Feb ‘18 OMG

This past Sunday I got together with my women’s book group. Our January book was Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book titled, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. We had a discussion about what we need in order to be creative, and I shared that I need both time and space in order to get my creative juices flowing. If I’m feeling rushed or constrained, I fall back on what is familiar, and I’m not willing to try new things.

Recently I felt frustrated about the inconsistency of some flying geese I was making. Of the basic quilting units, flying geese is the one that gives me the most trouble. I really like how my paper-pieced flying geese turned out for my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt Top and since I didn’t have an urgent deadline, I decided to search online for 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” unfinished paper-pieced flying geese to use for some Sawtooth Star pillows (see tutorial for Sawtooth Star Quilt by SuzyQuilts.) I remembered that one of the pattern designers for the Summer Sampler 2017, Faith@Fresh Lemon Quilts had written a post about making Flying Geese – Perfect Points, but all of her flying geese templates were too small. Quilter’s Cache had strips of flying geese which included the size I was looking for, and I made individual flying geese by just using the top and bottom flying geese (three were printed on the page). Then I decided to search again for individual flying geese paper-pieced templates, and I stumbled across Karen@Klee2string’s tutorial on making my own paper pieced flying geese templates. This was the first paper-pieced template I’ve made, and I was really excited to find out how easy it was to make one. It was pretty fast, and my flying geese turned out perfect! I did, however, find these units to be a little floppy and found that temporarily securing the edge with a paper clip or swipe of my glue stick helped immensely.

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My One Monthly Goal for this month is to make three Sawtooth Star pillows using the flying geese I paper pieced, and I will also be binding my Summer Sampler quilt that I picked up earlier in the week from ThreadBear.

Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: Feb ‘18 OMG.

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Wayward Transparency Quilt Top

I’m bringing up the rear in getting my Wayward Transparency Quilt Top finished. This is another wonderful transparency pattern by Yvonne@Quilting Jetgirl. I used three of the Kona solids (Aqua, Sage, and Emerald) from my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt. By the time it’s all said and done, I’ll have a few smaller quilts that use Kona solids from this sampler quilt including my Random Intentions baby quilt and a lap-size quilt that I am pattern testing for Sarah Goer Quilts. I’m also planning to make three Sawtooth Star pillows using some of these Kona solids. It’s probably obvious that I’ve bought A LOT of yardage of these solids over the last several months!

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Linking up to the Wayward Transparency Quilt Along Finishes.

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Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt Top Finished!

The cat is already out of the bag that I finished my Summer Sampler 2017 quilt top because I posted about it on Instagram over a week ago, but now I get to write a little more about it. I honestly was shooting for finishing it mid February, but somehow all the planets were aligned and no seams needed ripping, and getting this quilt top done came together fairly easily, but I certainly logged a fair amount of hours doing so. All other activities of life took a back seat! I’m sure some of you can relate to that tunnel vision.

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My Jan ‘18 One Monthly Goal was to complete the following filler blocks/units for this quilt top: 15 more small sawtooth stars, 23 more narrow flying geese units, 20 diagonal flying geese units, and 184 half-square triangles for the HST border. Well, obviously I got them done, but here’s a photo mosaic that shows each of those blocks/units. I love how precise the paper-pieced flying geese are because normally my flying geese are not this orderly!

I only made one change to this well-written pattern and that was to make my half-square triangles 8-at-a-time rather than the 2-at-a-time as suggested. There were just too many HSTS not to use a more efficient method of making them!

As I was finishing this quilt top, it became more and more clear to me that the large proportion of Kona Coal as the background fabric had a flatter look that it does with the individual blocks and units. Just yesterday I read a post by Jean Wells on Auditioning Colors in the Design Process, and she clearly explains how proportion of color can affect our projects. I talked to Michael at ThreadBear who is going to do the longarm quilting, and we hope that using a lighter grey thread with a small-scale meander will give this background fabric more texture and interest.

My Kona Berry binding is all ready to go. I am so excited to get this quilt totally finished!

Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: Jan ‘17 OMG Finishes and My Quilt Infatuation: Needle and Thread Thursday.

 

 

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January ‘18 Queen Bee Blocks

I have seven blocks on my design board that look SO good that I just had to write a post about them! I am the January queen bee for a Bee Hive swarm in the U.S. We actually don’t have an official swarm leader but several members are stepping up regarding swarm organization. And that’s been so great. I was a Bee Hive swarm leader in ‘16, and it was a lot of work and not much fun to encourage->cajole->nag members who were delinquent in getting their blocks in. I chose the Autumn Chain block by SewMamaSew using the slight change in color configuration by my friend, Sarah Goer. (Check out the Autumn Chain blocks she posted on Instagram a few months ago). For her most recent color triumph, read her blog post about her free Confetti Marks pattern in Modern By the Yard.

I have asked my fellow swarm members to make blocks using their own color choice. So far I have received four blocks, and I have sewn three blocks (the two green and the orange block). One of the reasons I like the The Bee Hive Block Series by Blossom Heart Quilts is the secondary design made when several blocks are sewn together. Even with seven blocks on my design wall, that secondary design is starting to emerge. I plan to make a small lap quilt that is 48” square using a total of 16 blocks.

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The emerald green block is very special to me. It has the low volume Therapy fabric co-designed by my sister and me and printed using Spoonflower. I used that fabric for gifts for a few therapist colleagues in 2016. I just picked up the medium-value green yesterday at a quilt store in Santa Fe, and made this block today in honor of my sister who loved the color green:

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I know when I jumped head-first into two online quilting bees in 2016, I wasn’t sure how things worked, so I thought I would share a few tips with quilting bee newbies:

  • It’s okay to repeat a block throughout the year. Don’t think because another member has chosen “your” block, that when it is your month, you can’t choose that block too.
  • If you are not sure about your fabric pull, check with the queen bee BEFORE you make the block. You can email her privately or use a group Facebook page or Instagram. If your fabrics won’t work for the queen bee, you’ve saved yourself a lot of time and frustration.
  • Try very hard to make your block the correct size. All Bee Hive blocks are 12.5” unfinished and a tiny bit under is okay (like 12.25”), but less than that can make your block unusable to the queen bee. Creative Grids has a great 12 1/2” ruler that I like to use to check my block size. I usually sew a scant 1/4” seam (one thread less than the normal 1/4” seam) when making Bee Hive blocks so that they aren’t too small.
  • Read and re-read the queen bee’s instructions. With my Quatrefoil Quilt, a few of the blocks had white fabric when I had asked for low volume grey or black. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but I definitely would have preferred that the low volume fabric be used as I had requested.
  • If you don’t have a certain fabric that the queen bee has requested, try to get it at your local quilt store or online. If that is a hardship for you, communicate with your queen bee. I would rather send a swarm member some fabric than have the wrong fabric used.
  • Ask for help and guidance if a block is too difficult for you. My paper piecing skills were not even Kindergarten level the beginning of 2016. When my April Queen Bee asked for us to make the Hidden Gems block, I had to ask for major help from my queen bee who became a very good quilty friend.

Linking up to Sew Can She: Show Off Saturday.

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2018 Qtr 1 Finish-A-Long Goals

I have four goals that I am highly motivated to accomplish this first quarter of 2018, and for the first time since joining the quarterly finish-alongs back in 2015, I am planning to keep all of these projects. The first is my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt that I so enjoyed working on last year and recently started working on again (see my Summer Sampler Re-Emergence post for more info on the gazillion filler blocks I’ve been working on!). I’m getting close to getting this quilt top finished and to the long-arm quilter, and I can’t wait until I can put this amazing quilt on my bed! Below is a pic of the inner medallion section on my design board:

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Next are a set of three pillows to coordinate with my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt. One of my favorite quilting books, Quilts Du Jour by Marny Buck and Jill Guffy, has some striking modern pillows in it. The pillows I am planning to make from this book using scraps from my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt are Salsa, It’s a Wrap and Sushi:

 

The Sushi pillow will use Kona Emerald, Sage, Aqua, and Coal scraps, and the Salsa and It’s a Wrap pillows will use Kona Emerald, Chartreuse, Aqua, Berry, and Cerise scraps:

 

Also coordinating with my Summer Sampler 2017 Quilt will be my Wayward Transparency quilt that I plan to quilt myself. Check out all amazing versions of Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl’s awesome Quilt-Along pattern at the Wayward Transparency Quilt Along Link-Up. I have two of the four blocks completed and hope to join the linky party by the end of January. Below is a quick snap I took of one of my blocks that uses Kona Emerald, Sage, and Aqua solids:

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And last but definitely not least is the Scattered Squares baby quilt pattern test that I did for my friend, Sarah, of Sarah Goer Quilts. I also plan to quilt this quilt top myself. I’ve named my version of this quilt, Jackie’s Aviary, because my sister loved birds, and I had originally purchased the bird fabric with her in mind. Below is a photo of the finished quilt top and a close-up of the bird squares before I started sewing:

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Linking up to 2018 Qtr 1 Finish-A-Long Goals.

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Summer Sampler Re-emergence

Now that I have finished several quilts and pillows for Christmas gifts, I can turn my attention back to my favorite quilting project ever (though my Dogs in Sweaters Quilt that I gave to my niece, Mary Frances, for Christmas is a close second). I really enjoyed working on the Summer Sampler 2017 last year (see my Post about this project that has some of the 17 feature blocks I sewed and provides a lot of information about this amazing skills-building sampler).

This New Year’s weekend I started working on the filler blocks that will help turn all my blocks into a gorgeous quilt top. I sewed all the large sawtooth stars and one of the small sawtooth stars. I also started working on the paper-pieced narrow flying geese units.

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My January ‘18 One Monthly Goal is to sew the remaining 15 small sawtooth stars, make 23 more narrow flying geese units, sew 20 diagonal flying geese units, and make a total of 184 half-square triangles for the HST border. Whew!!! See the mock-up below, and keep in mind that I have substituted Kona Coal for white in this project:

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I hope to as a bonus to finish my Wayward Transparency Lap quilt top this month, but no promises! I am trying very hard to get my Summer Sampler quilt top to the longarm quilter by mid-February, so most of my quilting energy/time will be directed to finishing this quilt top.

Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: Jan ‘18 One Monthly Goal.

 

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Dec ‘17 OMG Finish

For my December ‘17 One Monthly Goal, I decided to repair the binding on the cat quilt that I had sewn with my Brother sewing machine. It was extremely uneven in places, so my plan was to carefully rip out the machine-stitching on the binding on the front of the quilt and re-sew the binding down by hand. Well, shortly into the process, that plan was literally shredded as I tore several holes in the binding fabric even though I was going very slow and taking my time, and I even had a few slight tears in quilt itself near the edges. Yikes! Basically the stitches were too close together which made it practically impossible to cleanly remove the stitches. So I painstakingly ripped the entire binding out no longer worrying about salvaging the binding but trying not to rip the fabric of the quilt. I repaired the tears with little patches of matching fabric using double stick fusible web. Then I started the binding process all over again, this time sewing the binding down with my sewing machine on the front side using a 3/8” seam allowance to hide the little patches and hand-sewing the binding down to the back of the quilt. It turned out well, and I’m glad I did it even if it was almost triple the work!

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The cat quilt was given to a local friend for Christmas, and she loves it! Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: Dec ‘17 OMG Finishes . This quilt was on my list of 2017 Qtr 4 Finish-A-Long Goals. Linking up to 2017 Qtr 4 Finish-A-Long Finishes.

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