Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 5

I have never shopped with as little restraint for fabric as I did when I was on vacation this summer. You can read about other stops on my Fabric Shop Tour here:
1. Heirloom Quilts, Richmond, KY
3. Country Stitches, Lansing, MI
4. Everlasting Stitches, Holt, MI

I didn't think I would have room left in my tiny car for any more fabric, but when I discovered Pink Castle Fabric was in Ann Arbor I knew I would have to make at least one more stop in Michigan before my vacation was over. I have to say, this store isn't the easiest to find, but I was so glad I did! It is located in a small warehouse commercial park where there are several buildings that all look the same until you come to the one with the big pink castle in the door. Pink Castle is unlike any other fabric store I have shopped. The majority of their retail occurs online, so the shop is organized by manufactures and lines. This makes it easier for the staff to pick and cut the orders that have been placed online. 

My first thought was to find fabrics that I might be able to use in red and white blocks that were requested by the WERQ Bee leader for the month of August. I got some Summer Plaid in Red, Pam Kitty Recipes in Red, Novelty News in White, Rush Hour Text in Black and White, and Word Search in White. Check out my last Sunday Stash to see other red and white fabrics and how they all came together to make red and white purse string blocks.


I picked up some Spirodraft in Ocre, Triangularity in Mustard, Dottie in Goldilocks, XOXO in Shag Carpet, Vintage Scales in Green, and Simple Plaid in Lime. 

I just couldn't stop and added a few more bolts to the growing stack. I included some Heather Ross Far Far Away Snails in Pink, Far Far Away Frog Prince in Pink, Little Town in Glee, Netorious in Roadster, Threaded Shreds in Mamey, and Simple Plaid in Red. (I'm starting to wonder where the color names come from. . .Mamey, Glee, Roadster???)


Finally there was this awesome little fabric bundle that was all alone on a shelf. The colors made me think of the orange groves. The bundle is aptly named Orange Tree and was curated by Brenda from Just a Bit Frayed.  It includes Spice Plain Gingham in Gray, Savvy Dots in Orange, Beatrice Weave in Emerald, Woodgrain in Bark, Full Mood Polka Dot in Tangerine, Briar Rose Strawberry in Orange, Vintage Leaf in Orange, and Tiny Gingham in Kiwi. 

Phew! That was the most fabric that I ever purchased at one time, but my adventures are still not done. Be sure to stop back next week for the last stop on my Fabric Shop Tour. As usual I 'm linking up with Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 4

On my summer vacation to Michigan recently the usual visits with family and friends took an unexpected turn, fabric shopping! In this Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour stop I visited Everlasting Stitches. This is another shop that came with high recommendations from my mom. I can see why the shop was so appealing to her, one the staples of this shop is a selection of Civil War reproduction fabrics. My mom loves the darker and muted colors and the small motifs of the patterns. While those are not the fabrics I tend to gravitate towards, I can appreciate their appeal. During this shopping adventure, I couldn't help but think different locations make different colors and different patterns come to life. The reproduction fabrics make sense in Michigan. 


I chose some of the Wee Wander fabrics by Sara Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics. There is Nature Walk Pink, and Woods Petal. Then I picked up some text based fabric with a news paper print and one with numbers that could be a variety of dates and a little dashed red print. Unfortunately I put the three of those to use before recording any of the makers details. 


I also got this Aspen Frost print called Tin Solider from Moda. It was on clearance so I bought the end of the bolt. I thought this one would go well with the Alexander Henry Christmas fabric I picked up earlier on the trip.

Finished Purse String Blocks in red and white.

The red and white fabrics were combined with others from my stash for these Purse String Blocks for the WERQ Bee bee leader. The pattern was easy to follow with Kelly's tutorial on My Quilt Infatuation. My favorite part is how easily it is to re-purpose some of the trimmed pieces into sweet little pinwheels.
Pretty pinwheels from the left over pieces.
 Once again I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash. What colors would you use for a purse string block?

Jan-Micael

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mystery Quilt and Half Square Triangle Hacks

My new blog friend Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a mystery quilt along for her Foothills Mystery Quilt. I had never heard of a mystery quilt before I stumbled across Cheryl's blog. I love mysteries and love quilts so I thought this would be a great combination. So far I have learned that in a mystery quilt game the quilt design is broken down into steps to make various pieces of the final design. The final quilt is a surprise that comes together with the final steps of the game. The First step of the Foothills Mystery Quilt was selecting fabric. You can read about my choices here, and if you would like to join, there is still time, just check out Cheryl's blog. Participants cut all of the required pieces in the Second step. Now we are working on the Third Step: 144 half square triangle (HST) units. 

I created several HSTs for a recent quilt top design of my own and I used Cheryl's prescribed method, where you place two squares right side together and draw a line from point to point diagonally across the square and then sew 1/4" on each side of the drawn line. It's a fine method and worked very well for me, follow the link to see. 

Cardboard and tape make a great HST guide for my machine.
I expanded on an idea I borrowed from My Quilt Infatuation while constructing blocks for my WERQ Bee partner where you use tape to help guide squares so that you would not need to draw a line on each one. You place a piece of tape on your sewing machine so that the edge of the tape is 1/4" away from the needle. Then you just line up the points of the square with the tape and sew without having to draw the line!

This would have worked perfectly for me, except the surface of my machine was too small for the 4" square that we are sewing in the mystery quilt. Using some cardboard from a granola bar box and some masking tape I fashioned an extension to my machine. 

The extension attached to my machine base.
The points are all lined up.
If you line up the bottom and top points with the edge of the tape you can sew 1/4" from the center without having to make a mark. I added some triangle markers for the side corners, not that they were necessary, but because they helped speed up the process of lining up the squares just right. I'm sure this is not new, and there probably is a device available that does this same thing. I felt like MacGyver though, hacking into a better, faster, more efficient way of making all of these HSTs.

Chain stitching was a breeze, and guiding the fabric along the tape edge was a cinch.
Just guide them through.
The resulting pile of sewn HST!
Now that they were all sewn, I knew I would have to cut them and press them. I wasn't particularly looking forward to the cutting of them. I started cutting them though, one at a time as I have done before. Then MacGyver kicked in again. There was no reason to cut them only one at a time. 

Lined up on the 5" mark. 
I lined up the stitching line with one of the lines on my cutting board and overlapped the squares as shown. I was careful to make sure the lines all matched from top to bottom.



Use the blurry 1/4" mark on the ruler to line up with a stitching line and slice with the rotary cutter.


Again, I'm sure this is nothing new, but to me it was revolutionary and made cutting those HSTs in half much faster than I had ever imagined. I have to say I am loving this Mystery Game. I have gotten to try some new ideas, and I love that I am able to play with the blocks and imagine endless possibilities because I don't know what the end result will be. It's quite exhilarating! 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 3

While visiting with my family in Michigan this summer I went a little over the deep end with fabric purchases. Welcome to the third stop on my tour of fabric shops from my recent vacation. I have been drawn to bright colors, clean designs or loud patterns. I found some fabrics to fit my current state of mind at Country Stitches in East Lansing. The store is massive, it takes up three, or is it five bays of a strip mall. They have amazing sewing equipment (which if I had worked a second summer job I may have brought something shiny and expensive home with me that has the initials BL.) Since I didn't have the funds for a new power tool, I opted for fabric instead.   

I picked up some Chandelier Lace and Bird Cage Quiet both by Tina Givens for Westminster Fibers.
Opal Owl Bark also by Tina Givens for Westminster Fibers
 I didn't realize until typing this now that the three fabrics had the same designer! I guess I was just drawn to the colors and the line quality of the illustrations. The top two fabrics I chose for the colors. I have been on this pink, fuchsia, purple kind of kick and can't shake it, so I indulge my whimsy. Besides I couldn't pass these up, they were all super on sale, clearance racked with additional percentages off. I think the Opal Owl will make a great backing to some future project.

As I stated before, I have been drawn to brighter, cleaner, louder fabrics, but there is something about Michigan, or home, or an aesthetic of the mid-West that makes these earthier fabrics appealing as well. I'm not sure they fit with my style, but I can appreciate the colors and I love the little animals. These will become part of a gift quilt for someone special, and I'm looking forward to the thinking, memories, and love that will be poured into that project. 
A few for my next gifty project. Read about my first here.
All I know about the stripe is that it is "Not intended and not suitable for children's sleepwear." It was on the sales wall, along with the floral on the bottom of the pile. The floral is a Dear Stella Design and I think it's called Stella. I thought it would be a lovely light contrast to the stripes and the darker Forest Friends by Moda. Forest Friends, by the way has the most adorable selvage! 

Finally, there is a little something that I knew Seark would appreciate. I've been collecting some of the Alexander Henry male pin-ups. Hurry Down the Chimney is my favorite so far, but I would like to get some of the camping fabric. 
I've heard fabric described as 'yummy,' now I understand.
This is going to go into a project for Seark, but I have to find appropriate complementing fabrics. I'm leaning towards selecting fabrics to pull out some of the pinks, blues, and green... I'm thinking the overall quilt should have a festive theme. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks again for stopping by. I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles for the Sunday Stash. Be sure to stop back and visit the Groves. I plan to share more stops on my Fabric Shop Tour, some quilt stories that heard on my journey and more. Plus I have updates coming on the WerqBee! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mailbox Goodies!

Every weekday I check my mailbox and gather up the usual suspects; the local advertising paper, sales flyers, bills, mail for people who no longer live at this address, and insurance and credit card applications. Sometimes, however, the trip to the box at the end of the driveway ends in excitement as I tear open an envelope that I just know is filled with something good and quilty. I have to admit though that I've been remiss in posting about all the fantastic things that have come my way. 

The first fun quilt mail that I received was from the fantastic Lori Landenburger who blogs over at SewPsyched. Way way back in April she hosted a fun little give away featuring a gift of April Showers by Bonnie and Camille in both a set of fat 1/8th and a mini charm pack. I, myself, was new to blogging and just getting to know the wonderful community that abounds, and nominated Lorna McMahon at Sew Fresh Quilts to play along with me. I was selected as a winner and soon there was a chilly little package from Lori's frozen Alaska in my steamy Florida mail box. I split the goods and sent half of it to my new friend Lorna in a pay it forward fashion. (I do hope it made it to you Lorna. I never know about the crossing of borders business!) I almost forgot, I'm linking up with Lorna and her Let's Bee Social Linky Party too!

I have a little left after sending some to Lorna. I still have to make something sweet with this charming little gift!
The second surprise came from the fabulous folks at GenerationQ Magazine. I played in a little activity that they feature called "Block Builder." I had been contacted to provide some more information about the block that I designed. (I wrote about it here and here with regards to my art class.) I was so excited to even be in communique with someone from this magazine, I might have even been ecstatic just to talk to a subscription representative, why not!? Anyway, I was blown away that one of my designs was going to be published! Then I forgot about it, the end of a school year, the start of summer. . .until one day that magic mailbox spit out a giant envelope.

A copy of the magazine with me in it! (Can I say I'm published?), and a signed copy of Stitch 'n Swap!





Here I am on page 13! Directly following a stellar article about Libs Elliott! Someday I may design great things like her!

I've had to think about getting a bigger mailbox! Just last week I entered a swell giveaway hosted by Alison Glass on Instagram and won again!!! She sent over four of her newest quilt patterns, which are gorgeous and will be have been added to the quilty bucket list. In fact, I was so infatuated by the Timber pattern that I went right out and purchased some fabrics get it started. (And I had a stash problem!?) 
I can't wait to make them all!


I already had the beautiful mossy striped batik fabric, a complementary muted batik, and the wrinkly grey picked out and put together for an unforeseen project in my future. I added some more neutrals and fun pops of color.
These are a mix of New Aged Muslin by Marcus and Peppered Cottons from Studio E.
I am in love with the texture of the New Aged Muslins. They feel as if they have already been starched heavily but have a lovely wrinkly texture. I think it will create a great visual contrast with the smooth nature of the other fabrics. The Peppered Cottons are also very beautiful. They are yarn dyed shot cottons. So the warp threads and the weft threads are different colors. This makes them almost seem to shine and from different angles you see different colors. These will help pick up the many color variations of the stripe batik fabric that I already had in my stash.


I supplemented the neutrals I already had on hand with a few more of the New Aged Muslin colors!

I am looking forward to cutting the pattern and getting started on the piecing this weekend when I have a bit more time. Eeek! Thanks for reading along. I am linking to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story. I hope you are having fun with fabric and that perhaps we may exchange some fun quilty mail soon. :-)

-Jan-Michael

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 2

My summer travels to Michigan allowed me an opportunity to explore several fabric shops. While I am quite excited about the new additions to my collection of fabric, my greatest joy came from spending time with my mom. One day was devoted completely to sharing time with my mom and my aunt. After a late breakfast we headed to JoAnn's. While this is not my favorite choice to purchase quilting fabric, I had a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. My mom was looking forward to making some apple coasters that she had bookmarked in one of her many quilting magazines. We loaded up on fat quarters to represent a variety of apples; granny smith, cinnamon apple, candy apple, red delicious. . . additionally we found some fun sale fabrics.  
Will there be pillows in my future? 
 The stripey orange and grey fabrics reminded me of Libs Elliot, whom I follow on Instagram. I imagine those crazy lines chopped up and mixed with solids to create some very busy and possibly dizzying designs. The yellow and white print was also on sale. It is a heavier weight out door fabric that Seark liked for some pillows. At this point mom was already questioning if there was going to be enough room to haul all of my goodies back to Florida. I kept the rest of my hoarding shopping experiences hush hush, I didn't want mom to freak out! 

This is going to become a great mini quilt wall hanging to remind me of my trip!

Next stop was Kean's Store. If you ever find yourself in Mason, Michigan, please stop at Kean's. This store is amazing! It's been around for ages. I used to go with my grandmother on special occasions, and my mom talks about going when she was a child too. The aroma of freshly popped and buttery popcorn greets you at the door, mixed with the sweet fragrances of the candy counter. The store is difficult to describe, as they carry a little bit of everything; fabric, candles, greeting cards, home decor, toys, school supplies, and seasonal items. Here I could not help dipping my toes into the Row by Row experience. (If you've not heard of this, you can read about it here.) The folks at Kean's designed a row that was the perfect quilty souvenir for my trip to Michigan. They chose great traditional blocks that remind me of summers in the mitten state and complemented them with spectacular fabric in an outdoorsy camping forest nature theme. I can't wait to create this row, but first I have to get the instructions which I accidentally left as a bookmark in one of the many quilting magazines that I found myself reading at my parents house!  

Mom is cutting fabric for apple coasters.
 I really enjoyed working on a project with my mom. While we didn't finish the coasters, we made a really great start, and now my mom has another project to add to her stash of works in progress. Somewhere during this vacation I came to the realization that my life is full of memories and more recently (read since I moved to Florida) those memories haven't included my family as much as I would like. I will cherish half made apple coasters and add that memory to a file that is growing at a much slower pace than it once did.

The magazine said we could make them in one day. A two week vacation and they are still a WIP.

You can read more about the beginning of my Fabric Shop Tour adventures here. I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash. If you haven't already, check out his No Value Does Not Equal Free post! Wowza! Gorgeous quilt, and thought provoking read.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 1

I recently returned from an end of summer vacation to the mitten state Michigan. It's a go to place for people who live in vacation destinations like central Florida. Seark and I packed up our Smart car and zoomed through five states, some mountains, several large cities and miles of corn fields to reach my hometown! Now I know that my last Sunday Stash questioned the ethics of stashing fabric, but I could not find restraint on this trip. Hence piles of fabric that look like they are going to topple over and smash someone. 

The spoils of a two week vacation/road trip!
Of course the two week vacation was not all about fabric shopping, though one might think otherwise if they only looked at the first photo in this post. Rest assured there were further adventures. We went to the county fair and feasted on fried goodies, meandered the midway and examined the exhibits.

The Ferris Wheel reminded me of the groves with the orange and green color scheme. 

We stopped in Kalamazoo to visit my alma mater, Western Michigan University, which has changed and grown to become even more beautiful than I remember. 

Miller Fountain Plaza (I may or may not have gone for a late night swim in that fountain.)
 We drove to Saugatuck and the west coast of Michigan to see the 'beach' and take in the sights and sound of the Great Lake Michigan. The water was really cold and I did not go swimming here, though we did get our feet wet.
The water has a gentler sound, lapping against the shore rather than the crashing waves of Florida beaches.

Not only did I bring home fabric, but also zesty homemade pickles, tart strawberry and rhubarb jam, childhood quilts, and the gem pictured below. This is the sewing cabinet that sat at the end of the hallway in front of a closet door at my grandmother's house. I remember rolling it aside every December to retrieve the Christmas decorations stored in the closet behind it. It contains some treasures that I may write about in a future post, the fondest of which is scent that brings memories flooding back of my childhood.


Now since this is Sunday Stash and you may have noticed that I've subtitled this Fabric Shop Tour, I will share a little more specific information about the fabrics I purchased on this trip and where I stopped along the way. The first quilting stop on this adventure was in Kentucky. Just north of Barea, KY in Richmond we stopped at Heirlooms Quilt Shoppe. Don't let the name fool you, this store was full of bright, modern prints. The staff was energetic and knowledgeable.  I picked up Citrus Slices, a Michael Miller fabric, and this other great metallic print that I bought in a fat quarter and did not get the selvage with the information about the maker. :( Sorry.  

Beautiful fabrics found at Heirlooms Quilt Shoppe.
There you have it, the first stop of many on a grand quilty adventure. Check back to find out where I went next. I also plan to share some quilt stories that found along the way. If you have any suggestions of information that might be helpful to you to share, please leave a comment. I'm linking up, once again with the fabulous Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash and the fantastic Lorna McMahon with Let's Bee Social.