Monday, January 31, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: Valentine's Day Projects Take 1

Valentine's Day is  a special day around our house because the date doubles as my wedding anniversary. Yes, in 2004, Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday, and we had a great time planning loosely around the theme. Instead of reception guests tapping their glasses to get us to kiss, we asked them to sing a song (at the microphone!) with the word "love" in it. That little game went over pretty well... late into the night as the open bar began to run low. :-)

Anyway, these sweetheart tutorials have me swooning, and I think you'll fall in love at first sight too. Okay, cut the cheesy-ness and on with the tuts.

Have a great week, everyone! I'll be back in a few days with a couple project updates. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stash Resolution Episode 23: An Interview with Kate Dixon of Fat Quarterly

This special episode of Stash Resolution features an interview with Kate Dixon of Fat Quarterly, an ezine for modern sewists. The most recent issue of Fat Quarterly was released Thursday, January 27 and can be purchased on the Fat Quarterly website. I think you all will really enjoy hearing about Kate's own sewing adventures as well as learning more about Fat Quarterly.

Kate's blog - One Flew Over
Kate on Flickr

Support efforts raise funds for Queensland flood relief:
Handmade Help
Queensland Flood Appeal Master List

Life Updates

Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild

Cincinnati International Quilt Festival - April 8-10. Please let me or Anne of the Green Stitch podcast know if you'd like to join us for a meet up.

Project Updates

Wrap Up

Please email me with other interview ideas at

Thank you to all who have taken the time to comment on the blog! 

A special thank you to Frances of the Off Kilter Quilt, Kelli from The Pioneer Quilter, and Anne from Green Stitch podcasts for the recent shout outs. If you haven't checked out these podcasts, give them a listen. They are some of my favs! 

In case you need to get in touch...
Follow me on Twitter as @SwellCloth
Check out my Etsy shop, 

Download this episode and all past episodes of Stash Resolution podcast for free on iTunes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mama Bear, Mama Bear, What do you see?

I see handmade teddy-bears looking at me!
(If you're a mom - you know exactly what book I'm referencing.)

There is a wonderful KAL-CAL (knit-along, crochet-along) to benefit the Mother Bear Project sponsored by a fellow podcaster - Dr. Gemma of CogKNITive, who just may be the most whitty, humane, and intelligent person I've ever met via the virtual airwaves.

Want a good cry? Check out the incredibly touching photos on the Mother Bear Project website.

Reaching countries all over the globe, this charity organization is brings comfort to children suffering from AIDS/HIV by supplying them with handmade bears. For a mere $5 donation, you can request a pattern and also receive a bonus heart tag to personalize your completed bear.

Don't knit or crochet? You can still participate by making a monetary donation to assist the organization with administrative costs.

Dr. Gemma of CogKNITive is sponsoring the KAL/CAL as I mentioned. Check out her Ravelry group for a look at the swag up for grabs just for participating.

I'm joining in to support this worthy cause. Please find me on Ravelry as SarahOlivia to let me know if you are too!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I *Heart* Bunting

Woke up early today and decided to make Valentine's Day bunting. Perfectly normal goal for a Sunday, right?

First, I scoured the Internet for a great tutorial, and ended up finding several. I used a combination of My Patchwork's tut and the one from Cicada Daydream.

Pulling from my scraps, I settled on five different pinks. Folding the fabric, I was able to cut two triangle pairs at a time. Four of the fabrics yielded enough to make two complete triangles, and one had only enough for one.

Sewing the triangles together took no time at all. Turning them right side out was a different story. This is one of those sewing tasks I just dread. Using a knitting needle, I was able to muddle through. :-)

After pressing, I was ready to top stitch.

Instead of using rope or ribbon, I decided to use double-fold bias tape. Purchasing a pack this afternoon, the final assembly of the bunting was super quick.

I put the petal to the metal and roared through the stitching. First, I did a 5/8" pass, which was followed by a 1/4" pass.

For a couple hours of work, I'm pleased with the results. The pink adds a little Valentine's Day cheer to our family room mantle - a room we spend a majority of our time in.

My next project is re-arranging the stuff on top of the mantle. Since we took down Christmas, I have been in the mood to do something different and need a little time (alone) to shop for what I have in mind. Please excuse the mess it's in now.

Loving the whimsy and cheerfulness the bunting brings to my home.  I can't wait to make it for every holiday now!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spiderweb Quilt... Finally!

After dreaming about this quilt for months and months, I finally decided it is time to tackle it. What have I been waiting for? This pattern is awesome! (using this tut) It's so addicting to cut scraps and see them take shape. And, trust me when I say there are scraps to go around here.

Exhibit A

And Exhibit B

There just might be enough left overs in these bins to make an entire queen-sized project. Each block being 12" finished, it won't take long for that to come together, right?

Cutting the scraps is satisfying in and of itself. Each piece being tossed in a bin as a throw-away now has new life and new purpose. Utilizing every tiny sliver possible is gratifying. Plus, seeing all these old favorites again is like a visit from a good friend. Am I too sentimental about my fabric? Tell me I'm not the only one.

Might be hard to believe something that looks a little on the ugly side at first will turn into a beautiful quilt block. After getting through the awkward string piecing stage and post a little trimming, voila!

This is my first block - the first of many, many to come! I can see this being a project that is on the sidelines and then center stage and then back to the sidelines again over the course of time. Someday that queen size quilt will be finished - a little memory treasury trove of quilts and sewing projects past.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: Fabric Displays

There comes a time in every sewers life when a drawer just won't do it any longer. Their fabric addiction can no longer be contained - should no longer be kept a secret. They want to display their fiber-candy in public for all to see. Shelving is in order.

This week, I scoured the internet for images of chic sewing studios and their fabric displays. While these aren't true tutorials, they are inspirational none-the-less. Enjoy!

Need a kick start? Here is a Flickr group dedicated to sewing room organization. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stash Resolution Episode 21: Simple Sewing

What I've Been Working On
Cabled Baby Blanket from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby book

Product Review: binding clips, flower pins, and The Gypsy Gripper

Upcoming Events:
Miamisburg (Ohio) Quilt Show April 29&30

Book Review: Simple Sewing for Baby by Lotta Jansdotter

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flying Geese Inspiration

I haven't had much time at the sewing machine over the last few weeks for a variety of reasons, which I will discuss on this weekend's podcast. Therefore - I am sewing vicariously through my Flickr and Twitter friends. :-)

The poor Quilt-in-a-Day Flying Geese ruler remains pristine in it's original packaging, untouched. I'm itching to break it open and try it out. Instead, I'm drooling over these incredible projects, dreaming about the time I will have a solid hour - no 10 minutes! - to make one myself.

1. Flying Geese Quilt, 2. July Flying Geese, 3. Flying Geese Love for Tacha, 4. geese pillow, 5. October block for Sew & Bee-Happy, 6. block Lucinda made for me, 7. Scrapbeelooza block #2, 8. Fat Geese - baby quilt, 9. flying geese strip pieces, 10. hey geese!, 11. DQS9, 12. Busy Bees - June

What amazes me about this collection of talent is all the variations of Flying Geese. This truly is a versatile block with seemingly never ending options.

One of my favorite ways to play with Flying Geese is by using different scales in the same piece, as I did for the last Swap 'Til You Drop (STUD) on Flickr.

So, I will continue to dream and try to find stolen moments in my sewing room. I'm hoping things will settle soon, and my crafty life can get back to it's normal productive ways.

What are you working on? Please share photos on the Stash Resolution Podcast Flickr group!

Have a great rest of the week! Happy sewing!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: Fabric Scrap Organization

Are you still trying to get organized in the new year? We are. Tackling my scrap bins is certainly on the long list of things to do. Here are some ideas and inspiration for how to sort your scraps.

Once you've sorted and decided what to keep and what can go, consider donating unwanted scraps to Project Linus, as described on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Boy Quilt

Yesterday, my mom came over for a bit to sew. We had a wonderful time together.

She worked on an adorable baby quilt for a soon-to-be-born baby in our family. We started from scratch deciding on a pattern, and by the end of the afternoon she had most of the cutting finished and on block pieced.

The fabric is a mix of several different lines of boy-focused themes none of which I can remember (I know, mom - should have written it down). If you know what they are, please leave a comment!

We ended up modifying a pattern my mom found online that was a tad more complex. This more simple version will have 9 blocks, sashing, and borders. The pieced blocks finish at 12" square and the large blocks alternating are also cut at 12". Then, the sashing is 3". Finally, the border will be a nice green color - size TBD.

Just love all the fussy cutting she did for the block centers. The quilt is going to be adorable. She's even considering a pieced back with extra fabric. Will definitely share the finished quilt with you when it's ready.

What was I working on during our little sewing afternoon? Well, I was mostly working on her quilt too. :-) More on my projects later.

Have a great rest of your weekend. See you tomorrow with another tutorial roundup!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Magpie Yarn

Thanksgiving weekend in Lexington, KY, I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes in Magpie Yarn, a charming shop in the city's historic district.

The inside is just as charming and cozy as the outside appears to be. I could have spent hours - days - months there!

The front of the store had a whole section of soft, cuddly baby yarns organized by yarn weights.

The back of the store was filled with lovely yarn brands sorted by color. Love that!

This couch was just so inviting with beautifully knit pillows and sweater art hung above. (That's my mother in-law admiring the handmade blankets!)

How thoughtful and clever are the mantle decorations? (Wonder if I can pull that off in my house?)

So many wonderful shop samples too - full of inspiration!

Sorry for the blurry photo, but I just had to show you the yummy horizontal chunky cables and that to-die-for broach!

Hello, comfy! 

Last but not least - seriously. Is this not the best home dec idea ever? Yarn stash odds-and-ends proudly on display. Must do this ASAP... if only I could keep my toddler out of it. 

If you're ever in the Lexington area, do yourself a favor and take the time to visit Magpie Yarns. I, for one, cannot wait to return!