Thursday, April 08, 2021

It's all up to you (me!)

 This month's Island Batik challenge is a fun one - we can make whatever we want to make, any size, any design!  Oh, boy!  I had about a hundred different ideas, but then I dove into my stash of fabric and found something lovely from the box of goodies I was provided with at the first of the year and was off and running with an idea.  I've wanted to make a quilt like this for some time, so it was a great opportunity to play and have fun with a simple idea.

The fabric I chose to work with is Jewel Quest (designed by Kathy Engle for Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots), and I had a Stack of 10 inch squares to turn into my quilt. 

 I love the colors in this collection, they are just beautiful!  I also had yardage of Rain and Marble-Blackberry to go with them - the perfect light and dark combination that I needed for the design I wanted to make.  (Though I think Rain is not the best name for this lovely blue, it's just too pretty to be called rain!)

I started by cutting two five inch squares from each of the fabrics in the package of squares.  Then I cut lots of strips and squares and started sewing...until I had 40 squares with the light/dark fabrics added.  Can you see where this is going yet?  Time to add sashing, lots more strips to be cut!  The Dark purple Aurifil 50 wt thread (4225 - Eggplant) was just the ticket for piecing this quilt.

I just love it!  Floating squares - that dark purple is so rich behind the bright and fun colors in Jewel Quest!  The precuts are available now, but the yardage won't be in shops until around May.  You will definitely want to watch for them!  So pretty!  

I had some purple and green to use on the back, but I needed to piece a strip to add to make them wider.  I had some leftover blocks and strips, so sewed it all together and made a back that was fun and perfect for the quilt.

Aren't those leftover blocks perfect for the back?  I used some of the black batting from Hobbs for this project - the black batting is so nice - I love the fact that it's a cotton blend, and it's a perfect weight and has a great feel.  I decided to quilt this with straight lines.  I meant to do them side to side, but got the quilt turned sideways without realizing it.  Oh well - up and down quilting is fine!  I quilted it in random widths with the walking foot until I was happy with it.  Then I used the dark purple for the binding and was finished!

I used Auriful  6726 - Airstream in 40 weight for the quilting.  I think the color is really nice on the lights and the darks.  The heavier thread gives really nice thread definition for straight line quilting!
(Isn't that corn fabric fun?!)

I love the 3d look of this quilt!  It really highlights the different fabrics!

So pretty against the green grass! (yay for spring!)

I think that this quilt is just the perfect happy project for April.  Thank you so much, Island Batik for the beautiful fabric to use, and to Aurifil Thread, Hobbs Batting, and Schmetz needles for the great products that helped make this project come alive!  

Make sure you watch for the rest of the fun projects by my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors this month!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

April OMG 2021

 April is here, with a full dance card!  I have lots of projects to get working on, so it was hard to pick one for my OMG.  After a bit of thinking I decided to pick this one:

These are fabrics that I purchased as a kit from Craftsy several years ago.  My goal is to turn this pile of fabric into a top this month.  Here is a picture of the pattern:

Bright, isn't it!  Lots of fussy cutting, but th epiecing isn't super difficult, looks like lots of sew and flip corners, so I might end up with a ton of leftover bits when it's finished.  It'll be great to get this off the shelf and have it ready to quilt.  I guess I'll have to shop for a back for this now - it's a queen size, so I guess I'll see if I can find a wide back to go with these colors.

I'll tell you about the rest of my projects later - it's going to be a busy month!

Come see what goals for the month everyone else's always fun to join in and support each other!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

OMG for March - Perry's Horse Quilt, is finished!

I was excited to have the number for this project drawn for the APQ UFO Challenge, so I knew this would have to become my OMG as well.  After all, it's my husband's birthday month, and this quilt was definitely planned to be for him.  

Wallhanging quilt with pieced borders
I started off with this wallhanging size quilt - too small for snuggling under, but a good start for a larger project.  I also had a nice pile of coordinating fabric, plus two more of the center panel which I had originally planned to use as pillow cases.  After switching from the original plan of making larger log cabin blocks, which didn't excite me, I went with the idea of making variable star blocks - much more fun and pleasurable!  I used the extra panels to cut the centers and used various scraps for the stars and backgrounds.

Variable Star Block with cowboy print in the center
There was a lot of  blue sky that I could use for some of the backgrounds, too!  My husband's favorite color is blue, so that was perfect for his quilt.

Variable Star quilt block with mountains in the center

Some of the blocks were mountains, and some were trees.
Variable Star Quilt Block with Tree print in the center
And by the last block, all I had left of the panel was a small piece that I had to add borders to make a center with!  I was glad that it worked out so well!

Variable Star Quilt Block with a bordered cowboy print in the center

I had to add some spacing strips to make the math come out for the borders, but it looks awesome!  I used a poly batting on this quilt, and did loop the loops for the quilting.  He likes a fluffy, cozy quilt, so I didn't want to quilt it too densely.

Wall Hanging size quilt after adding variable star border to make a large lap quilt
Such a great looking quilt for a guy!  He was surprised to get it, and loves the colors and the theme!
Closeup of Variable Star Blocks in lower left corner of quilt
I think the stars were the perfect way to border the panel.  I'm glad that I sat myself down and thought about why I hadn't finished this project before.  Once I figured out that I didn't like the idea of making log cabin blocks, it was totally a joy to get this finished!
Angled shot of center of quilt showing meander quilting
This quilt ended up being 65 x 77.  Plenty big enough to cover up in while laying on the sofa in the evening!
A larger look at the quilt, showing the 18 Variable star blocks around the center

The binding is a coordinating print with a southwestern design to it (the same one in the first border around the panel.  I was wondering if it would work all right for the binding, and I am happy with the results.  I found the perfect backing on sale at Connecting Threads!  I was glad that it arrived in time for me to finish this before the birthday celebration.  That's the one thing I usually have to purchase because I don't keep a lot of backing fabric around, and I like to find a good deal for them.  

A photograph showing the back of the quilt and the binding
Thanks to Patty for helping keep me and so many others motivated for these finishes throughout the year!  I'm loving her finish this month - check it out!

Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - March Finish Link-up

Monday, March 29, 2021

Island Batik Challenge March 2021, Scrappy quilt

A scrappy quilt is right up my alley, so I've really had a great time working on this month's Island Batik Ambassador Challenge! 

 I've been saving 2 1/2 inch strips from the different collections I've worked with over the last 6 years specifically to make this quilt, so it was great timing to get it put together!  Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and Schmetz needles provided the materials I used in this quilt as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, and I'll give you details about those as I tell you this quilt's story.

The pattern I used to make this quilt is "Reflections".  I designed this block as part of a blog hop years ago, and ended up writing it into a quilt pattern.  I've made several quilts in the smaller size (which is perfect for a strip pack), but always had in mind to make a large quilt because I think it's the perfect scrappy quilt pattern for 2 1/2 inch strips.  I used the Schetz Microtex needle and Aurifil thread for all the piecing (quite a few bobbins were emptied in the process!)

As I started designing quilt for the Island Batik catalog, I thought it would be a great idea to start saving 2 1/2 strips of the leftover fabrics to make a memory quilt of my projects.  Since I'm a big scrap saver, I even had fabric from my early years as an ambassador to add to my quilt!  See the bottom block, second from the left?  That's the scraps from my first Catalog design!  I think I'll have to make a diagram of all my blocks and write down what each one was from so I can always remember each of the collections I worked with.  Some of them are catalog quilts, some are challenge projects.  Some collections have more than one block.  I mostly used strips from one collection for each block, but I might mix them more when I make another one someday!  

I forgot to get pictures while I was laying out the blocks - I had to move my dining room table out to give me enough floor space so I could see all 49 blocks at the same time!  After playing a bit, I settled on a layout and added the border with the extra four patch units.  For this, I just added one side at a time, folding up the center of the quilt and deciding what blocks would look good around the edge.  I still have a nice sized stack of four patches left over that I think I'll make pillow shams with.

Since I was using the Hobbs Poly Down batting I received in my January 2021 Ambassador box I decided to take this quilt down to the quilt shop and quilt it on the Lenni.  I definitely could have quilted it on my Juki, but it was a bit easier and faster to do it this way, and since the month was nearly over I decided it was the way to go.  The Poly Down batting is dreamy soft and has a nice loft to it!  It quilted up like a dream on the long arm, and I saved the leftover batting to make pillows with - I'm excited to see what it's like to quilt with on my sit down machine.

About five hours and 6 bobbins later, I was finished quilting!  I was excited to unroll it and see what the finished quilt looked like!

I love the fact that the diagonal lines in the block show up so well in the finished quilt!  This would be fun laid out in a trip around the world style, too, but since I had an odd number of blocks I chose this layout.

So colorful!  I know that a crazy bright quilt like this isn't everyone's taste, but I really love it!  Binding was the next step and I was really excited that I found a pile of binding leftovers to sew together for my quilt.

I stitched them all together, pressed the seams and stitched it on using my usual No Hand Sewing Binding Technique and Aurifil thread (50 wt is perfect for the topstitching!)

I had plenty of binding for this 92 x 92 quilt, and quite a bit left to spare!  I guess I will have to make another scrappy quilt to use this up, right?

I even made it around all four corners with no seams in them!  Woohoo!

It's hard in my house to get good pictures of a queen size quilt, and it's way too wet outside to lay it in the grass, so this is as good as it gets!  So much gorgeous Island Batik beauty in this quilt!

 And it absolutely lights up my bedroom!  Yes, this one is definitely for me :)

The Hobbs Poly down makes it soft and cozy, it's got a lovely soft drape and is nice and warm, too!  

Thanks to Island Batik for another fun challenge, and also to Hobbs Batting, Schemtz Needles, and Aurifil thread for the wonderful products I used in this challenge!  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hello from the Rabbit Hole!

 Goodness, it seems that I have disappeared off the face of the earth for the last three weeks!  It's been a busy time, we've been working on arranging some home repairs, and the big news is that after 9 years of sharing a car with my hubby, I now have my own car to drive again!  So exciting and fun!  Not that there are many places to go yet, but I'm ready for when there are.  We also purchased a use truck, and have been busy getting the things done that need to be on that.  The dealer has been struggling a bit with getting in the needed parts, but hopefully this week the final appointments will be done and we'll be good to go with that as well.  

I have been busy sewing, believe it or not, too!  I finished my OMG for the month, but don't have pictures yet, and I completed my Island Batik Ambassador project, so will be sharing that with you real soon, too!

I've been staying caught up with the Sewcialites Quilt Along - isn't this the perfect block for spring?  Things are sure getting green here!  The Flowering Cherry out front is getting ready to bloom - let's hope we don't have a big wind storm to blow all the flowers away before I get to enjoy them!

I had 10 comments from people interested in my scraps, so drew names.   Verna, I've sent you an email,  let me know where I can mail them to!  

I'm still working on organizing, but it's hard not to be distracted by all the potential projects!  Can't wait to show you what I've been working on, so stay tuned, I'll be posting a lot more often this coming week...

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Thoughts on Scrappy Quilts and organizing

 I'm delighted that our Island Batik Challenge for this month is to make a Scrappy Quilt!  I'm hard at work making blocks, and spent this afternoon cutting more strips so I don't run out. 

 While I was at it I decided it was past time to organize all the scraps that are piling up!  I'm a big time saver, so I tend to want to save every single little piece, whether it's a 1 x 3 piece or a fat quarter.  I've been keeping them in their collections, but I was getting over-run with little bundles of fabric.  I truthfully don't often reuse the collections, but tend to pull out the colors I need for what I want to make, so I thought it was time to untie all those bundles, sort the into larger pieces, and cut the smaller pieces into usable units.  

It was hard to set a limit, but I decided that the smallest unit I will cut will be a 2 1/2 inch square.  Anything smaller than that has to go!

Fun to see all the fabric pieces, so many projects I've made with these!

Do you like to piece with small bits and pieces?  I though they would be fun for improv sewing, but truthfully I haven't had time.  They would be great for mini quilts, too.  I better stop thinking or I'll want to keep them!  As well as making a quilt this month, I am challenging myself to finish this process.  I am planning to cut 2 1/2 inch squares and strips, 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 bricks and 5 inch squares.  

I'm still debating what to do with all the triangles. Sometimes they are fun to play with, but I seem to be doing more collecting than playing at this point!  Maybe these are something I can let go as well and give myself some breathing room.  I do know what to do with all the binding strip leftovers!  (Yes, I save those, too!)  They will be perfect for binding my scrappy quilt!

I managed to stuff all 2 pounds of small scraps into a priority bubble envelope!  If you would be interested in receiving them, leave me a comment in this post and I'll draw a name and mail them off to you!  If you live outside the US, I would ask you to pay the postage cost over what shipping to the US would cost and I'll cover the shipping inside the US.  I'm sure someone would be happy to give these bits and pieces a new home and actually do something with them!

Happy Sewing today!