Friday, June 27, 2014

a cotton blossoms finish

This weeks finish has appeared in more than one blog post over the last year and has been a WIP for about 5 years.

I've been working really hard lately on getting organized (although the state of my sewing room suggests otherwise), clearing out old WIPs, finishing them, or deciding to let go, as the case may be.

This quilt was started using a pattern called Once Around the Block, designed for jelly roll quilts and charm squares. I knew almost immediately that I disliked it, but I'd already cut out some blocks and (5 years ago) had zero confidence in my skills to change it. And so I lost my motivation and it became a big, fat, guilty WIP (work in progress).

I was really close to donating the project as is and calling it a day. But, I realized that I loved the fabric too much to do this.
After a lot of mulling, I decided I couldn't follow the pattern through to the end and revamped it and modernized it. I kept the blocks I'd made to date, and using the remaining strips (there were tons still) to make new blocks.

For the new blocks, I took the jelly roll strips and pieced basic four patches and which I then framed in linen to make a new type of block which would alternate with the original block. The linen gives a modern feel and texture and a place to rest the eye. It also completely brightened the look of the whole quilt.

The dimensions I used for the new block are a four patch using 2.5" wide jelly roll strips, two pieces of linen, 4.5" wide by 2.75" and then on top and bottom, two strips that measure 9" by 2.75". The block size will be 8.5" finished, or 9" unfinished.

The original block is basically a charm square that is used as the center of a log cabin with jelly roll strips working outwards.

The layout is 9 rows of 7 blocks, giving the quilt a finished size of 60" x 77". This includes 32 original blocks and 31 new blocks.

Once I'd changed the pattern, I fell in love with this quilt again, and couldn't wait to finish. I backed it in a cuddly minky fabric. For quilting I used an all-over loopy stitch - which has become my new favorite all-over design. It's SO fast. And since there were still lots of strips left over, I made a scrappy binding, also a new favorite.

This soft and cozy quilt will be headed to a family member that I love and haven't seen in years as she lives on the other side of the continent. I am SO happy I didn't give up and figured out a way to make a quilt that I both love and can be proud of in the end. I cannot wait to get it in the mail.

Photo Credit goes to my oldest son.
Hope you've had an awesome week!

Linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

teacher gifts

It's that time of the year again. It sneaks up on us and catches us by surprise, despite our counting down to it - the end of the school year. This year it may end a couple weeks early due to some circumstances out of our control.

Either way, I've been mulling over the perfect teacher gift. I went with, not surprisingly, three open-wide pouches that have been waiting for the perfect home.
I love the bright cheery colors and the numeric highlights.

I'm really hoping they like them and I hope they have a fantastic summer. It is so deserved!

Friday, June 6, 2014

piper - a quilt for my daughter

I make a lot of quilts. Many, most actually, end up being gifts for someone outside my immediate family. Last year, I realized that my daughter didn't have a regular-sized quilt... she's been tagging around the tiny, faded quilt I made for her when I was pregnant.

A Walk in the Woods, by Aneela Hoey seemed like the perfect fabric for her. It's pretty, and feminine and whimsical. At a local craft fair, I scooped up a jelly roll and charm pack, and was hoping this was enough to make a creative quilt top.

The pattern I selected is called "Four Squared", by Aunt Polly, and can be found in the Moda Bake Shop.
The original pattern makes a mid-size quilt, a couple pillows and a bed runner. I found the directions could have used a bit more clarity in describing how much to cut for each element. Otherwise, it was straight-forward.

I've altered the pattern layout to use up all the blocks you could possibly make, less four and make it a large quilt. I used 8 blocks across by 10 blocks down. The last four are going to be used for a throw pillow. (She is a huge fan of throw pillows.) This brings the quilt measurements to 64" by 80".

This is a surprise quilt. She has no idea I'm making it and it's been tucked away in a box for months, as I plugged away at it. School is out in a couple weeks and I wanted it done before that so I spent a day and powered through to finish it. Miles and miles of chain piecing later, we have a quilt top.

Now, it's back in the box while we wait for the backing and binding arrive, and while I plan the quilting. Secret sewing is the best. I can't wait to give it to her!

Linking up with Amanda Jean for finish it up Friday, and for Needle and Thread Thursday.