November 21, 2012

king-sized granny squares wedding quilt

One of the quilting blogs I follow, Blue Elephant Stitches, posted a "Granny Squares" tutorial back in January. Around this time, I got my new fancy sewing machine and decided to make a block and posted a picture on instagram. The photo was "liked" by a dear old friend of mine who happened to be engaged to a dear old friend of my mister. They're special to us. So special, that at that very moment, I decided I'd make a quilt as their wedding gift. I figured it was a completely do-able over the next 9 months or so before their wedding day. 
the beginning. this one didn't even make the final was a little too small
Whenever I'd get a free moment here or there, I would go into my scrap bin, pick out 2 colors, and cut and sew 25 2 1/2" blocks together.  (I used Kona Snow for the "background" color). My scrap bin handled the job with flying colors, but I bought a few 5" charm packs as supplementation.

I didn't document my process very well. But every so often, I would lay out my completed-to-date blocks and snap a picture with my iPhone to check out the color composition and whatnot.
22 down, ??? to go
 And I'd try to guestimate how many blocks I'd have to come up with to make a king-sized quilt.
In the end, I wound up with 6 rows of 7 (or 7 rows of 6...however you want to look at it!). This picture was taken before I sewed all the sashing strips. I used 3" strips between the blocks, then ended up adding about 16" all around. (I can't find the sheet I used for my sketches and calculations). If you're doing the math at home, that equals "a heck of a lot of" Kona Snow. I should've just bought a whole bolt of the stuff.

While I was piecing all the strips to the blocks for the quilt top, I decided that I was physically incapable/terrified to "quilt" the quilt at home on my machine. It was 108x100, twice the size of the largest thing I had ever done (a twin).  I'll skip the whole long story about how I ended up in Springfield, TN, but that's where I brought my quilt...

In the meantime, the bride and groom were married and it was a beautiful and fun ceremony and reception.  Fast forward weeks and weeks (and weeks) later, and I finally got the word that it was done. (Not quite though...they didn't bind it! So I decided to do that myself, and I am glad I did. It made me realize that (if I should ever undertake a king-sized quilt again), I may be able to quilt it myself. (I was really just afraid of the maneuverability of something that size, and I handled the machine binding with patience and ease).
close-up of the quilt back - you can see the "meandering tear drop" design

I wanted to photograph the quilt before passing the it off to the newly-marrieds, which posed another problem. My mister's arms weren't long or wide enough to hold the whole thing by himself. He used a microphone stand to prop up one corner and we finally put our back deck to use:

Cheers, Fergusons...We love you!

triangle elephants baby quilt

The mister's sister is expecting her first child in December...which means I'll have a new niece or nephew soon! This was another gender neutral quilt. I picked out the raindrop print first, then the elephants...and everything else was matched from my stash (some leftover Kona solids and one of the Denyse Schmidt Joann prints). 
After drooling over so many triangle quilts on flickr and pinterest, I decided it was time I finally made one. I got a Creative Grids 8" 60 degree triangle ruler and went to work...It was a super fun quilt to make and I'm eager to work on another triangle quilt soon.
cut fabric
making sure the layout's right
quilting on a saturday afternoon...

finished quilt front
finished quilt back
 amanda lives in indiana, so a few weeks ago i made the 3-hr drive to attend the baby shower. i wanted to see "pregnant amanda" and it was an added bonus to be able to give her the quilt in person!
amanda & me

October 13, 2012

a tale of two monsterz

A few weeks ago, I was able to complete 2 baby quilts in a few days' time (as you can see, the basic design of these two is really simple, which made that accomplishment even possible). I had some of the Cloud9 Monsterz fabric squirreled away and was just waiting for the right babies to come along so I could use it.

I made this one first. I cut 6" pieces of Monsterz (Adventurez - Mint and Monterz Mash - Orange) and matched it up with some stuff in my stash: Kona School Bus (that's the orange solid fabric) and Aneela Hoey "Cloud Dash Stripes" from the collection "A Walk in the Woods". I made a triangle template to trace out my quilting marks; 2 rows in I realized that if you quilt a bunch of triangles, it'll look like chevrons (duh!). I used some of the leftover "Adventurez" fabric for the binding. This quilt went to a "we're not finding out" couple, and today, they gave birth to a little boy.

The next quilt went to a little baby boy who lives up the street. His mom & dad are old high school pals of my husband. Little Henry has an older brother & I figured he'd end up with a lot of hand-me-downs, so I wanted to make him something special. I used the same methodology, except this time I cut 10- 5" strips and pieced them together. Aside from the Monsterz and the "Cloud Dash Stripes," I also used one of the new Lotta Jansdotter Bella prints (the orange squigglies) and another grey print (from the "Quilt Blocks" collection). For this one, I did horizontal straight quilting lines between all the strips.

October 8, 2012

playing with ponies baby girl quilt

It's nice to be able to finally share some of the projects I've been working on over the past few months! When I heard that this lovely couple was expecting a baby girl, the quilt train in my mind started chugging. I immediately thought of this Heather Ross print and promptly ordered a yard of the coral-colored fabric:
Something about the little girls and their cowboy boots reminded me of the mom-to-be.
I got out my Kona color card and tried my best to match the yellow ("Lemon"), the green ("Peridot) and the light peach ("Light Parfait"). I also ended up getting some of Lizzy House's Guising Twinkling Stars in Sherbert.
Once I had all my fabric, I had no idea where I was headed. All my past baby quilts had been simple patchwork squares, but with this one I wanted to do something that showcased the girls/horses. I found this block tutorial and decided on that.
Once all 12 blocks were sewn, I played with the layout a bit & decided to use the green sashing strips to break up the pinky-pinkness of the quilt.
horizontal AND vertical strips?

nah...just vertical
All done! Straight line quilting around the blocks...
quilt back...all the leftover "guising" + lemon + light parfait

you can really see the quilting detail in this one
I had the pleasure of hand-delivering this quilt to the parents-to-be in Denver, CO last week. I was just going to mail it, but what's the fun in that?! (In actuality, I was already plotting a trip out there anyway...) And unbeknownst to me, the quilt matched the color of the nursery. Baby girl is due in a few weeks!

February 6, 2012

brown and blue patchwork squares baby boy quilt

a friend of mine is expecting a baby boy next month & i had lots of free time 2 weekends ago, so that could only mean one thing...{another} baby boy quilt.  i got started late on a friday evening, so instead of rushing out to the fabric store (as i am prone to do when embarking on a new project), i decided to try to pull things from my stash. i suppose that's why we build up fabric stashes to begin with!
i used the michael miller "honk honk" print as my main fabric and added some dark brown, light blue, yellow and light green kona solids.  i threw in a navy polka dot, a rainbow polka dot and some of the leftover heather bailey fabric i used in my first quilt. i liked the mixture of pastels & dark colors. i cut out ninety-nine 4 1/2" squares and used my 11-rows-of-9-squares formula once again. then, i went to work laying out the design (another random one, just like holden's quilt).
the next day i wasn't really fond of the rainbow dot fabric, so while i was out & about on my saturday errands, i ran into joann and picked up a half yard of different polka dot fabric to use instead, which was just enough for some squares and a strip for the backing.
sewing all the blocks and rows together went smoothly. i outlined the squares for the quilting & used the yellow solid fabric for the binding.

took it outside for a photo shoot, then packed it up & sent it off to soddy-daisy, tn!

January 27, 2012

owl + pussycat pleated purse

i made myself a new purse. the pattern ("tiered bag") came from the book "1-2-3 Sew" by ellen luckett baker (check out her blog here). 
i was so immersed in those quilts around christmas, i had almost forgotten how enjoyable and fulfilling other sewing projects could be. it was nice to try something new, and i learned some new skills in the process (making pleats and installing a magnetic fastener). the directions are very easy to follow, although i found myself a little tripped up making the vertical folds.

i used a precious piece of heather ross fabric for the outer fabric and lined it with the green "pearl bracelet" lizzy house print (totally obsessed with both these ladies and their adorable illustrations. they make me happy!)

January 26, 2012

sashing and rectangle modern meadow quilt

i immediately new what pattern/fabrics to use for carrie's quilt. courtney's quilt left me befuddled. i looked at patterns online and in my books; i browsed the online shops; i wandered up and down the aisles at textile, but nothing jumped out at me and screamed "COURTNEY!"
 until i saw this and my mind was made up:
i stumbled upon this pattern online. it seemed easy to follow and i liked how it showcased bigger portions of the print fabrics.

one of my favorite things about quilting is picking out fabric - i like pulling things from different designers and finding nice combinations.  this quilt pattern calls for 10 different prints, so i was surprised that i bought ALL the prints from the same designer, joel dewberry. most are from the older modern meadow line and one is from the newer heirloom line. they just looked so darn good together! i especially love the flower fields (i used it for my skirt), and the herringbone is one of my all-time favorites:
i used kona snow for the neutral sashing strips and the binding, and ordered a shot cotton called "nut" to use in the "B" rows.  herein lies the problem of ordering fabric online: while you save money, you really can't tell colors 100% accurately. when the order arrived, the shot cotton looked way too reddish-brown. so i went to textile - i couldn't find a single solid that matched perfectly. i found something at joann that was exactly the right shade i needed. all that to say: my goose chase for the perfect shade of brown really delayed my start, and i wondered if i'd make my self-imposed christmas deadline.

i had it in my head that this pattern would go a lot quicker than the small plates quilt, and while there was less cutting to do, pinning and sewing all the sashing strips took longer than i imagined. but it all came together quite nicely.

basting on the kitchen floor...barely enough room!

for the back, i sewed a strip of the leftover prints and anchored it with kona stone and kona mustard.
for quilting, i did vertical straight lines on both sides of the printed "A" rows.

i finished it on december 23...just in the nick of time. courtney had remarked to her boyfriend that she hoped i'd make her a quilt for christmas, so i am glad i could make her wish come true!

January 24, 2012

small plates / outfoxed quilt

i don't know when the idea first occurred to me to make my two sisters quilts for christmas - must've been sometime in early november, because that's when i placed my order for the outfoxed prints for carrie's quilt.  regardless, at some point i got it in my head that a month and a half was surely enough time to complete 2 twin-sized quilts. i'm not an ambitious person, but this was certainly an ambitious undertaking (considering that most of my weekday hours are occupied by my day job- hence my sewing time's limited to the weekends).

i had purchased elizabeth hartman's "the practical guide to patchwork" book some months ago, and found that the "small plates" quilt pattern really appealed to me. since this was the first official quilt pattern i was following (the others had been more free form and random), it seemed like an easy enough undertaking, and i decided to use it for carrie's quilt.
i fell in love with lizzy house's outfoxed line the moment i saw it, and since carrie loves animals, purple and orange, it seemed like a good starting point for the fabrics. i used a few things from my stash and made trips to textile, joann's and hancock to fill in the rest.

the quilt calls for 80 square-in-square blocks made from 20 different prints and a solid, but hartman suggests a few alternatives (i went with option 3, which makes the same number of blocks using only 10 different prints). i used kona neutral for my solid.
i didn't keep a ongoing tally of my hours spent making this quilt, but it did seem to occupy every spare minute i had. i spent one afternoon doing all the cutting (80 center squares + 80 long strips + 80 short strips. hartman lays out all the cutting instructions in such a clear & non-fabric-wasting manner, so it wasn't that bad). then one night sewing the print blocks. another sewing the solid blocks. and another pressing all the seems open (time-consuming, but totally worth it).

i realized that most of my blocks didn't turn out as perfect 9" squares as called for (a lot were a tad short), so then i had to square up all 80 blocks to 8 3/4".  after posting cries of frustration to the discussion board for the elizabeth hartman flickr group, i concluded that i wasn't using a "scant" 1/4" seam allowance. (hartman personally responded to my inquiry in the discussion thread, which i greatly appreciated).

i spent a few hours laying all the blocks out for the final design. it about drove me crazy trying to come up with the most visually-appealing layout (and trying not to repeat the fabric motifs in the horizontal and vertical rows).  i never realize the extent of my obsessive/perfectionist tendencies until i do something such as this.

at that point i was finally able to sew the blocks into rows, and then all the rows together to complete the quilt top.  phew!
i made the quilt back a few weeks later, since i had to wait on my fabric order. i found a couple of coordinating lizzy house prints from one of her other lines:
(i didn't get a picture of the quilt back before i gave it to carrie, but this is one of the fabrics i used)
rather than basting + quilting carrie's quilt, i decided to start on courtney's quilt top. it was mid-december at that point, and i was kinda thinking that there was NO WAY i'd be able to finish both in time for christmas. i figured i'd rather have 2 incomplete things on christmas day rather than having 1 fully-realized blanket for carrie and nothing for courtney.  (spoiler alert: i got them both finished!)

basting on my kitchen floor went well (although i realized that i don't have the room for anything much larger than twin-sized). for the quilting, i went with straight, outline quilting around all the blocks, and i was able to complete it over the course of an entire day. thank goodness i had the entire week off work, otherwise i would not have finished. i used kona eggplant for the binding.
i was a little apprehensive about washing it, since i had some dark purple fabrics and i hadn't pre-washed the fabric. i scoured the 'net for advice, and washed it cold, gentle cycle with shout color catchers AND a splash of vinegar. probably a little overboard, but it turned out ok.

carrie was speechless when she opened it on christmas, so i take that as a good sign?