Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Caught Up With Time To Spare

With the end of June approaching in just a few days, I am happy to report I am currently caught up on all of the QAL's I'm participating in.  I'll be honest, I figured I would be so far behind right now, I wouldn't be able to recover, so not being behind is quite the pleasant surprise. 

Above are all the 2017 Aurifil Designer BOM's as of today.  Each designer is helping us work our way around the color wheel. We started with the top left block in blue and this month's block color way was red orange.

The block is called Star Shine and it was designed by Sarah Maxwell.  You can read Pat Sloan's interview with Sarah here

Next up, was Pat Sloan's The Children's Library block for June, The Princess and the Pea.

After all the crazy triangle action in the Aurifil block, these simple squares where a pleasure to work with.  I do believe instead of a block, next month she will be releasing the block setting instructions.

Moving right along, I had one block to make this month for Cindy at Stitchin At Home's Medallion Quilt.  My head was spinning (but in a good way) making half square triangles for the Pinwheel Block.

Here she is with all of her friends.

I am loving me some purple and green in this quilt.

Then I moved on to the last quilt along Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Jolly Christmas Quilt, which had three blocks I needed to catch up on.

Christmas Wreath

Holly and Berries

and Christmas Ornaments

Ever since the second block of this quilt along, one particular block has been eating away at me.  Possibly the most simple block in the quilt...The Mitten Block.  As the other blocks come together it bothers me more and more.  The fabrics in the mitten are too close to the background fabric and it just looks dull.  So I sucked it up and made a second mitten block.

The bright blues of the block on the right makes me HAPPY!!!  Bring on the snow!!  Oh, wait it's like almost July and hot outside.  Got a bit carried away there.  But now, I can let this block rest until it is ready to be pieced into the quilt and I promise I will stop glaring at it and only smile when I see it.

Have you ever redone a block because it just drove you nuts??  I can't be the only one.  Does it technically count as a "squirrel" since it has been eating at me for months now, driving me crazy?

So what will I do with myself for the next four days, since I'm all caught up??  Probably going to quilt a baby quilt I just finished piecing and maybe start on a second one I have been commissioned to make.  That sounds about right.  Hope everyone has a wonderful quilty week where ever you are.

Today I'm linking up with Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hive Crashing

One of the many things I enjoy reading about in the online quilting community is Hive Crashing.  What is that you ask?  It's when someone who is not in a particular quilting bee hive, decides to make the chosen queen for the month's block and send it to her.  I like to think of it as the quilting version of toilet papering a house, cow tipping or snipe hunting, only its a guten prank (good prank, for those non The Office junkies).

So this month I decided to jump right in and crash Helen at Midget Gem Quilt's bee hive.  Helen is the Queen Sheba of her hive this month and she chose the Quatrefoil block and posted a link to Blossom Heart Quilt's tutorial for making it.  Her colors were blue and orange and the inspiration for this block came from the blue sky and orange light filtering through a window, how cool is that???

I've been online friends with Helen since the 2015 New Bloggers Blog Hop and I've been wanting to do something for her, this block was perfect.

So I ran to my stash and did a quick fabric pull and...

If you look closely, you can see the white backing for Free Fall at the top of the picture.

quickly commenced to cutting and...


And in a flash I had two Quarterfoil blocks to send her.

Hopefully, these blocks will work with all the other wonderful blocks that Helen receives. 

A side note to some of the fabrics used in the blocks; I think I used most of these fabrics in my recent 182 Solstice Challenge Quilt aka "the beast."  Last year I followed along as Helen created a wedding quilt for her son and his wife.  She called it Coulter Wedding Quilt aka "the behemoth."  The behemoth took on it's own personality and I called it a ledged.  After her finish, and since I was such a fan, Helen sent to me some scrap fabric from the quilt.  So, after finishing the beast I declared it must be the behemoth's cousin and now Helen has a bit of the beast with her.  I can't wait to watch as her quilt comes together.

Will I join a bee hive?  I'm not opposed to it.  It seems like great fun, but I'm not sure I'm ready for the commitment.  Will I hive crash again?  I think so, when the time is right.  Do you participate in bee hives?  Have you ever crashed a hive?  I'd love to hear about it.

Today I'm linking up with Finished or Not Friday Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Free Fall Finish

It's done! It's finished!  Free Fall!  This quilt was so much fun to make, from picking out the fabrics, right down to piecing it together.  Then came the quilting...I decided on good ol' straight lines with my walking foot.  Simple.  Easy.

Well, it should have been simple and easy.  For starters, I decided to put a small black border (like 1.5") around it to make sure I didn't loose any of my points to squaring up or binding (hindsight, probably should have used the gray).  I picked out a lovely white backing with large clusters of flowers in colors that match the floating leaves on the front.  At the point I was basting it together, I realized you would probably be able to see the dark prints on the front through the thin batting and backing.  I had plenty of the cotton batting and decided why not double layer it??  So I went for it, doubling the layer of batting to two, pinning and then baste stitching around the edge of the quilt.  Go me!!

I started stitching in the middle of the quilt using Aurifil #2610 Light Blue Grey 50wt and used the edge of my walking foot to space my lines, so they ended up about a 1/2"(ish) apart.  I knew the close stitching and extra batting would make this quilt a bit more stiffer, but that's okay, it's a wall hanging.  Things were going well until I was reaching the end of the quilt.

As you can see, I was ending up with quite a pucker...URGH!!!  I worked it out as best I could and stopped stitching when I reached the edge of the black.  I pulled her away from the machine and regrouped.  I would not abandon this project.

Over all it wasn't bad, but that pucker was FRUSTRATING.  What to do???  Instead of focusing on the panic of the pucker, I turned her around and started quilting the other side to buy myself some time before dealing with the problem, problem procrastination. 

Unfortunately, I just ended up with a pucker on that side as well.  My solution?  I'm sure there were much better ones to pick from, but I picked out the remaining basting stitches and quilted on.  I assume it was the extra layer of batting that was causing things to pull more and contort.  Maybe not, but that's the story I'm sticking with.

Here it is all finished on the floor.  Part of me thought about leaving it just like this and not trying to trim and square it up.  Call it a new type of quit finishing...really raw edge binding maybe?  Add a little more soft poof to your quilts? 

Figuring my new trend didn't stand a chance of catching on, I trimmed away and squared as best I could.  I didn't get a picture to share of what that first trimming looked like.  Trust me, somethings shouldn't be seen.  You are welcome (it was bad). 

So I sucked it up and trimmed some more, put a smile on my face and bound this quilt.  Wonky Donkey or not, I love it!

I love the pattern, I love the designer, I love my fabrics, I had a ton of fun creating it and created it with a bunch of really great online friends!!!  This quilt made memories and I will love her forever, bobbles, wobbles, puckers and all.  Best of all...she's finished.

A huge thank you to Sandra at mmm!quilts for hosting this QAL for us.  She did an amazing job writing the pattern and walking us through the steps to create it.  Sandra, I'm so proud of you and the success you have had with your first QAL!  Did you make the Free Fall Quilt?  Don't forget to hop over to mmm!quilts tomorrow to link up for Sandra's finished (quilted or pieced) linky party.  I can't wait to see what everyone made. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Taming the Beast and Giveaway Winners

Even though there was probably a thousand other things I could have been doing this weekend, I decided to finish the last three 12" blocks in the Solstice Quilt and piece the beast together.  For a quilt I basically threw together with no fabric plan, I have to say I couldn't be happier with it.  David asked me what I was going to do with it (it's a pretty big quilt).  My answer, quilt the crap out of it and hope that one day it makes many living room forts (you know grandkids).  His comment was it would also make a nice watch-the-fireworks quilt.  Whatever the case may be, I now have a really big quilt top that will need to be quilted...join the club big boy, there are many waiting.

Also, a huge Thank You to everyone that stopped by and left comments on the release of Star Blossom!  An even bigger thank you, if you stopped by my Craftsy Store and picked up a copy!  There was a total of 69 comments left on the blog post and 4 left on Bloglovin for a total of 73 comments.  I used a random number generator on my phone to determine the 3 winners. 

So congratulations to...

Nicole S. (Bloglovin commentor)

I will be sending out an email shortly to the winners with their copy of Star Blossom.  If you would like your own copy of Star Blossom, it is for sale in my Craftsy Store.  It is a beginner friendly pattern and includes four size options. 

Well, this wraps up this Monday visit here in Wonderland.  Let's all start this week off with a smile and try to spread some love each day this week.  Hope you will stop back by later on in the week when I share my finished version of Sandra's Free Fall Quilt and the crazy up and downs I had while quilting it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Star Blossom-Baby Quilts

If you haven't heard my news yet, David (Dave the Quilt Engineer) and I have finally released our first pattern together called, Star Blossom.  You can read all about it here and even enter a chance for a give away of the pattern (open until Sunday at midnight). 

But today I wanted to talk a little more in detail about the quilting of these quilts.  When I wrote the pattern and got to the finishing section and typed the words "quilt as desired," I must admit, I cringed a bit.  I know I can't be the only one that develops a tick when I hear/read those words.  Why is it that after spending all that time chopping up fabric and putting it back to together those three words can stop us dead in our tracks, make us cry and abandon a project quicker than a blink??? 

I DO NOT want that to happen to you.  No I do not.  So I decided to talk a bit about the quilting, so that maybe just maybe, if you make this quilt, you can be inspired to finish it completely.  The pattern cover quilt (lap sized) was quilted entirely with good ol' straight lines using Aurifil #2021 50wt.

I guess we could call this beginner quilter friendly.  Seriously, all you need is a walking foot.  Straight lines provide wonderful texture to just about any quilt you can think of.  But do not limit yourself, go for wavy lines.  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts almost always uses simple wavy lines and her quilts are scrumptious!!!

Next on deck is the smaller baby quilt (38" square) made by David.  He went with a scrappy look, using grays, black and reds.  I think it gave the quilt sort of a masculine feel.

I'll call this confident beginner quilting and really it's mostly straight lines with just a little bit of free motion going on.  I decided to do all the quilting in Aurifil #2610 Light Blue Grey 50wt.  This beautiful gray was just the right shade to add texture without overwhelming the prints.  Grays are always a nice neutral to have on hand. 

I started off by quilting straight lines on the diagonals of the center of the quilt. 

And then simply echoed the "v's" that were created at about 1/2" apart.

I chose to quilt them with rulers and a ruler foot, but you could easily use your walking foot.  With a walking foot, you could mark the lines with your favorite disappearing marking utensil or just use the edge of your foot as a guide. 

I left the red corner stones of the sashing unquilted for a little bit of poof and free motion quilted ribbon candy into the sashing strips.  If you wanted to stick with straight lines (which I kind of wish I had) you could easy have quilted simple straight lines in the sashings.  The outer border is quilted using piano keys stitched 1" apart.  When I came to the corners I stitched radiating lines for a little bit a fun and interest.

After David finished this version, I decided it needed to be a bit bigger so I ran to the local big box store and grabbed some cheaper yardages to test the pattern adding a 2" inner border (which I loved the addition and wrote it as an option into the pattern).  I was floored when I actually fell in love with my 'make-do" fabric quilt and felt it needed to be a bit more custom quilted.

For the blue and green sections I chose Aurifil #5017 Shining Green and #1126 Blue Grey.

In the center star I broke each section into two diamond-ish shapes using dot to dot quilting.

And in the tulip like shapes, I added some more dot to dot quilting and filled the center section with a swirl hook.  Really any filler would look great or even just echoing the center shape inside itself.

In the small yellow border I stitched simple straight lines 1/4" from each edge in Aurifil # 2130 Medium Butter.  For the quilt's background I chose to stipple in Aurifil #2310 Light Beige and also echoed 1/4" from each edge in the center star shape.

I chose to treat the corner stone squares and the three connecting budding squares as one section and quilted them all in Aurifil #5017 Shining Green.  The green and dark blue squares received a wish bone filler going straight into continuous curves for the yellow squares.

In my large borders, I stitched a wavy spine around the quilt and filled the inside with feathers and the outer side with pebbles in Aurifil #5017 Shining Green.  Hind sight, I probably would have just went with the piano key border.  The fabric pattern is so busy  that it's kind of hard to see the quilting, but I had fun, so that counts.

I almost forgot the dark blue sections between each of the tulip sections.

I used Aurifil #1126  Blue Grey and since it blends in it's a little hard to see the stitching, but I used swirls to create a heart in a heart shape.  I drew it out on my Plexiglas board so that you could see the shape a bit better.

Here is a picture of the quilt from the back so that you can see all the textures a little bit better.

One of my main goals in creating and writing patterns is to create pieces that show off your beautiful fabrics, but also will inspire you to quilt them as well.  If you would like to pick up your own copy of Star Blossom, it is on sale right now in my Craftsy Store until Sunday at midnight.  The pattern includes instructions for baby, lap, full and queen size quilts and is beginner friendly.

There are infinite ways to quilt these quilts.  How would you quilt yours?  If you have purchased Star Blooms and make the quilt, I would love to see how you quilt it or have it quilted.  If you get stuck shoot me an email, maybe I can help. 

As always, thank you for stopping by Wonderland and may you have a happy quilty day.

One last picture...me with the baby Star Blossom, I entered in the local quilt show.  She got a second place ribbon!!!  So proud of her.

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