Friday, February 27, 2015

Churn Dash | a bright and cheery quilt

Every year my girlfriends from school (affectionately nicknamed: The Cupcake Club) get together and have our annual Friendsgiving gathering.  We eat lots of food, paint our nails, apply face masks, adventure about, drink lots of wine, and do a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa.

This year I brought this fun quilt for our Yankee Swap.  When I started it I had dreams of making it massively large and keeping it for myself.  But I found it sitting in a WIP pile after several years and that changed.  Rather than making another 20 blocks or so, I decided to finish it as is and gift it to a friend.

It is a basic churn dash quilt using various blues, yellows, and grays from my stash.  It was one of the first projects I started working on when I came back to quilting.  I can tell because all of my seams are between 3/8" and 1/2" wide!  This was before the light bulb moment of perfect 1/4 seams.  The quilt finishes at about 45" square and is backed in a fun blue and white plaid.  I quilted it using my walking foot and what I'll call "organic straight line quilting."  It is bound using a soft blue polka dot, also from my stash.

The Quilt in it's new home.

My friend A. got to keep the quilt and I'm so glad.  It suits her personality perfectly!  She is a kindergarten teacher and a generally cheerful, happy person!  She says things like "aww sugar muffins", loves dancing to Pat Benatar, and is rarely found without a smile on her face.  The quilt fits in perfectly in her living room.  Though, I'm not sure which came first, the quilt or the yellow pillows!

I hope you enjoy cuddling with this quilt pretty lady!

Happy Girl, Happy Quilt.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Instagram Progress | Challenge Quilt

Last week I made a quick trip to Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH for some new fabrics.  They are one of my favorite local quilt shops.  They carry a great selection of new and modern fabrics.  One of the only places in the area that does.  My plan was to make a Marsala Quilt for the Pantone Color of the Year Quilt Challenge.  I also wanted to make something for the annual challenge at my local quilt guild and thought why not combine the two??

I left with this lovely bundle of pinks and reds.  The main fabric I purchased is an American Made Brand solid in Brick Red.  It was the closest I could find the Marsala.  That's the bottom fabric in this picture.  I rounded out the bundle with some Kaffe Fasset, Cotton + Steel and Anna Marie Horner plus a few more solids.  I also picked up some Doe Ladder Lines in a white on white print for the background.

Using the templates here I got to work sewing and cutting HST.  You are essentially paper piecing when you use this method.  It's quick and easy to make a ton of HST at one and there is very little waste or trimming... when you print the right size template.

I printed the templates too large and had to trim all of them down by a half-inch on both sides.  Luckily my husband took pity on me and actually helped me trim them!  He did great and I only had to touch up a few of the pieces.  I even offered to let him trim all of my blocks from now on ... an offer he declined quite quickly.  Oh well!

I'm using several different methods to make my blocks but the end result will all be Birds in the Air blocks.  The blocks below will finish at 6".  I plan on making 12" and 3" and 2" finished blocks also! I was mostly inspired by this quilt when I was thinking about my design.  I can't share much more because some of my guild mates do read my blog but after the quilt reveal in March, I'll be sure to share more progress pictures!

Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the octopus peaking out of the corner in the center HST of the bottom right block, and the perfectly lined up critters hanging out in the center HST of the top right block?  So cute and fun!

Last night I had some more time to sew while my husband was in a class and have another 20 blocks completed in addition to the four above.  Our adopted cat, Martin, also got in on the action and decided to visit with my on top of my sorted HST.  The sewing went a little slow at that point because his tail was dangerously close to my sewing machine.  But I was glad he came to visit!  He and his brother Archer are finally starting to warm up to us after almost a year.

All of these pictures are from my Instagram feed.  You can follow me here, @NeverJustJennifer, if you'd like to stay up-to-date.  I tend to share there the most.  And if you want more of the cats (you know you do!) they are at #MartinCat and #AgentArcher.

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

Friday, February 6, 2015

Currently Nameless | A Finished Mini-Quilt

Every two years my local quilt guild holds a quilt show to exhibit our work and help raise money for our guild sponsored activities.  Our next show is this spring: Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th.

One of the ways that we help to raise money is by holding a mini-quilt silent auction.  Guild members are asked to donate mini-quilts through out the months leading up to the show and then we hold two separate auctions, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.  Well I've been trying to work up some mini's to donate and had time to finish one up on Monday night.

When I was making my Crown of Thorns blocks this month, I ended up with a bunch of leftover HST and I decided to make up a mini using them.  I laid them out randomly at first and snapped a quick B&W picture to see how the values looked.  I wasn't in love.  But I did notice how strongly those darker values stood out.  I went back to rearranging...

layout option 1

In the end I really liked this layout.  The left side is a little washed out from my lamp in the picture below but you get the's fun right?!  

layout option 2

I had to cut a few more background squares to finish off the design like I pictured it but it was worth the extra effort in the end.

Finished Mini

I tried my hand at match stick quilting in the background using a beige-y colored thread and left the colored areas un-quilted.   I've no idea what the brand is.  I like the texture it gives the quilt and that it really makes the colored squares pop off the wall.  I used scraps from the top to make the binding and thought it would be fun to throw in a few colorful bits.  I didn't space them very well because the purple bit got lost in a corner but I still like the overall effect.

Quilting detail

The mini finished at 17" square and has fast triangle backs for hanging with a dowel.  I absolutely love the mini and brought it with me to work this morning so I could admire it for a few days before it goes off to the mini-quilt donation pile next week.  Now I just need to name it.  Any suggestions?

If you're in the New England area and want a chance at this mini you'll have to come and visit us at the quilt show Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th in Lebanon, NH!  Who knows?  Maybe I'll try to buy it back for myself!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Crown of Thorns BOM Blocks

Each month at my local quilt guild we do a block of the month drawing.  The Block of the Month Committee chooses a pattern and color palette the month before and then each person has the option of making as many blocks as they'd like.  At the next month's meeting we display all of the blocks and draw a winner out of a hat to receive all of them.  Each person gets one entry for each block they make.  The more blocks you make, the more entries you get!

I don't participate in these often for this month I just had to.  We used this pattern to make 15" Crown of Thorns blocks in Purples and Greens on a beige background.  Lucky for me I had just picked up the A Neutral Notion 1/2 yard bundle for Fabricworm so I had plenty of beige on hand.

block 1 laid out and ready to sew

I used the quick make 8 at a time method to make the exterior HST and the 4 at a time method to make the interior two-tone HST for each block.  They were quick and easy to pull together.  After my first two blocks I cut the pieces I needed for another 4 and then chain pieced and cut them all.

block 2 finished with fabrics for blocks 3-6 cut out.

When I finished I had 6 - 15" blocks to show for it!  I had so much fun making these and REALLY hope I win them at the meeting next week.  This block has been on my bucket list for a long time and this was the best excuse to try it out.

The other bonus is that because of the method I used to make my HST I had 4 exterior HST left over from each block.  I used these to make a mini-quilt that will be going to our silent auction at our quilt show on April 18th and 19th this spring.

shoddy picture of 4 of my finished blocks

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Round Trip Quilts Update

I just have to share this with you all.  I finally saw a picture of my quilt today and I am SSSOOOOO IN LOVE!!!!

Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe did an amazing job!  Click over to read her post!  I'm also updating the links on my Round Trip Quilts page if you want to see what everyone else is doing too!

And Chelsea, thank you so much!!

Image courtesy of Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mosaic Contest - Ice Parfait

Stitched in Color is once again having a color mosaic contest, sponsored by Cuts of Cotton.  The theme this time is Ice Parfait...

Two winners will receive a FQ bundle of their fabric choices and have their bundle sold in the store for others to purchase!  The contest runs through midnight January 22nd at which time Rachel will choose her favorites and then open up voting to the rest of us with the final winners announced on January 26th!  So get your entries in and then remember to go back and vote for your favorites!

Rachel describes the theme as "fabrics [that] can be very simple, nuanced with angles, incorporat[ing] black, gray or both.  Just make sure to include icy colors in a way that feels still and wintry to you."  In case you missed it, it's been solidly below zero here most nights for the past few weeks and has barely reached a temperature above zero during the days.  I'm so ready to think about Ice Parfait.

Ice Parfait #1 - SUNRISE

Winter mornings are so beautiful.  So many soft and delicate colors.  And the days are short so while I drive to work during the coldest days I get to watch the sun rise.  Those colors!  The sky is a rainbow of pastels.  The trees are dark against the soft sky and tinted snow.  Everything still sparkles from the early morning sunlight.

Fabrics are as follows, left to right, top to bottom: 1. Architextures - Crosshatch - Lake, 2. Architextures - Script - Charcoal, 3. Doe - Breeze - Sky, 4. Doe - Intersections - Blue, 5. Doe - Ladder Lines - Natural, 6. Pearl Bracelet - Peach, 7. Pearl Bracelet - Taupe Pearl, 8. Squared Elements - Seafoam, 9. Prisma Elements - Pearl and Gold Metallic

Ice Parfait #2 - DAY

I love winter.  I love the cold.  I love the days when it's just so cold outside that you can feel the ice form in your lungs when you breath.  There is something so refreshing about those days.  They are so simple.  When the wind blows and the snow flies, you are pushed to hurry along inside but the sun peeking through the grey, drab sky beckons you to stay and enjoy the simplicity of the moment.  Everything is covered in snow but the evergreens fight through to show off their still green needles even though the rest of the trees have given in and turned to the soft, snow dotted grey that they tend to become in winter.  Moments like these speak to me.  They beg me to stay; to live in that one moment and just breathe.

Fabrics are as follows, left to right, top to bottom: 1. Sun Print - Text - Black, 2. Pearl Bracelet - Taupe Pearl, 3. Doe - Breeze - Sky, 4. Doe - Droplet - Sky, 5. Architextures - Crosshatch - Fern, 6. Quilter's Linen - Snow, 7. Prisma Elements - Pearl and Gold Metallic, 8. Essex Yarn Dyed Linen - Flax, 9. Calico - Forest

I ended up making one extra mosaic.  While I was on this theme I wanted to also capture the beauty of the night in winter.  It's not very parfait-y but it is still gorgeous non the less.

Ice Parfait #3 - NIGHT

At night, the sky goes black and the mercury retreats lower, trying to stay warm.  The grey clouds from the day begin to break and suddenly, after the sun has fled the cold dark night, the clouds give way to the most clear and beautiful night you could ever imagine.  The stars fight to be seen over the glitter of the white snow in the cold moonlight.  Everything is black and white, except for the places where the trees stand up against the cold night.  They are blue and grey and their shadows cast a paler version of themselves, elongated onto the snow.  A night like this, when the milky way could reach out and slap you with it's clear brilliance, is something you never forget.

Fabrics are as follows, left to right, top to bottom: 1. Doe - Crisscross - Blue, 2. Architextures - Script - Black, 3. Pearl Bracelet - Midnight, 4. Oval Elements - Silver Drops, 5. Pearl Bracelet - Shadow, 6. Doe - Droplet - Sky, 7. Architextures - Crosshatch - White, 8. Doe - Intersections - Blue, 9. Prisma Elements - Pearl and Gold Metallic

Thanks for visiting and good luck to all who enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Round #3 - Kim @ Ties That Bind Quilting {Round Trip Quilts}

Have you met Kim from Ties that Bind Quilting?  She is one of the participants in our Round Trip Quilts adventure.  Read more about that here and here.  Most of the time you can find Kim on Instagram and Flickr.

Straight out of the package.

Instead of going with a theme for her quilt Kim decided that her colorway would be her theme to tie all of our additions together.  Both Heather and Liz did an amazing job adding to Kim's quilt top so I knew that my addition had to be equally fabulous.

Final fabric pull.

I simply spent a long time looking at Kim's quilt.  It was so busy! But in the best way possible.  Each idea I came up with felt like it would detract from what Kim, Heather, and Liz had already done and just make it busier.  Everything I auditioned made me feel like the quilt was holding it's breath!  And I really felt like it needed to exhale.  I finally decided to do some wonky triangle-type things.  When I laid them out I had two options...

Layout Option 1

Layout Option 2

I liked option 1 best.  I liked the weight that the center diamonds gave the block.  However, I put the question to Kim to find out which she preferred.  I'm glad I did.  She liked option 2 better.  I still wasn't sold.  So I let it sit for a few more days and came back to it.  I'm glad I did.  When I was playing with the pieced trying to decide which way I wanted the option 2 "butterfly centers" to face I stumbled upon a third option I hadn't though of before.  Wonky, crazy, flying geese!  I started with the blocks/colors mis-matched but then realized that I could match them up to make the geese more prominent in the design... and I LOVE IT! 

Like Kim's notebook says: TRUST YOUR CRAZY IDEAS

Close up of the border

I really like how what I did still creates movement in the top and I think the geese still reflect some of the weight that I liked about my first option.  I hope that Kim agrees.

I'm still playing with possibly trying to attach what Heather added to the top with the addition of some more of my crazy geese, but I'm not totally sold on it yet.  I still have 7 days to decided before our mailing deadline.  This one is heading to Canada to stay with Leanne for a few weeks next.

Quilt top after my addition.  Looks crooked but it's because the ground is sloped.  

The other nice surprise is that when I was making the base squares for my design I sewed a quick 1/4 inch seam on the other side of the piece I was cutting off and saved them.  They make the cutest little half-square triangles.  The biggest one is only 1 1/2 inches across.  I'd like to keep them and make a fun little mini quilt to hang at work with the first one I made out of extra blocks from Heather's quilt (which I just realized I didn't blog about, time to fix that!)  I like the idea of having a little gallery of minis inspired by and created out of the pieces that I'm added to these quilts.  It would be a fun way to remember each project.

Happy Quilting!

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story for the first time.