Friday, June 14, 2019

Loving the red, white and blue . . . .

This spring @redrainbootshandmade started a Stars and Stripes sew-along.  I pieced this quilt designed by Camille for Thimble Blossoms two years ago, Lifetime Quilt # 204.  I enjoyed piecing the quilt and loved having such a patriotic quilt on display for holidays, like the 4th of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

Since I had some time to spare before my annual mother/daughter vacation, I decided to sew along, knowing several friends and family members who would also enjoy this quit.  And remembering how easy it was to piece my first Stars and Stripes quilt, a perfect fun and easy diversion.

In the rush of packing and errand running I forgot to take pics of my finishes before sending them off to the quilter.  But today they came back home, thanks Abby at Latimer Lane Quilting, you're the queen of wavy lines and fast service.

Here are Lifetime Quilts 250, 251, and 252.
Each quit finished at 56" x 71", has approximately 138 pieces,  and is made from fabric by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.  The pattern is Stars and Stripes by Thimble Blossoms and available here.  Back just in time to pass along to their new homes before the 4th of July.

Besides my quits arriving home I just got home myself.  If you're a longtime reader of my blog you know that I take an annual vacation with my daughter.  Over the years we've  seen some amazing sights, eaten some delicious food, and laughed our way all over the globe.   This year we visited Peru, a first for both of us.

We saw llamas, alphachas, and lambs aplenty.  We hiked every day and went white water rafting, a first for me.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  Cool in the mornings and pleasant throughout the day.   This was my morning breakfast view at the Sol and Luna Lodge in Sacred Valley.

We could not have picked a better day to visit Machu Picchu.  We had the place to ourselves, which really surprised me.  I had read about and was dreading the reported crowds visiting this amazing lost city.

 This is my favorite pic of the over 1,000 pics we took.  If you've not visited Peru add it to your list.  The people, food, landscape, and history of this country make it worth your time.  We traveled with Adventures by Disney.

When I got home my clothes dryer died on the 2nd load of the 19 waiting to be cleaned and the sewer decided to back up in the basement, real life, real quick.  But things are back to normal now and I'm happy to be home and back in my sewing room with the memories of another wonderful adventure with my daughter, making me appreciate how lucky I really am.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Fig Tree Red and Cream BOM . . . . .

I finally finished my 2018 Fig Tree Red and Cream BOM.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 248
It finished at 68" x 68"
The pattern is by Fig Tree
It has approximately 983 pieces

I pieced the majority of the blocks in 2018 so finishing this one up took no time at all.

Fig Tree is selling the red and cream bom pattern, click here, which is unusual for their block of the month programs, so you can make your own Red and Cream sampler quilt.  I think this pattern would look great in blues too.

This is my last UFO, hurrah!  I don't like having unfinished quilt projects hanging around.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Summer Love Finish . . .

I love basket quilts and try to piece one new basket pattern every year.  When I saw Bonnie at Cotton Way's latest basket pattern I new it would be my next basket quilt.

The basket blocks are ginormous, they finish at 16". 

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 247
The pattern is Summer Love by Bonnie at Cotton Way
The fabric is all Bonnie and Camille for Moda
It finished at 84" x 84"
It has approximately 622 pieces

The quilt top is prettier in person, I've not seen the sun in months which has resulted in dreary photographs.

This is the first block I pieced and it's my favorite.  That doesn't happen very often, more often than not my first block doesn't even make it in the quilt top, but I never could top the fabric combo on this one, even though I tried every time.

This pattern is available from Bonnie at Cotton Way, click here.

I have a Fig Tree Red and Cream BOM that I started last year that I plan to work on next.  I don't even remember how many blocks I pieced or how many I have left to piece, I can hardly wait to open that project box, it's my last UFO.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hope Chest, a finish . . . . . .

When I use a fat quarter bundle for a project, the first thing I do is remove all the low volume prints.  I then use a plain background fabric with all the remaining colorful prints.  Since I've been quilting quite a while, I have accumulated a pretty large stack of low volume prints.  I decided to use a few of those prints on my next project. 

I selected the pattern by A Quilting Life, Hope Chest,  to use of some of low volume prints. 

This is the first block I pieced and I immediately thought, what a pretty block, why have I been avoiding my low volume prints.

The pattern calls for 4 rows of three blocks, but I like a square quilt so I pieced 16 blocks, 4 rows of of 4 blocks.

I enjoyed piecing these blocks and loved the look so much I decided to make my quilt even bigger, 5 rows of 5 blocks.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 246 - Hope Chest
The pattern is by Sherri at a Quilting Life
The fabric is an assortment from Sherri and Chelsea for Moda
It finished at 83" x 83"
It has approximately 985 pieces.  

I still have a stack of low volume fat quarters, but I don't think they'll be growing at quite the fast pace as they have in the past, after this beautiful finish I plan to use them more often. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Oh Baby - A Finish . . . . .

After steadily working for over 6 weeks on my red and white adventure I was ready for something speedy, and what's quicker to piece than a baby quilt?

The mama to be requested a quilt of navy, turquoise, pink, and coral.  Using an assortment of Bonnie & Camille, Fig Tree, and Sherri & Chelsea fabric I was able to pull together what I think is a pleasing palette for a sweet baby girl.   

The navy on white background fabric is Blossom by Christopher Thompson for Riley Blake.  There are several colors in this line, I'm using the red on white for the backing on my red and white quilt.   I'm fussy when it comes to background fabric, I don't like directional prints or any print that looks messy when it's cut apart and then sewn back together.  The random design of this print checks all my boxes.  

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 244
The fabric is an assortment of Moda by Bonnie & Camille, Fig Tree, and Sherri & Chelsea.  
The pattern is Oh Baby! by Heather Mulder Peterson from her book Little Quilts 4 Little Kids
It finished at 42" x 46" and has approximately 99 pieces. 

Oh Baby!  has a couple of fabric choices, I went with the scrappier version,  and I agree with Heather, it's great for a boy or girl.

There are 10 patterns in this book, all of them cute.  The book is available here.

I'm still not ready to commit to another large or time consuming project, another quick and easy is coming up next.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Memories of a Masterpiece - A Finish . . . . .

If you're a regular follower of my blog you know my most favorite quilts are red and white quilts.  I usually make one red and white quilt each year.  When this Red & White Quilts book was announced by Martingale I immediately preordered my copy, and that was based on the cover quilts alone. 

When I received my book and was able to see all the patterns I was not disappointed and knew this would be a book I would use for several upcoming projects.  But one quilt stood out above all the others, Memories of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean.  I knew I would make this quilt first. 

Lisa's quilt finished at 76" x 76" and is made up of 3,272 one inch finished half square triangle units.   Lisa used a tone on tone red print and a cream background fabric with tiny red dots.

I love this quilt but the vintage vibe is not my style so I decided to change it up a little to maybe give it a more modern feel.

First off, I used solids for my red and white fabrics. I went with my favorite red, Christmas Red by Moda.  It's a nice bright red.  My next change was to increase the size of the hsts.  Mine finish at 1 1/2", I went 1/2" bigger.   And lastly, since my hsts were larger, I made my quilt top smaller, which meant I only needed 2,296 hsts.

To make my hsts I used the Easy Angle ruler.  I cut my triangle units 1/8" larger and squared them up after piecing.

When I started this project I had the notion of just piecing my hsts until I couldn't stand to piece  anymore, then take a break, making this a project to stretch out over the year.  

 I started making my hsts the beginning of February during a very cold weather stretch when the only thing to do was stay in and sew.  In 4 days I had 1,400 finished hsts.  

Once I had enough hst units to work with I started piecing the quilt top.   I also trimmed 100 to 200 hsts daily.

To make this process easier I set up a trimming station on the kitchen table, allowing me to trim units throughout the day and in the evening while watching TV.  I think getting such a big jump on the volume of hsts the first few days, then cutting back to just a 100 or so a day  kept me interested in continuing with the project and not stopping due to hst overload.

The center was a breeze and a delight to piece.  It felt so good to start taking hsts out of the basket while putting more in.  I pressed all my seams open for this project.

The outside border units came together, slowly.

I just had to take my time and live with the fact that not all my points were going to be perfect.  I did some resewing but not a lot.  I found that my sewing machine was happier and the seams better aligned when I used a bigger stitch length.  I usually drop my stitch length down a couple from the factory preset since I always press my seams open, so the thread doesn't show through.  I just went with the regular length for this project.

I pinned each seam on both sides of the seam.

And in what really seemed like a relatively short period of time I was done, no break required.  I found this to be a relaxing project, it was just simple pinning and sewing.  And as I mentioned earlier, the weather was my best friend, there was nothing else to do but sew and listen to books.

This is lifetime quilt number 243
The pattern is Memories of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean from the Martingale Red & White Quilts book.
The fabric is Moda Bella Solid 9900-16 Christmas Red and 9900-98 White.  I prewashed the fabric (the color catchers picked up no red during the wash), dried it in the dryer, then soaked it with starch and let it dry on racks. 
My quilt finished at 90" x 90", the pattern finishes at 76" x 76"
I did not add the outer row of geese, I was happy with the 90" size and loved the fresh look without them.
There are approximately 5,141 pieces in this quilt top.
My husband says this top makes him dizzy.   

My top may not have the wow factor of Lisa's quilt, but I think it makes its own statement, it packs more punch due to the bright red, is more me, and I could not be happier with it. 

For the backing I'm going with this fabric,

it's Red on White Blossom by Christopher Thompson for Riley Blake.

If you love this quilt pattern, but are intimidated by the volume of pieces or perceived work, don't be, it's not a hard pattern to piece, you just need start, and before you know it, you're done.  Like my friend Vicky always reminds me, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."  Just take that first bite.

Next up, I need to make a baby quilt, I'm really looking forward to working on a smaller, faster project.  That may be my theme for the next several projects.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Autumn Splendor

I've finished my Fig Tree Autumn Splendor BOM 2018

I substituted a few blocks, added a few blocks, went with my own fabric choices, and changed up the sashing here and there, but all in all I think it came together nicely.  I'm not really a big BOM fan but this program was a huge success for me.  Fig Tree did a great job of sending ample fabric, providing wonderful and easy to follow directions, and we also got bonus patterns along the way.  If you've sworn off of BOMs because of a bad experience as I had, don't hesitate to join a BOM from Fig Tree.

I selected this program because the finishes I had seen in the past were very popular and beautiful quilts, which is exactly what I needed for my library raffle quilt.  My first raffle quilt was a Fat Quarter Shop BOM, the second year was Summerville, and last year was a Christmas themed quilt.  I thought a fall theme was a nice change of pace. 

I worked on this BOM in 3 segments, months 1 through 6, then 7 through 10, then 11 through finish.

One block I added was the tree block in the lower righthand corner.  I used the tree pattern from my Fig Tree Christmas BOM book.  It fit in easily and I think balances with the large block in the lefthand upper corner.

The library likes a bed size quilt so I added an additional pieced border.  I borrowed the geese border from the Miss Rosie pattern Due South.  I thought some birds heading south was in keeping with the fall theme.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 242 - my third finish for 2019
It finished at 88"x 100"
It has approximately 2,646 pieces
The majority of the fabric is by Fig Tree & Company
For those of you wondering, I have already passed along my pattern to a fellow quilter who missed out on the original signup.  I'm not sure if Fig Tree sells these BOM patterns, please check with them.  

I have gotten several comments from folks wondering how I could donate such a pretty quilt.  And while this year isn't as easy as years past, I knew going into the project that it was not mine, so that mindset helped.  Also, my hometown has a population of 6,000, last year the library collected $4000 for my raffle quilt, they work very hard at selling tickets, appreciate my contribution, and the money is a nice boost to their budget, that makes it a little easier too.

 I'm currently in the polar vortex, I have heat, plenty of food, and a dog for company, so I think it's the perfect time to start a new project, maybe a red and white something for February.   To all in the path of this cold streak, stay safe.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Last Finishes of 2018

Here are the last two quilts I pieced for 2018.  I was very excited when a friend told me she was going to be a grandma, "I'll make a quilt" was my first response.  I always like the opportunity to make a baby quilt.  A couple months later we all found out that one baby was going to be two.  "Twins, now I get to make two baby quilts", was my happy response.

Since the mother to be did not want to know if the babies were boys, or girls, or one of each, I couldn't start on the quilts until they were born.   Which worked out fine and meant I could make them more personal.

The nursery was to be decorated using colors of soft pink, light grey, and white and the new mother didn't want anything overly fussy or girly.

So I went with this soft pink polka dot.

and this nice grey floral, girly but not overly so.  The floral print did not have any detail on the selvage so I have no idea who the manufacturer or designer is.

 These are Lifetime Quilts Number 238 and 239
Each finished at 43" x 56"
Clara has 733 pieces and Adelynn has 755 pieces
I did't have a pattern, but how can you go wrong with a simple chevron design
The hsts finished at 2 1/2"

I went with white polkadot minkee for the backing.  The quilts have been quilted, bound and delivered.  

Linda Hrcka at The Quilted Pineapple quilted them for me and is posting pics of the finished quilts on her blog today, go check them out, they look even better quilted.  Thanks Linda for quilting these tops so beautifully and quickly.

Also, thanks for all the sweet comments on my recent blogging activity.  For some reason all I can accomplish on my blog is creating posts, I'm not able to respond to any comments, I'll keep working on the problem, but in the meantime know that I am happy to hear from you. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Autumn Splendor BOM

This is what's on my design wall now, it's a mystery BOM by Fig Tree Quilts called Autumn Splendor.

This is my progress through the first 10 months.  I have the patterns and fabric for the last two months prepped and ready to go.

Up to this point I pieced this quilt in two blocks of time, months 1 through 6, then months 7 through 10.

I'm not really a mystery project type of person, I don't like surprises, but I signed up for this one because the quilts from prior years have been very pretty and I was needing a project for the library raffle quilt.  Quilts that were raffled in the past were Summerville, a Fat Quarter Shop BOM and a Christmas theme quilt, I thought a fall quilt would be something different and hopefully appealing.  The goal is to make money, who's going to buy a raffle ticket for an ugly quilt?!?

The plan is to wrap this up in the next week, this quilt needs to be pieced and sent off to a quilter as quickly as possible, the raffle starts in April.  Now that Christmas is packed up and I'm not traveling for a couple of months  I"ll have more time to spend in my sewing room.  The weather is a big help too, first snow and now frigid temps are keeping me inside.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

First Finishes for 2019

No one was more surprised than me when I looked at the last date that I blogged, October 25th!  I don't think I've ever skipped an entire month since I started blogging, let alone nearly 3! All is well at my house, just busy with the holidays, some traveling, and some company.  Happy times.

Thanks to all who checked on me, I should have posted a quick blog update that all was well and to check back in, I just kept thinking I would sit down and write up posts on my latest finishes.  I do have some catching up to do but to just get things rolling I decided to blog about my first finishes for the year, I"ll go back and update the last of my  2018 finishes another day.

This is Lifetime quilt # 240 and my first finish for 2019
The pattern is from the Christmas Figs Book and I used the Christmas Figs fabric too.
This quilt finished at 79" x 79" and has approximately 1,753 pieces.
Those blocks finish at 16" and were fun to piece, the pattern instructions were wonderful.

I started this project early December with hopes of finishing up before the end of the year, but when  January rolled round and I still had Christmas decorations to pack up plus this quilt to finish I was tempted to put it in a project box, I had had enough of Christmas.   Instead I stuck with it, finished it up and am now so happy that I did.  I'm not one to have UFO's hanging around and I didn't want to start the new year with two.  Two?  Yes, I thought this pattern would make a nice quilt for the Christmas festival that auctions one of my quilts each year.  I loved the pattern and thought it would make a great quilt for the event but knew it would be a hard one to giveaway, so I made two of most of the blocks as I progressed through the book, one for me, one to donate.

The pattern calls for 5 rows of 4 blocks, for a quilt that finishes at 79" x 97", that's a little big for my taste, so for my quilt I just went with 16 of my favorite blocks.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 241, the quilt I plan to donate to my local hospital and that has 20 blocks, like the pattern. 
It finished at 79" x 97" and has approximately 1,980 pieces.
I swapped out a couple blocks and changed one but for the most part it's like the pattern.

I'm so happy to have it done so I can get it quilted before my deadline this fall.

Both quilts use the same background fabric, the difference in colors must be the filters I used on my phone.

I think this book is great, if you didn't buy any of the Christmas Figs fabric this pattern would work for any fabric, I don't think it has to be Christmas themed fabric.  The book also has about a dozen small project patterns that are just as cute as the quilt.  If you've not bought the book it's available here.

Next up is to finish my Fig Tree Autumn Splendor BOM, I just received the last month in the mail.  This top is the quilt I plan to donate to my hometown library for their annual raffle, which is in June, I need to hustle.  But then my sewing obligations for 2019 will be met and it will feel great.

More frequent blogging to come, I promise.