My April 2018 One Monthly Goal is to sew two baby-sized quilt tops that I will finish next month and give to one of my work colleagues and his wife who are expecting twins this month. At the baby shower at work, I gave them a card and asked my colleague’s wife to let me know any color preferences and if they have any themes for the babies’ room. She emailed me that the colors are purple for one baby and pink for the other, and while they don’t have a specific theme, they do like French Bulldogs. When I got Kid Giddy’s newsletter announcing her Doggy in the Window Quilt Pattern, I was blown away by the pattern. I think all the dogs are adorable, but I am particularly fond of her French Bulldog (especially with the light blue ears made with the French Bulldog fabric by Christopher Thompson). I decided that I wanted it to be the center block for each nine-block baby quilt measuring 36” square. I sewed up a test block that I will use in a future project (for me!), and learned a few things that I will change in these two baby quilts, like not placing one of the text fabrics upside-down!
The other eight blocks for each quilt will be the Quatrefoil Block designed by Jennie of Clover & Violet. I finished sewing the purple Quatrefoil blocks today but have yet to start on the pink blocks or French Bulldog blocks which will be bordered by more Kona white in order to make them the same size as the Quatrefoil blocks and which will allow me to sew purple (and pink) corners on them to give the quilts a more cohesive look (that idea is from my best friend also named Mary!)
Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: April ‘18 OMG.
My March ‘18 One Monthly Goal was to cut and baste 120 diamonds to use in a future English Paper Piecing project. The cutting was easier than I thought it would be. I cut two-and-a half inch strips of ten different Alison Glass fabrics and was able to cut 14 diamonds with 3/8” seam allowances from each of these strips using the acrylic template I purchased from Jodi@Tales of Cloth.
I initially tried to thread baste the diamonds. Last year I was able to easily thread baste hexagons for the Rainbow Hexie Pillows that I made for my office, but I had difficulty thread basting the diamonds even after reviewing two different online tutorials. So I switched gears and decided to glue baste the diamonds during a motor home trip to the Grand Canyon, and it was far less messy than I had imagined, thanks to the package of Wet Wipes next to me.
I probably won’t do anything with these pretty diamonds for awhile. I have another family vacation planned this summer. I need to learn how to sew these diamonds together by that time which I hope will go better for me than thread-basting the diamonds!
Do any of you experienced English Paper Piecers have any advice for me?
Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: March ‘18 Finishes.
I decided to participate in the Bee Hive online quilting bee again this year, and so far it has been a lot of fun. I was the Queen Bee for January for the #IGHoneyBees2018 and blogged about it in my January ‘18 Queen Bee Blocks post. Since that post, I have received all of my blocks from my swarm members and need to make a few more blocks, so I can sew a 48” by 60” quilt top together. That is the size of my Quatrefoil Quilt that has blocks sewn by Bee Hive and Stash Bee swarm members in 2016, and it is a wonderful throw-size quilt that is currently displayed on a quilt ladder. I absolutely love this quilt—one of my all-time favorites.
Meredith, of Whats Next Ma was our February Queen Bee, and she chose the Houndstooth Block in scrappy red and navy blue. Because there were only 10 fabrics needed and required either strips or squares, this block went together fast. I had never made this block before and really enjoyed the quick paper-piecing that makes the blocks so precise. I treated myself to a few new fabrics for this block and especially love the red cross-stitch hearts with needle and thread fabric.
Our Queen Bee for March is Jan of Cocoa Quilts, and she chose the Ripple Block which was a lovely block to make with Jan’s choices of scrappy spring and low volume fabrics. I tried to reduce the wonkiness factor when working with so many small squares and HSTs by using Best Press when I ironed my fabric prior to cutting, and I think that helped some. I have a love/hate relationship with scrappy blocks that require a lot of different pieces. For Jan’s block I used 48 different fabrics plus Kona white, and it was fun to run across scraps of fabric from past projects. But for me, scrappy blocks can take a lot more time to make than blocks with just a few fabrics. I think part of the reason that fabric selection for scrappy blocks takes me so long is the way I store my scraps. I don’t have dedicated scrap bins, and I store scraps of fabric folded inside larger pieces of the same fabric. Mostly it works well for me. I do have one short cut for scrappy block fabric selection and that is having two charm packs dedicated to scrappy blocks. Right now I have partial charm packs of Karen Lewis’ Blueberry Park and Kate Spain’s Canyon collections. I’m planning to buy two more charm packs for this purpose: Christa Watson’s Modern Marks and Rebecca Bryan’s Panache collections. My absolute favorite fabric used in this block (see below) is the Therapy low volume fabric that my sister and I designed together. Through an internet search, I gathered open-ended questions used by therapists in sessions and wrote a few myself, and my sister did the graphic design and had it printed up through Spoonflower.
I’m wondering what works best for you as far as storing fabric scraps?
Linking up to Cooking Up Quilts: Main Crush Monday.
My March ‘18 One Monthly Goal is to make 120 English Paper Piecing (EPP) Diamonds using Alison Glass fabrics. I will most likely combine them with coordinating Kona solids when I start putting my Diamond Hexie Stars together similar to the ones that Jayne of Twiggy and Opal shared a few months ago.
Jayne cuts out her own diamond templates, and I will probably do that myself down the road, but I’ve been very busy preparing for a renovation of my quilting room, and so I decided it was easier to order some templates from Jodi of Tales of Cloth. For anyone new to EPP, Jodi has supplies, patterns, and several very helpful tutorials on her website.
I will most likely thread-baste my diamonds as I will be basting them the last week of the month when I go on a motor home trip from New Mexico to the Grand Canyon in my brother and sister-in-law’s motor home. The upside to thread-basting is that it is easier to reuse the paper templates, though if one is careful enough pulling the edges of fabric from glue-basted templates, they also can be reused.
Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: March ‘18 One Monthly Goal.
My Feb ‘18 One Monthly Goal was to bind my Summer Sampler 2017 quilt and to make three Sawtooth Star pillows that coordinate with this quilt.
The binding was completed early in the month , but I just finished the pillows today, and I have to tell you it wasn’t easy. Normally I derive so much satisfaction from completing projects and feel somewhat driven (my family says obsessed!) to sew that last stitch and have a sense of pride about what I accomplished. The reason my sewing mojo has been so minimal is that I am up to my eyeballs preparing for a renovation of my room which is a combined bedroom/quilt studio. Not that all of my quilting supplies are in this room. Most of my fabric is in the adjoining back room, but with a bed in each room, I can’t devote one room exclusively to quilting. My brother and sister-in-law will be arriving from California in two weeks, and they are going to paint my room and install laminate flooring as their gift for my 60th birthday next month. The walls will be light grey with dark grey trim. The ugly brown carpet which you all know is a pin magnet will be pulled up this week, so I am in the process of clearing everything out of my room and will be sleeping on the twin bed in the back room for the next three and a half weeks. The temporary inconvenience will be well worth it, and I am so excited for a fresh new look.
Back to my Summer Sampler. I am so pleased with how this quilt turned out though there is one thing I’d do differently if I were to make it again. I’ve always heard that dye lots for fabric can vary, and I now know from firsthand experience that the Kona Coal background fabric that I ordered in May 2017 is a little different from the Kona Coal fabric that I ordered a couple months later. Both were used in this quilt, but I don’t think the subtle differences in background color detract from the finished quilt.
Michael at ThreadBear did a simple stipple all over the quilt to give the Kona Coal background a little more texture, and I really like how the quilting looks:
I’ve written a number of posts about this project which can be accessed by clicking on the Summer Sampler 2017 tag below or on the Tags on the right side of the page.
Linking up to Elm Street Quilts: Feb ‘18 OMG Finishes. I’m also linking up to 2018 Qtr 1 Finish-A-Long Finishes (my only finish for Qtr 1 2018).
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.
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.
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!
Linking up to the Wayward Transparency Quilt Along Finishes.