Friday, April 17, 2015

Moving Along With the Guild Challenge Quilt

Yesterday I trimmed up the blocks for my challenge quilt.   Leaving the size and piece # pinned on them really helped.  It would have mess otherwise.  Most of the blocks have both pieced and whole strips.  I really like how they look mixed together.

The mix of colors is so calming.  I am hoping it turns out as well in reality as I imagine it will.  Right now I am thinking of quilting it with a wood grain design.

In other news, I cut down a tree this week!  It was small but I am still impressed with myself.  :)  I also divided hostas and peonies, burned leaves and planted peas, lettuce, spinach and turnips.  It looks much more impressive when I write it down than when I look out at the yard at everything else that needs to get done (like cutting up said tree so it isn't laying in the middle of the yard!).  Baby steps, baby steps...  I am loving the spring weather and our beautiful flowers.  They make me happy.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, April 6, 2015

This Might Become a Thing

I made another ball this weekend.  

Pink, orange and yellow with a pop of green.  

It is nice to finish an English paper piecing project in a day or two instead of a year or two.

Friday, April 3, 2015

English Paper Pieced Ball

This just might be my favorite thing I have ever made.  Love.  Love.  Love it.  I love the fabrics, the rainbow of color and each and every little hexagon and pentagon.  I first saw a ball like this at Lily Quilts about 5 years ago, but had never made one until now.

The modern quilt group in Des Moines is having a pincushion swap at our April meeting and I was starting to stress out about what I was going to bring.  I had pinned tons of ideas but was really nervous about working with all of the curved little pieces most of them use.  So I stayed in my comfort zone and made an English paper pieced ball that can be used as a pincushion.  No inspiring overcoming-your-fears post today.  But why overcome fears when you can make something this cute?  :)

I used this tutorial by Kristy Daum that includes the hexagon and pentagon templates.  (For more step-by-step instructions on how to English paper piece visit my Hexagon Flower tutorial.)  Construction was fairly straight forward and is put together like a soccer ball.

The hardest thing about making the ball was picking the right fabrics so that the ball blended from color to color.  (I know, life is full of hard things.)  I started a little heavy on the reds and oranges and so I ended up light on the cool colors.  But that is a minor thing.  When I make this again I will also pay more attention to matching thread color with fabric color.  I switched out thread regularly, but used gray a lot and it didn't blend as well as I was hoping.

Here is a shot of me holding the ball for perspective.  It fits nicely into the hand.  I've been trying to cut down on the number of toys we have, so I am not sure if I will make any for my kids, but I have already told them that I will make a set for each of their kids.  You know, when they are the ones that have to police picking up toys.  Cause that's what grandma's do, right?

Linking to Finish It Up Friday.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hey, I Actually Sewed...Well...Cut Something!

Between book editing, sickness and general "real life" more than two weeks have slipped by since I worked on anything quilt related!  (Other than my English paper piecing project.)  I know, crazy.  :)

To be 100% accurate I still haven't sewn anything, but last week I did cut out the pieces for the April At the Fair Quilt blocks (they are Awesome!) and cut out pieces for a quilt using the Des Moines Modern Quilt Group's challenge fabric.  We were given a small bundle of black and white text prints and I want to make a quilt with inserted pieced strips like this quilt.  But instead of squares I want to have a variety of block sizes.  So I drafted a basic design in EQ7 (Note that the outlined block is to scale.  I don't know why the colored on is not).

Then I dug through my solid fabrics and came up with this group of blues and greens.  Cutting the strips and blocks was a bit challenging, because I had to take into account not only which fabrics would look best together, but how much of each fabric I had.  I was pretty proud that I was able to get it all out of stash.  I really have come to believe that I have too much fabric.  I could make so many quilts out of what I have.  The next quilt on my to do list is made entirely of scraps.  I just need to finish this one first.  So many quilts, so little sewing time.  :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

You Can Quilt! Almost Done!

You Can Quilt!, a book based on the Skill Builder Sampler, is still a work in progress, but it is coming along.  Last Monday Marlene and I were sent the final draft of the book to edit!!!  It looks Amazing!  You are going to love it!  The graphic designer did an excellent job with the layout, colors and figures.  It will not only be informative, but beautiful.  I can't wait to see it for real.

We were given 48 hours to read it over and send in our edits.  That was a crazy 48 hours.  You Can Quilt! is a whooping 144 pages plus over 70 pages on a CD (there is a page for each block, foundations for paper piecing, templates, a gallery of quilts, a bonus block and additional instructions for setting.).  A standard quilt book is usually 96 pages.

We got the majority of our edits in on time and then took a bit more time over the weekend to print and measure all of the templates.  Our edits were compiled by the Book Editor and now the Executive Editor and Layout Editor (I think that is her title?) are making the final changes.  I am hoping that they will be able to send it to the printers this week or early next week.

Once it is at the printers it will take 6 weeks to get back to us.  The standard printing time is 3 weeks, but adding a CD to the book added another 3 weeks.  The extra time will be well worth it.  I think that printing templates and foundations off a CD is the best way to go.  You can pre-order You Can Quilt! on Amazon or a signed copy in my Etsy store.

You Can Quilt! Building Skills For Beginnersstarts with basic cutting and straight line sewing and then moves on to half square triangles, quarter square triangles, flying geese, wonky and improvisational piecing, foundation paper piecing, curves, one-patch blocks, applique, inset seams and ends with three challenge blocks.  We cover Everything!  Detailed instructions for 36 blocks (three for each skill set) are given in the book with instructions for a bonus block on the CD.  Each skill set starts with a simple block, followed by an intermediate block and ends with a challenging block.  You ease into learning each skill, but by the time you have finished making all three blocks you should feel comfortable making any quilt that uses that skill set.

This book is not only perfect for beginning quilters, but also for all of us that are stuck in intermediate-quilter-land.  I had been quilting for years before I tried to foundation paper piece and I would never have tried to applique if it wasn't for my husband (read that story here).  This book is all about overcoming your quilting fears, trying out new techniques and building skills so you can make the quilts of your dreams.

This book is for you!  Your friend!  Your quilt group!  Everyone!
I can't wait to see it!

And I am linking to WIP Wednesday, because this is one of my biggest WIPs ever!  :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Scrap Hexies: Coming Along

 I have made some progress since January on my English paper pieced hexagons.  It is starting to look like something!  When I cut up all my small scraps for the hexagons I was worried about how they would play together, but so far, so good.
 Becca enjoys climbing all over it (when her horse isn't) and looking at the different fabrics.   She has assigned a flower to every family member.  Her's is the pink and gray one with the seahorses and I think my husband's is the orange/red one.  I forget mine.  I'm sure she will inform me again.  :)

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My QST Rainbow Quilt

I have a few things that I would really like to do, two of which are to have something published in a magazine (money and glory!) and have a quilt in a quilt show (but once that happens I will probably want to win a prize or something).  I recently had a quilt accepted for publication and it should be coming out soon (!!!) and decided that I wanted to make another "magazine quilt" and this quarter square triangle rainbow quilt was going to be it.

It all started with a stack of Micheal Miller Cotton Couture  that I got on sale at Pink Castle Fabric.  I had recently seen this quilt and knew that I also wanted to make a quilt with solid fabric with a rainbow gradation.  I decided to make it with quarter square triangles (QST) instead of half square triangles (HST).

I knew it was going to be totally cool and had visions of the magazine wanting to make kits for it or something, but then I got lazy while chain piecing the QSTs.  I thought, "No big deal if the seams aren't totally perfect.  I'm going to trim them down to size anyway."  What I had forgotten is that trimming works when you are working with HSTs, but QSTs have two diagonal seams and it is almost impossible to line up the seams at all four points if your piecing is sloppy.  Really, if I had want to submit something to a magazine I shouldn't have be sloppy at all, but I was.  So....some of the points are 1/4" off (or more!  ouch!)

And that is really embarrassing to admit but at the same time it was really freeing to realize that I wasn't going to try to make something perfect to submit.  It made the trimming easier (I had frozen when I realized that trimming wasn't going to make the QSTs perfect) and now I am less stressed about doing cool quilting.  It is rather nice to not have to be perfect, but embarrassing to admit that I am not perfect.  Not that anyone (including myself) thought I was.

I already have the backing - some cool coral floral flannel (say that 5 times fast!).   I am excited to finish it up.  I love how the colors play together.

Waiting on the banister to be quilted.
8 inch blocks
56" x 72"

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Love My Quilty Friends!

The best part of belonging to a local quilt guild is having great "real life" "geographically compatible" friends who like quilting as much as me.  Last week we had a sewing day (so much fun!) and when I was almost finished with this pillow cover I discovered that I hadn't cut all of the gray text pieces.  !!!!  Worse, I didn't have any of the gray fabric left.  I tried to source it online and in the LQS where I bought it two years ago, but no luck.

But you know what?  Minutes after posting this picture on Facebook asking if anyone had any light gray text from Sunkissed by Sweetwater I had responses (yea and nay) coming in.  It is great to have people who don't think you are crazy for knowing the name and designer of a fabric line and it is super great to know someone who would drive out of her way to give you that 8" square of fabric you need.  Thanks Tricia!

I really can't explain why it meant so much to me or how I felt to have all these women respond to my post willing to help.  I cherish my interactions with them and the friendships we have built over the last four years.

So, if there is a guild near you check it out.  Volunteer to help so you can get to know people.  It is worth the time and the energy.  Quilty friends are great friends to have.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Echino Top Finished!

Well, I sewed the 10 extra blocks onto the main quilt this morning.  It went really fast.  Yea!  Unfortunately I used more white Eiffel Tower fabric in the new blocks than I used in the old ones so the left side of the quilt is kind of heavy on white.  But it is probably one of those things that no one else would notice unless you pointed it out.  Which I guess I just did.

I bet no one would notice my daughter's head peeking out over the top of the quilt unless I mentioned it either.  I need to make her do more push ups so she will be able to hold quilts all the way up over her head for loooong periods of time.  You have to have good upper body muscle tone to be in a quilter's family.  :)  Seriously though, I usually take the quilt pictures around here, but I held up a quilt for someone awhile ago and my arms got tired fast.  So I have a bit of empathy.

I think I am going to skip the batting and use fleece to back this.  Has anyone done that?  Good results?  Things to look out for?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extra Echino Blocks Made

Today I finished trimming the 10 blocks that I will add to my brother's quilt to bring it from child to man sized.  It didn't take as long as I thought and was rather fun.   It didn't make as large of a dent the box of neutral colored scraps as I had hoped.  I need to sew more and use up all that fabric.  :)

My overlapping hexagon quilt has languished recently.  I was trying to figure out why I hadn't worked on it in awhile and I determined that it was because I work on it while I watch TV in the evenings.  My daughter and I finished watching the Wolfblood series and have moved on to watching To The Beautiful You, a Korean show about a girl who dresses up like a boy so she can go to an all boys school and be close to this high jumper she is obsessed with.  It is full of all the silliness you would expect, but the problem is that it is in Korean with English subtitles.  I don't mind that, but it makes it nearly impossible to work on English paper piecing when you can't look down for a few seconds at a time without missing what they are saying.  We are almost done with the series (everyone found out she was a girl last night!)  so hopefully I will get back to my English paper piecing.

So, any show recommendations - in English?  Bonus points if it only has 25 minute episodes so I can send my teen off to bed early.  :)

Linking to Scraptasitc Tuesday.