Thursday, January 30, 2014

This is my Circus ... a finished quilt

I made this quilt back in 2012 and it was an instant favorite.  Most of these fabrics I had been hording for two plus years when I first began quilting and discovered that YOU COULD BY FABRIC ONLINE!

Who knew?  I didn't at the time.

It was made using a super easy free video pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Co. with 3 Dudes Quilting designed to work with Jelly Rolls or 2.5" strips.  Basically you just sew strips together into sets of 4 strips.  Then cut them into squares.  Take two squares and layer them right sides together and sew all the way around the outside.  Then slice the blocks diagonally from corner to corner in both directions.  So now you have 4 HST pieces.  Press them open and voila!  You have a HST block with half of the strips running one direction and half of the strips running the other direction.

I backed the quilt with a wonderful soft tan linen fabric and quilted it in a mint thread with wavy lines using my walking foot.  I really like how the sort of organic, free form quilting off-sets the other wise angular nature of this quilt.

I'm calling this my Circus quilt, because of the pretty bunting flag and elephants and streamers and flowers that you'd find at a traveling circus.  I kind of like the name.  Let me know if you think of a better one.

I really love this quilt and I'm so happy with how it came out.  So happy that I actually brought it to work with me and now it sits on my desk waiting to be used when the heaters randomly stop working in the middle of winter (it can get pretty chilly in here).  I love that it adds a nice pop of color to our pretty dully decorated work space.

That's all for today.  Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A little of this and a little of that.

I've got quite a few WIPs at the moment that I wanted to share with you.

I picked up some 1 1/2" Hexagon English Paper Piecing templates on a shop-hop with my local quilt guild this fall.  I wanted to try it out so I grabbed some 4 1/2" fabric squares that I picked up from a local quilt shop that was going out of business and picked out the greens (my first few were blue before I decided to stick to one color) to start working away.

These have been a fun project to take on the road with me while I'm waiting in line or something.  For the most part I've worked on them at the laundry mat while waiting for washers and dryers.  I think when it's done I might call it my "Laundry Quilt."  I will probably gift this quilt to someone (maybe my Mother in Law) since these more traditional fabrics aren't really my style.

In March I'm taking a sewing class at Nido, the new fabric shop in Burlington, VT.  Some of my girlfriends from college were interested in learning to sew their own clothes and since I'm really only comfortable with 2D objets (read: quilts) I though this might be a fun opportunity to learn some new skills.  We're making the Laurel Dress by Colette Patterns.  It's a simple shift-style dress with lots of options to customize.  To see some of the fantastic versions of this dress check out the Colette Patterns Flikr Group.

I've been really struggling with picking a fabric for this dress.What I like to sew with and what I like to wear are two TOTALLY different things.  Just check out my Apparel Fabrics Pinterest Page for proof.  I've looked at everything from shirting stripes, forest animals, bicycles, neon dots, gauzy florals, and even lace (but that requires essentially making two dress, one in lace and one for a layering shift)

Finally I decided on the Dot Chambray in Indigo from Robert Kaufman's Chambray Union collection.  My fabric came yesterday and I am in love!  It is unbelievably soft and I think it's going to make a beautiful dress that I can wear both to work and casually.  I'm glad that I ordered this fabric when I did.  It's already out of stock again!

Now I just have to wash/iron it and work on cutting out my pattern pieces for my dress.  I think we're going to go to Nido's open sewing night the month before our class for help with that portion though since we're all newbie dressmakers.

Finally,  I've made some more progress on my challenge quilt that I shared last week.  I was able to finish my gem center and I'm really loving the piece so far.  Now for the next challenge.  Piecing curves!

There are a few spots that get a little muddied from lack of contrast (as you can see in the black and white picture below) but overall I'm really happy with the piece.  At this point, I'm definitely not taking it apart.

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

Anyhow, that's it for today.
Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sew Pieceful February Block Swap

After a few months off I've decided to join back up with the Sew Pieceful Monthly Block Swap that takes place via Flikr.  Signups are taking place now if you want to join up.

It's pretty simple. 
  • It's a month to month swap, meaning you can pick and choose whether or not you want to participate each month and there are no long term commitments.  I participated four times last year but took off time this fall and through the holidays
  • Generally there are 5 people in a hive, which means you end up making four blocks for someone else and one block for you each month
  • Each one of your bee mates will specify a color scheme and background color and you have to do your best to meet their requests
  • You choose the block you want to make

For this round I decided to continue with my Red - Orange - Green color palette to try and finish up a quilt I was working on last year.  I've asked for Modern fabrics in various shades of Red and Orange with a hint of sage green on a Grey Background.

I think this is a really striking color palette and can't wait to add the blocks from this round to my previously received blocks.

Wishful Thinking ... a finished quilt

I don't have anything new to share today so I thought I'd show you one of my finished quilts.  This is an oldie.  I finished this quilt in 2012 but it's still one of my favorites.  It's the first quilt I made that I kept for myself and it is the first quilt that I machine quilted (on my old singer machine).  I called it "Wishful Thinking" because I finished it in the dead of winter and it reminded me so much of springtime and warm summer days.

It's made from a Sweetwaters Reunion Charm Pack that I picked up somewhere in my travels.  I decided to keep the pattern simple and use the values of the fabric to create a simple zig-zag pattern.

Here is a close up of the free motion quilting (FMQ) on the boarders.  I used both navy and white thread to echo quilt the zig-zags on the quilt top and then used the navy thread to do a clam shell pattern on the boarder.  This was my FIRST attempt at FMQ and though its definitely not perfect, I'm happy with how it came out.  It's fun looking back at this quilt to see how much my FMQ has improved since then.

This quilt used to hang on the wall of my old sewing room.  Since we moved this fall though, it's still in storage.  I can't wait to take it out again though.  I always felt it was so bright and cheerful, especially against the bright poppy walls of my old sewing room.

I'm linking up with Stitch by Stich for anything goes mondays.

That's all for today.
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sketching Designs

I'm working up some designs for a quilt that I will be making with my Bee mates later this year.  I've had a couple of good ideas but this is my favorite so far.

Just a simple modified cross block.  I like it.  It reminds me of plaid re-imagined.  It would be made with various navy blues as the background and blocks would be various shades of red and orange.  What are your thoughts?

Sorry for the cruddy pictures.  Just snapped them quickly with my phone.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paper Piecing

This weekend I was able to start working on my challenge quilt for my local quilt guild.  Submissions are due in March each year.  Last year I had a great idea for the challenge but somehow March snuck up on me and I wasn't able to even begin the project I had in mind.  This year I am determined to do things differently.

The challenge theme this year is to make a quilt inspired by either our birthstone or our birth flower; for me that's topaz and chrysanthemums.  We are limited to the use of three colors only.  When I heard the birthstone part of this challenge I knew that I had the perfect pattern in mind to work with.  Sarah from {no} hats in the house has a beautiful paper pieced pattern out called Shine Bright (available as a purchased pattern from Craftsy) and it was just singing to me!  I knew it would be perfect for this challenge.  NLQG ladies, I'll know if you're reading this if a similar block shows up at the March meeting!

I am so excited to be working with a beautiful Oakshott Rainbow Orange Wraps Fat 8th Pack and Kona Cottons in School Bus, Orange, Carrot, Kumquat, Tangerine, Flame, Sunflower, Banana, Maize, Lemon, Canary and Citrus.  This is my first experience working with Oakshott and so far, I am NOT disappointed.  They really do live up to the hype that everyone seems to give them.  They are silky soft and a charm to work with and the colors are just amazing.  They have just the right amount of sparkle for this project.

Enough about fabrics.  What about the project?!  I was able to work on this for a few hours on Sunday as well as a few hours on Monday afternoon (I stayed home sick from work...ugh) and completed a little over half of the gem.  it was slow going at first but once I got back into the swing of paper piecing it was easy sailing.  I must admit, I was worried about wasting some of this beautiful fabric but so far I've been able to use up pretty much every scrap with very little waste.  Who knows, maybe I'll try some improvisational piecing to use on the back of the quilt with the rest of these little pieces.

And I must say, I think it's coming along quite nicely as a topaz gem stone.  What do you think?

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Turns out I'm on more of a pink kick than I previously expected.  I've decided to work with my Peach-Coral-Orange color palette for two projects this year.  So far I've had two iterations of this palette.  The first one lacked a serious amount of oomph for me.  It was more heavily weighted in the peaches and soft pinks.

So after some rework I pulled in some additional corals and oranges and am very happy with the final results.

I always try to make sure to photograph my fabrics in B&W so that I can be sure of the value weighting of my fabrics as well as color.

The first project I'm working in these colors is the 2014 Aurifil Block of the Month.  You can find the monthly posted FREE patterns linked to on the Aurifil Flikr Page.  You may remember I posted about a low volume version of this block last week, but to be honest, the colors weren't singing to me and I wasn't really excited about working with all low volume for the remainder of 2014.  So I changed it up and made a new block.

Sorry for the dark picture.  I finished this one Friday night and didn't have a chance to get another good picture of it in the daylight.  I'm much happier with this version of the block.  I won't be using a consistent background fabric for these block either.  Each one will be a little different.

The second project I'm working on for 2014 is the Sugar Block Club.  This is a PAID block of the month club (only $7.95 for the year).  Each month Amy Gibson of Stichery Dickery Dock sends a block pattern to your inbox along with a delicious recipe for something sweet.  January's recipe was Hearty Pumpkin Pancakes.

I'm so happy with how this block came out.  Similar to the Aurifil blocks, these will not have a consistent background fabric.  Each block will be a blend of the Peach-Coral-Orange palette.

New in 2014 is the inclusion of a "beyond the block" personal challenge.  For January, Amy challenged us to BE INTENTIONAL.  One of the ways she encourages this is through the making of a list of intentional goals for the year.  So here goes:

I want to be a more active member of the quilting community.  My dream would be to make a living from quilting (my husband tells me I'm crazy for thinking it).  But I believe that with enough prayer and determination I can do anything I set my mind to.  So my first goal is related to this.

I will continue to post on this blog; if not daily than at least once a week.  
I will share my quilt-related adventures with anyone who cares to read about 
them and hopefully a lot about myself along the way.

Another thing that is very important to me is my health.  I won't go into detail but over the years I've had several major sports related injuries.  I went from an active 4 season athlete to a sedentary bystander very quickly during the recovery phase of each of these injuries and managed to gain a significant amount of weight each time.  At this point in my life, it's begun to negatively impact my health so I've decided to make some changes.

I will workout (either walking at lunch or going to the gym) at least three 
times per week in 2014.  My health is that important to me.

So there you have it.  Some quilt blocks and some goals.  Do you have specific goals for 2014?  Share them in the comments if you like.

Happy Quilting.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pink is... Color Challenge

Stitched in Color is once again having a color mosaic contest.  The theme this time is Pink.  The winner receives a FQ bundle of their fabric choices.  I spent some time choosing my fabrics and ultimately decided on the following:

Fabrics are:

Art Gallery Fabrics, Minimalista - Confetti, Watermelon
Bonnie and Camille - Scrumptious Dots, Pink
Sweetwater Wishes - Cake Topper, Vanilla Red
Birch Organics, Mod Basics 2 - Skinny Chevron, Coral
Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelet - Peach
Michael Miller, Birds of a Feather - Twigs, Coral
Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelet - Persimmon
Violet Craft, Waterfront Park - Domino Dot, Geranium
Birch Organics, Storyboek Two - Foxy Floral, Coral
Carolyn Friedlander, Botanics - Branches, Tangerine
Heather Ross, Briar Rose - Nanny Bee, Coral
Art Gallery, Pure Elements - Coral Reef

I think it's both quiet and loud.  I find Pink to be relaxing and energetic.  Pink is such a nuanced color with so many different iterations, each with their own unique ability to evoke a different mood or emotion.

Pink is quiet and soft and demure.
Pink is understated and misunderstood.
Pink is often overlooked.
But Pink is strong and Pink is powerful.
Pink is fun and joyful and loud.
Pink is always undeniable.

This challenge is actually perfect timing for me.  I've been pulling together pinks from my stash for a block of the month quilt in just this very color palette.  What do you think?

If you like my board be sure to head back to Stiched in Color on Friday, January 24th and vote for me!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Finish of 2014

Well, well.  I've got something finished!  This is a quilt I made using Block Of the Month blocks from my local quilt guild meeting which I supplemented with a few more made after the fact.  I think I won them last Fall (2012), so they sat for quite awhile.  Whoops...

I started this quilt on December 21st and had it quilted and finished for my Dad by December 23rd.  Unfortunately I then neglected to bind it.  So after gifting it to him unbound, I took it back home with me where it sat until last night.  I used Rachel's (Stitched in Color) method for a relatively-quick  zig-zag method for machine binding.  I say relatively because it was the first time I tried this and it took a little longer than I would have liked.  However I liked the method and think that with time and practice it will be a useful tool to have in my arsenal.

The quilt is made from scrappy blue fabrics with various white centers.  I'm not sure what the block pattern is called.  Now that I'm done with this it's on to finish another WIP: a wedding quilt for a family member and his new wife.  Quilt top is done, I got the borders attached late last night.  Just need to piece the backing and get it quilted!  Off I go...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Auriful Block of the Month

This year I'm participating in the 2014 Aurifil Block of the Month.

Each month a new block pattern is posted to the Auriful Blog, AURIBuzz.  Each block for the 2014 rendition is inspired by a woman who has inspired that designer.

January's designer is Bridgitte Heitland of Zen Chic.  You can find her story and pattern here.

Enough about them.  Here's my block.  Sorry for the poor image quality.  We just got a new computer and I'm still working on getting some photo editing software.

I chose a low volume palette working purely from my stash for the moment (I participated in several low volume swaps last year and have a significant stash of the stuff at the moment).  Though I do have a really nice bundle of peaches, corals and oranges that I might dig into for a second version of this quilt along.  Or I might not.

Who knows.

Welcome to Never Just Jennifer. A blog about Quilting.

Hi there.
I’m Jen (or Jenn, or Jen F., or JenBob, or Guinevere, or Jenavive, or even Jen Robot (that one is a long story involving lots of split coffee and a creative friend with WAy too much time on his hands), or hundreds of other renditions of the name Jennifer) but never just Jennifer.
I am many things.  I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a cousin.  I am an analyst, a nerd, and an artist.  But the title I like best is Quilter.  This is my blog.
This is my space to share with you my love of all things fabric and quilts.  There will be WIPs (work in progress), UFOs (unfinished objects), HSYs (haven’t started yet), PHDs (projects half done), probably a couple of TGIFs (thank God it’s finished), maybe a few WOMBATs (waste of material, batting, and time), and even some finished quilts.  Along the way I’ll try to share insights and observations about the art of quilting and ultimately what it means to me to be a quilter.