2015 Finish-Along Q2 Round Up

3 07 2015

The second quarter of the year, and the 2015 Finish-Along, proved to be a bit of a bust for me. For those of you that haven’t followed along, the 2015 Finish-Along is a year-long, linky party, where each participant works to complete as many projects as possible.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Technically, I finished two projects, but am not allowed to blog about one of them. Thus, for the purposes of the 2015 Finish-Along, I only finished one:

High Tea Quilt Front

I’d had plans to finish two more projects that have been waiting a while, but I’m now working six days a week. I’m still figuring out how to balance having a life, sewing, and managing a household. I *could* work two eleven hour shifts per week, to get back to only working five days a week. Honestly, though, I’m not sure that I want to.

Especially since I’m sure that my hours will only increase more as we move toward the holiday season. Seriously, I have to think about this. I work in retail. I have to be holiday ready in four months, and will be constantly flexing my store to accommodate my stock levels as merchandise moves.

Anyway, enough about the holidays. Back to quilting…

I can’t wait to share the other project I finished. I can tell you it’s a baby quilt, and that I’m going to be sending it to a friend in Minnesota who just had her first baby. I attempted free-motion quilting on my new machine. I’m… okay with the efforts, but want to improve my technique. I’m not sure it’s possible, as I have this huge mental disconnect with FMQ. I have, however, purchased two Craftsy courses on FMQ, to try to leap over this hump.

In addition to these two quilts, I’ve kept up with my Traveling Bee-utiful obligations. Last month’s farm quilt was fun, but I’ve been looking forward to this month’s arrival for a while. It still hasn’t shown up, and, with the 4th of July, now will not arrive until early next week at the earliest. I’m still excited. I can’t wait to work on this one. It’s not in my usual colors, so it’ll push me out of my comfort zone a little.

Photos when I get it, I promise.

Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee – June

30 06 2015

June was a fun month for the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee. I received 16muddyfeet‘s top-in-progress. She requested a farm theme to her quilt. 16muddyfeet said she wasn’t afraid of color, and encouraged us to be free with our additions. I needed no further encouragement.

I immediately knew I wanted to add more animals – it was just a matter of what animals to add. I ended up buying several patterns from an independent designer, BubbleStitch, on Etsy. I highly recommend the patterns available through this shop. I’ve made three of them now, after having purchased quite a few. I think I own nine of the patterns available through BubbleStitch.

The quilt top arrived to me at an odd-size: 52.75″ X 53.75″ or so. I ended up narrowing my animals (from the patterns I’d purchased), to the Piglet, Chick, and Rabbit. I elected to re-draw the patterns in EQ7, in order to get them as large as I’d need (about 15″ each).

From there, it was a matter of piecing, which I ended up not wanting to do. Not because I didn’t want to contribute, but because it’s so flaming hot in my apartment right now! Our AC is not working optimally, and we have terrible air flow. Every time I sat down to sew, I started sweating like crazy.

Piglet Block

Chick Block

Bunny Block

From there, it was a matter of adding the blocks to the top-in-progress. I’d known I needed to sash it, and already had the idea that I wanted a black and white print to space them out. It didn’t take much auditioning – I needed something simpler and more stark than the blocks to make it work.

Since the quilt measured such an odd size, I made the sashing between the blocks finish at 2″ wide. The sashing at each end of the quilt was cut wider, so that I could simply trim it down once I’d sewn my blocks to the greater whole.

Farm Quilt Top

The entire quilt top-in-progress was almost too large for my design wall, so I had to take a photo at an awkward angle. I tried to take a better picture, on the floor at work:

Farm Quilt IIOverall, I’m very happy with my additions, though I feel like they might be too heavy right now. We’ll see how I feel as others add to the top. After all, we’ve another six or so months to go!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Scrappy Quilt Entry: 3xS

18 05 2015

I have a second entry for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival! This one is for the Scrappy Quilts Category: 3xS (Stars, Squares, and Scraps).

3xS Completed Quilt Front3xS (Stars, Squares, and Scraps)
61″ X 61″
Started: 11/20/2014      Finished: 01/27/2015

This was a very quick project for me… I’ve made a habit of managing my scraps by cutting them into 2.5″, 3″, and 5″ squares. I decided finally to put some of them to use, and put the top for this quilt together in very short order. I know that the background fabric is a Connecting Threads solid, but I don’t believe that it’s produced any longer – I’d had 20 yards of it in my stash for quite a while.

I started piecing on November 20, 2014, and completed the top on December 6, 2014. As per usual, the top sat for a while, until I could arrange for time to use a friend’s mid-arm. This was the second quilt I’d done on that frame, and I decided to play.

3xS Quilting Detail

I used a wool batting, another first for me, and found it quite wonderful to work with. As I quilted, I started with three leaf clover designs in an all-over, free-hand movement. As I got more comfortable, I tried outlining some of the clovers, and found that to be successful, so I incorporated those throughout the quilt.

3xS Completed Quilt Back

The backing ended up being scrappy as well, as I started running out of larger pieces of yardage at this point. I didn’t want to order something specifically for this particular quilt, because it was scrappy to start with. Everything, including the binding came from my stash, which makes me really happy. I have a lot of stash that has been sitting, and I do want to work my way through it.


Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Modern Quilt Entry: Embers

17 05 2015

For the first time ever, I’m able to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy’s Creative Side. It’s been a very good year for me to be finishing projects. For the Modern Quilt Category, I am submitting Embers: Embers - Front

75″ X 75″

I started piecing the blocks for this top just as Swoon fervor was quieting down, in August of 2013. I re-drafted the block, bringing the finished size to 16″, down from the 24″ called for by the pattern. I wanted more blocks, and more variety in fabric. I’d decided early on that the blocks would all have some combination of pink, yellow, and orange. I also knew that I’d use Kona Coal as my background fabric – it’s my go-to neutral, and I loved the way the colors glowed against it.

I pieced as I felt the urge, and had a completed quilt top by November of 2013.

The top languished from that point on. I’d been frustrated by attempts to do FMQ on my home machine, and didn’t feel any ambition to get past the mental block.

This year, however, I am following along with the 2015 Finish Along, and A Lovely Year of Finishes. Just the impetus I needed. In February, I made arrangements to use a friend’s mid-arm machine, and FINALLY quilted this up.

Embers - Detail

I decided to play with the quilting, and tried a meandering flame design.

Embers - Back

The backing ended up a touch more scrappy than I planned – I’d ordered the same print in two colors. Upon receiving the yardage, I discovered that the red was actually in two separate cuts. Rather than try to match the pattern, I decided to piece in a panel of orange fabric.

The backing didn’t quilt up nicely – I ended up with a sizable pucker that I didn’t find until I’d finished quilting. I used a black batting, and the batting was very heavily textured. The texture resulted in a lot of friction, and the batting clung to the backing, even on the frame.

So, the quilt isn’t perfect, but I’m very happy with it. I learned a lot about my batting choices, and about quilting on a mid-arm. I gained a lot of confidence, and feel like I might be ready to tackle more complicated quilting.


WIP Wednesday – Winged Square Blocks

13 05 2015

Stitch ‘N’ Bitch was this past Saturday. I brought my new sewing machine – a Brother SQ9185, hoping to take my first stitches on it. I’d purchased the machine as Bessie, my Brother PC420, desperately needs to be serviced – her timing is way off – but the local service shop has a terrible reputation, and I’ve heard that they’ve had machines for ten months or more for servicing. I don’t want to hand over my machine, and be without it for possibly a year, without having something on hand to sew with. Nor do I want to pay $100 or more for the ‘privilege’. So, I bought a machine, and I’ll research other options in neighboring cities.

Anyway, rant over.

To start myself off, I dusted off one my projects and brought the tote along… Yeah, there were a LOT of HSTs that needed to be trimmed. As in, hundreds of HSTs.

That was how I spent Saturday.

Incidentally, my new machine purchase spurred Sandi’s brother to surprise his fiancée with the same machine, since it only cost $200. She was very surprised to go up for lunch and find a new machine waiting for her for Mother’s Day.

So, many, many, many HSTs later, I was able to finally start piecing blocks. Over the last couple of days, I made six:

Winged Square Blocks - 6 More

To be added onto this:

Winged Square - Top in Progress

Another 14 more blocks in the aqua and pink combination and I’ll be able to add another round onto that top. Thankfully, these seem to go quickly, so I’m hoping to have that round done in a week or so.

Linking to Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday!

I just need another

Traveling Bee-utiful Additions for April

9 05 2015

I ended up getting two tops-in-progress for the month of April. Not a big deal – I was up to the challenge! Or so I thought…

The first top-in-progress was not a challenge. The original quilter requested a single, sashed block from each of us, with our signature on it. I picked a block I really like from one of my reference books and modulated my usual really strong color choices a bit, to better blend with the previous blocks. I think my color choices were still really strong in comparison, but maybe it’ll blend better as we progress through the year.

Traveling Bee-utiful April for SunseakObviously, acid green had to make an appearance, and I was enamored of the tiling-like print, so they went together. I happened to have that emerald green solid from a clearance purchase, and I thought it made a lovely median between the acid green and cerulean.

It was when I got to the second top in progress that I faltered. The theme for this one was ‘Well Traveled’. I instantly wanted to map out my travels in fabric, but that proved harder than anticipated. To give you an idea… I was born in the Philippines, and, as a military brat, spent time in Italy, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma. As an adult, I moved to Illinois, and have traveled to Indiana, and then returned to Wisconsin.

I went through idea after idea, discarding most of them. Mainly because I didn’t want to piece a bunch of buildings, because previous additions to the quilt were all animal related. Also, because they were very complicated, and I wasn’t in the mood for complicated.

Despite saying that, I decided that I had to pay homage to the Philippines, for sure. I ended up drafting a sun block, taking the sun motif from the Philippine flag. The sun symbolizes unity, freedom, people’s democracy and sovereignty. The eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that began the 1896 revolution against Spain.

I also decided to pay homage to Texas, and purchased an armadillo pattern on Craftsy. I enlarged it quite a bit, to match the finished size of my sun (14″ square).

For everything, I raided my slim stash of batik fabrics. I’ve never been able to bring myself to get rid of them, and I’m so glad I didn’t now, despite not finding them appealing anymore.

Traveling Bee-utiful April for ForestbucketsI’m still tempted to see if I can iron out ideas for the other places I’ve lived, but we’ll see if my creativity is up to the challenge. Drafting one block was all right. I’m not sure that I’m up to drafting several more.

Anyway, both of these are now in their May homes, and I’m without a swap project for this month. I am, however, already looking toward June…

Finished – High Tea Quilt

8 05 2015

Feeling slightly accomplished, though I haven’t done much sewing lately.

High Tea Quilt Front

Over the course of two sessions at Sandi’s home, I quilted High Tea. I used a loopy meander, feeling like this top needed something to soften its very strong lines.

High Tea Quilt Back

For the backing, I stuck to using stash, and used up the fabrics you see here. Don’t ask me what they are… I know that the print on the right was a Joann’s print, and that I got the other two fabrics on http://www.fabric.com, but no longer recall any other details. These fabrics were just sitting there, because they’re such large prints. I thought they went very well with the quilt top.

Though you can’t see much of it in the photos, the binding is also a Joann’s print, a black and grey stylized floral. I actually hated this print, quite a bit, until I was digging through my stash and realized that it would be perfect for the binding for this project. Luckily, I had just enough of this print to make the binding.

High Tea Quilting Detail

I have to be honest – the goal was to get it done, and get it on the bed, so I didn’t put a lot of thought into quilting it. It’s large enough for my husband and I to sleep under, though I have the feeling he’s going to wrap himself up like a burrito in it.

Enjoying a Quilt

I attempted to photograph the quilt yesterday, but it was so bright out that the colors got all washed out. While trying to get a decent photo, my son decided to show how much he enjoys my quilts.

When attaching the binding to this top, I decided to try ladder-stitching it in place on the back, and I’m a convert! It’s so clean looking – I’m never going back to my previous method, which was more of an applique stitch.

Now, I’ve got to decide what I want to work on tomorrow. It’s Stitch ‘N’ Bitch Day at Sandi’s, and I would like to work on some piecing… I really should work on something already in progress, rather than starting a new project.

Linking up to crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday. Also linked to Confessions of a Fabricaholic for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 133 other followers