Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yet Another New Tuesday Archive Post - Crazy Quilt

Val over at Val's Quilting Studio hosts a weekly Tuesday Archive Linky Party.

She announces that week's themes and people can link up an old post about projects they have done for one or both themes. Quilters can also link up a new post for a "pre-blogging" project about the themes.  This week's themes are Color Wheels, Crafty Projects and Crazy Quilts.  This post is for another of my pre-blogging projects, this time in the "Crazy Quilt" category.

These pillows were made back in 2008 to go in a recliner chair I had at the time.  I had wanted to try a crazy quilt project and was also looking to do an "all neutrals" project as well.  The recliner was beige and so was the perfect background and color inspiration.  I pulled all the scraps from the scrap stash.  Some of the trims and buttons used were from stash, some were purchased to help fill out this project.

In the left pillow, see that black and beige "jaguar" print?  It's from some shoulder pad covers from an old favorite blouse.  The covers just happened to be laying around the quilt studio and was a nice spark when put with the other fabrics (when the color is right we quilters make do)!  I got the idea of doing the quadrant format separated by trim from a Joann's online project sheet. It may be hard to see in the picture, but I couched my initials with a fuzzy cream colored decorative thread in the bottom right quadrant.

 On the right pillow, I felt that the area in the bottom left needed something.  I wanted to buy a embroidered decal to put there but I was close to finishing and didn't want to have to go out and shop for one.  Then I got the idea to make something to put there -- in this case it was a crocheted and beaded flower doily motif.  The motif was patterned in an old crochet booklet of my mother's that I had.  The beads were actually from a bracelet that had recently broken.  I liked the colors of the beads and had saved them, thank goodness!  

I still want to do a big Crazy quilt project one day but little projects like these are a great way to play and experiment!  If you want to see more quilty-crafty goodness, head back over to Val's and see what everyone else has posted this week!

Another New Tuesday Archive Post - Craft Projects

Val over at Val's Quilting Studio hosts a weekly Tuesday Archive Linky Party.

She announces that week's themes and people can link up an old post about projects they have done for one or both themes. Quilters can also link up a new post for a "pre-blogging" project about the themes. I've linked up one "old" post this week (although it's not that old having only been posted back in March) but this week  I had a projects for the subjects that were from the early days before blogging so gives me an opportunity to get them posted to the blog.

This week's themes are Color Wheels, Crafty Projects and Crazy Quilts.  I haven't done any Color Wheel quilts but do have some projects for the other catagories.   I've already linked up my post on the jewelry pouches I've made so now need to do a post on a pre-blogging Crafty project.

When my sons were in elementary school, the school had an incentive program where the teachers could recognize  a student in their class each month who set the example for being a "good citizen".  The school would hold a small monthly breakfast that parents could attend to see all the "Citizens of the Month" from each grade honored and receive a pin and certificate acknowledging the honor.

Over the years each of my sons won the award a few times and I liked to display them.  In our old apartment I had an area in our front foyer where I displayed all of our awards and diplomas.  I would put all the acumulated pins (as well as display the most recent certificate) on a shelf but at some point realized it would be nice to have a banner to display all the pins together.  Well you know us quilters, if there is a need, there must be a way to meet it by making a quilt!

This was the result of that brainstorm.  It was a simple project made from some stash fabrics that were from an interesting source.  In my early days as a quilter, I had once bought a five pound bag of fabric samples off of Ebay!  They were mostly older samples and I believe the seller originally owned a quilt shop.  I will say I've started or filled in a lot of projects from that bag!  The samples came in varying sizes from about a layer cake sized square to sometimes a quarter yard cut. The different prints or colorways (if it was all the same print) of each line would be stapled together with a header card with the fabric line and designer's name on it.

All the fabrics for this project, front and back (with the execption of the binding), came from the sample bag.  On the front, the black background and schoolhouse at the bottom was a border print from a Debbie Mum fabric line called "Mums the Word" and the green and yellow horizontal schoolbuses and supplies stripe print at the top was another fabric from the same line.



On the back, the top most print was also from the Debbie Mum line while the bottom two fabrics were samples from Leanne Anderson's "One Room School House" line.  I couldn't have put together better or more appropiate coordinates if I had shopped for them in person!

I haven't had the chance to set up the display area in our new home but when I do I look forward to hanging this one back up even though the boys are long out of elementary school (one's a first year college student and the other's a high school sophomore). 

Click back over to Val's and see all the other quilty-crafty goodness that others have concocted too!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A New Post for the Tuesday Archives

Val over at Val's Quilting Studio hosts a weekly Tuesday Archive Linky Party.

She announces that week's two themes and people can link up an old post about projects they have done for one or both themes.  Quilters can also link up a new post for a "pre-blogging" project about the themes.  I've linked up a few old posts posts in the past month but this week's subject was one that I had a project for but didn't have a detailed post for.  So now I will!

This week's themes are "Chevron and Christmas Quilts".  I haven't made a chevron quilt yet but I have made a Christmas quilt.  Actually, I have made two but the second one was more of a quilt made from Christmas-style fabrics and can be seen here.  The one I want to highlight today is one made pre-blogging.  It was mentioned briefly as part of an early post but no real details were provided there.  Since it may be a while before I make another Christmas quilt, I figured I'd shake this one out and give it an airing!

 My Christmas quilt is "A Christmas Wish For A Happy Holiday" made in 2008:

I apologize for the not so hot picture, it's rainy today and this quilt has been folded up since after Xmas 2012 because the only place I can display it was occupied this past Christmas.  This project was a free Block Of the Month offered by Debbie Mumm -- one of the early icons of the quilt industry -- on her website that year and is still available in her Free Pattern Archives here.    

As quilters we are often drawn to the concept of the BOM.  It always seems so simple:  you get a pattern and possibly fabrics to make one block each month and then at the end of the year you have a quilt.   I say it "seems" simple because even from the beginning, I've yet to do a BOM this way!  This was the first Block of the Month I ever did.  Debbie put out the patterns each month and I dutifully picked them up and saved them on my computer, swearing I would make them each month.  But I wound up not even starting this project until October!  So instead of making a block a month, I had to make two blocks a week in order to have them ready when the last (the big center) block and quilt assembly instructions came out at the beginning of December and had to hope I would be able to keep up the steady work on the quilt so I could display it for the holidays.

Despite that it was fun.  The best part was that I was able to make all the blocks from the stash I had at the time and I took all the color cues from Debbie's pattern.  In fact the border fabric was one of the first prints I bought when I started quilting in 2002.  I only had three fat quarters of it (all they had on display at the store at the time) and was lucky that it was almost enough to make the border and binding for this quilt (although I had to piece another fabric into the binding to complete it).  One of the block fabrics used was even from my old clothing sewing days!

I admit it's not too heavily quilted, just stitched in the ditch around the blocks.  Back then I was still pretty nervous about quilting my projects even though I had set out from the beginning to be a machine quilter.  I was so nervous that I didn't finish up the quilting of it until Christmas Eve!  But there is another reason it's not too heavily quilted and that would be the back label:

This label is centered in the back under the center block.  I've always liked the idea of including a "fun" label in every project if I can.  I had collected Christmas quilt ideas for a long time before I saw Debbie's BOM project.  One of them was this pieced picture from the December 1997 (#298) issue of Quilter's Newsletter magazine.  It's called "Partridge & Pears" and was designed by Deborah Moffett-Hall.  It was designed to be a stand alone wall hanging to finish at 29" x 18-1/2" using squares that finish to 1-1/2".  I liked it but not having anywhere to display a quilt that size,  I thought it could instead make a cute label for the BOM quilt (which finishes at 47" square) if I made it smaller.  So I made my squares to finish at 1" so the pieced portion wound up at an unfnished 14-1/4 x 7-1/2" before adding the lower label area and the border around it.  And yes I did hang it up for Christmas Day that year!

I did go back in 2009 and add some more stitching in the borders using a very light gold metallic thread.  A little more confident in my free-motion skills at that point, I stitched a holly and berries motif in the corners and the quilt title in the top and bottom borders.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good shot of that but know that it's there!  I still want to "fill quilt" the blocks of  this one day but for now, I like to look at it and remember the green horn quilter I was back then!

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to go back and check out the other Archive links over at Val's!

Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry - Spring 2014

I wasn't sure I'd finish this project in time to make the festival but luckily I made it!  The festival is being hosted by the wonderful woman who pioneered this festival six years ago,  Martingale author Amy Ellis.  This will be the fourth time I've had something ready to actually enter in the festival but I always make sure to view the entries because you get to see so many great projects and find great new blogs to follow and inspire you.

My entry this time is my "Sweet Land of Liberty" wall hanging which fits in the Small Quilts category.

This is the full on finished shot but here's another one so you can see the quilting detail:

The Basics:   
 My quilt finished at 34" x 39" to fit the space I want to hang it in and to best utilize the fussy cut print I used for the center.  It is based on the "Liberty Hall" pattern from the Summer 2008 "Easy Quilts" magazine issue and was designed by Jill Reid (who I was sorry to hear just passed away recently).  I recently saw this same pattern featured in the new "Best of Fons & Porter - Patriotic Quilts" book published by Leisure Arts.  The quilt was designed to be 54" x 63" so I had to adjust my block, header and letter sizes accordingly.  All the fabric used is from stash.  It is layered with wool batting (I used leftovers from another project) to help make the center motifs "pouf" up:

You can stop here if you like and if so follow this link back to the Small Quilts page of the Festival so you can check out the rest of the projects being displayed and thank you for visiting!  However, if you are interested in a little "process" blogging, feel free to continue on!    

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Process Details:  

Every quilt has a story and made a journey to its completion and this one is no exception.  The journey for this quilt started back in 2002 when I first started quilting.  Right off the bat I liked red, white and blue quilts so part of my very first fabric order was a "Lady Liberty Half Yard Sampler" from a Quilts & Other Comforts catalog.  There were the obligatory red, white and blue prints in the sampler but also this one (which I've since learned was from the "Peace & Plenty- Quilts For A Cure" line):

 At the time, I didn't know what I might use the print for but much later I saw the "Liberty Hall" pattern in "Easy Quilts" magazine.

The original quilt used a printed panel for the center but I just knew my "Liberty" print would make a great substitution.  When we moved a few years ago, I realized I now also had a good spot for this wall hanging and decided last June that it was finally time to make it.  Over time, I had collected many R/W/B fabrics.  One in particular was the Brown and Red Stripe with Stars print used in the header of the quilt which as soon as I saw it, thought it was perfect for this project since it would allow me to eliminate the appliqued stars in the header in the pattern.  I was able to pull everything else I needed also from stash.  When it came time to add the letters in the header, I wanted something different and decided to fussy cut them from the cream stripes in this Anna Griffin fabric leftover from another project from four years ago:

with this result:

Unfortunately, once I got the top and backing done and layered, it sat around for a long while since I had a lot of  older UFOs that I was also trying to eliminate.  Having gotten many done in the last six months, I was finally ready to vanquish this one as well.  I had recently purchased some straight and curved rulers for quilting (based on this review) which I used on another recent project and thought I would use a lot on this project as well.  But I actually only used the curved ruler to free motion quilt the spines of the feathers and only used the straight ruler to help guide the walking foot when I was stitching over the plain fabric squares and rectangles (when I quilted over the nine-patches I just eyeballed it from corner to corner).  The hardest quilting was the close stippling done around the center "panel" motifs (as seen in the picture in "the Basics" section).  It was a lot of stops and starts since the backgrounds around all the elements weren't always connected.  

I added the red border between the header and the body of the quilt and around the center "panel" because I felt they needed the extra separation after I began laying out the blocks on my design wall.  But because I had already worked out all the adjusted measurements, I couldn't add in a traditional skinny border since it would throw everything off.  So what you see is just a thin strip of fabric folded in half (wrong sides together) and stitched between the seams.  The curved corners in the center "panel" was from a circle, faced and cut into quarters and also inserted into the seam. What you see finishes to a little less than 1/4" so as not to cover up too much of the print details.

In the end, it should also be noted that the center print inspired the name change for the quilt from what it was called in the pattern.  All the "bountiful" motifs in the print reminded me of the second verse of the song "My Country 'Tis of Thee".  I was disappointed that I wasn't able to use all the motifs from the print in the front of the quilt but I was able to incorporate the ones I couldn't use into the label area on the back of the quilt.

 I am also very happy to have finished this since it was also on my 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long list.

If you've stayed with me this long, I thank you very much for looking back with me on the journey of this quilt.  I hope you enjoyed the visit and hope you enjoy all the rest of the Quilt Festival entries!!

The Fabric Gal Finale!

**Note:  Previously Published 5/22/14, Post Edited 5/30/14**
I woke up last Thursday to this beautiful sight..... was what was left from "The Night Before" (which of course means this popped in my head)......

I had been making my first attempts at quilting using my new ruler foot (that's the "Frame Set" in the picture, purchased from here)...

...and rulers (reviewed by Amy here and purchased from here).... do these straight line seams (well, relatively straight anyway).

Now it should be noted that when I "quilt whispered" this quilt I wanted to empahsize the diagonal progressions of the opposing sets of same color blocks.  But I didn't want to just stitch along the seams.  Then I realized that if I outlined the pairs of (same color) light squares by FMQing with the ruler and then created "shadow" squares on the background triangles, I would get the same impact but done a different way.

However, once I had done a few (well, a lot of them), I realized that because the squares I quilted connected,  I could have much more easily and faster achieved the same effect by straight line quilting with the walking foot between the seam lines.  Oh well, I still like how it looks and I got alot of practice using the ruler which was far easier to use than I expected. 

I added quilting in the borders using the curved ruler......

...and then bound it (in the same border fabric) and made a label area for another finish!

So now my bed can finally go from Winter........
Brrr! quilt finished in 2014. Spring!

This also means I have a finished NewFO and Book It Project as well as another notch on the 2nd Quarter Finish A-Long list!
Edited 5/30/14 to Add:
I am also linking up with Amy at Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures for Week 4 of her Free Motion Monday posts on using Rulers. She also has more posts on different free motion techniques that you can check out by going here.

So you know I'm "Happy" (here's why)!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival Is Here!

The Spring 2014 Bloggers Quilt Festival starts today at Amy's Creative Side. Click on the link below or on the side bar and enjoy a parade of wonderful quilts!

Just like in the Fall Festival (which if you missed it, you can still access all the links here), there are entry catagories based on the style of quilt:  Mini, Small, Large, Applique, Art, Hand Quilted, Home Machine Quilted, Modern, Original Design, ROYGBIV and Scrappy.  Anyone can enter a project (beginner, intermediate or advanced) so if you have something you'd like to showcase, please post a link so we can all check it out! 
 On Amy's site, you can link your festival blog post (and it must be a new post, not an old one) in the appropriate catagory and you can view other's links from now until May 23.  During this time you can also vote for your Viewer's Choice favorites.  After that, the ability to add links will closed and everyone can go back and vote for their favorite quilt in each catagory up until May 29.  Amy has a slew of sponsors who will be awarding prizes to the winners of each catagory when they are announced on May 30 and 31st. 
Don't want to enter a quilt but still want to win something?  If you comment on Amy's BQF post, you will be entered for a chance to win a Babylock sewing machine!
I had planned to enter something this round but it's not quite finished yet so fingers crossed that I'll get it done in time to add to the fun.  But regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing all the lovely things everyone else is showing and picking up new blogs to follow. So get right over there and enjoy the virtual show!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Claiming My Blog on Bloglovin'

Since it looks like Bloglovin' is here to stay (or at least Bloggers Reader is not coming back), I need to claim my blog on Bloglovin' so here goes:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fabric Gal is a Flimsie!

Currently 60" x 68".  Now it's on to "quilt whispering" and then quilting!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

NewFo, Let's Book It and FAL Progress For April

April is now over and Spring has finally sprung!  Having finished a few overdue projects in the past few months, I was also itching to start something new.  So this is what I started:

I'm hoping for a quick turnaround on this because I want to display it on my bed for Spring.  Starting something new means I have another chance to join in again on Barbara's NewFO Challenge over at her blog Cat Patches.

I've done a few NewFos before but this time my NewFO is also a great "three-fer" finishing opportunity (and finishing is what I'm trying hard to be about these days).  So in addition to being a NewFO, it also gets to be a part of the monthly "Let's Book It Challenge" being hosted by Sharon over at Vrooman's Quilts.

For that challenge, you choose a book or magazine project that's been on your "To Do" list and work on it or better yet, try to get 'er done!  If that's not enough of an incentive, when you link up you earn a chance to win a beautiful barn quilt block charm to add to a Barn pin charm holder!

Since this is also a project I've wanted to make for a long time, I had also included it in my list for my participation in the second quarter of the 2014 Finish A-long which is being hosted this year by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle.

For the FAL, I actually need to finish the quilt but I've got until June to do that.

So exactly what is it that's been cooking on the quilt stove for all of this?  My project for these missions is Eleanor's Burn's "Fabric Gal" quilt from the book "Quilt In a Day: Still Strippin After 25 Years".

I first saw this quilt being made on an episode of Eleanor's QID TV series for the book back when Quilters TV was still operating as a free video website (it seems they have now moved to You Tube with a limited number of videos).  At the time I could also watch it using my Quilter's Club of America subscription.  As the quilt fates would have it, not long after seeing the episode, I also came across a sale on either the Nancy's Notions the website or in her mail catalog for some fat quarter "mystery packs".  I loved the colors of the fabrics in the picture of the packs and ordered two.

It turns out the fabrics were all from Nancy Halvorsen's Benartex Fabric line  "Angels Among Us".  The packs offered almost all that I needed to do this project.  I needed two values of each of four colors (one medium and one light) and wanted some variety in the prints used so I wound up needing an additional medium blue.  That was solved by my stash.  Prior to this I had ordered fabrics from the Connecting Threads County Essentials-Fall line to use as additions to both my Vintage Treasures quilt (seen here) and my Double Wedding Ring project (last progress seen here).  So the blue on the far right is from that line.

The challenge was then to find a background and border fabric to pull them all together.  Enter one of my LQSs Hartsdale Fabrics.  They are always there for me with the filler, foundations, backing, embellishments or thread I need for projects, especially those times when I really need to see and feel the fabric up close to make my choices.  That's where I found two wonderful fabrics for the border and the block backgrounds.  The bonus was that the border fabric was on the sale rack at the store (I love when that happens)!  The striped fabric will be the backing and was found at what used to be one of my favorite internet sources, Aunt Bee's Fabric Stash, which regretfully has since gone out of business.

I've had all of these fabrics bundled away together since 2008 waiting for an opportunity to make the quilt.  My plan was to return to the video and follow the instructions for making it.  But once again the Quilt Muses intervened in my favor.  Last year, I was at the local Joann's store and they had a "clearance books" basket at the register.  Lo and behold this book was in the basket for the fabulously low, low price of $3.95!!!  I couldn't believe my luck!

At that price I couldn't pass up adding it to the library.  This couldn't have come at a better time since I had dropped my QCA membership and Quilters TV doesn't have any QID videos on their YouTube channel.  As reported previously on my FAL list, these were all the starting strips cut for the project:

I had planned to use the piecing of these as the "leader enders" for another big project that was supposed to be my primary focus this month but instead I worked on finishing up another FAL project and piecing the parts for this.  Unfortunately I underestimated how far the fabrics would go so it won't be quite as large as originally hoped.  I even had to make up two blocks from some of the other fabrics in the mystery pack set which hopefully won't be too evident in the finished layout!  As can be seen in the opening picture, parts for all the blocks are done so I only need to sew the blocks and then the rows together, make up a couple of borders and then hopefully can get it quickly layered and quilted up before the end of May.  But for NewFO and Book It this is more than enough of a start to link up!

So go see what everyone else has newly blooming on their quilty WIP list over at Cat Patches and Vrooman's Quilts

Another 2nd Quarter Finish!

Here's another quick one finished in April for the the 2nd Quarter of the 2014 Finish-A-Long being hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle.  It looks like I've hit the top of my 2nd Quarter list with the last finish and am on track on the bottom of the list with this one.  I've got three of these covers to do and was hoping to get one done in each month of the quarter.

What started from these and was inspired by this......

....has become this.....

....the quilting plan.....

...and stacked with the others.

I make these journal covers as part of a personal "Scrap Quilt Challenge".  I try to get them all done from scraps and/or orphan blocks.  I know this one wound up pretty wonky.  I started off just sewing the triangles together without worrying about what size they were with the idea of creating bands of triangles to go around the binder.  As long as they went together relatively well, I sewed them up.  With the section that had the smallest triangles, it was going very slow without getting much additional length so I changed course and threw on larger triangles to finish that band.  Once I got all the bands done, I realized that unless the triangles were the same size, there would be points sacrificed when they got attached to the sashing.  That would be a big issue if this was for display or a contest quilt.  Fortunately, this is something that is only for me and will most often be sitting on a shelf (not to mention that I didn't want to restitch them!).  So I'm more than o.k. with a funky, wonky look and a finished cover.

I also have the cover to be worked on during May started:

This was one of the class blocks I did for my hand applique class back in 2010.  I was cleaning out scraps from previous projects and added that pink scrap to it to become the back of the cover (and the fabric is from the quilt seen in this post).  The plan is to add more applique to the back but no ideas right now about what that will be.  On to the May projects!