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WIP Wednesday: A New WIP

This week I find myself in need of a couple of quick baby quilts. So I started with the one for the baby whose gender is already known. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Gender-neutral baby quilts are no fun. Mothers who want to be surprised: I totally get it, and I’m sure baby quilts were of very little consequence in this decision, but your surprise is highly inconvenient for quilt-making. LOL.

So anyway, I’ve been sewing upA  HSTs for a baby girl quilt. The cool thing about this quilt is that the baby has two older sisters, both of whom have their own quilts that I made. So I can’t help feeling like this quilt should kinda sorta coordinate with the previous two. Or at least look like it belongs in the same family. Since it will literally belong in the same family. It’s a fun design challenge, and it’s also fun to think about this quilt going to live with two older sisters of its own. : )
Other than that, I’ve been trying to bust out the Christmas decorations. I’m still working on my knitted stockings. Charts and color work are super easy for me, but increasing and decreasing and slip stitches and all that nonsense? That’s where knitting starts to lose me, you guys. So as you can see, I’ve finished the fun part, and now I’m toe-deep in scary things like forming a heel. Wish me luck.
And then there’s the tree. In the past we’ve always put our Christmas tree in the front window of what is now my sewing studio. But since I moved the studio into that room, the tree won’t fit there anymore. We’re contemplating actually moving a leather chair out of the family room to make way for the tree this year. But in the meantime, I decided to splurge on a smaller fake tree for my studio. And it’s white!! I’ve been wanting a white Christmas tree for years. Now it just needs some decorations. That’s another of this week’s WIPs, I guess!

What are YOU working on this week? Here’s how to link up:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @lee.a.heinrich.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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My Fire Whirl Quilt in Scraps, Inc.

Looking for a way to use up some scraps? Oh, you are? (How did I know that? LOL.) Well, I’ve got a book for you. : )
It’s called Scraps, Inc., and it’s a beautiful compilation packed with scrappy—and modern—quilts. I’m so thrilled to have a quilt of my own in this incredible volume.
My quilt is called Fire Whirl, and, well, it’s a maelstrom of half-square triangles, is what it is. But what better way to put those scraps to use than HSTs?
Also, I’ve got a super sneaky, Thangles-but-better way for you to make all those HSTs. This slick little method requires no squaring up. Let me repeat: Zero squaring up. Sound good? I hope you love this method as much as I do!

I really, really love this quilt. Scrap quilts are always on my to-do list, and there are several other quilts in this book that are calling my name, including these:

My Favorite Things by Amy Ellis

Overcast by April Rosenthal

Richmond by Sherri McConnell (and I admit I’m a little jealous that my quilt didn’t get to hang on that awesome aqua step-ladder thingy!).

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WIP Wednesday: Convergence

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Happy Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening in my studio this week.

I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my next We All Sew project for Bernina’s blog—a quilt-along using Bari J.’s lovely Emmy Grace fabric line.

You know, sometimes a fabric line and a quilt design converge in the best possible way, so that each compliments the other perfectly, and I think this is one of those times. I can’t wait to unveil the completed quilt. I’ll be posting the full pattern in three installments over on We All Sew, starting next Monday. I hope you’ll follow along and make this beauty!

And my first Sew-Off garment is coming along nicely! (Click here to read about the clothing-making challenge I’m doing with my friend Jemellia during the month of October.) My Tiny Pocket Tank is almost done, I just have to add the binding to the neck and armholes (which admittedly might be the trickiest part). So far, I think I really like it. But I’m reserving judgment until that binding is on!

I can’t wait to see what YOU’RE working on this week! Here’s how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @lee.a.heinrich.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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Happy Birthday Olfa!

Ever look at an antique quilt and think, “Dang. That poor lady had to cut out all 6,050 of those pieces with scissors.” It’s kind of an appalling thought, isn’t it? Fortunately, us lucky quilters in this day and age have a little invention called a rotary cutter. And we have Olfa to thank for creating this indispensable tool 35 years ago.

That’s right, the mighty rotary cutter turns 35 this year! To celebrate, Olfa has asked a group of quilters (including me!) to make 6-1/2″ blocks for a special birthday quilt. I can’t think of a single sewing notion that has revolutionized the quilting world more than the rotary cutter, so I was happy to participate.

Our instructions were to make a 6-1/2″ block that represented Olfa’s 35 years—and to include Olfa’s trademark yellow. So I thought, what better fabric line to use for Olfa’s birthday block than Sew Yummy by Monica Solorio-Snow and Cloud 9? I mean: Smiley thread bobbins and seam rippers and tomato pincushions. (But no smiley happy rotary cutters? Darn!)


When I think of techniques that have been made easier by rotary cutters, two things come to mind for me—half-square triangles (because trimming), and fussy cutting. So I decided to feature both of those things in my block.

I fussy-cut around Monica’s fab circle of pins for the center of the star, and trimmed up some lovely yellow star points using Sew Yummy’s tomato pin-cushion blenders. Pretty cute, right? This block is off to Olfa to be included in the birthday quilt!

And while it may be Olfa’s birthday, you get the prize! Want to win a rotary cutter and a small cutting mat from Olfa? Just leave a comment (any old comment) on this post. I’ll draw a random winner on August 5. Now go cut up some fabric!

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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.
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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!

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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.

 

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Diamond Tread Quilt

Diamond Tread quilt

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

Click here to buy Diamond Tread as a PDF pattern

Click here to buy Diamond Tread as a hard-copy paper pattern

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 and Craftsy.

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: $8.99
Available: My pattern shop and Craftsy

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

 

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WIP Wednesday: HSTs Everywhere

WIPWednesday

What I’m working on this week ….

HSTs
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?

 

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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!