MQG Riley Blake Fabric Challenge for 2015

Hi everyone!

I made an original design for my entry into the “Modern Quilt Guild 2015 Fabric Challenge with Riley Blake Designs” contest.

The rules for the challenge are:

  • Make something fantastic that is quilted.
  • Make something you have never done before.
  • Challenge yourself to learn something new.
  • Use only Riley Blake “the Cottage Garden” fabrics and coordinating Riley Blake basics and solids.

I used the fabric sampler pack that MQG members could sign up for and receive in the mail. I added just 2 fabrics – a Riley Blake shade (granite) and a Riley Blake solid (off-white).

I’m calling my entry “Sisters in Bloom” because the quilt features the Three Sisters mountains with a nod to all the beautiful, blooming flowers that you can see while strolling through the town of Sisters (particularly during the upcoming Outdoor Quilt Show in July!!). There is a fussy cut bird from the fabric perched on one of the flowers. Look on the right-hand side!

The flying geese are a paper-pieced, spontaneous creation that I made up as I went along!

I used red floss for a punch of color in the flowers, on the bird, and in the quilt name. The quilting is all free-motion on my domestic machine. If you look closely, the sun is radiating out from just behind the mountain on the far left-hand side of the quilt. I used a variegated thread in the bottom portion of the quilt to add color and movement to imitate a flowering alpine meadow.

Sisters in Bloom Quilt Entry for the MQG Challenge

Sisters in Bloom Quilt Entry for the MQG Challenge

Close-up of embroidery

Close-up of embroidery

Little bird close-up!

Little bird close-up!

Spontaneous, paper-pieced flying geese!

Spontaneous, paper-pieced flying geese!

If you are an MQG member, you can view other entries into this challenge via the online forums. Anyone can view entries in Instagram using the #mqgfabricchallenge hashtag.

I hope you enjoy my entry!

~Jennifer

Chair Re-upholstery Project Reveal!

Greetings!

Several months ago, my husband and I purchased two well-worn chairs from a thrift shop. The upholstery was old, tired, and stained and needed to be refreshed. The chair legs also had some condition issues but the overall bones of the chair looked good.

We removed all the old upholstery to use as a pattern and replaced the foam cushions. For the legs, we removed years worth of dirt and stripped off the old stain. This process was pretty time consuming and took about a month, just working on it in our spare time on the weekends.

Thrift Store Chairs (Before)

Thrift Store Chairs (Before)

Close-up of worn and dated upholstery

Close-up of worn and dated upholstery

I looked through many, many fabric swatches before we settled on a neutral brown home decor fabric with a darker brown swirling pattern called Rooftop Pecan by Jaclyn Smith. This color and pattern worked well with the colors in our house.

We re-stained the legs a rich mahogany color to match existing wood furniture and to pair with a small little antique bistro table that we purchased several weeks ago.

We also added some rubbed bronze upholstery tacks to the backs of the chair for a little extra charm. I really love how they look in person.

Here’s a look at the refreshed chairs (in bright sunshine so the colors are a little different in person):

Re-upholstered chairs, front and back

Re-upholstered chairs, front and back

Re-upholstered Chairs!

Re-upholstered Chairs!

Close-Up of Rubbed Bronze Tack Accents

Close-Up of Rubbed Bronze Tack Accents

My next step is to make some little lumbar cushions for those of us who are vertically challenged! I always like to be able to touch the floor with my feet. I’m going to use the reverse side of leftover scraps from re-upholstering the chairs.

One more look with the before and after pictures side-by-side:

Chair Transformation

Chair Transformation

For my next upholstery project, I’m going to redo the sewing chair that I got from my mom. It’s the chair that came with her original New Home sewing machine from the early 1970s, and the fabric is starting to tear in places. I hope to do that project sometime this winter.

Enjoy,

~Jennifer

 

More Little Critters Plus Birdseye Mercantile

A few weeks ago, I posted about creating a little forest critter out of flannel. Later in October, I had a chance to visit with my sister and we set out to make more critters using wool in place of the flannel.

These little critters are from the book Countryside Softies by Amy Adams. They are really quick and easy to make!

We made 2 foxes, a robin, a swan, and a dragonfly. We stayed up late each night having fun stitching these little guys together, and then we did some quilt shop hopping during the days.

Here’s a look at our critter collection:

Here’a close-up of my fox wearing his cool heart-shaped shades. He’s going to be my little sewing room buddy!

Fox Critter with Cool Shades

Fox Critter with Cool Shades

One afternoon, we took a little drive to visit Birdseye Mercantile in the little town of Avon, Montana located between Missoula and Helena. This adorable quilt shop has low overhead so they price all their quilting cottons at $7.50 per yard. Batiks are a little more. What a bargain! I took the opportunity to add a few pieces to my stash.

Birdseye Mercantile

Birdseye Mercantile

If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and take a peek at this store. They are only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays so it is always a good idea to call first.

From Avon, we headed towards Seeley Lake to visit another favorite quilt shop, Deer Country Quilts. They have a beautiful log cabin building with over 6000 bolts of fabric!

On the way to Deer Country Quilts, I took this picture of a lake reflecting the tamarack trees and their yellow autumn splendor. I didn’t have my good camera so this picture does not do them justice. They were just beautiful!

Tamarack Trees

Tamarack Trees

I wish that I had brought a quilt to photograph at the end of that dock! What a spectacular back drop for a quilt.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Black Cat Crossing Blog Hop + Giveaway

Greeeeeetings, my dears! Today is my day to share with you the creations that I stitched up in my cauldron for the Black Cat Crossing blog hop. Many thanks go to Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt for encouraging people of all skill levels to brew up something to share with us. I also want to thank our fabulous cheerleader, Wendy of Why Knot Kwilt, for organizing this blog hop!

I picked up some of the Black Cat Crossing fabric by Maywood Studios at a local quilt shop that recently opened in town. I love supporting my local shops!

For my first project, I decided to do a wool felt project with just an accent of cotton fabric. One can never have too many pin cushions, right? Sew off I went to stitch up a little witch hat to keep me company in my sewing room. The hat band uses a strip of fabric from Black Cat Crossing. I used black Aurifil thread for the piecing and midnight glitter hologram thread by Superior to add some sparkle to the brim. The finished pin cushion is about 4.5 inches tall.

This pin cushion is designed by Jennifer Clemen of Cottonwood Creations.

My stitching assistants ensured the quality of this little pin cushion:

Tiger likes the witch hat

Tiger likes the witch hat

Cow is planning his revenge

Cow is planning his revenge


Witch Hat Pin Cushion

Now that I had a pin cushion ready to go, I stoked up my cauldron and set to brewing up a special creation using only Black Cat Crossing fabric!

For this project, I stretched my skill levels by creating a mini quilt and by practicing some heavy free motion quilting. I used an Aurifil cream thread for all the piecing and quilting. The pattern is Mini Swoon by Thimble Blossoms.

I modified the pattern slightly so that I could add the Black Cat Crossing border fabric in between the swoon blocks. I’m calling my finished mini quilt, “Black Cat Swoon!”

Black Cat Swoon Getting Inspected!

Black Cat Swoon

Black Cat Swoon and Mini Pumpkins

Black Cat Swoon at the Pumpkin Patch

For the backing, I used left over pieces plus my label:
Black Cat Swoon Back

I just love how this mini quilt looks, and I can easily display it in various locations around the house during the fall season.

For more inspiration, please visit my fellow Black Cat Crossing participants today:
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Living With Purpose
Moose Stash Quilting
The Quilted Cat (you are here)
Lines, Colors, and Art

For my giveaway, I’m offering up 2 fat quarters from Black Cat Crossing. Just leave me a comment on this post for an entry. You get a bonus entry if you tell me how you follow my blog, and I’ll draw a random winner from all comments on Halloween, October 31st. I’m willing to ship internationally. Sometimes WordPress and Blogger do not communicate well together so make sure that I have a way to contact you!

Black Cat Crossing Giveaway

Black Cat Crossing Giveaway

I hope you enjoyed my Black Cat Crossing projects, and that they inspire you to make something beautiful!

Happy quilting,
~Jennifer

A Little Flannel Critter

This past summer when my sister and I visited the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, we also took the opportunity to go quilt shop hopping in the area.

At one store, I picked up a copy of Countryside Softies by Amy Adams. This book contains patterns and instructions to make 28 little woodland creatures from wool.

This weekend, I decided to make one critter but I didn’t have much wool felt on hand. I substituted some flannel for the body instead since this first creature serves as my practice one. I had a scrap of wool felt for the little fish.

I made the otter, although it almost looks more like a bear to me. This little guy is about 6-inches tall and could be used as a pin cushion or just a fun decoration in the house.

I used quilting cotton for the accent pieces like the tummy and underside of the snout. I only had 1 variegated pearl cotton 8 in red on hand so I used that for all the hand-stitching. There are also buttons on the arms connecting the arms to the body that you can’t really see in these pictures.

Otter Softie Close-Up

Otter Softie

Ottie Softie and Book

I’m going to give this first little otter as a gift. I’m also going to look for some wool felt for future little woodland critters.

I had fun making this small project in between my larger, quilt projects. Sometimes it’s fun to mix it up!

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

A New Quilted Bag

Happy Monday!

I’ve been using a small, store-bought purse for my day-to-day needs, but decided that I really need to make my own.

I fell in love with the new Elementary fabric collection by Sweetwater and recently picked up a charm pack and some coordinating half-yard pieces. I love how the colors look together in this collection and the back-to-school theme is perfect for fall.

I used a bag pattern called the Oak Park Bag by Loft Creations.

For the base, I wanted a heavier material than cotton, but still something that would look nice with the Sweetwater fabric. I picked up a gorgeous piece of espresso-colored faux leather. I think the leather really adds some character and style to the finished bag!

I used Aurifil 50 wt in brown (#2372) for the piecing and straight-line quilting. The lining is fusible fleece, but I really want to try Annie’s Soft and Stable when I make this bag again. The fleece will work fine, especially once the bag has a few items inside it. But, I saw the Soft and Stable product at a quilt show recently and now really want to try it out!

I did use a leather foot and a leather needle. I stitched really slowly on my Bernina since the leather, especially on the handles, was so thick. I did break 2 needles in the process so I probably will not use the faux leather on the handles again. However, on the base, the faux leather worked fine since it was just 1 layer.

The finished bag measures approximately 13-inches wide by 19-inches high. The inside is lined with the Elementary fabric as well and has 1 pocket.

Here’s a look at the finished bag, hanging in the gorgeous 80 degree weather that we had this weeekend:
Oak Park Bag Closeup

Oak Park Bag

I have only made a few bags so this project really help me improve some skills. I hope to make it again since it came together pretty quickly.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Chicken Challenge Quilt Completed

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to take classes in the week before the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. I blogged about taking the Chicken Challenge class with Ann Shaw several months ago. In that first post, you can see my chicken start to take shape as well as chickens from some of the other students in class.

I finished the free motion quilting over the summer using Aurifil #2000, and then I put the quilt aside for a while. This past weekend, I pulled it out and decided to add the binding to finish it. I used a black/tan chicken wire fabric for the binding, and I like how it frames my crazy chicken just right!

Here’s a look at my completed chicken in the afternoon sunshine:

Completed Gallus Gallus

Completed Gallus Gallus

In our kitchen, we have decorated with chickens so this wall-hanging definitely adds some wild color to this wall:

Gallus Gallus Indoors

Gallus Gallus Indoors

Now, my husband spent part of his childhood on a chicken farm so I can’t wait to see his reaction to this new addition.

Ann does have some scheduled classes around the Vancouver/Portland area if you are interested in learning this technique. Go check out her website and click on the Class Schedule link.

Hope you enjoy my little chicken!
~Jennifer