Monday, December 23, 2013

quilting in progress

I just wanted to pop in to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading and leaving encouraging comments on my blog this past year. Thank you for keeping me company. I appreciate it very, very much!

I'm signing off for the rest of the year. We are expecting a house full of guests this week and I have this monster quilt to has a due date of December 31. I'm going to be one busy lady. See you in about a week or so!

Happy Monday to you! xo

Friday, December 20, 2013

a custom quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Today I have a partial finish to share. This is a quilt top only, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless.
I don't often do custom work, but this is a custom quilt for my husband's co-worker's wife. It's based on this plain spoken quilt, which I made back in 2007. She does not like green (???) and did not want any in her quilt. That made it tricky, but I think the palette still works. (This is not in my color comfort zone....and I think it's screaming for a little pop of ugly-but good-olive green!)
The original quilt pattern is called plain spoken and is found in the Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I enlarged the block sizes to make them proportionate to the finished quilt. I also thought ahead and based the block size on the width of fabric, so there wasn't much waste per strip. (Always a bonus!) There was still PLENTY of piecing to do.
I pressed all the seams open, which is against the norm for me, so I was happy that many of the intersections lined up so well. (They aren't ALL this no need to hate me.) Lots of pinning. LOTS.
It measures 100.5" x 110". That's a whole lot of quilt top!
I've tracked the hours spent so far and plan to do so for the entire long as I remember! I'm up to 14.75 hours already. (Does that seem like a lot?) That counts the math, pressing the fabric, cutting and piecing. It does NOT include the time I spent shopping for supplies. It'll be interesting to see how many hours it takes to complete it!
Now it's your turn. Please link up your finishes for the week! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Monday, December 16, 2013

waiting quilt

Before I start my post today, I wanted to say a BIG thank you for all your wonderful comments on my scrap vortex quilt. Each and every one is much appreciated! THANK YOU!
I'm sure you've seen -and you probably own-at least a few mini charm packs. Each one contains 42 2 1/2" pre-cut squares. Moda aptly calls them Candy. (I'm not sure what other companies call them.) They are cute, sweet, and too good to pass up! But, what DO you do with them? EVERYONE that I talk to asks that. Since I have a deep love of the 2 1/2" square (as you can see here, here, here, here, here and here) I thought I would tackle this "problem". I'm developing a line of Candy Patterns that highlight these little gems. I was going to work up 3-5 patterns to start with and release them all at once, but I am way to impatient to do so!

My first candy pattern is called "waiting." Fabric is scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille.
This idea has been in my head for years and years. I'm excited that it has finally been translated into fabric! It was inspired by the loading icon on my iPhone. You know, the one that spins around when files are waiting to load. (How's that for everyday inspiration?) I thought that it would be fitting to turn that design into a baby quilt, as there is much waiting when that new special bundle is about to arrive.

Believe it or not, this pattern uses just one mini charm pack for the blocks. The background and cornerstones are additional, obviously. But still, not too shabby! It's been awhile since I made a quilt with a white background. I love how crisp and fresh it is!
I used the serpentine stitch on my Janome to quilt it. (Setting #19, for those of you who have a Janome Horizon.) It took awhile to quilt, but the texture is amazing! This was a new to me technique and I was nervous to use this quilt as a guinea pig. Every 2"-5" or so I drew a guideline with my hera marker to make sure that my lines were on track and mostly vertical. The quilt shifted quite a bit, but I always worked from the top down, so the shifting was evenly distributed. Phew!

For the binding I used some children at play fabric that was aging (nicely) in my stash. Cut on the bias, it makes a beautiful finishing touch for this quilt. I do love me some red gingham!
The backing is a sweet little red riding hood print by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake. I had just enough for backing and I'm sad that I don't have many scraps leftover. I keep reminding myself that fabric is to USE, not to hoard....and maybe some day I will actually believe it! :)
The quilt measures 38" square. The pattern is available as an instant download and you can purchase it here if you are interested.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 13, 2013

scrap vortex

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
On Wednesday I finished my scrap vortex quilt (!!!!) and I have about 95 photos to prove it. Don't worry, I won't share them all here, as tempting as that may be!
This quilt is MASSIVE, measuring about 105" x 95". When I made the top, one side measured 94" long and the other side was 95" long. After quilting, I'm pleased to report that it's nearly square (or rectangular). Amazing.
For the back, I picked several fabrics from my stash and pieced 10.5" squares together. There are 110 squares, with 107 unique fabrics. How's that for stash busting? It felt GREAT to cut into that much fabric at once. Folding the fabric afterwards was a different story.
The binding is scrappy, which is like icing on the cake. There are so many details to look at. It's SO FUN!
For the quilting, Cheryl suggested that I do one big spiral, to go with the name scrap vortex. We discussed how much work that would be, to which she responded, "that's what a long-armer is for." I prefer to quilt my own quilts, but with the ridiculous notion planted in my head, I knew I must try it. I had a plan B AND a plan C in mind if the spiral didn't pan out. Well, it took about 4 tries to get the center circle just right, but perseverance paid off. I quilted it in the span of 9 days, with 2 days off. Some days I quilted for 8 hours or more. But it was totally worth it!
When trying to find the center of the quilt, I discovered that this dot was within 1" of the center, so I centered the spiral around it. It would have been silly NOT to! I free motion quilted the center on my Juki, then I switched over to my Janome and used the walking foot for the remainder of the quilt. I used the edge of my walking foot as a guide, and the lines are about 1/2" apart. Yes, I turned this around in my machine about one million times. My back is a little worse for wear, if you could imagine!
With the pieced back, the sheer size, and the spiral quilting, I am shocked (and thrilled) that there is not a single pucker...back or front. There was very little pulling/drag...even though the last side I basted I was running quite low on pins. What a relief!

There are so many cute prints in this quilt...
paper boats, LOTS of polka dots,
 little red riding hood,
 cute Japanese fabric,
 smiling submarines!
 egg beaters, cupid, rolling pins, apples, oh my!
 even cloths pin people,
little sheep!, vintage feed sack from my grandmother,
and even toilet paper! (that part is on my husband's side of the bed. ha!)
As soon as I finished the binding, I made a label and stitched it on, so this quilt is TRULY done, done, DONE! I'm so thankful that I blogged when I started the quilt, so I have a record of how long it took. I had no idea it would morph into this scrap masterpiece, but I'm delighted that it did.
It looks pretty dandy on my bed, doesn't it?

This is scrap project #28/101.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

aqua zig zag quilt

This morning I put the last few stitches in the binding of this quilt. It's been a GREAT week of finishing!
A few years ago Moda put together a pattern sheet based on my zig zag tutorial using jelly rolls. Isn't that so cool? I finally got around to making one. It's no surprise that it's aqua, is it? Technically, the color is Robin's Egg. It's a lovely, lovely color!
When I was constructing it, somehow I came up one jelly roll strip short, so I pieced together the last corner using 2.5" squares from the previous rows. I love that there is a little bit of thrifty in the final corner. Just the way a quilt should be!
For the back I used a big bold floral that I picked up on my epic trip to SR Harris. Quilting is straight lines that echo the patchwork. Half the stitching is in aqua thread, half in white thread. Simple. Lovely.
I hung it up on my craft room wall to try to get a decent flat shot of it. I wasn't successful with a the photo, but it might just hang out on the wall for now. It matches my desk!
The quilt measures about 64" x 82".

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

potluck pillow

I'm pleased to have another finish to share today!
Several weeks ago I picked up a Potluck mini charm pack at my LQS and the idea for this simple pillow popped into my head before I made it to the check out. I love it when that happens! The design reminds me of a contact print. Remember those?
The background is white Kona cotton and I quilted it with lines 1/2" apart. The white sashing gives each print a little breathing room. The ruler print is my FAVORITE, so it got the center spot.
I finished off the pillow with an envelope backing. My friend (and awesome hair stylist) Lindsay gave me this red and white polka dot fabric (from IKEA) for my birthday last summer. Isn't it a perfect match? There seems to be a lot of that going on this week. I'm tickled!!! I also am quite pleased/relieved/surprised that the dots line up SO well. Woo-hoo!
I added a binding strip to cover the raw edge, which adds a crisp and tailored finish. It was a nice way to inject a few more red and white polka dots into the project as well. :)
The original plan was to finish off the pillow with binding using the tape measure fabric, but simplicity won out in the end, and I skipped it.
It measures about 20" square. It's my new favorite!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

trees! table runner

I'm not much of a table runner gal, (or a runner gal at all, ha ha!) but I wanted to revisit my trees! pattern without the commitment of making an entire quilt. The mini confetti dots from Dear Stella make an excellent background for this block. And, you really can't go wrong with a red and aqua combo!
 It's 11.5" wide by 52" long. (which makes it a little tricky to photograph!)
I had this adorable polka dot fabric in my stash that I thought I would hoard until the end of time, but it was too perfect not to use for this project. The patchwork is 1" finished (!!!) and definitely squeal-worthy. I foresee a new addiction coming! (By the way, isn't that selvage CUTE?)
For the backing I used this fun (and very suitable) winter print that I had leftover from backing a quilt a few years ago. It was a perfect match in color AND size, so no piecing was necessary. Bonus!
Since this is a small project, I used single fold binding to finish it off. Carol did a great tutorial here, if you'd like to check it out. I like using single fold bindings for small projects that won't get a bunch of wear (unlike a quilt) because it's less bulky, it saves fabric, and it's easier to get a nice crisp edge.
I'm happy to have this one finished! Now, on to the next!

Monday, December 09, 2013

finish it up week

Over the weekend I set a little goal to try to share a finish each day this week. It can be big or small, as long as it's a WIP. Before you assume that I've finally gone off the deep end, let me explain. I'm set up pretty well. I have a handful of projects that are nearly finished, I just need a little push to get them completed. I'm looking forward to a LOT of binding!
Today's finish is another rag rug. I've made several of these in the past and it's one of my favorite ways to use up scraps. I was hesitant to finish it because I don't excel at casting off when knitting. I had to look up and view this bind off technique several times before I jumped in. It's definitely not perfect, but I'm happy to say that it went pretty well. The rug measures 24" x 30". It is scrap project #27/101. (woo-hoo!)
The texture is amazing! I wish you could reach into your screen and smoosh it.

If you'd like to knit a rag rug of your own, there is a tutorial here. For this rug I used size 17 needles and I believe I cast on about 40 stitches. It takes a bit of wrestling to knit something this bulky, but it's totally worth it. Now, I just need to decide if I'm going to keep this one or gift it. That's going to be a tough call.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 06, 2013

mini mats

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This week wasn't an easy one for finishing anything. I'm sure you know how it goes! These bowl blocks have been hanging out on the design wall for a long time and yesterday seemed like the perfect time to finally finish them. I made the first block at a paper piecing retreat that Penny taught, in April of 2011. (Sometimes it's better NOT to think back at the's frightening!) The mini mats finish at about 10" x 12"....larger than a mug rug, smaller than a placemat. Perfect for holding a hot bowl of soup. I can't wait to use them!

Since the borders and bindings are scraps, I'm totally counting them toward my goal of 101 scrap projects. They are #25 and #26.

Once again I am thankful for the motivation that this link up party brings. Thanks for joining me, as always! Please link up with your finishes. Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

trees! revisited

We are in the middle of our first real snow storm of the season. Yippee! :) It's been so fun to watch my backyard change as the seasons do. It won't be long until there are a million kid footprints running through that fresh blanket of snow. (You will have to excuse me...I'm from Minnesota, and we talk about the weather here. Constantly.)
Given the weather, today seemed like the PERFECT day to revisit my trees! pattern. The snow makes a pretty photo backdrop, doesn't it?
I'm using mini confetti dots by Dear Stella for the backgrounds. This fabric is wonderful! I don't think they custom made it for me, but I can imagine that they did, right? It was painful to break open the bundle. I had to do it quickly, like ripping off a band aid.
For the tree branches I'm using a lovely white on white dot from Connecting Threads. The white branches in the block remind me of my grandmother's Christmas tree from childhood.
These are my tree trimmings. ha ha ha! The pattern calls for fat quarters and this is all that is left from each one. I find that oddly satisfying. I LOVE making the most of my fabric.
On another note, my sweet husband drove out well out of his way after work last night JUST to pick up a spool of Aurifil thread for me. That's true love, wouldn't you say? :) I was in desperate need of it, and the only place I could find the right color in stock was 30 miles away. He might have had a little sticker shock, but he restrained from giving me TOO much grief about it. I'm thankful that I have an understanding husband. And I'm glad that I can get back to quilting this monster.
And, the last thing for friend Tara sent me this MODA laundry basket that I've been wanting for years. Isn't that an amazing gift? Thanks so much, friend! It took me all of 5 minutes to start filling it with scraps....of course!

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!