Friday, August 29, 2014

Progressive quilts continued

*Are you looking for the Orange Peel QAL Final Linky Party? Link up your quilts, tops, and minis here until Sept. 8!*

This past month I had the honor to work on Laura's quilt for our bee. We extended the first round for a few reasons and now we are finishing up two quilts. I can't wait to meet all of these ladies at QuiltCon and hopefully we'll bring our quilts (and get a big group picture)!

Laura sent along the gorgeous low volume words: "Life is a luminous halo." Here's the original quote by Virginia Woolf: "Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." It's from her essay titled "Modern Fiction." Laura encouraged us to use the "uglies" for our low volume - fabric that isn't calm and doesn't just *fit* right in. Somehow this crazy chaos just works!

"Luminous" and a flower Laura made didn't fit on my design wall! She sent along the line of wonky stars - and I thought it appropriate to make a large scrappy cross (tutorial by The Long Thread), some wonky crosses, and a "halo" (the octagonal orb block by Elizabeth Hartman, which was very time and scrap consuming but worth it!).

The pluses were fun and relatively quick - I "made fabric" with mine and Laura's low volume scraps by stitching them together and cutting them down into a square. I cut an angle through the square and sewed a strip of fabric through. I made another angled cut the opposite way and sewed another strip, which made the plus (basically, this was a "slice and insert" technique"). They were fun and perfect, I thought, for the sunkissed and scrappy vibe Laura is looking for. I didn't worry about everything matching up perfectly; I just had fun.

My signature block... it's smaller than it looks (6"x6")

There's something freeing but also stressful about progressive quilts. On one hand, all of us have given the others free reign - so if there's something you want to try (like the blocks I made for this one), you can just try it! I also feel pressure on myself to create something amazing and fabulous because the ladies I'm working with are so spectacular (wait until you see Renee's quilt!!!). I love that we push each other to do our best work. These ladies are so important to me! Speaking of progressive quilts, I still need to get mine basted... but first comes Renee's!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pieced backing FTW

 *Are you looking for the Orange Peel QAL Final Linky Party? Link up your quilts, tops, and minis here until Sept. 8!*

My August goal was simple on purpose: cobble together the backing for my Sister's Ten (2) quilt. I did this so I could give myself more time to continue/finish other projects. And in the last 5 days of the month, it's complete! It totally screams "fall" to me.

I took a feather from Jacquie Gering's book, sucked up the fabric hoarder part of me ("but what if I need it for a different project?" she whines), and used some of my current favorite fabrics for the backing. I do love a good pieced backing! I pieced together some of my favorite Anna Maria Horner and Moonlit prints. That top red print is Cameo by Amy Butler, and I planned it as part of the backing since I started the quilt a year and a half ago. Finally, that middle purple/white print is from the Downton Abbey collection. I just love its movement and how it balances out the backing's saturation.

I did use up all of the Cameo and the Downton Abbey but I still have more of the other prints (some just a fat quarter, but that's okay)... :).

In true Quilty Habit form, I left in a couple of selvages. Because why not? 

Have you seen the Cotton and Steel selvages? Hence the reason I bought some half yards... :). Sadly, there was barely 1/8th of an inch below the words, so I carefully sewed this seam to 1/8th of an inch. If you can't see the words, what's the point? Note to fabric companies - leave at least a quarter of an inch so those of us who love selvages can use them!

I usually drag my feet to make a pieced backing but I love having a double sided quilt in the end. Bonus points: I spray basted the whole thing already, too. Boom. Time to quilt!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

  *Are you looking for the Orange Peel QAL Final Linky Party? Link up your quilts, tops, and minis here until Sept. 8!*

I was tagged last Monday by Diane of My StudioQ and Melissa of Sew Bittersweet Designs to participate in the Around the World blog hop. Every blogger answers four questions - so, onwards:

For those who don't know me, I'm a sewist of four years in my mid-twenties. I've been very involved with my local Modern Quilt Guild the last couple of years (I'm serving right now as President and Webmaster), and it's been so much fun! I live in northwestern New Jersey with my husband of almost 2 years.

1. What am I working on? 
It changes every day. I try to work on what I'm inspired to work on (and yes, that means some days I don't work on anything because I don't feel inspired at all!). You can always check my sidebar ("currently") to see what's up.

Yesterday I took a Slice and Insert workshop with Jacquie Gering and learned so much! The gray blocks are mine and the purple are Jessica's. I'm working on making these blocks into a wall-hanging (hopefully sooner than later). I'll be blogging more about this weekend soon!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
 My work differs because I combine fabric lines constantly/I rarely stick to one fabric line. I also don't really have a specific style (in my eyes - maybe I do and you can tell me?) - I make traditional quilts with modern fabrics, I mix up traditional designs for a more "modern traditional" look, I sometimes improv... etc. It depends on the project. Also, most of my work is free motion quilted on my home machine. I rarely straight line quilt because I just don't have as much fun!

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
 Why? Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? But really - being serious now, I realized in the last two years that writing sewing out of my life would be nothing less than impossible. Sewing has gotten me through some tough times. My confidence has grown tremendously (though I've been putting it all out there on the blog since the beginning!), my skills have improved immensely, and I feel energized and creative every day. 

As I mentioned to my guild at the August meeting, I have been blogging since I started sewing, so for me, I can't imagine one without the other. As much as I enjoy Instagram, I would much rather write in depth about my process, design decisions, works in progress (I have a Ph.D in them at this point), final thoughts, the guild, and more. I would rather read about other sewists' thoughts in depth, too, which is why, hopefully, the quilty blog community will still be around for a while. And if it isn't, chances are good I'll still be here. :)

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
As I mentioned with sewing above, I like to blog when I feel inspired. Sometimes I'll write out full blog posts and wait to finish them off later before posting. I use the "schedule" button only if I'm being super proactive or it's a post that *must* get done on a certain day! Otherwise, I like to write out everything and then go back and edit. I'm a serial editor - as in, I'm never completely satisfied until every sentence has been read twice. That's probably a good thing!
My creating process as a whole works in mysterious ways. I'm not often inspired by patterns, but if I am, I almost always envision my own spin to them. That being said, I rarely follow legitimate patterns and I prefer tutorials that I can tweak. Overall, I like to make up things as I go. :) Sometimes, fabric itself is so inspiring that it ends up as the design for my quilt!

I'm tagging Renee of Quilts of a Feather, Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation, and Alison of Little Bunny Quilts to answer these questions next Monday!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Slow sewing.

  *Are you looking for the Orange Peel QAL Final Linky Party? Link up your quilts, tops, and minis here until Sept. 8!*

I helped with kid's quilt camp this week. It was thoroughly enjoyable but somewhat chaotic. :) The kids did an amazing job! For three hours each day over five days, they worked on a chevron quilt. On Thursday, they basted them, and we sewed around the edges (leaving a space) and flipped them inside out, like a pillowcase. Then, we topstitched around the edges and the girls tied the quilts on Friday. They left with finished quilts and pillows, pincushions, and bows. I taught one student how to make an easy tote bag. It was so much fun and I am AMAZED at the creativity, integrity, dedication, and talent in these girls. It really made me appreciate how much I love working with kids, too.

I don't have permission from them to post pictures, so here's a project I recently finished (more below). Ironically (in comparison to the title of this post) this is one of the quickest gifts I've ever made... :)

There were two 3 hour sessions every day - the morning was 7 younger girls and the afternoon had 4 older girls, so every day was pretty busy.  Then, I worked a "double shift" on Friday - Jacquie Gering (!) arrived to lecture and give a trunk show for the Central Jersey MQG at night (more on that soon, promise!).

After all that, I was exhausted (I've been sleeping so thoroughly this week) but yesterday (Saturday) morning I had the urge to sew. My neighbor just turned 7 years old so I made her a cute little pillow stuffed with polyfill and handstitched closed. She absolutely LOVED it!

Helping with kid's camp really made me appreciate hand sewing and the "slow sewing" method. Some of my projects I take slow, while others need to be a bit faster. I helped the girls tie the quilts with curved needles and hand sew pillow openings closed. I threaded at least 50 needles in one day. It was eye opening to me and made me realize I really need another "slow" project to work on. I'm considering cross stitch (maybe Satsuma Street?) or possibly just a change of pace (finally starting to sew a washi top?). I enjoy sewing and quilting so much, so why not stretch things out a little, right? Stay tuned for all that, though I still have plans for several more finished quilts this year...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Orange Peel QAL: Final Linky Party!

Are you ready to share your Orange Peel QAL projects?! I can't wait to see what everyone has been working on! From the Flickr group and Instagram feed (#orangepeelqal), it looks like sewists have tried several methods  - but many used the interfacing method with success. There's been straight line quilting, free motion quilting, hand quilting, and "ghost peels!" I've really enjoyed seeing all the designs you've come up with! Remember you have from today until Sept. 8 to link up, so there's still time (for a mini or "just the top" category, perhaps?)!

*I've decided to change the voting so that members of my guild can enter. I will use the Random Number Generator on September 8 to choose winners (will not be announce until 9/16), and then you can vote for "Viewer's Choice" in the following week, 9/9-9/16 (as already planned). Thank you for understanding.

Enter one of the following categories to be in the running for the prize listed (thank you a billion, amazing sponsors!). You can link up either a blog post or a Flickr picture. I hope everyone enjoys looking through the quilts and start to get your favorites in mind for the Viewer's Choice! (see bottom of the post for more info).

  •  Orange peels of any kind must be a main design element of your project. 
  • You may link up one entry per category (via blog or Flickr). Please include dimensions when you post!
  • Your project(s) must be made in 2014.

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

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

3. 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!

4. Viewer's Choice - voting will open to everyone for ALL categories from Sept. 9 -16.
    • 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

Happy orange peeling and blog hopping!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Orange peels are addictive and I'm raring up for the opening of the final linky party of the Orange Peel QAL this Saturday! Not that I can enter or anything... but you can, and be in the running for several prizes! The linky party will be open for 2 weeks, so no worries if you aren't done just yet. :) Are you ready to link up?

I'm making progress on my mom's orange peel quilt, though not as much as I would like. I was busy this weekend visiting my college roommate and hanging out at the beach with my family (both were fantastic by the way, just not conducive to having sewing time). I've also been hanging out at Pennington Quilt Works all week, helping with kid's Quilt Camp (I am having a blast!).

I'm trying to sew a panel every day or every couple of days. This quilt has a loose deadline of my mom's birthday (middle of November) so I'd like to piece it this month. I'm following a sketch in my graph paper notebook of general orange peel placement, and the scrappy piecing is all just using what I have (it's so freeing!). I'm using the same method I used to make Scatter. By the way, my class at Pennington Quilt Works in October ("Orange Peels and Improv") has 5 out of 8 spots full (!!), so if you're thinking of going, sign up soon!

We're going to order some of the new Anna Maria Horner flannel soon for backing. Yay! I love flannel backs - they are perfect for fall/winter and for a good nap...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pretty Petals - A Finished Quilt

Today, I present Pretty Petals - a collaboration between guild members for a lovely human being! It was so hard to keep this a secret the last few months!

My friend Jessica Levitt founded our beloved Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild in 2011, and led it for two years. She now serves as Vice President. Our guild has seen the passion and hard work she consistently puts forth, and for all of that (especially for her two years as President) we thank her with this quilt - just because!

27 members made blocks in a predetermined color scheme. As I received them, I narrowed down what colors were needed. We were getting a whoooole lot of blue and not enough purple at one point (there's never enough purple ;) though I like how it makes it pop. Oh, and guess which block is mine!). I cannot at all take credit for the whole quilt, but I did chose the design (tutorial by Tracey Jay Quilts and her Scrappy Sprouts quilt inspiration here), colors, backing, and binding, piece it together, quilt it, and machine bind it.

The backing and binding are a warm print from Zen Chic, and I left the selvage in just for kicks. It gives the back a little "pop!" Most members made quick and easy "siggy" blocks (tutorial by P.S. I Quilt). I arranged them in an "XO" format. You can really appreciate this in the far away photo:

For quilting, I really wanted to add a strong element that makes you give the quilt a second look. I pebbled in the sashing in different sizes, and I quilted swirls and "ghost" orange peels into the flowers for the green stems, I used Aurifil 12 weight green thread for the first time (with my walking foot and a universal needle). I love the chunky texture the thread creates! For the rest of the quilting, I used a natural white Aurifil.

 Yep, mine's that purple one. AMH, Kate Spain, Simply Color...

We presented this quilt to Jess at the August meeting. She was thrilled!! That's her on the right and me on the left.

Sewing many different peoples' blocks together certainly has its challenges (such as seam allowances and thread thicknesses). However, I love how this quilt, which Jess had pinned previously, is beautiful, very scrappy, and functional. Luckily she's already been cuddling with it:

Making quilts for people just because is so fun! :) Giving it to her was totally my favorite part of the August meeting. Thanks to all the guild members for making such an exciting quilt happen. We have such amazingly talented members!

Happy sister! You know there had to be a photo outtake.^^

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday: More Orange Peels

Can you believe there are only two weeks until the final linky party for the Orange Peel QAL opens? I can't! The party will be open from August 23 to September 8, which is more than 2 weeks on its own. As I said in this week's post, you still have plenty of time to whip up something for one of the three categories (quilts, minis, and just the top)! Check out more info on the categories and the prizes from the amazing QAL sponsors right here.

I really wanted to make something else during the QAL, and the opportunity fell into my lap this weekend. Since I showed her Scatter, my mom has been bugging me about making a similar quilt for her bed (soon to be a queen, luckily - I flat out said no to a king bed since I want to quilt it myself). It's a good bugging though because we have to talk quilts. :) She's a very faithful blog reader - hi Mom!

Anyway, this new project I've been craving was inspired by this g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s. Katarina Roccella Indelible print that Mom has fallen in love with:

I took out the peach color, though, because it just wasn't doing it for me. Combined with low volume fabrics, I think the rainbow of colors below will be just perfect:

I started the long and somewhat arduous process of cutting, stitching, and flipping over 30 leaves. It took me about 6 hours to finish - I was going at a pretty relaxed pace and very much enjoying myself. :) I didn't have to do it all this weekend but it was just calling to me and I had the time... so there you go. The most exciting part is that I'm experimenting with a mix of small (5.5" background) and large (10.5" background) leaves this time. I absolutely can't wait to make these into an improv quilt for my mom! Plus, it's giving me even more structure for my class!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Orange Peel QAL: Other Quilting Ideas for Orange Peels

Welcome to the sixth post of the Orange Peel Quilt-A-Long! The final linky party doesn't start until August 23, so you STILL have plenty of time to try orange peels out and whip something up! See here for everything about the QAL, including the three categories (quilt, quilt top, minis), 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!
Share your photos and thoughts!
  • #orangepeelqal on Instagram - share your design, progress, and finish photos - this feed is so fun to scroll through! People are really getting their orange peel on.
  •  Flickr Group - share your design, progress, and finish photos. Also, chat with other participants!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ashley wrote up  this fantastic post on machine applique. That is certainly one awesome way that applique can serve as your quilting lines, too! Today, I'll share a few more ideas with you.

Two things to keep in mind:
1. Your quilt design is ultimately going to depend on your quilt. Trust your gut and go for it!

2. If you use fusible interfacing like I did, be aware that you'll have a little resistance if you quilt on top of your orange peels. In Scatter, I only top-stitched around the peels and quilted around them.

Now for some ideas:

1. Ghost orange peels: you could mark them or just go for it! I did this on my Scatter quilt and made tiny dots with a washable pen so that they were fairly accurate. As I was quilting it just came to me to try it and I'm really glad I did:

 I love how "ghosties" create a strong extra element to your quilt. It makes people look a little bit closer. That's one of my favorite things about creative quilting.

 2. Walking foot quilting: Whether you have followed a more traditional orange peel layout like this or you have made a more improvisational quilt, you can use your walking foot to make straight line cross-hatches across the quilt. Or quilt straight lines up and down or across. My friend Mel of Melintheattic has an exciting tutorial on creative walking foot quilting that you should most definitely check out - if not for this project, then for the future! I especially love the idea of woodgrain quilting with orange peels. For some reason I feel like that would really make a statement.

3. Free motion quilting: For Scatter, I chose a bunch of my favorite designs for the low volume background and changed at will. Since I'm more comfortable with FMQ than straight lines, this was my choice.  Or, you could free motion some kind of design on the actual peels, mixed with straight lines elsewhere. Below, I've scribbled on a picture of Scatter to show you what I mean:

Okay, so those are more "organic" than straight line but hopefully you get the idea. ;) I think it would be cool to quilt different designs inside the peels! Also, I tend to quilt densely so maybe you want to leave the background of the peel unquilted for effect. Up to you.

If you've never tried free motion before, DO IT (I love these tips from Oh, Fransson!). You'll love it. My final suggestion for free motion would be to take a picture of your top and doodle over the picture to solidify your ideas! Many of us use Instagram already so why not post pictures of your attempts? (#orangepeelqal). Feel free to search around my Pinterest Inspiration Board for more ideas, too!

This week I'll be sharing a NEW orange peel project I'm working on (already a few pictures are on Instagram - @quiltyhabit), plus some reminders about the QAL! Just a couple of more weeks - we are in the homestretch! And yes, there IS time to make something completely new (especially if you enter the "just the top" category ;) )!


YOU ARE HERE -->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 


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