Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Block Happy! The first 2016 edition

Once every few months, I do a random post to show off the blocks I've made recently. I am part of the Believe circle of quilters for do.Good Stitches, and then I'm also in charge of choosing the block for our online activity for the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild. 
Here are the latest:

December do.Good blocks:

January do.Good blocks:

February do.Good blocks (Have you seen all the fun blocks Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts has for her QALs? So many fun ones to choose from! I love these little elephants.)

Inspired by a do.Good block in the fall, the GLMQG made quilt-as-you-go blocks for our January meeting. 

March do.Good blocks:

GLMQG March blocks, using Rita's economy block tutorial at Red Pepper Quilts

Most blocks come together so quickly; it's such a great feeling of accomplishment to finish making one!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bonnie Hunter workshop!

Bonnie Hunter spoke at the Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilt Guild meeting recently, and offered two workshops. I attended the Cathedral Stars workshop with my friend Stephanie. 

I've done very few workshops/classes, and at first I wasn't totally sold on the idea of a workshop for a pattern. I can follow patterns myself--what would I learn at the workshop? But two friends (thanks, Stephanie and Diane!) helped me realize the benefits of a workshop, and I also realized it was an opportunity to have an entire day where I was "supposed" to be sewing. I was sold! 

Here's Stephanie, Bonnie, and me at the end of the workshop, holding completed blocks:

I really enjoyed the workshop. Bonnie is so much fun to listen to, and I learned a ton of helpful little tips that will improve all of my quilting, not just on this pattern. 

Here is Bonnie's Cathedral Stars quilt, the pattern we were making. 

I spent far too much time considering a color palette. I was determined to actually use scraps (and yardage!) that I had, and I also wanted it to have a color scheme rather than being all-colors-scrappy. Using turquoise/blue was a no-brainer. Of my 16 scrap boxes, five are in the blue family. I had some bright green yardage that didn't work for its original intention, so I had star points. I just needed something to tie it together. I found some gray pin dot yardage that I'd forgotten about, and I was set. A little orange for pop, and here was my plan:
My quilt will ultimately have corners; I was just lazy when creating the digital design. And also, I have no idea how big my quilt will end up. Not a queen, but maybe bigger than what you see here.  

Here's what I got done during the class:

And I've assembled a few more since then. This quilt is much busier with many more small pieces than what I usually do, but I'm liking how it is coming together. Can't wait to see more of it!

Besides a using an Easy Angle Ruler to make HSTs (I may never go back to the old "draw a diagonal line, pair two squares and sew on each side of the line" method again!), one takeaway from the class that I'm already putting to use is the idea of leaders and enders. Simply put, keep a pile of pre-cut pieces/scraps/etc. next to your sewing machine and start and end each set of chain piecing or whatever you're doing by sewing a unit together. Smoother sewing plus extra productivity. 

I have a huge bagful of leftover paired triangles from my Shady Directions quilt. I have a plan for them. Now they are my leaders and enders, and they're getting sewed together. In the past week, I've sewed 50 of them! (Of course, I still have to square them up...ugh.) Had I actually remembered to use a leader/ender each time, I'd have even more.  Progress!

Bonnie also did a trunk show at our guild meeting Tuesday night. I "unselfishly" volunteered to help hold the quilts so I had an up-close-and-personal view. So much inspiration there--I have a couple more quilts of hers in mind to make, including the 2015 Mystery Quilt, Allitare. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

One Monthly Goal: Rainbow Quilt(s) Complete!

This might be the earliest I've ever finished a monthly challenge. Boy, does it feel good! 

My goal was to assemble my 25-patch rainbow scrap blocks into a quilt top with black and white squares for sashing. I originally planned to add a few black and white rows to the top and bottom as well, but I didn't like how it looked. So I stuck with simple instead. 

And my unofficial goal was to complete the second quilt as well, with a slightly different sashing treatment. I actually finished this one first, since it was on my design wall and had sashing that required a specific order as opposed to the alternating black and white squares. 

I'm really happy with them both and it was super fun to show them off at our guild meeting with Bonnie Hunter! Now to quilt them...

Thanks to Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for hosting One Monthly Goal

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March One Monthly Goal

If you saw my last post, you likely won't be surprised to see what my March One Monthly Goal is. 

My goal is to get this quilt assembled--what you see here plus a top and bottom border--ideally before our guild meeting on the 15th, but barring that, at least by the end of the month to meet this goal!

But I actually have a second show and tell related to this project. 

I have been cutting out more black and white squares for the top/bottom borders and have started sewing them together in pairs. But at the same time, I decided I wanted to see what the second version would look like, so I took this first version off the wall and auditioned version #2. (If you missed the last post, I have two 25-patch blocks of each color, so I'm assembling them into two lap-size quilts in all their rainbow glory.) 

For this second version, I wanted to create the idea of blocks as puzzle pieces, interlocking. So I'm adding in the appropriate color squares as sashing between blocks (all cut Friday evening) and then am going to turn the sashing squares (empty holes in the photo) into more white stars, with wonky points extending into the sashing. 

In all honesty, after seeing this on the design wall, it might be too busy and might have been easier to simply go with solid white sashing. But the beauty of a scrap quilt like this is I can try something that I might not be in love with and reserve the "safe" choices for a quilt I have more invested in. 

I'm actually hoping to get both of these quilt tops assembled in March, but since One Monthly Goal is just that--ONE--I only have to commit to one!

p.s. If you're really looking closely, you may have noticed that I have the blocks in the same position in both quilts. I tried to go with a different layout for the second quilt, but came back to this one because I felt it had the best balance of light and dark as well as keeping similar colors separate. Really going out on a limb, aren't I? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

25-Patch Rainbow Scrap Blocks

Last January I jumped on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at So Scrappy. I completed four months and then life got in the way and the RSC went on the back burner. 

However, Bonnie Hunter is coming to speak at our guild in March, and Diane, one of our guild members, challenged us to make and bring in a scrap quilt to show at the meeting since scrappy quilts are Bonnie's specialty. 

It seemed like a great time to pull out my RSC blocks! In the past month, I have made five more colors' worth of blocks. I chose to skip two months--black/gray/indigo and brown--because I liked the bright rainbow-ness of the blocks I had and I didn't want the quilt much bigger. 

Here are all of my RSC 25-patch blocks together. I'm splitting them up into two lap-sized quilts, and giving them different sashing/assembly treatments. 

 The first quilt (and the one I'm aiming to have completely pieced by our meeting in two weeks) uses black and white squares for the sashing. I was inspired to add the black and white to all my brights by Jackie Kunkel's book, A Splash of Color. I love how she pairs black and white prints with brights to create the quilts in her book! 

I cut these black and white squares last night. I'm planning to add two or three rows of black and white squares to the top and bottom as well. We'll see how it looks on the design wall before I decide...

I'm grateful for Bonnie Hunter's upcoming visit and Diane's challenge to spur me into action on these scrap-busting blocks!