Friday, July 22, 2016

Block Happy! Summer edition

Scattered in amongst bigger projects I work on are the blocks I make for two groups--our Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild online challenges, and my do.Good Stitches Believe circle. Here are the last few months' worth of each. 

I showed these already--economy blocks I made for our March GLMQG meeting. 

But, I didn't show this. Here's how many blocks we had in the raffle--73! Aren't they fun?! And guess who won them?!?! 
Yep, me! 
Now I just have to decide what to do with them. There are a lot, but they are only 5" finished. So I either need to make more or decide on a layout that incorporates additional fabric pieces into it. Any ideas? I can't wait to play with these!

Our May GLMQG block: A Star block with a made fabric center. I was the speaker at our March meeting and gave a demonstration on made fabric--both how to make it, and then how to use it. I was surprised by how many made fabric projects I actually have! 

 My do.Good Stitches April blocks: 

And May:

And June: 

I just got my sewing machine back from a tune-up while I was on vacation--time to get July's blocks completed before the end of the month! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Preschool quilting projects

My posts the last few months have been very One Monthly Goal focused. I've been sewing beyond those goals; much of it just hasn't made it into posts! Time to change that. 

In April, right about the time that I was assembling the Row by Row quilt, another project needed time-sensitive finishing. I had volunteered to create a quilt for my middle son's preschool using fabric handprints traced by the kids and the seniors at the church where preschool is held. Hooray for fusible web! Preschool parent volunteers cut out the majority of the hands (thank goodness!); my mom and I finished the rest. 

The quilt was fairly simple to assemble--after I'd laid out the hand prints into rows (each set of two are the tracings of a preschooler's hand and his/her senior partner)--I just added sashing and an outer border. I'd considered using more colors and/or a patterned print, and/or adding appliqued words to the border, but ultimately decided the hand prints were busy enough and nothing else was needed. 
I finished the quilt top in time for it to be displayed the last day of preschool--it'll be quilted and bound by fall to hang in the room when preschool starts again. (Though my son will be in kindergarten--two in school and one to go!)

The second, connected project was a gift for our wonderful preschool teacher. She taught each of my two older boys for two years. This was her last year, and while I would have loved to make her a duplicate of the above quilt, it just wasn't going to happen. Instead, I created a wall hanging, re-using some of the hand shapes from the kids in the full quilt. The Bible verse hand embroidered on the front is "Children are a gift from the Lord." -Psalms 127:3.  My friend Stephanie offered to do the hand embroidery for me--I was so grateful, as I'm not good at that, and she did a wonderful job! I quilted it myself.

Another guild friend, Pam, offered to machine embroider the label for the back. (Thank you again, Pam!) I thought this verse was so appropriate for a preschool, but it was too long for the front of the wall hanging. The label was a perfect spot for it. 

It's always gratifying to use my sewing talents to create gifts for special people! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

OMG: Time for some machine quilting!

I was searching my computer this morning for a photo of the quilt top that I'm planning to quilt in July as my One Monthly Goal. And I couldn't find it. Which made me realize that I hadn't shared it yet here on the blog!

Love the stained glass effect from the light shining through.

This quilt is another made from my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. In addition to the 25-patches, I sewed a 12-1/2" square of made fabric in each month's color. My plans for these squares changed several times until I saw this quilt by Rachel from In Color Order

My version uses black as the background--there was enough going on in the star that I didn't need more color! Once I finished the made fabric squares, this quilt went together really quickly. Using sixteen 12" square blocks will do that for you! 

So my July goal is to quilt this quilt! I'm thinking straight lines. Thanks as always to Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for hosting this monthly kick-in-the-butt!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

OMG Complete for June!

Ready for a potent punch of color? 

I completed my June One Monthly Goal--machine quilting and binding my tulip wallhanging made from Paintbrush Studio's Painter's Palette Solids.

I quilted it with lots of freehand straight lines--my go-to for machine quilting on my own machine. I like how it turned out! I used six different colors of thread, a first for me. I do love quilting small projects--easy to handle and they go fairly quickly! 

The "texture" shot:

I love the back as well because of the different colored threads! 

Thanks as always to Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for organizing OMG--it keeps me moving forward on projects that I'm having trouble finishing! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

OMG June Goal: Quilt my spring tulip wall hanging!

I have lost a quilt top in my studio. And my studio is actually fairly neat at the moment...
For the last couple of months, it's been my plan to quilt this top as my One Monthly Goal project over at Red Letter Quilts. I look for it during the first week of each month and then give up and pick a different goal. You can't quilt what you can't find...
So I switched gears for my June goal but will keep looking for the mystery top. 

A year ago spring, I designed this "Tulip Time" wall hanging using the Graphix 3 collection from Paintbrush Studio. The tutorial was featured on their blog, Inspired by Fabric. 
(You can find it here.)

I love the geometric prints and the spring-y array of colors. In fact, this wall hanging is currently adorning my front door. 

This spring, I stitched an updated version using the Painter's Palette Solids collection from Paintbrush Studio. I got this far and for whatever reason, I ran out of steam to finish it. 
Don't you love these colors?!

So, my June OMG is to finish this wall hanging--add a border, machine quilt it, and bind it. In a busy month (why did I volunteer to organize VBS?), this seems like an attainable goal, and it's certainly a UFO I'd like to get crossed off my list! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

May Goal: Complete!

How appropriate to show this finished May project for One Monthly Goal on Memorial Day!

I quilted this one just like mine--straight lines on the red stripes, squiggles on the white, and starburst lines on the blue. Now to mail it off to my friend and come up with a June goal! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My "Home Is Where You Make It" quilt

I'm excited to finally share this quilt with you! I was asked to come up with a quilt with a story line for Paintbrush Studio to hang in their booth at Market. They are sponsors of the Row by Row Experience, and they wanted a quilt that used their 10-color palette (from the Leather collection, which has great texture but is cotton, not actual leather!). 

Here's what I came up with:

I am super proud of it, especially because, ahem, applique is not my thing. There were times when making this quilt was painful, and I wished that I'd added less detail to it. So.many.little.pieces! But I do love how it turned out!

I printed out each row full size and in reverse at Office Max and then trace the shapes onto fusible web. I numbered each piece as I traced it so I could refer back to the original design to figure out what it was and where it went (harder than I though it would be!)

If you're wondering how long this took, here's a short little story to give you some idea. I took all the raw materials for this project to a day-long guild retreat. Optimistically, I also took two other projects. After 10 hours, I had three rows completed. I never touched the other projects. :) So the short answer is, quite a while, and longer than I thought! 

I had two friends who helped significantly on this quilt. Linda Smoker took my rough pencil sketches (that weren't even to scale--really just concepts!) and transformed them into digital designs for each row. She did a fabulous job! Then Diane Oakes machine quilted the quilt (in about 4 days' time!). I handed it to her with free reign, and I love what she did. So much detail, so much texture! she quilted it, she stitched around the edges of every single fused piece (since I didn't.) Bless her! She used nine different thread colors in the quilt. Thanks, ladies! 

Here are additional close-ups of the quilt so you can see the details and the quilting. You can read more about the quilt here

Row 1: a happy little neighborhood.

Row 2: Winter arrives!

Row 3: The camper heads south to the beach. Over tall hills and along winding roads.

Row 4: Setting up camp near the beach. Notice the items that came along from home: the gnome, the flowers, the birdhouse, the quilt on the clothesline.

Row 5: Enjoying the beach!

The quilt is named "Home Is Where You Make It" because that idea is so true--home is where you are, no matter where you are. 

I used my sample camper as a label on the back. 

I love looking at the quilting lines on the back!

And one more texture shot--looking down the quilt.

And here is the quilt hanging in the Paintbrush Studio booth at Quilt Market. 
Pretty fun to say I've had a quilt there! 

Read more about my quilt here.
See the Leather fabrics here and see Paintbrush Studio's Row by Row palette here. 
Learn more about the Row by Row Experience here