Friday, August 1, 2014

Hive 2 - August Block Tutorial

Hi there Hive Two Mates!

My name is Jansen de Roxas (alittlesweetbee on Instagram).

** Apologies to any English/Grammar fanatics out there.  I type in run-on sentences, use way too many commas, and abuse the hyphen.

I live in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC in a messy townhouse with my main crush- my husband, Jeremy, and our crazy, two year old daughter, Nora.  We have dog named Sammy that loves to eat people food.  We just celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary on July 12, holy smokes y'all. I am from a tiny one stoplight town in Oklahoma. I lucked out and met my husband in OK during his first assignment at Tinker AFB as an Air Force JAG.  We married and lived in California for two years and then landed here in DC where we have been for five years now.  We are going on assignment number FIVE in DC! This city has been a great exercise in patience and understanding.  So. Much. Traffic.  Read above, we had ONE stoplight.
White House Easter Egg Roll - 2014
Quilt on the White House lawn!
Nora's hand-stitched baby quilt
Sea Glass Pinwheels and an exercise in FMQ circles

A 40th Anniversary quilt for my in-laws

I grew up in a crafty family of all sorts.  Most of the women in my family were sewists.  My great-grandmothers on both sides were hand quilters and passed along some beautiful, yet well loved quilts to me and my brothers.  I distinctly remember staying home from school with the chicken pox when I was little.  I was so itchy and the only relief I had was wrapping up in one of my great-grandma's quilts.  It was heavy and yet light, and was somehow cool all the time.   That quilt now rests on my guest bed - I swear, I washed the pox off it....

My Great-Grandmother's Quilt

My Aunt taught me to sew when I was in elementary school. She made me my first custom quilt for my room.  It was all calico fabrics with cows at pasture - so many cows.  It was the most beautiful quilt I had ever seen.  (It's back home with Momma or I'd show a picture!)  I separated myself from sewing over the years. I didn't even know I wanted to rejoin the craft until my husband surprised me with a sewing machine for Christmas before one of his deployments.  My sister-in-law was pregnant with my first niece and I decided I would make her a quilt.  With no actual quilting experience I jumped right in and started cutting.  It was a disaster.  I broke every rule in the book.  I had no plan, cut fabric on the bias, didn't know about squaring up, didn't actually have a plan to piece the blocks, quilted a black and white quilt using neon green thread and subsequently ripped out that quilting more times than I could count.  I won't even tell you about how I attached the binding.  It was hilarious.  In the end, I still ended up with a finished baby quilt.  I just asked my sister-in-law not to wash it, ever.

MidAtlantic Mod Sewing Retreat 2014
After I had Nora I joined a local Mom's group.  I connected with another mom, Sarah, over our mutual love and fear of quilting.  Free motion quilting was SCARY! We started having sewing dates with another local quilt friend, Nancy.  (Both ladies are in this Bee, too!)  They took the scary out of quilting and we have had a blast creating together.  I finally learned to consult the internet for some assistance with my quilting and never really looked back.  I still tend to approach my projects with the same reckless abandon.  I have a hard time following patterns or instructions.  I usually get to the right place in the end.

My fabric stash has multiplied like bunnies somehow.... I swear I didn't buy all those fat quarters. I love using this old shoe organizer to sort my FQs by color. It helps me when I am looking for a specific shade or print.  Plus, it looks like CANDY!  I recently acquired the ikea bookcase from my daughter's room.  I have my projects bundled in stacks along with my larger cuts of fabric folded together.  I have a list of quilt requests a mile long- so I buy fabrics well in advance of the projects.  My husband has asked for a Tetris quilt so I took that as an opportunity to buy that lovely collection of Kona solids!  Swoon.

I also have a stack of WIP quilts waiting for various steps of completion.  Why is it so hard to finish those?!

Fabric hoarding Fabric is what drew me into quilting. I love a good fun, playful print.  I have a soft spot for novelty fabrics.  I love novelty designers like Heather Ross, Aneela Hoey, Sarah Jane, Alexander Henry and Marissa of Creative Thursday.  For most of my quilts I love anything with a bold geometric print.  I like bright, modern, clean lines..  My favorite designers would have to be Michael Miller, Carolyn Friedlander, Kate Spain, Joel Dewberry, Lizzy House (Pearl bracelets!), and Amy Butler. Lately, I have fallen in love with anything and everything by Art Gallery Fabrics.  Those cottons feel like butter and sew so beautifully.

When I look back at my first project I have to laugh. I would have to say that learning about all of the steps you do BEFORE you sew would have saved me some serious headaches.  I wish I had known how much easier quilts came together when you cut properly, iron, and square up!  And let's not forget the magic of nested seams.

My favorite quilting tools would be my  rotary cutter and starch.  I can't believe I cut whole quilts using scissors before getting my rotary cutter.  I like to switch back and forth between Flatter (that stuff smells ah-mazing) and Best Press.  Both tools have improved my accuracy in quilting.

If I were a fictional character I would be Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.  Everything about her cracks me up.  The hair, the fantastic wardrobe, the dancing, the dating, the blind confidence.  I am also a huge VEEP fan.  Maybe I just love Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Enough about me!  Let's SEW!

My little brother, Jacob, is a Firefighter and just graduated from Paramedic school.  He has been quietly and patiently asking me for a quilt for a while now.  I'll do anything for this kid, so let's make him a quilt! He loves my quilt from my great-grandmother (aka- the Chicken Pox quilt).  I'd like to make him a modern variation of the string quilt.  I searched the interwebs and found this great Warm/Cool String block tutorial from Melanie of Texas Freckles.  I even managed to follow along!

Graduation day!  My brothers- Jacob and Turner
Jacob and my Nora

As this quilt is for my 20-something brother I would ask that you limit the feminine prints.  I think adding in some softer colors in the pastel family will help give some good depth to the bold colors.  I love the idea of dividing the fabrics up into Warm and Cool colors so let's stick with that plan.  I also added in some more neutral fabrics, like some low volume with colors, grays, and black/white combos.  I'll leave it up to you and your specific fabric choices to determine if the neutrals belong more with the Warm or Cool colors.  I am ok with a little novelty fabric added in as well.  Let's just try to avoid anything too girly or baby.  I look forward to seeing all the fun, bright colors you choose for these blocks!  Have fun!

As mentioned at the end of the linked tutorial you are welcome to leave the block as four individual units when you send it to me.  If you prefer to sew the units into a block that will be great, too!  I want to make this quilt super scrappy so either will work great.  Happy sewing!

matched the vertical warm with the horizontal cool and vice versa

four finished 9" units waiting to be mixed with yours!


Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs said...

Hi, Jansen! Always love connecting with other milspouses, but especially had to pop over and say hi from Hive 3 because my husband will be JAG very soon. He's an Infantry officer attending law school through the FLEP program to rebranch JAG. We both really enjoy DC (even honeymooned there we love it so much!) but have serious doubts about whether or not to try for it as a duty station eventually just because of all the traffic [horror] stories we've heard. Hope the million and one things to do sorta make up for it for you : )

Unknown said...

Sorry I'm running late with my quilting for August. I had hoped to have it to you already but I am going to get in into the mail buy midweek if all goes as planned. I' m hoping that there won't be any snafus this week. Thank you for your understanding.

Lisa Stahl