January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's been awhile since I've posted for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced but it doesn't mean I haven't been doing any sewing.

I've been trying out a new machine-quilting style for one of the projects I decided to tackle as part of the Finish-A-Long with Leanne. I chose just 2 projects to finish for this quarter that have been sitting around FOREVER and thought it about time I made a dent in the UFO's. Of course I plan to work on far more than just these 2 quilts but this will at least get me finishing those projects that get set aside and sometimes forgotten.

The current quilt under progress right now is one of the smaller samples I made as part of my first pattern "Facets". I've really admired the circular quilting done so beautifully by people like Karen at Blooming Poppies and have always wanted to give it a try. (Check out her tutorial for circular quilting here.) This quilt seemed like a good choice to try the circular quilting on because it's always reminded me of ripples of color expanding outward just like the ripples of quilting expanding out from the center. I'm so glad it's small because I don't know if I could handle a larger quilt with the small arm space on my machine. Not a lot of progress yet but I plan to work on it more this week.

In an effort to get more involved this year, I'm taking part in my very first quilting bee. The Mid Century Modern Bee put together by Cindy at Live A Colorful Life. You can read more about the bee and see my first block here.

I'm also joining the newly formed Boulder Modern Quilt Guild which will have their first meeting in March. I've been a bit isolated here in my studio and look forward to getting out and making new quilty friends in person. If you live in the Boulder CO area and are interested check out the Facebook page.

My new year also started off with a project I was asked to do for a magazine. All I can show for now is this sneak peek.

One last note, I'm curious as to what you think about fusible batting. Has anyone used it for lap size quilts and does it stay fused while you work without shifting from all the manhandling? What brand do you use?
Connecting Threads has batting on sale through mid February and I thought I might give it a try.

Hope you are having fun stitching away into the new year.

January 29, 2013

I've Been Published!

Pardon my excitement but this is the first big project I've had published and as you can tell, I'm thrilled! I have a sewing project in the current issue of Stitch magazine (p 43) on newsstands now.

In an August post, I alluded to a project I was working on involving these lovely Amy Butler fabrics.

I am pleased to finally be able to show you the final project. It's a set of custom light shades that slip over a strand of little twinkle lights.

There are so many different applications for these cute little shades. You can make them to match the decor in any room of your house, porch or garden. A fusible vinyl makes them usable outdoors as well as inside.

I think they would be lovely for a garden wedding or special occasion party. I'm sure you could come up with all kinds of ideas where this handmade project would add just the right touch of ambience to your special occasion.

Outer shade features the Amy Butler print
combined with 4 different solids for the inner shade.

Close up of the shade.

Tucked in a tree along the front sidewalk of our home.

Hanging under a vine covered arch in the backyard.

I had so much fun making these and hope you'll consider giving it a try yourself. You can find the directions in the Spring 2013 issue of Stitch magazine published by Interweave Press. If you make any I would really love to see them. Post them on my Flickr account here.

Hope your new year is full of stitchy goodness.

January 27, 2013

Old and Precious . . . New and Adorable

Many of you know my quilty kitty Shadow and all the fun and frustration she managed to provide in my studio while I worked. I even blamed her ("It's the Cat's fault") for one of my more challenging quilting experiences. Shadow always found every quilt I was working on no matter where it happened to be and made herself at home. Every quilt was Shadow approved. She sat on top of my laptop, on the keyboard (her typing skills were questionable), on the ironing board, on the cutting mat, on the fabric, and would have sat on top of the sewing machine if she could. Sometimes I was afraid her tail would flip under my rotary cutter or under the needle while I sewed like you'd expect on some silly cartoon . . .  thankfully it never did. She kept me company in my studio by day and on my lap in the evening while I read or sketched new quilt designs. I think she probably dreamed quilting along with me while she slept on my head by night.

Shadow . . . my precious baby!

On her last day with us, we were able to love and comfort her into her final sleep. Sad for us but a real blessing for her to be at home surrounded by love. This all happened in November and over Thanksgiving when our kids were home from college which was another blessing as well. It's taken me some time to be able to post about her. We had her for 15 wonderful years. She was and always will be my precious quilty kitty.

Needless to say there was a sadness around the house and we thought maybe by spring we might be ready for a new cat. School finished up and kids were once again home for Christmas break. Then out of the blue, I came home from the grocery store in mid December with loads of groceries and a brown paper bag full of not one but two little kittens. So very unlike me and so unplanned that it just had to be right.

Now a new saga begins and new challenges arise. Kittens like to play, and chew, and climb, and claw, and run, and eventually sleep. I see my studio now through cat eyes. How much fabric might be clawed. How many spools of thread might be unwound, how much batting might be batted about, will the quilt top on the design wall be pulled down, will a nose be burned on the iron or a pin swallowed? Yes, I've had to kitten proof my studio as best I can while still trying to be productive. And just when I think I have it safe for them and my quilting, they find something new to get into. I don't dare leave them alone in here . . .  who knows what would happen. I might even sit on them one day as they have taken to sleeping under the throw that covers my ugly studio chair instead of on top of it where Shadow liked to hang out.

They have won my heart. They are adorable. I'd like to introduce you to LuLu and Opal . . . my newest quilty kitties. I'm sure you'll get to know them as they learn the ways of becoming quilty kitties too. May they too live a long and purrrfect life.

LuLu (white face) and Opal (dark face) . . .
my adorable new babies!!

January 20, 2013

First Bee, First Block

I'm so excited to be participating in my very first quilting bee. The Mid Century Modern Bee was pulled together by Cindy over at Live A Colorful Life and I'm thrilled that she invited me. She brought together 13 talented quilters that I really look forward to working with. The mid century reference has a little something to do with our ages . . . enough said.  : )

We started off the year with a great little scrappy pink, orange, white, red block requested by Carla at Lollyquiltz. Here's my block. It was fun to make with a nice clear tutorial from Carla. I just love this color scheme. I actually have a couple of quilts in the design/planning stage that use the same general scheme so it was fun to pick the fabrics for this block and explore the colors a bit.

All the other blocks are really nice so I think Carla's quilt is going to be one hot little number when she gets done. Can't wait to see her finished quilt.

January 13, 2013

2013 Finish-A-Long 1st Quarter

I just happened upon Leanne's post about the Finish-A-Long a couple of days ago. Yes, I'm very behind in my blog reading. What can I say. It's another of my many New Years resolutions . . . getting better at blogging. Anyway, it seemed like the perfect time to commit to actually finishing a few things so I'm jumping in at the last minute.

To get a handle on my finished vs unfinished projects, I finally took an inventory last week as part of my big plan to get more organized and more accomplished in 2013. I really had no idea how many quilts I'd made over the years. I just knew there were far far too many unfinished ones. I'm embarrassed to admit just how many . . . maybe one of these days I'll confess.

So to start off the Finish-A-Long, I'm selecting just 2 of the many projects patiently awaiting completion.

The first is a small quilt inspired by a Valori Wells quilt a few years ago. I didn't like the direction it was taking and just kind of put it aside. But I do have a plan for finishing the top and it will be the perfect opportunity to try out a new machine quilting pattern that I'm thinking of using on another quilt. Good practice if nothing else.

The second, is a top I did back when I was first designing my pattern Facets. I've never gotten it quilted  and would really like to wrap it up. This too will be a good practice top for improving my free motion skills.

It's late so I'll figure out the button another time. Look forward to seeing what everyone else gets accomplished this quarter. Good luck to all.

January 9, 2013

It's Been A Good Day

It's been a really good day here at Springleaf Studios.

Craftsy chose my pattern Cascade to be featured as one of their favorite pattern picks!  I'm thrilled, plus it's been a nice boost to my sales. You can see this pattern here and of course over at Craftsy. Hope you'll visit and consider giving it, or my other pattern, Facets a try. All my patterns are available in my Etsy shop.

I'm also in the midst of sewing together a new quilt that Generation Q asked me to make up for an upcoming issue. I just love their magazine! It's full of all kinds of quilty goodness so if you haven't seen an issue yet, go check one out or better yet subscribe and you won't miss anything.

2013 is off to a great start. I've got lots planned including more attention to my blog so I hope you'll become a follower and keep visiting. Wishing all of you a great 2013 full of lots of fabric fun.