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!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh the Places We'll Go (and the projects we'll start) {100th Post}

Exciting news:  This is my one hundredth blog post!  Yay!  Thanks so much for joining me on this journey.  I'm glad that you're here and I'm grateful that you are actually interested in what and why I make.  I'd like to do something to celebrate this milestone but I'm not sure what yet.  Stay tuned for that...

This milestone also got me thinking about all of the projects I've blogged about but never finished.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with it all: keeping track of it and while being influenced by other ideas and my own creativity.

This inspired me to actually inventory all of my WIPs to see just how bad it really was.  I knew I had a lot but I was truly shocked by the number when I was finished.  Want to know how many?  Ten? Twenty?  The correct answer is 35.  Yes you read that correctly, thirty five WIPs -- anywhere from sketches and fabric bundles to just needing binding and a hem -- currently live in my sewing room.

That's bad.  Really bad.  But what makes it worse is that most of these are things I've started for other people, to celebrate milestones and accomplishments, which haven't yet made it to the intended recipients yet.  For me, that defeats the purpose of making.  I make because I love to but I also because I love to gift the things I make to people I love and care about.  By not finishing these projects I'm really doing a disservice to those people.  That's not okay with me and it needs to change.

I have set a goal of finishing up all of these WIPs in the next year.  To keep myself accountable I'm going to share each of my WIPs here over the new few weeks and create a page for tracking the progress of each one.  I'll blog about my progress and keep track of my finishes so that I know just where I stand.  If I get really creative, maybe I'll create a button and a link-up if anyone else wants to play along.


Antique Black and White Mini Quilt

I picked up this fun antique mini quilt at MQX a few years ago (maybe two) and thought it would cute finished as a mini quilt to display on the wall.  

It just needs binding and a good press.

Blue Moda Hourglass Wall Hanging

I found a charm pack of this Moda collection called Hearty Good Wishes at some point this year.  It quickly became simple hourglass blocks but then dissappeared into one of my sewing boxes in what I'm sure was a mad attempt to clean up one day.  I've been looking for it all summer.  This was supposed to become a lap quilt for a friend who had a death in the family.

It just needs to be sewn together and have borders added.

Peach, Rose, and Plum Bee Blocks

I requested these colors in one of the first bee's I participated in back in early 2013.  At the time they were supposed to become table decorations for my pending wedding, then a quilt to remember the day but the color scheme was scrapped and I never did anything with them.  Earlier this year I pulled them out with the intent of making them into a baby quilt for a friend.

I need to piece the name of the baby, piece the top then quilt and bind.

Pink, Grey, and Yellow Bee Blocks

I started this sampler quilt back in February 2014 as part of several Bee Swaps.  There are 26 blocks in total.  I purchased border, binding, and backing fabric this past spring.

It needs to be pieced, have borders added, and then quilted and bound.

Starburst Blocks

I started these as a quilt for my cousin who was graduating high school.  I liked the blocks and the colors but didn't like them for him so I abandoned the idea in favor of a different approach (see the next line).  I may make more blocks to finish this off into a baby quilt or small lap quilt.  The fabrics are already cut.  I just need to find them and sew them up.

Modern Double Cross Quilt

I can't share a picture of this quilt yet because it's a gift.  I just need to finish piecing the improv top and then have it quilted and bound.

So there you have it.  The first six WIPs.  Only 29 to go.  

Happy Quilting!

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mosaic Tuesday - Clashy Brights {Quiltspiration 365}

Thanks to some of the lovely ladies over at Late Night Quilters I'm happy to introduce a new series of weekly posts I'm calling Mosaic Tuesdays (for lack of a better name at this point).  It's part of an effort we're calling quiltspiration365‬, intended to fulfill your every need when it comes to quilty inspiration 365 days a year.  You can find more posts about the series on Facebook and instagram using  #quiltspiration365 as well as links to the other posts this week below.  I'll be sharing color mosaics that inspire me, and hopefully you as well.  Feel free to use these to inspire your projects I just ask that you link back to the original color pallet post to give credit.  So without further adu...

I just love clashy brights.  This palette is partially inspired by the warm colors I used for my Windows for Wishes mini quilt and partially by the fact that I happened to see them all together when I picked up my hair ties the other morning.  (Inspiration is in all sorts of odd places).

Tangerine, Magenta, Lilac, Rose, Coral, and Peach come together in this gloriously mismatched color scheme, but somehow, it still works.  What do you think?  Would you make a quilt out of these colors?  The remind me a lot of Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I think his trademark is the use of over saturated bright colors.

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: 1. Korean Textiles, 2. Pink and Orange, 3. Swatches, 4. Ombre modern baby quilt, 5. Cross Crib Quilt - Eggplant, 6Purple by any other name, 7. Totem, 8. Bees, Swaps, Round Robins, 9. baby zebra visits the cheshire cat in wonderland, 10. curves quilt top , 11. Neon Pink Merino Wool, 12. orange ombre, 13. Doe - Lined Dots in Carrot, 14. A Purplelicious Top, 15. Charming Triangles, 16. Fabricworm Custom Bundle

Be sure to search for #quiltspiration365 for even more inspiration!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Windows for Wishes - a finished Mini Quilt

I finished something!  Can you believe it?  On Sunday I finished the fun cathedral window blocks that I'm going to be adding to Heather's "Wishes for my Daughter" quilt.  I wanted to practice working with them to see how difficult it would be before I worked on the final product for Heather's quilt and since I made a bunch of extra blocks I decided to keep some for myself to make a mini quilt.

When I was choosing a thread to top-stitch with I remembered that I had picked up a spool of hot pink thread at Vermont Quilt Festival this summer and thought it might be perfect for this.  I love how clashy-bright it is.  It blends nicely with some of the windows but really pops out on others.

After I finished top stitching and piecing the top I decided to pebble quilt the background.  Half way through I wasn't loving the result.  It's busier than I think I had originally pictured in my head but at that point, it was too late to go back.  There's no way I was going to pick out all of those stitches.  I used a soft mint thread that again blends nicely with some of the backgrounds and contrasts with others.  Overall I'm happy with the quality of the FMQ.  I've been doing a lot of sketching and practicing on paper so this was a nice opportunity to put some of that to use on a real (although small) quilt.  I had some problems with eye lashing towards the end of the quilting but the issues were minimal so I decided to leave them in place.

And finally, here's the finished mini.  See how nice that hot pink thread is?  I like how it stands out on the darker purples and palest pinks!  I'm calling this one "Windows for 'Wishes'".  It measures approximately 12 1/2" by 16 1/4".

It's bound using an unknown black and white polka-dot from my stash and backed using Pilvi in Eggplant from the Mormor collection, one of the fabrics that didn't make the cut for the front.  I used my favorite method to add fast triangle hangers to the back for quick display.

I brought this one to work with me to hang with some of my other mini quilts.  A nice reminder that I can be both analytical and creative.  It's also fun to see how different each of the mini's are and how much my skills have improved.  That circle of geese mini was one of the first paper piecing projects I ever worked on and also the first quilt I machine quilted myself and tried to machine bind.  Don't look at the back... it's terrible.  :)

Happy Quilting!