Monday, July 30, 2018

Pattern Play - July Secondary Design challenge from Island Batik

I was really glad I got my top pieced early this month - because it's taken forever to find the time to get it quilted!  This challenge was issued for all of us Island Batik Ambassadors and the goal was to create a quilt with the fabric they provided that highlighted secondary designs and was larger than 36 x 36.

 I used the rest of the fat eight bundle of the Blue Moon collection from the February Box.  I used three of the fabrics earlier to make a pillow in May.
 I started out making the units for the two blocks I wanted to use, but instead of sewing the blocks together I played with turning the units different ways to see what kind of secondary effects would happen.  When I was happy with my results, I completed the blocks.

Because I had a limited amount of fabrics I could only make five blocks total.  I decided to set them on point and use the yardage for the setting triangles.  Since the light purple looks like wood grain I took some care to make sure they all faced the same direction!
At this point I thought the quilt needed some kind of a border.  I had a fat eighth of four different tree trunk fabrics, so decided to use those and make each border in four sections.  I LOVE the way this came out!
I got it layered and basted and even doodled some quilting ideas, but the July just got busy!
So this weekend was "now or never" time!  I got out my stash of Aurifil thread and got to work.

It was fun to quilt each unit - notice the "envelope" which is where the two blocks meet?  One good way to emphasize your secondary designs is with quilting, it really helps blur the line where your blocks meet and helps the illusion!  I love the slight loft of the Hobbs batting, it really makes your quilting look awesome!
And here is the finish!  

Leftovers on the back - where you can really see the quilting!
A closer look at the center.  My finished quilt measures 38 x 38 and features Aurifil Thread as well as Hobbs batting.  Definitely one of my favorite projects!  Now on to August, our semi-annual blog hop will be starting, and I need to get that project done - more about that later this week!

What are you quilting today?  Something fun, I hope!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Christmas All Year, Block 7 - Star and PInwheels

Have we all had enough yet of Christmas in July?  My husband is just a little tired of it, he shakes his head and says that it is way too early for him to watch endless Christmas movies!  I keep telling him not to worry, pretty soon everything will be all about back to school.

On the other hand, I am very much enjoying the little touch of Christmas that working on the block of the month has given me.  I hope you are enjoying it as well.  I loved making today's block - Star and Pinwheels, I think this is one of the prettiest blocks of them all.

I used my second background for this quilt, which is a directional print. I had to pay good attention to my cutting and sewing to make sure all the pieces ended up facing the right direction!

A good tip for getting your triangles cut right is to layer your squares right sides together and cut through both at the same time so you have 1 triangle facing each direction.

After sewing the flying geese units, I lay them all out so they face the same direction.  (oops - sideways picture!)
Very important tip for the center unit - make sure you sew all four small triangles the same way!  The pinwheel in the center won't work if you don't.
And watch your layout for sewing them together!  I almost had a problem here, but I caught it in time.  Press those center seams open to make the center come out nice and flat. I was glad I pinned mine, it came out just perfect.
That's always the best feeling ever!
I was very pleased with all my points on this block, I credit the fact that I worked carefully, making sure to trim and measure each unit carefully as I went, plus pinning the seams when sewing it all together.  I don't always sew this carefully, but the results are certainly worth taking the time to be accurate.

It even looks good from the back!  I credit my new iron for that.  I hadn't realized how bad my old iron was until the sole of it started feeling floppy - apparently the poor thing had hit the floor one too many times and something had come loose.  It was still working, but I don't think it's been heating as hot as it should for a while.  The new one has a rubbery bottom so hopefully won't slip off  off the ironing board as easily.  Plus the cord is a bit longer, so that will help, too!

Two more blocks to go and we'll be putting these together into a quilt top - I can't wait!  Sign up for my e-mail to get the remaining blocks and instructions in your inbox.

I hope you enjoy making this block as much as I did.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Choosing Thread Color for the Quilting

Making a quilt is just one decision after another!  Fabric, pattern, size, it's just one thing after another - I think that's why we end up with so many UFOs, WIPs and PIGs.  (That means UnFinished Objects, Works In Progress, and Projects in Grocery bags). 

This particular project started with the fabric.  The fabric for this project was provided by the shop I work for, Threads That Bind.  It is Botany by Kelly Ventura for Windham fabrics.
Super pretty, not quite your traditional floral, and that dotty stripe sure caught my eye!  One of the projects that I always think of when I have three fabrics to highlight is a quick and easy Disappearing Nine Patch.  I found a nice mustard yellow to spice it up a bit, and a top was quickly finished - so far so good, all easy decisions!
Next step, diving into my Aurifil thread stash to see if I have anything on hand that will work with this quilt.  Wow - I found 5 different candidates!  I had a gold and gray thread in 50 wt and blue and gold in 40 wt.  (Thread chart was provided by Aurifil thread in my latest Island Batik Ambassador box - quite handy for matching!)

Decisions, decisions...the best way to decide is to pull out some thread and pile it up on the quilt to see how it will look across the different colors. 
They all look so pretty! 
I decided that any choice would be a good choice, so I ended up going with the blue that was the lighter shade - though quite a few people on my facebook page liked the gold the best!  I think I'll take some scraps and do a little mug rug with the gold thread, just to see what it would have looked like!  I am quite happy with my choice and managed to get halfway done last night - today I will finish this quilt up and have it ready to bring to the shop tomorrow.  I've been slacking in making up shop samples so am trying to remedy that situation.
Hope you are making progress on some of your projects!  Go make a decision and do some sewing!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Wedding Season...

Two wedding dresses and a bridesmaid's gown were top priority this week - August weddings are almost on us!

This bride hugged me when I told her we could make the gown fit!
I made panels to extend the back and created a new lacing out of deep blue.  She was thrilled!

This was a bridesmaid dress that needed some tweaking at the top of the bodice and taken in at the back zipper.

And last, but not least, among other things, I am adding red and black beading to the bodice and accent medallion of this wedding gown:
With any luck I can finish that up on Monday, and hopefully no more gowns for a bit!  We'll see...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Projects coming up!'s been a long two days working at the quilt shop (Threads That Bind).  I finished quilting a shop sample on our rental long arm machine - Lenni.
Isn't it pretty?  I didn't make the quilt top, just quilted it.  I've been going back and forth as to whether I want to transition into owning a long arm machine myself.  After using this, I realize that I do like the freedom of using my Juki for the quilting.  In order to quilt those squares I either had to make sure I had the quilt rolled just right or re-roll in the middle of the block.  On my Juki I don't have to worry about that.  On the other hand, doing all the outlining was a breeze on the long arm!  For right now I am thinking since I have access to this machine, I don't really need to have one of my own.  Here's a close up of the various quilting motifs I did.
I did all the quilting free motion - outlining the floral design in the main print, clamshells in the blue, swirls in the green and a wavy grid in the yellow.  The swirls were the hardest!  Interestingly, the swirls are one of the easiest designs for me when I'm quilting on my Juki.  I think it's just the different way the machines work!

I brought home some of these to make a shop sample.  This is Botany by Kelly Ventura for Windham Fabrics.  Love the colors in this!

Today is a catch-up day at home, then hopefully a good weekend of working on some quilting projects!  One of the side effects of working so many hours at the shop is that it makes me want to make more quilts, so I have ideas bursting out of my head - need to get them down on paper so I don't forget! 

I'm also catching up on my blog reading this morning.  You definitely want to check out the Creative Spaces Blog Hop that started this week!  I love knowing that I'm not the only one whose sewing studio looks like a hot mess!  I actually forced myself to clean up one side of mine last week because I could barely walk in there.  I can sum up my mess with one phrase:  "too much stuff!"  But I love it all!  I am gleaning some great tips from the blogs on the hop, though, so maybe there is hope for my problem!

I drew the winner for my Island Batik Scrap Bag!  Congrats to Collette - I'm putting together the package today and will get it out in the mail shortly. Thanks to everyone for participating!  Lots of fellow blue fans out there, but a lot of votes for the other colors as well. 

Have a colorful day!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

2018 Island Batik Ambassador Box Number Two!

Friday was a fun day, I received my second Island Batik Ambassador Box for the year!  Like Christmas in July :)  The fabrics and notions you see were provided by Island Batik, Aurifil Thread and Hobb's Batting.

Here is the video I made when I opened my box - you'll get a sneak peak of my August project as well:

I love all the new fabrics!  I can't wait to start planning my projects, I have so many ideas, but I'll need to check out what our monthly themes are so I can narrow down what I want to make.  Before I put all of this into my cupboard, I decided I needed to pull out what I have left from the first box to see how I did on my quest to see if I could use all of that fabric up over the year.

Here is a picture of the items I received in the first box:
And here is a picture of what I have left from all this:

Not bad!  I also used quite a bit of my stash from previous years.  Here are the quilts and projects I have made so far from the first box:
Plus I have two that are in progress for July and August.  I was happy that I have been able to keep up pretty well so far with the abundance of fabric that has been provided by the generous folks at Island Batik, Aurifil Thread and Hobb's batting!

In order to make some room for the new fabric, I've decided to have a giveaway!  Leave me a comment telling me what color is your favorite and I will pull a priority mail bubble envelope full of goodies for you.  Some of it will be smaller scraps, with some pieces up to 1/2 a yard.  I'll also throw in a stash builder roll for good measure!  There are also a couple more options for getting an additional chance in the drawing as well,but you do have to leave a comment on my blog.  I'll do my drawing on Tuesday, so make sure you enter right away!  This giveaway is limited to US entries only - if you are international, make sure you keep an eye out for my giveaway in August, I will have something special for you then.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, and have an awesome day!  Good luck!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Red Sky at Night, Red Sky at Morning

I love looking back at some of the quilts I have made in the past.  This was a fun quilt that I started in a quilt guild workshop on charm squares.  We swapped 5 inch squares of fabric, then started sewing!  I decided to use triangles for my quilt, and arranged them in stars.  I called this one Red Sky at Morning, and enjoyed the process of playing with the various fabrics and arranging them into an impressionist version of a sunset.

I also had a lot of fun free motion quilting this, adding a cabin, stones, water and trees. After I sold this first one, I received a request to make the same quilt in a horizontal layout - luckily I had saved all the leftover halves  of the triangles and was able to make the second one easily.  It came out just as nicely:  Red Sky at Night went to a great home as a first quilt in their home - don't you just love that?
I was thinking of these quilts as I started working on my project for a future blog hop.  These are the mystery fabrics from my last Ambassador box from Island Batik - Globe Trotter.  The quilt I am planning is pretty ambitious and will definitely feature lots of half square triangles!  Here is a trial run for my idea - I'll be fine tuning it as I go, but I think it's really going to be wonderful.

Don't the colors blend together so nicely?  You will definitely have to keep your eye out for the blog hop coming in August - don't worry, I'll be letting you know when to expect it.

Speaking of Blog Hops, Marian at Seams to Be Sew has put together an awesome lineup for this years Row Along - lots of great prizes and adorable row patterns!  Can't wait for this one to start!

Thanks to MMMQuilts for hosting Throwback Thursday and giving me the urge to share some of my quilts that I haven't blogged about!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy Fourth of July! Pattern sale in my Etsy shop to celebrate!

Wishing all of you a safe and happy Fourth of July!  I'm deciding whether or not to go down to the quilt shop today - I started quilting a shop sample on Lenni over the weekend and could get it finished up today, or I could just stay home and be lazy....hmmm.  Any way, to celebrate I am having a sale in my Etsy shop - 50% off all pdf patterns!  The picture above is my Daisy Garland pattern in Red, White and Blue - I love how changing the fabrics changes the look!

Enjoy your day - go do some quilting!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Down to the Last Details

I got this finished on Friday evening!  Three months of steady work and it is quilted, and the binding is on now.  I was so happy to finally be done, but I'm going to miss hanging out with this quilt in the evenings!

Actually I do have just a little more work to do on it.

I need to do a little tightening up of some loose stitching here and there.  It shouldn't take me too long to finish.  Can you see how the hexies pull away from each other just a bit? 

There were a couple of blocks that were very bad - I wonder if they were the first blocks she made?  In any case, we want the quilt to hold up to washing, so I'm going to make sure that these seams are secured. 

I did find out that the lady that made this top has had it done for at least 10 years.  At that point she realized that she was not going to be able to hand quilt it because of arthritis, so it's been waiting all this time to be finished.  It finally became an urgent matter when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor several months ago, and ended up in my hands for finishing.

While I do feel very fulfilled when finishing these projects for people, it makes me start thinking about some of my own projects.  This quilt is on my list to be finished - I've even basted it with some lovely wool batting for hand quilting, but it will never get finished if I don't get it started, and I'd love to have it done for fall.  Unfortunately I have one more quilt I've promised to finish first, but I plan to work as diligently on that one so I can get mine done, too! 

Do you have a special project that you need to get working on?  Make a plan today and get to work - you'll never get finished if you don't get started!