Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April's Goal: Complete!

My April Lovely Year of Finishes Goal was to finish piecing the quilt top for my newest nephew (who was born since my last post about his quilt!). It looks like I'll get to meet him in about a month, and I can't wait! Not sure the quilt will be quilted by then...we'll see!

 It was a bit breezy while I was photographing it:

And then breezy turned to gusty:

But in between gusts, I caught this relatively flat shot:

I will happily admit that I love how this turned out! 
The original pattern from Kim Schaefer's Cozy Modern Quilts included an outer border slightly wider than the sashing, but I think I'm going to leave it off.  I'm not usually a fan of square quilts, but I think that for a baby/toddler quilt, it's just fine--I usually prefer rectangle quilts so that both my feet and my chest/shoulders can be covered, but that shouldn't be an issue for a little guy for a while!

And since you really can't see the sashing print in the full quilt pictures, I took a few close-ups.
It's not from the same line as the majority of the fabrics, which are Marcia Derse, but I think it works. And no, it's not barbed wire. :) More of a loopy scribble. It's from Michele D'Amore's Urbanicity collection for Benartex. It is directional, so I cut the sashing strips with that in mind. And I only sewed one strip on upside down!
I admit my ulterior motive at these close-up photos--the quilt colors looked great on a 13-year-old piece of Ikea furniture that I repainted this weekend. Goodbye, dull, pale gray; hello, beautiful teal! 

Now to decide on my May goal!
p.s. Linking up with A Year of Lovely Finishes and Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2 Blocks and I'm in!

I joined a really fun group of southwest Michigan quilters back in January to form the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild. So far, we've had 3 meetings, and I've made it to one. Clearly I'm campaigning for Member of the Year! :)

However, our April meeting is a virtual one, so it was hard to miss! Each member was invited to make one (or more) Converging Corners blocks by Ashley at Film in the Fridge.

Here are my two:

I definitely over-thought the process while sewing, but even so, I enjoyed making the blocks. Each block made counts as an entry in the drawing to win all the blocks. Wouldn't that be fun?!?

I'd love to make a few more, but apparently I'm out of Kona White (which was requested as part of the Challenge), so I'd better go shopping!

You can see the other members' blocks here and follow our new guild here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guess what I did this weekend?!

 I got to play on a long arm! It was so much fun!

One of my best friends growing up bought a long arm quilting machine with her mom (I'm just a little bit envious!). They both live near where I grew up, but I no longer do, so I hadn't gotten to see it or try it yet. My family is in town for the week, so I asked if I could try out the long arm. They said yes!

This is my friend, Rachel. She tells me that I did her a favor in asking, because she had a quilt loaded and half done that she had put off finishing, and my "need" to use the long arm spurred her into action. The machine lives in her mom's basement, and I only had my camera phone, so the pictures are not great, but you get the idea!

Loading the machine took a long time, but we figured it out. I really think it helped to have two of us working on it, because we could talk through the right side up and upside down direction of everything, as well as the zipper positioning.

Once we loaded it, I started in with a loop-de-loop, as I call it. Great beginner stuff because it doesn't matter if you cross over existing lines.

I chose to take my son's Caterpillar construction quilt because I knew a 4-year-old wouldn't be picky about the quilting--seemed like a perfect quilt to practice on! I finished about one third of it and will go back over the next few days to complete it. I had brought a second quilt along, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try loading it myself! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh Baby! WIP

There's nothing more satisfying that working on a project and REALLY liking how it's coming together.
Well, except maybe the proverbial icing on the cake--not sewing it under the gun at the last minute and just being able to enjoy the process.
And the fact that my office/sewing studio is in our house's bonus room, so I've had the soothing sound of never-ending raindrops over my head for about 10 days now. (This is my single attempt to look at all that rain with a glass-half-full approach, because in reality it's making the whole family stir crazy and wondering when spring is going to come here to Michigan already!?!)

I've been working on the quilt for my soon-to-be-born nephew, which is also my April goal in the Lovely Year of Finishes. You can see my initial post (and the pattern I'm using) here.

So far, I have  nine blocks:
 (Fun, huh? Just wait til you see what happens to them!)

And cut them up into quarters:

And put them back together again:
(Not pieced yet...just tossed up on the design wall...excuse the haphazard-ness)

I love the pattern! I love the fabrics! I love that it is looking like I imagined it would, which is not always a guarantee! 

Here are a few close-ups. I tried to pick one favorite and came away with three, so I guess that's a good thing.

I kind of like how this one has a blue "border" though I don't think I have enough balance in the fabrics to do that throughout the whole quilt.

Looking forward to sewing some more!
Linking up with Year of Lovely Finishes and WIP Wednesday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Under Construction

No, not my blog, though an updated header is on the to-do list!

Back at the end of January, I was asked to design a quilt using some Caterpillar fabric (equipment, not bugs!). I don't naturally gravitate toward panels and/or novelty prints, but this was an easy decision to make. Why? Because of two little boys who live in my house and are truck-obsessed. The 4-year-old recently memorized all the words to a library book called "Trucks Roll" and the 20-month old runs around the house yelling "Trucks Roll!" So yeah, I knew I had to say yes to this project!

The result:

The quilt is featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Quilt It...Today magazine, which is on sale now.

My 4-year-old was SO.IN.LOVE. He kept asking when he could use "his quilt." 
Happily, I had enough spare fabric so he could have one too.

The machine quilter, my friend Sharon Brule, did a phenomenal job--she did a custom job--outline quilting the dump truck on the panel and then pebble and other detail quilting the background of the panel. I wish it showed up better in this photo so you could see it. It really elevated the quilt from fun to fantastic.

I love the quilting motifs she mixed into the pieced border as well.

You can find the magazine here.
And if you also have a construction-loving 4-year-old (or 40-year-old?) in your life, 
you can get a kit here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Goal: Quilt for My New Nephew!

It's the first week of April, and time to name my April goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. I had an easy decision this month--my newest nephew will be here before the end of the month. I'm having the quilt machine quilted by someone else, so my goal is to piece the top.

The nursery is gray and navy, and my sister-in-law: a) didn't want the quilt to be real cutesy or baby-ish, and b) wanted to be surprised rather than having input on the fabric/design. Works for me! 

I had a hard time finding "the" perfect fabric. Then, two weeks ago, I ran into Marcia Derse's fabrics at Patched Works in Milwaukee. I've been drooling over her designs for several years but hadn't ever purchased any. My search was over! I love it. It is definitely not baby-ish. I hope she loves it, though I've told her that it's pretty far out there, as far as a baby quilt, and made her promise that if she didn't like she'd tell me (cause I'd happily keep it myself and make her something else!).

I also bought a quilt book that day, which I rarely do. Much of the time, I like to either do my own thing or work loosely off a pattern. But when I saw Kim Schaefer's new book, Cozy Modern Quilts, I fell in love. There are many quilts in it I'd love to make, so it was worth the purchase!

Here's the quilt I picked, and I already have my fabric cut! Woo hoo! Can't wait to see it come together.   And then the bonus--meeting my new nephew!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Ombre Dot Finish!

My chevron ombre dot quilt from the Sew Fine Fabric Sew-Along is done!

 And I'm really happy with it!

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment with their thoughts on the quilting. I took Lisa's (and parts of several others') idea of doing the "full" (i.e. straight line quilting every 1/4" - 1/2") quilting on the lightest fabric. And then I went two steps farther. I quilted two evenly spaced lines in the darkest fabric and just one center line in the medium fabric. You can see the detail below.

If I'd wanted to be more orderly, I would have done the two lines in the medium fabric and the single line in the dark fabric, but I thought of that AFTER I'd zigzagged a few rows and I didn't feel strongly enough about it to do some ripping! 

 I really love the how the quilting texture shows up on both front and back here. 

A shot of the front and back. My choices today for photography were glaring sunlight (not going to complain...it's finally getting warm-ish!) or dark shade. Neither ideal, so you get some of each.

And just for fun, the roll shot, so you can really appreciate the orange with the blue. 

I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I get a whoop whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish it up Friday and the Flickr group for Sew Fine Fabric. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Zig Zaggin'

I love small quilts! They sew together quickly and you feel so accomplished. I spent some time today assembling my ombre dot quilt to make some progress for WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

(I went with the chevon layout--thanks for all the opinions, everyone!)
Then, since went so fast, I started quilting. 

So far I've simply quilted parallel lines 1/2" past the zig zag seams. 
What do you think? Leave it as is, or continue quilting zig zag lines? I'm undecided at the moment.

Love this orange on the back! 

Looking forward to finishing this!
If you want to make one too, check out the Sew Along over at Sew Fine Fabric