quilt finish - mixing it up

It feels great to finish the Mixing It Up quilt top!  Once the weather cools off (it was 91 degrees in NYC today!) I'll think about baking again. Did you see the recipe for browned butter M&Ms chocolate chip cookies on Pioneer Woman's blog today? Yummy. I can't wait to try them!

Ok, back to the quilt. Cookie time will be later. 

Just looking at this quilt top makes me happy! There are all those colorful mixers, ready to whip up some amazing desserts. I had lots of fun just selecting the fabrics for each mixer. And do you remember how I bought the pale pink KitchenAid the same night that I sewed the pink block? 

The Mixing It Up pattern is by Lori Holt, and it's super-easy to understand, with lots of those easy-corner-triangles. The mixers are 15" square so you just need a few of them to make a big impact. I used mostly Bake Sale fabric with a little bit of Polka Dot Stitches mixed in, and solids from Riley Blake. I almost didn't make the mustard yellow mixer (come to think of it, Mom probably had a hand-held mustard mixer in the 70's). And yet, I found that I really needed the mustard just for the right color balance so that it wouldn't become too pink/red or too blue/green. 

I love the pieced "beater" border blocks. But I hate sewing borders. Let's just blame it on the extreme lack of space in my apartment. That's why these blocks sat around since February! I really, really wanted to just slap some fabric borders on this and call it done, but a quilting friend reminded me about how cute it would be if I followed the instructions. She was right. It's infinitely cuter with the pieced border. Borders are better!

Now I think that I've earned a special dessert tonite! Hummm maybe a cupcake instead of the cookie... 

catching up

Hi everybody! I hope that you had an enjoyable weekend! I've had some time to do a little bit of catching up on my sewing projects.

First, I finished August's four 6" blocks for the Moda Modern Building Blocks BOM quilt - Fig Tree style. 

Look at how small they are when put next to the giant 36" block! I had to fold the large block into quarters just to fit it into the photo.

I'm making the HSTs using my usual method instead of sewing triangles together as the pattern suggests - I'm sewing two squares on the diagonal, cutting in half, pressing open and trimming down to the exact size. I'm also using the Mini Fit To Be Geese ruler by Monique Dillard to construct my flying geese. The ruler really helps to make sure that they're sized perfectly and that I don't accidentally cut off my points. Monique has a nifty tutorial video on the Open Gate Quilts website about how to use the ruler. Basically, you sew two oversized "sky" triangles to an oversized "goose" triangle, and then use the ruler to trim it down to the right size. You might want to check this out if you've ever had problems sewing little 1 1/2" x 2" flying geese using other methods. I use the mini ruler and the full sized ruler to make almost all of my flying geese. 

And now I need to be patient and wait until the September fabric pack arrives from Fig Tree Quilts. I wonder if there will be some of Joanna's new Somerset fabric mixed in with the Moda Bella solids? But of course I need to work on something now. And so, this is the perfect time to finish my Mixing It Up quilt! Do you remember this quilt that I started in FEBRUARY?

And how about the spatulas?

It's called Mixing It Up, and the pattern is by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet. I'm using an assortment of Lori's Bake Sale and Polka Dot Stitches fabric collections, with solids by Riley Blake. It's time to get this finished! I went from just a few of the border blocks to all 48 in three days. I can get stuff done when I focus! (Ok, I gotta admit a small flaw with my "focus" - I made two extra blocks because I wasn't paying attention.)

I've started to sew the blocks into border strips, and I think that I'm going to have a finish by the end of this month!

half square triangle happiness

I actually like to sew half square triangles! And that's a good thing, because the border of my Mixing It Up quilt needs 184 of them (Ok, that's a lot of HSTs. Almost too many.)

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I make them by pairing squares, marking a line from corner to corner and then sewing 1/4" away from the line. I've tried all of the other methods but I really prefer this one. I always cut my squares slightly larger than pattern specifications and then trim them down to the exact size. If the pattern says to cut squares 2 7/8", I cut them to 3 1/4" or even 3 1/2".

Ready for trimming!

Ready for trimming!

This gives me larger squares than I really need. I trim them down to the exact size using the diagonal line on my 6" square ruler as a guide. I like how my components are accurate after trimming. This method also lets me focus on the cute parts of the prints - I sort of fussy trim them to capture the flowers, cherries, strawberries and spatulas.

All that trimming can be calming once I give in to the monotony. I just have to watch out for that rotary cutter and my fingers!

And three hours later I ended up with a big pile of scraps and 184 2 1/2" HSTs! 

All lined up, like cookies on a baking sheet. I love this Bake Sale fabric from Lori Holt (and a few pieces of Polka Dot Stitches, too). And now I can make the mixer beater blocks for my border!

mixing it up borders

It's border time again! Wow, I just finished borders for the Quilty Fun sampler, and here I am working on MORE borders! These are for the "Mixing It Up" quilt that I've been making for the past few weeks. 

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These 5" blocks are called "beater blocks" and will form the second border surrounding the mixers and spatulas. Lori Holt's pattern says that the blocks are designed to look like "a beater twirling into the batter mixing up something yummy." I couldn't agree more. When I was a kid, licking the beaters was my favorite part. I probably liked the beaters even more than the finished cake! Mom always saved a beater for me, and she or my brother got the other one. I need 46 of these blocks... so that's a LOT of half square triangles that need to be sewn!

I spent some time this weekend at the Kinokuniya Japanese bookstore in NYC. I love that store! The street level has English language fiction and art books. The upper level has manga books and a cafe. But my favorite is the lower level, which has tons of Japanese magazines, cards and craft supplies. The level of detail in these magazines is beyond amazing. (Looking for a dozen different magazines on men's workboots? How about ten guides to garnishing your sushi?) This is where I go to find magazines like Cotton Time, Quilts Japan and Patchwork Tsushin.

The quilts shown in these magazines are more classic than what is currently popular in the US (no acid yellow and grey combos here, and most prints are smallish), with an almost obsessive focus on miniaturized blocks - Dresdens, hexagons, log cabins, granny squares and rail fences. There's so much cuteness - I want to make everything on the cover of this copy of Patchwork Tsushin! The store also has a very large section of Japanese books on embroidery, cross stitch and quilting.

I finally bought this Log Cabin book. I had been stalking it for the past few months, so it was just time to buy it! I love that cover quilt as well as many of the unique block settings shown inside. Look at that fun house border! The magazines and books are entirely in Japanese, but they're great for inspiration. Now maybe if I do one house block each month I can be finished in a few years. 

I'm linking up today with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. Check out what other quilters are working on this week!

fully blended

I had a very productive weekend! Sometimes forty eight hours of rain isn't so bad. All of my "Mixing It Up" blocks are done! This is a pattern by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet, and I also used an assortment of Lori's fabrics, but mostly "Bake Sale."

I love that recipe print, and I cut it to focus on my favorite recipes. Marshmallow brownies, yummy pink frosting and mom's sugar cookies.

Nine spatulas, with more recipes that I love. Lemon meringue pie! Coconut layer cake!

And I have a funny little story. I've already told you about how I don't think that I can fit a Kitchenaid mixer into my little city apartment. It's bigger than my counter! It weighs 30 lbs! I don't have storage space! But I've wanted one for as long as I can remember. Well. On Saturday at midnight, guess what QVC's "today's special value" item was?  Yes, it was the Kitchenaid 4.5 quart, tilt top mixer with extra bowl, dough hook, scraper and splatter shield. And so, at 12:45 am when they announced that the pink was almost sold out, I bought it. A pale pink Kitchenaid mixer. And I had just finished piecing the pink mixer block, so it was meant to be. I'm not sure where I'll store it, but it will be kept busy making lemon meringue pie, coconut layer cake and pink buttercream!

Check out what projects other quilters are working on at today's Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

still mixing it up

Remember the new Mixing It Up quilt that I started last month?

Mixing It Up is a pattern by Lori Holt, and it FINALLY gave me a reason to cut into my stash of Lori's Bake Sale fabric. Plus, I'm adding some leftover Polka Dot Stitches and Sew Cherry. I whipped up two mixers and three spatulas a few weeks ago. Well, I missed working on this project! Time to mix up another batch!

These blocks are super easy and fast to put together after the prep work is done. And they're a BIG 15" square so only 6 mixer blocks are needed for a 64 x 69 quilt.  

I've been having fun strategizing future fabric combinations. I keep a photo on my iPhone of my ideas. There will definitely be a mixing bowl made from that red recipe print, fussy cut to focus on the "Marshmallow Brownies" and "Yummy Pink Frosting."  

And then there are the cute, non-melting spatulas. I have spatula-print spatulas! I wish that this fabric came in yardage, but it was only available as a panel of four fat quarters.

Thanks for stopping by for a snack. And now I'm off to mix up some more mixers!

mixing it up

Sometimes, the best part of finishing one quilt top is having the opportunity to start another one!

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I started "Mixing It Up" by Bee In My Bonnet this weekend. I think that Lori Holt has some of the most fun patterns, and this one reminds me of hunting for vintage treasures at the flea market. 

But I really love this pattern because it features the Kitchenaid mixers that I am a little obsessed with. I have wanted one for years. I've put serious thought into which color I'd get. Majestic yellow? Ice blue? Pistachio? Or the pink one that I saw at Georgetown Cupcake in Soho?

Sadly, I can't have one. My tiny kitchen counter is only 30" long x 22" wide. That's all the workspace that I have!

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But fabric mixers don't take up any space, right?! And I FINALLY have a reason to cut into my stash of Lori's "Bake Sale" fabric. I've also added in some leftover fat quarters of Sew Cherry and Polka Dot Stitches. 

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So here's the green apple mixer, with a pink vintage Pyrex bowl. I've decided to piece the beaters, or you can embroider them as Lori suggests. Next up is the aqua sky mixer.

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But I think that my favorite part of the quilt must surely be the spatulas. I didn't expect that to happen! So easy to make and so cute. And they won't accidentally melt if I leave them on the stove too long.

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Humm, all this talk about mixing it up has made me hungry for a snack! I think that I'll go mix something up!