Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quilting Fail? Part II {a finished quilt}

About a week ago I posted about a top for the scrap basket quilt along I wasn’t too happy with.  Here it is in all its glory:


Things I didn’t like about this top:

  • no visible color scheme
  • too much red in three blocks clumped on left side
  • just way too much going on!
  • no opportunity to do any interesting quilting

Things I did like about this top:

  • it was made completely from 2.5 inch strippy scraps with not a lot of cutting necessary
  • the vibrancy of the dark and light colors together

I thought a lot about what I could do to improve this top and came up with this:


I separated many of the rows from the original quilt top, moved around some blocks with red in them, and resewed together a chunk of 7 rows.  Then I added some negative space in the form of a solid gray border at the top and bottom.  Improvement?

The one thing that was nice about this new arrangement is that it allowed me a lot of blank space to try some different free motion quilting designs.


I have been watching Angela Walters’ classes on Craftsy lately, so the large and small circles are taken exactly from her class.  It took so much thread to do this design that I had to skip it for the bottom of the quilt or I might not have enough gray thread for my MQG challenge due later this month.

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These concentric squares were also part of the Angela Walters class.  I have learned so much from her class and her positive attitude encouraged me to just go for it and try something new.  She was right, even with mistakes and not-so-perfect or straight stitching, the designs still look pretty good.

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Angela suggests using thread that blends when you’re first starting out, but I had this black sheet I’d always intended to use for another quilt but never had.  Also I had this crazy idea that it would be fun to see exactly what the stitching looks like. 

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If you squint and don’t look too closely, it looks pretty cool!

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The binding is also something from my stash, a pearl bracelet fabric in metallic gray.

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The finished size is 53.5” x 66.5”.  It’s ready to be mailed to Margaret’s Hope Chest.

Many thanks to Amanda Jean for organizing another quilt along!  I joined her last one 4 years ago and never finished the quilt.  That was before I could sew a consistent 1/4 inch seam allowance without tears, so maybe I should dig out that WIP and finish it up too?

I’ll be linking up to Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Crazy Mom Quilts later this week.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nested Churn Dash QAL

I love a good quilt along!  Last December my sister, my daughter, and I did the Penny Patch QAL together, and boy was that fun!  We used Skype to help my sister, who was new to sewing, and her quilt turned out so pretty!  Now she’s a quilter too, with several more quilts under her belt since then.  And this past spring, CeLynn’s quilt inspired me to jump right into the Triangle QAL.  So it doesn’t surprise me that a few weeks ago I saw Izzy’s Nested Churn Dash and I was ready to start another QAL!


While my husband was away, one of my tires sprung a slow leak (of course) and I had to fill it with air a few times myself—let’s not even go into how the first time the air pressure kept going down as I was filling it, because I never pushed the button on the pump!
Luckily there was a Good Samaritan in the parking lot who showed me how to do it.

Yesterday my husband took the car out for an oil change and to get the tire fixed.  He took one of our kids with him, the other two were watching a movie.  Could I get the 24” block made before he got home?  It was a race against time!

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Cutting the pieces was a snap!  I easily followed the chart in the pattern.  Having some quilting experience really helped here because I totally understood what I was cutting and how it would go together in the end.

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Making the HSTs was a breeze too.  The directions allow a lot of room for trimming.  This is where a white marking pencil comes in handy.  I think the background color is Kona charcoal, but I’m not 100% positive.  It’s a very dark gray.

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And there you have it—I got exactly halfway through the piecing before I heard the garage door open, which was about 90 minutes.  Not too shabby!  I wasn’t thrilled to be stopping, but I knew there’d be more sewing after bedtime.

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I love the way it turned out!  It’s kind of like looking into a tunnel.  I was thinking coral for the binding.  What do you think?

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The points came out nice and crisp.  After making this block I can say that it is the perfect project for someone learning how to do patchwork.  From deciphering the cutting chart, to following HST directions, to piecing the block, the basics are all covered and the end product can be used in a quilt, for a pillow front, or as a wallhanging.

Info on the QAL can be found on Quilt Jane’s Blog.  There are so many gorgeous photos of nested churn dashes from many talented quilters showcased there.  The pattern is only $2, worth every penny, and there’s still time to join in!  2-3 hours is probably all you’d need from start to finish to get the block itself done. 

Thanks to everyone who left feedback about my scrappy quilt.  I feel much better about it now.  It’s all pieced together and is ready for quilting.  Hopefully some crinkly texture will make it even better.  Have a wonderful Fourth of July week!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quilting Fail?

The past few weeks have been busy.  My husband has been working days, nights, and weekends.  We are the kind of family that always eats dinner together, but in the past two weeks, family dinners haven’t happened at all.  It’s just been me and the girls, even eating out sometimes.  Yesterday afternoon he got home from a business trip and took the girls to the pool by himself and I got some sewing time!!!!!  I started working right away on Amanda Jean’s scrap basket quilt along for Margaret’s Hope Chest. 

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I was excited to do this project because it’s for charity, plus I have scraps coming out my ears.  It’s a little nerve-wracking making an entire quilt from scraps.  Coming up with a color scheme can be challenging.  And so is the moment when you use up that last little bit of fabric you’ve been hanging onto for years because it’s your favorite. 

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I’m not sure if I like what this quilt is shaping up to look like.  I realize that the colors and fabrics are not my usual bright and girly choices.  And maybe making something truly scrappy is a lot harder than it looks.  One thing is for sure, though, I have a lot less scraps in my basket now and that’s a good thing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time Flies

This past weekend we gifted this quilt to my friend’s daughter who turned 9.  She is the first baby I held besides a few times as a teenager babysitting (I worked in a restaurant all through high school so I didn’t get much of a chance to babysit).  She was born about 6 months before my first baby, so I learned everything from watching her grow up.  Not only does the quilt have cute retro clocks on it, but making this quilt reminded me how quickly our babies grow up.

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The finished quilt measures 58 x 58 and is the perfect size for a lap quilt and definitely big enough for her to snuggle underneath. 

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The fabrics are a nice mix of Lori Holt and Denyse Schmidt.  The binding is a Holly Holderman print originally slated to bind a Valentine’s Day quilt, but it just went so well with this quilt I had to use it.

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The quilting is a mix of flowers, loops, back-and-forth lines, and meandering. 

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I’m not sure if making the photo black and white makes it any easier to see the stitches and texture, but the quilting adds another dimension to the mixture of busy fabrics on the front.

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The backing fabric is this pretty pastel and gray floral print by Lori Holt.  I ran out of gray thread just as I was finishing up the quilting, so I used white for the bobbin.  Boy, is it noticeable if you know what you’re looking for!  I will never do that again!!!

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So there you have it!  I wish we could have stayed at the party for the unwrapping of the gifts, but that day was my daughters’ dance recital and they were all just so exhausted we had to leave a little early.  (Plus, we narrowly averted a pool party disaster, so it was time to go!)  Linking up to Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Crazy Mom Quilts.