Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Good Morning Beautiful - Design Wall Notes

Good Morning Beautiful
Each Saturday and Sunday morning I wake up and watch the sunlight come across my design wall.  The colors take on inspiring shades and tones as the sun rises.  In a very real way, it relaxes me. 

It makes me want to say: "Good Morning, Beautiful." (and even start singing one of my favorite country songs of the same title)

Is this always the case?  The answer is no.  Sometimes the quilt layout gets frustrating because:
1. The vision isn't coming into reality
2. An unrealistic deadline
3. You're simply not "loving" it
4. You're missing your "sew-jo" (your sewing mo-jo)
5. Uggghhh... you're not even sure what's wrong...

But how do you get from "ewww" to "you had me at, hello?"

Purpose of a Design Wall
This is definitely where the design wall comes into play for me.  It allows you mix and try different layouts and combinations, and then stand back and evaluate.  The wall gives you the opportunity for a quilt to "simmer" much like a fine marinara sauce.  I find that one of my quilts can be up on the design wall for weeks as I "tweak" the layout. (Obsessive, much? Yes!)

For example, I played around with a set of Tula Pink EPP (English Paper Pieced) hexagons for a long time on my design wall before I finally settled on a design.


Here is a picture of me sharing my hand-quilting progress at a PHXMQG (Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild) meeting in March 2015.

Design Wall Inspiration
Do you want a new or improved design wall?

Mine is a tattered picnic table cover that is pinned to our bedroom wall.  I like that I can roll it up for easy transport to another room, or even a place across town.  It's a quick fix, perfect for an apartment dweller, but there are other options like these here:

For a quick, portable design wall try Nickel Quilt's Tutorial Here.
Avid / Ambitious Quilter?  Try this one from Cut to Pieces.
Want more ideas?  Check out this Pinterest board.

Thank you for indulging me as I pass along some of my notes regarding design walls.  There are plenty of resources available out there and I appreciate your thoughts and input!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hello March: Baby Boy Quilt Top

First of all, some news:

It's been rather slow over here on the blog for one rather big reason:

A baby boy will be joining our family end of June!

So in preparation for our little one's arrival I pulled out some fabric from my stash and picked out the Hello March pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew.

I love the cheery, bright colors!  The combination of the warm yellows and reds mixed with the cool blue remind me of summertime.

Hello March was the perfect pattern for a woman with "pregnancy brain."  The directions were straight forward and the quilt come together quickly.  Although, I did make a mistake still and had to re-do roughly 10 blocks... live and learn!

To make it look a bit scrappier, I went with 9 different prints rather than the 6 recommended for the crib size.  This provided me with some extra blocks for a future project.

The top finished at 42" x 56" which will be perfect for dragging all around the house by a little boy.

Now I need to piece a backing and then it's off to be quilted!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Noodlehead 241 Tote: A Finish

What can I say that hasn't been said before?  Look up "241 Tote review" online and you'll get hundreds of reviews of this excellent pattern.  There will also be some fun modifications to the pattern if you're curious.

Sneak peek of progress I sent to my sister

As always, Noodlehead patterns have easy to follow directions, complete with illustrations.  It's recommended for beginners to intermediate.  I suspect the intermediate is due to the curves, darts and the zippers (a modification to the pattern if you wish, instructions included with the pattern).  Also, I would readily recommend using a heavier interfacing if you're using quilting weight fabric.

For Christmas, we rotate names and this year I got my younger sister.  I had her select several fabrics from which I would create her something handmade.  Out of her picks, I went with the following three fabrics:

1. Robert Kaufman Yarn-dyed Essex Linen, Charcoal (sides and strap)
2. Michael Miller Cotton Couture, Ocean (side pockets and lining)
3. Robert Kaufman, Quilter's Linen, Delft (main panel)

Seriously, a great gift that my teenage sister loves!

I recently switched to a new computer (woohoo for me!) and so I'm working on finding the photos of the finish.  I'll post the results soon!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's in a Name: Finished Quilt

Each year we rotate names for our Christmas gift exchange.  This last year I got my teenage brother who is a goofy, sweet ham. 

We love him dearly.

So what do you give a teenage boy?  I bet a quilt was at the top of your list, right? 

So all kidding aside, I really did want to make my brother a quilt and so I brainstormed a few ideas of what I could do.  In August I started pulling fabrics: navy blues, royal blues, and greys.  I continued to cultivate great "gender neutral" prints through out the process.

After struggling for a bit with the design, I decided I wanted to make a word quilt.  All of the words would be about my brother and inside jokes.  The entire quilt would be made out of words.  Awesome!  I grabbed From Blank Page's First Alphabet pattern (link to etsy store here) and brainstormed words.

Then in September I started to paper-piece all of the words...

Then around mid November, I panicked!  Only 7 words done! (I blame all of nicknames that start with "R").  - Admittedly, it was my first time doing foundation paper piecing and if you look closely, you can probably spot where I started and where I finished :) It took me a while to get a hang of the tiny pieces. -  With only 7 words done, I decided to scale back and do a combination of words and brick layout.

Words: Bubba, Brother, Ryno, Reynaldo, Ryguy, Hickman, Moatboat, Suppin It Up, and Ryan.

And here is the finished quilt, all hand-quilted:

Herringbone Quilt Finish!

and..... a finish!

The herringbone quilt is now finished.  See prior post here about the adventure of creating the top.

The quilt consists of scraps from my own stash as well as a few scrap packs from some fellow quilters that I snatched online. Score!

Seriously, one of my favorite recommendations for fabric stash building is to snag a quilter's scrap pack that pop up on instagram and flickr.  Be sure you like the person's taste (as indicated by their IG account).

Finished Dimensions:

Binding: Kona Curry

Backing: Happy Go Lucky, Moda, Bonnie & Camille (my favorite print!)

I'm very anxious to use this quilt!  I've even considered turning the air  conditioning so that I could snuggle it in the middle of the summer.

Happily this will get great use... in the mild Arizona winters.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Quartermile - In the Wild

Ok, ok, not really in the wild... but you guys, I found a place called Quartermile! In Scotland nonetheless! 

Even the trash cans featured the name!

I've decided that it's fate that I retire to this gorgeous place in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Right?!?  Then my instagram / blog handle could be geographically accurate.

Here are some fun pictures from my recent trip to the United Kingdom.

In front of Buckingham Palace

In Bath ("I am for Baaaath" - Jane Austen's Persuasion)

Regents Park - London

Dover Castle

Also, I was so tempted to pick up a souvenir bag, but then I realized I could make myself one at home just the way I wanted it.  Does anyone else do this?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Herringbone Quilt: Case of the Never Ending 2" Strips

Every marriage has their quirks and mine is no different.  For the first year of marriage we tried sharing a single blanket for our bed.  Results: we would each steal the covers!  So to help keep each other happy, we determined that we each would have our own blanket. For the most part, it's a great system.  My husband tends to have a lighter blanket while mine is a bit bulkier. 

However, we still like the idea of being able to share a blanket.  Sharing is caring, right?   So, I jump over to my pinterest board and together we pick the herringbone quilt that I pinned by Bijou Lovely.

Laying out the blocks for a third, fourth or fifth time...

Quick timeline:
2013: Get great idea to cut down my scraps by cutting 2" x 11" strips from Bijou Lovely's Herringbone tutorial and subsequently Stitched in Color's block tutorial.  Plan to sew roughly 20 blocks and do some math.

2013-2014: Cut and gather 560 2" x 11" strips from my scraps. I also carefully curated scrap bundles from some of my fellow quilters.  You can keep your eye out on Instagram and blogland for when bloggers/quilters destash some of their scrap bundles.  I bought three bundles (each around $8) and got some quality fabrics and it added some variety to my quilt.  By the end of the year I managed to sew roughly 5 blocks!  Wahoo!

2015 - Present: I've sewn 20 blocks and laid them out on my design wall. Loving the process and how the fabrics are playing together.

Too skinny! (My math was off.  Ahem... did I mentioned that I was in advanced math classes in school?)

So then I had to cut 112 more 2" x 11" strips.... BUT it was worth it!!!

The final results coming soon!