Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's finished!

I *finally* finished my batik hexi mini.  This one has been in progress for a long time.

I'm posting in a rush so I can link up with OMG at Elm Street Quilts.  I promise a more detailed look into this quilt and process soon.   In the meantime, here's the back:

Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - August Finish Link-up

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August Bee Blocks

I am still loving the variety of blocks I get to make for the 2 online quilting bees I'm in.

In Bee Inspired, Queen Ann asked for a Doggone Cute block.  These are from a quilt along by Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts and Lorna keeps the directions up on her site. I love Lorna's patterns and have been considering this one for a while.  After making this block for Ann, I made an identical block for me that will be the start of my own Doggone Cute quilt.

Ann asked each of us to think of a dog that has mattered to us and to pick out which of the eight Doggone Cute blocks most resembles that pup.  I chose my dog, Ivy, and decided that dog #2 was her best match.  Ann wanted bright colors so I picked orange because Ivy herself is kind of orange.

Ivy with her fabric likeness
Ivy has been with me since 4th of July weekend in 2010.  She is my first pet.  My parents were not pet people and no amount of begging during childhood from me & my brother changed that.  Ivy was rescued from a busy highway by the sister of a coworker.  Said coworker had been working on me to get a dog and she thought this one would be a good fit since she was so sweet.  They both wanted to keep her, but they had 3 or 4 dogs each and could not add another.  I had just been laid off from my job at the time and didn't think that adding the expense of a dog was a good idea.  My boyfriend, who grew up with lots of animals and loves dogs in particular, assured me that "the dog food fairy" would show up and help. I'm glad to report that he's now Husband and he does indeed buy the dog food.

In Stash Bee, Queen Mary Ann asked for Garden Stars blocks. She loves batiks and so do I!  I had a lot of fun looking for bright batiks to use.  Mary Ann suggested a technique I had not tried for the 4-patch blocks.  I tried it but did not like it at all.  Perhaps it's just me, but I didn't get enough units and had to cut more.  Luckily, I only used that method on one block to try it out and I went back to more traditional methods for the remaining 4-patches.  I like trying new techniques but I admit, I will give up if they do not work for me!

Mary Ann is using the blocks from her turn as queen to make a quilt for Friendship House, an organization that provides transitional housing for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The idea is neat: each apartment has four people, one young adult transitioning to living alone and three students studying various healthcare fields.  Mary Ann's goal is to put a colorful quilt on each of the 24 beds in the facility! 

When I saw that she hopes to make 24 quilts for this cause, I thought of my Midnight Mystery quilt.  I finished the top and was never sure what I wanted to do with it.  I made it without a plan for giving.  I knew it could easily be enlarged to be bed-sized and bought extra background to do it, but never added any borders.  I also had no idea how to quilt it and I really dislike quilting large quilts.  After thinking on it for a few days, I emailed Mary Ann and asked if she would like the top toward her goal, emphasizing that it was an unfinished top.  Mary Ann wrote back within a day and is thrilled at the donation. And I am quite sure the quilt is going where it was meant to be.

I now realize that I never blogged this quilt because it didn't actually get finished.  Here's a photo of the top.  The background looks like navy in the picture but it's actually a dark purple.  Kona purple, to be exact.

I haven't mailed blocks off to either queen yet but I will get them packaged up and shipped off in the next few days.  I can't believe how close we are to September!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Block #1 - I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along

Several of the participants from the 2017 New Quilt Blogger's Hop from this year got together and have created a Christmas Mystery Quilt Along.  Block patterns are released every 2 weeks.  I've resisted a lot of quilt alongs this year, but I really wanted to do this one.  My deal with myself is to use all stash--no buying anything for this project.

Block #1 was designed by Vanda of Quilt In Piece.  It's a snowflake.  Vanda's original design has 8 points of each size, but one of the quilters in the Facebook group is a meteorologist and she pointed out snowflakes should only have 6 points.  I just liked the look of the 6-pointed snowflake better, and the idea of fewer prisms to applique had appeal!

The 2 different prisms within the snowflake are actually from the same fabric--it's an obmre fabric where the snowflakes get bigger as the colors change.  I've had it for years.  Instead of fusible web, I used the Crafted Applique method from the book by Lara Buccella.  I have figured out why this technique didn't work for me before: not enough time under the iron.  I fused for longer this time and had no trouble with shapes adhering during the stitching process. 

I am doing this as a quilt-as-you-go.  I'm using a Santa print for the back.  I have enough for 9 blocks, so if I end up making all 12 blocks, the back will have some variety.  I'm currently almost done with my first quilt with the quilt as you go method and I LOVE it.  It's exciting to know that when I'm done with all the blocks, I can just assemble and bind!

Block #2 comes out tomorrow.  I can't wait to see what it is!

Monday, August 7, 2017

August OMG

I have a batik hexie project that I feel like I have been working on forever.  The end is finally in sight, so I am using Elm Street Quilts' OMG to help push me to finish it.

Elm Street Quilts

Friday, August 4, 2017

Blue Elephants

Blue was July's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I'm a little behind.  I just finished my blue family of elephants for my Elephant Parade, pattern by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.

The blue gingham elephant is my favorite, though it looks gray in the picture.
I had already decided that I am only using bright colors, so instead of doing light neutrals, the August color, I will get a jump on turning each elephant family into a row.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lots of Labels

My goal for July was to label 4 previously finished quilts--3 minis and a throw.  It wasn't an exciting goal, but it had to be done and I was putting it off.  OMG gave me the push to get them all labeled.

I print my labels onto printer-ready fabric that I buy for this purpose.  I typically wait to print until I have 3 or 4 to do so I don't waste any of the fabric.  I used this method from Quiltmaker and back my labels with scraps of muslin.

Linking up with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for OMG: One Monthly Goal.

Elm Street Quilts

Monday, July 24, 2017

July Bee blocks

I had a family vacation during part of July, so I wanted to get my Bee blocks done early.  I got one bee done before the vacation and one bee after--at least I wasn't still sewing on the last day of the month like June!

Queen Karen in Stash Bee asked for string blocks.  She wanted smaller blocks measuring 6 1/2" combined into larger blocks of 12 1/2" and put together so the strings made an X.  I made two:

I asked if there were any types of fabric to avoid and Karen said no.  I love that string blocks have a bit of everything in them.  I had such a good time making these that it inspired me to keep making string blocks!  The day after I made these for Karen, I did some quilt-as-you go blocks for me!  I don't have them assembled yet, but my string bin is as close to empty as it has ever been.

In Bee Inspired, Queen Jennifer designed an Irish Chain-inspired block that she calls Irish Eyes. She wanted this in shades of green.

 Her proposed layout looks really great and I can't wait to see her finished quilt!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Decorated Beach Bags

My extended family gathered in mid-July for vacation in the town where my grandparents vacationed the majority of their marriage, so it is a place with lots of family vacation history.  This was the first trip for the generation that includes my son, so I wanted to make something fun and easy for the kids.

I bought some pre-made canvas bags at A.C. Moore for $2.99 each, and I used some of my Accuquilt dies to personalize them.  Now, before I get accused of choosing sexist designs, I want to point out that I did ask for each kid if they wanted a train or a butterfly, those being the only fun Accuquilt dies I have.  I asked my son directly and he picked a train; I asked a parent for both my niece and my cousin's daughter and was told butterfly.  So while they did line up with stereotypical gender choices, it was (hopefully) a little more personalized than that.

I did names on the other side, also using an Accuquilt die.  This is where the name is a limiting factor; you can see that both my son and my niece have 6 letters in their name, but one fit okay in a line and the other...didn't.  Husband helped with the layout and we decided that an embroidered rainbow underneath would help it look a little less weird.  Niece LOVES rainbows, so that helps too.

I used scraps of Kona solids for the names.  The letters in Elliot are Prussian and Jade Green (he picked them), Verona's are Bordeaux and Bright Periwinkle, and Emma's are Niagara and Pool.  The train and butterflies were made with general scraps.

I found this to be a fun, easy project and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  I was worried about having to stitch through the bag opening, but it wasn't super difficult and I only caught the bag handle once!  The bags are a good size for the 3-year olds and they used them to carry sand toys to the beach.  It's probably a little big for the 19-month-old (cousin's daughter) but her parents carried it for her and she'll grow into it.  I think I will keep a few blank bags on hand to personalize for kids in my life, as long as they have short names!

Since this was a scrap project, I'm linking up with Oh Scrap! hosted by Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Quilting is more fun than Housework

Saturday, July 22, 2017

June Bee Blocks

I was a little behind with my June bee blocks and didn't finish until the last day of the month! I've had this post written for almost 3 weeks; I just realized it never got posted.  Sorry for the delay.  Now it will look like i finished the June and July blocks at the same time!

In Stash Bee, Queen Paulette asked for the Big Nines block designed by Amanda Jean Nyberg.  She wanted red, black, and white.  I didn't have much black or red, so when I was in Virginia camping with my family, I went to my favorite quilt shop in Wytheville, VA to pick up a few things.  Yay for excuses to visit the quilt shop!

I got a little carried away and made 3 blocks.  This was a nice, easy block with big impact.  And the block feels huge to me!  I guess I don't work with blocks that are 16 1/2" unfinished very often.

In Bee Inspired, Karen was Queen.  She took us on a trip to Paris all month!  Karen picked this really fun poodle block by The Objects of Design.  She then broke the somewhat complicated block into small pieces all month and sprinkled the tutorial with tidbits from her trip to Paris a few years ago.  The poodle quilt will go in her Paris-themed guest room.

This is Annette!  Karen asked for right-facing poodles from Bee Inspired and mentioned that she would ask for left-facing poodles from Stash Bee later in the year.  I figured I'd crash her hive later in the year and just send them together now.  So I made Annette a left-facing brother, Louis.

Louis is named after a real poodle I used to know, probably the first dog I was ever around frequently.  When I was a young, we had friends who lived a block away and they had a black poodle named Louis.  I remember him as being big and sweet.

Karen has since decided that this poodle is beyond the time limit for Stash Bee, so she'll be picking something else for her turn later in the year.  But I'm still sending these sweet poodles on to her.  I really like how they turned out, but this is a particularly time-consuming block with a lot of pieces.  I'm not against making it again, but I would only want to do one or two poodles, not an entire quilt worth.  But that's what make Bees so great, you get to dabble and not commit!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Q3 Goals

I love the motivational link-up party that is the Finish Along. I had a really great Q1 and a reasonable Q2.  I tend to list way more projects than I will actually complete because I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.

I break my goals into 3 categories: general quilts, mini quilts and pillows, and quilts for Project Linus.

General Projects and Gifts
1. growth chart for friends
After making a growth chart for my niece last month, I had leftover strips.  So I am making a chart for friends who live in town and have 2 kids.

2. Savannah
I took this class in 2011 and haven't touched it since the day of the class.  It's time to either finish it or pass it on.

3. Rin
I did the Rin-Along recently and completed a block.  Now I need to turn it into something.

4.String Blocks
Inspired by a bee block I was making for someone else, I got to playing with my strings a few days ago and made a whole stack of string blocks--enough for a quilt!  This is my first quilt-as-you go project.

5. Magical Forest
I need to assemble my blocks from Stash Bee 2017--I'm making a magical forest!

Mini Quilts & Pillows
Pillow Menagerie
I am slowly making us a menagerie of animal throw pillows four our couch, as I got rid of the big cushions that came with the couch because they were so big it was annoying.  The following are pillows I have patterns and fabric for, and I've spent time getting the pattern pieces enlarged and color coded.
6. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
7. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
8. Bear--pattern from Juliette of The Tartan Kiwi

9. batik hexies
This might be the project that never ends! My hand sewing batik hexie project is progressing slowly. I'm sort of making up the finishing process as I go along, as I haven't found a tutorial for finishing hexies that completely works for me. I made no progress during Q2. I need to layer and quilt.

10. Vintage Holiday
I've had this one on my to-do list for a while and started the sewing on a recent work trip when I wasn't driving.  It is my current hand sewing project.

Project Linus

11. Noah didn't build a log cabin
I was fooling around one day and framed a donated Noah's Ark fabric with some large log-cabin style blocks.  It needs to be layered, quilted, and bound.

12. Princess
I have a donated Disney Princesses print that I plan to give the same log-cabin treatment that I gave Noah, above.

13. Western/Cowboy Quilt
This one has been cut and put together in a kit for Project Linus sewing.

14. Monopoly
Another one that has been made into a quilt-in-a-kit I have ready to go, this one with some Monopoly fabric my mom gave me a couple years ago.

15. I Spy Jelly Roll Twist
My current Project Linus sewing: Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Twist pattern with some I Spy strips from a swap, plus Kona Highlight.

16. Sports I Spy with Munchkin
I've been doing some sewing with my son and have a stack of sports-themed I Spy squares set aside for when he wants to sew. This one will depend completely on his pace.

17. Girly I Spy
These are some squares, most from my friend Snow, that are kind of girly.  I have a donated piece of Minky for the back that will dictate final size.

18. 3 1/2" square purple quilt
I Spy scraps with purple as the alternating fabric.  Since this photo was taken, all the rows are made and need to be assembled together.

19. 3 1/2" square blue quilt
I Spy scraps with blue as the alternating fabric.

20. Poodles
Someone donated this fabulous pink poodle fabric to my local Project Linus chapter.  I'm going to keep it as a whole cloth quilt and use it as FMQ practice. The only reason I didn't finish this in Q2 is that I temporarily misplaced it with only a small amount of binding left to finish.  It has since been found, so this one should be done shortly.

I've been doing lists of 20 so far this year, so I will keep that trend going.  I know I won't finish that many, but it does feel good to cross at least some things off the list.

Friday, July 7, 2017

July OMG

I'm not sure how much sewing time I'm going to have in July and I'm feeling pulled in lots of different directions in the sewing room, so I'm not sure what will be close to finishing by the end of the month.  I've picked a simple goal for this month: labels. I currently have 3 wall hangings and 1 throw quilt that do not have labels.  My goal is to make and attach labels for all 4.  It's not an exciting goal, but it needs to be done.

The 3 minis needing labels

The three wall hangings are for my office, where I have a goal of covering one entire wall with small quilts.  The existing five are ready for some friends!

I am linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for her fabulous motivational link-up, One Monthly Goal.
Elm Street Quilts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Carolina Dancing

About a year and a half ago, I was working on a quilt while my Dad was visiting.  He mentioned that someday, he'd like a quilt--no hurry or timeline.  Since he's the only one in my immediate family that doesn't have a quilt I've made, it seemed like a totally reasonable request.

That was September 2015.  I decided to use Scrap Dance Tango, the 2016 mystery quilt by Carole of From My Carolina Home for my Dad's quilt--when it was still a mystery and I had no idea what it would look like.  (Interestingly, the quilt I was finishing when Dad mentioned he wanted a quilt was Carole's 2015 mystery, the original Scrap Dance.)
all quilt pictures need a dump truck!
I chose Kona Blueberry as the background fabric for my Scrap Dance Tango. My Dad got his master's degree from the University of North Carolina and is a big Tarheel fan, and the Blueberry looked to be a really good match for Carolina Blue.

I set very few limits on my scraps for this quilt. I did not use batiks, solids, novelty fabrics, or anything that was too close to the background fabric.  Beyond that it was anything goes!  Lights, darks, stripes, florals, anything.

When the mystery started, it turned out that I needed 1,100 half square triangles for the double bed size.  The mystery started in January.  I think I finally finished making HSTs in December?  The mystery had long since been revealed at that point, and I did have some blocks completed. I pushed on.  I knew Dad would be visiting in June, and his 75th birthday fell during the time he'd be with us.  With a hard deadline, I spent most of the spring trying to get the top done.
When I finally finished the top, I sent it to Irene of Patchwork & Pastry to quilt.  Irene & I met online last year during the New Quilt Blogger's Hop and met in person in February at QuiltCon--she generously offered me the extra bed in her Airbnb, allowing me to take the trip!  We talked about her longarm services one morning when we walked to breakfast.  I've sent exactly 2 quilts to a longarmer previously and they were both over a decade ago to a quilt shop where I was living in Michigan during grad school.  Irene assured me that even imperfect quilts deserve to be quilted and I knew that when I finally finished Tango, I'd send it to her. She knew I was trying to get it done for Dad's birthday and put a rush on it, even though I told her I knew it was short notice and as long as I had it to give Dad before he left the east coast, that was fine.  But thanks to Irene, I gave it to him on his birthday!!
close-up of the quilting
When it came time for a name, I didn't stay with Scrap Dance Tango.  My Dad isn't really a tango kind of guy.  But I like that Carole has kept the Scrap Dance theme and names each of her mysteries with a specific dance, so I wanted to keep the dance theme.  I picked "Carolina Dancing" because it kept that theme, I used Carolina Blue for the dominant color, and both the designer (Carole) and the maker (me) live in North Carolina. 

I have to admit, this is not my favorite.  I think it comes down to the block not being symmetrical or distinct enough for me.  Maybe it's because I didn't limit my scraps to one color family and mixed darks and lights.  I don't know.  But I'm thrilled it's finished and I love Carole's yearly mysteries and my Dad is thrilled which is really all that matters.

Scrap Dance Tango was #3 on my list of Q2 goals for the globally hosted finish along.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Yellow Elephants

At the end of May, I started wondering what June's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge might be.  I guessed yellow.  And come June 1st, it really was yellow!

Yellow Elephant Family

The patterns are the small and the large elephants from the Elephant Parade quilt along by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  For each color, I'm making 2 large and 3 small elephants.  By the end of the year, I'll have a rainbow elephant parade!