Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Recap

I can't believe it's already the last day in April, so I thought this would be a good time to start a monthly recap tradition. Even though there are lingering WIPs, I know I got some stuff done this month. I thought it would be encouraging to go into May with an overview of the things I actually accomplished in April.

Rose Star Blocks

I only finished one this month. If I can get my design work and cutting done ahead of time, it would be no problem to turn out one of these a week just working on them in found time. Crafty hero, Clare with selfsewn, has a great tutorial!

Summer Sampler Series Blocks: Greek Cross

These guys are winners. The blocks are so cute, and I love the way they turned out with the fabrics I pulled from my limited stash. The best thing is the new skills I've been picking up while working on them. I'll keep making them to swap with the Austin Modern Quilt Guild, and hopefully I can make enough for myself to craft up some sort of quilt.

Free-Motion Quilting Practice

I did get in a little FMQ practice in April. I'd be down for trying some all-over FMQ on a finished quilt at this point, I just need to get quilting thread in more colors. This most recent attempt was pretty tough, since I was following traced pencil lines from a template pattern. I threw in some all-over squiggles, squares, and echoing to further discourage myself ;-)

Zakka Style Potholder

I reviewed the Zakka Style book and made one of the sample projects. I'm happy with the way the potholder turned out. It's a shame that several projects in the book seem to have errors in the instructions. If you're crafty, though, just wing it. After pulling out stitches a few times, you can get a cute finished product.

Marine Den Baby Quilt

I worked very intensely on this quilt for two weeks. It was tough, but I love how it turned out. There are definitely some changes I'd make, but it has pattern potential. I picked up a few new skills while working out the kinks, but a couple of changes would make the quilt top come together much faster. Also, quilting densely with my walking foot was very time consuming. If I'd had the right color thread on hand, all-over FMQ would have been a big timesaver.

May is upon us! How did your month of April go?

I'm linking up with Polly Want a Crafter and Lily's Quilts for the Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet! If you're a blogger with less than 50 followers, the Small Blog Meet is a great way to connect with people in the sewing blogosphere!

 Lily's Quilts  Lily's Quilts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: One Quilt Down. Back to Blocks.

Wednesday again! On Friday I was able to reveal a project I worked on for two weeks, the Marine Den baby quilt. It turned out so great, and I was able to gift it away on Saturday to the sweetest baby boy. 

Although I'm about to have another secret quilt in the works, I'll be able to share it soon, in early May. For the time being, I have Rose Star block assembly keeping me busy. I'm trying so hard to do the design work ahead of time. Then I can really take advantage of hand piecing on the go during found time. Choosing fabrics is much harder for me than patiently sewing the pieces together. You, too, can make these. It's just a little English paper piecing. See Clare's tutorial here.

I'm still working on Summer Sampler Series blocks as well. The Austin Modern Quilt Guild has been swapping these, and I'm picking up some new skills in the process.

Just keep ignoring the Storm at Sea. That's what I've been doing. With any luck, it'll see some action towards the middle of next month. May is almost here!

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Much Ado.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Made It, and I Have to Live with That

Soooo, I was at my parents' house recently, and I grabbed a bag of random fabric out of the closet in my old room to bring back to Austin. I figured I would analyze the contents for craft potential. In the bag, there was a familiar partially pieced patchwork quilt top by my great-grandmother, Alice. 

Unfortuantely, sometime in the late 90s, I attempted a little patchwork piecing of my own. I gathered some of the loose squares my great-grandmother cut for her project, along with fabric from my Mom's scrap stash, and a terry cloth towel (?????). This monstrosity was the result:

Yeah, so the giant yellow square is the terry cloth towel. Not only is the tag still attached to some of the towel, but it shows on the front of the would-be quilt top.

Classy. On the one hand, yay for my fearless, crafty, younger self. On the other hand, yikes.

The best thing about this patchwork project is definitely identifying the fabrics left over from costumes my mom made for school plays in kindergarten and fifth grade. 

I think the orange sparkly fabric came from an old shirt of my friend's that we cut up.

As for the towel, I definitely remember pulling one out of the linen closet that I didn't think would be missed.

Speaking of misses, do you have any quilting endeavors hiding in your house that are equally horrifying? Have you ever tried piecing an old terry cloth towel into any of your quilt tops?

At least I've set the bar for weirdness high. Happy crafting!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finished: Marine Den Quilt

Taa-daa! Secret project revealed. Totally worth the wait, right? I thought so. This little gem gets gifted away tomorrow. I finished this bad boy last night and spent all day today hand-embroidering the label. Phew. I may need some time off from hand sewing. 

The prints on the front are from the Backyard Baby line by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller. I paired them with coordinating Kona and Moda solids. I especially like the white Samaras print. They remind me of the pine tree seeds you find in pine cones.

I created a random meandering squares quilting pattern with my walking foot by rotating the quilt . . . a lot. I don't recommend this. Rather, just be prepared with every color of Aurifil thread so you can free-motion quilt at a moment's notice. Being limited to your walking foot when you need to do all-over quilting is bad.

The back is the Cocoons print in the Tin color from the Curious Nature line by David Butler (Amy Butler's husband) for Free Spirit. These prints make a really great masculine quilt. The strip across the back of the quilt and the binding are made from Kona Aqua. I love the color.

You can see on the back of the quilt Where I stitched around the polygons rather than continue the all-over quilting through them. I did use coordinating top and bobbin threads when quilting. I limited the amount of orange quilting I needed to do, because I knew it would show up the most on the back. This doesn't bother me, though. When I had to stop and start the quilting, I reduced the stitch length and did a little back stitching. The slight concentration of thread in those areas is visible on the back of the quilt. That doesn't bother me either.

Applying the binding went smoothly. Just like with my last finish, I mostly followed Sharon Shamber's approach, except I cut my strips 2 5/8" wide to begin with and used a 5/16" seam when sewing the binding to the front of the quilt. I stitched in the ditch on the front to secure the binding to the back of the quilt. No skipped spots this time. It's almost like I'm getting better at this ;-)

I named it the Marine Den quilt, because it reminds me of things under the sea. If an octopus had a living room, he might keep this quilt thrown over the back of the sofa. (If he has a sofa, too.)

Quilty Stats:
Pre-wash dimensions: 38" x 58.5"
Post-wash dimensions: 37.75" x 57"
Batting: Poly-Fil Cotton Classic Batting. (100% unbleached organic cotton with a 1/4" loft)

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Canoe Ridge Creations, and Sew Happy Geek!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations  SewHappyGeek

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Secret Project

It's Wednesday again. Here to keep us accountable.

Finishes Since Last Week:

Alright, that was a short list. Can I even call it a list if there was only one item on it?

In Progress:

In any case, I've been hard at work on a secret quilt which I hope to reveal on Friday. Ugh, I think that means I have to finish it tomorrow. No pressure. These are the featured fabrics, so get pumped.

I swapped some Summer Sampler Series blocks at our last Austin Modern Quilt Guild meeting, but I've made some that I can keep as well. I'll definitely keep making these. I'd love to do the Solstice Stars Series as well. 

My rose star blocks didn't get any love this past week, but I'll get back to them over the weekend. 

The queen-sized Storm at Sea with its many piecing errors won't be seeing any action until the second half of May . . . at the earliest.

I hope it's been a productive week for all of you! I can't wait to see everyone's handiwork. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, and Someday Crafts.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Austin Modern Quilt Guild's Color Wheel Swap

As you may have seen, Kati at from the blue chair organized another color wheel charm swap this spring. It filled up lightening fast. Lucky for me, Heather at fiberosity was inspired to organize a similar swap for the Austin Modern Quilt Guild.

Each person was assigned two colors per spot. I signed up for two spots so that I could get two color wheel stacks. 

I bought 1.25 yards in red, red purple, purple, and blue purple and cut fifty-six 5" squares of each color. (This allowed for a some cutting error on my part.) Cutting took longer than I expected. I wish I had spread it out rather than cutting all four colors at once.

56 red charm squares

Since everyone had at least two colors to sort into piles, it took awhile for everyone to sort out their colors. I ended up pre-sorting mine at the meeting. That way I only had to make one sorting pass in which I put out all four colors at once. Pre-sorting was tricky, though. A couple of pieces of fabric stuck together, and I had to go back through all 224 squares to find them. I should have pre-sorted at home.

224 squares in blue purple, purple, red purple, and red

Now I have this glorious supply of charm squares in every color. It's amazing! Our color wheel charm swap went off super smoothly. Definitely participate in one if you have the chance, or organize one for you and your sewing peeps.

I'm linking up with Sugar Bee Crafts, The Blackberry Vine, Type A Decorating, Schwin & Schwin, and Creative Itch.

  Tuesday To Do FEatured  

Creative Itch