Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Little Bookworms...

One of the things that I'm happy I've passed onto my girls is a huge love of books.  I've always got a book (or maybe an audiobook in the car) queued up on my Nook or out from the library.  Big sister learned to read pretty early and I'm convinced that part of that is because we always set aside time to read together each day.  So what better gift for both of them than a quilt that captures their favorite books and characters all together?

I had seen a quilt from Ashley at Film in the Fridge called Converging Corners - very scrappy and lots of negative space.  I liked it but I'm not usually one for uber-scrappy quilts.  I do however love me a rainbow quilt.  When I got to thinking about designing a book-themed quilt, I thought that illustrations from each book would be a cute center for the Converging Corners blocks.  But instead of going completely scrappy, I could lay it out so that each corner has a specific color.  Then each of those converging corners would join to create a scrappy colored star.  Yes!!

Of course something like that I couldn't just go into all free spirited.  I had to be a nerd and graph it all out so that I could (best as I could) match book characters to corner colors.  (Please ignore my huge white-out patches - should have just started in the center).

So here are the first three finished blocks - Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

I'm so excited about how this will all come together and will have more blocks to share as well as details on how I'm making them!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

One Last Finish for 2012...

Looks like setting goals for a month was a great success!  I finished Circle Peeps, started on one of my new ideas, and now rounding out my 3 for December - a finished Vivienne skirt for my oldest using a super cute print from Sarah Jane's Children at Play line.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow and it's such a cute design for girls of all ages!  The underskirt and ruffles were made with a Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabric which has a subtle sheen to it. 

I just LOVE this print - so cute!  I bought enough of both fabrics to make a dress for little sister, but I think I'll enjoy this last finish of 2012 for a bit before adding another project to the list. 

Check out other blogger's Friday Finishes over at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Elephant Parade...WIP Wednesday

So now that Circle Peeps is all wrapped up and being used for blanket forts by the girls, I can launch into something new and these elephants were calling to me from my list of potential projects.  (Warning:  badly lit photographs ahead - my sincere apologies! :))

My original idea was to make a simple and quick baby quilt with strips of marching elephants against the light grey background fabric with a few pops of color here and there.  The elephants all have tiny touches of color in their tusks and hooves - a bright orange, aqua, and purple palatte.  Fun!

I had seen a cute pattern on the current cover of Quilters World magazine - a 7-patch block that's rotated throughout the quilt so you get lots of negative space with strips of color and thought that I'd try something similar but slightly different. 

I picked 2 color sets of 3 - purple/aqua/orange and pink/aqua/purple.  The blocks that I created have tiny strips of grey between the colors so that they stand out like a film strip.

I was really liking the blocks - although I did the math a bit wrong so they turned out a bit smaller than I wanted.  And then I went and held them up to my elephant strips. 

Not bad, but definitely not the effect that I wanted.  Even when I was rotating the blocks to alternate between horizontal and vertical strips of color, it was WAY too busy.  I had wanted sparse pops of color and this was not working.  Back to the drawing board!

I left it alone for a couple days and then decided to go back and keep only one 2" square of color per block.  A couple of "demo" blocks later and I'm liking it MUCH better.

Now that I know what I'm doing (and more importantly liking it) I think it will come together pretty quickly!  I doubt that I'll be quick enough for it to count as a finish for 2012, but it does give me a pretty good jump on a finish for 2013.

Check out other bloggers WIPs here:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Here Ye, Here Ye...

...Circle Peeps have arrived!  After an exceedingly long work in progress and with some lifesaving suggestions from the BMQG meeting, Circle Peeps has been quilted and bound and is ready to...well, I'm not sure.  It will stay in our house for now anyways, but I'm not married to the idea of keeping it. 

I had just enough of the rainbow strips to make a panel for the back, and added in a little knight's horse just for an extra touch of whimsy. 

I really struggled with the quilting of this - not because it was difficult but because I love doing Angela Walter's chain squares pattern but still have not forced my machine into free-motion quilting submission.  Which meant that at every corner of every square, I was rotating this quilt through the tiny throat of my machine.  That's a lot of twisting and rotating!

It probably took the better part of a week of quilting a half-hour here and there and it was making me a little...resentful...toward the quilt in general.  But once the quilting was done and the binding was in progress, I started loving it again.

I was originally thinking that it would be fun to do a bright stripe for the binding, but couldn't find any fabric that I was really in love with for it.  Instead, I though this beige dot would be a nice compliment to the rainbow top.  Ah, the satisfaction of a finish!! 

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Nice to Have Goals...

I saw a linky party hosted by Traceyjay Quilts that gets you thinking about making 3 goals for every month.  I am all about getting to scratch things off my to-do list, so sign me up!  So here are my 3 things to do for December:

1.  Finish Circle Peeps - I'm in the middle of quilting, then all I have to do is bind this to wrap up a 2 year project.  Yay!  I ended up choosing to do the quilt in the Angela Walters "chain squares" pattern fairly large over the middle blocks with another smaller chain of squares around the border. 

Of course, the kinks in my free motion attempts still aren't worked out, so I've been doing this with my regular walking foot.  Which means shoving this entire thing through the tiny throat of my machine.  At every corner.  Meh.  But the end is in sight, so I'm pushing through!

2.  I started the Vivienne skirt for my oldest daughter with a fabric from Sarah Jane's adorable Children at Play line.  I'm doing the ruffled underskirt in a beautiful lilac Michael Miller Fairy Frost, so it has that sparkly sheen without looking like it's been dipped in glitter.  It's 3/4 finished, but those darn ruffles just take so long to gather and then attach, so it's sitting patiently on the ironing board until Circle Peeps is done.

3.  And then...I can actually start one of these ideas guilt-free!  *happy dance*

Now let's see if I can get them done...

traceyjay quilts

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Circle Peeps...WIP Wednesday

Its pretty bad when your idea list is 10 times longer than your WIP list.  Well maybe not bad exactly, but it gets hard to pick what to only half-finish first.  I have a Castle Peeps circle quilt that has been sitting at the bottom of the “to be finished” pile for about 2 years now.  This is just ridiculous and infuriating -  I loved this fabric line by Lizzy House as soon as I saw it and immediately purchased more fabric at one time than I ever had before.  I had also seen a great tutorial for an appliqued circle quilt that I thought would really show off the cuteness of the print.  I assembled all the appliqued blocks fairly quickly  so was feeling pretty pleased with myself. 

Originally I had made 6” wide strips of stacked coins from each of the fabrics for a border. 
But when those strips were all sewed and cut and I placed them against the quilt top, it just felt too busy.  So I put it all aside and promptly forgot about it to start something else fun and exciting.  Fast forward 2 years and all these pieces were still sitting around – those Peeps must be mighty patient. 

Umm...hello?  Remember us?
Before I can move along to any of the projects that have been rattling around in my head, I need to finish up the Peeps, but those stacked coin strips were just hanging me up.  I tossed a bunch of ideas around and nothing seemed to fit, so I brought the whole kit and caboodle to the BMQG meeting in November for our massive show and tell.  Someone (sorry I didn’t catch who, but thank you!) suggested cutting the strips skinnier and sashing them in white.  YES!!

It turns out that I had EXACTLY enough to complete a full border and a long strip for the backing by cutting the strips in half – seriously!  There were only a few inches left when all was said and done!  The white sashing was perfect.  It gave the circle blocks a little breathing room and made those rainbow squares pop as a border. 

Now all I have to do is figure out how to quilt it…

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