Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It's A Red Letter Day

This quilt has been on my to do list for years, I loved the look but was intimidated by amount of pieces that made up this quilt.  I don't know what I was waiting for, sure, there are a lot of pieces in this top, but the process was easy and I enjoyed every day in my sewing room while I worked on it.

Someone mentioned the old quote, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time" to me when I started this project.  And I thought about that elephant while I pieced all the strip sets and 540 geese.  It's really the same for any project we start, regardless of the number of pieces, it's just one bite at a time.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 231
The pattern is A Red Letter Day by ThimbleCreek Quilts
It finished at 69" x 69"
The red fabric is Moda Bella Solid 9900-16 Christmas Red (I prewashed this fabric and the color catcher came out as white as it went in!)  And the white is Moda Bella Solid 9900-98 .
It has approximately 2,917 pieces. 

This pattern is still available from ThimbleCreek Quilts, click here.  I saw a navy blue version online that was stunning.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Swell Santa

I immediately fell in love with the Moda Swell Christmas Santa kits when they were revealed at market.  I pre-ordered 2 kits and patiently waited for them to be delivered.  (Is it just me or sometimes does the time between market reveals and market arrivals seem forever?!?!) Once the kits arrived I finished what I was working on and started some fun Christmas in July sewing. 

I admit to being warned about the size of that Santa head, but it wasn't until I took it out of the box that I truly appreciated its ginormousness.  

 I always prep my jelly roll strips, just a good spraying of starch then an overnight stay on my drying racks.  And yes, the strips do shrink, some more than others, although I have no explanation as to why.  I am jelly rolled challenged and trim my strips down, so a little shrinkage does not bother me.  I am never able to get the required width when sewing untrimmed strips together.  I think the strips are to be lined up and sewn tougher using the outermost pointed edge, which I tend to miss.

So I trimmed my strips to 2 1/4" wide.

This resulted in a finished log cabin block of 12 1/4", the pattern block finished at 14".

Since my blocks were smaller I made my quilt top larger, going with 6 rows of 5 blocks and not the 5 rows of 4 blocks from the pattern.

Before sewing the log cabin blocks together I lined up where I thought I would place the ginormous Santa head.

Then I replaced the pieced log cabin blocks completely covered by the ginormous Santa head with some leftover white fabric.   I just didn't see the point of sewing over such cute pieced blocks.

When it came to appliquéing the ginormous Santa head into place I followed the pattern instructions exactly.  Except I added nonadhesive stabilizer to the back for my machine appliqué stitches.

I took my time and used a large table to pin the ginormous Santa head into palace before setting the fusible.  I started pinning from the center and worked my way out.

I was worried about this step in the project but it all worked out perfectly, no wrinkles, just a nice flat Santa head.   If you look closely you can see the remaining pieced blocks showing through Santa.

But once the back was trimmed away he looked perfect.  I trimmed within an 1/2" of the seam.

And here he is, a quilt so nice I made it twice.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 228 and 229
Each quilt finished at 62" x 74 1/2"
The fabric is Swell Christmas by Urban Chiks
Each quilt has approximately 310 pieces. 

All I had to work with was the two kits, I added no yardage.  And even though I trimmed my strips and made more blocks I had all these strips left over.

One quilt will be donated to my local hospital's annual Festival of Trees fund raiser, the other one a nice Christmas gift for a friend or family member.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Amplified - A Red and White Finish

Another Red and White Quilt for my collection, my 12th.  I use red in a lot of my quilts, but "only" 12 have just red and white/cream fabric.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 230
The pattern is Amplified by Ron Doan
It finished at 50" x 60"
It has approximately 138 pieces
The red fabric is 9900-16 Christmas Red and the white fabric is 9900-98 White Bleached, both Moda Bella Solids. 

The pattern uses black binding but I'm thinking of sticking with the red.

I found the pattern in this book by Missouri Star Quilt Co.

It's Mod Block Volume #4.  I love these little Missiouri Star books, they run around $6 each and provide more than just quilt patterns.  Check them out if they are new to you, they offer a wide assortment of styles and themes and information worth more than their $6 price.

It took one afternoon to piece the blocks and another afternoon to sew them together.   Not much effort for a quilt with a lot of pizzazz.  I think it's a nice addition to my red and white quilt collection.

I enjoyed working with the red and white fabric so much I may piece another one.

This quilt has been on my to do list for ages, maybe this is the summer I get it done.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Blocks of the Month

I don't have much of a history with Block of the Month programs.  Out of my 220 some finishes 5 were block of the month programs.  My last BOM was the 2015 Fat Quarter Shop's Snapshot quilt, a fundraiser for St Jude Children's Hospital.  The blocks were super cute and fun to make, I stayed on track and made each block each month, and the FQS sent so much fabric for each block that I made another project just using the leftover scraps.  It was a great experience. My worst experience was my 2012 Northern Lights BOM.  I signed up for the program based on the quilt shop website picture.  The shop did specify that the fabric in their program wouldn't be an exact replica of the fabric used in the pictured quilt, but would be very close.  In actuality it was not, I basically paid $25 a month for a pattern because I threw their fabric away and substituted my own.   I did love the pattern and still have that quilt.

There are pros and cons to BOM programs but a lot of it just comes down to personal preference.  After a history of just a few block of the month quilts over the last 14 years I have somehow managed to sign up for 3 this year.  I've spent the majority of this month getting caught up on them.

First up is the Red and Cream project by Fig Tree Quilts.

This is a repeat of a program they offered last year.  I loved the look of the finished quilts I saw online  and was thrilled to be able to sign up for it this year.  The blocks finish at 10".  This is the first 6 months worth of blocks. I tend to let the monthly packets stack up then do them in a batch.  I'm all caught up for now, 6 more months yet to come.  I swapped around a few of the fabrics and replaced one of the patterns and could not be happier with the look.

When I was signing up for the red and cream quilt another project also caught my eye, Fig Tree's Autumn Splendor Mystery BOM.  

As a rule I don't like surprises, this is my first mystery BOM.  Every year I piece a quilt for a raffle for my hometown library.  Fig Tree quilts are so pretty and seem to have a huge appeal, I thought this BOM would make a nice raffle quilt.   I've really enjoyed piecing the blocks and love all the different sizes.  I prepped the fabric for 6 months worth of blocks all at once, so my fabric combos aren't exactly as called for in the patterns, but I'm liking the looks of things.  I'm very eager to see what's ahead and how these blocks are going to be arranged.  This may be a hard quilt to give up.

And finally, while I was in Oklahoma City for my Jen Kingwell classes at the Oklahoma City Quiltworks shop, they were just offering a Kaffe Fassett mystery BOM that caught my eye.  I love Kaffe Fassett fabric but am continually stumped on how to use it.  I've made one Kaffe Fassett quilt that I love, but I used a family of fabric, which is a little bit like cheating. I thought this would be a great opportunity to piece another Kaffe Fassett quilt without any of the fabric stress.

I've received the first three months, it's all very organized and the fabric looks yummy, but the mystery part is still worrying me a little, I plan to wait until I get at least 6 months worth of blocks before I start working on it.

Are you a BOM fan?  When you calculate the entire cost they are sometimes on the pricey side, but I've finished quilts that I love that I never would have made had it not been for signing up for the programs.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I'm back

15 days, 10 flights, 8 different cities, 5 hotels and I survived, but just barely, jet lag is real and thriving at my house. 

The Great Wall of China

Every year my daughter and I vacation together, some of my favorite days of the year.  This year we toured China and Hong Kong.  I flew to Los Angeles where I met up with my daughter so we could fly together to Hong Kong.  We normally plan and book our own vacations but given today's political climate, throw in some language barriers and the sheer volume of sites we wanted to visit, we thought perhaps a tour company would be worth a try for our China trip.  I cannot say enough great things about Adventures by Disney, the company we chose to  lead us on what turned out to be the trip of a lifetime.  Everything was first class and every detail taken care of, and I'm all about the details.  We were part of a wonderful group comprised of 25 other travelers and 2 guides along with local guides added for each city we visited.  We cried at our farewell dinner when having to say goodbye to our fellow travelers who had become friends.  There wasn't a rotten apple in the bunch, just the opposite, all fun, caring, polite and generous people and a nice variety of ages, young to old.  But not too young, we went with the Adults Only Tour, lol.  If you are considering a trip look into Adventures by Disney, I totally recommend the China tour but several couples in our group were on their  7th or 8th trip through AbD and said every destination had been amazing.

So while I've not stepped in my sewing room for weeks I do have some quilty updates to share, two quilts back from the quilter.

Bits and Pieces - Lifetime Quilt Number 209

The right amount of quilting and variety of designs that match the look and feel of this quilt top perfectly.

For the back I went with the extra wide diagonal print by Carolyn Friedlander.

Let's Go - Lifetime Quilt 212

Another great job, perfect style matched with perfect execution.

The back also has a travel theme.

This quilt is for my daughter but will hang on my quilt ladder until she decides what she wants to do with it.

And Bits and Pieces has such a Sumer feel I immediately threw it over the banister to enjoy this month along with my other summer quilts.

Both these quilts were quilted by Connie Lancaster at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis.  With the number of quilt tops I piece it's a full time job staying on quilting lists, finding new long arm quilters and sending the tops out for quilting.  Connie has been quilting my tops for nearly as long as I've been quilting and I'm always so pleased with the finished product.  Thanks Connie for once again bringing my flat quilt tops to life.

And FYI - European Union (EU) laws require me to give EU visitors information about cookies used on this blog. The only cookies involved are generated by Google, if you read this blog you are giving your consent to the use of these cookies.  This will be the only notice. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

West End Finish

I've had the best time this month working on this new pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

 It's a nice mix of large and small X blocks with a few background swaps thrown in for fun.

I started with large blocks, which took no time and was super easy since the directions call for making the blocks a tad too big then squaring them up.

I did not relish the thought of piecing 170 plus small x blocks,

but I got into a routine of making a dozen at a time, and when I had enough to piece a section of the quilt top, I did,

breaking things up and making me want to piece those little blocks instead of dreading them.

The fabric is a collection by Timeless Treasures.

This fabric is a couple years old, a find from one of my rare quilt shop visits.   I had never seen this fabric before and have never seen it again, but I fell in love with the colors and designs and think I saved this fabric for the perfect pattern.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 227
The pattern is West End by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co
The fabric is by Timeless Treasures
It has approximately 2,083 pieces.

Add West End to your to do list, any style of fabric will work for this versatile pattern.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Harmony II

When I was deciding the best use of my Harmony bundle I narrowed it down to two patterns.   The first pattern was Halloween Blooms, see my last blog post for pics of that quilt.

The second pattern was Tansy by Corey Yoder for Coriander Quilts.

It took some time cutting the fabric using the scraps I had leftover from Halloween Blooms.

But I had just enough.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 226
The pattern is Tansy by Corey Yoder for Coriander Quilts
The fabric is Harmony by Sweetwater for Moda
It finished at 61" x 61"
It has approximately 552 pieces.

I love both quilts and am so happy I was able to piece two great quilts using that one bundle of fabric.   I loved the colors and feeling of Harmony and am sad I've used it up.   I'm gong to have to work hard to find a project that I enjoy as much as these last two.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Harmony Blooms

It was love at first sight for me with  Sweetwater's Harmony fabric.  

The hard part was deciding what to make with the fabric.  I thought about it for a couple of weeks before deciding on Fig Tree's Halloween Blooms pattern.  I actually pieced this pattern using Halloween colors the fall of 2016.  It's not very often I piece the same pattern twice, (so many patterns, so little time)  but for some reason I thought this was a good fit, and it's not like I'll have both quilts out at the same time.

Unlike my original Halloween Blooms quilt, I did not go with a scrappy background and kept the center squares the same color as the outer ones.

I thought this combo resulted in a cleaner look, and I like it.  Like most of the US, it's been dreary, rainy, and cold here, we're past ready for spring, but working with this fabric made it seem like spring in my sewing room.  I loved piecing the blooms so much I added an extra block to each row.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 225
I've named it Harmony Blooms
The fabric is Harmony by Sweetwater for Moda
The pattern is Halloween Blooms by Fig Tree
It finished at 71" x 71"
It has approximately 1,609 pieces.

And here's a little reminder of Blooms Number 1.

I love this Harmony fabric so much I"m going to use my leftovers to make another quilt top.  I'm usually ready to move on to different fabric once I finish one project, but I love this fabric so much and it makes me so happy I'm just going to continue to sew with it.  That's my goal to work with this fabric until spring shows up on my doorstep.