Thursday, January 30, 2014

Make It or Break It

So, here it is.  My left over block quilt.  Finished.  Done.  I'm sad actually.  It was fun to put this one together ~ from start to finish! 

There is a lot of talk about how quilting makes or breaks a quilt.  It can enhance your design or detract from the over all feel of a design.  I find that to be true to some extent.  I also find that if I don't care for a quilting motif, then to me, that can spoil a finish.  Let's face it, we all have our preference.  So, quilt what you love.  Its all a matter of opinion.      

32" x 43"
In my last post about this one:  LEFT OVERS, I was trying to decide what border color to add.  Blue, yellow...suggestions!  Kim from Ties That Bind Quilting suggested gray.  Hmmm, I thought.  (just like that)  I pulled some grays and decided to go with it.  Love it.  Great suggestion.  Sold!  

Now, its been a long, long time since I have added a border on any quilt.  This one I knew needed one.  When I first began quilting I thought every quilt needed a border to be complete.  As the years went on, I knew that not to be true!

The quilting is 1/2" wide.  So much fun and I love how it came together.  I divided the quilt into 4 sections quilting continuous 'V's' in each.  After it was finished I couldn't wait to throw it in the wash!  Crinkle Baby Crinkle!

See, not so bad.  Really, I don't think you can go wrong with straight line quilting.  I love it, use it all the time and my machine loves it!

This little quilt has inspired me to finally, finally, finally quilt my first quilt of the year...the mama to this little one!  (Here:  FRESH START ~ FIRST PROJECT)

Tell me what you think about quilting a quilt.  Do you think it makes or breaks it?  Do you have designs you love and others that aren't 'your cup of tea'? 

Linking to:
SEW SOLID SUNDAY @ Esch House Quilts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Functional Scraps

Using scraps is a thrill.  When you can make something with those precious scraps, to me its not only exciting but rewarding as well.  The 'Scrap Movement' has hit full force in the blogging world.  At least is seems that way to me!  

My latest scrap buster involves pot holders.  Very functional, don't you think?  Its a great way to use scraps, get some color in your life and protect your table!  

These are still in the process of getting the binding sewn on.  Yes, by hand...I know, I know!

I'm a sucker for red and black.  I LOVE this set!  The quarter circle won me over. Seemingly simple, yet a lot going on.

Black and white with a subtle touch of red.  A while back I had an idea for a black, white and red quilt.  It never did come together for me.  So, I decided to use some of the pieces I made for these pot holders.  

This abstract design and color combination is very, very popular!  

...and lastly, stripes.  My nightly routine:  hand sewing the bindings!  

I realize that I have been going overboard on the red and black combination this month.  

I can't get enough...until now!  

I'm anxious to move on to a different color!  Something BRIGHT!!

Do you ever get 'hooked' on certain colors?  

Linking to:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along

Since this is the year of 'firsts' for me, I decided to join a Quilt Along for the first time ever.  
Many of you may be familiar with the book:  Modern Bee - 13 Quilts to Make With Friends,  or with Lindsay Conner (the force behind it) and her blog Lindsay Sews.  She put together a fabulous book of quilts that feature many inspiring designs and designers.  If that isn't enough, Lindsay is also one of the collaborators at Craft Buds .  She certainly is one busy, she just had a baby boy a few weeks ago!

Craft Buds just happens to be sponsoring this Quilt Along!  Complete with guest judges, sponsors and great prizes!  Woo-Hoo!   

The quilt featured for the quilt along is 'Mosaic Tiles'.  The idea is to create and show what you make based on the  original Mosaic Tiles block as the inspiration.  

Since I received my book as a Christmas present from my husband (yes, I did send a link to him), I was anxious to see what I could do!

I recently came across Anna Maria Horner's 'Chocolate Lollipop' fat quarters.  I'm a huge fan of anything and everything she designs.  I knew if I didn't use these now, I may never use them!  Knowing that this isn't a current fabric, I may be taking a risk here!  But a girl has gotta do what she's gotta do!

I love a nicely ironed stacks of blocks!  It means the beginning of something good!

For the back ground I went with Kona Cactus.  It is so bright!  Similar to lime green, but not quite. This is the beginning of the mosaics.  I chose Kona Cotton in Bubble Gum, Curry, Chocolate Brown and Garnet to complement the prints.  

I cannot lie.  I cut way too many solids!  I forgot that each block is cut into 4 pieces! Once I figured out how many mosaic blocks I would need for my version, it was smooth sailing!   

Adding the rectangle solids was one of those 'A-HA' moments for me.  I knew I had to put a little of 'me' in the design!  

Piecing finished, It was time to pin!  I love pictures of quilts with idea why!

Let the quilting begin!  I quilted a different design in each of the 5 solid rectangles using 1/4" lines.  I totally love it!  The rest of the quilt is 1" straight lines with a couple turns here and there.

During our Guild meeting this past weekend, Jenny (one of the members) brought a baby quilt she was working on.  She had matched the binding with the fabric on the edges.  I thought it was genius!  I hope she doesn't mind that I used that idea in this quilt!  Mostly the binding is Garnet, with a little peach, pink and yellow.  

Baby Quilt 35" x 50"
And of course, the back.  I used 'Chocolate Lollipop' squares surrounded by Kona Honeydew.  

I really had fun making this quilt.  The mosaic pattern was so much fun and a blast to put together!  I would love to make it again using all solids.  But not with cactus quilt is enough for right now!

Linking to:

Left Overs.

I do have a hard time leaving extra blocks laying around.  Even though I finished the main project, seeing left-overs makes it feel like its still unfinished!

These hand dyed blocks are extras from this quilt:  HST Quilt  (which is still not quilted).  I'm still deciding how I want to quilt it. 

I paired the Half Square Triangles by color (blue, pink, purple, yellow, orange and green).  Wanting to change it up, I added a center square in the center for added interest, something different and just for the fun of it!

Call me crazy...but the extra triangles that were cut from the center squares...I used them too!  I added a 2" border incorporating the tiny HST pieces.  Now I do plan on adding a wider border around this panel.  I'm thinking maybe yellow or a dark blue.

Would you add another border?  And what color would you choose?

Linking up at:
WIP WEDNESDAY @ Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Must Have Tool

Tools are a part of quilting.  Good tools, useful tools.  My current favorite tool is my Hera Marker.  If you don't have one, I highly suggest adding it to your must have arsenal!  

Hera Marker
It doesn't look like much.  Very unassuming.  But it packs a punch!  This little hunk of plastic makes my life easier.  (well, my quilting life)  I sometimes freak out if I have to use pens, chalk or even tape to make a line.  What if the ink from a pen doesn't come out?  And tape, well it either starts coming off or I sew over it and it's a pain to pick out of the stitching.  

This has been my new go to method for making my lines.  The Hera Marker makes creases on the fabric that you can use for sewing guides.     

A ruler, fabric and the Hera Marker.  Friends.  Peas in a Pod!  Tool of the trade!  

Have you got a favorite tool you cannot live without?  Please share!  I love learning about new tools!

Linked to:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pink It Is.

How about pink?!  I'm either all in or just on the edge.  Rachel at Stitched In Color is having a Pink Mosaic Contest.  I decided to throw my 'pink' in to the ring...Oh, and by the way, these fabrics are available from Sew Modern!

First up, I decided to go with a bright bold pink.  Pairing it with orange was a natural path for me to take.  I do love pink and orange together.  Its daring, loud and 'in your face'...which I am not!  Maybe that's why I like the pairing!  You cannot be too shy with this combination!   
Pink + Orange
Next, a very subdued combination.  I don't usually go pastel or even light.  However, what is pink without gray?  If I think pastel, I think gray.  Gray and pink.  Pink and Gray.  Quietly soft and delicate.  
Pink + Gray
Isn't it amazing how different colors makes you feel?  Do you have an all time favorite color combination?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Done & Done!

One more project crossed off the list!  Black are getting a work-out this month!  Whenever I get super overwhelmed, I make a list.  It gives me focus.  With so many projects that I want to make and my mind stuffed to the brim ~ I am finally able to start and complete some of those ideas.  
Case in point:

Eight striking red & black placemats.  Freshly washed, crinkled to perfection and ready for the table!  (really there are 8...I didn't take pictures of the other 4)  I wrote about them HERE.

Modern Improv
Ready, Set, Go!
I am currently in the process of hand sewing the bindings on this set.  Three more to go!

Its no secret that I love to sew on bindings by hand.  The finishing touch.  Final chapter.  

How about you?  Do you hand sew your bindings?  What is your favorite 'finish' to your projects? 

Linking up with:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vice Versa Block Of the Month

If you follow blogs you will know what I'm talking about.  'Blogland' is full of Block of the Month, Quilt-A-Longs or swaps.  I was always intrigued, slightly envious and eager to get off my butt and participate!  This year I decided to jump in.  AnneMarie, the genius behind Gen X Quilters Blog has put together a Block of the Month called Vice Versa BOM. Two blocks per month!  Vice Versa because~well the are positive/negative, ying/yang...opposites!  Easy peasy, right?!  I jumped in and signed up.  

The first of each month you receive a PDF block pattern.  Seriously, I have been looking forward to my 'first' for so long!  Life can get in the way a little and throw you off track!  I just completed my first months block!  For the next, ahem, get to see my progress!  Contain yourself, please!

First off, I had a difficult time choosing the fabric.  I knew that I wanted to use some hand dyed fabrics that my daughter gave me a couple years ago.  They are gorgeous...and hard to pair with anything!

This is the 'feel' the 'vibe' I was going with.  If you every are looking for color combinations, check out Seeds.  Amazing!  Or, Palette Builder is also a great source for color help. 

And here is the fabric I needed to work with.  Yes, needed!  I have hand dyed fabric and stacks of fabric that I cannot bring myself to use because its so beautiful!  I have been telling myself that it will be even more beautiful if I use it in something.  Does anyone else do that?  I'm sure I can't be the only one. 

Hand Dyed
Aren't they pretty?  You should see them in person...stunning!  I still needed one more color and a back ground color.  Without peeking any further, what would you suggest? Don't be afraid.  

Here's what I went with!  Call me crazy!  You can't really see from the picture, but there is a blue tone throughout the fabric.  That should explain the blue background fabric I choose.

Yesterday I set myself up to begin the Vice Versa BOM.  My cutting mat, ruler, iPad (with the block PDF) and a big cup of tea!  Perfect!  I'm ready now!

Gettin' down to the Nitty Gritty!
These blocks included Half Square Triangles and I was pumped when I saw that.  I get to use my Christmas gift ~ Bloc Loc!  If you don't have a set...get one!  They are pretty amazing! 

Squaring the HST blocks
I was trying to be organized.  Neat piles with all the pieces to the puzzle!

Block Pieces
I am still on the fence about my color selection.  I'm still on the fence about this one.  One minute I'm leery and the next it looks fantastic...dang colors!

Simple Block
Reverse Block
I must say the second block is pretty cool.  Both were really fun to make and I do love making fun blocks.  

Side By Side
I'm happy with the blocks.  I'm thrilled that I am doing my first BOM.  And, I cannot wait until February!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Putting Scraps To Use

Scraps are as much a part of quilting as water is to a fish!  Scraps, scraps, scraps.  We all have them, we all love them and we all wonder what to do with them.  Mine seem to multiply seemingly over night.  Do yours?!  At the end of every year I go through the agonizing sorting process.  Keep, use or toss.  I use to keep every little bit, and I mean every one.

I have been doing two things with my favorite scraps.  For the prints that I love and cannot part with, I have been cutting into 2 1/2" squares.  Solids have been cut into 5" squares. Both sizes are neatly stored for future projects!  Good start to the scrap pile.

My first scrap project are these red and black placemats.  There is something about that color combination that I like.  Classic.  Never out dated.  Making placemats is a perfect project for scraps.

I paired the red with black and began the piecing process.  Simple panels of red and black.

Strip piecing works great for these panels.  I never make any two a like.  I choose to pieces smaller pieces and mix and match so that each placemat is different.  I could save myself a lot of work...but then again I never seem to follow the easy path!

Red, black, red, black.  Repeat eight times!  

Eight done.  Eight different.  Eight the same.  I am still in the process of hand stitching the binding to the back, but they are well on their way to completion.

So.....why quit there?  I'm on a scrap mission!  I'm on a roll!  I decided a different color combination was in order! 

Orange, brown, gold...ewwww!  It sounds so dated don't you think?  Not necessarily.  I made a quilt using these colors.  You can check it out here.  The quilt is surrounded with off-white, but who wants white placemats?  Spills would be way too noticeable!  I'm going with a chocolate brown.  Perfect for spills and the perfect color to highlight the panels.

Using mostly Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons, I began what I refer to as my 'mosaic' piecing. Each placemat gets 3 mosaics in 3 sizes.  Each different.  24 mosaics.  (going for the gold...8 placemats again!)  I am a big fan of the broken frame design.  The off-white not only sets the mosaics off, but the tiny brown frame makes this design for me.

I'm thinking the brown was a good choice.  What do you think?  At least they won't have to be washed as often as white!

There you have it!  Another 8 ready for the binding pile.  I didn't make a huge dent in my scraps.  I most likely never will.  Again...scraps are a part of quilting!

What do you do with your scraps?  I would love some to hear what they are!

Scrap:  a small piece or amount of something.  One that is left over after the greater amount is used.

Linked to:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

About My Mom

My Mom is a funny lady.  She has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. We have always had a great relationship even during my so called 'rebellion' years.  I wasn't that bad...but I'm sure I had my moments!

Growing up we moved a lot.  From one coast to the other, and a few places in between. My dad was a entrepreneur!  He had huge ideas, huge plans and a huge heart.  Adventure was always just around the corner with him!  We had an interesting life with him ~ to be sure.

A traditional family we were not!  

Over the summer I was able to visit my Mom, who now lives back in Minnesota.  One thing I love and can count on (and look forward to), is talking about the good 'ole days! Her days, our days.  Its amazing what you learn that you didn't know before!

Me and my Mom.
She is having a hard time getting around, at 82 (83 in less than a month) it is to be expected.  Age will do that.  It also begins the process of letting go. Things that are dear to you, things that have touched your heart.  When I opened my Christmas gift from her, I knew she was passing on something very special.  Her gift to me was carrying on the memory.  

This gift may not look like much.  A battered boot and some crazy dolls.  But to her (and to me), this is her childhood.  She loved her Daddy very much, and speaks of him a lot, so often with a twinkle in her eye.   

Included in this special gift was a letter.  She told the story of this little boot, and of course included some of her humor.

This letter is tucked into the boot with all the little dolls.  I will be keep it safe and sound for her.  Sharing the memories.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fresh Start ~ First Project

Awww...the first project of the year!  I didn't waste any time starting something new and fresh.  A few days without the steady hum of the sewing machine going during the holidays was a refreshing and much needed break.  But in all honesty, I was itching to get back at it!

Let me introduce you to my daughter.  This is Britt.  She looks meek and mild.  But let me tell you she is a slave driver!  

When she saw the half-square table runner I made with hand dyed fabric (I blogged about it HERE), she was itching to make a quilt like it.  When I say she...I mean we.  She loves to coax me into projects!

We busted out the hand dyed bucket and began to cut, cut and cut some more!  We weren't going for a specific color scheme at all.  These beauties have been neatly folded and stored just waiting to be used.  I tell was so hard for me to give in and use these!  

Britt had a great attitude about the whole thing.  'Mom, its just fabric.  We can dye more anytime we want to'.  Yep!  We can.  So, my little 'sous' chef went to work.  She cut 2~8" squares of just about every fabric we had.  

Stacks color coordinated and ready to pair up.  That turned out to be rather fun!  You get some amazing color combinations that you wouldn't normally do.

We added a few Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton just to mix it up a bit.  Paired, pinned and ready to mark and sew!  I did all the machine work, while Britt continued her sous chef duties and ironed.

She may kill me for this...but look at these socks!  This is the required uniform if you are working with me!

After sewing the diagonal lines and cutting them in half, the fun began.  (the agonizing fun) 

It was time to begin the layout of this quilt.  You know, it was rather hard!  There are some many possibilities for HST's and deciding was nearly as hard as cutting up the fabric!  I cannot tell you how many different colors we have in this one...let's just say a lot!  The finished block size is 7".  We wanted to be sure they were big enough to highlight the beautiful mottled textures of the hand dyed fabrics.    

In the end this is what we decided on.  I was excited to sew these  Depending on how you look at it...the design changes!  Does it look like a hot mess?! 

The next step will be figuring out a back.  I'm thinking I will do a pieced back for this one.  (No surprise!)  

Quilting.  Since I machine quilt (free motion quilting is still on my 'to learn list'), it won't be to complicated!  I would be happy to turn it over to anyone who would love to quilt it for me!  Just throwing it out there! :)  

One thing I am sure of, I do know that I want to add a bright binding.  Maybe yellow or turquoise!  Something that frames the quilt and stands out.

I am happy that my first quilt of the year is a bright, bold and fresh!  It makes me wish spring would hurry up and get here!  

WIP Wednesday