Saturday, May 31, 2014

Orange peeling it up - join me?

I decided that the very last border of Ashley's progressive quilt will be single orange peels! I sent her a super secret picture of the whole quilt and presented my idea to her, which she loved (yay!). We're going to collaborate on this border; we're each making two sides of orange peels on 5" low volume squares. We are using a tutorial over at Crazy Old Ladies. I am LOVING how it looks already (it needs pink though) and I'm pretty sure my husband will have to make sure I actually hand off this thing to her. ;)

In my last post (I'm still responding to comments - thank you for continuing my food for thought), I promised myself I wouldn't "force" anything on my blog. I enjoyed these SO much today, though, and I think I finally have an idea for my Pretty Potent bundle (maybe - that idea could change into a billion other ones).

So... is there any interest in an Orange Peel Quilt Along this summer? We could discuss different methods for making them, and I would draw up some inspiration and designs. I also gathered some tips from making them just today. The categories could be mini quilts, finished quilts, and "just the top." I know summer can get hectic so we could make it continue throughout the whole three months or so. Any size or shape or layout welcome. If you're interested, please let me know!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bloggy Pressure

 Bloggy pressure is a disease. It spreads fast and never really goes away.

Can my fellow quilty bloggers relate? Maybe you are having writer's block - you want to write about something but don't know quite what. Maybe you are just getting excited about your blog growing (I know I am, though I don't mention it often - I just reached 700+ followers on Bloglovin'. Thank you so much for your support, it really means the world to me).  Maybe it's about "competing" with the other blogs out there (though personally that's not something I think about much - I'm totally being honest). And then... you start thinking about what you can do to make your blog more exciting and popular.


Like tonight, I came home and thought, hm... I should blog tonight! About what, though? I already blogged about my project this week. I'm not gifting anything this week or surprising anyone. I'm not starting any new projects (though the night is young... hehe).  I actually broke away from another quilting obligation on my computer (you'll hear about it this weekend - yes, I'll have a reason for a blog post!) to write THIS post. Because I felt like it was that important.

I'm not going to try to come up with a new linky party. I'm not going to force a new series. If the idea pops into my head, I will see how it pans out, but I won't force it. I promise. Otherwise, I wouldn't be staying true to my blog and myself. Sometimes I blog five times a week, and sometimes one, and whatever it ends up as is a-okay. Being myself is so much more important than how many times I blog this week.

Not to get all serious and all... but do you feel the bloggy pressure sometimes? How do you deal with it? This time, I wrote this post and I feel much better. Next time, maybe I'll get off the darn computer and start that new project! ;)

*Edit - this post was not written to reference anyone at all in particular except myself, because in the past, I have tried to brainstorm and it felt forced.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Quilty Energy

My bursts of quilty energy are so bizarre. Case in point: on Sunday, I spent a fantastic day sewing with Rachel and Neva. I drove home for about an hour and arrived around 9 pm, and, after lugging my machine and all my stuff back inside, I apparently felt like cutting up all my sister's t-shirts. Mind you, these t-shirts have been sitting in a bag in my closet for about a year. So there's one WIP - my sister's long-overdue t-shirt quilt! She's lucky I love her so much!

 This week is dedicated to Ashley's progressive medallion quilt, until I finish or lose steam. So far, Ashley, Renee, and Laura have created a MASTERPIECE that, quite frankly, I've been pulling out all month just to stare at. First, I added the orchid Domino dot border, and now I'm working on strip blocks above (inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's Aviatrix Medallion). I'm still deciding exactly what the last border will be, though I have a couple of ideas!


So far, this bee has been my favorite *swap* ever. It's been such a pleasure working with friends and making unique quilts. Laura recently sent me a picture of my quilt on Instagram and I cannot WAIT to get it!!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Friday, May 23, 2014

For Pinks Sakes Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the For Pinks Sakes Blog Hop! I met Anna at Mid-Atlantic Mod, and I soon found out about her cause to help her mother-in-law Tina reduce her costs from breast cancer treatments. Did you know that breast cancer is the second leading cause of death to women in the world? Because I didn't. That's a scary thought. Kudos to Anna for simultaneously helping out her family and spreading breast cancer awareness! You go, girl.

I am contributing a pink block to Anna's quilt, which will be donated to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids, MI (where Tina had her treatments). Whenever I'm in need of inspiration, I consult my "Favorite Quilt Blocks" Pinterest board, which is full of tutorials I want to try, and happened upon this string block by 107 Quilts:

 I delved into my way-past-overflowing pink scrap bin (it's a small bin, to be fair) and found just enough strips to use. How's that for using my resources wisely (aka not cutting yardage)? I didn't plan for "life" to end up on the block either - it just happened. I think that makes it even more special.

breast cancer facts most common cancer worldwide

You can make a block, too! If you would like to contribute a pink block to Anna's quilt, you can find more info and her contact info here. She will be hosting a give-away on August 2 for anyone who participates in her cause (monetary contributions, pink blocks, participants in the blog hop, and reposting about the blog hop).

Speaking of which, if you would like to make a monetary contribution, you can find the Go Fund Me campaign here. Anna's family would be appreciative of any donation you would be willing to make.

Here's a list of participating bloggers for the rest of the blog hop:

May 10
May 24

June 7

June 21

July 5

July 19

Thanks Anna! I can't wait to see your pink quilt and I hope that we can all help your MIL!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fabric Scrap DIY Storage


Last weekend I gathered some of my favorite scraps and charm squares (mostly Anna Maria Horner fabrics) to attack this bright pink fabric set of drawers:

For weeks, I was ready to get rid of it, and it sat near my front door (I kept contemplating whether or not I should toss it in the dumpster). It previously held sewing bits and bobs, but I found a new place for those things (a hanging Orla Kiely makeup bag in my fabric closet). I just knew I could use the drawers for something... but what? I then realized that if I turned it on its side (like above) and took out the drawers, I could make it into a filing system for my patterns, school papers, and stationary. I even kept the drawers to hold/sort fabric for the time being! Recycling at its finest, right?

So began the Mod Podge madness. I made sure I covered a wide area of carpet with newspaper before I got to work. The Mod Podge worked best when I globbed it on first with a wide, spongy paintbrush, and then spread some over top the fabric.

To prevent fraying, I overlapped pieces. Some scraps also wrap around to other sides.

Finally, I covered the facing-out edges in black washi polka dot tape. It doesn't stick very well to the Mod Podged fabric, though. Oh well. It still looks finished and professional.

Now I have my file system! What are your favorite things to do with fabric scraps (besides make a quilt)? Even think of those itty bitty 1-2" scraps (if you hoard them like I do) - what do you do with them?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

BQF: Home, A Finished Quilt

This is my second entry into the Spring 2014 Blogger's Quilt Festival. You can see my first entry here!

After months of hemming and hawing, I finally finished "Home" and I'm entering it into the Original Design category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

 The backing is a rainbow of many Botanics scraps with some sketch and nature prints, Ty Pennington prints, and even a chunk of Anna Maria Horner needleworks on the right/middle!

This quilt started as a challenge with Rebecca; we both had some Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander, and we both wanted to use it pretty much immediately. Our quilts were based on a picture, and they came out so totally different - you can see what Rebecca made here! This is the picture I was inspired by:


"Home" is the name I settled on; in the end, it just made sense. When I started writing this post, I was listening to the song "Home," by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I've always loved the line "home is wherever I'm with you." It made me think about how Mike and I have been living on our own now for almost two years and how much we've changed since we met in high school 8 years ago (we were just laughing about this recently, too).

Since Mike is an integral part of my quilting (picking threads out of my hair, bringing me milkshakes for fuel, making essential design and color decisions, and photographing many pictures), it felt right to think of our life together and name this quilt. Trees, especially all those blooming right now, make me feel calm and peaceful, and so does my life with my husband. That's how the title came about (just for laughs, here are some rejected titles that my brain thought were good at one point: Kaleidoscopic Forest, Timber [not inspired by the song], Prism Forest... okay, you get the idea!).

The quilt really stretched my nearly non-existent improv reflexes. I drew a picture in my sketchbook and just went with it. It took a couple of weeks to get the layout and branches just right. If you scroll down this post, you'll see a couple of up-close pictures of the background - a conglomeration of all my low-volume fabrics. You can also see the progression pictures on this post. Above is when I laid out Botanics in color order (with solids and shot cottons) to start out!

 The quilting was so much fun. The trees are quilted with a coordinating Aurifil or Connecting Threads color, and the woodgrain was more circular and knotted (as a tree would be). In the low volume background, I quilted more long, free-flowing woodgrain shapes, to give the illusion that there is a forest behind the trees. The bottom gray and black trunks are quilted in a back-and-forth zigzag, to contrast all the swirls. The top part is quilted in large spirals for the wind (I have a special technique for doing this that I will write a tutorial for if there is interest!).

 I decided to combine everyone's suggestions on Instagram and bind it in scrappy black with a little bit of gray, plus a strip of rainbow in one corner. This is totally my favorite part of the quilt:

The bottom parts of the trunks were estimated and not equally measured on purpose. I wanted to make it a little off-balance. I did, however, have a happy accident: this was the first time ALL FOUR of my binding corner came out PERFECT. I've been practicing using Ashley's tutorial and finally, that teensy part has worked out! I am seriously ecstatic!!

^ I swear it's really not that small - it's 64 x 80"!!

 A shot with the real trees. I wanted to get a picture while holding it up, but it was too windy!

This quilt will definitely be around for a while - I want to hang it in our bedroom. You can see more about "Home" here, here, and here.

 Photoshoot Outtakes:

 See? Wind!

Past Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Diamond in the Rough

Hi, my name is Jess - welcome to my quilting blog! My first entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival for this spring is "Diamond in the Rough," for the ROYGBIV category. It is a wall-hanging for my good CJMQG friend, Amy. :)

We share a love of the same fabrics (we both have gushed over each others' stashes) and I knew I had to go all out when I pulled her name for our secret Christmas swap last year (Amy got me, too!!!).

This was the first time I cut into most of my Anna Maria Horner fabrics (I was waiting for something really special), and I found that they went together beautifully with Alison Glass fabrics. I almost fell over after posting this quilt on Flickr because Anna Maria Horner herself commented on it! Alison Glass was kind enough to regram it on Instagram, too!

Amy (left) and myself at the guild meeting!

I was inspired by AMH's Color Dive quilt, which she has since made available as a pattern. I cut 6 inch squares and made them into HSTs - not without a few layout mistakes, but I figured it all out in the end! Plus, 99% of those HSTs were PERFECT. After four years of sewing, it's great to get results from all of your hard work.

I quilted each color section a different way. Free motion quilting has become second-hand nature, but man, it is SO much easier on a smaller quilt (and that's using Machinger's gloves, Supreme Slider, and an extension table!).

It was hard to give this quilt away, but it's in a great home. I gasped and literally teared up a little when I saw it on Amy's wall. I wasn't expecting it at all. Amy graciously took the picture above, and the outside one at the top of the post (it was really bad weather when I finished the quilt, so I couldn't get a nice one outside before the swap).

Thanks so much to Amy (the other one!) for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival for so many years. It makes not going to market a little bit more bearable. ;) Plus, it's the biggest quilt show around (and the easiest to access)!

You can see my original post on this quilt here.

Past Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Race to the Finish?

As you know, I like to put quilts in time out when they get slightly repetitive/frustrating/physically draining/etc. This doesn't happen often, but it did happen to my Botanics challenge quilt about a month ago. I quilted and quilted and quilted... and then I just couldn't! I only had three trees left and the top part (swirls of wind) but it had to go away for a while.


Only today did I really think about setting a deadline (let's say... the Blogger's Quilt Festival on Friday) to finish this thing. Thanks to getting new AMH fabric from Knotted Thread and to the guild meeting last night, I got super inspired. The quilt started whispering to me from the corner a la the basilisk from Harry Potter ("Jess... quilt me... I don't want to be folded up..."). So I'm going to try... as of tonight, Wednesday at 9:45 pm, all I have left to quilt are the wind swirls!

The trees get their own colored threads.

I don't think I've ever "premiered" a quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival before, so I'm excited. I can't wait to share all the details with you! Tomorrow I work from 8 to 6 so you know what tomorrow night looks like already (quilting, making binding, trimming, burying threads, a big bowl of ice cream, and 5 episodes of Friends). Friday I have a good chunk of the day, so I'll finish, take pictures, and hopefully post it by nighttime. I think I can, I think I can!

Spring '14 Blogger's Quilt Festival -

(Yes, I realize the Blogger's Quilt Festival lasts several days... but I like the feel of deadline heat!). Am I totally off the wall for thinking I can finish this thing that fast?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Welcome, Hawthorne Threads!

I'm please to welcome Hawthorne Threads as my first blog sponsor! Charlie and Lindsay run this online shop, and every time I visit, I'm spellbound by the color combinations on their front page. I confess that whenever I'm looking for something hard-to-find, I can usually find it on their site!

Hawthorne Threads Logo Image

Besides the fact that they stock all the modern fabrics you currently crave, Hawthorne Threads also carries an extensive collection of voile , home dec, and flannel. In fact, their designer voile section is one of the largest (if not THE largest) out of all the online fabric shops. I've bought all of these substrates from them and have been more than pleased with their customer service.

Some particularly helpful/unique sections of their shop:
-color grid - pick a shade and see all of the (many, many) fabrics they offer in that color range!
-their tiered pricing and customer appreciation discounts
-extensive Aurifil collection
-a very long and detailed "coming soon" page that I peek at more often than I care to admit

Bonnie Christine - Winged Voile - Aves Chatter Voile in Dim

I've already asked to be notified when this Bonnie Christine voile comes in this summer. Just saying. It's gorgeous.

I hope you'll poke around Hawthorne Threads and support their excellent shop!


You can read my thoughts about seeking sponsorship here,  and if you are interested in sponsoring my blog, you can find information here! As I stated yesterday, I plan on trying this out a little at a time: by spreading the word about my favorite shops but keeping my content the same. Thanks for all of your support so far. Up tonight - a short WIP Wednesday post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...