Thursday, May 28, 2015

Heather Ross Mini Quilt Swap

I am incredibly excited to be hosting my first mini quilt swap.  While I have participated in many and been a swap mama in a few, I have never taken the reigns.  Heather Ross is my favorite fabric designer, and like many of you, I love her colorful and whimsical artwork.

Her new fabric line Tiger Lily for Windham Fabrics will arrive in stores in August 2015, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a summer swap.

For those of you interested in participating, here are some important dates to keep in mind:

Swap Sign-ups: Monday, June 1 at 9:00 am EST

Swap Sign-ups close: Monday, June 8 (or when swap is full)
Partner information will be sent via email by: Monday, June 15
International Ship Date: Thursday, October 1
Domestic Ship Date: Thursday, October 8
**Please do not ship early!**

Please read these rules carefully before sign-ups open on Monday, June 1.

  1. This swap is exclusive to INSTAGRAM users who have a PUBLIC IG account ONLY.  Please understand…when creating a mini, your partner needs to have access to your feed to get an idea of your style and interests.  If your account is private, you won’t be able to participate.
  2. Because this is a HEATHER ROSS mini swap, you are required to use her fabrics in the mini you create for your partner.  I realize it’s hard to cut into her fabulous fabrics, but it’s a requirement to participate.  
  3. While patiently awaiting your partner information, make a MOSAIC and post to your IG feed ASAP…this gives your partner a better of idea of your style, color combinations you prefer, and a better chance of making something you’ll love.
  4. Post PROGRESS pictures frequently on your IG feed to show that you’re actively and enthusiastically participating during the creative process.  Use the hashtags #hrminiswap "heatherrossmini as well as your team name hashtag (TBD).
  5. Be sure to respond to your swap mama at the MANDATORY check-ins.  We will have several of these over the next 3-1/2 months.
  6. Create a mini quilt with dimensions no less than 12” in any dimension.  
  7. This is a secret swap, so stalking is good, but SHHHHH! Keep your identity a surprise until the end.
  8. SHIP ON TIME!  You have 3-1/2 months to plan and create something special for your partner, so don’t wait until the last minute to get started.  Deadlines are stated in the beginning for a reason.
  9. You will be REQUIRED to send your swap mama a copy of your TRACKING NUMBER once you ship if you’re in the US.  If you’re international, then a copy of the customs form will suffice. 
To sign up for this swap, find and follow crookedwhimsy on Instagram!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Part II-Minimal Projects with Maximum Satisfaction: Hoop Art

As I mentioned in my previous post, smaller projects are my current obsession, simply because they allow me a rare chance to accomplish something during a two-hour nap.

An idea in the works:  raw edge applique in an embroidery hoop

Otherwise, I have too many WIPs sitting around, and considering my overflowing fabric stash and lack of organization as is, there just isn't room for any more clutter in our dining room AKA my sewing space.

First attempt at thread stitching is a tad sketchy

Hoop art is another fun way to experiment with various sewing techniques, allowing for creative freedom and exploration.  You can try just about anything on one of these little (or large) hoops: applique, patchwork, embroidery, and paper-piecing, to name a few.

Raw edge applique using sweet fabric from the new Milk Sugar & Flower line

I have been playing around with what is called sketch stitching or thread stitching, a technique in which people basically sketch or "draw" using their sewing machine instead of a pen or pencil.

My "sketching" is more scribbling, as I have yet to really get the hang of this, but there are some incredibly talented ladies out there whose style is incredibly inspiring.  Two who make this technique look easy are Maureen Cracknell and Jackie of Chloe and Me.

Finishing the back is just as important as the front

When finishing your hoop art, it is especially important to make sure the back looks just as neat as the front.  There are many great tutorials online.  I used this one, and while I didn't have felt on hand, cotton batting worked just as well.  I added my own touch as well, so it's now ready for giving.

These hoops can be completed in a short period of time and make the perfect gift or swap extra.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Part I-Minimal Projects with Maximum Satisfaction: Dumpling Pouches

Happy Spring!  A paper-pieced butterfly on a dumpling pouch

I wish I was able to work on quilts and other extensive projects, but the truth is I just don't have the time.  Fortunately, I've found satisfaction in smaller projects that require fewer minutes in a day but still allow me to challenge myself creatively.

A paper-pieced Valentine's dumpling

Pouches and small bags can be finished in a short timeframe, while still allowing you to customize based on your personal style.  Patchwork, paper piecing, applique, and embroidery are all techniques that can be incorporated to embellish one of these sweet bags.

A dumpling swap package should be thoughtful and personable

My current favorite of these is the dumpling pouch, which is a free download by Michelle Patterns. There is a dumpling swap hosted by rockislander on Flickr, and she always chooses a fun theme.  I have participated in two for Valentine's Day and currently an Easter/Spring swap.

Detail: Concentric Hearts, a paper pieced pattern

For both dumplings, I elected to try paper piecing, which is a skill with which I had little previous experience.

Paper-pieced butterflies in two sizes

I found some lovely patterns by Juliet of The Tartankiwi.  The first, a concentric hearts pattern, is free; the second, a butterfly, can be purchased on Etsy.  I did reduce the size of both patterns to about 50% in order for them to fit on the face of the pouch.

Paper piecing and matchstick quilting

Both were fun to make because I was able to experiment with different color combos, while staying true to my partner's style and preferences.  I also experimented with matchstick quilting for the first time, which was so enjoyable.

Ready to fill!

So while little, these bags still offer a huge sense of accomplishment once finished.  Go on over to Michelle Patterns and try one out for yourself!