My Long Hiatus …

I have so much to post about but life has totally gotten in the way lately.  Time to try to catch you guys up to speed with my life and my sewing!

Remember the colorful solids I was playing with a while back?  I mixed and matched between designers a bit so the set had Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons, Pepper Cory’s Peppered Cottons, and Andover’s Textured Cottons all included.  Last time I checked in, I had sewn them all up into a bunch of HST and hourglass blocks.

Well, those blocks turned in to not one but two different quilt tops!Baby Quilt 1

Baby Quilt 2

I had to get them both quilted up and bound really quickly too because they were for something really important.  Everything was happening so fast that I wasn’t even able to get photos of one of them outdoors!  My kitchen floor around midnight had to do!Baby Quilt 3

Baby Quilt 5

Baby Quilt 6

I really love the look of the black and white striped binding!

Baby Quilt 4

Baby Quilt 7

Now what was the rush you ask?  Well – these baby quilts were used to announce to both my mom and my husband’s mom that they are going to be grandmas!  That’s right – I’m pregnant and we’ll be having our first child (a baby girl) in June!

Baby Quilt 8

I couldn’t wait to tell them so both quilts were finished and gifted within a week of me and my husband learning the news ourselves!  Both of our moms loved their quilts and started crying as they read the label on the back!

Baby Quilt 10“Grandma’s First Quilt”
Quilt Stats:
Size: 42″ x 42″
Pattern: HSTs or Hourglass blocks
Type of Quilting: Straight line on my home machine
Date Finished: October 2014

So that is why I haven’t been posting as much lately.  Pregnancy fatigue and getting ready to grow our family has been stealing a lot of my time and, while I’ve still fit some sewing in, I haven’t found time to actually post about.  But hopefully I can get back on track here soon!

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Colorful Fabrics for a New Project

Despite the fact that I’ve got a couple of WIPs that I really need to finish, I’ve recently gotten started on a new project.  I’m working on two different baby quilts now that are going to be a matching set.

On a recent trip to my LQS, I bought a variety of cotton solids in a rainbow of colors.  I mixed and matched between designers a bit so the set has Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons, Pepper Cory’s Peppered Cottons, and Andover’s Textured Cottons all included.

Textured Fabrics - 1

I tried to find fabrics that would pretty true to the “standard” colors of the rainbow.  I was basically envisioning opening an 8-count box of crayons and trying to match what the colorful crayons would look like.

Textured Fabrics - 2

Since I’m pairing these colorful solids with Kona white for the background, my LQS recommended that I pre-wash everything.  They said my colorful solids would shrink at a different rate than the background.  So I bought some pinking shears and embarked on my first pre-washing ever.  And I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of having to pre-wash.  Between trimming with the pinking shears and cutting off the frayed edges after washing, you lose a good bit of fabric.  And it takes a lot more work!

Textured Fabrics - 5

But I finally got everything pre-washed and re-ironed and could actually start cutting into it.  I cut out 120 squares (1/2 colored and 1/2 white) so that I can make 60 half square triangles and 60 hourglass blocks.

I know everyone seems to rave about shot cottons but so far I’m not a huge fan of working with these colorful fabrics.  I’ve had a lot more issues with fraying as I cut than I’ve ever had before with Kona solids.  I tried starching the fabrics and that didn’t seem to help either (if anything, it might have been worse after starching).  But I did successfully get everything cut!

Textured Fabrics - 3

And now I’ve been doing a ton of chain piecing and sewing everything together.  Luckily, both HST and hourglass blocks make for easy chain-piecing.  I love how all the colors look all stacked together!

Textured Fabrics - 4

I can’t wait to start getting everything laid out and see these quilts come together!

Finished Bungalow Quilt Top

Well this post is a long time coming.  Not because it took me long to sew together the quilt top (it actually went together pretty quickly).  But it was over a week after I finished the quilt before I could even take any photos!  A combination of rainy weather and a couple of late days at work where it was already dark when I got home and all of a sudden more than a week had passed.  So without further ado, here is my finished Bungalow quilt top!

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

This quilt was made using the Easy Bricks Quilt pattern from Moda Bake Shop and I really like how the pattern allowed the larger prints from Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow line to shine.

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

I haven’t worked a whole lot with precuts and I noticed when working with this layer cake that the 10″ by 10″ squares seemed to not be the right size.  I cut them in half (I measured 5 inches in from the left side) but when I paired them up with the 5″ precut white charm squares, many of the layer cake strips were too narrow.

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

Luckily this pattern was pretty forgiving and with a lot of glue basting to match seams and easing of the fabric, I was able to make my seams line up well enough.  But I was a little annoyed about the inaccuracy.  Has anyone else noticed this with precuts before?

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

I love the colors in this quilt.  There are some great jewel tones and really saturated prints!  I stressed a little bit trying to get the colors and prints balanced and I think I ended up doing pretty good!

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

I’ve bought some yardage from the line for the backing and am going to do a little piecing for it but hopefully I’ll be able to get this quilted up soon!

Bungalow, quilt top, easy bricks

I can’t wait to finally have a quilt I get to keep!

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?

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!)

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!

Jelly Roll Jam Quilt Top

It was really gross and rainy outside yesterday evening – the perfect kind of weather to stay inside and sew!  And since the rain meant I couldn’t mow the lawn, I had plenty of time to finish piecing the top for my Jelly Roll Jam quilt!

DSC_1712

After I’d sewn all the strips together, I used glue basting for the rest of the piecing to try to make sure all of my seams were matched up nicely.  Glue basting is probably my new favorite technique and I’d say it worked pretty well here.

DSC_1713

My only concern with this quilt top is its size.  It is only about 36″ square currently which just feels a little small.  But then again, it is supposed to be a baby quilt.

DSC_1714

I was thinking about adding a solid border around the outside (maybe 2.5″ – 3″ wide).  It would probably be a white or gray so that the colors from the jelly roll still pop and are allowed to shine.

What do you think about a border for this quilt top?