Friday, December 20, 2013

Texas A&M Quilt Finish

This 90"x110" Texas A&M University Quilt was made for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. My husband was a HUGE help with this quilt. He has similar design taste to his brother, so he played a major role in designing the pattern and choosing the fabric. I was really slow to start this project, but I ended up really enjoying the process of making this quilt!

My husband always wants me to make Twister quilts. He was with me when I bought the Twist n' Stitch ruler, so part of me thinks he just wants to make sure I get my money's worth! At first he wanted little tiny twisters, like on the Reunion quilt (3.5" Twister blocks). There was no way that was going to happen in this decade, so he settled for 10" Twister blocks. We laid out the colors in EQ7 (helpful tutorial on Twister Blocks in EQ7) and his favorite layout was Twister Around the World.

We picked out the fabrics at the local quilt store. The maroon fabrics are Maroon Bandana Print and Maroon Scattered Emblems. The two fabrics are slightly different in shade. To account for the difference in shades, I was careful with the fabric placement. The Maroon Bandana Print was used for the border and the 4 inner & 4 outer Twisters and the Scattered Emblems print was used for the 14 center Twisters. The background fabric is White Scattered Emblems. I insisted on at least one non-branded fabric to give the eyes room to rest. He picked a light gray striped fabric. I pre-washed all the fabric and I am so glad I did! The Color Catchers came out of the wash almost as dark as the fabric!

When laying out the quilt, I was very careful to lay the fabric squares in the same direction. I didn't want the prints going one way on some twisters and the other direction on the rest! The border is 5", which is half the size of the Twister blocks. After everything was put together, the grey-striped fabric looked lighter than expected. While I was working on this top, my husband was on a business trip in Trinidad. When he returned and saw the completed quilt top he asked, "Can we change out the gray fabric?...(laughs)" Um, no. LOL Very funny! :D

Despite the size, this quilt top actually came together faster than the baby-sized twister quilt!  The backing was actually the most time consuming part, because of all the paper piecing.

The main pieces of the backing are Kona Garnet & Maroon and Gray Aggie Emblem Grid. My husband really wanted the grid fabric on the back. Because of the obvious seams and difficulty cutting, I would have been happier with a more random fabric or using the gridded fabric in a different layout. The seam lines are more obvious in the photograph than they are in person.

My BIL wanted his last name and graduation year on the back. The name and the year are made with from blank pages...  My First Alphabet pattern. The blocky letters are well-suited to the style of the quilt and A&M's branding. I enlarged the pattern so that each letter took up an entire 8.5"x11" page. I tested out the letter size by laying the printed pages against the quilt top.  I wanted to make sure there was substantial room between the edge of the quilt and the name, so that there would be no chance of the name getting cut off during the quilting and trimming process.

I wanted the name to stand out more than the year, so I made the year 2/3's the size of the name. The "1996" looked lonely by itself, so I surrounded it with two stars. The stars were made using Hot Pink Peonies Five Pointed Star block. There is an A&M logo variation with a similar star, so this design fit in with the university's branding. I had never done Y-Seams before and my first attempt was a bulky, messy disaster! I thought I was going to have to abandon the star, but there was really no star that matched as well. This Yahoo tutorial and Fresh Lemon Quilts Y-Seam Tutorial helped rectify the situation! I ended up piecing it slightly different than the original instructions. My piecing order was (A+B+C) + (D+E). This worked better for me, because the Y-Seam was at a more gentle angle than (A+B+C+D) + E.

This quilt was way too big for me to manage on my own, so I sent it out for long-arm quilting. For a variety of irrational reasons, I was really nervous about sending it out! I chose Plain Jane Quilting because Cut to Pieces gave her a great review, there was a free return shipping offer at the time and sending it to another state eased my nerves.  My graphic design professors always told us that if we didn't send our files to the printer 100% correctly, all the community printers would exchange notes and blacklist us! Hence, deep-seated paranoia! :D

I chose the computerized Stars pattern with basic density and in light grey thread. The loops echo the pattern in the bandana fabric and stars fit in with the A&M/Texas aesthetic. I am so happy with how it turned out!!! The process was so fast. I shipped it to Utah on November 4th and it was quilted by November 9th. I would not hesitate to get something professionally quilted ever again!

The binding is Kona Garnet. Garnet was not an exact match, but it was closest in shade to the maroon in the border fabric. I wanted to use a solid, because collegiate fabric is very busy. I used Red Pepper Quilts binding method for sewing the binding on the front of the quilt. I have used a similar method on previous quilts, but it involved precutting the 45 degree angle in the beginning. I would always end up with an obvious join, I suspect because of stretching on the bias. Rita's method worked out much better for me! I used a maroon hand quilting thread to hand-stitch the binding on the back.

I always wash my quilts before I give them to the recipient. Even though I had pre-washed the fabrics, it was still leaking color at the finish! I am very thankful for Color Catchers!

This quilt is so cozy and has great drape! I hope that my brother-in-law's family enjoys it!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF, which is hosted by Gingersnap Quilts this week

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quilty Fun Blocks 1-7

I am a sucker for cute pictorial blocks, so of course I have been following along with the Quilty Fun Sew Along Blog Tour. All the blocks are from Quilty Fun by Lori Holt. The book has so many adorable blocks and projects. I especially appreciate the spiral binding!

I had gotten a little behind (5 blocks to be exact), but all of Lori's piecing techniques are very time efficient. I was able to catch up in one evening. The most time consuming part is picking out the fabric! Because of the holidays, the Week 8 block won't be posted until January 6. That is plenty of time to catch up if you want to join in! The schedule and companion PDFs are listed at this link.

Week 7 - Cocoa Cups

Week 6 - Chubby Chevrons

Corner triangles used to be my worst block, which is a tiny bit embarrassing since it really can't get much easier! My issue was the part that would fold back wouldn't end up even with the main block. I have gotten more consistent sizing lately and I think it is because of the following reasons:
1) I started sewing right outside the drawn diagonal line, instead of on the diagonal line.
2) To place the corner squares, I use a Sewline Glue Pen or Elmer's School glue instead of pins. This is especially true on blocks with really small pieces.
3) I started using a 50wt thread for piecing, instead of a 30wt All-Purpose thread.
A few of my blocks are a tad off, but I have a policy of not resewing if I can't see the mistake from 5'4" away. :D

I've also gotten a little lazy about drawing the lines on the corner triangle pieces. The Angler 2 sounds amazing, but I was too impatient to wait for one to ship here! I ended up making a rudimentary corner triangle assistant by adhering some painter's tape to my machine and drawing some simple lines. I just make sure my corners stay aligned with my guidelines and everything turns out perfect.

Week 5 - Flying Geese

The individual Flying Geese measure 1.5"x2.5". They are so teeny-tiny and cute! These are pieced using the No Waste Flying Geese method, which feels a little bit like magic every time. I love the colors. If I ever get around to making a medallion quilt that has flying geese borders, this is my color scheme!

Week 4 - Sewing Baskets

I just have to share a little excitement here: I got 1 & 1/3 yards of the yellow(tangerine?) Nicey Jane print for $5 at the local fabric store! Lucky find!

Week 3 - Courthouse Steps

The cute little print from Baby Jane fit perfectly in the middle of the courthouse steps!

Week 2 - Twinkly Winter Stars

Week 1 - Apples

The last week for this QAL is March 31, 2014. I can't wait to put the whole quilt top together!

Other WIPs for the week: 2 Baby Quilts & Swoon. Those projects will have to wait until I finish cleaning up the Scraptastrophe I created during my frenzied Quilty Fun catching up!

Linking Up With WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, December 9, 2013

[CLOSED] Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day - December 2013

Welcome! I am happy that you are here to join me on Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day. If you are new here, my name is Taryn and I like to sew quilts. If you like (not required!), you can follow my sewing progress via the following links: Bloglovin'  |  Feedly  |  RSS  |   Instagram  |  Flickr  | Pinterest. The picture below is a collage of some of my most recent work.

Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day is one my favorite times of year. My first Giveaway Day was two years ago and it really encouraged me to join the blogging community.  I love to meet new friends and the chance to win free stuff isn't so bad either! 

Here is my offering: One person will win a copy of Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott & Two Trade Winds Charm Packs.


The winner is #225 Karrie S. She has been emailed and the package will be shipping tomorrow. Congratulations Karrie and thanks to all who took the time to enter!

Leave one comment telling me about your sewing or crafting plans for this month. If you don't have any projects going on, what do you like to sew or want to learn how to sew?

My answer: My main projects right now are two baby quilts. One of which I am 8 months late on :D. The thing I am most excited about is preparing blog posts about two finishes that will be gifted after Christmas. Finishing a project can be so exhilarating and it is so hard to keep quiet!

Fine print: This giveaway will close December 13, 2013 at 5pm PST. The winner will be chosen using random.org. I am willing to ship internationally. I will be contacting the winner by email. If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please be sure to include your email address in your comment so that I am able to contact you if you win. Entries without an email address will be disqualified. The winner must respond within five days of the end of the contest. If the winner does not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.

Thank you so much for entering! It gets a bit crazy on Giveaway Day and I can't always respond to every comment like I do on regular posts, but I will be reading all of the entries. I really appreciate your visit. Good luck and thanks for stopping by! I hope to see you again!

You can see the all the giveaways at Sew, Mama, Sew's Blog (starting December 9 @ 6AM PST).
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