Monday, August 29, 2011

fall 9 patch quilt

Some very good friends of ours got married this weekend and it was such a lovely wedding. I was excited to finally able to give them their quilt!
The pattern is from my one a day 9 patch quilt along that I did a few summers ago. (The links are on my sidebar.) Since my friend requested fall colors for the quilt, I used 2 jelly rolls of Kona cotton, in the dark and dusky color ways. I had a few leftover strips from the jelly rolls, but I made a few blocks from other solid fabrics from my stash, due to the color scheme. The sashing is bella solid, from Moda, which is completely lovely to work with. I'm not sure what color it is, though.
I quilted it with a simple grid on the diagonal in natural colored thread. I must be weird, because I enjoy that type of least once in awhile. It only took me a few days to quilt it. I did a lot of praying for the couple while I was working on it. I love doing that if I have a specific recipient in mind when making a quilt.

I dug out all the brown scraps I could find for binding from my scrap bins. They are all the same color...I had plenty of pieces leftover from making my boys' star wars robes, among other projects. I had more than the usual amount of seams in the binding, but I didn't was nice not to have to buy additional fabric. This is one case where it's a good thing that I throw very little away!
The back was pieced from the stash. I had these colors set aside for a quilt top, (I had a pattern picked out and everything), but I was delighted to use them for the back instead. It's a lovely way to burn though 5+ yards of stash! And that's one less quilt on my list to make. Yay!
The quilt measures about 66" x 90". I made it a twin size so they could use it on the back of the couch or on a twin bed in their guest room. I finished it back in July, but I took photos and added the label on the morning of the wedding. I'm such a procrastinator sometimes! I'm glad this quilt is compete, that it's off to it's new home. I actually enjoyed working out of my normal color scheme and I'm pleased with how it came together.

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

hand quilting

I started hand quilting my apple cake quilt last week. I am not a proficient hand quilter. Shoot, I'm not a hand quilter at all, but I'm attempting it on this quilt anyway. I think it suits the quilt very well. I have been plugging away at it a little each day. It has been such a nice project to sit with and work on amid the chaos that has been going on in my house as summer is drawing to a close. I even took it along to my sister's house when we went to visit this past week. I have 62 leaves done and there is only a small hole in my finger. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

flying with your sewing machine

It seems like every time I post about a retreat, I have questions about flying with a sewing machine. I thought it would be a good time to talk about my (limited) experience with this. Last November, when I flew to Colorado, I did take my JUKI with me, since it would be very hard to teach machine quilting without my own machine.
The first thing I did was to call and ask the airline about it. The airline I flew with said they had no regulations against carrying on a sewing machine. Phew! I certainly didn't want to check it! Who knows what it would go through until I could pick it up in baggage claim. I made sure to take out the needle, just in case that would cause any issues. I put my needles in my checked bag.

I called my sewing machine dealer to ask the ideal way to travel with my JUKI.  The man I spoke to told me that they aren't ideal for transporting. (Something I had already realized.) I asked about what kind of case and such, but he didn't have any recommendations.
So, I went on the hunt for a suitcase for my sewing machine that would fit my machine and also meet the size requirements of a carry on bag. I found a regular soft sided suitcase at Target (yay Target!) that fit my needs. My sewing machine fit fine and dandy, but with little room to spare! I put a few small quilts around the machine for padding, since I was transporting them anyway. I also put a quilt over the machine, just to be on the safe side. I have to say, it was NOT easy to lift up the machine into the overhead compartment, but I managed. (It's a good thing I lift weights. Ha!)

On the flight there, security did take my bag, open it and inspect it. On the flight home, they didn't. Overall, it wasn't so bad flying with my sewing machine. I was pretty nervous about it beforehand, but thankfully all went well. Here's hoping I can say the same this year!

I'd be curious to hear if you have had any experience flying with your sewing machine. If so, how did it go?

Monday, August 22, 2011

36 patch quilt along, week 7

Welcome to the final week of the 36 patch quilt along! Today is assembly day.

The first step in assembling the quilt top is to lay out your blocks. Generally, I like to rearrange the blocks as little as possible, because it seems like once I start moving things around, things get worse rather than better. Random is good! Take a digital photo and view the thumbnail. This helps you get a good overall view of how the quilt will look. I do this almost all the time, with nearly every quilt.
When I viewed this photo, I did notice a problem area. In the second row, the second and third blocks from the left bothered me. I didn't like the pink and the red blocks next to each other. I shuffled a few blocks and took another photo.
This arrangement looked much better to me. Once the blocks are in a pleasing arrangement, the assembly is as simple as sewing the blocks into rows and then sewing the rows together.

If you pressed all the strips toward the dark, and all the rows in each block toward the top, then the assembly should be pretty easy. Take every other block and lay it right side up (so the seams point up) and every other block upside down (so the seams point down). I'm showing the backs of the blocks to illustrate this.
Pin the blocks to each other and sew the seam. All the seams in the two blocks should nest together, making it easy to join the blocks. Repeat for all the blocks in each of the rows.

After you have the rows together, press every other row to the left. Press every other row to the right. Pin the rows together, sew and press well. I pinned at each intersection when joining the blocks together and at each intersection when joining the rows together. It's a LOT of pinning, but it helps the blocks line up nicely, so it's totally worth it. Press the entire quilt top well. Stand back and admire it!
Here is my finished quilt top! It's pretty busy, but I must say, it turned out better than I had imagined. I LOVE it! It measures about 72" square. It was all from my stash, and boy, does that feel GOOD!

Now, I just need to figure out how to quilt it! I've been thinking about it, but haven't settled on anything yet.

Also, I wanted to let you know, Tara and I are planning our 3rd annual quilting retreat/workshop in Fort Collins, CO. The dates this year are November 11-13. I can't believe this will be year 3! (Woohoo!!) I'm very excited to be a part of it yet again. I will be teaching machine quilting, both free motion and walking foot quilting. We will have a workshop segment, where you can bring a quilt top or two for input on how to quilt them. I am also going to teach a quilt as you go option for joining all your quilting samples/blocks into one quilt. So, ideally, you should be able to leave the weekend with a finished quilt. There will be great fun, lots of sewing and amazing food! You can read more about the details and registration here. I know from experience that Tara throws an awesome retreat! Hope you can join us!

Happy Monday to you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

time for a change

This is what one corner of my craft room looked like at about 4 pm yesterday afternoon. (Pardon my one not so willing model and the blurry photo!)
This is what it looked like at about 9 pm yesterday night.
And this is what it looked like at about 4 pm today.

Boy, I'm tired!

I've been wanting to revamp my craft room for months, but I could never pull myself away from my 101 projects long enough to do it. It has been in quite a state of disarray for some time now, so I finally bit the bullet and decided to jump right in. As I've been priming the red walls (hate THAT job!), I'm thinking about what I want it to look like. I think I need LESS storage. Sounds crazy, but the more storage I have, the more I'm going to fill up. I'm thinking yellow walls. White trim. Full design wall. I'm excited about seeing it come together! I have a prediction...being that it's my craft room, I bet it comes together in record time. At least that's the hope!

Monday, August 15, 2011

36 patch quilt along, week 6

Welcome to week 6 of the 36 patch quilt along! We had a CRAZY weekend here. My husband hosted a groom's shower/cookout on Friday night, and I had a garage sale on Saturday...both at our house. The garage AND the house needed to be cleaned for the weekend. What poor planning THAT was! We cleaned for hours upon hours, days upon days. Never again will we attempt that in one weekend again. But it's all over now, and I was thrilled to wake up and have time to sew this morning. Hurray!

I had made a few blocks earlier in the week (I don't know when I had the time!), and I finished the final 5 this here are my last 7 blocks for the quilt along. Yippee! I can hardly wait to start playing with layouts!
Next week I plan to give brief assembly instructions for the quilt top and that will wrap up our QAL. I'd like to thank all of you who are quilting along with me! I've really enjoyed it and I have heard from MANY of you that you have enjoyed it, too. So glad to hear it! Please remember to add your photos to the flickr group so we can all see what you are making.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

cartwheels quilt

I've had several emails asking me for a good pattern for a jelly roll quilt. Well, today I have your answer. :)
I finished this quilt up back in April, but I drug my feet writing the tutorial for a few months. All that to say, I'm so excited to finally be posting this quilt! It's made with Strawberry Fields fabric, designed by Joanna of Fig Tree Quilts. I LOVE THIS FABRIC! In fact, I think this quilt may be one of my top 5 favorite quilts I've ever made! (Even though it is strip pieced, which is NOT my favorite technique.) But, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! :) Actually, strip piecing made quick work of the top.
I love the pieced back! The strip of coins breaks up the repeat of the fabric. Plus, it made the backing just long enough AND it used extra pieces from the top. There is very little waste and just a few extras. I love maximizing my fabric! But you already know that, right? ;)
One of my favorite parts of the quilt is the little 2" blocks at the top and the bottom of the quilt. Aren't they so sweet? I like having borders on only 2 sides.
For quilting, I stippled it in cream thread. The red binding fabric is the cherry on top...the icing on the favorite binding ever!
The tutorial is posted over here on the Moda Bake shop! If you make a quilt using this tutorial, I'd love to see it.

Happy Friday to you!

Monday, August 08, 2011

36 patch quilt along, week 5

Welcome to week 5 of the quilt along. I am so glad that I am hosting this quilt along...because I'm afraid that without it, my quilting would be very minimal this summer. (How did life get so busy???) I'm still finding much less time than I would like, but at least I'm making progress on something!

This week I managed to make 4 blocks. I hope I have time to squeeze in a few more tonight? Then again, that may be wishful thinking. This is a no pressure quilt I'm happy with my 4!
I said last week that I was going to add more yellow/gold. Check! Next week I need to move on to another color. :)

It's been fun to see all kinds of 36 patch blocks popping up in the quilt along flickr group. If you are quilting along, please remember to add your blocks to the group!

So, how are you doing on your blocks?

Happy Monday to you!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

oh my stars! progress

I've been working slowly and surely on my oh my stars! quilt. My husband thinks this would make a good king size quilt. I totally agree, but I'm not sure my arms can handle it. :) For now I'm just taking it one row at a time and I'll see where it goes.
I sure do love it so far! The way the white fabric pops just makes me smile.

The specifics of the quilt can be found in this post.

Monday, August 01, 2011

36 patch quilt along, week 4

Hello there, and welcome to week 4 of the quilt along! I hope you are still plugging away at your blocks.

I managed to make my 6 new blocks this week.
I also changed the two large polka dot blocks out of my pink thrifty block (see last week's post) and used the same type of fabric as the rest of the block. (on the bottom left.) It'll blend in better now, but it's still thrifty!
And here are all 21 blocks I have done. I'm liking it more and more! Only 15 blocks to go. I think I'm going to add in a few more yellows/golds next, then more reds. Then, who knows? I still have plenty of fabrics to choose from! :)
So, how are you doing on your blocks?

Happy Monday to you! and Happy August, too!