Friday, September 14, 2018

Tidbits :: A Mini Break

I've been going full force designing and making quilt tops the past couple of months, and with that comes a stack of quilting that is waiting to happen.  Not too many years ago I never would have considered starting a new quilt until what I was working on was completely finished.  Gone are those days!

These days I have more ideas than ever and feel the need to unleash the monster every chance I get.  Reality inevitably sets in.  I see quilt tops laying all over and realize they aren't going to quilt themselves.  Arguably my least favorite part of the process, but one that must be done!

That being said, I can always fit in something small...a mini...or two!  Something that won't derail my plans, take up too much time and still feeds my need to design and create!

I'm a big fan of paper piecing and I'm a huge fan of reducing patterns.  I also love to make mini quilts and give them as gifts.  A little something to put a smile on someones face, say thank you, wish them a happy birthday or let them know someone is thinking of them.  

One pattern I like to reduce is 'Geometric Alphabet' designed by Quiet Play  I can take one letter and personalize a mini in no time at all.  

Once the letter is finished I like to add my own personal touch to an already amazing design.  

In this case a border using lots of tiny pieces!  With that all that was left was some quick quilting and binding!  

I'm not even sure what size this finished at!  I was on a mission to make, quilt and send it as quickly as I could, that I forgot to measure it!  It needed to hit the mail in order to make it to its destination in time for a very special day!

I thought the itch was scratched after making this one, but that was not the case!  I can get easily distracted!  

6" x 6"
Guess I was in a geometric mood!  Mmmm...K!  At least I remembered to measure this one!


If one was to save scraps on the tiny size, these letters are perfect for those golden pieces!  I just happen to be one of those kind of people!


The border is always the fun part for me and I kept it pretty simple with this one.  But I like it!  I used two colors for the binding and before I knew it this one was also finished!  

Minis like these go relatively quick, and I have to say I'm often left wanting to 'just one more'!  This mini will be gifted over the weekend...more about that later!

I bought myself a present.  It's nothing special and actually it's really a boring, not a big deal and practical gift.  

A new ironing board cover!  Isn't it gorgeous?!  I really would rather not use it and keep it in pristine shape, but that would mean I'd have to give up quilting!  And spray starch!

My last cover looked like a herd of cows in a rainstorm lived on it!  By that I looked like POOP!

I use starch all the time and it really screws up an ironing board cover!  You can't really wash these, trust me I tried on the last one and regretted it, so the only solution was a new one.  Only this time it was not going to let end up like the last one.  

I grabbed some Home Dec fabric and made a mat to go over the board for starching.  Now I can have a beautiful clean cover for normal pressing and have a mat that can easily be thrown in the wash periodically.  

You might be wondering why I just don't use a towel for starching, and to that I say...I have no idea!  I'm hoping by making a dedicated mat it will ensure that I'll actually use it and my cover can stay pretty and pristine for a longer period of time!

Tell me about your ironing board it clean & pristine or does it look like a herd of cows walked across it?!  


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Feisty Fiesta :: Taming the Twists

I have to say I was more than a little bit worried about this quilt after I finished piecing the top.  ('Let's Do The Twist')  After adding more and more stripes, the top became out of shape and I wasn't sure I'd be able to whip it back into shape.

  I decided I'd use basting spray, only the second time I've done that, hoping it would help aid in the effort.  There wasn't any do overs or going back at this point.  Which meant I may as well quilt it and hope for the best.

44" X 45"
As you can see I conquered the wonk!!  For the most part!  I don't know if I should admit this, but it was the first time I ever blocked a quilt.  It's true.  Lots of people do it, I just never felt the need to until this one.  

After the quilting was finished I trimmed around the quilt leaving a little excess batting and backing around the edges.  Then zig zag stitched the edges of the fabric so when I tossed it in the wash it wouldn't fray.  Choosing the hand wash cycle on my washing machine, I tossed it in and let it work its magic.  When it was finished and still wet, I pinned it to the floor carefully adjusting until it appeared to be relatively square and left it to dry.  

When it came time to pull the pins I was hoping it would keep it's shape, everyone says it will, and low and behold!  It did!  Whew!  Makes me want to block another day!

Certainly there are many blocking tutorials out there that will walk you through the steps needed.  I knew enough to give it a try, but full disclosure, I don't know if it was proper or not!

I was determined to use on color of thread for all the quilting when I started...and then, I couldn't help myself.  I raided the thread rack!  As long as it had a bobbin with thread on it, I grabbed it.  Which mind you, happens to be a great way to use up partially wound bobbins.

How could I have a Fiesta celebration without lots of colors?!  The answer can't!  I couldn't wimp out now!

In the twisted blocks, I simply quilted a curve line in between each twist and stitched in the ditch around each block.  The plain log cabin blocks received spiral quilting.  


All the quilting on this quilt was never intended to be straight.  I intentionally quilted organic/natural lines in all different widths.  Considering the nature of shot cottons and the issue I had with it being distorted, I felt it was the best solution to handle the imperfections.  

I pieced the back for a little more party pizazz!  Plus it also gives you a better picture of the quilting.

Color, texture...that usually equals fun in my book!

The 'textured twists' after washing didn't hold their shape, but I knew that from the get go.  Shot cottons are a lighter weight fabric so that wasn't a surprise.  Spray starch is a great tool to get crisp distinctive twists, but doesn't hold up to water!

All things consider, I'm going to call this one a success!  I love the colors, the design, the quilting, the technique.  

And yes, I do have more ideas in the works.  More 'textured twists' mayhem!  I guess I may as well go with it until I can go no more!

Since I'm not a regular at the quilt blocking game, do you block your quilts?  Was there something I should have done differently?


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bee Inspired 2018 :: Top Secret

I can't tell you how excited that September is my month to share my Bee Inspired prompt for our group!  Excited, yes...scared, oh yeah!  There have been so many great prompts from this talented group thus far.  And I wanted to be sure I was able to live up to the those standards, yet make it fun and colorful.  My prompt is pretty basic and doesn't require much interpretation, but I think it'll be fun!  

That's right, Morse Code!  Morse Code was invented by Samuel Morse in 1836.  It's a series of dots and dashes that represent letters and numbers transmitted by tapping.  There is a method to tapping dots or dashes and the length between words, rather fascinating actually!  

In a very abstract way, tapping on our keyboards is much like Morse Code to me!  Tap, tap, tap, send, tap, send, tap, tap, tap.  And keeping with abstract and improv, I want the blocks to be an interpretation of dots and dashes without the precision the code requires.

A few of my requirements are: no rulers, black fabric for the dashes, white to ivory for the background, the dashes should 1/2" or less.  Those are the basics.

I have asked each person to make two blocks.  One using the code for their name.  The dots should be different shades of their favorite color.  The second block should be a different color of their choosing, again using different shades.  The blocks can be square, rectangle, long or short and up to 18".  

You are probably wonder what the heck is she talking about!  Let me show you!

I'm a visual person and it helps if I can see the idea in front of me before I jump in.  So, I decided I whip up a couple blocks to show my vision of the prompt.  

JAYNE :: 16" x 14"
My first block is my name.  Jayne.  And my favorite colors these days is pink.  You get the idea now, right?!  

VIOLET ::  15 3/4" x 16"
The second block is Violet.  I'm finding it very hard not to make more blocks!  It was actually quite fun and there are so many colors to play with.

While these next blocks are computer generated, I used them as examples.

Ignore the extra 'E' in the yellow block...I was having so much fun that I didn't notice until after I posted on Instagram!  

I can't wait to see what everyone does, and I'm sorry for those who have long names!  I didn't think about that at the time!

You can check out my previous Bee Inspired posts here:

And you can check out the blocks on Instagram here:  #beeinspired2018

My Bee Mates are amazing! 

Shelby @godshomemovies 
Jayne @twiggyandopal 
Audrey @artandstole 
Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Christine @ccpquilt 
Jenny @pappersaxsten 
Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles


Monday, September 3, 2018

Geometry Lesson Quilt

I've gotten so bad about taking pictures as I'm working on a quilt!  When I was ready to share this top and started looking for the pictures, I found one.  One lonely little photo!  So in order to make this a post with pictures I flung the top on my design wall and quickly snapped a few shots.  Ignore the shadows behind this one!  I have all the parts and pieces on my wall for another quilt and I didn't want to take them off.

50" X 65"
While I was playing with designing my Mondrian blocks, my mind kept wandering.  That's not seems to do that a lot these days!  I can't say that it bothers me too much, as it generally leads to new designs and ideas.  

My idea was to modernize Mondrian and come up with something that in a loose way represents the art, but is totally unique.  I played with ideas and even in piecing the design together I continued to make changes along the way.

Mondrian art usually uses squares and rectangles, but I wanted to add different shapes.  Drunkards path, half square triangles and half rectangle triangles seemed to be the best options.  I randomly added the shapes throughout the quilt design and hopefully created the perfect balance.

I'm not afraid to admit that I'll hoard a bundle of fabric until the perfect project comes along.  Since that hadn't happened for my March Madness 'Prosecco & Cream by the Sea' bundle, I designed this quilt to showcase those gorgeous colors!  

Colors from left to right:
121-121 Linen121-049 Coral, 121-068 Rosebud, 121-028 Fuchsia, 121-066 Lipstick, 121-146 Dare Devil, 121-127 Burnt Sienna and 121-077 Moss

The only color in the bundle I didn't use was Linen.  I instead went with a Moda Light Grey, which doesn't look grey at all!  But it worked!

I really love these colors!  And I'm so happy I finally got the chance to showcase each color in this quilt!

I do have some other exciting news that I can't share right now...secret involves this exact color palette.  I'm excited to share that bit of new in October.  

Throughout the quilt I also tried to distribute all the colors evenly.  I needed to control myself!   

I think I ended up with a good balance of color, shapes and negative space.  You know what I'm going to say next, don't you?!

How the heck should I quilt it?!  That is always the million dollar question for me!  I'm not opposed to having you quilt it for me though!!  I'm sure something will come to mind and one day I'll take that deep breath and get started!

I'm including the design I made in EQ8 so you can see the changes I made during construction.  You never know how something will turn out until you are in the middle of it, at least that's been my experience!

Since I like the design so much, I designed a baby quilt size that I'd like to try one day.  It's similar to this one, but not exact!  Ideas...too many...not enough time!