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.