Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday... a day early


Since I know I'm not going to have time tomorrow...


New Project: Across the Sea Modern Quilt-Along



Across the Sea Quilt-Along

Because I've been SUPER great about finishing my other quilt-along quilts. (Supernova is still waiting to be quilted, I'm not even finished cutting fabric for the Kaleidoscope, and my Garden Fence quilt has completely stalled out.) but I really like this one and it looks pretty easy.


I cut the crosses from my first 8 FQs tonight, two of each. I'm making the lap sized quilt. The fabric is Loulouthi... love it! I bought the FQ bundle at my LYS, Wooly Bully in Tallahassee. They started carrying fabric earlier this year and this was my first fabric purchase from them. Love it! However I need 5 more FQs unless I want to have another repeat of each cross (which I don't). So I'm picking out 5 more from the quiltalong sponsor, one of my FAVORITE online fabric shops, Sew Fresh Fabrics!



I'm not married to these FQs--I want to add more blue, so I need to find some Triflora in the blue colorway to replace either the hugs and kisses or the Summer Totem. We'll see.


For The Love of Solids Swap



I'm actually almost done with the top of this mini-quilt--just need to finish sewing the last two rows together then add the border. However, my husband and his friends started saying as I finished the 9 blocks on Saturday night that they looked too much like swastikas. I don't think they do--what about you?? I do feel like I'm getting better overall at piecing evenly, so that's good--and this required virtually no seam ripping! Happy day!

Since it's a mini-quilt that will likely be used as a wall hanging, the back will probably be just the coal gray, though I may include some of the leftover triangles in there, we'll see. I'm definitely going to do a scrappy binding with all eight colors.





Basted and the quilting has begun. I'm doing straight-line quilting through each star, three lines total--one in a variegated orange and yellow, one in a variegated purple, and one in variegated green. So far I've only gotten the vertical and horizontal lines of the orange/yellow done--I'm using a heavier batting this time than last, and this quilt weighs A LOT and I'm sick of dragging it through the machine. I'll get it finished eventually. I also realized that the fabric I bought for binding (Gardenia from Connecting Threads in Marigold) is completely NOT the same yellow as the one used in the quilt top--I'll post a picture soon, but I'm hoping it's not too noticeable. I need a yellow or a green to contrast well with the backing fabric.

Finally, the most pressing project of the last week--my classroom got finished and my students came back on Monday.






This is the cleanest and most organized it will be all year.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday! (Also, go vote for Lee's super cute fabric on the Connecting Threads website!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pets on Quilts

Haven't had any time at all this week for sewing (I went back to work on Monday, and I'm planning to work both Saturday and Sunday to be ready for the kiddies to come back) but I wanted to post an entry for the Pets on Quilts show before it ends tonight.



This is Peanut. She is about 2 years old. We adopted her at a Petco adoption event for the shelter in the county south of ours. She is a MESS. She likes to eat plastic things... which can include disposable razors (she swallowed the blade!) and Tupperware containers full of cookies and brownies. She also likes to eat leather (like expensive flip-flops). She is a giant mess but we love her anyway.



It's an upside-down dog!




This is Izzy. She's 6 years old and we think she's an American Dingo.


In January 2009, we saw Marley and Me, and then the next day went to the animal shelter. My husband had seen her on the shelter's online kennel and liked her. When we went there, we noticed that she wasn't barking and hadn't pooped in her kennel. So we took her for a walk. As soon as she jumped up and gave me a hug, we decided that she was ours. Fortunately, we came to get her just in time. Izzy was heartworm-positive and had been in the shelter for over three months. If she hadn't been adopted that week, she would have been put down. Instead, we took her home, got her heartworms treated, bought a house with a backyard for her to run around in, and we couldn't be happier.



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Want to see some cute cats and dogs? Go to the show!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skill-Builder Sampler Series--caught up again

Here they are!



This month's blocks were a plethora of mistake-making, and I officially hate HSTs now.




Block 4: Pinwheel


So I wasn't thrilled about this block while I was making it (and oops--I totally JUST realized that the pinwheels on the right side are backwards from the rest) and I'm still not. I wish that instead of using white for the plain squares I had used one of my other prints. I feel like that would have made this block more exciting. I'll remember for next time.


Block 5: Arizona



OMFG I HATE THIS BLOCK SOOOOO MUCH. It's cool looking (or it would be if I hadn't screwed it up). But sooooo many HSTs, soooo many mistakes made. By the time I realized what I'd done with the top row, I was just done. It's a design element. Whatever.


Block 6: Bow Ties




This one, I like. I've actually liked the bow tie look for a long time and I've meant to do something with it, but this is the first time I have. I also tried to bring together the red/green and the blue in this block, and will continue trying to do that in future blocks, so that the couple of blue blocks that I will have (the value nine-patch, for example) won't look out of place.


This quilt is going to end up being a throw-sized quilt for my mother-in-law for Christmas (shhh, don't tell!) and so I will likely stop after the 4th month at 12 blocks. I plan to add at least one, possibly two blocks with machine embroidery, though, so we'll see what I actually end up doing. I'm really enjoying this quilt-along, though, and I'm sure I can definitely use the practice, so what I may do is continue the quilt along with either different fabrics or the same fabrics and make a different sampler quilt for me.


In other news... I'm working on my For the Love of Solids project. At first I was going to make a tote bag, using these fabrics:



I might still, I don't know. But I think my swap partner would prefer a mini-quilt, and I know she prefers rainbows. So yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby (which, btw, I had NO IDEA they carried Kona solids, and I'm super thrilled and plan to shop there more often now) and picked out these.



This is a very "me" color palette--I'm worried that it's a little too "me" and not enough of my swap partner--but she said she likes rainbows, sooo.... I think I'm going to go with it.


In terms of the block pattern: I am insane, and thought I would do this:

Innersquare01 copy

(photo from The Parfait Cafe, tutorial here), but yeah, I am insane. I tried it yesterday with the teal palette, and after much swearing, gave up and went shopping. So I THINK I'm back to my original plan, and going to do this:

IMG 0269

(photo and tutorial from Moda Bake Shop, click on the picture to get to the tutorial). I really like this block but when I posted a link on the Flickr group most people were pretty "meh" about it. I think, though, that the fabrics used in the sample just aren't "modern" enough for most people, and in solids it would have a totally different look. So I'm going to try it out.


I go back to work on Mondayyyyyyy.... noooooooo.... summer vacation is almost over!!!! :(

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Small New Blog Meetup!

First off--can I tell you how excited I am that I have followers who aren't people I know in real life?? I had to make my husband be a follower because I felt like a loser! So if you're reading my blog--THANK YOU!! :)


I also want to thank Lily's Quilts for hosting the Small New Blog Meetup.


Small New Blog Meet-Up
This is a link party for those of us who have fewer than 20 followers and are trying to grow our blogs--sort of exactly like me! So thanks for the opportunity.
A little bit about me:
  • I started quilting in about March of this year. I credit Moda Bake Shop's awesome tutorials for being the major motivator in that decision--I kept seeing all these really cute quilts that didn't look like ones I was used to seeing and thinking, "Hey! That looks like fun!" I already had a sewing machine and a basic knowledge of how to use it.
  • I started blogging earlier this summer because I really liked reading all the quilting blogs out there and wanted to put my projects and whatnot out there for people to see. The original idea was that I was going to do all sorts of things to better myself this summer (since I'm on summer vacation and all), including diet and exercise, but pretty much the only one I've done is sewing... ooops. And I only have a week and a half left of summer vacation, too.
  • My mom (hi Mom!) has been quilting for a very long time. I wish I had a picture--she was PTO president at my elementary school, and when the school had its 30th birthday, she and a number of other volunteers got together to make a MASSIVE quilt with the signature of every student and teacher at the school on it. She's also really into photo quilts. We have different quilting styles, but I think that the quilting bug was in the blood!
  • I am WAY more ambitious with my quilting than my limited experience should allow. My first quilt was a flannel rag quilt (easy!). My second quilt was a Moda Bake Shop tutorial that was reasonably easy (I just finished it yesterday, go check it out!). My third quilt... was the Supernova. Yeeeahh. Maybe it's a good thing that I didn't realize it was that hard when I started it? I'm ridiculously proud of how the top turned out anyway.
  • I teach high school math and coach my school's math team. I am constantly amazed at how much smarter than me some of my students are. Fortunately, we get to learn from each other--and I can't imagine not working with them! (This, by the way, is why the blogging and sewing will likely slack off during the months of January through March, when I go to a math competition every other weekend.)
  • I've been married for three years, and have two adorable puppies. You can see the whole family in the upper right-hand corner of the blog.
  • Things I like other than sewing and quilting (in no particular order): knitting, reading my Nook (I read soooo much), Harry Potter, chick flicks, the color pink (the brighter the better), dancing (I've done ballet and jazz my whole life and just started tap a year ago!), getting pedicures, math, Mac computers, embroidering on my new sewing machine, shopping (for just about anything except groceries), parentheses and exclamation marks (in case you hadn't noticed!)


Thanks for reading, and if you'd like to find some other new blogs, you can click the button up above!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finished--my very first (real) quilt!!!

(Note: When I say real, I mean that it goes in the traditional order, making a quilt top, then quilting together with backing and batting, then binding the edges--I've made a rag quilt prior to this.)


I did it!!!




My first official quilt is finally finished.


I started this quilt back in March over my spring break. I actually finished the top in a day--it's small and the piecing was relatively easy. Then... it sat. And sat. And sat. I didn't know how to back it, how to quilt it, I was clueless. I did eventually pick out a backing fabric I was happy with (First Impressions by Anna Maria Horner, from the Innocent Crush collection), but still, I knew I couldn't quilt it on my old machine, so it sat for a while, and I was still unsure about binding fabric. Then, I got a new machine, complete with walking foot, my mom came and visited me and looked through my fabric and found a binding fabric that would work (also a backing fabric for the Supernova, too, more on that later), and I got motivated again... and here it is!











(This one is post-quilting, pre-binding.)


I love this pattern and would like to make the full-size quilt. This one is baby-sized--full-sized would involve 4 of these being sewn together in a square.


What did I learn from this process? Tons!

  1. Seam allowance is important if you want your pieces to line up right--something I've relearned repeatedly...
  2. It is a good idea to mark your quilting lines, even if you're doing echo quilting--I have a couple of wonky corners in there.
  3. Sew the binding to the front of the quilt BEFORE you trim the backing and batting. Instead of doing that, I sewed 1/4" from the edge of the top, all the way around, but then when I sewed on my binding, that first line of stitching showed up.
  4. Try to sew in a straight line when sewing on the binding.... I had to go back and handstitch it on to the front in some places because it wasn't actually attached to the quilt top, just the backing and batting.
  5. Words can't express how much I need a 1/4" piecing foot for my machine...
  6. If you sew too far on a mitered corner, or backstitch too much, then you won't be able to fit the binding over the corner. Learned that one from experience.
  7. (on a related note) Use 2.5" wide binding strips, NOT 2.25"--I feel like that would have made my life ever so slightly easier.
  8. Handsewing takes a REALLY long time. But it looks really nice. I need to decide which is better--quick and dirty, or beautiful and slow?


This quilt is most likely destined to be part of the 100 Quilts for Kids project, since there are no babies in my immediate future and I don't know of anyone having a girl baby that would like these colors. They are very, very me--meaning lots of brights and very bold. (The girls at my knitting group joke that they can always predict what colorway of any yarn I'm going to pick out... it's the one with the most pink and the brightest colors!) And not many people I know share my taste in colors. So off to charity it is--specific charity to be determined later (I think our NICU unit might want blankets? Not sure.)



Pattern: Sunkissed Squares, from Moda Bake Shop

Fabric for top: off-white background, jelly roll from Joann Fabrics (I really wish I'd bought like 5 of these when I first found it, I love these fabrics)

Backing: First Impression from Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner

Binding: some stuff from Hobby Lobby that I got for 3 bucks a yard

Size: 32" by 32"

Quilting: echo quilting around inside and outside of each square, done by me on machine


This is my entry for the Gen X Quilters Summer Fair, and I'm also linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday and Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts.



Gen X Quilters Summer Fair

Fresh Sewing Day


Go link up your summer quilts (and recipes) too!