Friday, September 22, 2017

A Trio of Heart Builder Quilts

This week I have not one, not two, but ... three finished quilts to show! I was sent 3 quilt tops from Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders and I got to finish them. (I didn't have to piece these. Whew!)

The first quilt made me smile as soon as I opened it up. Monkeys! It was all fussy-cut, and just far too cute. I did an allover swirl hook design but quilted all the monkey blocks differently to make them stand out.

The second quilt was a red/white/blue quilt, so I did an allover swirl / paisley design.

And last but not least, the final quilt was made of chevrons, sashings, and cornerstones. I did some custom quilting for this, putting different fillers in each chevron and tying all the sashings together with a square chain.

My oldest child retired her crib a few months ago, and I knew just what to do with one of the railings ... doesn't it make a nice quilt rack? So officially ... here's the rack of quilts! (Included is Pixel Maze which I posted about last week.)

And now for the toughest part of charity quilting ... finding shipping boxes to fit them in!


Link parties joined: Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and My Quilt Infatuation.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

National Sew a Jelly Roll Day

Apparently there's a day for everything. I had no idea that September 16th was National Sew a Jelly Roll day until it kept showing up in my social media feeds, along with pictures of delectable quilts and jelly rolls. Well ... it worked, because suddenly I was seized with the urge to sew a jelly roll quilt.

I sort of have a love/hate relationship with jelly rolls. On one hand ... I love them because they're so adorable and so convenient. But mostly the adorable thing. On the other hand, I've gotten far too many jelly rolls that are either too wide or too narrow, and they make precision sewing difficult ... like it isn't hard enough as is! (I've even gotten some bowed strips ...) But despite my best efforts, I still managed a little collection of jelly rolls.

Well, it's time to use some. I've spent some time looking for patterns, and getting ideas of what I want to do. I collected my top contenders into a Pinterest board.

After careful consideration (and there's quite a few on there that I plan to make) I think I'm going to start on Zen Cabin!

The jelly roll I decided on is Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics. It's one of my favorite collections this year. Before I started, I measured ... and sure enough my strips were a smidge too narrow. Well ... that's the good thing about not using a quarter-inch foot, and using my standard zigzag foot but adjusting the needle position. I was able to sew a smaller seam allowance, and pretty much get my blocks to come out the size it's supposed to be.

I'm so excited to keep going! I think it will be a great quilt, and my, I just love that fabric!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pixel Maze

I've been involved with Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders charity program for awhile as a machine quilter, but by mistake, I was sent some fabric to make a top instead of my usual materials of batting and backing fabric. At first, I wasn't sure what to do, but then I quickly got some ideas. I only had two goals: it needs to be simple, and it needs to be fun.

So I came up with a maze quilt. I looked for some maze generators for some ideas and this is one of the randomly generated maze that I then put into Electric Quilt:

When I opened the actual fabric pack up, I realized it was not just blues as I thought. In fact, there were a lot of colors in here. I hope the inspiration still comes through though, and it doesn't just look like I put the squares together randomly!

This quilt was asking for a design that highlighted the maze nature, so I thought a geometric allover is perfect for this!

And this quilt is ready to be shipped! I don't make kid quilts very often, so this was a really fun experiment. I hope whoever gets this quilt will enjoy the maze!


Linking up with: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quilt Expo 2017

Last year I found out about Quilt Expo literally the day before by a complete accident, but this year I marked it on my calendar and planned ahead, and I went with a blogger friend who lives in the next town over.

Although I usually take some photographs of my favorite quilts, I didn't do that today because I wasn't feeling too hot and the place was so crowded. I did see a lot of gorgeous quilts of course, and my favorite display has to be the kid quilts exhibit. There were kids as young as 5, making quilts, and doing beautifully!

I already have a longarm and don't feel the need to upgrade right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not still curious to try other longarms. Back in April when I was longarm shopping, I tried a bunch of machines and some of the longarms felt so heavy and clunky. I wasn't sure how much of that was due to the fact that I didn't know what I was doing. So now, I wanted to see if they would feel any different. Well ... I'm more sure than ever that I made a great choice in my APQS Lenni! Some machines still felt like I was driving a truck, but the APQS machines were by far the smoothest machines I tried today.

I stopped for a demonstration of a fabric weaving method using a tool called WEFTY. In fact, the person who demonstrated it was none other than Tara, who invented it! As she told me about how she started doing it by printing it on her 3D printer, I was utterly amazed. The fabric panel she created is so beautiful, unique, and has a great texture. I picked up a WEFTY and I'm curious to give it a try sometime!

I used to go crazy at quilt shows, but recently, I'm starting to spend less and less money. That's probably because I already have all the tools and notions, and I've already seen most of the fabric online. But I was happy to pick up a few kits and of course, WEFTY!

The next show I'll attend will probably be the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Schaumburg. It's small, but it's a mere 15 minutes from my house. Hopefully I'll get to take some photographs of the quilts in that show, and have more room to move around!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Think Pink

Happy September! I dreaded September when I was a kid, because I hated that summer was ending and school's starting ... but now, boy, do I feel the opposite!

The Shattered quilt from Jacquie Gering's book Quilting Modern has always been on my "someday" list, because it is so very aligned with my style. However, until recently, I wasn't ready to make it, because what I loved most about the quilt is actually the quilting: gorgeous echoing straight line designs, which is best done on a longarm using a ruler. But now that I finally have a longarm, I'm so ready to make this quilt! I decided on some coordinating hot pink fabrics and a gray for the asymmetrical borders.

I have to be honest, I actually hated making this quilt top. Not only were the improv blocks very stressful, but there are 8 border strips to put on! If I didn't like assembling a quilt, that's nothing compared to how much I hate putting on borders. The only thought that kept me going was how fun it would be to quilt this.

And quilting this really was so, so much fun. The main attraction of this quilt is the spirals in each of the sections in the improv strips part, and that part took forever to do for it was all ruler work, and each section required breaking thread. The result is totally worth it though, and if I wasn't 100% comfortable with rulers before I started this quilt, I sure am now.

To contrast with all those straight lines, I did some curvier designs in the gray borders. In the border all around the improv blocks, I did a very dense filler with swirls, pebbles, leaves, and lots of echoes. In the outer border, I did the wavy wavy design which is probably the easiest, most forgiving border design in existence.

I really love the back, too! Although I usually use extra-wide backing to avoid seams, I found some solid pink yardage on sale, and I thought it was just perfect for the back. Not to mention ... it really shows off the quilting, too!

This is one of the more modern quilts I've made, for sure. I really like it, and I'm quite mesmerized by the echo spirals!


Link parties joined: Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, My Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Amazing Eclipse

I have no project to show off this week, but that doesn't mean I don't have eye candy!

This past Monday I went to see the solar eclipse. It was completely amazing! Before this eclipse, I remember 2 eclipses in my life ... and they were both when I was in Shanghai. Once when I was in kindergarten (which I barely remember now) and once when I was working in Shanghai, about 9 years ago. Unfortunately, the time I was working in Shanghai, the air pollution was decently bad, so while it got totally dark in the middle of the day ... I couldn't actually see the sun itself.

But this time, we drove to my mother-in-law's place, which is in the path of totality. Even better, she lives in the middle of nowhere! The experience was quite amazing, the way it got dark and all the crickets started chirping. And the sight of the moon with the corona behind it, well, words can't describe it, nor can pictures!

I'm not sure how people took those photos where a part of the sun is actually missing. I put the eclipse glasses lens on my camera and took the picture this way, and basically, what I saw with my eye wasn't what I got. Oh well. The picture on the right isn't actually the eclipse, but I managed to get a planet on it! I think it's supposed to be Venus.

And what better way to commemorate this event than to buy fabric? (That's my answer to everything. Anniversary present? Buy fabric. Surviving a hard week with my kids? Buy fabric. Finish a quilt? Buy fabric.) But to make it really special, I decided to buy a bundle of Spoonflower fabric based on the theme of solar eclipse. I love Spoonflower, but it's so expensive because it's printed digitally on demand. I only save it for special occasions, and I think a solar eclipse counts!

They arrived in yard-cuts, with 2 designs printed on each one. So in essence, it's a half-yard bundle. But perhaps it's too special, and now I fear it'd never get used!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Print Shop Tote II

I'll admit it ... I bought my plane and hotel tickets to QuiltCon 2018 way back in May of this year, before I even knew I was going to be able to get into any QuiltCon classes I want. (But I did!). I was so upset that I missed out on the QuiltCon East show in Savannah that I knew I was going to plan way, way ahead for the Pasadena show. So ... Pasadena, here I come!

I decided to make my own patchwork tote bag for the show. After all, I know I'm going to be shopping. A lot. I need something to carry around my merchandise, don't I? Oh, and of course, I just really wanted to make the tote. The pattern I'm using is from Colorful Patchwork Bags & Basket taught by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield.

I see this tote as the larger cousin of my Print Shop Tote, as I used the same Print Shop fabric line by Alexis Abegg for Cotton + Steel. There's something about the fabric that is just so adorable ... maybe it's the kitty faces!

This bag is pretty big, and it will hold a lot ... assuming my straps don't fall off. I find that to be the weak point of the bag. There's outer pockets, inner pockets, and for the first time ever, I installed a magnetic clasp. (I had no idea it was so easy to install a magnetic clasp!) Overall ... it wasn't hard to assemble.

Well, I'm very happy with this bag! It is adorable, and although I could have quilted it, I chose not to. (Or, rather, by the time I decided I should quilt it, I've already sewn all the darts and I wasn't about to pick it out.) Come February, I'll find out whether it is actually well made!


Link parties joined: Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, My Quilt Infatuation, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

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