Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts

April is the end of our first round of quilt trading in our progressive quilts bee, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts. Six of us send around quilts that we started, and get them back as tops after a year. You can read more about my quilt starter and the fabric/ideas I sent out here and here.

I received Ashley's quilt starter, a row of gigantic green flying geese, at QuiltCon in February. She asked for a rainbow row quilt - pick a block (or a myriad of blocks) and create one riotous colorful 72" row of them. She had jokingly suggested that I make purple churn dashes (I love purple and she made churn dashes on my last quilt) and I figured I might as well! Though, I did weep a little as I cut into the last of my cerise Domino Dots. I guess it's for a good cause, because Ashley loves that print. :)

I always forget how much longer churn dashes take to make, even when I chain piece. I made three sizes (9", 6", and 3") and offset the smaller ones with purple scraps. I am really pleased with my row and I can't wait to see what Laura adds as the next quilter! P.S. I swear my row is straight - it's just the only angle I could take the picture in my apartment with some daytime light. :)

I considered taking a break from this bee because it is so much work, but we changed it to 2 months in between each quilt and I just love my beemates. I'm glad I stuck with it. :)

Now... to clean up all the purple scraps and start making for the next deadline!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Monday, April 27, 2015

X Marks the Spot - A Mini Quilt

Making mini quilts is a lot of fun. Making mini quilts for friends is even better.

 Liz and I became friends a little more than a year ago, when we were getting ready to attend Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat for the first time. She found out about the retreat here on the blog (I'm SO glad!). Since we hung out pretty much all weekend a year ago in Lancaster, PA, we've been in touch about fabric (lots and lots of fabric), our projects, and our real lives. We've also "Skyped and sewn" a few times (she's in Maryland and I'm in New Jersey). It's easy to say that Liz is one of my best quilty friends. 

We decided to organize a private swap (the best kind, IMHO) in anticipated of this year's retreat (which happened over the past weekend - I posted a lot of pics on my Instagram [@quiltyhabit]!). She promised to make me an Aeroplane Bag since I haven't summoned the bravery to sew legitimate bags yet, and I promised to make her a "mini" quilt for her new sewing room. Seriously, look at the amazing bag she made me. Omg. Yes, that is AMH patchwork and purple shot cotton. I'll take more pics soon!

For the mini quilt: she loves the colors from the Priory Square fabric line by Katy Jones, so I decided to centralize the main print and surround it with the metallic roses. It needed something else, though, which is where the cross stitch block by Alyssa Lichner in color order came into play. It just worked well, and I did a little quilty math to make it all come together. I added the off-white in the borders to rest the eyes and bring out the neutral in all that busy. I think it works (it looks better in person - it was hard to capture by camera).

Liz requested lots of free motion quilting, so I couldn't resist small pebbles. I've been pebbling a lot lately and I just love it. Plus, my skills improve each time.

Quilty goodness on the back. Hopefully Liz will enjoy this quilt for a long while!

Thanks for a thrilling swap, Liz, and I had a great 4-day weekend hanging out with you!

I have a whole bunch of blog posts lined up now! I'll post a full recap or two of Mid-Atlantic Mod at some point this week.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Soar: A Finished Orange Peel Quilt

This quilt has sucked me into its grasp and hasn't let go. It seriously makes me giddy. Just an experiment with color and different sized orange peels turned into something much more precious (isn't that the reason we sew?). May I introduce you to Soar, my third orange peel quilt and the inverse of Scatter (here's Breeze, the king-sized beast, too).

My favorite part, the ghost peel. All the petals are drifting off from this corner:

The orange peels were made using my additions to Emily Herrick's tutorial. It is a fun and addictive stitch and flip machine applique method. There is so much you can do with orange peels (I've proven this on Pinterest) but I don't think I'll soon tire of pairing them with improvised backgrounds!

I use my planned improv technique, which involves giving myself stipulations (here, it was one white piece and a gray piece per block). I'm teaching this technique a few times over the next couple months. Basically, I build the quilt from the bottom up, using strips, and I just keep adding where needed. I made sure to sneak in scraps of the next color into the piecing (mostly Anna Maria Horner - can you believe I'm actually using my precious AMH stash?). There is a bit more to it but you'll have to take the class to find out. ;)

Grainy nighttime progress picture. Improv is messy and so totally awesome!

Quilting it was an absolutely joy. I left the orange peels unquilted as I always have so that they stick out a bit more. I have a lot of respect for long arm quilters but after all the quilting I've done, I don't think I'll ever be able to hand one of my quilts off to be quilted. It's my favorite part!

 Baby orange peels!

 The back was a joining of several of my favorite large Anna Maria Horner prints. Usually I piece backs in a pretty complex way, but for this quilt, simple seemed best.


 Here's one last picture of the texture. It's funny how the quilt shows up differently when tilted in the sun.

And here's Scatter, for comparison's sake. :)

You can read more about Soar here.

I can't wait to show both of these at the Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat in three days! I've been taking lots of pictures of all the projects I've been working on lately, so hopefully you haven't given up on me as a blogger these last couple of weeks. ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Doe Improv Quilt Top

Carolyn Friedlander's color schemes are surprisingly inspiring to me (I only say "surprisingly" because they rarely include purple ;) ). But really - her fabrics are gorgeous, and I've made two quilts with almost solely her fabrics {Home} {South}.

Last November, I tore apart a mini charm pack of Doe in earnest that my lovely friend Jess brought back from Fall Quilt Market. I was so inspired by the colors, and wanted to make something bigger than a mini quilt (I tend to "go big or go home," even when it comes to minis). So, I gathered scraps and a bit of yardage that meshed well with Doe and began to improv piece rectangles and squares by color. I made sure to include a pop of white or low volume in each block, and many of the mini charm squares are surrounded by white, black, or gray. The blocks just kept multiplying until I got tired of making them (at 10 blocks - clearly, my stamina is astounding [sarcasm!]).

I originally planned to keep the blocks split up and use an eggshell/off white for sashing. I just didn't like how they looked. Then, I found this magical quilt by Ashley @ Film in the Fridge, and by golly, that background is perfect! So, I gathered a bunch of prints and one solid to make up the background. I'm excited to piece this top together. Now, it's time to think of a backing, binding, and quilting pattern...

I have a bunch of finished projects coming up! Sooo much secret sewing. Impossibly hard to keep secret. :)

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fabric collaging

I've become enamored with cutting up fabric and Mod Podging it to canvas (yes, Mod Podging is totally a word). Who would have thunk that sewing wouldn't be enough? I bought a bunch of canvases (and by a bunch, I mean 7) from Michael's more than a year ago. They were supposed to be the surfaces I'd mount a bunch of pretty sewn churn dash blocks on to hang around our living area. While that may still happen, I could always buy more canvases (they're cheap on sale)... so for now, I'm going with my newfound obsession.

I made up the process as I went along but later found this tutorial by Crazy Mom Quilts, which explains most of what I did. I prefer to paint Mod Podge onto the canvas, press scraps down, paint Mod Podge over them, and then continue to layer. So much fun - and it keeps me using my scraps! Plus, I love leaving the threads hanging - they harden from the Mod Podge but it looks authentic, you know? I might experiment with clean edges in the future just for kicks.

The first one I made, above, was for my friend Julie, who I met in college a few years ago. We became quick friends - when she transferred, I met her in musical theater, and we started hanging out. Later, when she was student teaching and off-campus more, we would meet once a week for dinner in the dining hall to trade teaching and class stories. Ever since, we've been trading crafts, too. I've made her two t-shirt quilts and a pillow, and Julie photographed my wedding (she did an absolutely lovely job). She's commissioned me to make several of my double-sided fall/winter tablerunners this coming summer, too. I treasure her friendship and I love that we can be crafty together! She also makes the cutest handmade ornaments every year! I thought this gift would be appropriate and treasured by her.

The second one is for a special little lady who has a 3rd birthday - my niece, Audriana. :) I know it's not your *typical* gift for a 3-year-old.... but I'm one of those people who likes giving practical and/or handmade gifts, even when said birthday girl is turning 3. I painted the sides blue for an extra flair, and wrote a special birthday message on the bottom. Hopefully she loves it and will treasure it as she grows older and sees it on her wall. :)

I plan to make these as gifts throughout the year; in fact, I'm already working on a third for quilty friend! I'll be sure to post more of them (I'm also thinking about selling them - do you think people would buy them? I'm thinking locally because they will be difficult to ship).

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Binding

I quilted two quilts over the long weekend, and now I have to bind them! Sweet. I'm excited to finish two huge projects!

Binding is one of my least favorite parts of sewing - I won't sugarcoat it! I machine bind everything now, which is a huge time saver (I learned using this tutorial by my girl Ashley). It used to take me at least 4 hours to hand bind a quilt (I did that for about 3 years). While I do enjoy sitting down to do handwork, it became too much (and it hurts my hands). I'm not just as skilled sewing by hand as I am by machine, so I've finally perfected my machine binding (probably not to *show standards* but to my standards!). Many quilters find pleasure in hand binding but I am NOT one of them. :)

One part of binding I DO enjoy is choosing the fabrics. I've played with snippets of rainbow  in my binding (above - my Home quilt) and I love a good scrappy binding. I've generally matched binding to sections of a quilt but not as amazingly as Debbie (have you seen her latest beauty?).

Sedona - binding matches each color section

Dresden Rainbow - binding matches each color section

Other WIPs: I'm also sewing a lot for my Secret Sewist partner for the Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat (2 weeks away!!). Each person who signed up (there's 37 of us!!) received a secret partner who we have to make one gift for for each of the three mornings we are at the retreat. On the last day, we reveal who we are. I CANNOT wait to share with my partner what I have planned for him or her. I. can't. wait. To sum up: I've been sewing a lot more, but I literally can't show a thing until all is revealed at the retreat.

Mid-Atlantic Mod

On another note, April, May, and June are VERY busy sewing months this year for me - it's going to be amazing! Besides guild duties (newsletter writing, meeting planning, and setting up some great events to come), I'm speaking at two guilds! I'm currently perfecting lectures for the CAMACO guild in Cape May, NJ (on Modern Quilting) and LIMOD in Long Island, NY (on Improvisational Piecing). :)  I'm also prepping for my shortened Orange Peels and Improv class at Mod, and tweaking my full class to teach at Pennington Quilt Works again in July. I'm hoping to set up a couple more classes and lectures this summer, too!

More projects to come: I'm testing a quilt for Jess of the Elven Garden, sewing up a quilt for Heidi of Fabric Mutt's book blog tour, and participating in three mini quilt swaps on Instagram (my first ones - Anna Maris Horner, Cotton + Steel, and Lizzy House). I have a feature coming up on Sew Mama Sew. Plus, it looks like there might be a quilt-a-long here and here in the works in late June/early July - start saving your selvages... that's all I'm saying. ;)

My size ten foot compared to my selvage basket... it's time to dive in.

So, back to binding. Tell me... do you love to bind? Are you neutral? Hate it with the passion of a thousand burning suns? Do you prefer by machine or by hand? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Orange Peels and Improv 2

I've shown bits and pieces of my second Orange Peel quilt on here and on Instagram, and I'm happy to say that I've finished the top AND the backing! It's basted, too - yay! This quilt is an inverse of Scatter, to give my students more options with their fabric choices. I'll talk more about the fabric placement (planned improvisation) when it's all done.

 At some point today, I hope to start quilting. I have some ideas that I'm waiting to play out when I get to the top. But first, I have to finish tacking down all the peels, since right now they are only fused with a iron (I stitch very close to the edge to tack them). I also have a doctor's appointment because I'm still sick and have officially lost my voice... but I don't need to talk to the quilt, right? :)

We have four days of spring break coming up, including the weekend, so I'm hoping to fit in lots of sewing! Plus, I'm making this quilt my April ALYOF goal. Happy April!


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