Friday, May 17, 2019

Mod Mountains Sew-Along

At the beginning of this year I joined 2 sew-alongs. But I didn't blog about them because I had a feeling that I'd fall behind. And fall behind I did. I haven't even started one of them, and the second one ... I'm several months behind too.

So the last thing I need is yet another sew-along, right? Well, when Suzy Quilts started her Mod Mountains Sew-Along, I felt the urge to join in. Suzy has this magic of making everything look shiny, exciting, and fun, and I felt myself being pulled in. I tried to resist it, but the clincher? It's a scrappy quilt.

My scraps are seriously getting out of hand, and Mod Mountains is just perfect for me to dig into my scrap bins. I decided on a palette of hot pinks, purples, and yellows.

Mod Mountains is what I call structured improv, because while there's a bit of improv in the mountains themselves which is what makes them so adorable and quirky, the final blocks are all triangles of the same size, satisfying my need for structure.

Laying them out on the design wall is so fun. I love how Suzy's pattern provides guidance for the color layout, to ensure that even though it's scrappy, it's still balanced. For color-challenged people like me, this is super helpful. When I use my own palette instead of a kit, I'm always nervous if it will work, but I think this does! At least, I love it.

This is my first quilt with triangles and I was a little worried it would be hard to put together. But there aren't any matching points in this quilt, which really helps. I think it turned out really well by my standards. Every time I look at this quilt top, it really makes me smile, because I love the scrappy prints so much!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Cross Stitch

I had been on a swirl diet. I was using swirls too much (or so I thought) so I decided to force myself to not use swirls for a bit. For several quilts in a row, I stayed away from swirls.

Well, the fast didn't last very long, because I missed them too much. At the end of the day, swirls are the easiest and most versatile design in my arsenal. They're a high bang for the buck design because they're fast, forgiving, and they look much more difficult than they really are. So ... I'm going back to swirls!

This quilt uses the pattern Cross Stitch by Zen Chic which features her Modern Backgrounds Colorbox, a collection of low volume fabrics, and for the foreground I used some solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

I drew out two designs for this quilt, a simple one using geometric designs in the foreground and swirls in the background, and a far more complicated version that emphasizes the negative space and created all sorts of secondary designs. The old me would have gone for the more complicated version for sure, but the new me was willing to recognize that it's not always worth it to go crazy. For one, all that work wouldn't even show up very much in the low-volume prints. So in keeping with my resolution to enjoy the process and and not drive myself crazy doing something really complicated nobody can even see, I picked the simpler design. (I'll save the complicated design for when I have a solid background!)

The cross stitch blocks are definitely the highlight of the quilt, so I used some very simple dot-to-dot designs to quilt them down but also allow all the unquilted areas to stand out.

And of course, I filled the background with lots of swirls. I quilted them bigger than I usually would, just because this quilt is pretty big and tiny quilting would have been lost anyway on the printed background. Ah, how I missed my swirls.

This quilt with its printed background and softer colors is quite different from the kind of quilts I usually make, which is usually high contrast with bright saturated colors. It might not be as me, but I'm still pretty happy with it. Sometimes I just have to step out of my routine a bit.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Minikins: Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet

I've been on the hunt for a cell phone wallet lately, so I gathered all my patterns and decided that the one that fits my needs the most is the Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet by Sara Lawson from her Minikins Season 2 collection.

However, I was a bit scared to make this because I've heard quite a few comments on Facebook about how this project is challenging for a domestic sewing machine. I even looked into commissioning someone else to make it, but it'd take a few months and I wanted it now, so I decided to try it myself.

A few hours and one broken needle later, it was completed. Was it hard? Actually, it wasn't. But I modified the pattern a bit to make it easier and to fit my needs better. First of all, I didn't want the long strap so I made a wrist strap instead. I also eliminated the front pocket and changed one of the accordion pockets to a regular pocket.

I'm so happy with it! It's not a great sewing job, not by a long shot, but I think it looks nice still (from the outside at least) and by the time it falls apart, I'd probably be ready to make another one. I can't wait to use it on my next night out!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Moonlight

My latest finish, Moonlight, uses Erica Jackman's pattern, Harper. It's a fun and easy quilt using basic Drunkard's Path blocks.

Some quilts are easy for me to to come up with quilting ideas for, and some are really really hard. For me, Moonlight was particularly challenging because of the printed background. Usually my quilts tend to have printed foreground components and solid backgrounds, so when I have a printed background, I really don't know what to do. The usual fillers I like to do in the background would all be too busy for the already busy background fabric.

But I know that dot-to-dot designs usually look good on prints, so that's what I did in the background. And as a bonus, dot-to-dot designs in the background blocks, when placed together, also create secondary designs. But I was also in the mood for some feathers.

I quilted the moons with an alternating design. It's definitely my favorite part of the quilt, it almost has a glow to it next to the indigo fabrics.

There are no solids to be found on the front of this quilt, which is pretty rare for me. But it allows me to quilt it on the lighter side, allowing for a cuddlier quilt than usual. It's really hard to see the quilting on the front though, but the back shows it well!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Unchained

My latest finish is a significant finish for me, not because the quilt or quilting itself is significant, but because of the mental process I went through when I'm quilting it, and I named it Unchained for two reasons.

First, of course it's a play on words, since it's an Irish Chain. The pattern is from Jenifer Dick and Angela Walter's book Nine-Patch Revolution. I did modify the size of the blocks so I could use a jelly roll, but the layout is the same.

More importantly, I named this quilt Unchained because by quilting it the way I did, it represents a sense of freedom. When I first started quilting on my longarm, I was just so swept up with how quick and fun it was to finish my tops, and I didn't worry about anything but that it looked good. I didn't worry whether I was being "creative", whether I incorporated at least X different designs, or whether it was "showstopping". But at some point, that started to change, and over the last year especially I was driving myself completely insane trying to come up with something crazy each time. It got to be too much, and there were times I stayed away from the longarm room for weeks on end because I was too daunted.

But with this quilt, I only made myself one promise: I wanted to keep it simple, and recognize that it's perfectly alright not to quilt every quilt like it's my swan song. This is my simplest (in terms of the # of designs) quilt in recent memory, and I feel a great sense of relief at finally breaking out of the chains I had placed on myself.

So, I kept the quilting simple with continuous curves in the Irish chains and an easy, zero marking dot-to-dot design in the negative space that also had a very efficient travel path.

I love the end result, and I especially love the sense of freedom I now feel. My blog is called Savor Every Stitch, not Driving Myself Crazy For No Reason. And hopefully, Unchained will help me to remember that.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Rafters

Last summer I worked on a quilt top from a quilt along run by Christa Watson for a pattern called Dot 'n Dash. It was a simple jelly roll quilt that was quick to put together. After a few intensely quilted quilts, I was in the mood for something simple, so I pulled this top out. I already had a plan and was just getting ready to quilt it when suddenly, I decided to abandon all my previous plans and try something unexpected.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but once I had a "vision", I couldn't unsee it. While I was working on this, I was cursing myself for almost the whole time and wondered what I should ultimately name this quilt. Maybe it's the "what-was-I-thinking" quilt. Or the "why-do-I-have-to-make-everything-so-complicated" quilt. When I finally, finally finished it, I laid it out for the full reveal and suddenly I really liked it and knew exactly what I should call it.

Rafters. It wasn't quite intentional, as I just wanted to try a secondary design and have vertical strips in the quilting going behind the horizontal strips, but once I saw the whole thing, all I could see were rafters and beams!

I kept the quilting very simple in the foreground with just piano keys, and left all the intense quilting for the background.

I think the main challenge of this quilt (and why I hated working on it) is because I never quite figured out an efficient travel path. Sometimes that's just how it is.

The back of the quilt is pretty neat looking and I can see the rafters & beams look even better on the back than on the front.

At the end of the day, I really love the end result and I'm so glad I decided to go with my new vision for this quilt. It produced a very interesting effect and I have no regrets about it. So, despite the painful process, the end result is a win for me!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

Friday, February 15, 2019

Totality

In the summer of 2017 there was a solar eclipse that crossed large swaths of US, and my husband’s parents happen to live in an area where there were several minutes of totality. So we drove down, armed with eclipse glasses, to see this amazing sight.

To commemorate this experience, I decided to do it the only way I know ... by buying fabric and making a quilt. I went to Spoonflower and picked out a bunch of sun and star themed fabrics from a lot of different artists. Spoonflower, though expensive, is amazing for finding completely unique fabrics, and I figured this occasion is a great excuse.

I paired the fabric up with Amy Smart's Chain Links pattern. I had made the a quilt Phases of the Moon using that pattern a long time ago (incidentally, also with a Spoonflower bundle). It is such a great pattern for showing off prints.

I quilted the background with simple swirls. No pebbles, no paisleys, no leaves, I just wanted pure, simple swirls to add an elegant look to the space. There's no doubt about it, that swirls are my favorite filler, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of them.

I quilted the black frames with a combination of ribbon candies and straight lines, which are my other favorite designs next to swirls. Instead of using a black on black though, I opted for a thread color that shows in the form of a gray. I usually match my thread color to the fabric, but black is an exception.

Inside the printed squares, I quilted dot-to-dot designs, alternating between a straight line design and a flower design.

I think this is one of my favorite finishes. Everything about this quilt speaks to me, from the pattern, to the fabrics, to the theme, to the quilting.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

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