Tuesday, July 30, 2013

three on two

It's a bit crowded in the sewing room this summer. Three girls using two machines (and a serger) working on 10+ projects = stuff everywhere!!

Thing 1 is currently apprenticing/interning with a local custom seamstress/tailor while she is home on summer break from college. She works at the woman's home a couple of days a week doing a variety of alterations there and also brings work home with her. Her "home work" these days is constructing five custom fitted men's dress shirts - that's one hanging on the back of the chair. She's got three down, and two to go.

Thing 2 and I are working jointly on two quilts for Project Night-Night, the charity that my quilt guild has chosen to support this year. It's a wonderful organization that distributes comfort packages containing a quilt/security blanket, an age-appropriate book, and a stuffed animal to children ages 0-10 in homeless shelters across the country. You can read more about their program here.

She's working on the layout for our second quilt here. I had three packages of these charm squares in my stash, as well as the two already-pieced blocks. The finished top should measure about 50" x 60", and I'll post photos of our progress as we work toward our finish goal of August 11. She prefers to quilt and I prefer to piece so we make a great team!

If you've been counting, that leaves 3+ projects that I haven't accounted for... Last week Thing 2 finished a new soft cover for her laptop computer (so cute!!), and in June she made a messenger bag for our vacation. I'll get her to pose for photos with those items for another post with pattern details.

That leaves my projects. I'm still working on my Border Challenge quilt - the final border background fabric choice is stumping me, and without a looming deadline, it's slipped downward on the priority list. I've also started sewing a queen-sized bed quilt for my mom - Amish With a Twist (the first version) in the lighter colorway on a cream background. And my Tree of Life is back from the quilter(!) so I'm stitching the binding to the back one or two lengths of thread at a time.

So yes, it's a tad crowded in that little room (and sometimes very hot!), but we are all making progress with our projects and having a grand time being together :) Even though (at least) one of us is usually crabbing about somebody else leaving their "stuff" in our spot!

Friday, July 26, 2013

improv challenge baby quilt finish

My improv challenge baby quilt was finished in time for our last Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild meeting a couple of weeks ago, but I just finally got some decent photos yesterday thanks to my helpful volunteer - Thing 1!

I free-motion quilted it with randomly spaced vertical wavy lines, some closer than others, with a couple of sections of wonky log-cabin-like stitching to repeat the shape of the blocks in the negative space.

I used a lime-green thread, and even though you can't really see the color unless you look closely, I think it gives the negative space a lot more zing than just a plain white thread.

I washed the quilt right after it was completed (an entire day before deadline, thank you very much!) because I was a tad disappointed with my quilting stitches. I'm sure it was hot up in the sewing room, so I probably tried to speed through the quilting process and because of that my stitch lengths were very inconsistent. But the puckering from the wash and dry does an excellent job of hiding those flaws.


A fun Michael Miller dot backing and a black and white stripe binding cut on the bias give it a little extra zip!

My guild is in the early planning stages of hosting our own quilt show, so I'll probably hang on to this quilt until that takes place. But after that, I'm not sure. It's okay to have a pile of quilts that you made for the sole purpose of learning a new skill or even just for the joy of working with the fabrics, right?

Yeah, that's what I thought, too :)

One more question: I used to prefer the crisp look of a quilt before washing, but now I really love the softness and texture (and flaw-concealment!) that only washing and drying can provide :) Do you prefer washed or unwashed??

Thursday, July 18, 2013

border challenge 4

I'm playing catch-up on my Border Challenge Quilt! May's design requirement for border #4 was tumbling blocks. I decided to make a very scrappy border of elongated tumbling blocks cut using my Wright's Easy "Fat Cats" ruler.

Each tumbler measures 6.5" in length. Most of the Kaffe, Anna Maria Horner, and Amy Butler fabrics I used for this fourth border are already included elsewhere in the quilt. I never set out to make this a scrappy quilt, but that seems to be the way I'm headed, and I really love how it's turning out!

Another requirement I had to meet for May was to incorporate the color grey - determined by drawing from the infamous crayon bucket. I didn't include any fabrics that are predominately grey, but one of the blue fabrics has some definite grey in the "pebbles" background. You can see it in the bottom right corner of the top photo.

The quilt top now measures 58.5" wide and 65.5" long. The final border requirements are to incorporate applique (yay - finally!) and the color green. Can you say "flowers and vines"? Exactly how I was hoping this project would end!

Friday, July 5, 2013

baby quilt for Joel finished

The quilt for baby Joel is finished and has been delivered to his home. It looks great either upside down or right side up!

You can read more about my free motion quilting and fabric selections here and here.

Joel's parents chose the design for his quilt from this photo found on Pinterest.

Bijou Lovely Designs has published a pattern for this quilt, and it is available for purchase here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Improv Piecing Challenge quilt top done!

My modern quilt guild challenge project is due next week! Today I finally got the top pieced...

It's baby quilt size - about 39" x 44". Wow - it is so much harder to piece odd-sized/shaped blocks than I expected! I didn't want any bias grain along the outside edges of the quilt, so the whole thing took more planning than I anticipated. Originally I intended to have the column of blocks in the right third of the quilt, with the other 2/3 to the left just open (negative) space. But after piecing it that way, the symmetry-loving part of my brain said, "ummm, NO!" So now it's sort of large 9-patch layout, which makes me happy.

Looking at the photo just now, I feel like it needs a little more white on the top and bottom to balance it out - maybe just 2"-3" each. What do you think?

My next step is to find a fun backing and get busy quilting!


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