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.