Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Wrap Up

I had a lot of quilting "firsts" this year:

I learned how to use a long-arm quilting machine - logging a solid 24 hours at the studio, primarily doing free motion quilting. I participated in two bees and was able to finish this Purple/Grey Mod Mosaic quilt:

I made a quilt almost entirely out of scraps and did improvisational piecing:

I made a quilt from a pattern by my quilting idol: Sarah Fielke. I can honestly say that this is my favorite quilt that I have made this year.

I came up with my own unique design to create this sentimental mini. It is also one of my favorites from 2011. It is almost all done by hand and honestly took a lot longer than some of the big quilts I have completed.

Here are my stats of what I completed this year:

# of quilts completed: 27

Sizes: 3 mini, 11 baby, 6 twin, 2 double, 3 queen, 2 king

(9 of these were tops from 2010 that I finally managed to finish, 18 were started and finished within the year)

# 0f quilts given away as gifts: 9

(a lot more than I had thought - only one was completely ignored - which definitely made me feel like swearing off giving handmade items as gifts permanently)

# of items made besides quilts: 34

examples include a table runner, a skirt, patchwork sleepsack, bags, etc.

(20 of these were "kid/baby" oriented)

It's been a very productive year. Other sewing highlights include attending Houston Quilt Market and becoming the president of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.

Thanks for following my sewing journey this year - everyone's support and encouragement means a lot!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Sewing

I finally found some time to get back to sewing today. I quilted the purple Stamps quilt. I am going to put minkee-like fabric on the back soon. Here's most of the fabric goodies that I received for Christmas. My favorite one is on the far left from the Timeless Treasures "Bright Lights Big City" collection. I have immediate plans for the Taza pink Tarika fabric (2nd from left) and the rest will go into my stash.

Nick also spoiled me with some new sewing notions. I have decided to make the transition to cotton thread this year. Sarah Fielke insists on it and my good friend Alice also recommends it. It turns out my local Joann's actually carries Gutermann 100% cotton AND it's even cheaper than the polyester Gutermann.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Strips and Bricks finally completed!

I honestly was beginning to wonder if I would ever complete this quilt. Choosing the fabrics (all from my stash) was a breeze and even the cutting and sewing of the top took me about a week. The real time eater was quilting the huge thing! I decided I was going to save some money and not rent time on the long arm to finish it - I wish I had just spent the $50! But instead, I decided to quilt it at home using straight lines and the edge of my walking foot as a guide = about 1/4" to 3/8" apart! It turned into some very dense quilting. I started doing this in the beginning of October and barely finish it about a week ago.

Throughout this past fall, I had to force myself to work on it - making myself do a column a day. Each column required more than a full bobbin's worth of thread. I ran into a major problem when I had about 13 columns left: the top wasn't as tightly basted to the batting and backing - so I had to rebaste it twice (the first time, I didn't do it right and ended up spending an inordinate amount of time with the seam ripper!).

Enough of my sob story about this headache! I will say that I am very happy with hot it came out and the straight line quilting does look pretty good - adding a whole new element to the project. The whole quilt is quite a departure from what I normally do - using a lot of neutrals is not very common in my work.

The quilt measures about 90" x 108" or so. I bound it in the perfect Moda bliss white on red dot and backed it in some Prince Charming baby paisley. It contains many of my favorite fabrics: KJR ribbon flower, AMH Cathedral in dusk, Her Crusier (red bike fabric) for Avalon, and Park Slope leaf dot. I based the quilt design on the famous Strips and Brick pattern by Malka Dubrawsky.

This will probably be my last finish of 2011. My 2 year old hasn't slept through the night for the past 5 days and hasn't had a proper nap in that time period either. Dealing with this at nearly 8 months pregnant has been unbearable! I will finish the year out with some 2011 wrap-up posts as well as sharing some pictures of some fabric goodies I received for Christmas. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Sewing

I finally completed my last bee blocks for the Hip to Bee Square bee I participated in. Kerry sent some paper pieced tree blocks and we simply had to make them into large improvisational log cabin blocks with scraps she sent. I am happy to have participated in the bee but I think that maybe bees just aren't for me. I understand why a lot of people do them and love them but I am glad to be done! The mailman always gives me a heart attack when he delivers packages to my home - he opens the screen door and places them between the screen and front doors. He delivers the mail when Gregory is sleeping - so the house is especially quiet. I always think that someone is trying to break in! Anyway, last week he delivered a package from Gregory's great grandmother who sent this adorable stocking:

It is made from an old quilt and she machine embroidered family names on the back. I love handmade gifts and am grateful that Gregory now has such a nice family keepsake.

Tonight I finally was able to give these two quilts to a dear friend who just had her second little girl. Gregory is great friends with her first daughter - and when I found out my friend was pregnant again - I told her I wanted to make the baby a quilt. Of course, I had to go ahead and surprise her by making a quilt for her oldest too . Don't they coordinate nicely? She was quite pleased with them and I enjoyed making two girly quilts :) I did blog about these quilts previously but I hadn't revealed their real story in case she came across my secret plan.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mod Mosaic Bee Quilt FINISHED

This quilt was begun almost exactly two years ago by my good friends who participated in the Boston Modern Quilt Guild bee block exchange. I finally finished it this past weekend! It took me about one week to do this jagged/puzzle piece type of straight line quilting. I used my walking foot and simply started at the top of the quilt and moved the quilt around to create a geometric/boxy random type of pattern. It was a little tedious sometimes but worth it I think.
Participants in the Flickr Hip to Bee Square group also contributed to this quilt. I also ended up making several myself, in order to have a 5 x 5 layout.

The quilt measures 63" x 63".

I backed and bound this quilt with some Urban Garden fabric I've had in my stash for a while.

A big thanks to all those who contributed blocks for this quilt! I am so pleased to have this finished and it's a great size for lounging under on the couch.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Motorcycle Quilt

My son is obsessed with motorcycles. I told Anne Kelle at Quilt Market that I love her boys transportation line (Ready, Set, Go!) but she should include motorcycles next time she designs boy fabrics. It's really hard to find decent looking motorcycle fabric.

I was pretty happy to find this Alexander Henry fabric from 2003 called "Hot Bikes" at my LQS about 2 months ago. I know it's kind of an obnoxious print but Gregory loved the fabric and that's all that matters.

This fabric is SO large scale - I didn't even think about cutting it up much. I did a strip piecing front with fabrics from my stash: I pieced together random stash fabrics for the back - the back took longer to put together than the front. This quilt only took 4 days to complete and it's one of the only handmade present anyone is receiving from me. I am quickly losing energy and stamina at this point of my pregnancy and it's amazing that I am getting anything done lately.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that this is Gregory's 6th quilt that I have made him and he's only a few months over the age of 2!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kitchen Goods Swap Items Received

Back in September, Jane received my fabrics for the BMQG Kitchen Goods Swap:A few months later, here's a picture of me just feeling over the moon about the items I received. Literally, the day before the meeting - I had told a friend that I had a goal to make pot holders next year and Jane had already made me two!

She made this cute little dish soap cover:

A table topper (that can also accomodate hot dishes):

And this apron just screams me. I love hexagons and the full bib style makes it very usable.

Thanks again Jane! I feel so lucky!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kitchen Goods Swap Revealed

These are the fabrics I received from Alice for the BMQG Kitchen Goods Swap: several fat quarters and a half yard cut of Kate Spain's Flurry for Moda.
I decided to make her a table runner with Dresden plate blocks (I know, shocking that I would turn to my favorite block). I used the interfacing method for the circles and it was so easy and good looking that I don't think I will do "super circles" again. I stippled it and backed it in this print:

It measures about 20" x 60" - which I know is HUGE - but her dining table is very large.

I added a few of my own fabrics - some Moda Bliss, a Sherbet Pips coordinate, and a reproduction print I got at the scrap bin at Keepsake.

This was a very fun activity and I can't wait to show you what Jane made me - it really made my weekend to receive such wonderful items made from fabrics I loved. Everyone in the guild who participated did an amazing job - I definitely think we should do something like this again.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tis the Season...

My next several posts will be about the handmade gifts I have been making lately. I am not planning to do too much handmade gifting this year because I am running short on time and I am more concerned with other projects that I want to complete before my baby is born. I will refrain from getting on my soapbox about why making handmade gifts is often not worth it.....

Anyway, lots of Christmas/holiday parties going on lately and last night I brought this patchwork fabric basket made from this infamous tutorial by Pink Penguin. I came home from Quilt Market with 5 mini charm packs of various collections and it's fun to use these small 2.5" squares on various projects. This basket features Moda's California Girl, linen, some Urban Garden, and a little Neptune. The gift was for a "Yankee Swap" style gift exchange and thankfully it was in demand (it would've been mortifying if it was viewed to be more of a 'white elephant' item). It even resulted in two people asking me if they could pay me to make similar items. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure I did the handles wrong - it looks more like a bag than a basket. Oh well.

I have finally started quilting my Mod Mosaic quilt - I am a little over half way done.

I am off to the year's last BMQG meeting for the Kitchen Goods Swap reveal this afternoon- can't wait to see what my partner Jane came up with my fabrics as well as give Alice her gift.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Twin Quilt Tops

Last week I sashed the twin girl quilt tops. I am loving this pattern but I still hate doing sashing - I need to get over that because there are so many good patterns out there that require sashing. I had a request to back these in something extra soft like Minky. I picked up some really soft stuff that technically isn't Minkee but it's just as soft. It doesn't stretch too much but I know it's not going to be easy to work with. I am feeling crunched for time - so I am thinking about just quilting it directly onto the minkee (with batting in the middle, of course). Any tips for this? I know it can be done.....

I am really dying to start something new.... I pulled these fabrics for a special baby boy quilt in case I have a boy. I keep saying that I am tired of red and aqua but I keep going back to it. My only Black Friday purchase was two half yd cuts of "Meet the Gang" (2 fabrics in front). They are SO cute! I am really having a hard time coming up with a good idea for a girl quilt - I think it might be because I have made 4 baby girl quilts in the past few months and I have used up a lot of inspiration for that category :)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Bird Bath Sherbet Pips Quilt

I couldn't do much yesterday after exhausting myself with the long-arm - so I watched Babe with my 2 year old and after he went to bed, Nick and I watched 3 episodes of Alias. Lots of TV watching while I hand sewed the binding down on this quilt: I started this quilt in June and it feels like it has taken me forever to finish it - but I know that 5-6 months isn't that bad. I had wanted to challenge myself by making lots of pieced blocks - 21 pieces per block makes for a lot of sewing.

The pattern I used, Bird Bath, came from Elizabeth Hartman's The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker. I can't recommend this book enough as well has her blog - it seems like I do a lot of her patterns and tutorials.

I made the process of this quilt extra tedious because of my choices to fussy cut the center blocks and using over 100 different fabrics from my stash - every block is unique.

I rented time at a long arm quilting studio to stipple the quilt in light pink variegated thread.

I backed the quilt in the grey scooter Sherbet Pips print and added several inches of a Henry Glass print to the top and bottom of the backing piece. I bound the quilt in a SP scarf print.

If you look carefully at this picture, you can see the seam line for joining the two large backing pieces. I didn't do this on purpose, but I think it's hilarious that the brunette and blonde scooter boy are joined almost perfectly in several spots, making him look like he has a very interesting hair dye job.
I love this quilt and I am keeping it for myself. It will probably be a while before I take on another project like this that requires such a significant time commitment. I did get pretty tired of working on it along the way!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Sherbet Pips Quilted

Standing at a long arm machine for 3+ hours at 6 months pregnant was not an easy task today. I am so glad I decided to do the quickest kind of quilting I know how to do: stippling. I am bored of stippling but I didn't have many other options if I didn't want to stand for much longer. I am binding it tonight and will enjoy the easy task of the hand sewing while I am sitting down!