Friday, January 17, 2014

Finish Along 2014 Quarter 1 - To Finish List

Finish Along 2014I want to complete 5 projects for the first quarter of the 2014 Finish Along. Three of those projects are baby quilts, so I think this goal may be attainable! The 2014 Finish Along is being hosted by the fabulous Katy at The Littlest Thistle.  As of this posting, there are still a few more hours to link up (it is closed now).

1.  Charley Harper/Botanics Baby Quilt- This quilt top has been taking up valuable floor space for a month and a half. :) This should be a quick finish. The back will have some simple piecing and I'll be quilting straight lines around the seams. Status: Quilt top is done

Two birds, one stone:
2. Baby Equilateral Triangle Quilt- This quilt for a friend has been on my list for a long time. So long, that the baby is already a year old! Status: The pieces are cut.
3. Baby Plus Quilt - This quilt for my husband's coworker has only been on my list since early last year and the baby is due any day now. I am using the same fabric, so I have been cutting the pieces at the same time. Status: The pieces are cut.

4. Zig Zag Love - There is really no urgency with this one, but I stopped halfway through piecing and I have a mess of 1.5" berry squares all over the place! I want to finish this before I lose all the pieces! Status: Half of the piecing is done.

5. Patchwork Prism - An oldie, but a goodie! I finished this top in October 2012 and it has been tucked away in a drawer ever since! I love this quilt and I really want to use it! My idea for the back has been holding me up. Status: Quilt top is finished.

Hopefully I won't get distracted by any shiny new projects or QALs in the next 3 months. ;) Good luck to all who linked up with the FAL this quarter!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Year in Review

I feel like I have one foot still in 2013! It is hard to believe another year has passed. 2013 seemed like a whirlwind, but it went by a little slower than I thought. I could have sworn some of the following projects were from 2012! 

Last year, my piecing got more precise and I got much more comfortable sewing triangles and diamonds. I didn't complete as many projects as I did in 2012, but I did start enjoying the process of making each individual project more. Here are some of my finishes and almost-finishes for 2013:

Finished Projects 
1. Baby Jane Twister Quilt, 2. Baby Jane Pillow, 3. Texas A&M Quilt, 4. Pathways Quilt, 5. Twister at the Reunion Baby Quilt, 6. Children at Play Baby Quilt, 7. Scrappy Trip Around the World, 8. Bell Pepper Coasters, 9. Tablet Pillow Stand Tutorial, 10. Spool Mini Quilt, 11. Starburst Quilt, 12. Triple-Zip Pouch 13. Projects At A Glance Sheets (Printable), 14. Mouse Pad, 15. Hair Straightener Case (not blogged)

Finished Quilt Tops
 1) St. Louis 16 Patch, 2) Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Block of the Month 2012, 3) Patchwork Heart, 4) Strawberry Jam, 5) Best Friends, 6) Equilateral Triangle Quilt (not blogged, shown unfinished)

12 Month Progress

There has definitely been a flurry of activity since January 2013. I finished seven quilts and seven quilt tops (one not pictured) this year. I ended up adding quite a few new projects, but I also made progress on the earlier projects! There are currently 22 ongoing projects. Low impulse control! :) Maybe I shouldn't count the ones that haven't made it to the cutting phase yet!

I'll save my specific sewing goals for the Finish-Along post, but I do have a few general goals for 2014. Two of them are exactly the same as last year! My goals for this year are:

1. Blog More - Towards the end of the 2013, I was posting very infrequently. As I was browsing through my camera files,  I noticed that I missed posting about several projects! My 2014 goal is to post at least four times a month.
2. Learn FMQ - This year, I have absolutely zero excuse not to learn FMQ! I'm armed with a Craftsy course, a brand new acrylic extension table and a pair of quilting gloves. I've done a few test runs and the quilting gloves have already made a noticeable difference. With a better grasp on the fabric, my attempts at loops have become much more fluid! By the end of the year, I hope to quilt the Xs & O's quilt with free-motion loops.
3. Complete One Curve Based Quilt Top - Now that I am comfortable sewing squares, rectangles, triangles and diamonds, I would like to work on my curve sewing skills. I've been playing with the Quick Curve Ruler (IT IS AMAZING) and I really want to make the Metro Hoops or Metro Rings quilt by the end of the year.

I hope everyone is having fantastic & productive year so far! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baby Jane Twister Quilt

Yes, another twister quilt! Out of all the quilts I've shown my non-sewing friends, twisters are always the most popular. The following quilt was commissioned by a former co-worker whose friend just had a baby girl. This quilt was finished at the end of August 2013, but I couldn't reveal it because it was a gift. I had a week to work on this quilt and it was exhausting! Who know that working on a single quilt was more tiring than working on 15 quilts at one time? ;D I am very thankful for both my proximity to Fat Quarter Shop and their fast order processing time, because I was able to get this quilt started and finished very quickly!

Twister Quilt | 48"x48" | Baby Jane and Kona Snow

This is the first pattern I have repeated and I was able to implement all the "Lessons Learned" from the Twister at the Reunion Quilt.  I used Eric and Julie Comstock's Baby Jane fabric and I just love the vintage look of it. It is such a sweet line of fabric! I made the last baby twister quilt with a couple of charm packs, but I bought the whole fat quarter bundle for the making of this one. Baby Jane is about half cream colors, which would have blended into the Kona Snow background. With the fat quarter bundle, I was able to pick and choose which prints to use for the twisters. There is also the added benefit that I have some fabric left over for myself!

The first quilt top is made out of 85 printed 5"* charm squares* and 85 white 5"* charm squares. The white border is made from 5"* strips of fabric and the red border (Scarlet Hop and Skip) is made from 3.5"* strips of fabric. The first quilt top is a 74.5" square. I used the June Tailor Twist n' Stitch ruler to cut the twister blocks from the first top. The twister blocks are 3.5"* squares and the final quilt top is a 48.5" square.

*Unfinished sizes

The main backing piece is Baby Jane Happiness Multi.  The name is paper-pieced using ...from blank pages...  My First Alphabet pattern. I am not 100% sure about the exact color of the solid, but it is possibly Bella Solids Aqua. I could not find a chevron print that was a close match to the aqua, so I made a pattern and paper-pieced my own chevron panel. The quilt ended up the perfect size to fit four of the Scarlet Knick Knack "panels," so I used that print as the bottom fabric.

The batting is Heirloom® Premium 80/20 Cotton Blend. I quilted with a 2" crosshatch and Aurifil 50wt White.

I had to rip quite a bit of quilting out on this one, because of two silly mistakes:
  1. About half-way through quilting I realized there was a giant space between the "L" and the "Y," which made the name appear as "ADDIL YN."  It is something I should have caught before I pieced the back, but I didn't see it until after I quilted over the name!  I ended up ripping out the quilting and taking out the tiny piece of spacing fabric between the two letters (While managing to keep the quilt mostly basted. lol).
  2. After washing the finished quilt, I saw what looked like two giant red bleeds on the white fabric. It was not a bleed, but some fraying pieces of fabric that ended up underneath the white background. Fortunately the threads were close enough to the edge that I could somewhat easily undo the binding and quilting to remove the offending threads with a pair of tweezers. I will definitely be more diligent about checking for loose threads from now on! (EDIT 1/6/2014: kelly o! left a great comment about using a tiny crochet hook to reach through the top and grab those missed threads. LizzyO Quilts has a fantastic tutorial that illustrates this method!)

This is the first quilt that I pre-washed every single piece, including the batting. As you can see in this post-wash picture, it still turned out very crinkly. I have made quilts with absolutely no pre-washing that have turned out less crinkly! If anyone has any insight on this, let me know! My current theories are that the fabric isn't fully shrunk because I use the delicate cycle or it is just the nature of the Heirloom batting. I like the crinkly look, but I am never sure how non-quilters will feel about it.

I usually don't choose my binding until the end of quilting, since I usually change my mind after seeing the finished quilt. With this quilt, it was obvious from the beginning that Scarlet Cross My Heart was the perfect choice! I love stripe binding! When piecing the binding, I made sure to join it so it looked like there was no break in the stripe pattern. I got SO lucky in the end, because my final binding join matched up perfectly.

With the leftover fabric from the quilt, I made a complimentary pillow, with a simple envelope backing. I think the "Scarlet Knick Knack" print is so sweet and I really wanted it to be the focus.

This is the seventh and last quilt finish for 2013. I hope to have many more quilt finishes for 2014. I definitely have enough finished quilt tops to make that happen! :D

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