Stash Bee 2014 – July Block

It was great to finally get to sit down at my sewing machine again last night.  And with the end of July just days away, my first order of business was to complete my block for the Stash Bee!

Our Queen Bee for this month is Yanick who blogs over at Sewn With Curves.  She wanted us to make concentric squares with rainbow colors.  It is sort of a wonky, rainbow log-cabin like block.  She gave us a lot of flexibility in terms of finished size, squares vs. rectangles, red center vs. purple center, etc.  Here is what I came up with:

Stash Bee, rainbow, concentric squares, wonky

I’ve not done a lot of wonky sewing so I had to resist the temptation to just make everything straight!  And I know the picture looks uneven but it is just from the wonky angles.  The block fits perfectly under my 12.5″ square ruler!

Yanick’s finished quilt is going to be so bright and colorful!

Another Form of Eye Candy

Long time, no sew over here!  It’s been close to 3 weeks since I even touched my sewing machine.  But I have been busy – I promise!  My husband and I went on a week and a half long trip to Europe with two other couples that we have been friends with since college.  And we culminated the trip with a 3-day electronic music festival in Brussels!  We got back about a week ago but I’m just now starting to get back in the swing of normal life (catching up after a vacation makes you feel like you need another vacation sometimes!).

I don’t normally share much of my non-sewing life on the blog but since I don’t have any sewing projects to share, I thought I’d share some photos from our trip!  I tried to post a photo collage a day to my personal Instagram (I have separate personal and quilting IG accounts) to keep my family up to date with our travels and I wanted to share them here with you!

We started our trip in Paris.  We had about 24 hours (split into 2 half days) to see Paris while we waited for the last couple to arrive.  Luckily, my husband was the only one in the group who’d never seen Paris so we tried to cover all the big tourist hot-spots for him!  First we went up to Sacre Cour for the beautiful views over the city and then we walked around the city and did a riverboat cruise to hit the other important sites.

Paris - 2

We also wanted to include something I hadn’t done the first time I went to Paris so we spent our second half-day going down into the Catacombs!  The science nerd in me was fascinated by all the bones but I’m sure some would find it pretty creepy.

Paris - 3

Then we took the train to Amsterdam in The Netherlands where we were spending 3 days and 4 nights.  The first day, we simply explored the city.  Between checking out the Van Gogh museum, going on a canal cruise, and just seeing the beautiful bridges and buildings, we had plenty to occupy our time.

Netherlands - 2

The next day, we rented bikes and took a 3-hour bike tour around the Dutch countryside.  It was absolutely beautiful!  I think this might have been my favorite thing we did all trip!

Netherlands - 3

Our last day in The Netherlands we spent doing a day trip.  We went to two nearby cities, Delft and Den Hague.  We took another canal tour in Delft and climbed to the top of the tower of the New Church in the central square where we had stunning views!

Netherlands - 4

In Den Hague, we checked out the Parliament and the Peace Palace but our main destination was the beach.  The ocean was so pretty but the water there is freezing!

Netherlands - 5

Then we caught the train to Brugge, Belgium.  We had about 24 hours in this little city where we saw the Madonna and Child statue by Michelangelo, climbed the bell tower, biked by some windmills, and went on a canal cruise.  Oh – and enjoyed Belgian waffles, beer, and chocolate of course!

Brussels - 1

My husband and I also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary while we were in Brugge!  One of the chocolate shops we stopped in had the perfect chocolate for us!

Anniversary - 1

Then it was on to Brussels, Belgium for our music festival.  We planned this trip around the Tommorrowland electronic music (EDM) festival.  This is one of the biggest music festivals with ~200K people attending each of two weekends and the tickets literally sell out 1 second after they go on sale!

Tommorrowland - 1

Tomorrowland - 2

This was the first music festival I’ve ever been to and we had a blast!  There were 15 stages featuring hundreds of DJs over the 3-day weekend.  We even managed to position ourselves at the very front of the crowd at the main stage for one of our favorite DJs, Krewella!

Tomorrowland - 3

Tommorrowland - 4

All in all, we had an awesome time and really enjoyed the break as well as travelling with some of our good friends!

I’m hoping to spend some time on my machine tonight so we’ll hopefully back into my normal sewing and quilting posts soon!

Any other quilters out there like EDM?  I feel like those two hobbies don’t typically go together!  Or do you have any other hobbies that you’d guess are unusual for a quilter?

A Quilt for Me!

So far, every quilt that I have made has been a gift for someone else.  Don’t get me wrong, I love giving away these quilts and it makes me happy to see others enjoying them.  But I’d also love to have a piece of my hobby and hard work for myself.  So I decided it is time to make a quilt for me!

I was really drawn to Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow line and I bought a layer cake of it a while back but had never done anything with it.  There are a lot of big, bold prints in this line so I really didn’t want to cut it up too much as I didn’t want to lose the designs in small piecing.

I found this Easy Bricks Quilt pattern from Moda Bake Shop which really fit the bill and looked like it would go together quickly.  So I sliced the entire layer cake in half and got started.  I love how the stack of fabrics looked together!

Joel Dewberry, Bungalow, fabric

Then I proceeded to do lots of chain piecing and pressed open all of my seams (which honestly took a lot longer to do 84 times than I expected!)

Joel Dewberry, Bungalow, fabric, chain piecing

But I’ve already been able to get the entire quilt top laid out!  I’ve been making a few tweaks here and there since this late night photo to try to make sure the colors and patterns are balanced but I think it’s almost ready to start sewing up!

Joel Dewberry, Bungalow, fabric

Is there anyone else like me who has been negligent in actually making a quilt for themselves?

Stash Bee 2014 – June Blocks

I feel like I haven’t spent that much time at the sewing machine these last couple weeks.  I’ve been too distracted by World Cup soccer and my sewing space renovation (I’ll be sure to share more on that once I’m done!).

But I did find time to finish my Stash Bee blocks for June!  Our Queen Bee this month is Angela who blogs over at The Nuts Blog. She requested scrappy triangle blocks using red, orange, yellow, green, and blue fabrics (but not in rainbow order).

Scrappy triangle blocks, Stash Bee

This was my first time ever working with paper templates and I found the process to be pretty easy.  It was nice to be able to use the template to quickly check dimensions while I played with my rainbow scraps.

Can’t wait to see what layout Angela chooses for these blocks!

Finished Quilt – Earning Your Cross

I’m so excited to share with you my biggest quilt finish to date!  This quilt finished at a full-sized 80″ by 88″ and I sewed and quilting the entire thing on my little domestic machine!

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

“Earning Your Cross”
Quilt Stats:
Size: 80″ x 88″
Pattern: Arithmetic by Jeni Baker
Type of Quilting: Straight line on my home machine
Date Finished: June 2014

This quilt took a lot longer than anticipated to finish but I’m so proud of the end result.  Some of you may remember from when I first posted about this quilt back in December that this quilt was a gift to my little brother to commemorate him achieving his dream job, earning his Ski Patrol cross and becoming a full-fledged member of the Ski Patrol at Snowbird resort in Utah!

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

Cross / Plus Quilt, straight line quilting

I love the fabrics I chose for this quilt!  The colors are just so bright and they really pop.  And I was really happy to see the the red still stands out within the quilt (since the Ski Patrol members are denoted by their red ski coats).  I also used a wide 108″ fabric for the backing for the first time and it was so nice to not have to piece anything together and have seams across the back of the quilt.

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

I quilted this quilt with both vertical and horizontal straight lines on either side of all of the seams.  I think it helps the crosses (pluses) to stand out.  And the stitching on the back looks really neat!  I used a red variegated thread so you can really see it against the gray backing!  This quilt was a lot of bulk to support and fit through my small domestic machine but I found that rolling the quilt in from either side allowed me to fit everything through more easily and I could adjust the two rolls as I moved along the quilt top.

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

Cross / Plus Quilt, straight line quilting

I love the label I made for this quilt too!  I actually appliqued a miniature cross onto the label which is just a little something extra compared to what I’ve done previously.  And the bias striped binding was a great finishing touch!

Cross / Plus Quilt, label

I actually finished this quilt top back in February and started quilting it then too (note the date on my label above).  But after quilting 6 very wonky lines with uneven stitches and folds of my backing fabric caught in the quilting stitches, I was crying at my sewing machine about how I was ruining the quilt and my husband (rightfully!) told me I needed to step away from it for awhile and regroup.

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

I ended up staying away from it for longer than planned as I got caught up in other projects.  But once I figured out a better system for supporting the weight and bulk of the large quilt, the quilting became much easier and I was able to finish it without any further issues or tears!  That said, the quilting alone still took me at least 16 or 18 hours!  I did rip out 4 out of those 6 original lines of quilting and fixed them too!

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

I finished this quilt late Friday night which was just in time because my husband and I were going up to Indiana for the weekend for a couple of family events.  My brother was going to be home from Utah too so I was actually able to surprise him with his (long-overdue) quilt in person!

Cross, Plus Quilt - Side by Side

I could tell he really liked it and he even ditched the hotel comforter to cuddle up underneath his new quilt instead!  I can’t wait for him to send me pictures of the quilt on his full-sized bed out in Utah!

Cross / Plus Quilt, red, white, and blue

Looks like a happy little brother to me!  (And a proud big sister behind the camera!)

New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop!

Welcome!  Today is the first day of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger blog hop.  My name is Kim and I’ve been quilting and blogging for about 9 months.  I’m quite excited to be a part of the first group of this year’s blog hop.  Beth at Plum and June puts together this annual hop to help introduce new bloggers to the quilting world and to each other.  This year’s group have already been having some great discussion before the hop has even started!

Plum and June

I started quilting last fall when I decided to make a baby quilt for my cousin’s new baby.  My mom had gotten me a sewing machine and taught me to use it by making some curtains for my new house, but then it was just sitting around without a use.  I thought making a baby quilt would be a fun way to dust it off.  Little did I know that I was about to be completely bitten by the quilting bug and wind up completely hooked!

pink, yellow, and grey baby quilt, Derailed, HSTs, half square triangles

The baby quilt that started the addiction!

Since that first quilt, I’ve completely hit the ground running.  I’ve now finished 5 quilts, 3 more quilt tops, and a pillow.  I’m also participating in the Stash Bee and making two block of the month quilts: the Skill Builder “For the Love of Sewing” BOM and the Delightful Stars quilt along.  I can’t wait to finish the “For the Love of Sewing” quilt because it will be the first quilt I’m keeping for myself!  I love modern quilts and enjoy working with both prints and solids.  I also like to bounce back and forth between multiple projects at once – keeps life interesting!

Mosaic

When I’m not quilting, I love to play tennis!  My husband and I both play year round and are frequently on more than one team/league each season.  I’m also a SCUBA diver and wish I could be under water more often.  Oh – and for my day job, I work in an academic research lab studying multiple sclerosis.  While I now live in Georgia, I grew up in Indiana and spent multiple years participating in an annual polar bear swim on New Years Day.  There were years that they broke ice off the river so that we could all go swimming!  I love to travel and have two dream vacations: a cruise to Antarctica and an African safari coupled with a summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro!

I know I haven’t been blogging for very long but one of the most important things I’ve learned is to use large photos and to watermark them.  Large, clear photos really draw readers into your blog.  I know bloggers with great photos tend to be the ones that inspire me the most!  And having a watermark (at least on your finished tops/quilts/projects) helps ensure that someone will be able to find your blog if someone improperly shares your images.

Magic Stars quilt, Sphere, Zen Chic

As quilters, I know we all strive to make sure our points and seams match up.  The best quilting technique I have learned is glue basting!  I find that I’m able to line up seams and points so much better with glue basting than I am with pinning and it really doesn’t take any more work or time.  If you’ve never tried it before, I really encourage you to do so!  I think you’ll fall in love!  Alyssa over at Pile O’ Fabric has a great glue basting tutorial video.

I just finished quilting this quilt top and am hoping to have the binding done by the end of the week.  At 80″ by 88″, it is by far the biggest quilt I’ve completed to date.  I hope you’ll stop back by and check out the finished quilt soon!

red, white, and blue plus quilt top, cross quilt

Be sure to check out the other new bloggers.  There are some really talented quilters in this year’s group!

Afton @ Quilting Mod
Barbara @ Suzy Homemaker
Rebecca @ One Wee Bird

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Finished Quilt – Boy Crazy

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  I hope you guys were able to spend some quality time with family and friends (we had a big party at our swim and tennis club) while still remembering the reason we are able to enjoy this extra day off work.  Thank you and god bless to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country!

Earlier this weekend, I finished quilting and binding my Jelly Roll Jam baby quilt.  And it is a good thing too because the little guy I was making it for made his appearance earlier today!

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

“Boy Crazy”
Quilt Stats:
Size: 40″ x 40″
Pattern: Jelly Roll Jam by Fat Quarter Shop
Type of Quilting: Spiral on my home machine
Fabric Line(s) Used: Boy Crazy by Riley Blake
Date Finished: May 2014

This was my first time attempting to do spiral quilting.  I did everything on my home machine and was pleasantly surprised with how well it went!  And I LOVE the effect this quilting leaves!  So don’t be intimidated by the spiral – they are definitely worth the effort and aren’t nearly as complicated as I anticipated!

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

A big thank you to those of you who weighed in on the border/no border debate.  As you can see, I decided to go with a border but I did stray from the gray/white I was thinking and went with Kona Khaki!  The warmer tones in the khaki looked so much better alongside the quilt top compared to the cooler grays and whites.

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

I tried something new with this quilt that I always hear mixed reviews about in the quilting world.  When I was sewing down my binding (I finished it by machine), I used a different color thread in my bobbin than on my spool!

I knew I wanted to use the same teal thread from my quilting on my spool so that it would blend into the binding fabric, but the bobbin thread was going to be making a straight line down the edge of my khaki border and I felt the teal would stand out too much (especially with the spiral quilting).  So I used a tan thread in my bobbin to blend with the Kona khaki and I’m happy to report that I didn’t have any issues with the different colors poking through onto the opposite side.  I guess I must have my tension set really well!

Different Thread on Bobbin vs Spool

I also love how this label turns out and I think it is my favorite I have made so far.  As you can see from this picture, the teal thread I used for quilting blended almost perfectly into the quilt back!

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

Now let’s get real for a second here.  I know the blogging world likes to present these “perfect” finished projects when we share our creations (heck – I’m guilty of this too!) but sometimes I think it is nice to see that our quilts don’t have to be “perfect” for them to look great.

While it is true what I said above that spiral quilting wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected, my spiral still isn’t perfect.

Spiral Quilting, Imperfections

See those wonky lines and little points coming off of what is supposed to be a smooth continuous curve?  If you looked really closely, there are plenty of little mistakes like this throughout my quilting.  But they don’t change to overall effect of the spiral (you’d NEVER notice them when taking in the quilt as a whole) nor do they hurt the actual construction and durability of the quilt.

In my opinion, it is these little imperfections that really show that something is handmade.  Nothing we make by hand is ever going to be “perfect” (ie mistake free), but it is the time and effort and love that we put into a creation that really makes it perfect.

I hope no one ever feels like their work isn’t “good enough” because it doesn’t seem as “perfect” as the final projects presented by others.  Embrace the imperfections because they are what make each of our projects special!

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

Overall, I am really happy with the quilt and it is a great pattern for something you want to come together quickly but still have a lot of visual interest.

Boy Crazy, Jelly Roll Jam Quilt, Spiral Quilting

I can’t wait to meet my friend’s new little bundle of joy and to give him his present!