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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Sewing Circle Tote

As some of you may not realize sewing is a very social activity.  Quilters and Seamstresses alike love getting together on a regular basis to eat, drink, and most importantly to sew.  So it should come as no surprise that we love to make tote bags to carry around all of our sewing supplies to various retreats, classes and meetings.  Lately, I have noticed a ton of great bags popping up on blogs and Instagram, and even in my own sewing circle, so I just had to jump on the bandwagon.

I wanted something big enough to carry a cutting mat, rulers, and an iron but with pocket for my smaller items like scissors and pin cushions.  Being a quilter I decided on Elizabeth Hartman’s Sewing Circle Tote.  She is in the process of redesigning her patterns but they will be available as a pdf download soon.  Her pattern is great for quilters because she gives a straight forward list of block sizes that can all be cut with a rotary cutter (i.e. no pattern pieces).  It’s also nice and big with LOTS of pockets.  Three interior zipper pockets (with great instructions for installing them), and five interior pouch pockets.   She also includes instructions for these great quilt as you go pocket panels for the exterior.  I decided to use some of my favorite Heather Ross and Echino scraps for these.

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The construction is a bit difficult, with several layers of interfacing and its bulky three-dimensional structure (quilters are used to working on flat surfaces).  But with a little time and patience, it is easy to see it through.  I did make a couple of minor modifications, because that’s what I do.  I found this great cotton webbing at my local quilt shop, Crimson Tate, and paired it with brown peppered cotton for the exterior and and orange Sun Print by Alison Glass for the interior.  And FYI, if you haven’t seen the peppered cottons, they are AMAZING.  Super soft and lovely shot colors.  These are going to be my go to solids from now on I think.

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The webbing is a little wider than the 1” webbing that the pattern calls for, but it saved me having to make fabric covered straps, winning.  And I decided against the short set of straps.  I am tall enough that I can hold the long set of straps in one hand at my side and the bag is still off the floor, so I didn’t feel that the second set of straps was necessary.  I also think they would just get in my way when putting things in and out of the bag, which would basically just make me bonkers.  (And we all know I am bonkers enough on my own).

Once I got my bag all put together and was ready to finish the top edge I felt like it was a little too floppy.  All the pictures I saw online looked so structured and crisp, so I cut two pieces of peltex interfacing and slid them into the sides of my bag to add a little more structure before I finished the top edge.

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All in all I am super happy with my new Sewing Circle Tote, and I can’t wait untill my next sewing get-together to show it off.  Who am I kidding, this will probably be my new all-purpose travel bag as well.  (Dreaming of QuiltCon 2015).

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?

Late night sewing can lead to…

big accomplishments!  This past weekend a couple of late night sewing sessions got my feather quilt top finished.

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You may remember me mentioning this project a few weeks back over here.  I am really happy with how this quilt top came together, despite how much work it turned out to be with all those odd angled pieces.  Now I need to start practicing my free motion quilted feathers!

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Once I had this bad boy crossed off my list I decided to do a little improve sewing.  Last month, at the Indy Modern Quilt Guild meeting, we had a scrap swap.  Most people just brought bags (and even one big box) full of all shapes and sizes of scraps.  Everyone dug through and took what they wanted. The left overs were taken to a local art center.  Amy, of 13 Spools, brought neatly color coordinated bags of her scraps.  I quickly snatched up a couple of Zip-lock bags of double gauze triangles (that I am saving for a project to come), and a bag of her warm colors (bright pinks, reds, and oranges with a bit of black and white).  I decided to make wonky log cabin blocks using just the scraps in that bag.  There seemed to be just enough to make a baby quilt or wall hanging.  It would be a quick and fun project.

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Aren’t they lovely!  They feel like fall to me.  Well, these four blocks quickly ballooned out of control.  I added a few of my own scraps, and now have enough blocks that I may make a throw sized quilt similar to Ashley’s Waterfall quilt.  More things added to the “to be quilted pile”.

A Quilt for Lena

The newest commissioned piece I made turned out a little differently than I had originally planned.  When I met Lucy (new mom) at Joann’s to pick out fabric for her new little girls room I was picturing a simple patchwork of triangles.  I thought they would complement the box pleats I had planned for the window valance, and crib skirt I was also planning to make.

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(I even appliqued little owls to the bottom of the crib skirt, which is made to adjust to the two different height settings of her crib.)

But when I got down to business, these owls were too cute to not fussy cut.

Michael Miller Fabric

It’s a Michael Miller print I found here that Lucy had ordered.  I decided I would cut out the cute owls and build some improvisational blocks around them.  I ended up with 9 blocks that are each about 14 inches square.  Each block was made consecutively with narrow white strips connecting them.  I LOVE the way it turned out.  I think it looks quite complex and has lots of movement, but was very simple to construct.

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I even had three little owl blocks I was able to work into the back of the quilt.

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When it came time for quilting I decided I wanted the fussy cut owls to stand out a bit, so I added a double layer of batting to each square, and stitched around the purple boarders.  Then the white boarders came in handy to separate the quilt into different zones of quilting.  Some sections are free motion quilted with big bubbles/pebbles, some sections have diagonal lines, and some sections have vertical/horizontal lines.  Again, I love how this turned out.

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Hopefully Lena will get lots of good snuggles out of this over the years.  What do you think of improvisational piecing?