Thursday, November 14, 2013

PB and J Charm Quilt

Here's another baby quilt. Ahhh...babies! Best reason in the world for making quilts! I made this one for my cute friend Bridgett who just had her 3rd baby too. She and I had been planning a double wedding for our children--since she had two boys and I had two girls. When I found out I was having another girl I hoped she would have another boy so we could just make it a triple wedding. But alas, she had a girl! It's ok though, because she is the CUTEST thing ever. Seriously. She has awesome hair. And her name is Ruby. Love her! So this is her quilt:

I had intentions of making baby quilts for Bridgett's other kids, but this is the first time I actually made it happen! Yes! 3rd time's the charm! I asked her if she had specific colors she wanted and she said, "Not really, I trust you." So let's just hope she's glad she trusted me when she sees it! :) 

I didn't really have much in mind to start this quilt other than a picture of a scrappy quilt I had seen Bridgett like on Facebook months earlier. So I saw some fabric I thought she might like...floral but not super girly, and kind of retro. The fabric is PB and J by Basic Grey for Moda. So I bought 2 charm packs and tried to think of a good way to use them. Inspiration struck when I looked through the fabric the first time. I thought the easiest thing would be to just cut the charm squares in half and arrange them in the pattern of the one of the fabrics...this one:

I put the quilt together by laying it out on the floor and sewing it together a little at a time. The smarter way to do this would have been to use a design wall, but I didn't have space for one in NH. So originally I used all the fabrics in the charm pack, but after sewing half of it together I decided I didn't like the darker reds. So they were unpicked and pulled out which was annoying but it had to be done. I really wanted to finish the top of the quilt before the move, but that didn't I packed it away and we moved. Then it took me a couple of months to pull it back out and another month or so to finish it. It shouldn't have taken that long, but the edges and corners took a while. Since I was just making it up as I went along I had another baby quilt that I used as a guide for the size and I laid it all out on top of the other quilt. But it wasn't exactly the size I wanted and everything kept getting shifted around. So I would think I was done with one section, then I'd stand back and realize the angles weren't quite right so I needed to add more pieces. Finally I got smart and made a rectangle on the carpet with some painters tape that was exactly the right size so I would know where and how much more fabric I needed to add.

I quilted it using a Baptist fan groovy board. It only took me 2 hours to quilt it and the quilting is perfect. I love groovy boards! 

I backed it in this cute floral print from the PB an J line and bound it in the matching navy textured print. I think I love the back of this quilt more than the front...the leftovers are probably going to become a dress for one of my girls. Super cute.

Hope Miss Ruby likes her quilt!!

UPDATE: There is now a pattern for this quilt! Get it HERE!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zeros Baby Quilt

Here's a quilt I just finished. I would be lying if I said that Blogger's Quilt Festival did not motivate this finish. I don't know how, but going from 2 to 3 kids has changed my daily quilting routine significantly. I can't seem to accomplish things the way I used without deadlines I wouldn't finish anything! In this case, BQF was the deadline...and I'm cutting it close! :) 

I made this one for my new niece, Kara...she is almost 8 months old. I have been plotting this quilt for a while, but I kept changing the color scheme because I couldn't decide who I really wanted to make it for...several new babies were in the running, including mine! Finally, under pressure of the aforementioned deadline, I decided to make it for cute Kara in violet, turquoise and charcoal. I went with all solids because it was easier...I already had most of them and the print fabrics I had were all different scales, and just not working for me. I think the right prints could have been so cute, so I may have to try this again with different fabrics.  

And the inspiration for this...back in January when I was making a list of all the quilts I wanted to make this year, I was trying to come up with some new ideas. One of the things I thought about doing was using some shapes I've never used before...hexagons, ovals, equilateral triangles, etc. We're all aware of my circle obsession...and since circles and ovals are closely related, I figured I'd start there. But after a little thought and a Google search or two I decided that if ovals are related to circles they are more like the circle's dorky older cousin...taller, thinner and kind of awkward. I just couldn't seem to think of a way to make them look good in a quilt. But refusing to give up, I was again Google searching "ovals" for inspiration when I came across the picture of this awesome West Elm tea towel (which sadly is no longer available for purchase). Props to the designer because it is brilliant, perfect and exactly what I was hoping for when I set out to make an oval quilt. So the pattern for this quilt came straight from the tea sense messing with perfection right? 

Applique was the only way to go with this one. So the oval shapes are appliqued on to the single large piece of background fabric. To make the ovals I used Inkscape. Have I mentioned how awesome (and free) that program is? I used it to test color schemes and size layouts and then to print out the template for tracing. I traced the oval shape onto fusible-web. Then I got a little crazy and decided to cut away the majority of the fusible web before I ironed it to the fabric. With this much applique, the quilt can end up being really stiff and getting rid of most of the fusible web eliminates that problem. So the other day I happened to be on the Fons and Porter website and randomly came across this tutorial for the very technique I used...they call it "windowing". I used a rotary cutter and just eye-balled it so it was pretty quick to remove the excess fusible web...then I just had to be a little careful when ironing them to the fabric so they went on straight. It actually worked like a charm. Here is what the back of my shapes looked like before I ironed them to the background fabric:

Once all the shapes were ironed on I stitched them down with a blanket stitch in matching thread. Then just to make a little more work for myself, I cut away the background fabric from behind the shapes. When it was done, I hemmed and hawed for like four days before I decided how to quilt it. It drives me a little crazy that it takes me forever to come up with a quilting design...good thing I had that deadline, or I'd probably still be trying to decide how to quilt it! And after all that stressing out about it...I ended up using the very first idea I came up with...straight lines in the ovals and flowers in the middle. :) 

I backed it in the darker turquoise and bound it in white. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out...simple but still somewhat girly...and hopefully not too dorky! :) 

And now enjoy perusing all the great quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Advent Calendar Quilt Instructions

As if we don't all have ten projects already going's another just in case anyone is bored! This is not a full pattern, but rather an instruction sheet of sorts for the Advent Calendar Quilt. It has basic instructions, templates for the bows and numbers and finished measurements for the presents and the tree. It will hopefully be sufficient for almost everyone to make their own quilty Advent calendar! Get it here.

Story time! So the night before we left New Hampshire we stayed in a hotel since our beds were on a truck on their way out west. I had a miserable night of sleep so I was a cranky girl when I took my 3-year-old out to the lobby to get some breakfast. Somehow I struck up a conversation with two cute ladies who were eating at the table next to us. They were vacationing in NH and wouldn't you know it...they were quilters. We chit-chatted about fabric stores and quilt shows and I told them about my blog. I went back to my room 20 minutes later in the best mood! Quilters are my favorite! A couple weeks later I got an email from one of the ladies. She mentioned she had seen the blog and said she would look forward to a pattern for the Advent quilt. I told her I'd make one eventually. I really was planning to, but without sufficient motivation and/or a deadline it usually takes me FOREVER to make a pattern. So a couple weeks ago she emailed me again to say "hi" and show me a cool quilt she had made. She reminded me about the Advent quilt pattern, so I told her I'd get her some measurements to get her started. And here we are! And for once, it didn't take me 2 months to get it done! Yay! So here you go cute Marsha! Thanks for keeping in touch!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Good Fortune Charm Quilt

Here's another quilt finally! I've had this one done for several months, but it has taken me this long to actually sit down and post it! There have been lots of big changes for me and my family the last few months so I haven't had as much time as I am used to having for important things like quilting (and blogging!). In May we welcomed a new little girl into our family and she is adorable, but it turns out she is also a little bit high I hold her a lot. :) At the end of June we said goodbye to New Hampshire and made a BIG move out west. We bought a house, my husband started a new practice and my oldest daughter started school! It has been crazy, but good! Things are finally starting to calm down, so I am hoping to be quilting a bit more now! Ok, back to the quilt:

I started this one back in January while I was re-organizing my quilting room. I had pulled all my fabric up from the basement so I could sort it and fold it and make it less of a mess. As I was going through a bag of fabric I came across a charm pack of Good Fortune by Kate Spain for Moda. I bought it last year when I was auditioning fabrics for my Quick Curve Ruler challenge quilt. Sometimes I just buy a charm pack to make sure the colors are right and it's what I really want before I commit to yardage. But then I have all these extra charm packs that I never use or end up just giving away. So rather than waste this cute little charm pack, I decided to quickly make it into a small quilt. I also had a little bit of left-over yardage from the challenge quilt, so I used some of that too.

So with piles of unorganized fabric still stacked around my living room I cut the charm squares in half and started laying them out on the floor. Nothing like an impromptu quilt! :) I figured the easiest and quickest thing to do was to make something similar to the Salt Air Charm Quilt but this time I wanted to try it on point. I didn't have enough fabric to use all prints, so I chose a gray solid for the center squares.

For the quilting I wanted to do something really cool like Chinese characters in all the gray squares since the fabric is Asian themed...but alas, there was no extra time or energy for that. I ended up making a pantograph with swirls and leaves and flowers that are supposed to look like cherry blossoms.

I backed it and bound it with the matching gray...

And photographed it on my friend Ella's sweet antique car. Then I gave it to my cute New Hampshire neighbor friend Tabitha. I was slightly scared of her the first time we met...but then we became great friends! We chatted every time our kids played outside together (which was a LOT) and I totally miss hanging out with her! At least she has a fun quilt to snuggle with if she misses me! ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quilt Photography

I like to take pictures. LOTS of pictures. I should probably look into that instagram thing...but unfortunately my phone is a dinosaur with no camera so it really wouldn't do me any good. Maybe someday. Anyway, generally when I make a quilt, I take lots of pictures of it. Like 200...or more. Just in case. Sometimes I do 4 or 5 different photo shoots if I need to. This is probably because I was a (not very skilled) photo major for one year in college and learned very quickly that I needed lots of angles and exposures to choose from. And it allows me to have a few sweet pictures for my yearly calendar. (You can see the old calendars here). 

On memorial day we took a little road trip to Vermont and I took some pictures of the Watermelon Wedge Quilt. Unfortunately, I wasn't thrilled with them but didn't know what else to do. So then a couple weeks ago I was at church taking the nursery kids for a little walk around the building and there in the parking lot I saw the most beautiful and perfect green vintage truck...

I almost lost a couple of the nursery kids while I was staring at it (just kidding). But it's awesome, right? And the perfect color! And the slats around the bed totally remind me of a fruit crate! I knew it would make the most perfect backdrop for the watermelon quilt was a match made in heaven...or a match made at church anyways! So (after the kids were safely back in the nursery) I marched myself right inside to find out who it belonged to. Luckily, I met the cute girl who owns it and her husband who built the truck himself!! They are the cutest people...and wouldn't you know it...she's a quilter too! It was meant to be! Just sad we only met 3 weeks before I am moving! Anyway, she was nice enough to let me take a few pictures with her truck last week! I am so happy with the way they turned out...and I was feeling like my photography skills totally tanked when we moved out here. I was having such a hard time finding good places to take pictures...well don't worry, I found great places for 2 other quilts while at her house! Yay!!! Thanks Ella!

Now to choose which one to put in the calendar... 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wipey Box Quilt Pattern

Remember this little gem? Well here's the pattern for it finally! Get it HERE! Go get quilty!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Watermelon Wedge Quilt

Here's a fun summer quilt I finished last month. I'm on a roll with finishing my seasonal quilts before or at least in the right season! Yeah! This is a quilt I have been wanting to make forever. Well, not this quilt specifically, but some kind of watermelon quilt. I don't know why but I think watermelon quilts are so fun...I love the greens and pinks or reds together. So five or six years ago I decided I was going to make a watermelon quilt. I even bought the Timeless Treasures watermelon seed and rind know the ones I am talking about. Then I tried to decide on a pattern...but I wasn't in love with any of the ones I I decided to just make up my own. This also proved difficult. Every spring I would pull out a notebook and try to draw up something I liked...but to no avail. Guess I am just too picky! Well one night last spring I couldn't sleep so I was Google searching quilts and still trying to come up with a good idea for a watermelon quilt. I started looking at black and white quilts and saw a great abstract one (that of course I can't find now) I started toying with the idea of making the watermelon quilt more abstract. I started messing around in Inkscape at about 4 am and by morning I had come up with this design. 

I bought a bunch of fabric and started working on this quilt last summer. I got about 1/3 of the way done but then got frustrated with it and put it away because for some reason it wasn't turning out quite right. I really wanted to finish it for this summer, and actually had planned to try to finish it for the Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival (success!). Anyway, toward the end of February my older sister sent me an email announcing that the HMQS quilt show was 7 weeks away and she said I should enter something. She's been trying to get me to enter something for the last few years. I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time and in need of a really good distraction so I didn't go I told her that if I could finish my watermelon quilt, I would enter it. Nothing like a deadline to motivate a quilt finish! Good thing too...this quilt got so frustrating at times, I never would have kept working on it without that deadline!

This quilt is 70 x 70" finished. All the pink, white and dark green fabrics are pieced. The black "seeds" and the light green accents around the edges are appliqued. So to construct this, I first printed my illustration out in Inkscape and figured out the scale (i.e. 1/4 inch on the picture equaled 1.75 inches on the quilt). Then I had to measure every single piece separately, multiply the measurements by 1.75, cut the pieces out and sew. I have done this on other quilts (this one) and it worked out OK. Well on this one, the angles were killing me. I later discovered that the reason it wasn't working out in the beginning is that I had messed up a couple of the first measurements and it was off from then on. So frustrating! And once I sewed the final 2 pieces together to make it a square, the edges were fine but the center was way too I had to take in several of the wedges in the center and fudge everywhere to make it work. There was lots of unpicking...I think I said, "Are you KIDDING me?" about a hundred times...or at least every time I realized that it still wasn't fixed. Eventually I got it to the point where it laid flat enough that I could applique the center circle on. The rest got worked out once it was quilted.

I intend for this to be a picnic blanket, so I wanted the quilting to be simple and something I could finish quickly--I started quilting it with about 4 days until my deadline. I decided to make a grid, but change the size in the different colors of the quilt. The biggest squares are 2 inches (in the pink), the black and green are 1 inch, the white is 1/2 inch and the light green are 1/4 inch. I marked just the 2 inch grid in water soluble ink and used a ruler as I went for the rest. I really like the way it turned out!

Here's the friend Lissa gave me the idea of making stripes on the back. I decided to make them wavy so it looked more like a watermelon rind. The lighter colored stripes were cut out freehand with a rotary cutter. Then I just pinned them on and used a zigzag stitch to tack them down. I think the green is kind of perfect...since this is going to be a picnic blanket, the grass stains will blend right in! 

I entered this quilt in the quilt show as I promised my sister I would. Luckily they extended the deadline for entries an extra week, or I wouldn't have made it. Normally finishing a quilt like this would have been no problemo, but by the time I finished it I was about 38 weeks definitely moving slower, and swelling (so I couldn't stand at the quilting machine for very long)--and not feeling very well some made it a little rough there at the end, but it was a great distraction--made that last couple months of pregnancy fly by! And I'm just glad it's finally done. So it had to have a label on the back for the show. I had a little too much fun with this label. Too bad we are moving soon so the address on it will be wrong...guess I'll have to make another one! 

Yay for fun quilts!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flower Wheel Quilt

Yay for Blogger's Quilt was the motivation for me to start this blog 3 years ago--and it keeps me posting! So here's a fun spring quilt I finished recently! This quilt has been waiting patiently for about 3 years to be completed! I don't generally have a lot of unfinished quilts lying around--this was one that I just couldn't let go of, but couldn't quite finish either...until now! 

I kind of love how this quilt turned out...but it definitely didn't start out looking like this! The original plan was MUCH different. Shortly after I made my first stripey quilt (which was the quilt from my first quilty blog post ever!) I got all excited about stripey quilts and wanted to make another one. I also wanted to make a spring quilt with cute applique flowers on it, so I decided to make a quilt that had diagonal stripes and flowers appliqued over the top...a little spring wall hanging. It sure seemed like a good idea at the time...but sadly, it wasn't. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until I had sewn all the stripes together and made 8 applique flowers. The stripes were just too busy and it didn't look good. Need a visual? Don't worry, I took a picture of the diagonal striped failure before I hacked it all apart! :) 

So the picture above shows the original plan...cute in theory, but once I tried to put the flowers on top, they just got lost. I didn't know what to do with it, so into a box it all went. I pulled it back out a couple of times and tried some different layouts...

...but I wasn't in love. So back into the box it went. Fast-forward to February of this year. After a quilt idea drought that lasted from September til January (likely brought on by pregnancy) all of the sudden the ideas were just flowing! I had been wanting to make some kind of quilt using my 9 degree wedge ruler. I bought it to make the Freebird circle quilt and Freebird wedge quilt but hadn't used it since. In the middle of one sleepless night I started thinking about that wedge ruler --and then I remembered this quilt--and inspiration struck! (Thank you insomnia!) The next morning I pulled it all back out and started plotting!


I wish I could say that this was as easy as just cutting apart the diagonal stripes and sewing it all back together...but it wasn't. I had to break out my (rusty) geometry skills and figure out what size to make the white wedges. I somehow figured out that I needed nine 31 degree wedges. Too bad I didn't have a 31 degree ruler. Instead I just had to wing it...I made myself a little fabric template by sewing three of the 9 degree wedges together plus about half another one, and adding seam allowances. It almost worked perfectly. Once I sewed it all together, the circle was only short by about 1/2 an inch, so then I just fudged it. Go me. :)

I appliqued the flowers to the white wedge sections before I sewed it all together. And I just love these flowers so here are some close-ups. They come from the book Flower Festival by Kim Schaefer. There are tons more flowers in the book too...I just picked a few of my favorites and added my own embellishments here and there.

The quilting on this one was super fun! I did a radiating zigzag around the outside of the circle with loops in every other row and echoed the zigzag in the center circle. Once again, my loops are all crazy...but I've just accepted the fact that I can't make uniform loops. Oh well. The white sections around the flowers were filled with a swirly flower meander.

Most of the cute fabrics in the wedge sections are from the line Ivy Trellis by Gabriella Hunter. It is a super old Riley Blake line...the first Riley Blake fabric I ever bought. The rest is just random stuff I had that matched. 

The backing is all pieced together from the leftover yardage and stripey scraps I had. Not my favorite back ever...but waste not want not, right?

I bound it in the cute stripe fabric and I added a label on this one...I don't normally label my quilts, but my older sister talked me into entering a couple quilts into the HMQS quilt show last week in Salt Lake City, and this was one of them. Since they had to have a label, I thought I might as well make it cute! I entered this in the Wall Hanging category (it's 50 x 50") and though it did not win, the quilt got mostly positive comments back from the judges. Yay! They thought my loops needed help...but then I already knew that! :) 

I was planning on just keeping this one, but instead I'm giving it to my cute friend Jami who saw it and loved it. She has been a bright and happy part of my life here in New Hampshire and I will be sad to say goodbye! We're both moving away this summer to start our real lives...(our husbands are both finally going to be REAL doctors!). I'm glad she'll have this little reminder of her crazy, neurotic, quilt making friend. 

Have fun checking out all the other great quilts at the festival!

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Magazine Fun

Another quilt pattern in a magazine! Fun fun! This one is the Beach Umbrellas quilt and it is in the March/April 2013 edition of Australian Quilter's Companion. 

It's so fun to see this quilt in print!

If you don't live in Australia, and don't have a subscription, I have discovered it can be tough to get a hard copy of this magazine! However, it is on  in digital form for a very reasonable price! :)