Monday, June 30, 2014

Orange Peel QAL: Quilt design ideas

Welcome to the Orange Peel Quilt-A-Long! The final linky party doesn't start until August 23, so you have plenty of time to try orange peels out and whip something up! See here for everything about the QAL, including the three categories, recently announced prizes, and Viewer's Choice contest.

Pinterest Inspiration Board - in case you need some inspiration. I will keep adding to it throughout the QAL!
Please share this button on your blog if you are participating!
 Thank you so much to the wonderful QAL prize sponsors!  Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting
Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 QuiltingQuilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting
Quilting Fabrics from 1 Choice 4 Quilting 
The only rules are:
  •  Orange peels of any kind must be a main design element of your project. 
    • This will be taken into account during judging. 
  • You may link up one entry per category (via blog or Flickr). Please include dimensions when you post!
    • The three categories are quilt, "just the top," and mini - see the official page for details.
  • Your project(s) must be made in 2014.
  •  Have fun!
Two ways to share your progress:
  • #orangepeelqal on Instagram - share your design, progress, and finish photos
  •  Flickr Group - share your design, progress, and finish photos. Also, chat with other participants!
First of all, what is an orange peel, you ask?
Orange peels are a traditional quilt element that can be manipulated in many ways. With modern quilting (not always following a set pattern), anything goes! This very informative Craftsy article on orange peels dates the design back to the late 1800s. Orange peels usually appliqued, though I'm sure some paper-piece them. Next week, we will explore the different methods you can use to make the peels themselves.

Typically, orange peels are set in groups of four, and the sewist repeats them to achieve a pattern like this:

They aren't perfect but you get the idea :) There's a theme here today... just try, don't worry about perfection!

You can choose to make your final product (quilt, "just the top," or mini) in this fashion, or you can choose to design your own pattern. My challenge for you is to try designing! This week is all about setting aside any inhibitions/roadblocks you might have about designing a quilt on your own.

Tips for Designing Original Quilts:
1. Figure out your medium. What do you work best on - graph paper, Electric Quilt software, sketching on the computer, back of your grocery list? Whatever it is, figure out your favorite way and get set up. I personally love my huge book of graphing paper with sharpened colored pencils. Give me a comfy spot and I'm set!

This is my main notebook for guild business and blogging ideas - look at that orange peel design! Which leads me to my next point...

2. Get inspired. What are you making (which category)? You could always start small and extend a design, like this:

As I mentioned above, feel free to check out my Pinterest inspiration board for orange peels. You could even start your own inspiration board to gather ideas!

3. Find a quiet spot and doodle. Get in your zen (does that include music, talking or silence? In your sewing room, living room surrounded by family, or Barnes and Noble or the park surrounded by chatter?). Give yourself time to freely draw. If you are using a computer, find a time (rather than a place, unless you have a laptop) to do this. Don't worry about measurements or placement so much! Try out different drawings and see what you like.

This is a rough sketch of the baby quilt I'm going to make for the QAL - either called "shattered" or "fractal" or something of that nature. Orange peels split up make way for lots of negative space to play with!

4. Consider color and add it to your drawing. Color will be a very important element of your design! Orange peels look quite striking with the right color combinations. If you don't know where to start, try cool (blue, green, purple) and then warm (red, orange, yellow) schemes. For example, I tried a mostly cool color scheme here, and could definitely see this being a gender-neutral baby quilt:

Don't forget backgrounds! Here, I tried a sunset-like color palette. I don't love the outcome but only because I now see it on paper. Imagine if I had gone to cut all those pieces and then decided I didn't like it! It might look better if I filled in the rest of the white space too... we'll see.

5. Let it happen. Try paring different shapes with your orange peels. Here, I used squares in between the petals. This would make a nice table runner!

Post your sketches on the Flickr group or on Instagram (#orangepeelqal) so we can all see! 

Good luck designing. I'll be back next week with a list of tutorials (including different methods of orange peel making) and supplies you will need for your orange peels!

YOU ARE HERE --->June 30: Quilt design ideas
July 7: General supplies and tutorial list
July 14: In-depth look at the interfacing method
July 21: Applique stitches with Ashley @ Wasn't Quilt in a Day
July 28 - August 4: Mid-way check in linky party
August 11: Other quilting ideas for orange peels
August 23 - September 8: Final Link-up!
September 9 -September 16: Voting for Viewer's Choice prize


Sunday, June 29, 2014


*Don't forget - tomorrow is the last day to link up your favorite quilt for Sew Mama Sew's My Favorite Quilt series! I hope you enjoyed it! I've had so much fun curating the series and talking with so many amazing quilters. You can already see 48 blog posts linked up (at the bottom of the page or any page in the series), and you can answer the questions yourself for a chance to win 1 of 3 Fabricworm gift certificates! I can't wait to read about your favorite quilt. Thanks again to Sew Mama Sew and Fabricworm for this amazing opportunity!*

Today was a blast! I had the opportunity to sew with some of my dear friends of the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild - we are making 20 baby quilts for the Center for Great Expectations, a local charity.

Guild members and local sewists donated fabric to our guild for this first round of charity sewing. We mixed in some solids with prints to calm them down a bit! It was mindless sewing but still hard work - I'm tired now!

We will finish the quilts by November and donate them before the (hopefully not as crazy/cold as last year) winter. Thanks to all the guild members for your help - it is such a pleasure to partake in sewing with all of you! One of the best decisions I ever made was to attend that first guild meeting.

If you are interested in reading more and seeing other pictures, you can check out my post on the guild blog!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Prizes: Orange Peel QAL

Just a little update before the Orange Peel QAL starts on Monday! I hope you are thinking about what you'd like to make. Remember, you have all summer to link up a project (until Sept. 8)! See the updated details, rules, and all other info for the QAL here.

Just to give you a little bit of an incentive to participate, I've gathered some wonderful shops to sponsor prizes (thank you, shops! Much love!). Please visit their shops and thank them for sponsoring! These are shops I've purchased from repeatedly and have been extremely happy with.

Judged by YOU

1. Viewer's Choice - will open to everyone on September 9th, and the viewer's choice winner will be announced one week later with the other prizes.
    • Viewer's Choice can be chosen from ANY category.
    • The winner of the Viewer's Choice category will win a fat quarter bundle of one of the colorways of Moonshine by Tula Pink, out this September, from The Intrepid Thread!

The Intrepid Thread

 Judged by my guild, the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild, at our meeting on September 9 (pictures will be presented with no names attached to ensure objective voting):

2. Quilts (shortest side longer than 30") - any size baby - king
  • Entries should be quilted and bound/finished
  • The winner of the Quilts category will win a $25 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song!

3. "Just the (quilt) top" (shortest side longer than 30") - any size baby to king

4. Minis (pillows, tablerunners, placemats, mini quilts, etc.) - shortest side must be less than 30"
  •  Entries must be quilted and bound/finished
  • The winner of the Minis category will win a $20 gift certificate to Westwood Acres!

Come back on Monday to learn all about orange peels and for some quilt design ideas! I've been doodling and I can't wait to share with you. :)

June 30: Quilt design ideas
July 7: General supplies and tutorial list
July 14: In depth look at the interfacing method
July 21: Applique stitches with Ashley @ Wasn't Quilt in a Day
July 28 - August 4: Mid-way check in linky party
August 11: Other quilting ideas for orange peels
August 23 - September 8: Final Link-up!
September 9 -September 16: Voting for Viewer's Choice prize

Friday, June 27, 2014

The WIP Lockdown

Ever feel like you are overcome by WIPs/works-in-progress? They're taking over my sewing area and it's not a pretty sight.

This pile includes my Indelible quilt, my still-in-time-out medallion quilt, my progressive quilt, and my Sister's Ten quilt. Plus my overflowing basket of selvages and baskets of scraps. Sheesh. It really is scary to look at. And I have a sewing friend coming over for the night... I'd better get cleaning up. :)

In four years, I've never had this many projects so close to the quilting stage, and right now, I'm trying to just clear them out! I finally pieced the backing and basted my lantern quilt after a year. Now I'm just waiting for a delivery of purple Aurifil from Hawthorne Threads to start quilting!

Yum, scrappy binding! This quilt was made from jelly roll strips, so I lopped a 1/4th of an inch off several strips to make my standard size binding (2.25").

My design wall is cluttered too (and you can see the June Supernova block from Karin!). I'm hoping to finish that Liberty pillow this weekend.

It would be great to get some of these out of the way before I start my Orange Peel QAL quilt. I don't know how long I can hold off though. :) Don't forget, the QAL starts Monday. I have some prizes to announce this weekend!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by WIPs, too?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

QuiltCon distractions

Today was a super stressful day because I registered for QuiltCon! I tried to calm my nerves by sewing part of the quilt I'm designing for the Intrepid Thread's July tutorial (which I can't wait to share with you!). The fabric is Indelible by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery (it's gorgeous in person)!

I got in, though! I was lucky that the link in the email brought me right into the site, and after 25 minutes, I had everything I wanted. I'm volunteering a bit (though I can't make 16 hours for the Super Volunteers) and I'm attending several lectures. I am SO EXCITED to room with Renee and Lori, and to be taking Anna Maria Horner's Mod Corsage class with her and Ashley!! AMH is my quilting hero (if you're a regular reader you probably guessed as much)! Now I really have to finish the Socialite Dress I'm making out of her voiles so I can wear it to QuiltCon! I also can't wait to bring new skills and knowledge back to the CJMQG.


*Deep breaths.* It's over! Are we taking anything together? Bring on the travel and garment handmade! February is so close (yet so far).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Introducing: Orange Peel Quilt-A-Long

Ready to get your summer started with a fun sewing skill? Whether you're making a large quilt, a tablerunner, a pillow, a baby quilt, or the border of your original medallion quilt (or really anything), you're welcome to join in. Orange peels are so much fun, and they are easy. Many of you expressed interest, so let's do this!

Please add the button to your blog if you are going to participate. The more the merrier!

The layout of this QAL is very laid back for the summer. Anyone can join - you don't have to have a blog (you can link a Flickr picture)! It will start June 30 with design ideas and continue into July as I explain/link to several options for your orange-peel-making. We'll even have a guest post by my friend Ashley! 

The final linky party will be open from August 23 - September 8. My guild, the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild, will vote for their favorites in each category at our September meeting on the 9th (they will be presented with no names attached to ensure objective voting). Winners will be announced September 10!

There will be three categories of prizes. Orange peels must be a main design element of your creation in order to be eligible for prizes - and this will be taken into account when they are judged. You can submit one entry per category:

1. Finished quilt (any size)
2. "Just the (quilt) top"
3. Minis (pillows, tablerunners, mini quilts [shortest size under 30 inches]).

 I'm working on getting prizes for each category. If you would like to donate a prize, feel free to email me.

Don't forget to share your progress and finishes on Instagram with the hashtag #orangepeelqal!

photo 2

This picture is taken from Ashley - you can see the border of orange peels that I made for her traveling quilt!

June 30: Quilt design ideas
July 7: General supplies and tutorial list
July 14: In depth look at the interfacing method
July 21: Applique stitches with Ashley @ Wasn't Quilt in a Day
July 28 - August 4: Mid-way check in linky party
August 11: Other quilting ideas for orange peels
August 23 - September 8: Final Link-up!

I'm going to be making a baby quilt of my own design, with a scrappy low volume background and Anna Maria Horner fabrics for the orange peels. What about you? What are you going to make? 

See you next week for the first post!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

By the Sea, A Finished Michael Miller Challenge Quilt

This quilt was so much fun to make! Until now, I'd never made a full-blown quilt for one of the Modern Quilt Guild challenges. While it was hard to stretch the 6 fat eighths of Petal Pinwheels (I obviously used a lot of other Michael Miller fabrics, solids, and some yardage of the line), it's definitely something I would attempt again. I'm also more of a mix-and-match-all-the-fabric-lines kind of girl, so just using the fabrics given would have been even more of a challenge!

This quilt was made for a very special art and nature loving colleague of mine. Today was her baby shower and she loved the quilt!! I'm so glad - and it's always more exciting to give a quilt to someone who you know really appreciates all your effort (she's an art teacher and Etsy seller, too!). I've never made a baby boy quilt in my 4 years of quilt-making, so this was an absolute joy to sew up. I love how happy and gender-neutral these fabrics are - I think they would also make for a great girl quilt!


The backing was made using many different blue and green nature-y fabrics (including bikes, which the future mom and dad love!). The quilt is totally reversible (why I love pieced backs!). It is bound in scrappy solids and a little sliver of gray Tile Pile in Dirt from Petal Pinwheels.

I really enjoyed improv quilting this one with my FMQ foot! I was inspired by the quilting on Denyse Schmidt's Centerline quilt. It made for some beautiful, sea-like waves to echo the Waterfront Park fabrics. In the picture above, that echoing of the bridge was NOT planned out! I love it when serendipitous stuff like that happens! P.S. The bridges are my favorite part of the quilt.

Strange half-in-the-sun shot.

"By the Sea" is a crib size quilt (45 x 60) and hopefully it will be well loved by a beautiful baby boy soon! You can see more about this quilt here (quilting method), here (includes tips for sewing with curves) and here (improv pie slices).

Linking up with TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts.

 *This quilt is on my Finish-A-Long List, Quarter 2 list! I'm linking up there as well.* 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Favorite Quilt Link-up!

We're a little bit more than halfway through the My Favorite Quilt series I'm curating over on Sew Mama Sew. It has been an absolute pleasure to communicate with some of my favorite quilters and read about their creations. You have until June 30 to link up a post about YOUR favorite quilt (also, you have a chance to win a gift certificate from Fabricworm!). So far, 21 people have done so (go read them!!) and answered some or all of the following questions:

  • Tell us about your favorite quilt. When did you make it? What pattern did you use? What fabrics?
  • Have your shown it at any quilt shows or entered it in any contests?
  • What memories or people does the quilt make you think of?
  • What do you like best about the quilt?
  • How did you grow as a quilter while making it?
  • If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
  • Where is the quilt now?

The linky is at the bottom of each post - you can see today's beautiful creation by Elizabeth Dackson here.

  • You can link up anytime throughout the month (6/1 – 6/30).
  • Your post must be a new, original post about a favorite quilt that you have made.
  • You can answer all or some of the questions below.
  • Click on links to read and comment on other posts! Quilty love should be shared
Blog about it if you have a chance! I'd love to read it!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Supernova Swap, Round 1

A couple of months ago, I posted a message in Instagram: I was looking for a partner to participate in the Supernova Friendship Swap hosted by Late Night Quilter and One Million Stitches. Karin was the first to respond! The original quilt by Lee of Freshly Pieced is gorgeous, and I've always wanted to make one!

What I like about this swap is that it's different: we make identical quilts (2 blocks per month: one to keep, one to send) and also send little gifts and extras to help the person get to know us. For example, the first month was "25 things you didn't know about me." It actually took a couple of days for me to come up with a satisfactory list!

This block was not made without mishap - it is a large block and a bit confusing to put together. Not that the instructions weren't clear - it just involved a lot of thought with color placement and piecing small sections. Now that I've finished one, though, I'm ready to take the rest of the quilt on.

When we started discussing the quilts, I suggested a unique color background: midnight quilter's linen. I've been admiring the color combinations in this quilt for a while, and Karin agreed it would be fun to work with. Karin just posted about her first block, too; I absolutely love the colors she chose!

Late Night Quilter

It's almost time to decide on my next color combo for July... maybe something Fourth of July related (coral instead of red, though)? I have a whole fabric stack out and ready to cut!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weekend sewing

This week, I've been pretty busy with "real life" stuff, so it was great to work only a half day on Friday. After running some errands, I settled down to quilt my Michael Miller challenge quilt.

I thought about quilting each section individually - the half circles with fans or spirals, the negative space with large circles or pebbles, and the striped area custom, but ultimately decided against it. When Barbara Persing came to the CJMQG last year, she advised that we consider the quilt's use before quilting it. This one is being given as a baby gift, so I thought simple, striking quilting would work best.

The quilt reminds me of the sea, with the blue solid and the Violet Craft Waterfront fabrics (bridges, birds, etc.), so I chose to quilt "improv" waves with my FMQ foot. I didn't mark anything because it's a lot more fun that way, and I love the whimsy it brings to the quilt. I was inspired by this pin - apparently a quilt by Denyse Schmidt (I pinned it from somewhere and didn't realize until now that the link doesn't lead anywhere :( ).

 Some of the waves are long and some are higher, and I quite like it that way! My method wasn't without mishap, though; this is a crib size quilt, so it's pretty big and difficult to maneuver with a large scale design. This is one of those times I would love to use a long arm. :D So, I'll finish quilting today (another plus: this quilting is pretty fast!) and bind it!

One more order of business: my sister is out of school, so she's not stressed... SO, she was able to hang out with me last night! She had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she really enjoyed taping all of her pictures on her wall and fitting them into place, which gave me an idea: she could lay out her own t-shirt quilt! That's what we did last night. The top is *almost* done! She's going to come back tonight to work on it.
I hope you all have some sewing time this weekend, too!


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