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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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!

Born to Quilt – Finished Mini

I finished my Born to Quilt mini quilt for Windham Fabrics this weekend.  I loved getting to play with their new fabric line, “Born to Quilt”, and I was also stretched outside my comfort zone with both a new color palette and some new techniques!

But you guys haven’t even seen the finished top yet!  Last time I shared this project, I only had the center section with the fussy cut quilting phrases.

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I had a lot of fun making the corners and probably over stressed what square blocks to use in them.  I really wanted something that could include a fussy cut sewing machine from one of the other prints in the line.  At the suggestion of some of my readers, I decided to go more modern instead of the traditional route I’d been thinking and I really like how they turned out!

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After finishing the top, I felt like there was too much white space down the middle of the quilt.  So I decided to use some embroidery floss to add a bit of color and decorative stitching by hand around each fussy cut saying.  Then I got everything basted together and ready to quilt!

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And soon I had my first finished mini quilt!

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“Born to Quilt” Mini
Quilt Stats:
Size: 18″ x 18″
Pattern: None.  This quilt was my own design.
Type of Quilting: Straight Line on my home machine with some decorative hand stitching
Fabric Line(s) Used: “Born to Quilt” by Another Point of View for Windham Fabrics
Date Finished: April 2014

I primarily did stitch in the ditch quilting with a little bit of straight line quilting in the string pieced triangles.  And the bright green backing fabric they provided is a fun pop of color compared to the primarily black and white front.

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I love how the binding looks too!  The black and white stripe is a perfect binding print!  And I finished attaching the binding to the quilt back by hand too – a first for me!

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Here a detail shot of the hand stitched embroidery.  I matched the DMC Perle cotton to the text of each phrase.  I think it gives a nice extra touch of color and was something I’d never tried before.  I’ll be honest, I found sitting on my couch and hand stitching made for a very relaxing evening.  I’ll have to do it more often!

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For such a sewing themed quilt, I had to take a picture of it with my sewing machine.  Although it isn’t what I made, I think this fabric line would be great for use in a sewing machine cover.  So fun!

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I’m so excited that my mini quilt will be displayed in Windham Fabrics’ booth at Quilt Market this spring!  If anyone is attending Quilt Market, I’d love it if you could take a picture of the booth (and my quilt) for me!

Finished Quilt – Baby’s First ABCs

I finished my panel baby quilt just in time for my friend’s baby shower this past weekend!

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“Baby’s First ABCs”
Quilt Stats:
Size: 43″ x 45″
Pattern: None.  This quilt was my own design.
Type of Quilting: Straight Line (with some curves) on my home machine
Fabric Line(s) Used: “ABC with Me” and “ABC to Z” by Alexander Henry
Date Finished: March 2014

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I did straight line quilting in the outer border and quilted a medium sized grid in the panel itself.  I wanted to hold everything together in the middle without distracting from the panel design.

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I was going to try some free motion quilting in the gray polka-dot border but I was having lots of issues with loops on the back of my practice fabric.  I don’t know if it was a tension issue or an issue with the speed of my hands vs. the speed of the machine.  Either way, I didn’t have time to solve it at the moment so I decided to make some curves with my walking foot instead.  That’s sort of a step between straight line and free-motion quilting, right?

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I love all the bright colors (although it is a bit of a departure from the more commonly seen pastels in baby quilts).

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The ABC print on the back is great too and was perfect for this quilt!

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Then I got it folded up nicely …

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And wrapped it up to take to the baby shower!

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The quilt was definitely a hit and I can see myself taking advantage of super cute panels again in the future!

Finished Quilt – Spherical Stars

I’ve finished my quilt for Julie at the Intrepid Thread!  I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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“Spherical Stars”
Quilt Stats:
Size: 51″ x 60″
Pattern: Magic Stars by Aneela Hoey
Type of Quilting: Straight Line on my home machine
Fabric Line(s) Used: Sphere by Zen Chic
Date Finished: March 2014

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I’m so glad I was finally able to get some nice outdoor pictures of it too!  The natural light really makes the colors in Zen Chic’s Sphere fabrics shine!

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I backed the quilt with the Sunshine Space print and I added a custom label.  I even kept it round to stay while the “sphere” theme!

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I bound it with the Blue Milky Way print.  Look at the quilt roll!  They look so nice that way!

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The quilt is now all packed up and heading from Georgia to Julie’s brick and mortar store in California!  I wish I wasn’t on the opposite coast and could see it hanging in the shop in person!

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I hope you like it, Julie!  I really enjoyed making it for you!

Sunshine – My First Finish!

It’s official – I’ve finished my first quilt!  I chose my fabrics, cut and pieced everything for the top, basted, quilted and bound everything together.  I even made my own custom label!  I’m so excited to show it off!

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“Sunshine”
Quilt Stats:
Size: Approximately 40″ x 50″
Pattern: Derailed Quilt Pattern by FrivolousNecessity
Type of Quilting: Straight Line on my home machine
Date Finished: December 2013

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I’m so happy with how it turned out!  My binding is really even and I think my mitered corners look really good for my first time.

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And I love how the quilt label turned out!  I appliqued it onto my backing before I basted and quilted.  I’ll definitely be doing this for all of my quilts!

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I did straight line quilting on my home machine.  It isn’t perfectly straight but I think the lines look pretty good.  I did have one really crooked row that I ripped out and redid though (thank goodness for my seam ripper!).

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I even recruited my husband to help me get some full length photos of the front and back of the finished quilt.  Thanks honey!

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Since it is almost Christmas (and this quilt is a Christmas gift for my cousin’s new baby), I though it was only fitting to get some photos with a Christmas tree too!  This gorgeous (and giant!) tree is at our local shopping center.

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Look how giant those bows are! 🙂

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I can’t wait for my cousin to open this on Christmas!  It is all wrapped up and ready to take home for the holidays!