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! And...as 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

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May One Monthly Goal

My One Monthly Goal (thanks, Heidi!) for May is not very surprising nor exciting, but it's what I need to get the project done! 

My goal is to quilt and bind the patriotic door quilt that I pieced for my April goal. Then I can give this (it's a gift) and cross it off my list! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April OMG: Complete!

My April goal for One Monthly Goal was to piece one of these patriotic door banners for a friend. I stitched the red and blue made fabric one night and assembled it the next night (both this past week) and got it finished! 

Now I just need to quilt it. I'm not sure if I used brighter fabrics in the new one, or if the old one has faded that much in the sun. Either way, I like how fresh and bright the new one looks! 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April OMG

My April One Monthly Goal (Thanks, Heidi at Red Letter Quilts!) is to piece another wall hanging like this one. 

A friend admired mine last summer when it was hanging up, and I tucked that thought away in my head as a great gift idea. Summer is around the corner, and I'd like her to have it for all the appropriate patriotic holidays. Plus she moved into a new house last fall, so it's always fun to have some new door decor! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Block Happy! The first 2016 edition

Once every few months, I do a random post to show off the blocks I've made recently. I am part of the Believe circle of quilters for do.Good Stitches, and then I'm also in charge of choosing the block for our online activity for the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild. 
Here are the latest:

December do.Good blocks:

January do.Good blocks:

February do.Good blocks (Have you seen all the fun blocks Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts has for her QALs? So many fun ones to choose from! I love these little elephants.)

Inspired by a do.Good block in the fall, the GLMQG made quilt-as-you-go blocks for our January meeting. 

March do.Good blocks:

GLMQG March blocks, using Rita's economy block tutorial at Red Pepper Quilts

Most blocks come together so quickly; it's such a great feeling of accomplishment to finish making one!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bonnie Hunter workshop!

Bonnie Hunter spoke at the Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilt Guild meeting recently, and offered two workshops. I attended the Cathedral Stars workshop with my friend Stephanie. 

I've done very few workshops/classes, and at first I wasn't totally sold on the idea of a workshop for a pattern. I can follow patterns myself--what would I learn at the workshop? But two friends (thanks, Stephanie and Diane!) helped me realize the benefits of a workshop, and I also realized it was an opportunity to have an entire day where I was "supposed" to be sewing. I was sold! 

Here's Stephanie, Bonnie, and me at the end of the workshop, holding completed blocks:

I really enjoyed the workshop. Bonnie is so much fun to listen to, and I learned a ton of helpful little tips that will improve all of my quilting, not just on this pattern. 

Here is Bonnie's Cathedral Stars quilt, the pattern we were making. 

I spent far too much time considering a color palette. I was determined to actually use scraps (and yardage!) that I had, and I also wanted it to have a color scheme rather than being all-colors-scrappy. Using turquoise/blue was a no-brainer. Of my 16 scrap boxes, five are in the blue family. I had some bright green yardage that didn't work for its original intention, so I had star points. I just needed something to tie it together. I found some gray pin dot yardage that I'd forgotten about, and I was set. A little orange for pop, and here was my plan:
My quilt will ultimately have corners; I was just lazy when creating the digital design. And also, I have no idea how big my quilt will end up. Not a queen, but maybe bigger than what you see here.  

Here's what I got done during the class:

And I've assembled a few more since then. This quilt is much busier with many more small pieces than what I usually do, but I'm liking how it is coming together. Can't wait to see more of it!

Besides a using an Easy Angle Ruler to make HSTs (I may never go back to the old "draw a diagonal line, pair two squares and sew on each side of the line" method again!), one takeaway from the class that I'm already putting to use is the idea of leaders and enders. Simply put, keep a pile of pre-cut pieces/scraps/etc. next to your sewing machine and start and end each set of chain piecing or whatever you're doing by sewing a unit together. Smoother sewing plus extra productivity. 

I have a huge bagful of leftover paired triangles from my Shady Directions quilt. I have a plan for them. Now they are my leaders and enders, and they're getting sewed together. In the past week, I've sewed 50 of them! (Of course, I still have to square them up...ugh.) Had I actually remembered to use a leader/ender each time, I'd have even more.  Progress!

Bonnie also did a trunk show at our guild meeting Tuesday night. I "unselfishly" volunteered to help hold the quilts so I had an up-close-and-personal view. So much inspiration there--I have a couple more quilts of hers in mind to make, including the 2015 Mystery Quilt, Allitare. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

One Monthly Goal: Rainbow Quilt(s) Complete!

This might be the earliest I've ever finished a monthly challenge. Boy, does it feel good! 

My goal was to assemble my 25-patch rainbow scrap blocks into a quilt top with black and white squares for sashing. I originally planned to add a few black and white rows to the top and bottom as well, but I didn't like how it looked. So I stuck with simple instead. 

And my unofficial goal was to complete the second quilt as well, with a slightly different sashing treatment. I actually finished this one first, since it was on my design wall and had sashing that required a specific order as opposed to the alternating black and white squares. 

I'm really happy with them both and it was super fun to show them off at our guild meeting with Bonnie Hunter! Now to quilt them...

Thanks to Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for hosting One Monthly Goal