Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Finish-A-Long: Q1 Finishes

Writing FAL Finish posts are some of my favorites - at least when I have as successful a quarter as this one has been. When I wrote my list in January, these first two projects had deadlines pending, but thankfully everything got done right on time. Click the name of each quilt name if you missed the original post.

The wonky cross is one of my favorite patterns and pretty much the simplest improv I know.
My favorite bits of Sunshiney Day are that crazy-pieced cross, and the matchstick quilting running through its arms.


The end was clearly in sight for my City Sampler quilt, and admittedly, it was bittersweet knowing I was this close.
But with the added bonus of being selected a winner by Tula herselfUnlocked, was one of my proudest finishes in some time.

The Riley Blake Challenge project started with just an inkling of an idea.
It was fun using the Mango block in a new way to create Riley Blake Meets Mango.

After making 2 Patchwork Table Runners as Christmas gifts, I had plans on making one for myself.
On Blitzen is now safely packed away and will be a welcome sight this next Christmas.

And lastly, I had big plans to empty my scrap basket by making Economy blocks.
Instead, I was inspired one Friday night to make just a few more blocks and make a mini quilt for a guild swap. Thus Economizing was born - one of those easy, satisfying, spur-of-the-moment finishes.
So that's my report for this quarter. Let's see if I can be as successful in quarter 2!

Friday, March 28, 2014

So Here's the Plan

Believe it or not, one of the toughest things about participating in bees is deciding what to have your bee do when it's your turn to choose! After much deliberation, I've decided I'm going to have the Mid-Century Modern Bee made me Rolling Diamonds blocks in April. Here's my sample block, which measures 12 1/2" unfinished.
Yup, after my last round with this bee making a very low-volume quilt, this time I'm going bolder! I'm not even going to make requests for colors other than bright and fun! The inspiration quilt {and block tutorial} is by knottygnome crafts. It just makes me smile.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stuff

Well it didn't take much encouragement to convince me it would be good to join in the Triangle Quilt Along sponsored by The Sassy Quilter. You know, since a triangle quit is on my bucket list and all. It's just starting up, so it's perfect timing, with a pretty leisurely pace. I shopped my stash and found this lovely bundle - Clover Sunshine/Cloudy by Alison Glass Design - and I think it'll be a great place to start!
I'll be considering adding in some solids from Pink Chalk's helpful feature, "What goes with what?"
The Sassy Quilter

I'm also anxious to try some new American Name Brand solids by Clothworks. It's really fun having so many great solids to choose from, isn't it? 
AMB_solids

After a busy weekend away, it was also fun to come home to the latest issue of American Quilter being available online! I didn't waste any time finding the page I was most anxious to see {Hi Leanne!} and there's Fissures sharing the limelight with shecanquilt's Cycles 2 along with Unraveling #2 by Judy Tescher. 

This issue also has an article by Linda/Flourishing Palms entitled "Modern Art." Sharing the pages with 2 friends and bee-mates is pretty special.

Speaking of bees! Not that I'm looking for another to join right now, but I have a friend who is. Any suggestions? I know there was a flickr group where bee openings were posted, but I've lost track of that - help?

Lastly, just as a little postscript - the magazine pages above are pictured on the back of Still Swooning. I forgot to take a photo of that, but at least you can see I used strips of 3 colorways of one of the Dowry florals. And on that random note . . . 

Have a great day!

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Still Swooning

Back in 2011, I saw Camille Roskelley's Swoon block for the first time and fell in love. I took my time debating what fabric to use for a full-size quilt, so meanwhile I just had to jump in and give the block a go! I created my first one-block mini quilt for a giveaway in celebration of my 100th post
Mini Swoon
It wasn't long before I made another to swap!
Mini-Swoon II
Finally, in November of that same year, I had accomplished my original goal! This quilt is still a favorite and is in use often.
I don't know what got into me! Before that month was up, I'd also made a big ole 48" Scrappy Super Swoon. Whew! By now I figured I'd gotten it out of my system - at least for a while.
But then when I needed a project for a swap months later, I tweaked the pattern ever so slightly and created Pinky-Swoon. I still miss her.
"Pinky-Swoon" front
All this to say what you've probably guessed by now . . . When I saw Camille was publishing her patterns in miniature, I jumped on it. Mini-Swoon to be exact. And finally, while retreating last weekend, I finally got started.
The 4 - 8" Swoon blocks are all made from Anna Maria Horner's Dowry on a KONA Ash background, and bound in Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Charcoal. The quilting was inspired by this little corner post right here. 
My favorite Aurifil 50 wt. #2600 (light gray) perfectly wove the bright prints together with the solid background.

And thus the infatuation is once again satisfied. Until next time.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

Last year when my quilting buddies and I went on retreat, I took along Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial and a handful of zippers and we had great fun doing a group project. So it was an obvious choice to make a project together again this year. Joan offered to bring everything we needed and before long, we'd whipped up what we were cheerfully calling "hot/cold bowl cozies," thinking they'd work equally well with soup or ice cream. And truth be told, they worked flawlessly as we held hot bowls of soup in our hands that evening.
Come to find out, the tutorial originated from Seams Happy and was originally intended as a Microwave Bowl Pot Holder, ie. as a holder to put in the microwave with your bowl.
When reading through the tutorial, I did see an update about the suggested batting no longer being available. We used regular batting and it worked great for the way we used the cozies. I don't plan on putting mine in the microwave, but use your own judgement there. Whatever the case, the cozies are a quick, easy sew and indeed, practical. Bon app├ętit!

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Quilty Bucket List

Today I share my first ever quilty bucket list as a part of the Quilty Bucket List Blog Hop hosted by Stacey/The Tilted Quilt. It's been so interesting reading your lists and talking to my local quilting buddies about theirs. SO many ideas and patterns and techniques that can continue to inspire us all. Without further ado, here's my list. {Click any photo to find its source.}

1. Years ago when I was a beginning quilter, the quilt that seemed most beautiful and elusive was the Irish Chain. I still have pages ripped from a magazine showing my dream quilt. It seems only right that someday, I actually make one.
1933 Single Irish Chain Quilt: Front

2. The Churn Dash block is my favorite traditional block and I'd love to make a quilt with a modern take on it. I got to see this delightful one come together last weekend while I was on retreat.
Scrappy Churn Dash

3. A barn quilt has been a relatively new add to my TO DO list. Hubby and I came across barns with painted quilts on a drive through Eastern Washington, and we were so taken by them. I'm not quite sure what block I want to do yet though . . .
Barn Star Quilt

4. Next up is a color wheel quilt. I'm contemplating Tula's new pattern, but we'll see.
Color Wheel Quilt

5. Pixelated quilts sound difficult and mind-boggling, but I'm also very intrigued by them. I do have a pattern in mind - we'll see if I can manage to execute it.
Pixelated Color Wheel Quilt

6. I've wanted to make another hst quilt ever since I said goodbye to my one and only, HST Love, which was a project by FAITH Circle.
FAITH Circle February quilt completed 

7. I was so taken by this Double Wedding Ring by Greenleaf Goods - a traditional block done improv. I'm mulling over which block to do for this too, but I'd really like to give this idea a go!
 improv double wedding ring

8. I like brown. And unpopular as it often is, I'd really like to make a brown quilt. The brown stash is growing, waiting for its time.
Chocolate and Stripes

9. My overflowing scrap basket influenced my decision to add a Postage Stamp quilt to my list. This one is actually in progress, so there's a decent chance it'll become a reality.
do. Good Stitches Postage Stamp Quilt

10. LOVE triangle quilts. One of these days I've just got to get up the courage to make one!
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt

So that's it! A tad excessive, I know! But it is what it is, and at least one is in progress already, right?! Check out the other blog hop participants and share your own quilty bucket list. The linkup is at Stacey's blog here or just click the link at the end of this post. You can also see the rest of the participants’ lists on their own blogs:

March 3
Fabric Mutt
Sew at Home Mummy

March 10
Freshly Pieced
The Sewing Chick

March 17
Molli Sparkles
Don’t Call Me Betsy

March 24 Then let's get sewing!!
The Tilted Quilt

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Retreat

There's lots to catch up on, and you'll hear more throughout the week, but in short, I'm back from a lovely retreat with good friends, plus have 3 quilt tops to show for myself. It's all good.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gifty

When I need a fabric gift-bag, there's a good chance I'll turn first to the Lined Drawstring Bag by In Color Order. It always sews up just right. The hardest parts are deciding which fabric to use and what size to make.

When planning to get together with my local quilting buddies this week, I decided a little gifty-ness was in order - just a few sewing goodies in a sweet handmade bag. I remembered some sewing-themed Polaroid blocks in my stash, and they were perfectly sized to piece into the front of the "Snack"-size bag option on Jeni's pattern. Hopefully they'll bring some smiles.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday

The good news: I'm going on retreat tomorrow with my local quilting buddies, the Basket Case Quilters. The bad news: I probably won't accomplish as much as I pack. But here's what I've got going:
  • FAITH Circle quilt - This quilt was my plan for the group in February, and I'm beyond thrilled with the blocks I got back. They are Vice Versa blocks by gen x quilters, January's blocks in the BOM she's hosting. What a clever concept for blocks, and I'm really enjoying seeing them around about. The layout I chose using just 1 pair of blocks is quite different from the quilt AnneMarie designed. But I think it's all going to be just fine. So my goal is to get this top pieced, and then get to quilting it after the retreat.

  • Mom's quilt top - You may remember the pillows I made for my mom last fall. Well Mom saw and liked the Disappearing 9-patch pattern on Pinterest, and I assured her it would be a great use for the leftover pillow fabric. I'm adding in a few stash prints so I can make it a nice lap quilt size, and though what you see below is as far as I've gotten, I have all the necessary squares cut out, so I'm hoping I can easily get this top pieced too.


  • Mini Swoon - If I can get the above two tops pieced, this will be my reward. I've had the pattern and fabric chosen for a couple of months. At least now the pieces are all cut. We'll see how far I can get on this mini. Finished size is 19" square. Who knows? Maybe this will even be ready to hang in my studio by next week. One can hope!

  • Postage Stamp quilt - In an effort to obliterate the contents of my overflowing scrap basket, I have two scrap projects in the works. Small bits are being cut into 2 1/2" squares. I have about 400 cut, but need around 1200 for a lap quilt. I'll keep cutting till it's time to pack, plus probably take a bag of scraps with me. I'll be using the tutorial by my friend Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty, and adhering my squares to featherweight interfacing before sewing the blocks together.

  • Cross-Stitch Blocks - Here's my other scrap project - cross-stitch blocks using the tutorial by Alyssa/Pile O'Fabric. I'm using Kona Ash charm squares as my base. I've got about 40 more x-pieces cut out, but for the pattern I have in mind, I'll need over 100 total, so I've got a ways to go there too. 

So what do you think? Do I have enough to keep me busy for the next few days? I kinda think so.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Things Have Changed

Months and months ago, Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy wrote a post saying farewell to fat-quarters. At the time, I didn't really get it. Now I do. But here's a bit of backstory . . .

Ages ago, as a new quilter, I purchased fabrics only as I needed them, totally according to whatever pattern I was making at the time. In short, there was no stash, and I didn't see why I needed one. To top that, I wasn't comfortable choosing a grouping of fabrics without the company and approval of my friend, Sharon. Dare I say, I quilted like this for years.

Fast-forward to three years ago when I discovered modern quilting and started blogging. I'd progressed enough to have the confidence to choose fabric by myself, but still pretty much purchased fabric project by project. I think I can honestly say I'd never purchased a fat-quarter. But things were about to change big time.

I joined a bee or two, and began participating in swaps. I started to gather fat quarters in order to build a modern stash so I had a variety to work with. It was a good thing. Really. I hopped onboard the For the Love of Solids Swap, and entered a world previously unknown. At that point, solid fat-quarters found their way into my growing stash.

So what about today? I thoroughly enjoy my closet stash. I have a good variety of color and I can reach into it and satisfy most of my fabric needs, and for bees and small projects, it's great! But. When I'm ready to bind a quilt, I've got maybe a 75% chance of finding something that will work. For a backing, the chances are much, much less. And that impedes progress.

So I'm beginning to go about things a little differently. Fat quarters are rarely the way I go these days. I more often buy 1/2 yard cuts of fabrics that might possibly becoming a binding. If I love something and want enough to 'play' with too, I'll buy a yard. When I come across a great sale, I might even grab 4-5 yards and stash a backing. So far, my luck has been pretty good that I'm able to put these finds to good use.

So I'm not saying no more pre-cuts ever; in fact there's even a fairly new fat-eighth bundle that I'll mix in with a collection I already have. But in general, I'm cutting back on the small cuts. And overall, things have definitely changed. Five years ago, I could not have imagined that I would have a roll of batting in my closet. I keep my favorite basic solids on hand at all times, in quantities that allow for some creativity. I guess we all need to find what works for us and indeed, it's a process. I feel like I'm adjusting to a new stride. What about you? What works and what doesn't? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March Bee Blocks

Bee blocks! They're done! Always a good feeling. . .

Marci/Marci Girl Designs, from the Always Bee Learning bee, asked for 2-12 1/2" Modern Maples blocks - still one of my very favorite traditional blocks, updated here with the lovely prints and low-volume backgrounds. Always Bee Learning is my one bee where we send fabric out to our bee mates, and I confess, Marci's choices was another reason these were fun. Can't wait to see this quilt!

hettie k's Always Bee Learning bee block plan for February came after I reported in last month, so I'll include them here. Hettie had us each make 3 - 6 1/2" blocks for a "hobo quilt." Mine were called "Jail" blocks.

The Mid-Century Modern Bee did Spider Web Quilt Blocks for Cindy/liveacolorfullife. Isn't this something with the low-volume centers and bright solid 'web?'

FAITH Circle had a special task this month - using Debbie/Blue.Ridge.Girl very first tutorial for Wonky Disappearing 4 Patch blocks! It is a great tutorial and I highly recommend it! You actually make two 12 1/2" blocks at once!

I saved the Darting Birds for whitney (the peacock tree) till last. These are for That Stash Bee, and instead of doing our normal 2-12 1/2" blocks, we each did 8-6 1/2" blocks, using Whitney's own tutorial which worked like a charm. She'll also have some chartreuse/emerald blocks in the mix, even though I concentrated on the orchid and aqua/turquoise. You may notice some remnants from my Pantone Challenge project. {wink, wink} These were really fun to make too.

So that's it for March! Meanwhile, I've received all my blocks back for my February FAITH Circle quilt and am excited to get that top pieced! I also need to make a plan for the Mid-Century Modern bee for April. Fun stuff.