Vendor Shopping

Last week I had a stall at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza outside Philadelphia.  That has been my favorite show to shop for years, because I tend to see stuff there that I don’t find other places.  So, with Lucy Boston on my mind, here’s what I came home with:

img_1758.jpgFrom the French Connection, yardage of a sweet little print that will make an understated backing, and two hand-stamped Batiks from Handloom Batik.

img_1759.jpgAn Indian hand woven ikat, Philip Jacobs, more hand stamped batik, and more Philip Jacobs.  I so love these vibrant colors…img_1760.jpgBut I also love little traditional prints, especially shirting-types.  They just go so nicely with so many other things.  I bought the claret one from two different vendors on two different days, so the universe must be trying to tell me something about it…img_1761.jpgOh, French Connection, you slay me year after year with these sweet little prints…img_1763.jpgKathy Doughty on the left (I have a weakness for odd colors) another hand-loom that will be fun to fussy cut, a delicate Kaffe ikat, and the wheat, just because.  I also picked up (another) one of Kathy Doughty’s books, and I’ve loved looking through it.  She has a fabulous way with color!img_1764.jpgOh, these squirrels.  Who knows if I ever will use this, but I love squirrels and if you love squirrels, you have to buy this print.  img_1765.jpgThe French Connection again- they also have these gorgeous African fabrics.  The geometric designs just call to me and mallard blue is my color of the year, so it seems!img_1767More Tula.  If you’re familiar with Tula, you know that this print has big frog faces hidden in it.  Well I don’t want the froggies looking at me, but this part of the print is super sweet.  img_1769Ahhh, the vintage button lady.  Who also had some hankies.  Look at these!  I am so pleased to have them in my repertoire and I will have no qualms about cutting them up!  img_1770.jpgAnd, this little card of darning thread in the prettiest palate, from Brooklyn Haberdashery.  If I actually had stockings in all these colors to darn, I would be one fashionable lady, indeed!

Art Gallery Fabrics giveaway winner!


Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway- I enjoyed reading what everyone thinks of applique!  Did you know that you can generate random numbers in Excel?  ( I didn’t, but the how-to popped up when I was googling “random number generator.”)



So the winner of this large bundle of Cultivate by Bonnie Christine is # 29, Chris, who said

I like hexies, actually I’m addicted to them. The peels are very sweet as is this wonderful child.

I am addicted to hexies too, and they are great for applique as well as English paper piecing 🙂  Email has been sent.

Thanks to Art Gallery Fabrics for sponsoring this fun project.

Ideas for pretty fabric?

Since making the Strawberry Shortcake Quilt I’m finding myself a little obsessed with putting red and bubble-gum pink together.  This little pile of fabrics practically assembled itself on my sewing table and it makes me so very happy, the way the whites and greys and deep blues provide contrast and balance to the sweetness of pink kitties and red cherries. But, I don’t have any idea what to do with it. I’m not going to start any more epic projects right now, but I wouldn’t mind taking a break from the epic for a single-afternoon-into-evening sort of project.  Something, maybe, that would be useful for baby and/or me.  Any suggestions?

Star Count

Last night I started a new English paper pieced project!

I have been completely smitten with this teeny floral since I found it at a quilt show last fall.  Like crazy in love, and I’ve been dying for a project where I could really enjoy using it.  Back then I was sure that the family-member-in-utero was a boy (and I wasn’t actually planning on finding out the gender at all until the big day, so a more neutral quilt would have been in order.) I thought this would make its way into a big quilt for me (it still might.)

But things changed and now that we know we are getting another little lady, I’m free to dream up sweet confectionery quilts in sherbert-y hues, and this fabric is the inspiration.

I started a preliminary fabric pull celebrating the pink-peach-orange-raspberry-lemon colors but I still need to pull some neutrals and something deep to ground all this sweetness.  How I love picking fabrics.

I’m linking up again with Jessica Alexandrakis’s Monday Morning Star Count and my count this week is: 1!

For the boy..

I have a new stack of fabric that I am so in love with…

All shot cottons from Kaffe Fassett.  This fabric, plus Dream Wool batting, makes the most squishy, silky soft and cuddly quilt you could ever dream of.  And if a quilt doesn’t make you want to curl up with it, then in my book it’s not a successful quilt.  So.  These are for my darling 10 year old, my only son, who for the most part gets passed by when it comes to handmade things.  Dolly carriers and tiny baby knits are what pop into my head when I want to make something for my kids, and I have to work a little harder to think of just the right something for an older boy.  But he is such a sweetie, so loving, and for god’s sake he puts up with a lot, being here with two much littler sisters day after day.  He really deserves to have something handmade by Mommy.  So with much love I have been planning this project, and waiting and thinking while some other things were finished up, and now I’m ready to begin.

I have a couple of different sketches I’m deciding between, but it’s definitely going to be something improvised and free, just something fun for me to play with for a few weeks.  I’m planning on some medium-dense hand quilting to really play up the lovely feel of the wool batting and make it something he will love to curl up with.

I’m popping these in the wash now as I type, and tomorrow they’ll be ready to cut into.  Maybe I’ll have a quilt top by Christmas?

Stocking up

I’ve got nothing but computer work lined up today, but I am comforted by the basket of freshly washed fabric acquisitions at me feet. (and a plate of Cranberry-Quinoa Scones from Aran Goyoaga’s beautiful cookbook)

I feel like a squirrel, putting things by for the long winter… we canned over 100 quarts of applesauce, some veggie soup too, I stocked up on water and pantry items (because I dream of stormy days when we are all cozily house-bound), there is talk of getting a chest freezer and a pig to put in it, and now a lovely collection of fabric for the cozy crafting months ahead.

Some of the fabrics in my basket mimic the view from my window.  The children wore themselves out already today, playing with dad in the leaves, and I want to make a quilt to remember these golden days.

Modern Solids

So, I got one more surprise from In The Beginning Fabrics- I had asked if they had any scraps of their Modern Solids that they could throw my way.  In stead of scraps, I got this:

A fat quarter bundle of the whole range.  Yum yum….

The Modern Solids are cross-weaves, which means that two different colors of threads are woven together to make a solid.  Jason from In The Beginning chose threads with only slight color variations, so the effect is very subtle- but it gives the fabric more depth and it’s just a little more interesting than a plain dyed solid.  It’s a really wonderful idea.

My favorite part of the bundle is the lovely range of neutrals that’s hiding under all the color:

The fabrics are a little sturdier than Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons, but not as thick as Robert Kaufman’s Carolina Chambrays.  In fact the weight is really similar to other quilting cottons, which makes them perfect if you’ve been afraid to quilt with the shot cottons.

Tonight is the hand-sewing club at Patches, so I have these cut out and ready to go!

Thanks again, In The Beginning!

Happy Mail

Last week I received a box from In The Beginning Fabrics- wait, let me back up…

Last month when I was mocking up this quilt pattern, I used several of Lida Enche’s fabrics from her Painted Summer line:

And I thought I really would like to have more of that fabric in my stash!  Fabric shopping has been on a bit of an involuntary hiatus around here, though, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write to In The Beginning and ask if they had any fabric laying around they could send me.  I also mentioned that the DC Modern Quilt Guild was holding a weekend retreat and would they like to send any additional fabric as door prizes for the retreat?

So.  I got a box!  With four full sets of caps of Lida’s lovely fabric!  These are made up for the sales reps to bring around to quilt shops to show off the fabric line.  They’re organized by color stories which makes them so very appealing!  Each set of caps is about equivalent to a fat eighth bundle of the entire line.  I kept one for myself and the other three were given away as door prizes at the retreat.  Mine are washed and dried and sitting in a lovely pile on my dining room sewing table.

Last week my favorite was the little flower print:

But tonight I’m smitten with these birdies in the garden:

What do you think I should make with them?  I’ve got a couple of ideas brewing but I’m not committed to anything yet.

(Oh and there was one other thing in the box that will get its own post really soon…)

Thanks ITB!

All About Orange

Woo-Hoo!  Pantone has announced their color of the year for 2012 and it is… orange!  Tangerine Tango, they are calling it, a luscious vermillion reddish-orange, the color of my dreams.

Pretty much every year my mom or a sister will give me a few pieces of this gorgeous Fiestaware for Christmas and birthdays. Really, I love it!

2011’s color, Honeysuckle, left me pretty cold; partly because if you call it honeysuckle I expect it to be pale yellow and instead we got watered-down magenta, and partly because its the already the color of various sippy cups, plastic bangles, and other cheap plastic crap that tends to accumulate in my house despite my preference for more elegant wooden playthings.

(boo honeysuckle)

But back to Tangerine Tango.

Tangerine Tango Too

I went to my stash to see what I already have in this color and it’s really a pathetic showing, considering that it’s one of my favorite colors.

A Kaffe print that’s a few years old:

Kaffe Fassett Fabric

A souvenir wrapping cloth my mom brought back from Japan:

Japanese Souvenir Fabric

An antique kimono silk intended to line an inky blue woolen coat (and which I have worn as-is for a scarf)

Antique Silk Kimono Fabric

Luscious, painterly, Laura Gunn Dogwood print-

Laura’s fabrics are simply perfection: rich layered color, depth and texture, and yet strikingly modern design.  Love:

Laura Gunn Fabric

And two solids; on the left is Kaffe Fassett’s shot cotton in vermillion (shot cotton is one of my favorite fabrics!  Almost too precious to use…) and on the right is a Kona cotton, Chinese Red I think.

Vermillion Solid Fabric

All precious, well loved members of my stash, but lonely.  In the past it’s been really hard to find prints I love in this particular color.  So, I’m hoping at least a few designers will be able to take this color and run with it this year, so I can beef up my stash and maybe even use some of it!

Quick Trick Brick Stack

A Natural Color Palette

Maple Flowers

Playing with color has to be one of my favorite parts of designing.  Of course there are many ways of pulling together a successful color palette, but for me I find that some of the most exciting color combinations are just waiting to be discovered outdoors in nature’s flora and fauna.  Nature’s palettes seem to have a special, “I never would have thought of that”  kind of compatibility.  Surprising, and yet perfectly harmonious.  For the past few days I’ve been going through some photos I took in the early spring and pulling color palettes from some of  my favorites.  I had so much fun creating these palettes that I want to bring them to life, so I’ve decided to do a series of quilt blocks based on them.

Maple Flowers

The first color grouping comes from this picture of a maple flower.  The chartreuse and limey greens of the flower are exactly what you think of when you think spring, but then when you look closer you can also notice the dark red at the base of the bud, little tinges of purple on the brown stem, and of course all the misty grays in the background.

Maple Flower Stack

So I pulled all of my fabrics that were close to these colors. (Well- all that I could find, since everything’s still stuck in boxes!)  Really this is one of the greatest parts of making things- sifting through my precious stash and picking out just the right fabrics.  I easily spent an hour or two on this step, because it’s so much fun!  Here’s the results of that first round:

Maple Flower Options 1

If I was using this palette for a whole quilt, I would try to use as many of these fabrics as I could.  Using 20 slightly different greens gives the quilt a richness that you would never get from using the same lime green 20 times.  But, for this project I’m just planning on making one block, so I had to narrow it down a lot.

Maple Flower First Three

These three fabrics were singing to me, so I started with them.  I love how the shapes on the gray one echo the shape of the maple flower.  The light green batik perfectly represents the color of  the tiny flowers.   And the purple just contrasts nicely.  I also noticed a bit of murky purple in the gray fabric.  Perfect.

Maple Flower More Options

The next one that caught my eye was the dark brown/white print.  It’s a nice companion to the purple for the block I have planned, and I like how the shapes in the fabric are similar to the gray print.

Star-Leaf Quilt Block

After I had these fabrics selected, I went back to my block diagram and colored it in, so I would know what I am looking for to round out the selection.  The fans in the corners resemble crinkly new maple leaves, so to play that up I made them green, and after that the other colors just fell into place.  The block will be English paper pieced, so all the weird angles are no problem.

New Maple Leaves

This is the edited lineup I ended up with: (hey, it’s a big block!)

Maple Flower Final Picks

I never know for sure what will work until I have everything cut and laid out, so I always save the “rejects” nearby in case I need to switch something out.

And just as an aside, I don’t think I can work this into the block I have planned, but look how well this Lizzy House print goes with my palette, right down to the king’s wee little boots!  This is destined to be some little bibs.  One of these days.

Lizzy House Print