Friday, April 27, 2012

Back on the design wall...

...after a long hiatus:

progress on my Paintbox Quilt Along project - a completed top!

The last time I worked on my Paintbox Quilt Along project was just after Little Bear was born, back in 2010. At that point, I had managed to get all of the blocks pieced.

This week, I put together the top, the back, and got it all basted together. Yay, progress!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quilt Tour 2012

A few weeks ago I managed to escape for a day and participated in the Western Washington Quilt Shop Tour. There were 13 quilt shops across Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties that were a part of the tour. I managed to visit 12 in one day! Woo! (I made it to the last one the next morning.)

This year's theme was "Sew Northwest." Each shop designed its own block and then created a quilt that included all of the different blocks. One of my favorite aspects of the quilt tour is seeing all of the shop hop quilts! Each shop has such a unique style/aesthetic and the quilts they create for the hop really reflect that. As in previous years, I managed to take pictures of each of the shop hop quilts. You can check them out in the slideshow below. There are some really fun designs!

If you see a quilt you love, I encourage you to contact the shop-- many of them had patterns and kits available. So you could make one for yourself!

One clever new gimmick for this year, was that each shop had a different charm to give to shop hoppers who spent $10 or more in their shop.

my Western Washington Quilt Shop Tour 2012 charm collection

Of course I had to get all the charms! Silly, I know. But, it did feel good knowing that I was supporting my local shops. And I did get some very cute little charms (not that I know what to do with them now-- but they are cute!).

I love shop hopping! I know I say it again and again, but there is just something about shop hopping that really helps kindle my creative juices. Seeing all of the different samples, fabrics, and just enjoying the opportunity for a little time out and about, is such a treat for me. Since I did this tour, I've been so productive in the crafty room! It feels awesome.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Bunny Quilt"


The Bunny Quilt, front view

The design is from Edyta Sitar's book, Hop to It.

The Bunny Quilt, bunny block detail

The first block I completed was the bunny block, and somehow, my family just started calling it "The Bunny Quilt", as in, "Mama, are you working on the bunny quilt again?"

The Bunny Quilt, block 6 detail

It is all hand appliqued. After a lot of vacillating and fear (I was so afraid of messing it up!), I worked out a quilting plan: stabilizing quilting with walking foot (straight lines through the sashing, and in-the-ditch along the inner border); quilt each block; quilt the sashing and cornerstones; quilt the border.

The Bunny Quilt, block 11 detail

For the quilting, I decided on McTavishing for all of the applique blocks. Since it is a dense filler with a lot of traveling back on itself stitch-wise, I used Aurifil 50/2 for all of the quilting. I'm really pleased with how it came out! But boy, it was not fast. Each block took a little more than an hour to quilt. It was scary at first, but the design really is easy to work with and flows so nicely.

The Bunny Quilt, sashing/inner border detail

I went with curvy lines in the sashing diamonds. Then I found a design I liked in Keep on Quilting Pattern Pack #3 by Keryn Emmerson, and used it in the cornerstones.

The Bunny Quilt, inner border detail

The inner border was inspired by a border treatment I saw in passing at the Thimble Pleasures blog (which I saved to my pinboard so I wouldn't forget where I found it!). I just thought it was so pretty, and it looked like something I could do. I think it ended up working really nicely.

The Bunny Quilt, corner border detail

For the outer border, I did feathers. Woo!!! Did you hear that? I DID FEATHERS! (*feeling mighty proud*) I spent a lot of time practicing first. I practiced at every opportunity-- with crayons while the boys colored, with sidewalk chalk on the driveway, in my notepad while taking minutes at the preschool board meeting, on my husband's whiteboard, in the sandbox at school (tracing the design with my finger)-- if I had a free moment, I was feathering. After about a week of that, I finally sat at the machine to try. And I was able to do it. And it didn't look too bad! I am so happy with how it came out.

The Bunny Quilt, feather detail from back

The feathers are even more visible when one looks at the back.

The Bunny Quilt, back view

The backing was pieced from my border fabric rejects/leftovers as well as a little bit of stash (those birds have been in my stash since 1999!). I really love how it came together! Scrappy and happy.

The Bunny Quilt, view of label

And, of course, the label.

The Bunny Quilt, all folded up

Now I just need to find the perfect place to hang it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Look at what I did today...

thread basting my Jane Stickle quilt

Basted!!! Woo hoo!!!!

Many, many thanks to The Needle & I for allowing me to come in and use their classroom and tables (for 4-1/2 hours!) to get it done.

Any bets on how long it's going to take me to hand quilt it? :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilt show!

The Stray Threads Hollywood Encore Quilt Show was this past weekend. Stray Threads is my quilt guild, which means I got to participate in the show! I entered three quilts:

"Forest Canopy":

Forest Canopy quilt hanging at the show

I had to add a ginormous sleeve (88" long), but it was totally worth it to see this one hanging. Many thanks to my father-in-law who let me borrow the quilt to hang in the show!

"Autumn House":

There's me and Little Bear. Big Bear was there as well, but he wasn't feeling well and was disinclined to pose for the camera.

Lastly, "The Bunny Quilt":

Me and my Hop to It quilt

Pardon the weird lighting in the picture-- the quilt was hanging right in front of a window. This one was finished just in the nick of time! I'll be sharing more about this finish soon.

Seeing my quilts hanging in the show was awesome. There were some amazing quilts there, and it was truly a privilege to have my quilts hanging right there with them.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pillow frenzy!

It seems I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. It's not that I don't want to blog. But it seems that it has just dropped a little further down the priority list for me lately. Also, when I am working on the same project for big chunks of time, I kind of feel like I don't have a lot of new and interesting things to share. I spent the last two weeks very focused on quilting and finishing "The Bunny Quilt" (my name for the Hop to It quilt by Edyta Sitar). It was a lot of me sitting at my machine. Happily, that is done and it is now (as we speak!) hanging in the Stray Threads Quilt Guild's biennial show. Woo hoo! (I'll be sharing pictures of the finished quilt soon-- I'm hoping to get a picture of it at the show to share.) If you're in the area, the show goes through tomorrow, April 15th-- come by and see the quilts in person!

Anyway, I thought I'd ease myself back into the blogging spirit by sharing some recent Personalized Name Pillows (a fabulous pattern by Kimberbell Kids) that I've made. In February, our preschool held a silent auction fundraiser and I donated a customized name pillow. There was actually a bit of a bidding war! So much so, the fundraising chair asked me if I'd be willing to do two, so both bidders could win (and the school could earn that much more money!). Of course, I agreed.

For the first auction pillow, mama requested pink, purple, and green, "but not too girly." LOL! This is what I came up with (and, fortunately, mama and Taylor both loved it!):

Taylor pillow collage

The second pillow was left up to me to decide. I used the Alexander Henry car print as my color inspiration:

Sawyer pillow collage

And there have also been some birthday gifts. A pillow for Calvin (who is totally into Star Wars right now, thus the black, starry background):

Calvin pillow collage

One for Paige:

Paige pillow collage

And one for Claire:

Claire pillow collage

Phew! Despite the fact that I am nearing pillow-burn-out, the pillows have been so well received from each recipient (boys and girls alike!) that I have no doubt I'll be making more in the future as well. I just hope I get a little bit of a break before I start another.