Patchwork Smash Book Cover

Yesterday I got a Smash Book! They seem to have been popular for a while now but I only learned about them yesterday when I saw them in a cute craft store in Grass Valley. I decided to get one because I *love* gluing and pasting and sticking things in books.

In college we had to keep sketchbooks, I remember seeing classmates frantically scribbling in a brand new book the morning of finals so they'd have something to turn in. Not me! I had multiple filled moleskines. I just love starting with a flat book and cramming so much stuff in it that it barely closes anymore.

I've kept up pretty well with Project Life, I stopped in Mid-May, I couldn't seem to find a binder solution that worked for me and I realized...I'm kind of dull. My days are pretty similar and my cards started to get boring. Big time.

SO! I decided to get this Smash Book and give it a try. I tend to hang onto things, my purse is usually filled with little scraps of paper and torn magazine pages. I think this will be a really fun way to collect memories from this year. For some reason turning 30 is *really* exciting to me!

I used only scraps to make this, my scrap bin is out of control so I thought I'd better use what I have. I did one of my favorite blocks for the center, it's called Friendship! I have bits of fabric that friends have given me in here, Lindsay, Karyn & Lizzy all contributed to this. I love sewing with bits from friends. The inside has a little pocket and I boxed the bottom corners so the bag will stand up on it's own on my bedside table when filled with stuff. It closes with a fold over snap.

I decided to try something new to me, free motion quilting using Aurifil 12 wt cotton. The weight that folks usually use when sewing is 50 wt, it's standard sewing thread. I'd say 12 wt cotton is similar to 2 strands of embroidery floss. Embroidery floss has 6 strands and most folks ply them down (pull them apart) to two for cross stitch or embroidery.

I've been knitting a pair of oak leaf socks and thought my book needed an oak leaf. I used a leather needle in my machine simply because it had the largest eye out of any of the needles I had on hand and then 50 wt cotton in the bobbin. You really want a large eye for the thread to go through, otherwise the thread will rub and break.

With the thicker thread, you really want to stitch SLOW. For some reason people free motion quilt with the idea that FASTER IS BETTER, I'm not sure why. This has never worked for me (I'm not an expert though ;)) Slow is much better with this thread, really let the machine take the time to place the stitches and the needle pull up the bobbin thread. I didn't draw the leaf on the fabric before quilting, I'm rubbish at following lines.

I love that the 12 wt looks like hand embroidery, it's has really neat stitch definition and the cotton has a really beautiful shine.

Did you guys know they make gray sharpies?! I died when I saw this yesterday!