Friday, June 28, 2013

Girly Charm

Back in January, I ordered some charm packs off of Craftsy that were on sale.  I didn't have a plan for them...I just liked the fabric.  I knew I could find a way to use them eventually.  I ordered Anna Marie Horner's Field Study, Tula Pink's Birds and Bees, Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee and Ty Pennington's Impressions Spring 2012.

When I found out a friend, Stefanie, was expecting a little girl, I waited...and waited...and waited for something that indicated what she was going to be doing in her nursery.  I have a habit of wanting to coordinate if I can.  I also knew I couldn't wait too long since there were several other friends expecting that I wanted to make baby quilts for, so when no hints came my way, I pulled out my charm packs.  I kept looking at the packs separately wanting to keep the collections in tact, but I wasn't coming up with something that inspired me.  Then acting on complete impulse, I started sorting the packs into 2 piles, more feminine prints and others that were more gender neutral.  I just started laying out a simple design on the floor mixing everything together until I came up with something that I liked.  It was sort of an eclectic mix, but it made sense to me.

I pieced the squares I selected together and then went to the fabric store.  I laid out my quilt front and started pulling fabric off the shelves trying to figure out what would coordinate.  I knew I wanted to add a border to the front, but I didn't want to use white.  When I placed a mint green solid next to the quilt, I was sold immediately.  The backing was a small challenge.  I just didn't find anything that I liked except for a pink chevron print.  I'm not much of a pink person and I wasn't sure if Stefanie was either, but my instincts kept pulling me towards this bolt of fabric.  I decided to just go for it and hope for the best.  The binding was my toughest challenge.  I wanted to pick something that pulled all the squares together, but couldn't make up my mind until I came across a polka-dot fabric in the nursery fabric section.  I tend to shy away from that aisle at the store, but this particular fabric coordinated well.  I made my purchases and went home to finish the quilt.

The quilt came together quickly and I couldn't have hoped for a better finished product.  The thick border in the mint green was a nice compliment to the patterned squares.  The pink chevron backing looked great and the binding just pulled it all together.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quilt Along Update

I thought I was going to be unable to really work on this quilt for a few days due to my husband's parents being in town, but I was able to do quite a lot and have the quilt almost finished.  In case some of you have forgotten what the front is going to look like, here are the pieces cut and on my design board.

Here is the back of the quilt pieced.

I have everything pieced, basted and quilted.  (I know I jumped ahead of the quilt-along schedule, but I just couldn't make myself stop)  I decided to go with horizontal lines all the way through.  I had originally thought about vertical lines, but everyone seemed to think horizontal was the way to go.  Now that it's done, I completely agree.

I also decided to go with a bold solid as my binding.  Several people suggested white as the binding color, but I just didn't like the finished look when I was playing with some scraps of white strips.  The bright red really gives a bold statement and gives a nice finish, especially to the back of the quilt.

I'm currently working on hand-stitching down the binding on the front, which should be done in the next day or so.

I can't wait to show off the finished quilt!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wild Rugby Stripes

If you haven't noticed by now, most of the quilts I make are all for babies.  In reality, it's a gift that celebrates an addition to a family and I wanted to continue that with this next quilt. 

For the past 4 years, I've had a front row seat in witnessing Charlie and Camille's family grow in non-traditional ways.   This family has faced many struggles as they tried to figure out what "family" looks like and they have reached beyond what most people would ever feel comfortable doing.  Camille (the mom), a very passionate and avid blogger of the non-quilting variety, can be found at Embracing the Odyssey.  She has helped to open my eyes in ways that my small little world had never imagined and family has an entirely different meaning than it used to.  They are an amazing couple who have open up their home in amazing ways and I wanted to help celebrate with them as they brought in a new family member.

This is not a baby quilt, but a quilt for a teenage girl who doesn't fit a typical teenage girl mold.  She has a very unique sense of style and I wanted to create something that would compliment her.  I discovered her favorite colors (purple, gray and red) and decided to use a simple rugby stripe.  I had been eyeing this zebra print at the fabric store for a while now, so I thought this was a perfect excuse to use it for the backing.  It helps bring some lively spirit into the quilt.  I machine quilted this quilt with horizontal lines that run parallel to the stripes and finished it off with a red patterned binding. All in all, it's a pretty simple quilt, but it's still perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


In my last post, I mentioned a quilt I had started piecing and quilting by hand.  The construction of this quilt began at the beginning of December 2012 and finished towards the end of March 2013.  It was truly a labor of love, but I'm so proud of the results.

This quilt started with the knowledge that Zach and Alysa, the mom-to-be (again), was expecting their second child, a little girl, in May.  I wanted to make her a baby quilt, but any old baby quilt just wouldn't do.  Alysa has a great sense of style and decorating sense and is a master at DIY projects.  I wanted to create something that reflect who she is as well as something that would coordinate with her nursery.  Since I was doing this quilt completely by hand, I started this quilt shortly after she revealed the gender and took a few risks with the fabric selections since I didn't know exactly what she was going to do in her nursery yet.  Here's the fabric collection I picked.

Now, I had the fabric and I needed to figure out the design.  I found a print on Pinterest that has always caught my attention whenever I've seen it posted and the thought occurred to me that I could recreate it as a quilt.  It is a fun, modern design and would work well with the fabric selection.  Here's the print:

For the quilt, I created a template out of card stock and started cutting petals out of each fabric.  I basted the quilt by laying out the backing, batting and the background fabric for the front.  I placed the petals and pinned them to the layers of fabric.  Once everything was in place and the entire quilt was basted, I used a quilting hoop to start hand-appliqueing each petal down and then quilting the petal down to secure the layers of fabric together with a pale pink thread.  I continued this process until I had every petal secure.  Once that was done, I changed to a pale aqua thread to quilt between the petals into the negative space to finish out the quilting design.  I usually try and put the baby's initial on the quilt as just an added touch, but I wanted to try something different with this quilt.  Instead of hand-appliqueing the initial down using one of the fabrics in the quilt, I put the initial into the quilting of the quilt.  Here's the finished product.

 What's even better than taking photos of my quilts myself?   It's having a professional do it!  Cindy Isom, a very talented photographer in the Memphis area, took family and newborn pictures of Zach, Alysa and daughters.  They were very kind and included this quilt as a prop and the pictures are so wonderful.  Here's just a taste from the photo session.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quilt-Along Update

After an extremely busy week and weekend, I have FINALLY finished piecing the back of the quilt for Kelly Young's My Quilt Infatuation Quilt-Along.  I still haven't pieced the front, but I should be done with that in a few days.  I had hoped to have both sides done by now, but my anniversary was last week and my husband's birthday and Father's Day were both this weekend.  Since this past weekend was all about him, my sewing machine didn't see much action.  My goal is to have both sides pieced and the quilt basted by the end of this coming weekend.  Of course, my daughter has swim lessons every evening for the next 2 weeks and my in-laws arrive on Thursday.  There should be plenty of time...or not.  I wouldn't hold your breath if I was you.

Enough lamenting over busy schedules...let's celebrate the small success of finishing a very important portion of this quilt.  I really love how the back turned out.  It's a clever way to use all the fabric scrapes after cutting up the bricks for the front and I hardly have any left over. 

I'll trim up the sides before I start quilting, but not until after I baste the quilt.  There's still 2 key decisions that have to be made in reference to this quilt.  First, what should I do for the quilting that will help showcase the front and back?  I only have straight-line quilting skills, so don't suggest any free-motion quilting solutions.  I've thought about quilting vertical lines so that it will add some contrast to the horizontal lines in the piecing of the fabrics.  I'm afraid the alignment of all the horizontal lines on the front and back may be a bit tedious.  I would hate for the back to be slightly off and cause the quilting to look sloppy.  My second decision deals with the color of the binding.  The fabric patterns are so busy and colorful, I think a solid color would work well for the binding.  The difficulty lies in the act of deciding which color to pull from the fabrics in the quilt.  Any suggestions? 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Simply Giraffes

This quilt marks the beginning of the year 2013.  (I'm slowly but surely catching us up to the present.)  At this point, I had taken a 6-month hiatus from quilting due to some craziness in my life...nothing too dramatic, just 2 full-time working parents with 2 very energetic toddlers and a husband who was also in grad school full-time.  Adjusting to the shift in our home life took me a bit, but once I did, I was determined to start quilting again.  I decided to do a hand-pieced and hand-quilted quilt that I could take with me and quilt while I was with the kids and not be tied to my sewing machine...that was a bigger undertaking than I had first thought and a story for another post.

When I found out a friend, Emily, was expecting her first child, I wanted to do something simple that wasn't too daunting and I could finish quickly.  I also knew that I wanted to trying machine quilting and I wanted to learn how to make my own binding.  While on Pinterest one day, I found my way to this blog from a quilting pin.  This simple quilt was exactly what I was looking for.  There was no piecing involved.  I knew I could finish the quilt over a weekend without having to completely ignore life for several days to get it done.  I knew the colors of the room were aqua/teal, yellow and gray, so I bought 3-yards of gray fabric as my background and bought several different shades of aqua/teal and yellow threads to quilt my lines.  I cut my yardage in half and basted my quilt, which felt weird since I was using solid pieces of fabric and I started machine-quilting.  I started putting randomly angled lines across the quilt changing out my thread color periodically until it was thoroughly quilted.  I was amazed at how easy it was and how quickly I got it done...what a wonderful introduction this quilt was to machine-quilting.  I found some yellow and gray patterned fabric that coordinated well and learned how to make the binding for the quilt following Amy Gibson's Block of the Month 2012 binding tutorial.  It was easier than I imagined.

When the quilt was all done, I stepped back and felt dissatisfied with the results.  As easy as it was to finish the quilt, it lacked a point of interest.  At this point, I started stalking Emily's Pinterest page for applique ideas.  She had a few giraffe items on her page, so I went searching for something I could create a pattern of.  I came across this print and ran with it.  I pulled some fabric from my stash, pieced and hand-appliqued the giraffes in place and was pleasantly surprised with the final results. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Around the Block

As I continued to learn more about quilting from watching the videos from Craftsy's Block of The Month 2012 class, I was introduced to the wonky log cabin pattern.  There was something about this pattern that called out to me, so I decided to give it a try.  My friend and fellow day-care mother, Leah, was expecting a little boy and I wanted to do something special for her.  She and her family have become wonderful friends to our family and I wanted her to know how much we appreciated  her friendship.  

For this quilt, I found a fun jelly roll online...I'm not even sure of the fabric collection's name.  I took each strip and cut them down to different widths.  As I started piecing the blocks together, I realized that this was going to be more tedious than I had originally thought.  I'm a stickler about pressing my seam immediately after I sew one, so there was lots of sewing and stopping to press.  I had to keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue and that ALL the steps would be worth it when I finished the quilt.  I sewed a thick border around each block of a solid color.  I then took my 12.5 inch square template and skewed it to give each block an even wonkier look when I trimmed them up.  I hand-quilted this quilt by following the squares around the block.  I just started in the middle and worked my way outwards.  It's a little easier to see the pattern on the back of the quilt.  Again, I hand-appliqued the baby's initial on the back of the quilt.  I was really pleased to see how well it all came together, but it might be awhile before I make another wonky log cabin.  Maybe I'll try a regular log cabin next time...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday

Kelly Young, from My Quilt Infatuation, is starting a link party on Thursdays and I've decided to join in.  Here is my current quilt project I'm working on, which just happens to be the Quilt-Along with Kelly Young.  I have everything cut and put on my design wall (a vinyl table cloth with a flannel backing) for the front of the quilt.

I also have started piecing the back of the quilt.  One thing I'm looking forward to with this quilt is the fact that either side will be show worthy.  The strips on the back are coming together and looking better than I could imagine.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quilt-Along: Cutting Fabric

I have decided to do a quilt-along led by a fellow Memphis-Area Modern Quilt Guild member, Kelly Young.  She has a fantastic blog, My Quilt Infatuation, where you can follow along if you'd like, or just check out all the great quilts she has created.  This week's focus is getting our fabric cut and ready for piecing.  I'm combining 2 scrap-packs from Southern Fabric of Amy Butler's Love and Cameo collections.  With a scrap-pack, you only receive 8-10 fabrics in the collection of various sizes that equal to 2 yards of fabric.  Since I really liked both collections, I wasn't too worried which fabrics I received.  I think the collections compliment each other nicely.

I have all my large bricks cut with enough to make all the end blocks when it comes time to piecing it all together. The long strips are what is left over of each fabric and I'm going to try and create a fun backing to the quilt using those.  I've also decided to use light purple and light aqua solids to act as neutrals in the mix.  I'm ready for the next step and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sneak Peak Revealed!

I was accused of being a tease with my sneak peak post, so it is now time to reveal those three projects.   A full-feature post for each quilt will follow soon.

Batman Quilt:

Girly Charm:

Wild Rudgy Stripe:

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Star is Born

If anyone knows me particularly well, they know that I have an eye for detail and pattern.  I'm not referring to style and fashion because I would probably say I'm lacking those in some ways...I'm talking geometry and repeating patterns.  I can find the small parts that make up the whole and figure out how someone put something together.  That's exactly what I did with this next quilt. 

In one of my random Google searches, I found a Carpenter's Star Quilt.  I thought it was interesting and I started looking at it in more detail.  I quickly figured out that it was made entirely of half-square triangles...I KNOW how to make a quilt from half-square triangles.  It was all a matter of placement.  I knew I had my next quilt pattern but I had no idea what fabric I was going to use.  After exchanging emails with the mom-to-be, Allie, she sent me an image of the fabric she planned to use for the baby's room. 

Now came the fun part of searching for fabric and this is what I found at Fat Quarter Shop.  I was thrilled I found fabric that pulled all of the colors together and coordinated so well.

After cutting and piecing, I was so excited to see the whole thing come together.  The hand-quilting was also a little different.  I wanted to do something that would soften up the look and make it decidedly more feminine.  By adding the quilted flowers, I think I really finished off the quilt nicely.  I also appliqued the center part of the quilt onto the back.  I didn't know the name of the baby when I was finishing up the quilt so I used the scraps to recreate the star.

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