Friday, January 18, 2019

Finished - Low Volume Trip Around the World Quilt

Why work on just one queen size quilt when you can work on two at the same time?

Thanks so much for all the love here and on IG for the Modern Fans Quilt (post here and here).  Indeed I loved making that quilt (but then I can't remember the last quilt I didn't enjoy making) but all the new components of that project required focus.  Making this Trip Around the World quilt was like therapy.  Everything about it was lovely, calming and relaxing.  Even though it is the biggest quilt I've ever made (just a few inches larger than the Modern Fans) I was a little sad to have it finished.

The pattern is of course the tutorial by Quiltville.  This is the second quilt I've finished using that pattern (the first is here) so I was familiar with the technique.  Digging into my stash for low volume fabrics with a gray leaning created a colossal mess in the sewing room but was quite rewarding.  That is, until I realized that even with the fabric requirements of a queen size quilt I was barely making an impact on my low volume stash!  See my 2019 goal post for more on that challenge!

Calculating the number of blocks I would need for a queen, I cut over 400 strips of some of my favorite fabric.

Over a month or so I would sew up 10 blocks at a time and unpick the seams (see the tutorial as to why this is done) while relaxing at night watching TV.  And soon enough, there were 72 beautiful blocks.

Keeping with the therapeutic nature of this project, I just placed them on my design wall and didn't stress too much about the adjacencies of each block.  This picture is the layout in process with my not quite queen size design wall.

Table basting to save the back and knees!!
Ah then the quilting.  Over several days I quilted a leafy pattern completely covering the quilt.  The flowing, repetitive movement of the leaves was so enjoyable to quilt and it adds a lovely softness to all those little blocks.

Several hours of hand sewing the binding later, the quilt was finished.

At least I know the quilt went to a good home and I can visit it whenever I want! My son and daughter in law loved the quilt and we had fun photographing it on a gray Christmas Eve outside their lovely antique home.

Let's talk about the backing.  It's Charley Harper Birch organic Western Birds and the best part is that it was a wide backing piece that I had in my stash!  It takes a lot of hands to hold a queen size quilt up.

Those birds are almost sitting on the leaves in the quilting.

Sorry about all the pictures but I do love this quilt!! Although I had plans to finish three bed size quilts for my three sons for Christmas, I ran out of gas and gave one son an I.O.U. in the form of fabric selected for his quilt.  He knows I'm good for it!

Have a great day,

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Modern Fans Quilt Finish - Part Two

Photographing this quilt top was a challenge.  At 84" by 112" my usual quilt holder gets extra credit for effort.
Then it was time to baste.  Except for very small quilts, I have basted all my quilts on a table.  Maybe one of these days I'll get my act together and document my process on this blog.
I do all my own quilting, usually on my sit down Sweet Sixteen quilting machine.  However, I wanted to do straight line quilting on this one.  My second sewing machine was set up on the dining room table, a folding table added off to the left for support, attached my walking foot and I went to work.  One inch quilting lines, 84 of them, 112 inches long.  This took a few days and lots of patience but I am so pleased with the results.
As much as I have enjoyed creative pieced backings, there are occasions when wide (108") backings are the only way to go.
Miles of hand sewn binding later, we have a finished quilt!!  After I gifted it to my son on Christmas we were able to enlist he and his brother to hold the finished product for pictures.

I loved making this quilt and my son was appropriately thrilled to have this addition to his apartment in Chicago.
With all that pre-washing, there was very little shrinkage after washing.
Thank you Suzy for such a wonderful quilt pattern and all the support! I will definitely be making another, perhaps a bit smaller next time!

Have a great day,

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Modern Fans Quilt Finish - Part One

There are quilts that we work on and then there are QUILTS.  I've just finished and gifted two queen sized quilts that for different reasons are particularly special to me.  The first is a Modern Fans Quilt, pattern by the talented and entertaining SuzyQuilts.  Suzy hosted a quilt along for this pattern that helped keep me on track for a Christmas delivery of this quilt but also guided through some of the potentially trickier aspects (those curves!).

One of the firsts for me was pre-washing all the fabric.  I have never had a problem with fabric bleeding but with the dark navy and white colors selected for this quilt I didn't want to take any chance.  Yards and yards of fabrics were washed, ironed and starched (even some in the end I decided not to use).  I have to admit that the starched fabric was wonderful to work with.  
The cutting was a project in itself.  Lots of pieces, lots of curves.  A small rotary cutter made all the difference.  

Piecing the blocks and pressing them was my favorite part.  Sewing those curves was oddly relaxing. 

Another first was using Essex linen.  I wanted the texture of the linen but was concerned about fraying issues others have reported.  Throughout the quilt I used a smaller stitch length when sewing the linen.  I am optimistic that all will be well.

One of the supplies recommended by Suzy was a tailor's clapper presser.  I pride myself in not being a gadget person, but I had been recently frustrated with block wonkiness after pressing so I got one.  Look at these flat seams!!  Fantastic!!

After all the blocks (192 if you're interested) were assembled it was time to lay them all out.  I am so fortunate to have a large design wall in my sewing room but not big enough for this quilt!

Chain piecing saved the day. At this point, the weight of the quilt started to become apparent.  

And then there was a quilt top...continued in Part Two with the quilting and the finished quilt.

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Christmas Tree Skirt Finish

For many of us a Christmas tree skirt can be more than just a coverup of the tree base and electrical connections.  It can play a key part in setting the stage for making Christmas memories.

One of the finishes I gifted this Christmas is a tree skirt for my almost newlywed son and his wife. The pattern is a tutorial by the talented EVQuilts.
I admit to doing a little shopping to find the right combination of fabrics...dark reds and greens, lighter prints and, of course, dogs with Santa hats!

I'm hoping this is part of making wonderful Christmas memories for many years.

Wishing you all the best in 2019!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

2019 Sewing Goal

Annual goal setting is a tricky business.  It's important to have a plan to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.  However, setting too many stretch goals can set one up for unnecessary feeling of personal failure.  With that in mind, I am setting forth my ONE sewing goal for 2019 and linking up with Quilting JetGirl's linky party.

2019 Planning Party

My 2019 Sewing Goal:  Noticeably (how's that for a measurable goal?) decrease the amount of fabric in my sewing room.

Quite original, I know.  None of you have ever said that before!  After a year with several large quilt finishes (most of which I have not blogged about yet, but I will!) my fabric inventory appears unaltered.  This is the current state:

Fat quarters and precuts:
 More fat quarters, layer cakes and yardage:
 Some scraps, selvages and few long term WIPS:
 More yardage:
 Odds and ends of home dec, flannel, vintage and most of my Tula Pink collection:
And there's boxes and bags of scraps too!

Now, I appreciate  that this may not look like much fabric to some of you but to me it is overwhelming.  The fear that I will never "sew through" all of this is a recurring theme.  I'm  not really concerned about the scraps, it is all the yardage and fat quarters that seem daunting.  As I think about what specific actions I will take to achieve my goal I am considering the following:
  • Sew more, smaller quilts probably for donation. I have a fair amount of bright and printed fabrics that make me happy in my stash.  However, I just don't have a lot of demand for pink, purple and cute motifs in my regular quilt audience.  There is a children's hospital nearby that will take quilts for patients and their families.  
  • Pillowcases!  I can envision making a sizable dent in some of the cute fabric for pillowcases to be donated to that hospital.
  • Bags and pouches are much faster than a quilt to complete and I have ideas about who to gift them to and where I might sell some.
  • No fabric shopping unless needed to complete a project that is greater than 50% from stash. (Let's see how long this works out!)
  • Figure out how to do a destash on Instagram for some fat quarter bundles and charm packs that have been sitting around too long.  

Other suggestions??  As you might gather, in the scheme of life's big picture, I don't take any of this too serious.  On the other hand, I am quite sure I will feel much lighter if I do end 2019 with some space on the buy new fabric!

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and all the best for 2019.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Finished - The Quilters Planner 2018 Sampler Quilt

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I am a big fan of a good sampler quilt!  I get bored pretty quickly with making the same block over and over again.  With the challenge of making quilts for a twin bedroom, I selected two patterns that I thought would work well together.  The first twin quilt I posted here.

Today's finish is the sampler quilt from the 2018 Quilters Planner and I could not love it more!! It has the same Kona Aloe and Kona White background fabric as its fraternal twin quilt.  It was great fun picking the fabric for each block, including a little fussy cutting interest.

Making two quilts at a time, I thought I would go easy on the quilting.  But apparently I just can't stop myself from quilting every inch!  Each block is uniquely quilted and I used the same swirly motif in the border areas as in in the first quilt.

I love the texture on both the front and back from all this quilting.

As the bedroom is in the lower level with a deck overhang above, even on the brightest days it is still pretty dark in this room.  I think these quilts go a long way to adding some cheer to the room!

I blogged about the pillows on the bed here. And, yes, I made the window treatments and the window seat cushion for the room as well.
Most of the time these quilts will be folded at the end of the beds with white comforters but I think they work fine together!

It feels great to finally have handmade quilts on these beds.  I have many quilts in process in the sewing cave so stay tuned for (hopefully) a few more finishes soon!

Have a great day!

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