Friday, May 22, 2015

A New Sewing Tote

For the longest time, I've been carrying my sewing gear in whatever was on hand - a old black duffle bag, old totes - none of them pretty.

When Sew South came along, I decided it was time to have a nice tote to lug my stuff to the retreat.

I decided to make the Elizabeth Hartman Sewing Circle Tote. I started it four days before the retreat. I cut and sewed like a woman on a mission, but alas dear reader, I did not get it done. There were too many steps (88 in all!) and not enough time.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I got back to work. I stitched in bits and pieces of time and finished it yesterday.

Sewing Circle Tote

It's made from Essex yarn dyed linen in black. The pocket panels are made using a "quilt-as-you-go technique" in my favorite colors: pink and orange.

Sewing Circle Tote_Front

There are lots of pockets on the inside - eight in all.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining1

Three are zippered and the rest are gathered with elastic.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining2

I did a few things differently than the pattern. One thing was adding a layer of interfacing and a layer of fusible fleece. The pattern didn't call for them, but someone told me she had seen the bag and it looked a bit floppy. I figured it couldn't hurt to add the extra layers to make it a bit sturdier.

The other thing I did was add a recessed zipper. The pattern didn't call for it, but I figured that on occasion, my sewing gear may need some privacy. It was my first time installing a recessed zipper. I found the video tutorials from So Sew Easy and A Fate So Twisted helpful.

Sewing Circle Tote_Back

I also went with just one set of straps, rather than the two sets instructed in the pattern.

If you ever work on this pattern, give yourself plenty of time to make it. It's well written and pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of pieces and a lot of stitching involved.

I can't wait for my next sew date so I can try out my new tote!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Power of Practice

Last month, I had the privilege of attending Sew South. It was fantastic! It was my first sewing retreat. It was well organized and had a great balance between free sewing time and workshops. And I met so many wonderful people! For more on Sew South, check out the Jennifer's recap and the Sew South Facebook page.

One of the things we did at Sew South was a jelly roll race to make quilts for Quilt Lemonade

Between Quilts

I volunteered to quilt one of the quilts. This quilt was made using a jelly roll donated by Free Spirit Fabrics from Tula Pink's Elizabeth collection.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race3

I quilted the top in an all over swirl pattern. I've been wanting to practice my swirls and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race1

I'm happy with how the quilt turned out. I still have to work on my spacing between swirls, but I can see the progress that I've made over the years in my quilting. Working on this quilt reminded me that getting better at quilting is all about practicing. There is no magic formula other than putting in the time to stitch.

Sew South Jelly Roll Race_Whole

Seeing the progress I've made in my quilting makes me want to get out the tops stored in my closet and get to stitching! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

And the Sewing Goodies Go To...

Thank you to everyone who entered the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

In honor of Mother's Day, I asked for entries to be comments on your mama's best advice.

The best advice my mother gave me was: "If you're going to do something, do it well or don't do it at all." That advice has helped me to power through and get things done and also to know when to say, "No!"

I was blown away by the wisdom your mothers shared with you. I let pick the winning comment: #330

True Random Number Generator  330Powered by RANDOM.ORG

That comment belongs to Dana whose mother's advice was to follow your heart!

Please join me in congratulating Dana. This box of goodies is headed her way!

sewmamasew giveaway box

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's that time of year again: Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

If you're stopping by Mama Love Quilts for the first time, welcome!

I'm Nicole, the Mama behind Mama Love Quilts! I love to make modern quilts and other home decor items using improvisational and traditional techniques. Check out this mosaic to see what I've been stitching lately.

My creation

1. Sew South Jelly Roll Race2, 2. Stacked Quilt_Closeup, 3. Adapted Palimpsest Quilt (Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer), 4. The Motley Wheel_Center Circle, 5. Modern Petals, 6. Kaleidoscope Quilt

The Giveaway

Do you need some sewing supplies? I'm giving away this set of sewing essentials!

Sewmamasew giveaway

One lucky winner will get:
  • A charm pack of Modern Basics
  • Sewing machine needles
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Thread set
  • Glass head pins
  • Wonder clips
You've got four (4) chances to win: 

1. Leave a comment answering this question: In honor of Mother's Day, what's the best advice your mom or maternal figure ever gave you?  (one entry)

2. Follow my blog (via Bloglovin, Google Friend Connect, email, RSS, etc.) and let me know in a comment. If you're already a follower, leave me a comment letting me know (one entry).

3. Follow me on Instagram (@mamalovequilts) and leave me a comment letting me know. If you already follow me on Instagram, leave a comment letting me know (one entry).

4. Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment letting me know. If you have already liked me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, let me know in a comment (one entry).

The giveaway will stay open until Sunday, May 10th at 8 p.m. EDT.

I'll let pick the winner. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you win. If selects a winner that does not have an email address available, I will use to select a new winner. If you are not sure whether or not you are a no-reply blogger, check out this post by Adrianne at On the Windy Side to find out.  

The giveaway is open to folks in the U.S. and Canada. 

While I will be unable to reply to comments, please know that I read each comment and appreciate the time you took to enter the giveaway.

I've got these goodies boxed and ready for shipping. Will they be headed to you?

sewmamasew giveaway box

Thank you for entering! Good luck!

The giveaway is closed. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Introducing Stacked

I'd like to introduce you to "Stacked." She's the result of me feeling like I needed to do something with my scraps. Can anyone relate?

Stacked Quilt

One day back in February, I started pulling out blues and greens. I put them on my design wall and felt like a little orange was in order.  I added background fabrics in shades of white, cream, beige, and tan. I stitched them together improv style and voilĂ ! Stacked was born!

That was fun until it came time to quilt her. I couldn't decide what to do so she sat for a while on my design wall. 

When it was time to set goals for April's A Lovely Year of Finishes, I decided it was time to finish up Stacked.

I started the quilting thinking that Stacked needed matchstick quilting. After a few rows, I decided that she needed something else! So then I tried echoing the stack of blues, greens and orange fabrics, but after a few echos, I realized I wasn't up for doing the marking that was necessary to keep the lines straight. So then I settled on tiny boxes to mimic the randomly stacked pieces of blue, green, and orange. I added in straight lines back and forth in the stack and the negative space.

Stacked_Long arm quilting

I'm still not sure this is the quilting that Stacked needed, but it's what she's got! 

Stacked Quilt_Closeup

This was my first time quilting these tiny boxes. It was easy and quick, which means it might find its way into another quilt some day.

Stacked Quilt_Closeup2

Thursday, April 9, 2015

3 Easy Steps to Picking Great Quilt Colors

Picking a color scheme for a quilt can be one of the most challenging parts of quilt making. I used to agonize over picking colors until I paid attention to the fabric.

Fabric designers have already done the hard work of selecting colors that go together beautifully. Letting the fabric be your guide in color selection makes it easy to choose a color scheme for a quilt.

There are three steps:

1. Select a multicolored fabric that you love.

Lark fabric_Amy Butler

In my case, I picked a print from the Lark collection by Amy Butler.

2. Look for the little circles of color on the selvedge. These circles show you the different colors that were used to make the fabric. Some fabrics may use 2 or 3 different colors. Others may use as many as 12 or more different colors. Either way, the circles provide you with a color scheme that coordinates nicely.


In the Lark example, there are 6 colors that make up the print: 3 blues, 2 greens, and 1 cream.

3. Go through your stash (or the fabric store) and pick colors like those on the selvedge. The colors of the fabrics don't have to be exactly the same as the colors on the selvedge. A color that is a different value, either lighter or darker than the color on the selvedge will work. But be sure the fabric color is in the same color family as one of the circles on the selvedge.


Put the fabrics all together and I guarantee you'll have a great color scheme for your next quilt!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A New W.i.P.

Whenever I finish a project, I feel a tension between what I need to do - finish those w.i.p.s. - and what I want to do - start something new.

This weekend, I ignored the stack of w.i.p.s. and started something new.

I've had my eye on making the quilt on the cover of Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal ever since the book came out in 2011.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting book

I rummaged through my scraps and pulled out blues and greens.


Each block of the Modern Crosses quilt is made of 4 simple log cabin units. When the units come together, they form a cross. Simply genius, Susan!

Modern Crosses Block

I've got 5 blocks done so far. 55 to go!

Modern Crosses Blocks

If you're curious about how I picked the colors for this quilt, stay tuned. Tomorrow, I'll share 3 easy steps for picking the perfect color scheme.

Linking up to W.i.P. Wednesday!