Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Swell Quilt Top Finish!


I guess when it comes to quilting I'm a debater... are you too? I'm almost always back and forth about some issue, putting projects on hold until I figure out my dilemma, and picking them back up again when it feels right. With that being said, it should be no surprise that this quilt top finish is certainly no exception. 


Just a few stats to bring you up to speed:

Quilt pattern: Camille Roskelley's "Swell" from her Simply Retro book.
Started: February 2014
Fabrics: Various Amy Butler collections and Kona Cotton white
Quilt top: FINISHED! (if I could figure out a way to make trumpets sound at this point, I would. Please imagine them now.)
Current Status: Working on backing, then once basted, under the machine for quilting!
Issues: Completed listed size (
63 x 75), but after much debate decided to make larger. Initially indecisive about whether to put border as shown in original quilt. Decided to leave the border off and extend the design.
Finished quilt top size: 83 x 91 in. (210 x 230 cm)



NOTE: When my 6'5" (195 cm) husband had to stand on a kids chair for this photo, and it still drug the ground... made me realize just how huge this baby has grown to be! (I have to admit I’m a little worried about getting  this thing  though my normal sewing machine to quilt). I am planning very simple quilting on this one, which will hopefully make this happen quickly.

Are you dragging your feet this week on a project? Having any size dilemmas? Any particular quilting issues?


Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Farm Girl Vintage Blocks


One of the joys of living is Northern Germany is the rain. (I hope the sarcasm is plainly obvious) With that being said, I've got a finish to share, but have been stuck inside these past days wishing for even the slightest little hint of sunshine to snap some pictures. So, if the sunshine won't come to you, then I guess you have to make it yourself.


My Farm Girl Vintage blocks are growing, and it's been fun to dig through my scraps, and even make a few new scraps for these blocks. I have to say that I am pleased with how much easier it has been to find that perfect little snippit now that my scraps are properly organized. I really love adding low volumes with just a little hint of color to these, and paired with these juicy blocks, it just feels summery even if the weather outside is not.


As always, size will continue to be my life long back and forth dilemma when it comes to quilting, and I am actually contemplating a small, little twelve block sampler. Can you believe it? On the other hand, these blocks are not only fun, but really addictive... but one step at a time, right?


While I found the 6 inch blocks to be unbelievably adorable, I really liked the idea of making larger blocks and chose the 12 inch version. It's also been fun looking at other versions of FGV projects on Instagram, and see what others are making.

What are you working on today?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday & Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Realistic Quilting


When it comes to my quilting projects, I feel that I am somewhat of a realist. It's never been my goal, or intention, to whip out one quilt after the next as fast as one can blink... in fact I've actually intended my long term projects to be just that, and something that I work on throughout the year. I want to enjoy the process, and be satisfied that a quilt is not something that is just thrown together over a weekend. (well not at least for normal people anyway)  I want the freedom to set something to the side if I am not feeling motivated or inspired, and pick it back up when if feels right. While finishing is so vital, setting time constraints for when is not. I've enjoyed moving at a snail's pace despite the fact that I know that such a pace does not exactly grow blog readership, but my projects are growing little by little, bit by bit... and believe it or not, I'm OK with that. As for the progress on my Facing East quilt... talk about a not-done-overnight quilt, yup, you're looking at the epitome of it!


Last week I shared my Scrappy Windmill quilt top finish, and after peeling all those papers out of the seams, I was more than ready to set it aside. Since it came together so quickly, I gave myself the liberty to do so, not to mention that I am waiting on the batting to finish it. My husband graciously took our two little guys for the weekend, and I was able to have some time to myself. Usually my sewing room is an explosion after being granted such freedom, but I had several things to ponder in my heart... thoughts of change, unanswered questions, and what if's. Things are shifting and moving, and the quiet and stillness was just what I needed. But nonetheless, after working so intensely on the quilt top, I just wasn't ready to pull out one of my tedious, long-term quilts.

You may remember me adding a few,... er, well, ahumm, several... ok, ok, a huge stack of fabrics that I hauled back recently from vacation. And while in the land of fabrics, I found that I simply could not resist the Farm Girl Vintage book from Lori Holt either. While these blocks are a little off the beaten path from my usual style, I found myself gravitating back to it.



You might notice several of those fabrics all sliced, diced, and sewn up together in these blocks. Working with low volumes with a little touch of color has been on my to do list, and up until now, my low volume's have essentially been black in the black/white category.



Somehow I'm still stuck on going for a fresh and juicy look... I really want to have colors that just pop! When I first saw the Word find fabric from Melody Miller's Playful collection, I have to admit that I wasn't too impressed... until I saw it live! Talk about a story change... for me THIS is the absolute perfect shade of pink!


... and my little house block ends up boasting not just one, but several favorites of mine... Alison Glass, Heather Ross, Cori Dantini, and I am just as smitten with the Eric & Julie Comstock Baby Jane in yellow.


What's your approach on long-term quilting? Do you take on year-long (or longer) projects or do you prefer quilts that don't need as much time to finish? 

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Quilt Top Finish... but which one?!?


I finished a quilt top!!!... it might come as a little bit surprise, but can you guess which one? 

I was able to make a good amount of progress on my "planned creativity" goals during our summer vacation time, and since I've been working on THREE quilts at the same time, there's about a 33% chance at guessing which one is now a finished quilt top... so, what's your pick?

1.) The "Swell" quilt
2.) The "Facing East" quilt? or
3.) The "Scrappy Windmill" quilt?...



If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have a pretty good idea already, but if not, how about a little hint?... the quilt top is the smallest of all three quilts that I have been working on, and it's the one I started last!?!... dromroll, please for my Scrappy Windmill quilt top!


The fact that I had decided to make a baby quilt, which was smaller than the orginal version, really helped things come together so quickly. (wow, can you believe that I actually decided to make a quilt smaller instead of making it bigger?!?) The paper piecing seemd to whiz by, not to mention that I had already gotten a lot finished before I left for vacation. What actually felt like it took the longest was peeling all those papers out of the back once it was all put together! NOTE: this is the point where I discovered the BIG downside of paper piecing.



On my Facing East quilt I just charged through without completely reading through the part of the directions that said to leave the paper in until the blocks are sewn together... it was only first on this pattern that I realized that little, but important detail! On one hand, I understand that leaving the paper in helps keep the shape of the block together nicely without stretching the design, but I have to say, that peeling the papers out of the seams was just downright UNPLEASANT!


I had actually tried peeling the paper away from the outside edges of the blocks before stitching them together, but this was also not the best solution. I did notice a slight difference, and I probably could have pulled it off, but decided to stick with the "if it's not broke, then don't fix it" rule. I also tried shortening the stitch length, but from my opnion, it didn't exactly make a world of difference with the paper removal either. Hmmm... definitely some things to think about before jumping into another paper piecing project!


Size: Finished quilt top size approx. 50 x 60 inches (ca. 125 x 150 cm)
Fabrics: Kona Cotton White, Lizzy House, Heather Ross, and other various scraps
Backing: Planned pieced backing with bright prints, waiting for batting
Pattern: Scrappy Windmills by Judith Dahmen as featured in Issue 10 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine

They say that hindsight is twenty-twenty... do you have any "the picture is clearer" after-the-fact stories to share?

 Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee Social, and Scraptastic Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hurricanes, Stacks, and WIP's


One of my Dad's all time favorite phrases for when someone is going to do something regardless is: "well, it was like trying to hold back a hurricane with a palm branch"... you get the picture right? I guess it would be safe to say that this pretty much sums up my stash explosion fabric shopping spree while in the US. Believe it not, there has actually been a method to my madness, and it's been a lot about basics and fabrics that I have coveted for too long:

In addition to my previous stacks, I've added several low volumes to my stash, but I really wanted to add a few low volumes with color. I love this pastel mix and can't wait to make something sweet and delicate with them.



While I find so many solid quilts to be beautiful and just plain brilliant, when it comes working with solids myself, I feel completely at a loss. Somehow creating with a fabric that is almost solid is more my to my taste. Zen Chic's city map and Carolyn Friedlander's crosshatch fabrics are just perfect for that work-like-a-solid-look without actually being solid.



And what would a shopping spree be without one little splurge? This hard to find, OOP (out of print) little bundle of fabrics again from Carolyn Friedlander completed my stash. I justified the price by figuring that this would essentially be the normal price that I would pay for fabrics in Germany anyway. I'm pleased to say that these have not landed into the "fabrics to pretty to be used" category (or in this case to expensive)...



... and here they are in the works: For my Facing East quilt, I currently have two blocks that feature designs from one collection. While I have generally avoided sticking with all one collection for each block segment, I opted to feature two of my favorites as a whole.



What are your stash building strategies? Do you build with basics, and add in fun prints here and there, or do you build project by project?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday & Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Birds of a Feather


If you follow the bi-annual happenings of quilt market, then you probably remember when the queen of craftiness herself showed up in this feathered frock when she introduced her Field Study fabric line. Oh, how the internet crafting world was all a flurry afterwards with various interpretations of her free feathers quilt project... and all with good reason. The pattern is fantastic!

There are various ways that you can make the pattern, depending on personal quilting preferences. One could use traditional piecing styles, the paper piecing method, or my all time favorite... freezer paper applique. I had fun making this pillow using snippits from Dowry and Pretty Potent, on a Chambray Denim background, and a little hand-stitching to make the feathers pop.

  
I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite projects that I found featuring the fabulous feather pattern:


1. Ms. Craftiness herself booth shot 2. Ants to Sugar invites you to find her mistake... mistake or no mistake, I love it anyway! 3. Grace and Favour mixes arrows (free pattern on the blog) and feathers 4. Badskirt's dark background quilt is stunning, and the backing is amazing too! 5. Field Study 6. I love the paper pieced birds that Sewing Wilde added to her feathers 7. Another great mix of feathers and arrows... and amazing quilting from Schnig-Schnag (german) 8. Three simple feathers with various low volume space from Blue Elephant Stitches - fantastic! 9.  Quilts by Emily, where Denyse Schmidt meets meets arrows & HST's 10. Olivia Jane Handcrafted features the Field Study collection in her quilt. 11. Modern charity quilt that NW Ohio Modern Quilt Guild created 12. Blocks from quilting bee members helped Charm About You finish her dream quilt.

If you are a little unsure about making the feathers or need inspiration for your projects, you can always join in on Ms. Horner's Creativebug class.

What about you... have you made any feather projects yourself? Leave a link... I'd love to see!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WV Quilt Festival Part I


The longer I am away from home, the more I must process coming to terms with my own identity. I'm not talking about living the next state over from the people and places that I know and love, but a whole continent away! Somehow no matter where I am, there is always something small that is missing from each place. Usually I can go about a year before I start feeling a little out of balance, and experience a deep yearning to be in that familiar place again, with familiar people, and even a familiar language.... for me that place is West Virginia.



When I was growing up, I viewed my home state much differently than I do now, and I think living away from that place you call home can make you realize things that you never recognized before. While West Virginia is not exactly a "hot spot" destination for most travelers coming to the US, there is something rich and pure about the not so populated, "country roads" state. I've come to appreciate the deep cultural roots that makes the mountainess state, and the people, what they are.



While quilting plays a big role in the West Virginia's history, unfortunately that heritage was not passed down in my family like I read other generational quilters tell of. My grandmother did give us quilts from other quilters, and I remember being wrapped up in them studying each little print, picking out my favorite ones. Truly at a young age I appreciated each tiny snippit that made a quilt.



I love traditions and especially making them. In Germany so far we have a standing annual event for Thanksgiving, Spargelzeit (aspargus time), and new Christmas traditions as a family. For the last several years, when I have traveled home to visit my family, I have attended the local quilt show with my one and only aunt who does quilt. We marvel at the skills, designs, and quilting of each one, and know first hand the time that it takes to make each one.... it's almost become our annual tradition.



As I walked through the doors to the show, I felt my heart stir a bit, knowing full well that the tradition of quilting in West Virginia is older than me or anyone that I know. Sewing and quilting has been just as much a part of the culture as the mountains, and I can't help thinking that me stepping into that tradition is somehow about coming full circle.



I was particularly fascinated by the traveling quilt "The First Four Hundred" by Jane M. Crutchfield, which was also hand quilted. "Each block has an element from the cover of each of the first four hundred issues of Quilter’s Newsletter (Sept 1969-Mar 2008).  The first blocks are black and white because that is how the magazine was published initially.  The blocks then go to monochromatic for several issues, then to full color in July 1976 with the Bicentennial Star block."

As I had expected, most of the quilts on exhibit were more traditional in fabric choices and designs, but there were a few modern quilters also exhibiting at the show. Even though my style leans more towards the modern end of the spectrum, I can very much appreciate quilts that carry the art through the generations.



Do you have any quilting traditions? Are you from generations of quilters or did you discover the art in some other way?

All quilts shown are from the 2015 West Virginia Quilt Festival exhibit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Progress


Before I left I was actually able to make a good amount of progress on my Scrappy Windmill quilt and am debating back and forth on whether I should make a smaller version for a baby quilt. It's actually not because I've lost steam, but becasue I think that with so many fun and sweet prints that this would be adorable wrapped on some snuggly, little bundle of joy. I had also thought that this would be a fun "I spy" quilt... can't you just imagine being tucked in with a cute toddler searching together for cats, strawberries, foxes, trees, glasses, crickets, clothespins, frogs, cameras, tiny mice on bikes, snails, tea cups, hedgehogs, birds, and more?


I've still not decided if I will keep the brown blocks in or not, but because I had them made up, I kept them in for the photo. I'll of course need to add a few more blocks even for a baby size quilt... what do you think? With enlarging my currents WIP's it might also be nice to finish something a little smaller instead. Speaking of my other WIP's... remember that little stack of snippits I had? Well, take a look at them now:


As crazy as it might sound, I actually liked working on three different projects at a time. What about you, do you work on multiple projects at once or do you stick to one thing at a time?

Linking up this week to WIP WednesdayLet's Bee Social, and Scraptastic Tuesday
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