Monday, August 6, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted!

Plum and June


Hi everyone! So glad to welcome you to my little blog. I started this blog a little over a year ago to chronicle my quilting endeavors. I don't post very often, unfortunately, but hopefully you will stick around anyway! :) 

So here's a little bit about me:

I am 26 years old (actually, 27 on Thursday!) and I live in Tallahassee, FL. I've been married for just over 4 years and we have two dogs, but no kids (yet!). My blog is called What I Did on my Summer Vacation because I'm a high school teacher and the vast majority of my quilting and crafting gets done on my summer vacation! Specifically, I teach high school math, and also coach my school's math team, which I love doing. 

Here's some more info about me, from the questions Beth posted:

- How long have you been quilting? 
I've been quilting since March of 2011. I made my first quilt top over my spring break in a single day (Sunkissed Squares from Moda Bake Shop--the small version) and I was hooked!
       - Favorite quilting tip(s)
Use starch to help with piecing! It keeps stuff nice and neatly in place.
       - Favorite blogging tip(s)
I don't really have one… I guess be yourself? Don't worry about being like the other super-famous quilting bloggers. But also, be social and participate in link parties and quiltalongs and stuff.
       - Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric)
Ummm… all of them?? I love love love Loulouthi, and I also really want to get ahold of some Domestic Bliss. I also think all of the Dr. Seuss fabrics are absolutely adorable!
       - Favorite craft book
I don't really have one. I would definitely like to get both of Elizabeth Hartman's books (Mom, are you reading this?? :)) but haven't picked them up yet.
       - Favorite book (or book you are currently reading)
So I read about 4 books a week… and it's pretty impossible to pick a favorite. I have a whole pile of books listed in a separate tab at the top. But a series that both my husband and I are enjoying right now are the Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch--it's a British police procedural where the main character also does magic. There are three in the series currently, and I'm looking forward to the next one! I also love the Hunger Games books and pretty much any chick lit.
       - Favorite children's book
The Phantom Tollbooth!
       - Favorite quilting tool
I feel like saying my rotary cutter or sewing machine is kind of lame… (even though my rotary cutter is pretty and purple) so I'm going to say my 6" by 24" ruler, which I bought at my local Joann's, managed to leave at the checkout counter, realized it when I got home, stupidly FORGOT to call them and let them know I'd left it, went out of town, then finally, a month later, went to Joann's and they still had it there for me (or at least for a random customer who paid for it and left it there). And we were reunited. :)
       - Favorite music to listen to while quilting
I generally listen to NPR while quilting, especially during the day on weekdays (it helps me keep track of the passing time). If not, I'm listening to embarrassing pop music on Pandora (Call Me Maybe and anything by Ke$ha are particular guilty pleasures).
       - Favorite TV show while hand stitching
I don't really do much hand stitching… but current favorite TV shows are So You Think You Can Dance, Breaking Bad, Burn Notice, Parks and Recreation, and Bunheads.
       - Binding - by hand or by machine?
By machine--I hate hand stitching and I'm terrible at it!
       - If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog
Blogging takes a LONG time! Especially if you're a good blogger and make your posts interesting with pictures and stuff. :)

For my project: I actually finished this about a month ago, took the pictures, and gave it to the recipient, but haven't gotten around to blogging about it yet! I finished two quilts in the space of two days, and only managed to post about one of them (my Across the Sea quilt. 

This is my You Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler quilt.


Last summer, around the time that the Skill Builder Sampler started, I knew I was going to do it because I was such a newbie quilter that I needed to do anything possible to build my skills! But I didn't have a plan for fabric or anything like that. Then my mother-in-law mentioned how much she would like it if she had a Christmas quilt, I had ordered a TON of Christmassy fabrics from Connecting Threads (love them!) on clearance, and I thought, yes! Let's do this! 

As we progressed through the various skills, some of the blocks didn't seem to work that well with the rest. I knew I was going to stop at 12 blocks, even though the quilt along went up to 36, because of the size I wanted the quilt to be. So I got to be choosy about what blocks to do. I also didn't end up doing any of the paper-pieced blocks, because my printer won't hook to my computer (stupid non-Mac compatible thing!) and it was too much of a pain. But I ended up with only 9 blocks from the sampler. So I found 3 more that I liked elsewhere, and put the top together! I used 3-inch sashing strips, and used my embroidery machine to do Christmas-themed appliqués scattered through the sashing. 


When I finished the top, including the appliqués, it was the day before we were leaving for Christmas with our families, so I wrapped up the quilt top, backing fabric, and binding, and gave that to my mother-in-law for Christmas. She loved it!


(I don't know why that's sideways…)

So next it was time to quilt! I knew I didn't want an all-over quilting pattern, but I didn't really know what to do. I ended up quilting each block separately, with a different pattern for each. Then I did rows of icicles dangling from the tops of each row of sashing, and holly leaves and berries scattered anywhere it seemed like they were needed. I also outlined each appliqué with quilting. Here are a few close-ups:


I backed the quilt with polka dotted flannel...


and bound it with red and white candy-striped fabric. This was easily the least pleasant binding experience I've ever had. I decided it would be fun to use one of the decorative stitches on my machine to attach the binding. I found a snowflake stitch and started attaching the binding… and it took TEN MILLION YEARS. Worst idea ever. And it doesn't look great, either, but it's next to impossible to rip out, and I just wanted to be done by that point.


(I found an area where it looked reasonably good to take the picture.)

So, that's my project! If you have read all of my ramblings to the very end, thanks SO much for visiting. You should consider stopping by the other posts on the hop this week...

Aug 7
     Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation
     Susan from Canadian Abroad

Aug 9
     Kirsten from Gemini Stitches
     Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie

and thanks for visiting! :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Across the Sea... finished!

On Friday I finally finished my Across the Sea quilt!

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I started this quilt last summer as part of the Across the Sea quiltalong hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts and Fairy Face Designs. I decided to use a fat quarter stack of Loulouthi that I bought at my LYS, which also sells some fabric. As the background, I used a pale gray solid from Connecting Threads. That was a mistake--not because of the fabric itself, but because Connecting Threads frequently discontinues colors, and by the time I realized I didn't have enough gray, they'd discontinued it. :( Fortunately, someone from the quilting group on Ravelry was able to help me out and sent me a small piece that was just enough to finish the top!

Once I finished the top, back in March or so, I decided to back the quilt in an aqua solid and the large floral pattern from the Loulouthi line. It took a total of 3 yards--2 yards of solid, and 2 yards of the floral, both cut vertically and sewn together.

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I quilted it using a doodly flower design that I found on Oh, Fransson! I started out following the design as written, which called for 6-petal flowers, but after taking a break from it for a month or so and going back to it, I accidentally started doing 5-petal flowers and decided that I liked those much better. They're easier to do and look better, in my opinion--and that's what I doodle when I'm bored! I used gray 100% cotton thread from Connecting Threads--a very good deal, and thread that I enjoyed using and will use again. I do wish that I could adjust the tension so that I could have used different colors on top and bottom--I had aqua thread that I wanted to use on the bottom, but when I tested it there was showthrough, and I didn't like it, so I just used gray on top and bottom.

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(Ignore the blue marks, I hadn't washed it yet when I took the pictures!)

I found a sale fabric on Connecting Threads that matched the aqua backing fabric just about perfectly, and I used that for binding.


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Look how nice that binding looks! I've finally figured out how to make machine-sewn binding look nice--sew it onto the back first, then use binding clips (not pins) to clip it to the front, then move the needle so that it's as far to the left as possible and sew it on with a matching thread. I used aqua thread to attach the binding on both top and bottom. I have been having difficulty attaching the two ends of the binding, and there's a little wrinkle where I ended up with just a little bit of extra binding and didn't feel like unpicking and resewing.

Unlike pretty much all of the quilts I've made in the past year and a half... this one is for me!! :-D and it's sitting on my recliner right now. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out and I'm thrilled to have it done!

Linking up to:


2012 Finish-A-Long

Also, finished the Christmas quilt late last night, and there will be pictures of that a little later!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lots of Blocks

I don't recall if I've mentioned it on here, but I am halfway through my first quilting bee! I joined We Bee Learning back in January. It's for beginners, which I still sort of am, so the blocks are supposed to be on the easier side, which fortunately they have been. As it turns out, though, I am TERRIBLE at getting blocks mailed off on time... :( but here they all are!


1. 2012-02-10_23-16-40_669, 2. DSCN3995, 3. DSCN4807, 4. DSCN5055, 5. DSCN50546. Not available


January's block was a framed pinwheel in any color scheme we wanted.

February's block was a log cabin from the Skill Builder Sampler Quilt-Along in a girly color scheme (yay, pink!) with the center square black. (I wasn't sure how this was going to look, but it turned out REALLY cool!)

March's block was the Starflower block posted by Ellison Lane Quilts. This actually creates two blocks, and I went ahead and sent both because mine were a month and a half late and I felt REALLY bad!

April's block (not pictured) was a wonky log cabin in shades of green, blue, and purple. This was the first time I'd made ANYTHING wonky, as I don't really like the way it looks... but it certainly was fun to make!

May's block (another super late one, I just mailed it out today) was a bow tie block that was themed in some way. I wanted to do something cooler/more imaginative, but polka dots were the only fabrics I had 4 of and I'm trying REALLY hard not to buy more fabric for bee blocks.

June's block was a churn dash in 1930s reproduction fabrics--had to go buy a FQ of these, as I have NOTHING in my stash that remotely qualifies!

I'm enjoying this bee, as I'm definitely getting a little bit out of my comfort zone, but not too much and I don't have to feel inadequate if my blocks aren't perfect.

Next up: I'm participating in my second round of the Bowtie Block Swap on Flickr. The goal: make many, many, many scrappy bow tie blocks, mail them to the swap mama, and receive back many different blocks. Here are the blocks I received in my first round of the swap:


and here are the blocks I've made so far for this round.


My goal is a total of at LEAST 100, but I would prefer 120 as I don't really want a square quilt. I'm planning to form an X design radiating out from the center. I think it'll look great... eventually.

I'm also participating in the Granny Gone Wild swap! We're swapping granny square blocks in a rainbow of colors. Unfortunately, I started out by cutting approximately 1 million 2.5" squares... and THEN realized that there's a strip piecing tutorial! Most of my blocks have been strip-pieced. I've got 5 more to make before I've got the 20 I signed up for. I'm also keeping one of each color scheme for myself, so my goal is to have 30 total--20 from the swap and 10 made by me.


The 15 blocks made thus far.




(The first two are strip pieced, and the bottom two are pieced from squares.)

I decided not to trim these before mailing. The ones I've trimmed so far (that I'm keeping) have wound up a tiny bit too small, and I'd rather leave that to the recipient to decide a course of action. They're supposed to wind up 9 1/8 inches, but I may end up trimming mine to 9" even. We'll see.

Last on the list of blocks... I'm a member of a great group on Flickr called Quilting for Kids. Quilters donate blocks that will be made into quilts for children in foster care. I mailed off blocks today that will be going to two different kids.


For this one, we were asked to make gender-neutral block-in-blocks, finishing at 12.5" square. I used the tutorial for bento blocks from Film in the Fridge, with modified strip sizes as given by the Scrappy Bowtie Block group.

The second quilt is an I Spy charm quilt for a 5-year-old boy. We were asked to use this tutorial by Katie (Swim, Bike, Quilt) on Moda Bake Shop. I had SO many charms that would work, so I actually made 3 blocks!




I don't know why i never noticed this tutorial before, but I will DEFINITELY be using it to make quilts for 100 Quilts for Kids this summer.

Finally--I am participating in the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop!

Plum and June


This is a hop for quilting blogs that have been active for two years or less. I definitely qualify! My date is not until August 7, but I want to encourage all of you who read this to go check out some of the cool stuff people are posting!

Now that I've been sewing dozens of blocks, it's time to get some actual work done (boooo) and try to finish up the TWO quilts I'm hoping to finish by June 30!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I didn't think I would be able to participate in Blogger's Quilt Festival this year, but once I read the rules and saw that you could post quilts you've already posted, so... here we go!


This is my Supernova quilt! I started this quilt in March 2011 as part of the quiltalong hosted by Lee of Freshly Pieced. At the time, I didn't really realize what I was getting myself into--I had completed one rag quilt made of simple square blocks, and another quilt top (Sunkissed Squares from Moda Bake Shop). I had NO idea how challenging this pattern was, but that was probably a good thing. :)

I realized once I had made nine blocks that I didn't like the way it looked with three blocks of one color and two of the others, so I made an extra block of each color to have a total of 12.



I squared them up to 14 inches each, I think, but I didn't pay tons of attention to how I was doing it, so as you can see in the picture below, the corners don't all meet up well.


I backed the quilt in this fabric from Joann's, which my mom picked out from my stash...


quilted it with three straight(ish) lines through each vertical, horizontal, and diagonal line of the quilt, and bound it in yellow.


I didn't have a recipient in mind when I started the quilt, but eventually I decided that my mom needed a quilt for her birthday!


And she loved it :) (even though the binding wasn't finished yet!)

Thanks for reading! If you aren't currently a follower, I hope you will stick around. Since I'm a teacher, the vast majority of my quilting and blogging occur during the summer--I just don't have that much time during the school year! But now that we're down to 7 days left of school, things will pick up a lot around here! :)



Amy's Creative Side

Sunday, April 8, 2012

2012 Finish-Along

I learned about this too late to participate in the first round, so I'm participating in the 2nd-quarter link-up! Here are my UFOs that I want to finish, or at least work on, this quarter. (Pictures to come once I'm on my desktop.)

  • Christmas Quilt for my mother-in-law
    • This is currently basted, and I've started doing the FMQ. Unfortunately, I'm not feeling super-inspired at the moment to know how to quilt it--since it's a sampler, I don't want to do an all-over quilting pattern like stippling. So far pretty much all I've done is quilted around the appliques...
    • DSCN3730
    • (I don't have any more recent pictures than this...)
  • Across The Sea quilt-along quilt
    • Significant progress has occurred in the past few months! I've gone from having less than half the blocks completed to having a finished quilt top that is basted, and quilting has begun. I'm using Oh, Fransson's tutorial for machine quilting loopy flowers and quilting flowers basically all over. This one is for me! :)
    • DSCN4436
  • Sew. Happy. Quilt quilt-along
    • The quilt-along is finished and I've made ONE of the twelve blocks, isn't that sad?
  • Garden Squares quilt
    • I have maybe 12 squares finished and another 6 or so half-finished. I don't know yet how big I want to make this, but that will partly depend on whether I can still get backing fabric for it.
    • DSCN3785
  • Kaleidoscope quilt
    • This one has been on hold since, oh, about July of last year. I need to figure out what I want to do with it. Maybe a baby quilt?
  • Bowtie block quilt
    • This is the quilt I'm making with the bowties from the swap on Flickr. I'm keeping a few of the bowties I've made for myself and will swap the rest. My goal is to make it sort of an asymmetrical circle-ish pattern... can't describe it exactly... need to find a picture on Pinterest!

These are the projects I have in progress at the moment. This doesn't include the following not-yet-started projects:

  • Bust Your Scraps quilt-along: I have technically started this, if cuttting squares and rectangles from a jelly roll counts as starting
  • Mod Times quilt: I've pulled fabrics from my stash that are sort of raspberry pink based and flowered, and will make this for Happy Chemo as part of Hands2Help.
  • At least one additional, as-yet-determined, quilt for Happy Chemo, OR for Newborns in Need
  • Two flannel swaddling blankets that will be donated for auction over at Musings of a Marfan Mom, these need to get done, like, this week
  • Getting my freaking embroidery unit fixed so I can finally embroider! Grrrrr.

I'm hoping to have more sewing time this quarter than I did last quarter. January, February, and March are by far the busiest months of the year for me, because I'm taking kids to math competitions at least twice a month. This month we've got our state convention in two weeks and then we're pretty much done for the year.

As soon as the pictures are added, I'll be linking up to


2012 Finish-A-Long

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Free Motion Quilting, Finished Supernova!

So I got to do something two weekends ago that I've wanted to do ever since I started quilting. I took a free-motion quilting class at Bernina Connection, one of Tallahassee's local quilt shops (in fact, I think it's our only one now... my Viking dealer does not sell fabric). I finally got the chance to take it--it was available on a Saturday, that I didn't have a math competition, so I jumped on it!
The class was taught by Gail Renna, who taught techniques she learned in workshops from Diane Gaudynski. The different techniques were fillers.
Here's the folded blankets pattern:
I don't remember what she called this one, but it's something like Christmas trees:
Here are some... scallops, maybe?
These are supposed to be bananas. This one was really, really hard for me to do.
There was one more that I didn't take a picture of, because I didn't have time to get much done of it. It looked like little overlapping circles.
I am REALLY glad I got the chance to take this class. It wasn't my first time trying FMQ, but I was able to gain a lot of confidence with it. Then I came home and did some more!
This one is Superstar, from the Free Motion Quilting project. I had a very hard time keeping the lines evenly spaced and straight. I'd like to try this one again.
This is the Loopy Flower from Oh, Fransson. I like this one a LOT and I'm going to use it for my Across the Sea quilt when that's ready (almost there!)
This one is Peppermint Candy, also from the Free Motion Quilting Project. I had pinned this one a while ago, planning to use it for the Christmas quilt for my mother-in-law. Practicing it confirmed that I do want to use it--I like it a lot!
I had issues with tension once I got home, until I stopped for the night and started preparing the machine for piecing instead of quilting. At that point I realized, hey, wait! I never put my feed dogs down! Oooops...
I'm still not sure what thread I want to use for FMQ. I've got some Aurifil that I bought for the Christmas quilt, and that's the red that I was using. The white is Mettler Silk-Finish Cotton. I do like the Aurifil a lot, but it's nearly ten dollars per spool! I can't really justify spending that much money for thread. I'm ordering some of the Connecting Threads cotton for my next quilt, and I'm going to try that out, but I'm worried that it's a little thick. The Mettler is also somewhat thick. But I'll keep trying to find a thread I like that isn't going to break the bank.
I also finally finished putting the binding on the Supernova quilt for my mom!
I bound it in a yellow print from Connecting Threads, one that was the same print as several of the green and orange fabrics in the quilt. I attached the binding with a blanket stitch with green thread. I wish I hadn't done that, because I don't think my binding skills are really up to snuff enough to use contrasting colors. The stitching turned out a little crooked.
Also, the backing ended up with some wrinkles in it. One tip that I learned in the FMQ class was to starch your quilt back before basting, and I'm definitely planning on doing that in the future.
Now all it needs is to be washed, and then I'll send it to my mom! She's looking forward to getting it. :)
Linking up to: