Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inspiration Sunday (10) - via the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

I can't believe we are on our tenth post from the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach!

:( Unfortunately, I am out of pictures, so this will be my last post from this particular quilt show.  DON'T WORRY, though!  I like bringing you inspirational things on Sundays, so until I go to another quilt show, I think the next few Sunday's will be book reviews.  I have accumulated a bunch of quilt books lately, and some have been well worth the money, and others not so much.  I know, I know..."Blah, blah, blah, get to the pictures, lady!"

Here they are:

This one is called "Floral Flipper" by Lana Sundheim of Boseman, MT.

Besides being a very striking fish, this quilt interested me because of the way she used batiks as a background.

I have a few batiks in my stash and I am always unsure of how to use them.  I like this idea of piecing them together in a graduated manner for the background.  Oh, and those bubbles and seaweed - painted onto the fabric.  Cool!

Here is another example of brilliantly pieced fabric - one of my favorites of the show - called, "Cypress Sentinels by Mary Ann Hildebrand of Comfort, Texas.  It is "scrunched fabric", paper pieced, fused applique, and overlayed.  I think I saw this quilt at the Road to California show last January too, and I stared at it for a while back then too!

I think I like this quilt because it reminds me of the swamps of Northern Florida near where I went to college.  Beautiful.

Just look at that piecing - amazing!!!

Here is another quilt that pieces fabric together nicely, "Spring Blossoms by Terry Aske of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.  It is machine pieced and free motion quilted.

I just love the one little strip of tree fabric to make it look like a row of trees in the distance.

Here is a one block wonder by Cathie Ugrin of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, called, "I know where summer goes".  It never ceases to amaze me that one of these quilts makes it into every quilt show I attend.  Now, that isn't really the amazing part.  The amazing part is how great this technique can look with the right fabric.  Obviously, the two I have made, did NOT, use the right fabric!

Finally, this quilt called "Empire Star" by Anna Faustino of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.  It is painted, woven, couched, printed, embellished, and machine quilted.  Evidently she uses a weaving technique in most of her quilts to give the impression of a traditionally pieced quilt.

I don't know about you, but sign me up for that class!  The results are stunning!

Sometimes I hear people say, "what's old is new", meaning that some of the old techniques are being rediscovered and become popular all over again.  Here is a quilt with the ancient art of Sashiko.  Something that was part of my Handstitched class this summer, and a project that I still haven't gotten to yet, but really want to!  It is called "Sashiko I"  by Helene Blanchet of Calgary, Alberta and features twenty traditional varied Japanese patterns!

Those stitches are so amazingly even!  Hmm, makes me want to dig out those Sashiko coasters that have been put aside and give it a try.

Well, which one did you find most inspiring?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The trees that defeated me - WIP Wednesday

Today, I am actually showing actual WIPs instead of items I have finished (mostly because there are so few in this category!), and because I am on vacation this week.

A small start on my Totally Groovy top:

I know, it's not much, but it did give me a taste for how much fun it is to put this one together.  I also finished most of the cutting, so hopefully the rest of the top will fly together!  Then it is onto the quilting which promises to be even more fun!  My 5th color for the quilt is a navy blue, in case anyone was wondering.

Also, I am admitting defeat on this one.  My tree quilt for the guild's quilt show this coming weekend.  The deadline is October 1st, but since I am on my trip right now I can't finish it.  Plus, it really wasn't coming together like I pictured.

I wanted it to look as if you were looking up into the trees towards the sky, but I don't like the different leaves.  WHY did I decide to make each tree different??  I also realized about the time I was machine appliqueing the first tree trunk that it was going to be rather difficult for me to quilt it the way I wanted.   In fact, I think to really make it work, I actually need to construct the quilt backwards.  This one needs a complete redesign and I don't have the time to do it right now.  It might not quite be "trash", but I definitely need to walk away from this one for now.

This Wednesday......

Completed Projects:
  • Gram's Place mats (I actually have no pics because I was literally hand sewing on the binding on the plane to visit her!)
  • Free Motion Challenge for September, click here for post

On-going Projects:

I've decided these are actually the projects I hope to touch within a week of returning from my trip.

Back Burner:

These projects are part of my 100 Day Hustle List also, but will likely be touched in a couple of weeks.
  • Batik Stripe Quilt - still sandwiched and ready to be quilted!  I moved this one up because it is part of  my 100 Day Hustle list.
  • Star of Africa Bee - September's block
  • Preschool Pillowcases
  • How Far Will You Go? QAL - Putting this one aside until my blocks for the bees are done.  But I would like to at least catch up with the blocks here and there as not to get too far behind.  This one is scheduled to be completed after the 100 Day Hustle, but I'll never finish it then if I don't keep up somewhat.
The Back, Back Burner:

Lightning would have to strike twice.
  • Handstitched goodies - several projects in limbo.  
  • Beginner Quilt Along at Quilting Gallery - top needs to be put together 
  • Red, White, Blue New York Beauty - piecing in progress, but put well out of the way.  I need to be in a paper-piecing mood to resume.
  • June UFO - "A Christmas Something for myself" -EPP in progress. 
  • Charity quilt for the guild - not started

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 3 place mats - I know, look out!
New projects - 0
Currently in Progress - 5-ish

Don't forget to link up any blocks you have been working on to yesterday's post!  The linky stays open for a whole week, so feel free to add them as you complete or wait for next Tuesday (or both)!

Quilter in the Closet

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's and .
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wait, Mr. Postman, check and see! - Building Blocks Tuesday

I was so busy last week trying to get ready for my trip that I didn't make a single new block.  So, I decided what better time to show you some of the marvelous blocks I have received from the Star of Africa Bee!

Last month was my month, and I asked members to make me a 8 1/2 inch block with "animals" as the theme.  The rest of the specifications were up to them!  I explained that I was hoping to make a book for my kids to take on car trips as a sort of game to see who might spot one of these animals out the window.

This was the first package, I received from Cindy in Frisco, TX:

She made a Jackalope block!  Isn't it adorable???  Some say the jackalope is a mythical creature that roams the prairies of the West.  Cindy was kind enough to send a jackalope stuffed animal, and some other Texas goodies including a cookie cutter and some Texas Bluebonnet fabric.  So sweet of her!!

The next package I received was from Patty in Canada:

I absolutely adore these paper pieced blocks!!!  Foxes are one of my favorite animals and the birch tree fabric in the bear block is just outstanding!  I will have to find out where she found it.  She also included some delightful monkey fabric that is so soft it makes me want to cuddle up with it at night.

Thank you Cindy and Patty!!  I can't wait to see what else the postman will bring me!

What have you been working on this week?  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  And, don't forget, you have all week to add them if you like.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please consider grabbing my button and posting it in your blog post
4) Visit other linky participants!

Until next week,


Monday, September 24, 2012

Are you doing the hustle?

Marit at Sy, elsk, lev (Sew, Love, Live) clued me in to a great little "party" going on over at Kelsey Sews, called the 100 Day Hustle.  Basically, we try to finish up our to do list before the end of the year (now less than 100 days left).

Really the key to success is choosing a list that can actually be accomplished, right?  Not really my strong suit, but here it goes:
  • 12 Bee blocks for the 3 x 6 Bee - I am putting these on the list because they are high priority and have to be done by October 15th, which is within the 100 days.  I have already decided to take next quarter off, so I can work on the rest of my list.
  • I will also have 3 blocks for the Star of Africa bee that will need to be finished by the end of the year.  
  • At least one block for the Leafs Me Happy Blog Hop - my day is October 10th (like right around the corner!!!)
  • Pillowcases for my daughter's preschool - I committed to this months and months ago, and they finally got me the fabric a couple of weeks ago.  They are relaxed about the finish date, but it really should be by the end of the year.
  • Finish Totally Groovy - to be given as a gift for Christmas
  • Quilt the Batik Stripe quilt - this one is just for me.
  • small gifties for a few of my bee mates 
  • Another small gift for my daughters' teachers (2)
  • The Sashiko coasters from my Handstitched class - these too would make great gifts.
  • finish the Vintage Holiday QAL top
  • Finish Olivia's applique quilt - the blocks are done.
This list seems small (especially compared to the UFO Sunday one I made), but it includes 4 quilts to be quilted, and quilting takes me a while.  I will truly be lucky if I get those done.  I also know that there will undoubtedly be other things that will "pop" up between now and then.

Wish me luck!  Lord knows I am going to need it!


Kelsey Sews

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Inspirational Sunday (9) - via the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

Today's post includes a bunch of landscape quilts.  I am always fascinated by landscape quilts and would really like to try one one day.  You know, when all my other WIP's are finished up!  HA!

This first one probably could have been part of last Sunday's post with modern quilts.  It is called, "Road to Home" by Sheryl Sleboda of Plainfield, Illinois.  She hand appliqued, machine quilted, and hand beaded this beauty.

Another landscape with a modern vibe is "Lovely Day" by Linda Evans of Murrieta, California.  It is machine pieced and appliqued.

I just love those wispy clouds!

Here is a more "traditional" looking landscape called "Beside the Still Waters" by Pat Durbin of Eureka, California.  It is pieced, threadpainted, painted, and machine quilted.  It is inspired by a place called Stone Lagoon.

I really love the clouds close to the horizon, and if you look closely, you can see all the different fabrics that went into the grassy area in the foreground.  Amazing.

I love sunsets.  Every time we go to Hawaii, I end up filling my camera's memory card with pictures of the sunset.  These two quilts are called, "Day and Night" by Grace Errea of Laguna Niguel, California.  Well, actually, one is called, "Creamsicle Dawn" and the other "Popsicle Sunset", together they are "Day and Night".  They are machine appliqued and needleturned appliqued.

I noticed that several of the landscape quilts I took pictures of were made by quilters in California.  Is it because I was drawn to the quilts that looked familiar or is it because California is just so picturesque that one can't help but make a quilt out of the beauty you see?

What do you think?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

the List - UFO Sunday

If you feel overwhelmed by reading other people's to do lists, avert your eyes, this one is a doozie!  Like when you open a closet door at a friends house expecting to hang up your coat, but the darn thing is so stuffed with junk it falls out all over you -- that kind of doozie!

A few weeks ago, Leah Day over at Free Motion Quilting Project, started a new weekly link up called UFO Sunday.  One of the things I like best about Leah's blog is that it is deeply introspective.  She really probes into the emotions and thoughts behind why we do what we do with our projects and our lives.  She makes me think (heaven forbid)!  This new link up was sparked by a bunch of feelings - the need to practice on real quilts, the desire to feel less oppressed by the pile of UFOs lying around and the hope that getting some things done might make one feel, well, happy.

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Now, I know I have been participating somewhat sporadically in Patchwork Times UFO Challenge.  But unlike that challenge that assumes you will finish a UFO each month, Leah's premise was rather simple.  Just work on a languishing UFO for one day, even if it was only for 15 minutes.  Progress is progress.

She also explored some thoughts on why some UFOs end up languishing in the first place.  I can totally relate to some of the reasons.  Like the quilts for my mom that took forever because I didn't really enjoy the fabrics.  At the moment, I feel like I have too many other pressing projects that need my time and attention more.  Leah suggests making a list and really determining which projects deserve your time and which should be trashed.  Yes, trashed.  "Time is a precious resource", it shouldn't be wasted!

So, here is my list of languishing UFO's:

The Handstitched projects:
  • the stitched headband - actually I wanted to make a band for a hat I have.  Still want to do this.
  • Sashiko coasters - the bases are actually made.  I need to transfer a few more designs and get stitching.  I still want to do this.
  • the Hexagon tote bag - I have my hexies all basted.  I have the linen to make the bag.  I have someone I would like to give it to.  But I am hesitant.  This one needs to go into a different category, a wait until you are jazzed about getting stuff done and then finish this one category.
  • The star blossom wall art - I have everything I need for this one, but I am having trouble choosing fabrics.  I am just having a hard time imagining those little pieces working together.  Plus, EPP just seems to take forever!  I need another trip to Hawaii to get it started and done.
  • The flower applique pillow - this is adorable, but I don't know that I really need a pillow right now, nor do the kids.  I mean shouldn't we actually have quilts for our beds first?  Maybe not, but at the moment, I am leaning toward trash.  Thankfully, I didn't get very far on this project before setting it down, so only 4 scraps of fabric would be trashed.
  • The Medallion quilt top - I love this quilt, but the last step put a bit of a funk on it.  I need to rip out all the seams for the last border and redo them.  Seam ripping is not much fun even when it is only a few inches.  I probably have about 250 inches to rip out.  Not fun.  I need to just do it one day, then back and sandwich it.  The hand quilting will take a while, no doubt.  Perhaps this will be my holiday project while the kids are home and I can't sneak off to my sewing "studio".
Other projects:
  • Hawaiian applique pillow - from the class I took 2 years ago!  The darn applique is nearly finished.  I think I have 2 more small circles to go.  But, I don't need a green and yellow pillow.  Although, now that I know how to make these things into wall art, that could be an option.  Undecided which category this goes in.
  • The fusible rose project - this one is partially "pieced".  I need to add it to the background fabric and then thread paint it.  The thread painting aspect is why I took a class last January.  I'm not sure I know enough to make it look nice enough.  It WOULD be an excellent practice piece though!  Leaning toward Trash, but perhaps it makes more sense for it to languish a little more.
  • The thread painting wall art - this was what we worked on in class.  I only have a few more steps until it is done.  I had hoped to finish it up and give it to my grandmother for a gift.  But, my excitement level for this project is null.  Trash.
  • The Batik Tile quilt - fabric is cut, some blocks put together, basically "piecing in progress".  The problem is that I am just not in love with these fabrics anymore.  I really appreciated the picture of the pattern and thought it was beautiful, but once I got into making one myself, my interest dwindled.  It is quite possible, I am just not a Batik person.  A shame really, considering I have a whole box of them. I am leaning toward Trash.
  • Blue and White One Block Wonder top - I actually like this one.  I think it would make a great charity quilt.  I was hoping to send one more this year to the woman collecting for Happy Chemo.  She said in a post that she is always looking for more "manly" quilts for the patients.  This would be a good one for that.  If I allowed myself to just quilt it with a simple all-over design, it could even be done relatively quickly.
  • Brown and Blue Land of Lincoln Quilt - I like this one too.  It is a little too dark for our home here, but I think it would be a perfect addition to our family's vacation home up in the mountains.  It needs the final border added and then quilted.  The drawback - it is BIG.  Yes, I have a new machine that should make this easier with its large throat space, but it is BIG.  I think I am balking at finishing it just because of the size.  Solution: send it out.  I don't know why I am so hesitant to do that.  I really want to finish my own projects!  But it really boils down to this one sitting in a box for another 6-9 months or getting done by someone else.
  • Star Circles (a New York Beauty quilt) - piecing in progress.  I love the look of this quilt and when I am in the mood to paper piece, I try to do a few more blocks here and there.  I think this one will get done, eventually.
  • Olivia's applique quilt (the copy of my niece's quilt from last Christmas) - The darn blocks are all done, applique and all.  I literally just need to put the top together and quilt it!  Olivia is just getting to the age too, where she might want a special blankie of her own.  This Christmas?
  • The Batik Stripe Quilt - it is one of my FAVORITES, why can't I get this done???  It is sandwiched and ready.  Why don't I just start it?  Fear.  I am at the point where the quilting happens, and I want it to stand out and be seen, but I am terrified that I will mess it up.  And, I am having difficulty choosing a thread, but that is really just a secondary excuse.  This one needs to be done, like yesterday!
  • Paper-pieced block pillows - I have several paper-pieced blocks with no homes.  I can't really see them going into a quilt, but they would make pretty pillows.  Did I mention, I don't really need any pillows.  These may need to just be trashed or given away to unsuspecting bee mates.
My New-FO's (these really haven't been languishing, YET):
  • The Beginner Quilt Along Top - I don't have a lot of emotions invested in this one and plan to give it to my guild to either auction off or give to their charity causes.
  • The Vintage Holiday Quilt Along top - I love this one and want to keep it for myself.  Excitement level is still high on this one, an excellent time to keep going and get it done.
  • The How Far Will You Go Quilt Along - the top is not yet completed and the quilt along is still going. I have had to put this one aside for a while to finish up some other items, like bee blocks, which puts it in the danger zone of being forgotten.  The design is lovely, and the quilt along has been a great experience, but I have no plans yet for the quilt itself.
  • The Totally Groovy Quilt Along top - I would really like to give this one as a gift to someone special.  I need to get it done.
Seems like I don't have many for the Trash category.  I guess I need to get to work then!

I am not actually linking up this post at Leah's blog today, because I haven't actually worked on any of these projects.  I just feel writing them down was the first step and publishing it might help me be more accountable.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.  I'm leaving town tomorrow and will have a whole week to decide which of these projects to spend some time on first.  Also, I plan on trimming down this list to fit with Kelsey Sews 100 Day Hustle, which I will post in a few days.

What do you have languishing around that spending 15 minutes on might make you feel better?


Friday, September 21, 2012

September Free Motion Challenge

The September Free Motion Challenge at Sew Cal Gal was a feathery wreath stencil.  Paula Reid had a great video on how to "fluff and stuff" those larger quilts into your DSM for quilting.  I always seem to struggle with this.

And, last month I said I needed some practice travel stitching, and boy did I get it this month!  I also got another try at those pesky feathers.  Although, with the stencil, they are much easier than free handing it.

I still have issues slowing down to travel stitch.  I think it is part of the core of who I am.  I am all "pedal to the medal" as Leah Day puts it.  I am always running around in life, rarely slowing down.  Even in golf, I am all power and no finesse.  It's hard to change a core personality trait.  I will have to work on it.

With this month's challenge I also got a chance to try out a few new things.  For instance, since this was a stencil, I tried out my new quilter's pounce that I got at the quilt show in Long Beach back in July.  Even with the darker fabric in this practice piece, I still had trouble seeing the pounce.  Adding to my difficulties, it was hot on most of the days I practiced, and the pounce made my hands a little sweaty, which in turn rubbed the pounce off.  Nice.  Thus one of the corners up there has an extra loopy thing.  Oh well.

Here is my finished piece for the month.

I set about making a block big enough to accommodate the stencil, and then realized I had no idea how I wanted to quilt the rest of the block.

So, I tried out a few more "new" things.  I went over to Leah Day's blog, The Free Motion Quilting Project, and got a few suggestions.  I tried "Snake Paisley" in the border.  My snakes tended to loose their wiggle as I echoed out.  And I am not coming to the right pivot point, instead I seem to be avoiding it all costs.  Hmmm, another personality trait perhaps?

I also tried her suggestion of stitching in the ditch with my free motion foot.  Clearly, I need more practice.  I had pressed all my seams open and this made it more difficult to actually stay in the ditch.  I was hoping out of there like crazy!

To finish things off, I also tried out Rachel from Stitched in Color's favorite zigzag binding.  I probably should have used a smaller zigzag.  I'm not sure if I like it or not.  I'll give it another go soon and then decide.

That's all I have for free motion for now.  I plan to have a big stack of quilts to quilt up next month, so I am sure I will get even more practice!

Until then,


Also linking up on Wednesday with the Free Motion Quilting Project

Free Motion Quilt Along

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop!

Thank you all for visiting!  Also, please let me take a minute to thank Beth, at Plum and June, for putting this awesome blog hop together!!  I have learned so much from the guest speakers and the other participants.

OK, let's get down to it and get acquainted!

Hello, my name is Jen.  I started quilting 3 years ago.  I took a beginner class at my local quilt shop and was hooked.  I completed 3 of the sampler quilts (baby sized), and promptly stopped quilting for about 6 months.  A few more periods of quilting and hiatus followed, then before the holiday season last year, I discovered blogland. It was amazing!  Creativity everywhere, cheerful voices, support groups.  I decided to start my own blog to chronicle my own projects.  I kept my expectations low - sending my words and projects out into the universe was enough for me.  Because I wasn't expecting much in return, it has made me so much more appreciative of the extras I have gotten out of the experience.  Friendships, advice, FUN!  I love it, and I plan on stickin' around.

My quilting "style/personality" can best be summed up as: haphazard.  I have quilting ADHD.  I am notorious for getting super jazzed about a project or technique, getting partially through a project, and then switching to something different entirely.  My list of UFO's is impressive.  But, blogging is actually helping me focus.  There is nothing like a scheduled quilt along, or a deadline for a blog hop, that can keep you on track.  I like to think of it as using peer pressure in your favor.  I need that external motivation, not everyone does.  Do what works for you, right?

Quilting tips:
  • that whole, "measure twice, cut once" thing has gotten me quite a few times!
  • I love re-using clean plastic produce containers to store my fabrics, WIP's, even patterns
  • practice, practice, practice (especially things you find difficult)
  • take classes
  • challenge yourself with something new!
Blogging tips:
  • Join up!  Join linky parties, blog hops, and quilt alongs.  They are fun, and it is almost guaranteed that you will get at least a friendly "hello" out of it.  Who doesn't need an interweb smile?  There is something for everyone - Diane at Blank Pages has put together a great list of linky parties for virtually every stage of a project.  You don't have to link up to all of them; pick and choose what is best for you.
  • Just be yourself
Favorite Fabric:
  • I still love my Flea Market Fancy so much I haven't cut into it.
  • I also just got a bunch of Polka Dot Stitches from Lori Holt at Bee in My Bonnet
  • I love my solids too
  • pretty much anything on sale - I am totally a compulsive shopper!  In fact, the Peak Hour I used for this project was a compulsive/it's on sale buy.  
Favorite Craft Book (this is a tough one!):
  • Elizabeth Hartman's, Modern Patchwork - I know everyone loves her Practical Guide to Patchwork, so I bought it and DO like it.  I just like the patterns in Modern Patchwork more.
  • Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson - I can't wait to have some time to start some of these beauties!
Favorite Book:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin - it brings out the romantic in me!

Binding by Hand or Machine:
  • Both
  • When I am making something that I know will reside in my house, like the place mats I do for the Free Motion Challenge, I machine bind those.  I also machine bind things that I am in a tremendous hurry to finish (like the Bee Happy charity quilt that was nearly late for the deadline due to all kinds of issues with my old machine)
  • But, if I am making a gift and I really want it to look nice, I will take the time to hand bind.  Since I mostly make gifts for other people (I still haven't made a quilt for my own bed!), this is fairly often.  Enter some of my favorite tools....
Favorite Quilting Tools:
  • Kwik Klip - I like to pin any project larger than a place mat.  I tend to use spray baste for smaller projects, but I find things still shift a fair amount and for my larger projects the good 'ole safety pin method works best for me.  This tool allows me to complete the process so much faster and my fingers aren't sore at the end of the process.
  • Clover Wonder clips - when I am hand binding, I like to use these clips to hold the binding in place ahead of where I am stitching.  It helps keep things straight.
  • The binding tool - Maybe it is my "mommy brain" but making my binding tails come together properly was a huge challenge.  I got this tool and now I have no problems, and it requires little THINKING on my part. I got mine here.
What do I wish I knew about blogging before I started? - well, I could still use a little more computer savvy. But, this has been a journey and I am glad I didn't know much going in.  Everyday, I am surprised and pleased at something that happens.  It makes me happy!

My word, am I long-winded!  You guys are probably thinking to yourself, "can we get to the project already?".  OK, hold your horses.

My semi-improvisational, stained-glass inspired, novelty print using, kid quilt:

Want to know how I made it?  I had to put it in a separate post, because of the long-winded-ness above!  Click here to be directed to the tutorial.

Also, don't forget to visit the other participants for this week!

Sep 18
       Lina from Smultonbo's Pieceful

       Chase from 1/4" mark  - I just love her patchwork bucket tutorial

Sep 20
        Anna from Pink Padme - she loves quilting so much, she tattooed a block on herself.  Now THAT is dedication to one's craft!

 Thank you for joining me today.  I hope you had fun!


Plum and June

Peak Hour Quilt - Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop Project

Since the theme of the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop is novelty prints, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try out a few new techniques.

I only thought it appropriate when using novelty prints to use a fussy cutting technique.  I mean, what is the point of all those cute little prints if you can't showcase them?  I haven't done much fussy cutting in the past, and it does seem a little wasteful, but I tried it anyway.  And, what better way to frame up those fussy cut items than a stained glass inspired quilt?

This is semi-improvisational piecing due to the random sizes of your fussy cut items.  The fabric I have chosen, Peak Hour by Riley Blake, has a rather wide range of sizes of the subject matter in the prints.  Because of this, the amount of fabric you need might vary greatly depending on your subject matter sizes.  Here are some approximations of what you need:
  • 1 yard of solid for the sashing to frame up your blocks (I used black)
  • 1/2 yard of large sized novelty print
  • 3 times 1/2 yards of medium sized novelty prints
  • 4 times 1/2 yards of blender fabrics to be used as "fillers" (I used the red dot, blue dot, the newspaper print and the stripe fabric as my fillers)
  • 1/2 yard of binding fabric
  • 1 1/2 yards of backing fabric

Step One:

Start fussy cutting out some items from your large and medium sized prints.  Just place your ruler on your subject matter and cut around it.  Remember to leave at least 1/4 inch around your focal point for the seam allowance.  I chose to keep my fussy cut items in squares and rectangles, but this quilt would work "wonky" too, and likely look marvelous!

Soon, you will have a whole pile of fussy cut items.

Step One and a Half:

You might as well cut some sashing strips while you are at it.  I cut mine at 1 1/2 inches wide, and yes, I starched the heck out of the fabric before cutting it!  Keep these nearby as you will be cutting them down to size as you go.

Step Two:

Take your largest fussy cut item and add sashing on two sides by measuring the side(s) and cutting the sashing to measure the same.  The picture below shows items completely framed by sashing - I learned as I went that I actually wanted to expand my blocks in one direction (say, right to left), and then in the other direction (up and down).  This was easier if I added the sashing on only 2 sides at the beginning.

Step Three:

Start adding blocks together, making sure there is sashing between each one.  Soon, you will have a decent start to your quilt.  Notice how I used the blender fabrics (below the red, blue, stripe and newspaper print) to "fill" in the block to make it square.  This is important if you have all different sized fussy cut blocks like I did.  Yes, this required math, I mean, a calculator nearby and  it was used frequently (especially since that target circle was actually cut at a size with 1/8 inch), and I did make a few mistakes here and there and had to rip and re-cut a few times.  Don't get too frustrated, it is part of the process.

Keep adding fussy cut items and fillers until the quilt is the size you want.  I found the more random the placement of things, the better it looked.

I chose not to add an additional border.  At this stage I just backed, sandwiched and started quilting.  I was going to go with an all-over quilting design of cars and trucks, but in the end I just quilted straight lines in the sashing and was pleased with how it looked.  If I had more time, I might have even hand quilted lines in the sashing to look like the dashed lines on a highway, but alas, I did not have the time this go around.  If you are interested in the car/truck quilting design, you can email me.

My finished quilt was roughly 37 inches by 48 inches.

Now, I am sure that there are easier ways to do stained glass quilts.  In fact, I know that Electric Quilt has foundation templates, but it would have been difficult to incorporate all the random sizes I had from my prints (one was as big as 14 1/2 inches long) without chopping some of the pictures in half, etc.  So this time, the semi-improvisational piecing worked nicely.  I might try the foundation piecing in the future with my leftovers, but who knows.

I hope you enjoyed this project.  This quilt is travelling with me next week to Prince Edward Island, Canada to be given to my cousin's baby boy.  They live in Australia, so the little kangaroo crossing sign seemed a bonus feature of this fabric!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you visit again soon.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hey, it's something! - WIP Wednesday

I haven't made as much progress on my project during the last few days as I hoped.  I've had a little one home sick, and instead of sewing I've been watching the latest Barbie movie and the Little Mermaid over and over and over and over again!  The upside is that the music is fairly good in both movies!

Gram's place mats all sandwiched and ready to go.  Thank you to everyone who helped me see that the yellow background on the 2nd one really needed to be changed!  I like this cream much better!

This Wednesday......

Completed Projects:
  • Trial block for solid's group of 3x6 Bee (hey it's a start!)
  • Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop Item - Done, done, and done - come back TOMORROW for the reveal!

On-going Projects:
  • Vintage Holiday Quilt Along - top needs to be put together
  • Totally Groovy Quilt Along - started, albeit a small start
  • How Far Will You Go? QAL - I might need to put this one aside for a little while.  Luckily the QAL goes through January, so I will have plenty of time to catch up.
  • Beginner Quilt Along at Quilting Gallery - top needs to be put together 
  • Star of Africa Bee - September's block
  • "Tree" themed quilt for the guild - since I got my top done for the LGABH, I actually started this one. I am not sure I like how it is going nor am I sure I will get it done by the deadline.
  • Grammie's place mats - tops are done.  Quilting will commence tonight after the kiddos are in bed. Deadline Sept 22nd (because my plane leaves on the 23rd!)
  • 12 Bee Blocks - piecing in progress.
  • Leaf's Me Happy block(s) - I finally got my date for this blog hop - October 10th.  Designs in progress

Back Burner:

I am determined not to forget these projects!  Keeping them in this category reminds me of them on a weekly basis.
  • Handstitched goodies - several projects in limbo.  I am preparing a few of these for my week long trip next week.  I figure it is the perfect time to make some progress on these items, especially the small ones.
  • Batik Stripe Quilt - still sandwiched and ready to be quilted!  
  • Red, White, Blue New York Beauty - piecing in progress, but put well out of the way.  I need to be in a paper-piecing mood to resume.
  • June UFO - "A Christmas Something for myself" -EPP in progress. 
  • Charity quilt for the guild - not started
This week's stats:
Completed projects - 1 + 1 block
New projects - 0
Currently in Progress - 9-ish

Don't forget to link up any blocks you have been working on to yesterday's post!  The linky stays open for a whole week, so feel free to add them as you complete or wait for next Tuesday (or both)!

Quilter in the Closet

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's and .
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ornaments abound - Building Blocks Tuesday

I have made a few more Vintage Holiday block since last Tuesday, and here they are!

I just love these little ornaments!  Now to piece the top together.

What have you been working on this week?  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  And, don't forget, you have all week to add them if you like.

Quilter in the Closet

Rules, smoolz:

1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful project, not just the blog homepage
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please consider grabbing my button and posting it in your blog post
4) Visit other linky participants!

Until next week,