Wednesday, July 24, 2013

epp, shapes, and san diego

the mr and i took a half-week trip to sunny and mild san diego, CA in celebration of my birthday. (yes, that's still going on! but i think it's been milked enough now that you won't hear of it again until next year.) this time, instead of staying off the beach, we stayed downtown. while we were out and about, walking around, i was amazed at the number of shape patterns i noticed everywhere. maybe it's just because it's salient to me now that i've started doing epp or maybe san diego is just special this way. whatever the reality, there were hexagons, in particular, in abundance.

any of the above could provide inspiration for quilt patterns. even our hotel in the emerald towers was hexagon shaped! i kept my mini epp kit with me to pull out in the spaces when my husband would do some quick work on his cell phone. between courses at meals was a good time to squeeze some in. prepare for some awful photos of me here.

whenever dessert came, the sewing went to the side. see my snips, paper clip, and a square there. they are fun, but did not compete with creme brule! in addition to my big travel kit, i carried around a quart sized ziplock bag with just snips, paper clips, neelde, thread, a few shaped, and cut fabric. it was perfect to throw in my bag and take out when opportunities arose. you can see it behind the water bottle on the table in the photo below.

breakfast at isabel's cantina (on felspar street) in pacific beach. if you are ever anywhere close - this is a must stop! breakfast is heavenly and dinner was delicious, too. i sipped my mexican hot chocolate while stitching and waiting for a delicious breakfast to arrive. i'm getting much faster and basted shapes are piling up.

a few more shape sightings at the hotel:

i did enjoy getting some progress completed on my project, but i did not give over my vacation to the work. mostly i just did a few bits here and there, like when the mr would swim laps. i made sure to enjoy the vacation to the fullest.

the shapes i completed while there, featured in the window of our hotel room on the 13th floor with a view of downtown in the background:  (r to l) on the airplane, while mr swam laps, during dinner day 2, at breakfast, while mr swam laps, while waiting for a facial, and during laps again. and i got another stack done on the flight home. so it was an enjoyable and relaxing yet productive trip! hopefully when we go next year, i will have a different project in the works.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

epp bits

my very first completed shapes! i love the colors in this print from the "london calling" collection. it's very similar to Liberty's tana lawns. if you're looking for a less expensive Liberty substitute, this is a good one in feel and style.

my first block about halfway completed. i added the pink triangle on the far right just so i could finally take one paper template out and see how well i was doing with the paper. i kept worrying i was piercing it or something, but it looked great when it came out and i've already re-used it.

i bought my paper shapes from paper they have been great so far. i find them very precise and sturdy. i should be able to use them repeatedly. which means i bought too many, but i can always find another use for them elsewhere, right? better safe than sorry.

i've cut for what feels like hours! i'm getting all kinds of great selvage pieces, as well as other tiny string scraps, most of which will have to go in the "stuffing" pile.

this bowl is currently designated for any scraps that are too small to piece with but still big enough for something else yet undetermined.

i finally did my math and it turns out i'm going to need about twice as many strips for shapes as i originally guesstimated. no worries, though. i've got plenty of each since i bought half yards of what i liked. but i do dislike cutting. ugh. at least accuracy isn't a big issue. that makes it a lot more bearable.

i'm out and about a ton right now, so it's going to be all epp around here for another month. hope you're not bored of it. i'm not yet!

linking in with wip wednesday at freshly pieced and needle and thread thursday at my quilt infatuation.

Monday, July 15, 2013

lucy's london winner

the winner for the lucy giveaway of the Liberty Love book is laura of little and lots! congrats, laura. i know you're a big liberty fan so i can't wait to see how this inspires you.
Laura C @ littleandlots said...

I'm all, sssshhhhh, don't tell everyone that has Stile! For favorites, I'm torn between the Bloomsbury Gardens Lytton print (on the left of the ones you bought for your pouch/tote) and the Tana Lawn Wiltshire. (I have grand plans for that one.)

J Crew often has Liberty things. They are exorbitantly priced, but if you wait them out, you can find them on clearance and do one of their extra-30%-off-clearance dealies. I have gotten a pair of Liberty shorts and a Tana Lawn shirt from them, and they are my two favorite clothing items.

(My husband seems pleased when I tell him I'd rather have Liberty than diamonds, ha!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

quilting sightings and stuff

since enjoying the success of this green pitcher as a thread catcher, i've acquired a bit more inexpensive pottery bits at marshall's to dress up and organize my sewing area: the other pot i am using for spools, the top-most yellow bowl is pieces for my machine, the leaf plate has my binding pincushion (i've been using it for a pincushion since i haven't made one yet) and various pins, there's a small flower bowl for floss, and the yellow bowl at the bottom is for any bits i need for whatever project i have on the machine at the time. form and function here, folks.

since it's summer, i've dug out my headbands and worn them a bit. i really wanted to wear one to dress up my striped tee the other day. somehow i convinced myself that the yellow and pink headband coordinated with the neon orange tee! can you believe it. not even close, is it? really, in my half-dark bathroom it looked similar. but with my hair covering most of the band, only that completely unmatching pink rose showed. i am strange on occasion, it's true. my kids would be right to challenge my fashion sense here.

quilt sightings:
 d#1 taking a sunday nap with the abbey lane diamond quilt.

d#2 curled up with "out on a limb" for a judy blume read. cozy!

those family room quilts are starting to see a lot of real use. hurray! the kids finally seem to realize they're there and for their use.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

epp-ing along

i've washed my fabrics. ugh! i dislike doing this, but jessica insisted in The Book that it be done. i'm one to follow rules, so i did it. the reason i don't prefer washing:

 all the nasty knots! any way around this you washing-first people know of?

i'm going to be making the ferris wheel pattern with my epp. i'm copying katy the ginger monkey's idea of black and white (lots of text) prints for the hexie centers and colorful wheels surrounding.
katy's beautiful wheels, copied from her blog
i  had lots of fun picking out prints. i didn't bother to do the math first, just bought 1/2 yd of everything i liked.

 once my paper pieces came in the mail, they looked a bit smaller than i expected. i went with 1 1/2" pieces and now sort of wish i went with 2". but it is as it is and i'm moving forward. the size looks pretty good in the photo in the book:

 i have a lot of hexies, which are slowly growing on me. i know it's not very kosher to say, but i'm not a huge hexagon fan. i have found some patterns i like latey, though, so i guess i'll be using some. the lined up ones in the book, above, are to my taste, so maybe i'll be using some of the larger prints in this pattern when i'm done with my wheels.

 my color palette is very mixed and is based on the great print from  "pb & j" by basic grey for moda that you see on the top. navy, red, light blues, bright pinks, and spring-y greens. but not really yellows like the print's background.

navy and red wash pile
 because i bought the fabrics before my pieces came, some of the prints are going to cut up funny since they are so large. live and learn, i guess. i have dropped just one print because i don't want to use it in such small bits.

even the hexies wouldn't accommodate the ellies on the blue print, so my 5 yr old has requested it for her "next quilt." we'll see when that gets made!

Monday, July 8, 2013

epp to go kit

baby cuddles and a quilt read - perfect
for a few weeks i have been closely studying the new book quilting on the go by jessica alexandrakis. and i do mean studying it. this is a book chock full of information that has to be digested carefully and slowly. at least for me. it's a brand new technique, this english paper piecing, so it's requiring a lot of brain wiring to get started.

epp appeals to me because: 1) it's portable, 2) it's handsewing. i like the idea of a long-term project that i can work on slowly, in bits and pieces, over time and that can be taken all over the place with me. this means when i'm at the park with the kids, at practices, on an airplane, in the car. whatever. i can quilt! and i can make an entire quilt by hand. that is so cool! who does that anymore? apparently the epp crowd does.

photo sidetrack - is she cute or what?

this new technique also required a few new supplies like a travel sewing kit so i can take my epp anywhere. jessica recommends a case small enough to slip in your purse or bag, but i found something else i'm going to try out first.

a few weeks ago, while rummaging in some boxes still not unpacked since we recarpeted last january, i spied my ancient "cropper hopper" scrapbook box. it was once upon a time used to carry scrapbook supplies around to classes or crops. i can't even remember the last time i scrapbooked anywhere but my own home. so i emptied all the pens and few tools out to make room for my epp kit. it's approximately 9"x11"x3". and it holds a ton of gear! i also like that it has that nice flat surface for me to work on.

this is the top side. it has some handy little dividers that i can move around to accommodate supplies. so far, i've got quilting pins, some bobbins, needles, a smaller case that holds tiny parts more securely, paper clips, thread assortment, marking tools, snips.

the little case has some filled bobbins and a few thimbles in it. there are needles tucked under the case in this compartment.

on the back side is a shallow compartment that was meant to hold scrapbook paper or pages. i've put my book and a mini cutting mat with rulers in it. only problem is the cutting mat is about 5/8" too long to fit, so i'm considering cutting it down to fit the box. or i might just put all my piecing templates in the back instead. undecided.

i have this huge cone of thread that i've decided i do not like machine sewing with that i'm going to use for basting thread. but the darn bottom is too thick for the box. so i'm going to wind it up on all these extra bobbins from my singer days.

i haven't actually tried taking the kit anywhere yet, so i'm sure there will be some adjustments made to content. but for now, i'm ready to roll with the epp.

Friday, July 5, 2013

the romance is through

***the lucy giveaway is going on at my liberty and independence day post, july 4th!

"romance in the garden" is officially done. after sitting through "life of pi" with two different sets of kids today while i hand bound, i put the last few stitches on the binding at twilight this evening and decided to go ahead and photograph it so as to squeeze it in the final moments of crazy mom's finish it up friday link.
i'm rather tired of photographing this particular quilt despite my love for it's fabrics. i'm in the "blah! seen enough of this for a bit" phase. i'm sure the love will return soon. it's heading to the family room. there are a handful of changes i'd make to this, given the chance. but it's done and ready for duty. i don't even feel like talking about it anymore at the moment.

my 14yo d#1 obliged me with holding up the quilt in the driveway. (i was not the least bit interested in styling on this one.) isn't it cute how her converse sneakers peek out under the bottom? when i told her she could put it down, she said, "wait! i want to do this first!" and took off running around the cul de sac with the quilt trailing behind her. looks like one of us had some interest in styling ideas, at least.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

give me liberty! and the lucy giveaway

happy Independence Day, all! wherever in the world you are, i hope you are celebrating your own liberty today. while i am grateful my forefathers had the inspiration and fortitude to cut the apron strings with the mother country, i still adore mother england. i'm glad we've mended relations and co-exist in extended familial harmony whilst respecting each other's uniqueness and fine qualities.

one of my favorite recent finds from england is the charming lucy. right up there with lucy-angel (as i have dubbed her - hope she likes it!) is english liberty. the kind that comes from london. as fabric. you know: liberty of london!

my fabric obsessed brain modified this local cafe sign when i saw it

i was first introduced to liberty of london through my favorite local variety chain store, target. (i can find just about everything little i need at target. and that red card with 5% off!) target is an odd place to happen upon some liberty, but target periodically does special batches of limited edition designer collections. last christmas it was neiman marcus, for example. a few years ago i noticed this display of colorful and fun floral summer items for girls. i picked up a sun dress and a baby romper with sun hat. if i'd only known the absolute steal those items were compared to "real" liberty fabrics, i would have bought loads more just to cut up. as it was, i liked the rather funky fabrics i got that reminded me of something right out of my 70's childhood. (sadly, i haven't been able to locate the baby romper to photograph! it's just darling with layers of ruffles in ultra-bright liberty florals. this means i'm going to have to dig through the clothing boxes a little more closely and do some editing, i'm sure.)

a while after i got the summer clothing items, i looked up this liberty of london on line to figure out what the big deal was. anyone else remember their introduction to liberty? love at first sight, falling fast and hard, is the normal response, i think. i even considered paying the ridiculous prices for yardage and international shipping just to get my grubby sewing paws on some. but i resisted.

fortunately, there are now american distributors. and in march i got my first bits at purl soho while on my anniversary trip to nyc. i did not ask for anything at tiffany's when we browsed, but i did get some liberty! my tana lawn classics have their own special basket (with my other purl selections) on my sewing shelves, waiting for me to decide how to best spend them.

if you're looking for some, the etsy shop "half baked buttons" has a nice selection of slightly reduced classic tana lawns. and the more affordably priced liberty "stile" collection is all over the place. like at

last month i saw a free tote and pouch class on that featured liberty's "stile" collection. i'm not sure i'll be making a pouch out of it, but i did order the kit just for the fabrics.

this last week i finally delegated some of my sewing budget to some stile yardage at it should arrive any day now and the daydreaming can start! epp seems to be a popular destination for liberty. i'll consider it.

there is also published inspiration for your stash of liberty. my love of books was established well before my general fabric crush, so discovering some books about liberty fabrics was doubling pleasing. i purchased both the liberty love book by alexia marcelle abegg and the liberty book of home sewing, made by the company itself.
liberty love, i love! enough yummy projects to justify keeping.

while the liberty book of home sewing had an extensive history and print identification guide in it, which made it quite attractive, i did not love it enough to keep. the apron on the cover was about the only project i was interested in making. so, uncharacteristically, i returned the book.

some of my favorite classic tana lawn prints:

poppy and daisy
to come full circle on this list of liberty and english things i love - independence day, england, lucy, liberty of london, books - they all equal up to a giveaway i've had brewing in my brain for a few weeks. lucy-angel recently did me a very purposeful act of kindness, which i am going to honor with a pay-it-forward type of giveaway.
i'm offering a copy of the liberty love book to one lucky commenter. if you know it, please share with me your favorite liberty print. or a project you've made with some liberty. or anything liberty related at all!
mitsi in pink

the one i'm loving the most right now is "mitsi"(above) in the spring green color. (i found it all by myself,  liz! on etsy.)

giveaway closes next thursday, july 11th. if you are a no-reply commenter, you must include your email address in the comment or i will have to pick another winner.

happy Indepenence Day!
liberty for all!

linking in with plum and june for let's get acquainted monday!