Monday, June 30, 2014

14 in 2014 - Midyear Update

In January, I set a goal to finish 14 UFO quilts in 2014.  Since it's officially mid-year, I thought I would do a little progress report.

1.  Breath of Avignon - this is one of the first modern quilts I started, and I finished it in March. It was made from Breath of  Avignon charm squares by American Jane and white yardage.  The pattern is Avignon Picnic from Moda Bake Shop.  This one was started in May of 2010, so not quite 4 years start-to-finish.  Glad to have this one in the finished pile.  It's story is here.

2.  Basket Blocks - No progress.

3.  Citrus Quilts - This is the last of the four citrus quilts I made with blocks from virtual bees on Flickr.  You can read its story here.  It was finished in June.

4.  Single Girl - I finished the top of this long-time WIP in May.  This one really intimidated me, but in the end, it wasn't nearly as hard as I had imagined it to be.  I hope to maybe long-arm this one sometime this fall when I get back from my summer adventures.  You can read its story (so far) here.

5.  Starflower.  The pattern is by my own lovely daughter and the fabric is Beechwood Park by Janeen Morrison for Free Spirit.  I finished this one in January - my first finish of 2014. 

6.  Modern Maples - This one was made for the ECMQG Modern Maples Challenge.  The fabric is Juggling Summer by Zen Chic.  While it's called "Juggling Summer", it seemed more autumny to me, so I thought it was perfect for an autumny quilt.  I finished this one in April.  It's story is here.

7. Spot On.  The pattern is by Camille Roskelly from her book Simplify, and is one of the quilts that meets my goal to make every quilt in the book.  The fabric is also Juggling Summer by Zen Chic.  I finished this one in January.  You'll find its story here.

8.  Bookshelf Quilt - This one was finished in February.  Its story is here.

9.  Faux String Quilt - the pattern is Heximetry by Ali Winston.  The fabric was from the Stripes that Bind bundle from my favorite little quilt shop.  This one was finished in April.  Its story is here.

10.  Fat Quarter Shop Block of the Month Club quilt - No progress on this one yet.  I have all the blocks done and all the pieces of the finishing kit cut out.  There's still a lot of work to do, but in the end, it will be a lovely quilt.

11.  Grandmother's Flower Garden - And I'm pretty sure I haven't even touched this one yet.  I really need to get it off the shelf and play with it.  I don't know if I will finish this one this year, but I will certainly keep working on it.  Maybe - just maybe - I'll finish it... one day.

11.  Shiny Brite - This one was finished this month.  Its story is here.

12.  Christmas Quilt - No progress.

13.  2011 Craftsy BOM - No progress.

14.  Zig Zag Quilt - No progress.

So, I guess you could say I've finished 8-1/2 of the 14 quilts I hoped to finish in 2014.  Not a bad place to be at mid-year I guess.  I'm sure I won't make any progress at all in July, or through the middle of August, but hopefully, I can get the rest of these (with the possible exception of the GMFG) finished by year end.  Stay tuned!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Swappy Stuff

I've been working on just a couple of little things in the sewing room this week, mostly finishing up since I won't be home much the rest of the summer.  This is the June block for Tricia in the Modern Instabee Bee.  I'm in Hive 8.

I had a much more difficult time than usual choosing the fabrics for this block, although it was a super-appropriate color scheme given that July 4th is next week!

This one is kind of fun to put together.  It all nests inside itself one layer upon another.

My big complaint with this book is that the authors have cut the initial fabric pieces so big you waste a ton of fabric.  I've made notes in my book and cut down the cutting size so I don't waste so much.

Since I'm going to be gone so much this summer, I decided to combine my MQG Michael Miller Challenge and my mini quilt for my partner in the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap.  I can't say much about my partner, but I really couldn't find out much about her, so I decided that these fabrics reminded me of a beautiful sunset.  I used the QAYG technique and put the big petal in the corner as the sun, then used my EZ Dresden template to cut the rays - clouds interspersed with sunshine. 

I found this gray wheel dots MM fabric at my LQS and used the circle to cut a pattern, added the seam allowance and sewed it using the technique I use for drunkard's path blocks...

And then I matched the quilting of the rays beginning at the seam line. 

Then I used the same little wheel dot for the binding.  This one is off in the mail on its way to my partner.  Sure hope she likes it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Improv Curves Quilt - Another Finish

Because I got four quilts sandwiched at the last ECMQG sew day, I've actually been pretty successful at getting them quilted and bound this week.  This one is the newly completed Improv Curves quilt.  I don't think I've ever made a quilt that I've taken apart and put back together as much as this one.  And I don't think this will ever be my favorite quilt.  But it's finished, and that's something, right?

On two of the Improv Curves blocks I did a 1/2-inch insert of the background.  The cool thing about a 1/2-inch insert is that it leaves the lines created by the seams of the block pretty much intact, whereas larger inserts make the seam more disjointed.

I found this piece of backing fabric at A&E on the sale aisle for $2.49 a yard, so it was a thrifty purchase, and the colors were right.

I used the #4 Bernina stitch for the quilting.  This is a really quick, fun quilting method.  Ironically, the day after I finished the quilt, Faith at Fresh Lemons posted a tutorial on using this quilting method the Bernina WeAllSew website using this technique.  I pretty much did as she outlines in the tutorial,  although I set my stitch width at 6 and my stitch length at 3.5.

 In her tute, Faith mentions that she doesn't mark lines on her quilt, she just lets the quilting self-correct when she comes to seams in the quilt, and that's pretty much what I did also.  I just started next to a seam and moved over about an inch for each row, then just let-er-rip.  Little vagaries in the rows really don't show because of the wavy nature of the stitch.  It's great for hiding little flaws.

I found almost 1/2 yard of this pink polka dot on the donation table at the ECMQG meeting and just knew I would need it for something.  It turned out to be perfect for the binding of this quilt.  It wasn't cut quite straight, so I was short one WOF strip.  I dithered a bit about what to do, but then I saw the last little bit of the stripey binding from the Citrus quilt in the scrap basket, and it was perfect.  Just.  Long.  Enough. Total serendipity!!!  (I really love it when a plan comes together!)

Thanks, Diane, for showing me something new, and for your encouragement as I struggled with this process.  I really did learn a lot.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shiny Brite - A{nother} 14 in 2014 Finish!

It's amazing how much more likely I am to actually finish things when I have these quilts sandwiched and ready to go.  This one is Shiny Brite, designed by my own sweet daughter and published in the Westwood Acres newsletter last winter sometime.  I actually made 2 of these quilt tops - this one was from the rejected blocks that used the wrong background fabric (the bad news is that my daughter has very definite ideas of what she wants - the good news is that I got to keep the rejected blocks.) 
Her pattern called for sashing the same color as the background, but after a frustrating search for this color, I decided on a lovely aqua by Free Spirit, and I really like it.

The sashing stars  and the binding are from a red dot by Moda - I think it's from Eat Your Fruits and Veggies by Pat Sloan.  I didn't actually like this line much when it came out, but it's got some great basics in it that I actually like a lot.

As with all of my quilting projects, the quilting on this one was kind of learn-as-you-go, and the last quilting I did was much better than the start.  I pored through my copy of Free Motion Quilting by Angela Walters and then tried some of her designs.  I outlined each of the stars, both in the block centers and in the sashing, and then just left them puffy. 

I did the colored part of the blocks in a swirl, but it took me awhile to learn to move around inside the shape, so the early ones are a bit - um - primitive.  I quilted the cream background just with wavy lines, and they really aren't very consistent, but I like how the quilting sets off the blocks, although it might actually bring too much attention to the background and not enough to the blocks.  In the sashing between the blocks I did an hourglass shape.  I've actually tried this before, and this time the shape was much more what I was going for. 

 Finally, in the outside sashing, I tried a double swirl Angela shows in her book.  I never did get them really consistent, so they're not professional or polished, but I learned a lot, and maybe if I try them again they will be better.

The back is a piece of Simply Color I found on sale (60% off!!!) at the drugstore.  In fact, I was going to finish the bolt but there were these nice ladies at the other counter making a chemo quilt for their friend and this turned out to be the perfect backing at a perfect price, so I split it with them.  It's a tad boring, but by the time I had made backs for 5 quilts on the Friday before the last ECMQG meeting, I was just in a git-r-done mood, you know?

All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with this one. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Last Citrus Quilt - A 14 in 2014 Finish!

At the ECMQG meeting a couple of weeks ago - just before I got so distracted by the Treasure Map Quilt - I managed to get four quilts sandwiched before I passed out from exhaustion.  This one is the first of those finishes.  And best of all, it's on my 14 in 2014 list, so I'm pretty excited!

The blocks were obtained from the Spring Citrus Surprise Swap on Flickr in 2011, plus at least a couple of rounds of the 3x6 Bee.

In my last post someone asked for better pictures of the individual blockss, so here we go!

This is the fourth quilt I've made out of these Citrus blocks and there variations.  You can see the others here and here and here and here.  As you can see, these blocks have been hanging out awhile.

I FMQ'd with just an all-over loops design.  I love loops because they go so fast.  You're done quilting almost before you know it.  I think this 48x60 quilt took about 1-1/2 hours to quilt.

And I really like sampler quilts.  It always amazes me how you can take all these disparate fabrics and patterns that have nothing in common except color, and combine them to make something that looks like it was planned.

In fact, it's kind of amazing, but several people actually used the same fabrics, which really helps tie the quilt together.

And then when I reorganized my studio a few weeks ago - after I had the quilt top together! - I found three more blocks.  That's a total of 54 blocks and 4 quilts from these citrus blocks!

And those extra blocks look pretty awesome on the back I think.  But I have to say, this just may be enough citrus quilts for me for awhile.

And since my fabrics are organized now - by color! - and visible, I was delighted to find the perfect binding fabric just sitting on the shelf waiting for me to put it to good use!  It was exactly what I wanted for the binding on this quilt.  It's really fabulous to find the perfect thing ready and available and just patiently waiting for the right project, especially when it's already in your stash.  (Kind of justifies hanging on to all this stuff, now doesn't it??)

So what pretty projects have you been playing with lately?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{Scrappy} Trip Around the World

The Scrappy Trip Quilt has come back from the quilter and made its way back to be bound before it goes off to live with its owner.  This is one of the quilts I made Leona as part of our great bargain.  Yesterday, before the hubs left for Tallahassee I managed to get him to hold it for long enough to get its picture taken - at 84 x 84 it's too big for the fence!  He wasn't exactly patient, however, so I didn't have much of a chance to get creative. 

Leona chose all dots from her stash in bright, fun colors, and they look stunning in this setting, don't they?  I don't have nearly this many dots in my stash, but the temptation is strong to go dot shopping and make myself one just like it!  I really love how bold and bright these colors are together.

I think one of really fun things about the way this quilt goes together is how it looks like it's done on the diagonal, but in reality the blocks are square.  Bonnie Hunter's method for putting this quilt together is genius!

This is one quilt I'll be sorry to drop into the mailbox.