Sunday Stash: Making mei tais

After a somewhat long time without any mei tais on my list, there are now three in queue.  This makes me happy because 1) I love that I can make something the will foster the art of babywearing and encourage parents to keep their babies close and 2) I get to buy new fabric for the mei tais.

The fabric for all three mei tais came in this week.  Here they are: front fabric on top, reverse of the baby carrier behind.  They are all washed and ready to be turned into beautiful baby carriers.

WINNER: Road Trip Quilt Along Giveaway

Hey, look at that!  I know it seems like #1 is hardly ever the winner of a random number generator, it has just as much change of being the first random number as any other number.

The winner of the Road Trip Quilt Along Giveaway is #1.

That was Majorie, who said

Hi Emm…..just got back from Lancaster,PA. I have all 16 finished, but not finishing the top right now. I may make it bigger…..all my pictures are on Flickr; do you still want me to post them all together again in a post?

Marjorie, email me your address and I will get this little bundle of fat quarters out in the mail to you.

Here is a photo from Marjorie’s blog with 8 of her completed Road Trip Quilt Along blocks. You can see the rest of her blocks in our Flickr pool.


Labels aren’t normally necessarily a good thing.  I mean, really, who wants to be pigeonholed into one category?  No one that I can think of.

But there is a time when labels ARE a good things.  It’s when they are the fabric kind that arrived on your doorstep in a little box and they have your very own name woven in to them!!!  Wheee!  I’m so excited!!

On the 17th of October, I will celebrate the anniversary of my birth.  If all goes as planned, I will also celebrate the Grand Opening of the Sewing by Moonlight Etsy store.  It has been a long standing dream of mine to offer the fruits of my creative labors for sale, and my birthday is as a good a time as any.  So, even if I have just one thing to offer, it will go on sale on October 17th.

So, go on and like the Sewing by Moonlight Facebook page, and stay tuned for the opening of my online store!  Yay!

In other news, if you rode along with the Road Trip Quilt Along, don’t forget to enter the giveaway by tomorrow night.

Works in Progress: A slow week

Well, I spent too many nights this week staring aimlessly at the computer and wasting time instead of enjoying myself in my sewing room and managing some productivity.  Too bad.  No idea where the motivation was this week.  I think I need to find some time to run a little bit more.  Amazing how running, which you would think might drain your energy, actually improves it.  Hmmm …

Here’s what The List looked like last week:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: order fabric for final border + finish quilt top.  Some progress.  That is, if sitting at the computer and clicking “Buy” counts as progress.  Ha.  Fabric is on the way and then I can move on with this.

2. Gathered clutches.  No progress.  Again.  I almost stayed up late to make one last night just I wouldn’t have to write “no progress” here again, but bah!  I was crippled by that lack-of-motivation bug I mentioned.

3.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote.  Progress.  I finished two of these this week.  I am determined to open my Etsy Shop on my birthday, October 17th, even if I only have 2 items to list.  It has been a long standing goal of mine, and dammit, it’s time!
4.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top.  No progress.

5.  Quilt for Brian.  Some progress.  I managed to finish a few more blocks (they really are easy to put together!) and am now up to 7.  Which seems significant until I realize I need 42.

6.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial.  No progress.  Planning on writing this up for the 4×5 Bee.

7.  Safe Motherhood Quilt Project block.  Progress.  I’ve made the block.  The finished dimensions are 12 x 16 inches.  I intend to embroider the name and date of death of the woman in whose honor I’m making this block.
8.  Kid’s play oven mitt tutorial.  No progress.  This idea is cold on the back burner.  I’m taking it off the list.

9.  English paper piecing Rose Star wall hanging.  Some progress.  I have the paper pattern pieces all cut out and have decided on fabric placement.  I also volunteered to pick up one of the empty days on the Travellig PicStitch Blog Hop.  I’m not completely sure how wise this was considering I have NO experience with English Paper Piecing, but I’m just going to jump on in and see how it goes!

10.  Mei tais.  Some progress.  Jessica’s fabric has arrived and has been pre washed.  Gaby’s is ordered and on the way as of today.
10a. for Jessica
10b. for Gaby #1
10c. for Gaby #2

So, The List remains the same as last week.  Actually, one item less since I’m taking something off without completing it.  Illusion of accomplishment.

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: finish quilt top.
2. Gathered clutches.
3.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
4.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
5.  Quilt for Brian.
6.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial
7.  Safe Motherhood Quilt Project block.
8.  English paper piecing Rose Star wall hanging.
9.  Mei tais
9a. for Jessica
9b. for Gaby #1
9c. for Gaby #2

Other fun progress happening you can check out at Freshly Pieced!

Road Trip Quilt Along: a GIVEAWAY!

Hello all.  I meant to post this Friday, when I had been posting our Road Trip Quilt Along Tutorials.  And then I was going to get it up Saturday.  When that didn’t happen, I thought first thing Sunday morning would be the time.  Well, here we are, headed toward bedtime on Sunday evening, and I finally have a few (a very few, before I have to throw the little ones in the tub) moments to post this giveaway for you.

How are your Road Trip blocks coming along?  I worked really hard last week so that I get all these put together to show you.  I cut my sashing to 2.5 inches so that it would finish at 2 inches.  I wanted the length to be a little larger than the width, so I randomly sewed together strips of the scraps I used in the quilt blocks and made an additional 6 inch border on the top and bottom.  The yellow border will finish at 1 inch, just an accent, like the mat on a picture, and I plan to add one more, slightly wider border around the outside.  

As a thank you for those of you who have played along with me for 16 weeks, I wanted to offer you a little giveaway.  Since this is a road trip quilt along, I thought cars were appropriate.  They are Ready, Set, Go Organic cars by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.  I added a few coordinating Kona solids and a cut of the leaf print from Denyse Schmidt’s Meadowlark collection for JoAnn.

To enter to win this bundle of five fat quarters:

Just leave a comment with a link to a blog post or photo of 8 finished Road Trip Quilt Along blocks.

If you’ve finished all 16 blocks, leave another comment telling me so.

This giveaway will close Saturday, September 29th, at 11:59pm EDT.  I’ll pick the winner Sunday morning.

Works in Progress: and The List gets longer again

Well, I had a couple weeks there where I finished a thing or two and actually didn’t add anything to my to do list.  Whaaaat?  All that is over with several new additions to The List.  Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not an unhappy thing.  As it turns out, I always enjoy having several irons in the fire; give me some variety to my sewing.  But I was feeling pretty accomplished as The List was shrinking a little (it was even below 10!).

Here’s what The List looked like last week:

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: put together quilt top.  Almost finished.  I put a lot of time into this this week to get all my blocks sashed and sewn together.

I wanted it make it slightly longer than wide, so I added the scrappy sections at the top and bottom.  I’ve added a small yellow border, and I’m going to finish it with a wider border using Michael Miller heuvos, which I used in several blocks in the quilt.  I’m out, though, so I have to order some more.

2. Gathered clutches.  No progress.  
3.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote.  Some progress.  I finished two this week and also sewed up the lining of several others.  I am going to open my Etsy store for my birthday (October 17th), even if I only have two items there!

4.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin addition for Jenny.  Finished.  The last two quilts to which I added have been sent home and I have mine in my hands as well.  Now, I have to finish my free form quilt.  I’m still trying to decide exactly what I want to do about a border.  Any suggestions?

 5.  Clean the sewing room.  Finished enough.  It is clean enough that I could vacuum the floor in there this week, so we shall call that a success!  Actually, I lost my rotary cutter this week, and cleaned even more in an attempt to find it, so that worked out well.  Especially since I also managed to locate Katy-the-one-armed-baby’s missing arm!
6.  Quilt for Brian.  Some progress.  I finished one more block, and I also have two blocks on the way made by some ladies in the Quilting for a Cause Flickr group.  Brian’s home was destroyed by wildfire this summer, so if you’d like to help by making a block for his quilt, click over to that post for details!

Two tutorials that I would like to complete, but are on the back burner right now:  No progress.  
7.  Equilateral triangle hexagon quilt block tutorial.  I’m going to leave this because I will sign up for the 4×5 Bee when it opens in October, and this is the block I will make for my group members.
8.  Kid’s play oven mitt tutorial.  Taking this off the list.  It’s just hanging out here, taking up a spot and I don’t see myself making it a priority in the near future.

I also finished 3 house blocks for Be a {Modern} Swapper that weren’t on the list last week.  I’m still laughing that I made a YURT!  I need to pop these in the mail in the next couple days.

Here’s what I’m adding:

*block for Safe Motherhood Quilt Project.  A really amazing project that I just discovered this week.  I will write more about it later.
*English paper piecing Rose Star.  I’ve never tried EPP, but Laura is hosting a blog hop featuring English paper piecing, and there are some times where I could use a little hand sewing project to work on.   The idea is to choose your fabrics based on the color inspiration from a photo.  I did that.

And I drew out the pieces of the Rose Star on freezer paper.  

But now I think I might want to go with a lower contrast color palette and keep it in the blues and greens range.  What do you think?

*mei tais.  I haven’t made any in awhile, but now I have one requested for my friend Jessica, and two for another friend, Gaby.

So, here is The List in it’s current state.

1.  Road Trip Quilt Along: order fabric for final border + finish quilt top.
2. Gathered clutches.
3.  Luna Bags: the Essential Tote
4.  Be Free Bees free form quilt robin: finish top
5.  Quilt for Brian.
6.  Equilateral triangle hexagon block tutorial
7.  Safe Motherhood Quilt Project block.
8.  Kid’s play oven mitt tutorial
9.  English paper piecing Rose Star wall hanging.
10.  Mei tais
10a. for Jessica
10b. for Gaby #1
10c. for Gaby #2

Be Free Bees: final additions for Thea and Jenny

This was the last month of the free form quilt robin that started way back in January.

Because one of our group members had to drop out, this month, I had two quilts to add to before I sent them back to their owners, who had not seem them since sending them on their journeys at the beginning of the year.

First up: Thea.  The woman who had the penultimate addition did a really marvelous job of adding borders that nicely finished the quilt.  I was a little stumped at first because it seemed so well tied up that adding to the outside would have been like ripping the paper of a beautifully wrapped package that wasn’t mine.

Instead, I decided to make an addition to the interior of the quilt.  There were 4 open white spaces that surrounded the center.  In each one, I added 3 appliquéd circles and then finished it off with some hand stitching around each one.

Thea will be able to use this as a small accent quilt or a large wall hanging.  Or she can rip that package open (since it’s hers!) and make some additions and then finish it off again to make a larger quilt.

Jenny‘s starter piece was a series of pieced baskets.  In the subsequent months, her quilt became this wonderful, vibrant project full of bright colors and different prints.

I wanted to add something that would balance all the action that was taking place in the quilt already, so I opted for some letters to read “A-tisket A-tasket” (to tie into the basket theme) using mostly solid backgrounds.  I did some improvisational piecing with the letters, which was a new experience for me.  It was very challenging to depict the letters with curves and I was not on speaking terms with “s”, lowercase “e” and lowercase “a” for a few days.

When I placed the letters along the top edge of the quilt, I felt they were blending in too much with the fabrics below so I added a strip of white with some colored squares to break it up a bit.

I’m looking forward to seeing how all these projects finish up.  Meanwhile, I received my own quilt back for its journey.  I have already made one more addition of the grass at the bottom and I think I will also add a couple borders before finishing it.  Or maybe not.  I could just leave it as-is an let the binding be the border.  What do you think? 

Just housing around

I’m in a Flickr group called Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  Every other month, one of our 6 group members get to request a block from the other 5 members.  We each make 2 quilt blocks, and the recipient receives 10 quilt blocks in the mail.  These are the ladies who made my lovely tree blocks when it was my turn at Queen Bee.

This month, Ann requested house blocks.  In our discussion, trying to get some clarification, I asked:

“Must it be a house, or could it be, say, an apartment building? A dog house? A teepee? A yurt?”

My friend Kim responded, “I would LOVE to see a yurt!!!!!!

I hadn’t heard back from Ann about whether she preferred a more traditional house, and with that many exclamation points, I just had to step up to Kim’s yurt challenge (even though it was my suggestion, I’m not sure I was serious until Kim responded).

So, I made a quilt block yurt!  I must say that this is definitely a first for me!

I cannot tell you how much this entire process has amused me.  I giggled while I was making it: “Hee hee, a quilt block yurt.”  Perhaps Likely, I’m just easily amused.

I also made a country house with a tree in the yard.

And some city houses in a row.

While I only had to make two blocks for Ann, she gets three: two house quilt blocks, and a bonus yurt block.

And now I’m thinking: wouldn’t be fun to make a quilt where each block is a different type of dwelling?  Tee-pee, camper, igloo, etc …

Sunday Stash: Blues and greens for Brian

I wanted to show you a picture of the fabrics I will be using for Brian’s quilt.  Brian’s house was destroyed by the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs this past summer, and if you’d like to help me by making a few blocks for his quilt, that would be awesome!

You can use these fabrics for inspiration on the color scheme when you make your own block!

Directions for the block I’m using for Brian’s quilt are here.

Road Trip Quilt Along: West Virginia

Well, road trippers, this is THE END.  The very last of 16 state blocks.  It’s been quite a journey.  Finish this one up, and then it time to head home, unpack and sleep in your own bed.  And by that I mean, make something out of these 16 blocks (or however many you finished).

I’ve been looking forward to this last block since the very beginning because I thought that it looked amazing on paper.  It looks pretty awesome in fabric form as well!  I am going to give directions for a method that involves a lot of little half square triangles (1-1/2 inches a side, finished), but there is a different method at Bella Online if you want to check that out as well.

I’ve seen this one with 3 focus fabrics in addition to the background fabric.  That results in the appearance of an on-point square framing the center 8-point star.

I’m going to just use two focus fabrics and continue with my background fabric where the 3rd fabric would be so that the star really stands out.

Cutting directions for West Virginia quilt block

(4) 3.5 squares [background fabric][or fabric 3, if you’re using the first design option]
(8) 2 inch squares [background fabric]
(16) 2.5 inch squares [background fabric]

(12) 2.5 inch squares [fabric 1]

(12) 2.5 inch squares [fabric 2]

Constructing West Virginia quilt block

Begin by making a whole pile of HSTs, using all the 2.5 inch squares.  Match 8 of the 2.5 inch squares of background fabric with eight 2.5 inch squares of fabric 1.  Match the other eight 2.5 inch squares of background fabric with eight 2.5 inch squares of fabric 2.

The remaining 4 squares of [fabric 1] will each be matched with one of the remaining 4 squares of [fabric 2].

Sew the squares together as we’ve done in the past to make HSTs, cut them apart on the center line, iron open (directions for half square triangles in the Maryland block, if you need a refresher).  Trim each of the FORTY half square triangles to 2 inches.  Phew!

Okay.  Now lay out all the pieces of your block in the correct arrangement and begin sewing pairs of 2-inch squares together.  This is an excellent opportunity for chain piecing! Just pair the squares, line them up, and run them through your sewing machine!

I forgot to take a picture before I began sewing the squares together, but here’s what my block looked like after the first pass of chain piecing pairs.

I’m not going to tell you the exact order in which to put your pieces together at this point because there are about a bajillion different ways it could be done.  I am going to recommend this: since there are so many seams, sew the block together in several sections.  Trim the sections to the correct size and then sew the sections together.  This will prevent little discrepancies in your seam allowances from multiplying into big discrepancies at the whole block level.

I trimmed when I had 6 sections.  The four corner sections were trimmed to 6.5 inches x 5 inches.  The two center sections were trimmed to to 6.5 inches x 3.5 inches

Sew the sections together and trim your block to 12.5 inches.

And hey!  Look at that!  We have finished ALL 16 STATE BLOCKS!

I made 4 of my blocks with a yellow background, so I think that my final arrangement will have them going across the quilt from corner to corner.  Also, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up re-doing Pennsylvania.  I already re-did it once because version one was just way too busy.  I thought that the toned down version (which I still didn’t love, even from when I first made it) would grow on me, and/or be fine as part of the whole quilt, but it’s not the case.  It still makes me cringe a little.  Third time’s the charm?

Come back next week for a little giveaway for anyone who has completed 8 blocks.  Extra entry if you’ve finished all 16.  I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week, so you have two weeks from now to finish everything up.