Monday, February 27, 2012

A new project!

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 38th birthday. Woo! And there were presents. Double woo! The one I am most excited about though is this one:

floss and wool kits from Raspberry Rabbits

My husband ordered the wool and Valdani floss kits for me from The Raspberry Rabbits shop so that I can participate in their new (free!) block-of-the-month program, Harrington and Hannah! After taking a wonderful wool applique class last fall, I've had my eye out for projects that incorporate wool, and this is one that I'm really excited about. The first two blocks have been posted so far, and they are so cute!

I immediately got to work on my first block, and put the finishing touches on it today:

my first completed Harrington and Hannah block

This is a little different from the techniques I learned for wool applique in my class. This project suggests fusible web and a running stitch. I found it challenging (especially on the layered areas) to actually stitch all the way through the background fabric (the wool is thick!). Hopefully I caught the background fabric sufficiently that the pieces will all be secure. Between the stitches and the fusible web, it's probably fine. In wool applique quilts, does one usually quilt over the wool too? I'll need to start paying attention to the quilting when I see wool quilts in shows/shops.

I'm looking forward to block two!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hoppin' along with Hop to It

After all of the excitement of testing out border options for my Hop to It quilt, I realize that I never actually shared the final picks. Doh! So, here is the top with borders and all:

Robin's completed Hop to It top

I ended up going shopping and chose an inner border that actually looks pretty similar to my previous options, but it is cooler-toned and more blue/green than brown. Then I decided to bring the lightness I was craving into the outer border. I'm so happy with how they work together and with how the quilt looks as a whole. Huzzah!

This week, I managed to sit down and plan out my backing and get it pieced together. And then...

me sitting down and basting my Hop to It quilt... go me!

Basting! That's me in the picture above, keepin' it real with my crazy hair and surrounded by toys. I have to say, there is nothing like basting a quilt on the floor for making one feel old and decrepit. My back was killing me after this. But, the basting is done. Woo!

I took the plunge and entered this into my quilt guild's April show. Here's hoping they decide to hang it; based on my entry picture (of just 12 blocks hanging on a wall), they might decide I'm a lost cause and say no. LOL! Regardless, I'm motivated to get it quilted. I have a plan. Now I just have to get up the gumption to do it.

I won't mess up my quilt; I won't mess up my quilt...

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Thing, One Week Challenge: Gettin' my quiltin' on!

One Thing, One Week Challenge button

For this week's One Thing, One Week Challenge at Amy's Creative Side, my focus was to quilt my Whimsy project.

a detail shot of some of the quilting on the Whimsy baby quilt

Success!!! I went a little out of my box on this one by trying out straight-line quilting with my walking foot. I did end up doing a tiny bit of free-motion around the embroidery (just outlining the stitched circles), but everything else was with the walking foot. I'm glad I gave it a go as it is a fun look, but I learned that it is really not my favorite style to quilt. Free-motion is more challenging for me, but it is also more fun.

Next up: binding!

If you get a chance, take some time to browse through the other challenge participants' successes-- there is always lots of awesome creative energy and inspiration to be found!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another challenge week + pillow

Amy at Amy's Creative Side announced the latest One Thing, One Week Challenge yesterday. I immediately jumped on the bandwagon!

One Thing, One Week Challenge button

For the last challenge, I pushed myself to get my Whimsy quilt basted.

basted Whimsy quilt

This time, I want to get it quilted!

In other news, another birthday party = another Personalized Name Pillow:

name pillow for Jackson

Again, I used minkee for the back of the pillow. It has been received so well each time, I think that minkee is going to be my go-to choice for these pillows.

close-up of the hand stitched edge of the pillow

This is my fourth iteration of this design, and I'm finally starting to get the hang of hand stitching the open edge (if you look closely, you can see the line of hand-stitching in the picture above). I'm usually pretty good at this kind of thing, but trying to make my stitches look clean and happy with the combo of minkee and cotton has been challenging.

Seriously, this pattern rocks. So simple, and so happy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Playtime: the bowling pins

The final block of my American Jane Playtime quilt is the bowling pins:

Playtime: the bowling pins block

Though I usually prefer needleturn, for this block I actually took the time to do freezer paper/starch prep on every single piece. As it is a set of pins, I wanted them to be as close to identical as possible. Doing the prep also gave me a little more confidence with the spacing of everything as it allowed me to lay it all out before I started stitching. The pattern has the pins plain, but once I finished all of the applique, the block felt like it just wasn't finished. So I went back and embroidered a face onto each pin. It just felt like the right thing to do. And I think they turned out pretty cute. Certainly, they have more personality than plain pins would have!

Once I finished the block, I could not help myself from just putting the whole dang thing together:

my completed Playtime top!

Woo! After having worked on this project for three years now, I do have an inkling of a quilting plan in mind, but it needs a bit more work before I'll feel comfortable taking the plunge. Regardless, it is going to be a little while before it gets quilted as there are a couple of other tops that have higher priority. So I've got some time to figure it out.

Again, I say, Woo! :)