Wednesday, January 30, 2013

QuiltCon Linky Party

I'm lucky enough to be attending QuiltCon in a few weeks and thought I'd participate in the linky party to get to know folks who will be attending. 
As part of the party, we have been asked to share five things you may not know about ourselves.  

Here are five things you may not know about me:
  1. My sister and I are two years, two months, two weeks and two days apart (I'm older).  My mom and her sister are two years, two months, two weeks and two days apart.  My mom and dad are two years, two weeks and two days apart.  CRAZY, right?!?
  2. I don't drink anything with caffeine.  Another crazy thing!  It's not that I'm agains't caffeine, it's that I don't like the taste of coffee or most sodas with it, so I never drink it. 
  3.  LOVE dark chocolate, but the easiest way to ruin it is to mix it with peanut butter or coffee (see #2).  Milk chocolate is way to sweet for me. 
  4. While so many quilters I know love handmade bags, I love my designer handbags (and shoes).  I love my Burberry, Michael Kors, Tory Burch and other designers.  Maybe it's the fact that I work at a large corporation and the girls I work with all love designers too, but I've always had a thing for designers. Everyone has a guilty pleasure.
  5. I played baseball/softball for 13 years and am a diehard Boston Red Sox fan.  I know more about baseball and the Red Sox than most of the men that I meet.
I look forward to meeting so many of my fellow bloggers at QuiltCon in a few weeks!  Say hi if you see me.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lanyard Tutorial

I've been wanting to make a lanyard for myself for a little while now to use when I go to conferences for work.  With QuiltCon just a few weeks away, I figured now was as good a time as every to make one for myself and one for KK.  Here's a tutorial on how I made my lanyard.

*Note, these instructions are for a lanyard hook with a 1" opening.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 3.75" x 35"

2. Iron your strip in half lengthwise

3. Using the crease you just created, fold the edges in, aligning the edge of the fabric with the crease and iron down.  Repeat for both sides of the fabric. 

4. Fold your strip in half and Iron.  I used starch here to really set all of the seams. 

5. Using a scant seam allowance, sew both sides of your lanyard.  I like to sew the folded side first to avoid puckering and shifting. So far we've followed the same steps you can take to make a bag handle. 

6. Now it's time to sew the hook to the lanyard.  Lay your lanyard like shown in the photo above and below.  Arranging your lanyard like this helps it sit comfortably on your neck.

7. Insert the fabric through the hook.  To avoid raw edges showing, fold your edges under about 5/8" and sew using a tight zig zag or take several passes with a straight stitch.  I just uses a straight stitch because I was too lazy to change my the foot on my machine.

And there you have it, a quick lanyard.  These work up really fast.  I made two of them in about 45 minutes, and that was with stopping to take pictures throughout the process, calculating measurements, etc.

I made a second one out of some Tula Pink Salt Water for KK.  I thought the fabric was perfect for her since she loves the ocean and loves to scuba dive.

If you have a different size lanyard hook, I recommend measuring the opening, multiplying that by four and subtracting 1/4" to give you a little wiggle room.  In my case, my opening was 1" wide.  I multiplied that by 4 to get 4" and subtracted 1/4" to get a width of 3.75" for your starting width.

Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: January Finish

I finished making my drawstring bag and am all ready to send off my Dazzling Diamonds quilt to QuiltCon - what I vowed to make for my January finish.
I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially considering this was my first time making a drawstring bag.

One of my goals for 2013 is to focus on making things besides quilts and expand my knowledge base.  I can officially say that I was able to do that with this bag.

I wound up lining the inside with Kona Corn Yellow and used some coordinating yellow ribbon for the drawstrings.

Now to ship the quilt out and visit it at QuiltCon in less than a month!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nest Quilt Top

I have been hoarding four Tula Pink Nest charm packs for what seems like an eternity. I never touched them because I hadn't found the right pattern.  So many of the charm pack patterns chop up the fabric until you can no longer recognize the larger prints.

After seeing a pattern in the book, We Love Color, I decided to modify it a bit.  I altered the size to work with a charm pack, removed and altered a few other elements to create the quilt top you see here. I can safely say I'm in love with this quilt.

I used Kona Champagne to outline the charm squares and Kona Chocolate for the background.  Champaign and chocolate really do make a great combination, in real life and in this quilt, don't 'cha think?

The quilt top finishes at 97" x 67" and is one of the bigger quilts I've made in a little while.  I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt it just yet, so I'll move onto quilting a few other tops that I do know how I want to quilt first.

Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finish Friday: Madrona Road Challenge Quilt

This week I finished my Madrona Road challenge quilt.  I mentioned earlier that this quilt doesn't really match the style of quilts that I usually make - very much planned and in jewel tones.  I knew early on that the colors of the fabrics would be perfect for my basement, which I redid last year in a grey and yellow color scheme.

I had originally planned to make a paper pieced pattern featuring flying geese around the big yellow flowers, like I have as the center of these blocks.  But, I recently got a new computer and the old program I use to design my patterns wasn't compatible with my new one.  Onto plan B.

I used almost every last inch of five of the fabrics provided.  I decided not to use one print because it just didn't quite fit with the vision I had in my head.
Each quilt block finishes at 9" square.  I added five additional solids - four grays, a white and a baby blue to the Madrona Road fabrics.

I quilted this quilt with a bunch of straight lines 1/4" apart.  While most people would use their walking foot for this, I tend to just use my normal 1/4" foot when I'm quilting straight lines.  I find I have more control with my smaller 1/4" foot than a big walking foot.
For the back, I used an old Patrick Loose print that I've had in my stash for what seems like forever.  I bound the quilt in what is becoming my go-to for binding - Kona Charcoal.

You can check out more challenge quilts and projects in the MQG Madrona Road Challenge Flickr group.

Quilt Stats:
Size: 27" x 27"
Fabrics: Madrona Road and Kona Cotton
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50wt, Quilted with So Fine! #50 #508
Batting: Warm and Natural

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: January Check In

My goal for January is to complete the drawstring bag I need to ship my Dazzling Diamonds quilt in when I send it off to QuiltCon.
These are the fabrics I picked for the bag.  The main part of the bag will be the Jennifer Paganelli West Indies print with a stripe of Kona Charcoal and an accent of Wild Garden by Dan Bennet for Rowan.

Now I need to decide how big I want the bag to be and what I want to use for the lining.

My Button

Monday, January 14, 2013

Simply Solids Bee

This year I signed up for the Simply Solids Bee on Flickr.  I have been wanting to get in on a bee and I thought this sounded like a fun one.  There are over 100 participants from around the world broken down in to a bunch of different groups.

The bee doesn't technically start until February, but we were given our instructions and told we could start early if we wanted. The groups are named after obscure colors.  My group is the Cochineal group.

Jenny from Squawk! is up first and requested wonky log cabin blocks that alternated warm and cool colors.  This was a stashbuster block, and I just happened to have a bunch of solids out last week, so I threw this block together.  

I'm currently deciding what I want to do for my month - April.  I have some ideas, but haven't yet decided. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finish Friday: Modern Hexagon Quilt

This week I put the finishing touches on my Modern Hexagon quilt.  The quilting took a while, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's one of my favorite quilts right now, but that's often the case when I finish a labor of love.
I used the Hex N More ruler to make the quilt top.
I echo quilted in the grey, at varying widths in the center and 1/4" apart on the outside.  Why I quilted 1/4" apart on the biggest part of the quilt, I'm not sure.  Sometimes I get ideas in my head and don't really think them through.  This was one of them.  It probably took me a good 15 hours to quilt this quilt over several weeks.
The back looks awesome and almost as good as the front.  I love how the hexagons stand out and you can see the rainbow effect from the different color threads in each hexagon.
I stitched in the ditch around the hexagons and did some dense quilting to highlight the hexagons.  The way it's quilted makes it look like the hexagons are made of six pieces of fabric when in fact they are just two pieces (for the colored parts that is).
The quilt finishes at 40" square.  I used various So Fine! and Aurifil threads for the quilting.  The solids are Kona cottons - white and Iron.  The prints are from various lines including Simply Color, Quilt Blocks, Cuzco, Good Fortune and more.

I will be teaching this quilt and the technique I used at Quilter's Way in Acton sometime soon.  I'll let everyone know when we have set a date for the class. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Madrona Road Challenge

This week I began to dig into my Madrona Road fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild challenge.  I need to create an object with the fabrics provided and can only add solid fabrics.
I don't want to reveal too much, but I decided to make a wall hanging for my basement, which just happens to be decorated in a grey and yellow color pallet!
The only thing I'll reveal right now is that this quilt isn't going be obviously "me" in the paper piecing style.  I decided to go a completely different route.  So far I'm really liking how it's coming out.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jumping on the Bandwagon: A Lovely Year of Finishes

Okay, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and joining A Lovely Year of Finishes.

I have so many WIPs that I need to finish, and I have so many other projects I want to work on as well.  One thing I want to do this year is try and sew things besides quilts - especially bags.  I'm the geek that has a spreadsheet with a list of my UFOs and what I have left to do to finish them.  That list contains more than 20 quilts!  Yikes!!!

Picking one for this month is hard because I have a couple of quilts that I want to finish this month - my Madrona Road challenge quilt and another secret one.  I can't (or don't want) to show them this month though.  

So, I'm going to pledge that I'm going to make a drawstring bag to put my Dazzling Diamonds quilt in for when I ship it off to QuiltCon at the beginning of February.  Yup, that's right.  My Dazzling Diamonds quilt was accepted into QuiltCon. When I ship the quilt off, it needs to be in a drawstring bag.  So, that's what I'm pledging to make for January. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mystery Quilt Received

Back in 2008, KK and I decided to make a mystery quilt for each other. We each provided one fabric and mystery instructions for the other person.  We then had to add other fabrics to coordinate with the one provided and make a quilt for the other person.  I made this quilt based on the pattern and floral fabric KK provided. The fabrics weren't really my favorite, but they worked well with the floral fabric.
Five years later, KK decided to finish her mystery quilt for me (no judgement here... I have UFO's older than that) and gave it to me last weekend.
I provided the border fabric and the pattern which was a fat quarter pattern I found somewhere.
Check out the scale quilting in the stars.  KK did a great job machine quilting this quilt. 
She used the same border fabric for the back and binding since I provided several yards.

As a quilter, I love receiving quilts for myself.  I can really appreciate the time and talent it takes to make a quilt.  That's one of the reasons I love participating in swaps. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year.  I had a wonderful time with my family, celebrating the New Year in from Puerto Rico.
We had a great time and enjoyed soaking in the 85*+ weather each day.
We visited the rain forest one day.
And spent quite a bit of time on the beach or by the hotel pool just relaxing. I had lots of sangria while lounging around.  We even visited Old San Juan a few times.
It was a great trip.  It was nice to spend six wonderful days relaxing, enjoying some time away from work (and the cold) with my family.  It's back to reality now.  Time to start working on my UFO stash, finishing some quilts, and obviously, starting even more.