Sunday, November 19, 2017

Little Miss :: X-Squared

I've just about conquered my backlog of quilts.  I had a stack of five or six that needed quilting and I just looked the other way for far too long.  It's been difficult working on them with the remodeling, but I managed to get what I had down to one left.  

The one left to quilt is my 'Pink With An Attitude' X-Squared 16" block quilt.  That one will have to wait for a couple more weeks.  What I did quilt was the 10" baby version of the X-Squared block.  The pattern for the block is available in my Craftsy Shop:  X-Squared.

34" x 44"
10" X-Squared
This is much like the larger quilt, except I added a 3 1/2" border to increase the size.  With determination, I used the scraps from the original in an effort to rid myself of...scraps!  I nearly did it, but as you all know only too well...there is never an end to scraps!

I was excited to quilt this one, yet with most of my quilting I made it up as I went along.  It was going to be geometric as usually!


I used Aurifil Natural White thread for the entire quilt.  I extended the quilting from the block through the border instead of treating the center and the border separately.  It was a fun adventure and something I am sure I will do again!

The four square solid blocks got a pinwheel design, while the the smaller solid section received a geometric jewel like design.

I had one 16" block left over and decided to incorporate it into the back.  I sliced it in half and added the sides to fit.  A simple solution to orphan blocks.

When I went to pick up my machine from it's yearly (actually three years...oops!) cleaning, I came across this beautiful stripe fabric and thought it was so perfect for the border!  The colors are a match made in heaven!

The colors are a match made in heaven!

After finishing both the 16" and 10" blocks, I've come up with so many more ideas I'd love to try!  Does that ever happen to you?

From different arrangements, to different colors, solids and prints...and the border...I've got ideas!

I love taking a block and playing with it.  It doesn't have to be one I designed, although it does make it even more fun!

Friday, November 17, 2017

UPDATE :: Diamond Hexie Stars

This project has been going on for a while, but then that was the goal in the first place.  A long term English Paper Piecing Project.  When I went to Oregon the beginning of August, I wanted a simple and quick EPP to keep me occupied and out of trouble.  It did just that!

I just finished my ninth round of hexies.  Nine rounds!  When I say rounds, I mean I cut fabric for 6-9 diamonds and hand stitch the hexie diamonds completely together before I start another round.

Round six ended up having eight stars.  I have to say I love picking out the fabrics for each one.  It can be time consuming, complicated, confusing and crazy...but so much fun!

It appears I was slacking when I did round seven...really Jayne...only six?!  I feel like the Kaffe Fasset fabric was exactly what these needed.  Not just what they needed, but what I needed at the time.  It was a difficult August for me and the bold and bright colors of the fabric helped.

Round eight.  Another slacking moment!  Nearly every night I'll pick up this project and stitch for a couple hours.  My thumb is a mess, and why is it there is always one spot where the needle hits every single time?!  Painful, but worth it.  

This would be round nine.  I will say my stash of Kaffe has dwindled to a holy mess!  Fussy cutting will make a mess in a hurry. 

I have round ten cut and ready!  Beyond that I haven't a clue what I'll do.  Most likely scour my fabric and see if I can squeeze out even more.  

I thought this block was rather interesting.  I  like the oval circles!

I'm waiting to get back in to my sewing room so I can put them on the design wall.  I'm so curious as to what they will look like!!

I'll be heading to Ft. Lauderdale for a few days of fun and sun!  My daughter pretty much insisted I go with her and who am I to deny her the pleasure of my company?!

Besides, I am!!  I need a break from the chaos, grime and having people in and out of my house every single day!  

I've needed a laptop sleeve for a long time now.  My sisters laughed at what I was using, a large bubble mailer from Aurifil thread...what's wrong with that?!  

I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew as my guide, Simple Laptop Sleeve by Elizabeth Hartman.

Very simple indeed!  The outside is a Home Dec weight fabric from Ikea.  I love the graphic nature of it.  It has fusible fleece and a flannel lining as well.  Not armor, but perfectly fine and it probably looks better than a bubble mailer! 

No more laughing at me Debbrah and Kathie!!  


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pushing The Limits :: Evening Star

The finish is always the best!  Especially when the struggle was real!  No bones about motion quilting is difficult, yet it draws me in and keeps me coming back for more.

18 1/2" x 18 1/2"
Evening Star
When I first finished this top (Evening Star :: Sparkle & Sass), I didn't have a concrete idea how I would quilt it.  The possibilities were there...medallion, pebbles, geometric.  A triple treat, a trifecta!

I knew there would be a lot of thread colors and changes involved, because how could I not?!  It's a rainbow!  My go to thread is Aurifil 50 wt. and the rainbow colors are Natural White #2021, Lobster Red #2265, Neon Orange #1104, Canary #2120, Bright Pink #2425, Spring Green #1231, Delft Blue #2730, Jade Green #1148,Medium Lavender #2540.

The first order of business was pebbles.  I marked off the sections in between the triangles and began the pebble power.  I'd be kidding myself if I said I'm good at consistent and decent circles.  This was the first time I had machine problems and more than once per section I had thread breakage.  I persisted a women...that's what we do!

I added a few double pebbles for the surprise factor.  One thing about pebbles, they look amazing and especially after a good wash & dry!

You can't see it very well on the front, but in each triangle I quilted a different design.  Straight lines, geometric...I kept it simple.

Okay, now the scary part.  I attempted my first ever medallion free motion motif!  What was I thinking?!  I had to remind myself every few minutes that just like pebbles...this will look fantastic after a wash...and from a distance.  Full disclosure comes with close ups.  I think it's important not to sugar coat, disguise or hide the warts!  

The point is I tried!  They say the more you do, the better you become or the easier free motion quilting gets.  I have yet to get to that point, but I'll continue to try!

The rest of the quilt was on all about geometric quilting.  With my Hera marker I would map out a round.  Quilt it.  And repeat over and over.


Picking points or corners helps with getting interesting angles when quilting.  Once I was finished with that part I noticed that there open spaces that needed filling.  I decided to go with the good old pebbles once more.

We all love the fronts of quilts.  We even go so far as to pick busy backing prints to make our quilting hiccups less noticeable.  I used Kona Ivory for the back and that meant no hiding anything!  My plan or my hope was exactly what happened.  The thread painting a picture, a medallion plus!  Mindful of the shakiness of my is pretty!

The binding is scrappy with a few bits of the primary colors Red, yellow and blue.  If it wasn't for those three amigos...we'd not have all our other beauties!

What's your favorite free motion quilting tip?  Don't say practice, practice, practice!!  I am too undisciplined to do that!  My free tip is take it easy and slow at first, but don't be afraid to try!

You can find the paper pieced pattern for the block here:  'Evening Star'.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mod Quad :: HST

I'm captivated!  Obsessed, smitten, enamored and gaga with Half Square Triangles that is!  It's not just about this quilt or the seemingly hundreds that I've made.  It's the fact that you can take a simple block and configure it into so many different things.  Simple or elaborate.  Big blocks, small blocks or combined.  

This latest quilt was inspired by one I made in January: Bye Bye Hand Dyed, where I used the last of my hand dyed fabrics.  I very well could have done an exact copy of it, but why not try something different!

Mod Quad
36 1/2" x 49"
As you can see it's a simple design focusing on different shades of yellow and light orange for the main rectangle.  Using negative space puts the emphasis on the shapes allowing them to be front and center.  Which is what I like about this particular design.  

You can add HST's to make your shape larger, or smaller - a square or rectangle - or both.

I like to play with straight line quilting when I make this type of design.  I tend to use 1/2" to 3/4" wide lines on smaller quilts and 3/4" to 1 1/2" on larger ones.  And I love trying to create interest with the lines.  

Focusing on the shape.  Or making a 'ghost' shape that is like a block in the quilt.  In this case it was the smaller block.  

I ended up quilting a series of blocks in a row.  This picture of the back shows what I mean by 'series' much better.

I've always had a special fondness for the combination of yellow and gray, so I grabbed my Aurifil 50 wt. spool of Canary (#2120) for this quilting adventure.  I love how it stands out against the Kona Shadow gray.  

I recently confiscated a stack of solids from my daughter Britt's stash and thought the bright orange would be a good compliment to the design.

I usually map out sections before quilting focusing on one large section for lines and then working the other areas with either a different width of lines or a different direction.

This was the first time I added the double lines in the corner.  Something different, yet it worked.

What's a post from me about a quilt without the usual 'pile' picture?!  The only think that would be better than this is if it had that dreamy crinkled look after washing!

Do you get sick of seeing the same old block in quilts?  Can there be too much of a good thing?

I think too much of a good thing can only be food related!  Too much ice cream, too much chocolate, maybe too much wine...but never too much when it comes to the creativeness and inventive ways of HST'S!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Evening Star :: Sparkle & Sass

I feel like I'm totally behind in my blogging lately.  My excuse is home improvements.  Remodeling.  Nightmare.  Money pit!  For those who have been through remodeling you know what I mean by nightmare!  Especially if you own an older home and are trying to update.  Our simple goal was to rip out the carpet in the bedrooms and install wood floors.  Well, one thing lead to another, that led to another and is still leading to another...Money Pit!

My sewing room has been set up in a small area on my dining room table where I'm able to quilt and finish small projects that have been lingering.  One of those is this project 'Evening Star'.  An enticing paper pieced block that I've had in my sights for a while now.  I saw the block at 'Swim, Bike, Quilt' blog, which was part of a Summer Sampler Series.  

Initially I had intended to just make the block.  Testing the waters.  After deciding on a rainbow theme, my creative spirit took over!

I had just enough white for the background of the star, which will explain why I ended up pulling out my bag of neutral solids for the borders.  Normally I mark my fabrics with the color and manufacturer, especially with whites.  It still amazes me how different whites can be.

The first border is made of 2 1/2" 45 degree triangles.  I could have stopped right there, but darn those scraps!  It seemed like the perfect time to use them and do a little improv.

And so it began...the figuring it out as you go, the creative bug, the thrill of using up scraps.  I wanted to use little bits of color mixed in with the improv and settled on randomly shaped triangles. It started with small blocks that were roughly 3" square that included a solid color triangle.  After I had those finished I made 'filler blocks to add between the squares and extend the border.  It took a little finesse, but it worked and was worth it! 

At least I think it was worth it!  We'll see how the quilting comes together before I start tooting my horn!

The border triangles range in size from 1/4" to 1".  Chubby ones, skinny ones, perfectly imperfect triangles.

There are rainbow quilts that call for a whole bunch of rainbow thread!  I've done it before and know first hand that changing each color time after time is a pain in the 'bobbin'!  Then again I also know that it can be very well worth the headache and time in the end.   

This quilt will require my Hera Marker and a big bunch of 50 weight Aurifil thread. 

Natural White #2021
Lobster Red #2265
Neon Orange #1104
Canary #2120
Bright Pink #2425
Spring Green #1231
Delft Blue #2730
Jade Green #1148
Medium Lavender #2540 

Oh!  Let's not forget you have to have a plan!  And boy did I have a plan.  A long and tedious plan!  I won't leave you hanging...I'll leave you with a sneak peek of my very ambitious quilting plans.

Working with one block is a great way to experiment and test a block.  You can play with color, add borders, and eventually even practice with the quilting.  

Do you make a block for fun?  It isn't unusual for us to take our stray blocks and work them into or make them into something else.  Were are a clever bunch, don't you think?!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Round Robin :: It's a Success!

It's hard to believe this Round Robin hosted though my local guild has come to an end.  By end, I mean we have completed each round and the quilt has been returned to the original owner.  It's over, but there's a lot of work yet to do!  Should I add more to it or quilt it as is?!  Choices I have yet to make!

The challenge started in February with the construction of our center blocks.  We had our group of six that we would swap with roughly every month give or take.  Time for each round was set pretty loose.

This was my center block.  The only rule I had was to have fun, no pressure and enjoy it!  You can read about my block here: Round Robin :: My First.  That's easier said than done!  I felt pressure every single round!  I didn't want to disappoint or mess anything up!

Wanna see how it all came together after all the rounds?  You'll be surprised!  I was!  I intentionally avoided seeing round because I wanted it to be a surprise at the end.   Here it is!

What a transformation!  A metamorphosis took place with each round, slowly changing the vibe and design!  How fun it's been seeing what each person added for their round.  

I was thrilled to see that each person wrote a little something about round.  It's a very nice touch for this kind of challenge I think.

A few detail shots!  Love the drunkards path butterfly from Marcia!  Emily added the last round of geese.  She used fabric from her previous rounds in the geese!  Libby did the round next to the geese.  Hers reminded me of a quilt I recently finished called 'Finely Tuned'.

Katie added the pink 'ombre' stripes (above) and the Anna Maria Horner stripes (bottom).  Gotta love plus blocks!  Maria added those along with her usual sassy rebel-ness!

I don't think it will happen anytime soon, but I will do another Round Robin one day!  It was all you'd expect...stress, stress and stress!  But, it was also worth it, fun, challenging and rewarding!  Thank you ladies for making my first the best!

Here are some of the other quilts from our group:

Marcia's Quilt

Katie's Quilt

Emily's Quilt

Stay tuned for Libby and Maria's!  I told you we were playing it loose!!

This is from the other Round Robin Group, Debbie's quilt!  It's fun and festive!

I wrote about each round on my blog if you'd like to read more about it!  

I think for my rounds, each one I added somehow was tied to a project I was working on at the time or had just finished up!

When I do another Round Robin there are a few things I will do differently.  

First, try not to stress as much.  It won't work, but it's worth a try!

Decide if I want to see the progress after each round.  If not, be sure and state that.

Give more direction, not much just enough to guide whoever is in line.  That could be in the form of colors, fabrics or shapes.  Then maybe they won't have to stress as much.

If I would like a certain background, include fabric to keep it consistent.  

Include a note (which I did this time) with my wishes, thoughts and ideas.  And sure to ask each participant to write something about their experience with their round.

I was perfectly happy to let everyone do what they felt and wished with my block.  I didn't want to give too many rules that would make it too serious.  A few guidelines are not a bad thing!

When will I ever do another one?!  I'm not sure.  Would you want to join in with a Round Robin?  If you hear of one going on, I wouldn't mind hearing about it!