Friday, May 29, 2015

Happy Mail Mini Quilt Swap

One of my very favorite things to make and receive are mini quilts. I love them because they are the perfect way to try out a block or two of a quilt you've been wanting to make, or the perfect size to design something intricate that you may not want or have the time to do in a full size quilt.
I joined a couple mini quilt swaps this year and have had such a fun time with them that I decided to host my own. I wanted it to be small, just a handful of friends. I named it the Happy Mail Mini Quilt Swap, because who doesn’t love a bit of happy mail?!

It has been so much fun! Big swaps are fun too of course, but this one was extra fun because I knew everyone involved. 
Once the partners were divvied up, I found out that the friend I would be creating a mini for was Ayumi of Pink Penguin. Talk about intimidating! She is incredible! She just came out with her very own fabric line! (Lighthearted Fabric) Ayumi is one of the very first "sewing bloggers" that I started following when I started blogging/sewing. She is sooo talented, so to say I was nervous to create something for her, is an understatement! 

As I was planning the mini I wanted to create, I remembered a picture that I came across 2 years ago on Pinterest. At the time, the picture that I had pinned didn't have a link. So with the help of friends on IG, I discovered that it was a picture from the Japanese magazine Couturier. I don't speak Japanese, so I am not sure what is said about the quilt, but I decided to make something that was inspired by this image. 
I started by making 5 inch quilt blocks. (I made roughly 16 but only 12 made the cut.)  After each block was made, I took the block, batting, and 5 inch square of backing fabric and put them right sides together and then stitched around the entire block leaving a 3 inch opening to turn the block right side out. Then I whip stitched the opening closed (I know I should have done a ladder stitch, but for some reason I just can't get the hang of it.) Then I hand quilted each block with 12 wt white aurifil thread. 
Essentially I had 12 coasters when I was all done. 
I arranged them in the order I wanted and then it was time to stitch them together. I took my blocks, starting with 2, and put them right sides together and whip stitched the edge. If you have done EPP, you will probably know what I am talking about. (the trick was just catching the front quilt block fabric- I'll explain later.) Once the two were connected, I opened up the blocks and added the next one on. I created 3 rows of 4. Once the rows were assembled, I put the rows right sides together and did the same thing all along the edges to connect them- again, just catching the front fabric with my needle and taking small, tight whip stitches. Once the rows were all sewn together, I laid the quilt face down on a table and carefully whip stitched the back of the blocks together.  
This probably doesn't make a lot of sense as you are reading it, but the reason I did it this way was because just like in EPP, you don't want your stitches to be visible from the front when you are looking at it. So with piecing the blocks together just like EPP, the stitches aren't visible- the only difference is the back wouldn't be "hidden" with a quilt back, so that is why the whip stitches were necessary on the back, they kinda "closed up" the seams and hid my first whip stitches in between the blocks. 
In the end, this quilt is pretty much all hand pieced, with the exception of using my machine to sew around the edges of the blocks as mentioned before. 
I had so much fun creating the blocks. Most of them were hand appliqued, but all of them were of my own design. If I wanted to create something- like this pink penguin (a nod to Ayumi's blog), I just found a picture online to eyeball and drew out my pieces by hand to create my tiny patchwork. The blocks aren't perfect by any means, but overall I love the effect of the quilt. 

I hope my directions make sense! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions and I will be sure to answer them! 

Hope y'all have a wonderful week! 
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, May 1, 2015

Seeing Rainbow

{photo by me}

I can not believe it is May already! April and March have been such a whirlwind for me! I had family come into town to visit for a couple weeks- which meant road trips all over the South, sightseeing and showing everyone a good time. Then we found out that we will be moving back to the midwest at the end of the summer, which somehow crazily resulted in a spur of the moment "book a flight the day before the trip" house hunting excursion last weekend- which was a lot of fun but also somewhat stressful and tiring! ;) Plus, regular everyday living has been busy busy busy- but I'm not complaining! Life is good and I am so blessed.

  I've been sewing off and on through it all, but everything is still in a WIP {work in progress} state so I haven't had much to show here on the good ole blog....... Soooooo.... I decided that I better do a "What I've been working on lately" post for those of you that aren't cruising around on Instagram seeing the progress.  

Over the last few weeks I've done a bit of work on my La Passacagliasewed a Quilted Suitcase for quilt market, but the biggest things that I have been working on as of late are a couple mini quilt swaps- one that I am doing with a few close IG friends, and the other is the #cottonandsteelminiquiltswap. Both are pushing me to create something that will be loved and appreciated by the recipients.
{Rainbow is a improvised version of the Pickle Dish mini I made, the January block is scaled down to 50% which makes it roughly 6" square. }

Here is the progress on my Cotton + Steel mini. It is looking like it will be a sampler mini quilt of sorts, but I still have a few more elements to add and then will start to figure out placements of each block and whatnot. The colors are so vibrant and I love each of the blocks! I'm gonna have a hard time sending this mini to it's new home! 

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quilting for Twins

Last month I started a fun project- quilting for TWINS! (But not my own! ;)
My sweet cousin is pregnant with twins... A boy and a girl. As soon as I heard the news, I started day dreaming about a fun color palette for coordinating quilts to make for her and the babies.
I wanted something that would coordinate, but not be matchy-matchy. I started pulling fabrics from my stash and the fabric that kept jumping out to me was Wild and Free Folk Plaid by Maureen Cracknell. I felt like it would be the perfect fabric to tie both quilts together. 

So first I pulled fabric for the baby girl quilt. I started with the plaid, and then added some peachy fabrics as well as some mustard. Some of my favorites were the Wild and Free Arrows, Arizona Desert Blanket by April Rhodes, Winged Plumage by Bonnie Christine, & Domino Dot in Geranium by Violet Craft.

I really love the way the colors came together. I think this combo is so dreamy- plus since most of them are Art Gallery fabrics, they have the softest hand and it is just an incredibly snuggly quilt!
After I finished the baby girl quit, I pulled fabrics for the baby boy quilt. Again, I used the Wild and Free Folk Plaid as the fabric to tie both quilts together. Then I added some Cotton + Steel Basics from the blue and mint color ways, Essex Dyed Linen in BlackHello Bear Buck Forrest by Bonnie Christine, and some black and white fabrics pulled from my stash. (I used the folk plaid for backing on this one and I am going to have to do it again! It was the perfect quilt back.) I tried to do a new and fresh color combo that I hadn't really seen before, and I think its perfect for a little boy. 
The quilts have made it to their destination and are anxiously awaiting for the babies to arrive and snuggle with them! Can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Hope y'all have a happy week!
xoxo, Ashley

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Zip Up Makeup Case | Ribbon Blog Tour

 I'm excited to be a part of the Renaissance Ribbons Tour for Going Home to Roost. The tour just started and will last 3 weeks, with a new project everyday featuring Bonnie Christine's beautiful ribbons. Today I get to share the project that I designed using the gorgeous fabrics and ribbon that Bonnie sent me.  
Be sure to check out the yesterdays project by Audrey of Skirt Fixation and the tour will continue tomorrow with Sarah of Smiles Too Loudly.

I jumped at the chance to be a part of the tour because I have never worked with any Renaissance Ribbons and I am a total fan of anything designed by Bonnie Christine! 
{Have you seen the butterflies from her Winged fabric line that I am using in my La Passacaglia quilt? Gorgeous!}
I knew that this would be the perfect fabric and ribbon to make a case for my daughters to keep their pretend make up in. They love doing makeovers and are fascinated by momma's makeup case, so I knew they would love a case of their own. 
This make up was one of the very first projects I ever shared on the blog! It's held up for 4 years of playing and it's still going strong! Here is a link to the tutorial if you are interested in creating makeup for your little princess that doesn't make a mess! Just ignore the horrible pictures! ha ha I was totally new to blogging! ;)
 I chose to use the Ivory on Gray Nesting Blooms ribbon paired with a cute print from Bonnie's Hello Bear line and a print from her Winged line- along with a couple scraps from my stash to  create my patchwork for the front of the pouch. I love the colors! Plus the prints are manufactured by Art Gallery and have the most beautiful hand to them! 
{The ribbons are available for purchase directly from Renaissance Ribbons, or A Stitch in Time.}
 I just kinda made up my pattern as I went along. 
For the inside, I made one zipper pouch to keep their makeup in, and the other side of the case has a pocket to keep brushes in. 
(I kinda recreated a different version of my Field Study make up case for the pocket to hold the brushes.)
What makes it perfect, is that it zips together to keep everything contained and the handle makes it easy to carry around. 

  I used the ribbon for the handle of the case (I top stitched it to a fabric strap) and also used it on the inside of the case to cover up the "raw" edge of a zipper so it had a neatly finished look. The ribbon was great to work with. It is woven jacquard ribbon so the underside is "thready", which is why I had to sew it to something to use for the handle, but I can think of a lot of projects that the ribbon would work beautifully in! The pictures don't even do them justice! So detailed and vibrant.
My girls absolutely love it! I was their first "make over client" and I see many pretend make overs in my future! So fun to have "girly girls"! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, March 2, 2015

Behind the Scenes | Plus a Giveaway

Are y'all on Instagram? It is my very favorite way to share the "behind the scenes" of all of the projects I am working on. 
I don't do a lot of WIP {work in progress} posts here on the blog, so Instagram is the place to see everything in it's "work in progress" state! It's so easy to snap a photo on my phone while sitting at my machine, or paper piecing in the car, etc and share it within seconds. 
{Trying my hand at paper piecing/appliqueing clamshells... Mine are totally inspired by the amazing Mary Dugan of Molly Flanders} 
It's also my very favorite way to stay in touch with all my sewing and blogging friends- plus make new friends! I love that it's so easy to click "like" or comment on a photo. While comments are few and far between on my blog these days, it is so refreshing to get feedback on a project I'm working on, or get answers to a sewing question I have. {I know you're still reading, and I totally get that it's kinda a pain to log into your account to post a comment on Blogger! No worries! But those of you that are still commenting on my blog have a special place in my heart! You are all the sweetest!}
 {Ever and always working on my La Passacaglia Quilt... You can find all of my progress under my hashtag #mbdcbnpassacaglia}
 {these star points are the tiniest and most tedious part of the La Passacaglia process, but when they are put together, they are so fantastic!}
I have heard from some readers that they are hesitant to get in Instagram, or that they are on there and don't like it. My only advise for you is to give it another chance. I really love it so much! I am inspired daily by the amazingly talented people I follow, plus I also find it so easy to search for inspiration within the hashtags. 
For instance, if I want to see anything made with fabric by Anna Maria Horner {my very favorite fabric designer}- I just look up the hashtag #annamariahorner, and over 6000 pictures pop up. {I have to be careful to manage my time, or I could loose myself for hours there!}
 {Baby girl quilt for a friend. Made of mostly Art Gallery fabrics... So soft! Coming soon to the blog.}
Another reason I love Instagram, is that it is a great way for me to let y'all know when I have a new blog post up. The link to my blog is found in my profile so it's always an easy way to click over and read posts on my blog.  
 I hope that you'll come play along on Instagram! I love talking with y'all there and seeing your creations too! Be sure to tag me if you ever make something using a tutorial you find on my blog! I love seeing your versions of projects I've made!
You can find me here: @crafterbynight.

Last but not least, Fort Worth Fabric Studio is doing a giveaway today for one lucky reader! 
$50 Gift Certificate to their shop!!
What better way to brighten your day, then to go on a shopping spree for fabric online!?! 
I think if I had $50 to spend there, I would definitely get a bundle of Milk Sugar & Flower!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is head over to browse the Fort Worth Fabric Studio website and then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you would get if you won the giveaway!
{your answer will in no way effect the result of the giveaway- just fun to hear what y'all have your eye on!}

One person will be chosen at random and notified via email on Friday March 6th. 

HI, I'd select "Indygo Nature", a beautiful collection!Thanks for sharing your neat Blog+a great Giveaway too!Happy Stitching!

Have a happy Monday everyone!
xoxo, Ashley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Leopard Print Spinning Stars | Tessa Basket

Seems like every couple months the new "IT" pattern pops up on Instagram. The Tessa Basket seems to be just that right now! I've seen so many fun versions of it popping up in my feed and I put it on my to-do list a few weeks ago. I knew it would be perfect for carrying around my hand stitching WIPs, so when @greenletterday had a sale on her patterns last weekend, I took advantage!
 I wanted to make my version slightly different than the ones I have seen, so I went with a different approach to my patchwork. I made half of a Spinning Star block (scaled the size down a bit) and appliqued it onto the ruler fabric and trimmed off the bottom with some  kona charcoal. I really love the way it turned out! That leopard print is so fun!
I would definitely recommend this pattern! It is so fun and super easy! 
Hope you are all having a wonderful week!
Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mini Patchwork Purse | Scripture Case

My girls love taking their scriptures to church every Sunday. 
3 years ago, I made a little pleated purse for my oldest to carry her scriptures in. At the time, my youngest was just a toddler so I didn't bother making one for her. Since she has gotten older and started taking hers to church too, she has just been using random oversized bags to carry them in. Poor thing begs me every Sunday morning to make her scripture bag when we get home from church, but somehow that project always got shoved to the back burner and forgotten.
This week I decided it was time to just buckle down and do it. It only took about 2 hours to make, and that's just because I just kinda made it up as I went along. Now that I've made it once, I think I could whip one in no time. (Why didn't I do this sooner?!;) 

I started by making a "Mama Block" (a mini version of a granny square block) that was inspired by these blocks I saw on NanaCompany. I used 2x2" squares of fabric to make the block. After I trimmed the points off and squared up the block, I added the strips of fabric to the side of the block to make the panel more rectangle. Once I had my front panel completed (6x8"), I cut one for the back and then cut two 1.5x6" strips for the side panels and one 1.5x8" strip for the bottom panel and applied fusible fleece to each of those. Then I assembled them to create the exterior of the bag. Then I cut coordinating sized pieces for the lining and assembled those. I made some straps for the handles to tie at the top and then put it all together. As an afterthought, I added a button and strap to the top to keep the purse from gapping open once she had it all filled up.
(this purse was constructed pretty similarly to the pleated purse I made my oldest {minus the pleated part}- so you can check out the tutorial for that here and make any necessary changes to create your purse how you would like.)
My girls just use the regular sized, paperback version of the Book of Mormon- so this purse fits the book with a little extra room for lipgloss or whatever tidbit they are bringing along to church.
When I gave my daughter the purse, she said sweetly, that it was the "best thing I've ever given her". Of course that melted my heart and I am kicking myself I didn't just do it sooner! haha!
At least she will have it just in time for this Sunday though, right? :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!
xoxo, Ashley

PS: If you would like to learn more about what I believe, click here.