Monday, December 30, 2013

Scrappy trip

Did everyone have a good holiday? I had a good holiday, but a busy holiday!

Now that Im back into the swing of things, I wanted to share with you my Scrappy Trip Around the World top, that you may remember me starting here.

I finally got all my blocks completed and sewn together. Now I just have to settle on a quilting design. I was thinking either straight lines a quarter inch from each seam (that's a lot of sewing!) or maybe a cathedral window design. Then, part of me was thinking it might be fun to practice some free motion. Okay, maybe not fun, but it might be helpful to my overall skill level.

The next time I post it will be 2014 and I am very excited to get out of 2013 and into a bran new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Completed Follow The Leader

All the way back in April I shared the blocks I was working on for my Follow The Leader Quilt, then I showed you the pieced top in May. Now, a full 7 months later (wow!) I finally have the completed quilt!

Here it is! Finally back from my long armist, Maria O'Haver, and let me tell you it is some fabulous, very dense quilting!

If you read my post about the quilt top you'll remember that I had some complaints about how the pattern had worked out and made a list of things I wish I had done differently. I also said that I hoped that some of the areas I was unhappy with, like where points did quite line up, would look better once quilted. Im happy to say that that is the case! You would never know I had complaints about the top if you look at it now.

I struggled to make a decision about what color to bind this quilt since the sashing is black and I always like my binding to be darker than my border/sashing. The magazine went with the same black print but I wasn't sure I would like that. I like the way a binding on a quilt frames everything and felt like I would lose that by binding it with the same color, but I went for it anyhow. It doesn't bother me the way I thought it would and Im glad I went with it.
I took this to guild Thursday and several people asked me were they could get the pattern, which always makes me feel good! If they want to make their own, they must like mine, right? That's the theory Im going with anyhow.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gridlock Quilt Top

 I finally got my Lula Pink City Sampler together! I choose the Gridlock layout, as you can see. I love rainbow quilts!

I apologize in advance for picture quality. I did the best I could with the wind, and the fact that this quilt is just very big.

I had some difficulties getting this together. Surprising since it's such an easy layout, but let me explain what happened! In the book, there is a chart on how to cut the fabric for the background and because of the fact that they want the border strips to not have seams, you kind of have to cut all the background fabric at once (easier to understand if you've seen the book), but normally I would wait till I was done making the rows, measure the rows and then cut out my sashing so I know it's the correct size. Anyhow, for some reason all of my rows are 2 inches bigger than they are suppose to be. Why? I have no idea! My original though was seam allowance....but that doesn't make any sense since I trimmed all my blocks to exactly 6 1/2" and it's virtually impossible that I added 2 full inches just in the little sashing bricks. So, basically all the work that went into making sure my sashing didn't have seams in all the same place and making sure my border was seamless is out the door because I had to add 2" to everything. I was really disappointed in myself for making such a mistake. I would feel better when If I knew were I made the mistake. I really do think that once it's quilted you won't be able to tell. My quilt measures 93 inches instead of the books 90. If I was cutting it all over again, I would have cut all my sashing and borders a few inches bigger (maybe 3) than what the book suggests (I have a lot of the fabric left, I would have a had plenty of extra fabric, I even ordered an extra half yard for "just in case") and then I would have trimmed them down to the necessary size once I measured. I will remember this for the future! 

Now, I just have to figure out quilting and we are off to the races! I am going to hold off because there is a contest where you can win having your quilt quilted by the wonderful long-arm quilter that does all of Tula Pink's quilt. Who knows? You never expect to win but it's fun to enter. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm A Winner!

Am I the only one that gets unreasonably excited when I pull beautiful fabric out of the mailbox? Wait till you see what I got today!

These are from Pat Bravo's Rapture line in the Citric Happiness color way and I was lucky enough to win 10 fat quarters from the line from her blog, Soulful Eyes

I absolutely love the teal color! I can't wait to integrate these into a great project soon! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Craftsy FreeSpirit Stash Builder Box

I have seen the FreeSpirit 50 fat quarter box on Craftsy a few times and always thought it might be fun and a good way to build my stash. I finally decided to give it a go since It was on sale for black Friday. With shipping I payed about $63. That's a little more than a dollar a fat quarter for quilt shop quality fabric. Of coarse I always want to share my shopping experience with everyone especially when it involves taking a little bit of a gamble! So here is how this has worked out for me.

Here is how the fabric arrives. To be honest, when I opened it I was disappointed I didn't see more bright colors, but I was still optimistic. I've broken all of the fabric down into the lines they are part of. 

Notting Hill

Secret Garden

Parson Gray World Tour

Wild Child



Left: Chiffon 
Middle: Star Flakes and Glitter 
Right: *Unknown*

To be perfectly honest non of the fabrics I got are ones that I would leave a quilt shop with. I expected some of that but not the whole box. I expected it to be a mix of things I love and things, maybe I wouldn't love but would still fill an empty spot in my stash. Maybe to help to round things out. That's just not what happened. Im not really found of any of the lines I received except possibly Billet-Doux but I didn't get very much of that.

One of the first things that disappointed me is that some of the fat quarters have a red line. I guess they must cut the fat quarters by hand from yardage. The only reason this is troublesome is because it means I will lose more fabric when I trim up the fat quarters because i have to cut out that red line. I did try ironing one of the fat quarters with the red line to see if it would dissolve, which it did not. Clearly they did not use a fabric pen.

What I was REALLY disappointed in was the amount of duplicates I received! I did look at other blog posts of people opening there boxes and it seems they all got 50 unique fat quarters, where I did not. I received 6 doubles and 1 triple, which you can see in the pictures above. 

I am disappointed with my box and can tell you that I won't be doing it again. I am the kind of person that never returns anything, but if it was possible to return this box, I absolutely would! I always enjoy surprise boxes but this one really didn't pan out for me.

I guess the only upside is that Bacon loves the box the fabric came in and it's the perfect cat sized box! Right after I took this she managed to shove her head into the box and slept in it for several hours. Maybe I just payed $60 for a really good box! Anything to keep the princess happy I suppose. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Evolution of a Quilter

When I first started quilting 2 years ago the first project I made entirely by myself was a little Christmas table topper from a pattern called Town Square that uses a charm pack. Every Christmas I put it on a little circular table that sits in my sun room by my Christmas tree. This year when I pulled it out it was practically falling apart and just did not look that something that should live an a quilters home. So, my husband asked me if I could make a new one to replace it and I did!

Can you tell which one is new and which one is old? I certainly hope so! The first thing I can tell you is that I was able to pull the charm pack batting backing and binding from my stash which was not the case with the first one. BTW the solid red is a French General fabric that I got in my grab bag. I am so glad Im getting to use some of that fabric now and that it's finding a home in my projects.

The second thing I noticed is that I have come a LONG way in color planning! When I made the first one I have a feeling I didn't read ahead to figure out where all the pieced went so I could make better decisions about where each fabric should go to do the most for the pattern. The first quilt looks so washed out and I don't think it's just from age (2 years isn't that long when it only gets used for 1 month a year!), I think it's just because I didn't plan where the fabrics should go well. I love how the second quilt has uniform colored star points.

The third most obvious thing was that the first quilt was the first thing I ever bound and I clearly didn't know what I was doing! I honestly am still not sure what I tried to do but I did use my machine to sew it down and didn't do anything by hand and it's a ragged mess! Im glad I know how to properly bind things now!

When I went to put the new quilt on the table where the old quilt sat I quickly realized it was somehow bigger than the original by a full 1 1/2"! How could that happen? I used the same pattern! I must have mis-cut the first quilt somehow!

Im glad i did this to see how my skills have improved! I think this was well worth the few hours it took me to whip up a replacement. I wanted to throw out the original but my husband tucked it away in our towel closet instead. Maybe I'll have to remake this again in a few years and I can have a 3 way comparison. Have you ever remade a quilt years later?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Boo's Nursery Baby Quilt w/ Minky

I got invited to a baby shower for the wife of a guy that grew up on the same street as my husband.  I always feel like when people invite you to a baby shower and they know your a quilter, you really can't show up without a quilt, so I went ahead and postponed all my other projects to make one.

This pattern is called Boo's Nursery and it is from the Jul/Aug 2013 issue of Quilty. I think there is something really chic and charming about this quilt. The design is simple, but bold, perfect for a baby boy I think. If you remember, a little while ago I posted the Door Jammers and they were made to match and accompany this quilt! I decided that I was going to try some new things during this quilt and I'll tell you about each one as we go.

If this fabric looks familar to you it's because a lot of it is from my Fat Quarter Shop 12 Pound Grab bag (I have another one of those coming btw!). Chevron is very in style right now and so are polka-dots so I was glad to have some on hand! I also throw in some Flea Market Fancy from my stash to balance out the colors I was missing. I really love how the red print makes the whole thing look brighter. It needed that little pop!

The first new thing I decided to try right off the back was Minky. I've never used Minky but I've always wanted to. I think babies love the soft fabric as well as the textured dots! This meant I had to do some research and make some decisions.
Here's what I learned about Minky:
1) You don't need to pre-wash it before using it. (Good I hate pre-washing!)
2) It is not as messy as I was expecting. I was worried about all the shedding I've heard about. I really didn't have anything like that.
3) When you baste it you don't want to pull it to tight.
4) I like to use batting with it. I think it needs it to make it feel like a quilt.
5) I don't think it's really possible to use pins for basting with Minky

This last point is the one I really feel is worth talking about. I tried to baste my quilt with pins and that did not work! I had huge ripples! The fabric is just to thick and it moves! I had to take the whole thing back apart. This leads me to the next new thing I tried! I've never used spray basting but it was clear pinning wasn't going to work so I drove the Joeann's and bought Tailor Quilt Basting Spray. That worked like a dream! It was so fast! Im not sure what it would be like for a bed sized quilt but i can tell you that I will be using it for all my baby size and smaller quilts from now on! I imagined it being messy and complicated and it was not at all! It really saved my project!

I did all my quilting with my pressure foot and i didn't pre-mark anything at all. I liked the idea of it not being perfect. I think it makes it more homey if you know what I mean. I do believe their is a certain amount of truth in the idea that if you wanted to it to look perfect and store bought, they you would have just bought it from the store and not spent all the time making it home made. I quilted straight lines and chevrons. The chevrons where a lot of fun and really easy once I got a few in. This actually took longer than I was expecting but I got all my quilting and binding done over the coarse of two days. 
 I also leaned a better binding stitch! I never understood how people made invisible binding stitches and it turns out its super easy! I used this YouTube video and I feel silly now that I know how easy it was all along and far quicker that what I was doing, not to mention prettier. 

Now I can get back to all my other projects! Hope you enjoyed looking at this sweet quilt!