, , , ,

Spiced Chai Quilt

I guess it’s a good sign that I want to make a whole bunch of quilts from my own book, right? Here’s another recent finish—my version of Katie’s Spiced Chai quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival.

This might be my favorite quilt in Vintage Quilt Revival. It’s simple, it’s quick and fun to make, and I think it should be a poster quilt for modern-traditionalism, because it’s got it all going on. A beautiful traditional block, plus so much of what I love about modern quilts—asymmetry, unexpected block flips and rotations, strategic color placement that emphasizes the design, use of negative space. The list goes on.
So I knew I needed my own Spiced Chai. And this was one of those rare instances where I didn’t feel the need to make a lot of design tweaks, because Katie’s quilt is kind of perfect just the way it is.
The colors in my quilt are similar to those in Katie’s version, just a little more subdued. I even used Katie’s quilting methods—except that I swapped them by putting the squiggly lines into the leaves, while the swirlies were the background. The only significant change I made was to use woodgrain prints instead of solids for the neutral blocks. Because I do love me some woodgrains. (These are from Erin McMorris’s Lush Uptown line.)
And look: more swirly quilting! After stubbornly refusing to do any FMQ other than stippling for about three years, I’m kinda proud of myself for branching out recently, can you tell? : ) Remember what I said in my last post about burying knots? This quilt totally helped me get over my fear of knots. All the more reason to love it.
Definitely one of my new favorites.

A Safari Moon Quilt

Welcome to my stop on the Safari Moon blog hop! I’ve got a quilt to show you, using Frances Newcombe’s Safari Moon line, of course.

This quilt has been a bear to work on. It went through more design changes than I care to mention—I made changes literally right up until I sewed the last seam! But I think the beautiful colors of the Safari Moon line positively shine when paired with this background color, which is Kona Cotton in Regal (another one of my new favorites, I think!).

But notice anything missing in the photo above? Like, say, half the quilting? I was FMQing along this weekend, all in a groove, and then, bam! My bobbin case somehow unseated itself and went all crooked inside my machine. Broke my needle and everything. Like so:

See those red arrows? They’re supposed to be lined up. How does something like that even happen? Nothing I did would get it back on track and working again. Every time I put the bobbin case back in straight, it would get all whacked again after about every third stitch. So, my machine is headed to my repair guy at the earliest convenience. The whole thing is making me very unhappy.

But hey, check out what I did get done! One of the reasons I don’t use more dark background colors in my quilts is because of the challenge this leads to in quilting. I like my quilting thread to blend, but there’s no single color you can choose that will blend in all the areas of a high-contrast quilt like this. And you guys, I hate burying knots. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my entire quilting career thinking of ways to avoid burying knots. Fortunately, Katie convinced me to get over myself and quilt with two colors, knots and all. And I’m so glad she did! It was definitely the best choice for this quilt. I’m stippling in the dark blue areas, and I did wavy lines in all the other areas.

I’ll be finishing this one up as soon as my Janome dealer nurses my machine back to health. And I’m definitely writing a pattern for this quilt! I’m cautiously optimistic that I can have it out and available in the next two weeks. (Though that’s dependent on my machine, of course!)

And in the meantime, my back-up machine, the Hulk (ironic nickname courtesy of my guild friends) is back. Oh, Hulk. No offense, but I didn’t want to see you this week.

Thank you, Frances, for having me on your blog hop and asking me to play with your lovely fabric line! Now you all should go buy some Safari Moon, pronto!

, , ,

WIP Wednesday: WIPs From Way Back

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I decided to work on some sad and long-neglected WIPs this week, before starting a few new projects next week. That meant heading straight to my drawer of unassembled bee quilts. (Yes, I have a whole drawer of those. I know, it’s appalling.)

This HST star quilt practically jumped out of the drawer and begged to be finished. The blocks were made for me by the Sew Beautiful bee. I had fallen in love with a similar quilt made by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (and I think she was inspired by Jeni’s Giant Vintage Star Quilt). So I sent the Sew Beautiful ladies a bunch of Kona Solid charm squares to make the blocks.

HST Vintage Star

So I finally hauled out those blocks, which are a nice, big 16″ square finished. I made two more of my own (which was quick and easy thanks to extra HSTs sent by my bee-mates), put the quilt together and added a white border to give it a little breathing space. (Just pretend you can’t see all those wrinkles in the quilt top! Eek!) I can’t wait to finish this one, but I’m having trouble deciding how to quilt it. Any suggestions?

Farmer's Wife - 23 down

Next I pulled out my Farmer’s Wife blocks. Yes! I did! (I can hear the collective gasp from all across blogland.) I spread the blocks out and … nope, still not feeling it. Darn. I like the blocks and all—I just don’t feel like making more of them.

What did inspire me was the color palette and the prints I used for these blocks. I had squirreled away most of the fabric so that I would have it when I decided to work on these again, but I think it’s time to put all these fabulous vintage prints back into GenPop. And I’m going to start with a project I’ve been intending to make for many months (years, really): A simple patchwork picnic quilt for my family.

Picnic quilt fabric pull

So here’s my pull for the picnic quilt—same color palette as my Farmer’s Wife, minus the pink. As with my Farmer’s Wife, I’m concentrating on fun, vintage prints. I was trying to remember if I’ve ever made just a simple patchwork-squares quilt, and I don’t think that I have! First time for everything! Can’t wait to get cutting and piecing!

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links.


, , ,

Diamond Tread Quilt

Diamond Tread quilt

My Diamond Tread quilt is complete! And the pattern for this quilt is now available as well! Woot!

I created this design a few months ago for my post on the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool blog hop. I was excited about the block that I came up with using the Design Tool—but not so excited about the 9 million half-square triangles an all-over design would have required. I realized that this type of design is where negative space really becomes your friend. : ) It looks great, and it rescues you from making so many HSTs that you start seeing them in your sleep. Who wouldn’t love that?

Diamond Tread quilt
I was so in love with the resulting design that I had to drop everything and make it immediately. When I blogged about it, someone suggested in a blog comment that this design resembles the diamond tread pattern that is sometimes stamped into metal. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it looks like to me. I also like how the long, narrow section of Diamond Tread blocks looks a little like a tire track. So “Diamond Tread” was the perfect name for this pattern.

I was pleased with this design right from the start, and I love the finished quilt even more, so I’m extra thrilled to be making the Diamond Tread pattern available now too. The PDF version of the pattern is now for sale via my pattern shop, Craftsy, and Threadbias.

And for a limited time, I’m offering it for only $3.99—that’s 50% off regular price! I’m doing some price experimenting, so snap this one up before the experiment ends. : ) (Hard-copy versions of the pattern will be coming in the next week or two, but will not be on sale.)

Diamond Tread - All-Over design

This 8-page, full-color pattern is perfect for beginners, since it’s just half-square triangle units and squares. As always, I’ve included plenty of diagrams and illustrations to take you through every step in the process. And of course, I know not everyone is as big a fan of negative space as I am, so my pattern includes full instructions for two design variations: One variation features the negative space (as shown in all my quilt photos on this post), while the other is an all-over pattern, shown in the digital mock-up above. One pattern, two designs, three sizes (Crib, Lap, and Twin)—how’s that for bang for your buck?

Diamond Tread pattern cover

Pattern Stats
Name: Diamond Tread Pattern
Skill level: Easy
Finished sizes: Crib (45″ x 60″), Lap (52-1/2″ x 75″), Twin (76″ x 90″); two design varitations
Price: $3.99 on sale for a limited time (normally $7.99)
Available: My pattern shopCraftsy, and Threadbias

Diamond Tread quilt
Hope you all enjoy the pattern. Have a wonderful Tuesday—see you back here tomorrow for WIP Wednesday!


, ,

WIP Wednesday: HSTs Everywhere


What I’m working on this week ….

HSTs for the quilt I designed with the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool. I used Thangles to churn these babies out. And speaking of the Quilt Design Tool, my giveaway of a free one-month pass to use the tool is still open!

Bloom Bloom Pow blocks
And I’m working ahead a bit on my Bloom Bloom Pow quilt-along. Tomorrow we’ll be talking about design strategy, but we still have another whole week until we start cutting fabric! That means there’s plenty of time left to pick up a Bloom Bloom Pow throw-size or baby-size bundle from Westwood Acres and quilt along with the rest of us. Come on, you know you want those Pearl Bracelets. : )

What have you been working on? Link up your works-in-progress. Here are the rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?


 Loading InLinkz …
, , ,

WIP Wednesday: WIP Candy

Happy Halloween, and I hope all of you that were in Hurricane Sandy’s path are now safe and sound and dry. Talk about scary!

I’m planning a bee quilt this week. My bee mates will be getting charm squares in these yummy colors …

Palette for Sew Beautiful block

… and they will be using them to make this block ….
Sew Beautiful sample block

…. which I will then make into this quilt. The design is by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts—you can see her beautiful version in Chicopee right here.

What have you been working on? Here are the rules for linking up:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?

Have a great week!


, ,

WIP Wednesday: Onward

Happy Wednesday! After last week’s whole lotta nothing, I was nicely productive this week.

Completed Projects: 

March bee blocks – see my post here.

4×5 bee blocks – Finished these earlier today, although I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of the finished blocks yet.

• New York Beauty QA
• Going Coastal
• Gen X Quilters’ Charmed Prints QA
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer’s Wife QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt

This week’s stats:
Completed projects – 2
New projects – 0

Currently in progress – 7Okay, you all know how this works: Link up any post from the past week featuring a work-in-progress. Link back here and give your other linkers some comment love. Have a great week!


March Bee Blocks

March bee blocks are in the books! Here they are:

For the Stash Trad bee, Amy of During Quiet Time requested a Winged Square block. She asked us to use a two-colored print for the center, with the half-square triangles on one side in one of the colors, and the HSTs on the other side in the other color—plus Essex Linen in Natural for the background. All such great choices to freshen up and modernize a very traditional block! Amy’s tutorial for this block can be found here.

For my center square, I used one of the cuckoo clock prints from Moda’s Hideaway by Lauren and Jessi Jung. I just love the kitschy Alpine theme of this collection—hello, I’m from Milwaukee. : ) “Kitschy Alpine” is an official home décor theme around here. Hideaway is an older collection but there’s still some available on Etsy—you can pick up the print I used from Pink Castle.
For {Sew} Beautiful, Elizabeth asked us for a “Squaretastic” block entirely in Little Folks voile by Anna Maria Horner. I’ve never pieced in voile before. While it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, it was definitely slippery and different. In fact, I found the most challenging part was cutting it without it slipping around underneath my ruler! And it’s just not quite as crisp and precise as I’m accustomed to with quilting cotton. But other than that, I didn’t mind it, and it’s going to make an amazingly soft quilt!
Finally, for the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild bee, our fearless leader Amy asked for this wonky X block from the book Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers. The note included with Amy’s instructions said, “For all the planners in the group, welcome to my chaos.” LOL. But it’s a bright, fun, scrappy chaos, isn’t it? : ) I screwed up that top X a little—I forgot to trim the strip to make it narrower and more wonky. Then I tried to go back and do it later, because it was looking too fat compared to the other Xs, but of course, that meant that patch was no longer quite 4″! Argh. But I think it turned out okay in the end, and other than that little mishap, this was a fun and easy block to do.

Bee Wrap-Up

Since it was my month to receive blocks in two of my bees, I only had to make one bee block in November. And with all of my bees taking the month of December off, this is actually my last bee block of 2011.
Krista of Poppyprint asked the Stash Trad bee members to make this pine tree block. She asked us to do our blocks in any bright color, with a stripe used in the large triangle and a black print for the tree trunk. I don’t have a ton of stripes in my stash, but I thought this stripe from the Treasures and Tidbits line would work well.
Ayumi was nice enough to set up a paper-piecing pattern for this block, so that’s what I used to get my points right on. I don’t think my seams would have been this perfect if I had done it any other way!
So that does it for my 2011 bee blocks! This was my first year being in any bees, and as usual for me, I jumped in with both feet. I ended up participating in six different bees this year (though not all at one time!), and made a total of 54 bee blocks this year! Whew, that’s a lot.

1. Mod Mosaic blocks, 2. [Sew] Beautiful January block, 3. String Me Along January Block, 4. Spiderweb block for Elizabeth, 5. Do Good Stitches blocks, 6. Do Good Stitches – Love Circle August, 7. Drunk love block for Emily, 8. Wonky Star block for Rachel, 9. Wonky star block for Rachel, 10. 3×6 block, 11. Do Good Stitches – July block, 12. Do Good Stitches – Around the World block, 13. Cracker Scraps block for Angela, 14. Improv block for Kati, 15. Sew Beautiful – July block, 16. Circle of Geese block for Brooke, 17. Oregon Star 4×5 Bee block, 18. Bento block for Franswimmer, 19. Dutch Pinwheel, 20. Drunk love block for Elizabeth, 21. “Me” block for Angela, 22. Do. Good Stitches strip block, 23. 3×6 bee block – 2nd quarter 2011, 24. HST block for Sharon, 25. Christmas block for Katie, 26. Pine Tree block for Krista, 27. String Blocks for Patchwork Queen, 28. Drunk Love block for Beth, 29. House block for Cara, 30. String Me Along block
Looking forward to more bee blocks in 2012!
Updated to add: If you would like to join a bee, a good place to start is the Quilting Bee Blocks group on Flickr. That group has a list of upcoming bees that are looking for members.
However, my favorite bees by far are the ones where somebody (like you!) just decided to start his or her own bee, and invited some favorite bloggers/flickr friends to participate. So if you would like to be in a bee, consider starting one yourself! Make a list of people that you would be interested in exchanging blocks with, and ask them if they would like to participate. You’d be surprised how often they will say yes (especially if you ask people who aren’t already in a lot of bees). “By invitation” bees like this tend to produce higher quality blocks, and the members will be less likely to flake out on you, making for a happier experience all the way around. The Quilting Bee Blocks Flickr group has lots of resources for anyone considering starting their own bee. Look for the “Quilting Bee 101” posts in the Flickr group’s discussion forum.
, ,

Warm and Cool Quilt

My Warm/Cool quilt is complete! And I think it’s destined to be one of my favorites.

I’ve run the numbers on this quilt before, but let’s do it again, because I spent a gazillion freaking hours making these HSTs, so you can listen to me blather on about it one more time. There are 266 HSTs in this quilt and a total of 219 different prints. That’s two hundred and sixty-six and two hundred and nineteen, thankyouverymuch.

I free-motion stippled it—making this my second FMQ attempt ever. So don’t look too closely. : ) The stitch lengths are a little psycho in some places. But overall I’m pleased with my quilting and I think it’s a definite improvement over my first FMQ’d quilt.

Remember how I took all the purple HSTs out, because they just weren’t working for me on the front? Here they are in all their purpliciousness on the back. Kona Cotton solids, mostly from the Gen X Quilters Kona swap, rounded things out.

This quilt was also my first attempt at spray basting. I’ve seen so many blog posts about how wonderful spray basting is that I was starting to believe the quilt just magically basted itself. Sadly, that is not the case. : )

Immediately after basting, I had pretty mixed feelings about this basting method. First of all, I know it’s sprayable glue and all, but OMG, that stuff is sticky. And somehow I managed to get it everywhere—my hands, my feet, my knees, my kitchen floor, and I think possibly the dog. When I discovered the mess on the kitchen floor (which fortunately was easy to clean off), I moved to the basement. But like most basements, mine is dusty and dirty and gross, and all of that dusty dirty grossness ended up stuck to me, thanks to the fact that I was covered in, you know, sprayable glue. I literally had to take a shower when I was done basting! Is this normal, or am I just exceptionally bad at spraying glue on things? I was using June Tailor’s, not the 505 that everybody raves about, so maybe that was the problem? I bought June Tailor’s because it’s the only brand my sub-par Joanne’s carries, but I might try ordering 505 online for next time.

Another issue was that I basted one side, flipped it over, and … giant wrinkle in the batting, right down the middle of the quilt. Much swearing ensued. I basically had to rebaste the thing, but from the other side, which hardly seems ideal.

But I got it basted in the end, and in spite of all my problems, I got it done so much faster than I could have using pins. It really is a huge time-saver. And now that the quilt is completely done, I can say with certainty that I am another spray-basting convert. Hello, there are no pins to remove! That is particularly awesome when doing FMQ. Even more importantly: No puckers. Like, anywhere. Thank you, spray basting. I can tolerate your quirks if you continue to keep up your end of the bargain like that.

So anyway, that’s my Warm/Cool quilt. It’s like 97 degrees here, but this afternoon the girls insisted on using it while watching Team Umizoomi (shark car! shark car!). I guess that’s a pretty good endorsement of this quilt.

Size: 54″ x 74″
Design: Warm/Cool Quilt-Along by Jeni at In Color Order (thank you, Jeni!)
Fabric: Anybody who can name all 219 prints gets a drink on me at the Sewing Summit
Binding: Mini Muu dot by Lecien
Back: Mostly Kona Cotton solids
Quilting: FMQ stippling

Sorry about the bad pictures. It was a bit breezy for quilt photography the last few days—this was the best I could do.