Monday, December 19, 2011

The Storm at Sea Continues

Well, I haven't finished all of the 72 diamond blocks, but I've begun assembling the quilt top with what I have done. 
I was losing interest in this quilt with the monotony of the blocks, so I went ahead and began piecing the top together despite not having all of the diamonds done.  I'm so glad I did!  Seeing this begin to take shape has really motivated me to keep moving and try and finish up. 

The stars you see below the Storm at Sea are some UFO blocks that I was thinking of turning into a baby quilt.  I know of at least 11 people that are having babies in the next 6 months, so I'm sure I'll be making some baby quilts in the near future.  These stars were supposed to be part of a larger mystery quilt, but I hated the final quilt, so I've decided to turn the random blocks into smaller quilts instead of one large one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mini Feather Quilt Finished!

I finally finished putting the binding on my mini feather whole cloth quilt last night.
 Here it is hanging up in our guest bathroom above our medicine cabinet.
Here it is before I sewed the binding down. 
I used a silver metallic thread by Superior Threads to do all of the quilting.  My machine quilting is FAR from perfect, but I think I've come a long way from when I started. 

All in all, this was a fun, QUICK, mini quilt to make.  I could see myself making another one in the future.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Drawing Fabulous Fun Feathers

Last month I took a class with Sue Nickels at A Quilters Gathering up in Nashua, NH.  The class, drawing fabulous fun feathers, was a three hour class on Saturday evening.  No sewing machine, no fabric required, just some paper, a pencil and ruler. 
Sue was a fantastic teacher and really helped us understand how to draw feathers.  The technique we learned was to draw feathers on paper to then trace onto fabric and quilt.
This was my first attempt.  Eh, not that great. They look very stiff.  You could see them becoming less stiff towards the top as I got the hang of it more and more.

Sue's were much less stiff looking than mine started out as.
I slowly got the hang of it though.  See, these flow much better.
The circle was a bit challenging.
The heart was interesting.  You draw one half and trace it onto the second half by folding the tracing paper in half.
I then created this design which I later turned into the quilt from my last post.
To start, I traced the design with a permanent marker and then traced it onto the fabric before quilting it.  I'm pleased with how it came out.

Now I need to figure out how to "funkify" my feathers.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Progress on Storm at Sea

I've been trucking along, working on my storm at sea quilt whenever I have a few minutes here and there.
I have stacks of blocks in multiple stages of completion...
I would say I'm probably 2/3 done with these diamond blocks.  Once I finish them, I can begin assembling the quilt top.  So far, these diamonds have been the most tedious part of this quilt.  I think it's because I'm anxious to begin piecing the top and see how it's going to look. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kitchen Swap Received

I was lucky to have Alice pick my fabric for the BMQG kitchen swap. Alice is an awesome quilter and I couldn't wait to see what she came up with.  As expected, she created an unbelievable wall hanging that I absolutely love.
Thank you SOOOO much Alice.  I can't express how much I love this quilt.  I plan on hanging it up in my dining room this week. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kitchen Swap Reveal

On Saturday at the BMQG meeting we swapped our kitchen swap items.  As a result, I can finally reveal what I made for Rebecca out of the fabric she provided.
I made two pot holders and two dish towels.  Rebecca provided the background fabric in the star/the stripe on the towel. I added all of the solids.

The star is made using a Moda Bake Shop tutorial for a folded star potholder.
You can really see the 3-D effect that the folded star has on the star in this photo.
I love how this came out.  I ended up loving it so much that I kept the first one that I made that had a few errors in it for myself and plan on adding a binding and using it as a wall hanging. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trying Something New

When I was at A Quilters Gathering at the beginning of the month I took a class with Sue Nickels on drawing fabulous feathers.  I decided to put to use what we learned and make a mini whole cloth quilt using feathers.

I'm still in the middle of quilting around the feathers, as you can see.  I'm hoping it will help make them pop even more.  I used a Kona grey, but I'm not sure which one and Superior Threads silver metalic thread.

Here's a picture of the sketched design next to the quilted one.  I sketched it out using tracing paper first before copying it onto the fabric and quilting it.

Here's a close up of one of the quarter sections. 

I needed to break up the work I was doing on the Storm at Sea and this was the perfect, quick project to do so. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Continuing Storm at Sea

This past weekend I busted out the 32 6.5" square blocks for the storm at sea quilt that I'm working on for my parents.
Now, these may not seem that complex, but they sure seem to take a long time.  Maybe that's just because there are 32 of these.  Multiply that times the number of seams in this block - 8 and you have 256 seams.  Okay, now that makes sense.  Add in another 32 pieces because there are 9 pieces in this block and you have 288 pieces that were cut for just this block.

 Add in the 42 blocks that I already made and that's a lot of pieces.  This quilt will have 1026 pieces to it. 
It's coming together though.  Only 72 more blocks to go!  At least those blocks just have 5 pieces to them.

For some strange reason, Dorie from Finding Nimo just popped into my head singing, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."  Hmm, I might be swimming in blocks by the time I'm done with this...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Storm at Sea Progress

I began planning and making a storm at sea quilt for my parents a while back but put it aside to work on a few other things recently. 
Here's the rough sketch that I did a while back based on the fabrics that I am using.  The colors are totally off shade wise, but It's good enough to get the gist of things.

I finished the 42 3" small squares yesterday and I'm going to move to the large squares next.  I think there's 30-something large square blocks.  I'm paper piecing this quilt because I like the accuracy it gives me without having to worry about my 1/4" seam being off a bit.  That's the beauty of paper piecing, you don't have to worry about that.  Just sew on the line.
This is what a stack of 42 3" paper pieced blocks looks like all trimmed up. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Second Cathedral Window Block

After completing my first cathedral window block while at KK's camping out while we awaited power, I began prepping another cathedral window block. 
I'm really loving this. I'm not sure how far I'm going to take it, but I'm finding this a lot of fun and different than stuff that I usually do.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sneak Peak

We're having a kitchen holiday swap in the BMQG, revealing our final product at our December meeting.  We were to bring in some fabric, put it in a bag and draw someone else's fabric for this swap. We know who we're creating items for and they know who's making something for them.  We could provide whatever guidance we wanted.  We could say that we didn't want additional fabrics added, or feel free to add just solids for example.  We could say, no aprons, but anything else is game.

I drew Rebecca, who provided a yard of fabric.  I knew right away what I was going to make once I saw it, I just needed to make sure she didn't have any color or fabric preferences.  I was basically given full reign but she said she wasn't a big fan of red. 

Here's a sneak peak at the beginning of Rebecca's kitchen item.
Rebecca provided the print and I added in the solids.  I love how it's come out.  I've already finished the quilting of this item and just need to bind it, so I'm actually a lot further along than this picture implies. 

I really love how it came out so far, and I hope Rebecca does too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

84 Hours Later...

And I have power!  Man, the simple luxuries that you take for granted when you don't have them.  Electricity, heat.  Now it's time to try and get back to normalcy.

First, thank you to everyone who commented on my Blogger Quilt Festival quilt.  I hope to respond to you individually at some point today.

So while I was out of power for the good part of four days, DH and I spent time at my aunt KK's when we weren't at work because she was fortunate to have power. We are so fortunate to have the family that we do to help us out in times like this.

So, what did we do, we made the best of it and spent some time quilting of course.  I showed KK the cathedral window technique that we learned at our last BMQG meeting that she was unable to attend.
It's not perfect, but I sure do love it.
I can't wait to make more. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival

I'm entering my Moonlit Sky quilt into the Blogger Quilt Festival this time around.
This quilt took me more than two years to finish making, not exactly unheard of in my quilting time warp.
It all started when I was taking a class at the Lowell Quilt Festival back in 2009.  I had the Jacobian Arbor prints from Timeless Treasure that I had been hording for a while. (I didn't end up using the print at the bottom of the above photo.)  I added some tone on tome fabrics to the mix and I had my fabrics set for the class with the queen of paper piecing, Carol Doak.
I made this block in the class and loved the block and fabrics that I made.
I continued to add to the top and loved it more and more.  Those of you who spend a lot of time on a quilt know how sometimes you lose interest in it the more time you spend on it.  Not this one.  I loved it more and more.

Then I did what I do best, change the pattern.  The quilt in the pattern called for solid square corners to the border.  I couldn't have just a small square, so I made a mini mariners compass square that finished at 6.5" square.
I debated on if I wanted to extend the inner border or not.  You guys confirmed my thought, extend it!

Then, this quilt sat for a while.  I loved it too much to quilt it myself.  I know my machine quilting limits, so I sent it to Judi from Green Fairy Quilts to make a masterpiece of it.
This is what I got back.  A true masterpiece.  I said I wanted swirls and stars and I got something amazing.
Then, because I couldn't just leave it alone, I added, oh, about 4,800 Swarovski crystals.  No big deal.

After that it was binding and shipping it off to the Lowell Quilt Festival where it won first place in the Wall Quilt category.  I never expected it to win anything, but it did! 

PS. I love your comments and try to respond to each individually, but due to the recent snowstorm, I am without power and thus email (I can access blogger at work but not email).  Please know that I appreciate all of your comments and will reply when I am able to. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FQS Designer Mystery BOM - Block 12

WHOO HOOO!!!! Did you here that from wherever you are? You must have because of how excited I am to finish these blocks.

The 12th and final block in the FQS Designer Mystery BOM (2010) is finished!  Now this one actually looks like an ornament, not a Chinese lantern.

Now to work on the sashing and pieced border...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FQS Designer Mystery BOM - Block 11

And block 11 is finished.  Just one more to go after this.
I love the uneven bow in this block.  I think it adds character.  I wouldn't really associate a basket with Christmas, more Easter, but it's still cute. 

One more to go (oh, wait, i already said that...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FQS Designer Mystery BOM - Block 10

I finally got back to working on the FQS Designer Mystery BOM after a few weeks off and finished block 10.
I love this block.  I think the elves ice skating are so cute here, and the bow is adorable.

Now to finish block 11 and 12...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leaders and Enders

A few weeks ago I cut 4 charm packs using my Accuquilt Go using a tumbler die.  Ever since, the pile of tumblers has been sitting next to my sewing machine and I've been using them as a leader and ender project. 

Right now these have just been assembled into pairs and I have them sitting up on my design wall for now.  There will be 12 or 13 rows total with 12 blocks across.  My guess is that I'll go with a 12x12 design since I like symmetry. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Paper Piece - Part 3

I know, it's been a while between my How to Paper Piece posts.  Here I talk about the tools you'll need to paper piece and here I talk about some good books and patterns.

First you want to set your stitch length to 1.5.  You want to reduce the stitch length and increase the number of stitches per inch.  Why?  This perforates the paper a lot to make it easier to tear away after you're done.  It also creates more stitches so that a shorter length comes undone when moving and tearing the paper that you'll see we'll have to do.  I would also recommend using a 90/14 needle as it will punch a bigger hole in the paper, also making removal easier.

Step 1 - Place your piece for the #1, RIGHT SIDE UP on the BACK OF THE PAPER PATTERN.  Your piece should overlap all sides by at least 1/4".  I will double check this by holding the fabric in place and lifting up the paper and looking through the paper to the fabric to ensure all sides are covered.  Once in place, pin your #1 to the paper with the pin PARALLEL to the line connecting #1 and #1.

Step 2 - Place a piece of cardboard or thin plastic on the line connecting #1 and #2.

Step 3 - Fold the paper back on to the cardboard/plastic. Folding the paper down has two benefits, it extends the line to show you where to sew beyond the actual line and it weakens the paper to also make it easier to tear off after the block is finished.

Step 4 - Place your Add-a-Quarter ruler against the cardboard and folded paper and cut.  You just created your 1/4" seam!

Step 5 - Place piece #2 on top of piece #1 RIGHT SIDE DOWN.  (All pieces will be placed right side down from now on.)  Place it on the 1/4" steam that you created in the previous step.  Place a pin parallel to the line that you will sew.

Step 6 - Sew on the line between #1 and #2.  Begin sewing a little more than 1/4" from the start of the line and finish a little more than 1/4" after the line. (see below)

Step 7 - Iron your piece open.  The paper piecing will determine where you iron towards.  If you know that you will be ironing towards a lighter fabric, place that lighter fabric just slightly beyond the darker one before sewing so that it doesn't show through when you iron it open.

Step 8 - Continue repeating steps 2-7 for each piece until you finish your block!

Note: This block is from the Carol Doak Yahoo Group's Simply Radiant Star BOM.