Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy as 11

Here's the next in my recent roll o' fabric quilt quintet:

Easy as 11, front view

"Easy as 11" from Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs: Easy as 1, 2, 3.

This is such a simple, but fun, design. Mine looks maybe a little odd, as it is square rather than the intended rectangle. I had to omit a couple of rows to make it work with the amount of fabric I had. This one finished at 47.5" x 47.5".

Easy as 11, quilting detail 1

What I was most excited about in quilting this one up were the solid stripes. I knew my quilting would show up really well on those, so I wanted to try and do some fun stuff. I took inspiration from Natalia Bonner's book, Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, as well as Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. I ended up using 4 different designs, including a viney thing in the green stripes, swirls in the blue stripes, flowers in the pink stripes, figure 8s in the orange stripes, and then wide drops in the one coral stripe.

Easy as 11, quilting detail 2

Then I stippled over the background areas. I used Aurifil Mako 50/2 in Dove (#2600) over the stripes and Superior Threads King Tut 40/3 in Parchment (#971) over the background areas.

Easy as 11, back view

There's that repro pink backing again. And you can see the Project Linus label down in the lower left corner. I managed to sneak in one of my last remaining bits of background fabric into the binding along with the bright and happy Kona Lagoon.

Easy as 11, artsy side view

I have had so much fun working with all of these bright happy fabrics!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shoo Fly!

I've been finishing up a storm in the last few days. My quilts for Project Linus (all of which feature fabric from the now-depleted dreaded roll) have been quilted and all but one have been bound and labeled. Woo! Let the show and tell begin!

This quilt is made from the trimmed leftovers of another Project Linus quilt. I couldn't bear the thought of just throwing out all of the half-square triangle trimmings, so I designed a project to utilize them.

Shoo Fly, front view

It is a small quilt, only 36" x 42"-- but there was a lot of stitching involved in all those blocks!

Shoo Fly, front-side view

Because the background fabric is so busy, I knew that any quilting I did would kind of get lost in all the pattern going on. So I went ahead and just did an all-over swirly design through the center and in the outermost border. In the colored border, I did some straight lines.

Shoo Fly, quilting detail

For all of the quilting, I used Aurifil Mako 50/2 in White (#2024).

Shoo Fly, back view

The back is not the most awesome coordinate, but I really wanted to use my stash, and I had a lot of this fabric. At least it is a happy color!

Shoo Fly, label detail

And here is the special Project Linus label stitched onto the back. You can also see my machine-finished binding (I follow the Red Pepper Quilts binding tutorial).

Shoo Fly, artsy view

I'd been calling this quilt "Churn Dash" until I realized it wasn't actually a churn dash block. Ha! After a bit of research, I learned that these are actually shoo fly blocks. Either way, it is a happy little quilt!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yesterday in the quilt cave...

I thought I'd do a little update on the progress I made during my quilt cave day. My husband stayed home so I was able to spend most of the day in my cave (other than quick stops to get lunch, make dinner, and go an emergency thread run... nothing worse than running out of thread in the midst of quilting, which I nearly did!). It was like my own mini quilt retreat! I was able to check a few things off my list:

checking items off the to-do list

I even got some binding strips cut. Woo!!!

Lists can be powerful tools for me. I love seeing those x's as items are completed. It truly gives me a sense of accomplishment. Blogging does that too oftentimes. But putting it out there in the world makes it "real," you know? Sometimes, I'm wanting to go with the flow and see where it takes me without the pressure I put on myself to keep up with the blog. Thus, lack of blogging. I want to make it a priority because I know it keeps me focused. At the same time, I have so much routine and focus in every other aspect of my life that I am finding I don't really want focus-- I want freedom. And I'm lazy. Blogging (writing!) takes so much effort for me. And it is not quick. Clearly, what I really need is to change up my blogging perspective. I'll add that to the list.

Look at that! I did some crafty musing there for a bit. :)

Moving on...

Here are all five of my recent roll o' fabric tops are quilted and ready for binding:

five pretty quilts, all in a row... but they still need binding

Now I'm about ready to start a new project:

and a little something new-- fabrics a quilt for Little Bear!

It's time to make a quilt for my Little Bear.

He turns 4 next month.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Catching up

This weekend is the annual Tri County Quilt Tour. I've participated every year and my husband even took today off so I could go. But I find myself feeling like my time is better spent at home, working on what I have. I think I have reached a total saturation point with fabric and projects right now. Heaven knows, there is no shortage of projects here!

I haven't blogged in a bit, but I have been doing stuff...

Last weekend I made another name pillow (from the "Personalized Name Pillow" pattern by Kimberbell Designs):

another name pillow!

They are such a good gift-- fun to make and always so well received.

And the dreaded roll o' fabric? It's gone!!!!

the dreaded roll' of fabric is NO MORE!!!!

Look at that empty roll! It took eight quilts (and 6 years!), but I finally used it all. Huzzah! Just that little strip of fabric remaining now-- I figure I'll use that in the binding of one or two of them.

I realize now that I haven't shared a pic of the final top I made from the roll. All I have is a kind of bad instagram pic:

But you get the idea? This is another design from the book, Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs: Easy as 1, 2, 3. This is "Easy as 11." I had to change it up a bit as I ran out of fabric-- so I dropped a couple of rows and mine ended up at 48" square. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing size for this design (it really does look better as a rectangle), but it works.

I've managed to quilt up four of my five recent roll o' fabric quilts. Today I basted the remaining one:

my Boxed-In quilt all basted up and ready to quilt

Since I am hoping to spend some quality time in the quilt cave today, I went ahead and wrote up a to-do list to help keep me focused.

the to-do list

And look at that-- one thing checked off the list already. Woo!

Next up: quilting!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And another!

Still feeling determined to use up the dreaded roll o' fabric, I jumped into another project last weekend. Today I have another completed top:

Boxed In quilt top from Skip the Borders

This is another design from Skip the Borders by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. It is called "Boxed In." Putting it together took me a little longer than I expected (I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that sewing 384 little squares together would not take time... but it didn't. Ha!), but it was worth it. I'm really pleased with the result. Just look at how crazy bright and happy it is!!! It still needs to be trimmed to square-off the edges, but I plan to do that after quilting it.

I've got to say, I am really diggin' Ms. Herman's book! There are so many appealing designs with very clear, easy-to-follow instructions. There is actually another design in there that I've already pulled fabrics from the stash to make-- but that one will have to wait a bit. I'm still feeling the drive to use up this roll. I have a plan in mind and a fresh pile of fabric to make it happen:

happy pile of bright colored Kona solids

I picked up these lovely Kona solids from Pink Chalk Fabrics last week. So happy!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weekend warrior!

I'm not sure what got into me, but last weekend was an epic quilty extravaganza! After finally getting around to completing my True Blue top (woo! but I don't have a picture of the top yet... hopefully soon!), I was feeling the need to start something new.

Knowing I wanted to start something fresh and small (i.e., something I can finish in a relatively quick manner), I wandered aimlessly through my stash of patterns and fabrics. Then I stumbled across a roll o' fabric. I acquired the roll in 2009 from a Project Linus work party. There were actually two rolls, and my friend Evelyn threw down the gauntlet and issued a challenge: whoever can get through the roll first wins! I have no idea how much fabric is actually on this roll-- only that it is one, very long, continuous cut, approximately 5.5" wide from selvedge to cut edge. Shortly thereafter, I finished up three quilts (one, two, three) using the fabric and it felt like I hadn't even put a dent in the roll. The roll has been sitting on my floor (buried and out of sight) since that time.

So I spot this roll just sitting there on my floor and inspiration strikes. I immediately started pulling fabrics from my stash and put together this first top:

Easy as 10 quilt top

The design is from the book Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs: Easy as 1, 2, 3 by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs. This is the "Easy as 10" design. It only took a few hours to cut it out and put it all together.

Feeling motivated at this point, I decided to make another. I took a few more brights out of my stash (27 in all) and made another:

Floating Triangles quilt top

This design, "Floating Triangles," is from Skip the Borders: Easy Patterns for Modern Quilts by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. It was definitely more involved than the first top, but overall, it too went together pretty quickly. In making the half-square triangles for this design, there was lots of trimming. So I decided to sew the trimmed corners together resulting in a pile of smaller (2.5") half-square triangles.

Now that I had this pile of 2.5" half-square triangles, clearly I needed to do something with them. So this time I created my own design to use them up:

Floating Triangle leftovers quilt top

And by the end of the weekend, I had finished up this top as well.

And check out the giant roll o' fabric now:

Project Linus challenge roll o' fabric, then and now

Woo! It finally looks like I'm making a dent!

Three tops! And I'm still feelin' the itch to make that roll disappear. I wonder how many more projects it's going to take?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Simplicity 1783 - Part 2

Simplicity 1783, pattern cover

Big Bear's birthday party was Saturday, and it seemed like all of the kids had a really fun time. Woo! I hope to share more on that soon, but I need a bit more time to decompress. In the meantime, let me share part two of Simplicity 1783. In Part 1, I shared View B, the top. This time around I made View D, the skirt.

Simplicity 1783, view D, hanging at an angle

What drew me to this one was the front kickpleat and the fact that it called for only 1 yard for fabric. The fabric is a poly-blend plaid I found on clearance at JoAnn's back in 2008 (yay for finding using stash (but it is true that I forgot I had this, it was buried so deep)!).

Simplicity 1783, view D, front view

It turned out really well!

Simplicity 1783, view D, hanging from the front so you can see the pocket wonkiness

Just don't look too closely at the pockets. Ugh. I decided that I wanted to try and add some interest to the pockets by having the plaid on the diagonal. I knew this would mean I'd be working with all bias edges, and if I had followed the instructions in the pattern as written, it would have resulted in all kinds of wonky. So I decided to first underline the pockets with a quilting cotton (highly stable) and then follow the instructions as written. Unfortunately, there was a fair amount of bulk and I had a hard time trying to keep everything pretty and even. What is worse is that the first time I attached them to the skirt, I didn't even line them up-- which, with the plaid, was VERY evident. And then, after attaching them the second time, I realized that they are actually different sizes. Doh! I don't know why it didn't occur to me to actually compare the finished pockets before I attached them to the skirt. Fortunately, I don't feel like it is very noticeable when I'm wearing the skirt. Certainly, not noticeable enough to make me do them a third time.

Simplicity 1783, view D, detail view of front fly

I gotta say too that I am pleased as punch with how the fly turned out. Woo! I've never done a fly in this manner before, and it was definitely more involved than the ones I've done in the past, but I really appreciate the finished look. Very snazzy.

Simplicity 1783, view D, back view

I made a size 16. The only changes were to use 1/2" side seams and to use hem tape at the bottom hem.

Simplicity 1783, view D, detail view of hem, showing the pretty hem tape

The hem tape allowed me to do a 5/8" hem instead of a 1-1/4" one, resulting in a really nice, wearable length for me. I'm not sure I would have felt as comfortable even 1/2" higher. This is already what I consider very short for me. I am 5'4", so if you are any taller, you may want to add some length.

Simplicity 1783, view D, another front view

While the top in this pattern may not have been my cup of tea, the skirt is definitely a winner!