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.

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.

Sunday Stash: a Giveaway

Today’s Sunday Stash is actually a giveaway.  Well, a future giveaway.

I decided to say “thank you” to the people who have been playing along with my Road Trip Quilt Along, I would offer a little bundle of five fat quarters when we’re all finished.

Since this is the Road Trip Quilt Along, I thought the cars were appropriate.  It’s organic Ready, Set, Go by Robert Kaufman.  The coordinating solids are Kona cottons: tomato, robin’s egg, and canary.  And the green leaf print is from the Denyse Schmidt Meadow Lark line for JoAnn Fabrics.

If you’ve been quilting along: great!  If not, there is still time to join us, and I would love if you would.  To enter to win this five fat quarter bundle, you will have to complete 8 of the 16 RTQA along blocks.  If you finish all 16, you get two entries.  I have posted tutorials for 12 of 16 state quilt blocks so far.

Even if you want to jump in now, you have four more weeks, plus I will leave the giveaway open for an additional 2 weeks.  Six weeks to make 8 blocks.  You can do that, right?  Just jump over to the RTQA page and decide which blocks you’d like to make!

Don’t enter now.  This is for a future giveaway.  So, go!  Join the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group.  And we’ll see you in a few weeks for this giveaway!

And if you want to see what others are sharing from their stash this week, go visit Fiona at Finding Fifth.

Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday (on Saturday)

I finished this yesterday and took the photos and everything.  I intended to write this post last night, but I got into my bed with both girls to read stories and then, I just didn’t feel motivated to get out again.  This is what I get for staying up past midnight the night before that.  Perhaps I need to think about some more regular sleep habits?  Am I the only who does this?

Anyway, when we bought our living room furniture four years ago, it came with these 4 pillows made of the same fabric as the couch.  I always intended to make covers for them, but then never got around to it.

So, yesterday, I pulled out this warm colors dresden that I had made some time ago, which held a place on The List (the to do list) for several weeks, but then I removed it from The List because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.

Well, turns out, it wanted to become a pillow.

While I like the design of this pillow, I’m not really sure I love the color scheme.  However, I made it to match the colors in my living room, which come from a rug we have that is sort of a wine red, navy, green, and natural.   The real issue, I think, is I need to redo my entire living room: repaint, and a new rug that I love, but I don’t think my husband would be okay with that right now!  Ha!

I do love the dresden itself, though!

(Anybody want to come and repaint my living room?  Then I’ll make a new pillow to match!)

Edit:  I made this pillow a buddy, and now I actually like it a little more.  Just needed some “balance,” I guess?

Sunday Stash: Floss but not for your teeth

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I decided to sign up for a “hoopie swap” even though my experience with embroidery is precisely nil.  Time will tell whether this was actually a good idea or not.

While I could design my hoopie entirely of fabric and quilt piecing, I decided that as long as I’m buying an embroidery hoop, I might as well go ahead and try some embroidery.  So, today, I stopped at Jo-Ann and picked out a selection of colors of bright and pretty embroidery floss and a couple of hoops.

I’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos about embroidery stitches, and one of my group members linked to this nice embroidery resource.  I feel like I have a slightly less vague idea of what I’m doing than I did a few days ago, so I guess the best thing to do is just to jump in and do it, starting with the easy stuff.  Wish me luck (and I hope my partner actually enjoys the finished product!).

Want to see some more sewing goodness?  Go check out the Sunday Stash link up at Finding Fifth.

Novelty print charm square patchwork ruffle skirt

How’s that for a mouthful?!  We’ll get to the NPCSPRS in just a moment, meanwhile, welcome to my stop on the Plum and June Let’s Get Acquainted blog hop and [say this next part in a funny British accent] please allow myself to introduce … myself.

My name is Em.  I currently live in Virginia via Illinois, Missouri, and Connecticut.  I’ve been quilting for … let’s call it 2 years, since that’s when I decided my scrap bin from other projects was getting out of hand and needed to be dealt with.  I sew (and quilt) predominately at night (hence the name of this blog) after my two little girls are tucked in to bed.  I often just enjoy the soundtrack of my sewing machine and the absence of small voices yelling from the bathroom, “Mooomm!  WIPE MY BUM!”  But if I’m feeling musical, I usually turn on Pandora and my mood ranges from blue grass to classic rock to club dance music.

My family and I are presently in week one of seven and a half weeks away from home this summer.  We started in Virginia, drove to Illinois, then it’s on to Montana and back home via Colorado and St. Louis.  We will drive through 16 states in total.  It is the Epic Road Trip Adventure that inspired the Road Trip Quilt Along I’m currently hosting.  

Assuming I can keep up between all the events and travel, I will post a tutorial for a new state block each week.  We just started with Virginia last week, and I would love it if you want to play along.  You can join the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group here.  We’ll continue on to Maryland tomorrow if I can get the tutorial finished up.  My sister’s wedding is this weekend, though, so it might be Monday.

Okay.  On to today’s tutorial.  It was inspired by Beth’s suggestion to use novelty prints.  And by the great variety of charm packs that are available.  And by my two little girls.

While not technically a quilting project, quilters have charm squares, yes?  And quilters know little girls that love twirly ruffle skirts.  You don’t know any ruffle-skirt loving little girls?  Sure you do: your best friend’s granddaughter, your neighbor’s niece, you co-worker’s sister’s cousin’s kid.  Anyway, I’m sure you can find a recipient for this darling skirt if you don’t have a little girl handy (I have two in my immediate vicinity; three this week since we’re visiting my parents and my niece is here).


[This is for a skirt that will fit a 3-4 year old.  For a smaller child, you could shorten the bottom band or leave it off entirely.  In the latter case, you will just add a hem to the bottom tier of the skirt.  For a larger child, you can add a third tier of charm square.  I recommend 12.]

16 charm squares
5-inch x 37-inch strip for bottom band
3-inch x 26-inch strip for waist band
21 inches of elastic (or thereabouts, measure the wearer of the skirt)

Ruffle skirt tutorial

Lay out your charm squares in the order you would like them.  Seven charms for the upper tier of the skirt, 9 charms for the lower tier.
 Using seam allowances of 1/2 inch, (I only emphasize that because most of you are quilters and quilters usually use 1/4 inch seam allowances.  You need more here.) sew each tier together into a ring.
 Within each seam allowance, trim off excess with pinking shears and zig zag stitch along the edge so that your skirt does not fray when you wash it.  If you have a serger, use it here.  Iron all the seam allowanced to one side.
 Sew both your waist band strip and your bottom strip together along the short ends into a ring.  Iron the seam of each open and then fold each ring in half and press.
 Open the folded-in-half ring back up and then fold one edge over 1/2 inch and press.

[This next part is slightly tricky, so read carefully.]  Line up the raw edge of the bottom band with the bottom edge of the lower tier of the skirt.  The right side of the bottom band should be against the wrong side of the skirt.  (I know it seems unnatural.  Just trust me here.)  Sew the bottom band to the skirt with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Iron the band out away from the skirt, flip it up on the fold line to cover the raw edge and the line of stitches you just made and then top stitch down, very close to the edge.  Ta da!  Lovely bottom band.
 Time to ruffle.  Do not backstitch at the beginning and end!!  With a basting stitch (sewing machine set to longest stitch length), sew a line of stitches about 1/4 inch below the top edge of the bottom tier of the skirt.  (Some say to add a second line of basting stitches in case a thread breaks, but I usually just sew one line.) Firmly grasp the bobbin thread with one hand and slide the fabric along the thread to gather.  You will gather it until it is the same length as the top tier of the skirt (28 inches).
 Line up the top the edge of the bottom tier (that you just gathered) with the bottom edge of the top tier, right sides together.  Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Use pinking shears to trim the seam allowance and zig zag stitch along the raw edge.

Iron the seam toward the top.  Turn the skirt to the right side and top stitch along the bottom edge of the top tier, catching the seam you just ironed up.  This will keep the seam in place and help the skirt to lie nicely when it’s worn.
 Using the same technique as you used for the bottom tier, gather the top tier so that it is the same length as the waist band.

Line up the gathered top edge with the raw edge of the waist band.  As with the bottom band, the right side of the waist band will be against the wrong side of the skirt.  [I inserted a 3 inch piece of ribbon, folded in half, between the layers in the back of the skirt before I sewed them together.  This is optional, but my daughter looks for the “tag” in her clothes.]
 Iron the waist band away from the skirt, flip it down along the fold and top stitch very close to the edge.  Leave about 2 inches open to insert the elastic.
Attach a large safety pin to one end of the elastic, and thread it through the waist band.  Sew the two ends of the elastic together.  Sew the hole shut.
 Phew!  Did you make it all the way to the end?  Are you going to make a patchwork ruffle skirt?  Who is on your list?
 Be sure to check out my blog hop buddy today, Taryn at Pixels to Patchwork.

And if you missed them on Tuesday, go visit Cinzia at Deux Petites Souris and check out Kristy’s Red Herring blocks at Quiet Play.

You can find all the blog hop participants on Beth’s blog at Plum and June.


SMS Giveaway Day: Rainbow Charm PackWINNER!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog and played in the giveaway.  The winner out of 210 comments was #120, Lynne, who said:

I love a blog with beautiful pictures and lots of clean, white space like yours! Thanks for the great giveaway!

 Hey there.  Welcome to Sewing by Moonlight.  My name is Em.  Sometimes I like to think of myself as M, like the “big boss” in James Bond movies.  Sometimes I also like to think of myself as an organized, well-rest woman with children who sleep through the night, but none of that is true.

I’ve got two little girls and I do most of my sewing after they are tucked in bed for the night, you know, by moonlight.  I just started this  blog in January, so I’m definitely still figuring out the ins and outs of this sewing blog business, but I decided to jump head first into the deep end and host my first quilt along this summer.

So far, there’s been only a little bit of interest and I’m feeling a little bit lonely in the Flickr group, so if you’re looking for a unique sampler quilt, I’d love it if you would join us.

Here’s the deal.  My family is going on this insane road trip this summer that involves a wedding, a Master’s thesis defense, a reunion with old friends, and an abundance of national parks.  Over the course of two months we will make a loop through the country, traveling through 16 states in the process.  Since there are quilt blocks which represent each state, I thought it would fun be to make a sampler quilt with all those state quilt blocks.  Thus was hatched my idea for a Summer Road Trip Quilt Along.

And if you’re going to join a quilt along, you’re going to need a little fabric to get you started.  I’ve been really crushing on rainbow projects lately, so I thought I would offer you a pack of 42 rainbow charm squares.

Unfortunately, I messed up the cutting, so now I’m offering 36 charm squares plus 6 5-inch x 4-inch rectangles.  Sorry about that.  Can we blame it on the fact that the day I cut the charms I woke up at 4am to run a half marathon?

To enter, leave me a comment.  Tell me what you’re looking for in a sewing/quilt blog; what sorts of projects and posts would bring you back to visit again?  I’m looking to improve my new space here, and I’m hoping you can help me do that, so if you have any suggestions about what could make this blog better, I’d love to hear those as well.

The giveaway is open to all and will close on Friday, May 25th at 8pm EDT.  Please make sure your email address is in your comment if it’s not associated with your profile.

If you’d like, you can follow me on Twitter @moonlightsewing, or like my Facebook page.  It’s brand spankin’ new (as in, I haven’t even told anyone it exists yet!), so you will be one of my very first fans!!

And one last thing, if you didn’t happen to come here from there in the first place, get ye over to Sew Mama Sew and enter all the other great giveaways for Giveaway Day!

Festival of Half Square Triangles: winter table runner

Today, at noon, is the final day to enter a project in the Festival of Half Square Triangles at Canoe Ridge Creations.  And here it is, nearly 10am and I am writing this little post about a project I just finished last night very early this morning, so that I can play, too.

Yes, there are some great prizes up for grabs, but with well over 100 entries already, I realize my chances of actually winning any of them are slim.  However, I still wanted to finish this up and link up over there because these sorts of “link parties” are really great for the community aspect of them; it’s tough to get that in the digital world.

I’m really glad that this festival is happening because it provided the motivation to finish a half square triangle project that I started (and had hoped to finish) way back in January.  I thought I was being all sneaky and clever posting a sneak peek of my completed half square triangles.  They looked lovely, and I thought I would unveil the final project shortly after that.  Um … yeah, that didn’t happen.

Earlier this week, the link party for the HST festival opened up and I didn’t think I would be able to finish this project in time.  I had something to strive for, though, and some time shortly after midnight this morning, I completed the binding of my winter table runner.  Hooray!!

I wanted this to be an obvious “winter” decor item without being holiday themed so I chose to use purple, navy, ice blue, gray and white.  I designed it so that the HSTs of the same color (purple) would form the background for some snowflake appliqués.

That background purple, which I also used in the binding, is great because it has some tone on tone variation so, in person, it really adds some great texture and dimension to the project.  It’s Kona dimensions purple.  In this next photo, you can also see a little bit of the sparkle in the snowflakes.  This white, which I used for the snowflakes and also the outer white border, is Michael Miller Fairy Frost glitz zirconium.

I knew that straight line quilting would be the way to go with this project, but when I was invited to a sew/play date (which I mentioned but never posted about) with Kim, Amy, and Katie, I sought their input and they agreed that some echo quilting following the lines of the chevrons would be lovely.

The back is just pieced with some of the leftover and a few extra half square triangles.

I’m really happy with how this project turned out, and it looks great on my dining table.  Too bad it’s not really appropriate decor for April!  Ha!  At least it will be ready to go when December rolls around!