Sunday, February 5, 2017

#inspiredquiltproject...more info!

For those of you interested in helping with the #inspiredquiltproject, here is some more info. I really, really believe that small things matter and we all have talents and gifts to share. Thank you so much for sharing yours with others.



WHAT BLOCK DO WE MAKE?

We will be making one type of block...a rainbow/diamond block made with half-square triangles.


For instructions on making this block, please see this blog post. This is the same block as Missouri Star Quilt Company's Four Seasons Block, and there is a video tutorial that explains how to make the block.

WHY THIS BLOCK?

I have been involved in making 4 versions of this quilt, and I think every version of the quilt is beautiful. It is perfect for scraps. No matter how many different people make these blocks, they always look so cohesive and pretty.


The blocks finish at a nice size (16.5"). It takes only 4 blocks with some sashing to make a 36" quilt. Just 12 blocks makes a nice lap-size/throw quilt (48" x  64"). With 20 blocks you get a nice, big quilt (64" x 80").

WHAT FABRIC SHOULD I USE?

Use bright, colored fabrics combined with light/low-volume fabrics. Juvenile/novelty fabrics are fine as I will separate blocks based on if they would fit better in a "kids" quilt or a more "grown-up" quilt. You may use either solid or print fabrics.

Please use new, good-quality, 100%  "quilt-weight" cotton fabric. (I personally love quilts made from repurposed fabric, but many organizations that accept quilt donations require the quilts be made of new materials.) That being said, please do not feel obligated to purchase fabric for this project. Each block doesn't take too much fabric, so work from your stash!

WHERE DO I SEND BLOCKS?

Please mail your blocks to:

Stephanie Jacobson
PO Box 280
Boystown, NE  68010  USA

Don't spend more money to send your blocks than you have to! Here's a link to the inside scoop on lower postage rates. If you send blocks and are on Instagram, please include your Instagram name so I can give you credit.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE QUILT BLOCK?

I am going to do my best to sew every single block into a quilt top then longarm and bind every single quilt. Fortunately, I know some very lovely gals in the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild that will probably help me out!

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE QUILTS?

Well...that's a good question. I am currently involved with the Lincoln, Nebraska chapter of Quilts for Kids and Project Linus in Omaha, so I'm sure some of the quilts will go to those organizations. (At least initially, most of the quilts will stay local to me (Omaha, Nebraska, USA) due to the expense of shipping.) Unfortunately, there seem to be tragedies every year that results in a call for quilt donations. I would love to be able to have quilts ready to go in these times of need. 

Bottom line...all of these quilts will be used for charitable causes. Not one of your quilt blocks or the resulting quilts will be for my own personal use. 

HOW CAN I HELP?
  1. You can make blocks! It doesn't matter if it's one block or more than one. I have the post office box for the rest of 2017 so make a block if/when you feel like it and mail them in whenever!
  2. All of the quilts will have a scrappy binding, so I will happily accept 2.5" strips of bright-colored fabric to use for bindings. They don't have to be the full width of fabric. If they're at least 20 inches long, that works!
  3. You can like/follow/share the Facebook page
  4. Use the hashtag #inspiredquiltproject on Instagram and other social media to help spread the word.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to ask!



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

rainbow diamond quilt blocks

For the #inspiredquiltproject, we're going to make beautiful, rainbow half-square triangle diamonds. One pattern. One beautiful, scrappy, rainbow color scheme. One whole year. Lots and lots and lots (I'm hoping!) of beautiful quilts to brighten the lives of those that need it.




For each block, you will need:

#8 print charm squares (5") in rainbow colors

#8 low-volume charm squares (5") in pale grays/whites/creams

Sew each print charm to one low-volume charm to make half-square triangles. Trim each HST to 4.5" square. 
If needed, you can find instructions on making half-square triangles here(I recently found this tutorial for trimming HSTs on Pinterest...why had I never thought of it?!) Assemble your HSTs into blocks as shows above.

Each block will measure 16.5" when completed. You don't need to trim it. Just send it to me, and I will sew them together!
 
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!


Of course back in January 2016 I thought I was being super original with this HST quilt block pattern. Of course the amazing Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company did it first. If you're the type that prefers YouTube videos, please check out her great Four Seasons Block video here.

I'm in the process of getting a post office box that you can mail your blocks to. I'll have an address for you in the next few days!

Monday, January 30, 2017

knowing you contribute

I've been a part of do. Good Stitches for about 5 years now, first with the WISH circle and now with the PEACE circle. Each month, the quilter for that month chooses a quilt block pattern and color palette and the other members make blocks and send them to her. Last January I chose a scrappy bright and low-volume half-square triangle pattern which resulted in this beautiful quilt to be donated to Project Linus.


I had a few blocks left over so I made a few more blocks to make this smaller quilt for Quilts for Kids.


Then last spring, the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild received the opportunity to sell raffle tickets for a quilt at the Douglas County Fair. We were short on time and only had a few months to make a quilt and sell tickets, but it's amazing what you can accomplish when people work together.



At the January Omaha Quilt Guild meeting, members had a discussion about what people like and/or are looking for in our guild. We came up with a pretty great list.


It was that last comment that struck a chord with me, though. One of the members said (and I'm paraphrasing here) she didn't have a lot of free time, but she really liked the projects like the guild raffle quilt where members could contribute one or two blocks. She could look at the finished quilt, see her blocks in the quilt and know she contributed. I know EXACTLY how she feels. Every small contribution matters, and we can do amazing things when we work together.

And then a few weeks ago, one of the ladies in my PEACE circle group posted a quilted top she made.

(Hmmm...I really should have pressed that before I took a pic!) Judy liked the pattern so much she decided to make one block a month last year. Just one block a month made a whole quilt top that she then sent to me to longarm and donate to Project Linus. Well then the wheels started turning, and I've had this crazy idea rolling around in my head for much of January. I have a few things to work out, but look for a detailed post within the next week. Together we're going to do something amazing!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#organizedsewingspace 2017 Prize Sponsor!

So I'm a little blown away (and excited and motivated) by the response to my #organizedsewingspace2017 challenge over on Instagram. Seriously...head over to Instagram and check out the difference between the #sewingtablebefore and the #sewingtableafter posts. It's pretty awesome. We just wrapped up the first two week challenge to clean up and organize our sewing tables so we have a nice, welcoming place to sit and sew. As a little added bonus, there will be a drawing for a prize at the completion of each challenge. I couldn't offer these prizes without generous donations from some pretty great prize sponsors. The prize for the first challenge was donated by Sew Michelle.


Brooke was the lucky winner of a $15 gift certificate to SewMichelle's online shop!


Thank you so much Michelle for your donation for our challenge! You can see more of what she does on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

The challenge runs through June, and you can join at any time. For more information, check out this post. If you would like to donate a prize for one of the challenges, please leave a comment here with your email address or send me a DM on Instagram @stephkucera.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

#organizedsewingspace2017 {getting ready}

(If you're looking for the overview of #organizedsewingspace2017, check out this post.)

It's almost time. Take a deep breath. Step 1 of #organizedsewingspace2017 will be revealed very, very soon. First, a disclaimer...

I am NOT a professional organizer. At the moment, I'm nowhere close to being organized. (You know this if you've seen my "before" pics on Instagram, and you're probably wondering why I think I'm qualified to lead a challenge like this.) Once upon a time I was incredibly organized. Before I was married. Before I had a kid. Before I worked full time. Before each day was a blur from the time I woke up until the time I fell into bed exhausted. So over time, my sewing room turned into this:


(Huge thanks to the brave souls that shared your #sewingspacebefore photos on Instagram. It's always nice knowing you are not alone.)

It's a new year. We are going to do this. Together. 2017 is going to be a productive year because we will have calm, organized, happy spaces to create in. It won't be easy. It will get messier before it gets better. We will share our progress and what works for us as we tackle the chaos. We will cheer each other on.

I have a list of a few things I suggest having ready before we jump into this. This is what works for me and is just a starting point.

  • Large garbage/trash bag(s): Have a place to put garbage and make as many trips to the dumpster as you need to.
  • Large bins or boxes for sorting: As we tackle areas of our rooms, you need somewhere to put "like" items together until they find a permanent home.
    • items to recycle (If you don't recycle, this stuff will go with your trash)
    • stuff to donate/sell (Sometimes you know right away you don't want to keep something. Go with that feeling and let it go.)
    • large pieces of fabric/yardage (you would not believe the amount of fabric I found still in shopping bags)
    • scraps
    • papers/books/patterns
    • WIPs/UFOs
    • items that do not belong in your sewing room (i.e. your kids' junk)
  • Small bins or boxes for sorting: These are useful for sorting/grouping smaller items...notions, tools, etc.
  • Gallon plastic zipper bags: These can also useful for sorting smaller items, but I found them most useful for storing project pieces together as I found them strewn about my room. It's amazing how much you can accomplish on a WIP when you can open a bag and all of the pieces are there. Together. Right where they should be. 

It's almost time...are you ready?!?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#organizedsewingspace2017



Wow. To say the least, I am blown away by the response to this crazy #organizedsewingspace2017 idea I floated out there on Instagram. Apparently I am not the only one in need of some organizing motivation! We are just a few days away from the new year, so here is the low down on how this is (hopefully) going to work.

  • This is going to run from January through June with two challenges/tasks per month and an approximate two-week window per task. (Our own "12 step program" if you will.) 
  • The challenge will be taking place over on Instagram (@stephkucera), but I will also be posting here on my blog to show you my embarrassing "before" photos and how I fixed it. #organizedsewingspace2017 will be the overall challenge hashtag.
  • Each step will have a "before" hashtag and an "after" hashtag. The specific hashtags will be revealed as each step is presented.
  • Each step will have a prize. Each participant that posts one "after" post on Instagram by that step's deadline will get one entry into the drawing for that step's prize.
  • Each qualifying "after" post will also get you entered into the grand prize drawing at the conclusion of the challenge.
Confused yet? I think it will start to make more sense as the steps are revealed.

Schedule: (I'll be updating this list as each specific step is revealed.)
Getting Ready/Pep Talk
Step 1: January 1 - January 15, 2017: *clean your sewing table!*
Step 2: January 16 - January 31, 2017: *clear your cutting table and ironing board!*
Step 3: February 1 - February 14, 2017
Step 4: February 15 - February 28, 2017
Step 5: March 1 - March 15, 2017
Step 6: March 16 - March 31, 2017
Step 7: April 1 - April 15, 2017
Step 8: April 16 - April 30, 2017
Step 9: May 1 - May 15, 2017
Step 10: May 16 - May 31, 2017
Step 11: June 1 - June 15, 2017
Step 12: June 16 - June 30, 2017

To be eligible for a prize, the deadline for posting on Instagram with the appropriate hashtag is by the end date in your timezone.

Rules:
  • My only rule is that everybody needs to be nice to one another! There is enough nastiness in our real lives, on Facebook, etc. The purpose of this is to encourage each other while we create happy, organized sewing spaces for ourselves.
  • There is no official sign-up. I will not be stalking you for missed deadlines or late posts. You can jump in at any time. You can do the steps you want when you want. (Though you will only be eligible for prizes if you post by the deadline.) If you get the cleaning and organizing bug and get your space done in the first week, that is awesome. If you're already super organized, you're way ahead of the game...and we need you to help the rest of us!
  • It's not required, but please comment on other participants' posts, cheer them on, and share your organizing tips and tricks. 
I'm sure there will be lots and lots of questions. Please feel free to ask here in a comment or over on Instagram (@stephkucera). If you post a questions on IG, please tag me so I'm sure to see it. There will most likely be a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) post coming soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reviving the blog...again...

If you follow me on Instagram (@stephkucera), you may have seen my post tonight about blogs and blogging. Blogging is a lot of work...the pictures, the hyperlinks, the witty/intelligent writing. Instagram is much easier...take a pic, add a caption, throw in some hashtags. Wham, bam, done. Every so often, I think about reviving my blog. So. Much. Work.

Today I was perusing Instagram which eventually led me to the blog of Pinkadot Quilts. I lost track of how much time I spent reading her posts. I was inspired. I miss the in-depth info and connections you get from blogging. (I seriously feel like Pinkadot Quilts and I are friends now. Or at least we should be.) Don't get me wrong. I love Instagram, and I have met some amazing new quilty friends there. It doesn't have the negative vibe of Facebook. (The election is over...can we please move on.)

So this evening I took another look at my blog. I updated the header with pictures of my favorite projects that make me happy. Maybe they'll make somebody else happy, too. I updated my blog with a more clean and simple look. I expanded my description to include more about who I think I am. I looked at a few of the (very old) tutorials I posted years ago. Guess what? I had forgotten about (but really like) those fabric gift bags I made in 2011, and since I have a record of how I made them, I (and you!) can easily make more.

I know I say this every year or so, but I'm going to give this blogging thing another try. And since blog posts need pictures, I leave you with this one. Last weekend I took my son to a kids' Christmas ornament craft day at The Makery. He specifically chose the ornament crafts that required using a hot glue gun. I love this boy.