Thursday, August 18, 2011

I heart Spoonflower

It's free Swatch Day

And it is free swatch day.  Shipping is free too. When I made my quilt label, I made a 4x4 square version.  If I had realized that free swatch day was upon is, I would've taken the time to update the colors in my original design, but we've had a busy morning of homeschooling, and have gymnastics this afternoon.  I have bee blocks to work on (insert more excuses here).  I decided I could live with it, especially since it is free.  The give away started today at noon, and ends tomorrow at noon.  I'm doing my part by getting the word out- and alerting my single follower!   I <3 you Wendi!  The sale started an hour ago, and the site is s-l-o-w.  I hope you'll hang in there and get your free 8x8 swatch.

8x8 view of my Square quilt label swatch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday #2

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It was our 6th anniversary this weekend.  We sent the girls to my parents house for the weekend.  On Saturday I watched Voyager on Netflix and made bowtie blocks.  It was wonderful.  Please don't feel sorry for me.  There's nothing I'd'a rather be doing.   I have three children under the age of 5. Two nights and entire day with just one child is a vacation.  Daddy took the baby to run errands for most of the morning and again in the afternoon.  What's that sound?  Quiet you say?  I barely remember.  Honestly, I was in heaven with just the sound of my sewing machine and the occasional phaser beam blast in the background.

I've been around quilters all of my life.  My Mama, my Nunnie (her Mama), and my Maw Maw (her grand mother)- all quilters. I appreciate, and love, the quilts I have from them.  I remember the huge quilt frame that hung from the ceiling of my Nunnie's trailer, and playing underneath it while she had her friends quilted.  They pieced by hand, they quilted by hand.  My Mama, appliques, as you may have guessed- by hand.  I'm not even sure my Nunnie owned a sewing machine.  I figured I didn't have the quilting gene, and that the tradition would stop with me. Honestly, I'm just too lazy.   Quilting their way is labor intensive and complicated.  My Nunnie quilted, seemingly, all day.  Whenever she had a free moment, she'd work on a block.  Since she wasn't tethered to a machine, she got a lot done, everywhere in the house.  At the end of the day, she'd count them up to be sure that she hadn't only made thirteen.  My Nunnie was incredibly superstitious, also a gene I didn't inherit.

As a 29 (+++++) year young lady, I proudly confess, that I still sleep with a quilt my great grandmother made me at birth. It's one big log cabin.  It is a silky, but thick material.  Since becoming a quilter, I look at the stitches and know she put them there, for me!  I've had it my entire life.  I'm not sure it'll last until the end of my life, but I still sleep with it- every night.  Their quilts were practical and functional and meant to be used.  They were made from fabric that they had on hand, or could afford, or got passed down to them.

Recently, I found a two quilt tops my Nunnie had made.  In reality  a mix of she and her best friend, Mary.  Regardless, they were in her things when she died.  I never considered what the block might be, until I recently remembered I had it and dug it out.  It's a bowtie block, not the easy way it's often sewn these days, it has the solid middle.

I've never taken the time to figure how big it really is.  Honestly, I don't know what I'll do with it.  I would never machine quilt this top.  Not only is it old, the fabric is thin, and poor quality. I still have no desire to try my hand at hand quilting. When I go yardsaleing, I put it in my car, on the off chance I might run into some vintage sheets, or old fabric. I think one day it might make a nice picnic quilt.  It motivated me to try my hand at this block, and one day, it may motivate me to try to quilt by hand.

When I was invited to participate in the Scrappy BowTie Block Swap at Flickr, I was excited to participate. So, this weekend, I sat down and made over 50 blocks.  I wonder how long the same process took my grandmother.  Forty of them will be swapped with other block swappers.  I kept one of each fabric for my own quilt.

I did also get my charms cut for Ellison Lane Quilts Rainbow Charm Swap.

This week I've been working on my block for the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee.  I'm in Hive #11 with some pretty impressive quilters.  It's a lot of pressure to produce a decent block.  While poking around on Etsy the other day, I ran into this beauty of a block.  After watching Missouri Quilt Company's tutorial on Fast and Easy Pinwheels, I've been in love with HSTs (half square triangles).   I can make dozens of them in minutes- no marking, no double sewing.  

Source: via Manda on Pinterest

While visiting Freshly Pieced (who is also in my Hive *gulp*) I saw the block in the Summer Sampler Quilt Along, and the block suddenly had a name, Lucky Pieces.  It might not be the exact block, but it's close enough for me to go forward.  The block I ended up with looks like both of them, while also looking dubiously kinda sorta like a starflower.  If it has an official name, I don't know it. I've been calling it "the X block".  Genius, I know. After completing my first block, I'm really pleased in how it turned out.  My seams are improving, but, as you might notice, it is exactly 1/2 inch too small.  A new block, with scant seams, will be forthcoming.  I want to stay on top of this bee and get everything shipped out before the deadline.  

No progress:

Spiderweb Quilt
Wonky Kona Cabin

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday #1

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I did get something accomplished this week! Wendi at Bethadeezoo requested "girlfriend blocks" for her month *coughcough July* in my Simple Modern Quilt Bee.    You can read her tutorial here.   I have to say I LOVED this block.  I'm definitely a "liberated" modern quilter. 

As my fellow participants posted their pics, they included little bios.  Of course, as I pieced these two girls, it's weird, but I really connected with the process of making them. They formed their own personalities. I don't think I could ever try my hands at doll making.  I'm having a hard time letting go of these ladies.

"Abby has a love for all things retro and is ready for her first day of school.  She's not afraid to let her style shine.  She's ready to make a statement with her jet-black dyed hair. While her friends love baking on the beach, Abby has always been obsessed with protecting and keeping her whitey white skin. She's definitely one of a kind, and not your average teenager."

The fabric I used for the dress for the next block reminded me of my Mama, and I wanted to incorporate a stack of books into the block ( I am of course, the Stay at Home Librarian).  From the beginning I used Mama as inspiration for this block.  Her name has been slightly changed ;)

"Meet Darcy. She's your reliable girlfriend.  She's not one to get caught up in drama or gossip, so you feel comfortable and at ease while confiding in her.  She's too busy with her hobbies to betray your trust.  She sews and bakes(rarely for herself), but you'd be hard pressed to find her without her nose in a  book(or kindle as it were).  I had to draw on glasses, because she wouldn't be my Mama without them."

My five year old looked at all the girlfriends with me posted to the Flickr group, and she has decided she wants a girlfriend quilt.  I'd planned on asking for more Spiderweb blocks the next time I participate in a bee, but I might have to get this block instead.

Now, to get to the point.  My works in progress.  This is my spiderweb quilt, and I love it Love It LOVE IT.   I got all these blocks made for me in bees, but these are just half of them.  I want to make 22 more because this baby is going on my bed.  It'll also be my first full sized quilt.  Progress has been at a standstill because I ran out of the Alexander Henry Larkspur fabric.  I bought the last pieces they had over a Sew Fresh Fabric, so I'm ready to go again.  Well, and as a newish quilter, I don't have an abundance of scraps to use as strings.   The middle square is Kona Eggplant.  I have almost and entire bolt of it, so there is plenty of fabric for a border and the backing.  

This is a quilt I'm making for a friend from high school.  I had my babies 10 weeks early.  My youngest twin, Aleah, died at 9 months old from problems directly related to her prematurity.  Stephanie had her baby several weeks early this summer.  I haven't seen Stephanie since we graduated in 1994 (ack), but I knew I wanted to make her a baby quilt as soon as I knew he was leaving the NICU a healthy baby.  I had these shot cottons and they are soft as a baby's behind.  I used the tutorial over a Quilt Dad for Wonky Log Cabins.   I have 6 blocks made, so it is a little bigger than a baby quilt.  I need to sash the blocks and figure out a layout.  The backing is the same as the sashing.

To do:  

High on my priority list is to cut my charms for the Rainbow Fabric Charm Swap hosted by Ellison Lane.
Also, I need to make my bowties for the Scrappy BowTie Block Swap.

Projects with little done:
Garden Fence Quilt Along- I'm not too far behind.  I want to get the two previous things done before I start anything else.  I have two fabrics I'm thinking of using. I have the Fiesta prints from the Hope Valley line, and I have Amber from the Heirloom. I don't know which to do.
Urban Lattice Quilt Along-  I have the fabric, and one FQ partially cut.  I'd totally forgotten about it until I started this inventory.
Houndstooth quilt- I have the black and white fabric, and I've drawn up a pattern on graph paper.  I got the idea from my cosmetic bag.

Houndstooth 5 inch blocks.

 I've since discovered ready made patterns, that I might just go ahead and buy for simplicity's sake.


Monday, August 1, 2011

I Spy With My Little Eye

To commemorate starting Kindergarten, Ada and I made this quilt.  First thing, I have an I Spy addiction.  My collection has grown to over a thousand squares- thanks to charm swaps.  Swaps are a lot of fun, and you get more cute squares than you do what I call "dog butt" squares.  (In one of my swaps I swear, I got a square that featured a dog butt.) Ada picked out the squares from my collection for this quilt and decided on the layout of the squares.  Of course she picked out the pink fabric. It took me a long time to find a solid to match the setting squares for the backing, and when I did, the fabric was flawed. I think maybe from being left out in the sun at the quilt shop.   Let me tell you, I am relieved to have this quilt done.

I looked at this quilt for weeks before deciding how to quilt it.  I decided on the lattice in order to complement the backing.  Initially, I had thought to quilt horizontal and vertical straight lines along both sides of the seams, but the horizontal strips on the back weren't in line with the strips on the front. In the end, I am pleased with the lattice quilting.  I did it on my Janome 8050 using a walking foot.


I  pieced the letters below by using techniques in Tonya Ricucci's book Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter.  I have to confess that I am disappointed with how the back turned out (to no fault of the piecing technique).  At first glance, it is cute, especially with two little girls peeking over the top of it (they were making hearts with their arms).

That "W" is flawed.  I prewashed the eye fabric and the Kona.  The seams were pressed to set as I went along.  I was heartbroken when I pulled the quilt out of the dryer and the "W" had raveled.  It's probably more to do with my lack of sewing skills, and less to do with the fact I prewashed, but this will be the last time I prewash anything.

I quilted that one square a little more in hopes that it will not ravel any further. It does draw even more attention to the flaw, but my other option was to rip out all of the quilting.  Yeah, right.  Flaws add to those character, right?  This was the first quilt I quilted using straight lines.  My previous quilts have been free motion, and such, the quilting kept problems like this happening.  But, I have to tell you, I prefer the look of straight line quilting. 

I created the label in PSE and uploaded it to Spoonflower in order to have a FQ made.  Next time I'll spend some more time working the colors out. The red is a little orangey, and the black is too brown (PSE's issue, not Spoonflower's).   A custom FQ will give you a handful of labels.  Isn't it cute?  The binding is my favorite part of this quilt.  I think I'll bind all quilts in a stripey fabric!

We had to have our 13.5 year old American Curl Cat put to sleep last month.  I miss her bunches, and I used this quilt as an opportunity to memorialize her. I apologize for the picture- it was taken with my iphone before the quilt was done, and I did want to share it with you here.

IMO Raven by stayathomelibrarian


Pattern: This is a variation of the Disappearing Nine Patch (DNP); tutorial at Obsessively Stitching.
Quilting: Straight-line lattice on my Janome 8050
Thread: Used Auriful 40 wt white for piecing and quilting
Setting Squares: Moda Chutes and Ladders Confetti Pink
Backing: Bella Solid (color unknown)
Sashing: Kona white
Binding: Sandi Henderson, Farmer's Market Summer Stripe
Resource: Word Play Quilts