Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Chained 5 Patch, Thrifty Treasures

Hey quilters, I have a little bit of progress to share for WIP Wednesday. I managed to sew up a couple blocks for my 5 patch quilt (I need to think up a new name!). They really are fast blocks, which goes to show how much time I've put towards quilting this week with only 3 new blocks to show. And one of them isn't even completely sewn, lol - that's a hardcore "work in progress" picture for ya!

As for that white space.. it looks so awful, I can't stand it! HMMMMMM!  Did I not learn my lesson on the wonky square rings? Didn't I say I don't really care for white space? I'm rolling my eyes at myself right now and trying to remember that I'm always questioning myself until the entire project is finished. Maybe some colorful hand quilting will spruce up those white areas?

I went thrifting again last week.. I found only one new piece of fabric for my vintagy themed stack. I thought it appropriate to throw a picture in here because this fabric stack really is a work in progress! I could always go to etsy and purchase some vintage fat quarter packs, but it's so much more fun to go on the treasure hunt yourself.

I am hoping nobody saw the look on my face when I spotted this pretty yellow pillowcase! I was overly excited, I might have snatched it off the rack a little too fast, as if somebody was trying to beat me to it!

I found this other one two weeks ago, but it doesn't really go with my color scheme so I'm just tucking it away in the stash. I love how a pillowcase costs 99 cents and ends up yielding between a half and full yard of fabric! Sweet.

Thanks for popping by! :D  I'm off to design some custom labels for the wine bottles for my wedding (labels nobody will notice and will end up in the trash.) My mom is pretty much forcing me. Okay, she's not forcing me at all LOL, she just seemed really excited about it and thought it would be cute - I felt too bad about saying no! :P

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dresden quilt finished!


Finally - a finish! Is this really the first finish I've had since June (wonky square rings)? Sadly, yes! I think summer is just a busy time. After my wedding in September, it's game on, a bonanza of quilty finishes. So I say now! :P

Here's the scoop on my Dresden quilt...

The idea began June 5.
The instructions on how I constructed this quilt were posted on June 11.
The progress was featured in a couple WIP posts throughout June and July.
That's 2.5 months in total! I didn't pay it nearly enough attention this summer, but it's done now and just in time for the contest deadline. :)
I'm entering it in the "innovative" category!

Quilt Summary..

Fabric: Poetica, by Pat Bravo, and some Kona solids.
Size: 53" x 72"

The design is based off of an 18 degree triangle template. I used the EZ Dresden ruler to cut wedges from a ginormous (54"x54") log cabin block. I arranged the wedges randomly in 8" rows, using a gray Kona solid as the background.

I did straight line quilting that echos the 18 degree triangle on the back of the quilt. The binding is machine sewn.

I love back! The triangle makes me so happy, and the light purple is such a great contrast to the dark gray on the front. I don't mind exclaiming over how much I love the back, because, to be honest - the front sort of didn't turn out as great as I had imagined! It's sooo dark. Too dark! I think I can live with it though. :)

Lots and lots and lots of pics! I'm really happy about this quilt, but it's future is yet to be determined. This one might be a gifter.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and really, a great summer - hard to believe it's almost over!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chained 5 Patch Block

I could fill a really long post with a smorgasbord of things that have been going on life-wise lately! Quilting-wise, eh, not so much. It's been a bit slow around here, but I did get a new 1/4" piecing foot and two new quilting books, so that's... somethin... :P

I got the new quilting foot because the old one I had seemed like it wasn't made very well and the guide shook quite a bit, making it not perfectly accurate. It also liked to fold back my fabric, instead of letting it feed through smoothly. The new foot works much better, which will be really helpful in making this quilt for my sister's birthday! (She doesn't read my blog. :) )

I found the block, and tutorial on the Quilter's Cache. I had a lot of fun time going through their collection! I would suggest using their tutorial for this block (duh, lol - I hope this post doesn't come off as a tutorial of a tutorial), as it was pretty easy to follow, but I thought showing you guys photographs might be helpful while going though it. Their tutorial has some computer/graphic images, and text, but for me real photographs are always a big plus! So here we go!

 Color 1:

Color 2:

Color 3:

Color 4: (Eventually you will cut this 18" strip into smaller pieces.)

Step 1: Sew the following blocks together, and then slice it in half.

Step 2: Now sew these blocks together, and slice it in half.

Step 3: Sew these blocks together, slice again!

Step 4: Cut your 18" strip into the following sizes:

Step 5: Now you only have a few pieces left - sew them together as shown below on the left. Grab your pieces from step 3 and sew them together with the strip below. The resulting block will need two white (color 4) 2.5"x5" pieces sewn to the top and bottom.

Arrange your strips as shown in the block layout and you're done! Hopefully that made sense and was easy to follow - like I said, I just wanted to show you guys photos of what I did. I'm not the greatest at explaining things, so I'd definitely refer to the original tutorial. :)

Umm, yea - so I'm a nerd (aren't we all? I mean, c'mon, we have quilting blogs, hehe), and a bit obsessive about making sure this quilt will look really nice for my sister, so I laid out a section of it in photoshop. (Hey, I gotta do something on my lunch break!) I wanted to be sure I was going to like the colors/arrangement. It's not completely accurate, but it helped me make the decision to use brown as the "anchor" color.

I need to make six blocks a week to finish it in time for her birthday! I think I can, I think I can!!

Well guys, I've got a lot of crap going on for the next 3-4 weeks - lots of travel and wedding prep! I sort of saved everything until the last minute, that's just how I be. I'm going to try to squeeze in sewing time wherever I can to take my mind off veils, music selections, decorations, portapotty's (we are so classy) and all that craziness. Thanks for stickin with me while I'm a bit blog-absent! :D

PS AQS in Grand Rapids this weekend! I'm going on Saturday!! Is anyone going?

PSS EZ Dresden deadline is a week away! All I have left is the binding! :) :) Double smileys.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Story behind the name and a birthday quilt

It's been a very busy week for me! I've spent almost every night this week researching and shopping for a new car. I'm really excited about finally making a purchase, but it doesn't make for a very interesting story, so I'll just summarize by saying that I haven't been doing much sewing!

Okay, how about a mini-story that is quilting related? Like, how I came about choosing my blog name. When I made my first quilt and everyone in my family found out, all of a sudden I was hearing a lot of, "Make me a quilt!" And that's pretty much it. :)

One person that wants a quilt that I haven't gotten around to yet is my sister. I've been putting it off because I want her quilt to be perfect... Her birthday is coming up in September, and maybe it's crazy to take on a new project with a month left until my wedding, but I'm going for it!

I LOVE this set of fabric,  I mean.. I really love it. I have been staring at it for a week, folding and stacking the fabrics, thinking about what I want to do with them. I can't take credit for how well these colors go together - ahhh, I totally stole this color scheme from Rachel, (Stitched in Color), who put together an awesome "blogger bundle" called "Berry Picking" for Pink Castle Fabrics. Go buy the bundle because it's perfect! :D

I would have bought this bundle, but I had to stop myself... I decided to look through my stash and see if I had anything that would work, and then use the gift certificate I won to purchase additional fabrics to complete the set as best I could. I still might snap up that Berry Bundle - I just need to cool my jets on the ol fabric budget for a minute!

Now I know why everyone loves Flea Market Fancy so much.. the fabric is even prettier in person, and I'm sure I'll be buying some more of the brown in the future, it's gorgeous!

So back to the quilt I'm going to make from these fabrics. My sister is a more "traditional" type of person. She really likes vintage stuff and "old-fashioned" decor. I don't think she'd like anything wonky or really modern. The colors in this fabric set might even be a little too bright for her taste, but I've picked out a really cute block pattern that has a "classic"/traditional look to it that I think she'll like.

In my next post I'll show you the block and a step-by-step on how to make it. Here's a preview!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thrift store scores: Fabric, Batting

Once upon a time I was a thrift store snob. I thought the stores smelled so bad I never wanted to set foot in them, let alone wear a strangers worn out clothes. The smell still makes me gag and feel like I need a shower, but a few years ago I smartened up and realized you can find some really nice stuff in there! At times I've found clothes with the tags still on from upscale retailers, score!

I don't make it out to thrift stores often enough, but when I do I usually find some at least one interesting piece of fabric I could use for quilting. A lot of the fabric from this quilt was thrifted. The salvation army near me has a rack dedicated to fabric, so I always check there first. Then I move onto the bed linens area and look for pillowcases and sheets. If I have extra time I'll check out the crafts section, and sometimes even scan some of the clothing itself. Mens dress shirts, womens skirts and kids clothing can sometimes turn up a treasure, but I try to be really picky in those areas. Well, I try to be really picky in general, because otherwise I would probably end up with a massive tower of sheets that would never get turned into quilts!

Yesterday this pillowcase caught my eye...

Not a show stopper, but the colors were saturated and paired with the right fabrics it could work. I thought the orange and yellow could be played up. Bonus, it felt like cotton, not a blend.

Then I found a huge yellow pillowcase with a vintage-y floral print, also cotton.  I also found a queen sized yellow sheet that will work great as a backing material.

When I get this stuff home, I wash it right away and "prep" it by cutting off all the seams. If it sits in my closet as a pillowcase or a sheet, or whatever it started out as, I won't want to sew with it later. 

I pulled some fabric out of my stash to see how it would look. I'm not sure brown and yellow alone would cut it for me, so I'm going to just tuck these finds into the stash and keep looking every so often at the thrift store for some potential matches.

Possible color scheme.. 

Another really neat find - this craft-sized batting package, brand new. The original price was pulled off, but I found it here on amazon for $16.99 - I bought it for $1.50. Hopefully I like it! Has anyone tried using a bamboo blend?

In other news, I finished a quilt top and am very close to finishing a second quilt top - OHMYGOSH. More on that next week!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Giant Retro Patchwork Flower

Hey guys! Bit of a slow week quilting-wise - we are really ramping up our wedding planning now that it's a month and a half away. If you knew how much I still have left to do you'd think I was insane. I just happen to think relaxing with a book in the sun, quilting, watching hours of Battlestar Galactica#nerdalert, and gardening are more fun ways to spend my time than choosing napkin colors and centerpieces! 

(I'm finally getting around to reading "Insurgent", by Veronica Roth, if anyone is curious. I've also just finished an amazing book called "Below Stairs", by Margaret Powell. The true life story of a kitchen maid born in the early 1900's. It reads like a funny grandmother is telling you stories about the good old days. If you like Downton Abbey, you would really love this one!)

Many of you showed support for my starting yet another project, thank you. :) I started sewing up the patchwork quilt I was dying to get going on, and out of the blue an idea fell into my head to use The Sometimes Crafters "Retro Flowers" pattern, but huge. (It should end up being slightly larger than throw sized, about 70" square.)

I had to draft it out and blow it up, and print out a large template. If I had thought this through, I'd have realized that it would have been better to make this block out of four pieces, as in the pattern, but I thought I'd save some time and just sew one big curve around the whole thing.

It did work, but I think it resulted in more wrinkles than were necessary.  (I've since ironed it out and it looks much better than these initial photos, and the wrinkles that are left will probably just blend in like usual after the quilting process.) Now I have to decide if I should keep going with this method, or do it the right way for the rest of the blocks. (Always a learning experience!)

And here is an approiximation of how it might look finished, through the magic of photoshop!

So that's in on the quilting front. I've been getting outside a lot more lately, now that the weather has become more bearable. We have so many neat things growing this year! I've made some chamomile (second photo below) tea and it's wonderful. Some of our corn (a special, decorative variety) is over nine feet tall right now! We have peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, bush beans, onions, carrots, peas, and hopefully soon the cucumbers and watermelon will be ready.

And just to get even more off topic...a cat. :)

I am linking this post to Freshly Pieced, though as usual I am late to the game and have a pitiful showing this week! Lol. Thank you for coming by! :)