Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

2012 was probably my most productive quilting year to date. 
I completed 15 quilts this year ranging from king size to small wall hanging quilts.

I also made three pillows and five pincushions in 2012.

Four of the projects were my own designs in which I shared the patterns/tutorials on my blog.

At the same time, I still have quite a few projects in the works that I hope to finish in 2013. 

I'm ready for 2013!  It's been a rough year for me personally, so I'm looking forward to the new year and new beginnings.  My New Year's Resolution is to focus on myself - putting myself first and working to make myself as happy as possible. I've always been the person to put everyone before myself.  This year, I'm going to spend time focusing on myself .

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Making Progress

Well, with the holidays, I've only managed 30 minutes here, 15 minutes there, and the occasionally hour over the past couple of weeks to continue quilting my modern hexagon quilt.  I just have two corners to go to finish quilting before I'm ready to make the binding and finish this one!
Sometimes I get these crazy ides, like pebbling an entire quilt in metalic thread several years ago.  For this quilt, I decided to echo 1/4" lines on the outside of the hexagons.  Yup, crazy! It's taking a while, but it's looking good.

It goes well with the quilting in the hexagons and the alternating width echoing in the center.

I just have two more corners left to complete and one hexagon.  I just received the thread for the last hexagon in the mail on Monday, so I can finally get that one completed.

I think it looks awesome from the back!  I love the rainbow effect that various thread colors make in the hexagons.

Now, maybe things will get back to a level of normal and I can get some quilts completed!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Jackpot!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas this year.  I certainly did.  On Black Friday, my sister was over and did some shopping online.  After seeing a ton of sales online for various quilt shops, I suggested several ideas for myself for Christmas at various stores.  My "list" this year in terms of quilting stuff involved filling a bunch of baskets at various online stores, handing the computer to my sister, who was in cahoots with my mom, and her completing a bunch of Christmas shopping for me that day.
Solids were the first theme of Christmas.  I got a Moda Bella Solids color card, a Michael Miller jewel toned fat quarter bundle and another fat quarter bundle of the new Kona solids.

Speaking of fat quarter bundles, I got a subscription to the Fat Quarter Shop's Blogger's Choice fat quarter club from my parents.

I got some great notions as well.  This travel pincushion on the left has a cover, which will come in handy when traveling.  I'm excited to get more of the Clover binder clips.  I had a 10 pack, but will definitely put this larger case to good use.

And I got a fat quarter bundle and coordinating Aurifil thread of Simply Color, one of my favorite fabric lines right now.

I also got some great Tula Pink - Birds and the Bees (14 one yard cuts!) from KK and Tula Pink's book from another aunt.

I'd say it was a pretty good Christmas!  Now to find the time to begin digging into all of these goodies! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday: More Quilting

Man this time of year is busy.  I've only had a few hours to do some quilting this week.  On Friday I hosted a sew-in for the BMQG at my house and managed to bury the threads in my hexagon quilt and sketch out some various quilting designs, where I finally decided what I wanted to quilt them with.
On Sunday, I finally managed to sit down and begin quilting them.  Here's a shot of one of the hexagons from Instagram.
Here's another close up shot of one of the hexagons.
Here's a picture of the back.  You can see that I'm using matching thread for each of the hexagons, so you get this cool, muted rainbow on the back as well.  I have three hexagons left before I move onto the final background and get this quilt completed. I'm just waiting on some thread to finish it off.
Here's a closer picture of the back.  You can see that I stitched in the ditch around the outside of the hexagon and then quilted the intersecting lines before doing the dense back and forth triangle.  Overall, I'm really happy with how this is turning out.  It's just taking a while. I'm not sure when I'll be able to sit down next, between holiday parties, work and other social engagements, it doesn't look like I'll get much sewing in this month.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Some Machine Quilting

Last night I got to work quilting my modern hexagon quilt.
I like to start in the center of the quilt to avoid puckering in the middle.  So, I drew a bunch of lines on the center portion of the quilt and started quilting.  I alternated between 1/4" and 1/2" between the echoed lines.
It took me a couple of hours to get this much done.  (Ignore the threads I need to bury.)  I really like how it came out.  It's cool how the echoed hexagons turn into a star as the pattern gets progressively smaller.  Now I need to figure out what I'm going to do in the white sashing and the hexagons. 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dazzling Diamonds Remix

When I taught my Dazzling Diamonds pattern at Quilter's Way a few weeks ago, I prepared some blocks in various stages to show how to paper piece.  Since I already had to make a few blocks, I decided that I would make another quilt to go in my guest room that I'm redesigning in blue, pink and green.
Well, I just finished piecing the remaining blocks and pieced the top together.  In my pattern, I offer up several different layout options, with this being one alternative to my original pattern.  In this layout, you lose the secondary design of the stars in the background.  BUT, you get this awesome sense of movement - your eye is directed to the center of the quilt.
I've enjoyed making this version in prints instead of solids like my previous version.  Like it's predecessor, this quilt measures 24" square and will be a wall hanging.
One of the things that I love about paper piecing is that you have a full-size template to sketch quilting ideas.  I'll occasionally use a light pencil to sketch out quilting motifs before I tear the paper off the back.  I don't recommend using a pen or marker (don't ask me how I know) since you can easily tear the paper with a pen and a marker can easily bleed through the paper and onto your fabric. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Finished Guitar Quilt!

I finished quilting and putting the binding on the guitar quilt for my dad last night.  Overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
I used a light blue for the binding and I really think it goes well with the different shades in the background fabric.  All of the fabrics used in this quilt are my own hand dyed fabrics that I've been hoarding over the past couple of years.
I did a simple outline around each of the fused applique pieces and did a wood grain quilting motif in the background.  I figured the wood grain quilting would be appropriate given that guitars are made of wood. I really like how densely quilting the background made the guitars pop more in person.
As you can see, we got a dusting of snow this week.  I took these pictures as I was waiting for my car to warm up and was distracted by the cold, so I forgot to take a picture of the back. I used a similar hand dyed light blue for the backing fabric.

This is a Christmas gift for my Dad, who has been playing guitar since he was a little boy.  His guitars are to him as my sewing machine is to me.  Of course, he as a lot more guitars (and other musical instruments - base guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboard, etc.) than I do sewing machines. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Modern She Made - Received

Last night I came home from work and my Modern She Made swap item was waiting for me!  I was excited to see what lovely item would now be mine!
I was lucky to receive this lovely pillow cover from Scrapstudio, AKA Kelly Lautenbach!  I had put out several options to my partner, one of which was to make a pillow for my newly designed guest bedroom.  I went for blue walls with not quite lime or olive green accents and bright raspberry pink.
Here's a better picture that I took this morning outside that depicts the true color of the pillow cover.  That rose in the center there... that's actually pieced!  Kelly did a great job piecing that together so that it looks seamless!  And did you check out that quilting in the border?  Isn't it cool?
And here's the awesome back of the pillow.  I'm actually not sure which side I like more!  Kelly really nailed the colors in this pillow.  Thank you Kelly!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Modern Hexagon Quilt

Earlier this month, the owner of Quilter's Way asked me if I would teach a modern hexagon quilt class.  She said I could do whatever I wanted in terms of technique.  I toyed with a few ideas, but decided to go with a large hexagon quilt made using Jaybird's Hex N More ruler.
This is what I came up with.  I was inspired by several quilts out there on Flickr and combined several ideas to come up with this quilt.  It measures about 40" square. 
Clearly I needed to iron this before I took these pictures, but you get the idea. I used a variety of prints from various lines including Simply Color, Cuzco, Good Fortune, Quilt Blocks and more. 

I'm trying to decide how I want to quilt this now.  Do I do concentric circles or a spiraling circle? Do I echo the hexagon pattern? Decisions, decisions, decision... My goal is to have this quilted soon. 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Finished UFO

Way back in 2009 (okay, so maybe not "way" back, but long enough ago) I finished making this quilt top and had it quilted by a long arm quilter near me in 2010.  Well since then, I've had the binding made, but I just never got around to attaching it to the quilt. Well, I'm happy to say that this quilt is officially completed after a little motivation by the BMQG WIP challenge.
I took a few pictures this weekend at my parent's house of the quilt.  It's not quite King size, but it's slightly bigger than a queen size quilt.
I'm glad to have this one finished.  It had been sitting in a pile in my quilting room for too long.  Now, it's found a nice new home at my parent's house since it's more their color pallet than mine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Peter Penguin Pillow and Block

I had been wanting to make something holiday-ish lately, but not something too Christmas-focused.  After some thinking and several designs, I came up with a paper pieced Penguin block that I then turned into a pillow.
 I introduce you to Peter Penguin!

I love how this little pillow cover turned out.  I used a couple of hot fix crystals for the eyes and did a simple wavy line quilting around the penguin to make it look like snow drifts. 
The quilting took me no time at all - maybe 20 minutes.  I love quick projects lately and really love how this one turned out.  
And because I always enjoy seeing where people get their inspiration from, I thought I'd share a picture of the sketches I drew before I moved to the computer to test everything and make the actual paper pieced design.  I don't have any fancy software to do my designing, I just use Microsoft Publisher. 

You can download the free pattern here in my Craftsy shop.

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dazzling Diamonds Class

Yesterday I taught my Dazzling Diamonds quilt at Quilter's Way in Acton. 
It was an intimate class, which I prefer at times.  It allows me to spend more 1:1 time with folks to ensure they understand the concept.
This is the block that I made in preparation for the class.  The goal was to have everyone leave with this. I wanted to make this quilt with prints instead of solids to make sure everyone understood what pieces needed to be right-side-up and right-side-down when piecing with prints. Once I finish this quilt, I will hang in my newly designed guest bedroom.
Here's the block that Allison made.  She used almost all of the same fabrics that I did in my original quilt, but she changed the lime green for a nice light blue.  Doesn't it look awesome?
Here's Karen's block. She used some great Kate Spain prints with a few others to make this block.  Yet another great block.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

P.I.N. Pillow

The Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a pin cushion swap with a bunch of other modern quilt guilds, including the Boston guild.  Me being me, i had to come up with a paper pieced pattern for my pincushion.  After some thinking, I created this very literal pin cushion design that I have dubbed P.I.N. Pillow.
I first made the pin cushion in some scraps for the swap, but then decided to make one for myself out of the new Denyse Schmidt Chicopee line.
This pincushion will be the one I'm including in the swap.  I usually stuff my pincushions with crushed walnut shells, but because this was for a swap, I just stuffed it with some bamboo stuffing.  My Chicopee cushion is stuffed with the walnut shells.
Here's the block before I sewed it together with the backing and stuffed it.  You could easily use this block in a quilt or other project, other than a pincushion.  You could also easily scale it up (or down) if you feel the pattern is too small for you.

You can purchase this pattern in my Craftsy shop here for instant download. 

Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Quilter's Gathering 2012 - The Quilts

Warning: Picture Heavy Post!

I've attended A Quilter's Gathering several times before and enjoyed myself.  It's a smaller show, but it draws a decent selection of quilts and vendors. The quilts and goodies the vendors have for sale tend to be a bit more traditional, but it's still very enjoyable to see some great quilts.
They had a special exhibit of mini quilts that were united by a strand of color running through the quilts.  Here are some of those quilts:

And then there was the main show.  Here are some of my favorites from the main quilt show.