Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June ALYOF: Bound!

When I posted my ALYOF goal for June, I was trying to decide between the reddish Kaffe stripe I had originally picked out to bind my new bed quilt and the greenish version. I bought the greenish version and waited patiently for it to arrive (about June 16th...half the month gone!). And guess what? I didn't like it as much as the red. I really like the contrast of the red against the periwinkle side of the quilt, and I like how the binding is similar in value to the brown, so it's more subtle on the busier side of the quilt.
So now I have 1 yard of a greenish Kaffe stripe. Darn. I guess I'll have to figure out some way to use it...


So life got in the way, as it often does, and I machine stitched the binding to the quilt top last night (June 29). Leaving me--yep--one day to hand sew the binding to the back side of the quilt. 

Guess what I did today? 
:)

Actually, it worked out really well. My babysitter had to leave early, and the two bigger boys were riding bikes while the little guy hung out with me. We've had a fairly cool June here in Michigan, so having the edge of a quilt resting on my legs wasn't too hot (note to self for next time though--don't bind queen-size quilts in summer!). 

Here is my sewing buddy, who mostly sat and filled his face while I stitched. He and I are both sitting on my first quilt ever, which is our outdoor quilt.


I had to take a picture when I got to this point. How can you not smile at these colors and fabrics? I also fell in love with the quilting all over again. Can't wait to put this on my bed!

Thrilled to have this done--this is one of those things that could have sat for quite a while, waiting to be finished, but it's D-O-N-E!!!



Saturday, June 6, 2015

June ALYOF Goal

My June goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to bind my new bed quilt! I've had it back from the machine quilter since the end of April and it's still folded up on my studio floor, waiting for a binding. Here it is again, both sides:



And here are my binding choices. I was originally leaning toward the red one, but now I'm thinking the green might be a better choice (I put all 4 choices down below so you can see). I want the binding to contrast, and the red will contrast nicely with both sides, but there's not a ton of red on the pieced side of the quilt. The green will contrast with both sides, and there's enough green in both sides of the quilt that I think it makes sense. What would you choose?





Thursday, June 4, 2015

My first t-shirt quilt

Back in April, my friend Amy asked me if I knew anyone who made t-shirt quilts. Before admitting that I was capable of making one, I asked who it was for. :) 

When she said her husband, I told her I'd be happy to help.
Dennis was turning 40, and while packing to move houses, she'd stumbled across a plastic tote of t-shirts he'd saved to eventually turn into a t-shirt quilt. What a great 40th birthday present! The catch? His birthday was in a month. That's okay--nothing motivates me like a short timeframe! 

I made a Pinterest board to show her some ideas and was thrilled that she liked what I liked, which was one with a collage look like this rather than traditional rows.

We really had no idea how many t-shirts Dennis had or how many we'd need. So we laid them all out:
See me counting shirts in the picture?
We had over 60 and ultimately used 46 if I counted the finished quilt correctly.

I suggested we add in one or two cotton prints amongst the t-shirt squares like in this quilt since it seemed like the t-shirt sizes varied hugely. While I loved the collage look, I didn't want to mess with partial seams and fitting all the pieces together just like they were. So if you look closely at the quilt, it's pieced into six horizontal rows of varying widths (plus a red strip at the top and bottom to make it longer). The quilt still has that collage look, but the piecing was easy! Amy chose a gray and a red tonal to use on the front, and we'll be backing it with a Boston Red Sox print, a nod to another of Dennis' loves (he also went to the University of Michigan, in case you can't tell!).

Our first few work sessions were while our oldest and middle kids were at school and preschool, respectively, and our youngest kids (10 months and 8 months) crawled around on the floor and ate Cheerios while we cut, pressed, and sewed. Not bad productivity with that kind of "help!" :) 
Our last couple of work sessions took place at the much more productive time (at least for moms of 3 kids) of 9 pm until 1 am. We finished the quilt top two days before Dennis' surprise party. 


And guess what? He loved it. I love giving (or helping to give) quilts as gifts, but I love it even more when the recipient really seems thrilled. Can't wait to get this one quilted--it's on the waiting list for the machine quilter--and then goes to live with Dennis permanently.

I have to say, I'm really proud of how it turned out! 
And now I want to make my own t-shirt quilt! My husband and I went to college together, so I think I'd better start raiding our t-shirt collection to see what we might have...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Is it finished?

 Every time my design wall is empty, I pull out my liberated medallion quilt from last April's Gwen Marston workshop. Here's where it was after the workshop ended:



I made a row's worth of wonky X blocks about 8 months ago but didn't attach them. I was trying to decide if I should do the X blocks on all four sides or just on two. I'm not usually a fan of square quilts, so I wanted to try making it rectangular. Here's a rough layout of that attempt:

I didn't like it, though, so I kept making wonky X blocks so I had enough to go around all four sides. I sewed them (and the red border) on and then started auditioning what would come next. I really liked this dark brown border:

And ultimately decided to sew the brown borders on without any additional piecing, using teal cornerstones. So this is where the quilt stands now. It's 40-ish inches square.

I think it's done.
Except...
I really don't want it to be. I want to keep going--I love the palette, the fabrics I have, etc., and I was envisioning using this fabric (which goes so well with the rest of the fabric) as a wider border as the quilt grew:


But the same time, I don't want to ruin a good thing by trying too hard. I can always start another liberated medallion, right?!?! :)
What do you think? Stop with the brown border (and use the Kaffe fabric as backing), or play around with growing this quilt?







Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, June 1, 2015

Machine quilting 4 ways

I completed my May A Lovely Year of Finishes goal--to machine quilt my scallop quilt.


I kept with my plan of using a different motif in each colored section, but I totally changed my original plan. I started on the goldenrod section, with plans to quilt swirls in the wider striped areas. But after I finished the stripes, I liked how they looked on their own. 
Then I did the lavender area, and again, I planned to add squiggly lines or something between the diagonal stripe rows. But I kind of liked the simplicity of the lines. I echo quilted the dark purple area, and then went to my old standby, pebbles, for the light yellow area. I feel like that is the "one of these things is not like the other" area, since the other three are all linear, but I thought it would be interesting to do one motif different from the others. 
Now to bind this! I'm thinking either the lavender or the dark purple. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

More Machine Quilting: ALYOF Goal

I really had fun machine quilting my zoo baby quilt for my April goal in the ALYOF project. Between that and my QAYG tutorial over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, I did (for me) a lot of machine quilting in April. Which made me realize that if I truly want to become a better machine quilter, I need to spend more time doing it. So...my May goal? Yep! Another machine quilting project. I'm going to machine quilt my scallop quilt.



I'm looking forward to using a different quilting motif in each of the four colored sections. And four different colors of thread! 


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Soon we'll be sleeping under this!

I recently got my new bed quilt back from my friend Sharon Brule, who did an absolutely amazing job quilting it. I wish these photos did the quilting justice.

Here's the original quilt top, which I started piecing in 2006 and finished in 2011. Sharon quilted it so that each square or rectangle you see in the quilt top has a separate quilting design--many geometric, but some with swirls or bubbles. 

And here's the back side. I wanted to make it double-sided so that I had variety and wouldn't be tempted to make a bed quilt again soon. :)

And here are some close-ups so you can admire the quilting:






Didn't she do a beautiful job?!?! I have the binding fabric for it (a Kaffe stripe), and finishing this quilt it next on my to-do list!
Then I'm going to buy some new sheets. What color sheets do you think I should get?