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Wrapped in Hope Quilt

My quilt for “Wrapped In Hope” is now complete.

This quilt is a birthday gift for Alissa, who is turning 12 on March 4. Like all “Wrapped In Hope” participants, Alissa has a parent who is in prison. I’ll be sending this quilt directly to Alissa … along with a birthday card that I’ll sign from her absent mom.

Alissa loves dogs, horses, art, and the color blue. I hope that means she will love this quilt. The blue solid I used for the sashing, borders, and binding is Moda Bella Solids in Blue Raspberry.

I adore all the little surprises when you look closely at these prints—this little hedgehog is my absolute favorite.

I almost like the back more than the front. I hope Alissa won’t mind the dark gray solid that I used (Kona Coal), but I just couldn’t resist, it looked so sharp with the leftover blue Pips prints. And I love how the white quilting shows up so well back there (although, admittedly, that means you can really see the flaws, too!).

All in all, everything about this quilt just says “12-year-old girl” to me, from the Sherbet Pips prints and the modern, blocky design to the fun wavy-line quilting. Thank you to my wonderful bloggy friend Elizabeth—her Sliced Coins quilt-along provided the perfect design.

And happy birthday, Alissa. I hope you have as much fun on your birthday as I had making this quilt for you.

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Fall Equinox Quilt

Second finish of 2011: My Fall Equinox quilt. I made the top as part of the Fat Quarterly quilt-along last year. I finished the top on the day of the Fall Equinox, so what better name for it? And now here it is, completed well before the spring equinox. : ) (Small victories, small victories.) The fabric is Wildwood by Erin McMorris, along with a smattering of Moda Bella Solids (Willow, Celery, Clover, Baby Yellow, Goldenrod, and Golden Wheat).

The back is a random collection of some Wildwood yardage that I had on hand, plus an attempt to echo the pattern on the front. And finally, the quilting is the easy wavy-line quilting which I learned about from the quilt-along, and I’ve raved about it here and here.

And I realized that all the green in this quilt matches my family room wall color, so I finally have a cuddly couch quilt that matches my decor.

And finally, what you’re really here for: The giveaway winner! The winner of the Wonderland fat-eighths is … #64, Heather! Heather said:

“I’m fairly new to quilting, but I have always been drawn to the quirky Alexander Henry stuff (especially if there are birds involved), and a line called Boutique by Chez Moi. So girly (unlike myself!)”

But guess what? Heather is a no-reply blogger. All comments made on my blog are automatically emailed to me, and if you have the correct settings in your Blogger profile, your email address comes with it, allowing me to reply directly to you via email. If your settings aren’t correct, you are a no-reply blogger, and I have no way of contacting you. So Heather, please email me by noon tomorrow to claim your prize, or I will have to draw another winner.
And while we’re on the subject, I enjoy replying to the comments made on my blog—I can’t always reply to them all, but I usually spend time at least once a week replying to comments. So if you haven’t received any replies to your comments on my blog or on others, that probably means you’re a no-reply blogger. Here’s how to fix it, if you’re so inclined:

  1. In blogger.com, click on Dashboard.
  2. Select Edit Profile.
  3. Check the box for “Show my Email Address.”
  4. Save changes.

How easy is that? Happy Valentine’s Day, bloggy peeps! I love you all. : )

P.S. Linking up to Sew Modern Monday. Go check it out, it’s one of my favorite linkies.

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Juliet’s Quilt

My Urban Lattice quilt is complete. This quilt makes me very, very happy. Very.

My sister “commissioned” me to make a quilt for her long-time best friend, who was having her first baby. But the parents-to-be weren’t finding out the baby’s gender ahead of time—and neither were some friends of ours who are due in March. Since I wanted to make two baby quilts, and I didn’t want to make both of them gender-neutral, why not take a chance and make one boy quilt and one girl quilt? My Modern Meadow quilt was the boy version, and this one, made via Cara’s excellent Urban Lattice quilt-along, would be the girly version.

One of the babies is here now, and she’s a girl, so little Juliet gets the Urban Lattice quilt. It’s all done, it’s washed and dried and crinkly soft, and it will be in the mail later today, headed to its new home.

The quilting is a long-arm pattern called “Wind Swirls,” and I can’t imagine a more perfect quilting design for these Far Far Away prints. It’s like a magical breeze just picked you up and dropped you into a fantasy fairy-tale world. You see? It’s just happy. : )

The back is mostly Kona Stone, with an angled strip of half-square triangles in the FFA prints. I thought about just piecing a straight strip down the back, but with all the angles lines on the front, I thought this would be more fun. (More work too, but worth it.)

I’ll be sad to see this one go. But since my sister was paying me to make one of these quilts for her friend, and that was the first baby due anyway, I designed both quilts with this particular baby and mommy in mind. And this Urban Lattice quilt, especially, strikes me as just perfect for them. I’ve known the mother for many years myself, since she’s so close to my sister, and I’ve done a fair amount of design work for her—I even designed her wedding invitations and her baby shower invites. She’s got a great sense of style and I think she genuinely appreciates beautiful handmade things. So I know this quilt is headed to a good home and that it will be right where it belongs. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Here are the specifics:
Design: Paper-pieced via Cara’s Urban Lattice quilt-along (thank you, Cara, for a great quilt-along!)
Fabric: Kona Bone, Kona Stone, Far Far Away II by Heather Ross
Binding: Kona Stone
Size: 48″ by 57″
Quilting: “Wind Swirls” pattern in Parchment thread, done by long-arm quilter at LQS

P.S. Linking up to Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations.

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Weekend Quilting

You know, I don’t particularly enjoy the quilting part of quilting. It’s definitely my least favorite part of the process. I always feel like I’m wrestling with the quilt. Like I’m trying to make it do something it doesn’t want to do. It reminds me of trying to get my almost-2-year-old to sit in her high chair when she doesn’t want to eat. My tops don’t want to be quilted, you guys! “Now get in that sewing machine, and stay there! Allow yourself to be quilted or you’re going for a time-out, young lady! Why do you have to be quilted? Because I said so!”

That being said, I spent the weekend quilting my Fall Equinox top, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s far from perfect, but I think it’s my best home-machine quilting effort to date.

No, I’m still not over the wavy line quilting. : ) I really love how it softens up such a geometric design. And actually, I feel like this squiggly quilting is a baby step toward free motion quilting. Even though I was using my walking foot, I still needed to have some control over how fast I was pushing the quilt through the machine. The slower I went, the more dramatically the lines wiggled. So I think (at least, I hope) I started to get a feel for the rhythm of it, more easily recognizing when the quilt is dragging too much, etc.

But don’t worry, you won’t see this wavy line quilting on everything I do. My machine has a lot of decorative stitches—so I have plenty of other available reasons to avoid free motion quilting for some time to come!

Edited to add: This post includes an explanation of how I did the wavy line quilting (scroll to the bottom of the post). Just use your machine’s wavy line decorative stitch – so simple! Love it!

I’m linking up to Sew Modern Monday – go check out Megan’s blog to see what everybody else is up to.

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Urban Lattice Complete

My Urban Lattice quilt top is done.

This was one of those quilts that drove me crazy when I was trying to decide on a layout. I must have spent a combined total of several hours just moving blocks around on my design wall. And wouldn’t you know it, once I finally settled on a layout I liked, I got it mixed up when I sewed the blocks together. Cara suggested a great method for labeling them to keep this from happening, but did I follow that? Of course not. I wanted to tear the paper off before I decided on a layout, because the blocks wouldn’t stick to my design wall with the paper still on them. Then I was too lazy to get out the masking tape. And I really didn’t think it was necessary anyway, since it’s all of about three feet from my design wall to my machine. How could they get mixed up from there to here? Apparently, they could. And now it’s making me crazy enough that I’m actually thinking of trying to un-sew one particular block and put in something different. We’ll see how motivated I am to do that a few days from now.

But aside from those few blocks sticking in my craw, I really am loving this quilt and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s probably one of my favorite quilts I’ve done so far. Thank you, Cara, for a wonderful quilt-along. It will pain me to give this one away.

And now all I have to do is piece together a couple of backs, and this and its boy counterpart, my Modern Meadow baby quilt, are ready to be quilted. Any thoughts for some cool backs, for either of these quilts? And I’m linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations—head over there to see more modern sewing projects.

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Lattice Work

I’m finally making some progress on my Urban Lattice Quilt-Along quilt!

Last week I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I changed the proportions of the original block design, so I had no idea how it would turn out.

But this week? Completely. Loving. This quilt.

Loving the fairy tale theme of the Far Far Away 2 prints. Loving the muted colors. (I eliminated a few of the deeper FFA prints.) Loving the Kona Stone I chose for the lattice strips. I think it’s all absolutely perfect for the mother and baby I had in mind when designing it.

I made the modifications to Cara’s block design because I wanted to really play up the FFA prints. So these blocks will be 8″ square finished, instead of 12″. The lattice is 0.75″ wide instead of 1″, and the cream background strips are 1.25″ finished.

And while I can understand why Cara paper-pieced this quilt the way she did (with reference lines instead of sewing lines), I did a few blocks that way and wasn’t thrilled with the results. My presser foot was somehow flipping up the edge of the fabric a little, and it was screwing me up. (Did this happen to anybody else?) So my seams were a little wavy instead of nice and straight. It drove me crazy. After some experimentation, I decided to paper-piece it the traditional way instead, sewing directly onto the lines.

This meant I had to adjust the placement of the lines to where I wanted the seams to be. It also meant I needed to glue the lattice pieces to the unmarked side of the paper. As a result, I marked my lines on the printed side of the paper, so the printing wouldn’t show through where bits of the paper remained stuck to the fabric. Marking on the printed side wasn’t ideal, but I do like Cara’s idea of using scrapbook paper, since it’s already square. Plus, I had a book of 8″ scrapbook paper on hand that I hadn’t touched in five years, so might as well put it to use!

After marking the printed side and gluing the lattice piece to the opposite unprinted side, I flipped the whole thing over to sew directly onto the lines. There’s something satisfyingly assured and concrete about sewing on the lines—you know it’s going to be pretty darn accurate, regardless of how wonky your cutting was. I like that about this method!

Of course, the drawback is that this method works best when you cut your fabric a bit larger than what you actually need. So there is substantially more waste than with Cara’s method. I’m kind of anal, so I’ll take the accuracy, even if it means wasting some fabric. But that’s just me. : )

I’ve done 12 blocks, so I have 30 more to go. Can’t wait to finish this one up—I’m thinking it’s going to be a tough one to give away!

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WIP Wednesday Link-Up

Welcome back to Work-In-Progress Wednesday! What have you got for me this week, ladies? Link up below to show off your WIPs!

New Projects:
Mystery Gift Project, times 12
This is my scrappy project that I’m making as small gifts for, like, half the people I’ve ever met. Three are done, nine left to go. My goal is to make one per day until they’re done, which means, come next week’s WIP Wednesday, I should only have two left. Hold me to that!

Ongoing Projects:
Urban Lattice Quilt Along at Me? A Mom?
I love this quilt! And all I’ve done so far is mark my scrapbooking paper! : ) But seriously, even just marking the paper was kinda fun, in its own weird, tedious way. I really, really, really hope to have more time for this one in the coming week.

That Girl … That Quilt Along quilt
Well. I wonked my blocks. And I don’t know—I think I may have under-wonked. When you think about it, that might be the worst thing that could happen when you’re doing a wonky quilt. Because people might not realize the wonkiness is intentional, and will instead think I’m just a really crappy sewer.

But at least I may have set a new world record for most use of the word “wonky” in a single paragraph (and in some very creative new forms, at that).

STILL didn’t do anything with these:
Figgy Pudding quilt
Wonky Log Cabin

Completed tops STILL awaiting quilting:
Hope Valley quilt
Modern Meadow Baby Quilt
Fall Equinox (Fat Quarterly Quilt Along quilt)

This week’s stats:
New projects – 1. But it’s a gift! That makes it okay!
Completed projects – 0 sewing projects completed. HOWEVER, I did design a blog header and three buttons, put up my Christmas tree, decorated the rest of my house for Christmas, and do some serious shopping. So there. : )
Currently in progress – 8, up 1 from last week.

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Urban Lattice Quilt Along

Why, oh why, am I joining another quilt-along right now? Well, Cara’s design is completely fabulous. There’s that. And it’s paper-pieced, which I’ve tried before (albeit very briefly) and just loved. So I guess I just couldn’t pass this one up.

Still, it took me forever (actually right up until about 2 minutes ago) to come up with a plan for this quilt. But one just dropped into my lap (almost literally):

Innocent Crush!

The funny thing is, I had settled on something completely different. I wasn’t loving it (which is always a recipe for disaster), but it was the best I could come up with. You see, I really want a nice cuddle-up-on-the-couch quilt for my family room. The problem is that my family room is decorated in golden browns, dark browns, and earthy greens, with a few rusty red accents here and there. I like my family room décor, but that color scheme does not a good modern quilt make. So I had a plan for a quilt that didn’t exactly match, but was at least neutral-ish. It was … okay, I guess.

But just as I was about to blog about my other plan, I saw the mail truck go by outside my house, so I decided to go get the mail first. And what did I find?

This tasty little fat quarter. It was part of my “fat quarter surprise” prize package from Stitched In Color’s giveaway with Sew Love Fabrics. And hey—it looks great in my family room! Check it out!

I got straight online and ordered a few more of the warmer prints from the line. Those will be the squares. The background pieces will be Kona Bone, and the narrow “lattice” pieces will be Moda Bella Solids Fig Tree Olive. I think I’m already in love with this quilt, based on this one little fat quarter! Can’t wait to get the rest of the fabric and get started!

Thank you so much to Stitched In Color and Sew Love. All of the fat quarters I got from Sew Love are fabulous—look, there’s some Weekends by Erin McMorris and Wonderland in there too! Woo hoo! And that envelope could not possibly have come at a better moment. : )

Oh, one more thing: Today AnneMarie at GenX Quilters is featuring my Advent Calendar tutorial! Be sure to check out GenX Quilters if you haven’t already—it’s a great gathering place for all us young(ish) quilters.

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WIP Wednesday Link-Up

Welcome to another Work-In-Progress Wednesday! Let’s see those WIPs! And don’t forget to comment on the other links. Click here for all the rules.

New Projects:

Miss E.’s Thanksgiving Dress
Blogged here. Pattern pieces are now cut. Hopefully correctly!

Ho-Ho Holiday Swap Ornament
I can’t say much about this one—I want my partner to be surprised! I’ve done a few quick trial runs, but just can’t seem to decide between two very different ornaments. But I want to finish it by Monday, so I better figure it out soon.

Urban Lattice Quilt Along (a.k.a. “the Manly Quilt”), by Cara at Me? A Mom?
This looks like a fun one, with paper piecing! More on it tomorrow.

Ongoing Projects:

That Girl … That Quilt Along quilt
I still need to wonk these babies up and sew them together. I’m falling a little behind but should be caught up by early next week.

Still didn’t do anything with these:
Figgy Pudding quilt
Wonky Log Cabin

Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Hope Valley quilt
Modern Meadow Baby Quilt
Fall Equinox (Fat Quarterly Quilt Along quilt)

This week’s stats:
New projects – 3(!)
Completed projects – 1 (preschool bug pillows)
Currently in progress: 9 – up 2 from last week. Yikes.

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That Girl Quilt-Along Blocks

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Ding ding ding! Done!

Okay, I think I know how Jennifer probably feels about my solid color choice, but …

Yes. Lime green. Sorry, Jennifer, I had to do it. : ) As soon as I pulled the Farmdale for this quilt, I knew it had to be green. It was screaming for green.

This rooster was positively crowing for the green. Just look at him, he’s all over it. And I love it too! Plus, it’s kind of apple-ish. How appropriate.

This is my favorite block. I love this blue floral to pieces. And it looks fab with the green.

Chain o’ blocks.

Bring on Round 4!