Monday, April 14, 2014

Kasie's quilt

Ready for a finish?
And a reveal of one of the sneak peaks?


Became this:

There are quite a few people pregnant at work right now and this went to one of the gals who is due in about a month.  It's her first and she's having a girl, so why not go pink?!

Another coworker and I had talked about doing this together (she helping with the fabric and pattern choosing, as she's not a quilter...yet...), but we'd let the idea drop.  And then one day I saw this quilt and decided it needed to be made.  Like now.  So I just went ahead and did it.

First, I dug through my stash and figured out which pinks played well together (and found out I didn't have all that many and had to make a trip to the store...or three...) and went from there.

My inspiration also had a link for a tutorial (found here) and the block went together so easily.  I still can't believe how many of my points were perfect on the first try!

I took the top to my quilt guild meeting and one of the other gals, who is an AMAZING longarmer, and I sat together with a black and white printout and doodled until we had some pretty good ideas of what to quilt into this.  I tweaked it a little before the final work, but I really like what we came up with.  (We giggled a lot, too, though, because some of the motifs we drew, when combined, ended up looking like an alien/devil.  And then she shared how to make a moose out of loopy flowers...not on purpose...)  It took a while to quilt and I need to work on getting the center start/end points tighter, but for now it's good.

Here's a peek of the back:


The binding is scrappy pink.  Some of the binding fabric isn't in the quilt itself, but I had a strip wide enough for binding, so in it went.  Yay for using stuff up!

The gal who got it, Kasie, has mentioned in a group introduction that she's a quilter, so I hope she likes it and isn't looking at the few points that aren't so pointy and criticizing!  But I'm sure I surprised her, so there's that.

Oh, and the quilt finished about 44x44".

I hope to find time this coming weekend to quilt the next top, newly finished over the past weekend, but we'll see.  This Saturday is my guild's sewing Saturday, so I might end up making more progress on baby quilt #3 instead.  But #2 has a few months before the official appearance, so I should be good.

In other news, Friday I got home to find our gas turned off.  The power company had been here repairing the line that comes to the house from the road, as it had been leaking, but to do so, they had to turn off our gas.  While it was warm enough outside to even have windows open at that time, our water heater is also gas-powered.  And overnight the temperature dropped enough that I was NOT going to take a cold shower Saturday morning.  So we waited, somewhat patiently, until the power company came back to unlock the gas flow and relight our furnace and water heater.  (We probably could have figured out the relighting part, but without gas coming in, we'd have wasted a lot of matches!)  While I understand the need for safety when doing these repairs, I sure wish they'd gotten here sooner to warm up my water!  Since my day usually starts with a shower, I didn't have much oomph to get going Saturday morning and it ended up a bit of  a wasted day.  But it's repaired and that's a good thing.  And I had a nice hot shower Saturday evening, once the water heater had a chance to catch up.

Time to go get some dishes washed and laundry into the dryer...the never ending saga of life...some days I really miss being a kid and living with my mom to take care of those things for me!

Happy quilting,

Sunday, April 6, 2014

jessica and rob's quilt (i'm baaack!)

I know it's been far too long since my last post, but I just haven't felt like doing much lately.  This winter really took a toll on me, but I think I'm finally back.  At least quilt-wise.  Other areas of my life I'm still working on getting back to normal, but I've been quilting like a maniac the past few weeks, so in that area, I'm doing great.

What brought me out of the funk?  A little over a month ago, one of the gals in my quilt guild did a presentation on the elements of design.  Little did I know that in her previous life (before she had kids - kids who are just a bit older than myself), she taught art!  Having taken the littlest amount of art possible so I could fit in all my science geek classes (and band), I missed out on all of the bones of art.  I remember making a paper mache turtle in middle school, but that's about it.  And no theory.

She shared photos of quilts and talked us through how the different elements of design (line, shape/space, texture, color and value) are expressed in each quilt.  The best part was when she pulled up photos of the quilts that won ribbons at the AQS show in Grand Rapids this past August and we talked through those.  Though some of them are still not anything I would really like, I have a whole new appreciation for what they represent artistically.  She did such a fantastic job.

But about halfway through, she was talking about lines and a little idea popped into my head.  And wiggled itself into a big problem.  Our guild had decided to participate in the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge again this year, but I'd declined participating this time.  This little idea?  It was for a challenge quilt.  So I went home, stayed up WAAAAY past my bedtime trying to finesse the idea in my head into the "window" theme we'd chosen.  I did it.  And if this little idea causing so much trouble wasn't enough just by itself, I had exactly TWO weeks to get the quilt completed.  Top done, quilted, bound, proper hanging sleeve, labelled done.  I didn't even have fabric yet!

I made it.

Here's a sneak peak:

No reveal until we either don't make the cut, or after the show opens!

But it's a good thing I scrambled because without mine, we would have only had 7 quilts.  Our "Window" challenge had such varied entries, none alike, but mine, as you might expect, was pretty far out there.  I mean last year I recreated a microscope, right?

But you're probably waiting to read about Rob and Jessica's quilt, right?  This was the big secret I'd been working on - started probably a year ago, if not longer.

This is probably a larger photo than the one I shared last time, but it's no longer a secret.  My coworker, Jessica, and her hubby were house-hunting.  They'd found a house they really liked and were working an offer.  I decided they needed a housewarming quilt (I didn't know her well enough when they got married to make a quilt for that occasion) and after a few false starts on their end with finding the right house, I decided to just jump in and get the quilt started.  I knew eventually they were going to find a house and buy it, so why not start a new project?  (We all love starting, right?)

I checked her Pinterest boards, as she was pinning color scheme ideas for different rooms of the house.  And while I knew things like bedrooms and bathrooms might change with what was in the house, I also knew the color of their couch and that some of those color schemes, while very pretty, would be rather wild in anything in real life!  Then I found this pattern in the book "Twisted Classics."  The pattern is designed by Sandra L. Hatch and is called "X Marks the Spot."  It was done in these colors and was perfect.  Though I'd amend the difficulty level to "advanced" after having to finesse all of those bias edges (some better than others), but it turned out okay, particularly for a quilt that I intended for a couch.

I finished it months in advance, as the house they THOUGHT they were getting was a mess.  They jumped through so many hoops, I was sure that wasn't the house for them, and when the hoops finally became too much, they gave up.  Only to find that the house they'd started with, the one they were looking at when I started this quilt, was back (or still?) on the market and they snatched it up this time around.  It was meant to be and they moved in in October.  (I think it was's been a while...)

All that was left was to put a label on it and take a photo.  Guess which one I didn't do?  Yeah, take a photo.  (I did it again last weekend with another quilt...darn it, I get so excited to give them away, I forget I need to do that one last, easy step!)

So, my guild has a show every March, and I asked if I could borrow the quilt back to show.  Not just so I could get a photo, but because, to date, it had some of the best, most detailed, most custom quilting I'd done and I wanted to get to show it off.  She agreed and I took a photo at the show.  Sadly, lighting wasn't great there (though I've seen worse), but I DID get a photo!

It's about 80x80" and is getting lots of love on their couch.

And our quilt show was a HUGE success.  We were interviewed by a gal from the local paper and the story was picked up by the newspapers of the bigger towns north and south of us.  A lot of advertising was done (far more than in years past, as far as I can gather) and we were open Saturday and Sunday.  Nearly 300 people came to our free show to see our work and we had a lot of fun sewing among the quilts.  We recruited a few new members this way, but also had a lot of people comment about how neat it was to see us in action, and be able to ask about how quilts are constructed.  Our 8 challenge quilts from last year were also on display and it was fun to see them all together again.

There are a number of other quilts in the works, in varied levels of done-ness around here, but this post is getting long and I'll save them for another day.  But want a sneak peak?

Got you curious now?

I promise to try to post more frequently.  I promise.

Happy quilting,

Saturday, January 25, 2014

the wrench quilt

It's been ridiculously cold and windy and snowy here this winter and I'm even less motivated that usual to spend time in my upstairs, south-facing sewing room.  It's much colder up there than curled up under a quilt with cats to keep me warm on the couch downstairs!

But after my Saturday sewing day with my guild last weekend proved productive, but ended early, I decided to set up my sewing machine on the dining room table.  Not only is that downstairs, but it's also a more interior portion of the house, so much warmer.  We don't eat there often and the kitties thought this a wonderful change.  (Not that they pester me any less when I sew upstairs...)  I've been good about only leaving my machine on the table when I'm done - otherwise the hubby might get a little cranky!

I had cut the remaining 8 blocks for the wrench quilt and decided to keep going...

I told myself I should take some photos as I sewed, but I never did...

But Wednesday night I got the top together!

I thought about quilting it today, but last night the wind was blowing at about 40mph and though the actual temperature was 13F, the windchill made it about -25F.  And then the power went out.  For only about 10 minutes this time, but it had been one of those days where that was just the last straw.  So this morning I got up and decided I'd just chill out.  The baby isn't due until April, and this top is done far ahead of my usual schedule, so I've got plenty of time!

Today I am going to put together a flyer for my guild's quilt show coming up in March (apparently my ability to use the computer got me nominated for that job...) and then work on a quilt for my niece.  I'll do my best to get photos to share soon.

In the meantime, stay warm!  I don't know about the weather where you are, but I think we're looking at single digit temperatures for at least the next 5 days.  So long as the wind doesn't kick up, the furnace can keep up with the cold, but last night it was COLD in my house!  Spring cannot get here fast enough!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

back to sewing

It's been a bit of dry spell around here as far as sewing, but I have a nephew on the way and decided it was time to get a quilt started for him.  I think he's due in April...

Last weekend I decided on Saturday to head out for fabrics.  Turned out that was a good plan, but didn't know that at the time.

Saturday afternoon I washed and dried the fabrics with a plan to iron and get started.  That was not to be.  Family plans interrupted, but that was okay.

Sunday it was predicted that we'd get a foot of snow.  I smiled to myself and thought "yeah, right".  It was snowing Sunday morning and roads weren't great, so I'm glad we headed out for the fabric (and lunch - the key to getting the hubby to drive me to the store is lunch!) Saturday.  But I still didn't believe we'd get that much.  Or it would be that big of a deal.

Turns out they were right.

Monday morning I got up early, already knowing we had a lot of snow when I went to bed and more was coming down.  We live on a relatively major road, so the road gets plowed regularly.  We have a longer driveway and with street plows going by and years ago made the choice to hire a company to plow the driveway.  I went out and shoveled the path to the garage, the area in front of the garage and tromped through knee-high drifts of snow in the driveway to get to the barn to feed the kitties out there.

And waited.

The plow service is supposed to be here by 7am.  I understand with the foot of snow we got that they'd probably be late.  They were moving a lot of snow everywhere.  And I'd imagine at least a few of the guys who drive the plows had to dig themselves out of their own driveways first.  8am rolled around and no plow.  9am, no plow.  10am no plow.  10:45 they showed up and it took them at least twice as long to clear our driveway as normal.  I'd been in communication with those at work who were able to get there, and at this point, knowing even the plowed roads weren't in very good condition, it was decided I'd take a forced snow day for the remainder of the day.

So much for getting up early to account for shoveling snow and bad driving conditions, right?  I'd even donned clothes that require ironing!

All morning, I'd kept busy around the house doing chores, burning off the antsy energy of waiting to find out what was going to happen.  When the call was finally made for me to stay home, I decided working on the baby quilt was definitely a good way to spend my snow day!  Plus the house was already clean!

Somehow the colors all got washed out here, but this was the start of my afternoon.

The pattern is somewhat complicated, so I drafted the pattern and figured out how to break it up so partial and inset seams were not going to be needed and started putting together "kits" for different parts of the block.

The original pattern was offered as a kit from Connecting Threads and I pinned the quilt on Pinterest more than a year ago, but it was no longer available when I went to make this quilt, so I had to wing it.  Good thing my mom taught me how to draft a quilt from a photo!

And then yesterday I decided enough stalling, let's start sewing this thing together!  Today I worked a little more and this is about where I'm at:

There's sunshine in there!  Yesterday it was well above freezing and drizzled all day, so a lot of the snow is gone, but I'm happier to see the sunshine!  (Of course, the roads are vastly improved with the warmer temperatures, so I'm glad for that as well.)

Half the blocks have this light grey background and the other half will have a darker grey.  They will alternate in a 16-block, square quilt.  At 12" a block, it will finish 48x48" unless I decide it needs a border.  I bought far more fabric than I'll need, so that should be easy to do if I choose.  I even already bought a back, which is a two-tone grey chevron print.  Very trendy right now and I'm hoping I don't kick myself when I have to piece it...

I'd seen this quilt before niece Hailey was born.  Before we even knew she was going to be a girl.  And decided that for my brother-in-law who is a mechanic, it would be perfect if he had a little boy.  Well, Hailey turned 1 in November and shortly after that we heard that the little one that will make Hailey a big sister is going to be a boy.  Easy choice for this design!

And now, in writing this, I've realized I cut only enough for half the blocks, so I guess I'd better sign off and go back and fix my silly error.  At least I have plenty of time and fabric to fix it!  (Or maybe I'll decide a 9-block quilt is enough and just make one more?  Stay tuned to see how it turns out!)

Happy quilting,