Tuesday, May 12, 2015

hexagon happenings

Back in February I brought out the pieces of my niece's quilt to decide on a layout and a plan for finishing it by Christmas. I mentioned then that I might make a few more blocks which would enable me to make the whole quilt a hexagon. I've decided that's a neat idea and that's the way I'm going to head with it. I ordered some solid fabric for the interstitial triangles and managed to make two of the remaining four blocks this weekend.

I'm really happy with them! I'm also happy that I had the instructions for these all written up and handy. I would never have been able to re-engineer them otherwise. The hardest part was sifting through my fabrics for the right combinations of prints and colors. And of course the endless problem of not enough solids to pick from.

This was the first set of prints I came up with. Lively, no? 

I really enjoyed how awesome this triangle unit looked after I pressed all the seams. Look at how lined up everything is! It's not even trimmed. Or sewn with pins. That's how handy trimming just a tiny triangle off at the correct point and angle can be (also described in the block instructions). Everything just lines up so much easier. 

Adding the pretty celery green toned this whole block down. Still lively, but a little bit contained. This way it looks to me like a little flower garden. Imagine if I'd used black or dark gray… it would look much edgier. What about a whole quilt of that?! Nice, I'd say. 

Instead I opted to use the dark gray in this block to offset the relatively lighter, simpler prints. I wasn't sure how the ricrac stripe would behave in this block, but it ended up looking kind of neat. I am glad I decided not to try using it for the center, though. I don't think that would have worked out as well. 

I only need two more blocks made up and my navy fabric, then I can start assembling the top. My mom volunteered to make a couple for me, which will be fun! Mom, it's your turn now! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

quilting win

I am pleased with myself. Can you tell? I'm all smiles because I am so close to finishing up my cousin's quilt. It's a little behind schedule! 

I wasn't sure how the quilting on this was going to go as I was piecing everything together. My go-to would have been horizontal lines but that felt unimaginative to me for this one. Still, I didn't want it to compete that much with the panel in the middle because darn it I'm proud of that part! 

An idea descended one evening when I decided to quilt it in a sort of sunburst pattern to tie in with the trendy tribal vibe. Basically I have a set of nested V's going North, South, East, and West radiating out from the center of the squash blossom block. It's genius. Not only that, but I totally lucked out and picked 3 inches as the spacing. Why lucky? Because somehow I intuited the exact spacing that would line up my quilting lines with most of the features on the central medallion panel. It's not a big deal, but satisfying that it ended up that way. 

Dave was kind enough to venture outside with me on a somewhat windy day to snap these pictures. You have to wait until the quilt just floats on the wind like a seagull. Apparently that's the ideal moment. In this picture of the back it's easier to see the quilting pattern. It's not complicated, but it really looks great. I started each line in the middle and stitched out to the edge to avoid any directional stretching or slippage. 

I was hoping to use the backing as binding but it turns out I basted a bit to close to one edge for that to be a viable option. Darn. I'll have to look around and see if I have a suitable binding fabric to finish it off this week. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

backed and basted

I went to baste this quilt last Thursday evening and wasn't I frustrated when I found that I had neither enough scraps/coordinating fabrics to piece together a back nor a big enough single piece of anything but white. Somehow white and baby quilt back didn't jive in my mind. 

So today we zipped into a fabric store to find an appropriate print for the back. I found this great navy with tiny white polka dots. The navy is a sightly different shade than the one on the front, but it wasn't really noticeable to me until I took this picture. 

I cut some batting from one of the queen-sized pieces I had stashed away. (I buy batting when it goes on sale, especially the big sizes. They are great to cut down to size for multiple smaller projects like this.) Dave helped me wrangle the sandwich together and I managed to baste it while the laundry was drying. Yeah for multi-tasking. I've got a vision of Vs for quilting. We'll see how that goes!

Friday, April 24, 2015

finished a quilt top!

In a fit of cutting and sewing last night, I managed to finish up the top to the baby quilt I started a couple weeks ago. It took me some time to decide on what to do to finish off the medallion, but I kept coming back to the thin round of bright red-orange to frame it, so I just started there.

When that was finished, the strips of hourglass blocks just sort of mentally clicked into place. I had been considering all sorts of things, but this block - simple but striking - suits the piece in terms of scale and feel. I'm really glad I added in the light green. I was originally going to keep this a slant rhyme to primary colors, but the green sets everything off so nicely.

I wasn't sure I was quite finished there at 38" wide or so, but when I took out the stripe I have been planning on using to test how everything was looking together and it was basically within an inch or two, I considered that serendipity and a sign that I was done. How frustrated I would have been if I had kept going wider! I've had the gray stripe in my head since the whole thing started. It was quick work to cut two big pieces and zip down the seams to append them to the top and bottom of the panel. And voila! A finished quilt top. I've already got an idea of how I want to quilt it. I just need to pick out a backing and figure out what I'll do for binding. Excited to see this come together!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

improvised medallion

I have a few baby quilts to make, so this should help me get going on the sewing again. This first one needs to be done by early May so I'd better get hopping. I read through a few of my pattern books for inspiration but ended up deciding to pick out some fabric first rather than the pattern. I have lots of girly fabrics, but don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl so I need to stick with something more universal. I found my stash of leftover pieces from a quilt I made for my friend Anna a couple years ago. I added a navy print to the light red, yellow, and blue and voila I found my color scheme.

I've been following, though not participating in, the Red Sky at Night quilt along at Tales of Cloth, and the Squash Blossom block has been on my mind. I think the pattern is in line with the trendy tribal things I've been seeing around the internets lately, and I've been hankering to try it out. 

I ended up with about a 17.5" block after I added the sashing, which will make a nice center piece for a crib-sized quilt. I'm thinking I'll go with 42" x 54" or thereabouts so I can get away with not piecing a backing. It was pretty simple to put together, I made a bunch of HSTs and then trimmed the rest of the squares I'd cut to match the finished HST size. (No planning here! Just winging it!) In the original squash blossom block, there are a few rectangles but I just pieced a couple of squares together since I already had them cut. 

I made a bunch more HSTs for the first round using light red and navy. The fun thing about HSTs is there are so many ways to arrange them! Originally in my head I had decided to set them all in a sawtooth pattern, but upon flipping things around multiple times to see which color should go where, I landed on this arrangement. I've got a nice gray stripe picked out as the background, but I am trying to decide on maybe one more round and a couple more design elements on either side to achieve the overall width I want. I'm actually really pleased with how this is looking so far. I've got a couple more weeks to finish it so stay tuned for the wrap. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

solid as a rock

Well, I finally did it. I bought color cards for solid fabric. I've been frustrated at my lack of solids hanging around my stash, and equally frustrated with the selection of solids at the fabric store I can get to easiest. I'm picky enough about colors that taking a chance on ordering online without knowing the color is not a great idea for me. So with this solution I can buy online with confidence that I'm going to get the shade I'm hoping for and take advantage of the sales and selection.

I got the Kona color card with all 303 colors on it (wow that's a lot of choice!) and the Moda Bella color card with something like 240. I think with a choice of 543 different colors I can make anything work, don't you?

I ended up getting both cards just to get over the free shipping offer limit, which I did by 5 cents. Go me. The reason being 1) I hate paying shipping, I'm happier if it's just factored into an overall higher price and 2) I also bought this:

That lovely stack is a fat quarter bundle of Mustang from Cotton and Steel. I've been holding out getting any new fabric for a looooong time, but this was on super good sale and how can I resist a fabric line with those colors, horses, and bees all in one great place? Exactly. I couldn't. PLUS perfect addition to the color card costs to get free shipping. Serendipity.

I'm looking forward to testing these color cards out on future projects, most notably I want to get some navy fabric for my Lonestar Hexagon quilt. Of course, that means I will have to consider all 20 of my options very carefully….

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Despite what the frequency of posts may indicate, February and March were not months without crafting. On the contrary, I just was not inspired to write because I didn't think I was doing much. Now that it's April and I've had a short bout of Spring cleaning, I have a few of these projects gathered together and I realized that I have been creating, just in a slow and steady way rather than my past flurries of making. I'm still getting back into my groove, I suppose. I got out of the habit of sewing while I was working in Sacramento and it's taking some time to shift back from the long bouts of knitting despite the fact that I want to play with fabric. Isn't that odd? Since we redid the office, I have to find a new way of navigating my fabric play time. I can't have my card table and sewing machine out in the middle of the room anymore because this is actually a place where Dave needs to come and accomplish things.

So in the spirit of transitions, I have a couple of knitting projects and a small foray back into sewing to share. This first project I started shortly after Valentine's Day because I'd been craving a maroon *something* to wear around my neck. I hope I'll still be craving maroon next winter because it is now well into Spring.  

It will be a triangle-shaped shawl that I'm sure will look great wrapped as a scarf. The pattern is meant to look like repeated hearts, which I'm sure will take shape when the lace is all blocked out. It's fun to work on, though hard to talk to others when doing so. I made a lot of progress during downtime at a work retreat last week when I could sit quietly on my balcony to recharge my social batteries during longer breaks. Quite a ways to go though!

This next piece is exciting … it's the back to my Aidez sweater that I've been working on for a long time. I'm a little bit afraid it will be too long (my gauge must have increased since I swatched) but I'm going to power through and see how it turns out. Even if it doesn't fit quite how I imagined, I'm sure it will still be a cozy sweater and I will learn a lot from finishing all of the pieces and assembling them. If it turns out it's way too big for me, I'll be happy to donate it because it's going to be epic and awesome and someone should get to enjoy it. Just look at all those cables.

These little lovelies are for my niece's quilt. I ambitiously decided to make an EPP quilt and enlisted the help of an online quilting bee last January. I've lost track of one of the blocks, which annoyed me enough that I haven't wanted to work on this for quite some time. I've decided I'm over it (sort of) and am going to get on with my quilt-y life so I can finish both this and my Lonestar Hexagon quilt for Christmas presents this year. There I said it. This year! It's going to happen. At any rate, I found my hand stitching kit and put it next to a particularly comfy chair, which has motivated me to baste a few hexagons here and there. 

There are, as always, a few more things in the works but these are the latest things I've had my hands on. It's good to take stock every so often, and I'm glad I remembered WIP Wednesdays exist so I could link up and share!