Monday, April 16, 2012

Grow a Garden (pouch) giveaway winner!

Thank you for all of the comments about my pouches!  I loved reading everyone's favorite things about spring.  Opening the windows, tiny buds sprouting and pushing up through the soil, sunny skies, shedding some winter layers...these are all wonderful parts of spring!

Mr. Random Number Generator chose a winner for me, and it is:



Congratulations Stephanie! I've sent you an email. Send me your address (woollykatquilts at gmail dot com) and I'll get this pouch in the mail to you!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Grow a Garden (pouch) + a giveaway

At our monthly Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild meetings, we often have a swap of a handmade item or several fat quarters of fabric.  Items are to be wrapped or disguised but not labeled, so part of the fun is wondering what goodies are hiding inside the macaroni box, old tin, etc.

We conduct our swaps in a "Yankee Swap" format (like a white elephant swap). First we draw numbers, and each participant has a turn choosing a wrapped item.  The next person then has a choice of choosing an wrapped item, or "stealing" a previously unwrapped item from someone else.  If your item is stolen, you may choose to to unwrap a new item or steal from someone else.  The process continues until everyone has had a turn, and the first person to choose has a chance to steal any one of the opened items or keep what they have. Previous swaps have proven to get quite competitive; Emily's Christmas ornament and Jenna's Mendicino notebook cover provoked some very exciting swaps!

For our March meeting, participants were asked to make something with a "spring" theme.  Part of what I like about having a theme to work with is it encourages me to work outside my comfort zone.  In this case, I ended up using a color combination I might not have started with on my own.  I am very drawn to warm tones, but for the "spring" theme, I went looking in my stash for greens and yellows. 

The front of the pouch is a patchwork courthouse steps block.  I selected a number of prints and solids in yellows and greens, along with some black and white.  I included some fun text, ruler, and graph prints, imagining the process of planning a spring garden, planting seeds, and watching them sprout and grow.

natalie's grow a garden pouch

I chose Joel Dewberry's Woodgrain print in brown from Aviary 2, and lined it with a green solid. 

grow a garden pouch back

Natalie of Greenleaf Goods was the lucky recipient of this pouch at our guild meeting.  Hope you enjoy it Natalie! However, I had so much fun making it I had to make a few more.

grow a garden pouches

grow a garden pouches

One of these pouches is up for grabs, for YOU, one of my readers! Leave me a comment telling me your favorite part about spring. That's it, easy! If you're following my blog, I'd love to hear from you, and I'd also love it if you told your friends. So, for a second entry, let me know if you mention this giveaway on your blog, on facebook, or on twitter (you can find me there: @woollykat). International entries are welcome.  Giveaway ends this Sunday, April 15 at 11pm EST, when I will choose a random winner. 

I'd link up to {Sew} Modern Monday, but Megan is pausing it while the Festival of Half-Square Triangles is going on! Today's Festival of HST host is Erin at Two More Seconds. Head over there to check it out!

Have a great week!
~Anna :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A quilt for baby A

Back in January, my friend Brenda announced a quilt-along she was hosting on her blog.  With several baby quilts on my to-make list, I was eager to join in.

Bust Yo Scraps!

While she billed the quilt-along as a scrap-buster, I chose to use Sarah Jane's "Rocket Launch Club" print in cream as the "background" fabric, with solid colors matched from that print for the surrounding half-square triangles and flying geese. 

The solids I used were Free Spirit Solids in Red and Saffron, Moda Bella Solids in Robins Egg, and Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Blue Jay and Charcoal.

Quilt for Baby A
I backed the quilt in Just Wing It! by Momo for Moda in Light Turquoise, and the binding is Eliza Stripe from Sis Boom Basics by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit.

Quilt for Baby A
I quilted it using straight lines in a crisscross pattern similar to here and here.

This quilt soon to be on its way to a dear friend who recently had a baby boy.

Now I'm linking up to Brenda's blog with all the other completed QAL quilts.  Be sure to check them out, there are some really great ones!

~Anna :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fabric Dyeing with Rossie

Today Brenda, Ashley and I went over to Rossie's house, armed with gloves, buckets, and the most important ingredient: white fabric!

Annie's Seed Catalogue, by Holly Holderman for LakeHouse Dry Goods

After seeing the great results Jeni had dyeing the white-on-white Annie's Farm Stand Seed Catalog fabric, we wanted to give it a try too.

Rossie is an old pro at this dyeing business, and since she had all of the dye and other supplies, we headed to her place. (Note: this is not a complete account of all the necessary steps.  For more technical info about the dyeing process we used, check out Rossie's blog.)

Choosing colors

We prewashed our fabric to prepare it for dyeing.  Then we consulted this book to choose some colors we were interested in. We didn't try too hard to match any specific color.  We roughly followed the recipe for a given color, but part of the fun of this process is seeing what appears in the end!   

It is important to wear gloves and a mask when handling the dye.

Rossie prepares the dyes

Rossie and Brenda prepared the dyes (the pigments are in powdered form and then mixed into salt water to activate. (Again, check out Rossie's blog. If you are interested in trying this yourself, she has a lot of helpful information and many links to experienced in fabric dyeing).  Ashley and I cut the fabric into smaller pieces (large cuts of fabric can be bulky, creating extra folds/bubbles in the fabric, which can result in uneven dye patterns). We then dampened the fabric slightly before placing several pieces in each bucket.

Dyeing steps 
Dyeing steps

Rinsed fabrics
Rinsed fabrics

Following the dye bath, the fabrics were rinsed in cold water first and then hot and then washed in the washing machine.  We let our fabric air dry.

All washed and ready to go!
All washed and ready to go.

The finished product!

Many thanks to Rossie for hosting us and helping us navigate the dyeing process. It was a lot of fun!

Anna :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching up

I need to be writing here more often, as several projects have now stacked up and I have a backlog to share!  This may require several posts but here goes...

Last time I shared the bag and pouch I made for Ella (now that she's received it I can tell you who it was for!)  I was very happy to hear that Ella loved what I made for her.

Soon after I sent Ella's package off to her, I received one of my own, from Charlotte!  I was very excited to find two beautiful mini quilts that I had been watching very carefully in the group photo pool.

FTLOS Round 2 - Received
Charlotte also included some gorgeous ribbon trim.  So many of my favorite colors!  Since the light was almost gone on the day I took this first photo, I took a few more so I could share some more of the details.

mini from LawsonandLottie!
Charlotte used solids and crossweaves in orange, red and earthy tones as well as a natural linen. detail of quilting from LawsonandLottie
She combined some strip-pieced improvisational patchwork with half-square triangles, and in the field of linen embellished with some fabulous straight-line quilting.

detail of quilting from LawsonandLottie
I love the varigated thread, and so precise! detail of quilting from LawsonandLottie mini from LawsonandLottie!
Detail of the Katherine Wheel mini, which she also wrote a tutorial for on her blog.
Beautiful work, Charlotte. Thank you so much for taking the time to create these lovely pieces for me!

Charlotte just recently relocated from the UK to Australia (she made these for me in the midst of packing and preparing for the move!) but her blog address has not changed.  Pop over and visit her at's hosting a giveaway of some of the Aussie DS Quilts fabrics this week.  Be sure to tell her I said "hi" and wish her congratulations on winning 1st place in Sew Hip Magazine's fashion designer of the year competition! See her entry here.

I still have a few sewing pieces of my own to share, I'll be back to tell you about those.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


Monday, March 12, 2012

For the Love of Solids, Round 2

Patchwork Bag and pouch
This last week I finished this bag and pouch set for my secret partner in the For the Love of Solids Swap on Flickr.  It's currently making its way to to my partner, who will hopefully receive it very soon!  I hope she likes it.  I worked hard studying her favorites on Flickr to try to come up with something made-by-me that will "look like her!"  We shall see.  This is my second time participating in this particular swap, hosted and organized by Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations and Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy.  In the first round, I sewed for Jessica, creating this and this. My partner, Sheetal, made me this lovely miniquilt, pincushion, and incredible embroidery of my website's mascot!

Megan and Elizabeth do a wonderful job running this great swap, and each time I have been amazed by the level of talent of the swap participants. It has been a great source of inspiration for future projects as well as stretched my skills as a designer and sewist. For this round, I began by pulling some fabrics: reds, orange-reds, browns, purples, and a little bit of earthy yellow. First Fabric Pull
While I loved this combination, I wanted to scale back a bit on the number of different colors. I also decided to use more of the true reds and leave out the orange-reds and dusty pinks to create a little more contrast overall. Revised Selections
Now it was time to think about a design. Usually in this phase of the design process I like to arrange and rearrange colors next to each other in various combinations before I start cutting. First off I started thinking about some curves:
I found myself going back and forth between a plan to patchwork and the desire to improvise. I liked the way the colors related to each other in a patchwork-square layout, sort of like this: Thinking about patchwork
That was nice, but...I decided to go ahead with some improv. I cut angled strips, intending for them to create some gentle curves. I soon realized my strips were too narrow to create the design effect I had in mind. So back to the patchwork grid. And I came up with this: ftlos -- first draft
I really wasn't sure if I liked it or hated it. I trusted the positive encouragement from my fellow swap mates and kept going. Somehow I kept gravitating back to my original idea of patchwork squares. Eventually, I sort of combined my two ideas, the patchwork and the improv piecing, to finally arrive at this:
 FTLOS progress
What was really funny was that Dorie commented "looks like you made a fabric as much as a quilt." And this was in fact my plan! I used the patchwork "fabric" to create the front panel of the Go Anywhere Bag by Noodlehead. The main body of the bag is Essex linen in Putty. Patchwork Bag
 I lined it with Kona Stone. The back pocket is a solid red, and there is an interior pocket in a plummy purple.  (I forgot to snap a photo of the inside before I sent it off!)
 Go Anywhere Bag - back

The box pouch design is a tutorial from The Plaid Scottie. One side is made up of the remainder of the patchwork used on the Go Anywhere Bag, and the other half is the same purple as the bag's interior pocket.
 Box Pouch
All in all, I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. This was my second attempt at the Go Anywhere Bag, and I was very proud that I got it turned right side out on the first try the time! (The first time I got a little excited and got ahead of myself, sewing the straps inside and resulting in seam ripping it open once twice okay three times. :) Kaelin's box pouch tutorial worked out perfectly, it was very easy to follow and a lot of fun to make. So there you have it, For the Love of Solids. What have you made with solids? Do you also get too excited when sewing a new project and then find yourself having to go back and rip seams? Hope you had a great weekend! ~Anna

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stamp Collecting

I recently joined do. Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee on Flickr. Organized by Rachel of Stitched in Color, do. Good Stitches has grown to 15 circles, each comprised of 10 quilters and stitchers. Each circle creates unique quilts that are donated to a variety of different nonprofit organizations all over the U.S. and abroad.

I'm a quilter in the "Dream" circle. Each month we complete 2 small quilts to be donated to Project Night Night, a nonprofit organization that provides homeless children with a tote bag with comforting "night-time" essentials (book, stuffed animal, and blanket). I recently finished up December's quilts for my circle.

For these two quilts, I asked each member to construct 2 10.5" postage stamp blocks. Blocks were made up of 5 rows of 5 2.5" squares, in a mixture of solids and prints, in two different colorways.

The first palette contained red, yellow navy, royal, teal blue, white or white with black.
do. good stitches postage stamp quilt

do. good stitches

do. good stitches
I used one of the extra blocks as a feature on the back, and bound it in yellow.  I quilted it with a diagonal grid using the 2.5" squares on the front as my guide.


The second quilt included plum, purple, pink, dark coral, gold, warm yellow, cream, and medium gray.
do. good stitches postage stamp quilt

do. good stitches postage stamp quilt

The second quilt was bound in gray.  The back has the same layout as the first, quilted with a series of overlapping boxes with 3 lines.  While I like the effect, I still need some practice with my machine quilting--turning the corners of the squares was difficult.

Working on these quilts was a lot of fun and I look forward to sending them on to Project Night Night where they will hopefully bring some sunshine to their new owners.  Huge thanks to the ladies of the do. good stitches Dream circle, I am so proud of how these turned out and couldn't have done it without you!