Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Backyard Baby Quilts

I finished two very simple baby quilts last weekend. Both quilts are made mainly with the Backyard Baby fabric line, with a few blenders and solids mixed in. The names on the backings are made with from blank pages... My First Alphabet pattern.

equilateral triangle quilt personalized quilt back

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Equilateral Triangle Quilt

This quilt is a gift for an old college/work friend. I meant to have it ready for her baby shower, but I missed that deadline completely! The baby just had his first birthday. :D I looked through her pictures on Facebook and saw a lot of orange, aqua, green and cute critter prints. When I found the Backyard Baby fabric collection at a local quilt shop, I knew it would be the perfect material for this project.

Each of the seven rows consist of nine triangles and two half triangles. I used the Hex N More ruler to cut the triangles out of 8" strips of fabric. There is not an "official" line for larger triangles on the ruler, so I used the solid line above the Half Hex text as the bottom marker for cutting the triangles. If the points aren't clipped, each triangle side is 9.5". The quilt top measured at 43"x 53."

Using white thread, I quilted straight lines 3/8" away from both sides of the all the seams. The binding is Lush Running Stitch in Orange. The binding is hand-stitched to the back with Aurifil 28wt Golden Honey.

plus quilt personalized quilt back

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Plus Quilt
My husband requested this quilt for a coworker. It only took me 6 months to get around to finishing this one! I used the fabric that was left over from the triangle quilt.

This quilt design is really easy and I can understand why it is such a popular quilt pattern! It will definitely go on my "I Need a Baby Quilt ASAP" list. I used 3.5" strips of fabric, because that was the most efficient use of my remainder fabric. There are three block sizes(unfinished) in this quilt: 3.5"x3.5",  9.5"x3.5 and 6.5"x3.5". The quilt top measured 36.5"x 51.5."

The quilting is a diagonal grid with white thread. The binding is Green Fun on the Vine from the Backyard Baby collection. The binding is hand-stitched with Aurifil 28wt Medium Spring Green.
  quilt labelsUp until now, I have not been labeling my quilts! These adorable labels are from Miss Label. I purchased the 5/8" Satin Sew-In Loop Garment Care Tags, with logo on the front and washing instructions on the back. The process was really quick and simple. On November 11th, I uploaded the logo and typed out the information for the front and back. Miss Label sent me a proof on November 12th and they shipped it out on November 13th.

The one downside to these types of labels is they can be removed easily, but I prefer them on less personal quilts. (The website on the label is under construction at the moment, but it is going to be a barebones pictures and contact page: just an extended version of the label.)
  binding Both quilts have Warm & Natural Needled Cotton batting, which is 87.5% Cotton/12.5% Poly. After quilting and washing, each quilt lost approximately 2" off the quilt top measurements.

With these two finished, I am done with all the urgent baby quilts on my list! (until the next announcement!)

This quilt is part of my Finish Along 2014 Quarter 1 List. I am linking up with Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio, Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and with Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday which is being hosted at [Amy's] Crafty Shenanigans this week.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Quilty Fun and FMQ

I finished two baby quilts this past weekend. I'll be sharing those with you later this week. Three finishes in one month...I don't think that has ever happened to me before! It was the perfect storm of the husband being out of the country for a few weeks, followed by him being really busy with schoolwork (and me leaving the house a mess/not cooking). ;)

Besides the baby quilts, I have been working on two other projects:

1. Quilty Fun

The Quilty Fun quilt has been such a joy to work on. Lori's enthusiasm for sewing is contagious and it really shines through in her writing. The above picture is the left side of the quilt. My favorite block grouping is the quarter square triangle set in the middle. I would love a whole quilt with that block in those exact same colors. I'd probably make the blocks a tad bigger though!

I felt like the little jumping gnome in the blue house when I saw that it was "Neighborhood Houses" week! The house blocks are so adorable. You can see everyone else's blocks at the sew along's Flickr group.

2. Free Motion Quilting

I have also been practicing FMQ. I am loosely following along with the Free Motion Quilting a Sampler class on Craftsy.  I won't ugly up your feed with my unphotogenic practice sandwiches, but I uploaded them to Flickr. In a few years, I hope that I will be able look back at those pictures and see how far my quilting has come. It is really addictive. I intended to just quilt one practice sandwich to see how went, but I ended up going until I ran out of solid fabric!

Like I've told a few of you before, my experience with FMQing is much like my experience driving in Mario Kart: I can't stay on the path and I have no idea where I am going! My stitching flows better when I am thinking about anything except quilting. I guess that is where the recommendations to drink wine come in!

The picture above is last thing I quilted. I am starting to get the hang of it and I feel a little more comfortable about trying it on an actual quilt now. My plan is to do a few more practice sandwiches and then I am going to quilt a Jelly Roll Jam quilt. The Jelly Roll Jam quilt is small and print-heavy. It was such a quick make that I won't be too upset about any mistakes!

I am also reading First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli. In addition to FMQ instructions and advice, the book features non-fussy projects to practice your quilting on. The Wiggle Bottom cushion is the first project in the book. It is fun project, because you can practice different designs on each strip. I'm looking forward to doing more projects from the book as my skills improve.

I'll be continuing the Quilty Fun and FMQ projects this coming week. I also hope to make some progress on the Zig Zag Love quilt top.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

First Finish of the Year: Patchwork Prism

patchwork prism quilt
Patchwork Prism | 70"x76"

I have fallen out of love with a few of the quilts I made during my first year of sewing, but I think the Patchwork Prism will always have my heart. This quilt represents one of my favorite things about quilting: being surrounded by beautiful colors all the time!

This quilt was made using Anna Maria Horner's absolutely gorgeous Patchwork Prism pattern. The pattern is available for free on AMH's website. I started this quilt top in May 2012, during the Patchwork Prism QAL. I obviously did not finish in time for the final link-up!

This scrappy quilt actually ended up creating more scrap material than it used. My scrap bin wasn't exactly overflowing at the time, so I ordered a couple of scrap packs from Hawthorne Threads to supplement my stash material. I really wanted to make this quilt!

As with many scrap quilts, the most time consuming part was all of the cutting. I cut the triangles in the most inefficient way possible and I am still finding fabric with triangle cutouts! I should have cut appropriately sized squares that could have been stacked and cut into multiple triangles at once. I used template plastic, but if I were to make another Patchwork Prism I would make it work with the Hex n More ruler or use the freezer paper method. I had great luck with printing and using freezer paper templates for the Best Friends quilt top.

This was my first experience sewing triangle blocks and sewing them was a little bit tricky at first.  If you haven't made a triangle quilt before, there are fantastic tutorials for cutting & sewing them at On the Windy Side and Sew Fresh Quilts.

patchwork prism quilt back

The backing is Kona Charcoal, plus some grey and white scraps. At the time of quilt top completion, I was not sure how to translate my idea for backing into reality. I wanted it to be mostly solid, but I also wanted to echo a few of the hexagon shapes from the front. After more than a year of procrastination, it actually only took me a few hours to finish the backing!

I drew out the hexagon placement on the pattern's color map.  The original plan was to use colorful fabric for the hexagons, but I eventually decided on a monochromatic gray color scheme to create more contrast with the front. I cut the triangles to the appropriate size with the Hex N More ruler. In order to have the left side extend past the quilt top for basting, the four gray pieces at the edge of the quilt are rectangles with a 60° angle cut on one side.

I made three separate square blocks: big hexagon, medium hexagon and small hexagon. I joined the square blocks with big pieces of solid fabric, being careful to match the sizing of the front. I ended up moving the big hexagon up a row, so my original goal of the quilting lining up with both front and back fell to the wayside. I did get pretty close on the medium and small hexagons though!
patchwork prism houston waterwall

The batting is Pellon Nature’s Touch 100% Cotton Batting. I chose this batting because the quilting distance can be up to 8"-10" apart. I had used it previously with the Starburst quilt.

For thread, I used Aurifil 50wt Medium Gray (2605). The medium gray thread struck a nice balance between the dark-colored back and the medium-colored front. It looked a little dark on the yellow fabric, but the contrast became less noticeable once I washed it and the fabric puffed up around the stitching.

I quilted 1/4"ish away from both sides of the seams. My piecing wasn't super precise, so I had to mark the lines on the quilt top instead of using my seams as guidelines. After working on baby quilts for the past few months, I forgot how unwieldy these larger quilts could be!

patchwork prism binding

The binding is Endless Chains in Teal from Pat Bravo's Alhambra II. I felt that a binding that contrasted with the quilt top too much would be distracting, so I chose a greenish blue that would blend with outer colors. I also like that it has a touch of warm yellow!

aurifil simply color 28wt thread

I have really enjoyed having the Simply Color 28wt thread collection on hand. I use 28wt thread to hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt. It is heavy enough that it feels really secure, but not so heavy that it is super visible or makes sewing the binding onerous. This thread collection coordinates with the binding colors I tend to use, so it has been so convenient to have these colors all in one box! For this quilt I used Aurifil Pale Turquoise Blue (5006), the last spool on the second row.

I love this quilt and I am so glad that I can use it now! You can see more Patchwork Prisms at the Janome + Anna Maria Horner Flickr group. It is fun to see all the different interpretations!

The two Backyard Baby quilts from my Finish Along 2014 Quarter 1 List are almost done. One is waiting for binding and the other is waiting for quilting. This may be the year of the finish after all!

This quilt is part of my Finish Along 2014 Quarter 1 List. I am linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and with Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday which is being hosted at Quilt Matters this week!
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