Thursday, February 19, 2015

Planning a new quilt

So, how do you decide what quilt to make? Do you see one in a store and buy a pattern? Do you buy a book? See something on TV? Make up your own?

I am a very do it myself kind of person. I like to google image search the concept I am going for and try to be inspired. The tricky part with the quilts I like are made with half square triangles, or other basic blocks that have been around forever.

So, the good news is there are unlimited amounts of quilts you can make with those basic quilts, but it's hard to decide what to do with unlimited options.

I am trying to come up with an idea for my brother's graduation from college this June. I want to make something that is masculine without loosing fun. Sometimes I feel masculine is bla. I want to try adrinkards path quilt, but given this will be my fifth quilt I am it so sure it's a good idea.

I just saw this really cool YouTube tutorial today and think maybe I can do it. The Fons and Porter String of Pearls quilt. (Link to come when I can get it to work).

So with a 10" square maybe I can. I am looking for fabric right now to be inspired.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Paper Challenge Quilting

My Friend April has started a lovely new blog. And she has a paper challenge every Saturday. Since my first craft obsession was scrapbooking I think I will put quite a bit of that on this page.

So her first challenge can be found here. It is a beautiful wonky log cabin bright colors quilt block for inspiration.

Lately I have been into stash busting and using little scraps. So I thought it would be neat to use the trimmings from the projects I had been working on to create a little block/title page for November in my Project Life Album. And really all those crops from cool photos should be used. This is a very quilting thing, waste nothing. 

Well, as you can see below its not pretty.

I think the concept is cool. I had this vision of a choppy/spunky layout that was haphazard but cool. And I really like the I pic of the Pinterest tangerine pumpkins at the top.

 Here is what went wrong. There just isn't enough contrast--like, way not enough. I noticed right away and thought I could fix this by putting orange marker in the spaces to try to get them to pop. This did not work. So I thought maybe I could put lines on each of the pieces. This is when it turned horrid. Because I am completely insane, I thought orange around the outside, that will fix it. Nope!

My title lettering is just sad too. But here it is in my layout. There is no saving this. I am going to scrap it and do a different title pocket for November. But, because I believe that sometimes you do fail and that's okay, I am putting it out here in internet land. So comment below your worst failures. You don't have to post a picture for proof--surely fessing up to it is shame enough (unless you want to).

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stocking fun

I was inspired when I watched this video from the Missouri Star Quilting Company. 

I had bought this mini charm pack from the Missouri Star Quilting Company back in February/March of last year in thoughts that I would make a stocking for my new baby that was born December 15th, 2014. Welcome baby Blake!

Well, because it was Thanksgiving and I had time off after I finished his quilt I decided to go for it. Sadly, I searched all over my house for the mini charm pack. I couldn't find it anywhere. 

So, I went to Jo Anne's hoping to find a Christmas themed precut--I was very disappointed. They has tons of beautiful fabric, but the clock was ticking and I didn't have time to go through and pick out coordinating fabrics. So, on my way home I stopped in at Hobby Lobby and found a cute far quarter bundle. I had some red felt in my stash from a remnant I gobbled up at Jo Anne's years ago when I lived in Cleveland, OH. 

The hardest part of this whole project was cutting 2.5" squares. I took a bunch of pictures of the construction and the promptly deleted them--because you know that what you do with the perfect photos (trying to remain calm while remembering the tragedy). So to make the squares I cut 2.5" strips the length of my fabric. I folded the fat quarter in half and half again so I didn't have to cut too long. Then, I lined up two or three strips (folded in half) and cut 2.5" squares after trimming the selvage. I repeated until I had enough squares for the stocking (42 as Jenny did it, 46 the way I did it). 

I did everything just like Jenny did in the video except I added another row because I wanted my stocking to be a little bitter. So I had 9 rows or four across for the body of the stocking and 3 rows of 2 for the toe. Also, I made my stocking a backwards "L" shape, I think she made it the other way. And I added a hook. To make the hook I cut a piece of felt 2.5 inches by 8 inches and folded it in half and pressed and then opened it up and folded the sides in to the middle and pressed. Then I folded that back in half again with the short edges inside the fold and sewed down both sides in a contrasting thread  with a slightly longer stitch length. Then when I was attaching the cuff at the top I inserted the hook. I recommend pinning the hook in between your cuff and stocking and mock folding it all back the way it's going to go to make sure you have the hook in the right place before you sew. I didn't make that mistake this time, but I have learned that lesson the hard way several times. Now I always pin it and make sure it's in the right spot.

After I hung this stocking up with my other stockings I never realized there isn't a "standard" way for stockings. I have a bunch that were made for me and some that I purchased they don't all go to one direction. I could have sworn stocking were always backward's "L's."

The funnest part was doing the straight line stitching. I recommend pulling out your walking foot even though the project is small. Also, I would recommend going back and forth on the fabric as Jenny does in her video to keep your squares as square as can be. I didn't use my walking foot on the second one I did, and the squares got a little warped. 

Really, you should watch Jenny's video tutorial it's fantastic. I was able to whip this bad boy out in a few hours. Had I not spent so much time repressing my seams I am sure I could have gotten it done even faster.

Because I truly believe you have replace the thing you lost to find the thing you lost. The day after I finished this stocking I found the charm pack I had lost. I have completed part of it and will post more pictures as I complete that when I have time again. The early weeks with a newborn is constant nursing. Not really easy to sit a sewing machine when you have a baby eating from you. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The quilt is complete!

I am so excited to show you all the final product.

To finish the quilt I did straight line quilting on most of the quilt. I had never done free motion quilting before so I was a bit nervous to try it. I did however give it a go in the blue section with circles and then I attempted to spell out a name in the squares on the far right side.

Here you can see the lines I drew for myself to quilt. All the lines are based 1" apart. I used chalk to mark my quilting lines and it turns out that was a mistake. I put the quilt in the washing machine as soon as it was complete. Which was within two hour of me applying the lines. However, my thread in several places remains stained and the fabric in a couple places also. I don't know the best solution. Possible a friction pen or another fancy pen.

The binding job was the most even I have done to date. Here is a picture of the back. You can see one section where the binding had a mistake, but the corners turned out perfect.

Another lesson learned, my making a quilt sandwich technique sucked. I was trying to use my dinning room table with blue painters tape. I didn't realize until I was mostly done that the tape did not stick to my fabric. So my back wasn't 
 as straight as I would have liked it to be. I am going to have to find a different place to sandwich my quilts. The table just doesn't work with my current set of tools.

Total time for completion of this project was about three days. Approximately 10 hours. Definitely something I could get faster at if I needed to. It was fun and my baby boy will have a new quilt when he's born.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ready to finish the back

I am not a patient person. Finally the fabric arrived for me to complete the quilt back. So excited to get sewing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Back Beginning

I had thought that the fat quarter bundle I had would work for the back as well. Unfortunately I underestimated by about one yard.

So, fortunately I found a yard more of the same line Mixed Bag by Moda on and its on its way here. 

My plan for the back was just piece it. I took some scraps, sewed them together, squared them up and then added another piece. 
Here you can see I chained pieced these similar sized scraps together.

Then I did the same with some larger scraps.

After squareing them up I fit pieces together I. A way that I thought they would fit together. I didn't really pay attention to the pattern on the fabric. I focused mostly on the size.

Here you can see me squareing up the edges. 

I'm learning as I go here, so this photo isn't very good at showing what I am doing. But, I have one long piece of fabric and a shorter piece. I guessed at about how much fabric of the other piece I neede to add to make hem roughly even. I had some 2" strips that I sewed together to make a little block to fill in the space.

It was after this last piecing that I ran out of fabric. Now I have to wait for the additional fabric to arrive so I can finish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quilt top complete.

I am not posting step by step pictures on this because I was in a groove and my phone was charging. But let me tell you lessons learned here.

1) My prints are directional. I did this at first by pulling a random strip or square and attaching it to the grey sashing. Well, what I didn't realize is I needed to pay attention to which direction the fabric was going relative to the strip. I ended up having to re-do all the squares except one to get them going in the same direction as the bigger pieces.

2) my prints are directional. So, for the strip running vertically I knew I was going to have to piece something together to fill that space since I only had fat quarters. I wasn't thinking about the directionality of the print when I pieced the blue square in  the middle. When I held it up I noticed the top of strip the triangles point to the right and to the left on the bottom. I don't know how I thought it should look, but I thought with the different directions it looked good and kept it.

3) I modified my design from the original pattern. I made my large color 6.5" strips 21" long. This was 1.5" longer than the pattern I was loosely basing my design on. What I didn't realize was this would mean I would have to piece my sashing. So, if you look closely you'll see seams I. The sashing. I would have preferred no seams in it.

4) I didn't keep the sashing exactly the same. The whole time I was thinking to do the last strip of grey across the top would be easy. I didn't realize that it wouldn't match the bottom. I created this quilt in columns with grey sashing across the bottom of each strip. I should have attached a strip to the top of the row after I got it all together. Then, the top would match the bottom. I don't think it distracts from the overall look of the quilt doing it the way I did it. But I do think that I would be more pleasing had I done it the other way.

My next step is going to be piecing the back. This will be a challenge because I don't want to have to buy more fabric. Plus I need enough left over for my binding. Because I messed up on cutting so many fat quarters I essentially lost 1.5" linearly across about 3/4 of a yard of fabric. 

I will post detailed pictures of my piecing process for the back because I searched high and low for a tutorial on how to do what I want to and saw nothing.