Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flowering Snowball Quilt

I shared a glimpse of my Flowering Snowball Quilt and several of you asked for more info. I'm back today with more pictures and the scoop on just how to make it!

I started with several pieces of Emmy Grace by Bari J for Art Gallery fabrics. It became my color inspiration of greens, blues, pinks, gold and grays. Then as usual, for variety I added lots of coordinating prints from my stash {and because, really, I have to use some of this stash!}.

The pattern is from Mary at Molly Flanders Makerie. You can find the full schedule of posts here. I chose to buy templates and got them from Custom Plastic on etsy. If they're not listed, you can just send Rodney a message and he will list them for you.

The only change I made to Mary's instructions was the pressing of the seam allowances. For half the blocks I pressed the seams toward the print fabric and for the other half I pressed toward the white fabric. I alternated the two blocks in the quilt so the seams were easier to match up. And it seemed to work perfectly...

I'm so enamored with the circles that form when you put the blocks together!

Up next is quilting this one and I'm seriously considering hand quilting it - very simply - just echoing the pattern. 

You can see more Flowering Snowball quilts on flickr or Instagram using the hashtag #floweringsnowballalong

Linking up to Molly Flanders Flowering Snowball Along!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Special Sampler Quilt

I started making these blocks in January of this year. Six-inch Sampler blocks to turn into a special quilt for me. My pile of 63 blocks...

The idea came from the Farmer's Wife QAL craze of a few years ago. I decided to simplify and primarily used this book - 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins. The blocks will alternate set straight and on-point, so I kept a list, recording each pattern as I made it, hoping to avoid any duplicates.

The goal is to complete the quilt by my birthday in December. You see, I have a big one coming up - it ends in a "0". 

2014 also marks 30 years of serious quilting for me - feels like a milestone. I took my first quilt class in 1981. I had a baby and a job which didn't leave much time for quilting. The baby became babies and the job continued, so sewing time was pretty nonexistent. In 1984, I kept the babies, but quit the job and nap time became quilting time. And the story began - fabric collecting, quilt guilds, sewing and working in a quilt shop - all became a big part of me.

As I've worked on these blocks, it's been fun to think about how things have changed and how they haven't. I still have favorite blocks - stars and pinwheels - and I still have favorite colors - blues and greens. But I have evolved as a quilter.

As I made each block, I carefully chose my some of my all-time favorite colors and fabrics, both old and new...

I tried to add some whimsy and a surprisingly new favorite color for me - purple...

I added at least one fabric from all of my favorite designers...

And as organized as I felt, ended up with 2 blocks of the same pattern...

Ten of the blocks were made by five very special friends. I think I need to have them sign at least one of their blocks.

Some of my collected lines - Flea Market Fancy and Bonnie and Camille.

I'm excited to sew the blocks together, and I'm hoping it doesn't look like a hot mess. If it does, I guess it will be my hot mess and I know I'll love it!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gathering Flowers Quilt

I've been quilting and quilting and quilting and finished up my Gathering Flowers Quilt. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner and although there are 2 variations of the block, I chose to do the pieced one. The other is gathered and dimensional.

This is a completely pieced flower block and full of curves. The curves seem to be a theme for me this year! The background is 2-tone. I used a white solid and a very subtle gray print. If you look close you can see the pinwheels that form in the background. Love that!

I struggled in choosing a binding for the quilt and "settled" on a navy diagonal stripe from April Showers. I ended up loving it!

The background quilting is a loopy paisley fill and I marked a design with a circle template that created a big, round flower motif on the flower. I shared a Flipgram tutorial on Instagram, which you can view here. (Wait a few seconds for it to play)

The quilt sure is a mix of fabrics! Each wedge was cut from a different fabric and the outside petals are all a bold graphic print.

It was a fun quilt to make and I think I've finally made peace with curves!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sew, sew, sew...

Four days of sewing, sewing, sewing. It keeps us busy while we talk, laugh and eat. Quilt Retreat ~ sometimes productive, but always fun. I get to go with a bunch of ladies who never cease to amaze me with their talent and kindness. I'm very blessed.

Last week turned out to be one of those productive retreats. It seems I brought just the right mix of piecing projects. One small, one larger and one half-way done.

I had 16 of my 30 Flowering Snowball blocks completed and decided to tackle the remaining 14. Done and done! It was a breeze to set them together once I got home and I now have a top. More details to come on this one!

Our Modern Quilt Guild has a fund raising sale at the end of each year. Last year I won a jelly-roll of Kate Spain's Cuzco. It's so pretty! Since I had it all cut out before I left, I was able to piece the small Zipper quilt the first day. It's an older line, and I was wondering what I'd be able to find for a backing and binding. What do you know - the next day my friend, Gina noticed that Abby was destashing several yards on Instagram. Score! Meant to be :-)

And remember all those squares of Bonnie and Camille fabrics that I cut from scraps? Yup! Got most of those blocks done too! I finished the final few when I got home and quickly set them together. The pattern is Great Granny Squares by Lori Holt.

We had a fun little secret sister swap this time too.  I asked for something for my sewing room and one of my best buddies, Rene, made this beautiful sewing machine cover. I love it and it was desperately needed!

It felt good to finish up a few quilt tops last week. I've got some new fabric calling my name...

The cycle never ends!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wee Wander Patchwork

The past two weeks have been filled with kids. Not much sewing and not much blogging, but certainly lots of giggles.

I made my granddaughters new blankets. They are patchwork squares from Wee Wander by Sarah Jane with some coordinating prints thrown in. I'm not sure they'd be considered quilts - I didn't add any batting, but simply backed them in super soft white minky. The kids seem to love the soft feel of the fabric and it makes for a nice lightweight, drapey blanket.

I love the simple design of the patchwork squares...

And I added some quick quilting to hold all the layers together by straight stitching diagonally through all the squares in both directions...

They turned out super soft and colorful!

In addition to having the girls, we were kept on our toes by this little guy...

So tomorrow I'm off on a quilting retreat! I'm bringing way too many projects and looking forward to sewing and hanging out with my best buddies!

I'll be posting on Instagram if you care to get a sneak peek!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday and a fun freebie!

I seem to have a bad case of quilter's attention deficit. Maybe it's the laid-back Summer feeling, or the fact that sooo many beautiful fabrics that we saw from Spring Quilt Market are all coming out at once! Whatever the reason, I'm a little embarrassed to show you all the starts I've made in the past couple of weeks. But here are a few anyway!

First up an Instagram photo I shared last week as I started prepping for a retreat in early August. I cut a bunch of my Bonnie and Camille scraps into squares and then started making block piles...

I'm making Granny Square blocks using Lori Holt's book Great Granny Squared and using scraps from many of their lines. I think it will be fun to see how they all play together!

I can't resist an Anna Maria Horner line and Pretty Potent may be turning into one of my favorites. I've had Terry Atkinson's pattern, Hexie Garden, for a while waiting for the perfect fabric.  Thought it might be a nice combo, so I'll try a few blocks before I commit!

Have you seen the new Art Gallery line, Indelible? It wasn't on my list to watch for, but when my local quilt shop got some in I fell for the unusual combination of text, geometrics and nature-themed motifs. And one of my favorite color palettes of teal, coral, gray and gold.

I've had this free pattern for some time, wanting to try it but frustrated with the amount of cutting and waste involved. And then it dawned on me to cut individual 60 degree triangles, add a strip to each one and trim the strip even with the triangle. I think I may increase the size of the triangles a bit also. Can't wait to get further on this!

 And I've made some progress on my Flowering Snowball! I'm up to 16 blocks {out of 30} and thoroughly enjoying the process.

 Finally, I was so excited to see these lovely, FREE gift tags on the Martingale blog this morning. This one uses my "Hanging Around" design from Simply Modern Christmas. It's my favorite, but I'm a bit biased :-) Head on over to download your free gift tags!

That's it for today! Looks like I better get back to some sewing. Any tips on helping me focus???

For more WIPs visit Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gypsy Kisses

Gypsy Kisses - from the fabulous book Material Obsession 2...

This has been one of those slow, but oh-so-satisfying projects.

 I started piecing the arcs last Fall when I was lucky and got a FQ bundle of April Showers.

With those completed, it turned into a waiting game until I could get the April Showers navy yardage that I wanted to use for the background.

Then came the slow process of appliquéing the arcs and the eyes to the background...

And although it's a big quilt, I decided to quilt it myself. There are some quilts where I just can't give up control of the quilting finish. After weeks of thought, I actually ended up with some very simple quilting. Realizing that the quilt is very busy and that any fancy design, probably wouldn't show up much anyway - I went with simple wavy lines around the arcs and stippling in the background. A gray thread on the arcs and a blue/gray thread in the background {both Aurifil 50 wt} turned out perfect.

This was a tough one to photograph - the navy makes the camera want to overexpose. Here's a snap of the full quilt, but I have to say it's prettier in person!

One of my favorites!