Monday, July 28, 2014

Purple Cross Storm at Sea Quilt

One of my co-workers recently retired. It is not often that I make a specific quilt for a specific person but this time I felt compelled to do so. Take note world. If the words "I want to make you a quilt" ever fall from my mouth, you are a super special awesome person. She retired on relatively short notice so there wasn't time to make anything to give her on her last day at work.

Instead, I told her to go check out my Pinterest page and see if any of those quilts appealed to her. So she did, and she mentioned two of them. One she said lots of things about so I knew this is the one she really wanted, but she was nice and mentioned a second one as a backup plan. So, I went and looked at the one she chose and in my head I'm thinking...wait, you can choose any quilt BUT THIS ONE. Because this one looks HARD.

So I slept on the idea and woke up thinking, "Why not?" I pinned that quilt because I liked it and I'm smart enough and can figure this out. Bring it on! The first step was to pull fabric. For a purple quilt. From my stash. That has hardly any purple in it.

After studying the picture of the quilt for a while, I determined that six different purples were needed. For some of those purples, I had to go scrappy in order to have enough fabric. It was tight getting all the pieces cut, meaning I spent some portion of time digging through the trash for what I thought were throw away scraps but had to be salvaged and pieced with other scraps to make it through. There were a few brow sweating moments during the cutting stage.

Then, I had to ponder the construction. The link from Pinterest goes to this tutorial. Based on the tutorial I could paper piece the blocks or make templates for them. I wasn't happy with either of those choices and then I remembered my handy TriRecs ruler. That is how I decided to construct this quilt.

I worked on it a little each day and took a picture every day to show my progress. I need to find some sort of time lapse software because this would be really cool to see that way. Instead, just scroll through the pictures quickly and maybe it will be a similar affect. Ahem. Maybe.

First Block
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
The top is finished. I think. I am still pondering a border. And how to quilt it. I do love how the top turned out. This one is going to be set aside for a short time while I think about where to go next with it.

There are a couple of other simple finishes waiting for me on the side line. They are starting to glare at me just a bit from across the room. I'll give them some attention then come back to this one with a well thought out plan. I can't wait to finish this and send it off to its recipient. I think she's going to love it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Few Quilted Flowers

This quilt top waited quite a while to make it's way back under the machine to be finished. I knew I wanted to do some sort of motif in each block and these flowers ended up being just the right thing.

Rather than use the same thread color for the entire quilt, each block is quilted in coordinating, or sometimes contrasting thread.

The blocks in this quilt top were made by the quilters and stitchers of the do. Good Stitches Believe Circle. They sent their blocks to me...ahem...last December. It's all good now though.

The back is three long panels of purple. Pay no attention to those feet. They usually get cropped out. Must have forgotten to do that on this picture.

 The flowers show up nicely on the back too, especially on the darker purple.

Just added a label this morning.

This quilt has already been washed and dried to give it that soft crinkly look and feel. It will be sent off to My Very Own Blanket next week.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Believe Circle Halfway Through The Year

I was enjoying looking back through the blocks that have been made for the Believe Circle in the first half of good ol' 2014 and thought it would be fun to share them all in one post. So, here's half a year plus one month in review.

In January, Sarah, from {no} hats in the house, set us up with these paper pieced blocks that turn into beautiful feathers when combined with other blocks.

In February, Allison chose blue and low volume half square triangles. Allison was quick with her finish. I love seeing how the blocks transform once they are all put together in a quilt. Check out Allison's Flickr page to see the finished project.

March brought us some Greek Cross blocks by Vanessa in red and yellow.

Nicole asked us to make these awesome scottie dog blocks. She just finished putting the top together so check that out on her Flickr page.

It was my turn in May. I asked everyone to make some improv stripe blocks. You can see how it turned out here.

We started circling back through the group again in June, and Sarah designed these fun LOVE blocks for us to make.

Laura was up for the first time in July and she picked a scrappy square in a square block in a fabulous color scheme.

In addition to a devoted group of quilters who are responsible for stitching blocks every month along with the design and completion of a quilt two or three times a year, some of our group focuses on stitching up blocks each month. Our stitchers are Lisa, Ben, Jennifer, and Meg.

I've had the privilege of hanging out with this great group of quilters for a little over a year now. They are all absolutely inspiring and I am thankful to be able to share quilt making with them. Our finished quilts are sent to My Very Own Blanket, an organization that makes sure each quilt is given to a foster child in need of something special.

Can't wait to see what the second half of 2014 brings.

If you are interested in joining one of the circles of do. Good Stitches, learn more about it and sign up here.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Believe Circle Finished Quilt for May

This is a very happy quilt to add to the finished list. Even though I love yellow, it has never been my go to color for a quilt border. Until now.

The blocks for this quilt were made by the awesome stitchers that are part of the Believe Circle for do. Good Stitches. They made the blocks based on instructions I shared with them here. They did a great job and I had fun arranging and rearranging the blocks. I could never get quite happy with a full quilt of five by four blocks. So I turned it into a four by four quilt and incorporated the rest of the blocks on the back.

I've started this trend for myself of making an up sized version of whatever block is on the front of the quilt to go on the back. Sometimes it is perfect and sometimes it is a little tacky. The good news is that this quilt is going to a child and kids are very accepting of a little bit of tacky.

Originally, I thought I would stitch down either side of the stripes, then fill the negative space with some squiggly lines. Once I finished the stitching around the stripes, I decided it was enough. That it would get too busy if I kept going.

A happy quilt made by a happy quilter that will hopefully give a special child just a little something to smile about.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Quilt for Thomas

Wanting a quilt is contagious. Way back in January, I made a quilt for my youngest son, Adam. When his older brother, Thomas, saw what was going on, he wanted a quilt of his own, too. We had a design session together where we went through all the quilts I had pinned on Pinterest. He said yes/no/maybe to each one until he decided on the one he wanted. This is what he selected:

This picture linked back to an article with the title "53 Quilts To Eye, Create, Or Buy". I could not find the original source for this quilt so I considered myself on my own. I took pencil and graph paper and did my best to recreate it. I ended up making six large block designs and repeated each of them three times.

Thomas was very pleased with the first two blocks so I kept going.

After I had finished completing the piecing of the top, I found another image on Pinterest of this quilt:

This image linked to a site with the pattern. I highly recommend purchasing this pattern if you want to make this quilt. I certainly would have if I had known of its existence.

I was very excited about where this was going and was eager to finish. Then, on March 6, I fell while roller skating and broke my left ankle. I will never take having two working legs and feet for granted again. Who knew how much I needed my left foot to be happy and successful in my sewing room. For thirteen weeks, I could not put any weight on that foot. As for sewing, I could handle small piecing, but layering and machine quilting was not going to happen in any big way. On June 5, I got the good news that I could start using my foot again. This past weekend was the first weekend with a working foot and substantial sewing and quilting time. This quilt was at the top of the list.

Originally, I was determined to quilt this in free motion swirls, circles or some other random design, but my machine decided something different. No matter how much I tried, I could not keep my top thread from breaking. So, eventually, I decided to do an asymmetrical cross hatch pattern.

These pictures are after the quilt has been washed. It is all soft and crinkly and has already been well loved by its owner.

The back is a giant sized version of the front.

Normally, I tend to go with a darker binding, but this ended up being a case of making do with what is on hand. This orange-yellow is the only fabric that worked that I had a big enough piece to use for binding. This project has been a good one for pushing me in a different direction than I intended. I love the way the light binding makes the orange and yellow blocks pop a little more.

I am really, really excited to be back in the swing with finishing some quilts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Quilt for a Teacher

My daughter is just finishing her first year of teaching. She has had a year full of stories and experiences and there were a few people she wanted to say a special thank you to for helping her make it through. Her list started quite long but with the realization that time was catching up to her, she whittled the list down to three. Three quilts for three special people.

She came home for her spring break back in March thinking we would make three quilts together. And we tried...and managed to get two quilt tops completed.

Here is one of them. I didn't get a picture of the second one, and I don't even remember what it looks like now. She has already shared the tops and will be bringing them back home this summer to be quilted and finished. I'll get better pictures then.

With spring break at an end, there either wasn't going to be a third quilt or I was going to have to make it without her. We had already settled on a design so I started plugging away at it. The design comes from a Moda Bakeshop Pattern Mixed Bag by Studio m. I'm trying to use up my batik stash since I haven't been using those very much lately. This was the perfect quilt to help with that.

The pattern is meant for a jelly roll, which would have made it go together quickly. Instead, I spent a good deal of time sorting through and cutting scraps. It was well worth it though. I was a little nervous about matching all those seams when the vertical strips went together, but it was easy peasy since the seams were pressed in opposite directions.

To quilt it, vertical lines were quilted a quarter inch away from either side of each vertical seam. Then free motion sewing commenced with simple meandering on each vertical panel. I'll be shipping this quilt off later this week. It's always nice to say thank you with a quilt.