About 6 months ago, I was introduced to Massdrop.com. The idea is that the site approaches vendors to buy items in bulk quantities, thus getting wholesale pricing, and is able to pass on the wholesale pricing to the customer without us needing to buy in bulk. They have various categories – audio, hobby, keyboards – but the one that I care about is quilting. I’ve purchased a few things through them and was really happy with the service and products. I’ve been trying not to spend but I do check in daily and follow the discussion boards and participate where I can. Right before I left for my trip, a gal at Massdrop contacted me and said they wanted to send me a goodie box as a thank you!
My box was waiting for me when I got home from Asia and I squee’d for a few of the items.
First off, was the Andover Chambray fat quarter pack that I had been on the fence about ordering (but ultimately decided against). They’re homespun fabrics where they’re made by weaving fabric threads together, rather than printing on dyeing fabric. They tend to ravel a bit more because they’re less tightly woven. What’s also cool is that there’s no front or back to the fabric. A few of them even have gold threads woven in!
The next item that made me squee was two cones of thread. I was running low on my black and white threads, so this was perfect. Upon closer examination, I saw that this is Aurifil thread and about fainted. Aurifil is one of the highest quality quilt fabrics on the market, wonderful to work with, and costs quite a bit more than the cheap stuff. I use the cheaper-but-still-100%-cotton threads since money’s always a little tight so this was like Christmas. These cones would cost $40-50 retail, each. Woohoo!
I also got a color card for the Michael Miller Cotton Couture line. When you open up a color card, it has a little swatch of every color in the line. It helps give you an accurate idea of what the colors look like when shopping and is kind of yummy to look at.
There were also a bunch of fusible products, printer fabric, glow in the dark thread, and cotton Twin batting. All of which I “need” for upcoming projects.
I’m so excited to start playing with my new toys. I feel very spoiled and love. Thank you Massdrop!!
Hi everyone! I am back from Asia and ready to get back into quilting.
To kick it off, this is Star Gazing. I’ve mentioned this once or twice but this is the first picture. A few years ago, I worked at a quilt shop and we did sampler after sampler BOMs before we said “I can’t do another sampler quilt!” which was when we (mostly Swan) started designing our own BOM. Typically, Swan designs, Kathie figures out how the heck to construct what Swan came up with, and then I do the graphics on the computer. Here is our newest, Star Gazing.
Right now, we have draft 1 for all of the patterns written up with pictures. While I was gone, Kathie and Swan were testing and editing. Swan’s version is limited to 8 colors since it’s easier to kit a BOM with fewer colors. But since I’m just doing my own for me, I have no color restrictions, so this is mine in all of its 16-ish color glory. I’m primarily using American Made Solids with a few Kona Cottons when I needed a certain color.
I will be posting pictures of each block. The pattern will be available through either Swan Amity Studios or possibly Quilters Market in Tucson… I’m not sure what the plan is; I just do the technical bits.
I live up in Seattle and this time of year is a little rough – it gets dark so early and there’s not a lot of sun. I’ve been designing a lot but haven’t felt like actually making much. Awhile ago someone suggested the idea of quilting 15 minutes every day. It doesn’t seem like a huge chunk of time for accomplishments (and it’s not) but if you’re waiting until you have hours, then you’ll get more done by doing a little something every day.
I wasn’t feeling the black and white quilt, so I decided to go back to my Urban Beads curved piecing. In December, I cut out all of the pieces. When I started sewing, I used my regular quarter inch foot and had some difficulties. The difficulty is that you’re sewing curves, rather than along a straight line, so you have to really watch on how everything is lining up to get the curves.
After sewing a few and being frustrated, I purchased a foot for doing curved piecing. When you lay them to sew them, one piece wants to go one direction and the other wants to go another. The foot has extra guides that help direct the fabric where it needs to go.
For my 15 minutes of sewing, I’ve been working on these. I’ve found it a lot easier to sew with much better results using the new foot (phew! It was a $50 investment and I was worried I would hate it). I have one side on all of the pinks and have done 1/3 of the blues. Until I iron them, they won’t lay flat so it makes it interesting to stack them. Ultimately, I will trim them to size so even though the top and bottom don’t line up, that’s okay (and expected).
I have an exciting announcement! I will be doing the graphics for a Block of the Month pattern series!
When I worked at Bella Quiltworks, two of my coworkers, Kathie and Swan (of Swan Amity Studios) designed a Block of the Month (BOM). We were tired of the traditional BOM sampler quilts where you make 12 blocks, maybe add some sashing, and tada, quilt (some examples here). They’re all well and good, but we needed something else. So Swan took some graph paper and designed Sense of Direction and Kathie figured out how in the heck to construct it. I was responsible for doing the computer work and making the graphics for the patterns. Here is my finished Sense of Direction quilt:
For the next year, Team SwaKaCa designed and put together another BOM for the shop named Star in the West. The quilt starts in the top left and then each month a border is added to the quilt. This is from Swan’s website where she sells the completed BOM pattern.
For mine, I’m doing it in greys. I love colors and patterned fabric and for the last year or so, I’ve been going through a grey phase as well as a solids phase. It’s been a bit odd, especially for those who know me. I picked out 10 white/grey fabrics and am using the black Moda Grunge fabric (not pictured) for the background. And the quilt’s name is 10 Shades of Grey. Someone suggested it as a joke and it stuck.
Since I’m getting ready to work on the new BOM, it seemed a prudent time to finally start on 10 Shades. I spent a few days cutting all of the black background for the whole quilt (benefit of having the whole pattern!) and assembled the “center” star.
For the new BOM, I can’t post the pattern since it’s a work in progress and not my property, but it is really awesome. It involves a lot of interlocking stars which is how it got its working title Star Gazing. I will be doing my version in American Brand Solids. They’re made in Seattle and the colors are yummy. Plus Fabric.com was having a December sale and I got them for 25% off – score! I have a few more greens coming, I already own some purples, and the background will be a few shades of grey, but everything is solid.
Now that I have the gift quilts finished and en route to their recipients, I can work on other projects. First up was making the last few blocks for GenXQuilter’s Vice Versa BOM. For this BOM, each month we made 2 blocks – 1 with the “standard” color placement where you have a white background and colored fabric making up the shape, and then reversed with the white in the shape and then the background is the color. So every block in the quilt has an inversed buddy. This was really fun to make and I’m looking forward to exploring inversing (it’s a verb 😀 ) blocks more in the future.
About one month ago, I purchased the Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful. This ruler promises to make it easier to cut concave and convex curves that fit perfectly together. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but I am incredibly excited and hoping it works as well as it promises!
For my first pattern, I’m going to do the Urban Beads pattern
I wanted to use a single color of the background. When I initially was shopping for fabric, I was planning to do a light background (a beige was the front runner) with my usual bright, bold colors for the beads. But, I decided to change it up and challenge myself to work outside of my comfort zone. I chose a dark purple for the background and the 5 lighter colors (below) for the beads. In the original pattern, each bead strand is one color – I’m planning to mix them up. These are the American Made Brand solid fabrics which are gorgeous. Every time I walk by them in a quilt shop, I just need to pet them. They’re made near me in Seattle, so that’s a nice bonus to stay local.
If you’ve never participated in a Block of the Month (or BOM) I highly recommend it. I’m doing Gen X Quilter’s Vice Versa BOM. The provided patterns are incredibly well written and descriptive. She provides instructions for both 9″ and 12″ finished blocks.
I have done my blocks through June, so I’m only a little behind! I chose to use some bright Kona Cottons. I’m currently going through a solids phase.
*Update* I finished July and August tonight, so they’ve been added to the pictures. All caught up and ready for September!