Friday, January 31, 2020

Graphically Modern

I've been thinking that I needed to design something new.  I've been revisiting old patterns and giving them a makeover, but I was ready for a new adventure.  

The design is something that I've been working on for months and months.  I would work on it, tweak it, change colors, add more, delete get the idea.  It wasn't until recently where I finally felt like I arrived at the right mix and I was itching to put the design to the test!

52" x 66"

It's bold, graphic, bright and I might just love it!  The picture almost looks like a computer generated design, but I assure you it is not!  That's fabric!  At 52" x 66" I think it's a good size lap quilt.

This is the actual computer generated design.  The design is the same in my quilt, but I switched a couple colors from the computer photo.  


Picking the fabric was pretty easy.  Even though this photo doesn't convey it, I went with bright colors.

If you have ever sewn together long strips (like jelly roll strips), you might have the same problem I usually have which is: inevitably they end up with a curve or the strips are not straight on the top and bottom.  I didn't want that.  I needed everything to line up and be as perfect as I could be.  My solution was to divide the quilt into sections.  That would give me a better chance at accuracy.


After countless hours of planning, I finally settled on the best way to section the design.  Six panels.  The left and right side panels are the same width, but the lengths are all over the place. 

The panel idea worked great, but I then had to match the vertical stripes.  


I thought I'd glue baste the seams, but that did not work at all!  So I settled for good old fashioned pins!  I lined up the seams and stuck the pin in the seam.  

As you can see pins win!  Every seam lined up and with that...I poured myself a big glass of wine to celebrate!

The most time consuming part of this quilt besides designing it, was the math.  Oy Vey!  My head was spinning!  Usually I think I got all the piece measurements right, only to find I made a mistake.  Not this time!  I managed to get each and every piece figured out.  

Breaking down the quilt into panels was the key to getting the math right for me.  Cutting was the other time consuming part.  With so many pieces I used painters tape to label sizes and sections.  I knew I wanted it to be fool proof and almost a grab and go project.  

The strips are 3" wide and you might be wondering why I just didn't use a Jelly Roll?!  First, I don't have any Jelly Rolls!  Second, I'm sure I wouldn't have had the right colors or enough.  And third, I would have had to redesign the quilt and have even more strips to piece!

When I finished piecing, I almost felt let down!  It went together so fast and was so easy that in a way I felt like I cheated!  It's hard for me to stay objective, but it looks like a simple, yet complicated design to me!  Or maybe not!  

It was the best project to conquer after writing patterns!  


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Love is in the Air :: Hearts

Don't you love šŸ’Ÿ's?!  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I was inspired to make a few hearts and for once be ahead of the game.  I was also looking for a little something to make to fill the gaps until I could delve into something big!

Using my Pattern for 'Trio of Hearts', I opted to just make the mini heart times two!  It's a fun way to use the rainbow and if there's scraps involved...I'm all in!

With each square finished at 1", it takes a little more patience to assemble.  That doesn't mean it isn't worth every second in my opinion.

The pattern requires half square triangles using the 2 in 1 method.  Which means I have enough for two hearts.  How can I not go ahead and make two then?  Resisting is futile!  

To change it up and not make identical hearts, I sometimes use different colors in the rainbow.  And of course the low volume 'filler' squares are never identical.  But to really make each it's own, I quilt them differently and give each their own binding flavor.

4 3/4" X 4 3/4"
My next heart is paper piece, again with the rainbow theme!  The pattern is by Kristy Lea of Quiet Play.   Seriously a crazy heart to make!  This little heart has 38 colors packed into that one little square!

The center fabric has metallic plus signs and I thought it would give it a bit more punch! 

6 1/4" X 6 1/4"
As if those weren't more...this time it's pink...and it's prints!  Shocker!!  I had a hard time finding 21 pink (or close enough to pink) different fabrics.  I persevered and ended up with a cutie of a heart!  I love the neon pink binding!

6" x 6"
What's this?!  That is not a heart!  I had to include a palate cleanser after so many hearts!  I saw this hummer and knew I had to make it.  The pattern is by Center Street Quilts on Etsy.  

I enjoyed making this humming bird and quilting it to an inch of its life!  But the binding I have to say I love!  

With all my mini's I use this binding method:  Mini Mini Binding.  I doubt I'd make as many mini's as I do if I didn't have a tried and true easy method for binding!

Now that you are thoroughly 'hearted' out...I do have good news!  I finally wrote the pattern I've boasted about forever!  I'll fill in the details on another post!


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Wonky Baby

No disrespect to babies!  Wonky Baby is officially my first 'new' finish of the New Year.  It's a wonky block baby quilt using tons of Low Volume fabric and seven different Polka Dots fabrics.

I'm going to try very hard this year to work through my fabric stash.  I know we all say that and many of us actually do, but this year...I'm not going to hold back!  It's now or never.  Good, bad or that special magical fabric, it's all fair game!

The truth is I've been wanting to make this design and use my polka dot fabric for many, many months.  I'm sharing this quilt first because it's actually finished.  It all started with a lap size quilt, a different colorway and a determination to deplete my stash.  

34" x 47"

I used seven different polka dot prints in this quilt and a variety of low volume prints for the background.  I didn't have quite as much of a variety of polka dots as the lap quilt, but I can happily say that my dot stash has been trimmed down to 1/4 the size it was!

In case you are wondering how I get the 'wonk' in the blocks, I have a tutorial for that!  You can check it out here:  Wonky Block.  The tutorial uses 5" charm blocks and gives you specific measurements for the background strips, plus a quick tried and true way to trim each block.  If you have a pack of charm blocks and wonder what to do with them, you might consider this block.  

Scrap busting didn't end with just the front!  I was able to use the remainder of some low volume scraps and polka dots on the back.  Solids are not immune to scrap busting either!  

I decided it would be a good time and a good size quilt to play with FMQ circles.  I grabbed the 2 1/2" quilting circle ruler (Amanda Murphy) and began a semi successful try at circles.  Since the blocks are wonky I decided to continue the theme and quilt flowing circles across the rows of polka dots.  I knew full well that I would have issues when I started!  But I didn't let that stop me.  

One of the issues I encounter when trying to do ruler work is keeping my foot against the ruler!  You may see a few bobbles or overlapping circles here and there, but I didn't mind and I don't mind it at all!  I may never master the technique of ruler work, but it's nice to have an option for quilting on occasion.    

Scrap busting doesn't end with the top and back!  I took it one final step further and added a scrappy binding.  There are always plenty of strips in my stash!  I rummaged through the scraps and found enough strips that I could trim to 2 1/4" for the binding.  

As far as the low volume fabric stash?  It's not as much of a priority to reduce as some of my other fabrics!  Nothing is immune from busting any longer!!


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Peppered Cotton :: Especia Tile

It's funny (not funny) how fast a year goes by the older you get.  It seems like with the blink of an eye months and months have flown by.  In the case of this quilt, it has been a month shy of one year.  One year! 

49 1/2" x 49 1/2"
There are many reasons why it took so long, but the good news is its finally finished.  And I have to say I'm kicking myself for not having it done a long time ago!

I took a design I made last year (Connections) and revamped it using bright jewel tone Peppered Cottons.  Reworking old designs to make them new again is something I'm obsessed with these days.  


All of the blocks are paper pieced and finish at 2 3/4" square.  It's a very simple block to piece, the hard part is making sure all of the seams match up.  I was very aware with every single block and took an enormous amount of care to make sure I managed near perfection.

The fabric I used is Studio E Peppered Cotton.  With the exception of the lightest yellow which is a Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton.  If you aren't familiar with either of these fabrics, what makes them unique and different is the warp and weft of the weave.  There are two colors woven together to make the fabric almost appear iridescent and gives a depth that you don't get with regular solids.

When I started I first designed the center using EQ8.  Once I was satisfied I printed my templates and the design on paper.  The paper design was extremely helpful as a reference to the correct block placement round by round.

With the center finished I moved on to round 2.  I guess you could think of this as a Medallion Quilt.  Medallion quilts start with a central focal point.  From there rows or rounds are added on all sides around the center which increases the size of the quilt.

Once a round was finished I would run to my laptop and add another round in EQ8.  I would experiment with the colors until it was right.  There was a balancing act with the colors because some of the fabric I had very little to work with.

I honestly had no idea how big this quilt was going to end up!  I just kept working until it was acceptable.  Or maybe until I got sick and tired of it!  Nonetheless, it was pretty fun!

With the forth and final round complete I was ready for a break and promptly set the quilt aside for a couple months.  


Another month later I pieced the backing and pinned all the parts and pieces together.  It was finally ready to quilt!!  But you know what came next, right?!  It was tossed aside (carefully of course!) because I didn't want to quilt it.  

First of all, I didn't have a plan.  Secondly, I was not looking forward to quilting it.  The thing about Peppered or Shot cottons is the weave of the fabric is looser than regular fabric.  If you don't pin or spray baste the heck out of can become frustrating to quilt.  It might stretch, pucker or move.  And I didn't want to deal with all...never if I had a choice!

So, imagine my surprise when I finally did quilt it and I didn't have one single issue, problem, frustration or aggravated moment!  Naturally that made me happy, but also slightly mad that I hadn't finished it sooner!

There was that part about not having a quilting plan though!  It just got to the point that I was going to go for it.  With my big girl panties on, I went for it.  The usual straight lines here and there, and a bit of FMQ for the texture effect.  

The back shows some of the design elements in the quilting.  A few different thread colors were used throughout, but I tried to limit the thread changes to some degree.

With the purple binding added I could finally relish in a finish that was in the making for far too long.  Now that it's finished I wonder what all the fuss was about!  I can't say that it won't happen again though!

Are there certain fabrics you dread using or quilting?  As long as it's quilting cotton I'll give it a try!


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mini Quilts Are It

A couple few more finishes from last year only required quilting.  Of course, it was something I put off until the last minute and had to cram them in to make my deadline.  I made the deadline and couldn't be more happy about that!  I suppose technically they are considered last years projects, but I'm not sure that really matters too much.

10" X 10"
Geometric paper piecing is one of Kristy Lea's (Quiet Play) specialties!  Lucky for us she shares so many of her designs.  This Geometric Bee was part of her Quiet Play Pattern Club 2019.  

I bided my time until I could make this one!   Several months ago I made a few 'precut' projects that I put in baggies.  That way they were ready for whenever I had spare time to play.  By 'precut' I actually mean I pulled all the different shades of pink, black for the body and the background fabric, and of course...the printed templates for the design.

I used 12 different shades of pink for the wings.  I know, since when do bees have pink wings?!  Creative license is always welcome when quilting!  I thrive on it!  So it only seemed natural and right to go with my favorite color for this bee.

Not to be full of myself, but I actually...actually free motion quilted the entire thing!  I'm laughing here because of course it's obvious if you look closely!  I decided to go for it, not give a care and just have fun.  Which is exactly what happened.  Also because it's only 10" square I was confident I could handle and knock it out in no time!!   

As you can see on the back, I used black thread for the body, two shades of pink for the wings and a neutral for the stippling of the background.

To finish it off I added hanging corners and a scrappy binding.  My husband cut the wooden slat and drilled a hole in the center for me.  And with that I happily cleared a project from my stack and mind!

16 3/4" X 19"
This one has actually been hanging around for quite some time.  After I finished my 
'Blue Wave' quilt using my Textured Twist technique, I was left with extra 'twist' pieces.  I couldn't see myself tossing them in the trash or putting them aside for too long, so I decided I'd make a smaller version of the original quilt with the leftovers.  

This one is about a quarter of the size as the original quilt.  But I kept many things the same, such as:  the curve aspect for continuous flow, Kona White between the twists, and the quilting.  

There isn't a lot of options when it comes to quilting this type of quilt, so it wasn't like I had a choice!!

One thing that is different from the original is the binding.  The original has a faced or knife edge binding and this had the traditional binding.  I'm good with both.  As far as I'm concerned either one works!

What's next?!  A few more last minute quilting projects to share.  A couple scrap busting/stash busting quilts and lord help me...I've got to write a pattern or two and tutorial to boot!


Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year :: New Adventures!

Here we are again!  A New Year,  a new decade and new old ideas!  My goal for the end of 2019 was to finish all of my WIPS.  I am here to say...I did just that!  

While I accomplished that goal I will say that that is about the only goal I manage to complete with ease.  Which is why I don't often burden myself with goals, nor do I make New Year resolutions.  Do you?  More often than not I hear people say they started with a bang and ended soon after!  That's me and I accept that!  That being said, I'm ecstatic that I get to start the new year with new projects! 

One of those is my Stacked Wiggles baby quilt.  It's a total scrap-tastic quilt!  Scraps of prints and neutrals that seem to accumulate year after year.   

34" x 45"

This quilt is the baby version of a lap quilt (Stacked Wiggles Lap Quilt) I made just about a year ago.  I was looking for a way to use my stash and create my own design in the process.  Its no secret that quilters have stacks of fabrics, some we love and some we don't.  Scrappy quilts come to the rescue time and time again!  They let us use every print, every color and every size, but mostly they let us do what we love to!


You might be surprised to learn there are 64 different prints in this small package!   I'm not even kidding!  

The basic idea of this design was to use three different widths of prints and solids.  Basic, without a doubt.  If I can manage to cut my scraps to these three sizes throughout the year. I'd be able to use my scraps and make a lovely quilt at the end of the year.

Everything and the kitchen sink!  After I finished this baby version, I caught my daughter looking at it.  It was so much fun to see her go print by print and say 'that was mine' or 'I remember that one'!  

Which made me think that it could also be documentation of all the prints you used during the year (or two).  Not that I use prints very often!  But if I did, and if I had enough discipline I'd cut a rectangle of every print I used and by years end I could assemble a lovely quilt!

I quilted simple straight lines from top to bottom using a neutral thread.  After that task was done, I thought next time I'm going to use all my 'scrap' thread.  We all have partial spools of thread, right?  May as well use them!


What would a scrappy quilt be without a scrappy backing?!  At this point I'll use just about any prints I have on hand and you know what?!  It feels so good!

Welcome 2020!  

I hope all of you have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!