Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peach, Rose, and Plum Bee Blocks - A Finished Baby Quilt

Hello!  I'm still alive.  Just busy with work at the moment so I haven't had much time for sewing.  I did finish something though.  The best part?  It's one of the projects I shared with you back in my 100th post.

Remember these blocks?  They were supposed to be for our wedding but we changed the color scheme and never used them.  I had intended to piece the baby's name and include that in the top but I said "forget it!" and sewed it up using what I had.

This approach was really perfect for baby and her parents.  They are great about making due with what they have and living simply.  Everything for baby is hand-me-downs.  So I tried to embrace that spirit and finish this up for baby.

I found some coral and purple yardage in my stash that I thought coordinated nicely and went to work piecing up the top.  I decided to keep it simple and just set the blocks slightly off center.

The backing is more yardage I picked up for the wedding originally but never used.  Lucky for me it was an extra-wide yardage so I didn't have to piece the back.  **Win!**  I quilted the background simply in long loopy lines that should keep it nice and soft for baby and stitched in the ditch around the star blocks.

On a whim I decided to round the corners of the quilt.  I'm glad I did.  I love the soft look it gives the whole thing.  I bound it using more fabric from my stash that doesn't exactly match but... hey, baby won't care and neither do I.  I'll be gifting it to baby and Mom and Dad in the next few days.  I hope they love it!

I'm happy to also check this off and one of my 30+ WIPs and UFOs as well!  Making progress one quilt at a time.

Linking up with Show Off Saturday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Round #2 - Heather @ QA Creations {Round Trip Quilts}

I had a lot of ideas when I first received Heather's beautiful Round Trip Quilts top.  Liz at Green Cheese Quilting had done an amazing job and I was very excited to dive into my addition to the top.  I had to laugh because Liz had some difficulty at the post office so the package looked all beat up but everything was there, right where it should be!

Heather sent me some extra words to work with half-way through but I already knew exactly what I wanted to make.  Eventually this pile of fabrics turned into a pile of blocks.  Then I had to get busy top stitching.

I used white thread to top-stitch my sample block but kept going back and forth about using some brighter colors.  It was a solid toss up between a beautiful purple variegated thread and some fantastic hot pink that was the perfect clashy-bright color.

The purple variegated won out.  It went with Heather's color theme better.  The color is good.  It blends nicely on some of the pieces and really pops on others, without being overwhelming.

I managed to finish up my addition on Friday after Thanksgiving, only three days late.  I was travelling for the weekend visiting family so I quickly snapped some shots in the snow on Saturday morning before I left the house and popped it in the mail as soon as we drove by an open post office.  Leanne, you should be seeing it soon!

The piece I added is nearly the same size as what Liz and Heather created but I think it will coordinate nicely with the rest of the quilt.  I like how my brighter pinks accent the pinks that Liz used to make her "waves".

When I was done piecing I had  20 extra window blocks and debated between keeping them to make another mini quilt or sending them along with the top for someone to add later.  I thought that since I already had a mini I should let Heather and her daughter enjoy them instead.  If you want to make some of your own, I wrote up a tutorial on how I made these.

Happy Quilting!

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIPs Update {part 3}

As part of my goal to finish all of my WIPs and UFOs in the next 12 months, I'm blogging about all of them here in their various states of completion to help keep myself accountable to actually doing what I have set out to do.

The past two weeks I've posted about my overwhelming pile of WIPs and UFOs.  I've blogged about 11 of them now.  I am happy to report that I finished one of them for a yankee swap at my annual Friendsgiving celebration with friends from college.  I did forget to take a picture of the finished quilt before gifting it but hopefully I can get one from my friend who got the quilt so I can share it with you here.


2014 Aurifil Block of the Month

These blocks are from the 2014 Aurifil Block of the Month.  I started them in January and have completed blocks through August.  I don't know what I'll do with these blocks.  I debated throwing them in with my 2014 Sugar Block Club quilt, since I used the same colors, but I'm not sure that the blocks play nicely with each other.  I might finish one more then just use the nine to make a baby quilt.

You can find all of the related posts here.

2014 Sugar Block Club

At the beginning of 2014 I started three different year long bee's.  The Sugar Block Club was one of them.  It is hosted by Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock.  These are "traditionally rooted blocks, full of lovely vintage charm" that still feel fun and lively today.

I've finished blocks through August and just need to piece the remaining four months.  I think I might make doubles of some of my favorites in order to fill out the blocks a bit more and make the finished quilt a bit larger as well.  I plan on keeping this quilt for myself.

You can find all of the related posts here.

Jeweled Forest Quilt

I picked up this Jeweled Forest Kit for a great price about two years ago.  It is all beautiful batiks.  I had planned on finishing it for my Mom at the time, since she loves batiks.

It's all paper piecing and should go pretty quickly once I start but I'm not sure when I will.  This may be one of the projects I decide to unload instead of finish.

Low Volume Scrappy Trip Around the World Bee Quilt

These blocks started as part of the Scrappy Trip Along block swap on Flickr, hosted by Julie of 627 Hand Works.  I first joined this bee in July 2013 and ended up participating in four rounds.  It was so much fun and I love having special blocks made by quilters all over the world to include in this top.

I currently have 26 blocks finished and another 31 sewn into strips and waiting to be cut and resewn into the finished scrappy trip block.  I planned on finishing this quilt as a large bed size for my bed at home.  I may change my mind and split the blocks into two smaller quilts instead.

2014 Orange Peel QAL Top

This quilt was made as part of the Orange Peel Quilt along hosted by Quilty Habit.  I finished the top and backing in early September but at that point it was still too hot to consider quilting it at home.  Now that it's cooler I think I'm ready to start.  I just need to purchase additional batting and baste this one so that I can begin quilting it.

You can find all of the related posts about this top here.

Wedding Guest Book Signiture Quilt

This is a very special quilt to me.  It's the guest book from my wedding last October.  In lieu of a traditional guest book I decided to make quilt blocks for our guests to sign using our wedding colors for the stars and black and white for the background.  I love everything about this quilt and plan to finish it to use on a guest bed or as a large wall hanging that we can enjoy all the time.

I have a few blocks I need to piece still to fill in some holes and then I need to piece and quilt the top.  I think I will probably send this one out to be quilted since it is so special to me.

These projects and all the others, seventeen in total so far, can be found on my 2014-2015 WIP/UFO Challenge page at the top of the site.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 WIPs Goal {part 2}

As part of my goal to finish all of my WIPs and UFOs in the next 12 months, I'm blogging about all of them here in their various states of completion to help keep myself accountable to actually doing what I have set out to do.

Last week I shared 6 WIPs/UFOs.  This week I want to share a few more.


Blue and Yellow Churn Dash Quilt

I started this quilt over two years ago.  It's very bad.  I didn't know what a 1/4" seam was.  I didn't know that you were supposed to trim half-square triangles before sewing them to other things.  I didn't know what squaring up blocks was.

But I love the colors.  Originally I had plans to make this into a large quilt for my bed but I've since decided to abandon that ambition and call it what it is.  The goal now is to finish it into a small lap quilt.  Since I first announced my goal, I have sewn together the blocks, pin basted the top and started quilting it.  I hope to finish it for this weekend.

Antique Red and Blue Quilt Top

I picked up this roughly twin-size antique quilt top at MQX a few years ago.  I though it would be a fun project to practice quilting on. I really love the scrappy colors and wonky-ness of the top.  I planned to finish it as a couch quilt.

It needs to be basted, quilted, and bound.

"Rapture" 2014 Globetrotting Sampler Blocks

This year I fully embraced the Sampler Quilt Along trend and started three different projects.  I quickly fell behind on all of them.  This one is the 2014 Globetrotting Quilt Along with Pat Sloan.  As you can see I only got through the block for April before abandoning it.

I need to make the remaining blocks, then finish the top.  I did have a recipient in mind for this one and had though it could be a Christmas 2014 gift, but it won't be done for then.

Red and White Hourglass Quilt

This is the second hourglass block quilt I have laying around.  This one is made from scraps from a larger quilt I worked on.  It is a large lap size quilt and is destined to belong to a very special little girl, the daughter of one of my best friends.  She's seen a picture of the quilt so there's added pressure to finish this one up.

It needs to be basted, quilted, and bound.

Rockey Mountain Puzzle Blocks

These are bee blocks from my first attempt at a 6 month rotating quilting bee on Flickr.  I asked for Rocky Mountain Puzzle blocks in a bright and cheery color palette.  The plan was to make some additional blocks to finish it at a 5x6 lay out.  I only have 13 blocks at the moment, so I'd need to finish another 17 blocks to reach the size I had originally pictured.  

Are you counting?  I'm up to 11 projects shared so far.  Yikes.  

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Machine Pieced Cathedral Windows Block {a Tutorial}

I love cathedral window quilts but have always been intimidated by the sheer effort it takes to make one... all that pressing and sewing and pressing and pre-pressing, finally sewing, then hand stitching and... ugh!  It was too much.  So I wrote the pattern off as something I would always admire from afar but never actually be able to create.  Like a beautiful piece of jewelry locked behind a glass case.  Something you can see but never touch.

Fast forward to my local quilt guild meeting last month and a nifty little demo that our guest speaker showed us.  It was a true light bulb moment and I thought, "hey now! I could adapt that to make machine pieced cathedral windows!!"  That next weekend I sat down and figured out how I would do it, using a charm pack, and went for it.  I love the results and I want to share.  So I introduce to you my brand new, newly developed:


To make one block you'll need:

  • 1 -- 5 inch square (this will be your window)
  • 4 -- 2.5 inch squares (for your background)
    • I used two light and two dark to make it interesting.  This will create a four-patch effect behind your window

1. Start by folding your 5 inch square in half, WRONG sides together, as shown below.

2. Take one light square and one dark square and place them RIGHT sides facing in.  E.G. the blue fabric in this picture is pictured wrong side up and the white fabric is pictured right side up.  Line up the top and right sides of all three pieces and sew along the right side, as shown below.

3. Flip the piece over and again, line up one dark square and one light square in the opposite corner of your folded piece.  Sew along the right side of the blocks, as shown below.

If you open your piece up it should look sort of like these two pictures  A long rectangle pocket with two squares sewn to each end.

4.  Gently finger press the seams at each end open.  This will help with bulk and matching up the pieces later on.

5. Take both ends in towards each other and line up the center seams as best you can.   This is where having them finger pressed open will help.

6.  With the center seams lined up, place a finger in the pocket created by the pink fabric and gently straighten it out on the left side.  Line up the left most edges of all fabrics, as shown in the picture below.

7.   Place the block in your machine with the left-most side first.  The side you'll be sewing along should be all raw edges.  Sew along the edge, stopping when you reach the center seams.  Do NOT continue sewing the entire seam.

Lift up the top square and straighten out the pink fabric by placing a finger in the pocket created and gently pulling it towards you.  Line up the right and bottom edges and continue sewing down the seam.

Note that this will change how the fabric you've already sewn is laying.  See the third picture below for what I mean.

8.  Ready for the reveal?  Gently open your square up and admire your work.  Great job!

9. Carefully smooth out the seams and finger press the block.  Take the block to your ironing board and press all seams open.  Again, this helps with bulk and lining up your blocks later on when you're ready to piece your top together.

10.  Now you need to press your seams to create the curved cathedral windows.  Gently lift one of the edges of your pink fabric.  Carefully finger press it until you're happy with the shape you've created.  Press the edge with your iron, being careful not to get your fingers with the hot tip.  Continue around the block, I like to work clockwise, until all edges are pressed.

This will get easier the more blocks you do.  I found that using a slightly lower temperature on my iron still gave me a good press but wasn't as harsh on my fingers while I was working around one block.

11.  Choose and load your machine with the thread you wan to use for top-stitching the window.  Starting in one corner, back stitch and then continue along the curve.  When you reach the end of one side, simply lift your presser foot, pivot your project around and continue down the next side until all four sides have been completed.  This is shown in the third picture below.

When you're done, press each block again and admire your newest creation!

Finished Block.

See... That wasn't so hard!

A few hints:

  • You can change the size of your windows easily.  All you need is a square of fabric and four smaller squares equal to 1/4 of the original.
  • I really liked using fabric with lines for the window pieces of each block.  When you pull it over to create the curve the print of the fabric curves also, really highlighting the curve and the fabric.  

  • When lining up your blocks, the area circled below is what will be most visible in your finished block.  If you are using a fabric that has something you don't want to lose underneath the window, place it in that corner.

Thanks for playing along.  If you have questions please let me know.  I'd be happy to answer them.  And if you make anything out of these blocks I'd love to see it!

Good Luck and Happy Quilting!