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!

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 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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

Jelly Roll Jam Quilt

Man – It has been a crazy last week and I feel like I’ve hardly spent any time on my sewing machine!  Between my tennis team and my husband’s tennis team both playing in playoffs last weekend, to losing my grandma early this week and going out of town for my sister-in-law’s PA school graduation this weekend, time has just flown by!

I did manage to put a little bit of time in getting started on a new baby quilt though!  I mentioned back when I started on the Baby’s First ABCs quilt that I had bought a jelly roll of Riley Blake’s Boy Crazy line but didn’t have time to put that quilt together in time for her baby shower.  Well that same friend is due this month so I wanted to turn that jelly roll into a Jelly Roll Jam Quilt using the Fat Quarter Shop’s free pattern!

Jelly Roll - Boy Crazy

Don’t jelly rolls look so fun all rolled up?  🙂

I chose a couple of prints from the Boy Crazy line to feature as the backing and the binding.  The backing is the Boy Crazy Main print in teal and the binding is the Boy Crazy Circles in teal.

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I was able to divide the 2.5″ strips into three groups and get each group sewn together.  I tried to evenly balance the colors from each group and I was able to use every print in the line except for the coordinating solids.

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Hopefully I can spend some more time at my sewing machine this week so I can have this quilt ready to go as a welcome home present for her new little boy (whenever he decides to make his appearance!)!

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!

ABC Quilt Top Finished

Here’s the big reveal after yesterday’s sneak peek!  I’ve finished the top of my ABC baby quilt!

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I think the colors in the outer border work perfectly with the colors in the panel!  I spent a while picking out the fabrics and trying to make sure it would look alright and I think I achieved my goal.

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I’ve got the quilt basted and I got in a couple of lines of quilting last night before bed.  I think I’m going to try a combination of straight line quilting and a little free-motion work in the different sections of this quilt.  It will be my first time venturing into FMQ so wish me luck!