Bloggers Quilt Festival

I have one more entry for this years Bloggers Quilt Festival.  This quilt I am entering into the large quilts category.  I posted about this quilt a couple of times last year (here, and here) if you are interested in the process of how this quilt was made.  It was quite a labor of love.  It is finally done, and I have to say I am so Happy with the result.  I finished it by quilting a heart in the area of our home town, Muskegon, MI, (by hand) then echoed the heart out across the state.  The quilting in the areas of the lakes is simple wavey horizontal lines.  I suppose now I need to make a map quilt of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as an homage to my alma mater Michigan Technological University (Go Huskies!).  Now, no matter where we roam, we will have a little piece of home to take with us and keep us warm.

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Quilt Stats

Title: Home is…

Size: approximately 76″ X 80″

Fabric: Seven Wonders by Parson Gray (David Butler) for Westminster

Machine Pieced and Quilted

 

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition and Bloggers Quilt Festival

While everyone is busy with Quilt Market, this spring has turned into the spring of challenge quilts. First up for consideration is my quilt for this year’s Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition, as well as my entry for this year’s Bloggers Quilt Festival in the small quilt category.  Please be sure to visit the Umbrella Prints Pinterest board starting June 1st to pin my quilt, and visit the Bloggers Quilt Festival page to vote for me!

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Umbrella Prints is an Australian textile company, started in 2006, specializing in organic printed fabrics. I really love their fabrics, but I also love their environmentally friendly practices. Their annual trimmings competition, now in its 5th year, is a design challenge that forces you to look at a “waste” product (fabric scraps) with new eyes. Here is how it works, you buy a small packet of “trimmings” and make anything you want.

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It can be mixed media, apparel, home décor…anything. You post a picture of it on-line and send a link to your photo to Umbrella Prints. They pin your photo to their Pinterest board for this year and the voting begins (June 1st). There are prizes for a Judges award as well as a Pinners Choice award. This year they have also added a special Quilters category. How could I not throw my hat in the ring?  I bought a pack of their blue trimmings. To finish out my quilt I paired them with some hand screen printed trimmings from my friend Stefanie at 1606 and some solids in neutral tones with a pop of bright coral. The design was inspired by all the lovely southwest prints that I have seen around this season.  And the triangles were improvisationally pieced.

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For the back I chose a light turquoise blue, and the quilting thread is a pale coral.  The quilting is predominantly stitch in the ditch, but I also added some triangle quilting to make the small triangle trimmings pop a little. And to finish it all out it is bound in the same coral fabric from the front.  After a trip through the wash it crinkled up so nicely. I really love how this quilt turned out. It feels more like art to me than just a baby quilt. Although I’m sure it will be great for snuggling too.

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Quilts from the past

It appears I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up at my blogging; although I have a reasonable excuse. Last week I took the professional engineering exam for the old day job. It will be a while before I find out if I passed, so back to quilty things. On a somewhat day job related note…

A coworker of mine brought this lovely quilt top into the office a while back and asked if I would be able/willing to finish it for her. She had recently found it in a family hope chest, and didn’t know anything about it. She assumed it was made by a grandmother or great-grandmother. I told her from the looks of the hand stitching and types/prints of fabrics used it was likely from the 1930’s or 1940’s, and the pattern is traditionally called a trip around the world.

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I, of course, was more than happy to finish up this beauty for her. I have to admit that although I shy away from this scrappy trip type quilt, I really loved working on this project. There is just something about the smell and feel of an antique quilt.

There was no major damage that needed repair and those hand stitches have held up pretty well over the years. So it was straight to basting. I decided on a navy, green, and yellow dainty floral by Denise Schmidt from Joann’s for the backing and a simple warm and natural batting. Where I normally would spray baste a quilt (especially one this size) to get a nice smooth finish, I decided to pin baste this quilt (with what seemed like hundreds of pins – my fingers are still recovering). I was sure it would not hold up well to a machine washing (which I always do to remove any residual spray baste funk).

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When I started basting I envisioned a traditional Baptist fan quilting design, but as I worked my way out the edges seemed fairly wavy, not to mention the fact that I didn’t think the delicate hand stitching would hold up to all the push and pull of free motion quilting. So, I settled on simple diagonal lines in a dusty green thread. I didn’t use any markings or guides I just eyeballed the center of every other square and went for it. (The squares were fairly small, at around 2”, so it wasn’t too difficult to stay centered).

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I could not find just the right dusty green to match the outside border of squares, so I settled on a light yellow, which I think turned out really nice. It was even a little hard to give back to Deb once it was done.

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Easy Hexagon Star Quilt

I recently posted some snapshots of this quilt in various places… 9

…and I have gotten some great feedback and requests for a pattern.  So I thought I would put together a little tutorial.  This quilt is very simple to construct with no Y-seams despite being constructed from hexagons.

One comment I got a lot was that the photos make the quilt look big, but it’s not.  This pattern is for a baby quilt, but is easily adaptable to a larger size.  My quilt finished at approximately 40-inches square.

Materials:

2 Moda Honeycomb Solids packs (or 72 6-inch hexagons)

Cut 5 of your hexagons in half.  These will be used to finish of the edges of the quilt.

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Various prints cut into 3.5-inch equilateral triangles (23 groups of 6, or 138 total)

You can make all of the triangles different for a scrappy look or make groups of 6 matching triangles to get the star look that I used.

If you would like the star look I HIGHLY recommend laying out the entire quilt before sewing anything together.  You could also work from a sketch, but I think it is just easier to lay it out.

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7Now comes the fun part, construction.  This quilt is worked in columns (or rows depending on how you look at it), and can easily be chain pieced.  I place the top left triangle on the first hexagon (or half hexagon), and the top right triangle on the next hexagon down the column.  Then repeat this all the way down the column.

 

 

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Then stitch the triangles to the hexagons to form diamonds.  When you are stitching the triangles to the Hexagons make sure the corners of the triangle extend a ¼ inch past the edges of the hexagon.  Press the seams towards the triangles to aid in alignment in the next step.

Next stitch the diamonds together.  The seams where the triangles are stitched to the hexagons should just overlap; this will result in perfect points that meet in the middle.

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photo 1Press this seam open, to reduce bulk, and repeat for each column.

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Finally, stitch your columns together.

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See, wasn’t that easy?  Once you have your rows together you can baste and quilt.  I left my edges angled, but you can trim them straight or add extra triangles to make your quilt a little larger.  Once my quilt was quilted I trimmed the extra half hexagons to make my quilt square.

To finish this quilt I backed it with this cute Heather Ross frog print, and “straight line ” quilted wavy vertical lines.  If you make a star quilt of your own, please share it on Instagram or flicker and tag me.  I would love to see your creations!

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Long Distance Hugs

The hardest part of moving away from home is leaving behind friends and family. You miss the little things; afternoon coffee dates, girls night sappy movies, spa days for new haircuts after a crappy breakup. But you miss the big things too; 30th birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and baby showers. Well for me it seems like the last few years it has been a lot of the latter. I suppose I am just at that age where everyone I know is having kids. I would love more than anything to be at every single baby shower and to visit each and every friend in the hospital to see their new bundles of joy. (Although, as most of my friends know I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ANY DETAILS. I think being pregnant is terrifying and gross).

Unfortunately, I have a demanding day job (and I don’t make millions, so I can’t hop on a jet for a day trip out-of-state). So into boxes I squish the best long distance hug I know how to give, a baby quilt. I spend hours picking just the right fabrics for the mom to be. I want to match her nursery, fit her style, and be cute for baby, but not too cute. I choose a pattern that I think will fit my fabric choices, but will still interesting for me to make (I do have to spend hours working on it after all; it may as well be entertaining for me). I spend even more time choosing a quilting design, and I will admit that I have used baby quilts to practice and expand my free motion quilting skills. I machine wash and dry each quilt once it’s done to make sure it will stand up to daily use. Then I carefully fold each quilt, pretty side out, place it in a box with tissue paper just like a real shower gift, and cringe as I drop it off at the post office (I worry it will get lost in the mail every single time). It may not seem like much, but each hour I pour into making each quilt, is my way of cuddling up with those cute babies.

Here is the newest addition to the baby quilt line-up.  This one is for a dear friend that I even tried to con into moving closer to me.  She did, eventually, in a round-about way, but she’s still too far to make girls night practical.  Personally, I really love this quilt.  It has a great sophisticated feel and I LOVE the three blind mice on the back.

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But this is all I have, a pretty picture of a quilt hanging on my wall. So wrap those babies up tight ladies and send me a picture, that’s my favorite part.

Out with the old, in with the new

What a whirlwind the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 have been!  Lots of gift giving, thus a lack of blogging.  Let’s recap.

  1. Made myself a fancy lace Staple Dress.  Now my favorite outfit.  Can’t recommend this pattern enough.  It’s simple to sew and fits/look great on all shapes and sizes.  (See front page photo).
  2. Finished a baby quilt for my cousin who has the cutest baby ever, Aidan.  This quilt is all black, off white, and red with just a bit of green.  I think the letter and number prints are perfect for a baby quilt.  The block design is from Fat Quarterly Shape Workshopphoto 1
  3. Started and finished a shop sample quilt for The French Seam.  This quilt was made using Moda’s newest precut the Slice.  The precut stack comes with the pattern for this great quilt, including the appliqued anchor.  I loved how fast this quilt top came together, I loved the colors (my parents live on their sail boat so the theme is perfect), and I practiced my free motion quilting again with a wave pattern that I filled in with some pebbling to look like bubbles or foam on the crests of the waves.photo 6
  4. Finished the quilt for my niece Laura (blogged about here).
  5. Got Engaged!  Like how I snuck that in there.  No plans yet, but we are very excited.photo 4
  6. Made a trip to our hometown for New Year’s Eve to see family, friends, and take in a show.
  7. Made bunches of Pink Chalk Studio’s Mail Sack bags.  This is a great pattern for a very useful bag.  I highly recommend it.photo 7
  8. Started and finished…let’s just say a quilt to be gifted.  A simple churn dash block made from a variety of prints from Riley Blake, Birch Fabrics, Botanic, and Lotta.photo 10
  9. Started and began free motion quilting…another quilt to be gifted.  photo 11
  10. Finished a quilt top for the lovely miss Brittany (still to be quilted) in exchanged for some lovely knit goods. This was made from some improvisational log cabin blocks I discussed here.                                                                                                          photo 8
  11. Started and finished a quilt top…to be gifted.  photo 9
  12. Started studying for the Professional Engineering Exam…big damper on my sewing productivity.

See.  Told you.  Whirlwind.  And I am sure there is lots that I am forgetting.

Goals for the rest of 2014:

  1. Pass the Professional Engineering Exam…boring, I know.
  2. Get a better set-up for photographing quilts.  No more floor pictures!
  3. Improve free motion quilting skills.
  4. Use the fabrics I have on hand.

Let’s get this party started.  What are your goals for 2014?

I love all things girly!

Many of my friends have recently had babies.  And it seems like all of them have decided to a) wait till their bundle of joy arrives to find out the sex, b) not tell anyone what the sex was until the birth, or 3) simply did not “want anything too girly”.   That takes all the fun out of it for me as a quilter.  Gender neutral quilts are boring.  I would much rather make a super girly quilt with pink and princesses.  Like this one!

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This quilt is for a very special little girl (my niece Laura, she just turned four).  I think it’s just the right size, not a “baby” quilt, but not a bed size quilt.  I know I like to have a quilt that I can curl up with and take naps with, and now she will have one too.

It’s made from the Masquerade Let’s Pretend collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I fell in love with this collection when it came out, and I was so glad to finally be able to use it for a girly quilt . The center block reminds me of Laura. And the mask print is to die for.

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The pattern is simple squares and half square triangles, and came together very improvisationally.  I was hoping it would look more like a star than a big X, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  and considering this was the pattern I was working from, I’m pretty happy.

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The back is a simple gray sketch print.  The quilting I decided to do in a light purple (her favorite color).  The quilting design is a simple free motion meander with stars scattered around.  I love how soft and crinkly it is now that is has been washed and dried.

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I am really starting to get the hang of this whole free motion quilting thing.  I really did dread the quilting process not that long ago, but I’m beginning to find it to be my favorite part.  If only I felt that way about binding…I don’t think that will ever happen.  The binding on this quilt is my standard continuous bias binding made from one of the light gray prints.  And I even added a hand embroidered label to the back.

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I hope she likes it, I know I sure do.