Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Finish-Along {Q2 Recap}

I did pretty good this quarter getting some of my goals finished.  Let's review what I accomplished.

1. Finish Commission Quilt 1 of 2 by the end of April.  The top is done.  I just need to sew the backing and then baste/quilt/bind for my customer to gift.

Done!  My customer gifted it to her brother on July 4th, her mother's birthday.  He loved it!!  You can read more about it here.

2. Finish this fun Modern Hexies mini-quilt I started working on.  Quilting is done, just need to bind and hang.  

I Finished the binding in the nick of time on July 1st while listening to Moby Dick on YouTube with my husband, but ran out of time to photograph.  Hopefully I will do so in time for the Q3 linkup.  

3. Pull fabrics for a commissioned baby quilt for a nearby family member.  We'll be using this pattern and have decided on a color scheme:  gray, light blue, mint, navy, white and a green apple color.  

We didn't use the pattern we had first chosen but did stick to the color scheme. I just need to sew the binding down and take some photos.

4. Start/Finish some secret sewing I have to finish for a secret person that I can't tell you anything about yet.

This was my delectable mountains blog hop quilt.  I have all the fabric cut.  I just need to sew up the rest of the blocks and put it together.

5. Finish making additional blocks for my Low Volume Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt then put the whole thing together.  I think I want to back this one in Voile or Lawn for a nice, light, summer quilt.  

I got the fabric strips cut but haven't had time to start sewing more blocks.

6. Finish my Modern Double-Cross Quilt.  It's a graduation gift for a cousin who graduated high school LAST YEAR.  No pictures yet, since it's a surprise.

Still not put together.  Late is better than never right?

7. Quilt and bind my #orangepeelQAL quilt from last year.  

Done!  It's called Hot + Cold.  You can read about it here.

8. Quilt and bind my scrappy red and white hourglass quilt, also from last year!  

DONE!  I'm calling it Sailor's Take Delight.  Blogged here.

9.  Bind the wedding quilt made for my Uncle and Wife who got married in October 2013.  Also very late.

Not bound yet.  Hopefully soon!

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story today.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Memory Of, #1 {a finished quilt}

As I have mentioned several times, I was commissioned in November to make two memory quilts by a local woman who lost both of her parents in 2012.  She found my blog through my Local Quilt Guild website and we started discussing:

...I am looking to hire someone to make two quilts for me.  They do not/will not necessarily be identical.  One is for me, one for my brother.  Our parents passed away six months from each other in 2012 and were known for their whimsical personalities and style.  I thought it would be fun to take the mix of fabrics from some of their signature wardrobes and have quilts made....Despite living in Vermont, they met on Cape Cod and lived life to the fullest.  They tended to be rather preppy and at the holidays could be seen in a lot of plaid...

She describes her parents as fun, whimsy, and prone to off-the-cuff style, often showing up in thrift store tux's or plaid pants and skirts.  We agreed on a pattern and I got to work sewing, deciding to start on the quilt for her brother first.  My design was based on Dots & Dashes by Bethany Fuller of Grace's Dowry Quilts (gracesdowryquilts.com).  I did not purchase a pattern.  I ended up using freezer paper as a foundation and sewing alternating strips of background fabric and clothing fabric to create the blocks.  What I ended up with I think accurately reflects both my customer's style and her parent's style.

The block were laid out in a grid formation alternating the direction of each block, horizontal or vertical.  The resulting quilt is both modern and simple but still evokes some of her parents plaid loving spirit.  Fabrics include neck ties, skirts, whale pants, paint stained sweatshirts, knit sweaters, and navy shirts.

The whole thing is quilted in a square grid using matching Aurifil thread in lines spaced about and inch and a half apart.  The quilt is bound using a solid navy color.  It finishes at 53.5 x 62", just smaller than a twin, so it's a good size lap quilt.

For the back of the quilt I used a solid taupe brown and off-set one extra block from the front with squares from her father's wool Navy blanket, a t-shirt with special meaning, and a piece from her parent's hand pieced and hand quilted drunkards path wedding quilt.

I learned a lot about myself and commission quilting during this process and was thankful for the opportunity to stretch myself and my skills.  My customer was wonderful to work with but we often had competing ideas about what would and wouldn't look good for the quilt.  I found that I often lacked motivation to work on the quilt and had to really force myself to push ahead and finish it.  With my own quilts, when I'm not feeling great about them, I can put them down and come back to them when I'm ready.  With this one, I was on a deadline to finish it for a customer and didn't have that luxury.  That was really difficult for me to do.

My customer was very understanding though and recognized that this was my first attempt at making a commissioned quilt.  In the end I think she was really happy with the final quilt also.  I can't wait to hear how her brother likes it.

After this experience I would definitely make another commissioned quilt but I would be more picky about what I would and wouldn't take on.  For instance, I'm not sure I would make another memory quilt like this.  I felt a lot of pressure to not screw it up... after all I can't just run to the store to buy more fabric if I do.  What are your thoughts, have you made a commissioned quilt before or better yet, a commissioned memory quilt?

Once again, Thanks to my Dad for holding the quilt for me to take pictures.  (Thanks Dad! You're the best!)

And with:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hot+Cold {a finished quilt}

I am proud to report that after 10 months of procrastination and straight up ignoring this quilt top I have another finished quilt to show you today!

The Orange Peel Quilt-A-Long originally took place from June 30 through September 8, 2014 and was hosted by none other than Jess from Quilty Habit.  You can find all of Jess's posts here.  It was a ton of fun to participate in and I met a lot of new quilting friends through the process.

I'm calling this quilt Hot+Cold because of the progression of my love-hate relationship this quilt.  I was so excited to start the quilt but when I got the blocks laid out I hated it.  Then I sewed it together and kind of liked it again, but it sat for months because I wasn't in love anymore.  Finally I picked it up, quilted and bound it, and now it's my favorite again.

This quilt was originally much bigger.  It's one of the one's I brought with me when I visited Ellie for long arm lessons and due to an accident on my part the backing for this quilt and my Sailor's take Delight quilt I had to swap them out.  This one ended up getting trimmed down in the process.  Oh well!  I'm still happy with it.

Per my original quilting plan, I went ahead with quilting phantom orange peels on the empty squares of my quilt top, as you can see in the picture below.  I really like how it completes some of the peels and makes the whole thing feel a little more balanced in my opinion.  The outer borders were quilted in a stipple which ended up being much smaller than I anticipated when I first started off.  It took a long time to do!  All Ellie could do was laugh at me as I complained about how tired my arms were! 

This quilt is the perfect lap size for me when cuddling on the couch, though my husband still complains about all of the "tiny" quilts I make.  And my older cat Martin has decided that laps are a safe place to sit when there is a quilt in them.  I didn't capture a picture of him but the other night he was curled up in my lap on his back with both legs sticking up in the air while I scratch his tummy.  He's such a doofus, all I can do is laugh at him with his tongue hanging out of his mouth!

You can find related posts here, here, here, and here,

I'm linking up with some new posts today!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Satisfying Quilts

Good Morning!  I had the pleasure of spending the better half of Saturday working on a baby quilt for my husbands cousins wife.  They are expecting their first child together and contacted me to ask if I'd make them a baby quilt.  Obviously I agreed!  I'm only sharing some progress pictures because I want the finished quilt to be a surprise for them.

When we first talked, the mama-to-be had a few ideas about designs and colors and we made a Pinterest board to collect some ideas, but basically left the rest up to me.  She asked for a chevron or triangle pattern in the colors: Mint, Aqua, Navy, White, Grey, and Apple Green.

I pulled some fabric and shared it with her before I started and she was thrilled.  It's a mixture of Cotton+Steel, Lotta Jansdotter, and some printed fabric from Modern Yardage.  (On a side note: the Modern Yardage fabrics suggest prewashing.  The colors faded pretty significantly.  Not sure if I would try fabric from them again.)  In less than an hour I had a lovely stack of triangles ready to sew up.

I laid the pieces out into rows on the floor.  A quick black and white photo ensured that the different values were spread out and I was ready to sew.

I just love how quickly these types of quilts sew up.  Especially in a baby size.  By about 4 PM I had a finished quilt top ready to go!

On Sunday afternoon I pin basted the quilt, using two layers of batting to help make it extra soft and cuddly.  In less than 2 hours I was able to finish about 75% of the quilting.  I'm using a grey/blue aurifil thread and echo quilting on each side of the diagonal lines.  Quick.  Easy.  Satisfying. 

I had hoped to finish this up this week and use the rest of the time until her baby shower to make a bumper (I'm hoping to channel my inner Rachel) and a few other surprises for the parents-to-be but life threw a curve ball at us.

On Monday, my husband was hit by a truck while cycling and is currently in the hospital recovering from arm surgery and a partially collapsed lung.  He is in good spirits but tired and sore.  He has no broken bones and just some scrapes and bruises besides the lung and arm.  We acknowledge how incredibly lucky he is.  All things considered, this is the best case scenario in a bad situation.  They expect he'll make a full recovery but for someone accustomed to being highly active this will be very hard for him.  In the meantime your prayers would be appreciated.

I'm linking up with this weeks WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sailors Take Delight {A finished Quilt}

I'm so excited!  I had a binding marathon and finished three quilts last night and I can't wait to show you!!  This is the first of the three.  This is also one of the items on my FAL Qtr 2 list so woot for that too!  This quilt has been a WIP since 2012??  I think.  All I know is that the blocks were pieced using a VERY wide seam, pre-my understanding of a quarter inch seam days...

It's made using half-square triangles which are then sewn into quarter-square triangles, finishes at 50" x 42 1/2", and is made up of various red and white tone fabrics which are leftovers from a gift quilt that has yet to be gifted.  All it needs is a binding (apparently that's where I loose steam...).

I'm calling this quilt Sailors Take Delight, after the common ditty:

Red Sky at Night,
Sailors Take Delight.
Red Sky at Morn,
Sailors Take Warn.

The backing is pieced using various strips and leftovers from my stash but includes some amazing bunny fabric called Ric Rac Rabbits by Andover Fabrics.  It's not available anymore which is too bad.  I would definitely add more to my stash.  They are so cute!

I actually quilted this one myself with some help from a fellow Local Quilt Guild member, Ellie.  She was so kind to have me over to her house one day for a lesson on long arm quilting using her machine!  She told me to bring some fabric to practice on and I said, "forget it! Go big or go home!!" and brought two quilts.  We quilted it row by row using a fun flowery petal shape.  Some of the lower rows have double petals too.  It was fun to learn and try and I really look forward to spending some more time with Ellie in the future for more lessons. (THANKS ELLIE! YOU'RE THE BEST!)

You can really see the quilting progression in the backing picture above.  Some of my first flowers are really quite sad but they do get progressively better as you move down the rows.  By the seventh row I had it down but alas, ran out of quilt.

This quilt does not have a designated home yet so I may end up keeping it.  If I do I think it would make a lovely picnic quilt!  Also can we just take a moment to appreciate those lupines in the background of this picture.  They are in full bloom here now!

The quilt is bound in a dark navy solid that I happened to have on hand for one of the quilts I finished last night.  I can't show you that one yet because it's a surprise.  Overall I'm happy with the final results and really proud that I quilted it myself on the long-arm, even though it's far from perfect.  I have been practicing my doodling with pen and paper and hope to translate some of that to fabric soon!

Many thanks to my dad, Mark, for holding the quilt for me in these shots.  I managed to harass him into it after our post-work run this afternoon.  He was a good sport and only complained slightly about his arms being tired, but just couldn't resist a few silly pictures.You can't quite tell from the photo below but he's grinning and giggling in this one being funny.  (THANKS DAD! And check out his cool new kicks!  We're ready to hit the ground running.....pun intended.)

Also I just want to throw out there that I'm 2 followers away from 200 on Instagram.  I think once I hit 200 we'll have to do a giveaway!  Stay tuned for details!  Thanks so much for visiting! See you soon!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts


Friday, June 12, 2015

Delectable Mountains Blog Hop {Classic & Vintage: from Fat Quarter Shop}

Good morning everyone!  Remember that secret sewing I mentioned awhile back on Instagram?  I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on.  My good friends at the Fat Quarter Shop asked me to be a part of the release for their newest Classic & Vintage video series post: Delectable Mountains, and today I get to show you what I made!

I had a hard time choosing fabrics for this one to begin with but found inspiration in  this antique version.  What really drew me in was the dark background and the way the lighter mountains popped out from it.   Since the black seemed a little harsh to me I decided to go with a navy background instead, picking up some Doe Blue Hatched by Carolyn Friedlander.  I really love the color of this fabric it's rich and bright while still giving the quilt the grounded feel I wanted it to have.

For my mountains I started with the Beach House Remix Fat Quarter Bundle by Cotton + Steel and then added in some other coordinated Cotton + Steel from my stash to fill out my fabric requirements.  I was really inspired by the colors of my recent vacation to Orlando with my Mom and found myself continuously picking out colors that reminded me of the week.

After playing with the colors a little longer I decided to pull out those darkest greens.  I felt like they were too close in value to the background fabric. If you ever are not sure, take a black and white photo!  See how close they are to the background?  Not good, in my opinion.

The pattern also calls for one package of 2” finished Triangles on a Roll but I didn't have any so I used this free print out instead.  The cutting instructions were very clear and in no time I was ready to start sewing.  My cut fabric became sheets of triangles ready to cut, press and trim, and finally half blocks.

I finished four blocks to show you today.  I'm aiming for a slightly-larger-than-twin-sized quilt though so I have at least another 80 blocks to go.  Luckily I really like how they came out so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.  I'm planning on keeping this finish for our house so I have plenty of personal interest to complete the quilt!

Just for fun, I mocked up what my blocks would look like in the crib sized version and I'm really loving it!  Don't you just love the movement that Doe background fabric adds?

If you want to make your own version of the Delectable Mountains Quilt you can find the free block pattern here.

A complete PDF pattern is also available for only $4.98.

Fat Quarter Shop has also created a wonderful video.  If you really love their version there is also a kit available.

Thank you so much for joining me on this fun hop!  Be sure to check out the other participants as well as the Fat Quarter Shop blog.

Lori of Humble Quilts
Paula of Mud, Pies & Pins
Vera of Negligent Style
Jennifer of Never Just Jennifer
Stephanie & Michelle of Late Night Quilter

Monday, June 8, 2015

Some thoughts and a Rainbow Nightmare

I have been so busy I feel like I have no time to blog anymore.  Work has been crazy this spring and my personal life has also filled up fast with other commitments.  Plus I'm not working on anything that I find overly exciting right now.  It seems like it's just been a lot of deadlines and sewing for other people.  I guess I'm just having a hard time feeling passionate about my quilts at the moment.  It makes me sad to say that out loud.  One of the things I have struggled with as I try to grow my blog and expand my quilting (with the hopeful someday goal of making it my business) is whether or not I should try and grow this "business".  If it becomes a business will I lose my passion for making?  Will my time go from precious sewing time to burdensome work?  I don't know yet.  And not being able to answer that question is seriously stressing me out.

I'm hopeful that I'll get some spark and spunk back but I don't know when, so bear with me while I find my mojo again.  Do you ever question why you are quilting or taking on a certain project?

Anyhow, enough of that.  One of my commitments this year is the Round Trip Quilts round robin bee.  We are nearing the end of our nearly year long journey but I still have two more packages to send off.

Right now I'm working on Mary's quilt.  She blogs over at See Mary Quilt and is absolutely amazing.  Seriously, go check her out.  Right now.  I'll wait.  Her quilt is amazing.  Because of a change in the schedule, I've had it in my hands for almost 2 and a half months now.  Enough time for something to rub-off on me perhaps?  I started with this amazing Roy G. Biv fabric pull and a healthy selection of white and black based low volume fabrics.

I mocked up her quilt top in Excel and played with a print out to see what I wanted my border to be, eventually deciding on a rainbow gradient triangle border.  This step was so helpful for me to figure out where all the colors would go.  As you can see I had to move things a few times.

Then tragedy struck...I pieced the first side with the triangles point the WRONG DIRECTION!  Shortly after that I realized that I'd cut all of my triangles a quarter inch TOO SMALL!  Could anything else go wrong?  Suddenly my border was completely the wrong size.  To make matters worse they finished at 3 3/4" which meant I needed some serious make-it-work action to happen.  I had a furious instagram session with Mary and eventually decided to sleep on it, putting the quilt aside out of pure frustration.

 The next morning I decided to add one more block to each border bringing each side to a size slightly larger than Mary's current quilt top.  I added a black border in between my triangles and Heather's herringbone, playing off some black that was added in at the very beginning..  Once again, I did the math totally wrong and had to trim the border down once I had attached it.

This is the best picture I have of Mary's quilt top so far.  My border is now attached and ready to send.  We eventually ended up delaying this month's mailing another month because everyone was running behind.  So now I have it for another 4 weeks.  I'm currently debating adding another low volume border since Mary is missing out on one addition due to our schedule change that I mentioned above.  The real question is: do I really want to start working on this rainbow nightmare again?!

Regardless, Mary's quilt top is stunning.  I'm not one for Roy G. Biv quilts but this one could win me over.  It is by far the most "traditional" version of a round robin quilt in our group.  Despite everything that went wrong I've enjoyed working on the top and am proud of my current contribution.  At least Mary will get a good laugh about how many times I messed this one up!

I got to meet Mary at MQX this spring in Manchester.  She's a fellow New Hampshire resident!  I have to say, she's just as amazing in real life as she is on her blog!

Check out my Round Trip Quilts page for more of the work that's happening as a part of this group!