Sunday, September 12, 2021

HST :: Round Two

Much like Lay's Potato Chips, I couldn't stop at one HST quilt!  Story of my quilting like it seems!

After the last quilt in the previous post, I still had a dozen or so HSTs that I had to use.  With very few to work with I quickly found another batch of HSTs but they had a light gray as the background.  No big deal!  I knew I would eventually find a solution and a way to use as many as I could.

30 1/2" x 42"

And so it is...a pretty good work around to HSTs with different background colors.  I had many 'sit and stare' moments where I wondered what to do with what I had.  Slowly ideas formed and with each step completed I had to come up with yet another solution!

The first step was arranging the blocks, which was easy enough as long as I was strategic with the colors.  I wanted to do something different other than leave the HSTs intact, so for step two I decided to add some curve action.  As you can see I'm alternating the dark and light gray backgrounds.

After painstakingly matching the center and curves the blocks were finished.  Another 'sit and stare' session later, the corner squares and borders happened.  There's a deep satisfaction when a 'fly by the seat of your pants' quilt comes together and looks like it was effortless and what was planned that way from the beginning!

The quilting is my usually geometric 1/2" lines for the most part.  With it being a small quilt I was able to add a few fun details such as the circles.  Nothing fancy with the thread.  I used Aurifil #2600 Dove Gray.

For the backing I used two shades of gray vertically placed and intentionally cut the three pieces different widths.

I finished it off by hand stitching a coral binding around the edge and promptly tossed it in the wash!  

Because we all know quilts are never really finished until they are washed and full of crinkle goodness!  And tossed in a pile for a least for me!

I successfully worked through a stack of HSTs by making two quilts.  I could have easily passed over the stack and worked on something else, but when the mood hits you sometimes have to strike!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Inspiring HSTs :: Elmer's Glue :: Rainbow

Seems like it's been a minute or two since I took the time to blog!  But here I am and here we go!

When I was writing my 'Sparkle' quilt pattern back in April, not only did I make the actual quilt but I made extra Half Square Triangles to use in the future.  Making HSTs is a process I enjoy from start to finish.  So making lots of them seems to make sense when I'm in that kind of mood.

Then one day as I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post by Summer at squats_and_runningstitches for a quilt along she was hosting (#enthropyscrapalong) and I was immediatly inspired!  I grabbed my HSTs, crossed my fingers and went for it.  All the while hoping there would be enough blocks to come up with a pretty little rainbow quilt.

46" x 57"

Happily there were plenty of blocks and colors to make this quilt.  I layed out the blocks in a pleasing to my eye way, but had the constant fear that I wouldn't have enough of the background gray for the solid blocks needed to complete the design.  It was a color that I don't usually have on hand all the time, so it was important to work the design around what I had available.  

It couldn't have turned out any better!  Plus, it used almost all of the HSTs which is a win, win in my book.

When it came time to sandwich the layers together I did something entirely new to me, something I had never heard of actually but decided I was going to try it regardless of the outcome!

I'm a pinner.  It's something that fits my budget unlike the expensive spray basting method.  But when I saw Summer (squats_and_runningstitches) show how she sometimes bastes her quilts I was intrigued, curious and skeptical!  

Have you ever used Elmer's Washable Glue to baste a quilt?!  Could it possibly work?  I'm here to tell you it does!!  (Click HERE to see Summer's Instagram post)

I wish I had taken pictures of the process, but like I said I was skeptical!  If you look closely you can see the drips and splashes of the glue through the top of the quilt.  Summer suggests diluting the glue to 70% glue and 30% water.  I added too much water but even so it still worked.

I taped my backing to the floor, squeezed the glue all over the backing, smoothed the batting, glue again on the batting and smoothed the top to finish it up.  It was pins and needles...fingers crossed the entire time!

My thoughts on this method:
  • Don't dilute the glue too much! 
  • Be sure you apply the glue all over leaving spaces of 3" to 5" like you would with pins.
  • Using this method requires waiting for the glue to dry which takes 10-12 hours.  Or you can use your iron to dry the glue.  If you aren't in a hurry, this is a good method.  
  • The glue soaks through the fabric and will get all over your floor!  I had to scrub the floor to remove the glue.  Next time I'll tape plastic on the floor to avoid the mess.
  • Using this method requires that you was your quilt afterwards to remove the glue.  This would not be good for show quilts!
I was pleasantly surprised that the layers stayed together throughout the quilting process, but will most certainly add a little more when I'm applying it next time.  Nothing shifted, moved or puckered while I was quilting.  Which could happen when adding diagonal straight lines. 

The quilting is a combination of 1" and 1/2" lines using Aurifil 'Baby Blue Eyes' 40wt variegated thread.  I like the subtle color it added to the entire quilt and especially love the center quilting.   

This quilt was an adventure in so many ways!  Would I have enough HST blocks, am I going to have enough background fabric, will Elmer's glue basting really work???  In the end it all worked out perfectly.  I even bought a couple more bottles of glue to use on future quilts!

Have you ever used washable glue for basting an entire quilt together?  It makes sense that it would work since it works great for matching points and bindings.  

The inspiration to use HST's didn't end know how I am!  One inspiration leads to another and another and so on...

Friday, August 13, 2021

Congregate :: A Finish

In truth this quilt has been finished for a couple of weeks!  I had 'things' going on, none of which amounted to much.  Taking a slice out of my day for some simple photos is like pulling teeth!  I put it off as long as I could but it caught up to me!

I started piecing this quilt the beginning of June (Perplexing Puzzle), and actually started quilting it the beginning of July.  Now that it's the beginning of August I figured I should share the results.

50" x 67"

I enjoyed making this quilt!  Each and every block is different, every color of the rainbow was used, scraps became depleted and the result makes me very happy!

I decided to name this quilt Congregate for the simple fact that the center is where the blocks have come together to meet.  With most crowds the fringe of a group is less crowded and gives you a little space to breathe.  

Each block has a different group of colors.  However many of the colors were used over and over.  The centers are randomly cut into rectangles or squares, and especially with the rectangles are either placed vertical or horizontal.

The background is Kona Nightfall which is a deep dark blue that almost looks purple.  It's not, but it sure looks like it!

I decided the best way to quilt this one was using vertical semi-straight lines...let's call them organic lines!  They are by no means perfect and organic means they have a natural flow, at least that's what I'm going with!  

I used different colors of thread throughout the quilting process.  Gotta keep is bright!

Pile it up!  Some people prefer the ever popular 'quilt twist', I prefer a heaping pile of a finished quilt pile!

I'm trying to streamline my sewing and scrap time, so my goal is to make a block or three whenever the mood strikes me.  Much like my suitcase of Half Square Triangles...these need to be another 'staple' in my closet!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Bucket List :: Barn Quilt ✔

For years I've thought about making a barn quilt and now I have finally checked that off my bucket list!  Sometimes you have to wait for the stars to align before things happen!

24" X 24"

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!  The entire process was a lesson in patience and literally watching paint dry.

The hardest part was picking a block and the colors.  I'm going to admit that ego may have played a part in my block choice.  After all its a block I designed in 2016 called Star Thistle.  I figured if I was going to do this I wanted my block to have special meaning if I was going to look at it day in and day out!  

Credit goes to Sarah @cedarforksarah for getting me on my way with this project.  Sarah has a link in instagram 'Barn Quilt 101' that goes through each step, gives great tips and was very helpful to me.  

It's hard to see, but after painting primer on my board I drew the lines of my block using a pencil and a light touch.  

I grabbed my painters tape and a razor blade to begin the tedious process of laying it straight and slicing perfect points where needed.  

Nothing about painting a Barn Quilt is fast!  I'm not the best at being patient, but by the end of this process I learned to be.   

I used acrylic craft paint from my local craft store for all of my paint colors.  I decided to paint two sections using coral and yellow to begin with.  They don't touch and it seemed like a logical choice.

Here's the watching paint dry part!  I put down three coats of paint in order to get good coverage.  After the last coat I forced myself to wait an entire day before peeling the tape off.  The last thing I wanted was the paint coming off with the tape!  Plus, it needs to be very dry because I was going to put tape on the paint in order to paint the next section.

Peeling the tape was exciting and fun, but scary!  Every line was perfect in the end...whew!  Round one completed!

Round two was taped over the previous paint and sealed with primer in order to get good crisp lines.  This round I was also able to paint two colors at once.  Time saver!  

The center pink color of round two was three coats, but the spiky sections of violet didn't go as well as I would have liked.  I must have painted six coats!  In the photos of the violet you can see it looks splotchy and it is, but not quite as glaring in person.  

Another issue I had was when I removed the tape even being super careful there were places I'd have to touch up.  I kind of expected that would happen so I wasn't too bummed out about it. 

The final round was the center square and border in a dark pavement gray.  Same process, tape, seal, paint, dry, paint, dry, paint, dry...peel tape!

I am planning on putting a clear sealer on the edges, front and back.  The plan is to hang in on the side of my house in the backyard.  It'll be under the eave and for the most part rain protected.  Although I might hang it in the screen porch...decisions!   

I love how it turned out!  The colors are me and the block is mine!  I made something that is still quilting related but I didn't have to use my machine or machine quilt it.  That's a win!

It feels good to finish a 'bucket list' project after so many years!  Have you ever painted a Barn Quilt before?  I'd love to hear what block it was and if you had any tips to share!


Friday, July 23, 2021

Slice & Dice :: Much Better!

Every so often I start a project with good intentions and high hopes only to have it feel like a big flop!  Improv if a funny and fun technique that can be hit or miss, but with a little courage it can change in a matter of seconds.

15 1/2" x 17 1/2"

Looking at the final quilt you'd never guess that it only came together after having to slice and dice one little block to get me on my way!

I was in the mood for more improv circles and curves using a different color combination and came up with this.  It hung on my design wall and for weeks I'd look at it and feel...nothing.  Not one ounce of inspiration or desire to take it further.  I was actually thinking the trash would be the best place for it!

Then one day it was sink or swim!  Figure it out or toss it.  What's it going to hurt to slice it, dice it, quarter it, mangle it?!  Whether it worked or not didn't matter.  Something had to be done.

I ended with something quite different from the original block and it was enough to give me the inspiration and desire to take it further.  That's one of the reasons I love improv.  If you don't like something you can cut it up and alter it.

All that being said, I was excited to keep going and in the end I made a wall quilt that I love.  

A combination or curves, color, inset circles and triangles are some of my favorite elements to add to most any improv project.   

You'll notice that the gray fabric is all but obliterated!  The circle above is the only place where I left it.  I couldn't bring myself to use more and I love gray in quilts!

It wouldn't be complete without a lot of crazy dense quilting!  I cannot resist when I have a small project like this!

The back in all its glory!  I'm glad I used a dark backing so you could see the 'doodle' quilting.  Pebbles and matchstick quilting is a winner in my book.  

One of my dreams and desires is to take a design like this and super size it to a big lap quilt.  Seems simple, right?!  When it comes to improv my tendency is to always go small.  Hopefully one day I can change that!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Circle of Love Revisited :: Heart of the Home

I'm not going to lie...I love making my mini 'Heart of the Home' houses!  Big, small, one or two at a time, I just enjoy the process.  So it's no surprise I filled some down time with making another Circle of Love wall quilt.  

The first 'Circle of Love' I made was in December of 2020.  Naturally because it was the first it received a lot more quilting detail.  The excitement of having it turn out spurred me to go all out with lots of quilting detail.  With the second version, I wasn't quite as detailed but the main idea is the same.

20" x 20"

I still went with a rainbow of hearts, 3 1/2" houses, as well as different window treatments, roofs and chimneys for each dwelling.  One thing I added for this one was a sun smack dab in the middle!  You gotta give each one it's own personality I think!

The sun has eight (8) shades of yellow randomly placed around the center.  It gives this neighborhood a playful happy vibe.  With each house sporting its own charm I can't help think about how everyone is unique and is what makes a neighborhood special.  

Much of the fun of making this quilt is picking the fabric.  I cannot believe I'm saying that!  I usually agonize over fabric selections, but with can't really go wrong.  I tend to have plenty of small print scraps, and as you can see it doesn't take much to build a house of this size.  Finding eight (8) prints even for me is pretty simple.

As for the quilting, I stitched in the ditch around each house, heart, roof, and chimney.  Did a geometric star motif in the center of the heart and free motion loop stippling.  Ending with a geometric design around the perimeter 'neighborhood'!  

If I'm making single homes I get more detailed with the window treatments by adding tiny animals or people.  With the circle houses I don't find it necessary.  Plus, it would drive me crazy trying to find sets of animals or peoples times eight (8).  Which would result in me not finding the joy or excitement of making it.

The backing is a piece of fabric I got years ago from Ikea.  I love the funky geometric design and figured why not?!  For the binding I used a Kaffe Fasset stripe, at least I think it is.  And of course, I finished it off with my go to hanging system of corners and loops!  You can find my tutorial here: Hanging a Mini Quilt.  

I seem to be on a wall quilt craze right now!  I don't know about you but I go through phases like this.  I'll make a few wall quilts at  time, or runners or even a batch of mini mini quilts.  As much as I want to make a quilt, a real full size quilt...I don't have a plan or idea to work with right now.  So I'll fill my time with 'things and stuff' until I come up with a great idea!


Friday, July 2, 2021

'Hills & Valleys' :: Finished!

The sweet smell of victory!  You know that feeling!  Anytime you can claim a finish it's a great feeling and a victory in my book especially these days!  It might be a small finish, but one nonetheless!

15 1/2" x 15 3/4"

In my last post I shared what went into making this quilt.  The parts and pieces, the contemplation and process.  Now is the time for the finale by sharing the quilting of this one little quilt.

I love when the stars align and you feel like all the work you put into a quilt paid off.  This quilt is a mere 15 1/2" x 15 3/4" which gives me the opportunity to have some quilting fun.  Dense, detailed and free-motion!

Starting with the center I choose 1/4" vertical lines using a bright orange thread.   It was a great start and it set me up for the next section to tackle.

For the inset circles section I went with a 1/2" grid for part of it and continued with 1/4" lines for the rest.  Inside the circles I free-motion quilted a super dense swirl.  All very simple designs, but exactly what I was after.

What I like to call the 'hills' section, the improv half-ish circles, I went what looks like sun rays on the side.  Again, simple but effective.  

The top 'hill' section ended up with organic matchstick quilting.  When I have a quilt this size, or maybe any quilt for that matter, I often see and do the quilting in sections.  My mind goes there and I follow!  

The final section!  Naturally I went with pebbles.  The texture and look alone is enough to brave the free-motion adventure!

I used about 5-6 different thread colors, all 50 wt Aurifil.  One second I wanted contrast with the thread on the fabric, the next second I was all matchy-matchy.  No rules, right?!

The back is always a beautiful sight and I always add hanging corners for a simple way to hang a quilt.

For one fleeting moment I considered adding some kind of matching binding.  Thankfully I came to my senses and decided an orange binding would be just fine!

I am quite content and pleased with this finish!  Now if I could only try another color palette...

If you haven't had your machine serviced in a while...I highly recommend that you do!  My quilting was on hold while my big Janome was taking a well earned two week sabbatical.  While I missed having it by my side, I was blown away at the difference a deep cleaning and servicing made.  It was much quieter, smoother and the stitches are better than ever!