Monthly Archives: October 2016

Blog Tour: Hello, Ollie by Bonnie Christine

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Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m happy to share a bit about the soft and lovely Hello, Ollie collection by the ever-s0-talented Bonnie Christine today. I really enjoyed being set free to make a couple minis for Bonnie’s booth at Spring Market. The fabrics were inspired by the sweetness of swans, feathered fellows, and garden blooms and pay tribute to Bonnie’s newest addition, daughter Ollie. This collection is also Art Gallery Fabrics‘ first all organic collection. As with all of the other AGF substrates, with AGF Organics, you will feel the difference. They have taken the time to create a custom organic weave, so that you get all of the greatness of a 100% certified organic cotton cloth base, dyed with eco-friendly low impact inks, and mixed with the unmatched quality of design and hand that characterizes Art Gallery Fabrics.

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The whimsy and cuteness abounds in this sweet collection. It was so hard to decide what to make with so many fun options dancing through my head. I settled on 2 mini quilts to be framed for her booth display.

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The first mini really reflects the carefree and romantic touches of the collection. I concentrated on the swans for this piece — fussy cutting larger and smaller swans to applique on to a rippling pond of fabrics with a line of swans flying overhead. Small metallic accents (thread, piping, quilting) were a *must* as well as floss-tied bows around the swans necks. The batting is a super puffy (inexpensive, mega lofty from Walmart) to give tons of dimension to this piece. I really wanted the effect of billowy clouds, swans in motion, and movement of the water to play into this mini. 
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The second mini was a fun needle turn project using the Everglade Pattern from Carolyn Friedlander. I knew I needed to use the adorable winking eyes in the Meadow Dreams print combined with the deep rose-red Blossom Drift print.

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A spool of 50wt. Aurifil thread in color No. 2277 was the perfect match to the floral print. Even if a few needle turns were off a tad, you can’t see them because of how perfect the color match is. This pattern is so easy! Cut, baste, stitch, press. Done!

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Another cut out swan from the Dabblin Swan print for this mini — outlined with gold metallic thread to give her an extra princess-like sheen. And additional embroidery floss colors chosen to add a quick garden in one of the windows. 
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I just can’t stay away from glitter and metallic apparently…so I crosshatch quilted the window areas in gold as well. I really love this mini so much!

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Of course I encountered a technological breakdown between taking my photos and transferring them to my computer, so I’ve lost close up pics of each finished mini. <super sad face> I hope this booth photo from Spring Market helps give you an idea of how both minis finished up and found their home with Bonnie. The entire booth was so magical and pretty! (And in the above photo…lower right corner is a bag made by one of my besties, Jenn Rossotti. Omigosh…it’s amazing! And you’ll hear from her next week!)

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*That bag!!!!* But more on that from Jenn next week!
Now check out tomorrow’s blog tour stop: Teresa Behr | Dandelion Drift
If you missed yesterday’s stop, then here’s your link to check out Corri Sheff  | The Lions Dandy
The full lineup for Bonnie’s blog tour is here: Blog Schedule

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xo Sarah

 

Coffee, Donuts, Denim…Let’s get back to the essentials.

img_0406As I sit here with my [You Are Here – Alaska] cuppa and big ol’ yeasty glazed donut, I am able to say with certainty that denim completes the morning. I always feel my best when wearing a perfect fitting pair of jeans or my awesome jean jacket I’ve had since high school that has all my aviation wings and my Grandpa’s WWII pin tacked on it. So why wouldn’t a quilt made of (what I consider to be) the coziest, most wonderful denim blends be any less perfect? Survey says…it’s amazing, and once again Art Gallery Fabrics prevails in my quilty endeavors. And I’m so thankful that our West Virginia nights are dipping into the upper 40s to give me a chance to cuddle up under my new quilty child. img_0417

I may have a teeny bit of a history for using bright, full-spectrum color in my projects, which this quilt most definitely has. But what I’m not known for (I don’t think) is a simpler approach to quilt design. Something about this project spoke to me on a more traditional level. I needed to show off the AGF Denim Studio fabric textures and bright colors from the AGF Elements by utilizing an age-old layout for the overall aesthetic for which I was aiming. (And even more…I needed to get this beast done fast!)

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About a year ago or so, I was scrolling through various quilty hashtags and saw a checkerboard quilt with dominant white squares and all these cute little bright printed squares. I think, and can’t say for sure, it was something Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts made. It was super cute, and that’s what I envisioned for this project. I did, however, want to rotate my squares 45-degrees so that the squares were on point. Originally I had intended to make a 102″ x 102″ quilt, but like always, time disappeared as our Denim Tour 2.0 deadline week quickly approached. So I whizzed through as many little squares as I possibly could and ended up finishing at 84″ x 84″. And it’s perfect if you ask me! unnamed-1

Every other square (white) is the new AGF Outland Yarn Dye in Vanilla Mist. The yarn dyes are delicious! Absolutely so soft and cozy and light! Besides the white color, there are also the following: Endless Paradise (tealy blue), Deep Ocean (blue-black), Cherry Crimson (soft red), and Rose Feather (swoon-worthy ballet pink). This family within the Denim Studio are all 4oz/sqm and 100% cotton. I’ll admit, they were a tad bit finicky to press as crisp as I would have liked (as I was able to do with the other fabric contents), but that’s because the fabric is truly an airy and lofty weave. They still stitched up perfectly and yielded a perfect finish. I’m really tempted to buy a few yards of one to make a flowy twirly skirt or summer dress. But that also means I need to decide on a color, and that part is HARD!

I used every one of the eight Solid Smooth Denim colors within this quilt. I’d equate these solids as a chambray type content since there is a white weft and colored warp. I’m really, really a fan of these! They are 4.5oz/sqm, which is more on par with the weight of typical quilting cotton that you use. The fabric itself is 80% cotton/20% poly. They press well, stitch flawlessly, and drape beautifully. I used quite a bit of them in my Observer quilt too — the entire background is Afternoon Sail with some geese using Indigo Shadow, Cool Foliage, Frosted Sage, and Adobe Clay. fullsizerender-2

Ok, back to my denim checkerboard quilt!
Blending the denims with an assortment of Elements fabrics was a MUST. The thirty-six prints below are all used in the quilt. I sometimes wonder if everyone is aware of the AGF Elements section. There are seven types of printed blenders as well as the solids, and every single AGF designer collection can blend in a handful of these pretties to really add an extra pop. I stuck with the Nature, Floral and Oval Elements for this quilt. The only one below that doesn’t really resemble its color in real life compared to the graphic is Floral Element in Scarlet (fifth row, second column). It’s still gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely a teeny bit darker red in person. unnamed

 

There was zero thought process to color placement in this quilt. Ok, well maybe not zero…but there was very little. I made sure that the mini blocks I made within the quilt didn’t have any repeating prints, but other than that I went “grab bag” style with color distribution. It’s kind of like a big carnival tent quilt in a happy way. (Notice I did *not* say clown outfit. I abhor clowns. Terrified of clowns. Like, worse than spiders or snakes.)

Once my quilt top was pieced, it took a ride on my Handi Quilter Avante. As I mentioned, I wanted to stick to a more traditional feel for this quilt, so I knew my Sketchbook FMQ was out on this one. I scanned through the library of computerized designs and settled on this one below. It’s called something-or-other bubble…so I’m just gonna call it Bubble Bites based on how it looks to me.  Each bubble diameter is about the same scale as the quilt squares, yet offset enough from the squares to not have a regulated/formulated finished appearance. I really like the balance that the curved quilting gives to the loud colors and angles of the fabric print and placement.

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I went with yet another flanged binding for the finishing touch. The main binding is Solid Smooth in Infused Hydrangea with a flange detail using the denim print Fading Darts (also 4.5oz/sqm and 100% cotton). The backing is the most beautiful floral denim, Artic Avens. See that teal color in that print? It just gives me all the heart eyes! And I just love how the flanged print ties into the dark denim color from the backing fabric. img_0408

I promise to get a subsequent post sharing how I make a flange binding too…but right now mega housework and client quilting beckons me. I’ve really enjoyed this quilt-making process. I always enjoy each project’s journey, but this one was a fun step back from having to think out all the details. In the end, I wound up with a cheerful, wonderfully cozy, and perfect-to-me quilt for my bed! img_0411

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Be sure to follow the entire week’s Denim Studio 2.0 blog tour line up! There are some gorgeous things coming from the others…from home dec to apparel to mini quilts and weavy fun! Thanks for stopping by and hanging out with me for a few! You can follow me on Instagram @sariditty for more pics!

Monday- Christopher http://www.thetattooedquilter.com

Tuesday – Nicole www.lillyella.com

Wednesday – Sarah — That’s me!

Thursday – Jenn http://gingerpeachstudio.com/

Friday – Mathew https://misterdomestic.net/

You can also follow along on Instagram with the hashtags #AGFdenimtour2point0 and #thedenimstudiobyAGF.

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xo,

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Fabric Tour: OBSERVER by April Rhodes

April: “Sarah, would you like to be part of my Observe…”
Me: “YES!”
April: “…r fabric tour?”
Me: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, all things holy, YES!!”

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So, as you can probably tell, I was ready to jump head first into this endeavor! I was the epitome of a horse chomping at the bit for this invitation, and let me tell you…I chomped. Hard! And thus the sketching and design process for my Observer quilt came together fast and effortlessly. I mean, with a fabric palette like THIS, how could it not speak to me?

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If you’ve followed me on social media for any length of time, you’re probably wondering how this muted and softer palette speaks to me so well since I often work with bright, vibrant spectrum collaborations. Believe it or not, April’s collections are probably the best reflection of me personally and of my life and style. I grew up going to the North Woods of Wisconsin every summer. Lac du Flambeau, to be exact. We stayed on an Indian reservation; hiked around the lakes; looked for bear prints in the mud; fished for Muskeye and Walleye; canoed until the sun went down. Even now, I consider Sandia Park, NM (situated in the mountains between Santa Fe and Albuquerque) my “home.” My parents moved there 7ish years ago, and it’s been an integral part of my life since then. It’s also where my heart breathes a sigh of contentment and peace. I feel at home there. (I’m actually there right now typing this!)

Particularly, this Observer collection truly spoke to me. I feel the sun rising over the San Pedro Mountains and setting behind Sandia Mountain. I can actually hear the coyotes singing in the pitch dark night. I see the sought-after rain in this drought heavy area trickling off the adobe roofs and onto the stony dirt ground. I can taste the roasted green chiles. So yes…THIS collection sings to me from start to finish. And I think that’s why I didn’t have any struggles to design and come up with my final piece.

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I quickly started drafting every single inch of my quilt pattern with numerous shapes and styles of flying geese covering the surface. Once again, I am so thankful that I always loved math and angles and geometry. See…you really do use math as an adult! (Maybe I should go back to my high school and thank Mrs. Hensley and Mrs. Fruits for making math classes fun. And yes, I just heard myself…I am a bona fide nerd.)

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And so I started building my quilt section by section. I had no previous plan for where color placement would go, and that made it fun for me to think it out as I went. The only true plan was to incorporate a handful of vintage doilies with the quilt design. Why? I’m not sure exactly. But something about the softness and feminine touch the doilies provide combined with the tribal designs and rough angles within a few of the fabric prints as well as the harder metallic accents just seemed like a match made in heaven to me. A huge thank you to my bestie, Nicole, for scrounging up these doilies for me from her amazing local thrift shop.

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I felt guilty cutting into them, but I just kept reminding myself I was giving them a new purpose in life and would be enjoyed daily by me.

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The tedious process of foundation paper piecing was underway. For a couple weeks straight, I think. But the quilt was coming together quickly and made my heart swell with each added section. img_3417

I tested my own sanity by incorporating sections of doilies as a few of the flying geese as well. If you look closely, you can see a few doilied geese in the above photo. A large downward pointing “goose” is flanked with a beautiful cream doily, and the lower left section has one “goose” using a bright white doily. For every doilied “goose,” I backed the doily with an Art Gallery Fabrics Solid Smooth Denim to blend with the color palette in play.

Once pieced, to my trusty Handi Quilter it went! I opted for a variety of quilting methods on this piece. I couched a few areas with different shades of metallic accented acrylic yarn. The ProStitcher was fun to integrate in a few areas with both a couple pre-programmed blocks as well as with some manipulated areas of “fishnets” casting out. A straight edge ruler helped me navigate around flying geese for outlining, and I also FMQ’d a lot of, what I call, Ornamental Iron on the top. I love implementing that FMQ style to provide movement.

I used Superior Threads #40 Metallic Thread in Antique Gold for all quilting, including the couched areas. This thread is amazing!! It really feels and stitches like a #40 but with all the metallic attributes you could desire. I have had zero breakage or fraying issues with any of the Metallics in this collection. You definitely need to add a spool or two to your thread library! Trust me.

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The backing of the quilt warranted a strip of scrappy Observer pieces running off center from top to bottom.

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Then it was time to bind. What I had originally planned and prepped to do was immediately out the window once I saw the quilted top. I just knew I had to do a flanged binding with, none other, gold metallic flange. Duh.

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This flanging process gave me a real workout of mental strength and physical endurance. Hah! I’m the one who chose to back the quilt with Art Gallery Fabrics‘ new Crosshatch Textured Denim in Rainy Night. It’s a bit beefier of a fabric content than traditional quilting cotton, so I had the extra bulk right there. Add in a flanged binding, which has me stitching in the ditch through double layered flange folds, and I was slowwwwwww to get this piece bound. Thankfully I made a lap quilt and nothing larger like I usually do!

Now for the fun part…pictures, pictures, pictures! Mister and I are on our first “real” vacation together since our belated honeymoon 5 years ago, and we came to, none other, than Sandia Park for our weeklong getaway. (Don’t worry…I have someone staying at our home, so don’t get any ideas. Hah!) We hiked along the crest of Sandia Mountain yesterday at nearly 11,000 for about 5 hours’ worth of foot fun. (Minus a 45min break at the lodge restaurant at the top for a quick lunch and delicious Alaskan Stout!) Mister was once again useful to me in lending his 6’1″ wingspan to hold my quilt in nearly 100 locations along the way. (I think he hates me now… hahaha)

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To give you a geographical idea of where I am…off to the right (west) is the city of Albuquerque, and off to the left side of the crest is Sandia Park and Santa Fe in the distance. And also worth noting, the Aspens were the most amazing they’ve been in 7 autumns! The area received enough rain this summer to give one heck of a color show in the forest and along the mountain!

And here it is…my quilt with Observer and AGF solid smooth denim…

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After the quilt was finished and ready to take its trip with me to New Mexico, I had just enough time to make up a couple coordinating cushions. These were so much fun to create!

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Thank you, all, so much for following along this adventure with me! I can’t begin to say how much this project spoke to my soul and what a joy it was to create from start to finish. Be sure to stick around for my next adventures (more AGF fun, some bright RJR, and a little Libs) coming soon. And make certain you check out the complete Observer Fabric Tour line up and amazing creations by visiting April Rhodes‘ site. The last stop on this tour is tomorrow, 5 October, and being brought to you by Jen Anderson of Little Wife Power House.

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*And if anyone out there is interested in purchasing my HQ Avante with ProStitcher for a great price, then send me an email for info. It’s time for me to get a bigger longarm!

XO,
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