Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WIP Tuesday

I started making this quilt a few months ago. The original plan was to make it with solids and have the blocks interlocking. One day I was flipping through a book and found this quilt. It had already been done! I guess I wasn't really surprised, but I was a little disappointed. It happens...and I'm so glad that I found that before I started working on a pattern for it!

I still wanted to use the idea to make a quilt, but I wanted to change it up from the quilt in the book. So, I'm going scrappy. No shock there! Each small block will finish at 6", so the larger blocks will finish at 18". I'm absolutely loving it!
Yesterday I made a few more blocks. It's fun to be working with larger scraps...it goes so fast! :P The other good thing is that I'm using up some of my endless supply of strings. Of all my scrap categories, those are the hardest ones to keep up on.
It's fun to see how the dynamic changes so much with each color addition! A shock of bright pink/magenta is next. I'm choosing my fabrics carefully, gravitating toward darker, more saturated colors. I might mix in some low volume blocks? or I may keep going in this vein. That's the fun of making it up as you go...you never quite know where the quilt is going to take you! I do know that I have plenty of scraps to use....and that's a good thing!

Friday, April 11, 2014

rockets and robots quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Sometimes you have to make a quilt just because you have the fabric, right?
I've had this fabric stack pulled and set aside for quite some time. Once in awhile things get added to or subtracted from the stack, but the same color story remains the same. A few weeks ago my friend Mary and I had a sew day and I needed a simple project to work on. So, I grabbed this pile and I started cutting strips without doing any math. Just cut and sew. It's fun to do once in awhile!
I ended up making a simple rail fence quilt. From start to finish it took me about a week. It went so quick that it didn't even end up on my WIP list....which is fine with me!
I love taking leftover pieces and parts from the front and combining them with whatever I can scrounge from my stash to make a quilt back. It's like a big puzzle and the results are unexpected. (And usually very GOOD!) I love the back more than the front! Since that is the case 9 times out of 10...why am I always so surprised?
I stippled the whole thing using light peach colored thread because I had a few extra spools on hand. I attached the binding by machine for a quick and durable finish. I love how the striped binding finishes things off. You know, because there isn't quite enough going on in the quilt top itself. :)

It finishes at 53" x 65".

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

scrappy, scrap, scrap

I realize that this is NOT a news flash, but I've been playing with scraps again. Ha! It's messy work, but someone has to do it!
I made these banner blocks for the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild. The only requirements were to use brights and white fabrics and they needed to be 6.5" square. I had a lot of fun making them.
This one is my favorite! It's a mini version of my bright birch trees quilt. The block is made up of 31 teeny tiny scraps....and one big white scrap. I love it so very much!
I like this one, too, although not quite as much. It also uses 31 scraps...that must be the magic number or something. After making these teeny tiny ones, the pinwheel pieces felt absolutely huge! I could have kept going and made scrappy blocks all day long, but I kind of ran out of time.
I'm counting these blocks as scrap project #58/101.
These name tags are for some of my friends at the MMQG. (Can you tell that it's meeting night?) Also made from scraps. I love making these because they use small scraps of batting, too. There is never a shortage of those floating around the craft room. These are scrap project #59.
This is an orphan block-turned-pot holder. Each square finishes at 1"! I used Insulbrite AND batting, so the quilting got a little bit funky....but it will just get used and stained...so, to quote my daughter, "it don't matter!" This is scrap project #60! Woo-hoo!
And these are still waiting to be sewn up into something, someday!
I wonder what they will become...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

winner

The winner of the shimmer charm pack is Claudia! Thanks to all of you who entered and for all of your lovely comments!

Monday, April 07, 2014

shimmer feather pillow

Why hello there! Today I am happy to be a stop on Jennifer Sampou's SHIMMER blog hop!
Shimmer is Jennifer's newest fabric line (manufactured by Robert Kaufman) that is full of....well...shimmer! It's really beautiful.
It took me several weeks to decide on a project for these fabrics. I kicked around several ideas in my head, rearranged the charms a bunch of different ways, but that spark was missing, you know? One day it occurred to me that the fabric would be PERFECT paired with Anna Maria's feather pattern. That was the light bulb moment I was waiting for. (It's always fun when that happens!)
I love how it all came together! I made the feathers smaller than the original pattern so that 3 of them would fit on a pillow cover. I foundation pieced the shimmer fabric unto paper, then proceeded to assemble the feathers, figuring out the rest of the dimensions on the fly. It was a little trickier that I thought it would be-with all those angles-but nothing a little stitch ripping couldn't solve.
I cross hatched the background using purple thread. I know that's an unconventional choice, and very much out of my box, but look how much depth it adds to the pillow! I started and stopped the quilting lines at each feather, so I had a bunch of threads to bury. But it was worth it in the end!
To finish it off, I made an envelope backing with this fabulous olive colored fabric from my stash. I sewed a double line of stitching on the edge of the closure for a more tailored finish. I really like it! I'm sure I will be revisiting that detail again soon. (The only drawback about working with dark fabrics is all the lint it attracts, but what are you gonna do?)

The pillow measures 20" square. (It's so weird! Usually my projects are made from scraps. I'm so used to counting them toward my 101! Ha!)

Since this is a blog hop, you know there has to be a giveaway!
If you would like to win this shimmer charm pack, please leave me a comment in this post. I'll pick a winner in a few days.

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

winner

The winner of the Cotton Supreme Solids bundle by RJR is Vera! Thanks so much for all your comments--they were extremely fun to read! Yes, even those of you who were stinkers and said "pick me!"

Also, thank you sooooo very much for all your sweet comments welcoming me back. I am completely blown away. You have no idea how much it means to me. So.....thanks. :)

xoxoxo
Amanda Jean

Friday, April 04, 2014

Nap Like an Egyptian quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Today is also my day on the RJR Solids Blog Hop brought to you by Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics and RJR Fabrics.
I had a chance to play with the cotton supreme solids from RJR and I was impressed. The fabric has a nice weight to it (not too thick, not too thin), it is easy to work with (very little fraying, which is super!) and the quality is fantastic (very smooth with no blemishes). I was also impressed with the colors--so vibrant and pretty!
It took me several weeks to decide what to use these pretties for! After much deliberation, I combined the solid bundle with some Anna Maria fabrics from my stash. I sewed them up using Cheryl's pattern Nap Like an Egyptian from Sunday Morning Quilts.
I usually don't work with this many saturated colors at once, (or triangles, for that matter!) but it was a nice change of pace. You may have noticed that some orange fabric worked it's way into the mix. After several blocks things were looking kind of....predictable. The orange "stirs the pot" just a bit, but in a good way!
I quilted it with straight lines to echo the large triangles. I washed and dried it and it puckered up in an unattractive manner. So, I went back and quilted around each small center triangle, then buried about a million thread ends. The additional quilting seemed to help tame the puckering. I could probably add even more quilting, but I think I'm done! After making 200+ quilts I learn a lesson every time. (Unfortunately, some of those lessons have to be learned more than once. Doh!)
The quilt measures about 63" x 70" or so. It's nice lap size and it's already super soft and snuggly!
 
I'm happy to be offering up a fat quarter bundle of the Cotton Supreme Solids to one of my lucky readers. This bundle features the same solid fabrics I used in my quilt (plus white).
The specific colors (from top to bottom) are:
#33 Optical White
#181 Rhododendron
#348 Neon (it IS bright!)
#349 Aloe Verde
#292 Turks and Caicos
#328 Bora Bora
#333 Bougainvillea
#341 Stormy Night

If you would like to win this bundle, please leave me a comment in this post. You can tell me what your favorite day of the week is, your favorite color, your favorite snack, your favorite beverage, your favorite fabric line, your favorite WIP....anything along those lines....just don't say "pick me", please! Thanks a bunch. :)

Now, if you would like to link up your finishes, it's time! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

picadilly quilt top

Sometimes I feel the need to apologize (or perhaps justify) my love of simple quilts. I feel like I should be sewing fancier, more complicated things. When it comes down to it, simple quilts (made with beautiful fabric) get my vote every single time. That's just the way it is! This quilt is about as easy as it can get and I love it so very much!
A few weeks ago, a mere 3 hours after I was expressing to a friend that I had too much fabric and that I needed to sew faster, I was in JoAnn's at the cutting counter ordering up a beautiful stack of Picadilly fabric by Denyse Schmidt. I know I'm not the only one! I found two fellow fabric junkies at the store with the same issues. :) I didn't have a plan for the fabric, but for some reason I was determined to sew it up right away. I usually let the fabric cure in my stash for years before cutting into it. It's nice to change things up. Ha!
I knew I would need more fabric than my original 8 quarter yard cuts to make a quilt, so I pulled these additions from my stash.
I put them all together and it seemed like an unlikely combination, but I started cutting anyway. You never know how they will work together until you start sewing. I made a few blocks, then a few more, and before I knew it, I was done!
The only changes I made to the original fabric pull was the addition of the navy metro circles on the left and I didn't find a place to use the pink fabric on the right.
Turns out the fabrics played nicely after all! Of course white Kona cotton would tie almost anything together beautifully!

You can find the measurements for the quilt here (way back from 2008!) if you would like to make a pretty, simple quilt of your own.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

back at it

Happy April! It's good to be back! The break was exactly what I needed. It's funny how hard it is to call a time out and take a breather, but it's needed once in awhile! (My husband recommended that I put it on my schedule and make it an annual thing.) Thank you to those of you who left such kind comments of understanding and encouragement. That meant so much to me!
 
So, what did I do?

The first half of the month I spent digging myself out of a pile of over-commitments. (Not doing THAT again!) My sister sent my husband and I on a marriage weekend and we had a fantastic time. It was so great to reconnect with my husband...he's such a good man and I'm thankful to have him! I took a trip to Fargo to speak and teach (I had an amazing time), but came home with a killer cold. I spent 4 days on the couch (felt like the door of death) and then the last week of the month was spring break. (What a misnomer that is!) I got in touch with my inner child and played Legos with my kids. (Girl Legos are the BEST!) I'm not sure that I actually accomplished my goal of catching my breath, but I did what I could! I also watched 2 complete seasons of What Not To Wear on Netflix. :)

Oh! I suppose I should talk about the quilts pictured above. I made these two doll quilts for my adorable little neighbor girls. Each quilt measures about 16" x 20". I had the girls pick out fabrics that they liked while they were over for a play date and several weeks later I sewed them up. It was a fun project to work on and they were very fun to deliver! These are scrap projects #56 and #57. I'm so anxious to accomplish my goal of 101 scrap projects!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

mental health break

I've been completely overwhelmed the past several weeks. There, I admitted it! The more overwhelmed I feel, the harder I push. The harder I push, the worse things get...and stress does not make a good constant companion. I'll be stepping away from the blog and Instagram for the month of March. In that time I hope to catch my breath and recharge my batteries a little bit. This is as close to a vacation as I can get, so I'm going to take it. :)

(Just so you know, I will still be checking email and sending out pattern orders, too.)

I'll see you in April!

Friday, February 28, 2014

ticker tape cards

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I should really call this post "down the rabbit hole". :) I had a lot of little scraps of fusible web (I use Lite Steam a Seam 2) leftover after making my waiting blocks. Since I have a hard time throwing anything away, I thought I'd use them up by making ticker tape cards.
It was great to attach the scraps with fusible web rather than to sew through the card stock. I used a pressing cloth when I ironed, to protect both the iron sole plate and the paper. They are a little putzy to make, but I think the cuteness makes up for it!
The last slivers of the original Flea Market Fancy and pezzy fabric are being put to use. Yay! Oh, and there is some Henna garden fabric in there, too. (It did occur to me when making these that I may have passed the point of no return, but I thought it was better not to dwell on that.) They sure are happy, aren't they?
Each card measures 4.25" x 5.5". These are scrap project #55/101.
 
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

waiting in progress

I seem to have a particularly bad case of quilter's ADD lately. I blame the weather, as a good Minnesotan would! I'm trying desperately to avoid the winter blahs by playing with bright springy colors. It's almost working.
I've had one test block hanging around since last December when I wrote my waiting quilt pattern. I made several more blocks this week so now it's an official WIP. I'm using scraps this time, of course. My plan was to use a variety of polka dots for the background squares, along with a few different solid whites so I could use my stash.
I thought it was a good idea, but after I made a few blocks yesterday I noticed that you can see the polka dots through the fabrics...even through the red! I was surprised and a little bummed.
I never thought that you would see the dots through the bright pink fabric, either. I slept on it and decided to go ahead with my original idea. It really isn't too noticeable unless you look up close. Besides, if the quilt isn't perfect to begin with (as if any of mine are) I'll be much more likely to use it. Gotta find that silver lining!
I still have to machine applique around the pieces, but even so, it's coming right along. I'm quite certain that this is going to be a favorite!