Finished! Sewing Room Quilt Top Additions

23 12 2015

I’m late in blogging about it, but I did actually complete my addition for the last quilt top in the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap.

I had a lot of disparate parts, that I needed to make into a cohesive whole. Making them whole would have been easy – COHESIVE was another matter entirely.

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 1

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 2

I kept letting myself get psyched out by the project. Frankly, I let myself get stuck on one idea, and couldn’t get myself out of the mental rut. Somehow, I’d convinced myself that I needed to make representational blocks – images of tools, essentially.

I couldn’t find patterns that I was willing to pay for, and I definitely didn’t feel up to designing something myself. So, I got stuck. Repeatedly.

Until finally, I re-read the description for the ‘plan’ for the quilt top, and realized that I could do something else entirely. Up to, and including, splitting the disparate parts that I had into two quilt tops, so that the original quilter would be able to hang her quilts on the wall.

Traveling Bee-utiful November

Ultimately, I decided to piece the words “DREAM” and “DESIGN”, to complement the word “CREATE”, which had been pieced by a previous quilter. I then sandwiched one of the panels between the words, and left the remaining panel (featuring a really awesome seam ripper) alone, to be its own mini-quilt.

In the end, I sent it out, pretty happy with what I’d done. I’d go back and change a couple of small things now, but it’s done, and so is this swap for the year.

A Fun Surprise for Me!

30 11 2015

I participated in the Trunk Full of Quilts digital trunk show/link-up, hosted by Soma of Whims and Fancies. Soma was generous enough to line up some prize packages for participants, and I won!

It’s so rare that I even try to win any give-aways on quilt blogs, that it was a huge, and very pleasant, surprise.

Trunk Show Prizes

The prize package included several goodies, including this box of Aurifil thread, and a voucher for a free Craftsy class.

  • Screenshot

I picked Mimi Dietrich’s Hand Applique course for my free class. I love the look of hand applique, but want to improve my technique before embarking on a project that’s long been on my wishlist: Erin Russek’s My Tweets.

In addition to these goodies, my choice of several digital patterns were included. I picked:

The final piece of the prize package was a $24 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop. I almost jumped the gun and bought some random yardage, but then I remembered that Black Friday is a thing, and I did my sole bit of Black Friday shopping:

Fibs & Fables Bundle

Yes, that’s a half quarter bundle of the Fibs & Fables by Anna Maria Horner. I finally drank the Anna Maria Horner Kool-Aid. I blame the Helios yardage. It’s my favorite print from the line, though I do like the rest of it – the exception being the Plaited print. It’s the one print in the entire line that I don’t anticipate using.

It was thrilling to win, and I’m so grateful to Soma for hosting the Trunk show, and to all the shops and pattern designers for sponsoring the event!

Trunk Full of Quilts

14 11 2015

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

Whims and Fancies is hosting a digital trunk show, so I decided to throw together a post and share some of my favorite finished quilts. I thought I’d move from oldest to newest, and include quilts that are favorites for sentimental reasons, as well as because I feel like it’s my best work.

Double Wedding Ring

This was not my first quilt, but close to it. This was my third quilt finished, ever. I made it back in the days before I’d found out about rotary cutters and sewing machines. Yes, this was hand-pieced and hand-quilted in the most traditional of ways! I started it shortly after meeting the man who would become my husband, though I didn’t finish it until after we’d been married. I worked on this thing for three years, and still love it. It’s been retired, to keep from washing this quilt to pieces.

Christmas Cactus Quilt Full View Front

This is a favorite of mine because it was designed by my friend, Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts. She did it as a quilt-along on her blog, and I loved seeing the different versions of this as others pieced along.
CotFW, Round 1 - From EQ to Quilt

I made this quilt as I was working on the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-Along (which is still not finished). I needed a break from that project and decided something ‘fast and easy’ was on the menu. Every aqua and purple fabric in my stash was pulled for this. In the end, I almost prefer the backing of this quilt, for its minimalist modernity.

CotFW, Part Deux - From EQ to Quilt

This was another quilt completed when cheating on the Farmer’s Wife. I noticed that I had quite the scrap bucket going, and was intrigued both by ‘found fabric’ and minimalist design. I spent some time finalizing an idea in Electric Quilt, and went to town. This didn’t really put a dent in my scraps, but it was fun, and a quilt I still love to cuddle under.

High Tea Quilt Front

This was pieced in order to pattern test for Adrienne of On the Windy Side. Though I pulled entirely from my stash, I was initially fairly underwhelmed by my fabric choices. At the same time, it was nice to see prints that I’d hung on to finally going to use. In the end, I love how calm this quilt is.

Embers - Front

I avoided the Swoon pattern for quite a while, but ultimately decided to go with my urge to make this quilt. I re-drafted the pattern, to make the blocks 16″ square. I love how the pinks, oranges, and yellows glow.

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Front

Yes, I use a lot of greys in my quilts! This is from another Camille Roskelley pattern – Night Sky. I made this as part of a quilt-along that never reached completion. The hostess suddenly stopped posting to her blog. By that point, however, I was well and truly committed, and had decided to go with one of my favorite color combinations (greys, yellows and white).

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt

This is my most recent finish, and was made as part of a mystery-quilt-along, hosting by Desert Bloom Quilting. I started piecing as the last few clues were being posted. I worked entirely from my stash, and once I’d finished it, this quilt went to its forever home. I had some friends that I felt needed to have a reminder of how much they are cared for.

Since we’re getting into the holidays, there won’t be any new quilt finishes for me in the near future. I manage a retail location, so the next six weeks promise to be a wonderful slice of… um… Well, suffice to say that this is never my favorite part of the year.

So, in case I am MIA through the end of the year, happy holidays to all, and even better, happy quilting!

Traveling Bee-utiful – November

1 11 2015

I’ve had my Traveling Bee-utiful quilt top-in-progress for the month of November for a while now – two weeks maybe?. I got it up on my design wall and photographed about a week ago. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been kind of worried about and dreading this one…

It’s a sewing room themed quilt top. You’d think that would be something of a snap for me, but this is the last stop on this quilt’s journey, so I’ve got the work of several different quilters to unify. Kind of terrifying, in a creative, don’t want to screw this up way.

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 1

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 2

The quilt top is actually in three segments, along with an extra block.

I have a bit of unpicking to do, I think – the section bordered in black has some places where it wasn’t seamed. This is leading to some of the distortion in that section. I’d like to fix that, before I start adding to this.

As for what I will add, I have a few paper-pieced block patterns that I think will work well. I just have to piece them, and decide just how to add them, keeping the entire composition in mind. This is intended to be a wall hanging, so I’ve got to keep that foremost in my design plans too.

WIP Wednesday – The One in Which I Attempted to Post Earlier…

14 10 2015

It was almost 2 AM, very early on Wednesday morning, when I started this post. I’d hoped I could have it done before I had to work eleven hours. I started falling asleep before getting through the post, so now, at 10:00 PM, I’m going to finish.

I received the top-in-progress for my October contribution to the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap earlier this month.

Traveling Bee-utful - October

Unlike previous tops, this one was too big to reside on my design wall, so I didn’t get to ruminate on a design the way I usually do: in the back of my head, while I go about other projects. I like to take a look at these tops, and then go to work. I find that I solve a lot of my creative issues while I’m walking around the sales floor, figuring out solutions to other problems.

Traveling Bee-utiful OctoberNot having the top up where I could see it daily, I felt a distinct difference in how I approached this top. Usually, the design process feels very organic. This time, I had force myself to consider things in a very condensed period – I was late on sending out last month’s top, and I don’t want to repeat that this month. I had today off, so I tried to be very conscious about having a design picked out. I wanted to use my time off effectively.

As I tried to figure out design, I ran into a stumbling block right away. As is, the long sides of the quilt top measure 74.5″.

Try as I might, I found it difficult to create/design borders for that length. No numbers divide nicely into 74.5″ (or even 74″, which would be the finished size to shoot for). However, this top is already fairly busy – there’s a lot going on here!

Ultimately, I decided that less would be more, and thought multi-hued stars would be the way to go. I decided on Martha Washington Stars, because I could sew their center pinwheels using a black background print, to give them some unity. I knew I wanted to make each of them out of a different color fabric – the theme to this top is ‘Rainbow Brite’, after all. I also decided that the stars needed to float on their background, to combat how busy everything else is.

Design decided on, it was a simple matter to decide on background fabric – I have a few yards of a black mini-dot on white fabric, which will coordinate nicely with the other black on white background fabrics used in the top thus far. I also knew that I’d want to use the same fabric for the center pinwheels of the stars. Easy peasy – I have that on hand too.

From there, it was just a matter of hitting the stash for 16 different fabrics for each of the 16 stars I’ll need to make for the two borders. Yes, just two, because I don’t want this thing becoming disproportionately long.

Rainbow Brite Fabric Pull

Fabric pulled, it was a quick job of starching, pressing and cutting. That done, I was able to get all of my sub-units pieced, though not entirely trimmed:

A Good Day's Work

My plan for this evening is to get all of my sub-units trimmed. I’d like to be able to focus on chain-piecing everything on Thursday night.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Finished! Spice Garden, a Mystery Quilt

22 09 2015

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery QuiltMeasures Approximately 77″ X 91″

Yes, it’s finished! The mystery quilt I started on 30 August 2015.

Actually, it was finished on 16 September, but I wanted to wash it before I took photos.

For the backing, I used an Art Gallery Rhapsodia print:

Rhapsodia, Tibet Blockprint BlueRhapsodia, Tibet Blockprint Blue

I ran across a sale for yardage in an Etsy shop, and bought six yards of the Tibet Blockprint a few months ago. The background color is actually nearly an exact match for the Cotton & Steel Peacock solid fabric I used in the quilt top.

I even pushed myself to match the print on the backing, so it would be hard to tell that I had two lengths of the fabric for the back.

The instructions for the mystery quilt are available at Desert Bloom Quilting. The top finishes as approximately 56″ X 70″, without borders. In my zeal to use every last bit I could of the Effervescence fabric, I added a 10″ wide border to each size. By the way, a lot of credit goes to the quilters in /r/quilting, for helping me work out my border woes.

The instructions called for the following amounts:

Light/Background      1 ¾ yards
Medium 1                      1 ¼ yards
Medium 2                      1 ½ yards
Dark                               2 ½ yards (This is generous, and should leave enough to do a 2″ border on the quilt top.)

All told, I think I used an additional quarter yard of fabric for the first three fabrics, due to the border treatment I used. I was able to use up a total of four yards of the Effervescence, which was my ‘dark’ fabric. Altogether, I burned through roughly 15 yards of fabric, when adding in the additional Kona Berry I used for the inner border, and for the binding.

It feels good to use the fabric, rather than just accumulate it. It feels better to see my son ask to be wrapped up in a quilt that I made, or to have several quilts on the bed, instead of a mass-produced comforter.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at crazy mom quilts. Also linking with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Mainlining a Mystery…

4 09 2015

Quilt, that is.

After finishing with August’s contribution to the Travel Bee-utiful Swap, I considered my options. I’m very, very close to finishing my Swirling Sea of Stars – so close, I only need to complete three blocks.

Could I find the oomph to finish those blocks?

Of course not.

Instead, I started another new project. Desert Bloom Quilting, for whom I’d tested a baby quilt that hasn’t posted to this block, has been posting instructions for a mystery quilt for the last few months. The instructions have been posted at the rate of about one clue per week, since about May. The final clue was to be posted today.

This past Sunday, August 30, I decided to start this mystery quilt. I started pulling fabrics:

DBQ Mystery - Fabric Picks

I used the ‘dark’ fabric as my inspiration for the other fabrics. It’s actually more of a medium value, in comparison to the three solid fabrics. I went with it as the ‘dark’ anyway, as it’s the only print in the batch.

For those who are curious:

Light Fabric – Connecting Threads solid. No longer sure which color.
Medium 1 Fabric – Kona Cotton Berry
Medium 2 Fabric – Cotton & Steel Solid in Peacock
Dark Fabric: Effervescence Bubbles in Bright, by Amanda Caruso for Robert Kaufman

And, yes, everything was already in my stash. Well, except for being short NINE INCHES of the Kona Berry. I ended up ordering some online, and then got impatient and bought a yard at Joann’s for the ridiculous price of $8.99 a yard. I call that price ‘highway robbery’.

I’m quite pleased that I shopped my stash. I ended up using everything I had of the Connecting Threads solid, have enough Kona Berry left to bind the quilt, and only have about 3/4 of a yard of the Effervescence left. So, fabrics pulled, I then proceeded to make the entire quilt top, per the clues. I ended up finishing the top on Wednesday night:

DBQ Mystery - Quilt TopI then had to decide on a border. I don’t normally feel the need to add a border to a quilt top, but I definitely thought this top needed it. Per the fabric instructions, I had more than enough of the Effervescence to simply add a 2″ to 4″ border, but I didn’t feel like that was an effective use of the fabric.

The reason for that is that the Effervescence print actually includes a 9″ border print along the length of the yardage. This single border is why I bought the fabric, and so much of it. I’d thought I might make a skirt out of it.

I posted a few options to the subreddit /r/quilting, and got some wonderful feedback. Based on these suggestions, I ended up deciding to add a thin (1″ wide) Kona Berry border, and then to add another, more complex 9″ wide one:

DBQ Mystery Quilt Top - Bordered II

The border was added Thursday night, after I’d had a nap. My body decided I’d shorted it on sleep too often, in order to sew.

I did make a mistake when piecing the border. If you look at the bottom of the photo, the border print is actually cut at the wrong direction… I cut a trapezoid, rather than a parallelogram. Honestly, I’m not going to change it. I’m happy with the quilt as it is, and these things happen. At least the quilt top is finished, and is flat and square.

Desert Bloom Quilting named her quilt top ‘Secret Garden.’ I think I’m going to name mine Secret Spice Garden, as a nod to her design and to my color choices.

2015 Finish-Along – Q3 Goals

11 07 2015

It’s time to plan out what I’d like to accomplish for the third quarter of the year. At least for the 2015 Finish-Along. I’d like to finish quite a few of my projects, but I’ve still got to figure out what I can handle with my new schedule.

That said, some of these things just shouldn’t wait anymore:

Charmed, I'm Sure

My backing is pieced, the top is done. I have batting. I just need to use the tables at work to pin baste it, because there is no way that I’m going through that ordeal on the floor. Nope. No. Nothin’ doin’. Of course, that means I need time at work, when I’m not working…

Seven More Blocks

As the time of taking this photo, I only needed seven more blocks to complete the top. I know I’m now down to less than that. In fact, I think I’ve pieced too many of one star color way. Oh, well. Such is life. The extras can go into the backing.

Regardless, I think I can get this to a completed quilt in the next three months. Right?

Botanical BOM 2012 Top

Garden Party’s Quadrille makes a reappearance. The challenge here is that I really would love to do some outstanding quilting on this one. I want to emphasize the shapes presented by the setting of the blocks. I do have the backing fabric purchased, though I’ll need to add to it. Wide backs aren’t wide enough for this quilt.

Sunsets and White Beaches

Sunsets and White Beaches makes yet another appearance on this list. *sighs* I am SO sick of putting this one on my list. For my own sanity, I need to get it off my list. By finishing it, of course. Sometimes, though, the hand-quilting makes me want to set fire to the thing. I’ve been working on it again, so that’s something. But, UGH, hand-quilting.

So, those are my goals for this next quarter. I’m probably reaching for too much again, but I want more quilts in my house!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

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.