Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival : Oakshott Scandinavia Challenge Quilt

I'm just squeezing into the Bloggers Quilt Festival this year!  If you hurry there's still about a day left to enter your quilt.  Visit Amy at Amy's Creative Side for all the details!  I decided to enter my Scandinavian Quilt into the Original Design category this year amid some tough competition no less.  You can see the original post on this quilt here if you missed it, otherwise keep reading.  

This Scandinavia inspired quilt was made as part of a challenge sponsored by Sew Mama Sew and Oakshott Fabrics to create a quilt using their new Scandinavian collection of fabrics.  And, boy oh boy, these fabrics are are gorgeous!  They are all shot through with a creamy white that gives them the most amazing soft shine.  Pastel without being too Easter-y or babyish.

I wanted to do something original to honor by Finnish heritage, via my paternal grandmother (or Farmor).  She grew up in Finland (and Sweden during WWII), a country I have had the opportunity to visit three times in my life, twice as a child and once as a teenager, and hope to visit again very soon once we can find the time and money.  Each time I have visited I find great inspiration in the simple, clean designs found in the region and really wanted to be able to create something that could reflect both the design and the memories I have of visiting family there.

After some research I had several ideas sketched out, and ended up texting my "more Finnish" (as my Farmor says) cousin for help narrowing the choices down.  In the end I pulled out the Ittala dinnerware that we received for the wedding two years ago and used that as a jumping off point.

Feeling inspired at the moment. #oakshottscandinavia #iittala #inspirationeverywhere #thanksforthedishesGram #FinnishQuilt - See more at:
At first I thought I would make a large quilt inspired by the black and white dinner plate and mug pictured above.  I pieced a couple of arrows and then laid them out to take a picture but what I saw changed my direction completely.  I spent two days piecing the rows and top, finishing it at around 1am the day before it was supposed to go to the longarmer.  Ideally I would have quilted this myself but given the time crunch I was under I thought it was best to have someone else do.  The quilting is simple.  Katie Smith of Home Hearth Quilting quilted it for me in a simple birch tree-esque design following the direction of each row of piecing.  I love how it adds texture to the quilt without distracting from the overall design.  She did a great job and I highly recommend her if you're in the NH/VT area. 

Thank you little brother and Dad for holding this for me!

The pattern came together really quickly since it's all row based piecing.  I really love how the simple Kona Charcol and Kona White let the beautiful Oakshott fabrics shine in all their glory.  While piecing I took a really ad hoc approach to adding in the colors, letting them fall where ever they would in the final top.  The scattered colors are perfect and I love how the various sized strips add additional movement to the quilt.

a glimpse into our bedroom with the quit in it's new home. notice the nicely coordinated pre-existing paint swatches...
in love with this quilt.

quilting detail
The quilt is backed in a Lotta Jansdotter print and a large scale Windham Fabrics print.  I chose these because of how they played into the simple, clean lines I was going for in the overall design.  This quilt finishes at 90" x 86" and will hopefully be plenty big enough for the two of us to sleep under.  I didn't set out to make such a large quilt but once I got started the fabrics and pattern made it easy to keep going.  Plus, I had the added encouragement that my husband gets genuinely upset when I make small quilts.  

I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to make this quilt.  The final quilt is really true to my original vision and reflect the emotion I was hoping to convey.   I think my Farmor would be proud.  I plan on showing her the quilt at Thanksgiving later this year to see what she thinks.  My Finnish relatives tell me that I captured Finland perfectly.  Currently there is no pattern for this quilt but I hope to write one up in the next year.  

Thank you for visiting and I hope that you like my quilt!  Linking up with Amy for Original Quilt Design at Bloggers Quilt Festival!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Simply Mini Swap

Back in August, I think I signed up for my first ever mini quilt swap.  It's entirely managed on Instagram.  You can find it by searching #SimplyMiniSwap for the full group or #SimplyTeamConni for my pool.  For some reason I always seem to miss the sign-ups but I managed to catch this one and it seemed completely doable.  The instructions?  Make a mini quilt.  That's it.  No extras, just a mini quilt.  Well the mailing deadline is this Saturday and I'm embarrassed to say that my partners mini isn't done yet but I'm off to retreat tomorrow for four days and hoping to sew tonight so finishing up shouldn't be a problem. (Don't worry Partner!)

In the meantime I wanted to show you the quilt that I received from Mariah who you can find on Instagram at @Gr8Manythings.  She's an adventurer and nerd like me! Plus she has two seriously cute kids (not like me!!) and she made me the most amazing mini quilt!  It's made up of teeny-tiny flying geese on a grey chambray background.  I LOVE the orange and green ombre geese and the fun pink polka dot binding.  It's backed in a nice bright green polka dot too!  Plus how fun is this little green corner in the bottom?  

I'm so lucky to have received such an awesome quilt and I can't wait to finish up my partners quilt to get it in the mail ASAP!  Thanks for visiting!  Stay tuned for pictures from my first ever retreat this weekend and hopefully lots of newly completed projects.  I'm bringing a long list with me!

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Twice as Nice Super-Hero Twin Quilts {two finished quilts}

Wow, it's been a month again...  how did that happen?  So much is happening right now.  Partly because I lost my sewjo again, the change in the seasons and my struggle with seasonal depression (and the loss of light) and an intense desire to watch re-runs of SVU on Netflix and eat cookies, and partially because of work demands and things that need to get finished at home before the snow comes in (winter IS coming).  If you really missed me I have been active on Instagram.  I vow to be more active here in this space moving forward though.  This is important to me and you are too.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my sometimes nonsensical rambling and comment on posts.  I look forward to that interactions with each of you.
Today I want to show you the coordinated twin quilts I recently finished for a co-worker.  I'm calling them my super-hero quilts.  All of the different shades of red, white and blue make me think of Superman, Captain America, and the lot.  I started these back in July and shared the tops with you shortly after as part of the Quilted Living Summer Blog Tour with Fat Quarter Shop.  I made the Freedom quilt and, after a quick email to my coworker to make sure she was on board with the idea, decided to break it up into two smaller quilts for her soon to arrive twin boys.  

I worked from my stash for this one and started with a big stack of bright red/orange, royal blue/navy, and a mismatched pile of low volume gray/cream/white. For backings and binding I used different fabrics for each quilt.  I wanted these quilts to be a matched pair but not matching quilts, that way Momma can tell whose is whose, even if she can't tell who's who.  Right Momma?

One quilt has a solid blue kona backing with a red binding and the other is a fun red-white-blue print with a coordinated blue binding.  I kept the quilting very simple on each quilt, mostly using my walking foot to straight line quilt in coordinated blue, red. and white threads.  I did go back and FMQ some areas as well.  I really love how the quilting shows up on the solid backing by the way! Maybe as I become more confident with my quilting I'll do more of these in the future?

In usual fashion I procrastinated getting these finished until the week before Mommas surprise baby shower at work.  I ended up quilting them over two days and then rushing to get the bindings on the night before.  I did finish in time to give her the quilts but then had to take them back so I could snap some pictures to share with you.  Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative so even the ones I got were not great (sorry).  

I'm really happy with how these came out, even the FMQ, which I usually struggle with.  Momma loves them too and was really happy to get some handmade quilts for her two newest boys. I did make her promise to send me a picture of her new babies on the quilts once they make their debut.  I won't wish them to hurry up but I can't wait to meet them!

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.