Monday, July 30, 2012

let's get acquainted, shall we?

My name is Audrey, and I'm the evil mastermind behind Hot Pink Quilts. I'm so glad you're here! If you're joining me from the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, you already know the drill. If not, I'm going to tell you a bit about myself, share some pictures, answer some questions, then stun you with my mad quilting skillz.

But before I jump into that, be sure to check out Michèle-Renée's blog, Quilt Matters. Also, mucho thanks to Beth, who organized this shindig. Finally, thank you for stopping by!

I am Mama to two amazing little boys (2 years and 4 months) and the wife of a Ph.D. student. In the sixth grade, my mom taught me how to sew a dress, but no sewing machine and no additional instruction pretty much killed further sewing dreams. Until! My husband's grandmother gifted me her 1953 Singer sewing machine (Agatha), and my pal Karen taught me how to quilt. (Hi Karen!) When I'm not quilting or being a mommy or wife, I'm working on writing a five book YA series.

Now, here are copious pictures (or nine) of things I've made!

How long have you been quilting?
I started quilting in October....maybe November...of 2011. So not quite a year.
Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric):
I seriously heart Tula Pink. I have spent (and will spend) many many hours putting large quantities of her fabric into online shopping carts, only to face reality and my fabric budget.
Favorite craft book:
I apparently have joined the Elizabeth Hartman Practical Guide to Patchwork cult. It was the first modern quilting book I picked up, and I drooled over each and every quilt included in its luscious covers.
Favorite book (or book you are currently reading):
Right now? I adore Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, and Savvy by Ingrid Law. There are about a kajillion others, but since this is supposed to be about quilting, I'll control myself. I'm currently reading Elantris by Brian Sanderson and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.
Favorite children's book:
Madeleine L'Engle was my favorite author when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of time immersed in her work. I was (and still am!) a huge Nancy Drew fan.
Favorite quilting tool:
My trusty sewing machine, Agatha. But since that's kind of cheating, I guess my rotary cutter with a fresh blade.

Okay, now that we've waded through all sorts of amazing and thrilling information and photos, how 'bout we get to the project? A good friend of mine is having a baby come late September, and of course, I had to make a quilt for her. After deciding on a design, then changing my mind and picking another one and repeating that cycle 3 or 4 times, I finally landed on this:

Baby K's Quilt
Materials Needed:
(36) 5" charms
3/4 yard fabric (2 different kinds) for border A & B fabrics
1 1/4 yard fabric for backing
1/3 yard fabric for binding
coordinating thread

The quilt measures 42" square, and the fabric I used is Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda plus a lovely crimson batik. I have no idea what the backing or binding fabrics are, sorry! [Edit 12/8/12: The binding fabric is Sassy by Sandy Gervais. Thanks, Kelie!]

charm squares: cut all 36 into (4) 2.5" squares for 144 total squares
border fabrics A & B: (12) 3.5" x 12.5"; (18) 4" squares

1. Assemble the 2.5" charm pieces into four individual patchwork grids of 6x6. They should measure 12.5" square when complete. Of course, you're welcome to do as you'd like, but when I cut my charms, I made four separate piles so that each patchwork piece would have 1 of each type of fabric.

2. Using the 4" border fabric squares, create (36) 3.5" HSTs. If you're unfamiliar with HSTs, In Color Order has a great tutorial.

3. Create pinwheel blocks with your HSTs. (They'll measure 6.5" square.) I made five of my pinwheel blocks "spin" in one direction and four "spin" in the other direction. (See the picture below.)

4. Place 1 Border A and 1 Border B fabric pieces right sides together. Sew along one 12.5" end. Repeat this with the other 11 sets.

5. Assemble by row, then sew the rows together. (See the picture below.)

6. Baste, quilt, bind, and then you'll have your finished quilt! I quilted mine with straight diagonal lines through the corners of each patchwork square and 1/4" echoing the inside of the pinwheels and stripes. If you're into FMQ, I like the idea of feathers in the border stripes or Elizabeth Hartman's dogwood quilting in the patchwork sections.

In the past, I've lockstitched my quilting lines or just run them off the quilt, and this was the first quilt that I actually buried my threads. I had thought it would be a complicated and tedious process, but it really wasn't. It did take some time, but I would finish quilting one patchwork section, bury the threads, and move on to the next. The time was worth the effort as the starts and ends of the quilting lines look a lot cleaner.

This is the first time I've attempted to write out a project, so if you have any questions, or if anything is unclear, let me know by email or in the comments area, and I'll do what I can to clear things up. (Thanks!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

sewing with my two-year-old.

This morning, I spent some time chain piecing 48 charm squares for that baby quilt I forgot about decided to put together last minute just to see if I could do it.  My little one woke up from his nap and demanded to be fed, and halfway through our feeding session, I realized it had gotten quiet, and unless it's late and both kidlets are in bed, quiet in this house is never a good sign.

I found my son giggling with excitement because he was sitting in front of Agatha. (Since his feet can't touch the pedal and my needle was down, I wasn't too concerned.)

After I finished feeding Lito, Banzo and I proceeded to sew some of "his" scraps together. When I have pieces that are too small, I typically give them to him, and he uses them in his cooking endeavors. But today, he was super excited to bring them to me so that we could sew them together. Of course, he couldn't understand why I kept flattening out the huge wads of fabric he gave me, and I think he started to question my artistic discretion, but kindly, he said nothing.

Lito lay in his massage chair--I kid you not, this thing reclines and vibrates and plays music, and sometimes I wish I had one--while we finished, and after Banzo and I were through, I even managed to finish my chain piecing. I'm excited to see this quilt top come together. I'm only using a handful of fabrics, but I think the finished product will be nice. (Woo!)

We have a friend in town this weekend, so I'm envisioning very little sewing time. Better get to pressing all of those blocks before he arrives!

Have a lovely weekend! Do you have any fun sewing plans?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP: Fingers in Too Many Pies Edition

Are you tired? I'm tired. And perusing my quilty to-do list makes me even more tired! (Secretly, it also makes me very excited to have so much to do! But don't tell anyone because if I admit my excitement, it means I no longer have a place to whine about it.)

Question before I dive in: I have a tabletop ironing board, and it desperately needs a new cover. I'm thinking of making one myself, but I can't find a tutorial for a small board. I'm wondering what y'all think. Would it be difficult to make one myself? Do you have any handy tips if you've made an ironing board cover?

Now, on to the WIPs!

I started cutting fabric to make a bunting for a friend's baby shower. These bad boys are currently sitting next to my sewing machine, Agatha, in a heaping stack of three-pointed goodness. I'm doing everything in my power not to touch them or even look at them funny, as with two bias edges, I don't want them stretching or going funky on me. It's a difficult task though, when they're over there giving me the stinkeye.

When cutting the above, I was left with these lovely right-sided triangle beauties. I never knew I'd be so excited about only one bias edge, but there you have it. I'm thinking mini quilt, since I have a lot of them. (And oh-so much time!) I think it needs some solid goodness, and I need to decide on a color! I'm leaning towards a white or a charcoal. White seems scary as I have a kiddo with grubby fingers who likes to pet my fabric, but I fear I won't love the charcoal as much.

I'm working on my Marie blocks until other fabric arrives.

These were the first two blocks I completed for the HST BOM at In Color Order. (I remade them later with a darker gray background fabric.) I pulled these out over the weekend and gasped at my lack of triangle awesomeness. I could maybe fix the blocks, but I'm keeping them as is. I think I'd like them as a very visual reminder of just how far I've come

And that's my stack of WIPs and finishes for the week. Check out WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced for more awesomeness!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, July 21, 2012

oh, the weekend.

This weekend, I will be cutting into this stack of fabric to sew up a fabric bunting for an upcoming baby shower. I've also finished sketching out the designs and figuring out required fabric amounts for two upcoming quilts-woohoo! I'm pretty much in love with the orange with white stripes. It called to me from the fat quarter wall at my LQS, and lucky for me, pink, yellow, and orange are the baby shower colors. (And I did not pick them out, FYI, though I know you see that hot pink and immediately think of me!) Of course, the pink scribbly fabric next to it is another favorite, and I used it recently for my placemats, which I hope to finish binding tonight! That deserves another woohoo!

I'm waiting on 4.5 yards of black solid, and once that arrives, I need to hit the pavement running on a couple of quilt projects, so I'm trying to tie up some loose ends while I can. Placemats, some upcoming gifts for friends and family, and possibly some drawstring bags. I'm hoping to have a huge collection to utilize in lieu of wrapping paper this holiday season. (I have good intentions, but NO idea if it will actually happen. Good intentions count, right?) And today, I'll be turning some 12.5" blocks that have no home into 12" pillows. I'm using this tutorial from sewmamasew. One day I want to get brave enough to add piping, but for now, time constraints demand simplicity, so boring envelope closure it is. The fronts will be fun, and I'll console myself with that.

We spent yesterday at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, CA. Friends, sitting on the beach is such a lovely way to spend the day, even if my sunscreen died on me, and I have weird shaped sunburns on my shoulders that itch like the dickens. The water was ridiculously cold, but I stuck my feet in until they hurt, then enjoyed the electrifying sensation of the super hot sand on my super cold feet. Only the ocean would inspire me to such craziness, and I loved every minute of it. I felt like a small child with my constant urge to shriek, "It's the ocean! It's the ocean!"

Since my quilty to-do list isn't getting any smaller, and I actually have a child-free moment with Lito down for a nap and Banzo off gallivanting with his father--another woohoo, perhaps?--I best be getting to it. What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

wip: snowglobe edition.

Hi friends!

I have no finishes this week, but I did get a lot of work done, even with a two-year-old who has decided he is much too old for a nap, thankyouverymuch. Of course, I don't think anyone in this house has had much sleep this week, but who needs that?

With all of the cutting done and a layout sketched out, I started piecing blocks for my Marie quilt. I'm up to eight (of twenty) finished blocks, and I'm finding that instead of working on four at a time, I'm actually having an easier time working on two at a time. My initial idea was to take out a row, but the two-block system is more stream-lined, oddly enough, so I'm going with it.

The construction wasn't as difficult as I expected, though it does take a bit of time, and it hurts me to cut those corners! I have plans for them though, and the corners are a large enough size to work with, so I'll get over it.

Here is the first row blocks together...

...and the second row. The blocks puff out a bit, especially in the center, but they mostly behave with a good pressing. I do like the teal on the corners. I had considered using a solid that matched the blue of one of the fabrics, but I decided against it in the end. Now I'm glad I did!

Have you ever realized that a friend is having a baby, and you knew about it, but you didn't even begin to think of making a quilt until four weeks before the due date? Yeah, me either. On a completely unrelated note, I need to get to work on another baby quilt! And I need to finish it soon! four weeks or so?

Usually I'm a 1-2 major projects at a time kind of girl, but right now, I have 5! Yikes! I know for some, that's nothing, but it stresses me out to have so many! I think my Marie quilt is going to have to take the backburner spot for at least a few weeks until I can get things in a better situation for my stress levels.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced! Have a lovely Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, July 14, 2012

growing some courage.

Earlier in the month, I made a list of quilty to-dos for July.

That list now looks like this:
  • Finish Baby K's quilt (aka, quilt #4).
  • Make placemats.
  • Make another mini quilt. 
  • July BOM from In Color Order.
  • Finish purchasing Marie Quilt fabrics, get the cutting done, and decide on block placement.
  • Write up my Blog Hop post.
  • Maybe get brave and make a tote/purse?  
One placemat is done and another needs its binding hand-stitched to the back. The other two are basted and need quilting, but first I have to purchase some cream thread. Placemats will definitely be done this month. I'm waiting on fabric to arrive for my mini quilt, though I probably should sketch out the blocks and make sure my measurements are all accurate. Not sure that puppy will get done this month.

Today I spent an hour and a half laying out the Marie quilt. It was an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, and it threw me into a funk for a good four hours. (Yummy Thai food and an apple tart were enough to break the spell.) I kept thinking--this will be on my bed! Possibly for forever! My grandkids might one day inherit this, and I don't want them thinking, "What was Grammy thinking?" The husband kept telling me to take it slow and relax, but I wanted to smack him every time. What do you mean, relax?!?! I'm perfectly relaxed! Growl! When I was done, I felt kind of iffy about it, but looking back at the pictures, I'm feeling better, which is probably a good thing. Now, to soothe my aching back and knees....

I suppose I best get my courage on and start working on that bag. I'm thinking about this bag, though I also love this pattern. Tula Pink's The Birds and the Bees is now in stores, so I'm thinking I'll make a practice bag first and then buy some of that lovely lovely fabric for a for-realz bag.

I did play around with my scraps yesterday and made these two blocks for my picnic quilt. The top block is about the width of two of the smaller blocks I'm making. I've been trying to steer away from whites since the quilt's primary duty will be to save my derriere from making contact with the ground, but when I saw that turquoise leaf print up against the black and white, I knew it was meant to be. These are definitely my favorite two blocks. (For now.)

Finally, I picked up this hedgehog fabric for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop I-Spy Charm Swap. Woo. That's a mouthful. I love me those hedgehogs! I need to get this cut up into charm squares--I think I might cry when I cut it since I seriously want to keep it for me--and get it shipped out. This week?

Now, about you. How was your Saturday? Lovely, I hope? Do you have fun plans for tomorrow? Are you getting your crafty-self on this weekend? Tell me about it!

I'm off, friends. There is a lovely piece of cake (cake?!?!?!) in the fridge, and it's calling to me. Aaaaaaudreeeeey! Aaaaaaudreeeey! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WIP: 578.

Did I say I needed to cut 449 pieces for my Marie quilt? Because I really meant 578. I forgot to factor in the three yards of background material I have to cut into various squares and rectangles. Yikes!

But honestly, the first nine yards were cut in the exact same way, so by the time I got to yard 5, it was a breeze. I fussy cut yard 10, so that presented a challenge in getting all of my cuts into that yard, but I managed it. (Phew!) The teal above (Bella Solids - Betty Teal) is my background color, and I finished cutting that yesterday. Hooray! 578 cuts. Now, to somehow convince my husband he should take the kidlets to the park so that I can lay this puppy out and organize what block goes where.... I should don my evil mastermind grin. 

Since this my first quilt larger than a throw size, I am trying to keep everything organized. I've chosen bags for different-sized cut pieces, and I purchased a storage container to hold the entire project. I'm curious though--how do you organize your projects? (Especially the big ones!) Any special ways to keep everything together and neat and tidy? Before, I was using a plastic shoe box that had a lid, but there is no way this project would all fit in one, and it would involve some serious folding, especially when I start making the blocks, which are rather large.

I pulled fabric yesterday for another few projects I'm planning to start. Small projects, and there are multiple projects there, so don't get scared that I'm planning to use all of those fabrics in the same piece. Because that might be worrisome, haha! I'm hoping to use some of those fat quarters for placemats, and I've started mulling over my mini quilt idea. 

I do have a finish this week, but this is all I can show. The grand reveal is coming at the end of the month. I do love me that backing material....

I've done very little sewing this week. Mostly cutting and pressing, and today will be more of the same, but perhaps tomorrow Agatha and I can reunite and spend some quality time together.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP. Have a lovely Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, July 9, 2012

I-Spy with my little eye...

I may have kind of seen an I-spy quilt and been filled with a great desire to make one of my very own. Maybe.

Lucky for me, Jennifer at Knotted-Thread is hosting an I-spy charm swap. Fifty-six charms of I-spy goodness, and no repeats. Meaning I do not have to find 56 different kinds of I-spy worthy fabric in my stash. (Which is a good thing because...well...I'm seriously lacking there. I have dancing monkeys! And that's about it.)

I bet you're saying to yourself, man, I wish I could be a part of it. You're in luck because the swap is a few peeps shy of being complete! If you're interested in playing along, contact Jennifer at Knotted-Thread.

My big plans for the I-spy quilt included producing a mind-blowing quilt that the boys and I could use for snuggling. (Yep, I did just make up an adverb.) But then! I read about 100 quilts for kids at Swim, Bike, Quilt! I made my brain hurt trying to think of a way I could fit in another (affordable) quilt this summer, until I remembered that I was already making an I-spy quilt--why not give it away instead? Wouldn't that be way more fulfilling?

My plan is to donate my quilt to Project Linus. I'm thinking a 7x8 grid of patchwork squares with a border. Oh-so-awesome in one beauteous rectangle. And maybe, if I enjoy making it a whole bunch, I'll make another one for my boys later. You know, after I finish my Marie quilt. And the picnic quilt. And the other kajillion small projects I want to make.

Soooo...if you're feeling it, you should join the I-spy swap. Or make a quilt for 100 quilts for kids. Or...both!

Now, to pick out my yard of fabric. Oh, the choices!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

WIP: Picnic quilt edition.

Happy Fourth, everyone! :) 

It's been a lovely sewing week so far, and it looks to only improve! Taking a short break today though for a picnic in the park with my boys--mac and cheese, fruit salad, and apple pie!--but I'll start back tomorrow.

I finished up my July block for In Color Order's BOM. I hadn't planned to devour it so soon, but I really loved the block and couldn't wait to make it. And if I'm adding in small pops of yellow to the gray monochromatic theme, why not add the occasional pop of crimson? I bought that crimson batik fabric for the Reunion quilt, but I had a bit left over, and I seriously heart the way it looks.

Speaking of the Reunion quilt, I'm nearly done with the first pass of quilting. I think another half an hour or so? I do have a question for you lovely readers. I had originally planned to diagonally quilt across the patchwork, then come back through with another set of perpendicular lines to form an "x" over each box. (Probably didn't explain that the best way, and I'm hoping you get what I mean!) But after I finished the first set of lines, I really kind of like the way it looks. So! Do I go with an "x" or keep it the way it is? Not making a second pass will shave lots of quilting time off, but I want the quilt to really look sharp since it's a gift.

My sewing room dining room currently looks like this. I pulled out all of my scraps yesterday and started randomly piecing some blocks. I had this idea that we should go on a lot of picnics this summer since the weather is so nice here, but we have no picnic blanket/quilt. Therefore, I should make one. And after starting Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking II, I thought I'd make some random blocks and just sew scraps together. I think if I had a perfect picnic blanket, I would get really upset when it received inevitable grass and food stains, but having one made out of scraps in whatever fashion I feel like? Well, why not?

The first block she talks about is a wonky log cabin, so I started there. I'm not in love with the block, but I'm saving my final critique until this baby really births itself.

The second block I finished is something that kind of put itself together. If you've been reading long, you know I love these dancing monkeys, so I started with that piece and looked for pieces with a similar length, then framed it with the green and gray on the sides. And I love it! I think blocks like this are more to my liking.

Both blocks are around 7" square. What do you think a good picnic quilt size is? Having never made one, I'm debating that. My husband asked on Monday if I was planning to have it done for our picnic today, and I laughed thoroughly. This is a project that will take a bit of time, and I'm hoping to put together blocks when I need a good break from other stuff. I had a lot of headaches last week, and I think they were from trying to make sure all of my quilting lines are straight and lovely on the Reunion quilt. It was lovely to take some time and piece together random scraps without worry of it looking perfect.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced. Love love love looking at all of those gorgeous projects! I feel like every week I get jealous because someone has posted a quilt that I wish I had made! (But it's a happy jealous.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012


That's the number of fabric cuts I need to make for my Marie quilt. Eeek!

When I start to get scared about that number, I look at my growing collection of fabric, and I feel a little better. I need to pick out three more prints and a background fabric. I'm thinking of maybe doing a solid for the background--any ideas? Possibly white?

Last week I didn't get much quilting done as we took off early on Thursday and spent an extended weekend in Los Angeles. Our drive down was awful--1.5 hours traveling an eight mile stretch in the middle of nowhere--but the drive back was lovely, including a gorgeous view of the cost for part of the trip.

We spent all day Friday at the Disney California Adventure Park because my oldest is a Cars fanatic. We stayed with our friend's mom, who not only quilts, but has a super fun quilting room, and I got to see some fun works-in-progress.

I'm trying to put together my July to-do-quilty list, and here's what I have so far:
  • Finish Baby K's quilt (aka, quilt #4).
  • Make placemats.
  • Make another mini quilt. 
  • July BOM from In Color Order.
  • Finish purchasing Marie Quilt fabrics, get the cutting done, and decide on block placement.
  • Write up my Blog Hop post.
  • Maybe get brave and make a tote/purse? 
Phew! That's a lot to do. But as usual, I think that Agatha and I are up for the challenge. What are you planning to do this July? 


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