Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Snip. Sew. Send. Month 2

July is Chen's month for the Snip. Sew. Send. virtual quilting bee. She sent out a lovely group of fabrics, most from Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop collection for Free Spirit Fabrics and her instructions were to just go for it. How could I not be inspired?

I received 6 strips of fabric, ranging in size between 3 and 5 inches wide and then 18 to 22 inches long. Eeep! That's not a lot of fabric to play with. (There goes that idea for an applique block! Not enough to to really piece a background and have any left to applique... close, but not quite.) Fortunately, she sent along a couple of links to check out for inspiration, and in one of those I found a link to Andover Fabrics' free quilt designs. It was there that I finally found my muse:

SSS - Chen's block
I drew from the Sugar Snap Quilt design and scaled down the blocks to create a 12" block. It was only after I stitched it all together that I realized I had created a sort of nine-patchy look in the way I placed my fabrics. Funny how that worked out!

It's a simple block, but I was happy to find something that I could use all the fabrics in and that could easily accommodate the fabric pieces I was given. Hopefully, Chen will be happy too!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: G-2 & J-6

Unfortunately, it was just too hot to do any sewing upstairs (think sauna hot!). So, no progress on any actual quilting. But, I did get a couple Stickle blocks done...

Jane Stickle block G-2Block number/name: G-2 “Mohawk Trail”

Date completed: July 24, 2009

Number of pieces: 28

Notes on block: The fabric for this block came from my friend Cindy. She knew I was looking for more greens and generously offered up swatches from her stash. How cool is that? And I just love how this particular fabric looks in this block. I really like this block a lot and I’m pretty happy with how I executed it too… nary a point cut off!

I did most of the work on this one on Thursday night, and then finished it up Friday afternoon.

Jane Stickle block J-6Block number/name: J-6 “Granny Weaver”

Date completed: July 24, 2009

Number of pieces: 25

Notes on block: I love the look of the white fabric in this block—kind of like tree bark. It seems appropriate with the leaves. The green fabric is an oldie but a goodie. It is from a 2” strip I had remaining from my third quilt, made back in 1998. A little blast from the past:

me with some Happy OttersHere I am with my third quilt, Happy Otters. I gave to my best friend’s mother, who was pretty much my second mom (also known as Mom²). (Sorry for the image quality... picture of a picture-- but the quilt really was rather blindingly bright.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Traffic Jam!

Remember the Mod Sampler Quilt Along hosted by Elizabeth of Oh, Frannson!?

Traffic Jam, completed!
It's done! I call it Traffic Jam.

Traffic Jam, front
And I'm feeling pretty proud.

Traffic Jam, quilting detail
First I quilted in all of the straight lines (the sashing "road" so-to-speak). Then I freemotion quilted all of the blocks using coordinating contrast threads. It was fun getting to use so many colors! But also kind of a pain because it meant changing out the thread 13 times (and winding all those different bobbins too!). It was a little nerve-wracking because it meant all of my mistakes were just that much more evident.

Traffic Jam, back
I really like how there is kind of a color-shading effect on the back from all the various bobbin colors. In the quilt along, Elizabeth suggested using two different backing fabrics. But, this blue is what I had in my stash and I had enough of it. So that's what I went with. And I love the happy, stripey binding.

Traffic Jam, more quilting detail
This is the first time I have used bamboo batting (actually, it was 50/50 bamboo/cotton). It is very soft and drapey, but it really caused lots of fuzzies and lint in my machine (far more than I get when using a 100% cotton batting). Pretty much every time I changed the bobbin (which was often!), I had to get a brush and clean out my machine. Kind of a pain. Other than that minor annoyance, it worked really well for me.

Traffic Jam, label
The label. I wish I had taken a better picture, but you get the idea (even if it's a little fuzzy).

Traffic Jam, folded up and pretty
So it is finally finished and mailed to baby Cooper (though he was born at the beginning of June, he was actually due in July-- so I'm practically on time). I don't think his mama reads my blog, but if she does, then hopefully this will motivate her to check the mailbox!

Welcome to the world, Cooper! I hope you enjoy your new blankie.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Autumn House - Block 5

Having fallen a little behind on my Autumn House BOM, I've only just now finished block 5, "Main Street":

This is the center block of the design, and it is a biggie: 18" x 18". I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. (Just ignore the slightly crooked house on the right!)

I tried out a tip from Janet at Quiltsalot: I used a tiny drop of Fray Check on the inside points of the birds' wings before clipping the seam allowance (had I known about the tip earlier, I would have used it in lots of other places too). It worked great! And I just now read that basting glue works just as well and will wash out completely—so I'm definitely going to try that next. If you haven't read Janet's recent posts on how she does applique, you should definitely check it out. They are full of great information, tips, and fabulous eye candy!

Another bit of fun: I learned a new embroidery stitch for this block—the chain stitch (used to create the trunk of the pumpkin tree). I think I did pretty well for my first attempt.

And now I'm only two blocks behind. Progress!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More nine-patchy goodness!

A couple days ago, I received my June blocks for the Three-by-Three nine-patch swap:

3x3 June blocks received
Aren't they fabulous??? I love them all and I am getting sooo excited about putting together this scrappy nine-patch quilt. I've already bought my sashing fabric, so once the next set arrives (sometime in August) I can get started.

Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A little peek

In addition to the purple panda (of doom!), I managed to complete one other top last weekend. It is my own design using April Cornell's Nostalgia charm squares. Here is just a little peek:

I'm really happy with how it has come together. Hopefully, I'll be able to get it quilted soon so I can show off the whole thing!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: E-4

Jane Stickle block E-4Block number/name: E-4 “Buffalo Tree Hopper”

Date completed: July 17, 2009

Number of pieces: 15

Notes on block: After looking at the original and seeing how some others redrafted the block, I nearly went that direction too. But I had already cut all the pieces out. And I hate cutting. So out went that idea! Fortunately, I really like the look of this version of the block too. My fabric choice in this one was actually inspired by Jane’s—she used a viney striped print very much like this fabric.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: LS-11

Jane Stickle block LS-11Block number/name: LS-11 “Kathy’s Cake”

Date completed: July 17, 2009

Number of pieces: 24

Notes on block: A little candle sitting atop a cake. So cute! I didn’t realize until just now, looking at the picture I took, how fitting this block’s name is. I have to say though, that little flame was a pain in the patootie. I just can’t get the hang of appliquéing such tiny pieces. I did needleturn with freezer paper on top. I probably may have done a better job with reverse appliqué, but I’m not even sure I could have pulled that off well either.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Panda peril!

One of the tops I completed last weekend was my purple patchwork panda quilt-along (from AJ Designs). I love how it came together—so cute!

Purple Patchwork Panda top
Unfortunately, all is not well in panda-land.

panda top bleeding block highlight
My husband put water in the iron, and I didn't realize it (somehow, the steam billowing out just wasn't clue enough for me). So when I picked up the iron, water dribbled all over one corner of the quilt. I figured it would be fine to just press it dry. But, in doing so, the purple fabric started to bleed. Eeeep! It was just a little bit though. So I let it dry and took it to the sink and used some Synthrapol on it (a quilt appraiser/conservator who spoke at my guild a few months ago swore by its effectiveness at dealing with bleeding fabrics). Yay! It seemed to be working.

front of bleeing block
Unfortunately, I used hot water (hitting palm to forehead now) and it started to bleed in another spot. A lot. Gah! This is all extra-aggravating since I pre-wash all my fabrics for the express purpose of preventing such events. Sigh. The best picture I was able to take was of the back of the block... it shows the bleeding pretty well.

bleeding block back
I'm thoroughly disheartened at this point. And I'm also in a quandary. This quilt was supposed to be a gift for a new baby. On the one hand, with some more Synthrapol (and COLD water) and a thorough wash (or even two) after quilting, I think it will be okay. But, on the other hand... what if it's not??? Do I invest the time if I'm just not sure?

The bleeding is pretty much only in one block. I think I have enough purple to make a replacement block. So would it be better to make the extra effort to remake and replace the offending block? Or should I just go for it as is, and see what happens?

What would you do?

Monday, July 13, 2009

On the cutting table

I actually had a pretty productive weekend, managing to complete two quilt tops. (I'll share more about those later!) As a result, I felt free enough to start a couple of small projects. So far, I've only managed to get them cut out, but I think the sewing will go quickly.

apron fabrics all cut out and ready to go
The first is going to be an apron for my little boy. We've recently started baking and cooking together. It is much fun. But it is messy! I saw this pattern made up while I shop hopped a couple of weeks ago, and thought it would be perfect. And my boy LOVES ducks. He actually takes every opportunity to steal it out of my sewing room. So I think he'll like it.

fabric for pajama pants all cut out and ready to go
Also cut is Kwik Sew 3126-- just a simple pair of pajama pants. It has been pretty warm here recently, so we haven't been able to use his regular pajamas, and we don't really have anything lighter-weight. So the boy has been sleeping in a t-shirt and diaper. But every night, he still asks for his pajamas. My husband thought that maybe a pair of light-weight pajama pants would make the boy happy and help keep him cool. Brilliant! We picked out the fabrics on the shop hop, and then I found the pattern this weekend.

I'm excited to have a couple of quick-to-make projects all ready to go. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to sit down and put them together soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

More nine-patches!

A couple of weeks ago, I received my first set of 16 blocks from the Three-by-Three nine-patch swap:

3x3 blocks received May
LOVE them!!! So many beautiful combinations here, and I love the variety. A few other swappers had complaints about the sizing of the blocks, but I was fortunate in that only a couple blocks were more than 1/8" off. I don't think I'll have any problems using all of them.

Feeling super-happy after getting my first set of blocks, I went ahead and signed up for another month of the swap. Here are the nine-patches I've made for July:

my July nine-patches
I think my favorites in this batch are the sienna/tan ones. But I like them all.

As I've been making blocks for the swap, I've kept one of each color-combination for myself (because I thought some of them were so pretty, I had to keep one!). So in the end, I'll have 48 swap blocks plus 12 of my own blocks. I'm not sure exactly how that will work out yet in a quilt, but I figure I won't have all of the blocks until August. So I have some time to figure it out.

Yay, scrappy nine-patches!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: I-12

Jane Stickle block I-12Block number/name: I-12 “Fred’s Square Fair”

Date completed: July 7, 2009

Number of pieces: 41

Notes on block: It’s been Stickle-a-rama ‘round here lately! But, I am officially up to date now with my blocks. Woo hoo! It feels really good to be ready for the new block being posted tomorrow on That Quilt.

loot from Pacific Fabrics pajama partySo I was feeling kind of like my pile o’ green fabric was dwindling. But, thanks to a few great friends, and some recent shopping expeditions, I have lots of fresh, happy greens in the pile. Yay! The green I used for this block was one of the ones I purchased a couple of weeks ago from Pacific Fabrics. They were having a pajama party. If you wore your pajamas, you got a 20% discount! So put on my pj pants and picked up a few greens (and some grey… I’m thinking I’ll use that with my scrappy nine-patches).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: L-5 & D-5

Jane Stickle block L-5Block number/name: L-5 “Chattanooga Charlie”

Date completed: July 6, 2009

Number of pieces: 22

Notes on block: What makes this block special is the fabric. This pretty garden print was gifted to me by my friend Evelyn. Thanks, Evelyn!

While stitching this one up, my husband and I listened to the audio version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We just love the audio versions of the Harry Potter series. The reader, Jim Dale, is just amazing and truly captivating. Unfortunately, we’re nearly done now, and I’m feeling pretty sad. I’m going to miss Harry Potter!

Jane Stickle block D-5Block number/name: D-5 “Cathedral Window”

Date completed: July 6, 2009

Number of pieces: 21

Notes on block: I’ve been productive lately! This is the second of two blocks completed last night, and now I’m finally caught up with the group again. Hopefully, now that I’m caught up, I’ll be able to keep up! As for the block… it is simple and pretty. I really like this soft green print, and seemed like a great block in which to showcase it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: E-12 & I-9

Jane Stickle block E-12Block number/name: E-12 “Mary Ruth’s Corset”

Date completed: July 4, 2009

Number of pieces: 28

Notes on block: When I saw the name of this block, I knew I wanted to use a pretty, feminine-looking fabric. Fortunately, the wonderful Zonnah had just sent a few scraps my way—one of which was just perfect for this block. I love how it turned out! And it really does remind me of a corset.

The weather was amazing on Independence Day this year and so we went and watched our town’s annual parade. Or rather, most of it. When the Seafair pirates appeared and made some BIG booms with their cannon, the boy kind of lost it. The startling noise was just too much. He recovered quickly though, and we visited a local water spray park where he got very wet. Much fun!

Jane Stickle block I-9Block number/name: I-9 “Chase a Myth”

Date completed: July 4, 2009

Number of pieces: 41

Notes on block: This is another block where I used some fabulous Zonnah scraps. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the fabric actually has a subtle print. Very pretty! While stitching this one, my husband and I watched a crazy-cheezy movie called Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus, starring Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas (if you're feeling extra brave, check out the preview!). Oh, my! I thought it was fun, but my husband finished really questioning why such movies even get made. So we had to purge our systems with a viewing of The Hunt for Red October. Ahhh…. Much better!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July guild meeting

Thursday evening was the July meeting for my quilt guild. Not only did I turn in the completed quilt for Camp Korey, but I also managed to finish a few blocks.

AR's block exchange block
This block is for the block exchange (read more about how the exchange works here). It was kind of a no brainer... not only was all the fabric provided, but the pieces were actually all cut out and ready to sew!

two Muly block lotto blocks
I also finished and turned in two blocks for this month's block lotto. The theme fabric was the patriotic print with red, white, blue, and gold. I saw it and just thought "stars." I'm really happy with how they came out. Hopefully the lucky winner will enjoy them as well! (Unfortunately, I was not the lucky winner.)

The guild meeting was a lot of fun this month. An amazing quilter, Judy Irish, spoke to us about her work, mostly machine quilting but also design. She brought an amazing array of quilts to share with us. It was a really inspiring event. And it also makes me want to do some more machine quilting. Now if I could only finish a project so I can do that!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Frantic finish

At the end of May, I attended a charity sew-in event put on by my guild. I completed a top and promised that I would have it finished up in time for the July meeting. Flash forward to the end of June... aaack! Working frantically, I basted the quilt on Sunday, I quilted it on Monday, and I bound it on Tuesday-- just in time for the July guild meeting yesterday.

Strawberry Fields, completed front
I used a kit provided by the guild for the top, but I used fabric from my stash for the backing. It's not a perfect match to the front floral, but it is by the same company (In the Beginning) and has a similar feel to it.

Strawberry Fields, back and front
You can see some of the backing peeking out in the photo above.

Strawberry Fields, quilting detail
The quilting isn't anything special (just a simple meander), but it crinkled up very nicely in the wash.

It's definitely a cuddly quilt. And hopefully, it will help brighten up some camper's day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snip. Sew. Send. Month 1

June is the first month of the virtual quilt bee I joined, Snip. Sew. Send. This month, Adrienne sent out a lovely batch of vintage sheets (some even hand-dyed):

Mmmm... pretty fabric. How awesome is that orange???

The instructions were to create a Hop, Skip, Jump-inspired block (a la the Denyse Schmidt Quilts Book) 6.5" by 12". This is how I went about it:

First, I drew a 6.5" by 12" rectangle on freezer paper, subdivided it into wonky sections and numbered them.

I cut it all apart.

I ironed the freezer paper pieces to the right side of the fabrics and cut them out with 1/4" seam allowances. (Since she said she wouldn't mind, I also couldn't resist adding a couple of fabrics to the mix she sent).

I used a pin to help hold the pieces together at the top corner (because freezer paper is slippery), and then stitched the seam. I worked left-to-right.

Here it is all stitched together.

And here is the completed block, trimmed and ready to go!

This first month was a lot of fun-- I'm really looking forward to the months ahead!