Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Handwork

I spent the past weekend on retreat with some quilty friends from around the midwest—Faith, Anna, Holly, Jeni, and some newer friends too. While it was definitely a sewing retreat, I guess I just wasn't motivated to pack up my sewing machine and all my fabric and supplies, so I brought a couple of handwork projects with me instead.

Last week I did a little embroidery with my daughter and her friend, which inspired me to try something new to me: Cross-stitch. I picked up Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Summer Sampler pattern and got as far as one whole square finished. See, it's a camper! : ) Faith asked me as I was working on it, "Do you think you'll ever finish that?" Gotta be honest/realistic: I kinda doubt it. LOL. But it's fun for now! And I do like having a TV-watching project. So we'll see how far I get.

I also got this knitting project back out. Some of you might remember I knitted a Christmas stocking last year right before the holidays that turned out ridiculously, comically oversized. So I'm starting over with smaller needles, and this attempt looks a lot more reasonable so far. I made some good progress on it this weekend—maybe I'll even have one done in time for Christmas!


This week's WIP Wednesday is brought to you by Gotham Quilts,

Gotham has a fabulous quilt-along happening right now, and there's still time to join in! The Yuma Quilt-Along features the gorgeous free pattern you see above—plus, participants have the opportunity to win a $100 Gotham gift certificate. You can find all the details here, and see examples of other finished Yuma quilt tops here.

COUPON CODE: Gotham is offering my readers 15% off any regular-priced items in the shop! Use code WIPWednesday at checkout, now through August 31. Perfect opportunity to pick up your Yuma fabrics, so head on over!

Okay, so what are you working on this week? Let's see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the "Add Your Link" button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says "Link," use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Painting

Sorry, guys, I don't have anything sewing-related to show today, because it was an all-painting-all-the-time kind of week. I'm getting fed up with this kitchen project, which means I'm motivated to bust it out.

Here's what my upper cabinets look like now. Building them up to the ceiling? Check. Crown molding? Check. White paint? Check. I'm so happy with how it's turning out! The whole kitchen is so much lighter and brighter already!

All I need now is to add the new doors to the upper cabinets. I'm currently in the midst of painting those. So, yes, the end is in sight.

Anyway, sorry about no fabric pics this week, but you can see lots of fabric at this week's WIP Wednesday sponsor, Shabby Fabrics!

Shabby has V and Co.'s new Simply Colorful line in red, orange, and yellow now in the shop. This highly anticipated line is sure to go fast! Yardage and pre-cuts are available, including three fat-quarter sets.

GIVEAWAY: This week, Shabby Fabrics is offering a $30 gift certificate good on anything in the store!

To enter the giveaway, do any or all of the following (each one gets you one chance to win):
1. Comment on this post
2. Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #wipwednesday
3. Link up your own WIP Wednesday blog post or Instagram photo below

COUPON CODE: Shabby is also offering my readers 15% off their entire order! Use code SFWIPWED15 at checkout, now through August 5. Limit one use per customer. Get on over there and grab a bargain!

Okay, so what are you working on this week? Let's see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the "Add Your Link" button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says "Link," use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

On Quilting "For Keeps"

I have a big pile of quilts that my family uses every day. Sometimes, those quilts are folded in a neat stack next to the couch, but more often they can be found in a crumpled heap, or my kids are dragging them around the house giving their stuffed animals rides on them, or one is crammed underneath the ottoman, or one's in the washing machine because somebody spilled on it. And I love that: In my opinion, all of the above are what quilts should do. I adore having that pile available for whatever purpose anybody wants them to serve, whether it's staying warm on a chilly evening or building a fort for the American Girl dolls.


Know when the most recent of those quilts was made? 2012.

Because somewhere along the way, I started taking quilts to trunk shows. And sending them off to fabric companies. And sometimes getting them professionally quilted by superstars whose work are true masterpieces, so you certainly don't want to drag that around on the floor. And people said things like, "That quilt was in a book! Take good care of it—it's special!"

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. Love it. I'm not apologizing for attempting to make money on my quilting, or implying that turning my hobby into a job has taken the passion out of it for me. I still love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to have this dream job, even after spending the last year working a little (okay, a lot) more than I might have liked and feeling plenty burned out after Quilt Market this spring. And I still put my heart and soul into everything I make, even my "working quilts."

But. There's just no substitute for making a quilt that you know is going to get loved to death by your family. No substitute for making a quilt that's going to get super soft and crinkly from a hundred trips through the washing machine. A quilt to sit on while you watch fireworks or have doll tea parties. Isn't that what makes a quilt truly special, not the fact that it was in a book? Whenever I'm making a quilt, my girls always come to oooh and ahhh over it, and invariably they ask, "Do we get to KEEP this one?" And by that they mean, "Do we get to have this one in the pile in the family room, instead of squirreling it away in a corner of your studio, only to be taken out for trunk shows?"

Enter Amy Gibson's new book, For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living. You probably know Amy from her Craftsy classes or her blog Stitchery Dickory Dock. Her gorgeous new book has reminded me of the importance of taking time out from things that are designed and made strictly for my business, in order to keep making special quilts for the most special people in my life. It's a tough balance to strike of course, because there are only so many hours in the day, but it's important, after all!

And what better place to start than that scrap quilt I've been itching to make for months?


I was initially thinking of an Irish Chain quilt, but as these little pairs of squares have started coming together, I'm now leaning toward a postage stamp quilt—a postage stamp quilt of 1" squares, you guys! Just the kind of beautifully torturous project that you want to keep forever and ever and let your family use and abuse. : )

My goal is to use at least a small portion of every single print in my scrap bins. Every one of them! I'm sure some will get culled eventually, but it's the working goal for now, anyway. I've divided my scraps roughly into 8 color families and my goal is to do two colors a week over the next four weeks. The reds are already done, as you can see. : ) Then I'll lay them out into a big ol' scrappy rainbow and spend the next decade or so sewing them all together. Good times.

While my particular "balance problem" might be unique to bloggers and pattern designers, I think in this day of Pinterest and beautiful photos online, we can all be tempted to get off track and make things for the wrong reasons. Or to believe that everything has to be absolutely perfect in order to be "good enough." For Keeps hits the reset button on all of that. The projects range from classic quilts to playmats and pocket pillows that hold books—all written with Amy's trademark sense of humor and illustrated with beautiful photography that reminds you that the simple things in life are often the best. : )

Amy has also created a For Keeps website with lots of fun extras, including a free quilt pattern, and you can even take the For Keeps pledge to sew for all the right reasons! As of this afternoon, 969 people have already taken Amy's pledge! So I hope you'll pick up For Keeps—and check back here for progress on my keeper scrap quilt!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Endless Scraps

I'm saving most of my good stuff for blog posts that you'll see over the next few days! But I've been working away on a couple of projects lately.

My scrap quilt. It. Is. On. After much thought, I'm going ahead with an Irish Chain quilt, but I'm making a bazillion teeny blocks out of a gazillion even-teenier squares because ... I enjoy a good trial by fire? What my summer really needed was more monotony? I don't know. But I think it will be pretty darn cool when it's done. Oh, and did I mention it's going to be a color-spectrum quilt? Well, of course it is.

Also. This was happening. Most of Tuesday afternoon, in fact, this was happening. The girls are in a kids' quilting bee this year (you may have already seen this post about it on Faith's blog). This month, both of my girls made star blocks! I'll post more about that next week.

And finally, the kitchen is coming along—I'm currently midway through my second coat of paint. This is where the monotony really comes in. But it's looking amazing and I love it! So much lighter and brighter in there. Still, painting fatigue is starting to set in and I've got a loooong way to go. I think I'd far rather sew a bazillion teeny squares.

So who's bringing you all this WIP-py goodness today? It's my newest sponsor, Dinkydoo Fabrics!

Dinkydoo is located in Canada, which means two things:
1. If you're in Canada: Score!
2. If you're in the U.S.: Still score! Because Dinkydoo actually gets certain fabric lines months in advance, including Moda. And you can take advantage of the strong U.S. dollar to get great bargains.

Also, Dinkydoo has the new Cotton + Steel lines coming in very soon. And they have a cute zebra as their mascot. Pretty much all the major requirements of a good fabric shop. So get on over there and show them some WIP Wednesday love.

GIVEAWAY: This week, Dinkydoo is offering an amazing prize package: A layer cake and a charm pack of Modern Background - Ink by Zen Chic, plus a box of 100 Clover flower pins! (This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian readers only, sorry.) The Modern Background lines are perfection for scrappy quilts! 

To enter the giveaway, do any or all of the following (each one gets you one chance to win):
1. Comment on this post
2. Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #wipwednesday
3. Link up your own WIP Wednesday blog post or Instagram photo below

COUPON CODE: Dinkydoo is also offering my readers 15% off any purchase! Use code DD15FRESHLY at checkout.

Okay, what are you working on? Let's see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the "Add Your Link" button below, then click on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the screen that pops up. You should then be able to select any of your recent Instagram photos. Where it says "Link," use the URL of your Instagram feed (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag your IG post #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


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Disclosures

In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

I also am an Amazon Affiliate and receive compensation for items ordered via my Amazon links.

Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Can I pin your photos to Pinterest? Yes, please do! I love Pinterest!

Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! As long as you don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!