Monday, April 14, 2014

A Sweet Little Finish...

Little One is finally done and ready to send off to two lovely expecting parents!  They are so excited about the summer arrival of their first child and are waiting to be surprised about the gender.

This quilt is soft, sweet, and ready for crib cuddles, picnics in the sunshine or playtime on the floor.  I wanted to keep it as cuddly as possible, so kept the quilting to a minimum with some diagonal lines on either side of the herringbones.

But to add a few extra special touches, I did a little hand quilting around some of the fussy cut bunnies and texts using some grey perle cotton.  It was quick and easy to do and I really like the look of the large chunky stitches!

I typically used Warm & Natural batting but wanted something softer with a better drape, so tried a Pellon bamboo & cotton mix this time around.  I like the results and will definitely use it again!

When I originally was pulling fabric for this quilt, I included a darker green from the Littlest line.  But when it came time to cut, it just read too dark to blend nicely with all the other soothing colors.  It does however make a fabulous contrasting binding.

The backing is a grey and yellow flannel print and it adds a gorgeous warmth and softness to the quilt.

Since our family lives overseas and we won't get to see them in person as often as we'd like, I hope this quilt conveys all our love and well wishes for this growing family in their parenting journey ahead!

Linking up:

Fresh Poppy Design

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Does the (Quilting) Pirate Say?

...or perhaps I should ask where they blog?  Because I've got the answer for you...

My Ron Swanson mini is giving them the stink eye...
This morning in my Bloglovin feed, I saw a post on Molli Sparkles about a fiendish website that is stealing quilty blog content and posting it as their own - pictures, text, all of it - and making it look like original content that we are allowing them to use.  I was convinced that I was in the clear - I am pretty small potatoes after all.

Not so!  A bunch of my most recent posts are on their website lock, stock, and barrel.  I'd encourage all of my fellow bloggers to pop over and put your blog name in their search engine and see what pops up.  If you find your content has been pirated, please reach out to their host engine and file a complaint here.

This issue was first brought to light (I believe) by who also has some great tips for if your blog has been affected by this.  Hopefully if enough of us make a stink, we can put these quilting pirates out of business!

Update:  As of earlier this evening the site is showing an "Internal Service Error" - looks like the quilt police have been putting their authority to good use!  Gotta love this awesome online community :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not a Feather Weight...

I've seen lots of Anna Maria Horner feather quilts out there and I wanted mine to be a touch different but I really struggled with how to accomplish that.  Messing around with some graph paper, I finally got it.  Instead of a typical block layout, I laid mine out to mimic the general outline of one single feather.  Love it.  But in doing that and figuring out how many rows I would need, the top turned out positively ginormous.

Queen sized to be exact - far, FAR larger than anything else I've ever done.  I can't even begin to imagine the quilting that is possible for this quilt.

Okay, so I do have a few ideas, but they are really far out of my skill set and all these gorgeous shapes and negative space are simply begging for a cracker jack quilter to knock this out of the park.

And just in case inquiring minds want to know, I did end up taking out the sections that had the large white splotches.  And with all of the different trips that I had to take to replenish my Kona bone supply, there are three different dye lots in one quilt.  Though you can't tell in photos, you can definitely tell in person.  Oh well - I still think this top is gorgeous!

Linking up:

Fresh Poppy Design
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Expanding Alphabet...

I spent a good part of the time before retreat preparing - getting paper pieced templates prepped, sorting the right number of scraps by color, gathering as many black fabrics as possible - so that when I finished the Little One top, I could jump right into my Alphabet Tilted Stars.  These are some of my favorites so far:

Even with all the prep and working two stars at a time, these blocks take a decent amount of time to put together.  Paper piecing combined with partial seams makes you take your time a bit, and it also took me until I finished about 4 blocks or so before I figured out the most economical way to cut and position my black background fabrics to minimize waste.  I'd estimate that two finished blocks take about an hour and a half from fabric cutting to finished block.

But I really love how they are coming out.  I worked and worked and worked on these blocks from Saturday through Sunday of the retreat and got over half of my letters done.  Now I'm hoping to finish at least two blocks per week until they are all finished.  Sorry for the lousy cell photo, but I didn't think to whip out my "real" camera until they were all off the design wall.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I get asked where this block comes from every time that I post pictures.  In case you want to try this for yourself, this is the Tilted Star paper pieced pattern from the book Vintage Quilt Revival.  This book is fabulous - I want to try at least 3 or 4 different projects from it!

And by the way, this is one of those projects where I didn't have a recipient in mind - just an idea of a great finish.  But let me run something by you all because I need opinions here!!  I've been wracking my brain for a good idea for a few months now on a good quilt for my daughter's kindergarten teacher for the end of the school year, but nothing seemed quite right.  But as I was laying all of the finished blocks out last week, it occurred to me that a) an alphabet quilt for a kindergarten teacher could be kind of cute (or maybe she might even want to hang it in the classroom next year??) and b) she has nicknamed their class "the kindergarten rock STARS".  Could it be a perfect fit or is this a little too precious for a teacher's gift?  What do you think??

Linking up:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, March 28, 2014

ScrapBeeLicious Star Value...

This month's ScrapBeeLicious Queen was Liz at Beadqueene's Bits & Baubles and she asked for 2 Star Value blocks.  This block pattern is gorgeous and the full quilt design that it creates is really something special.

But these blocks are made up of very small squares (at least in order to make a 12" block, which we were!) - 2" and 2.5" blocks.  I was kind of concerned that my scrap bin didn't have enough low volumes to make each square unique.  I guess that means that I blocked out all the fabric buying mania, because when I added some strips from my most recent purchases, I had MORE than enough to work with.

Only about half the trimming from 1 block!!
Now this block is made up entirely of squares and HSTs - and all of those HSTs need to be trimmed down to create those perfect points.  That's a LOT of trimming!

But isn't all the work worth it? I certainly think so!

Of course I couldn't resist doing a bit of fussy cutting - this little Aladdin is my favorite addition.

And this is really a perfect bee block, because I simply cannot imagine having to make a quilt's worth of blocks like this all on my own. It would make most of us crazy!  Wise choice for the bee, Liz - your quilt will be stunning!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Little One Almost Done...

My main goal for the BMQG/SMQG retreat was to finish a baby quilt top and have it ready to baste and quilt.  One full day of sewing, trimming, and pressing later, and I was ready to check that off my list!

It seems that up here in New England we are either having rain, snow or heavy wind which made this finished top a little difficult to photograph.  Hopefully once this is a true finish, the weather will be more cooperative.

Most of my photos were variations of this...
I'm planning on doing very simple quilting along the diagonal lines of the herringbones as suggested in the Quilty pattern that I took this from, but I'd also like to add a few hand quilting details in some of the fussy cut blocks of the rabbit families - maybe a heart or two?

The Littlest line of fabric by Art Gallery is so sweet and the colors are simply delicate - it's a perfect gender neutral collection for baby quilts or garments!

\My other big goal for the retreat was to get a really good head start on the time-consuming tilted stars - I was able to get about half of the alphabet done!  More on those blocks coming soon...

Linking up:

Fresh Poppy Design
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Treats from Retreat...

Last weekend was the Boston and Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild joint retreat and it was fabulous!  This was the first time I was able to participate for more than one day and now that I've been able to stay for an entire weekend, I never want to miss another one!

We spent three full days and nights of sewing and socializing in Kennebunk, Maine...although since I was just getting over a mega-flu and still had no voice (except for a squeaky facsimile), my sewing was far more productive than my socializing.  I hope that no one was too offended that I wasn't talking too much!  (And a big thank you to my tablemate Sarah for braving the germs and keeping things ridiculously fun!!)  Getting to see everyone's projects in progress and the steady stream of finishes was quite a treat.

I'm waiting until this weather cooperates so that I can get some better pictures of the Littlest quilt top that was finished, but in the meantime let me share with you all the treats from retreat!

On Saturday, we had a raffle for some amazing prizes - I bought two tickets and was totally blown away to win two prizes: an amazing fat quarter pack of 22 Robert Kaufman blue solids and a variety of charm and candy squares!!

We also received a swag bag when we checked in and mine contained a 4-pack of Mormor fat quarters and a bag of "scraps" (they were all WOF strips and one was about an eighth of a yard, but most were quarter yards and larger!).  See that peacock print?  I've been drooling over that for a while and now that I have some in my hot little hands, I've got some big plans for it!

And of course I couldn't resist the siren song of Mardens, but I was incredibly restrained.  I only purchased a large cut of Amy Butler for a quilt backing and a smaller cut of a pretty print for the stash.

I can't wait to share my finishes with you, so hope for sunny weather and dry ground - it IS supposed to be spring now, right?