Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hot Off The Press Finish!

Can you feel the steam radiating out of your computer screen? When I say that this quilt top is literally hot off the press, I really am not exaggerating! I had planned to have this top finished early in the week, but a weekend cold that just doesn't want to leave has been tagging along way longer than is should have!

I decided to add two more reverse applique leaf sets, which was a nice on-the-couch-with-a-cold project. It felt like it added more interest and a certain balance to the quilt. 

I really dug deep into my scrap bins on this quilt and essentially let my scraps dictate the layout of this quilt. It was a challenge working with so many different sizes and shapes, but also a welcome change that I didn't really have to worry about matching seams.

Now that the challenge of the random and unbalanced piecing is behind me, I'm ready for the next biggie...  I'm planning to do a little FMQ on this!?! I've really only done FMQ on smaller projects and haven't really tackled a quilt, but since this is a relatively small, I thought it would be the best project to get a little practice on.

So essentially I have until Sunday to have this quilted and bound because only finished projects qualify for the Woodland QAL. I generally don't like to take on quilting projects when there is a pressing deadline. Sometimes I find that if I work on a project where my brain is on another project, it robs me of the creative freedom and inspiration to make it exactly how I was inspired.

What about you... do you find that your creativity is surpressed by short deadline on a quilting project?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Design Wall Shuffle

I'm busy checking things off my goals list, and while I really like to add things to that list, I think I like it even better to check things off. One major check mark this week was finishing my Jeweled Mystery quilt top... can you believe that I've finished a whole quilt top, sent it off to be quilted, and really have shared practically little to nothing here?!? All in time... all in time.

But my next deadline is lurking, and now I'm wanting to go a direction that I've never really been before with the blocks that I shared last week... and that is to finish a baby quilt with a lot of negative space. 

Negative Space... there's that scary word that makes me cringe all the way to my toes trying to come up with ideas to quilt this, but I really want these adorable blocks to be highlighted and the focal point. My plan is to incorporate various low volume scraps into the background as well as a creme Basic Grey grunge fabric.

So far I've combined the individual blocks into a larger color block by adding Basic Grey grunge in a complimenting color, and added a reverse applique climbing leaves block. For this, I essentially used multiple print outs from my "Mini Foliage" template, and simply finished every other leaf. I think that this might need a second set of leaves, and I am still playing around with the placement.

Here I switched the leaves to a vertical position instead of horizontal. I think one vertical and one horizontal set of leaves might be a nice balance.

Is"Negative Space" a scary word for you too, or do you thrive on counting the ways to fill it up?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pulling A 180

Sometimes you find necessary that you just have to make something right then and there because inspiration hits you like a ton of bricks. To hesitate, means that it's too late... somehow if you don't jump at just the right moment, then the window of opportunity is gone.

I've been working almost exclusively on my Jeweled Mystery quilt, and working so intensely on a project it's sometimes difficult to stay on task. I even have a deadline of when the quilt top needs to be sent out, but sometimes having a creative "breather" is the best thing to re-group before a final push.

You may remember these sweet paper pieced Forest Floor mushrooms that I pattern tested for Lillyella's World a while back. I really enjoyed making them, but once I had finished them, I wasn't quite sure how to put them to good use. 

... BUT when I saw the Woodland QAL contest that Tartankiwi is running on Instagram, it was a drop everything moment for me... I didn't want to miss my window, right? I started thinking that a marriage of the two paper pieced blocks were a match made in heaven.

Both pattern sets are extremely well done, and I thrive on a pattern where I really think about fabric placement. These Cori Dantini acorns are just perfect for this little furry friend, don't you think?

Hands down, the bunny block is my favorite. When I saw it, I knew that my bunny had to be done up in Kraft paper Basic Grey grunge. Solids really aren't my thing, but I think that grunge fabric just adds so much more depth to a project.

My husband jokes that this last block has to be my favorite... especially since he calls me his "little house mouse". Using various low volumes for this scurrying, tiny friend was my favorite part of this block.

I've played around with a few layouts with these blocks, but with an August 28th deadline for a finished project, I don't have much time.

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Secrets Come In Two's

When I said that I was doing a lot of secret sewing, I really wasn't kidding!?! My Jeweled Mystery quilt top is almost finished and will go out soon to be longarm quilted - my first quilt to be finished by someone else! If you don't know Iva's work, then you really need to check her out here... just amazing! 

Well, now that the cat's out of the bag that I'm working on writing quilt patterns, I can let you in on a few behind the scenes in the works. The second pattern that I am working on really is a little bit of everything - traditional piecing, paper piecing, applique, and curved piecing... is there anything that I left out?!?

... and what's a good quilt block without a little bit of mini cuteness in the mix? 1 1/2 inch HST cuteness to be exact.

It's been fun for me to explore a variety of time saving techniques to make things come together faster... like this great HST tutorial that I found on Pinterest... why re-invent the wheel, right?

Hmm... trimming HST's in not exactly my favorite part, but a necessary evil that now matter how hard you try, you just can't get around.

Aside from our move, our big guy starts school this Saturday, and we have been enjoying the relaxed, off-schedule summer days. Despite the slow pace of things, I'm sooo ready to make it back to my sewing room!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Listen... Do You Want To Know A Secret?

Before our recent move, I was actually able to make significant progress on two secret projects that I've been hinting at for way too long... I'm in the process of writing my own quilting patterns! Since it is such a lengthy process not only to write the pattern, but also make a sample quilt, it's been hard keeping it under wraps... week after week making lots of progress, but nothing to show!

If you have seen very many of my quilts, you may have noticed a little addition here that doesn't usually pop up in the rest of my projects, and is definitely not a staple in my fabric stash. Somehow I felt like that this quilt just needed to have grey in it! So, am I the only one who chain pieces paper pieced patterns?

... but behind the scenes, this quilt top is getting close to being finished! The first pattern will of course be a paper pieced pattern with some applique... what else, right? Somehow I'm just not ready to step away from my jewel colors, and this palette has made it back up on my design wall once again.

There's no offiical release date lurking around the corner, and I even hesitated about letting the cat out of the bag too early. There are still a few boxes in random corners throughout the house waiting to be unpacked, and our big guy starts school this next month (!?!), so needless to say, my plate is pretty full. Are you working on any summer sewing projects?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Jeweled Improv Mini

If you've followed me on any of my quilting journeys you know that color is my favorite part of the quilting process and feels easy to me, while the actual quilting part is what I struggle with the most. Since my Jeweled Improv Mini is my first improv project, I really was a little clueless where to even start quilting. Sometimes balanced designs give you little hints, but there's nothing symmetrical here!

Somehow the obvious choice seemed to be to shadow the points: Obvious, but perhaps a little too obvious... predictable was not what I wanted on an improv project. Instead I really wanted to challenge and push myself, not to mention avoid the downside of having several points that would have to be backstitched since this gal doesn't bury threads!

In the end, I actually did let the design dictate the quilting to me. I started by making the white open V at the bottom of the quilt my starting point, and filled it in. Once the radiated V was in place, I changed the direction of the quilting lines into an L shape on both sides. 

I really wanted to use my variegated threads that I had purchased a while back (with no particular project in mind), but I decided that to use it all over might be too much and take away from the overall design. I used a white Auriful thread for the main quilting, and simply accented a few random points, which I think continues with the improv style.

This past Saturday was the first HH Patchwork Treffen with my girls since we've moved, and my first time back at the sewing machine in three weeks!?! Let's just say that it was a much needed sewing time, and I'm super excited to have my first project checked off my Q3 Finish-A-Long list!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moving and Q3 FAL Goals

If you somehow happened to miss randomly dropped mentions here and there from my previous posts, we've moved! This has not been an easy decision, but we are hopeful that it was the right one. With all that being said, this girl has been desperately missing her sewing machine!?! Like a good little quilter, I gave up my Bernina a week before the move to have her serviced. It's when you have to give something up, that you start to notice that you are a total addict! Anyone else out there who exhibits major withdrawl symtoms when away from the sewing machine for too long? This whole last week has been about unpacking boxes, finding new spots for things, and making our temporary living space a home.

Since I will be looking for a little direction once I am able to sit back down at the sewing machine, the 2016 Finish-A-Long Q3 linkup couldn't come at a more prefect time! I had two finishes last quarter
(here and here). This quarter I will have two projects that I will carry over from my Q2 list, and two that have been recently added:

1. My Churnstile blocks are now a quilt top, and I was able to get it basted before we moved... and now there's just a little simple quilintg ahead.

2. Green Smoothie Quilt... even though this is the second project that is carried over from the last quarter, it won't make it to top of my priority list because buying a new bed is. All the leaves are finished and connected, but since I want to custom fit this to a bed that we don't have yet, it will have to wait.

3. Jeweled Improv Quilt... this was a result of using up leftover scraps from my bees blocks, but instead of letting all that scrappy goodness go to waste, I started my very first improv project... well, at least I've found the perfect thread to quilt it.

4. Jeweled Mystery Quilt... this is one of my undercover projects that I have talked about several times, but I've not even given the smallest sneak peak anywhere... until now. This might actually be top of my priorty list to finish soon, because I can't hold it in much longer... a Q3 finish is a ambitious goal, but I hope doable.

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and 2016 Finish-A-Long

P.S. If you've commented on my blog the last several months, and have not heard anything back from me, now you know what has been keeping me so busy and from writing back... but I do appreciate each and every comment!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

If Life Gives You Scraps...

It's no secret that I've become a huge fan of paper piecing since the very first stitch... but what I'm not a big fan of is the amount of seemingly still good and usable scraps that can be produced throughout the process.

I really wish that I could make grandiose claims of being a good little quilter that uses every last little delicious bit, scrap, and snippit that one creates when cutting up fabric only to sew it back together again... but I have to admit that large amounts of scraps overwhelm me, and in a big way! No worries, I don't throw away every little snippit that happens to fall to the floor, but the reality of it is that if it's too small then it lands in the trash before it lands in the scrap bin.

After finishing a few of my bee blocks, I realized that I had too many great scraps to just scrap (pun intended!) So, I decided that it was time for me to try out an improv project. I made up several long, wonky half square triangles and played around with a few design layouts.

This is the design that I finally settled on, and I kind of like how it's come together. It's not a highly improv piece, but improv enough for me. I have a few more projects and techniques to get out of my system first before I jump in with both feet.

How do you use your leftover bits and pieces? Do you save every little scrap or are you able to let the teeny tidbits go?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday and Scraptastic Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hail To The Queen... Bee!

I can hardly belive that it's my turn to be the queen bee in our quilting bee, and it couldn't come at a more perfect time.... just before our move! Even as early as February, I have been thinking about what block I would like for my bee quilt. I ended up "auditioning" three possible blocks, but was not really sure if I wanted to impose curved piecing or a 100 piece paper pieced block on my other bee members. The most likely candidate, the Churnstile block from Stitchery Dickory Dock, was top of the list, but after I had made a few blocks, I realized that I had very specific ideas about the direction I wanted to go with the colors. 

I knew that I wanted to do paper piecing because... well, I just love the accuracy of it, but I had used up all my other free pattern ideas. So, I decided to search some other quilting bees to get some inspiration. When I first saw this block, I was a quite puzzled. Hmmm.... very simple and it really did nothing for me.

... that is until I saw the blocks put together! I thought ahhh... now I see it - wow, what a fantastic design! There are several versions of this block out there, but I used Zen Chic's free pattern Prism, and printed it at only 85% (the original is huge!)

So, you might now recognize that pretty little stack of jewel tone fabrics that I shared last week... here they are again, all cut up and worked in with some colored low volumes. This is not my only project planned with this palette!

... and now I get to sit back and enjoy while all my busy bee members do the rest of the work for me ; ) 

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Thrill of the Pull

What's your favorite part of the quilting process? For me, hands down it's pulling fabrics for a new project. I've always been drawn to intriguing patterns and strong colors, and thinking about how fabrics might mix, match, and compliment each other... well, you just can't get any better than that in my book!

I've had this vibrant little stack of fabric in my head now for months! I've always loved a rich jewel tone palette, and once I had seen this quilt, I knew I had to embrace it. Of course, I had to go pretty heavy on the green tones. Let's just say that you will be seeing a lot of these snippits sewn into several upcoming projects!

Without giving everything away, let me just say that these are the colors that I've picked for my bee blocks, which is one of my four secret projects in the works right now. I won't be able to hold it much longer, and get to share next week!

if you're thinking right now... yeah, yeah, nice fabric stack, but show me something made with these jewels, then I'm afraid all I can leave you with is a small side project that I will tell more about later... it really has it's own story too.

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.
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