Monday, February 28, 2011

Twisted Fandago

I was reading today about how some of these super crafty seemingly super hero women get so much done in a day and one of them mentioned that they schedule there blog post the night before.  This is going to be my first attempt at typing up a blog post and setting the auto scheduler.  Sometimes I just don't have the motivation during the work week to sew and blog so I am hoping this might help me out a little with updating more often.

So after I finished the baby quilt, I wanted some pretty easy sewing.  I have been avoiding my machine for a while, no I don't really know why it just seemed like the thing to do.  But remember that ruler I showed you that my mom and I picked up at the quilt show?  It is called "Twister" and it's from Country Schoolhouse.  We opted for the larger ruler which is meant to be used with a layer cake.  I didn't buy the book so I was a little concerned about how things would turn out but as it is there are very basic instructions included with the ruler for a 61" by 61" quilt.  See you sew the squares together very basic like in a 6 by 6 design.  I had to stop there because I didn't have the solid yardage I needed to add the boarder.  I suppose you could stop here and just have a very nice easy quilt top with large squares to feature some of your favorite fabrics.

In this case however, you use the twister template to make a fun pinwheel design.  Well you already know how much I like pinwheels.  It seems to me like there is going to be a lot of fabric waste.  I wanted to capture the whole process on this one, something I hardly ever do.  I am using a Fandango layer cake and I think it looks just lovely in it's current state but I'm excited to see how the pinwheels turn out as well.  Right now I am planning to use white for the boarder around the squares which will actually become part of some of the pinwheels and then a blue or coral color for the outer boarder.  I'm not really sure but I'm actually just thinking about ordering yardage of one of my favorite prints for the outer boarder. Although depending on how much waste there actually is I might be able to make a scrappy boarder.  I think on this one I really am going to just take it one step at a time instead of trying to plan it all out.  Besides isn't that really more fun anyway.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Scratch

So this was my first attempt at Free Motion Quilting.  I decided to go with an all over loopy design because honestly I thought it would hide more mistakes.  After ripping out all of my stitches twice and wasting an entire spool of thread I figured I better just stick with it and keep going.  I know to some of you more experienced free motion quilters it looks like chicken scratch but I'm really proud of myself for giving it a go.  The more I did the better I think it looked.  I have decided though that it is about time I invest in a real sewing table because as small as this quilt is, it still created a lot of drag hanging off the table.  I'd love to hear your suggestions on tables as I'm on a really tight budget I don't want to get something I won't be happy with.

 My husband is working on something in the background there.
I promise we don't always have all that trash in our backyard.
This quilt is for a coworker who is having her first girl.  I know she is supper excited about it because to date she has been far out numbered in her house of all boys.  I'm a little sad that she won't be returning to the office after having the baby but I guess working just to pay daycare cost doesn't make a lot of sense either.  Thanks to all of your name suggestions I finally decided to call it "My Cup Runneth Over" because I know tumblers always make me think of cups too and I know the new mama is overjoyed to be having a girl.  The quilt measures 40 inches wide by 48 inches long so I think it will be a nice size.  It is made from Moda Bliss using quilting weight on the front and flannel for the back. 

I realized as I was typing this post that this quilt marks a lot of big landmarks for me.  It is the first quilt that I have quilted myself using free motion quilting.  I know I have a lot to learn but with the prices of fabric going up I won't be able to afford to take every quilt to the long arm so I really want to master the art of free motion quilting.  It is also the first quilt that I used the machine to attach the binding to both the front and the back.  This is probably not my favorite technique but I think it turned out well.  I just prefer the more polished look you get with hand stitching.  But since it is a baby quilt that is going to live in a home full of boys I expect it will need frequent washing and I thought the machine stitches would be a little more forgiving.  This is also the first quilt I have made as a gift for anyone outside of my family.  So while my both of my husbands parents and my mom have quilts from me I have never given one away to a friend (unless you count the first Christmas gifts I made my coworkers back in Charlottesville, but I imagine all but one of those is probably at goodwill, long story) so I just hope she will like it.  My other hope is that she will actually use it.  I hear people say all the time that they don't want to use their quilts because they don't want them to get messed up.  I understand that but I'm in the camp that believes it can be washed and that the best way to show someone you love a quilt they made you is by using it.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quilt Show Bounty

So here is a look at the things I picked up this weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show.  Overall I have to say that this year was a little disappointing.  There were not very many quilts on display as most of the room was taken up by Vendors.  And I love vendors don't get me wrong but there were a lot of jewelry and other odd ball vendors that didn't really seem to fit in with my idea of a quilt show.  Maybe it's just me but I would rather see more quilts.  I did however manage to snag some goodies from a few of the vendors who were selling fabric and other sewing related items.  3 Yards of Swells (with this and a little help from my friend in Canada I think my Swell Quilt will be a hit), a Fat Quarter Bundle of Bliss Flannel (after using it to back a baby quilt I knew i needed more), Verna Jelly Roll, Central Park Jelly Roll (20% off, deal!), Fandango Layer Cake, a couple of fat quarters of shot cotton I've been wanting to play with.  Then some miscellaneous sewing room must, new pins, bobbin washers, a seam ripper, and needles. Oh and that big yellow thing in the back is a "Twister" Ruler my mom and I got to try out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mid Atlantic Quilt Show

This weekend is the Mid-Atlantic quilt show and I am so excited.  My mom and I have made a tradition of going to this show every year for the last 3 years now and it is really what brought me back to wanting to quilt.  It's great to have something in common like quilting with my mom because it's something we can do together.  Since I'm super excited about the quilt show I thought I'd share some photos I've taken over the last few years at the show.  But I have to apologize now that I don't know who made these quilts because before I knew the importance of such things I just snapped pictures. 

There are a ton of teeny tiny pieces in this one.  But I love the way it looks like real flowers.

I think this one was called the Pride of Texas or something like that.  It was amazing and I don't know if you can see it in the photo but there is even some pretty impressive bead work on this one.

Hexagons might be all the rage right now but remember the yo yo?  This quilt is nothing but yo-yo's.  And I love how the colors cross between the the sections too.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A little Love, A Little Luck

I'm feeling pretty lucky today.  But let's start with the Love part.  I am one of those people who never does anything with my hair.  I have stick straight very thin hair and it just kind of hangs there so everyday I just throw it up in a pony tail and go about my day.  Not anymore!  Back in December I started thinking about getting my hair cut and then I realized it was almost long enough to donate to Locks of Love.  I got on their website and did a little research and found out I needed a minimum of 10 inches.  No problem there, my hair was already almost half way down my back.  Then I was watching tv and saw some silly reality tv and they were doing a feature on Locks for Love.  I though humm that must not be by chance so I started making my plan.  I mentioned at work that I wanted to do this and was totally caught off guard when one of my coworkers said she would like to do the same thing.  So last week we made appointments and today we both chopped off all of our hair.

On to the luck part, last week I was talking with my good friend Mary and she was telling me that after realizing my postage stamp quilt was made with just two jelly rolls she wanted to make one.  She mentioned that she had a Swell Jelly Roll to use.  (This is one line I really liked but had given up on.  I've come across a tiny bit of it here and there but had swapped what I had gotten because I knew I would never find enough to make a whole quilt with)  I quickly quipped back that I would cut off my right arm for a Swell Jelly Roll.  Later she told me it wasn't Swell but Sweet but please not to cut off my arm.  We laughed and I forgot all about it.  A few days later she told me she found a Swell Jelly Roll on Craigslist for $15 bucks but it was in Idaho.  She sent me the listing and I told her I was going to call the woman when I got home from work.  Before I could do any of that Mary had already contacted the seller and gotten her to agree to ship it.  Did I mention I have some of the best online quilt friends a girl could have.  Well guess what showed up at my house today.  Yup, my very own Swell Jelly Roll.  And believe it or not I already have a plan for this and I can't wait to get started.  There are just a few things in line before this one.

I also wanted to say a big thank you to all of you who helped out with my Neptune quandary.  Most of you are set as no reply bloggers so I could personally thank you for your help but because of it and a few online swaps I think I now have everything I am going to need except backing for my Anchors Away quilt.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anchors Away

How do you pick your fabrics?  That's something that has been running around in my mind all day.  I think most of my quilts to date have been in one of two categories.  They have either been super scrappy or have been made from one line of fabric.  Not a lot of mixing and matching going on in my world but I would like to try to outreach more in that direction.  A while back my mom surprised me with a quilt kit she picked up down in Florida.

I give my mom a lot of credit because most of this kit is made up of Neptune which my mom had no idea I had been secretly lamenting having come into quilting to late to have any of this great fabric.  You know it's one of those lines like Flea Market Fancy, everyone wants it but only a few people actually have any.  At lease it seems that way.  What my mom did know at the time was that I had been constantly chewing her ear off about Freshcuts by Heather Bailey.  I was having a hard time finding it and really wanted to make a quilt from the line because Heather is one of my favorite designers.  My mom recognized one of the prints as Freshcuts and snapped up the kit.  I was thrilled when she gave it to me.  Intimidated to no end by convinced that I wanted to make the quilt picture here.

Now that I'm ready to start thinking about making said quilt I've been wondering why in the world would the add Freshcuts to a primarily Neptune quilt?  The colors are the right shades.  The prints are the right sizes.  But flowers and turtles?  Flowers and anchors?  I think I am going to give credit to the store and say that they got it right in this case because when it's all stacked up it looks great.  But in my quilt I think I am going to try and hunt down a few elusive fat quarters of Neptune.  The pattern actually calls for 2 layer cakes and 9 fat quarters plus yardage for boarders, binding, and backing.  The shop included 9 fat quarters and 21 cuts that measure 12 inches by width of fabric.  I have no idea what I am going to do when it comes time to find boarder and backing fabric but in the mean time I'm looking forward to making this quilt this year.  Even if I am a little scared of it.  I'd love to hear your processes for selecting fabrics.  Let me know, how do you mix and match?  And if you have any leads on Neptune I'd love to hear those too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Blissful Quilt

I wanted to make something easy for a baby quilt because one of my coworkers specifically asked if I would make a quilt for her little girl.  My mom told me I should make a tumbler quilt but of course I was resistant because I thought it would be super hard.  Turns out all I needed was two charm packs and a ruler she had to put this together in a matter of hours.  I'm waiting for some fabric to come so I can add a border to make it a little larger but I think it is a sweet little quilt.

If you haven't checked out Missouri Star Quilt Company be sure to do so.  They usually have a great deal of the day and you can get that and anything else you order for $5 shipping.  It's a pretty good deal.  The ruler is their design and it really does make minimal waste because it is designed to be used with precuts.  Check out the tutorial here

I am lacking a name for this quilt.  The best I could think of was Blissful Tumbler and I'm not sure that will really give the expectant mom the warm wishes I am hoping for her.  Your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Marathon Quilt

Keeping up with Rachel and the Postage Stamp Quilt Along was a bit of a challenge but I am happy to say that I finished my postage stamp quilt right on time.  Leave it to Rachel to motivate us all by having a drawing for all of the participates who had a completed top at the end.  Of course my procrastination almost did me in once again.  I didn't order my jelly rolls until after the quilt along had already started.  Then I was very slow to sew my strips, cut the strips, and sew the blocks.  Of course all that procrastination meant that I was still sewing blocks together when I was suppose to be sewing my rows together.  I had originally planned to have this quilt finished on Monday night in time for the drawing on Tuesday but when I checked the flickr group on Monday, Rachel said she wasn't going to close the quilt along until Thursday.  So I watched House and went to bed on Monday instead.  Tuesday no sewing, I just didn't feel like it.  Which meant Wednesday night at 11:30 I was putting the final stitches in my quilt top.  A little less than a month and I have a finished top and back and she is in line waiting with Freshcut Square Dance to go to the longarm.  I had planned to quilt this one myself just using diagonal lines but then my Dad offered to have it quilted for me.  Well I'm no dumbie, I know that she will probably do a better job than I would and it will be a cuter pattern for the quilting so Crushed Stamps waits her turn.

I know "Crushed Stamps" are you all wondering about the name.  Well I used Innocent Crush for my fabric and it is a Postage Stamp Quilt and well if you've been reading along with me for awhile you know all about my love hate relationship with the United States Postal Office and their uncandid ability to lose, return, and tear my packages so I thought Crushed Stamps was a suitable name.  And well it's funny to me so why not.

If I were doing this one over I would do a few things a little differently.  Since I way over think placement on all of my quilts I did this one without laying out anything.  I just grabbed whatever was next and went with it.  No do overs!  And since I used a design roll and not a jelly roll I had more repeats in my fabric.  Of course looking at the finished top now there are spots I say oh man look there are like five in a row right there that are the same fabric.  All in all though I think it is just random enough to have that I look great without really trying look.  The other thing I would do differently would be the back.  Rachel's supply list called for 3 and 3/4 yards for the backing.  So when Aunt Bea's was closing and she had 4 yards of Innocent Crush on clearance I thought I had really lucked out.  I didn't realize that this would mean I needed to run the backing side to side instead of top to bottom the way I usually make my backs.  It's no big deal and it worked out in the end I just think if I was doing it again I would choose a busier pattern for the back and be sure that it is non directional.

So there you have it my marathon quilt, and since this one is going out to be quilted I'm on to the next.  A tumbler baby quilt for a coworker of mine.  If you haven't felt the Bliss Flannel yet it is dreamy.  I think I will track some down to make some lounge pants for me.