A teaser shot to show off my latest work in progress. I designed a paper pieced pattern and am in the chain piecing a million pieces mode. Oh and have I ever mentioned that I don't really like paper piecing. I'm sure I have. But, I will say the end product will definitely be worth it! Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
Happy Monday! I thought I would pop in quickly to share a few things going on in my world.
My husband took the kids to my Sister-in-law's house this weekend, thus freeing me up for a few hours. My mom was also visiting and helped me to tackle basting my KING SIZED City Sampler quilt. Yeah, I was majorly dreading this project, as it measures a whopping 104" x 104" but with the help of my mom, it really wasn't so bad. Actually it went really smoothly and her help was very much appreciated! I am estimating that over 500 safety pins went into this one, roughly every 6" or so. Whew, so glad to have that task over with and very excited to start quilting this one!
I received some super exciting news on Saturday, that I was chosen as the Second Place winner in the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along hosted by Craft Buds! I couldn't be more thrilled and excited, I'm still so pumped up! I wanted to thank Craft Buds, all of the awesome judges and lastly all of the amazing sponsors of the quilt along. Hop over to Craft Buds and show all of the other participants some love, because there was some amazing entries in this contest, they all deserve praise.
Lastly, after doing some figuring and traveling confusion from my husband (don't ask.) Austin, Texas is only a 6 hour drive from my house, making QuiltCon totally doable! I actually plan to travel via Amtrak (kinda excited about that alone!) So yes, I'll be there, QuiltCon 2015! Hope to meet you there!
I am really behind in showing off the last few (ok the last 6 months) worth of bee blocks, so here I am today, trying to rectify that situation!
First up are the simplest blocks that I think I may have ever sewn! This block is the Belle Wave by Faith of Fresh Lemons and can be found HERE. These were for Michonne (Watch Meesh Run) and I believe she was making a wedding quilt for a friend. How sweet! The block finished as 11.5" x 13" and literally took 10 minutes to stitch up. Nice and easy.
September's blocks may have been the easiest, but October's blocks were definitely the hardest I have ever done! I'm not just saying that, these were the hardest blocks I have ever done! The Windmill pattern from the book "Modern Blocks, 99 Quilt Blocks from your Favorite Designers" was designed by Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily's Quilts fame. Stephanie (spontaneousthreads) sent us the background Heath print and we used scraps for the triangles. We made 8 quadrants, and she is going to sew them together randomly with all the other bee members blocks, making them totally unique. I worked on and off on these blocks for two weeks, and logged in well over 8 hours sewing these babies together. That was some serious paper piecing and I don't think I will ever make these blocks again. That being said, it was a great learning experience for sure, and isn't that what these bees are about?
November's blocks were for Leanne (She Can Quilt) and she requested these half square triangle based blocks, called "Ocean Waves." The fabrics were from the Blitzen line and Kona white. Leanne wrote us a wonderful tutorial for these blocks, which can be found HERE. I was pleased as punch with these blocks, as most of my triangles still have their points and mostly lined up well. I think this was my most successful half square triangle blocks to date. This will certainly be a lovely Christmas quilt.
Staying with the Christmas theme, January's blocks were for Toni (HoosierToni) who is getting a huge jump start on Christmas quilts for her children this year. Isn't that a great idea! She had us make Spiderweb Blocks from the tutorial found at House of A La Mode, tutorial HERE. I have made several of these blocks in the past (and I have a WIP Christmas quilt myself using this same pattern!) Needless to say, these were easy and quick. She sent the background plus all the scraps and asked for 5 quadrants. I then sewed the leftover scraps together, so the few she would have to make herself would go together even more quickly.
We are now arriving at my blocks (that I actually made for myself,) March is my month, and I have chosen Modern Maples as the blocks I will have everyone make. I am excited about this one! The tutorial can be found HERE and is by Amanda Woodward-Jennings of Hey PorkChop! I sent everyone a selection of low volume prints, plus strips of both Denyse Schmidt Chicopee and Anna Maria Horner Field Study lines of fabric. These blocks go together really quickly and measure 12.5" x 12.5." The top block is Lush Uptown by Erin Michael, and is the basis for this quilt. I love that line and wanted to base a quilt off of those colors, they seem very autumn to me. So I made that block and then picked the other two fabric lines based off the colors and prints. I hope to have this one done by the fall of the year, as I really want to use it, so I am using the low volume prints in the "solid" blocks and using them as leaders and enders in my current projects, which is really cool and getting two projects done at one time. All of my packets have been mailed out and I can't wait to see the blocks come together!
Hopefully, next time I post pictures of bee blocks, it won't be 6 months from now. I am so glad to have this post done, as it has literally taken me all week to write...goodness gracious. I'm off to do some cleaning, picture taking and I have presents to wrap. Have a great weekend!
The Two in One Tote, two challenges, one tote! It all started last year when I joined the Modern Quilt Guild as an individual member. How exciting to be able to have that opportunity, I was and am thrilled. The first thing that I loved about being a member was that now I could participate in the fabric challenges that I had seen so many groups participating in. So here is the very first, The Riley Blake Challenge. The guild sent all those who signed up 6 fat eighths of Riley Blake fabric and we could make whatever we wanted, just so long as it was quilted. We could add any solids, or any Riley Blake fabrics.
Right from the start I new I wanted to make a beach bag. We need a new one desperately. The old one was skin chaffing and just all around terrible. Even though I knew I wanted to make a tote, I really had no idea on what to do with the fabric, or how far the fat eighths would really go on a large tote. So there the fabric sat for quite some time, and then the Guild extended the competition and therefore my fabric sat even longer. At the beginning of the year, while blog surfing I came across a blog post from Craft Buds announcing theMosaic Tiles Quilt Along. Oh, now there is an idea. So I ordered the book, Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner, and once it arrived, a plan was formed.
The Mosaic Tiles block is a 11.5" x 11.5" block, and I roughly figured that if I made four blocks, that would be right around the right size for my tote (or one side of it at least.) The Riley Blake Challenge included the dark gray solid, so I added in two coordinating shades of gray and set to making the blocks. I purposely arranged the layout, the grays in diagonal lines, and then the prints just random. Once I had the four blocks completed and sewn together, I attached the panel to fusible fleece and quilted with a medium gray 1/4" away from the seams with my walking foot.
I loved it, the only problem was that I didn't have enough fabric, solid or print to have a matching second side. So now what? I started with taking the prints that I had left and cutting out 18 - 4.5" x 4.5" squares, leaving only a 3" x 9" piece of fabric left. I randomly sewed these together, creating a small panel the same width as the front, but quite a bit shy of being tall enough. I pondered for a while and thought of my intended purpose of the bag, a beach bag and decided to try a modern applique beach wave. Any why not add in a little ombre too? I dug through my stash found 3 coordinating blues, and drew up a wave template. I didn't want to use raw edge applique, so I put two layers of the dark blue together, traced my template and sewed on the line in a short 1.5 stitch. I then cut with my pinking shears close to the seam, cut a few notches, then turned the fabric. After fidgeting with it a bit, I then Ironed the HECK out of it and created a smooth-ish wave that contained no raw edges on the exterior. I then machine stitched this wave on top of the patchwork panel about 1/8" away from the edge. Now that the hard part was done, I added the two blue solids and now I had a second finished panel. I also fused this side to fusible fleece and then was faced with how to quilt it.
I knew that I didn't want to repeat the straight line quilting, and wanted a totally different look for this side. I decided that the patchwork colorful part reminded me of the umbrellas and people on the beach, so I free motion quilted the circle "umbrellas" on the "beach." Then I knew I had to echo the waves onto the beach a bit and of course in the water. I used my walking foot to quilt the waves, which I guess? was the most accurate way to do it? Maybe if I was super skilled I could have free motion quilted it, but I don't that at this point my skills are quite that good. The only problem I ran into during this whole process was when I had to free motion quilt the circles. The first and second round went fine, but when I made the third and fourth loop of stitching the fabric really pulled in and distorted, creating a "bubble" of sorts in the center of the circle. I know that the problem was probably caused because I didn't have enough layers and was only quilting through cotton and fleece. I ironed the HECK out of that section, but in the end, it definitely has texture.
Now that my quilting was complete, I found a matching gray solid for the lining, and started to assemble the bag. I stitched the sides and bottom. Created a gusset, and was overall pleased with the size and shape. it really was just right. Just big enough to hold several beach towels, a few toys and such, but not too big. When it came time to sew the lining and the bag together, at the last moment I decided to add piping to the top edge, just to add a little extra touch. I am really glad that I did, it really separates the exterior from the interior. This bag is pretty floppy, does not stand on its own, but that is exactly what I wanted, because when it is time to travel and store it, I can just roll it up and tuck it out of the way!
The plan all along was to have rope handles, I mean you can't have a beach bag without rope handles, right? So once the bag was all sewn, I installed 4 silver grommets that had a 1/2" hole opening. Now I just needed to go to the local hardware store for some rope. I ended up buying a 3/8" natural sisal. It slipped perfectly through the grommets, I tied knots on each end and it was just the right size. Now I complained earlier about my old beach bag chaffing our skin, so of course I couldn't have the rope raw against our bare shoulders. I looked at the scraps I had left, took the 3" x 9" pieces, cut it down to 2.5" x 9" and created lined tubes that slipped onto the rope, nice and slim little handle covers. My bag was now complete! It measures 20.5" wide, 18" tall and an 8" gusset, and a 12" handle drop. It is LARGE!
I really enjoyed the process, the finished tote and being able to participate in two challenges, simultaneously. Thank you Riley Blake for providing the fabric, and for the Modern Quilt Guild to host this challenge. Also, thank you toCraft Buds for hosting the Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along, because honestly, that side of the tote is my favorite, and in my opinion the most modern!
I almost forgot, but this is also my first finish in the first quarter of the 2014 Finish Along hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle!
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of this wintery ice slush weather we have been having. I'm ready for Spring! Since I can't change the weather, I can change your mood! Looking through old blog posts and my photographs, I realized I never showed off the finished Bloom Bloom Pow quilt top. So here she is! Almost exclusively Denyse Schmidt and matching solids, this top measures 57" x 67" and will be a great lap quilt.
Here is the wrinkly quilt top photo, in full sun. The only reason I include this picture is because the colors are the most true in this photo. So bright and sunny, I do love this quilt! Now I just have to figure out how to quilt her! Feel free to share any ideas you might have, I would greatly appreciate it!
A few months ago I received the most lovely gift in the mail. Do you recognize it? Last year it was part of the Zakka Along 2.0 - Patchwork Please sew along. It is the Sweet Trips Embroidery Pouch (week 18) and this one was made by my friend Debbie over at A Quilter's Table. Isn't it the sweetest!
Debbie made it for me as a "just because" and boy did she nail it! It is so perfect, adorable and oh so handy. You see right at the time I received this lovely gift, I had just started the Autumn Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and was using a gallon size Ziplock bag. So sad. So I threw that sad Ziplock bag away and immediately stuffed my new pouch full of all my cross stitch goodies!
You can see my pouch filled to the brim below. It had a space for everything and holds it all so well. You can see back in the day when I took these photos just how far along I was with that cross stitch project (not very far!)
On the left side it holds my floss, the actual cross stitch piece (folded) and my chart of colors and symbols.
On the right side it holds my needles, and the current thread I am using, plus my scissors tucked away in a pocket that keeps my boys from getting their precious hands on them! I have been using this embroidery pouch every single day, traveling in my purse, car and by hand for months now, it is the perfect size and perfect thoughtful gift for me!
Below is where I am currently on the sampler. My background fabric wasn't quite dark enough, so the white kinda disappeared. To solve this issue, I am adding in a gold thread with the white to make it pop, and hopefully stand out a bit. If you look hard at block number 13 you can see the gold on her hat. I have been steadily working on this one, enjoying every minute and enjoying my little gift even more. Thank you Debbie!
While we are on the topic of Debbie, I was thrilled to find out yesterday that she won 2nd place in the Tula Pink City Sampler Quilt Along, hosted by Sew Sweetness. Tula Pink herself picked the winners and I couldn't be more thrilled for Debbie, she completely deserved it and if you want to check out her awesome winning quilt, "Unlocked" then click HERE to see what a beauty this quilt really is!
Ironically, after publishing this post, I was browsing through my old blog posts and discovered that today, exactly four years ago is when I started blogging! Wow, time flies and it is so hard to believe that it has already been four years Thanks so much to all of you for joining me on my journey and for all the friendships that I have formed in these years through this little blog!
A feisty mom designing, sewing and blogging her way through everyday life!