Thursday, May 22, 2008

Introduction: Craftstew

Hi everyone! My name is Lynn, and I blog at Craftstew. How did this name come about? I tried to figure something out that encompassed everything that I do, crafty-wise, and I figured a stew is a delicious blending of flavors, so that's what I decided on. In retrospect, it sounds like Chatstew, a segment on The Soup. I guess that works, because I love soup (and that show) too! Recently my blog has been mostly about my puppy, Lucy, but hopefully I will have more time to sew soon! Here is a shot of her helping me iron out yardage...
Lucy sleeping on Dear Jane Quilt yardage
I started quilting because I had been knitting this blanket (still not finished) and I decided that quilting would be faster. In my knitting group, there is one quilter and she was anxious to get us all quilting too. Now we are more of a small quilting group and a knitting group :P
Pink Quilt Front
So I signed up for a quilt class at the local quilt shop, and off I went! This pink quilt was the result of the class, and my first exposure to Amy Butler. I was drawn to the yellow fabric (the border), and I quickly was taught that if you have a big busy border that you want to stand out, sometimes it's nice to have calmer fabrics for the rest of the quilt.
A's Quilt Front
I bought many books, including Gee's Bend, Denyse Schmidt Quilts, and The Modern Quilt Workshop. I love all the books, but I definitely like the look of Denyse's the best. I have not made many of her quilts (yet), but I do love them. The A's quilt is the second quilt I made, based off of one of the quilts from her book.
Kel's Cal Quilt -  hanging out on the bench
From looking at the quilts I've posted, it looks like I like taking traditional patterns and using modern fabrics. Which is funny, because that's not how I would describe my quilting, but I guess it is true. Currently, my UFOs include a baby jane, a drunkard's path quilt and folksy block of the month. I would have thought I'd have a bit more wonkiness. I could start another quilt...
Front side of Half Moon Bay Quilt Waving
I am so excited to be a part of this quilting bee! The creativity in the blogosphere is astounding. I have been lucky enough to be a part of other swaps and groups, but I am super excited for this one. I've got to say I love the internets. Where else can I meet awesome people who can tell me where to shop in Japan, worry about doll quilts, or talk about knitting and dogs? I can't wait to see the quilts we come up with!
Ping's quilt on bench

Monday, May 12, 2008

Martha MacGyver Chimes In

Hi, I'm Wendy and I blog over at Martha MacGyver. A package of fabric arrived in the mail today from Rebekah which I took as a sign that I should get working over here.

-The nickname came from some blogging friends when we had a get together at Blogher last summer. At the time I wasn't blogging(just a groupie) and the friends I was meeting weren't from the craft blog world. Up until then I was simply taking pictures of projects I'd completed and emailing them to friends who liked to sew or craft. While I love to create, I hate to write and blogging(even a craft blog) seemed to involve too much of the latter. After a lot of encouragement from them, it finally occurred to me that a blog would be an easier way to document what I'd been making and the question of what to call it had been answered. I took the plunge last October.
-Sewing has been a lifelong interest of mine. I started on a little toy machine when I was 7 and can vividly remember the first pair of pants I made for a doll. They didn't fit and were a bitter disappointment. However, they taught me something and I kept going with fabric scraps from my mom. Over the years my sewing has changed to meet my needs - doll clothes when I was little, clothing in high school and college, home dec after moving out of my parents' home until now, and most recently, clothing and toys for my kids. Quilting has been a part of that evolution. It started with a baby quilt as a gift that I tied because my old machine would not have handled quilting well at all. The baby who recieved that quilt is entering high school soon.
-This quilt was made for my daughter Ellie's room when she outgrew her crib. The style was purposely simple - I had little time to figure out a pattern, I wanted to showcase the Laura Ashley fabrics I'd saved for it and I spent plenty of time making the ruffle trim that went all the way around it (the ruffle also trims the curtains for that room). This was one of my earlier free motion quilting experiments as well. Each block has a daffodil quilted in its center.

This was a gift for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday. She chose the pattern and fabrics. Again, another learning experience. Those 1/4 inch seams are VERY important if you're following a pattern. I did a lot of manhandling of fabric when I had to line up all those seams. I bought a 1/4" presser foot for my machine not long after I made this one.

Then I jumped on the doll quilt bandwagon that hit craftblogland a year or so ago. What a great way to play with fabric and have something done so quickly and easily. This one was very strongly influenced by turkey feathers and was a gift for a friend's daughter. Needlework is another interest of mine and putting little touches on these quilts has been a great way to combine my enjoyment of both. I'm slowly working my way through a book of doll quilt patterns called Prairie Children and Their Quilts. The scale is perfect for trying out patterns that I want to experience, but not in a full scale quilt that likely wouldn't fit in with my overall decor. (And I can channel my childhood dream of being Laura Ingalls Wilder.)

This was my break-out-of-my-rut-quilt. Also a gift for a friend's newly adopted son. I felt obliged to include a DS piece after reading my cohorts posts. Not only was this a departure for me, but I was able to include fabrics that were dear to me and reflected other projects that I'd worked on or pieces of clothing that had meaning to me. While this is definitely a version of What a Bunch of Squares from the DS Quilts book, I skipped the pattern and just cut and pieced until I was happy with it. Freeing, I tell you.

There've been more in between, before and after the four of these, but they seem to represent where I'm at now and how I got here. What I'm most looking forward to this year is pushing myself outside of what I would normally do and playing with fabrics I wouldn't normally buy. I can't wait to see how all these blocks influence what I make for myself in the future.

Round 1

Well, I sent out all of my fabric for the swap on Friday. I'm hoping that this post goes up before you receive the fabric, because I was too rushed to include a little note or instructions.

I've sent out a collection of red, black and white printed and solid fabric. The red fabric is from various Alexander Henry collections and the black and white fabrics are from my stash. I added the houndstooth and damask fabric at the last minute because the solid red fabric I had bought wasn't quite matching all of the reds in the printed fabric.

I'm planning on using this quilt in our guest bedroom, so this will eventually become a full sized quilt to go on the guest bed. I will be repainting the room this month (I have an accidental red, blue and white thing going on right now, and I'm not such a fan of the color scheme). Right now, the furniture in the room is all black and the artwork is mostly red and black. I'll be painting the walls a light brown/beige color. In my head, the warmth of the walls will balance out the starkness of a red/white/black quilt. We'll see how that goes!

So, as for the instructions...I'd love for you all to make a 10" to 11" square that is made up of rectangles or squares. This means that anything that is striped, log cabin-y, box-y or wonky works for me. It's pretty much up to you. I'm going to be assembling the quilt somewhat like this diagram, with most of the quilt being white and then a section of the black and red blocks that you'll be making. I have some leftover scraps, so I might add some more patchwork into the colorful strip on the quilt. I'll play with that once I have all of the blocks together.

Melissa wanted me to share a little bit about how I plan out quilt projects so that I know that I have enough fabric together. I have sort of tried this before and it helps. (But, bear in mind that this is coming from the girl who never knows what the exact final size will be because she always ends up having to lop off a side because the whole project turned out crooked!) I usually check out the website to see the size of batting I will be using and then sketch out the quilt, measure the dimensions and then try to lay out the pieces on the fabric I'm going to be using. Then I convert these measurements to the common fabric sizing that they have (changing inches to yards and making sure that most pieces fall into the 40-44" fabric width).

For this quilt, I'm planning on the final size being 90" x 90." So, I'm guessing that the final strip in the middle will be about 30"x90", the top white strip will be 20"x90" and the bottom white panel will be 40"x90." So, I'll be buying 5 yards of 40" wide fabric (90" x 2 for top and bottom = 180"/36" per yard = 5 yards). I can use the extra white fabric for sashing around the quilt blocks.

Here's a flickr mosaic of inspiring quilting patterns that are appealing to me. Feel free to base your design on something you see here or on something completely different! I can't wait to see what you all come up with. If you have any questions, let me know : ) Oh, and feel free to add in any fabric that you have if you like, although I'm totally not expecting you to do so. I hope I included enough fabric for one square.


Hello, Hello

Hi there! I'm Amber from One Shabby Chick. The name was just something I thought of a few years ago as I was applying for a business license and had to come up with a name on the spot. So when I started my blog last August, I just used that name for my blog as well. And as my hubby can attest, I can be rather shabby :-)  especially if I get into a project and he comes home and I'm still in my pajamas!

I live in Hawaii with my hubby of 12 years and 4 kids. I homeschool my kids and try to cram in sewing and crafting whenever I can. I also love playing soccer (and love watching it on tv too).

I started sewing 10 years ago - right before Mother's Day actually. Our eldest was about 6 months old and I wanted to make my mom a quilt for Mother's Day. I had a Brother sewing machine and bought some fabric and went over to my friend's house so she could teach me how to thread my machine - I knew absolutely nothing about sewing. I had dabbled in some cross-stitching and tole-painting but never sewing. So my first project was quite a large one considering my sewing skills. But somehow I pulled it off and it is still hanging in my parent's spare bedroom (in all it's wonkiness!!).

I made this quilt for her this year for Mother's Day and blogged about it here.

I sewed occasionally throughout the years but I never really got that into it. Then last summer, I discovered the wonderful world of blogging. I stumbled onto Heather Bailey's gorgeous blog and that's when I got hooked. We don't have any fabric stores in Hawaii that carry designer fabrics (or at least none that I've found so far). Heather had just come out with Freshcut and that's how I discovered the wonderful world of online fabric stores as well. Yep, spent quite a bit of money last summer!!

I was just so blown away by all the creativity online that I couldn't help but join in the fun. I have made a number of quilts but have been really bad about taking pictures. I love how blogging helps you document your creations.

I really am more of a anything-goes kinda quilter. I just love fabrics...prints of all kinds. I'm excited about making more quilts using actual patterns and I love all the Denyse Schmidt quilts I've seen here. 
I feel really lucky to have been asked to participate in this quilting bee with all these talented sewers and am so excited to see everyone's take on the different fabrics.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the meaning of blempgorf

My name is Jenny and I blog at (Blempgorf is a nonsense word from a children's book by Jovial Bob Stine, used in social situations when you cannot recall a name or don't have the right thing to say).

I've been blogging for about four years now in various ways. these days the blog is all about quilts, fabric, and cupcakes. I started sewing a few years back because I needed a hobby. I had sewed some when I was younger, but hadn't done anything more intense than hem pants for many years. but while wasting time web surfing at work, I wandered across craft blogs and decided to bring out my sewing machine again. when I started back with sewing again, I made stuffed animals. but after a while, I ran out of people to give animals to, and shifted over to quilts. the quilt phase has really stuck, and I have kept busy making a variety of quilts.

like the other members of the quilt group, I heart Denyse Schmidt quilts and have made several quilts in the DS style or from the book.

quilt front

I am also making lots of baby quilts lately, in part because I anticipate friends to start procreating soon. But I also like working in the smaller format - I can be more experimental and try things appliqué that I might not do in a bigger size, and it's easier to do the machine quilting.

Apart from the Denyse Schmidt styled quilts, I also have dabbled in modern spins on traditional quilt designs and with embroidery on quilts.

ABCs and 123s baby block quilt with embroidered squares

baby quilt - modified coin quilt

and here are some other examples...

quilt mosaic

1. ps quilt top, 2. Hop Skip and a Jump, 3. finished Ice Pops quilt, 4. front of quilt for Mom, 5. quilt big, 6. front of quilt, 7. basketweave/modified split rail baby quilt, 8. quilt back, 9. any way you slice it - front, 10. front of baby quilt, 11. orange, yellow, and green baby quilt, inspired by DS "couldn't keep it to myself", 12. big zig

My Name is Liz

Not Lady. My husband's name is John Harvatine IV and most everyone we know excluding his family calls him Harv. When we moved across country shortly after we were married, many of our new friends started calling me "Lady Harvatine" or just "Lady Harv". So in search of a URL that felt like "me" and would stand the test of time, I went with
I've always loved making things. Crafting has never been a hobby for me, it's always been more of an obsession with a specific craft, different crafts at different times. When I was 12 it was embroidery floss and toothpick worry dolls. When I was 17 it was Ukranian Easter Eggs. In college it was knitting. And now it's sewing, specifically sewing quilts.
I made my first quilt in early fall 2006, shortly before starting my blog. I had been poking around a couple of knitting blogs, which led me to other craft blogs and I was finding some really inspirational quilts. Through some sort of craft blog osmosis I got it in my head that I should order (big surprise) Denyse Schmidt Quilts and The Modern Quilt Workshop. Now I need you to brace yourselves here because I'm going to be totally honest and I don't want you to hate me: I really didn't like "The Modern Quilt Workshop". I definitely have more modern sensibilities in design but just not this kind of modern. On the other hand, the Denyse Schmidt book flipped my inner quilter's lid. I absolutely love the more free form, organic quality of her designs. I was also very enamored of her choice of colors and fabrics. I really took to heart what she wrote about the percentage of solids she uses in her quilts. Not that I really put these ideas into practice in my first few quilts.
The reason I first wanted to make a quilt was to make a second anniversary (cotton) gift for Harv. My first quilt ever was going to be for him but midway through I decided I didn't like it enough. Here it is unfinished:

I did finish it but never took pictures. It's just ok. It taught me some things about color and fabric choices, namely things I don't like. I don't love all of the prints I used, I don't like the way the colors play off each other and the contrast is all weird and muddy. Like there's no contrast at all except for the weird dark green. Bleagh.
Next I got all of the animators I work with to contribute squares to make this quilt for a friend's first baby:

This was no small feat considering the animators are mostly men. Artsy men but not sewing men. I love the collaborative nature of this quilt but it's not something I would make on my own. I would do this again though with a few changes to the rules. (Set firm deadlines! Come up with a solid theme! The unofficial theme here was "monsters".)(Oh, also my square is this one.)
I did end up making an anniversary quilt:

I came up with the design on my own. It was ridiculous and convoluted and overcomplicated and I now know how I could have made this quilt in a much simpler way. The infinity symbol is pieced in, not appliquéd which I still like. I wouldn't do that differently now. I would choose different colors and fabrics though. These blues are too blah and at that time I hadn't really discovered what I really loved in prints. Most of these I would never used today.
After that I went into full on DS mode and I really started to figure out what I like and don't like. I made this DS quilt for my mom:

And this one I copied, there's no pattern for this quilt:

I really love the use of a lot of solids with just a few choice prints. I also put a lot of thought into the balance of the prints that I am using. I try to mix things up by not using more than one plaid, stripe, geometric print, floral print, etc. of the same scale. I also try to use a much higher percentage of solids than prints. Making these two quilts also showed me how much I like the simplicity of a solid, neutral background.
I've also learned a lot about my taste in color. I love things that are bold and interesting, even a little jarring. I always think back to that long ago day in middle school when I learned about "opposite colors". This miniature quilt is much busier than something I would normally make but I really love the big, bold, contrasting colors.

And they don't just contrast, I think they contrast in a balanced way, as do the combination of different prints and solids. This quilt is the most "Gee's Bend"-y thing I've ever made. It was totally free form, I just made my fabric selections before starting and pieced with an eye on keeping a balance of size, color and prints. I fully appreciate the history and artistry of Gee's Bend quilts but (again, don't hate me!) the overall style and color choices aren't really my thing. Just so you know!
I've since made several quilts keeping these rules of design in mind. Here's a bunch of the rest of my quilts that I've been most happy with. There's one pseudo Denyse Schmidt in there, one that was inspired by this quilt, one that looks like it was inspired by Carissa's twin quilts below but I swear I just came up with it (there's that Craft Blog Osmosis at work again!) and the rest are my own designs. (There are links below to the larger versions of these photos.)
1. Baby Quilt, 2. Quilt for Lauren, 3. Audio 1, 4. Plaid doll quilt, 5. Pirate Girl Miniature Quilt, 6. Finished Miniature Quilt for Whiplash, 7. Bubbly quilt top finished, 8. Copycat baby quilt with a real life copy cat, 9. Zipped Up quilt

You can see more here on Flickr and here you can read about the making of all of these lovelies.

Man, that was really fun! Sorry if I was a little long winded. I feel like there's even more that I could write but I'll save it. I can't wait to start sewing with all of you!

There Once Was A Lonely Quilter

named Melissa. And all she ever wanted to have quilter friends.

Yup, that's me, a lonely crafter looking for friends. I come from a long line of very creative and crafty women so I spent a good part of my childhood sewing and making things with my mother and grandmothers. And using their fabric scissors to cut paper - oh the forbidden joy! But as I got a little older, I was distracted and stopped crafting for many years.

Fast forward to 2003, where on that fateful lunch break, my co-worker taught me how to knit and the creative switch was turned on. Soon enough, knitting wasn't enough and I signed myself up for a sewing class. Within a day, I ordered my first machine and haven't stopped sewing since. I started with handbags and travel accessories and have since moved onto clothing and quilts.

The quilting started when I bored myself with knitting baby blankets. I wandered into a cute fabric store, picked up a set of fat corners and decided that I was going to make a quilt, and just flew by the seat of my pants. I put together this patchwork baby quilt and made little matching stuffed blocks with the extra squares. I hand tied it together because my machine at the time didn't have a walking foot. I used my regular sewing foot for the binding and luckily avoided the dreaded puckering.

It was the beginning an addiction. I was hooked, which also meant immediately buying a new machine with a walking foot. And buying fabric, a lot of fabric. Luckily for me, the babies kept coming so I could just keep on making baby quilts, like this pear quilt. It is still one of my all time favorites.

One of my best friends started loudly hinting that she wanted a quilt and it was really the motivation I needed to get past my fear of working with a bigger quilt. All that fabric is scary. And my husband suspiciously leaves the house whenever I start sewing to avoid being recruited to help me with the quilting. I suckered him into helping a couple of times but now he is on to my tricks.

This is the final product and I am so happy with how it turned out. It still amazes me that I could actually make something like this.

This is a recent baby quilt. It is the first quilt where I played around with the quilting lines. I had been stuck in quilting in the ditch and finally pushed through and freestyled the wiggly lines.

This is my latest quilt. It was commissioned by my co-worker for a Mother's Day present. He picked out the backing and and I came up with the quilt top. The quilt top came out way more modern than I expected but it seems to work.

Through all of this sewing, I didn't really have a lot of friends that were also sewers, which I found frustrating. It was something that I am so passionate about and didn't really have anyone to share it with. At the same time, I was checking out sewing blogs and seeing all these amazing, talented women out there in cyberworld. I decided to do what I best, and I picked up Rebekah as my internet crafting friend. (For other examples of this, feel free to ask Lisa and Nadia.)

I am over the moon with excitement that this quilting bee is coming together so well. I love that everyone is as excited about it too. Thank you to everyone who has helped put this together and I really want to give Rebekah a big shout out for being such an amazing organizer. Not only can she sew a mean quilt, she's got great friends.

Friday, May 9, 2008

hello my name is...

hi. i write the blog happy stuff and i come from a family of mennonite and amish quilters, so i suppose you could say that i was born to quilt. i made my first quilt when i was probably about ten years old. i don't have a photo handy, but it was (if memory serves) an atrocious combination of nine-patch and four-patch bright eighties prints and solids that was painstakingly pieced on my great aunt's "featherweight" machine and then tied (no actual quilting involved) with yarn. after that, i did lots of sewing projects, but didn't attempt any more quilts until (like many of you) denyse schmidt opened my eyes to the possibility of a more modern looking quilt. after seeing "drunk love in a log cabin" i attempted to mimic her wonky squares with an applique patch pocket on a tote bag, but... it wasn't quite right. and then, she published a book! with instructions! and small, quick projects! i couldn't decide what do make first (and was enamored with some other craft medium at the time) so the book sat on my shelf for awhile until one day, i was flipping through it and actually looked at the quilts section. before, these had always been in the "would take too much time" category, but i noticed that "big zig" had very little piecing, no pattern pieces to follow and was a very attractive design to boot. i went out, bought fabric, and a few crafting sessions (and a few blue quilt markers) later, i had my first, finished (as an adult), quilted throw!

emboldened by this success, i thought i'd try to make some pillows using the "ice pops" pattern from the same book. i like the way they turned out, but i was frustrated with trying to enlarge the pattern and having to piece papers together to make it big enough. back to patternless, seat-of-your-pants sewing (my favorite!).

my next quilt was inspired by the background of this photo on flickr. i liked the simplicity of it and it looked easy enough to "fake," and here's how it turned out:

i'd found a backing fabric that i loved, but there wasn't quite enough on the bolt, so i added my own, hand-painted strip that mimicked the fabric's pattern.

a friend of mine was so jealous that i agreed to make her one too, so here they are side-by-side. i don't know if you can see it on this picture, but i chose an easier quilting pattern with her quilt and... i liked mine better. you can also see my sneaky kitty's tail.

my next quilting project was a duvet cover for my bedroom (okay, it was just pieced, not quilted) and was inspired by lady harvatine (on one side)--although i think it would look a lot better if i'd been able to quilt it. that just seemed like too much work for a duvet. i am such a lazy crafter! here are photos of each side (and my lazy kitties--they're a bad influence on me):

my current quilting project is a very involved project for a dear friend of mine. it's being kept under wraps until i've finished it and sent it to her, and it might take awhile, but i'll be sure to post it when it's finally done!

when i was invited to be a part of this project and saw the list of other invitees, i was so excited! i've been admiring many of your quilts on flickr for awhile now and i'm so thrilled to get to know you all better and have the chance to play with fabric at the same time.

p.s. my name is carissa. i forgot to mention that earlier.

B is for Betty

I’m Betty from Betty Ninja blog. I’ve stitched a little here and there when I was growing up. I was never too into it until I came across Denyse Schmidt’s Quilt book. I loved the modern spin on things. I’ve tried her Hop Skip Jump pattern (see photo below) using my own improvisation. Since then I’ve tried her other design What a Bunch of Squares and also began experimenting on my own.


I love this coin strip like quilt I made for my mom on Christmas. The blocks are similar to that on Denyse Schmidt’s Hop Skip Jump pattern, but made from my own “new fabric”


I sew on a little vintage machine that sometimes works, but most of the time makes me swear. And I don’t think quilting should be about swearing so I might buy a new machine soon.


I have a crazy dog named Misty. Who is an escape artist and also likes to pull my clothes out of our room and strew them around. But really she is so sweet that she makes my teeth hurt.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

My turn! I'm Jacquie and I blog at tallgrassprairiestudio. I started sewing as a kid making clothes in 4-H and in school. I caught the quilting bug as a young mother in the 90's. I am a self-taught quilter; no classes, just me, books and lots of experimenting. I haven't done much sewing in many years due to a busy life with active children and a demanding job. I left my job last November and it's been wonderful having time to be creative again. I consider myself a novice quilter. I love to try and hopefully learn new techniques. Craftsmanship is important to me. I strive to make quality pieces without beating myself up in the process. Quilting should be fun!

Like Rebekah I'm inspired by Denyse Schmidt and Ringle and Kerr. I wholeheartedly echo her book recommendations. I have also done a bunch of reading about the quilters of Gee's Bend and traditional African American quilts. I'm inspired by the simplicity and graphic quality of these quilts. I admire their improvisational style and their fresh interpretations of traditional blocks and patterns. If you haven't read Mary Lee Bendolph, Gee's Bend Quilts, and Beyond, I would highly recommend it.

These three quilts exemplify a bit about my quilting style and my aesthetic. I love graphic quilts and fun color combinations. I enjoy working improvisationally or with simpler patterns that can be used to showcase fabulous fabrics. The first quilt was made improvisationally after I read Denyse Schmidt's book. The Zig Zag and Whirlygiggles quilts are great patterns for contemporary fabrics. Lastly, I'm a fabriholic. Sometimes I have trouble cutting into fabrics I really love. You can see the rest of my work on my flickr page.
I'm tickled to be a part of this group (honored really), and I hope I can keep up with the rest of you creative ladies!