Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scrappy Snowball Quilt

Here I go again!  Busting the stash!  This time I was inspired by a stack of white charm squares I've had for nearly a year.  The have been staring me down almost daring me to use it, and so I did!

But first I had to come up with a plan.  What would I make?  After weighing my options the idea of a snowball block smacked me in the head.  Not only could I use the charm pack, I could use more neutral scraps stash of 2 1/2" print squares.

34" x 43"

Knowing that the charm pack wouldn't be enough to make something substantial, and knowing that all whites are never the same white, I opted to use more neutral scraps to round out my plan.  The subtle variation of the white, snow, natural and whatever I had on hand is pleasing to my eye!

The first thing I did was trim the 2 1/2" squares to 2".  Crazy I know, but I felt that size would best suit the 5" neutral squares.  I was able to pick and choose which prints I wanted to use from my previously cut stash, plus I was able to use other scraps that I crammed away.  A lot of trimming and cutting, but I was sure it would be worth it.     

The white charm pack wasn't going to be enough as I needed 80-5" squares for this quilt.  I gathered other fabric and in no time I had all I needed.  

The basic block is simple.  Sew a square in each corner.  There was a lot of mindless chain piecing involved.  I didn't want to put too much thought into each block, so by randomly picking a print each time, I cut my 'overthinking' out of the process.

Once I had all the corner blocks sewn on trimming soon followed.  It seems like this was going to be the quilt that I wasn't going to stress about sewing, piecing or assembling.  I decided right from the start that if at all possible I wanted my seams to nest together.  That way I didn't need to worry about pinning.  I was hoping for the best!

With each block I pressed two opposite corners in, and the remaining two to the outside.  Nesting 101!  This was going to be a breeze to assemble.  

I guess the most difficult part of this quilt was making sure the blocks were oriented the same way in order to achieve the seam nesting.  Other than that it was stress free.  I rearranged a few blocks here and there, but for the most part it was totally random.  

There seems to be a cohesive 'modern meets vintage' vibe to this quilt.  Modern because of the open airiness and vintage most likely because of the mixed neutral background.  My opinion of course!  

Pile up!

This was my opportunity to add some FMQ ruler work by adding the circles.  With a small quilt I actually feel in control when I'm using rulers.  Not so much with large quilts!  I've never been able to maneuver big quilts with FMQ...ever!

You aren't seeing things!  The top and bottom are different shades!  This was another way for me to use more stash squares and keep the theme throughout.  

I've significantly depleted my scrap squares and I couldn't be happier about that!  I'm not sure how many more stash busting quilts there will be this year, but I know I have significantly worked through my stash.  From unloved fabric to fabric I love...nothing is off limits this year! 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Precision Heaven :: DP Circles

After so many improv projects I was ready to get back to a little more precision quilting.  It's funny, when I do a lot of one kind of quilting such as improv, I can't wait to get back to something that requires a bit more structure.  Going back and forth between different methods and techniques is what keeps things fresh and exciting!

It was also another opportunity to bust more of my stash.  It's been a great year for stash busting and I've lighten my load enormously!  After collecting, hoarding and accumulating over the years, there's nothing more satisfying than finally...finally using what I have!

51.5" X 63"

I totally love circles!  So picking the Drunkard Path block was an easy choice.  I grabbed my totes of less than loved fabric along with some that I love but could part with, and decided I'd use a 5" DP block.  The background is a combination of  neutrals such as Kona white, snow, ivory, bone and natural.  I've also accumulated random pieces of neutrals that were either too small for quilt backs or not enough for a full size quilt.  Turned out to be a win win!

Once I had all my DP blocks pieced, pressed and trimmed I was ready to lay them out on the design wall.  My original plan was to simply stack the blocks in neat and tidy rows, but that soon fell by the wayside.  The size was not at all what I wanted if I went that way, so I brainstormed and decided to stagger the circles.  By adding side strips on each horizontal row I was able to increase the size.  It's a simple fix that works every time!  

One thing I love about scrappy quilts is you can basically throw the kitchen sink of prints and colors together and it always looks amazing!  Isn't that true?  Or is it just me?!

Another way to use up scraps is in the binding.  I had plenty to work with and always have skinny strips of prints that are waiting to be used.  

But let's not forget about the back!  It's a good way to use up bits and pieces or stray blocks.  If I have a backing that isn't quite large enough, I often add a strip or two to enlarge the backing and make it work.  

The quilting was all about lines.  Vertical, horizontal and diagonal.  Nothing too crazy, nothing too special, but effective and perfect for this quilt.   

What would a post be without the obligatory quilt pile?!  Probably not my post!  It was fun seeing the different prints while I was making the blocks.  I got to reminisce about when I bought the fabric or what quilt I used it in.  Many times I was doing a happy dance to have finally used every.last.piece!  Rewarding, exciting and done!


Friday, October 16, 2020

BOO! The Craziness Continues

I've heard a few times just how crazy I am, and this is one of those times when I full agree with everyone who ever said so!

We all know I like to make small things like mini mini quilts, tiny houses or small improv.  I love taking on the challenging task it can often lead to.  Part of what makes those things work is my stash of scraps I keep on hand.  That being said, I often have a stack of fabric that I tuck away from a project in hopes of using it one day.  

The other day I came across one such pile and decided it really wasn't worth my time to use it and promptly tossed it in the trash.  It felt good...until it didn't.  Guess who dug through the trash and recovered the scraps?!  I kept thinking about what I could do with the scraps if I had kept them, one thing led to another and before long I was so deep into it that my head was spinning!

18" x 18"

Go me crazy!  I made a pixelate ghost.  It just happened and for the life of me I'm not sure how.  I'm also not a big Halloween fan, but here we are! 

I started cutting the trash scraps into 1 1/2" strips and soon learned I would need many, many, many more in order to make this pixelated ghost.  Instead of making 600 tiny squares and sewing them together one by one, I sewed strips in sets of 2-6 strips and subcut from there.  

The painters tape was used to make sections in which I could layout the pieces and minimize possible mistakes.  Working with a small section at a time helped immensely!  

Eventually I was able to sew each section together and end up with this adorable pixelated ghost.  It wasn't easy or quick, and it sure isn't perfect.  I know the goal in each and every quilt we make is mastering those perfect seams.  Perfection.  I threw that goal out the window half way through.  I tried, I hoped and I moved on.  It wasn't going to be perfect and frankly I was completely fine with that. 

Moving on from piecing I grabbed a wool batting scrap got ready for the quilting.  I love wool batting as long as I don't have to quilt it, but thought I could handle it for this one small quilt.  

What better way to deal with imperfection than by quilting imperfect pebbles?!  I sense a theme with this ghost!  The proof is in the pudding as to how funky imperfect my piecing turned out.  

Knowing from the start that this was going to be a challenge and there would be issues, I decide I'd share anyway.  I don't mind sharing my quilting flaws and hope that you don't mind seeing them.  Who's perfect?  Maybe next time I'll do better...or maybe not!

Besides, from a distance it looks fabulous and if I were to wash'd never know!  


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

'Water Color' :: Delicate Improv

This is my attempt at a softer side of improv!  Maybe even a softer side of myself, which isn't always apparent!

When I was making another improv quilt I came to a crossroads of sort.  I was having a debate with myself whether I should add a top and bottom section using very light colors.  I had the blocks made it came down to will it be a good thing or not necessary.  In the end I did add them, but during the debate I fell in love with the light pastel colors. thing led to another!

34 1/2" x 45 1/2"

The large improv is full of warm of orange, yellow, pink.  Which led me down the path to a different color story.  Let's get 'cool'!      

The hardest part was finding lighter colors in purple, blue, green and aqua.  Easier said than done with my stash!  I'm not immediately drawn to pastel colors when I buy fabric, but I have been trying to round out my stash with every possible option.

The background fabric is Kona Natural.  It's very close to Kona Snow, but has specks of natural fibers dispersed throughout.  Not large pieces or a lot, just enough!  To me Kona Snow is to pristine and I like having the Natural option on hand.

For once I didn't have to let the quilt sit while I came up with a quilting solution.  It would be organic matchstick-ish straight lines.  For the majority of the lines I used Aurifil Chalk, but I wanted to add some pizzazz and interest with other thread colors as well.  In each color section I used a coordinating pastel thread color and went to town.  Before long there it was!  A finished quilted quilt!

When I quilt organic lines like these I first start by marking sections with my hera marker that are generally straight and vary in width from 3"- 6" wide.  This way I can still do organic lines but I can stay on track so the lines have the illusion they are semi straight.  

I'm a big believer in doing what works for you and there really isn't a 'by the book' method in achieving the organic matchstick look.  The end result is all that matters.

I used Kona Ice Frappe for the backing for this quilt.  As you can see the texture is amazing!  The lines are randomly placed with varying widths which I know will always look amazing after a wash and dry!  The texture is pronounced and exactly what I was hoping for!

I'm not sure where this quilt will end up, on the floor with a baby or on a wall?  Either way I love everything about it!