leave at least 1.5 inches of the white background around the edges so that the stripes appear to be floating
- Other than that, have fun, be creative, and let me know if you have any questions!

I got absolutely beautiful blocks that I put together in alternating directions to create this quilt top.

Latest quilt top finish! Better pic once my official quilt holder aka @jessiekember comes over. #dogoodstitches #harmonydogoodstitches

I decided to quilt it in wavy lines, a technique I had never tried before, to keep the design focus on the bursts of color and play with the wonkiness of each block.

My favorite part of making a quilt. Best way to start a Sunday morning.

I decided to bind it in black to frame the quilt in a bold way. Below are the finished pictures of the quilt. I am totally in love. So much so, that I feel like I will have to make another one since this one is bound for Project Linus!!

August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes

On the back I utilized some solid scraps that I have had around for years to mimic the stripes on the front in a larger scale. I feel like the back could be a quilt by itself!

August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes Back

I will definitely continue to explore improv quilting and can't wait to do more designs in this style. Like I said, this is me, and it is AWESOME.

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