Tuesday, July 25, 2017

marmalade quilt--the beginning

Last weekend I had the opportunity to retreat with some of my friends at our annual Gruber's retreat. I believe that this was year 8! I'm so thankful for good friends from all over the country who were brought together through the internet and our common love of quilting! We have expanded our retreat to a 5 day stretch--what a treat that is! It still goes too fast. :)
My main project for this retreat, other than my pincushion a day (of course!), was to work on this quilt! I opened up a much loved (and hoarded) layer cake of Marmalade fabric by Bonnie and Camille. This stuff has been aging nicely in the stash, but it was finally time to use it. It hurt a little bit to pull the ribbon off, but I'm so glad I did. It was high time!!!! This fabric is sooooo pretty!
I mixed the layer cake with some good ol' Kona cotton in Snow. The FREE pattern is available here.....it's my cartwheels quilt from the Moda bake shop. I enjoyed sewing up these blocks!
I got all 84 blocks sewn together. This isn't the final lay out, but I'm glad I got a photo of all of them together.

I'd be curious to know what your most precious, hoarded fabric is in your stash. What is holding you back from using it? (No judgement here....I'm sure I will be able to relate!)

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, July 21, 2017

pincushions and dishtowels

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I've got more pincushions to share today. Man, I love these things!
 Day 15--solid scraps in braid formation
 Day 16--denim scraps with wonky hand stitching
Day 17--diamond quilting on Essex linen. I'd like to make one of these in every single color! I used Essential thread by connecting threads for the quilting. It's nice and thick so the quilting lines really stand out...just what I was after!
Day 18--this iconic pattern is from the book Patchwork Please. I've been wanting to make this one for years, and it didn't disappoint. I literally want to make 100 more of them. I love this one so much!!!
Day 19--this one is called Crosswalk. It's based on a sketch that I did years ago, but I never got around to making the quilt. It was fun to finally make something from this idea! I rather like it in pincushion form.
Day 20--I'm calling this one marmalade on toast. I finally cut into a precious layer cake of marmalade fabric and this is made from some of the scraps. I love using it all! Each of the strips of fabric measure at about 1/4" wide. Crazy but fun!
I was able to go on a quilt retreat last weekend and I'm on another quilt retreat this weekend, so I made a bunch of patchwork dishtowels for gifts for my retreat friends. I think I made 14 dishtowels in all, so I used up a bunch of scraps. Hurray!!! (There is a simple dish towel tutorial here, if you care to make some of your own.) For these, I used rectangles cut 2" wide x 2 1/2" tall, and I pressed the fold down 3/8" on the top seam rather than 1/4". It worked out really well! The patchwork is a little bit smaller than the original tutorial, but as you know, smaller=cuter! I had a lot of fun making the patchwork strips, but I think I'm done with these for awhile! Can you imagine? Ha!

I think that's it for me today! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Friday, July 14, 2017

pincushions 8-14

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I've actually done a lot of sewing this week, but it is all for gifts, so I can't share the results quite yet. I have also been keeping up on my one-a-day pincushion challenge. Making a pincushion every single day is not for the faint of heart. Each pincushion takes on average about 1 1/2 hours...that's if things are going well! Ha! I have been enjoying the challenge, though. It really pushes me creatively and I love that!

Here are the pincushions from the last week....
 day 8
 day 9
 day 10
 day 11
 day 12
 day 13
 day 14--the front
day 14--the back

Some days I start with a faint plan, other days I have no idea what I will make until I walk into the sewing room and start playing with fabric. Thank goodness I have plenty of scraps to play with! :) I think I could make at least 1001 more pincushions from my solid scrap bags alone. It's mighty tempting! Hahaha!

Here are the first 10 days of pincushions all together. It's fun to see the collection grow!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week! Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Friday, July 07, 2017

more pincushions!

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm a week into my one-a-day pincushion challenge in already! I can't believe it! Here are the finished pincushions from the past few days....
day 4-the front, which uses leftover scraps from day 1 (...because I'm crazy like that!)
I pieced and quilted the back of this one, so really, it's two in one!
day 5--an old school knit pincushion in DK weight yarn. (I'm working on a pattern for these little guys, but I'm still in the prototype stages....it takes awhile!)
 day 6--I'm calling this one "for the love of scraps". I don't think I need to say more... :)
This was a bonus pincushion for day 6...another knit pincushion, this time in worsted weight yarn. These remind me of cupcakes, and that's not a bad thing! Much like cupcakes, I don't think you can have too many of them!
day 7--This little guy is precious, isn't he? Originally I machine quilted this pincushion top, but my tension was off and it looked horrible. After I ripped out the quilting, I decided to hand quilt it. I'm so glad I did. It's much cuter this way. Hurray!

If you have any questions about pincushions, such as what I fill them with, please see this post for more details.

My pincushion basket is starting to fill up already and I'm excited to keep adding to it!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!


Monday, July 03, 2017

pincushion challenge revisited

Like I mentioned last week, I've decided to revisit my one-a-day pincushion challenge. My goal is to make a pincushion a day for the month of July. I did this last year and I had a blast! I'm happy to say that things are off to a great start!
day 1--I pulled out a bag of scraps that my friend Jacey gave me earlier this year. The color scheme is one of my favorites! For the design, I went after the first idea that popped into my head and I was thrilled that it turned out pretty close to my original idea on the first try. (That is NOT always the case. hahaha!)
day 2--this pincushion was inspired by the remainders quilt in my book No Scrap Left Behind. The triangles didn't turn out nearly small enough....so I tried again on day 3. I do love the one yellow triangle in this one!
day 3--these triangles finish at about 1/2"! This is what I was envisioning. I love this one so much and I have a feeling that this one will become part of my permanent pincushion collection.
Just to give you an idea of the scale of the triangles from day 2 and day 3....smaller=cuter!

A few things to mention:

1. I almost always quilt my pincushion tops to scrap batting. The quilting adds a lovely texture to the finished piece.

2. I use lightweight interfacing (SF 101) fused to the back of quilting cotton for my pincushion backings.

3. I use invisible nylon thread to hand stitch the openings closed, which I do by hand.

4. I use crushed walnut shells for filling, which are sold as lizard litter. I purchase them at Pet Smart. (25 dry quarts at a time. hahaha!)

I wanted to say a quick thank you for all of you who left name suggestions for my quilt top last Friday. I appreciate the help! There are some great ideas, it will be hard to choose just one!

One question I want to ask of you, do you have a pincushion collection? I'd be curious to know.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 30, 2017

this quilt needs a name and Maine morning mitts

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Last evening my machine was humming because I was in a race to beat the sunset. I wanted to capture a decent photo of the quilt top before the light escaped. It's a tricky game to play, as my son says, but I'm thankful that I won. :)
You guys! I'm so happy with this quilt top! It needs a good name, so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
If you've been following along with the quilt along, you already know that this is a slightly smaller version of my June quilt from my book No Scrap Left Behind.
The top measures about 51" x 68" or so. I'm pleased that the top is done, just as June comes to a close. Hurray for finishing the top! Boo for June being done. (It's one of my favorite months!)

I had another finish this week....a pair of Maine Morning Mitts. Knitting hand warmers in June is totally reasonable, right? My daughter actually wore them for a few days. Silly girl!
Last weekend we took a quick trip to Iowa for my niece's graduation party, so this is one of the projects I took along to work on in the car. I have been stalled out on this project because they needed thumbs and I hate knitting thumbs! My motivation? I wanted to use the leftover yarn to make knit pincushions. Hahahaha!
I'm so glad I had the motivation to finish them!
They are for my daughter and she LOVES them. Also, she was a willing model and the last photo was her idea. It was a lot of fun to photograph them with her!

The pattern is Maine Morning Mitts, which can be found here.
Yarn is by The Yarns of Rhichard DeVrieze. The colorway is Kimberly. (Worsted weight, knit on size 7 needles.)

Tomorrow is July 1 and I decided that I am going to revisit my one a day pincushion challenge. I had so much fun with it last year and I'm super excited to try it again. I hope you enjoy following along!

Just a quick note....I've decided that from here on out, I will keep the link up open for two days rather than one, so you have a bit more time to share your finishes. I hope that's helpful!

Now, it's your turn. Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June QAL-week 4

Welcome to week 4-the final week-of the June QAL! It's been fun to see your work popping up on Instagram. If you would like to check out the instructions from the previous weeks, I've added the links below for easy reference:

week 1
week 2
week 3

This week we are going to assemble the quilt top and talk about quilting options.

The first step is to lay out the pieces according to the diagrams below. I would recommend using a design wall, if you have one. If not, the floor works, too. :)
baby size layout

lap size layout

assembly diagram

The June quilt is set on point (the blocks are placed at a 45 degree angle, rather than a 90 degree angle), so the quilt will be assembled in diagonal rows. The assembly diagram above illustrates how the rows are pieced together. It may look a bit complicated, but it's not difficult if you take it one step at a time. Arrows indicate pressing directions.

When adding an outside corner setting triangle (piece C) to a string block, use this method to align and sew the triangles:


When adding a small setting triangle (piece E) to a string block, use this method to align and sew the triangles:


When adding a large setting triangle (piece A) to a string block, use this method to align and sew the triangles:


Yesterday I took a bunch of photos to illustrate the steps above, but as I was working on the post this morning, I realized that I was assembling the quilt from a different corner than the instructions in the book, so it would have been super confusing. (Blergh!!) So, hopefully these illustrations will get the point across. 

This is when it gets exciting!!! I put the pieces up on my design wall, (minus a few string blocks, because they weren't all finished at this point) and I was delighted to see how this version is coming along.
 I really, really like it!!!
Here's a closer look at the patchwork. I like that I ended up using two different kinds of aqua for the cornerstones. It's not disruptive at all and it adds a lot of interest to the quilt. Plus, I was able to use what I had, which was key. Making do with what you have can be a very good thing!
It's amazing how different it looks from my first layout, isn't it? This really (!!!) illustrates the importance of editing. It's fun to see the progression by comparing the two side by side. It will be fun to sew the quilt together and see the finished product.

Now, let's talk quilting ideas.
For the original June quilt in the book, I sent it off to Steffani, who quilted it on her long arm. She helped me pick out this all over loop pattern. I still love this choice of quilting! I was especially happy to not have to wrangle an 85" square quilt through my machine. Ha!

My friend Katherine did a great job quilting her version of the quilt. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the fabulous quilting that she did on her domestic machine. It's really quite incredible!

One other quilting idea I had was to use a walking foot to do some concentric square quilting in the larger squares, but I am not sure how I would quilt the rest of the areas. Maybe you have a good suggestion for that?

One last thought....if you take a photo of your quilt and print a copy onto paper, you can practice drawing quilting designs to audition your ideas before you turn on the sewing machine. Hopefully the sketching ahead of time can help you avoid a lot of stitch ripping!

There you go! This post wraps up the June quilt along! Please remember to hashtag your photos with #junequiltQAL on Instagram or Facebook, so I can see your progress. Thank you so much for quilting along with me!

Friday, June 23, 2017

thread catchers and more

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This week I decided that I needed to make a half-dozen thread catchers (pattern is available here) with the mini charm packs that I picked up at spring quilt market. I wanted to use them before too long, or I knew that I would hoard them until the end of time. (There is enough fabric in that category already! Hahaha!)
I used three different fabric lines: the good life, by Bonnie and Camille, Flower Mill, by Corey Yoder and First Romance by Kristyne Czepuryk of Pretty by Hand. (All by Moda Fabrics.)
I like using mini charm packs for this purpose, because each thread catcher uses 21 squares of fabric, so you can make 2 from one mini charm pack. (Hurray for that!) These will be gifts and door prizes, most likely....if I can let them go!
Last weekend I traveled to Indiana to speak and teach. It was a CRAZY trip in regards to travel, but the students were amazing, so it was totally worth it! My friend Suzanne drove several hours to attend the class and she brought her finished slopes quilt (pattern is in No Scrap Left Behind) for show and tell. Isn't it fabulous? She busted a whole lot of scraps and made it a twin size. Thanks, Suzanne, for letting me share your quilt! It's so fun to see quilts being made from the patterns in the book.

That's it for me today! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!