Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jelly Roll Race 2

I watched a video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company called Jelly Roll Race 2. It seemed so easy and quick, and I just happened to have a jelly roll! 

(I realize it's not the greatest picture, and please forgive me, but I'm home by myself today, so I have nobody to hold it up for a better shot.)

I am pleased as punch at how it turned out! I'm thinking I may add a border or two yet, but I also love it just as it is. 

The fabric line is "Mixed Bag" by Moda.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Puff quilt finished

Puff, bubble, pillow... This "quilt" has many names. It is tied, and the binding is on, and it is ready to be delivered. So happy to finally have this one finished!

This project was much easier in my head on paper. I struggled with maneuvering it around on my little table, and trying to squish the pillows enough that it would go between the presser foot and the feed dogs. In the end, when I was trying to attach the binding, I actually moved my table against the bed and used the bed to support the weight of most of the quilt. There should be a course out there, "Quilt Wrestling 101", just for doing things like this. 

The original idea came from a magazine many, many years ago (like maybe 18 years), but that pattern was a baby quilt with much smaller pillows and the pillows were not nearly as stuffed. I thought a bigger quilt for a bigger bed needed bigger pillows proportionately, so that's how this one was resized by me, to fit across a queen size.

It became a never ending project... I would see it in the closet, take it out, wrestle with it trying to do a row or two, remember why I wasn't working on it, put it away again... But as it grew, I couldn't fit it in the closet anymore and then it was on my dresser, overspilling the laundry basket that was trying to contain it, taking up valuable space... 

It became my mission to get it finished.

Happy dance!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Orange peel decisions


After putting out a poll about whether applique should be hand stitched or machine sewn, and observing the debate among friends and strangers, I've opted to go with hand stitching the orange peels to the background squares. I've found that a blanket stitch is fairly quick and not at all difficult. (This short video tutorial on you tube by Alex Anderson was the only help I needed.) I do not have an aversion to hand stitching like some quilters do, and actually enjoy the relaxation of it when I'm watching TV.

I went to the local craft store, looking for perle cotton to match each of the leaf shapes, but had to get embroidery floss, as that was what was available. I did find perle cotton in a creamy shade to match the background, so picked that up as well. 

Also, after much debate on my favorite Facebook quilting group about seeing the stitches or blending the colors, this was my decision. I like the traditional look of seeing the applique stitches, but want this quilt to have a little modern flair, so I'm stitching each peel with a color that matches the fabric, but not necessarily that peel. There will be some blocks where the thread will be the same color as the peel, but for most of them, they will be in a contrasting thread. Does that make sense? These six were all stitched today with the pink floss that matched the middle peel on the bottom row. 

I am loving how this looks... But it will take a few days weeks to get these all stitched down, so prepare for another project popping up in the meantime while I do this in the evening... Not sure just what yet, but something.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Orange peel


 I had some lovely coordinated fat quarters given to me and just couldn't decide what to do with them... I scoured Pinterest, auditioned a few different patterns, and finally settled on the orange peel. I was worried about the reds bleeding, so I did a test.

Exactly what I thought might happen! I let each piece soak in it's own bowl with vinegar/salt water, rinsed and repeated as necessary. Now, I was ready to begin.

I rounded up all my neutral backgrounds that I had kicking around, and decided that the best use of fabric would be to cut 4.5" background squares. Then I drew and cut my own leaf shape template to fit inside my square.


I used this technique, where you sew the leaf shape fabric to the fusible interfacing, right sides together, then turn it right side out, and iron it down onto the background, creating the effect of needle turn applique.

I have to admit, this project is much more time intensive than I anticipated. It took several episodes of Friends on Netflix to turn all 146 of the leaf shapes right sides out, and about two hours to press  them all onto the background squares.

Testing the layout... Loving how it looks! But now comes the dilemma of how to stitch down the peels.

This one is done on my sewing machine, applique stitch, with thread that matches the background piece.

This one, also by machine, but with thread that matches the peel. Maybe not the best example, as the fabric is busy, so the stitches seem invisible... Or is that the idea?

This one I hand stitched with embroidery floss, in the only color I had, which just happened to match. I think I like this best, but would like to try using the background color with this method, just to compare. I like the traditional look of the hand stitching showing, especially since the orange peel quilt is such a traditional pattern.

What are your thoughts on thread selection?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hip to be square

Hip to be Square challenge complete!

Twenty four squares wide by thirty two squares long, each cut at 2.5 inches. Nice lap size throw. I may even try my hand at free motion quilting this one.

In other news....


This puff quilt has all the pillows sewn and stuffed, and I've begun the task of tying on a backing. 

And I've started working on some orange peel blocks. Stay tuned for details to come on that one. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scrap challenge

Hip to Be Square. That is the name of the challenge that I am working on. The basic rules are: cut scrap fabric into 2.5" squares and sew them into blocks (size of block is my choice), and then piece the blocks into a top that is crib size or larger. Sashing or no sashing, my choice. On point if I want. Color coordinated, or scrappy. Again, my choice. Have the top together by February 6. That's it.


I opted for scrappy, and I chose to go eight squares by eight squares. I already had lots of 2.5" squares cut out, from my previous efforts to "tame my scraps", so putting the first few blocks together was a breeze. It was totally scrappy and random, until (gasp!)


I saw two of the same pieces of fabric close together in one of the blocks... (breathe, don't fix it, it'll be ok...) Change of strategy. Pick out all the pieces needed before sewing them into the block.

At this point, I was finding it difficult to locate enough different fabrics out of what I had cut up (8x8=64 per block), so I raided my charm pack stash and started cutting up some more.

I found that the more blocks I added to the layout, the more pleasing it was to my eye. Maybe because the camera is farther away, so the individual pieces are less distinct, or maybe because I've added more fabrics that are less "novelty" or "juvenile" or "I spy". 

I'm especially enjoying the process of putting together these blocks now. 

  • sort out 64 squares
  • randomly pick up two squares to sew together, and then chain piece all 32 pairs
  • chain piece pairs of pairs
  • put pairs of fours together
  • take it to the iron, and press them all one direction
  • take back to sewing machine, and join rows, making the seams nest together
 Random (mostly).

It looks old fashioned to me now, something someone's grandmother would have made, back in the day. But it's not big enough yet, so I have some more work to do (she says while tapping her watch).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Spy and Mardi Gras

A year and a half after it began, the I Spy quilt is finished. No room for a decent photo shoot, and the weather was too blustery to go outside, so a simple picture was taken.

Then, it was packaged up and shipped out, due to arrive tomorrow to the recipient (squeal!). I think I am more excited to be sending it than she will be in getting it. 

I think this quilt is one of my top five finishes, and I especially enjoyed all the evenings doing the hand quilting. I like to be busy doing something with my hands when I'm sitting on the couch watching TV, and this gave me a project to do.

I also managed to finish up this scrappy quilt top today, made completely from scraps for the blocks, and yardage from my stash for the setting triangles.

There are eighteen of these twelve inch blocks, pieced with half square triangles, cut with my Accuquilt Go. Some of the fabrics shown are leftovers from other quilts, and some were cut from fat quarters. This was a "use whatever I have" project.

I set the blocks on point and used this fun Mardi Gras fabric for the setting triangles. This fabric has been in my stash for many years, as I bought it to do a stack n whack quilt, then lost interest in making it after doing four other stack n whacks in a row. After that, it was just too pretty to cut up, until now. The colors suit this scrappy quilt.