Monday, September 26, 2016

Girly Quilts in the Making

Recently, my sister-in-law asked me if I would make a quilt for a special little girl in her life. Of course I will, as long as there is no deadline for completing it. She was fine with that and said it could be for Christmas or a birthday or for any special day. To get started, I sent her a picture of the fabric collection Brighten Up by Me and My Sister for Moda Fabrics. I also sent a Moda Bake Shop pattern, Simply Style Stacked Squares. She immediately said YES!

I was a little nervous it was going to be too busy but I think it turned out great. The top is made. The quilt is layered.

This is the backing fabric. I love the colors. I love the butterflies. Perfect for a special little girl. I was about to get started on the quilting... until I got distracted by all the scraps left from this project. The pattern calls for two jelly rolls and a layer cake. All of the parts are needed, but there are so many leftovers.

Red Pepper Quilts posted one of her awesome quilts right before I created this scrap pile. I wanted to give it a try. And I did. The only fabric that had to be added was the white fabric.

This turned out just as I had imagined. So cute. This one is going to be finished up for a special little girl in my life. But first, I must finish the original quilt.

Believe it or not, there are enough scraps for a third quilt from this fabric. The third quilt will be made for a foster child. Looking forward to sharing three finished quilts soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cardinal Blocks - More Sampler Block Shuffle

Four blocks were added to my cardinal sampler project this weekend. This project has been on the shelf for a while so it was fun to revisit all the blocks and add some new ones to the mix. There are 30 blocks in the Moda Sampler Block Shuffle. With the weekend additions, 19 have been made.

This is block #26 and was designed by Amy Ellis. This is the first time I have used this black Joel Dewberry print. It may be the last time, too, as I only had a small scrap to work with. I was holding out for a block that would show off this print. I like the result.

This is block #18 and was designed by Lella Boutique. I like the diagonal line of cardinals on this one. As I get near the end, it will be more and more challenging to place the cardinals, mostly because the pieces start getting smaller.

This is block #29 and was designed by French General. I only had a charm square of the red with white polka dots. I'm glad I found a way to work it into this project.

This is block #27 and was designed by Sweetwater. I intentionally wanted to add a dark block into the mix.

Nineteen blocks stitched; eleven blocks to go. This is a fun project to fit in between other projects. I'm starting to feel the finishing itch on this one though, now that I am well past the half way point. We will see just how quickly this project reaches the finish line. There is no hard deadline but I'm thinking it would be nice to finish it up for the winter season.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Shadow Block Mini Quilt Quilt Along Reveal Day

Why make one mini quilt when you can make six? It was fun adapting my Shadow Block Mini Quilt tutorial to make this set of colorful place mats for my kitchen. Janice, from Color, Creating and Quilting, and Jen, from A Dream and a Stitch hosted an awesome quilt along that wraps up today. Of course I had to join right in. But before I dive into the making of these, here are all the fun gals who participated in the quilt along. Click on over to their blogs to check out their Shadow Block mini quilt making:

Jen Rosin at A Dream and a Stitch
Janice Holton at Color, Creating and Quilting
Amanda Everest at Quiltologie
Susan Arnold at Quilt Fabrication
Bonnie Stapleton at Institches with Bonnie
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Jennifer Strauser at Dizzy Quilter
Joanne Harris at Quilts by Joanne
Anja Clyke at Anja Quilts
Mary Schuberg at Needled Mom

At first, I planned to make just one mini quilt, using the tutorial exactly as it was written, but I'm not one to make the same project over and over, so I changed it up just a little so that it could become something useful and beautiful. For color, I decided to lean on trusty ROY G BIV. Do you remember learning the colors of the rainbow this way? And, since the original mini quilt was made using fabrics from Kaffe Fassett and friends, I pulled out my Kaffe stash and lined them up.

Choosing the fabric is what takes the most time for me. Cutting the squares took no time at all once I knew where this project was going.

I made one change to the assembly process from the original tutorial. The original mini quilt has twenty blocks. Each place mat has twelve blocks, but there are six place mats, which means there are 72 total blocks for this project. That was going to be a whole lot of tiny squares and rectangles to piece.

For the shadow fabric, I cut a 2 1/2 inch strip and a 3 inch strip. From the background, I cut two 1 inch strips. A background strip is stitched to the shadow strip, then 1 1/2 inch segments are cut to go on the two sides of each focus square. It went much faster this way.

It was fun to watch the design wall evolve with finished tops. And I am not great at secret projects so it was quite the challenge not to share all the progress as it was happening. The border on the right side is wider than the others, to add a little interest and make a special place to put your fork.

Each one is quilted differently. The red mini was done exactly as the quilting on the tutorial.

Orange was quilted with free motion circles in the shadow and a trio of straight lines on each sashing strip. The center line of each trio is in a darker thread to match the shadow. This was one of those happy accidents. I forgot to change the thread color after quilting the circles and just decided to go with it rather than having to pull out the trusty seam ripper.

Yellow is quilted with free motion circles in the sashing, and long lines of quilting in the shadow. My goal for quilting when it isn't an all over design is to quilt the shadow heavily and the background a little less so that the focus blocks, which have no quilting, pop up off the quilt, emphasizing the dimension and shadow.

Green. This one is my favorite. This is the first one where I ignored the blocks and went with an all over design. I love the big spiral in a variegated thread.

The quilting on the blue mini was done using a free motion loopy stitch in the sashing. It is hard to see the stitching on this one but it is not hard to see those lumps near the blocks. The pressed seam allowance kept bumping up against my free motion foot instead of going under it. I have not had that happen before. It was a little frustrating, but I persevered. The shadow is stitched with a decorative stitch on my Janome. That part was fun and reminded me that I need to experiment with some of those decorative stitches more often.

For the violet mini, I went with a wavy cross hatch. I didn't want the green mini to be the only one with an all over design, and, by this last one, I was ready to be finished, so I confess that the easy quilting on this one was intentional.

Here they are from the back, doing their best to pay respect for all the ROY G BIV going on on the front. They had to be cute enough to turn over, just in case there are any spills on the front. Each place mat finishes at 13 inches by 17 inches.

Don't they look fantastic on the kitchen table?! Thanks so much Janice and Jen for organizing this quilt along and encouraging me to revisit the Shadow Block Mini Quilt tutorial. I cannot wait to see what everyone else has made.
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