Friday, January 29, 2016

hello darling!

I've been lucky enough to be able to make several "Sew Together" pouches the past year or so. I had no idea I had made so many until I started to tally them the other day - I think it's seven all together.
(Beware - they are addictive.)

This past week, I've been working on a special custom pouch for someone's daughter. The daughter loves Hello Darling (who doesn't) by Bonnie and Camille. And I just happened to have a bunch of squares left over from another upcoming project/WIP.

When making a patchwork exterior, I found that 2 1/2" squares (these are from a charm pack that I quartered) work perfectly. Seven rows of five squares are just about the perfect dimensions. If you are quilting it, wait till you have finished quilting before trimming. I found I only needed to trim about 1/8" off either side of the long edges and about 3/8" off the short edges. The exact amount, of course, will depend on the accuracy of your quarter inch seams.

For some reason, zippers just never get old. It's almost time to put another order in. Getting zippers in the mail ranks right up there with getting fabric in the mail.

I think a large part of what makes this pouch fun to make is the quantity of fabrics it uses. You can mix ranges and fabrics and colors and zippers and change the feel completely. It makes my color loving soul SO happy.

I used several Lecien fabric florals on the inside. They are just so gorgeous.

I really liked working with the person who requested this pouch - she had very specific opinions and choices in the zips and binding choices. And they really worked. Where I might have leaned to red in some cases, she leaned to aqua, and the overall effect is a very soothing palette with a splash of sunshine on the inside.

It feels so good to wrap this project up. The to-do list is getting shorter and shorter and I can't wait to fill it with some new goals and projects for 2016.

Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it Friday. Thanks for popping by!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

round and round

When I joined the local Modern Quilt Guild in Vancouver, I was stunned by the sheer inspiration that one meeting could provide. The Round Robin project was introduced the following year and while I secretly wanted to join, it was too much of a commitment at that point in my life. Flash forward to the next years Round Robin - I decided to jump in.

It's such a novel concept. Begin by making the center block and journaling what direction you would like your round robin to take (ie. color scheme, low volumes, batiks, black and white, etc.), and bring it to the meeting. That meeting you take home a different quilt block in an anonymous numbered bag. Every month, the round robin coordinator instructs the participants on the theme that month (for example, curves, triangles, improv...) and how many sides to add on to the quilt as well as what size to make the sides. Every month, you switch bags with another anonymous bag/project.

This was my starter block.
I really enjoyed the process, but I'm not going to lie. It seems I have a problem with procrastination. This comes as a big shock, I know. For some months, I found that my perpetual procrastination actually provided more inspiration as it forced me to be creative or use improvisational piecing, but as a rule I wouldn't recommend it.

This past week, I received my round robin back after it completed a year of rounds. I was just a teeny bit excited.

The amount of talent that went into this quilt is incredible. Every month is a so wonderful. This will definitely be a quilt that has hidden treasures, yet to be discovered, with each use.

These stars are SO awesome.

Color order makes me so happy.

My plan is to continue to add to it, side by side as though continuing the round robin, to make it bigger.

This one will not be lingering in the WIP list for long. I can't wait to get it completed so I can use it. Also, one day I'll remember to thread check BEFORE I take pictures. I just couldn't wait to share this with you.

This is definitely going to be my pick me up quilt. It's just so happy. Who wouldn't be happy snuggling under it??

Friday, January 15, 2016

slow and steady wins the race

I've come to the conclusion that there is a fine line between scrap usage and insanity. This is a line I am willing to test, repeatedly.

In my last post, I shared a quilt I made for my baby niece. When I began making the blocks, I noticed that there are a lot of triangles that are cut off as waste. And being a scrappy quilter by nature, I just couldn't relegate them to my scrap bin, to never be found again, to become distorted or to be lost.

From the get go, I decided to stitch a second seam 1/2" away from the the first seam on the edge that was to be cut away. That way, when I cut off the parts that the block no longer needed, I would already have a tiny little half square triangle block, ready to be pressed, ironed and trimmed.

I found that while some blocks could handle being trimmed to 1 1/4", it was safer to trim them all to 1". Each Shimmer block generated 24 half square triangles. And there were nine blocks total in the quilt I made, so if I just kept it up and didn't flake on this, by the end I would have as many as 216 HSTs. The thought was really exciting.

(Mini anything has always appealed and I have been itching to make a mini for my wall.)

While I stitched through my niece's quilt, I kept pondering the layout. To sash or not to sash? Single HSTs or grouped HSTs? If grouped, how big a group? If sashed, how big? Round and round I went.

I trimmed all my HSTs using my Bloc Loc ruler and about half way through, realized I could do multiple (as many as 5), at a time in one layout. (See my instagram account if interested in a video of this.) This definitely saved time and I'll be using this procedure again for sure.

Eventually, I decided on groupings of four HSTs of the same type. After sorting all my HSTs, I realized that regardless of the color of the HST, each sorted group had an amount based on a multiple of 4. And I wanted to use up all my little hard earned blocks, so groups of 4 was the way to go.

Once I decided that, I made a quick plan of doing 54 groups of 4 blocks (216 total), which would work out to a nice layout of 6 blocks by 9 blocks.

I decided on using a sashing of 1 1/4" width for in between the blocks. Each HST finished at 1/2" square, making the 4 patch block 1" square finished. The sashing between would finish at 3/4". I did an outer sashing of 2" unfinished.

I am beyond thrilled that this turned out EXACTLY as I hoped.

Now to decide on quilting...

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

a baby finish - Shimmer

I am still getting back into the swing of actually documenting my projects but I just had to share this particular one. Going though the pictures on my camera, I realized I have quite the backlog of projects to share.

Somehow, despite knowing for months (MONTHS) that a baby is about to join the family, somehow the baby quilts never get made until the month or week (or day??) before the shower. I have yet to figure out why this is, and I wish I could say that this was the time that was different. But, this quilt didn't get finished until 1:30 AM the morning before gifting. Oh well, next time will be different. :)

I really looked forward to making this quilt for my new niece. Her mum is a quilter friend too and we love a lot of the same colors, particularly red and aqua. I had a pull selected for her quilt long before I decided on the pattern. I kept waffling between Modern Vintage by Bonnie and Camille (in American Patchwork and Quilting) or something else. And then Alison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew released her new pattern Shimmer. And I was sold.

The baby version consists of nine blocks which was perfect. The way the quilt is constructed, there are a lot of little corners that are cut off. I decided ahead of time that instead of just cutting them off and throwing them into my scrap bin, that I would bite the bullet and make them Half Square Triangles (HSTs) right off the bat. So for every seam I sewed that would involve the removal of triangles, I would sew a line a 1/2" away and then cut as normal. This made a generous pile of half-square triangles to trim and press but I knew that I would be more likely to use them this way than if I let them get lost in my scrap bins.

I used a Hello Darling pink strawberry print to back the quilt - I absolutely LOVE this print and wish I had a bolt of it.

For quilting, I fell back on my new favorite free motion quilting, swirls and hooks. It adds so much texture and I just love the effect.

Since time was of the essence, I machine bound this quilt with a lovely mint from Pat Sloans collection, whose name evades me at the moment.

While it was a bit of a gamble that I would finish this quilt in time, sometimes, that crazy self-inflicted pressure can brew the best ideas.

Case in point, not wanting to tear apart the closet to find gift wrap, I wrapped this quilt in tissue and then in a favorite and hard to find print from Aneela Hoey's Sherbet Pips line. Tie it with twine and call it a day. :) And since it's going to a quilter, I know they'll use it and there will be no waste. Win win.

I'll have more later this week on what became of all those little HSTs. Can't wait to share that project!