Archive for August, 2010

2010270801 037, originally uploaded by Make it Modern.

I’m in love with my new pouch and broach set!

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The set is the “wrapping” for my sister in law’s Christmas present. She is a big Vera Bradley fan and while I found those bags too expensive for my Christmas budget I thought these twp prints by Timeless Treasures and Alexander Henry were very evocative of the Yellow Bird print from Vera. I considered using fleece interfacing to add some puff and quilting but I didn’t want to make it a Vera Bradley copycat. I wanted to make something useful that I know she would love and using her favorite purse as inspiration seemed like a smart move.

After making the pouch I thought it needed some adornment, the broach serves this purpose beautifully and was a breeze to make. And she can take it off and put pin it on a sweater or jacket.

My goal is to turn this into a free tutorial but it needs a little tweaking first to perfect it.


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When I first got into quilting I spent hours cruising the internet looking for free quilt patterns. I figured I would give quilting a try as cheaply as possible to see how much I would enjoy it and if I would stick to it. After spending hundreds of dollars on yarn and scrapbooking supplies only to give away those supplies a year later I’ve learned the hard way to be more cautious about my own interests.

This quilt was one of the first to catch my eye and while I loved it I knew that my non existent skills could not do the pattern justice- all those angles and triangles!

"birdcage on a chain" quilt

So I downloaded the pdf from Anna Maria Horner’s blog and filed it away. I thought after two years of quilting that I was finally up to the task and rather unfortunately I was wrong…. Although the pattern is by no means perfect the real problem for me is that this is not a beginner pattern and I’m still a beginner.

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There is only one actual error in the instructions for this quilt. You are directed to cut 16 “G” shapes but you really need to cut 8 “G”‘s with the right side of the pattern piece and 8 “G”‘s with the wrong side of the pattern piece. It’s a curious error since you use the right and wrong side of pattern pieces in a couple of instances and the directions are correct for the others.


As I said this is not a beginner pattern. There are not a lot of instructions and no tips or tricks for piecing. Anna gives some instructions for the border, backing and binding but even those are not very comprehensive. Now one could argue that these are free instructions and you get what you pay for but this is a professional fabric and pattern designer and I expect more from her because of that.

The pattern was made fabric from Anna’s Drawing Room collection and you are supposed to use the picture as a guide for cutting and placing your fabric. That’s fine if you are using the exact same fabrics but if you aren’t (and I wasn’t) it’s hard to keep straight what needs to be cut from what fabric and where said pieces are supposed to go. This is further complicated by the fact that the same pattern piece is used with multiple fabrics. I ended up writing my own fabric key and then labeling where each fabric went on her diagram for piecing. If I was really organized I would have created my own key and diagram of the quilt labeling each piece.

Where I really ran into trouble was sewing the row of angles and triangles to the row of rectangles. I was over an inch off! I stretched and pinned the heck out of it but it’s not pretty. I have bubbles and some puckering that the quilting can’t hide. I’m not sure what I did wrong because I had no problems attaching the rows of angles and triangles to another row of angles and triangles. I think my cutting and piecing was consistent enough to match those twos rows up but not precise enough to match those rows with the rows of rectangles… Oh well.

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Changes I made:

The only change I made was to omit the sashing and I used my own binding instructions. After being so excited about this pattern I was really disappointed how it all came together. I was ready to give up multiple times. So by the time I came to the sashing I really didn’t want to put any more effort or fabric into this quilt. This is the same reason I used fleece instead of batting and a fabric batting.

What I Loved:

My personal troubles with this pattern aside I still really love the idea of this quilt. It’s the perfect pattern to showcase larger prints like Laura Gunn (who I used) or Heather Bailey to name two. In a world of quilt patterns that seem to focus on smaller prints this is a welcomed change. I also loved quilting this, the pattern allows so much for creativity in creating a quilting design. You could stipple it, you could follow the lines, you could create “cages” like I did, and on and on.

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The process of this quilt was personally frustrating to me but the quilting process, deciding what to do, and seeing it come together- that I loved!

Would I do it again?

No, I’m sure a more experienced quilter could pull this off but even in a couple years I wouldn’t try this again. When it was all said and done I liked the quilt but I didn’t love it and there are far to many quilt patterns to try in the world to repeat one that I’m not absolutely in love with.

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I do most of my fabric shopping online for a couple of reasons. There aren’t any fabric shops that I like within 30 minutes of me and brick and mortar shops often charge $10 a yard for the same fabric I could buy at $8 a yard online. And yes I understand and respect the reasons brick and mortar shops charge those prices but it doesn’t mean I can afford them. One of the exceptions to my online shopping is Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. They are somewhat on the way to my Dad’s and right next to a resteraunt I love so every third or so trip down to Virginia I’ll make a point to stop by.


The plethora of modern designers and various types of fabric is what first attracted me to Quilting Adventures. My first time in there I spent well over $100 mostly on Japanese prints and heavier home dec fabric that I can rarely find online or elsewhere. I also like the fact that brick and mortar shops will have fabric that you can’t find online anymore, it’s like going on a treasure hunt!

Price by the Yard:

This varies depending on the type of fabric but it’s about $10 to $15. Steep compared to online prices but on par with most brick and mortar shops. But for Japanese prints it’s a deal because you don’t have to pay shipping and their selection is as good as some online shops.

They do have a customer reward program. I can’t remember how much you have to spend but I do know it’s a couple hundred dollars to get a “free yard.” The certificate is worth $11 so it won’t cover the cost of a yard of home dec fabric or the japanese prints but it comes close.

Fat Quarters/ Quarter Yards:

They have a HUGE selection of fat quarters. I don’t think they have fat quarters of every single fabric they carry but they come pretty close. My last trip I spent $50 on fat quarters alone.

Customer Service:

Every time I’ve been in the shop the ladies have been super welcoming and helpful. You can tell they enjoy their jobs and they enjoy working with fabric. They also offer a wide variety of classes that I wish I could take advantage of for beginners up to more advanced sewists.

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I worked so hard yesterday to get all the quilting done on my birdcage quilt that I think I strained a leg muscle! But I managed to get it all done and while most of this quilt has been frustrating I really enjoyed designing the quilting for it. My plan is to bind it and bury all the threads today so I can check this off my Christmas crafting list before I start anything else.

In anticipation of the finish I pulled a stack of fabric for my next quilt. When I was growing up my mom always stressed the importance of giving back and being thankful for all the gifts and priveleges I’ve been given. Every year we gave presents to local charities and its something I’ve carried into my adult life. But for the past couple of years I’ve regretted that I didn’t have the time to donate handmade gifts. It’s in fact part of the reason I decided to start my Christmas crafting in July. Not only does starting early allow me time to give all of my love ones a handmade gift, it also allows me to time to make gifts to donate. I’m not sure how many items or what kind I will end up making but I figure a quilt is a good start. It’s also a good way to use up fabric from my stash for a good cause. I don’t have as impressive a stash as some but I’ve been feeling like it’s getting out of hand. Since the fabrics aren’t hard to find I can’t swap them and I don’t do enough crafting to use them up for myself or friends and family so this feels like the perfect solution.

Do you ever do any crafting for charity? Do you plan on donating any items this holiday season?

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Want a chance to win some Flea Market Fancy, Lush, Heather Ross, Uptown, and Katie Jump Rope?

Silly question right? Head on over to Lucy and Norman and check out her fabulous giveaway 🙂

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I spent a couple hours this week perusing Spoonflower and I fell in love more than once! Just out these beauties.

From Jumping_Monkeys

From troismiettes

From dorokitty

From laurie wisbrun

From maile

From milktooth

From natalie

From avelis

Do you have any Spoonflower favorites?

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Cruising on the high of finishing my miniquilt in a day I decided to go back to this quilt and try to knock it out.

The top is completely pieced.

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But now I need to hand applique the fussy cut birds. There are twelve of them and since I plan on raw edge appliquing them it won’t take me too long but I’m still not looking forward to it!

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