Opposite Attract Quilt : Cotton + Steel

I finally get to show you the finished Cotton + Steel Opposites Attract quilt top!

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This one is twin sized and will most likely be finding a home on Layla’s bed. I’m no even going to attempt to quilt it. I want it done soon, so I’ll likely send it out to the uber talented Gina Pina, who just quilted one of my quilts for Market that I’m dying to show you!

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I love the bold colors in this version. I was going for a high contrast look with the main fabrics and background, and while if I’m honest I’ll say its not exactly what I envisioned, I sure do love it. And I know I’ll love it even more once its finished. Now I need to figure out which Cotton + Steel fabric will make the best backing…. How on earth am I going to do that?!

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I’m sorry its so wrinkly! My pressing did’t survive the car ride, obviously.

Layla loves it. It spent the night on her bed already, and I think she quite likes the idea of having a quilt on her big girl bed. We moved her into a twin bed last year, and I’m just now getting around to making a quilt big enough. What kind of quilty mom am I, anyway?

If you’d like to make your own Opposites Attract Quilt, you can find it in my shop. You can also see other versions here, here, and here.

What have you been up to? Has Spring’s arrival got you itching to freshen up your house with bright colors?

-Meredith

HST Redux : the coaster tutorial

I’m back today with a tutorial for using up those half square triangle (HST) pieces you are bound to be left with at some point as a quilter. Don’t fret! They are far from useless. Today I’m going to prove it to you with a tutorial for making one of my all time favorite household items- coasters.20150324-DSC_0020

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Several Christmases ago, I showed you how to make some tree themed coasters, but this one will be perfect year round, and so great for busting through those triangle scraps! I’m using leftovers from a recent Opposites Attract Quilt I made using Cotton + Steel Basics.

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So here’s what you will need: triangle scraps, 4.5″ backing fabric for as many as you are making, and 4.5″ batting squares (again, for however many coasters you plan to make). You’ll also need a rotary cutter and mat, an iron, a sewing machine, a turning tool (perhaps  dull pencil or a knitting needle) and coordinating thread (I’m using Aurifil 50wt). You will probably be able to make one coaster in ten minutes, maybe less.

There are a million and two ways to arrange HSTs. You can use larger pieces, or you can cut them down and come up with a more complex arrangement. I went with hourglass blocks for mine because its quick and simple and looks great.20150324-DSC_0003

Assuming you are going with an hourglass shape, sew sides together so that the section in the middle is in line. (The 90º corner of the triangle will most likely be square, so this shouldn’t be difficult to do. If its not, consider squaring off that part before you begin.)20150324-DSC_0004

Press seams toward the colored portion, and then sew middle seam together. The middle seam should “lock” in place if you pressed to one side on the first step. Press the middle seam open.20150324-DSC_0006

Trim down to 4.5″ square using the 45º angles on your ruler as a guide.20150324-DSC_0008

Next, layer your pieces as follows: backing fabric right side up, HST block right side down, batting. 20150324-DSC_0009

You may want to use your walking foot for this part, or you can just sew with your batting on top. Begin toward the bottom of one side, and using a backstitch and 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around your square, pivoting at the corners. Stop and backstitch 1.5-2″ before you reach your starting point so you have room to turn your coaster. 20150324-DSC_0010

Trim the corners, but do not cut into your stitching. 20150324-DSC_0012

Turn coaster right side out using your turning tool to gently poke out the corners. Press coaster. 20150324-DSC_0013

Using an edgestitching foot, sew all around your coaster. This will close up the opening, and give your coaster a finished appearance. Press again, then you are finished! 20150324-DSC_0014 20150324-DSC_0015

I love making these coasters as gifts because you can do anything you want with the tops, and they are so useful! Really, they are better than any coaster I’ve ever purchased, AND they are machine washable.

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Go raid your scrap drawer and have fun! I want to see what you’re making, so post pictures to my Flickr page or use #OJHcoasters on Instagram.

-Meredith

Finding inspiration for a new beginning

I was recently asked to be a part of the Traveling Threads Bee which is a small group of women who are mailing out blocks each month on a circuit. At the end of the year, the blocks and the additions made by the group will circle their way back to the original owners who will finish up the quilts. I liked the idea, but man, I had the worst time finding inspiration for this one. No one else seemed to have an issue. I’m such a control freak; I normally plan out every single bit of a quilt before I even whip out my rotary cutter, so this was really a few steps outside of my comfort zone. I decided that regardless of the theme I began with, I ought to stick with a single collection of fabric so that even with a mish mash of styles, at least the fabric would coordinate. The obvious choice was just to go with Cotton and Steel because their entire range of fabrics coordinates perfectly, and there are so many to choose from. I quickly stashed a bunch of fat quarters to use and send in my package. That was the easy part.

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The real difficultly for me was coming up with a first block. This single block would determine the whole tone of the quilt. Did I want to start with a big star? Some patchwork squares? I was just clueless. That is, until I pulled out a piece of Melody Miller’s Mustang fabric. Gosh, that print is genius and it makes such a bold statement. I knew I had to recreate it for my quilt. I’m not into paper piecing a gazillion pieces to make a picture, so I asked my sister to blow me up a picture of the horse so I could make a template and applique my horse. I used the template to cut out my pieces which I fused together with some Wonder Under. I fused the whole horse to my favorite print from Melody’s new Playful collection. Then I went back and stitched it down using coordinating pink thread and clear polyester thread.

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It took a while for inspiration to find me, but I’m just tickled with the result. I really could not be happier, and I’m finally excited to send this fabric off on its journey around the country. I can’t wait to see what the other ladies decide to add.

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I’m going to be making another Mustang inspired quilt, and I’ll be happy to post a tutorial on my process if you would like a bit more clarity. Leave me a comment so I know if there is interest.

-Meredith

Caravan Tote

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I was recently commission to make a Caravan Tote for one of my very best customers. Gosh, I’m glad she requested this particular bag! Its Anna Graham’s (of Noodlehead) newest pattern, and its a really good one.

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I had lots of fun choosing coordinating Aurifil for the topstitching!

Its a very roomy tote with an outside snap pocket and outside zip pocket with slots for holding a host of knitting needles (or pens and pencils, perhaps). 20150313-DSC_0141

The inside features a slip pocket with grommets which I believe are for easily guiding yarn when knitting right from the bag. (They’re not pictured because I wasn’t able to insert them until after the pictures were taken.)20150313-DSC_0148 20150313-DSC_0146

The bag also comes with a coordinating pouch pattern, which really is a fun addition. 20150313-DSC_0157 20150313-DSC_0153

I loved making this bag. Its a well constructed bag, and a heavy-duty one at that. Anna is so great at using the perfect interfacings and linings so that her bags are perfectly structured. I love that even though this is a hand crafted bag, it is well made and it has a polished appearance. 20150313-DSC_0137

I also loved being able to use this amazing print from Anna Maria for the focal print. I didn’t get to enjoy this fabric when it debuted with Good Folks, but I’m certainly enjoying its rerelease with Folk Song. I chose coordinating prints and solids, including the grey floral from Anna Maria’s Honor Roll collection, XOXO in yellow from Cotton and Steel’s range of basics, and a few RJR Cotton Supreme Solids. The black chambray is from Andover- its texture is perfect and its a great weight for crafty items (heavier than Kaufman’s chambrays). As always, I used my favorite metal zippers from ZipIt.

I’m excited to show you what else I’ve been working on lately. The blog has been much quieter than I would like, but I’ve been a busy bee on the sewing machine!

-Meredith

Winners!

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Congratulations to Amy (#40) and Arianna M (#95)! I’ll be in touch so I can send out your fat quarter bundles of RJR Cotton Supreme Solids!

You can see the original post here.

-Meredith

Liberty Eye Candy

I don’t have much to say about this super secret project just yet, but I had to give you a sneak peak of this absolutely gorgeous eye candy! I never tire of Liberty of London. 20150309-DSC_0108

I hope you are having a great Wednesday! What are you up to this week?

-Meredith

Little Lady Liberty Blog Hop

Today I get to dish about two of my favorite things: Liberty and sewing for my girl. I was asked to be a part of the Little Lady Liberty Blog Hop, and I said yes right away because this one’s right up my alley.

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Little Lady Liberty is a brand new book written by Alice Garrett of Alice Caroline Supply in the UK. It’s a beginner level sewing and craft book for anyone who loves to sew for girls and anyone that loves Liberty. The book contains page after page of gorgeous, floral eye candy. Its not often I want to make more than a project or two from a book, but this one is so time friendly and everything is so dang pretty, I had a hard time narrowing down what project to do first.

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I decided my first project would be an Isabel Basket. I needed a place to put my new yarns and this was the perfect option and a great excuse to use Liberty too! The baskets in Alice’s book are quite a bit smaller than what I needed, so I just increased my measurements to accommodate my needs.20150309-DSC_0123

I also decided to forego the handles because I plan on keeping the basket under the table by my couch. Now that its finished, I do wish I would have included the handles because the basket doesn’t have enough structure for me to be able to carry it easily otherwise, even on that rare occasion when it does move from its spot.

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I really couldn’t stop with the basket, so I made a skirt as well.

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Toothless little Layla loves her new skirt! Its such a simple and awesome way to show off a favorite print.

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She’s such a lady. :)

Anyway, you can find the book either on Alice’s site or at Stitch Craft Create. I don’t think its readily available in the US just yet. I do recommend adding this one to your library if you have any young ladies in your life or if you just love Liberty’s rich, yet dainty florals. I was given a PDF copy of the book in order to post, but I’ll definitely be getting the hard copy since I’m not an online book sort of person. (Am I the only one that feels like that’s not the real thing?) Anyway- get the book!

Be sure to check out all the other fun stops on the blog tour!

Mon 2nd – Alice Caroline

Wed 4th – Crafting Not Cleaning

Thu 5th – Sew4Home

Fri 6th – Bloom

Sat 7th – A Spoonful of Sugar

Sun 8th – Fabricworm

Mon 9th – Pieced Brain

Tue 10th – Pretty Nostalgic

Wed 11th – Olivia Jane Handcrafted

Thu 12th – One Shabby Chick

Fri 13th – Sew Creative

Sat 14th – The Last Piece

Mon 16th – Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts

Tue 17th – Sew Crafty Jess

Wed 18th – Stitchery Dickory Dock

Fri 20th – Molly Flanders

Sat 21st – Fabric & Flowers

Sun 22nd – A Bright Corner

Mon 23rd – Follow the White Bunny

Tue 24th  – Straight Grain

Wed 25th  – Sew Justine Sew

Thu 26th  – Tracey Jay Quilts

Fri 27th  – Feather’s Flights

Sat 28th  – Monkey Do

Sun 29th  – Miss Print

Mon 30th  – This Blog Is Not For You

Tue 31st  – Sew Scrumptious

What Shade are You Blog Hop + Giveaway

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I’m so excited about today’s post! RJR asked me to be a part of their What Shade are You blog hop, and I was able to choose a variety of their Cotton Supreme Solids to work with and give away. I picked a variety of melon, pink, and violet shades with some creamy whites mixed in. Its a very cheerful palette, and one I’ve been very drawn to as the winter fades (not that we have winter here, ahem.)

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Anyway, I wanted a lot of variety within this color palette, so I mixed in some coordinating Cotton + Steel basics and a purple print from Anna Maria’s Honor Roll because it is perfectly suited for this color mix. I chose my project based on a gorgeous quilt that belongs to a family friend. Hers was hand pieced (!) and hand quilted in the mid to late 1800s by a great grandmother, and it is incredible. Absolutely breathtaking, actually. I wish I had a shot of the full quilt!

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After being totally blown away by the detail and beauty of this quilt, both in the age and in its history, I knew this was the perfect time to recreate my own version. The pattern for this quilt is called a Triple Irish Chain, and while it is typically assembled in blocks, I took the much more tedious road and assembled mine in rows because I felt like I would have more visual control over color placement this way. That said, I would probably go the block route next time. Sewing 60 1″ x 60″ strips can get tiring.

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just ignore the stick that fell on there. 

20150301-DSC_0018This quilt top took quite a lot of time and effort to put together. That said, I’m not a rush job kind of girl. If you frequent this blog, you know that I prefer to hand quilt my quilts, and that throwing together quilts and collecting them en masse is not my thing. The entire reason I love this craft so much is because of my grandmother’s love for exquisite quilts and treasures from days gone by. I get my love and appreciation for carefully made beautiful items from her.

The four sections with creamy colored solids are RJR solids, but the main grey is actually from Free Spirit, I think. Its one I had stashed and I used it because I needed a whole lot more neutral for the background than what I had, and it fit the bill.

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Lets talk about the fabric, shall we? You already know I’m quite taken with this spring-y palette. I’m so happy RJR asked me to be a part of this blog series, because I’ve now found a new collection of solids I’m thrilled to work with. Quality and weight wise, they are just like Cotton + Steel, Free Spirit, and Andover, which are all brands I adore. (and there are designer brands I do not like at all, so know this is my honest opinion.) The fabric didn’t shrink up with heat from the iron, and was just beautiful to handle. In short, its exactly what I expect when working with a designer fabric. The colors are just gorgeous, and they have a plethora more to choose from. I would highly recommend picking up a color card to compare colors. Its worlds better than trying to get an accurate picture on the computer.

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Would you like to with this fat quarter bundle of RJR solids? They have so generously offered up not one but two bundles to give away! All you have to do is leave me a comment letting me know what you would make with your bundle. Winner must be in the US or Canada, but no PO boxes! Sorry!

Good luck!

-Meredith

Celebrating and learning new things

Today is Layla’s fifth birthday. The festivities started yesterday with a small party with my family. She really wanted to go bowling again this year, so we rushed through presents and cake so we would have plenty of time to bowl. We got the the bowling alley and all the lanes were taken for leagues, so that will happen some other time. But I want to show you some pictures of the party because its been too long since Layla has had a feature on here. 20150304-DSC_0006

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We kept things small, as I said. We just got together with family and had a great time. And I didn’t do any hand made presents this year. I made up for it by attempting this cake. I saw one like it on Pinterest, and decided, heck. I can make that monster of a cake. So I did. I didn’t follow the tutorial on Pinterest because I didn’t have all the equipment it called for. I’m not a baker. In fact, I’m known as the female in the family with the least domestic talents. [see those amazing macaroons? My littlest sister made those.] So as I do most things, I winged it. I’ll leave a little note at the end in case you’re not a cake baker by trade, but want to make a cake like this. It’s humongus and delicious.

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Layla got some good presents. I was really hoping for anything other than toys. Activity items are good, and thankfully that’s what she got. We have accumulated so many toys, and we’re constantly having to purge. She seems happy!

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Wallace really enjoyed the festivities. He loved watching Layla react to her gifts, just had a good time being in the middle of all of it. He adores his big sister!

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This was the year of the pinata. She has wanted one for every birthday and I always forget. I know- I’m terrible. So I got her one even though she would be the only kid big enough to hit it. She went through three different bats before that darn thing finally broke open. It was very comical to watch, and I’m so glad we got the pinata.

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I can’t believe I have a five year old child. Its so strange to me how it can seem like yesterday that we were driving to the hospital to meet her, yet it also seems right that’s she’s five. I haven’t cried yet, but the day’s not over yet. I’m just so blessed to have beautiful, healthy children that I really find it overwhelming. I look at my life and think, I really do have everything I want.

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So you wanna make this cake? Here’s how I did it (and know that if I can do it, you can most certainly do it- perhaps with your eyes closed): I used 3 boxes of white cake mix. I mixed one at a time, and then divided it in half and colored each half. I baked them in 9″ round cake pans. I repeated this two more times so that I ended up with 6 layers (from the three cake boxes). I frosted in between each layer (NOT the top)  when the cakes were completely cool, and I made the buttercream frosting with Food Network’s recipe (which I tripled because this is a giant cake). After frosting in between each layer, I frosted the outside (again, not the top) with a regular ole spatula. Then I put the cake in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to help the frosting set. After that, I plopped a whole bunch more frosting on top and smoothed it out with my spatula and returned the very heavy cake back to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. While it cooled, I went online and printed off a fancy looking 5 and cut it out. After the cake cooled, I place the 5 on the cake top and started spreading sprinkles on the top. I just went slow and made sure they  were packed on there. I let them fall down the sides of the cake, and after I was finished with the top, I used a butter knife to gather up the sprinkles on the bottom of the cake holder and gently adhered them to the sides of the cake. I started at the bottom and worked all the way back up to the top. I just kept putting sprinkles around the cake stand and worked my way around. After I was finished, I carefully removed my 5 template, and voila. A finished cake. You can do it!!

Come back tomorrow to see an awesome new quilt and for a chance to win some fabrics from RJR!

-Meredith

The goings on

The past couple of weeks have been bumpy ones for me. But despite the demise of my machine, I’ve been sewing as much as I can on one I’m borrowing from a friend. Its not the same, but its doing the job. I’m terribly excited to show you some of the big projects I’ve been working on, but since I have to keep them hush hush until the right moment, I want to show you some of the custom things I’ve made for the shop.

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First up, I was asked to make one of my quilted crib sheets for a new babe who lives in a very cold climate. I hope it keeps her snuggly and warm!

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I also made a rag quilt, which was a request from a very good customer of mine.

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This was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but its a very heavy and soft quilt, and I know it will be well loved. Plus, aren’t those foxes adorable? I love this collection from Rae Hoekstra for Cloud 9.

So that’s all I have to show for now, but I can promise you will want to stay tuned because I have a LOAD of great stuff coming. Thank you so much for bearing with me through this time. I really hope to be able to get a replacement machine soon. If you would like to help me reach that goal, I have some Liberty + leather bags left in the shop! Every little bit is helpful!

-Meredith