Saturday, April 19, 2014

In Love with Liberated Medallions!

I had a fantastic week! Gwen Marston came to Kalamazoo to the Log Cabin Quilt Guild for two full-day workshops and a lecture. Guess what? I took both workshops. Two full days of sewing--no work, no kids...just fabric play and hanging with quilting friends and learning from the talented, funny, and inspiring Gwen Marston. Lots of fun! 

Want to see what I made? 

The first workshop was Liberated Medallions. We were asked to bring in a center medallion of some type to build around. Because I don't have enough fabric in my stash (ha!) I went shopping the previous Friday and bought the fabrics below:

I struggled with what to for my medallion--I considered just fussy cutting a piece of fabric, but ultimately decided to piece something instead. The timing worked out perfectly, as I'd been watching the Spring Challenge over on 15 Minutes Play and realized I could combine ideas, participating in the Spring Challenge and making it the center of my liberated medallion.

Here's what the Spring Challenge started with, plus the assignment to use made fabric and "think spring."

With a tight timeframe (I began piecing the night before the workshop!), I played around a bit in Illustrator first to figure out what I wanted to do. While I like the star concept, the third design spoke to me so quickly that I didn't even bother to spend time coloring it in.

I dug through my scraps to find fabrics in the colors that matched what I'd bought and started piecing. Because of those extra lines I added, I paper pieced the blocks instead. And skipped the center line in the biggest (teal) triangle. Here are my four made fabric Spring Challenge blocks:
They say spring, don't they?!?!

I quickly got caught up in creating at the workshop itself, and I don't have many in-progress photos. (oops! Truly the sign of having a good time!)

Here's the center medallion with the sashing and first border added:

First pieced border added:

My liberated medallion after the workshop (not complete, but just as far as I got that day):

And a close-up of the borders I added:

I LOVED this workshop--I felt in the groove from the start and enjoyed making pretty steady progress. The "liberated" technique meant very little measuring, a very relaxed attitude, and lots of wonky piecing. I can't wait to see where this piece goes from here! 

And if you ever have a chance to hear Gwen speak or take a workshop from her, jump on the chance! She's delightful and witty, and I loved being able to jump right in and start sewing while she walked around and offered advice, chatted, and shared her enthusiasm. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Woven Quilt - published!

I'm excited to share this quilt with you--I designed it back in the fall as a "man's quilt" and then found some great "manly" colors from Connecting Threads to make it from. The quilt is featured as a pattern in the May/June issue of Quilt It...Today magazine. Always fun to see your work in print! :)

Here's the beauty shot from the magazine:

And a photo of the entire quilt, courtesy of my husband, the quilt holding expert. The blocks themselves are quite simple--just large snowball blocks. The tricky part--or at least the part that requires careful attention--is placement to achieve the woven effect. I know this because my machine quilter called me as she was loading the quilt onto her longarm to say that she thought I had a couple blocks positioned incorrectly. Yup, I did. So grateful to her attention to detail! The blocks still would have created a woven look, but it wouldn't have been the same symmetrical overlapping look here.

Do you see the mistakes in the original quilt top below? 
(Don't worry--I won't leave you hanging. I'll tell you where it is at the bottom of the post.)

I really love what the machine quilter, Diane Oakes, did with the quilt. I only had two requests--first, that it have more of a modern feel (as opposed to feathers or something flowery), and second, that the motifs somehow echo or enhance the feel of the weaving design. 
You can see the three different quilting designs she used--pebbles in the background, and a boxy design and back and forth design in the blue and the plaid, respectively. It turned out beautifully!

You can find the magazine here:

p.s. Did you find my mistakes? They're in the bottom right plaid "leg" of both Xs on the right side of the quilt. Those plaid "legs" should be going under the blue, not over. I fixed them before the machine quilter started, so the finished quilt is correct.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April ALYOF Goal

I've picked my goal for April's A Lovely Year of Finishes! I won these improv herringbone blocks at the September meeting of the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild. I've had them up on my design wall a couple times since then, but that's as close as I've gotten to actually piecing them into a quilt.

During April, my goal is to finish this quilt top. Our next meeting is May, and while I don't think I'll actually be to the point of taking the finished quilt to the meeting, at least this way I can bring the top!

Here's the layout I like best so far. I'm going to add 1" wide white sashing, echoing the "sashing" in each block.

Can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mystery WIP...finished!

Yesterday I posted my WIP for the day, figuring that most people wouldn't know what it was.

I finished it last night, so I'm back to share here today, but first a little back story.

I'm currently halfway through my third pregnancy, and I'd like to introduce you to my best friend:
It's a Snoogle body pillow. This pillow and I have a lot of history--I've happily slept curled around it through two pregnancies, and it has experienced some wear and tear. When the (boring muslin) cover ripped last week, I looked into buying a new cover, but I found beige, navy, and some fairly boring prints, and all for more than $30. Blah. This got my wheels turning....

Yep, a patchwork Snoogle cover!

I admit that the entire time I was making it, I wondered if the idea was too hokey. Was I crossing the line into becoming a crazy quilting lady, transforming all aspects of my life into patchwork? (Hey, I don't have patchwork seat covers in my car yet, so I think I'm ok.)

But now that it's done, I LOVE it! It will make me smile for 20 more weeks.

The cover sewed up pretty quickly. I stretched out my existing cover on muslin and cut two patterns out. I sewed strips of fabric onto the muslin to give the cover a little added strength. One end of one side has an overlapping flap for removal, so it's easy enough to take off and wash.

Now if I can just convince my boys that it's mine and not theirs...their first words every morning are, "Can we snuggle in the snoogle?" Then they drag it out of my bed every morning to curl up in while they watch cartoons!

Sharing over at Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WIP Wednesday: What is it?

My WIP this week is a bit of a scrappy mystery (not to me, but I'm guessing to most of you!).

Any guesses what it will be? 
I'll be back to share once it's done (and I'm about halfway, so hopefully it won't be too long!).

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Block Happy!

Every month I've been stitching away at my do.Good Stitches blocks and mailing them off (mostly on time!). But what I haven't been doing is posting them--either here, just for fun, or on the Believe Circle's Flickr page. Oops!

So here's a little catch up, minus one month where the completed blocks sat on my design wall for a week (because apparently walking to the mailbox at the end of the driveway is a monumental task), and I finally mailed them off, assuming I had photographed them earlier. Oops again.

September blocks:

October blocks:

November blocks (with charm squares provided by the quilter):

December blocks:

January blocks:
(These were a bit of a doozy because you had to make mirror images--required lots of "place fabric twice, sew once" from me so I didn't screw up!)

March blocks:

You can see some of the finished quilts from this group here.

What I love about being part of do.Good Stitches:
--Being a part of making one charity quilt each month (without having to do it all myself)
--Seeing the quilter's vision come to fruition, from their initial block request to the finished quilt
--Most of the time the blocks take an hour or two to make--minimal time commitment
--The opportunity to try out different block designs and different color combinations than I'd normally pick, again with minimal commitment--since I'm only making 2 blocks, if it's something I don't like, no biggie--it's just 2 blocks!

Find out more about do.Good Stitches here.

Monday, March 31, 2014

March ALYOF Goal: Complete!

As you might have seen in my last post, I completed my March ALYOF goal, and even did so at the end of a third day of cleaning/reorganizing my studio and office! 

My goal was to complete the top, which I did, but I was hoping to get some machine quilting done as well, as I'm eager to get this quilt to its recipient. I chose this for the backing:
(Those are hearts in case you can't tell--not typically my thing, but I want the recipient to feel wrapped in love, and the colors were perfect for my scrappy batiks!)

I basted the quilt on Friday afternoon:

What? You don't baste with straight pins? I usually don't either, but my basting space is in a high traffic area, I ran out of quilting safety pins, and we had weekend company coming an hour later, so some straight pins were better than nothing!

I've started the quilting, but no photos yet. Happy to have made progress and completed my goal for this month!