Thursday, August 21, 2014

Collaborative Quilt for a Teacher

It took two to make this quilt. My daughter wanted to make one of her friends and coworkers a quilt to thank them for making her first year of teaching so special. I helped her choose a design, then she went through my stash and chose all the fabric. We both cut, she pieced, and then I took it from there. Getting the quilt top put together is her favorite part and since I love it all, I'm happy to do the rest.

The quilting is simple, with straight lines running a quarter inch on either side of the long seams. For the focus blocks, I free motioned flowers. What, you can't see them in the picture? Here's a closer one.

You still can't see it? Neither can I, and I was about ready to skip quilting in the squares altogether. Then I turned it over on the back.

I just love the surprise of the flower on the back. Three of the six focus blocks hover around the outside edge of the quilt so they are very visible on the back. Aren't the raccoons cute?

This is the second time recently that I've gone for a lighter binding, and yellow again, too. Not sure what is up with that but I seem to be branching out with my binding choices.

So thankful for helpful children who get their arm workouts holding up quilts for me.

The cat even had to get in the game on this one. Happy for another finish!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Purple Cross Quilt Finish

It is finished. And I love it. I saw this description of the creative process on Instagram and it fits most of the things I do. It's funny to see it so well described and I am glad I am not alone...
1. This is awesome.
2. This is tricky.
3. This is sh**.
4. I am sh**.
5. This might be okay.
6. This is awesome.
This project was no different. It took a pause between the finishing of the top and the quilting. I knew that I did not want to quilt each quadrant of the quilt the same but I really had no idea what I wanted to do. Pinterest saved the day. I saw an improv block there that was quilted very similarly. Lines radiating from the center for two quadrants and echo quilting in the other two quadrants.

And the appearance of overlapping circles is pretty cool too. The special gal getting this has no idea it is finished. I will see her this Friday and can't wait to put it in her hands.

The back looks good too. Since I used basting spray for layering, I gave it a gentle wash. It has that nice crinkly look. The large circle that stands out on the back is a complete mystery to me. I did not even notice it until I saw this picture. It is interesting that it stands out when no other circle did, especially since there is no quilting around the circles.

I incorporated triangles in the upper corners of the back. A dowel should fit snugly across the top so that it can be hung if desired. I have been wanting to add this to my quilts for hanging but I am usually so excited to be at the binding stage that I totally forget. Maybe now that I have remembered once, it will stick a little better.

Another happy finish. Making quilts certainly brings me joy, creative process and all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Scrappy Blue Kaffe Quilt

My fabric lives in open cubbies in my sewing room. It goes through various stages of organization and neatness. Here is part of it on a fairly good day.

After a while, after searching and sorting, stacking and restacking, it gets just a little messy and hard to work with. That's when it's time for a little clean up. Some days I need a break from sewing or cutting. Those are good sorting days. I recently sorted through all of my Kaffe Fassett fabric. It was very chaotic at first, but little by little it was all sorted by color.

Took two pictures to get it all in.

Usually, during this process, something starts to stand out. This time it was those rich blues. While everything else was neatly put away, those hung around on the cutting table for a little more thought.

And then I remembered some gray two inch strips that were cut for another project but didn't work. A little bit of scrap cutting and a little bit of design wall play and we have a new quilt.

I quilted it with simple cross hatch lines through the gray squares.

It's a small quilt, finishing at 22" x 25".

I like the result so much that I've cut pieces for a very similar quilt using four inch squares rather than two inch ones. It should make a nice size throw quilt. It's great to organize and stash bust all at the same time.

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.