Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Goal Met in September

I finished this top just in time to catch a picture before nightfall tonight. I have had quilting hiccups this month, and right now I am just thrilled to have met my AYOLF goal (44) in the nick of time.

I have mixed feelings about the quilt itself. Sometimes improv-style designing works really well for me, but I still have some sort of idea of what I am making and how it will all tie together. In this case however, I chose to follow a pattern in order to save time and make a quick Christmas quilt. I finished the blocks and wasn't really feelin the results...

I spent oodles of time arranging the blocks in different ways.
In the end I starched them all up and cut them on the diagonal. This 'quick' project was becoming an improv project, taking up my time, and really getting on my nerves!

Aiming to avoid spending any money on this quilt, I shopped my stash looking for background fabric. I wanted a bit of a vintage vibe. I liked the gray with it (DS on the right), but did not have enough and thought how cool this would have been with a newsprint fabric. Then I envisioned a bubble-gum ticking, but my pinks weren't right. I almost broke down and went to my LQS. I have a lot of fabric though, and it seemed silly to spend money on a project that I was not loving. I settled with the red stripe after calculating that I had just about EXACTLY the amount needed. (Actually, I ran out and a couple areas are patched in with the stripes the wrong direction).

Hopefully quilting will go more smoothly, and will help with it's contrast issues. For now, this is shelved for a bit while I pick up something else!

So that is my big share, my NewFO Project for September, as well as a goal achieved!

Without A Year of Lovely Finishes Monthly Link up, it is unlikely this top would have come to be!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stars of My Life

This month's Aurifil designer of the month is Pat Wys.
I have such admiration for Pat! She named her beautiful (4Star Friendship) block 'Stars of My Life'.
Here's the pattern and her interview with Pat Sloan! She describes four of the women who have been inspirational to her, and thus, to this block design. It is one of my favorites of the year, sooo..

 I enlarged it to 18", making it the largest block in the group so far!
Should be fun to fit these all together. Only a few more month's now..

More and more blocks are showing up in various color ways on the Aurifil Flickr site. If you make Stars of My Life, be sure and link it up for a chance to win a generous thread bundle!

Linking up with Lyn for BOM's Away! and with Jen at Building Blocks Tuesday.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's a Sister Swap REVEAL Linkup!

Sister Swap 2014 is all wrapped up and it is time now for all the reveals! Michele, our Big Sis, TaskMaster, and LeadSwapGuru, has provided a linkup where we can share our creations as well as those we received. Please visit Quilts from My Crayon Box to view all the sisterly gifts!

Quilts From My Crayon Box

I was pretty darn excited when I received the package of lovelies sent to me by Heather! Right off, I began taking pictures so I could showoff the pretties ASAP and let Heather know how much this meant to me. These were all in the package I received:
Simply stunning, right? Heather referred to the quilt as a mugrug, but it is pretty big! It is hung in my sewing room now as a mini. I filled the jar with buttons, but just read on Heather's blog that this mason jar makes a great drinking glass, and I do see now how wonderfully lemonade would taste from it! I saw that she provided a tutorial link so we can make Mason Jar Cozies too :-) 

And now for my handmade reveal!
For my assigned sister, I spent several weeks in stalking mode, learning about Kathy from Kwilty Pleasures. I was pleased to find that Kathy is a very active blogger, which made things easier:-) At first, I was torn between something for her Irish Bar or something fun for her Green Thumb. Both ideas soon lost out though when I realized she would receive her gift at the beginning of football season, an important time of year in Kathy's home...

The Buckeye's Fan Carryall commenced!

My idea for the bag was inspired by a picture/link from Kathy's awesome Pinterest Board: 
Lightening Zigzags Tutorial by Jenn of all Trades !

For quicker piecing, I joined 1 3/8" strips with 2 1/2" background strips. (I later made note that a 27" strip unit made approx. 10 blocks). I made the first angle cut after lining the strip set up on the mat, and aligning my ruler 1" apart diagonally.
If that does not quite make sense, looky here at these studio-at-night-shots:
Angle established with 1" incline
Units cut 2.5" apart, on parallel line
Cut to square off small patch first, a perpendicular cut starting 1/2" to the right of the top seam
2.5" squares, in stacks on the right. I think I was taking these to watch TV in the LR
I pieced together two panels, then attached the bottom sections so I could machine quilt those before I big-stitch quilted the patchwork. (yes, more TV time!)
The bottom section has stiffer interfacings, and channel quilting.
At this point I kind of wished I'd used a lighter background gray for better contrast since my big-stitching was not standing out real well, but the color does seem very Buckeye to me still. I pulled from my stash for the lining and the bottom: Pen & Ink by P&B Textiles.
Added a few pockets and a simple cardboard bottom...
Then I made sure to test it's ability to tote a quilt!
Ty's Z Quilt fit easily, with room for another ;-) 
I super-enjoyed this swap and plan to participate again next year!
Thank you Michele, you are the best!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Miss Dolly for Big Sister!

In August, I made this Rag Doll using the Miss Dolly Tutorial by Brittany from I am so Crafty, I Sweat Glitter.
This is my first doll, so I pretty much followed the directions using what supplies I had on hand. My niece is expecting a baby boy soon, and I wanted to send something special for his big sister, Mia, to help her celebrate.

A few months ago, I finished a sample block I found from a quilt I made for my niece several years ago. I figured it would be fun for Mia to have a doll quilt that matches her mom's quilt, but then when it came time to pack it, I just couldn't send it all by it's lonesome..
I packaged Mia's dolly with the quilt I sent for Jayden's nautical-themed baby shower.
His ship has been personalized..
And I made the binding double-wide to serve as a border for this simple quilt.
Although the binding is hand-finished, I top-stitched it by machine for durability. I love the feel of the double-grooves.
Miss Dolly was my August New FO,

But wait, I actually have another one to share!

I have been cutting Christmas fabrics into strips and squares for a technique that has been on my bucket list to try, called Stack the Deck.
While I was at it, I cut a Jam Roll (a double-wide jelly roll that can be cut into 5" charms)  to post in my Etsy shop!
This is a technique that shuffles fabrics sort of randomly, making it tough to envision the finished quilt. A bit nervous cutting away all the fabric, but I did it anyway, and finally I am ready to start assembling these to see how it takes shape!

I stacked and sliced my first set of squares:
 Then I rotated each stack:

Karla Alexander has authored quite a few books using the technique, and it's potential has intrigued me for some time now. I figure I will try it out and then see how it may relate to future quilts. The pattern I am using is from her book, New Cuts for New Quilts.

That is as far as I got with this one before getting sidetracked by my design wall, which I need to clear before sewing more blocks together. Maybe I will share the mess on my wall with ya'll next week!

With all my UFO's pending, this should not be my goal right now, but I really want to do a couple Christmas quilts this year. Now or never, you know! My September goal with AYOLF is to finish this flimsy!

Thank you all for reading today!
And BIG thanks to all the wonderful linky-hosts who help us all to connect!

Fresh Sewing Day

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