Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Joining The 100 Day Hustle

I definitely need some motivation to shrink my WIP pile and saw this fun link-up.

Kelsey Sews

Essentially, there are 100 days from the first day of fall (Sept. 22) until the end of the year.  The goal is to "clean the slate" for the beginning of the new year.  Here's my extensive list of WIPs that I would like to be finish so I can feel the freedom to create in 2013.

1. Finish quilting the HST quilt (and come up with a better name *wink*) and get it bound.

2. Whoooo Are You Mini.  I broke my resolve and started something new before the above quilt was done.  Now it is another WIP (hang my head in shame).

3. Halloween Table Runner.  I just need to get this one bound.

4. Thanksgiving Dresdens.  This might be a 2-year WIP.  I'd love to finish it so I feel free to use the left overs for other fun designs.

5. Christmas Stars Quilt.  This one is buried . . . deep.  I think the blocks are close to being finished.  I'd love to cuddle under it by December.

6. Vintage Christmas.  This is such an adorable and simple pattern.  I'd love to have this one done for Christmas too.

7. Christmas Advent Calendar.  I have a tree pieced and all the ornaments done; I just need to design what goes around the tree and get 'er done.

8. Terrain Hexagon Quilt.  I don't know if my resolve is strong enough to get this one done soon, but I'll add it to the list . . . maybe that will be good motivation.

9. Lots of Bee Blocks: Not Your Granny's Bee, NuBees, and Polaroids . . . all need to be put to use.

There're others rattling in my brain, but perhaps if I get this list finished, I can get started on those in the new year.  I have an idea for a quilt made of lots and lots of pieced trees and another made of words, but I must, must, must reduce this WIP pile first.  Here's to a productive 100 last days of 2012. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Spy Quilt Finish

My I Spy Snowball Quilt is finally complete.  I exchanged 5" I Spy charms through several flickr swaps and private trades, adding to my already extensive stash of novelty prints to end with 300 charms for a twin size quilt.
Backed with a robot print from JoAnns (gasp, I know).  Joe has been watching Wall-E lately, so he thinks these are Wall-E and Eve.
Straight line quilting and striped binding, channeling Rita of Red Pepper Quilts . . . man that woman has mad skills.  I, on the other hand, apparently, cannot sew a straight line to save my life.  But like my mom always says, "It looks good from the stage."
And here's the munchkin for whom it is intended.  He'll be turning 2 next week, and this quilt will eventually be for a "big boy bed" . . . but since I've been through this before and he's my baby, I'm dragging out the crib entrapment for as long as I can *insert evil cackle here*.
Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Traditional Snowball (5" starting square, 2" squares sewn across the diagonal for the corners . . . may have done the calculations wrong, needing to cut the 2" on the diagonal and then sew with a 1/4" seam, but I didn't know how to line it up, so 2" squares it was.)
Fabric: A wide assortment of novelty charms, Kona White
Backing: Robot print from JoAnns
Binding: Red/White stripe from the Dr. Suess collection by Robert Kauffman
Finished Size: 68" x 90" (generous twin)
Finished Date: Today! September 18, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Quilting Beginning

I've been so inspired by Diane's new linky party where you post about the beginning of a project.  Since I'm almost finished quilting my I Spy quilt, I've been thinking about beginning the quilting on this HST-warm/cool quilt. 
The top has been done for a while now, but set aside in fear of how to quilt it.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of Angela Walter's new book, Free-Motion Quilting.  This book is amazing and has so many ideas.
I think I'm going to emphasize the diamond design by stitching a new pattern in each round.  I was even thinking of trying curvy patterns in the warm sections and more geometric-squarish patterns in the cool sections.  This will be a great opportunity to try out some of the designs on an already busy quilt.
I'm going to finish up that I Spy quilt, hopefully, today and get this basted over the weekend.  Here's to new beginnings.  Thanks, Diane, for some motivation!  Linking up at from the blank pages.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Numbers Quiet Book

It's fun to have a little one around again . . . we're working on numbers, so I threw together this little quiet book with prints from my stash.

I started with 7" squares for the pages and the 2 covers. I used fusible web to secure each object and number and used a really tight zig zag or satin stitch around the edges in a matching thread color.
The 8, 9, 10, and back cover pages shown above and below are sewn together.  With right sides of each page together, I stitched 1/4" around the 3 outside edges, leaving the binding edge open for turning and binding.  For example, the cover and page 1 make one page, so I placed page 1 on top of the cover, right sides together, and sewed them together, clipped the corners, then turned them inside out, making sure to poke the corners out to make a nice clean corner.  Pages 2 & 3 go together, 4 & 5 and so on.

Here's a great tutorial I used and I've based all of my soft books on this method.  However, I machine stitch the entire binding on in one fell swoop.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Baby Quilt Finish

Early this summer, I needed a quick baby quilt finish before my cousin moved away.  Allison of Cluck, Cluck Sew happened to post about this tutorial for a quick and easy quilt just in the nick of time.  Cutting commenced that night and the top was finished the next day.
My cousin loved the colors and even suggested using this quilt as a launching pad for nursery decorating.
Quilting: I tried something new! This elongated, free-motion "finger" thingy.  It was a bit tricky to not get stuck in a corner and to keep the lines even, but was still a quick way to quilt.
Quilt Stats
Fabric: Lollipop by Sandy Gervais for Moda
Back: from a Riley Blake line
Finished Size: 36" x 40"
Finish Date: June, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Have Exactly 299 Safety Pins

Ask me how I know.  Go ahead, ask.
Funny you should ask . . .
It's because I needed 300. ;)
Basted, minus one, and quilting has commenced.

String-x Quilt Finish

I finished stitching the binding on this quilt last night.  Some early morning sun really makes the quilting pop.  And check out that clear, blue sky.  After a summer of fires, it sure is nice to see the sky.
Pattern: String-x using the combo of this tutorial from Quiltville and this tutorial from Nittany Block Party to add the white borders.  I made really long sets of strings and then cut what I need from those.  This made left-over triangles that I turned into flying geese for the border.

Fabric: Domestic Bliss by Liz Scott for Moda Fabrics.  This was 2 charm packs and a fat-eighth bundle of solids from Pink Chalk Fabric.  I used Kona white for the borders and Kona coal for the corners.

Quilting: Free-motion quilting by me on my little ol' machine.  I found the idea for the center pattern from a book from my local library.  Wish I remember what it was. I thought about doing some straight line quilting 1/8" from both edges of the white border, but I have not the patience for that right now, so I'm calling it done.
Backed and bound with prints from the line.
Finished size: 49" x 67"
Finish date: September, 2012. (Started in February, 2012.)
I'm linking up to Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenge.  My goal was to finish this quilt so I could get my pins back ;)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Christmas Beginning

There's a million other things I need to finish first, but this pattern arrived in the mail today. I have about half of a fat quarter bundle of Sweetwater's Countdown to Christmas line left over from another yet-to-be finished quilt, but I'm excited to know what I'll use it for. 

I'm going to be really good and finish 3 other quilts before I start this one: a string-x quilt that is just about bound, my I spy quilt that is ready for quilting, and my hst/value quilt that is also ready for quilting. There's a large pile of other WIPs, but this will be good motivation to get those 3 done.
I'm linking up to Diane's linky party at from blank pages.

Scrappy Bow-Tie Quilt Finish

I participated in the Scrappy Bow-Tie block swap over on flickr this spring.  It was a fun, new adventrue to participate in a block swap.  Although the quality of what I received was sometimes disappointing, I was glad to be involved in the social experience of swapping blocks and then the exercise of making them all work together.
I decided to sort them by color in groups of 4 to create a larger block . . .
and then distributed the blocks to balance color and value.
This was destined for a talent auction at our family reunion, so I used a striped sheet for the backing and binding.

I free-motion stippled the entire quilt . . . a quick quilting finish.
And a signature to claim it as mine.
Quilt Stats:
Fabric: assorted scraps, twin-size flat sheet for back and binding
Pattern: Scrappy Bow-Tie
Finished Size: about 60" x 60"
Quilting: free-motion stippling by me
Finish Date: May 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How I Quilted a Curved Feather

I am a complete novice at making any kind of feather, but here is the method I used to create the curved feathers in my Retro Flowers Quilt petals.  I don't have a long-arm . . . just my trusty Bernina, a darning foot, and lowered feed dogs.
I created a template for the spine of each feather.  I hate to mark, so I just lay it on the quilt and use it as a guide to stitch around.  I use this method frequently (see the stars on the Independence Day Quilt and the large petals on the Heirloom Quilt). The template gets pretty beat up, but I think it beats marking any day.
You'll notice a mark on the template.  That's where I stopped, removed the template and then stitched on the same line back to the beginning.  I've since learned that it looks nice to create an increasing gap as you return to the beginning . . . just like on a real feather's spine.
I began on the outside of the curve, creating the "bubble" on the outside of the feather.  Another thing I wish I had done: curved the spine in a little bit at the beginning (creating more of an "s" shaped spine) so there was a little more room for that first bubble.  I got into a rhythm, creating the outside bubbles all around the outside curve.
When I reached the end of the spine, I made sure the last bubble blended into the end of the spine.  At that point, I started to create the bubbles on the inside curve.
The picture below doesn't show it very well, but the inside bubbles on that tight inner curve were really long.  The inside curve of the bubble creates the shape of the next bubble . . . almost like a yin yang sign.
Continue on the inside curve until you reach the end.  At this point, I just stitched a few stitches to the next petal and only cut threads when I had finished all four petals
My mantra is to learn something new on each quilt I make.  This was a new challenge and I certainly learned some things that would make it look better next time.  Don't be afraid to try.  After all, crappy quilting won't stop it from being a cozy blanket, right?