Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Fling

I've been fascinated by curves in a quilt for a long time, but the challenge scared me. I remember back in the day when I used to make clothing, I hated doing sleeves on shirts, as it was hard to get a nice seam that didn't pucker or ruffle or pleat... The seam ripper was often my friend back when I used to set in sleeves.



Then I discovered this website called Sew Kind of Wonderful. It had this ruler that guaranteed easy piecing of curves in quilts. I watched many videos and browsed many photos of completed projects. It did seem easy. So, I bought the ruler, a jelly roll, a coordinating solid and a pattern.

But I didn't want to use my newly purchased fabric just yet. I wanted to test the ruler first. I found a free pattern for a block called Spring Fling and thought I would give it a go.


The test block turned out wonderful, just as it was supposed to, and, much to my surprise, the curves were not difficult at all. This block hooked me and made me want to make more of these... "make a whole quilt" it said. 


I assembled four blocks out of strips that I had, but I wasn't in love with the fabric placement I had chosen once they were put together (the greens and yellows kind of got lost with the background, and the prints really jumped out). They were alright, but not as lovely as that first one. I am also not a fan of square quilts, so I used the leftover bits and made two scrappy blocks, so it was large enough to be a couch quilt.


With sashing in between and all around, I am calling it done as a top. I debated adding a border, but opted not to. 

I love the ruler, and now feel confident enough to tackle the pattern I bought, Metro Hoops, without worrying about wasting my "good" fabric. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

And... It's Finished


Not the best angle or lighting, but I sent this quilt off without taking a picture of it first. Oops! All I can say is Thanks, cell phone makers, for making decent cameras on your phones so I can still get a picture (from the recipient) when I need one. 


I chose this lovely bright orange fabric for the binding and it turned out lovely. It is attached by machine and hand sewn on the back. 

It's been so long since I've made a whole quilt, start to finish, by myself on my machine, without the use of a longarm service. Maybe it's not as bad as I remember, trying to do my own quilting, as long as it's simple like this one was. Perhaps it's time to do some more...

Finished is better than perfect. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tackling Quilting at Home

I love the work longarmers do. I wish I had a long arm machine of my own (and somewhere to put it). But since I don't, and I have no more space for random "tops" waiting to be quilted, and my daughter's boyfriend wants a quilt, I dug in and put a quilt sandwich together myself. 


I just did a basic stitch in the ditch with my walking foot, then added a few lines the other way too, for more security. I didn't want it to scrunch funny after washing. It's not fabulous, but it's functional, and finished is better than perfect. 


Now onto the binding. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Using up the Scraps

A while back, I bought a book called Sunday Morning Quilts, which is a great resource for using up fabric scraps. The article that intrigued me the most was re-making fabric using a single color of scraps. 


I pulled out my scrap drawer and started sorting and managed to put together some new pieces of fabric. These blocks are each sewn together using various sized strips. But I didn't love them, and couldn't figure out how to arrange them in an eye pleasing manner, so I tucked them into a box in the closet.

Recently, I discovered them again, and pulled them out and decided to use them. I have always been attracted to traditional blocks, and when I saw a video tutorial for a quick and easy churn dash, I knew I had found my pattern!



Each block uses up some of the original "made" fabric, so it's fun, and colorful, and scrappy!



This is the perfect mix of color and solid background. It tones down the busyness but still leaves each block bright and happy.



I even took some of my smallest scraps that couldn't be sewn in strips, ironed them onto fusible interfacing, and sewed around the edges of each piece. Then I cut it up and made a block out of it. (I think this one is actually my favorite)



Lots of scraps mean lots of blocks, so this will be an ongoing project, one that will be there in the background to give me a break from other projects I'm working on.

Is it just me, or does it seem like quilters always have multiple projects on the go at the same time?

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.