Tag Archives: quilting

All I Need is Love…and a Little Sewing Time

Even though you probably didn’t notice – I took a little break over the holidays. In part, because it recent years I’ve put off my Christmas shopping until closer (read: dangerously close) to Christmas, so I had lots of shopping to do! But also because I think the holidays are a time to regroup, reset and lay out a plan for the New Year. Which I did…okay…am still doing, but it’s fine – I’m FINE!

Dana Scully - Your Point?

Interjection – Dana Scully, folks: ‘aaaaand – your point is? It’s February. That’s a January excuse.’

My point is that in taking a little break over the holidays – my catchup schedule has been more than a little insane! That means especially, that until late last week (yes the beginning of FEBRUARY) –  I have sewn a just a little, but have effectively completed a big fat NOTHING in terms of finished projects since before Christmas.

Well, that changed over the weekend Continue reading

Bad Hair Days, Empty Nesting and New Fulfilling Endeavors

Back in what sometimes feels like the olden days, when my family was young and growing, I remember feeling like there was always tons of planning and organizing going on. In those days, we went the grocery store once a week with a detailed list. We organized that list by section from back of the store to the front, because that’s the order in which my ducklings and I proceeded throughout the store.

Momma and ducklings

It’s true. They were perfectly perfect, JUST like this, walking in a straight line behind me. Honest! (memories have a magical way of smoothing themselves into hindsight perfection, don’t they?)

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You Don’t Have to Take My Word for it: Seam Allowance Nesting, Quilt Piecing Self Reliance, and Memories that Stick

One of the things I treasure most about being a mom of six children (aside from the children themselves), is how the memories of goings on when my kids were small, forever altered the way my brain buzzes through any given day.  Take children’s programming, for instance. Continue reading

Quilt Market, Round 2: Upcoming BOMs, Growing, and Oh Yes – Bees

Yesterday marks a whole week that I’ve been back from Quilt Market. My, how time flies when you’re playing catch up – but now that the dust has settled… Continue reading

Be My Neighbor Block 6

Whew – What a weekend! I’m thrilled to report that among other things, I got to watch my #4 play college lacrosse and I also sewed LOTS. Most importantly, I got a few more blocks ahead of my Be My Neighbor sew along piecing so I don’t fall behind as I did for my LAME-O Block 4 post, when I literally didn’t get my block done in time for the Monday blueprints release. Ack. Nobody likes to be behind the 8 ball like that.

My block turned out like this:bmn-block-6

Before you ask – I’m not a fan of it. I sort of got stuck for a while on the fact that roofs are historically certain colors or shades of earthy tones and I’m annoyed that I chose the color Wren which frankly I love – just not up against New Russet Orange, also a perfectly happy Grunge shade.  My slightly imperfect diamond shapes are created from Juniper Berry Aqua Blue, which is one of my MOST favorites!

As mentioned, I’m several blocks ahead of this one and can confidently say I’ve gotten over the idea that my roof colors need  to be earthy. I learn, by golly…every day I learn 🙂

This week’s BMN block blueprints are below. If you’re following along – I hope you’ll tag me at Instagram! @serendipitywoods, so I can see how your blocks are coming along!

be-my-neighbor-block-6

Cheers and Happy Monday 🙂

 

 

A Beautiful (yet insanely busy) Day in My Neighborhood, and Other Sew Along News

I know – it’s Monday.  That means it’s release day for Block 3 for the Moda Be My Neighbor Sew Along, and you know what? I’m ready, kind of; Continue reading

Be My Neighbor Sew Along, Block 2

In general, I’m not a ‘fallish’ kind of gal – but today’s kind of fall, I’ll take! I’m sharing the view outside my studio window this morning (from outside my studio window).  Continue reading

Please Won’t you Be Our Neighbor?

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Welcome to our neighborhood in the making!

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?

As some of you may remember, last May marked my very first trip to International Quilt Market.

Continue reading

The Sometimes Perplexing Scant 1/4″ & What’s Thread Got to Do with it?

“Use a scant 1/4.” I’ve read this in multiple patterns and though it’s not necessarily a difficult concept to get my arms around, knowing why – or more importantly when – to use it has always escaped me for some reason, until yesterday.

First, let me show you the current view from my desk at any given time during my day (when I’m not cutting fabric or living life, in general).

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Carina Gardner’s gorgeous Posy Garden on the bottom shelf (from which I’ll be creating my next project, no question!) and the Sweetwater Bella Solids Collection on top which, if you ask me, has got to be one of the most joyful collections of simple solids ever assembled on purpose. I’m in love with these fabrics together beyond words!

Add to this to my growing love affair with Bella Solids in general, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to create a quilt with Moda’s Sampler Shuffle – a series of 30 – 6″ blocks designed by Moda designers – which were released to quilt shops last November at Quilt Market, Houston.  I can’t say I’ve seen them created with Bellas, but as I’ve spent the last week or so staring longingly at the above image, The Sweetwater Bellas became an obvious choice.

So far so good…

Sweetwater Blocks

Blocks 1 and 2 of the Moda Sampler Shuffle set of blocks, in Sweetwater Bella Solids.

All was going well until I made the 4th block, which had an awful lot of pieces (equating to an awful lot of seams)

Lots of Tiny Pieces = Scant 1:4 inch.jpg

Needless to say, I made it once, but decided to remake it. Here’s why:

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The block on the right is Block 1 in the series which does have a fair few pieces, but went together comfortably with a standard 1/4″ seam allowance, finishing up at the correct 6 1/2″ needed.  The center block, however, is my first attempt at Block 4, using a standard 1/4″ seam allowance without thinking much about it. It’s at least 5/8″ too small all the way around. The block on the left is a remake if Block 4, using scant 1/4″ seam allowances.

Meh. 5/8″ isn’t all that big of a deal, right? Actually, it’s not the end of the world, until you’re trying to put a bunch of blocks together that are supposed to be the same size. 5/8″ can be a lot and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to have to stretch my seams that much to make them line up comfortably.  This is where the proverbial ‘scant 1/4 inch’ comes into play and why it is sometimes a pretty handy and necessary process for making our blocks the right size.

A scant 1/4″ is really nothing more than this:

Scant 1:4" Jane.jpeg

A scant 1/4″ is merely defined as a slightly smaller than 1/4″ seam allowance than a standard 1/4″ seam allowance. Where it’s useful in particular, is when you’ve a small block with lots of small pieces.

Essentially, it all boils down to just how many seams we’re incorporating into any given block.  Think of it this way – the more seams, the more seam allowances; the more rows, the smaller each block has the propensity to become as we go along, depending on how much attention we pay to seam allowance with each seam we create.

ALSO! In case you wondered – the fineness of the thread we use can make a difference as well.  It’s why when I first tried Aurifil 50wt , I switched to it without even passing Go or collecting $200 (Monopoly never really leaves your psyche once you play it as a kid, ya know? But lest I degress…). Anyway, while you wouldn’t think the density of thread would matter much, I find that it makes my seams less bulky, which can make a sizable different across the span of a quilt, not to mention – a bunny outfit.

Sophie Daytime Nighty Aurifil

According to the bunnies, their clothes fit a whole lot more comfortably when the seams are less bulky.

4 Sampler Shuffle Blocks

As I go along making 30 – 6″ blocks, it matters in the grand scheme that they’re all as close to 6 1/2″ (unfinished) as possible, if I want them to line up fairly comfortably in a finished quilt.

“What did you do with the poor, little too-small block?”

Great question.

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I made it into a little 6″ placemat I can use at my desk for a bowl of soup while I’m working over lunch. It also makes a great little nightstand mat for my cell phone. In all, what I appreciate about Sweetwater fabric collections is how versatile they are.  for the binding of my little mat, I used a fabric from the Cookie Exchange, a current Sweetwater holiday line. My point is, when it’s altogether – it’s festive and Christmassy – but often, when used individually, Sweetwater Christmas fabrics are versatile enough not to scream CHRISTMAS! unless you want them to 🙂

In the end, the question begs: is it really critical to pay so much attention to precision at the tiniest level with respect to seam allowances and thread density? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to two things – the longer we’ve been quilting, I think, the more it begins to matter to us that our work reflects our level of experience. Secondarily, every little seam, whether attentive to exactness of seam allowance or what kind of thread we use, adds up.  For the purpose of this post – I’m just giving you a little food for thought 🙂

I wish you happy sewing my friends,

Pam

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Our Modern Heritage BOM Kickoff!

I feel like it was forever ago that we announced our first ever Block of the Month featuring blocks from Amy Ellis’ newly released Modern Heritage Quilts.

Modern Heritage Quilts Book

I’m happy to announce, first kits shipped on Thursday and I say – let the BOMING begin!

Our first block is a simple Cross block, and we’ll be making 13.

Block 1-10

I love most that we started with this particular block because indeed cross blocks signify to me a community of people coming together for common goals.  In our case – there are 22 of us participating in this project, and it’s really a remarkable gathering of women from almost every corner of the US!

One of the things I most realized as I started these blocks is how many fabrics are, in some capacity, directional. Some of us can throw caution to the wind and not give two hoots whether our prints are going in the same direction. Some of us, on the other hand, are not so lucky and we need a little directional semblance…might I suggest:

Block 1-8

When it matters to you that the directional prints of your Cross blocks all go in the same direction, cut your long strip on either side of the square from which you’re cutting it, and cut the side pieces actually horizontal to the long center strip.

Block 1-7

It also helps to have a portable pressing board that you can take back and forth between your cutting station and your machine/pressing station.

If you’re receiving your BOM kits and haven’t quite made it over to our BOM Group Page, I hope you’ll head on over and introduce yourself – it’s getting to be a pretty lively gathering for Q & A and just some great quilting chatter!

Cheers and Happy Cross Block Making,

Pam

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