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!

Piecing as an Avoidance Mechanism

4 11 2015

I had Tuesday off from work, so I planned for Tuesday to be a sewing day. I thought I’d buckle down and work on the November’s sewing commitment.

Yeah, not so much.

I let myself get psyched out by it again, and instead decided on some easy piecing. Over the course of the day, with several breaks for meals, kiddo time, and napping, I put together a crib sized quilt top.

Quick Quilt Top

I used my pre-cut scraps stash, diving into my neutrals bucket and using a good portion of the 2.5″ squares. I also used more of the Cotton & Steel Peacock solid fabric. Eventually, I’ll use up the entirety of the six yards I bought.

The quilt top measures 40″ X 40″ (finished), and should be a breeze to quilt. I figure I’ll do straight line quilting, to keep it simple, and manageable on my domestic machine.

Apparently, this particular pattern ( a riff of the Made in Cherry pattern by Sarah Fielke) is going to be a go-to pattern for me. It’s a riff, because the original pattern called for charm squares. In addition to using 5″ squares, I’ve previously made this with 3″ squares. The 3″ squares make for a quilt top that finishes at about 50″ X 50″.

Of course, it helps that I can throw one of these babies together with very little math, and a whole lot of variation, depending on the fabrics used.

Linking to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

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.

Finished! Rainbow Brite Additions

22 10 2015

October Addition Complete

I finally completed attaching the borders to Rainbow Brite this morning. I’d set it aside for a couple of days, frustrated.

I’d made the mistake of assuming that the quilt top would be the same length on each side, and measured down the middle for 74.5″ inches. I made my borders to fit that measurement, and when I pinned them on in preparation to sew, I discovered that one side was 1/2″ short, while the other was 3″ short.


I was not prepared to take the central quilt panel apart in anyway – I’ve done that once already this swap – and I just don’t have that kind of time left in the month. I ended up replacing the sashing strips at either end of both borders, to make up the differences. Not a big deal (I guess?), but it makes me worry about the final product.

Regardless, it’s done, and I like my additions. If I had this quilt next month, I know exactly what I’d add, but this will be going to it’s last temporary home before returning to the original quilter at the end of November.

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.

A Little Catching Up…

4 10 2015

This week and last were both 50-hour work weeks for me. We experienced an onslaught of winter/holiday items arriving to our warehouse, and I’m one of the few individuals cross-trained both to work in the warehouse and in our retail locations. Due to this, I ended up working at the warehouse, hefting boxes. Lots of boxes.

This means that I’m behind on my (admittedly mental) schedule to get my retail location together for winter/holiday displays, but that’s actually a good thing. There remains a slew of open orders due to arrive at the warehouse. I’d rather not set up displays, only to have to reset them again, and again.

That also meant that I fell behind on getting my September commitment for the Traveling Bee-utiful Swap done. Not by much – just a couple of days, but I hate falling behind on deadlines. It makes me grumpy.

This is the top, as I received it, in early September:

Traveling Bee-utiful - September

I knew one thing, as I got this top-in-progress on my wall – I wanted to lighten it up, by adding a border that was comprised heavily of low volume fabrics. I felt like the top needed a ‘breather’ but this point. I turned to EQ7, as I usually do, and modified an existing border treatment in the EQ7 block library. I started with this:

Base Border BlockIt was pretty boring to me, so I decided to alter it. After reading the original quilter’s journal entry regarding the start of her quilt, I knew that I needed to make sure to use scraps. It wasn’t a hard choice. I have plenty of scraps.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with this:

September Border

Plenty scrappy, and I knew I had plenty of low volume fabrics to get me through border. I did, however ultimately decide to stick to just two low volume prints. I didn’t have enough scrappy low volume, and wanted to minimize my time in cutting.

I modified the design to come up with a corner block, so that the design would ‘turn the corners’ of the border:

September Border - Corner Block

That made me happy with the final design:

September Border - Whole

From there, it was just a matter of paper-piecing. This should have been fast, and easy. Problem was, I completely forgot about chain-piecing for some reason. *sighs*

If I’d remembered, I might have been able to get this out on time…

As it was, I remembered halfway through, and managed to make the last two nights of piecing go much more quickly. For all of my non-low volume fabrics needs, I went through my stash of starched and pre-cut scraps. I love using my scraps – it’s like a fabric acquisition memory lane.

So, after being silly, working too much, and making this project take too long, I finally attached the border to the last side on Thursday night.

Traveling Bee-utiful Swap - September AdditionI’m very happy with how this one turned out, and am excited to start October’s contribution. I’ve already received it, though I haven’t opened the package yet.

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.