Monday, September 26, 2011

Geometric Fat Quarter Rail Fence Quilt

This is an exciting post because it is about a quilt project that is completely finished. FINISHED!

A long while back, I bought a roll of 8 fat quarters on sale. The colors were blues and greens with geometric prints. There were four blues, three greens, and one blue-green print (that I didn't end up using.) Later, I bought a few other fat quarters, including the two yellows in this quilt.

So I cut the FQs into strips along the short side so I could get two blocks out per strip set. I ended having to throw in a little extra green from my stash (a leafy batik print in the perfect green) but this was an easy, easy project to put together.

The dark blue plaid border and the yellow tonal stripe are both from Joann (this yellow would have been great to include in the quilt top too!) and I had a few extra blocks, so I cut them into quarter square triangles and used four of them for accents at the corners.

I cannot, however, lay claim to the ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL machine quilting. I love the spirals! I also love the yellow. It looks so neat on the dark blue border.

I also sewed on some loops to the back so I can hang it up. But I made the loops small and flat on the back of the quilt so that it can still be easily used as a blanket.

The feeling of a project being completed is SUCH a great feeling! It really makes me want to finish some other projects!

In other news, the top of the baby quilt is DONE. The plan is to get the backing this week some time (likely flannel, so its very cuddly) and then tie it next week, and bind it the following weekend!

How are your works in progress (sewing and otherwise) going?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Future projects calling my name...

I haven't gotten to sew at all this week and I am miserable. 5 more days until my presentation is OVER. I turned in the paper to my graders on Wednesday and that was a HUGE relief. Right now I am done for the evening.

Things on the agenda tonight: FINALLY putting together the baby quilt, Alias from Netflix (or Quickster, whatever), and perhaps making some banana muffins, maybe even finishing the binding on my wall hanging (post coming soon!)

Due to being deprived of my creative outlet, and instead having to stare at Word documents and Powerpoint slides all day long, I am just itching to get going on a project. So these are the 5 projects next up on the docket to start (or continue, in the case of #1)

1. Blue and White Snowflakes
This quilt I mentioned ages and ages ago. These are the snowflake blocks that I have done at the moment.

These are the snowflake pieces that I need to get cracking on (once I finish the baby quilt!)

And these are my fabrics (at least, the ones that I haven't used up yet.

I think I am not going to follow the pattern and just make a whole quilt of snowflakes. So this is a project that is already started, but just barely. I have a LOT of blues and whites that will be turned into snowflakes.

And so what if they are 8 point snowflakes.

2. Argyle

So when I found this pattern, I was overjoyed. My color scheme is very similar to the one shown in the pattern. This is mainly from the City Girl Collection, with a few others thrown in.

I'm planning to use the very large floral print as a border. 

It has taken all the strength of my being not to start on this project. And until I finish some of my previous projects (like the baby quilt, the railroad quilt, the X marks the spot, the stairsteps to paradise, and the list continues) I am refusing to let myself start on any of these new projects. If I get bored with one of my unfinished projects, I can always work on my snowflakes or hand quilt (which I am thinking I am going to start doing now the weather is cooling down.)

3. Lime, Black, and White = ?
I bought one piece of green and black fabric on clearance and was not sure what to do with it.

So obviously, my mom and I have continued to collect other lime green fabrics.

I am really liking this one that has the tan in the print as well.
So I have no idea what kind of pattern to use with this. Something traditional-gone-funky? Something geometric? Something wild? Something....completely different? Ideas gladly accepted.

4. The Birthday Stack
Because I'm 23 and honestly want for very little in life, buying "practical" birthday presents for me doesn't happen. So my mom and sister went to the quilt store and picked out a stack of coordinating fabrics for me, bought a batting, and put it in a box. BIRTHDAY WIN.

These are the fabrics:

The prints are very classic but the colors are just so fun. I'm thinking that what I want to do is get a sampler quilt pattern and use these fabrics for a fancy sampler. Or a quilt with a crap-ton of applique.

Are quilters supposed to say crap-ton? Probably not, but I'm a "youngin" so forgive me this once.

5. Quiltmaker Magazine's 2011 Mystery Quilt.
Ok. So this three part mystery quilt series started months ago, but I wasn't super impressed with the way the blocks looked in the first two parts. Maybe it was that the color choices they used didn't speak to me.

But then I saw the finished project.

And I fell in love.

I had bought part of these fabrics on sale at Joann, from the same line, and thought that they would be a good place to start to build this quilt.

I then found  a few more, especially the green and the brown and pink print with little birds (also at Joann, probably also on clearance).

Isn't the peacock TO DIE FOR? I took a picture of it and its the background on my phone. Also starring in this picture is my big toe and my pajamas.

This is another one I am ITCHING to start. I'm not going to follow the directions exactly as in the magazine when it comes to the number of fabrics, because I just don't feel like it. SO THERE.

So these are the projects at the forefront of my mind these days. Hopefully I can get the top of this baby quilt done this weekend (between practicing my presentation and sleeping) and then get it backed and sent off before the baby is actually born. That'd be cool. Any other Friday night sewers out there?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stairsteps to Paradise: A Tutorial--Sort Of.

So being that I haven't done any real sewing in over a week, I figured I would at least share about one of my works in progress.

Disclaimer: this quilt is rather complicated with lots of seam matching, just to warn you.

I tried to take pictures along the way so that this post would end up sort of like a tutorial for this quilt. There may or may not be enough pictures to really show what is going on in every step, but if you're feeling brave and want to try this, just post any questions you might have.

This quilt was made from 2 batik jelly rolls. Not 2 entire jelly rolls, because in these jelly rolls, there was about 4 times as much green and dragonfly print as the pink and the purple, so I designed my block and then figured out how many blocks I was actually going to be able to make.

This is the strips laid out for one strip set. The jelly roll had 3 or 4 different green batiks of the same color, 3 pinks, and 2 purples. The tie-dyed looking strips actually has a print of butterflies and dragonflies on it. I have actually seen yardage of this fabric at Joann but I looked online and they don't have it available online for a picture. And here is a strip set all sewn together:

So then the strips were cut into squares (with a it being 6 strips wide, I was able to get 3 blocks out of each, with a little extra that will eventually be used for the borders.) From the squares, I cut them in half into triangles. Now. This is the part where you have to be paying attention. You need to cut half on one diagonoal and half on the other diagonal. I always cut mine by aligning the block so that the points were N-S-E-W (ie, like a diamond, not a square) on my cutting mat and always had the green strip on one of the top edges. I cut half with the green pointing from N to E and half pointing N to W. Here is two blocks cut opposite ways to show the difference.

The next step is to make the "step" blocks. Taking two pieces with green as the long piece (basically two pieces that are mirror images of one another, match to make a V (or rather, a whole bunch of them) like so:

This picture shows one with a green "step" and one with the dragonfly "step." Then the very fun task of remaking squares out of triangles and matching all your strips to make lovely 90 degree corners up the middle of the block. This, for my project, was actually really easy. Especially in comparison to the rest of it.

This is all the blcoks laid out before it was sewn, so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about when it comes to sewing the blocks together.

One problem I had is that the corner of the block that ends up as a square ended up a LOT smaller than the other strips in the block. I'm not sure why this happened, but I am guessing it has something to do with math and triangles and bias stretch. Regardless, this was the most difficult quilt to put together to date.

So worrying about trying to ease and fit with this oddly small squares, I went ahead and just sewed pairs of blocks together along the flat of the step (or the step rise, if that's how you want to look at it). The main point is that I only sewed blocks together if they were in the same column (or row in this picture). Here's one sewn together.

See how tiny the corner squares are? I don't get it either.

So rather than just sewing rows together, I went and made it harder than it has to be and sewed the places where the strips connect to one another between rows and sewed it all together in a stairstep fashion (how appropriate!) Don't do this unless you're crazy like me. You end up with perfectly matched stairs but then you have to worry about not sewing all the way down this seam, and then making sure to go back and sew this seam, and its a lot of work. So if you're a normal person, if you can, just sew in rows and sew your rows together.

And here's the final product!

So now I need to decide if it needs a border (or two). And find a backing for it. But it looks pretty awesome.

This was my first foray into batiks. Normally I am not into batiks, but this ended up as a really great final prooduct. What's something you never thought you would try and ended up really liking it?

Happy quilting!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Woe is me!

At least 4 times this weekend, I have sat down to lay out the blocks from my disappearing 9-patch baby quilt and have gotten so frustrated with trying to lay the colors out, I have given up. I'm trying too keep from having too many of the same color large blocks together and from having any of the same color touch each other, except if they are kitty corner from one another. Maybe I'm just too particular for this?

When I laid out the pieces originally, just to see what things would look like it looked like this:

 Now. See how the second row down has 4 blues in a row? And see that the top right corner has three yellows touching? And there's other areas that are equally sad, especially the bottom right corner.

I think that I have created for myself some sort of impossible puzzle. Any normal person would totally just go with it and say "whatever!" if two of the same color big squares were next to each other. I am, in fact, not a normal person.

So on my table sits the pile of blocks. Haphazardly stacked together out of anger.

What do you think is the best way to go about setting up these blocks? I'm going to try to put together one long row (6 blocks) and then keep working on adding more long rows so I will only have to worry about the colors of the block above (or below) and the block to the side of the block I am trying to place. Which seems like it would be a lot simpler than working out from the center and occasionally ending up with a hole where a block should go.

Patience is a virtue, right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to business...finally.

I can't believe that it's September!

I am finally getting back to working on my disappearing 9-patch baby quilt.

Tonight I finished all of the 9 patches....

And then I got everything all cut....

And then I had to stare at it all laid out for a while...

This, of course, will be taken apart and put together so that there is enough "randomness" and the colors don't touch each other as much as they do in this one. All in all, I am very happy with the progress of this and am getting excited to see it put all together.