Saturday, March 31, 2018

Try a Technique - Conversion quilt

One of the best things about being an Island Batik Ambassador is the monthly challenges!  (and Island Batik also provides the fabric for said challenges)  The challenge for March was to try a technique that we've never done.  Many of us had a tough time with this challenge!  The great thing was in discussing and coming up with ideas a whole new world of ideas opened up for me.

I went through my Pinterest Board of Quilts I Want to Make, but didn't really find any interesting techniques that I hadn't done before, so I started working on a new board:  Quilting Techniques to Try
I really loved the idea of making a rainbow quilt, but the fabrics I have to use didn't really support that very well, so I kept looking through my boards and found that I have pinned quite a few conversion quilts.  Well, that looked like fun, so I decided to give it a try!  I found some simple directions online and got started.

I picked out four half yard pieces from my blenders bundle - (three were from the most recent ones I received, and the teal was from an earlier box)
I decided to cut the largest possible squares from my fabrics and decided on where to place them.
After doing the vertical cuts and shuffling the pieces I had this...really loved how it was looking!

Then I made my horizontal cuts and this is what it looked like.

At this point I wasn't really delighted with it, so started playing with border ideas.  (And forgot to take pictures!)  I think that I should have placed the darker fabrics across from each other diagonally so that the lighter ones weren't right next to each other.  I decided to frame the center with a contrasting flange and use the four prints for in the border to bring out the colors more. 

I had the perfect pink in one of the StashBuilder rolls.  Those things are so handy to have on hand for when you need just a bit of a color!  The way I did the border was also a new technique for me.  I usually either make a pieced border or a simple plain border.  I ended up offsetting the seams on the border in order to make the most of the strips I had cut - but that adds a little more interest to the quilt, I think!

Now I was almost ready for quilting.  I pieced a back out of some odds and ends of other Island Batik fabrics I had left from previous projects.  For the batting I used a piece of cotton I had in my stash that was just the right size (yay for using up some stuff!)  I was debating on what color of thread since I have a blend of light and dark fabrics, so I went with a thread in a medium gray tone.  This is a color that was provided in my Ambassador box from Aurifil Thread.  The color is Earl Gray (6732) and it was perfect for this project!
I mostly use 50 wt thread for piecing and quilting because I love that it is strong, yet fine and really blends in without showing too much, even on contrasting fabrics. 

Isn't it nice?  I quilted paisleys in the center, then did hook and swirl in the border.  I just love the fact that you mostly see the texture and not the thread!

After the quilting was finished my final challenge was the binding.  I didn't want to use one of the fabric in the quilt top because it would match one of the corners of the border and I knew that would look a little strange.  I thought I would use pink, but I didn't have enough of any of my pink fabrics to make the binding.  I ended up cutting some strips from the rapidly dwindling leftovers from the top, and used a third technique I have never done and strategically pieced the binding so that the seams met the border seams!  Tricky!

I made four strips of my binding fabric, but did not sew them together.  As I sewed the binding to the quilt, I joined the binding pieces with a straight seam where the seams in the border were.  This would have been a little easier if I had sewn the binding to the top of the quilt, but I like to machine stitch the final fold of the binding to the top so I can do my No Hand Stitching binding technique!  So I had to do some careful judging of where to cut and sew, but it came out pretty well!

Now I will show you the finished quilt - it ended up being almost 36 inches square and used up most of four 1/2 yard pieces of fabric:  

I wasn't the only Island Batik Ambassador who made a convergence quilt!  You can see Nancy's version at Masterpiece Quilting.  We even did our borders the same way, but we used very different fabrics.  

This was a fun project, and I can see how making these Convergence quilts can be addicting.  Now I am going to add a hanging sleeve to my quilt so I can hang it up.  Hope you enjoy your weekend - and wishing you a Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Christmas All Year Block of the Month - Block Three - Star Quartet

Time for the next block of the Christmas all year Block of the Month! 

This month's block is Star Quartet.  This block is actually made from four smaller blocks!  So cute - and you can almost count this as a mini...
Two of the blocks are made with Dark green for the star, and two are made with the background as the star.  Be warned, it can be tricky to sew the background as the star, it was very confusing to my brain at times!

Download the instruction sheet on Craftsy:

Christmas Star Quartet

For this block you will need to make two sets of eight flying geese units.  Since they are smaller, I used the sew and flip method of making them.  You could sew eight together and have a mini version of last month's block!

But instead, we'll use these to make four 6 1/2 inch star blocks.  Each flying goose will be 3 1/2 x 2 inches before we sew it into the block.

Lay out the blocks like so:

Sew into rows and press seams toward the green or toward the red.  This will make final assembly of the block easier.

Then sew the rows together.
But watch out for those red ones!  I told you they were tricky!

Finished mini blocks:

Sew together with alternate blocks touching each other.  The seams will lay in the opposite direction so they will be easier to sew.

This makes three blocks done now!  I just had to get a picture of all of them on my design wall:

If you missed the first two blocks, they are available here:  

Christmas All Year Blocks 1 and 2

The next block will be available on April 25 - see you then!

Project Quilting - Scraptastic Journal Cover

I was really excited to see that the final challenge for Project Quilting was to use at least 12 different fabrics to create something from scraps!  Scraptastic is my favorite way to play with fabric!  I had several ideas early on, but nothing really got me started sewing.

In fact, I didn't even think of the challenge as I went through recent piles of leftover bits and worked at creating something beautiful out of the leftovers.  With a gray sky and cold weather outside, I was only thinking of making some sunshine on this gloomy day.

Then it occurred to me that yes, my little project was going to have enough different fabrics, and would be perfect for this challenge!

This dresden plate journal was made with scraps left from my Mellow Yellow challenge, plus some other strips left from previous journals in blue and yellow.

Six different yellow fabrics for the petals of my sun-flower.
Sky blue piecing on the front, the last bits of some of my favorite colors!
Blooming flowers all over the back, and to bind the edges.
A pocket and a sliver of shiny yellow ribbon for a bookmark, too!

A reminder that warmer days are ahead and there will be sunshine!

This cover measures 7 3/4 inches by 10 1/2 inches on the front.  It was made by me in rainy Coos Bay, OR!  Thanks, again Kim for a great year of challenges!

Another fun linky party. if you like scraps: Quilting is More Fun than Housework:

Quilting is more fun than Housework

Is it spring yet where you live?  At least we can make sunshine with fabric!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Snowmen, and Sunshine!

This week we celebrated the first day of Spring (also my hubbies birthday) but it sure doesn't feel like spring.  It's so cold and rainy, and I swear I saw some snowflakes earlier this evening as well!  So, what have I been working on this week?  I've been working on this snowman quilt (a custom order).
It's almost a finish, just need to complete the binding and sew some buttons on by hand.  It will go out in the mail on Monday.

I've also been working on some scrap projects.

I was trying to use up the leftovers from one of the Project quilting challenges - but sadly I only had enough of the dark blue to bind 3 of these little blocks.  So I ended up buying a fat quarter so I could finish the fourth one!  I do still have enough fabric to make another set of these, so I suppose I can use the rest of it for binding the others.

Doesn't the yellow dresden plate look like sunshine?  It was the only sunshine we saw today at all!  Tomorrow I'll be finishing it up for this week's Project Quilting Challenge - Scraptastic!  I love scrappy, and working with these blues and yellows makes me feel like spring, even though the weather has not cooperated at all.

Linking up with BusyHandsQuilts for Finished or Not Friday and with Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it up Friday (make sure you check out her cute needle book - I definitely want to make some of these!)

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fun With Selvages

I started my fun sewing this weekend working with my ever-growing pile of selvage strips - time to try to tame that pile of scrappy goodness! 

First I used a bunch of blue strips to make a fun journal cover - I'll have to make some more of these in different colors! 

Then I worked on a couple of Mini Selvage Bins.  It's been a while since I made any, and I had to refresh myself on the measurements, but once I did that I was in the groove.  First I made a soft green one...
Then a saucy red and black version:
These are super handy for sitting on your desk and filling with odds and ends!  I actually keep one on my cutting table and use it to hold the selvages I cut off of yardage.  They are really cute to hang on a wall, too!
If you would like to make your own, you can buy the pattern from my Etsy shop:

Selvage Bin Pattern

Hope your week has started off well!  

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Finishes - Scrappy Strip quilt!

I spent this weekend working on quilting up this fun scrappy quilt.

On a whim, I used a vintage pieced top that I was given on the back of it.  The vintage top was pretty badly stained, but just the right size for the back of this.  I had hoped that the stains might wash out, but they didn't.

It still makes a lovely, cuddly and colorful quilt, so I am offering it in my Etsy shop at a good price!

So many fun print!  I bound it with dark green - and quilted it with a nice neutral.  It measures 57 x 6 inches.

String Quilt for Sale!  Sold

I have lots more scraps and lots more telephone book pages to fill.  But I think my next scrap quilt will be something different.  I'll have to look for a pattern and decide.  First I have a few custom projects to get finished, so time to work on those now.  I have several more finished tops to quilt before I will be ready to start a new top anyway - I'm working on those UFO's!

I haven't been great at working on my Crazy Jane lately, but here's a block from last week:
Love how this one came out!

I've been laying low with a busy week and a bit of a cold, but I'm looking forward to a good afternoon in my sewing room today - definitely my happy place!  I'm linking up with Busy Hands Quilts as well as CrazyMomQuilts to show off my finishes.

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Wishing you a productive and fun Friday, what are you finishing?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kissin' in the Pumpkin Patch

I am delighted to say that I have finally finished the top that I made for the Island Batik Ambassador challenge in October!  The fabric is Pumpkin Patch and I used this as an opportunity to spruce up my Lover's Kiss pattern.  (The fabric for the top was provided by Island Batik in my Fall 2017 Ambassador box )

My original version of this pattern only used twenty one 2 1/2 inch strips and had a plain border.  Now, I have included a piano key border option that uses the remaining strips - a much better use of a strip pack!  You can also make this pattern using fat quarters, because I just love a pattern that gives you options.

I found a rich brown for the backing, and quilted it with leaves and loops using Aurifil 40 wt thread in a lovely reddish brown color that looks wonderful on both the front and the back.  I really like the 40 weight for quilting - it gives the quilting a nice definition without being too heavy.

I love the beautiful colors in this line, and the focus fabric is so lovely with such pretty details.  This is a perfect quilt for fall!
The piano key border is really wonderful, I think - and I love that I could use every last strip in the package.  This quilt is now available for purchase in my Etsy Shop, and my pattern is available there as well as on Craftsy.

Pumpkin Patch Quilt

Lover's Kiss Pattern

I'm happy to see that the enormous piles in my sewing room are slowly being whittled down!  Still have a lot of projects in the works, but they are starting to get cleared off the list, one by one.

Hope you have a happy day - go do some quilting!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Project Quilting 9.5: A Stitch in Time...

Despite a very busy week this week, I managed a finish for this week's Project Quilting Challenge.  I loved the theme, and thought of going in a number of directions with my quilt.  My first thought was that I wanted to incorporate "A Wrinkle in Time" since I am very excited about the new movie coming out soon, but I really couldn't come up with a good inspiration for a quilt with that idea. 

Then I thought about doing a quit with hourglass blocks, did a google search, found a tutorial for a Disappearing Hourglass (how appropriate!) and knew that's what I wanted to work with!  I had a perfect clock fabric in my stash, and found some 10 inch squares that I could use with it for my blocks.

These blocks are very fast and easy to make - I was quite pleased with the results!
Four blocks was a nice size - I wanted to do some hand quilting on this one, and a week isn't long to finish a quilt by hand!

I decided to try the 12wt Lana Wool in my Aurifil Artisan box.  I've never done any sewing with wool thread at all, and saw that it was recommended for big stitch quilting, which was my plan.
My plan for quilting this was to use circles.  I found a mixing bowl for tracing around...and traced 9 circles!  I love the way the stitching looks as the lines intersect! 
Isn't the backing bright and fun, too?  I also used this fabric for the binding.
I added a line of stitching in the border as well, and called it done!  A stitch in time saves nine, you know. 

Stitched in Coos Bay, Oregon, this quilt measures 30 x 30.  I've decided to call it "In the Stitch of Time"