Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Starry-Eyed Christmas Quilt

I finished a Christmas quilt in time to actually use it for Christmas! I think I started it early this year, abandoned it and finally dug out the almost finished blocks a few weeks ago to get 'er done.
Fabric: Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics.  I was lucky enough to pick up a bundle of this fabric after Christmas last year.  And even luckier that another shop had some yardage still left for me to bind it.

Here's my favorite part: the quilting.  I free-motion quilted a paisley pattern all over the quilt.  Technique found in Angela Walter's book Free-Motion Quilting. It was a bit tricky to figure out where to go next and how to get there.  You have to plan ahead a little bit, but once I got the rhythm down, it was pretty simple.  I could see how this would be very easy on a long arm quilting machine, but it's a little tricky on a domestic machine because you can't always see where you've been and where you're going.  I got myself into corners frequently, but eventually figured out how to get out of those easily too.

I love the texture the quilting created.

I'm playing roulette a bit with the backing.  I bought flannel sheets at Target when they were on sale for $20 a set . . . that's two quilt backs for $20! This one was a red flannel set and I washed it 5 times, using salt and vinegar to set the dye.  I would throw in a piece of my background fabric in each load.  The first time around it was very pink. By the 5th wash, it didn't look too pink anymore . . . I'm hoping that it was just fuzz from the flannel making it look pink at all.  Cross your fingers for me.  The flannel will make a nice cozy, cuddly quilt, but I hope I don't regret the red.

Bound in the red and white stripe from the Countdown to Christmas line.

Finished size: 64" x 80"
Finished Date: November, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm So Lucky!!!

I've been so lucky to win, not one, but two bundles of fabric over the last few weeks and they both arrived yesterday!!!
The lovely Amanda, has a beautiful, well-curated etsy shop called Westwood Acres.  She has a great collection of beautiful bundles and I was lucky enough to win this fat-eighth bundle of Lucky Penny by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.  Amanda is so kind and generous and I love that she's found a way to work from home and play with her gorgeous children too.  Pop on over and check out her collections.  I may or may not have bought a bundle of Chicopee and some dictionary prints too.  She has Lucky Penny and Notting Hill in stock too . . . hurry, go see, I'll wait.

I was also lucky enough to win a bundle of Amy Butler's Spots from the Fat Quarter Shop via Rachel's blog p.s. i quiltHow lucky is that?! I'm thinking this will be a king size quilt for my bed . . . it's about time I make one of those.  Right now, I'm considering a large herringbone pattern.  Can't wait to get started.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


No hobby should either seek
or need rational justification.
To wish to do it is reason enough.
–Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Halfway Through the Hustle

There are only 50 days left in 2012 and I've been "Hustle"-ing to get projects done and clean my slate for the new year. 
Kelsey Sews

Here's my list from 50 days ago and my progress:
1. Finish quilting the HST quilt and get it bound. 
2. Whoooo Are You Mini.

3. Halloween Table Runner.
It's ugly, so no picture, but it did get done.
4. Thanksgiving Dresdens Tablerunner.
I have made progress on the quilting, but still in a state of un-done-ness.

5. Christmas Stars Quilt.
Progress! Top is assembled and quilting has commenced.

6. Vintage Christmas.
No Progress.

7. Christmas Advent Calendar.
No Progress.

8. Terrain Hexagon Quilt.
No Progress.

9. Lots of Bee Blocks: Not Your Granny's Bee, NuBees, and Polaroids . . . all need to be put to use.
No Progress.
I've shamefully added a few other projects, but at least I'm making some progress on this list here and there.  Here's to another 50 days of hustling.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Scrappy Halloween Finish

This is Scrappy Halloween.

Scrappy Stash Quilt Along at Ellison Lane Quilts.  There's still time, if you hurry.  Here's the tutorial.

In the spirit of scrappy stash, the back is made from fat quarters and left overs found in my stash.

Free-motion quilting by me.  I started with diagonal lines and stitch-in-the-ditch radiating out from the center with the intent of making one large, dense spider web.  But the farther I got from the center, the sloppier it got.  So I added some diagonals and straight lines to the outer sets of 4 blocks and made 9 spider webs instead.
This left space between the webs that I filled with hundreds of little spiders and their webby trails.

Finished Size: 49" x 49"

Binding: Timeless Treasures Charcoal Sketch
(Now, a word about this fabric.  I bought this upon the recommendation of some fellow bloggers.  Although the print is really fun and a great blender, the fabric quality is atrocious.  I was trying to make hexagons with it and you can feel the difference, not to mention the horrible amount of fraying because of the loose weave.  If you care about quality, do not buy this fabric.)

Christmas Table Toppers Finish

I had hoped to have this quilt finished, but quilting hundreds of spiders is taking a lot longer than I had expected.

But the Halloween quilt WILL be finished today, because I need to get the top below done before Saturday.  My sister will be here and we'll be pinning quilts . . . "you pin my quilt and I'll pin yours."
I did, however, finish these table toppers.  I had some abandoned swoon blocks that were too Christmasy for the quilt I was making.  I just stitched them right sides together to the batting and backing, turned them inside out, edge stitched around the outside to close the opening and give it a good finish and then quilted them free-motion style.  They'll make nice little table toppers for a poinsettia or other little Christmas decoration.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quilting the Scrappy Halloween Quilt

I've been having fun with the quilting on my Scrappy Halloween Quilt . . . but it is taking forever!
I quilted a grid in the ditch of the blocks and then diagonally to make some asteriks shapes.  I used these as a guide to free-motion quilt a spiralling spider web out from the center.  I was going to go across the whole top with just one web, but the farther out I got, the messier in got.  I ended up with 9 webs.
In the spaces in between, I decided to quilt little spiders and their trailing threads of web.  Here's a little video of stitching a spider I was able to upload to my flickr stream, but not here (boo hoo . . . I'm becoming more and more technically un-savvy in my old age.)
On a side note, here's my cute family . . . they were testing the light while we waited for the entire extended family to gather.  This won't go on any Christmas cards or anything, but that's my fam (with me wrestling the 2-year-old to keep his hands out of his mouth).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Masking Tape and Rubber Gloves

Does that sound like the punch line of a bad joke? Well, it's how I do my straight-line quilting. And, actually, it's how I do free-motion quilting too . . . minus the masking tape. I use my gloved hands as a frame to hold my quilt sandwich taut which minimizes puckers. This and good basting have compensated for my lack of a walking foot.

Scrappy Stash Quilt Along

Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting the Scrappy Stash Quilt Along. I wasn't going to join because a) I need another project like I need a whole in the head and b) I didn't think I had enough scraps. But it was just too tempting and has been just too fun.

I finished my top this morning! It's rather small and I'm still considering how I might make it bigger, but I'm definitely scrapped out.

Here's my process . . . Using Jennifer's tutorial, I started out with gray because I did have scraps of those.

I realized I had black scraps, although the pieces were wonky-leftover-kaleidascope pieces . . . gives these blocks character.

Then a fun idea occurred. I dug out every remotely orange piece and dug through my stash for a few supplemental pieces. One ended up being a "use every last piece I have and make a kind of log cabin" block . . . still fun.

Here's what it looked like at that point.  This would have been fun, but would have required a fabric purchase to add more orange.

So I pulled purple and green scraps and cut strips from my stash.

Now I have a rather small, but finished quilt top.  Linking it up to Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish It Up Friday.

On a side note, my son is almost as tall as my sister. Ok, she is the shortest one in the family, but still . . . how did that happen?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Warm/Cool Diamond Quilt Complete

A completed quilt!
This quilt was made from 238 unique charm squares exchanged in a large color wheel swap.  I paired complementary colors to create the half-square triangles and arranged them in a diamond pattern using the warms and cools as rows.  (Which is the warm and which is the cool when you pair red-violet with green-yellow?--I let the surrounding colors define those pairs.)

I needed something colorful and large scale for the backing.  This is La Paloma from Alexander Henry.  I love that there are birds in this print.

Bound in a purple-y print from South Seas Fabrics.

Free-motion quilted by me on my li'l ol' domestic machine.  This post describes the quilting in more detail.

Wrinkled well in the dryer . . . soft and cuddly.

Finished Size: 56" x 68"
Finished Date: October 10, 2012

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Finish Along

I joined the 100 Day Hustle last week and I've already crossed a couple of things off that list, but I also wanted to join the Finish Along at Quilter in the Gap.  My WIP pile is embarrassingly large and I don't know how much of this I can finish by the end of the year, but it would sure be nice to "clean the slate" for the new year.
1. Bind the HST-Warm/Cool quilt
2. Dresden Plate table runner.  Wouldn't this be pretty on our Thanksgiving Table?

3. Spin Cycle quilt.  This should also be done by Thanksgiving so I can gift it to the lovely hosts of our annual pre-Turkey-day-pie-night. Blocks are done. Pattern by Allison of Cluck, Cluck, Sew.

4. Christmas Star quilt. Done by December, or Christmas at least.
5. Vintage Holiday quilt.  I have been a good girl and haven't even cut this one out, but I dream about it everyday and would like to finish it for Christmas decorating.
6. Advent Calendar.  Guess I better get this one done before December.
7. Abandoned Swoon blocks in Christmas colors need to become some table toppers.
8. I could not resist these scrappy log cabins and might join in the Scrappy Stash Quilt Along at Ellison Lane Quilts.  A finished quilt must be done by November 13 . . . hmmmm.
A few more things that I probably won't get done this year, but I'll add them to the list just in case.
9. Terrain Hexagon quilt.  I'd like to finish this so I can feel free to use the left overs for other projects.
10. Not Your Granny's Bee blocks will be exchanged this weekend.  I made a set of red/yellow ones too and will end up with a stack of charcoal-background blocks and white-background blocks. Do you think I could mash them together all in the same quilt???
11. Polaroid Block swap.  These little babies were fun to make and swap, but I'm not certain what to do with them now.
12. A red and white HST quilt.  This one stalled, but will be stunning if I ever finish it.
13. NuBee's Block Swap.  Red, white and blue.  If anyone wants to swap me something for that yellow and gray block in front, make me an offer. . . I made it for someone who dropped out and I'll never use it.
Well, that's quite a list.  There are a few more in the pile that I politely ignored, but this should be good for getting on with.