Friday, August 26, 2016

Terrazzo Quilt

I cut out the pieces for this Terrazzo quilt last year, and never got around to sewing it. Part of that was because I never took the time to prep my paper piecing pieces, but the other part was that other projects kept taking priority. And you know, then I got pregnant. And exhausted.

When I found out I was having two girls, I decided to use the Terrazzo quilt as one of the baby quilts because I had all the pieces for the top cut out except for one print, and the colors I picked worked for a girl. I didn't realize how much bigger it was than I needed until it was really all together, but in my mind, bigger is almost always better when it comes to quilts, so it doesn't bother me.

I really love this pattern and how the blocks work together to form the design. And because all the cutting was done, it really didn't take long to finish the top, though it took longer than the other baby quilt.

And I love that the two baby quilts coordinate enough, but don't match. I used the same Kona Silver for the background on both, and the magentas are similar, but otherwise, the colors are different, even though they are in the same tonal range. While I'm sure I won't be able to resist the occasional matching outfits, I want these girls to feel different and unique, and that their twindom doesn't make up their entire identity. 

Terrazzo Quilt
completed August 2016
quilted by Abby Latimer

Monday, August 22, 2016

Times Square Baby Quilt

I've mentioned here before, and I'm sure I'll mention it again, but I believe every baby deserves a handmade baby quilt, preferably made by her mother. And so, when I found out I was having twins, I felt immediate pressure. I knew I could definitely get one baby quilt made by the time they were born, but two? I wasn't sure how I'd be feeling throughout the pregnancy. Luckily, my second trimester was pretty good, and I still have good days, even now. Because I felt the pressure of time (I knew making baby quilts after having twins was going to be a long shot at best...), I opted to make a quilt I already had cut out even though it was a bit big, and a really simple quilt I'd been wanting to make from Vintage Quilt Revival, the Times Square quilt.

The Times Square quilt was a little bigger than I needed, so I opted to change the outside border sizes and I also assembled it differently than instructed, adjusting the block sizes as well. I chose to make flying geese 4 at a time, using differently colored squares, and it worked out really well. 

I had a hard time deciding on my color scheme at first. I was really sure I was going to do magenta, mint, and butter yellow, but on a whim I tried out navy in place of the yellow and loved it. I decided to bind it in the yellow to brighten it and give a bit of contrast, and I'm really pleased with it. All the fabrics, except for the backing, were already in my stash, and it didn't use much fabric since it's such a minimalist design. The one trick was that I ended up cutting up my entire fat quarter of one of the magenta prints because, with my crazy pregnant brain, I literally could not cut it the right size. I mis-cut it three times before finally getting it right. After that, I took a little break...wish I'd taken one sooner! :-)

I wanted to back it in flannel, and found some Michael Miller flannel on Fat Quarter Shop for only $8.50 a yard, and I was totally willing to try it out for that price! It may not be as super soft as some flannels I've used, but it's pretty good. We'll see how it washes up.

The quilt finished up at 45" square, and I had Abby Latimer quilt it with a wave design that I had had in mind since I started the quilt. I really love it and I feel like it softens the straight line design really well. 

Now the only trick is deciding which baby gets it...

Times Square baby quilt
completed July 2016
quilted by Abby Latimer

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sampler Shuffle Progress

I haven't posted progress since I first posted about starting the sampler, but I have been slowly working on it! It definitely takes a backseat to other things, so I haven't made a ton of progress, but I have made a total of 13 blocks so far. I think what I'll do is make most of the sampler shuffle blocks (omitting the appliqué blocks), and then fill in with blocks from the Splendid Sampler that Pat Sloan is hosting. I'm just not sure 30 blocks (what the Sampler Shuffle produces) is really a sufficient number for a good sized quilt. I've mentioned here before, I tend to go with a bigger is better philosophy when it comes to quilts...part of that is that my husband and I are both very tall (I'm only 6 feet tall, but my husband is 6'6") and I love being able to really wrap myself up in a quilt. And I don't really see any reason to rush this project by using really wide borders or alternating blank blocks to make it larger, so I'll just take my time and make a lot of blocks.

In the meantime, they're sitting on my design wall, looking very pretty. I love most of them, but there are a couple that I wish I had done differently, such as this one. I like the colors together, but there's not enough contrast.

My favorite so far is this one.

These blocks have been taking more time than I expected to make. I forget that it really does take quite a bit of time to make individual blocks, especially when they have more than 9 pieces. But, what also is taking longer, is that I generally try to use alternate piecing techniques to save fabric. I completely understand why the instructions are structured the way they are, but I hate cutting off itty bitty triangles that are going to end up in the garbage. So, when I need to make flying geese, I make them 4 at a time. Which means I need to go to the handy table I have saved from The Quilt Pattern Shoppe via Pinterest and make them that way. Same goes for half square triangles.

But, I like making them this way, even if it takes a few extra minutes to refigure cutting. I'm really enjoying this project and I'm totally okay with it being a very long term project.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Arabian Night Quilt

So...probably two years ago, I won a bundle in a Fat Quarter Shop contest and received 9 yards of Cotton and Steel fabric. Yes, seriously. It was awesome! I was super excited about it and started thinking about patterns, and couldn't ever decide. And then Alison Glass's Handcrafted line took the internet by storm and I HAD to have some. I ordered a bunch of half yard cuts from before they changed their pricing model on quilting cotton, and when I received them, I realized how perfectly they went with the Cotton and Steel. And then I added in a bunch more fabric and ended up with a bundle and fell in love. And around the same time, I realized the perfect pattern would be the Arabian Night quilt from Angela Pingel's A Quilter's Mixology. I love her method for sewing curves, but cutting the fabric to sew those curves...not so much. So this project had a slow start.

And I was okay with that. I treated it like a back burner project and got it finished a lot quicker than I expected to, which is always a bonus! I started it last August, so it took me just about a year. I opted to use Kona Putty as the background instead of white because the AG Handcrafted really needed a non-white background in my opinion. The color isn't my favorite neutral, but I think it works really well with the fabrics.

I struggled with the borders and backing more than I usually do, and then again with the binding. With the fun prints of Handcrafted and Cotton and Steel, I didn't want to do something too crazy that would draw attention away from them (and my hard work at curved piecing) but I thought a solid border would be too plain.

I ended up taking the blocks to a local shop that carries more modern stuff, including Alison Glass, and while I was pretty sure I wanted Cotton and Steel, I ended up using a different Handcrafted print and I love it. I think it ties in the diverse colors really well without detracting from the design. I went with a simple Kona pink backing, and I bound it with some of the remainder of one of those Cotton and Steel prints.

I'm really happy with it! My husband thinks it's too busy, but I'm not sure I agree. I love the colors and the curves, and I'm pretty excited to have it finally finished!

Arabian Nights
Completed July 2016
long arm quilted by Abby Latimer