Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Final Finish for 2012

My last finished quilt for 2012 is actually something I started back in the summer of 2011.  I got all excited to make a quarter log cabin quilt after seeing the rug in this photo.  I sliced up all the solids into four and half inch squares and one and half inch wide strips and started making the blocks, only to find them overwhelming when I put them side by side.  Somehow the rug was perfect, but the quilt was too busy.  All the colors together were too loud for my taste, so I tried limiting the color palette.  I ended up with these six inch, finished, blocks.  
I tried laying them out together, and I still didn't like them.  Disappointed, they went into the closet for a year and half.  Do you have UFOs (unfinished objects) like that?  Well, now that I have a design wall I decided to pull out this sad stack of blocks and see if I could arrange them in a way I liked. Some reconfiguring and white sashing made them more pleasing to my eye, and I ended up with a small baby quilt at 35 x 35.
 The straight line quilting design I chose reinforces the quarter log cabin design in each of the four quadrants.
The backing adds a little whimsy to a quilt that might otherwise be a bit too serious for a baby.  Hopefully this gender neutral quilt will suit some modern nursery perfectly.  It can be found in my shop.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Minute Handmade

I finished up some handmade Christmas gifts just in time to mail them away.  I always have requests for homemade cards.  I used fusible web to adhere tiny scraps to a piece of colored card stock to make these bunting birthday cards.  I sewed a line across the tops of the triangles and used adhesive squares to affix the card stock to the folded card. 
I used my trusty micron pen and borrowed my son's water colors to make some simple thank you cards.
I realized after making this card that I had created a water color version of Carla's quilt!  I love it so much, but it took a lo-ong time to make - too long for a set of note cards. I think I know a way to recreate it in a more automated fashion - a job for the new year.
But for now, I love giving handmade for Christmas with one last frame purse for my best friend.  The outer fabric is my favorite Liberty Bloomsbury print, and I lined it with an Anna Maria Horner voile.  Isn't that a gorgeous color!  I stuffed it with a few goodies for her too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Modern Table Runner

I have to agree with Jacquie: I never get tired of improvised log cabin blocks.  They are the perfect arena for play.  I used some lovely scraps of hand screen printed fabric from Blueberry Park to make some fun, minimal, improv log cabins.  My favorites are the ones that are missing a log or two. 
I surrounded the log cabins with Essex Linen on my new design wall.  If you do any improv piecing, this makes such a difference.   I don't know how I've gone without one for so long!
The quilting is a simple serpentine stitch on my Bernina.  For most machines I hear it is stitch #4.  I usually mess around with the stitch length and width to get it just right.  I love this stitch because it creates a nice texture with the ease of straight line quilting.
This extra block became a pot holder. Bonus.
I just need to tie these up in a bow and deliver them to a special friend who has encouraged me to think BIG this year.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Handmade Christmas Begins

I'm getting a late start this year, admittedly, but I couldn't let the start of the advent season go by without making at least a few gifts.  I used it as an excuse to make some frame purses after falling hard for so many by Kelly.  While I didn't get to take her class at Sewing Summit, I did follow the links she graciously posted on her blog to the tutorial and etsy source for materials.  If you're at all curious, you should try them out.  They are quick and easy to customize.  I made one with the basic template which has a flare at the base.
I tried one with rounded corners.
I made one with pleated strips of Liberty.
I made another using quilt-as-you-go, but only snapped a few Instagram shots before gifting it. That was my favorite method, and it was fun to use so many treasured scraps.
I found a little time to make the Idea Pouch by Michelle Patterns with some Washi fabric I have been saving.  This project backfired though, since I like it so much I need to keep it.
I have a few more handmade Christmas gift ideas up my sleeve.  Let's see if I can get them done in time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tallahassee Anna Pillow

After debating about what to add to my Tallahassee Anna blocks to create a larger quilt, I decided to go with what I already had and put them together to make a big pillow.  It's a little wild and larger than life, so I thought it would be perfect for Jenny who generously shared her Bohemian scraps with me. 
I quilted it simply by outlining the neutral pieces.
I didn't have a large enough piece of Boho for the back of the pillow, so I used another Anna Maria Horner print, this one from the Innocent Crush line.  I did have a long enough strip of Boho for the zipper flap.  Thanks to Jacquie for posting a link to this great tutorial on exactly the day I was trying to decide on a closure.  Seriously, this is the easiest way to add a zipper to a pillow!
This may be the only time I make a project with blue leopard print, so get a good look.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Supersized Part Two

In my second supersized quilt challenge, I remade my Flashdance quilt as a twin sized quilt.  Another challenge was getting a shot of this giant (70 x 86) by myself on a bright, windy, cold day.  Here's what I could get.
You can see I kept the piecing as similar to the original as possible, while still creating the blocks improvisationally. 
I echoed the slightly wonky shapes in the piecing with organic, vertical quilting.  It is no easy task to quilt down the entire length of a piece this size, on a home machine, so organic lines are a nice, forgiving option.  Still, it takes concentration to keep things evenly uneven, just as with the crosshatch I did on the baby version.
My favorite unique touches to this version of the quilt are the pieced back and the touch of aqua in the binding. 
I'm happy to say these two are headed to their new home this week.  I hope they will get lots of use, and that a certain two little girls really like them!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pincushion Swap

My guild, the KCMQG, frequently hosts fun swaps.  This time, we're swapping pincushions with several other MQG chapters.  I pulled some favorite materials and printed off a paper pieced template.  This block is called Economy, and you can find it here.
I had fun with the directional newsprint and fussy cutting the center.
My first attempt finished at three inches (tiny!), so I'm including it is a mini extra.  Four and half inches seems like a more useful size.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the other great pincushions at our meeting tonight.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This is the first of two commissioned quilts that will be super-sized version of quilts I previously made as baby quilts.  A lovely etsy customer was kind enough to say she loved the baby quilts but needed them for twin beds.  Here is a super-sized granny square quilt (my baby quilt was based on Jolene's wonderful tutorial).  I kept it as similar as possible to my original quilt, but in this larger version the these squares began at 4.5 inches cut.  The sashing finishes at 3 inches wide, while border is 6 inches.
I even kept the quilting the same as the original quilt.  I created a flower in each granny square, complete with four leaves at the corners.  The white areas are filled in with a fun loopy design.
I love the two Flea Market Fancy prints I used on the back.  I joined them with a rainbow of leftover squares from the top.
These two Denyse Schmidt prints on the back have a touch of black which works nicely with the black and white grid fabric I used again for the binding.
I finished up just in time to enter this into the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thanks for visiting, especially if this is your first time! Be sure to check the link party over there for tons of inspiration.
                                                            Amy's Creative Side
Quilt Measurements: 69 x 89
Quilted by: me
Best Category: home machine quilted, bed quilt

Next on my to do list is basting a giant flashdance quilt.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Snapshots Quilt

The title and inspiration for this quilt came from a beautiful scrapbook page I saw somewhere.  The asymmetrical arrangement of the snapshots caught my eye, and I love way they engage the edge of the quilt.  I framed each improvised panel or snapshot in white, and Angela Walters worked her magic to create a cool secondary design in the negative space.
The quilt pattern appears in the premier issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited.  I'm very excited to be a part of  a publication aimed at our community of quilters and those interested in what we're all about.  The magazine looks great.  I am especially interested in Jacquie's atomic quilt.  The design is so smart; she's made a complex looking quilt out of just three blocks.  Look for it!  Maybe she'll offer a preview on her blog.  In any case, I hear the magazine should be on shelves in early November.
I was a little disappointed to see that my quilt was photographed sideways, but then I had to laugh.  That must be a risk of modern, asymmetric design.  I'm just glad the editors thought it looked just as good that way.  If you try out the quilt, note that the diagrams are oriented with the shapes along the right edge of the quilt, as I have photographed it here for the blog.
I would love to see some of your own versions of the quilt.  The improvised panels are super fun and easy to make.  AmandaJean's book, Sunday Morning Quilts, has a wonderful description of how to make what she calls "slabs" like this. Jacquie's book, Quilting Modern, illustrates a similar technique nicely.

If improv isn't your thing or you want to make the quilt a little more quickly, you could always let the fabric do the work for you.  Here is a rough digital sketch of how the quilt would look made from Kona Modern Quilts' cheater prints.  Fun, right?
Or the panels can be a wonderful place to showcase your favorite large scale prints like Anna Maria Horner's Field Study.
Your fabric choices change the feel of the quilt so much!  Okay, now I kind of want to make that Field Study version.