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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cheerio!

June is always such a busy month. A majority of my family was born in June, so there was a birthday party every weekend. I ate so much cake and ice cream! I also had to finish two baby quilts. This quilt is for a baby boy who was just born on my mother-in-law's side of the family.

Cheerio Pattern | The Boat House and Bella Solids Off White | 45"x 56.25"





The pattern is Cheerio by Camille Roskelley. I found the pattern in issue 8 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, but it is also sold on the Thimble Blossoms website. I paired a fat eighth bundle of Sweetwater's The Boat House with Bella Solids Off White. I really love these nautical prints with this quilt pattern, because the blocks remind me of life savers! The fat eighth bundle I used had less fabric than the pattern called for, but that was okay since I was reducing the size anyway. Each fat eighth equals a block, so it is easy to scale the pattern up and down. I made it really easy on myself and just halved the pattern. I ended up with four extra blocks, plus the six extra fat eighths I didn't cut.

To make flippy corners, I adhere painter's tape to my machine and draw a straight line from the needle to the edge of the machine. Then all I have to do is keep the appropriate corners aligned and done! It really speeds up the process.

It really did seem like a lot of pieces and steps for a baby quilt, but each step was so easy that the process was really enjoyable. By keeping my fabric organized, I was able to cut down the back-and-forth to the sewing machine and really streamline my chain piecing. I have been listening to audiobooks while working on quilt tops and it really makes time fly, even during the more tedious parts of quilting. While making this quilt, I listened to The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty through my library's subscription to Hoopla.



I used my standard baby quilt backing template, plus my blank pages... My First Alphabet pattern. The Boat House prints are so dense and I wanted something a little more airy for the top section of the back. I chose More Hearty Good Wishes Ships Dark Blue by Janet Clare for Moda. It felt extra soft and drapey! I am really proud of the matched seam on the back! Na Na's Place on the Web has a great tutorial for getting a perfect invisible seam.

After I had already purchased the More Hearty Good Wishes fabric, I discovered a great ship blueprint fabric. I think it would have worked well too. 3 Sisters always has great blueprint and text prints!





The quilting is a stipple with Aurifil 40wt in Dove. This was my first time working with 40wt and it really is much more noticeable than 50wt! The stitches are very defined.

I had been worried about frame quilting when the backing alignment is crucial, because a quilt I sent out to be quilted came back noticeably off-center. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think it helps that the name is left aligned, so you can't tell if it is offset by an inch or two. I did add an extra inch to the left of the name just to be extra safe. Can you imagine all the tears that would occur if I took it off the frame and the name was cut off? :D

Since the top and backing are pinned to the leader cloths by their centers, it is easy to center the width. Centering the height is a little more finicky. I have been drawing a line at the ideal part of the backing and making sure that I float the top of the quilt to the line. Technically it still ends up being an inch or two too low or high, but I usually have a lot of room to work with.





Bias binding, The Boat House Vanilla on Navy True North by Sweetwater for Moda. Stripes are the best!






Next week I will be showing off the other baby quilt (pictured above)! I am still trying to work up the energy to make backing for the the very first quilt I ever started!

I will be linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric StudioThank Goodness It's Finished Friday (which is being hosted at Quokka Quilts this week) and  Show off Saturday at the Sew Can She blog.

Friday, May 22, 2015

TGIFF: Quilty Fun!

This is one of my favorite sampler designs ever! I made this quilt as part of the Quilty Fun Sew Along. I started this project because I was working on the Texas A&M quilt and I really needed a project with bright colors! I gave this quilt to my mom for Mother's Day.

Quilty Fun Sew Along | Scraps | 67.5"x67.5"




The cutting instructions are available at the The Jolly Jabber, but for block construction you need Lori Holt's book Quilty Fun: Lessons in Scrappy Patchwork. I really love Lori's techniques for working with tiny scraps. Some of the blocks are constructed in a completely different way than I expected. She also included detailed pressing instructions at each step! The projects in the book feature one or more of these blocks in some capacity. There is a Row Along Quilt in the book, as well as ten individual projects. The book is spiral bound, which is great because it lays flat on the table while you work.

I chose to work scraps that were red, yellow, pink, light blue, yellow-green and blue-green. I avoided purple and orange for the most part. The white background is Vintage Modern Dots in Cream, the red border is Baby Jane Hop Skip Fabric in Scarlet and the outer border is Ta Dot in Teal. Ta Dot in Teal is one of my favorite dot prints and I especially love it next to red.

All the blocks are so adorable, but the quarter square triangles are my favorite! I am going through my scraps now so I can make a large quarter square triangle quilt. It will definitely have bigger blocks though!

The hardest part for me was the frame around the bee. The simple blocks (flying geese, squares and quarter square triangles) are the ones I had the hardest time working on in a smaller scale. If I could go back, I would work on the bee block first and all of the frame pieces immediately after.  I think starch would have helped.

There is a lot of detail in this quilt and I uploaded a few more detailed shots to my Flickr account.



The quilt top finishing and backing instructions are at Bee in My Bonnet. I was really tempted to to make a whole fabric backing, but this was a really good opportunity to use some (24!) fat quarters that have been sitting in my closet for a very long time. Many of them are large prints, which I have a difficult time using. I've learned not to buy large prints, except for specific projects!

I love the embroidery details in this pattern!




Large stipple in Aurifil 50wt Dove. I use Dove all the time for quilting and piecing. It blends really well and sometimes it seems like it is taking on the color of the fabric below it.





The binding is Medium Cotton Gingham Red (Riley Blake). Any kind of gingham or gridded binding drives me crazy, but it was perfect for this quilt. I like the chunkiness of the print, especially in contrast with all the tiny prints in the quilt! I chose a red binding to match the inner border.


There is a Flickr group for this quilt along. I love seeing all the different color schemes!



I am still working on the baby quilts! 40 blocks finished for the girl quilt and all the block components are finished for the boy quilt.

I will be linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric StudioThank Goodness It's Finished Friday (which is being hosted at -Slostudio this week) and  Show off Saturday at the Sew Can She blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2012 Designer Block of the Month Quilt

I started this block of the month quilt in the summer of 2012, about six months after I started quilting. It feels so awesome to mark this one off the project list! This quilt is a gift for one of our aunts.

2012 Designer Mystery Block @ FQS | Vintage Modern | 69.5" x 87”












I made this quilt as part of the 2012 Designer Mystery Block program at Fat Quarter Shop. Kitted quilts don't involve much creativity, but they are fantastic for learning and improving skills without having to worry about all the aesthetic decisions that come with making a quilt. They also make for nice, relaxing side projects. I only stuck with the monthly sewing for a few of the blocks, but it was fun receiving a pretty package in the mail each month!

The instructions were very clear and organized. All the fabrics are from Vintage Modern by Bonnie and Camille. The Fat Quarter Shop sent more than enough fabric. I actually made two blocks from the fabric for the third block on the first row.

All the blocks in this quilt consist of flying geese, half square triangles, goose in the corner blocks (flippy corners?), and/or basic square/rectangle blocks. When I first started, all these blocks looked so complicated. I was surprised when I learned how they were made from the same simple parts in different configurations. My proficiency with all these basic quilt building blocks improved greatly over the course of making this quilt.

I pre-washed and starched all the top fabrics. My blocks always look better when I starch! I took special care to piece the striped sashing so that the striped pattern was continuous with no breaks.




The backing is Cream Cotton Blossom. When I was done quilting, I remembered that I had washed all the fabric except the backing! Thankfully, everything came out of the dryer fine. (All these pictures are post-wash.)

This is my favorite block! Sunday Drive designed by Polly Minick & Laurie Simpson




Quilted with a large stipple using Aurifil 50wt White. This is the second large quilt I have quilted with my frame. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, but that feeling is slowly subsiding. I read The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy recently and one paragraph really put things in perspective for me:
[While attending a cardiac arrest situation] We were in the doorway, watching the madness unfold. "Michael Jordan said the game would slow down for him," Baio whispered, "when he was in the zone. The more of these you see, the slower things will move." 
A basketball player, a doctor and a quilter might not have that much in common professionally, but the mental process for acquiring new skills is similar. Right now quilting feels a little chaotic, but the more I quilt the easier it will become. This second quilt already felt a little easier than the first quilt, which felt easier than the two baby quilts.  I am sure this will continue as I quilt through my rather large backlog of quilt tops!




The binding is Candy Apple Gumdrop. I love red bindings, so I was pretty happy that it was the binding fabric provided!


There is a Flickr group for this block of the month club. It is fun to see the different quilting and layout choices. I really love what Elaine @ Messy Goat did with her quilt. The layout is stunning and she really made the quilt special and meaningful.

Next week, I will be sharing my Quilty Fun finish. I have two more large quilt tops that will be quilted as soon as I piece the backings. I am also working on two baby quilts.

I will be linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric StudioThank Goodness It's Finished Friday (which is being hosted at -A Quarter Inch from the Edge this week) and  Show off Saturday at the Sew Can She blog.
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