Monday, March 30, 2020

Sugar Snow Quilt

I love quilt books. Who doesn't, right? I have a few I bought and was excited about, but haven't really used much yet...but there are a handful that I have used extensively. Vintage Quilt Revival by Lee Heinrich, Faith Jones, and Katie Clark Blakesley is one that gets a lot of mileage. I've made seven quilts from it now, I just love it. I'm kinda surprised it took me as long as it did to get around to my Sugar Snow quilt, as it is so striking and it's been on my list since I bought the book. I think I hesitated because I dislike making exact replicas of quilts generally, and I couldn't think of how to make it my own. In the end, I didn't change much from the original; She used a few prints in the blocks while I used only solids, and I changed one color, but largely it's very similar. I do like mine better, with the fun metallic essex linen I used. I am so thrilled with how it came out that I was even willing to hand bind the binding.

I haven't hand bound a large quilt binding in, well, ever? I'll hand bind minis, of course...but big thank you. But this quilt got the special treatment. And I'm glad I took the time to do it; it looks so sharp.

Marion McClellan did the custom quilting for me and she did a fantastic job! I love how it turned out.

I got this quilt done relatively quickly, too! I ordered the fabric on black friday, and took the quilt top to Marion in mid-January, and I finished binding it in early March (the day before our governor shut down Utah for the Coronavirus. Ugh).

In any case, it's done and it's beautiful and it looks perfect in our new living room. :-)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Swooning in Tuscany

I have often looked to photos I've taken for color inspiration. I did it with this Shimmer quilt, and I did it with this Swoon 16 quilt I finished up a few months ago as well. I love doing this, because it usually yields a color scheme I wouldn't have thought of otherwise, and it imbues a quilt with memories and meaning. My Swoon 16 quilt was based on colors from Tuscany. We visited Tuscany in May 2015 in celebration of our ten year anniversary and it was beautiful. The colors didn't translate precisely into this quilt, but I love how it turned out.

I also tried using a non-white background with this quilt, which is pretty far out of my comfort zone. I've used gray as a background before, but never a color like this. I was afraid of going too bold, since my colors are pastel-y, but I'm afraid I might not have gone bold enough. Still, I'm glad I tried it. I think it's important to stretch our creative muscles.

I also used some very cherished prints, including a yellow floralish one by Sweetwater and a coral floral from Kate Spain, among others. I'm glad to have them in a quilt to love and out of my stash before they stop being favorites...and now I have a few precious scraps to play with as well.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Summer Sampler 2017

I am playing catch up here on the blog. I really like having this blog to document all my sewing projects, but I've been lazy to get photos up on it, which is pretty much the most important part, right?

The quilt I'm posting today is a quilt I finished this past summer, but I finished the quilt top way back in 2017. I left it for a year and half because we were looking to move and I was trying to not spend extra money on I did my quilting from my stash, and waited to send my quilts out to be quilted until we had moved. I know quilting doesn't cost a ton of money, but I was really trying hard to not spend on my hobby while we were looking/building. Of course, my spending has gone into hyperdrive since we moved in, but we won't talk about that here... ;-)

This was a really fun quilt, though. It was a summer sampler project put on by Katie Blakesly, Lee Heinrich and Faith Jones. They do them annually and if I weren't bogged down with so many other projects, I'd probably sign up every year. That year, the theme was stars, and I love star blocks, so I added it to my list and did it. I kept up pretty well, although the finishing blocks took me a while. I wish they had released those instructions first so you could gradually work on them as you went. Oh's not like I really needed to finish them quickly, as the top sat around for a year and a half before it got quilted...

I did redo one block and there are one or two others that I could have redone, but I really love how it turned out. I backed it with a print I picked up at a store that was closing for just a few dollars a yard. It was the perfect colors and I really love how it looks. But you'll have to take my word for it because I didn't get a picture of the back. Sorry. :)

Monday, March 9, 2020

Venice Wallflower Quilt

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Okay, not really. But, we just watched Episode IV of Star Wars with our ten-year-old for the first time, and this quilt did originate a long time ago in a neighborhood far

When Kate Spain's Grand Canal line came out, I had to have some. I ended up buying a yard of the blue canal fabric, along with a layer cake. I've been slowly using the yardage, and I love it so much. After my husband and I went to Italy five years ago to celebrate our ten-year anniversary, I've been a little obsessed with sewing travel-inspired quilts, and I really wanted to make a Venice quilt to commemorate our time there. I also am still working on my Patchwork City Sampler which I'm doing with travel-themed fabrics, and I have another Italy-inspired quilt waiting to be quilted. Plus, that quilt I had published in Modern Patchwork was inspired by our brief time in Siena. So, yeah. Kinda obsessed.

Nevertheless, I love how this quilt turned out. I bought the Wallflowers pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew specifically to use with these fabrics. I have the Shimmer pattern already, and it's nearly identical. The only difference is the added corners in the Shimmer quilt, and the sashing. And the blocks are a different size. I emailed Allison and asked about the size difference in the blocks, to see if the Wallflower quilt would be a better fit for the amazing fabric, and she kindly emailed back! I'm sure she knew it was kind, but risky, as I could easily do the math from the pattern I already had to duplicate the quilt. Of course, I bought it, though. It's only fair. Be fair and honest to pattern writers, they do amazing work!

Okay, end of soapbox.

I loved picking fabrics to go with the Grand Canal fabric. I had all of the fabrics I used already in my stash, which was really helpful because when I finally got around to sewing it, I was on a fabric diet. We were building a new home, and I decided to cut my fabric spending. I did pretty well, too, and only bought fabric I needed to finish projects, like backings. And just a couple prints I couldn't live without. ;-)

One of my favorite additions is the umbrella fabric from the Charleston line from Art Gallery Fabric. It rained on us quite a bit while we were in Venice, so that's a fun tribute piece. And the geometric ones, of course, are reminiscent of the mosaics everywhere.

These blocks really are fun to sew. I love Cluck Cluck Sew patterns because they're always well-written and they're not difficult.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Bernina Block Party Quilt Finish

I sewed along with a block of the month over on Bernina's We All Sew blog two years or so ago. The quilt design was amazing (and was sewn up in Alison Glass fabric, which definitely made it so pretty!) and I loved that it was made of traditional blocks but that it was laid out in a different way. I decided to sew along and picked out fabrics from my stash.

I kept up with the blocks really well, but I became more and more disillusioned with the instructions. They were, frankly, poorly written. There often weren't concise cutting instructions in list form, and she never, never used shortcut piecing (such as sewing squares together for half-square-triangles and then cutting them apart). I couldn't be bothered to cut triangles, let alone sew them, so I had to re-figure all the blocks to piece them more efficiently.

I persevered because the finished quilt is just so pretty!

And then the last month's block came up. This block was difficult to see in the main quilt pictures because it was down in the bottom corner. It looked like it might have been embroidered, so I expected some options, and I figured it would be treated more like a spacer block. But when the instructions came up, the instructions were only for a machine embroidered block. This infuriated me: the very first post about the quilt along said it was beginner-friendly (which I seriously question given the sewing instructions...). And even if it wasn't meant to be beginner friendly, how many people, really, own embroidery machines? I actually just bought one, but I didn’t have one at the time, and it seems incongruent that a beginner friendly design would require such a pricey machine. The designer suggested sewing another one of the other 12" blocks, but I wasn't convinced that would look good, and those blocks weren't any where near my favorite anyway.

So, I started brainstorming. I considered doing a different 12 inch block. I had a whole summer sampler of them. And I considered doing some hand-embroidery. I looked around for patterns and ideas I liked and finally settled on a bicycle. I bought a pattern on Etsy for a few dollars and got to work.

I finished the last block a week late, after the finishing instructions were released, but I had other more pressing projects. And I was still a tad put out. I mean really. Who includes a machine embroidery pattern in a monthly block of the month? *eye roll* There were so many other techniques that weren't included, it's not like she ran of out options.

For all my whining, though, I like how my block turned out and I was pleased with the excuse to do some hand embroidery. I do enjoy it and it was nice to remember that.

So, here's my finished quilt. Finally! I chose a different color scheme than the original and I love how it turned out. The original is beautiful to be sure, but I do like mine, too. After I finished the top, it sat in my closet for a while before I got it quilted. And now that it's all bound, I'm so happy to enjoy it, despite the pain it was to sew.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Northern Lights Quilt

This has been quite a summer. A year and a half, really. But that's not really why you're here, is it? The last weekend of June, we moved into a brand-new house. We spent the previous year looking for lots or homes, and planning a floorplan, and watching our builder build our dream home. Finally it was finished and we moved in! And two weeks later, we left for a trip to France. I have a French friend, and she was recently married and invited us to her wedding! She said to bring our girls, but I made the executive decision to take only the two older girls, ages 9 and 6, and we left our twins, who are almost 3, home. I couldn't imagine a 10 hour flight with them, let alone the jet lag and physical demand of European travel with two toddlers. One might have been doable. But not two.

Of course, a wedding calls for a quilt! I thought long and hard about a quilt pattern. I'm a little self-conscious about giving quilts as gifts to non-sewists because I'm not sure a patchwork look would be well-appreciated by everyone. So, I looked for modern patterns and modern fabrics that she would more likely be thrilled to actually use in her apartment. I settled on Jaybird's Northern Lights quilt pattern and a selection of solids selected from my Moda color swatch deck. The only problem I had was getting the pattern and the necessary ruler; I wish that Julie sold her patterns and rulers at her website. I bought the fabric through Fat Quarter Shop, but they didn't sell the pattern AND the ruler, only one, so I still had to buy the other elsewhere. I get it: I wouldn't want to manage an online shop. But still, with the patterns requiring a specialty ruler, it would be nice if I could have purchased both at the same source.

Onto the quilt, though! The instructions were great and the ruler made the cutting go pretty quickly. I opted to add an additional color and a couple of rows to make the quilt larger than the throw size she listed.

I knew my friend liked green and yellow, so I opted to start the spectrum with an orangey yellow and go to purple. I really love how it turned out and I hope she does, too! I made sure to back it with pinky so it's nice and snuggly.

The trip was great. I'd never met her now-husband, and he seems so amazing. I am so happy for her! And the girls did great on the trip. We started in Annecy so we could relax by the lake for a couple days while we recovered from the long flight and jet lag, and then we went to Lyon. She got married at city hall in Grenoble on a Friday and the next day she had a reception at her mother's home in the Beaujolais valley. The reception, as you can imagine, was stunning, despite a torrential rainstorm. On Sunday, we took a train to Paris before flying home on Thursday. It was just long enough, and we did some really fun things. The girls want to go back, so that's a win as far as I'm concerned!

And the bonus is that I have *just* enough fabric left to sew up a mini version of the quilt. I think. Julie has a mini version pattern, but with the ruler, I think I can wing it. So we'll see. Hopefully, you'll see a post of a mini Northern Lights quilt before too long.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Hopscotch Outfits

My One Monthly Goal for May was to complete the Hopscotch outfits for my girls and I did it! This pattern was designed by Oliver and S and I love it. I've made the shirts three times now (well, six since I have two big girls I've sewn for), but this was the first time I sewed the skirt. The shirt goes together so quickly and my girls just love it. It's comfy for them, and I added several inches to the length so it's nice and long for my tall girls.

The skirt was a little trickier than the shirt, but I got it figured out. The trickiest part was the pockets. Liesl called them origami pockets and they were for sure like origami! I eventually got them and my five year old LOVES them. She loads them up with all sorts of things, and walks around with her hands in her pockets. I didn't do well with the button hole placement. I wish I had bumped over the top button hole, but I followed the button placement pattern that was included. I might add a hidden hook and eye to keep it closed a little tighter.

I do think the fabrics are so cute. I love how these outfits turned out and I really love so much how much my daughters love them. Especially my five year old. I was worried since it's not pink...and the yellow is not a color my kids would just pick, but it matches perfectly and I'm glad they're down with it. It's an Art Gallery Fabric knit and it's a really great blend and weight with a great drape. It's smooth and just stretchy enough, and I want a shirt made from it, too. Luckily, I have plenty left. I bought enough corduroy and knit to make Hopscotch outfits for my big girls and jumpers and shirts for my twins, but I'm thinking I'd rather skip the twins' outfits and make myself a pencil skirt and a shirt. We'll see.

As far as my other goals, here's how I did.
  • Sew a shirt for myself: this didn't happen. I was sick the first week in May, and the second week I sewed these outfits, and then my daughter got the flu right in the middle of end of year festivities, and then a week later, I got sick again, this time with pneumonia (along with my 5-year-old), and that took me through the end of the month. It was a really rough month in our house.
  • Black and White Quilt: I did get this started. I got all my fabric cut out, and I started sewing the pieces, yay!
  • Camping Trip Progress: We've gotten some progress made, but haven't purchased everything we need.
  • Summer Break: I've gotten these planned out, but we'll see how well they go! 
  • Exercise 3 times a week: I tried. But, all the sickness. *sigh*