Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Can't keep me down!

Three months into blogging and I've already broken my promise to write once a week!  But it's not entirely my fault, the universe seems to have been out to get me the last two weeks! A combination of work and illness have kept me away from my sewing machine and my lovely projects.

First, I had two of my teammates at work leave for a week long conference.  We're in the middle of a giant redesign and we are the only three people responsible for design implementation support (technical talk for telling the developers and analysts what it's all supposed to look like).  Most of my working hours were spent answering emails and talking to developers.  I would leave to eat dinner only to return back to work when no one was around to bother me so I could actually get stuff done!


Then, all that stress resulted in me getting sick and feeling terrible and incapable of doing anything more than binge-watching Netflix from the couch. Once I was finally able to get some work done my walking foot wouldn't stop catching on itself.  Now I have to figure that out! Such a frustrating two weeks!



The downside of living in a small studio apartment is the inability to escape your various UFOs and WIPs starring at you.  My diamond stripes quilt hung in quiet disapproval from the design wall and the pieces of my upcoming rainbow pieces quilt were giving me the silent treatment. Oh well.


Luckily the last two weeks haven't been a total waste!  While I was feeling down on the couch, I was able to pre-cut some pieces for a future project and order the necessary supplies for my first Quilty Bucket list project!

My paper pieces came in last week so I at least got to start working on my first EPP project! There was a little speed bump though in the shape of 2" jewel pieces that should have been 1". Turns out the blogger of the original project I based my project on mistyped the required size of the pieces.  But never fear! I simply changed my original plan from a starburst patter to straight up hexies.


And I love it!


I'm planning to make a pillow case using a charm pack of Kate Spain's Sunnyside for Moda and so far I am loving the fabric! I keep telling everyone that my hexies look like candies! The oranges, blues, and purples look so lovely and really fit the hexie shape! The starburst will just have to wait until I'm done with these lovely hexies!


I also was able to put together a back and baste my quilt, but I'll share more with you next week.  Now to figure out my walking foot and not get distracted by my tempting pile of hexies! See ya next week!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Quilty Bucket List

Last week I was over at St. Louis Folk Victorian and she started talking about Quilty Bucket Lists.  The Tilted Quilt has dedicated the Month of march to "the quilts that we all have on our lifetime to-do list...that made you say 'Some day, I want to make that quilt'."  She's hosting a blog hop over the next few weeks and having some more experienced quilters talk about their own bucket list.

The Tilted Quilt

The whole idea of this is to build up some motivation to try and tackle at least one of your bucket list quilts this year.  And reading this first week of posts has already been an inspiration.  Hearing experienced quilters talk about how they can still, after all the time they've been behind their sewing machines, be intimidated by projects is refreshing to hear.

Quilting used to be on my life long bucket list. But like with any to-do list I seem to make, crossing something off just means I've added at least 10 more other things to my list!  So without further ado, my Quilty Bucket List:

Solids Color Play


One of the tipping points that brought me jumping feet first into quilting is the discovery of the Modern Quilting Movement.  It showed me a new side of quilting that I could get behind. One aspect of MQing that I've obsessed over but have never actually done is working completely with solids and playing with the colors of the fabric.  Or using simple patterns but emphasizing on the color placement and negative space.

By Tallgrass Prairie Studios        
above quilts by Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio

One blogger that inspires this side of me is Jacquie over at Tallgrass Prarie Studio. Her quilts are my definition of bucket-list-level quilts. She has an entire book dedicated to Modern Quilting (she heads the Modern Quilt Guild so go figure) and was part of the book We Love Color.  I'm thinking my first foray into the Solids/Color Play will be from that book!

Improve Piecing


This is another Modern Quilting technique that I have fallen for head over heels! Just grabbing a stack of fabric and sewing them together as I please!  The freedom seems to be both extremely exciting and extremely anxiety inducing! I don't think I can trust myself to be spontaneous!

Photo curtesy of amazon.com

If I want to tackle this one, I'm going to need to chain myself to my sewing desk, lock away my laptop/tablet so I don't peak at patterns, and not get up until I have a 10" block in front of me.  I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!

Curves


Curves. They scare me.  Seriously, I avoid patterns with curves in them.  The only curves I've done have been circular applique pieces.  Technically that's not actually sewing a curve but there was thread, a needle, and something curved involved so it counts for now.

Flowering Snowball by Cut to Pieces


One day, I will make something with curves!  I promise!  (or at least I promise I will try! *gulp*)

Hand Quilting


Gran Flakes by Happy Zombie

I would love to hand quilt something! Anything!  But first I need to get my stitches straight and somewhere around my too-high standards.  I would like to say I'm currently practicing....but maybe this is something I can add on to my list of New Years Resolutions!

Pixel Quilt


Pixel Quilts have taken off in the last year, or at least they have been more frequently showing up on the blogs and Pinterest boards I follow.  Last year I got as far as cutting the actual 1.5" squares for the Mario Brother's Quilt Along over on Cut to Pieces, but there is something about all those little squares that are intimidating.

The Tenth by St. Louis Victorian


This is something that I have added to my "Projects I need to finish this year!" list and I will see it done!  More appropriately, I'd like to have it finished by the fall before I move so that way I don't have to worry about packing up hundreds of little squares with the rest of my sewing stuff!  Talk about motivation!

Sampler Quilt


Sampler Quilt is really two items combined into one.  First: I love the look of sampler quilts especially when they're made with modern or solid fabric.  The mixing of old and new styles is very pleasing to me and I can easily see one laying across my bed now.  Second: I haven't really played with traditional block styles and piecing methods.  It's been mostly easy, modern pieces that I've worked with. I feel completing a sampler quilt would be a good test of where my talents stand in piecing and color choice.

Photo Curtesy of amazon.com


English Paper Piecing


I have missed creating something with my hands.  And I mean literally with my hands.  I swear there is such a thing as restless hand syndrome and I am inflicted. EPP looks like so much fun and looks like it would be the perfect thing to soothe my restless hands.  The variety and complexity of quilts made with english paper piecing is amazing to me! And the perfect points make me so very happy!



I've saved this item for last because this is the item from my bucket list that I have chosen to tackle this month.  My plan is to keep this project at work so I have something to work on during my lunches (since I am of course going to follow my budget and bring lunch instead of going out and buying lunch ahem). My coworker next to me also has a lunch time project she works on each day. I may have to pop over to her side of the cube wall and join her in lunchtime craftyness!

So there you have it. My Quilty Bucket List! I'm confident that at some point in my quilty life I will have attempted and finished each one of these bad boys. But first up, English Paper Piecing!

And if you don't already, you should follow all the amazing people I linked to above!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A finished top

I finished my Stripe Diamond top last night and it looks so good!


I did something new with the borders this time: I mitered the corners. When I first started sewing I made some self-binding receiving blankets for my niece that had mitered corners, but I have never tried it before with a quilt border. Google and YouTube turned up some really good resources on mitered corners but I ended up referring to the tutorial by Riley Blake during the process.  However I wasn't brave enough to try pre-cutting the miter corner before sewing on my pieces.  


I really like how this border works with the diamond pieces. It helps the patterns stand out a little more from the colors, and really makes the whole thing pop. This quilt is truly starting to get the kid vibe I was going for and I can't wait to start quilting it up!

On an interesting side note I had something incredibly lucky happen to my while I was sewing on the borders. I have this bad habit of never checking on my bobbin which usually results in me sewing about 60" before realizing I haven't sewn a darn thing at all.  Last night, while I was almost to the end of sewing on a border strip, I remembered that my bobbin had been looking a little thin around the middle.  So I stopped and moved aside my fabric to see if I had blundered again and guess what!!!  I picked the EXACT moment my bobbin ran out to check! No a few seconds before or a few seconds after, the exact second!!


I checked to make sure that everything was sewn up until that point because I was sure the power of wishful thinking was making me imagine things.  But it was true!  I should go buy a lottery ticket with this kind of luck!

Also on the list of awesome stuff I got a big shipment in of charm packs from the Fat Quarter Shop and a nice set of Omnigrid rulers.  In this bundle is my first spool of Aurifil thread! I've heard amazing things about this thread through the various quilt blogs and I can't wait to try it out on this top!! 


Before I go, I want to give you a peak at what I was up to on Friday! I was visiting with some friends and sat down with one of whom has an artistic side and a good eye for color.  She helped me sort out my big Michael Miller Cotton Couture charm pack and choose colors that would go nicely with each other for my next quilt.  I'm thinking I might start the cutting on this one tonight, it's going to involve cutting over 140 charm squares!