Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday (The One With The Rescue)

So it's been a long time since I've been able to spend some quality time with my machine.  But now that Bertha and I are back to being BFF's, it's been nice to be able to resurrect some old projects and work on some new ones at the same time.

Block # 75 Rosebud

Over the last few weeks I've managed to make 1 (yes only one) Farmer's Wife Blocks.  It is block #75, Rosebud.  Now that I have a little more time to spend with Bertha I am really looking forward to working on some of the harder blocks I have left.  I have enough blocks done that I could stop here and just make a lap size quilt but learning new things is one of the main reasons I wanted to do this quilt along.  So I am sticking with it in hopes of finishing another super girly queen sized quilt for the guest bedroom.

Finished Loulouthi Tiles on a Queen Bed
My big finish this week was my Loulouthi Tiles Quilt.  You can read all about that here.  But I wanted to give you a quick second look and this time I took a photo on the bed so you could see how well it covers.  It does go to the end of the mattress on the left side but the right side against the wall could have used one more column in my opinion then it would be just right. 

Column 1 & 2 of Bizzy Kid

Bizzy Kid was my new start in the last two weeks.  I love how easy this pattern came together and if you haven't already used one of Allison's patterns I would recommend them for sure.  I am still working on a better name for this, maybe summer sorbet.  But I don't really know.  You can read more about the inspiration for this quilt here.
Needs at least 1 more block
New this week I am bringing back a quilt that has set as blocks for a very long time in my sewing space.  Do you remember this post way back in 2010?  Well that was the year of the bees for me and the first and only bee I have hosted to date Bee-Stitched was among those.  I remember spending way too much time fretting over what kind of block to use and finally landing on one inspired by Red Pepper Quilts.  Shortly after I requested this block I saw it popping up like crazy in blogland but I haven't really ever seen a finished quilt made from the pieces.  In fact I believe even Rita's is still a WIP.  This week I decided to get it out and see how many blocks I had and what I wanted to do with it.  I had originally planed to add stars to the sashing like in Rita's original layout but I think I really just like the overall scrappy goodness and the additional stars made from sewing the blocks together as they are.  I have to make at least one more block for this quilt top to have enough and I am contemplating actually making 4-5 more so that I can add another row or column.  I like my quilts to be big so that they are easy to snuggle under.  I'm not sure about this one just yet but I think it is destine to be a gift for a lovely friend that is moving the end of July.  It's strange because when I picked this block and these fabrics (yes that is original FMF in there-that I paid an arm and a leg for) I wanted it to be so perfect because I knew I would never give it up.  I didn't have much of a stash then and I bought a lot of fat quarters just to cut up into this treasure.  I begged people to be sure and use the FMF and those fussy cut goldfish in their blocks because I paid so much money for them when they were hard to find.  If only I had known by the time I got around to finishing the quilt those fabrics would be available as reprint.  But now because it is so scrappy good and I love it so much I think those are the best kinds of gifts.  The ones you want to keep for yourself but give away because you care for the person that much.

Blocks pressed and laid out
Be sure to head on over to Lee's to see what every one else is up too.  And be sure to link up your own WIP cause I know I need more inspiration.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Traveling Quilts

This year I am only participating in one group activity over on Flickr.  A group from the Old Red Barn Quilt Along Fame broke off into small groups to make traveling quilts.  I of course had to join in.  I knew this year was going to be busy and crazy and annoyingly painful but I learn a lot from my friends in blogland and I couldn't imagine not having any group interaction.  So while I thought I was being smart just joining in one group it turns out I am still running behind but thankfully they still tolerate and put up with me.

Christine's Quilt Top

When I first got Christine's quilt top I was determined to get started right away and get this one out on time.  So I started working on a friendship braid.  Well when that turned out to be an epic fail I was at a loss as to where to go next.  I didn't know what I wanted to do and I was out of ideas.  I think sometimes that is the hardest part about bees and groups like this.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to make something AMAZING that sometimes we miss out on the need for something simple.  I was feeling the time crunch and I knew I had to have these two tops in the mail on Monday because I had promised.

Close up of the stacked logs.

I had been so inspired by this quilt, in fact it was the reason I joined this group.  So I did a little digging and found that the quilt was actually based on a quilt along.  So I spent some time really looking at the quilt along and the different layers.  In the end I decided to do the stacked logs.  I had lots of strips already cut for the friendship braid that hadn't worked and I didn't want to waste them so I added to that and made a border of stacked logs.  I used pinks, purples, and yellows to go along with the colors of the flowers in the original center of this quilt and then threw in some greens as well.  Mostly because I don't have any purple in my stash and the pieces you see are ones I bought specifically for this quilt from a local quilt store along with some my mom brought me last time I was searching for purple.  It really is hard to find good purples so if anyone know of any I would love it if you would share the names so I can add to my collection.  This quilt is rather large already as it is now measuring 60" by 60" and it still has a few rounds to go.  I did send along some yellow pieces in case Dee wants to put another solid border between our two rounds.

Pam's Quilt Top.  Amazing!

Next up was Pam's quilt top.  I really love the way this top is coming together but I was also extremely intimidated by it.  Well after looking at it one thing I really liked was the organic feeling the top had.  The middle is a little wonky but not in a sharp angled way but more of a gentle curve.  The fabrics in the middle also move from green to blue.  I'm sure these are probably pieces of batiks but it really smacked me across the face.  The other thing I noticed right away was that Pam had mentioned she wanted this to be a wall hanging and well again it's so large already I knew I wanted my round to be small.  I had this idea to do a pinstripe.  Of course my stubborn self immediately ruled that out as it was too simple of a concept.  But after that nothing I tried seemed right and in the end I knew the pinstripe in all of its simplistic nature was the right way to go.  So I added a pinstripe of color that transitions from lime green into orange and then into aqua.  And a black border that is actually a tone on tone print.  There are various stripes in the black fabric as well.  Over all I love what this simple addition does for this quilt top.

Close up of my pinstripe

Here is a shot of what my quilt top looked like the last time I saw an update on it.  I only asked for a aqua, orange, and gray color scheme.  I think it is progressing beautifully.

The last updated photo of my quilt top.  I can't wait for this one to come home!

PS-Sorry for the bad indoor photos but it was late when I finished these and like I said I had to pack them up to get them in the mail.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Loulouthi Tiles

I finally managed my second finish of 2012.  I can't believe it is already May and I am this far behind on my goal of making 12 quilts in 2012 but maybe the summer will be productive.  After all summer is typically when blogland comes alive with numerous quilt alongs.  I started this quilt after my parents were nice enough to purchase a kit for my birthday last October.

Loulouthi Tiles
I first mentioned this quilt in "The List" and it made it's first appearance in WIP Wednesday all the way back in January.  I have to admit that there were several times throughout making this quilt that I really just wanted to pack it away and save it for later.  My dad is the one who convinced me that we really could work out the math and make this one happen.  I followed Rachel's original concept but changed the quilt a little.  I added both of my rows to the quilt into the length and didn't widen it.  My finished quilt measures about 97 inches long by 87 inches wide.  I do wish I had added a little more width since I fully intend to use this quilt on my bed.  But I think overall it will be fine.

Front of Loulouthi Tiles Quilt
This is the first quilt I have made so large and I opted not to hand quilt around the large tiles as I knew I would never get around to it.  Instead, I sent this one to the long arm that my mom and I both use.  She does a great job with all of our quilts and I love working with her.  After having some less than stellar experiences with different long arms in the local area it is well worth the hour drive to have Ellen quilt these up for me.  And lets face it, usually I just drop my quilts off with my mom and make her do the hard work of picking out a quilt pattern.  This quilt is the first one I sent to Ellen where I actually spent a lot of time looking through her books and picking a design.  I narrowed it down to this pattern and another called Orange Peel.  I was kind of set against a flower since I want to use this one on my bed and didn't want it to be overly girly (yes, you can feel free to laugh at me because I realize now that the butterflies and huge flowers amp up the girly factor A LOT).  In the end Ellen suggested this one as it matched a bit of the pattern in the fabric I chose for the backing.  Of course once she pointed that out to me I couldn't go with anything else.

Close up of the quilting
It's quilted in two different shades of gray.  With the thread on the top being a shade or two lighter than that on the back.  I really wanted the quilting on the back to sort of fade into the quilt rather than stand out.  I used didn't have enough fabric left to make binding and I really didn't know what I wanted that would look as great on the front as it would on the back.  In the end I used a solid PB Gray that I think frames out the front nicely and blends into the fabric on the back.  The back is mostly this gray and orange print with one little strip down the middle of miniature tiles which replicate the feeling of the front.
Back of Loulouthi Tiles Quilt

Overall, I think it looks great and I am pretty happy to have a new quilt to snuggle under when I go to bed tonight.  It's in the wash now getting it crinkle on.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bizzy Kid

If you have been reading a long for a while you know that my life has been a little crazy as of late.  One of our friends was going through a rough spot and we opened our home to him and his two year old daughter.  It made it difficult to sew and I have gotten pretty far behind on a lot of my projects.  Is that possible?  Can you be behind on something that is just a hobby?  With the exception of my one commitment to a Round Robin group I have not joined any bees or swaps this year in anticipation that it might get a little crazy.  So can I really be behind?  I mean I doubt I will make my goal of 12 quilts this year since it is May and I have only one finish for the year thus far but that is just a personal goal so there really isn't any consequence to not meeting that goal but it feels strangely like pressure.  This weekend I was finally able to spend a little time in my sewing room just relaxing, listening to Pandora, and sewing away.  So what do you do when you have about 4 projects you are in the middle of, round robin quilts that need to be done, and about a million other things all calling for your attention-start something new of course.  At least that's what I did!  I was originally inspired by this fabric pull that Corey did for a pillow swap and knew I wanted to make something with these bright colors.  So I started pulling fabrics for a granny squares quilt since that is the latest quilt along that the Old Red Barn Quilt Along group is working on.  But then I saw this quilt top and knew that they would be too similar.  And well honestly I wasn't feeling the granny square love.  Sometimes I like to do quilt alongs but sometimes I can't help but think I don't want a quilt like everyone else.

The two different sets 

So I had seen a pattern over at Cluck Cluck Sew the other day that I liked.  I don't buy many patterns because usually I can look at the picture and sort of figure it out but in this case I just wanted someone else to have done all the math for me.  Bizzy Kid wasn't the original pattern I saw but it stuck my fancy when I was ordering.  I needed to spend time sewing and not looking at inspiration only to find the day gone and a project not started.  So on Thursday night I ordered the PDF (another first for me) pattern of Bizzy Kid and read through the instructions.  I looked at my fabrics I had pulled and figured out I had what I needed.  I went to the LQS on Friday during my lunch break to get some Kona Snow and was hoping to find some charcoal sketch.  They appeared to be out of both but lucky for me a willing salesperson and a trip to the back found a bolt of Kona Snow that was not in the inventory in the computer.  So Friday night I cut my solid six inch squares and made the larger hourglass blocks.  Sunday I spent most of the day sewing and was able to complete the blocks and sew the sets together.  The only thing left is to sew the columns together and wait till payday to order some washi tape fabric for the back.  I think it will be the perfect fabric for this quilt.

This is a queen bed with blocks laid out on it.  The row hanging off the side will actually move to the other side of the quilt there just wasn't enough room.  And this should finish at about a twin size according to the pattern.
This is the first pattern I have purchased from Allison but I would recommend her again.  I found the pattern to be very well written and easy to understand.  And while the pattern was simple enough and I probably could have figured it out myself it was nice to have the math already taken care of for me.  Another handy trick I learned while putting this one together, my Tucker Trimmer (HST ruler) was perfect for trimming my hourglass blocks.  The two diagonals on the ruler made it the perfect tool.

I also got my Loulouthi Tiles quilt back from the long arm so I should have my second finish of the year to share with you soon.  Hopefully that will take some of the pressure off.  What have you been sewing?