Friday, August 29, 2014

Quilters Are the Nicest People

Quilters are the nicest people, and I have the proof!  Remember the 10 Quilty Secrets post from a week ago?  One of my secrets involved my love of scraps, but a lot of other people admitted that they never use their scraps, some even throw them away! 

I tried to get Wilson to pose for some perspective but was being contrary.  It's probably 12" square and 18" tall!
Judy from Quilt Paradigm said she only keep her scraps because she knows she is supposed and generously offered to send me some of hers. This big ol' box showed up today!

Look at that, full up to the top with beautiful Oakshots, batiks, and prints.

I spent a good four hours sorting, pressing, and trimming my way through this box like a kid in a candy store.  Holy cow, what a haul!  I have already separated out fabrics for a few projects that immediately came to mind and bagged them up, can't wait to get started.

Thank you Judy!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Distortions {July do. Good Stitches}

The July Nurture Circle do. Good Stitches quilt is done!  I designed the block for this quilt based on the Fibonacci Sequence, a really cool natural, mathematical phenomenon. You can read the original post and tutorial for the block here.

Block tutorial available here
After seeing how well the final illusion works I decided to name this quilt Distortions.  It's the ratios of the blocks, from the Fibonacci Sequence, that creates the curving effect.

For the quilt each circle member made (2) 10" finished blocks (and a few made extra) to give us a 50"x60" finished quilt. I broke my own cardinal rule of quilt bees with this one: never request a block that will rely on seams matching up. But the girls in my group are superstars and it worked out fine!

I quilted the top with my walking foot with lines that follow the design.  It's easiest to see from the back. Thread choice for quilting was an issue with so many different fabrics in the top, I was afraid that highly contrasting thread would be distracting and detract from the illusion.

After researching I decided to try invisible thread and bought Sulky's clear poly.  I had read before that some invisible threads have issues with heat from an iron or the dryer. Although I never iron my finished quilts I do dry them. However, the Sulky thread had good reviews and after a couple trips through the dryer seems none the worse for wear. I have even found a few stray thread tails on my ironing mat and they don't seem to be affected by the heat.

Aesthetically the invisible thread worked perfectly. It seems to take on the color of whichever fabric is passes over.

Backing is the IKEA numbers print again. I figured it was perfect for a math-centric quilt. I also included the 4 extra quilt blocks I had and pieced the label right in.

This quilt will soon by on its way to My Very Own Blanket, a charity that gives blankets to children in the foster system.  Thanks as always to the ladies of the Nurture Circle, this was a fun one!

Linking to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WIP-ing along

My productive streak is still going strong. I decided on a new crumb scrap quilt layout I want to start, so that meant finishing the previous one!

The Crumb Paint Box is now a completed top!  The colored scrap chunks are surrounded by a black and white cross weave that reads as a lovely, textured grey. All these crumbs were 2" by less than 2" to start.  I haven't made up my mind about quilting this one, but I am thinking straight lines in various colors.

I also made this month's do. Good Stitches blocks. It's a nice large star designed by Dhia @ The Pea Patch.

I think next I am going to pull out an old, partially quilted top and try to get it done.  What are you working on this week? Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Very Busy Design Wall!

It's been a fun, busy few days of sewing around here. First up on my design wall was half of a quilt I am making for a friend.  He said he like "all the colors" and especially plaids and stripes.  My mother kindly pointed out that while all these colors/designs may go together, they might not go together in the same quilt :)

Next up I started working on my crumb paint box blocks again. I am surrounding them with a black and white crossweave (reads as grey) to bring them up to 15".

Then, because clearly I don't have enough WIPs going I started paper piecing a double-size version of the TartanKiwi's panda block.

Which has now turned into this baby top, a la the Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Jam 2. (Apologies for the crappy nighttime picture.)

Busy and fun, I can't wait to turn some of these WIPs into finishes!

Linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Finish, and Quilty Little Secrets

Hello and welcome back to Finish it Friday!  This week I have the batik quilt I made using Cluck Cluck Sew's Summer Slice pattern.

This quilt really hasn't been featured on the blog much, mostly because I made it so quickly (as opposed to the designs that linger on the design wall for weeks.) I sewed this top in just 2 days.

I have been collecting batik fabrics for years, but doing it casually. I pick them up when I see them in a remnants bin or grab bag, but haven't been seeking them out.  I had no idea I had this many until I started cutting them for this quilt! And of course, I could make several more of these quilts and still have plenty left.  ...I swear fabric multiplies in our stash when we aren't looking.

I quilted it all over with FMQ swirls in a gold/tan colored thread and used the same thread for the back.  This is a design from Angela Walter's book that I have used on several quilts. I am still not really happy with my skills on this one, but it gets better every time.

Wilson assisted with quilting.
For the backing I splurged on a pretty batik with birds and bound it with the same.

My mom has already claimed this one.  She said the colors "soothe her soul," and I figure I better not get in the way of that. :)

Along with a finished quilt, this week you get some unsolicited info about me! I saw this on The Floral Suitcase and it was too much fun to pass up.

1. I prefer scrap quilting, feel free to send all your scraps to me!! I just find scraps more inspiring than whole cuts.   I think I like the challenge of making something useable and pretty with limited amounts/shapes of fabric.

2. I never press if I can help it and I rarely pin. I also avoid trimming my blocks if I think I can get away with it.

3. My attitude toward mistakes is "I'll do it better next time."  I'm a firm believer that my quilts will never be viewed as close up as I am when I'm making them again. As long as it will look fine from a few feet away I leave it in.

4. I have a major weakness for blue and green.  Like I probably have more blue and green fabrics than the rest of my stash combined.

5. I really don't like the Cotton+Steel fabrics much... except for maybe a couple of prints. Don't like Kaffe at all and don't care much for Liberty either! Go figure.

6. I love wonky and modern, especially putting a modern spin on traditional designs. Also, see above-- I don't pin. I was made for wonky quilting.

7. I quilt starting from one corner and moving around the quilt clockwise til I've done the edges, then do the center last.

8. I use flat sheets from WalMart for quilt backings.  And you know what? They make awesome quilt backs!

9. I have never prewashed a fabric in my life, and in 5 years of quilts I have only had one run. Besides, I really like the krinkle quilts get from the dryer when all the fabrics shrink up.

10.  I hate quilting FMQ feathers. I don't mind seeing them on other people's quilts, I just don't like using them myself. It feels so... Victorian or something.  Like only lady perfume and pink crushed velvet and lace.  Not the vibe I want for my quilts.

So, that was fun!  What about you, any secrets to share?

Linking to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and 13 Spools.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

All Fired Up! Fireman Quilt

The "All Fired Up" quilt was a quick one--and it had to be.  A friend got a devastating cancer diagnosis last Friday morning and began chemo that evening.  He has been a firefighter for over 30 years!  I saw the fireman fabrics at my LQS Saturday and knew that it was just meant to be.  I delivered the quilt Tuesday to an emotional reception, on both sides.

I didn't get very good pics because I finished it at night and was in a rush the next morning to deliver it.  Cancer is a terrible disease. My friends have hardly even gotten over the shock of the diagnosis and are already in the thick of treatment. They're trying to keep it together for their 3 young children, but there's only so much a person can do.  A quilt is a small thing in the face of all that. But I'm a quilter, and that's what we do.

There are 3 focus fabrics, all from the "All Fired Up" Line from Dan Morris for RJR Fabrics.  I used The Anna Quilt from Jibberish Designs to show off the large prints and mixed them with 3 neutrals-- a textured black, a tie-dye looking fiery red print and a wood grain.

The top came together in about 4 hours.  Another hour to baste.  Then 4 more hours to quilt with a loose stipple and machine bind.  I feel like I have reached a new milestone on quilting with this one, a finished bed-size quilt in 2 days (I worked Sunday, so it doesn't count) is a record for me.  Now I know that I can speed quilt when I need to!

I hand sewed a piece of the focus panel onto the back and signed it with a fabric marker.  Before I even got the binding on I drove around town to a few friends of ours to get their signatures as well.  I gifted the quilt along with a set of fabric markers so that every one who comes to visit can add their  well wishes.

I promised the fireman's wife that when all this is over I will make them a nice quilt for their home, so there is no need to worry about this one getting "dirty". I hope that it winds up dirty and stained and washed until it falls apart! I am sorry for the need for a chemo quilt, but grateful to be able to provide some comfort.  Because I'm a quilter and that's what we do.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Here we are at another Wednesday.  I am in a season of finishing WIPs, and it feels so good!  The fireman quilt is done, so look for that post Friday.  The July do. Good Stitches quilt is off the wall and waiting to be basted.

Block tutorial here

And this stack of blocks, all 112 of them, is ready to be assembled into a top.  It will be based on the "Easy Going Modern" pattern from Felicity Quilts.

Here's to WIPs on their way to finishes!  Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fibonacci and Firemen

Design wall Monday again. My design wall has been busy since the Texas quilt came down! First up is the Fibonacci quilt for do. Good Stitches. Link to my tutorial is here.

I broke my own cardinal rule of bees with this quilt: never ask for a block where it will be critical that seams line up in the end!  Sure enough, they were all different sizes, but with a little fiddling I made it work.  And after quilting the fiddling won't be noticeable.

After getting the Fibonacci top sewn together I had to quickly put together this one for a friend of a friend diagnosed with leukemia.  Seems like he went from fine to dangerously ill in just a day :( Scary stuff.

The pattern is The Anna Quilt by Jibberish Designs.  I put the whole thing together in about 4 hours! he cute fireman fabrics come from the line "All Fired Up" by Dan Morris for RJR Fabrics.  

Wilson says "Dignity is an illusion."
So that's what I've been up to. The fireman quilt is basted and I am hoping to get it quilted Tuesday.  Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

You Can Always Come Home to Texas

Well, The Texas Quilt Along is in the books!  It was a fun journey through my own state,visiting many of my favorite cities and some I have never visited in person!

As you can tell if you were following along, I used my own designs for quite a few of the city blocks.  It was fun to come up with ways to mix things up and incorporate my own memories of those places. 

The hill country block might be my favorite of my designs!  Rolling hills covered in flowers.  I also swapped chili peppers for The Valley (very Tex-Mex down there) and a star for Austin, the capital city.

I debated swapping in a house block or something similar for Tyler, the city I live nearest to, but decided against it in the end. Tyler claims to be the rose capital of the world!  I really loved the paper pieced ferris wheel for Dallas, where the State Fair of Texas is held.

I am particularly proud of how this oil derrick came out.  I am generally not a fan of applique, raw edge or otherwise, and this quilt required a lot of it.

Finally, west Texas.  Love the flying geese out there.

I was in a rush to get the quilt done for gifting so I did a quilt all over stipple to save time.  In the upper right of the quilt, approximately over Oklahoma ;) I free handed the words "Always come home to Texas." You can make out a few of the letters in this picture.  The quilt's recipients spend far too much time overseas for work, enough that they don't really have anywhere in the states to call "home."  She recently said, "I know that I always come back to Texas."  So I just took the liberty of making us "home."  :)

The back is pieced from two large pieces of blue fabric.  The one on the bottom was on sale at and the one on top is a super soft light denim-like material that I just can't get enough of.

Elvis tested and approved.  I had to hurry and get my pictures before the quilt was given away! I was received very well and will soon be winging its way overseas, a little piece of "home" while they're away.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Design Wall- Something different at last!

Finally! Texas is done and off the design wall!! Don't get me wrong, I loved the Texas Quilt Along.  But I normally prefer to work at a much faster rate, and I was itching to get my design wall back. 

In celebration of a fresh, clear design wall I started to frame my crumb paint box blocks.  The black and white cross weave just makes it, I think.  Nine more of these to frame and get up on the wall :)

Linking to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Today in "Why is my Quilt so Heavy?"

You know when you're quilting along, and all of a sudden your quilt feels heavier? Did part of it fall off the table?

Wait, what's this?

Ah yes, there's your problem.

Check out Wilson and plenty of other pets in the Pets on Quilts Show hosted at Lily Pad Quilts.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pets on Quilts Show 2014!

Hello and welcome! It's that time of year again. Time for the Pets on Quilts show hosted at Lily Pad Quilting.  You can see my entry from last year here.

Of course this year I have more of the obligatory Wilson-cat on quilts pictures.  As you may already know, Wilson is my very allergic cat and chief quilting inspector.

His chronic lung issues finally caught up with him back in February and landed him in the kitty ICU. Scared me to death!  Basically he now has full blown kitty-COPD.  He has stayed on a low dose daily steroid ever since then and it has made a huge difference in his breathing and quality of life.

Just for fun this year I am including pictures of some of our other house animals. Ferrets! They aren't exactly on quilts, but I did make all their bedding!

Their names are Sister and Bear, (sister is on the bottom in the picture above.)  They are champion sleepers, but when they are awake they go 90mph until they sleep again!

I am entering Wilson in the "Cats or Kittens on Quilts" category. The ferrets are just a bonus!  Be sure to check out all the entries and the cute animals at Lily Pad Quilts and a bonus Wilson post from later today here.