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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Busy As A Bee... No, Really!?!

There's really so much going on right now, that I almost don't know where to begin. Let's just say that the majority of things that have been tying up my time these past weeks are essentially secret and behind the scenes projects... not to mention that I am about to have a major life change...

Before imaginations start going wild, let me just simply say that we are about to move. My husband and I have been talking about this move since we have been married, and it would seem that now is the time. I've not talked about it here, but just a little heads up might explain some future missing-in-action time here.

So, I've essentially been working on TWO Quilty Circle of Bees projects at one time. Firstly, Mell is up with her Wanta Fanta blocks. This is a great, free paper pieced pattern from Better Off Thread, as found on Blossom Heart quilts.

She asked for lots of pinks and reds with accents of oranges, yellows and purples - all in really bright and juicy shades... a really nice color combo, don't you think? Mell even came up with an additional template for the snowball unit, so the whole block can be paper pieced. This really helps with accuracy... just ask her, and I'm sure she'd be glad to pass her template along!

The second bee project has not officially been introduced, but perhaps I can whet your appetite and let you in on at least one secret... it's MINE!!!...  I'm up next as the "queen bee" and you'll get to see my bee blocks in July! 

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dreaming of Summer

Do you find yourself dreaming and yearning for summer all year long?... especially those moments at the beach just soaking up the warm sun, being cooled by the fresh salty air, and curling your toes up in the sand while settling into an inner calmness lulled by the soothing constancy of the waves crashing onto the shore. Such summer memories were the inspiration for my latest projects for Lena's Patchwork Magazin.

One of my favorite beach time activities as a child, next to building sand castles, was collecting seashells. Still to this day, I am fascinated by their beauty and uniqueness. These pretty little free motion applique mussels can be used in a variety of ways for fun summer decorating from table runners to vase covers, or even adorn a favorite picture frame.

The complete pattern and instructions, as well as more summer crafting ideas, can be found in the June issue of Lena's Patchwork Magazine. (German) For my other projects as featured in both Lena's Patchwork and Anna Magazin can be found here, here, here, and here.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Penny Quilt FINISH!

It's no secret that I'm a project jumper. While it was my original goal to work on a quilt that I could turn out quickly and easily, I'm still pleased with how long it took to finish this charity baby quilt (story here)... especially considering all the in between sewing. Yeah, another quilt checked off my 2016 FAL list for this quarter! If you're curious about all those other in between projects, I added a "Finished Quilts" tab to share how far I've come... not too bad for just two years of quilting, huh?

This quilt is packed full of favorite fabrics... come on now, who didn't fall completely in love with Heather Ross' Tiger Lily fabrics when they first came out?!? I waited for this bundle for a really, REALLY long time (too long of a story to go into), so it's fun to see it finally made up in this quilt!

Remember this pretty little stack of Lizzy House and Heather Ross Spoonflower additions from last summer?... you might recognize several of these prints.

"Becoming Frog" is one of my favorites... not only the print, but the color is the absolute perfect shade of pink, with just a hint of coral in it.

For the quilting, I decided on straight line quilting (of course), radiating from a focal star. I'm glad that you can't see from the pictures how croooked my stars got as they radiated out. Please note: this not my way of fishing for a compliment... I really was frustrated at how wonky they had gotten along the way. But I suppose washing and the magic of the crinkle should help, right?

The backing is, as always pieced, with the addition of Cori Dantini's Daisy Chain fabric and a few others in the mix.

The layout of this quilt was actually the first one that I got to put my Christmas present to good use. It's been part of my ongoing/yearly goals list, to learn the ins and outs of the EQ7 program. Obviously there are a few things off, but this really gave me a good idea about color placement. I've been experimenting more recently, and hope to share some secret sewing sooner rather than later.

Quilt Inspiration: "Super Star" from V and Co. 
Blocks: "Simple Star" from Farm Girl Vintage book, in both six and twelve inch blocks. Additional flying geese arrows.
Started: December 2015
Fabrics: Heather Ross, Lizzy House, and various stash fabrics. Low volume background fabrics. 

Backing: Cori Dantini, Heather Ross, Cotton & Steel, Blend Fabrics
Finished quilt size: ca. 48 x 60 in. (122 x 152 cm)

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Quilting to Cardigans

Do you remember when you first learned to sew? There are handfuls of people out there that a big part of their life story began with creating at a young age... and I am no exception to that rule. I cannot say that I remember when I first started sewing, although I imagine it was around seven or eight, but I do know that clothing was one of the first things that I learned how to sew.

Just because I started out sewing garments, does not mean that I enjoyed it. Almost after every clothing piece that I completed, I was always frustrated because it either didn't look right once I tried it on, or it simply didn't fit and needed adjustments way beyond my sewing abilities. So, I started sewing other things... until recently.

Generally I am pleased with the way my Julia Cardigan turned out, although I have to admit that I had that same sinking feeling when I finished and first tried it on. The sleeves were way too big and there was extra material on the sides, so of course my first thought was... "Note To Self: THIS is the very reason why you don't sew clothing!" It ended up that I did have to make several adjustments, but at least I can live with the end result.

One fun new discovery on this project was using a twin needle. Since I've not sewn with jersey before, I never needed one.  I stupidly didn't buy enough fabric to make the doubled over/no hem version (eeekkk!! grumble, grumble), but I stumbled on this alternative solution, and love the look of the finished hem. Nancy's Notions has a great how to tutorial here.

Even with all the clothing items that I whipped up way back then, I never made anything with Jersey. And despite what your feelings are about pre-washing or not pre-washing fabrics, with my quilting fabrics, it's just a no go with me. So, needless to say, two big "firsts" with me on this one.

Do you have any garment sewing love/hate stories to share?

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

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