Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Last Saturday, the hubby asked me what I was going to do Sunday.  I thought about it a little and, knowing that I had most of my weekend chores done, I said "quilt a quilt."  It was kinda half-hearted, but I started thinking about it more during our dinner and decided maybe I would.

So we stopped for some batting before heading home.  A little more commitment there.

On the way home, I started thinking about which quilt I'd like to work on.  And then remembered that the quilty friend who fed our cats while we were on vacation last month had caught sight of one batch of quilts that are waiting to be quilted and shared with another quilty friend their existence.  And so I've been caught.  And teased.  More reason to get something done, right?

I decided I wanted to finish a quilt for ME, since last summer I made two while on vacation and just finished the Christmas Pickle, also for me, last week.  If I want these to be on my couch this fall, I'd better get them quilted, right?

Which one?  I settled on Supernova.

The journey started here, last June, when I went fabric shopping in preparation for our weeklong trip north:

You may remember these.

And then, in the middle of a very hot July, I sewed the whole top in just a few days - on vacation.  (A good vacation includes quilting, right?)

Quite a few months back, I purchased backing for the two quilt tops I completed on that vacation.  And I washed them.  And folded them.  And then they sat in various spots in my sewing room, causing trouble by being in the way.  I never did get them pieced to make backs, but the fact that I had the back and it was causing trouble helped make the decision to quilt this quilt a little easier even.

(Oh, look, the feathers are on the back, so I don't have to sew them, right?)

Sunday morning dawned and I was up and out of bed pretty early.  I got the last of my chores done and then stalled.  And stalled.  I searched the internet for ideas to quilt this thing.  Most of what others had done was straight lines and not much quilting.  And while this is a modern quilt, having a longarm means I should probably do more than quilt straight lines every 6 inches, right?

Lots of doodles and head-scratching later, I took a break.  Ate some lunch.  And it hit me.  This is a modern quilt.  The quilting should be modern!  And I had an idea and was off and running.  All the other stuff - out the window.

3pm I headed up to sew the back into a piece that would fit the quilt.  4pm I had the quilt loaded and was ready to start stitching.  Once I found the ruler for my longarm.  (Me and the longarm ruler are not such good friends, but on a quilt for me, it was a good time to practice, right?)

8pm and it comes off the longarm.  I think the is the longest I've ever spent on a quilt.  And this isn't the largest quilt I've ever done.  But between the ruler and the many times I had to move it less than the full width of the longarm opening, I should have known it was going to take a while.  (But I knew it had to be done before bedtime, or it would be the world's most expensive cat-hammock overnight and I might have to reload the whole thing in the morning...ugh!)

Are you ready to see it yet?


It's about 62x80, so a nice size for my couch.  But man, sewing on that binding these last few nights was pretty warm...not good planning there, but if I want to USE it when it's cold, I have to finish it when it's warm, right?

So how did I quilt it?

Straight lines, but echoing the lines of the pattern.  And I love how it turned out!  I can't wait for it to be cool enough to use it.

The only downside?  I have a white cat.  She sheds a lot.  All year round.  Of course, I also have two black cats and a grey cat, so I've got fur in every color so as to make sure no matter what you wear, there's always a contrasting cat to help you accessorize.  But I wouldn't trade them for the world, so I'll just wash the quilt when it gets too furry...just like all the others.

I've also been doing some work on the purple and grey fabrics I cut at retreat and cutting pieces from my science geek fabrics.  I've been feeling my quilting mojo this past week and I hope I can keep it up.  Life seems to just keep sucking it out of me, but maybe with this quilt newly finished that I love (even more than I loved the top) and some good projects to work on, I'll keep going.

Happy quilting,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

it's a top it's a top it's a top!!!!!

It's been nearly two years since I purchased the kit, but Christmas Pickle is a TOP!!!

Last Saturday evening I decided to lay out the blocks.

This task turned out to a little bit more effort than I initially imagined.  144 pinwheels, 24 arc blocks, nothing in traditional rows, no two arcs going in the same direction, lots of fabrics to try to make sure nobody is too took a while, but thankfully the "helpers" were otherwise occupied.

Then I realized that I had placed everything in the middle of my living room floor.  Like most of the room had quilt pieces in it.  And that there was no way I was running up and down stairs to sew those things together and there was no easy way to get them up there and not mix things up.

This is what TV trays are for right?  (I ended up adding a second one to the left of my machine as piece got larger.)

It got later and later and the hubby was (thankfully) in bed, so he wasn't exactly aware of what I'd done.  I kept sewing and kept sewing and kept sewing because I knew the minute I went to bed, the "helpers" would help.  And the hubby, having gone to be early, was likely to get up earlier than me in the morning and be less than amused.

But I got the top together that night.

And then it sat there, waiting for borders with me contemplating all the time and money I'd spent on this quilt that I wasn't sure I liked any more.  But once I get the red inner and black outer border on, I'll like it, I told myself.  That wasn't enough motivation to get them cut and sewn on, though.

And then yesterday, a couple of friends were at a nearby quilt shop and sent me a photo of some fabrics that, if the shop would still have been open by the time I got there, I would literally have dropped everything I was doing and gone to buy it.

Motivation to get this quilt done?  You bet!

So today I was up early and got started.  Trip to the quilt shop happened between borders 1 and 2, but that was close and I promised myself I'd get #2 on before I cut into the new fabrics.

And I did!

I'm still not entirely sure I like it.  The sample in the shop had more contrast between the greens and whites - there was more variety overall, too, but it's growing on me.  And I know once I get it quilted, I'll love it again.  I'm not sure how to quilt it yet, but I'll be thinking.  I don't have a back yet, but I'd like to have this on my couch come fall, so I have a semi-deadline...we'll see how that goes.

What did I buy?

Science geek fabric!  I bought the last fat quarter of the flask fabric, the last yard of the chalkboard fabric, and then added in a few bubbly fabrics to help brighten things up and pull out the fun colors.  I think I need a couple more, but this was all they had at the quilt shop that I felt worked.  (Oh no, I'll have to go to another store...gasp!)

In that bag is also a Hex N More ruler.  Though up until now I've not had much interest in hexagons, I think this pattern lends itself VERY well to a hexagon (see those molecule drawings in there - hexagons are big in chemical structures!), so I'm going to figure this whole thing out.  If I can use templates to cut pieces and sew curves in the last project, this should be cake, right?

Now it's off to figure out just how big to make this quilt...6" hexagons add up how?  (And I have a sneaking suspicion this one may be another all-nighter to get it off my living room "design floor'...)

Happy quilting,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jessica's baby quilt

After a long weekend at an awesome quilt retreat, I'm home again and can FINALLY share with you a baby quilt!

I've shared a few sneak peaks here and there of this quilt...I think...but I can't seem to find any of I guess you'll just have to play along and only get to see the finished product.

My coworker announced quite a while ago that she was pregnant and had no plans to find out the sex of the baby before it was born.  She also said she was doing the nursery in grey and yellow.

That first she stuck to.  The second...well, it's a good thing I took a look at her baby registry before heading out to buy fabrics!  Not that a grey and yellow quilt would have been bad, but when I saw she had chosen a bedroom set that included blue, green and jungle animals, I had second thoughts.

I dug through my stash of patterns and found the perfect pattern.  Well, nearly perfect...

by Row House Creations

So foxes aren't exactly jungle animals, but we'll run with it.

Here's a close-up of the quilting:

This is probably the most densely quilted quilt I've ever made, but this was what I wanted to do, and other than a few oops moments where I quilted myself into a corner, I enjoyed it.  (And the oopses weren't so bad - I know how to stop and start, but try not to do it too often.)

I got it done last Tuesday night and we were having a shower for her at work on Thursday.  And it's a good thing because at her doctor appointment Tuesday, it was decided that they'd induce her on Sunday!  She wasn't due for a few more weeks, but for health reasons, it was time.  I haven't heard yet, but I'm guessing by now she's holding her little boy or girl in her arms, falling even more in love and probably not thinking one bit about this quilt.

The quilt retreat that kept me from posting started Friday and ended today, Monday.  It was so much fun and like last year, I laughed until I cried too many times.  A lot of silly things happened, but in the middle of them, an idea to participate in float-form in a local parade evolved into something that could really happen for our guild!  (It started out that we'd somehow get electricity on the float and take our sewing machines and sew "wonky" blocks down the parade route, eating all the candy we should be throwing to the kids...)

There were many visits from the quilt fairy:

(remember those zippers I dyed?  they went into those lips, which contain lip gloss!  tutorial can be found here, at the A Beautiful Mess blog.)

And I got a lot of sewing done.  First I made 120 4" pinwheels for the Christmas Pickle quilt.  Yes, 120.

I promised to show how I make them, but didn't take many photos (I was too busy sewing!), but I will try to get something together soon to share!

Then on to a NEW project!  Remember way back in August when I shared a quilt kit I purchased at the AQS show in Grand Rapids?

Well, I FINALLY got to cut into it!  There is no one pregnant that I need to make a quilt for.  No one graduating.  No one getting married.  No one I need to make a quilt for!  So I decided instead of sewing those pinwheels onto the arc blocks, I would start something new.  (Those pinwheels and arcs are going to need to be layed out completely, then sewn together, and I didn't want to tackle that in the last half-day of a retreat.)

By the time we headed to lunch today, this is what I have:

ALL of the pieces are cut for the quilt!  I need to go through and rearrange things before I sew (another project that will require a bit of space to lay it out), but I am so excited.  I didn't really think about it at the time, but these are Cherrywood fabrics and apparently they are a big deal among some quilters.  I just thought they were pretty when I bought them, but I guess I did a good thing?  I can't wait to get sewing on these, but first real life has to get rolling again, but maybe this coming weekend I'll get some time.  (First I have to unpack the suitcase of quilting stuff I took and find all the stuff I'll need...)

I have a few more things to share, but I'd better get back to the things I need to be doing...

Happy quilting,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

lots to share!

It's the usual story...I haven't been quilting much lately...but...
Last week, the hubby and I spent the week on Drummond Island.  As we've done the 3 previous years, he packs all his fishing stuff and I pack all my quilting stuff (all being a relative term for both of us) and he fishes with the guys for a week and I sew for a week.

Now we're home.  Laundry is done, suitcases and projects unpacked and the fridge is restocked, so it's time to share my adventures!

First up was a baby quilt that needed a little more work to get the top done.  I can't share yet because the baby shower is Thursday and I know the gal who will get it reads my blog.  I quilted it today and it still needs binding and a label, but I have 3.5 days, so what's the rush?!

Then I moved on to a project for myself...the Christmas Pickle.  This is where things were when I left last Saturday:

There were 3 more pieces to add to each of the arcs at this point.  I used a LOT of pins (at one point I counted 36 that I pulled out of the wider end after sewing a curve) and took my time, but by Thursday afternoon, I was able to snap this photo:

I still have to make 120 4" pinwheel blocks, but I have a grid method of marking and sewing, then cutting, that I believe I can make 20 half-square triangles without stopping sewing, which means I'll only have to make 24 of those grids.  (Only.)  I'll try to remember to get photos to share how I did it.  I've done it before, but it's been a long time.  (In other words, it's not a new technique!)

But having forgotten a rotary ruler, I was stuck here.  That's okay.  I had other projects!

Friday morning I dug into the Merry, Merry Snowmen project box, hoping I'd find pieces cut and pinned as I expected, but I hadn't opened the box before leaving (again, expecting I'd have a ruler to use my rotary cutter...), so I wasn't sure.  Luck was on my side, so I sewed down ALL the pieces on this baby:

There are some details that need to be embroidered, but the harder part is done.  (And those teacups and scarves are purple, but my camera hates purple, so this is what you get.  Use your imagination, please.)  I don't remember what number block this is, only that I am terribly behind and that, if I had stuck to my original plan, I'd be sewing blocks together into a quilt this month.  But I'm behind.  As it is with all quilts I make for myself.

After lunch it had warmed up enough (highs were in the 70s this week - no complaints, but it was a little chilly at night - a vast improvement over the last 3 years where it was 85 at night and 99 during the day with not a breeze to speak of) to work outside...

Remember this quilt?  I worked on at my guild retreat a year ago.

Well, I sewed all those blocks together.  And I was going to do what a member of the Quiltmaker Scrap Squad had done.  But I didn't have the photo, so I just assumed that she'd sewn the blocks together in straight rows like the original, you know, in the magazine I had in my hand.  And then I wondered what she'd done for borders.  OH CRUD!!!!!  She sewed the blocks on point.  And made fancy setting triangles.  I just sewed 63 blocks together.  So I thought I'd sew on a border and it would be okay.  WRONG.  (Sorry I forgot to take photos of all of this, but I was so mad, it's probably better I don't have proof to look at now.  Or ever.)

So I started ripping it out.  3 rows can stay together and I planned to deconstruct to the row level.  That's a lot of ripping out.

They're in rows now.  Plus one set of three rows.  It worked out nicely that I sat in a lawn chair for about 5 hours on Friday afternoon, in the beautiful shade, sitting by the lake, throwing those bits of thread in the grass for the birds to make nests out of.  Or, being 100% cotton thread, just be compost.

And now they're awaiting further deconstruction, as needed.  Plus construction of setting triangles and, I think, a few more blocks.  But the hardest part is done and I'm glad.  I know I'm going to love the quilt when it's together properly and probably never would have finished it if I hadn't taken it apart.

And guess what?  I'm going to LOOK AT THE PHOTO next time.  Before I start sewing like a fool, getting all excited that I'll have a quilt top together soon.

So that ended my week.  A good note, but my back is still a little sore!

While we were there, the daughter of the friends we go up to visit gave us a gift.

If you can't tell, that is CROSS STITCHED!  She has a program on her computer that will take a photo and turn it into a cross stitch pattern.  This photos was taken just a year ago.  EVERY SINGLE SQUARE is stitched.  She did this in ONE YEAR!  I couldn't do that in one lifetime, but she loves to do it.  I couldn't believe she gave this to us.  That much work is crazy, but I know that, like quilting, you'll never get out of it what it's truly worth, so giving handmade away to those who will appreciate it is satisfying.  And we do appreciate it.  The hubby plans to take it to work and hang it above his desk.

The funny part of this is that while the guys were standing there with their fish, both the friend and I were snapping photos.  The hubby and I had this same photo (taken by me) printed and framed to give to the couple we visit.  The other wife shared her photo (taken by her) with her daughter to make this amazing gift.  Of all the fish photos that have been taken over the years, it's crazy that we both chose the same one.

While I was gone, my quilt guild had their picnic.  I was sad to miss it, but it couldn't be helped.  There was one challenge, issued by a member, that was due and those in attendance voted.  (I never even got started on mine, but after choosing stained glass technique, even getting blue and sports for my other two rules couldn't save it...I am NOT a fan of that technique, no matter how many beautiful quilts you show me that use it.)  But I have seen photos of them - being the newsletter lady, I asked for members to send me photos and they did, so I didn't completely miss the party!

But there were TWO more challenges decided, too!  One was issued by our president and you drew a crayon (for a color), a number and a noun.  With those, you need to make a 20" block that will hang in our local library to both promote our upcoming quilt show (they're due in February - show is in March) and to allow library patrons to vote for their favorite.  Someone drew my crayon and such, but I have yet to find out what I got.  The second was a theme for the 2015 AQS guild challenge - we didn't make it this year, but we're going to try again next year.  The theme chosen was "numbers".  I have no other details on that yet, but I'm already thinking on how to turn this into another science geek quilt...pi?  Avogadro's number?  hmmm....

Coming up this next weekend is our guild retreat.  I can't wait!  I have 4 days of work to get through first, and I need to do a better job of deciding what projects I'll be taking with me than I did for vacation (this time I don't have the back of a pickup at my disposal), but it's only Sunday.  I have started a list of things I don't want to forget and things I want to get done before I leave because some days...  This year I plan to take my camera and do better about getting photos...being the newsletter lady comes with more responsibilities!

Now it's off to figure out what I'd intended for binding that baby quilt and get that made.  You know how when you're standing in the store it's all clear, but 4 months later you can't remember what you were thinking?  Yep, that's where I am.  I do still have a few days, but with the hubby busy playing video games (I think last week he might have gone into withdrawal!), I might as well take advantage of the freedom and keep going!

Happy quilting,