Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another WIP

About a month ago I felt the need to get back to my sewing machine.  I had a nice little stack of fat quarters, so I pulled out my Fat Quarter book from M'Liss Rae Hawley.  I've wanted to make her "Garden Gate" quilt for a long time so I finally did it.

It came together very quickly. It's small, but I think it will be perfect as a wall hanging in little L's room.  The walls are a nice yellow and this will go with them very well. Sorry the picture is so dark! I took it back when Chicago was still experiencing non-Spring.  Summer is finally here so I'll be sure to snap a pic outside when it is finished.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm a winner!

Also during my blog hiatus, I won two different giveaways.  One was from Sheree's Alchemy and was this lovely half yard stack of fabric.
The other was a fat quarter bundle of Bella Solids from Shruti at 13 Woodhouse Rd!

Have I done anything with them yet? No but the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catching up...

I'm back! My little girl L is now 3 months old and we are really getting a good rhythm. I went back to work a few weeks ago and that seems to be going ok so far.  Here and there over the last few months I've managed to find a few moments for quilting and projects, so I need to update things here. First up is a baby quilt for a darling little girl born last week.

I am currently quilting it and will show it when completed, but here is the top prior to quilting.  I used the "Big Dots" pattern from "Quilts Made Modern".  I didn't really need a pattern, but it was good to have an explanation of the freezer paper technique  I really like how the circles have that nice turned under look. I've done applique before but usually just raw edge.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there--happy mother's day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

why I haven't been blogging...

My precious baby girl L has been taking all my time!  I figure I can teach her to quilt in about 3 years, right? :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

dad bag

I mentioned previously that I made a nice diaper bag for myself. Well I had to make one for DH as well.  I used the "dad bag" pattern from Anna Maria Horner's book "Handmade Beginnings".  The instructions were very clear and I had no problem following them.  The cool thing about this bag is that it is almost totally recycled! Most of the fabric came from furniture store sample books.
Dad bag
The strap was taken from an old computer bag of mine that for some reason came with an extra strap. I did have to purchase a zipper, but the lining was from my stash (not sure where it came from though--I think a scrap swap with a friend).

And....I conquered my fear of the zipper!  I will admit that the zipper is still not as lovely as I'd like, but it was my very first experience with a zipper EVER, so it'll get better the next time (and the time after that, etc.). One of these days I'll even do an invisible zipper (like the kind you use on pillows).  But we'll take things one day at a time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

deep breath baby quilt

At the CMQG retreat I finished this quilt top, so I wanted to quilt it as soon as possible.  I used the "Deep Breath" quilt pattern from Weeks Ringle available here. I ended up making it much smaller than the pattern calls for, but it still finishes pretty large for a baby quilt (54.5"*41").
deep breath baby quilt
It was pretty simple, I got to use some more scraps, and it's super modern. 
deep breath baby quilt
Plus I hope the blue hides stains well for the new baby.

I had originally planned for it to be bigger, so I had some extra blocks that I put together for the back.

I highly recommend the pattern if you need a quick modern quilt for any occasion.
**Edited to add--this is not for my baby--another friend is having a baby, so this is off to its new owner now!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

table runner finally done!

I have had this project in progress since November! It really isn't that complicated but I just kept getting busy with other things, and then got distracted by other projects.  It's a simple table runner--the entire thing is made from scraps. Unfortunately it doesn't really make a dent in my scrap pile at all!
table runner from scraps

I do like how it turned out, and it is now off to its new owner!

table runner close up
The project was inspired by a table runner in the Spring 2010 issue of Stitch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CMQG retreat

As I've mentioned before, my guild is totally awesome.  We had our first ever quilt retreat the first weekend of March.  It was super fun and I'm so glad I went, as I imagine I'll be pretty busy soon and won't be able to have a carefree weekend.

It was a very unstructured retreat, so everyone could work on whatever they chose.  It was fun to see what everyone was working on, and just to have dedicated quilting time. It was great getting to know people better--sometimes you don't have a ton of time at a meeting to hang out and chit chat, so it was great to have that. We had a few "10 minute tips" where a member would show a neat trick/tip that they know.  We also had a charity challenge where we divided into teams and raced each other to see which team could make the blocks for a rail-fence type quilt the fastest. My team won! What did we win? Bragging rights, glory, fame...

Here is the "official" write up of the weekend on the guild blog.  Here is Emily's post with her take on the weekend.

I worked on a table runner and a baby quilt (future posts as they are so close to DONE), and got to use Ebony's AccuQuilt Studio Cutter, "Mr. T".  Wow. Who knew that a die cutter would be so popular? There was a sign up sheet and I'd say Mr. T was in high demand all weekend! 

I got a ton of pieces cut for a drunkard's path quilt.  I've wanted to make one for the longest time but the prospect of cutting out all those curved pieces using a template made my head spin.  With the die cutter, I did 80 blocks in about 40 minutes. 

I still have to sew them together, but my initial tries at sewing the curves has been great--they fit together so perfectly that I don't need pins!  Can you believe it? No pins for curves.  I told Ebony that she should rent time on the cutter--it saves SO much time that it would be worth it to pay $10-$15/hr just to use it. Seriously, if there was a quilt store with one, I would totally pay to rent it.

Overall, a fabulous weekend--and I didn't feel guilty leaving DH at home because he was at a conference in DC! We had such a great time that we'll be doing it again in the fall and next spring--the dates are already confirmed!

Monday, March 14, 2011

my guild ROCKS!

I'm a proud member of The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.  They know that I'm expecting (any day now!!!) so at our last meeting they presented me with a quilt they made together. It was a total surprise--I had no idea they had planned something. Various people contributed blocks, Ebony did an AMAZING job with the quilting, Jen, Beth, and Sarah pieced the blocks together, and Sarah did the binding.  I love love love it.  It is so bright and happy. I know our baby will love it too.

front of baby quilt

label on baby quilt

back of baby quilt

Ebony quilted each person's name into the block that they made, including the ones on the back.

close up of Ebony's block
See how she made each one radiate out like a sunburst? Very cool.
close up of Beth's block

Seriously, if you need someone to do your long-arm quilting, Ebony is your woman!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

my new diaper bag

As promised, here is a picture of the new diaper bag I made for myself. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner's book "Handmade Beginnings", and the fabric is Joel Dewberry's Ginseng collection.

It is pretty huge but I imagine I'll fill it up with all sorts of stuff. I really like it because it is sophisticated and doesn't look "babyish". I haven't taken a picture of DH's diaper bag yet because I still need to attach the strap.  He tried it on and decided that if possible he wanted an adjustable strap, so I need to get the right bracket to do that.

In other news, I had a fabulous time at the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's first retreat last weekend.  I'll post about it shortly once I get some pictures of stuff that I finished and/or worked on.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday (Monday) Stash Report

I know it's a day late, but here is my stash report. I got a lot of fabric this week but it is mostly for projects that I already have planned out.  I've been busy but can't post pictures because our camera was stolen (long story) and I haven't bought a new one yet.

This week: 
Fabric out: 
7 yards
I made a diaper bag for my husband and one for me as well. There was lots of lining and pockets in both of them.

Fabric in:
11 yards
Some was the fabric for the diaper bags, some was for another project I have planned.

Fabric IN: (16 yards)
Fabric OUT: 11.62 yards
NET: (4.38)

See how everyone else is doing here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

first finish of 2011

I actually finished this last Monday, but I haven't had time to take pictures.  This is a disappearing nine patch quilt made for a friend having a baby (aren't they all, right now?).  I like making gender neutral quilts, even when the sex of the baby is already known.  I think it is just fun, playful, and colorful.

disappearing nine patch

Here is the detail:
baby quilt detail

I wanted to have a little more than just a solid border, so I added a bunch of squares after having an inner border.

border detail

I really like the effect of continuing the quilt to the edge, yet calming it a bit with the inner border.
It feels good to check another one off the list! Not to mention it was fun as well.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Stash report

This week I added a backing and quilted a quilt (I'll show in another post).  I also finished the binding on it, and started working on a table runner.  I made a bunch of blocks.  All told, I used 3.12 yards this week, and didn't add anything.

So that puts me at:
Fabric IN: 0
Fabric Out: 3.12
Running Total for 2011: -3.12

See everyone else's totals here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last finish of 2010

I can't believe I never wrote about this quilt.  My lovely friend Ebony is working on launching her line of patterns, under the name "QuiltPossible!" She is specifically focusing on making patterns that have rotary cutting directions as well as how to use your AccuQuilt Go! cutter as well.  I don't have a die cutter but I volunteered to be a pattern tester for the rotary cutting directions.  I've never tested a pattern for someone before.  I had a deadline to finish the top by September 30, which I did.  I found a small error in the instructions but luckily I was able to report back quickly. The quilt is a bowtie pattern and definitely out of my normal palette for colors.  Ebony said we could use whatever colors/fabrics we wanted, so the choice was all mine.  I feel like with quilt fabric, it is so easy to get stuck in a rut, always using the same colors, or at least all "bright" colors.
bowtie quilt

My DH really likes this one because he feels like it is more "masculine" than what I usually make. I am not crazy about the colors but I am still glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone a bit.

For the quilting, I decided to try something different.

In each place where the blocks come together, I made a free hand flower. Then I outlined each "bowtie" to add definition.  I really love how the quilting turned out.  It was a lot less wonky than I thought it would be!

What's really neat is how you can see the quilting on the back.

detail back quilting 
Very cool. It was definitely fun to test out someone else's pattern and give them feedback.  I've always admired the quilt tester (Laura Boehnke) from American Patchwork & Quilting--she does some great stuff using different color schemes to really help you see the possibilities of a quilt. Hopefully Ebony can use my finished quilt to give people an idea of the options.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goals 2011

As promised, I've been thinking about what I'd like to accomplish this year in terms of my quilting/crafting.  Here is what I've come up with so far, knowing that in March my life is going to change quite dramatically and I may not be able to finish as many things as I'd like to.

1. Conquer my fear of zippers
I know this isn't a quilt goal, but for a long time, any time I see a project with zippers I pass on it. I have a zipper foot, so I know that I have the tools needed.  I just need to do it!!!  I know that a few years ago I just had to practice free motion quilting, and now I do it all the time.

2. More projects, less quilts
While I realize this is a quilt blog, there are lots of projects I'd like to do, especially with a baby on the way.  I also feel like given the amount of time I'll have in the next year, smaller projects might be more manageable.  A few things on my list: a Christmas tree skirt, a table runner for a friend, baby booties, a baby sleep sack, a diaper bag for me, a diaper bag for DH (that looks more manly), bibs, etc.  I think that doing more projects will really expand my skills.  I haven't worked much with bias tape, zippers, interfacing, or velcro, but all the projects on my list are going to force me to work with those, which will be really good for me to learn.  Who knows? I may even make more clothes for myself or baby.

3.  Make at least one project involving handwork.  
This could be hand applique, paper piecing hexagons, sashiko, embroidery, hand piecing, etc.  I've seen some beautiful applique with the Joseph's coat quilt along, lots of hexagons people do, and some gorgeous sashiko projects.  I don't have good handwork skills, other than the cross-stitch I did when I was a little girl, or the binding I put on quilts.  I have a lot of learning to do in this area. I haven't yet decided which type of handwork, but I'm sure I can find something--there are so many choices!  If you have recommendations or tutorials to recommend, please pass them along!

4. Use more of my scraps.
I have a lot of scrap bins, yet I don't make much with them. I made one baby quilt last year almost entirely with scraps, so that was a start, but I haven't made much impact in that area.  I think if I get into applique or hexagons then I can use a lot of scraps.  If I make a string quilt then I can use a lot of strips as well. We'll see what comes of that. A lot of "scrap" patterns call for strips, and my scrap bin is overflowing with non-strip scraps.  If I make more improv quilts than I can probably use a lot of scraps as well. Please send along suggestions for using scraps (tutorials, books, patterns, general ideas, etc)

5. Finish 8 quilts.
I feel like my quilt goals keep going down!  Mostly I know that I need to finish 4 before April for various babies, plus one baby due in June.  So I added two for whatever else might come my way (there is a wedding in May I'd like to make a quilt for as well).  One of my quilts is "at the quilter" as part of Ebony's free quilting initiative.  So I'll get that one back by the end of the year and it will count as a finish too.  I realize that after March I might have a lot less time on my hands, so I want to be realistic.

6. Make a "seasonal" quilt.
At my parent's house, there is a wall in the dining room which has one wall for seasonal quilts.  Depending on the season, there are different quilts up (4th of July, Fall, Christmas, Easter, etc).  I have an idea for what I want to be the winter one.  There is a beautiful "White Birches" quilt in an issue of Quilters World I have.  It is white and grey with little red birds, so that might be the one.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Year in Review: Goals 2010

Last year I posted my goals for 2010, so here's the update:

1. Complete 12 quilts.
I'm proud to say I met this one.  Granted, I was planning to make more "large" quilts but that wasn't to be with morning sickness and the full slate of friends having babies that needed quilts made.  That's ok by me though.  I still met my goal.

2. Give away at least two quilts for charity.
I'm proud to say I met this one as well.  I actually crossed it off the list pretty early in the year.  Sometimes that goal really pushes you to tackle it early. 

3. Make a quilt with circles/curves.
I made two!  One was the Love Beads quilt, and one was the Pasteis de Belem quilt.  I am no longer intimidated by circles.  To make them even less scary, I purchased the CurveMaster foot, but I have yet to use it.  I hear great things about it though.

4. Use more solids in my quilts.
I made one quilt entirely of solids, and I've been adding them more.

5. No quilt pattern repeats!
Sort of made it on this one.  I guess you could say I didn't.  The last finish of 2010 was something I have done before with charm squares.  Granted, I didn't use a pattern either time, so I'm not sure that it is a repeat. :)

6. Make a "stack the deck" quilt.
Didn't do this.  Alas, I couldn't find the right pattern/fabric/occasion to do so.  I still like the book and will do one in the future, just didn't make it this year.

7. Make more improvised quilts.
Definitely did this!  I made two (here and here) at Beaver Island Quilt Retreat, and made one prior to that which was my own made up pattern, while my Pasteis quilt was also totally made up.  Not completely improvised but I'm becoming a lot more free with my quilt patterns.  Sort of like recipes in cooking, I often use the basic outline and adjust as I want, or I just make up my own.

How did you do with your 2010 goals?  Looking back at mine and how I did, I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I set goals not to fail or "break" my resolutions, but to give me something to work towards.  As you can see, I didn't meet all of mine, but I am ok with that, as other priorities became more important.  For example, I greatly improved my free motion quilting skills, helped start the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, and made my first piece of clothing ever!   I also got out of my comfort zone on three quilts (here, here, and here) in terms of color palettes. Those are great accomplishments and things that weren't on my radar at the beginning of the year.  Tomorrow I'll be posting my goals for 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

finishing frenzy

I got a bug in my bonnet that I needed to finish some quilts before the New Year, so I finished two quilts yesterday.  Here is a quick one I put together with a charm pack of Hope Valley which I won from a giveaway.
Hope Valley baby quilt

The detail:
Hope Valley baby quilt detail

And the binding:
baby quilt detail

It's a baby quilt for my friend's little girl, due in March. Being that I am due in March as well, I am trying to get all the *other* people's baby quilts done before my baby arrives.  I know that I'll be a lot less able to move freely as the time gets closer, so anything I can get done in advance is great for me.

Happy New Year!   I'll be posting shortly on how I did on my goals for 2010, as well as what my goals for 2011 are.