Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's "Goals" 2009--A Year in Review

I don't like to have New Year's Resolutions. Call me lazy--I just feel like it is too restrictive to say a resolution. I do have goals, though, which means that I am working towards them regularly, and they are achievable. For 2009, I had a few quilt-related goals. I didn't have a blog at the time, so I didn't share them then. But here they are, along with how I did:

1. Finish ten quilts
I finished 16! Even I am surprised at this. Granted, a few of those were tops that just needed to be quilted, but I've got a few tops that need to be quilted now, so it all rolls over I guess. While not a goal for me originally, I am very proud that I made more quilts with triangles--I have mostly shied away from anything but squares and rectangles.

2. Give away at least 2 charity quilts
I am disappointed to say I did not meet this goal. I have one waiting to be given away but I didn't give it away, nor did I make a second one. I did partake in a group project, making two quilts for Quilts of Valor. I don't think that totally counts, although it is in the same spirit.

3. Make an x-blocks quilt
I made a baby quilt using the x-blocks template. Picture is here.

4. Make an improvisational quilt
I made two of these. See them here and here.

5. Practice free-motion quilting
Boy, did I do this!!! I quilted all the quilts I made this year, except for one. So one could say that I got lots of practice.

6. A quilt with curves
I started one yesterday, and made a bunch of half-circles. I'll post a picture soon. So it's on its way but I can't say that I made a quilt with curves until it is done. So I sort of met this goal.

7. A quilt from the Modern Quilt Workshop book
I sort of completed this one. I actually made a quilt from a pattern in The Quiltmaker's Color Workshop, written by the same people, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. So I think it counts. And since it is my own goal list, I get to say what counts. :) Also, the half-circles I started yesterday are from that book, so I'm on my way.

8. No quilt pattern repeats
I didn't start any quilts this year that were a repeat pattern of a quilt I've made before. In my "quilts completed 2009" you'll see "bundle of joy" and "pink rail fence". Those are patterns I've made before, but as the tops were finished in 2008, they were started before I made that goal.

I think in general, I did pretty well! So what are my goals for 2010? Tune in tomorrow for that one.

How about you? Did you have goals for 2009? How did you do?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another finish!

I am so happy with how this quilt turned out. I've shown it before. I found out a few weeks ago that I needed to finish this for Christmas, so I moved it to the top of my priority list. I finished it up on December 22nd, right before I left for Christmas at my in-laws (where I was going to see the recipient, a friend who was in the area). For those of you who are curious, it measures 46 x 67 after washing and shrinkage.

Out of Line quilt front

My father in law was very helpful in holding it up for photographing.

Here is the back:
Out of Line quilt back

Here's a detail shot:
Out of Line quilt detail

And a picture of it folded and ready to go!

Out of Line quilt folded up

I bound it in a pale blue. I was thinking black and white and then I realized that would detract from the design too much. So something soft that blends in well turned out to be just right. I love it.

It feels good to check another one off the list. I've got two more tops that need to be quilted. One is on the sewing machine right now and I'm about halfway done quilting it. Hopefully I can finish by December 31st!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I don't know about you, but I get really depressed by the amount of waste that I see on Christmas. There is always the huge garbage bag full of wrapping and tape. Last year I made a bunch of bags for wrapping Christmas presents. This year I did the same.

My sister, who received a bunch of presents in the mail from me (she is in CA and I won't be there this year) got quite excited about them and decided to make some herself. I highly recommend doing so. They are re-usable! Hopefully as you give them away, others will be inspired to think about how they wrap things (and maybe even make their own). There are tutorials from folks here and here, but as you can see, they are pretty easy and I just make mine without measuring--just using the item to be wrapped as a guide.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fun tutorial

I made these little pincushion organizers for some lovely ladies. I used the tutorial from Elizabeth, found here.They were pretty easy and fun to do.
There is another one not pictured here. I did them "assembly line" style so it took about as much time as it would have take to do one. I think I like the green/brown one the best. I hope the recipients like them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I love mail!

So I got a package in the mail recently and it made me so happy! I won a giveaway from Heidi who is running the Old Red Barn Quilt Along's Round 4. I was thinking I would do it but I have been traveling too much for work and just haven't been able to keep up. But Heidi was generous enough to give away these lovely fat quarters!

They are from Amy Butler's new LOVE collection. They are delicious. Now I need to decide what to do with them. Maybe I'll just look at them. :)

I've been super busy and I haven't even been home lately. I am hoping that once I get home from all this traveling for work and family that I'll be able to stay home for awhile.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And the winner is...

#101! Trusty brought it up and that turns out to be Diane! Congratulations Diane. And thanks everyone for playing! I appreciate all the lovely comments. I've got a lot of ideas about homemade Christmas presents! Now to get to work...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Giveaway Day!

Welcome to my blog for Giveaway Day! Sew Mama Sew organizes a giveaway day all over blogland, with many fabulous crafters participating. You can see others here. I'll be giving away this cute little bag.
Purple bag
Sorry for the light--when I use a flash it is super washed out. It's a deep purple on the outside, sort of a velour fabric, and a reddish fabric on the inside from Basic Grey's Urban Couture line.
It's got a snap closure and a pocket in the lining. Also included is a fat quarter of fabric!
Fat quarter
To enter, just leave a comment telling me what Christmas or holiday gifts you are making this year. If you're not making anything, what would you like to make? Also, please make sure that I have a way to contact you--through your blog, email, Flickr, etc.

I'll use to choose the winner on December 6th--St. Nicholas Day.

Good luck!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hip 2 Bee Square November

Hip 2 Bee Square Block "before"

Keira requested a disappearing nine patch block. She even sent us the squares already cut up! So it was pretty easy to put this together. Above is the "before".

Hip 2 Bee Square block November

And here is the after. Just under the wire though. I didn't get my fabric until two weeks ago, and I've been out of town, and under a pile of work at work, so my sewing machine has been neglected as of late. I whipped this up while DH was making dinner. To see what else I whipped up while he was making dinner, tune in on Wednesday for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day. I'll be giving away something cute.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

progress on "out of line" quilt

A while back I posted a big pile of strips. There were over 100 of them, and now they make this lovely quilt. It is a gift for some family friends, but they don't know they're getting it yet. :)
"out of line" overhead
Obviously I still need to quilt it, but I'm so happy to be making progress! Here is a more close up shot.
Detail of "out of line" quilt

The pattern is called "Out of Line" and it is from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr's book The Quiltmaker's Color Workshop. I highly recommend it if you don't own it already.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"block party" quilt finished

I got my quilt back from the longarm quilter and finished the binding. It was a beautiful fall day on Sunday, so I took it outside to get some better lighting.
overhead of "block party" quilt

A detail shot.
Detail of "Block party" quilt

As I mentioned before, it is a gift for a family friend who is getting married.

I pieced the backing, to give it some extra interest.
backing of "Block party" quilt
I need to make an extra special label for it before I send it off. I hope they like it!

The pattern is called "Block Party" and I found it in an old magazine. It's by Jason Yenter, of In The Beginning Fabrics. It's pretty simple--similar to a "bento box" quilt in that you cut up the squares once you have finished them. But rather than no sashing, or sashing the outside of the block, you sash inside. I really like the "window" effect. The finished size is 67*79.5, so not a full bed size but a generous lap quilt--large enough for two newlyweds to snuggle up in (DH and I tested it to be sure). :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Live Piecefully 2 October

These blocks are for Dorie. She wanted 8" blocks that were cheery, for a children's quilt. I miscalculated a bit and one of my blocks ended up too large. I'm not sure if she would be ok with just cutting it smaller, or if I should have taken it apart and re-done.
Blocks for Dorie
I'm going to let her decide because I really think it could go either way, and it will depend on what other types of blocks she gets.

I hope she likes them anyway!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hip 2 Bee Square October

This block is for Marblesbestfriend in Hip 2 Bee Square for October. She asked for a traditional log cabin block. The fabrics are not something I would have chosen originally, but they are really nice and I really like how they fit together.

Blocks for Marblesbestfriend

I like the vines and how they draw your eye up the block. I hope she likes it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

quilted maps!

Wow. I just came across this and thought it was a brilliant idea. I don't have a longarm machine, so I'm not sure how easy/hard this would be to do with one. Obviously you could print out some maps and trace them onto fabric, then sew them on your home sewing machine. I'm really intrigued by the idea of making the quilting be a map of an area special to you.

Alternately, I could do some tracing and use different colored scraps to make a quilt that looks like my neighborhood. i have seen a quilt like that before, and I adored it. I am so intrigued and excited about this! Who knows, you may see some works in progress soon...

I would share pictures but I want to respect her copyright--just check it out, really!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quilt Festival!

Earlier this year, Amy at Park City Girl hosted a Blogger's Quilt Festival. I participated then, and had a blast looking at all the entries. You can see my previous entry here.
She had such a good response that she's doing it again. A big thanks to Amy for organizing such an undertaking!

I'm happy to enter this quilt into the fray.

Here's the back:

It is machine pieced and quilted by me. I don't usually name my quilts, so if you can think of a good name, please let me know.

Also, I don't normally use all fabrics from one collection. In this case it really worked with the pattern I chose, which calls for a lot of different fabrics. Normally I am sort of a "choose your own color combos" girl. It measures 67.5"x71.5".

I made it for my best friend Sara. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and quite deserving of the quilt. You can read more about it here, which is when I first posted it. In general, she loves it and it really fits her "surfer girl" personality (she lives a block away from the beach in CA).

Enjoy the rest of the quilts in the festival! I know I will.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

catching up

I've been meaning to post a final picture of this quilt. I quilted and bound it awhile ago, but only got my little "hang ups" to hang it on the wall recently. It's nice to have something that I made displayed like artwork. I definitely get people asking about it when they come over, which is nice.

improvised quilt

As you can tell, I am still working on getting my quilting to lay perfectly flat. I've read about various techniques for doing so, but I haven't had too much success with that yet. I guess I'll have to practice on the next one!

Monday, October 5, 2009

HST baby quilt finished

HST baby quilt

I've been super busy with work, so haven't had a chance to blog at all. I'm just coming up for air. I finished this over a week ago, and it is already off to its new owner. The quilt was really quick and easy--I just cut a bunch of 6 7/8 squares and then cut them in half. Arrange, and sew. Super easy and fun.

Here are some more pictures.

Back detail for baby quilt

Back detail.

Back overhead for baby quilt
Back--I just used strips left over from the front to piece the back.

Close up of HST baby quilt

Front detail close up.

It's another "not finding out" baby. Actually, for her first baby, I got my friend a maternity shirt that said "not finding out". She loved it and is excited to wear it again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Live Piecefully 2 block for September for Sam

This is my block for Sam. She told us to go crazy, any size. I have to admit, I went a little safe on this one. I used a pattern from Quilter's Cache called Octagon and Twist.

It was pretty easy, until I got to the part that had tricky seams. It turned out ok, but I guess I didn't look at it too carefully before jumping in!

I hope she likes it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Next Baby quilt in Progress

I feel like everyone around me is pregnant, so here's another baby quilt I'm working on.

It's just a bunch of triangles in a variety of fabrics. Some "Red Letter Day" by Lizzie House, some other fabrics I don't really know the origin of, and then various Kona cottons.

It is for my friend whose son is shown here sleeping under the quilt I made him.
I feel like the second (or third or fourth) child often "gets the shaft" so to speak in terms of toys and special items just for them. So I want to make sure that baby #2 gets a quilt just as nice as the first one.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hip 2 Bee Square September

This is my block for Kim. She wanted something traditional, and something that used the little critter guy she provided.

It was a fun block to do. I used another block from Quilter's Cache called Beacon Lights Variation. The instructions were very easy to follow, and it really showcases the monster guy in the center.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

finished zig zag quilt

I finished this quilt last weekend. I hadn't realized the baby is due October 3rd, and the shower was announced a week before it happened! The baby shower was on Sunday, so you betcha I was sewing the binding on the night before. I really like how it turned out. I did a basic zig zag outline, and then did some curvy lines in the border (also with the walking foot).
Quick shot of the back.

I tried to make it gender neutral (she doesn't know the baby's sex yet). I think it turned out "baby" without being too cutesy or too girl or boy. At the baby shower there was the standard oohing and aahing. People are always amazed at homemade goods. I like giving homemade goods, as I enjoy making them, and I put a lot of love into them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another quick baby quilt

I recently found out that my college roommate had another baby. She lives in Wyoming and has the most adorable daughter already.
This is her daughter a year ago--my most recent picture of her. Now she has a little sister! So as soon as I heard, I had to get to work. I got some fabrics together and whipped this up.

Finished the binding, added the label, and it's ready to go!
I had a piece of soft green flannel that my mom gave me, and it was perfect for the backing here. The color isn't very good--I really do need to get a new camera.

I hope it keeps her warm!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Zig Zag quilt

I know I'm a little late, but I decided to do the Old Red Barn Co's zig zag quilt along. I like the design, and I knew I needed more practice on working with triangles. I don't do much with triangles, so this was the perfect exercise.

This is a baby quilt for a friend. I don't know the sex, so I wanted to make it gender neutral. I think it turned out pretty cute, and I really developed my triangle skills! I feel like this was a good "skill builder" quilt for me. I have stuck to a lot of "safe" things in the past and this pushed me a little.

Now I just need to find some backing fabric. Good thing the baby's not due until November.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I feel like an artist...

The other day I was reading my (new to me) book, The Quilts of Gee's Bend. I got inspired. I saw the little hand-dyed fabrics from Heather, and I saw the scraps of black from this quilt, and got to sewing. I just started piecing and trying out layouts and came up with this.

I like it. I need to get some more black for the backing and to quilt it, but I think it's going to be a wall hanging in our living room. I know a lot of quilters are afraid of black, but I really like it. I fall into the camp of considering black a "bright". It really makes a lot of other colors pop when placed in contrast with them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Live Piecefully 2 August block

This was a really challenging block. Amy asked for paper piecing, which I'd never done before. I was totally up for the challenge. She also requested square-in-square blocks, which look really cool. All of this is fine by me. She also requested that we not add fabric from our own stash--totally cool with that too. The real challenge was that I didn't have a lot of fabric to work with, so if I messed up, I was in trouble. I planned out the block I was going to do but quickly realized that no matter how I sliced it, I was not going to be able to get a 12.5 strip from any of the fabrics. I had to piece at least two sides worth of fabric to get the desired length. I also didn't have enough to make the outer ring all the same fabric.

Overall, a good exercise in working within your limits, and I'm glad for it. I just don't know that this block fits with Amy's vision. I hope she likes it and is not too disappointed with my very first attempt ever at paper piecing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hip 2 Bee Square August Block(s)

I made these for Becca.

I hope she likes them!
She sent us a bunch of scraps and told us to go crazy. She sent so much fabric that I made two 12.5" blocks and still had fabric left over!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Making progress

I finally put the border on this quilt. I finished the top back in February but didn't have a border I liked. I had some leftover brown solid from this quilt, so I used that. I like how it sets off the bright colors.

I made this during a "quilt a thon" all day quilting session with a local quilting group. Of course, I was the youngest person there. The ladies were really nice and I'd like to go back, but they meet on Thursdays from 1-8pm. Two problems with that: 1) I have to work during the day and 2) Thursday nights are choir practice until June, and then July is dance practice on Thursday nights. Alas. Hopefully I'll be able to do the quilter's retreat in October. We'll see.

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Hip 2 Bee Squared block

This block is for Ahava. She asked us to try a technique we'd never used before. I was planning to use the freezer paper circles technique, until I realized that I had already cut out the fabric wrong. Alas. So I ended up using circles anyway (which I have always been pretty frightened of) and made machine applique circles on a minimalist composition.

I made a ton of sketches beforehand, but I finally realized that "less is more" sometimes. I hope she likes it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

block party top finished

I finished this top. I really like how the brown sashing and border really sets everything off. I think it makes everything else really POP. My husband is so good--he was telling me that the strength of the design is having contrast in the sashing, rather than blending in. He was totally right.
I apologize for the poor photo job. My camera is on its last legs and I was also having trouble getting good light.

Now to find some backing. This one is going to the longarm quilter for the special treatment--it's a wedding present for a very special family friend.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

my first bag

I made my first-ever handbag today. It's pretty basic, but I was a little nervous and didn't want to try anything too fancy for a first bag. I used some of the fabric from my friend's furniture store that I posted about here. I think it turned out pretty cute.

And the best part is that I made something usable out of something that was going to be thrown away!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

cancer quilt

I posted about this quilt before, but I finally finished it. I ended up tying it and machine sewing on the binding, because I really needed to finish it. Every time I looked at it I felt guilty that I hadn't finished it. So here it is--each heart was decorated by someone in my choir, all for our fellow choir member who has breast cancer. A lot of prayers went into this quilt. I hope she likes it and finds that it brings her some peace.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

my first quilt

Camille and Carrie are hosting a parade of quilts, and I thought I would join in. You have to be nice--my first quilt was made when I was about 10 years old. I got into it until I got to the finishing part--it took me forever to put the binding on (I am still not as good about finishing quilts as I am at starting them....). It is hand quilted on the first border, and it was tied (long ago). It's in rough shape now, but I have a sentimental attachment to it. I know, it's kind of ugly.
My most recent quilt is this one:

Since my first quilt (19 years ago) I have changed a lot! My color choices are drastically different, my hand quilting is much better, my machine quilting (which didn't exist then) is coming along. I have also gotten more accurate in my piecing, and I've become a lot more willing to step outside the box in terms of colors and patterns. When I first started quilting, I made all my quilts with cream as a background color (maybe not all, just a lot). I also often would see a picture and decide to make the quilt in the same color scheme. Now I am much more willing to try out lots of color combinations that would have scared me in the past. So that's it! I can't wait to poke around and see everyone else's quilting journeys.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More fabric...

Last Tuesday I went to a fabric swap hosted by Mary Beth at The Lazy Milliner. It turns out I knew her already from swing dancing but hadn't made the connection. It was fun to get rid of some fabric that has been sitting around my stash for awhile. It's been there for years and I could never find the right project for it, and I didn't love it. So it went to the swap. At the swap, there was some fun fabric as well as some patterns. I picked up two bag patterns and a skirt pattern as well as some fabric.

Also in the mail I got some gorgeous hand-dyed fabric that I won from Heather Bennett. The pictures don't do it justice!

And finally, I've gotten some goodies in the mail from various internet sales. This fabric I've been eyeing for awhile, waiting for it to go on sale. It is from the "Proud" collection by Keri Beyer.

I wouldn't use it in a regular quilt, but I think it is perfect for a one-block wonder. One block wonders require a lot of yardage from one fabric, and they work best with fabrics that have a lot of colors and a large repeat. I think this one fits the bill perfectly.

Here are some other goodies I've bought recently.

Now back to work--I've been away for the past two weekends and traveling for work as well, so I'm glad to be back at the sewing machine. I really need to finish the group quilt for my fellow choir member.