Monday, December 17, 2018

Closet Stuffer II

It's usually the time of year to think about Stocking Stuffers, I on the other hand have been focusing on my Closet Stuffers!  This could possibly be that last one, the last one for this year seems more like it!

52" X 61"
This one was held back with the intention of writing a pattern for it.  Big surprise!  That didn't happen.  If there's one resolution I'll make this year it will be never talk about or promise to make a pattern for one of my designs!  I'm not saying I won't, I'm just saying mums the word until it's finished!

I designed and made a small version of this paper pieced design way, way back in January.  You can check it out here:  Black & Orange.  I tried the design with a small quilt first just to work out all the details and to see if it would come together.  And it did.  That motivated me to give the design another chance and go bigger!

It also gave the the opportunity to use a stack of hand dyed fabric my daughter Britt made me long ago.  Gotta wait for just the right project to come along before cutting into our favorite fabrics sometimes!

There was a variety of gorgeous color in that stack from aqua to lime green!  I choose Kona Nightfall because I thought it would be a good background to highlight the colors of the hand dyed fabric.  My last blog post I used Nautical, this time Nightfall!  It seems I went through a dark blue phase!  

For reference, Kona Nautical is the darker of the two shades.  

When I began designing this quilt, I wanted stacked triangles in some form or another.  I ended up with a block that was rectangle and then the fun began!  There is a lot of maneuvering and color play that happens when designing.  I couldn't imagine doing with out my EQ program!  

I was happy with the layout, the way the big X landed squarely in the center, how the triangles seem to float around the edges and the millions of color possibilities! 


Once you settle on a design you have to go with it.  At least for the first version!  I haven't yet, but I look forward to the day when I can revisit this quilt and scramble the design to see what other options are possible!

I wonder why that aqua strip is on the side?!  My usual "I'm just this much short" seems to always make an appearance!  Don't get me wrong, it bothers me not at all!

You can't make out the quilting design on dark blue, but on the aqua you get a sense of the geometric design I did.  It's effective and did it's job of unifying the entire quilt.


The color in this photo is not even close to what Nightfall is in real life!  But you can get a better sense of the quilting that was done.

Paper piecing is so satisfying!  Right now I'm working on another paper pieced project I designed and hope to make it my first finish of 2019!  Planning ahead!  It'll be a color palette that I rarely visit, but one that is kind of pretty!  Stay tuned!

Do you make New Year Resolutions...that you keep?!  


Friday, December 14, 2018

Hiding in Plain Sight

There was a time not too long ago when every quilt I made was photographed and blogged about the second it was finished.  It was a stead fast goal of mine to finish a quilt before I would start a new project.  That doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about the next project, it meant I had to wait and that was pretty exciting to me.  There were never WIP's, never a pile of quilts to quilt, and I was proud of that.

Somewhere along the way my rules changed.  I became a rebel!  Okay, not so much a rebel maybe I loosened up a little bit!  I'm certainly not complaining!  With my new found freedom I've discovered a quilt or three that was stowed in my closet waiting for...what?  I don't even know!  I probably shoved it in there so I could make room for another project to get underway!  I know it's not abnormal to have half a dozen things happening all at once, every one does, and I shall not dwell on the good old days, instead I'll embrace it and move on!

54" x 72"
I'm intrigued by geometric shapes and half-square triangles are a fantastic way to experiment and play.  I could spend hours if not days turning, flipping and moving the blocks to create different patterns.  I've fallen in the rabbit hole far too many times!

This time I stuck with a plan and besides moving a few background pieces, it was written in stone!  The squares and rectangles are Kona Nautical, which in this picture look black, but in reality it's a very dark blue.  I arranged them semi haphazardly and filled in with a lot of blue and green HST's in many different shades.  

When I start a quilt like this, I grab every fabric in the color scheme I'm going for and cut all my squares.  Generally I'll cut 2-5 squares in each color, but it depends on big my chunk of fabric is.  Then I'll grab my stack and randomly pair up sets.  That way I'll have a bunch of different combinations of colors after the HST's are made.  Random is better for me.  

They say variety is the spice of life and that holds true for me...but only when it comes to quilting and fabric!  

Sometimes when I'm pulling fabrics for a 'theme' color quilt, there are shades I'm not in love with.  I have to force myself to use them anyway.  I may only cut 1 or 2 blocks, but I throw them in the mix for variety sake.  

What would a geometric quilt be without geometric quilting?  I printed a coloring sheet via EQ8 and began the intense quilting process.  I started with the squares and rectangles first.  Stitching in the ditch and then quilting a 2" grid inside each shape.  After that it was a puzzle of lines.  I tried to keep a flow with the lines so it didn't look too haphazard in the end.  It worked and every inch was covered!

As always there were blocks left over and as almost always I didn't have a large enough piece of fabric for the entire back!  By adding the extra blocks to the back I was able to stretch my backing to fit and give the back a little visual interest as well.

The backing is Kona Pickle, which I love!  It's a rather bold and different kind of color that not everyone is attracted to.  

I added a binding of Nautical and this guy was done!  Well, this guy was stuffed in a closet!  When I finally released it from purgatory, I washed and dried it for the a true finish!  To me, a quilt isn't truly finished until it's been washed! 

I do want to get back on track a little bit with project finishing.  Maybe that should be my New Year Resolution?!  Probably not!  I've never ever ever followed through on a resolution...why start now!

Being the end of the year, do you scramble to finish WIP's and UFO's?  I know I do!  I want the old gone and make room for the new!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Are You Feeling Lucky?!

Are you lucky, feeling lucky or hope to get lucky?!  I've got a Mega Giveaway to tell you about!

Bernie @needleandfoot is hosting a super exciting huge giveaway!  Many of you already know about Bernie and her blog, you may also know about her Etsy fabric shop Needle & Foot, but did you know she has been hosting a monthly Blogger Bundle in her shop too?  

Over the past year Bernie asked eleven blogging people to curate a bundle of 5-6 fat quarters which she then sells the in her Etsy shop.  Unbeknownst us, she made extra bundles...eleven to be exact, that she saved for a huge giveaway!  Winner takes all!  All!  Can you imagine what you would do if you won something like this?!  Me too...cartwheels for sure!  I'll post the link at the end of my post.

All you have to do is go to Needle & Foot blog and enter by picking your favorite collection!  Who's will it be?  Mine?!  Perhaps!  Wanna see the bundles?  Of course you do!  You may drool a little bit and that's okay, but just can't win if you don't enter!  Tell your family, tell your friends!  

January through June
I'll just point out that my bundle was May.  You case you wanna vote for it!  A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

July through November
I've known Bernie for a couple few years now, and have come to admire and respect her.  She is a kind and generous sole who loves fabric and is more than happy to share her passion with all of us.  This giveaway shows her generosity and her giving spirit.  Take a look at her shop, read her blog and by all means go enter this giveaway!

Click on the link below to enter:

Voting starts Tuesday December 11 🔺Giveaway ends Saturday December 15 
Winner will be drawn Sunday December 16 🔺 Open to US only 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Secret Santa :: Pillow Reveal

It took a while for me to figure out what design I would choose for my Secret Santa Swap pillows, but once I did there was no holding me back!  I was excited when my partner requested pillow covers, and that one of their fabric loves was saturated solids.  That I knew I could work with!

18" x 18"
I searched for the right design, that perfect 18" block that would make a big impression and wow the recipient.  When I came across this paper pieced pattern:  'Geese Crossing' designed by Three Owls Handmade on Craftsy, I knew it was the one!  

That was the easy part!  We all know that choosing the right fabric can sometimes be the real challenge!  

When I saw my stack of peppered cottons...I knew they would be perfect for the design.  If you aren't familiar with shot cottons, the big draw is the depth of the colors.  They are woven with two thread colors:  the warp & weft.  

Debating on background choices proved to be difficult.  In the end I went with a warm gray of Kona Haze.  I had plenty yardage on hand for the front and back panels.  I wasn't going to take a chance on being short of fabric!

After deciding color placement, I started with the arguably easiest pieces, flying geese and a square-in-a-square.  At this point I was reminded why I love paper piecing!  I'm not sure I would have been able to get those points so perfect any other way!  

Next up were the corner blocks.  I began by making one square, measuring and writing down the width and length of each piece needed for the sections.  Then when it's time to sew, I can grab the piece I need for the sections and not have to worry each time if I cut the right size.  It makes the process much more pleasant, easier and faster!

Once the front panels were pieced, I contemplated how I should quilt them.  It didn't take long before I came to the conclusion that simple was better in this case.  So I grabbed some coordinating thread and mapped out my moves!

Delightful big blocks!

I'm shocked that I was able to stick to my guns and keep it simple!  After I finished quilting to this point, I wanted to do more!  

I thought about quilting something in the Haze background fabric, but restrained myself!  It was just as it should be and anymore would be too much. 

The back of the panels show the design much better than the front can.  

And this close up shows the thread colors.  I'm very pleased and happy with how they turned out. 

I made hidden zipper backs for each pillow, gave a good pressing and wrapped them up with a couple days to spare before our guild's holiday party!  I knew I'd get my secret gift finished in time, it just took longer to come up with a plan than I would have liked.  

The party was yesterday and was a fun and rousing event!  Plenty of food, chit chatting, and as always fun!  My partner loved her pillows and 'oh what a relief it was'!  Stress melts away afterwards and you realize it was all worth it!  

Now to focus on the next part of the holiday!  ARGH!  Who else doesn't like to shop?!  


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

For The Birds or the Fun!

Finding time to make projects from our bucket list isn't always easy!  My list is much like every other persons, long and always getting longer!  As much as I'd like to make every single project on that list, realistically it isn't possible.  In the end I tackle small projects that take hours instead of days to make.  

With a bit of time on hand I seized the moment and made a few Mini Mini quilts!  It satisfied my urge!  At least for the time being!

First up is this amazing Hummingbird Mini!

8" X 8 1/2"
I love hummingbirds!  Nicole Young @lilllyella designs amazing paper pieced patterns!  When I saw this one I knew one day I was going to make it!  'Sugar Baby' is one of Nicole's free patterns available here: Sugar Baby!  

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is probably the first one we think of when talking hummers!  The iconic iridescent red throat and emerald green body is always a beautiful sight to see.  

The block was not terribly difficult to piece which made me happy!  It took a couple hours to piece the block together with not one single mistake until I was putting the sections together!  That was human error and not anything to do with the pattern!

The crowning moment for me was the wing!  I picked the gray fabric the night before, but knew I needed daylight to make sure the gradation was going to be perfect before I began making it.  I couldn't have been any more excited and happy at how it turned out!  It makes me want to drool!

I kept the quilting super simple by stitching around the bird and adding lines radiating out.  I wasn't going to take a chance ruining the bird with unnecessary quilting!

I made this mini for my Mom who loves hummingbirds!  She loves to watch hummers, and now she has one that isn't going south for the winter!

As promised in my previous post:  Rubber Ducky, I made a couple mini rubber duckies!  You knew I would! 

5" x 5"
  I took the existing pattern and reduced it by 50%, so what was a 10" block became a 5" block.  The hardest most tedious part were the eyes!  Yikes!  Even on the large duck the eye was difficult!

The first one I made was this little black duck.  He kind of reminds me of a Loon from Minnesota!  I don't have a lot of prints that are black, so when I saw Sprinkles from 
Cotton + Steel I knew it would be perfect!

He's a blue eyed handsome little guy!  Simple quilting and finished with a binding of black!

Why make one when you can make two!  I choose a lime green print for the body and if you look super close at the wing you can see monkeys!  

When it came time to piece the eye I had a brilliant idea!  Why not use a dot from the 'Sprinkles' fabric for the eye?!  So, I did and he now has a glint in his eye!   If I ever make another one you can be sure it will get the same eye treatment!

From the back you can see how I quilted them.  Keeping it simple was the key!

And for now my fine feathered friends are hunkering down for the winter!

Do you have a bucket list?  Are you able to cross things off on your list?


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Block Printing :: Sweet Surprise!

It's been a weeks worth of projects that scream 'gotta get it done', which has left me with no time to blog at all!  Happily I've completed the ones that were a top priority on my list.

Months ago I designed a paper pieced block using EQ8 and recently revisited the design to see if it was something that was worth pursuing.  I tweaked the design a few times, played with layouts and the real fun part is always the color!  It's one thing to design and entirely another thing to execute!  I am never quite sure my ideas will work until I dig in and give it a I did!

24" x 24"
When I plugged in the grey and red in EQ8, I knew immediately those were the colors I had to use.  I was struck how vibrant they came across on the computer screen and could only hope it would translate in real life.

I didn't realize I had so many different shades of red!  In the end I settled on Kona Rich Red and Kona Steel.  After printing the 6" templates I marked the sections that were going to be the red fabric.  It helps to avoid confusion and frustration while piecing!  

Another thing I like to do when paper piecing, and especially if I'm doing a lot of the same block, is to calculate the size of fabric pieces needed for each section.  That way I can cut what I need and basically 'grab and go' knowing I won't have to worry if the piece is the right size every time.  


It wasn't until all my blocks were finished, trimmed and laid out that I discovered the design looked like a block print.  At least to me it does.  I find it funny how you can look at a design all day long and not see the obvious!  

I didn't have to worry about how I would quilt this one!  It was as obvious as the nose on my face!  However, with being a non planner when quilting there are always moments when you paint yourself into a corner and have to figure out how to make it work!  

The majority of the quilting is with Aurifil 50wt Light Blue Grey #2610 and hints of Lobster Red #2265 accents.  Because it was a small quilt I had very little trouble maneuvering the quilt while quilting.  It was actually fun and I don't say that too often about machine quilting!

You most likely notice the red sections on the back!  I couldn't call it complete without a pieced binding.  It seemed like the perfect way to cap off the design!

And with that, this design is a wrap!  Or is it?!  Maybe there is a 'Block Print' series in the works, or maybe not!  Ideas are endless, time is not!  Sometimes I want to lock myself in my room and spend the entire day working on ideas!

It's been a productive couple of weeks!  I finished this quilt, I finished my Secret Santa gift (soon to be revealed), I put up my Christmas tree (three weeks earlier than usual), I made two mini Rubber Duckies which I hope to quilt today and I'm ready to make another quilt which is not too surprising!

Around this time every year it seems like I'm in a rush to finish projects.  Old or new, holiday themed, gifts or scraps to assemble.  In a way it's refreshing and rewarding because I know exactly what I have to do and I can check it off my list.  By the New Year I'm ready with fresh ideas and a clean slate!



Friday, November 23, 2018

Rubber Ducky :: You're The One! (or Two)

Rubber Ducky you're the one

You make bath time lots of fun

Rubber Ducky I'm awfully fond of you
(Sesame Street)

Rubber Ducky's are just plain adorable, that I think we can all agree on!  I first saw the paper pieced pattern on Instagram and then was lucky enough to win a copy from Zephyr Skies.  The pattern is available here on Craftsy: Rubber Ducky in case you are interested.

17 1/2" x 12 1/2"

I couldn't wait to make the block, yet I had no idea when it would happen.  I'm kind of at that point where I just wanna play with quilting.  You know, make a few small things, try out new patterns or blocks, but I'm not ready to start something big.  So, I played.

I decided to make two ducks, one facing right and one facing left.  Picking the fabric was a mind chore!  There are so many possibilities, but I eventually settled on some lovely 
Cotton + Steel Basics and Moda Grunge.  

Adorable, right?!  The metallic in the Cotton + Steel fabric is what really tipped me over the edge.  A little bling is never a bad thing!

Toy Boat XOXO Metallic for Righty and...

Netorious Mixing Bowl Metallic for Lefty!

Both blocks went together seamlessly.  I did grab my seam ripper a few times, there is no doubt about it!  Working with solids it isn't a problem which side is right or wrong, but those darn prints...I gotta think harder!

After the ducks were finished and happily quacking away, I had to figure out the layout.  Call me crazy, but the idea of bubbles floating in the center was gnawing at me.  In the end I decided tiny hearts would be just as cute...cuter...unexpected?!  

I ended up making three paper pieced heart blocks: 1 1/2", 1" and 3/4", using three shades of pink. 


I offset each heart and centered them in the middle literally using every last piece of the background fabric!  Whew!  I was a bit worried towards the end!

Quilting time!  I made a 'duck sandwich' and began thinking of design possibilities.  

I quilted the wings and around each duck before I tackled the background.  I was having a horrible time free motion quilting!  The thread kept bunching up on the back.  I changed needles, reset the bobbin case and re-threaded over and over and over.  Eventually the problem was solved and I was able to finish it with a loop design.

The Rubber Ducky block is 10" and available here:  Rubber Ducky Pattern

It was such a fun project!  I'll most certainly will make more one day.  Call me crazy again... but I want to reduce the pattern and make a mini'll's gonna happen!