Thursday, January 8, 2015

Medallion Baby Quilt

So far, 2015 is off to a great start for me in my quilting pursuits.  True to form, I work better under a deadline and managed my first finish of the year in a mere 3 days :)

 I found out several months ago that a good friend and co-worker's wife was pregnant with their first baby and had been planning to make them a quilt since they made the announcement  Of course with me binge watching Gilmore Girls and Orange is the New Black slacking off, and with Holiday crazy-ness, I didn't get a start until after Christmas even though I knew the baby shower was quickly approaching.

I got a copy of of Angela Pingel's A Quilter's Mixology and from the moment I picked it up, I wanted to make every single quilt in it.  I thought the Medallion Baby Quilt would be a good start and perfect for a gift for the expecting couple.  Angela's instructions for how to sew the curves and the patterns are fabulous.  I will definitely be making more quilts from this book :)

Keeping #SewMyStash2015 in mind, I took stock of my fabric stash and did an initial sketch and pull.

The hardest part for me was cutting the templates accurately with the curves.  I purchased "heavy weight" template plastic from Joann's several months ago, but it was total junk and my rotary cutter sliced right through it and my pieces weren't accurate at all.  Frustrated, I broke down and bought Marti Mitchell's Drunkard's Path templates which made the job so much easier!  I ended up getting all the sizes available so I can make other quilts in the book more easily :)  The proportions aren't exactly the same as the templates Angela has in the book, but I think it still looks great.

Other than the difficulty cutting, the quilt came together so quickly.  Ryan actually made a comment that if I could finish this in 3 days, why had I been working on our bed quilt for a year and a half (because this quilt only has 72 pieces and is baby sized!)  The top is made of a variety of prints, entirely from my stash.  Each block finishes at 7" square.

For the quilting, I decided to go simple and just concentric circles using my walking foot.  The circles are randomly spaced over the quilt at 1/2" or 1 1/2" increments.  I used a lovely blue, white and pink variegated Aurifil from the Tula Pink collection.

After a quick poll of my Instagram friends, I chose a print from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study for the binding.  It's completely by chance that the print contained all the colors that I used in the quilt.  I had just enough to finish off the binding (another 1/2 yard used from the stash!)  I machine stitched the binding down since I was on a deadline and for durability.  I found a dark purple Gutterman I had in my thread stash that blended really well.

The backing is the only fabric I purchased for the quilt.  I knew the baby's room was a minty green, so I thought this large scale Heather Bailey Up Parasol print would be perfect.  The pattern calls for 2 1/2 yards for the backing, but I only ended up using a yard and a half since the quilt finished at 42"x42".

I gifted the quilt at the baby shower and soon-to-be mommy and daddy both loved it.  I hope the baby will love and use it for a long time :)

Specs at a Glance:
Top: 7 inch Drunkard's Path blocks in various cotton prints
Finished size: 42" square
Pieced and Quiltied with Auriful 50 thread
Batting: Quilter's Dream 100% Cotton Batting
Pattern from A Quilter's Mixology
Finished: January 3, 2014

Linking up with TGIFF and #sewmystash2015on Instagram

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes -- January 2015 goal

I tried this last year, but then life derailed my big sewing plans.  Hopefully this year will be the big year of finishes for me.  I already posted my yearly 2015 WIPs and goals, ALYoF will help me me on track on a monthly basis.

The first blog post I have of my x-plus quilt is June of 2013 (too long!), so my January 2015 goal is at finish at least the top, and move on to the quilting phase :)

My Button
linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Sewing Goals and To-do

I'm putting this in writing so I hold myself accountable, and it will be nice to cross things off the list!  I'm sure this list will grow and change as the year progresses :)

my WIP box
Gifts + Swaps

basting my first quilt of 2015!

  • Baby quilt for Tobin and Amy (Due Jan. 5) -- currently: Finished!
  • Schnitzel & Boo mini swap (Due Jan. 23) -- currently: planning and stalking
  • Birthday present for Christine (Due Feb. 10) -- currently: planning
  • Birthday present for Shannon (Due March 14) -- currently: piecing
  • Rainbow mini swap (Due Apr. 6) -- currently: planning and stalking
  • Swap with Jess (Due Apr. 23) -- currently: planning and cutting
  • Briar Rose Quilt for Autumn (Due July) -- currently piecing

Monthly and yet to be assignment commitments

  • Grace Circle blocks (monthly)
  • Sisterhood of the Traveling (bi-monthly)
  • Sew South secret sister (Due Apr. 16) -- currently: awaiting assignment
  • Mid Atlantic Mod swaps, etc (Due Apr. 23) -- currently: awaiting assignment

Quilt WIPs

Pile of x-plus blocks

  • DS disappearing 9 patch (Due June 7 so I can have it signed!) -- currently: piecing 
  • Starbright Quilt -- currently: piecing

Starbright Quilt mock-up

  • Penny Sampler (in time-out) -- currently: piecing 

Penny Sampler Blocks so far

New Projects
  • Quilts for nephews (5) and nieces (1)
  • C+S Single Girl quilt
  • Stitched-in-Color "handstitched" class

  • Sew 15 minutes every day
  • #SewMyStash2015
  • Blog at least bi-weekly
  • Learn garment sewing
  • FMQ!
  • Try selling at a craft show

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday: xplus quilt progress

Since it takes 30 days to form a new habit, I started my New Year's Resolutions now so that they are already ingrained by Jan 1. Two of those resolutions are going to be be: spend at least 30 minutes every day sewing something, and start taking blog pictures on the weekends when I actually have sunlight (haha!).  My biggest obstacle to blogging lately has been lack of time, space and light to take quality pictures.  I would really like to start blogging more regularly :) 

That's me, sewing at work!
Despite my absence from blogging, I have been sewing quite a bit.  In November, my department at the library started a program called "Hand Maker-space" where all crafters are welcome to join us every-other Friday for snacks, fellowship, and of course, crafting time!  It's been great to have an excuse to make during work hours, since I help facilitate the program, I can bring my sewing and play along.

The nice thing about my slow speed of quilting is that I can use new lines when they are released!
The majority of my sewing room is still packed in boxes (this will be changing soon!), so I've had limited access to WIP's.  I could dig them out, if I really wanted to, but I'd rather just work on things that are handy at the moment.  Since we moved back in August, I've been working on my Japanese X and Plus quilt. 

This project has been languishing for a while because the blocks are pretty time consuming (since I sew one block at a time), but it's one project that has been easy to get to, and bonus: the majority of the pieces were already cut which allows me to just sit down and sew a few pieces together here and there.

I've been plugging away at sewing these blocks together, I have 33 sewn so far, and need 56 for a queen-sized quilt.  Ryan says he wants the quilt finished for Christmas... Will I finish it?  Probably not.  But I'm going to try :)

Linking up at WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

100 quilts for Kids finish!

I finished attaching the binding to my Sock Monkey Jigsaw Puzzle quilt for 100 quilts for kids on Monday night after work.  Unfortunately I missed the link-up because I couldn't get any good pictures yesterday due to heavy storms last night, oh well.

I think this quilt turned out so cute!  The novelty prints really aren't my taste at all, but I think it will make a child really happy :)

I wanted something quick and easy for quilting so I chose to do organic wavy likes long-ways over the entire quilt.  I started quilting over the seam lines (every 3 inches) then went back and added a wave in between each.  In hindsight, I wish I would have used yellow thread (like I used to attach the binding) instead of white to make the quilting stand out a little bit more

I really need to seriously look into getting a heavier machine for quilting because even wrangling this small lap sized quilt through my little brother moved it all over the table (even though I have sticky shelf liner under it!)... Christmas is coming up ::wink::

The backing is the blue dots from DS Quilts at Joann's, it was on clearance for $7 a yard, so I finished off the bolt even though I only used about 2 yards on this quilt.

I had a little less than a half yard of the white banana print so I added a strip of that to the backing just for a little variety :)

The binding is a combination of Riley Blake and Robert Kaufman yellow dots that just happened to be the same shade as the solid yellow in the quilt!  I had a very serendipitous romp through my scrap bin and managed to find two different but very similar fabrics... You can't even tell they're different in the grand scheme of things.

I machine attached the binding using the tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew.  I must be getting better at binding because I only had to go back and hand stitch over the section where the binding ends meet.  I ended up with a measly 15 inches of binding scrap, so it really worked out perfectly.

I'll be turning this over the Heather at our DCMQG on Saturday where our batch of quilts will be donated to Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria, VA.  I hope the bright colors and happy monkeys can help bring joy to a child in need :)

Finished Size: 54"x45"
Fabrics: various scraps including Erin McMorris Funky Monkeys for Moda and Robert Kaufman Kona Solids; backed with DS Quilts for Joann's
Quilted with Gutterman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: 100 Quilts for Kids Edition

100 Quilts for Kids
Happy hump day friends!  Welcome to my stop on the DC Modern Quilt Guild 100 Quilts for Kids blog hop.  Last Saturday member from the DCMQG met in Alexandria, VA to sew up some quilts that will be donated to a shelter in the Alexandria area.  100 Quilts for Kids was started several years ago by Katie Blakesley, the 2014 drive runs through September 30, so you still have time to donate a quilt!  If you're interested, you can find details on Heather's blog.  I would also encourage you to check out the other stops on the blog hop:

About a year ago, I received a giveaway prize from Erica at Kitchen Table Quilting.  The medium flat rate box was generously stuffed with tons of fabric, including several large scrap cuts of Erin Michael's 5 Funky Monkeys for Moda.

Not being a novelty print kind of girl, I wasn't really sure what to do with these cute little monkeys, but when I received the email about the 100 Quilts for Kids drive these seemed like the perfect fabrics to use.  For those who are regular readers of my blog, you all know I quilt at a glacial pace, so I wanted something quick and easy but not just basic patchwork.  So I did a couple Google searches and came up with this adorable jigsaw puzzle block pattern.

Here's the layout as of the Sewing Day last Saturday, I forgot some fabric so I had to fill up the blank spaces when I got home.  I certainly got a lot more accomplished than I would have at home though, and managed to complete more than half of the quilt top at the sewing day!

Since the complete stash is still not unpacked, I had to resort to chopping up the scraps of sock monkeys along with other scraps to have enough for the entire quilt.  I threw in some red, lime, and yellow solids and was able to come up with enough for a lap sized quilt.  I decided to go with the 9" block so I had less sewing to do :)

As is my normal fashion, I finished the quilt top last night.  Despite the fabrics not being my taste, I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I just noticed taking the pictures that I sewed one of the strips on upside down (can you spot it?) so I'll have to fix that!  I have a larger cut of the white banana fabric to use for backing, and I was thinking of picking up a few yards of a DS Quilts Fancy Free plaid to complete the back (its on clearance for $7/yard!).  Hopefully I can get it quilted and bound in the next week or so!  I really need to start quilting on a deadline more often ::wink::

I also participated in making a few blocks for the group quilt.  DS Quilts donated a bunch of fabric for the Charity Drive.  Heather had us turn the fabrics into hourglass blocks. 

They turned out so cute, don't you think!  Keep and eye on the DC Modern Flickr Pool, and blog to see our finished quilts!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 SpoolsWell Hello!  It's been quite a while since I've blogged.  We (finally) bought a house back at the end of April, closed on it at the end of May and have been moving and getting organized ever since.  Work has also been absolutely insane since May... I won't bore you with the gory details, but blogging has been pretty much last on my list.  Now that we're somewhat settled in, I'm starting to get back into a routine.

I thought I'd ease back into blogging by joining up on the 10 Quilty Little Secrets linky party that Amy over at 13 Spools is hosting.  I've really been enjoying reading everyone's, so if you haven't seen them, click on the button to go over to Amy's blog and check it out!

1) I sew over pins all the time.  When I took home economics in middle school, the teacher said it was perfectly OK... I've only broken a needle maybe twice and it's certainly never flown into my eye or caused any safety issues (the thread keeps the broken tip connected).  **this is my personal experience, don't sue me if you get impaled by a flying broken needle**

2) I don't really like "wonky" or "improv", I find it way more difficult to purposefully make something look crooked than to precisely piece things.

3) I don't change needles or rotary blades until I absolutely have to.  Mostly because I can't find my replacements while my sewing stuff is still packed in boxes, and I'm lazy and cheap.

4) I have more WIP's and UFO's than finished projects (quilter ADD...)

5) It completely floors me when I see people practically giving their quilts away on etsy.  I agree with Molli Sparkles' post (original and follow-up) about how quilters (and crafters in general) drastically undervalue themselves.  I doubt I will ever actually try to sell my handmade goods because of this, and the fact that the general public expects low prices for handmade goods.

6) I don't buy quilting books (or books in general)... I borrow them from the library (and get to "suggest purchases" because I'm a librarian ::grin::)

7) I generally don't like Art Gallery Fabrics --go ahead throw rotten vegetables at me-- don't get me wrong, their designs are beautiful and I have purchased some and use them... but... a) I don't find the feel of the fabrics to be luxurious at all, I think they feel thin and cheap and my machine doesn't really like sewing with them.  b) I find their marketing tactics to be off-putting.  AGF designers are the only ones I have seen that exclusively sew with AGF fabrics and that makes me sad... see next point.

8) It really bothers me when bloggers "sell out" and only promote their fabric or sponsors' fabric.  I liberally un-follow blogs that only blog about sponsor's or giveaways, or their own fabric line/patterns.

9) I am terrified of the actual quilting process.  I love piecing and binding, the quilting scares me though and I dread it... probably why I have so many WIP's and UFO's.

10) I don't like making blocks that produce a lot of waste, and I don't like purposefully making extra large blocks just so I can square them up.  If the blocks are "close enough" that's fine by me.  I do however find trimmings so pretty :)