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Quilting Goals 2011: Just Checking In

As some of you might remember, back in late December, Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy hosted a linky for 2011 quilty goals. I’m a list gal, so I was happy to join in. Well, one quarter of 2011 is now gone–how am I doing on that list? Much like Elizabeth and Becky, I was pleasantly surprised at my progress. At the time, I thought I had set a rather high bar for myself, but if I keep it up, I should hit my goals and then some. I guess that can happen when you’re doing something you really enjoy.

1. More quilts. Check. Kind of. Jennifer’s Intersection(s) pattern is still sitting, but I did make a girly companion for my Modern Meadow baby quilt—that was my Urban Lattice quilt. No progress on bed quilts for Miss E. and my niece, and I completed exactly one block for the Bloggers’ Block-A-Palooza quilt-along, but one down out of 5 isn’t too bad, I guess.

2. Bees. Check. I’ve made some gorgeous blocks for bloggy friends near and far.

3. Swaps. Check. I sent my DQS quilt off to Australia, and received a lovely one in return! Now that’s swap success. : ) And I’m currently wrapping up my Make Mine Modern swap items.

1. Supernova -playing around, 2. Supernova red WIP2, 3. Supernova blocks, 4. Block on design wall,Not fully sewn together yet!, 5. Supernova block #1, 6. 1st Supernova piecing, 7. Supernova blocks, ready for next week, 8. Supernova Quilt Along – Piecing Sub Blocks 1-6, 9. Supernova QAL, my first blocks
4. A quilt-along. Check. Have you seen what showed up in the Supernova Quilt Along Flickr group over the weekend? Wow, you guys are rocking it!

5. Quilting for charity. Check. I’ve already made six blocks for Do. Good Stitches quilts, and next month I’m taking on the role of quilter in that bee, which means I get to design the quilt, collect the blocks, and put them all together into a finished piece. In addition, I made this quilt for Margaret’s Hope Chest and raised $80 for Haiti by selling pillows in the Quilt Hope In etsy store.

6. Holiday stuff for 2011. Nope. I want to make a tree skirt, stockings for the whole family, and a Christmas quilt. No progress here.

7. Learn to free-motion quilt. Nope. No progress here. But I did sign up for the Free-Motion Quilting class at the Sewing Summit. : ) So no worries about that until October, right? (Yes, I’m going to the Sewing Summit! Can’t wait!)

8. Rent the long-arm quilting machine at my LQS again. Nope. Haven’t done that yet. But still want to.

9. More finishes. Check. Kind of. My goal was to finish 12 quilts in 2011, so I’m currently right on track with 3 finishes in 2011. I also wanted to do more of my quilting myself, and of my 3 finishes, 2 were quilted on my home machine, while one was sent out to the long-arm quilter. So totally on track there as well! : )

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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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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!