Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Satisfying Quilts

Good Morning!  I had the pleasure of spending the better half of Saturday working on a baby quilt for my husbands cousins wife.  They are expecting their first child together and contacted me to ask if I'd make them a baby quilt.  Obviously I agreed!  I'm only sharing some progress pictures because I want the finished quilt to be a surprise for them.

When we first talked, the mama-to-be had a few ideas about designs and colors and we made a Pinterest board to collect some ideas, but basically left the rest up to me.  She asked for a chevron or triangle pattern in the colors: Mint, Aqua, Navy, White, Grey, and Apple Green.

I pulled some fabric and shared it with her before I started and she was thrilled.  It's a mixture of Cotton+Steel, Lotta Jansdotter, and some printed fabric from Modern Yardage.  (On a side note: the Modern Yardage fabrics suggest prewashing.  The colors faded pretty significantly.  Not sure if I would try fabric from them again.)  In less than an hour I had a lovely stack of triangles ready to sew up.

I laid the pieces out into rows on the floor.  A quick black and white photo ensured that the different values were spread out and I was ready to sew.

I just love how quickly these types of quilts sew up.  Especially in a baby size.  By about 4 PM I had a finished quilt top ready to go!

On Sunday afternoon I pin basted the quilt, using two layers of batting to help make it extra soft and cuddly.  In less than 2 hours I was able to finish about 75% of the quilting.  I'm using a grey/blue aurifil thread and echo quilting on each side of the diagonal lines.  Quick.  Easy.  Satisfying. 

I had hoped to finish this up this week and use the rest of the time until her baby shower to make a bumper (I'm hoping to channel my inner Rachel) and a few other surprises for the parents-to-be but life threw a curve ball at us.

On Monday, my husband was hit by a truck while cycling and is currently in the hospital recovering from arm surgery and a partially collapsed lung.  He is in good spirits but tired and sore.  He has no broken bones and just some scrapes and bruises besides the lung and arm.  We acknowledge how incredibly lucky he is.  All things considered, this is the best case scenario in a bad situation.  They expect he'll make a full recovery but for someone accustomed to being highly active this will be very hard for him.  In the meantime your prayers would be appreciated.

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sailors Take Delight {A finished Quilt}

I'm so excited!  I had a binding marathon and finished three quilts last night and I can't wait to show you!!  This is the first of the three.  This is also one of the items on my FAL Qtr 2 list so woot for that too!  This quilt has been a WIP since 2012??  I think.  All I know is that the blocks were pieced using a VERY wide seam, pre-my understanding of a quarter inch seam days...

It's made using half-square triangles which are then sewn into quarter-square triangles, finishes at 50" x 42 1/2", and is made up of various red and white tone fabrics which are leftovers from a gift quilt that has yet to be gifted.  All it needs is a binding (apparently that's where I loose steam...).

I'm calling this quilt Sailors Take Delight, after the common ditty:

Red Sky at Night,
Sailors Take Delight.
Red Sky at Morn,
Sailors Take Warn.

The backing is pieced using various strips and leftovers from my stash but includes some amazing bunny fabric called Ric Rac Rabbits by Andover Fabrics.  It's not available anymore which is too bad.  I would definitely add more to my stash.  They are so cute!

I actually quilted this one myself with some help from a fellow Local Quilt Guild member, Ellie.  She was so kind to have me over to her house one day for a lesson on long arm quilting using her machine!  She told me to bring some fabric to practice on and I said, "forget it! Go big or go home!!" and brought two quilts.  We quilted it row by row using a fun flowery petal shape.  Some of the lower rows have double petals too.  It was fun to learn and try and I really look forward to spending some more time with Ellie in the future for more lessons. (THANKS ELLIE! YOU'RE THE BEST!)

You can really see the quilting progression in the backing picture above.  Some of my first flowers are really quite sad but they do get progressively better as you move down the rows.  By the seventh row I had it down but alas, ran out of quilt.

This quilt does not have a designated home yet so I may end up keeping it.  If I do I think it would make a lovely picnic quilt!  Also can we just take a moment to appreciate those lupines in the background of this picture.  They are in full bloom here now!

The quilt is bound in a dark navy solid that I happened to have on hand for one of the quilts I finished last night.  I can't show you that one yet because it's a surprise.  Overall I'm happy with the final results and really proud that I quilted it myself on the long-arm, even though it's far from perfect.  I have been practicing my doodling with pen and paper and hope to translate some of that to fabric soon!

Many thanks to my dad, Mark, for holding the quilt for me in these shots.  I managed to harass him into it after our post-work run this afternoon.  He was a good sport and only complained slightly about his arms being tired, but just couldn't resist a few silly pictures.You can't quite tell from the photo below but he's grinning and giggling in this one being funny.  (THANKS DAD! And check out his cool new kicks!  We're ready to hit the ground running.....pun intended.)

Also I just want to throw out there that I'm 2 followers away from 200 on Instagram.  I think once I hit 200 we'll have to do a giveaway!  Stay tuned for details!  Thanks so much for visiting! See you soon!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts


Friday, June 12, 2015

Delectable Mountains Blog Hop {Classic & Vintage: from Fat Quarter Shop}

Good morning everyone!  Remember that secret sewing I mentioned awhile back on Instagram?  I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on.  My good friends at the Fat Quarter Shop asked me to be a part of the release for their newest Classic & Vintage video series post: Delectable Mountains, and today I get to show you what I made!

I had a hard time choosing fabrics for this one to begin with but found inspiration in  this antique version.  What really drew me in was the dark background and the way the lighter mountains popped out from it.   Since the black seemed a little harsh to me I decided to go with a navy background instead, picking up some Doe Blue Hatched by Carolyn Friedlander.  I really love the color of this fabric it's rich and bright while still giving the quilt the grounded feel I wanted it to have.

For my mountains I started with the Beach House Remix Fat Quarter Bundle by Cotton + Steel and then added in some other coordinated Cotton + Steel from my stash to fill out my fabric requirements.  I was really inspired by the colors of my recent vacation to Orlando with my Mom and found myself continuously picking out colors that reminded me of the week.

After playing with the colors a little longer I decided to pull out those darkest greens.  I felt like they were too close in value to the background fabric. If you ever are not sure, take a black and white photo!  See how close they are to the background?  Not good, in my opinion.

The pattern also calls for one package of 2” finished Triangles on a Roll but I didn't have any so I used this free print out instead.  The cutting instructions were very clear and in no time I was ready to start sewing.  My cut fabric became sheets of triangles ready to cut, press and trim, and finally half blocks.

I finished four blocks to show you today.  I'm aiming for a slightly-larger-than-twin-sized quilt though so I have at least another 80 blocks to go.  Luckily I really like how they came out so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.  I'm planning on keeping this finish for our house so I have plenty of personal interest to complete the quilt!

Just for fun, I mocked up what my blocks would look like in the crib sized version and I'm really loving it!  Don't you just love the movement that Doe background fabric adds?

If you want to make your own version of the Delectable Mountains Quilt you can find the free block pattern here.

A complete PDF pattern is also available for only $4.98.

Fat Quarter Shop has also created a wonderful video.  If you really love their version there is also a kit available.

Thank you so much for joining me on this fun hop!  Be sure to check out the other participants as well as the Fat Quarter Shop blog.

Lori of Humble Quilts
Paula of Mud, Pies & Pins
Vera of Negligent Style
Jennifer of Never Just Jennifer
Stephanie & Michelle of Late Night Quilter

Monday, June 8, 2015

Some thoughts and a Rainbow Nightmare

I have been so busy I feel like I have no time to blog anymore.  Work has been crazy this spring and my personal life has also filled up fast with other commitments.  Plus I'm not working on anything that I find overly exciting right now.  It seems like it's just been a lot of deadlines and sewing for other people.  I guess I'm just having a hard time feeling passionate about my quilts at the moment.  It makes me sad to say that out loud.  One of the things I have struggled with as I try to grow my blog and expand my quilting (with the hopeful someday goal of making it my business) is whether or not I should try and grow this "business".  If it becomes a business will I lose my passion for making?  Will my time go from precious sewing time to burdensome work?  I don't know yet.  And not being able to answer that question is seriously stressing me out.

I'm hopeful that I'll get some spark and spunk back but I don't know when, so bear with me while I find my mojo again.  Do you ever question why you are quilting or taking on a certain project?

Anyhow, enough of that.  One of my commitments this year is the Round Trip Quilts round robin bee.  We are nearing the end of our nearly year long journey but I still have two more packages to send off.

Right now I'm working on Mary's quilt.  She blogs over at See Mary Quilt and is absolutely amazing.  Seriously, go check her out.  Right now.  I'll wait.  Her quilt is amazing.  Because of a change in the schedule, I've had it in my hands for almost 2 and a half months now.  Enough time for something to rub-off on me perhaps?  I started with this amazing Roy G. Biv fabric pull and a healthy selection of white and black based low volume fabrics.

I mocked up her quilt top in Excel and played with a print out to see what I wanted my border to be, eventually deciding on a rainbow gradient triangle border.  This step was so helpful for me to figure out where all the colors would go.  As you can see I had to move things a few times.

Then tragedy struck...I pieced the first side with the triangles point the WRONG DIRECTION!  Shortly after that I realized that I'd cut all of my triangles a quarter inch TOO SMALL!  Could anything else go wrong?  Suddenly my border was completely the wrong size.  To make matters worse they finished at 3 3/4" which meant I needed some serious make-it-work action to happen.  I had a furious instagram session with Mary and eventually decided to sleep on it, putting the quilt aside out of pure frustration.

 The next morning I decided to add one more block to each border bringing each side to a size slightly larger than Mary's current quilt top.  I added a black border in between my triangles and Heather's herringbone, playing off some black that was added in at the very beginning..  Once again, I did the math totally wrong and had to trim the border down once I had attached it.

This is the best picture I have of Mary's quilt top so far.  My border is now attached and ready to send.  We eventually ended up delaying this month's mailing another month because everyone was running behind.  So now I have it for another 4 weeks.  I'm currently debating adding another low volume border since Mary is missing out on one addition due to our schedule change that I mentioned above.  The real question is: do I really want to start working on this rainbow nightmare again?!

Regardless, Mary's quilt top is stunning.  I'm not one for Roy G. Biv quilts but this one could win me over.  It is by far the most "traditional" version of a round robin quilt in our group.  Despite everything that went wrong I've enjoyed working on the top and am proud of my current contribution.  At least Mary will get a good laugh about how many times I messed this one up!

I got to meet Mary at MQX this spring in Manchester.  She's a fellow New Hampshire resident!  I have to say, she's just as amazing in real life as she is on her blog!

Check out my Round Trip Quilts page for more of the work that's happening as a part of this group!