Monday, October 27, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry

The leaves are changing colors, the stores are full of bags of snack-sized candy ready to be eaten, and every recipe I've made in the last two weeks has included pumpkin.
You know what that means: It's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

I struggled with figuring out what to enter this time around because I haven't actually finished any quilts in a while. Instead, I was busy growing this little guy, who was born in August:

(And no, I actually didn't make him a new quilt--I've loved the nursery decor I made for my first son, so I used it for the next two as well. I've been busy working on quilts for his older two brothers' can see the progress on those here. He will get his own quilt down the road when he's old enough to pick something out!)

But you actually came here to see my entry for the show, didn't you? 
I finished this quilt back in June, so my niece received it two months before her first birthday (pretty good, considering it was supposed to be a baby present!). 
I'm entering it in the Original Design category for the BQF.

Patchwork and Pennants
Designed, stitched and machine quilted by me
48" x 52"

The story behind this quilt (you can read the longer version, with photos, here):
Little Rachel is the youngest of three girls. I made the other two matching Yellow Brick Road quilts (Atkinson Designs) using a fat quarter bundle I bought at Quilt Market Sample Spree back in 2005. I really wanted Rachel's to "go" with the others but was pretty much out of fabric from the original bundle. And I was ready to branch out and design my own quilt rather than simply following a pattern. I developed this patchwork and pennant design and then took the fabric scraps I had left from her sisters' quilts and bought tonal prints and solids in coordinating colors. A couple pennants in each row are 3-D; the rest are fused and zigzag stitched in place.
I quilted it on my home machine and added a scrappy binding. You can see the quilting detail below and read more about it here:

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ALYOF October goal

My October goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to finish assembling the second quilt top for my older boys' new bed quilts. My mom assembled the first quilt top; I have the remaining 99 blocks still at my house to finalize the layout and sew together. (You can read more about these quilts here.)

I'm hoping the quilts might be on the bed by...Christmas? Thanksgiving would be even better...we'll see how long the quilting takes!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A, B, C...September ALYOF

I completed my ALYOF September goal--to sew fabric letters and a drawstring bag to hold them for my nephew--and mailed them off today. His birthday was on the 23rd, so they are late, but he's 2 and won't care. Besides, I actually have a good excuse. I made the last-minute decision to head to my sister's house (4+ hours away) with my 3 little guys so that we could attend the birthday party. This meant that the days I had planned to sew the letters, I was actually visiting the birthday by instead. I'll take an in-person visit over a timely birthday present any day!

Here are the letters:
(the letters in the lower left show the backing fabric--rows of cars)

And the drawstring bag (isn't this the perfect fabric for a bag that holds letters?!):
Clearly the bag didn't get ironed...

And the whole colorful pile of letters and the bag!

I'm thinking that Santa will be bringing my nephew quilted numbers for Christmas to complete the set!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September ALYOF Goal: Fabric Letters

Way back before Christmas, I used this tutorial to make a set of fabric letters for my 2.5 year old nephew. Because I finished them approximately 3 hours before I had to wrap them, I forgot to take a photo. My sister-in-law took these photos for me after the fact:

It was fun to dig through my scraps to find fabrics to use, and I had the letter print you see above that I used to make a drawstring bag. This was a quick and easy project to do!

Fast forward to the end of May, and that same nephew was about to turn 3. I decided a set of numbers would be a great gift and dug through my scraps again.

This time I remembered to take a photo before gifting them. 
And of course my boys wanted to be in a photo too!

So when August rolled around and a certain boy in my house was turning 3 (the redhead above), I decided he needed his own set of letters. I actually made these the day of his birthday--that's how quickly they sew up! I love the fabric I found for his drawstring bag, too.

I have another nephew who will be turning 2 in September, and I've been planning to make him a set for his birthday. With this in mind, I was smart when pulling fabrics for my son's set--I cut enough pieces for both sets at the same time, so all I have to do is assemble the little quilt sandwiches, stitch the letter shapes on each one, and cut them out. I feel like the fabric selection is the most time-consuming part of this project, so I'm thrilled that I'm done with that part already!

And so, my September ALYOF goal is to finish the set of letters and drawstring bag for my nephew's birthday. I'm hoping that he'll like them as much as the other two boys do!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WIP Wednesday: quilts for my big boys

This is one of those projects that's been a long time in the making...

I've had plans to make bed quilts for my two bigger boys (5.5 and 3) for a couple years, and I had a color pattern in mind, thanks to this inspiration page from a Sherwin Williams brochure:
(My older son has seen this picture--and approved the color scheme--
but wants to know when Daddy will be installing the barn door on the closet!)

My nursery decor had been teal and mocha, so the boys' room (they share) was already painted a similar shade to the teal you see here. I loved this palette and wanted to use it for their "big boy" room. My now 3-year-old was less than a year when we moved into our house, so I had time to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I ran into the Cranberry Chutney pattern by Madison Cottage Design at Quilt Festival in 2013 and fell in love. 

The plaid look each block had was perfect for two growing boys--not too childish, but not too grown up. That same day, I bought a bunch of fabrics in my color scheme. Which I then sat on for about nine months. 

This spring and summer, with the new baby on the way, it was time to start the redecorating process. My mom and I cut everything we needed and split it in half--we would each make 99 blocks!

Here are some in progress shots from my design wall as I made blocks and put them up on the wall. Did I mention that 99 blocks is A LOT? I am so happy that mom volunteered to make the other 99!

And the finished layout for one of the quilts--just needs to be sewn together! I think there might be an end in sight for finishing the boys' room!

Here's a peek at the repurposed dresser in the boys' room--the quilts will help to tie the colors together!

So that's what I'm working on this week (and have been working on for several weeks!). My next challenge is the quilt backs--I'm thinking I'd like to make the backs look like a single block (so one main fabric with several strips intersecting through it). What do you think? Any other backing ideas?

Not looking to get overly detailed in the back piecing, but I'd like something more than just a plain quilt back. And, I don't have any blocks left (nor any of the fabrics from making them--I bought just enough!), so I can't do a row of blocks--matching ones, at least--on the back.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Block Happy 2

A little more catch-up here...several months' worth of do.Good Stitches blocks for the Believe circle to share with you. I always love seeing how everyone's blocks look and then how the finished quilt comes together! 

April blocks: fun little Scotty dogs in black or gray with bright bowties.

May blocks: an improv pick-up stick looking block design in orange, yellow, green, turquoise, and dark purple/blue

June blocks: a transparent-looking "LOVE" block in sunset colors

July blocks: Easy patchwork with a white center square and frame, in shades of blue, turquoise, and purple

August blocks: Flying geese blocks of any design, in a yellow, coral and periwinkle palette. Everyone's blocks are different--can't wait to see how this quilt comes together!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Block Happy 1

The Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild meets in person every other month. To keep us busy during the off months, we hold an online activity. A block is chosen (that's actually part of my role in the guild--to choose the block for this activity--such a fun "duty"!), and anyone who wants to participate makes one (or more) block(s), posts them on Facebook, and then brings them to the following month's meeting. One lucky person wins the drawing and goes home with a quilt full of blocks. You may remember that I won last September's improv herringbone blocks and stitched them into this quilt.

I'm catching up here, so I have a couple month's worth of blocks to share:
First, the tipsy stacks block (this first photo is oriented the wrong way to understand the name...check out the second block, with turquoise, for the name to make more sense).
The color rules: Use black and white fabric with shades of a single color in the center.
Find the guild post about this block (including link to the tutorial) here.

Second, the "X Marks the Spot" block.
The color rules: shades of gray for the background, a solid for the "X" and a coordinating print for the center square.
Find the guild post about this block (including the link to the tutorial) here.

This awesome spiderweb block is the online activity for our September meeting. We held a text fabric swap at our July meeting, and those fabrics make up the center of the block. The rest is just scraps. Can't wait to see all of these blocks together, going home with one lucky winner!
Find the guild post about this block (including link to the tutorial) here.

I think this last block design is going to be in particularly high demand at the next meeting...I've heard that everyone is hoping to win these!