Friday, November 15, 2013

Circles of Love Quilt

Today I want to share a quilt I finished in September.  It is called Circles of Love, and I made it for my sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer and was starting chemo the beginning of September.  

 The quilt design was from the book Hand Made with Love by Sarah Fielke.  The name of the quilt in the book is Bangles.  Of course being a hexi addict means I was completely smitten when I first saw the pattern.  I started piecing the quilt according to the directions in the book.

The book directions say to lay out the entire quilt and then piece together 3 adjoining pentagon shapes which makes a hexagon, and then piece all of those hexagons around the light colored hexagon.  Well this was like working on a rubiks cube puzzle and quilt.  I hated piecing because I kept getting fabrics out of order which messed up the circular hexi effect.  So after piecing 5 "blocks" like this picture above I decided to try my own piecing. I kept wanting to piece each encircled hexi separately and then lay them out as the larger hexagons in rows.  So I tried it and found it so much easier!  Each of the same color pentagon shape was sewn around the off white hexagon.  Then those large hexagons were all laid out and pieced in rows.  It was all by machine, and while it was definitely fiddly to piece I really did enjoy seeing it come together.

As you can see I used lots of super cute fabrics, a lot are from Bonnie and Camille's Happy Go Lucky, and Vintage Modern.  But there are also fabrics from Amy Butler, and Flea Market Fancy, plus lots of other favorites.  I really love the color palette. 

I got the idea to contact my sister's friends and family and ask them to send me notes of encouragement for my sister, Cindy.  I then wrote all of the notes on the quilt inside each of the pieced hexi's.  I used a Pigma permanent Fabric marker in the Sepia color to do the writing.
I was in a rush to get the quilt done, as I wanted her to have it as she started chemo, so I machine quilted the quilt in an all over meander quilt design.  On two of the blocks I quilted the word Love.
I decided to bind the edge with a cute red print from the Bonnie and Camille line Vintage Modern  from Moda, that I just happened to have in my stash.
 I got the idea to round the corners of the quilt before adding the binding, after seeing one at a show that had been done that way.  It was the perfect finish for this quilt and I love the rounded corners, PLUS it was really easy to do!
I used a gray on white polka dot print I found at Joann Fabrics on the back.  Of course I didn't have quite enough, so I ended up filling out the edges by bordering the dot print with the red flower print I used for the binding.  I think it really sets off the grey dots.
I washed the quilt after I got it all done so it has that wonderful crinkle to the top which I love.  I got the quilt done and was able to give it to her just after her first chemo treatment in early September.  She was surprised and very touched with all of the words of encouragement, and Love and prayers that were part of the quilt. 

Quilt Stats
50" x 50"
Bangles pattern from Hand Made With Love by Sarah Fielke
batting used: Quilters Dream Request
Machine quilted with off white thread
binding: Bonnie and Camille Vintage Modern by Moda

I need to thank my daughter Kelly for the great photographs!  Thank you so much for stopping by, hope you enjoyed seeing Circles of Love, Sylvia

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Jacket Alabama Chanin Style

A little more than a year ago I was turned on to the amazing Natalie Chanin from Alabama Chanin. Check out her wonderful unique clothing designs at  So then I bought all 3 of her books which are wonderful, well written, and in which she shares every detail about making clothes just like she sells on her website.  I was completely amazed and in love with the style so I made a skirt using her techniques, you can see it here  After I had finished the skirt I decided to make another AC project that I had seen in the 3rd book Alabama Studio Sewing +Design.  It is a rectangular wrap/shawl which I thought would be an easy project.   I designed my own stencil design, made the stencil, painted the design, did all of the stitching and cutting out design, got it all finished tried it on and I hated it.  It was too stiff and didn't drape like it should to be flattering.  I folded it up and put it in a drawer.  Fast forward a few months, I was surfing on the Craftsy website and found that there is a Craftsy class by Natalie Chanin called Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric.  I immediately purchased the class and watched it.  The class was wonderful.  I enjoyed having Natalie Chanin "teaching me" all of her techniques and it got me super motivated to do another Alabama Chanin type garment.  I got the idea to use the shawl, which was essentially a 20" x 40" rectangle, as "fabric" to make a more fitted jacket.
I found a Vogue pattern (Sandra Betzina 1036) I liked.  I used plain black knit to make it so that I had enough fabric to cut out the jacket, and then I hand stitched the same stencil design on the black to help make the 2 fabrics work together.
The stencil design was done with a pearl white Lumiere fabric paint.  I like the color of it, but it made the fabric very stiff.  Which made the stitching a bit harder to do.  In the class Natalie talks about using an airbrush to do their stenciling.  It turns out I already have an airbrush so that is how I will stencil my next project.  Also I had used Perle cotton to do all the stitching on this project, which is not what Natalie usually uses, but I wanted the stitching on the black to stand out.  I did a bound edge along the neck and front and used a herringbone stitch to finish it.
Yes, I am already planning my next project.  I really love doing the hand stitching!  The class I took included a Donna Karan (V1263) Vogue pattern, and while I absolutely LOVE the design of the coat I'm just not sure I'm gonna love it on me.  It has a large shawl collar and an overlap at the front that I'm afraid will just make me look fat and frumpy. 
So, I have been searching for the perfect pattern style.  Not sure I have found it yet.  I actually really like the pattern of this grey/black jacket.  And it fits really well.  So I may just do another version of the same pattern.
I have worn this jacket and it is super comfy because of the knit fabric.  And it's great because it looks good with jeans, or a dressier black skirt.
Hope you enjoyed seeing my latest project, thanks for stopping by, Sylvia


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random Fall Happenings

I haven't posted in a while and this is the reason why... Newest granddaughter born in July (I will post newborn photos in another post).  Brooklyn Rae is now 3 months old.  We are all really enjoying her.
Brooklyn and Mom and Dad came to visit/Trick or Treat... here is Brooklyn in her Owl costume, after some coaxing she hooted or cooed it was so funny.
This is our grandson Ethan.  He played Soccer this fall, his first time.  He is showing off his medal he received when they had their final game a week ago.
All of the grandkids were here for some pumpkin carving on Saturday. 

As the day went on it got cooler so we made a campfire.
And if you have a campfire that means roasting hot dogs and of course marshmallows.
Which means we all enjoyed S'mores!!
And just in case you might think I haven't been doing any sewing here is a sneak peak at a quilt I made for my sister.
I call it Circles of Love and I will show lots of pics and tell you all about it soon.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, hope you are enjoying fall.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I have been working on a couple of projects.  First is the hexagons for the baby quilt.  They are 4" x 4.5" hexagons so I can piece them on the sewing machine.  Definately fiddly and time consuming - but so much faster than hand piecing!
Piecing the hexagons together.
Pressing all of those seam allowances - not fun.
I got a backing all pieced for the x plus quilt.  As you can see I ended up putting together some scraps used on the front, filled in with some Lilly belle from Bari J (I love this fabric), and finished it out with some solid gray fabric between the pieced areas.

Then I got it all layered last week when Kelly was here to help.  I always spray baste when I am going to machine quilt.  It is soooo much faster than pin basting.  I think we had this all together in about 20 min.

Quilt all together and ready to quilt.

I started quilting along the straight seams of the pluses with my walking foot, 1/4" from the seam.
This is how it looked after quilting all of the straight lines of the pluses.
Then I decided to free motion quilt a swirl design in the diagonals of the x's.  It is fairly time consuming, so I have about 6 blocks done so far. 
Hopefully I can get more of the free motion done this week :>)
Looking forward to May, and hopefully some nice weather.  April here in Indiana was a cold, gray, rainy month, much more so than usual.  In fact, we had 8.59" of rain this April and the most rain ever recorded in the month of April was in 1893 - 8.60" of rain.  So we were 1 tenth off from the record wettest April.  Well, I'm happy to leave this wet month and get to some warmer weather!  Of course once the weather gets nicer I won't want to be inside working on quilts. :>)
Hope you have a great week, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Really Random Rainy Thursday

It' been a really rainy, stormy day all day here.  So thought I would get a blogpost written and link up to
Really Random Thursday.
This is our Granddaughter Cora tentatively trying out her new scooter.  Papaw is helping her keep balance...  she got the hang of it and thought it was pretty fun on our flat driveway.  She has on the cutest dress and pants  - the pants have a large ruffle around the bottom that is completely covering her shoes.

I have been making more maternity outfits for Kelly.  This is a dress that I made from a length of rayon challis from JoAnns for the skirt and a purchased tank (from Penny's) for the top.  We had seen a similar dress in the Anthropology catalog for over $200.00.  Our version less than $20.00!!
I gathered the rayon onto the knit top allowing a bit of a curve in front to go over her baby tummy.  I then added elastic along the seam to keep it snug to her body, but yet allow for her to get in and out of it.  You can see my X Plus quilt in the background.  I have the top and backing all pieced and am ready to baste it for quilting.  I like to spray baste, so I am waiting till Kelly can come help me as it is so much easier with 2 people.


I live in Indiana and last week was the Vera Bradley outlet sale in Fort Wayne.  Is is about 2 hours from where I live so a friend and I did a day long road trip to the sale.  We had so much fun.  Started early went to a quilt shop in Roanoke IN on the way to Fort Wayne.  Unfortunately I forgot to take some pics, but they had a great selection of fabrics.  Then we went to lunch and then on to the sale.  We were pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to wait in line - usually there is a wait to get in.   This is a pic of the sale above, - we are talking about a football field sized coliseum with 15 rows of tables the entire length of the floor stacked up with Vera Bradley - tote bags, purses, wallets, duffles, bookbags, lunchbags, cosmetic bags, wristlets, blankets, notepads..... yes, anything and everything Vera Bradley they have at 50 - 70% off. 
We shopped for 3 hours or so, I got a weekender bag to replace an old one I have been using for 5 years and loved.  Also got a purse for me and a purse for a friend and a backpack for my youngest daughter's upcoming birthday.  They give you large pink garbage bags as you enter the sale to haul around what you want to buy.  Most people grab inventory they are interested in and put it in their bag and then eventually go through the bag and eliminate what they don't want.  As you can imagine with thousands of (mostly) women what a madhouse it is.  Anyway, I ended up with very sore arms and shoulders from hauling my bag of goodies around the show.  Could hardly pick up anything the next day :>) 
After the VB outlet sale my friend mentioned she knew of this amazing chocolate shop, DeBrands, that was right on our way out of town.  So we stopped and had the most amazing turtle sundae I think I have ever had!!

This is a peek at the beginnings of a baby quilt for Kelly and Doug's baby.  No we don't know if it's a girl or not so I am making a girl and a boy quilt and will keep whichever isn't needed for a gift for a future baby.   Originally this was going to be squares but then I got the "great" idea to cut out hexagons.  These were cut on my Accuquilt Go cutter so it's not too labor intensive.  And they are 4" x 5" so they are large enough I can piece them on the machine.
 Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed my radomness!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fun with X Plus

Just an update on the X plus quilt.  I have been working on it for the last few weeks and really having fun with it.  This is one of the blocks - love the pearl bracelet print. 

Here is a pic of 9 blocks pieced.  As you can see having fun playing with LOTS of fabrics.  Started out using scraps from this quilt below.
But after just a few blocks I was raiding my stash and coming up with lots more fabrics. 

And here it is almost all 36 blocks.  I was debating on what size to make the quilt.  The block finishes at 10" and this was at 6 blocks by 6 blocks.  But I ended up deciding to add 6 more blocks to make the quilt rectangular so it should end up around 60" x 70".  I love all the fun prints and color of this quilt. 

I was going to try to get the blocks pieced tonight, but not sure that will happen.  Lots of storms, which makes it difficult for me to get to studio which is in an outbuilding. 
So check back hopefully I can get it together and ready to quilt by next week. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stashing and Scrapping

Aren't these fabrics so cute?  Pearl Bracelet from Lizzy House, ordered from Sew Mama Sew.  I love these and decided to add to my stash - thinking of course of possible use in a baby quilt.  From the top are Essex yarn dyed in Flax, Crosshatch from Architextures in peach,  pearl bracelet in Persimmon, Watermelon, Peach, Ice skate, Glacier, Citron and Verbena. 
 We have had yet another snow storm - hit on Palm Sunday, and snowed a little all day Monday too,  8" of heavy wet snow.  So tired of the cold and snow and ready for Spring.  I'm thinking the Easter Bunny may need his Snowshoes :>)

Since my studio is in an outbuilding rather than in my house, this meant I had to once again dig out the snow boots and heavy coat to get over to sew. 
I had been blog surfing the other day and ran across this X Plus quilt.  It was big back in 2011, but somehow I missed it then. Badskirt Amy had a tutorial to make it,   I fell in love with the design and decided to try piecing a few blocks - Ha!  It is addictive.  And you think you are going to use up scraps , but uh, no, not so much. 
I started out doing pretty well with using scraps but then started cutting pieces to go with scraps... but I LOVE how the design is so interesting with the grid and the X's.

I have 12 blocks pieced now and am loving all the fun scrappiness (sorry for the bad photo).  Hope to get more done today. 

Thanks for stopping by, stop back to check on the progress of the X Plus.