Sunday, February 28, 2021

Squeezing in one last finish for February.....

 The binding is on for a fun "Scrappy Trips"!

This is a UFO that has been waiting for its turn under the needle since the end of 2018!

It is another quilt design by one of my favorite designers, Bonnie Hunter.  Her free "Scrappy Trips" pattern was all the rage a few years back and I love the opportunity to make a good "kitchen sink" 'scrap quilt.  

Having employed Bonnie's Scrap Users System for awhile (although also incorporating standard scrap sizes from other scrap quilt designers like Joan Ford and Judy Gauthier as well),  I definitely needed a project that would draw down the 2-1/2" strips bin a bit.  

This is also another quilt where I am using a flannel back -- isn't this fabric fun?!?

Much like with the last quilt,  I wanted a texture that would create a cozy feel.  I had long debated just how to stitch this one up.  Visually "Trips" quilts create these vibrating "pools of color" and I had hoped to emphasize that with the quilting.  However, I've seen many "Trips" quilts simply grid or all-over quilted and that visual effect still comes through.  So since I am still working on re-acquainting myself with Free-motion work, in the end it was about finding something simple I could execute but still bring some texture to it over all.

I found that in my "Stitch Ideas" binder where I had filed a motif I had seen on Lori Kennedy's blog a while back.

Lori Kennedy teaches free-motion quilting on domestic and now long-arm machines.  She calls this one "Honeycomb".  It reminded me of the texture of mattresses!  Worked for me! 

And while her tutorial instructed how to do the motif by marking a solid fabric quilt sandwich, I realized that the motif was also a good candidate for what Angela Walters calls "Dot To Dot" quilting:  using the pieced intersections or design points of the blocks in your top as guide points on where to aim your stitching.  I started off doing a rounded motif like Lori's by going square to square.  However, I quickly realized that would take just a little longer than I wanted it to!  So I elongated my stitch pattern over two squares.  Sometimes I hit my marks well and sometimes not!  Over all though, with such a busy top, it manages to work.  

Side Note:  To see how other quilt designers use the "Dot To Dot" technique with even more advanced quilting motifs, check out this interesting Craftsy article.   Lori also shows how you can do even more with the basic Honeycomb motif here.

Since I am still in the honeymoon phase when it comes to quilting on "Nova" my mid-arm, I need to stick with the basics until I get my sea legs working with her.  It took me a bit to work on getting the speed of my hands coordinated with the speed of the machine so I didn't create "eyelashes" with the stitching and to reduce/eliminate "pokies" since I used a different color thread on top than in the bobbin.  Eventually the tension issues settled down although I may have to rip the first two columns I did and re-do them.  

More importantly, I am glad to have another "back of the couch" quilt with a comfy flannel back handy.  Spring is around the corner but there will still be some nippy days ahead!

Linking Up with:

Cynthia for Oh! Scrap at Quilting is More Fun than Housework (that it is!!)

Andree and Muv and the Free-Motion Mavericks at Quilting and Leaning, What A Combo!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

BOMs Away: Whew! February blocks just in time!

Well, it took a while to get this month's "Christmas Figs" BOM blocks finished up.  Just in time to start on the blocks for March, Lol! 

This month, I tackled the "Lily Trio" and "Pinwheel Swirl" blocks.  I pieced the second block a little differently than patterned, making Square-in-a-Square units for those centers.  What I soon found out was that doing so made the assembly of each quadrant of the block more of a challenge because it meant using partial seams to complete them.  

On the plus side, using a leader/ender project helped a lot with that so in the process I also got two more neutral string blocks for "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" pieced! 

I had pieced the other one while making up the little Valentine's Day wall hanging I made the other week.  I'll trim them up after I've made a few more.

Wondering what "Block Of the Month" your fellow quilters are working on right now?  Then go see what projects have gotten "BOMs Away" love this month over at Lynette's at What A Hoot Quilts and Kate's at Katie Mae Quilts!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Finished Or Not Friday: Another 2020 holdover has been completed!


"Indigo Weave" started with the leftovers from my "Double Delight" project.  When the Blue and White project plans started piling up last year, it seemed like an easy thing to slot into the rotation and get a potential "back of the couch quilt" that fit the color scheme.

I got the top finished while away in North Carolina back in December.  

I liked the big casual blocks and wanted the quilt to have a cozy and casual feel.  I started off with an idea of quilting it in a grid style or maybe in Baptist Fans.  However, then I saw wavy quilting on Sherri McConnel's "Whimsey Stars" quilt on her "A Quilting Life" blog and I just loved the texture of it!  Funny but it reminded me of the texture and heft of moving blankets!  I wanted that same heavy, cozy feel so decided to start quilting this in a similar way.  Turned out it wasn't easy for me to to keep my lines consistently spaced like hers so I just went with varying the distances between the waves.

I also saw Pat Sloan's "Ripples" quilt quilted this way but with "Pebbles" quilted in between some of the waves .  Oooh, going to have to try that one day in a quilt too!   And just perfect for all the snowy weather we are having right now, this is backed with a luscious plaid flannel that I also got in NC from the Keepsake Quilting/Pineapple Fabrics Outlet.  

I had a piece of a solid navy fabric set aside from the beginning for binding but when it came time to do that, it didn't seem like it was going to be enough.  I went shopping and the closest thing in color to what I had was some Navy Kona cotton.  Did you know it comes in wide back widths now?  I didn't!  It's great because then it only needed three WOF strips to get the job done.

If you like this pattern (Layer Cake Friendly!), it's in McCalls Quilting "America Makes Fast Quilts" from Spring of 2013.  The Quilting Daily website has all of their patterns and magazines, print or digital, on sale for 40% off for the "Self Love" month of February.  

Thrilled to be joining everyone over at Alycia Quilts for another "Finished Or Not Friday" weekend.  I'll be heading there too to see how everyone else's week went!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Where Am I Heading Today? Quilt Con!!

 The one good thing about this pandemic is that it has meant that many in-person events have gone digital.  For quilters this is presenting a unique opportunity to "attend" events or visit quilt exhibitions that you might not normally be able to go to if you were not able to travel to their destinations. 

One of these is Quilt Con, the annual quilt festival organized by the international Modern Quilt Guild.

 It is always interesting to see what is popular in this relatively new movement in quilt history.  This year it's particularly sweet since a blogger I follow, Rebecca of Rebecca Grace Quilting (formerly Cheeky Cognoscenti), has a quilt juried into the show.  By virtue of the show being virtual, this is a rare chance for those of us who would not normally be able to attend the show to view the show entries and interviews with the exhibitors, attend lectures, workshops and the awards ceremony and even shop with show vendors.

The show runs through Monday so there is still time to register to attend.  With the winter storm now upon us here in NY, this will be a great way to spend the day in!  I also encourage you to look around for other events and exhibits you have longed to attend and see if they have virtual exhibitions.  Travel from your desktop and expand your quilt horizons without leaving home!  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentines Day!


Pat Sloan has been talking about this project since January (and you can see hers in this video): 

Having pulled out pink scraps to try this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I couldn't resist throwing a few towards this little project.  I added some reds and whites and now I have another little wall hanging to display for the holiday!

This free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop makes this in two sizes:  35 inches or 12 inches square.  Mine is a little longer than 12 inches because I didn't trim the square at the top center as much as the the pattern said to because I had used a fussy cut there.  

There is also a cross stitch pillow version available for you Floss Tube lovers!  I went with the mini version because with another quilt also in the process of being quilted this week, I needed a fast project.  And it was!

Hope you are enjoying today with the ones you love (and some chocolate)!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Finished Or Not Friday: A Quilt and a Top

 So far, the start of 2021 has been a good one...I've got the first quilt finish for the year and did it in just the right week:  "Snow Day" (an Edyta Sitar/Laundry Basket Quilts design) is quilted and bound!

The Front

The Back (with the center area for the label)

If you were wondering where's the striped binding on the back:  it's not!  I did a two color binding on this one.

I had liked this stripe for the front (which is actually printed on the diagonal) but not with the back.  The backing fabric was kind of "meh!" for the front.  A good while back I had seen this tutorial and bookmarked it for future use.  It worked very well and actually made it easier to turn the binding to the back and get it stitched fairly evenly from the front (stitch in the ditch).  

This is the first of the holdover 2020 projects to be completed.  It is also the second of the projects from last year's "Laundry Basket Quilts Obsession" to get to the finish line (the first was the "Lidia" mini last year).  Last year I also had been working on a lot of Blue and White projects so Edyta's design was a great scrap buster project.  

Getting to quilt this quilt was also a chance to finally establish a working relationship with "Nova" my "oldie but goodie" Brother mid arm: 

The stitching from the front (FMQ and Ruler work)

...and from the back

She did pretty good and I learned a lot about quilting with her.  Now's the time for more practice.  To that end there's more flimsies on parade! 

Last month I added two finished flimsies to the "To Be Quilted" Pile: There was the "Modern Bohemia" top in early January and in the last week of that month, I got my Quiltville "Old Tobacco Road" top finally done. 

While my cutting table is clear, I plan to spend this weekend putting the backs together for "OTR" and for "Indigo Weave", another of the 2020 holdovers.  It was stitched up while I visited my MIL in NC back in December.

"Weave" will be the next project to go under Nova's needle.  It's good to get something done but there is so much more still to do!  

I'm looking forward to checking out what everyone else has finished up this week.  If you are too, then head on over (or back) to Alycia Quilts for more Finished Or Not Friday finery!

Friday, January 22, 2021

BOMs Away: A Close-To-Finished Top and a Re-start

As I've noted since the start of the year, what I had planned to do all this month is try to clean up or move forward projects started last year.  Last year I had an ambitious plan to work on four BOMs.  My work on all of them got interrupted by the pandemic, quarantine quilting projects, Christmas decorating projects and then a trip south in December.  

Despite all of that, I managed to finish the blocks for three of them last year.  The blocks made for the AQS Twilight Flurries BOM will sit until I feel ready to focus on how I want to lay them out.  I am not sure the patterned layout will work with the scrappy blocks I made.  I got the blocks for the the self-styled BOM project I called "Modern Bohemia" to a top in the first week of this month.  So now it's time to continue work on the last two BOMs.
Joann Countryside Cottage

First up is this BOM which is an old pre-cut kit from 2004-2005 that I purchased in 2019.  I had made one of these Joann BOMs years ago and loved the Fall colors of this one so was excited to make it.  I've got to admit, having all the blocks already cut and ready to sew was the ideal project in a pandemic year!  Of all the BOMs I worked on and even after falling behind on it,  this one was the easiest to catch up on and then keep current. 

By the time I was ready to travel at the end of November, I had finished all the blocks for the BOM except for the last one.  It was an applique block and simple so since I would be traveling, I decided to do it by Hand Applique so prepped it for that.   

I started stitching it on the train ride down --- the benefits of a long distance trip and the "Social Distancing" seating on trains during the pandemic that gave me a two seat section all to myself to spread out in.  I finished up the block during the first few days of my stay.  

This month, it was time to lay all the blocks out and try to bring it to a top.  Reviewing the final layout, I was dreading just a little bit having to cut all of the large setting triangles for some of the blocks and alternate setting squares, except.....hooray for pre-cut setting kits:  even all the setting triangles and squares (as well as the border strips to be added later) were all pre-cut and ready to go!  Woo Hoo!!

So as a result, it was easier than I thought to start stitching it together.  However, with larger block units and parts of the rows sewn together, I am again at a stopping point.  

The layout has large plain setting squares that are just too bare for my taste.  Before I went away, I had considered the possibility of adding applique to them as well.  On my return I came to my senses:  the challenge of adding applique, in addition to choosing designs for that, is to find fabrics compatible with the kit fabrics.  I know I definitely won't be able to get the actual fabrics in it anymore!  And while finding block designs and compatible/coordinating fabrics is not an impossible task, when you add to it the time it takes to actually do the applique, it is one that would take more time than I want to devote to this (so many projects, so little time!).  

So now I've considered maybe quilting or embroidering sentiments related to the theme of "Home/House" in those squares.  However to do that will be easier if the squares are not already pieced into the rows or the top.  In a recent Pat Sloan weekly video,  she showed a panel with a Willam Morris quote that I thought was perfect for the theme (the one on the left)!  

I've already got that and it turns out the background color of the panel is exactly the same as the deep dark blue fabric in this kit.  So I pinned it to one of the squares and will either applique it down or cut the kit square into strips and piece them as a border around the panel.  So this BOM will once again have to sit a bit while I continue to stew on how to proceed with the remaining embellishments. 

I'd like to get this quilted up for Fall decorating so if I am successful in finalizing the embellishment plan, getting backing and more importantly keeping with my goal of doing more quilting of tops this year, I may actually accomplish that!

Christmas Figs

This is the first time back working on this BOM since April of last year.  It is the only one of  the 2020 BOMs I was never able to get back up to speed after the pandemic and quarantine set in.  So for 2021, the plan is to go back to working on this monthly.  Should be easier this time around with only one set of BOM blocks to do!  So when I left off last year, I had stopped here:

Since I worked on the Joann BOM at the start of the week, I didn't get to this one until towards the end.  I did manage to pick out and cut fabrics for two more blocks for this month:

The red and blue block contains two fabrics from "Catalina", the last Fig Tree line released.  I had seen blue fabrics in some earlier Fig Tree lines but couldn't find a good selection of them.  So when I saw the new line last summer, I decided to splurge and get a bundle of selected fat quarters of it.  So more blue-focused blocks will be coming.  BOM work is now done until next month!

Another reason why I had liked the Christmas Figs BOM is that the sampler of blocks in it remind me of projects that I've either already made or would like to do.  This is similar to how ladies at the turn of the century collected blocks to record patterns they wanted to make.  In a blog post last year, Barbara Brackman talked about an American Quilt Study Group paper that discussed the history of block pattern collections.  I feel like this one will be mine!  

With the BOMs "moved forward" for 2021, it's time to try to get some quilt tops quilted!

Linking Up to "BOMs Away" with with Lynette at What A Hoot Quilts and Kate at Katie Mae Quilts