Fabric Bundles and Paper Piecing

It’s been a flurry in my house this week as we prepare for a bit of downtime next week for Spring Break. Between some quilt designing, laundry folding and errand running, not a ton of sewing got done. That’s ok, I did do a lot of prep work for my next project.

Isn’t that fabric up there pretty? That is a really fun Fat Quarter bundle I put together for Fabric Spark. (And yes, you can buy your own!) I’m so happy with how it turned out! I’m sort of picturing tiny wonky stars made out of those colors, but not totally sure yet.

I did cut all my fabric for my Shimmer blog hop project this week. And my paper piecing templates.

Next time I sit at the sewing machine, I should just fly through these blocks (hopefully!) These are pretty similar to the Arkansas Traveler blocks.

Things will be a bit quiet here over the next week while I take a little break with my family. I hope to be nice and relaxed when I return! :)

An Interview, New Fabric and Sewing Progress

Fabric Stack by Fresh Lemons Quilts

A bit of this-and-that for you today. First, I wanted to share that I did a little interview over at Hudson Valley Quilts. There is a pattern giveaway in the post, so be sure to go check it out and enter. :)

Arkansas Traveler Progress by Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’ve still been busy working on my Arkansas Traveler quilt, but I did manage to finish the paper piecing and trimming. What a relief! I’m hoping to get the blocks sewn together this week, but I’m leaving for Quilt Market on Thursday so I’m not sure there will be time. I’ll share if I do though!

As much as I love this quilt I’m working on, and I really think the finished product will be perfect in my house, I do miss sewing with a big variety of colors. So much so that I put together a bundle for whatever is next (the photo at the top of this post). It started with ordering some fabrics and then I added from my stash. The new fabrics in the stack are from October Afternoon’s Sidewalks line and Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow line and are currently available in shops. You may also recognize some of Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park in there. She put such great stash builders into her latest line – must haves!

If any shop owners are heading to Houston this week for Quilt Market, we will be doing a Schoolhouse Session on Friday at 3:05 to show off Vintage Quilt Revival. I hope you will come check it out!

The Weekender

Weekender

This post is going to have a lot of pictures. Because when you spend a week making the daunting Amy Butler Weekender Bag, you take a lot of pictures. Those of you that follow me on Instagram got to watch this bag come together a bit more each day. That was a lot of fun, instant support group!

If you aren’t familiar with this bag pattern, it’s kind of notorious for being a {naughty word} to put together. Many people are starting to make this bag using the Quilt as You Go (QAYG) method to avoid all the interfacing required. I might try that next time but for starters, I wanted to stay true to the instructions (with a couple minor changes that I will talk about below.)

I have had this bag on my to-do list for awhile. I almost consider it some sort of sewist rite of passage. I heard it was a challenge and I wanted to see if I could do it. My only holdup was I could never find a fabric I wanted to use. The pattern recommends home dec weight and that is pricier than quilting cotton, so I wanted the fabric to be something I loved. Fast forward to the Sewing Summit. Joel Dewberry was a speaker one afternoon and he brought samples of his new line Notting Hill. As soon as I saw this fabric, I was in love. And then he said it was a Cotton Sateen/Home Dec weight! I knew immediately I was going to use it for my Weekender.

My choice for the lining and piping was a bit of a surprise for me. I know almost everyone out there seems really excited about all the plaids that are coming out in fabric collections lately. I’m not really a plaid person. (ducks for cover) But I just felt like it really complimented the floral print, so I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone and decided to use it.

When I first opened the pattern and cut out the pieces, I thought “Only 4 pieces? This is going to be so easy!” LOL Don’t be fooled. Not only do you cut out multiples of each out of your outer and lining fabrics, you also cut multiples out of 2 types of interfacing (not pictured). I spent several hours cutting.

Based on Stephanie’s weekender, I decided to cut my handles a bit wider (6″).

I was really lucky to have been loaned a cording foot (#60c) for my Bernina by the wonderful Catherine Redford from my local modern quilt guild. This made everything involving the piping SO much easier! I highly, highly recommend using a cording foot rather than a zipper foot for your piping. I’m actually going to buy my own now, it was that awesome.

Also, a general note: I used the pattern-recommended jeans needle for my machine. You have a lot of layers to sew through, and you need the extra strength.

The side panels came together easily, even if applying all the interfacing took forever.

For my second change to the pattern, I once again followed Stephanie’s example and used a shorter zipper, 24″. It was easily available at JoAnns and works just fine for the bag.

So, up until this point, I wasn’t sweating this bag. You make the large front and back. Then you make the top/sides with the zipper and sew that piece to the bottom to make a big circle of fabric. Then you have to sew this circle to the larger front and back panels. I know I’ve read of other people having this problem…they weren’t an exact fit. Now I’m not sure if the problem was I wasn’t using exact seam allowances or maybe the pattern is wonky, but it was a bit frustrating. Add in the fact you are sewing through a LOT of stiff interfacing, well you can see where one might start cursing. ;)

I highly recommend getting some binder clips to hold your pieces together rather than pins. I only had 2 binder clips on hand so I was forced to use pins and now they are all bent and ruined.

Again, I used the cording foot to guide my sewing and it worked great!

Weekender Lining

So I’ve finished the bag. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make another one. LOL But I’m super excited to have it and I’m very happy with my fabric selection. As my husband told me when he saw it “they certainly will see you coming with that.” Yep, it’s not subtle. But I love it.

An Heirloom Finish

Heirloom Front

I’m pretty embarrassed to post this quilt today. Not because I don’t love it – I definitely do. But I finished this quilt top over 1 year ago and it sat for that long, waiting patiently to be quilted and finished.

Heirloom Drape 1

I’m not sure what exactly took me so long. Other projects with deadlines mostly. Forgetting it was in my pile of quilt tops as well. It wasn’t until the Naperville Modern Quilt Guild did a tangerine/aqua challenge that I was finally motivated to finish it!

Heirloom Detail 2

The fabric for this one is from Joel Dewberry‘s Heirloom collection in the Citrine palette. The sashing is Kona Solids in Stone.

Heirloom Wall

I cut my squares to 7.5″ (unfinished) and my sashing is 1.75″ wide (unfinished). I love the on point, simple look of the design. The finished quilt measures around 61″ x 75″, so it’s a good size for cuddling under on the couch.

Heirloom Detail

It took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to quilt this one. In the end, I decided on a free motion meandering. I kind of wish I had done straight lines, but I really wanted to get it done by the NMQG challenge meeting deadline and honestly, I felt like the quilt top had sat for long enough and I needed to just get it done.

Heirloom Drape 2

I’m still deciding what I will do with this quilt, but I’m leaning towards giving it as a Christmas gift this year. I think I know just the person. :)