Monday, April 17, 2017

focus quilt-the beginning

So far in my quilting journey, I've made 3 hand stitched quilts. They are really time consuming, but they are also extra special! Two of the quilts shown below are made from hand appliqued blocks, (which are then machine pieced) and the third one was English paper pieced, which means that it was all hand stitched, except for the binding. The first one is apple cake (center), the second one is oh my stars (right), and the third one, which is one of my most recent finishes, is called dot your i's (left). I love having a photo of all 3 of them together!
Why would someone want to hand stitch a quilt? Well, it's portable, for one. It's relaxing, (at least it is to me!) and it's a great way to slow down, but still have my hands occupied. Plus, it keeps me off my phone.
 
Earlier this month, I started a new long term project that I'm quite excited about! This quilt was actually my husband's idea. One day while he was at work, he texted me a photo of the bottom of this memo pad. It has a little focus logo thing (inspired by a camera lens) and he told me that he thought it needed to be a quilt! My first reaction was, "oh, my, we are in DEEP!" If my husband is seeing quilts in everyday places, we just MIGHT have a problem. Hahaha!
I held off on starting the quilt for several months, because I already had one long term quilt in progress. Even though it should have been easy, it took me several attempts to draw up the templates correctly. Then, I did some testing to see if I wanted to hand piece it or English paper piece it. After trying both, it was an easy decision to choose English paper piecing.
Here's my first block! Isn't it cute??? I decided that each block will start with a fussy cut center. It's a great way to use all those cutesy fabrics that I collect, but don't use all that often. (The only thing is, fabric selection kind of causes a fabric explosion. Ha! But it's totally worth it!)
Here are my first 6 blocks. I am already having so much fun making this quilt! Since it was my husband's idea, he has a vested interest in this quilt, so he gets to see each and every block. (He's already asked me if he gets to keep it, but I'm not sure that will be happening!)
It's way too early to determine the layout of this quilt, but it's fun to play around. I like them all nestled together like this. I don't think I will start stitching them together until I have A LOT more of them finished. Right now, it's fun to pick fabrics for a few blocks at a time and stitch them up, then repeat the entire process.
As I mentioned earlier, I tried hand stitching a block together with traditional hand piecing methods, but I was SO frustrated. It did not work AT ALL, but at least I tried. Since I didn't want to waste the fabric from my failed test block, I turned it into an itty bitty pincushion. Naturally, right!?!?!
I'm offering the templates for the focus quilt block for sale in my shop. (Available here.) The introductory price is $2.50, good for this week only. Next week the price will increase to $4.
 
This isn't a full blown pattern, but it includes 4 pages:
-one page of the quilt block assembled [2 up]
-one page of the trapezoids [16 up]
-one page of 1" hexagons [22 up]
-one page of step by step diagrams to illustrate block construction
Here are 3 more blocks that I completed over the weekend. I've already got fabric picked out for the next 3!
 
Happy Monday to you!

38 comments:

josiekitten said...

So lovely, you do come up with the most interesting and creative ideas!

grammajudyb said...

Very addicting, I am sure. Way cute!

Pat said...

YEP! You are both in deep. :D

Jan @Cocoa Quilts said...

These blocks are so cute. I can't imagine working with those small pieces.

Heather said...

SO beautiful!!

Pamela said...

That is a cool block! And you are so right about fabric selection causing a fabric explosion :)

Denice said...

I LOVE IT!!!

Judy said...

He introduced you to the pattern and likes the results. Bring him into the process further by having him pick some of the fabrics and/or the lay-out of the blocks.

And, yes, you need to make it for him. Something for him to snuggle under while watching TV or catching a few ZZZs in his recliner. Pet peeve/rant: please, make it long enough so that it covers his shoulders AND his feet when he stretches out.

Jess Pugh said...

I love it! This just might my summer project.

Anne said...

I love, love, love that your husband sent you an idea for a quilt. Must be a good guy. :) Can't wait to see more progress pics!

The Joyful Quilter said...

That is going to be a VERY cool quilt!!

Dee said...

Is this a PDF or a physical pattern!?
Thank you!

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl said...

There is so much to love about this project, but the collaboration with your husband is probably my favorite part. :)

Stephanie said...

Love this idea!! I always have to be doing something with my hands while watching tv at night. This will be a nice alternative to my cross stitch project!

Ariane said...

I love this block! I can imagine this block done in homespun fabric or men's shirts for a manly quilt. Love it!

Heather Hubble said...

I haven't tried EPP but keen to have a go. Did you have to get permission to use the logo design?

Paula said...

How cute! Thanks for sharing. It's great that your husband is so involved. My husband has been visiting quilt shops with me for many years and became more and more interested in the displays and fabrics. I finally convinced him to give quilting a try. He made 5 quilts in 7 months, is working on number 6, and has fabric for 2 more after that. We have 4 sewing machines, but have to take turns at the ironing board. :0)

Kay said...

Just fabulous. I love EPP, and am very slowly putting an EPP quilt together myself. All of the blocks are ready but it is the stitching together part that is taking the time. x

Avably said...

Helpful as always. Every post you write produce a massive value to your readers that is the only reason keep posting in future - by - avably

MyLittleBlueDog said...

Lovely blocks. I've sent the post onto a hand quilting friend. Lovely little fussy cut centres too.

KaHolly said...

Cute story! That's the kind of support that keeps us going! The blocks came out to be adorable.

moosecraft said...

Awesome! I think this is going to be the next hot quilting craze! :-)

Jeneta said...

I love that your husband is involved in this quilt; he clearly adores you to be thinking of inspiration for your next project. I'm still not feeling the fire for hand stitched quilts. Might be because I'm up to my ears in unfinished machine stitched projects! I had such a good laugh at the mental image conjured up when I read the term 'fabric explosion'. I quite like a decent fabric explosion every so often!

Wendy Tuma said...

What a cute block! I have a feeling this is going to be a hit. How neat that your husband came up with the idea for the block. He's a keeper!

InterNette said...

I love this look and have never attempted to hand quilt and would love to try it, if for the sake of making it portable. My question to you is what is the size of these finished blocks, I saw something on the pattern about 1" but with the one in your palm and the same little elfkin in a block with more blue background, it has to be larger then one inch?

materialgirlquilts.com said...

Kudos to your husband on his keen quilt design eye! And your blocks are adorable. Off to get the template :)
Amanda

pennylanequilts said...

Oh, the fabric selection for this one is going to be very addictive! Love it!

Amanda Jean said...

Dee,

This is a PDF pattern, not a physical pattern.

AJ

Amanda Jean said...

InterNette,

The blocks finish at 6" across and 5 1/4" tall. The hexagon itself measures 1" on each side.

I hope that helps!

AJ

Amanda Jean said...

Heather Hubble,

my husband checked it out with the folks that he works for just to be sure that it was ok to post about it and they totally understand that creative folks are inspired by everyday things. So yes, we did get the A OK!

AJ

bumblebee53 said...

Oh, my, but those 3 quilts photographed look fantastic together!

I adore your focus quilt blocks on your "focus quilt" - all of them! You and your dh make a great team; he has developed a "quilting eye" through you. What you did to make the centers focal points is genius. Much better than the original design.

Tammy Stack said...

oh, goodness! you have another beauty on your hands!

Gemini Jen NZ said...

Very cool little pattern - well done to hubby for spotting the motif!

Debbie said...

Love everything about this post. ;-) My husband would totally say 'this should be a quilt' too, though if it needed to be paper pieced I'd think twice. I'm pleased you are going for it as it looks terrific!!

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting said...

This is one of the cutest things I've seen in a while! I love that you are fussy cutting the centers. I can't wait until you have enough of them to start playing with different layouts.

Southern Gal said...

If it works to keep me off my phone, then I need to try!

Love the focus blocks.

Dolores said...

I just have a question. Did you use the same binding on all three hand sewn quilts? They look very similar in the photo.

Love Bears All Things said...

I was just looking for people doing crazy quilts and found your site. I learned two things from this post: cutting the hex with a paper punch and using the clover clips instead of pins to hold the fabric on. Thanks,
Mama Bear