Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Start and Nearing a Finish

 I have such a long list of quilts to make it's not even funny.  I have the fabric for eight in my house right now.  That's not just stash that fabric that was specifically purchased to make quilts.  Five are in some range from cut to completed but the other three are just in the planning stages.  The fifth one started this week.  Seriously I'm amazing how I get myself into these situations.  I suggested to a friend who is over 37 weeks pregnant that I make a quilt for her baby and she was so cute and so excited I knew I had to get on it.  Then the other six I was working on took a back seat yesterday and I got started.  I also have make some great progress on my Tetris quilting and I hope to get it done in time for the parade on Sept 11th.

Since both the quilts I'm working on are totally works in progress I thought I'd link up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced where Michelle from CityHouseStudio was kind enough to be the guest blogger this week.

 I'll start with my start and then go on to the Tetris quilting.

This is the beginnings of the quilt for my pregnant friend.  I know I probably should have gone with something a little simpler/faster than a HST quilt.  Especially this one where there are 560 little triangles to sew together into a baby quilt but I really wanted to try out a whole quilt make of HST and this seems like a really great quilt to try it out on since I don't have to look at it every day and see any imperfection it may or may not have in the end.  I cut all the triangles out with my accuquilt and it took me around an hour to cut out all 560!  Did I mention I love my accuquilt!!  I've sewn over half of them together already and I just started cutting yesterday morning.  It's going much faster than I expected.  I still don't know how I'm going to lay it out in the end but I'm sure I'll have fun playing around.

Now for a hand quilting tip:
First weave the needle through as you normally do.  Then...

Grab the needle with a set of pliers and start to pull it out...

Keep pulling until it becomes easier and you can do it with just your fingers.  Doing it this way has saved my fingers a lot of aches and pains.  I suppose I could try and use a thimble but I really don't like them.  These are part of a jewelery making kit so they are really clean and won't mess up my quilt.  I don't have to try to push the needle through or wiggle and pull.  It just comes so easily like only sewing through one layer.  Give it a try!

Now that I've shown you my method you can see the end result.  This is the extra white space at the top of my tetris quilt.  I'm quilting it in cotton perle in dark gray.  I'm loving how it's turning out!

Down by the pieces of the quilt I'm outlining each whole piece with the gray.  I love how it makes them stand out more and the fun shapes it makes on the back side.  I'm over 1/6 done with it and have only touched it three separate times so it's going pretty fast.

 Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out other posts in the WiP Wednesday linky.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WiP Wednesday and TNT Thursday: Quilts Galore!

I didn't do a WiP Wednesday post last week because I had nothing to show for my week.  I added captions to some scrapbook pages and made a bunch more but no real other progress.  I certainly made up for it this week!  I quilted and bound my Walk in the Woods quilt to finish it up.  I made a quilt from start to finish for charity, and I finished the top for my Tetris quilt and have begun quilting.  I think all of that warrants a link up to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Since I'm already linking up I figured I'd add this post to TNT Thursday at Happy Quilting where you talk about new things you tried.  I tried using my walking foot for the first time and LOVED it!  Seriously best idea ever.  I also am trying my hand at hand quilting using cotton perle.  I've hand quilted before but never with perle and I'm loving the look of it.  It adds a whole different feel to the quilt than regular quilting.  Too bad my fingers aren't loving it.  Anyway, on to the post.

I'll start with the two completed ones...

This is my disappearing nine patch done in the fabric A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda.  I love everything about this quilt!  It was so fun and fast and this is the perfect fabric for this pattern.  I free-motion quilted it doing giant loops.  To read more and see more pictures of this quilt see the full finish post here.

The day I finished binding the Walk in the Woods quilt I started on my Quilts for Kids quilt.  I requested a kit from their website and in a few weeks they mailed me all the fabric I needed.  I simply had to put it together, add my own batting, and ship it back.  It was so fun and fast and left me feeling great about using my talents to help kids in need.  See the full post here.

Making this quilt I got to use my walking foot for the first time ever.  I was pretty excited about that.  I got it half off at Joann's and it was really quite a steal at around $10.  It's amazing what a difference it made in my quilting.  The lines are so even and so straight and it was so easy to use.  In fact I think I sewed straighter with the walking foot than I do normally.

Yesterday I made the last block from my Tetris quilt and put it all together.  This is from the Tetris Quilt-A-Long hosted by Melissa at Happy Quilting.  I added the top three rows and the gray side panel on my own.  The idea came to me late one night as I was wondering what kind of fabric I'd use on the border.  I think this is much more fun!  See full post on this quilt here.

After finishing the top yesterday I got right onto quilting it.  I spray basted then decided to use cotton perle in gray to quilt it.  It's a really good match to the gray solid I chose for the backing.

The quilting is kind of hard to see because it matches so well but I did a running stitch around each of the Tetris Pieces.  It's pretty neat how it outlines them and you can see the pieces on the back side.  It's better in person than the picture.  Although doing this I remember why I don't hand quilt.  I don't mind the process I just hate how it turns my fingers into hamburger.  I guess I need to invest in a thimble.  The problem with thimbles is that I have large man hands.  Well, at six feet tall most of me is large and my hands match.  It's difficult to find a thimble that fits me but I'm sure I'll have fun looking around my local quilt shop anyway.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out other works in progress at Freshly Pieced.

Quilts for Kids: Start and Finish

 I first heard of Quilts for Kids from a friend who posted on facebook that she was so excited her kit came in the mail.  I thought it was pretty neat that she was making a quilt for charity and decided to find out more.  It's actually a really neat program.  They mail you a quilt kit with fabric (including backing) and a sheet of instructions.  You put the quilt together, add your own batting then quilt and bind it.  When you're finished you mail it back to them maybe with a quilt of your own as well.  How awesome is that?!  All it costs you is time, a bit of batting, and shipping costs to help a kid in need.  The completed quilts go to children with life-threatening illnesses or children of abuse.  There are even chapters in most large cities so you can pick up your quilt there and have it go to a child in need in your area.  Check out the link at the top of the post to learn more.  Enough with the spiel and onto the quilt. 

Here's my quilt kit complete with instructions.  They even did all the of the cutting into strips for me which was nice!

In the instructions they said it needed pretty heavy quilting to help it during multiple washings.  I decided to do a straight-line grid with lines every three inches.  It worked out pretty well being able to bisect the pattern but I had to draw a few lines with my ruler and marking pencil where there wasn't a seam to follow.

Making this quilt I got to use my walking foot for the first time ever.  I was pretty excited about that.  I got it half off at Joann's and it was really quite a steal at around $10.  It's amazing what a difference it made in my quilting.  The lines are so even and so straight and it was so easy to use.  In fact I think I sewed straighter with the walking foot than I do normally.

Here's the finished product.  It's a pretty simple pattern but it's fun.  I love how fast it was!  Start to finish (including quilting) only took me five hours!  Can't beat that!

Here's the back side.  I love the simplicity of the quilting pattern and how perfectly it turned out!
Thanks for stopping by and check out Quilts for Kids!  It's a great cause and they ask for so little for a child in need.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tetris Quilt-A-Long - Week 6 amd Top Finish

 It's the sixth and final block week for the Tetris Quilt-A-Long and I'm on fire!  Not only did I finish the block for this week but I also finished the whole top added borders with a fun twist.  I owe a big thank you to Melissa at Happy Quilting for not only putting on the quilt-a-long but also the charm swap that gave me most of my fabric.  Read on for the full story!

Here's the drawing portion of week 6.  I didn't have any carryover from the block below it so I just used the pieces she gave me and went with it.  I noticed last week I was short on fabric to finish the block but I didn't know what colors Melissa would use so I waited until this week to cut the extra.  I needed four of each: green, red, blue, and pink.  Apparently I'm too good at Tetris for the charm swap. *wink*

Here's the fabric version of week six.  The red, green, pink, and blue on the bottom are all from my stash.  The pink ones were already cut out.

After I finished the last block I was excited to put my border plan into action.  A few weeks ago I had this idea where I wouldn't just use the plain border suggested.  Instead I decided to make it a bit more like the game.

On the top I used my extra white squares as well as twelve from my stash to continue on the border.  They are the same 5" size squares just more of them.  I carried over the pieces that didn't get finished by the last two blocks into the top.  This took care of the top and bottom borders.  To make up for the side borders I added a bunch of gray with one red piece in the middle.  I wanted it to look like the preview of the next piece that you see in the game.  Now that I had my idea all drawn out it was time to plop it together.

I added three rows to my week 5 block which included the yellow piece that made it game over hitting the top line.

Then I added the three rows to my week six piece that I made today.

Finally I sewed up and attached the side gray border with the red piece and it was all done!  My handsome hubby and smallest munchkins helped hold it up for a picture.

Here they are peeking out.  Cute!
 I plan on spray basting it today then quilting it with perle cotton in dark gray by outlining each Tetris piece.  I'm pretty excited and can't wait to see how it all turns out!  To see my other blocks check out the posts for week 5, week 4, week 3, week 2, and week 1.

To see how other people are getting along check out the linky at the bottom of this post or the flickr group.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Disappearing Walk in the Woods: Finish!

A Disappearing Walk in the Woods

Last night I finished my Disappearing Nine Patch quilt that was done all in the Walk in the Woods line by Aneela Hoey for Moda.  I'm in love!  That's not to say it all went perfectly but I'm so happy with how it turned out and that my little girl is snuggling with it in her bed right now.  Read on for how it all went down.

It all started on June 1st with this pile of fabric and a disappearing nine patch pattern I wrote up.  See the only other in progress post on this quilt here.  I got the idea here and ran with it using charm squares.  It took A LOT of charm squares. 324 to be exact.  I had a layer cake and bought four more charm packs.  I wish I would have just bought the charm packs because cutting the layer cake each way was a pain and didn't really save me that much money to be worth it.  I took those and sewed them in to nine patches.  I cut those in half each way and used from those 143 squares that finished at 6.5 inches.  The whole quilt was eleven squares by thirteen squares and finished at 71.5" by 84.5"   

On the 15th of June I went back to the quilt after a bit of a break and finished up the top.  I was very careful to get all the directional fabrics pointing up, that's one of my OCD tendencies and I would hate it if the wolves were on their heads or something.  I love the jaunty angle of this picture.

After a quick finish there it sat mocking me until the 25th of July when I went over to my friend Leila's house and she taught me how to spray baste.  See that blog post here.  It was so fast and easy!  I loved it!  Now all that was left was to quilt and bind.

Fast forward almost another whole month and on August 17th I finally got around to quilting it.  I just had my first attempts at free-motion quilting not too long ago (post here and here) and those were only on 12" squares.  I was a bit nervous to try something so large as a twin quilt but I wanted the practice and I knew my little girl would love it no matter how imperfect I thought it turned out.  I decided to do something simple and I made giant loops.  Each row of quilting covered a row of 6.5" squares and there were 13 rows.  I alternated direction of the loops on every row.  You can see a two row sample in the picture.  The loops aren't all the same and the stitch size varies but I still love it.  It gives it a meandering relaxed feel (or so my hubby keeps telling me).
I managed to bind it and finish it up after I quilted it on the same day.  I love the red dashed binding!  It's so fun and different from what I usually do.  My bindings usually blend in and are muted but I tried having this one stand out and I'm in love!  I don't know if I'll ever go back.

Here's my little munchkin all curled up with the finished product.  She's so excited to use it now and not just see it on the to-be-quilted shelf!

I even finished it time last night to have her sleep with it.  She was one happy girl when she found it on her bed all made up.

We have a really nice wooded trail by our house and I decided that would be the perfect place for a little quilt photo shoot.  We go on this trail all the time with our bikes or even just walking.  It used to be train rail but they removed that and made it for bikes/horses/walking a few years back.  I really like how this picture turned out with the trail leading off.

My sweet hubby actually took a little walk in the woods with my quilt and the camera to get this shot.  It's a bit of the trail but not too much.  It turned out great and so artsy!  I think pictures like this make my quilt look even better!  The picture at the top of the post was from his little walk off the trail too.
Thanks for stopping by and reading up on my latest finish.  To see all my finished quilts go to my Completed Quilts/Tops page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tetris Quilt-A-Long - Week 5

 Hurray for week five of the Tetris Quilt-A-Long over at Happy Quilting!  I seriously adore this and am sad we only have one week left.  I'm quickly running out of fabric choices because I'm playing with little to no white spaces.   Too bad I'm running out of the colored varieties and will have to cut some of my own next week.  Anyway, on to week five...

Here's my colored diagram for week five.  It's a bit blobby with the red off to the left but I've come across that before and with careful fabric selection I think it will be alright.

Here's the completed block.  The green flowers on the bottom are carryover from week four.  I think the pink one in the middle is too light in the picture and it looks kind of funny but I only had two pinks left and didn't want the light one on the outside.  I guess it is what it is.  I am loving how solid it is though!  All in all another fun week with tetris.
If you're curious about my past weeks see them here... week one, week two, week three, and week four.

To see what other people have done with this same week see the linky at the bottom of this post or the flickr group collection.

And since you're already hopping around check out the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop at Plum at June.  This weeks schedule is as follows...

Aug 14
      Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog
      January from Sew Sew Go

Aug 16
       Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
       Cathy from Blueberry Patch

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Changin' It Up

 This week has presented so many challenges in the way of craftiness.  I tried a few new things and failed at some of them while I exceeded my expectations at others.  I am about ready to throw in the towel on one project as it ignites my fury every time I work on it.  Thus, I decided to change it up.  I worked on many different things this week as you will see from the post.

I crocheted this octopus for my mother.  Isn't it awesome!  I love the little button eyes!  I found the free pattern here.  It was mostly easy although I didn't understand why she was having us do the legs the way she did and I changed it up not disconnecting the yarn as I was told.

So my mom has a tree that she keeps up in her house all year and changes the decor for the season/month.  For her birthday she asked me to crochet things to go on this tree.  I had a blast trying out all these new patterns and I was amazed how easily they came to me.  I'm sure getting to be an expert!  All of these patterns were free and the links are here... fish, octopus, starfish, butterfly, and swimsuits.

As part of the Mario Brother QAL I'm making a Luigi block.  I decided to use Quilter's Grid and I was pretty excited about how easy it was going together.  Of all the squares I ironed on to it only four needed to be pinned.  These two only fell off after I caught them with my fingernail and pulled accidentally.

Here it is after I sewed all the vertical lines.  I was in love.  It was so fast and easy and all of my lines were really straight.  It was at this point that I emailed a lot of people my opinions on the quilter's grid and its use in this quilt.  Little did I know that will all change...

Here's the final Luigi block.  Now the picture really doesn't do justice to how horrible it is in real life.  The whole block is 1.5" too small.  The seams are HORRIBLY wavy and the 1" squares are more like rectangles.  This stuff was impossible to sew the other direction.  It was so slippery and kept shifting all over the place.  My seams kept getting horribly off and the "lines" somehow completely disappeared when I needed them even though they were very difficult to see in the first place now they are non-existent.  I'm ready to quit the whole Quilt Along and just throw in the towel!  I know I can sew a straight line!  I have made 38 quilts in my 29 years of life and I'm pretty confident in my abilities but this is just the biggest source of my stress right now.  Should I give up?  Should I just cut the squares down to size and forget the original plan?  Should I take a break and come back to it later?  Should I keep going but work at my own pace and not try to keep up with everyone else?  I just don't know.  The problem is this is a quilt for my little man and he's so excited about it but I'm so frustrated!  Advice or help please!

Now for the progress on my Tetris QAL.  LOVE!!  Seriously I worked on this after the Luigi debacle and it totally restored my faith in my sewing ability.  The seams lined up like a dream and it was so fast and easy!  To see this week's full post click here.

I've also been doing a bit of scrapbooking.  I miss this!  I've been so busy quilting that I haven't taken much time for my other crafty loves lately and I think I should.  I made five two-page layouts from pictures back in 2010.  I feel horribly behind but a lot of people say two years isn't that bad in the scrapbooking world.

Here's more crocheted hats for NICU babies.  I've been having so much fun with this!  They are so cute and fast and easy.  Plus, they make me feel good that my craftiness is going to a good cause.  The tan ones on the top need edging and accents but the bottom ones are all finished.

I'm linking up all this hard work to the WiP Wednesday Posts at Freshly Pieced and Ambassador Crochet.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tetris Quilt-A-Long - Week 4

 It's Tetris Tuesday again over at Happy Quilting where Melissa is hosting the Tetris Quilt-A-Long.  I love Tuesdays now because this quilt is so fun and it's coming together so quickly!  The block was so fun this week and I only have one white square.  I think that's quite the accomplishment.

I had the bottom middle red squares carry over from last week and I built it up from there.  There are three squares that will carry over to next week which will either make that one really easy or really difficult, it's hard to tell.

Here it is all sewn up.  I love how fun these blocks are!  I also like the variety of fabric so that even though the same colors touch each other in places it's not too much of a blob effect.

Here are all of my squares sewn together thus far.  Bottom row is weeks one and three and the top row is weeks two and four.  For previous posts follow the links to weeks one, two, and three.
 Thanks for stopping by!  Check out the linky party at this post for other peoples' blocks from this week or go to the flickr group.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Progress, Finally!

 It's WiP Wednesday again over at Freshly Pieced where Katie from Katie's Korner is the host this week.  She's got an amazing project list that has some really fun ideas.  I got a bunch of fun things done this week.  A few of them are birthday presents but they are crocheted and I noticed the WiP Wednesday crowd are more of a fabric bunch so I guess that's alright anyway.  I finished my Mario block for the Mario Quilt Along hosted by Angela from Cut to Pieces.  I'm so thankful that's over with and I'm trying a different method with Luigi so we'll see how that works out.  I also finished week three for the Tetris Quilt-A-Long hosted by Melissa from Happy Quilting.  Here's my photogenic progress...

Last week I chain pieced the rest of the rows together.  You can see the start of this block here.  Once I got all the rows together I was ready to sew up the cracks between them.  I really wish I would have taken a picture before this stage but I was just so happy to get it together.  You can see the bottom three rows still need to be sewn here.

I went to show my hubby the finished product and disaster happened.  He was painting our dining room and managed to touch the quilt block while handing me something.  I was freaking out and sent Mario into the sink for a little swim.  With some dish soap and a scrub brush the paint came out quickly but it was a seriously panic moment.

Here's the finished Mario, thankfully without any paint!  There are a few seams that are off but this was much harder than I expected.  With so many seams it was easy to get off.

I finished week three of the Tetris Quilt-A-Long yesterday and added it to my growing collection.  It's on the bottom right.  See the full post here.

I told my friend and fellow quilter how I was going about the Mario block and she shuddered then donated this to my cause.  It's called Quilter's Grid by Pellon and it's iron on interfacing with a grid printed right on it.  You iron the squares on and then fold it over and sew up the lines.  She just had it in her sewing room left over from a quilt she made many moons ago.  I'm excited to give it a try for Luigi.

I laid out Luigi and ironed him on to the Quilter's Grid.  A few of the squares wanted to fall off but with a little more iron pressure they were stuck solid.  I haven't gotten around to sewing any seams yet but I hope to this week and I can compare the two experiences. 

Not Pictured:
- Crochet birthday present
- Crochet preemie hats (I've made the bases for seven more this week that need to be finished and five other ones completed)
- Crochet Fusion Blanket - I have top stitched about a third of them but they look more or less the same so I just opted no thank you on the picture.

No Progress:
- Nana Papillon quilt (too many Mario/Luigi squares on the cut table)
- Never-Ending Afghan (seriously high 90's with no A/C and only a small window unit is WAY to hot to be working on a blanket)

Here's to more progress and lower temperatures this week!  Thanks for stopping by!