Welcome to Sew in the Snow Blog

This blog is about my passions in life: family, quilting, and new adventures. Quilting is my main passion! I also love my family tirelessly and devote most of my energy to my young preschool girls and my husband. This blog will be about my creative process in quilting and some about being a Mom in this busy world. Being of Irish descent, I love a good story. So buckle in, here we go!

Friday, July 27, 2012

QT: Quilt Tutorial--Sudoku Wall Hanging

Hello, I wanted to try something different today.  I'd like to do a tutorial once a month or so.  So, this is on how to make a Sudoku Wall Hanging Quilt.  There's lots of free patterns available.  I started on it this week, and now I've got the top done.  A pretty quick little treat!

Material and Cut:
81 – 3.5” squares (9 each of 9 colors)
 6 – 1.5” x 9.5” strips for sashing
4 – 1.5” x 29.5” strips for sashing
2 – 1.5” x 31.5” strips for sashing
4 – 3.5” strips for border--optional

**Note: you should press after each seam is sewn.  It makes it much neater.  Trim each block when completed before adding sashing!

Once you've cut it all, sort into 9 stacks.  Then, make a "key" of your colors.  Label each color with a number to make it easier!

Numbered squares "Key" on felt

Next, take one stack of squares at a time and organize in rows.  Then sew together into a block.  Once done, put a colored pin in the top left-hand corner.  I used orange for the first row, white for the second row, and purple for the 3rd row.  You can also add two pins in the second block, and 3 pins in the third block to make it easier later on.  I also labeled the blocks with a piece of paper.  Redundancy can be good if you don't want to solve the puzzle!

Finished block by sashing
 Next, sew on the sashing to the right side of blocks: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.  The others will get sashing later.

All the finished blocks in rows with marker pins

Then sew the blocks of each row together.  This is where your pinning really makes it quick and easy!
Next, sew on the sashing below all rows and also on top of row 1.

Then sew all of the rows together making sure to keep them in order!  Once that's done, sew on the outer sashing and a border if desired!  All done!

Once it was done, I realized I needed more contrast between the squares.  So, beware and good luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP: Sudoku Quilt

 Hello!  I have been working on a quilt for my friend who's a Math Wizard and Sudoku Lover.  She has been my quilting buddy for 7 years and now she's moving out of town.  So, I'm going to give her a Sudoku wall hanging quilt as a going away present to memorialize our many good times quilting together!

As with nearly any two quilters, we have very different quilting styles and preferences for fabric.  She loves traditional prints for quilts.  I prefer brighter fabrics with animals or berries or colorful batiks.  She enjoys doing applique, hand-stitching, and making cute embellishments like yo-yos for her quilts.   I enjoy strip-quilting or intricate stars for my quilts.   Over the years we have learned to embrace eachother's differences. Seeing the beauty in eachother's quilts has challenged both of us to come out of our comfort zones.

I am challenging myself with making a quilt that she will love.  Although I'm not good at doing Sudoku, I'm making her a quilt like that.  You use different colors instead of numbers for the puzzle. I think it would look better in more distinct colors, but that is my preference.  I wanted to  honor her color preference by choosing fabrics from the Cabbage and Roses line by Moda.

Separated fabric for each block
It is very different than whipping up a strip-pieced 9 patch.  I had to cut up individual squares and  each block is unique.  I had to cheat and look at the key to get the colors correct!  LOL.  Sudoku is not easy for me.  However, this week I managed to get all of the blocks done.  I've cut the lattice, but haven't sewn it on yet.

Cabbage and Roses Fabric by Moda

I plan to finish the quilt by Friday and do a picture tutorial on making a Sudoku quilt.  Tune in on Friday for a step-by-step instruction on Sudoku quilting!  Hopefully, I'll be ready!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July Parties

Tons of Parties.  I have been to 4 parties 
this weekend.  This has been one of the busiest weekends of the summer for me.  I have been to so many parties, I think I may be full-up for awhile.  It's been a whirl-wind!  Fun, yet somewhat taxing for me now that I'm used to staying home so much as a Mom.  

Are you curious yet? What kind of parties have I attended?  I have been to a Going-Away Party for a good friend, a Ladies Night out party, a kid's 3rd Birthday party, and a Wedding Reception.  A busy 3 days.

The Going-Away Party was for my quilting buddy and good friend, Michelle.  She is moving out of state, so she threw one last BBQ. Her husband is an amazing chef, and we ate like royalty.  He grilled up some great home-grown chickens, some Copper River Salmon, and made various sides to make your mouth water.  Yum!

At the end of the gathering, as a strange turn of events, Michelle gave out presents instead of receiving them.  Michelle is an incredible gardener.  Everyone that came got to take home at least one basket of flowers or some veggies.  I was persuaded to take home 4 baskets: one flower basket and 3 veggie baskets.  Wow!  What a terrific haul.  

I will miss her tremendously.  I am making her a going-away wall hanging gift.  I'd tell you what it is, but I haven't given it to her yet.  ;)  I felt strangely like if I put off making it, she'd have to stay longer.  Silly.  But, the heart wants what the heart wants.  A treasured friend.

Then it was time for Ladies Night Out party.  My friend found a great little gift exchange theme for this party.  You find your 3 favorite things and bring them to the party: appetizer, drinks, and a set of 3 gifts (all the same) for around $10.  You then exchange the gifts by drawing them from a hat.  

My favorite thing (besides quilting!) is tea and honey.  So, I went to the Farmer's Market and found cute little bears with local honey and flavors: chocolate honey and raspberry honey.  Then I got a selection of my 5 favorite teas available locally (I mail order many special teas too) and put one in each bag.  The teas would pair perfectly with the honey that I included.  A strong cup of English Breakfast is delightful with some chocolate honey. It feels like a decadent treat, yet has very few calories.  I love it as an after-dinner treat.  Each bag held 2 honeys and 5 tea bags.  It was a fun challenge to think up a gift that I really love for around $10.  But, I did it!

I received 3 gift bags in exchange from different people.  I got a cute garden bee ornament, some superb salted caramel, and chai green tea and mints.  What a fun party idea!  Everyone choose such different things!  It's a neat way to get to know each-other a little better too.  

The next day was my friend's 3-year old Princess birthday party.  I made her a cute tote with Princess themed embroidery and embellishments.  I have a 3-year old also, and she loves her little tote.  So, it seemed like a good gift.  We got to make foam-sticker crowns for each child and play in a giant cardboard box castle.  It even had a draw-bridge.  The girls loved it!  The boys frequently charged the castle with fake swords and my daughters acted like a  dragon roaring in defense of the Birthday Princess in side.  Hilarious!

Finally, I went to a BBQ for a wedding reception for a long-time friend.    She got married this winter in a remote Lodge here in AK.  Then she held the reception this weekend.  There was lots of grilled meats: ribs, chicken, and Cooper River Salmon.  It also had great sides: potato salad, bean salad, rolls, 3 pies, cookies, and green salad.  It was fun to hang out on the porch and enjoy the sunshine while mingling with people I rarely get to see.  My friend, Oline, was positively glowing...  I'm so happy that she is enjoying married life!  She deserves it! 


Friday, July 20, 2012

FAF: The Butterfly Quilter

Pat belongs to my Etsy Team Quiltsy.  She has many spectacular art quilts in her shop, The Butterfly Quilter.   I was looking for something amazing, and I found it in her work!  Such artistry!  Her detailed quilting really enhances her quilts.  So, I was curious, what makes someone like her tick?  Find out for yourself.

What originally gave you the idea to create such an interesting Etsy shop?
Living in Maine we didn’t have high speed internet till Oct. 2011. Yup it was that late for us in this part of Maine. One of my friends told me about the site and then my husband found it and said, “I think you should sell on Etsy”. I had a hard enough time having people tell me my quilts are beautiful so this was a big step. I made a decision to put on the site quilts that I would want for myself and not just to make to sell. So far it is working out for me. I have to force myself not to just make to sell but to make them as if they were for me and really like them.

Ideas are often so hard to implement– tell us a bit about how you started and what were your first steps in creating you niche in the Etsy and handmade community?
I am one of those people that just go for it once my mind is made up. Like creating a quilt. Sometimes I have to think outside the box. Etsy was way outside the box for me. For the first months I was on the site reading and listening to the labs and working the forums. I am talking about 4 to 6 hours a day. My quilting was on hold at this time just to get my shop up and running. I am not computer savvy at all so this was something so foreign to me. So I tackled it like a quilt, once piece at a time.

What is your main hurdle in running your Etsy site to date?
Time is my greatest enemy and a major hurdle for me. I get up first thing in the morning and check in and comment in the forums and teams. Then do some work on my tags. Then I check in at lunch and one more time at night. I can tell when I slack off a little my stats go down. So time management is big since it takes away from my craft. Not enough hours in a day.

How do you promote your business? Facebook, Twitter, blogging or other?
LOL I don’t have anytime to do any of the above. My husband just got facebook. I don’t Twitter or blog. All of my promotion in on Etsy alone. My friends pass on the word thru their facebook page when I download a new quilt. I do pass out my business cards when I am out and about though.

Describe the process of creating one of your handmade items.
Nature is a part of the process for me. If I am blank and can’t come up with a design my HB and I go hiking. Things just start happening from there. He is a photographer and he has his camera with him so I have him taking photos of certain things. Then I save them in a file just for me. I dream a lot about design so as soon as I get up I write it down and keep it in a file. When I have time I will look thru them and come up with something.
An example my earth texture quilt. I wanted to incorporate macro photos on a background of  the earth, like a sand feel.  I start with a ruff sketch then from there transferred it to a more definite sketch onto muslin. Then cut out hundreds of pieces of different tone on tones with  heat and bond to adhere to the muslin that I drew the design on. Then printed my macro photos onto fabric with my computer and heat set them onto my piece. Never pieced a quilt this way before. Did my layer of batting then back and quilted it all over to hold everything in place with a tone on tone variegated thread. Once done I new I needed to add beading of wood and abalone beads. Then I thought it needed definition around the edges of the photos so I used helm to finish the piece off. So my quilting just keep progressing sometimes. 

What do you love most about making your products?
Seeing if what I image it will look like comes out the way I thought it would. Most of the time my designs go in a different direction once I start and always for the better. My quilt tops speak to me and tell me what they need.

Fun Facts:
List three adjectives that describe you.
Adventurous, generous, and energetic. According to my husband. LOL

Favorite Food: Too many to count. Scallops, cantaloupe, popcorn

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why?
Probably an Elephant. Ok they can be stubborn, but I am working on that. I am loyal and dependable. People always seem to come to me when they need something and know that I will always be there for them. Elephants seem to wander so it no wonder I do not stay in one place long. An Elephant never forgets, this is so true for me also. Once I learn something I seem to retain that knowledge, hopefully to use some day when it is needed. The Elephant is also patient and my students when I was teaching quilting too always said I would always answer questions and be patient till they understood what I was trying to get across.

 I certainly can understand the time issue!  I never have enough.  I dare you to take the time today to look at Pat's Etsy shop...  you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Busy Summer Schedule

Hi all. I'm late to my own blog. That's a sad comment on how much I've been doing lately... Too much to keep up with everything. I have a job, I volunteer at a local farm, I volunteer at Creamers Field, I serve on a church board, and I'm taking a summer class. Plus, raising my two lovely girls, now 3 & 5 years old, while enjoying our warm summer sun.

So, how did I begin doing all of this you ask... Let me tell you. This winter it was cold and dark and I got cabin-fever while cooped up inside. So this spring when oppurtunity came, I said yes to everything! Have you ever done that? I usually have more common sense than that... But perhaps that dissipates as life rolls on at a fevered pace.

let me tell you a little about each of the things I'm involved with this simmer. The biggest change is working at a co-op of 9 differ artists here in Fairbanks. It's Cabin 13, at Pioneer Park. I have taken all of my things that have been in storage to sell on Etsy and put them all in this cabin. I have nearly 100 items in the store. This week I added: 8 schlep bags, 6 girls totes, 2 handbags, 10 coffee cozys, 2 wall hanging quilts, and 7 aprons. I didn't make all of them this past week... But I finished and added the 4 schlep bags from last week, and embroidered 2 new totes, and made 2 new wall hangings. The rest I had already done but hadn't added them yet to the store. I am finishing one more tote now, then I will turn my attention back to making a quilt.

Secondly, I volunteer at Calypso Farm in Ester. Last year we joined the Calypso CSA, and that's how I began volunteering out there. I help lead groups of young kids, with my girls along, as a tour guide. My training as a teacher comes in handy while leading a large group of excited kids! It is a lot of fun at the Pizza Farm as Jessica calls it. They have an outdoor wood fired pizza oven. I love making pizza! So, I volunteer to help out with the pizza making. Most kids haven't ever made bread or dough before so it's rewarding to show them how.

My girls especially love petting and feeding the goats and sheep up there too. Sometimes I'm in charge of the animal visits with the kids. They get to feed them farm scraps and weeds. It's fun to see kids who have never seen a farm get so excited to feed animals, make pizza from scraps, and harvest veggies. We go to lead a field trip tomorrow at 9:45 am.

I took a class at Creamers field (CF) this spring to help with my continuing education credits to keep my teaching certificate. Part of the class is to lead 3 tours of CF as a naturalist. I haven't done any yet, but I want to do one next week. So, I will be going to see how someone else does it to give me ideas for my own tours. I love going to CF and walking around enjoying the wildlife and the peace and quiet there. Jessica went to a week long summer camp there two weeks ago, called Camp Habitat. She had fun, and got the "most polite camper" award at the end. How cute!

Volunteering to be on my church board as a Deaconess is a two year commitment. We meet twice a month on Thursday nights. Lately we've been looking at renewing Our nursery procedures. Not my favorite thing, but necessary for the church. My good friend runs the nursery now. She does a great job! We meet tonight.

Lastly, my summer class is a web-based class to become a Master Gardener. I love gardening, but I lack any sort of training. I have a friend that is a Master Garderner, and she seems to know everything! I aspire to become a fount of knowledge regarding gardening. But, in the months I've been registered, there hasn't been any assignments or any other way to learn. Very disappointing. I still hope to learn more soon.

That's been my summer obligations. It is fun to be busy, but nearly too busy. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

WIP: Summer Schlep Bags

Schelp Bag made from April Bali Medley Fabrics
Summer IS HERE.   To celebrate the glorious profusion of colors in the wild flowers and in my garden I have been making some incredibly bright Schlep Bags.  A local shop here--Blueberry Baby-- is carrying my schlep bags and I got some great feedback from the owner.  She wants more bags and smaller bags (which are still rather large) and in brighter colors.  Perfect!  It's time to celebrate  the festive color of summer in a new line of batik bags.

I love a good bag!  I have many bags already but you can never have too many!  I'm in the process of making 4 reversible bags.  I have designed one side so that I can use fat quarters, and the other side was already workable for that.  I have lots of fat quarters to use up!

Made from my June Bali Medley Fabrics
Where do I get all of my fat quarters you ask?  Well, my stash has several of course.  And, I have signed up for a Bali Medley of fat quarters  (a set of 5) to be sent to me monthly from Keepsake Quilting.  It's like Christmas each month!  I open the package and there's 5 coordinating batiks just waiting to be used.  they are lovely!  I highly recommend it to anyone that loves fabrics!  They have all sorts of cool monthly clubs you can join, something for everyone.  There's fat quarters, charm packs, 10" squares in many popular styles.  So much fun!

I digress... so, I'm using fat quarters in my bag.  It takes at least 4 fat quarters to make one bag.  I have used more to accent the colors in the bag.  I am using Carol A. Coski's Schlep Bag pattern.  I have made several like she did out of 8" squares.  However, they are extremely large, so I have adapted the pattern.

Like most quilters, I love to adapt patterns to fit my style and needs.  I am now making them in 6" squares.  Of course, I'm a strip-quilter, so I actually sew it in strips, then cut that into 4 sets of 6" squares.  MUCH faster and more accurate for me.  The front calls for 4 colors or 4 sets of squares.  Sometimes, I like to cut out a solid bottom square to save time and effort (it's 11.5" bottom for the 6" square bag).  Then, you only need to strip 3 colors or fabrics together.  Of course, you still need to cut out 4 sets from this strip set, one for each side of the square. 

Strip with 3 6" squares-- will be a green and orange bag
Center 11.5" bottom and 4 sides--sew as seen

Bright Blue Summer Bag

Purple and grey blue summer bag--this one's mine!

Blue and gray summer bag--still needs liner

Then, I made a second bag that is cut from 2-3 fat quarters or scraps.  I cut one fat quarter in half to equal a 11" x 31" strip.  I sew on a coordinating 3" strip to the top of that.  I add a 6" pocket on the right side of this bag.  Press all seams and press a medium weight interfacing to the bottom square.  This interfacing adds some extra stability in the bottom of the bag.  It makes it a little stiff, but it stands open better instead of crumpling up so much. Then sew on a coordinating 8.5" square to the bottom of the strip, turning at right angles to make it form a square bag. (Yes, this is a different bottom size, but it works!) Finally, I sew up the sides.  This can be made from either 2 or 3 colors--your preference.    Once it's completed and pressed, I turn it inside out to place it in the outer Schelp Bag as a liner.  After sewing on the handles, it's done!
3" dark green strip, cut striped fat quarter = 11"x 18" each and 8.5"yellow bottom

Sewn 2nd bag--see it's a square shape--then tuck into the schlep bag as a liner
 I find that the 6" squares make a more reasonable size for every-day schlepping.  And, that's what my customer wants.   They are such a great size and such delightful fabrics that I've decided to keep one. 
Thanks for tuning in.  If you'd like more exact details on how to make this, just let me know!  Thanks.

I have also linked this with my Etsy Team Quiltsy blog.  You can see what the other team members are working on!  It's always fun!

Have a Happy Independence Day.  Thank a soldier today for our freedom.  They are the true heroes of this holiday.  We are still free.  Thank you all military personnel!