Saturday, November 23, 2013

"starstruck", a finished quilt and lessons learned

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you have probably heard me going on and on about my star-flower quilt along quilt. I've been working on it since mid-summer. I'm happy to say that it is finally (FINALLY) done. Pieced, basted, quilted and bound. I don't think I've ever been happier to finish a quilt.

I'm calling my quilt "star struck". It measures 66 inches by 72 inches. The fabrics are Happy Go Lucky, by Bonnie and Camille, some Avalon, and a few other stash fabrics that I had on hand. The backing is Aqua Kona Cotton.

The back was pieced with the remaining diamonds from the top. I included a few tiny stars made from the little scraps left over. I love it.

I free-motion quilted it using stacked lines within the stars and stippling everywhere else. I am hooked on free-motion quilting now. And it doesn't scare me anymore, so that's something.

It was bound in a red and white bias print from the "Scrumptious" line by Bonnie and Camille.
I need to get more of this print. It is so pretty.

It's been a bit of a journey. Here's what I've learned:
-    Know what you are getting into when you commit to a project
-    Backstitch at the beginning and ending of seams
-    Take the time to fix your mistakes when you figure this out, even after your quilt top has been sewn together.
-    Remember it's just fabric.... It's really hard to wreck it and if you do, the world won't come to a halt
-    Stretch your comfort levels... Try new things or techniques that intimidate you
-    Be inspired by other crafters but don't compare
-    Press, press, and press some more
-    Break the quilt down into chunk sized tasks
-    Be proud when you accomplish one of these tasks
-    Press your seams open
-    Don't bite off more than you can chew (ie. a really complicated quilt back)
-    But if you do, chew it well, and admire the effect
-    Sleep periodically
-    Don't be annoyed when your family asks for dinner.... Again.
-    If you are having a bad sewing day and making really obvious mistakes, put it down and try again tomorrow
-    Know when to pick out stitches and when to embrace them
-    Remember. It's just a quilt... Not brain surgery. No one will die (or even notice) if you make a mistake. Hopefully.
-    When you've put upwards of a hundred hours into a project, savor every stitch of the binding. Revel in it. You are almost there.
-    When free-motion quilting, periodically re-tighten your machine foot. Apparently they can wiggle loose.
-    Try to remember that you have children needing to be picked up from school. (If applicable)
-    When doing that, try to remember not to show up at the school looking like you've been hiding in a cave for a year with thread in your hair.
-    Do your best, not someone else's.
-    Know when to give up on an idea if you just don't like it. Don't be afraid to take time and re-evaluate.
-    Blink when quilting. (Took me a while to figure out why my eyes were hurting.)
-    Acknowledge that your quilt will not be perfect. BUT, it will be perfect for you.
-    Bury your thread knots as you go.
-    Know when to take a creative "break", but remember to come back.
-    And most of all ... don't give up.

Linking up with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it up Friday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

spring (in the middle of autumn)

It's been a bit of a while since my last post. Our home has been hit by one nasty cold after another, circling our family (with the notable exception of my husband) not twice, but three times. That being said, I've still managed to sneak in moments of craftiness.

Today I'm sharing a bag I've made for a special cousin of mine. I've made a lot of bags in the last few weeks, prototypes for a business idea I'm playing with. But this one is special. For as long as I can remember, my cousin's favorite color has been green. Always. When she indicated she might like a bag of her own, in green, I knew exactly which fabric to use. I had some V and Co. green ombre and decided to set it off with a Robert Kaufman chambray.

For the size/style of the bag, I used Anna's (AKA Noodlehead) tutorial for a wide-open pouch in the large size.

I pieced the design to play with the values in the fabric and to give it a fresh, clean-lined feel.

I then customized it to add fusible fleece and quilting. I quilted it in a lovely blue/green thread to add dimension. I love how it turned out.

On the inside I used a fun geometric print.

For one of the tabs I added (not in the tutorial), I found a darling little bit of ribbon at a local fabric store. It seemed to be perfect for this bag.

The green in this bag is so fresh and "springy".

It was so fun to design something with a specific person in mind. I really hope my cousin likes her bag, even half as much as I do. Now that it's had it's moment in front of the camera, it's off to New York. And I'm off to my sewing machine.

Linking up to Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it up Friday.