Bartering: a table runner

What to do when you need something done but don't have the expertise to go DIY? Barter of course! Look around you; I've bet you have talented people in your life with the knowledge to create something that would take you months to complete -- in just a matter of hours!

This is what I discovered after reaching out to a friend for some advice on product packing. She is a design guru and I needed some design work but wouldn't want to just assume she'd do it for free - and yet I don't have capital to hire out for the task either.

Enter in my skills. I offered to sew her up something substantial for the opportunity to work with her and she happily agreed. What an amazing journey it was! Custom orders once again challenge my color palate and I walk into something unexpected and delightful. 

The pattern is inspired from Retro Flowers Quilt by The Sometimes Crafter. Although I went the easy route and machine appliqued around the petals. I did background quilting in a cross weave pattern and simply bound it in black.

She took my toddler crayons to another level and I made her a table runner you can place hot dishes on! Win - Win!

So who would you love to barter with?


Bright Baby Patchwork Quilt

There is an upside to social media; high school friends & custom sewing orders. Facebook is a great way to keep friends and family up on what your blog or shop is doing. I share my latest Etsy listings and my blog posts (Hi Everybody!!!). It is also the way a good ol' friend of mine got a hold of me to make a custom baby quilt for her sister. What an honor to create an item used, loved and wrapped around a little tiny baby!

Another plus of custom orders is making something that pushes you out of a comfort design zone. You know the one where you use up all the favorite colors you go to each time. Or a design that keeps in line with the HST's of most my finished quilts! This quilt was that for me. A new color palate that is so rich with the bright green, yellow & aqua with pops of red. Reminiscent of the tropics in a blue blue sea, sandy beaches, lush foliage and hints of flowery reds.

The front is simple patchwork squares with a yellow boarder & aqua binding. The back is strips in warm/cool gradient of the same colors. I drew inspiration for this quilt from Red Pepper Quilts and did the quilting in the same way as Rita would have, simple lines in a grid.

I enjoyed making this quilt with a friend in mind. I hope her family enjoys it for as long as it lasts! 


NY Beauty Block and Visit

It's apt that today was the day I finally stitched up a NY Beauty block after joining the QAL group many, many weeks ago. I say apt because my Mother in Law is visiting from NY tomorrow, my NY connection. 

This is block 0 in the series and Kim at My GoGo Life gave a great tutorial to make sewing this curvy, paper pieced block easy. I have been dying to make a project with gingham fabrics and this is the perfect chance to play with the the little gingham stash I've been collecting.

I've got fabric cut out for 3 more blocks so I can make a pillow with the 4 blocks together. And I've got a stack of fabrics just waiting to make block 4 into a pillow too!

Sew Sweetness

With family in town we are going to be out and about around Portland and then spend some time on the Oregon Coast. A real vacation...starts now!


Farmer's Market Bag-s-s-s

Next month I'm taking on a new challenge. Farmer's Market Booth. A weekly farmer's market the next neighborhood over has agreed to let me host a sewing booth. I'll be giving a few demonstrations of how to sew quick and recycled tote bags. Of course I'll offer up the fold-able tote bag I made last year for Stashtacular.

In my search for more ideas I came across a few great up cycles and simple designed bags and wanted to share them with you!

Utility Tote: Bag'n-telle on Wordpress

A recycled pillow case bag! Definitely making one for the market demo!

Tank Top Totes: up-cycled and cute!
Tank top totes - after

(no picture but...) A classic tote bag with straps ready for a loaf of french bread...

Simply gorgeous dish towel veggie bags


Garden lookey-Lou

Cheers for Friday and the weekend! Enjoy inspiration from the July Garden.

Blue Bird's Quilting Tips

A year ago I was bold enough to give Blue Bird's Top 10 Quilting Tips, and reading back they still hold true for me today. I continue to practice the basics and always take the time to make it right.

With a year of quilting comes a new set of quilting tips learned. The next stage of technique for this girl. So here's round 2 of Blue Bird's Quilting Tips, enjoy!

  • When transferring quilting patterns to the top of a quilt sandwich  a sharp crease in the fabric works just as well as a 'disappearing' marker and doesn't require another step to get rid of the lines. I used a hera marker for the lone star dahlia and it worked great. 
  • Take inspiration from the designers and make it your own. Recently I've been embracing the Material Obsession look and adding other background fabrics besides white; loving it. 
  • Chain piece when ever you can to save time in your piecing. I chain piecing everything! 
  • When cutting out the multitude of half-square triangles you need to make your favorite designs trim them like this to ensure a proper cut: Line up the rulers 45 degree angle with the diagonal seam, trim the corners on each side. Doing it this way instead of lining up the rulers 90 degree angle sides with the sides of the block ensures corners match and seams line up.
  • Clean and service your machine regularly.
  • Change your needle. Like right now - especially if you can't remember the last time you did ;o)
  • Try something that scares you. Sew a Y-seam, free-motion quilt a top, paper piece a NY beauty, cut out strips for a string quilt. These techniques are not as hard as you imagine and it will only build confidence in your abilities! 
  • Take a class, even if you think you know all about it chances are someone does it different and can teach you a few things! 

This year is half over already and the goals for the next six months is to use these tips combined with the basics to catapult my work into another level. But first I gotta finish up some languishing WIP. A stack of custom work, new plans, quilting tops and HST's are in my future!

What has your quilting experience taught you? Share your best tip with us!


A Problem Solved Quilt

Do you ever have a pile of fabric you just know goes together but you're not sure how. I have a few piles of those and one in particular was a bunch of strips in neutral colors.

Black, grey, cream, white and lots of browns. They languished while the bright rainbow color strips got gobbled up into pillows, wall hangings & other fun things. Until one day while reading Stitched in Color I came across a quilt she'd used for inspiration and it sparked my inspiration and out tumbled this little quilt in strips of neutral colors.

The design process for me goes about the same each time. Use what I have to create something unique. This quilt sort of designed itself. The strips that fit together were sewn together. The colors that went together got placed next to each other. Gradients were formed, spots of white were placed and pops of color stand out.

The quilting came easily after taking Elizabeth Hartman's quilting class. Wavy lines parallel to the strips that feel like the lines of bark on a tree. This quilt mimics nature and even this photo I took of pill bugs with the nephews.

This little quilt will be going in the shop by the end of the day! And now I'm off to entertain the 3 little boys in my life with park, library and pet store! Have a wonderful day!


ps. find me linked up on blogs at the link parties I love page!

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