Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hexagons table runner

Hexagons runner 1

This is probably the last project I completely finished on my old Brother machine (yes, it's been done since late January / early February but I'm only just now posting it). This was a three-Fridays class at my LQS. We used this pattern, but didn't have the templates so had to make them from mylar instead (not fun).

Hexagons runner detail

Instead of using a charm pack, I went with a scrappy blue-and-white color scheme and I really like how it turned out. I quilted it in diagonal lines from corner to corner of the hexagons. Easy, quick, and satisfying.

Hexagons runner 2

Taking this class reminded me how much I don't like making template-cut projects. Still, I've hung this on the wall as art instead of using it as a table runner. It's fairly large and looks nice above one of our many bookshelves.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tethered Threads: March (part 1)

Tethered Threads fabrics sent
So, March! March is my month for the Tethered Threads block party! Exciting stuff! I can't believe I haven't posted about it yet, but now there's plenty to talk about. The photo above is of the fabrics I sent: four solid Kona cottons and two prints from Erin McMorris' Wildwood line. (The Konas were purchased at Fabric Shack and Pink Chalk Fabrics and the Wildwood at Hawthorne Threads--all of which are online fabric stores that I really love. Also, I just saw that Erin McMorris has a new line coming out. Sweet!) I decided that we needed a new queen-sized quilt for our bed (this is the one we've had for years), so I requested 15-1/2" blocks that will finish at 15". I have 22 coming from the group, so I plan to make either 3 or 8 and set them 5 x 5 or 5 x 6, depending on how many I feel like churning out. I also asked the group for blocks that read dark with pops of color and said I was inspired by the intuitive piecing and projects found in Jean Wells' Intuitive Color & Design.

Block party first 4
The ladies in my group certainly haven't disappointed! (Check out the Flickr pool here--it's full of great blocks!) The photo above is of the first four blocks I received, all of which came yesterday. The top two are from mommymae and the bottom two are from Amanda. WOW! I am super impressed and can't wait to see this come together!

March block party beginnings
Though I guess that means I need to do my share, too! The photo above is how far I was on Saturday. Hmm. I've finished that block and started on another, but they are big and taking a long time to complete. So glad I have the help of 11 really talented ladies to make this happen!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Disappearing nine-patch, in voiles

DNP top 2
Disappearing crafter instead, perhaps? I have just been so snowed under with work that I haven't even been able to keep up with my blogging, much less that of the others I read. Gah! Life! It always seems to be getting in the way... This finished quilt top was made from Anna Maria Horner voiles, the moonlight palette, I believe. I had ordered a fat quarter pack from Pink Chalk Fabrics with a gift certificate I had won from True Up way back in January. They are not cheap, these voiles, but they sure are lovely, and I figured I'd treat myself, because isn't that what a gift certificate is for?

Iris on DNP top
So the fabrics arrived in January, but then they just sat in a (very very large) pile of fabrics in my crafting space, waiting for the right inspiration to strike. How to use them and let them shine? Then I stumbled upon this quilt on Flickr. Perfect. A disappearing nine-patch pattern is so simple, yet complicated enough to not be boring. I cut the original squares to 9" and then re-trimmed the final blocks to 12.5". I'm waiting for batting to arrive, then piecing the back and hoping to quilt this soon! I think I will just keep it for myself. Selfish, I know, but those voiles are just too tempting....!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dear Jane

I'm back at it! I have not one but two finished Dear Jane blocks to show you! The first, pictured above, is F7. This one was begun in the car on the way back from seeing the actual quilt in October, but languished half-finished in my sewing box until a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to actually finish it.

But once I finished that block, I had to keep going. Above is E3, completed in about a week's worth of TV watching. I have fabric for a few more blocks cut and prepared from when I first started this project, nearly two years ago, so I hope to keep going and making more progress. I've got a lot of work to do if I want to finish by April of 2021!

DJ stitching
Here's a gratuitous shot of my hand-stitching, from one of the large pinwheels in E3. Pretty good, no? Small, consistent... No wonder why it takes me a couple of hours to finish each block! Fifteen down, 154 to go... and then: triangles!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Evolution of a baby quilt

Hallie quilt idea 1
As I posted last week, there was quite a lot that happened before I ended up with this final project. Above is my original design, which was based on this fantastic quilt from Quilts, Baby!

Hallie quilt inspiration 1
The problem? I think my blocks were too square, too same-y. Once I decided that I didn't like the way the quilt was turning out, I had a minor quilting meltdown. I didn't want to scrap the blocks I had spent so long making, but I definitely needed an adjustment. I pulled all of my quilting books of the shelf and turned them, looking for inspiration. In Material Obsession, I found this:

Hallie quilt inspiration 2
I decided to use my existing bird blocks in place of the large prints in that quilt and then make a number of courthouse step blocks to fill in the gaps. The next problem: what fabrics to use to make the patchwork blocks? I pulled fabrics from my stash and spread them all out on the floor, eventually deciding on a pile that I thought worked.

auditioning borders
Once I had those blocks made, I auditioned borders (see above) and ended up using the thin teal one on all four sides and the thicker green one just on the long sides, so help make the quilt more squared. In the end, I'm happy I took the extra time on this one because I think I ended up with a better finished quilt.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gifted: baby quilt

Hallie quilt washed
It's a little hard for me to believe, but this is my first finished quilt of the year! It's already March. I guess no longer participating in the mini-quilt swaps has really dropped my number. Anyway, this is a baby quilt for my friend Hallie (though, really, for her little guy, who is nearly 5 weeks old already!) I will have to do a separate post on the evolution of the design, which went through a lot of revisions, but here's the final result. I really like it (it's my new blog banner).

Hallie quilt back
And here's the back! I had intended on this pieced strip of birds being more off-center than it ended up, but I think it looks okay. I could've added more of the teal to the sides of the strip, but this baby came early and I wanted to finish.

Hallie quilt quilting 1
This was my first time quilting on Gloria. I must say, the straight-line quilting looks awesome, and I didn't spring for the walking foot! I quilted in diagonal lines but didn't go corner-to-corner; it's all offset, and the teal and orange threads are at varying widths apart. I stitched at various speeds, sometimes going from slow to fast really quickly (I have a bit of a lead foot, it seems) and see absolutely no difference in stitch length, consistency, or tension. And it's good to note that I didn't have to adjust the tension at all for the quilting to be perfect. WIN!
Hallie quilt fmq
To create some interest in the solid borders, I decided to do some free-motion curlicue quilting--with orange thread in the outer border and teal thread in the inner (so that one was more tone-on-tone). Unfortunately, I had a lot of problems. No win here. BUT it's not all bad. My main issue was with thread breaking. I was using an Aurifill thread (orange) and Mettler thread (teal), so there was no issue with quality, and each thread handled the straight quilting fine. The interesting thing is that my thread consistently broke at the needle (no snagging in tension discs that I could tell) and at the same part of my loops, so I really think it's operator error and not Gloria's fault. Of course, the problem never translated to my smaller practice quilt sandwich, which led me to believe that not having an extension table to distribute the quilt's weight probably resulted in pulling on the needle, which repeatedly snapped my thread. So, now I have a table on the way to me. I hate to spend even MORE $$ on this machine, but it needed to be done.

car bag
Instead of wrapping the quilt, I quick whipped up this little bag with the scraps I had. The birds on the front are a pocket, and it's fully lined with the teal solid. The strap is all on the back and has a velcro closure. My idea was that the bag can be reused in the car--hung behind one of the head rests--to hold trash, toys, whatever. I'm pretty pleased with how well this turned out and how quickly it came together.

Congrats, Hal! Glad you like it!