Thursday, September 12, 2019

Circuit ~ Ready to Quilt

In February of this year I went to Nashville for QuiltCon, but unlike the previous year I didn't take any classes and I only was able to spend a few hours at the show because I wanted to get out of Nashville before the traffic got really bad. But one of my favorite finds in the vendor hall was undeniably the Circuit quilt by Sylvia Schaefer.

Circuit drew me in immediately because black and neon green is such a cyberpunk look, and being an ex-engineer myself, naturally I'm attracted to anything "techy" looking. The kit makes a smaller quilt, but I was easily able to find black and green fabrics in my stash to complement the kit and now I have a beautiful 75 x 75 quilt top that I'm in love with.

The blocks are a mixture of traditional and foundation paper piecing (which I love), and the scrappy blacks and greens have such a great look. I used a lot of metallic fabrics, and it adds so much interest and shine to this quilt.

I don't quite know how to quilt this, but I also think it doesn't matter how I quilt this, just that I do. The most important thing about this quilt is the pattern and the fabric, which is busy enough that the quilting won't show. I just want to get this one finished soon(ish), because I really want to use it!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Stargazer Block of the Month ~ Months 5 to 8

Stargazer, designed by Rebecca Bryan, is my Block of the Month for 2019. I've never done a Block of the Month before 2019, at least not one where I did a little bit of work every month. I'm usually the type to wait until it's all out, then do it all at once.

And even though I took several months to get started and scrambled to get months 1 to 4 out the door, I managed to keep pace very well with months 5 to 8. All in all, I think months 5 to 8 were easier than 1 to 4, and I mostly just had to worry about not getting my fabrics mixed up.

Like pretty much all the rest of the blocks, months 5 and 6 are paper piecing. Again, I chose the foundation paper piecing method and did not do freezer paper piecing as instructed. I just like to keep a nice firm paper backing under my block until the last possible moment, and I don't mind tearing out paper, either.

Month 7 wasn't difficult, but it was a lot of work. There were just so many blocks and it took me quite a few days to cut and piece them. In contrast, month 8 took me all of 30 minutes, because it was just cutting triangle blocks. But knowing my propensity to stretch triangle blocks out of shape during piecing, I cut them quite a bit bigger so I can square them up later.

Now that all the pieces are cut, I know the next month(s) will be the final assembly. But I look forward to finally getting this big quilt finished! Or, at least, the quilt top finished. I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that I will quilt this anytime soon, because something that took me this long really needs to marinate on my shelf for awhile to take the pressure off!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Love Letters

After the intense quilting I did on Reel Window, I wanted to work on something relatively simple and straightforward: block-based, minimum planning, and no marking is the key. I looked through my frighteningly large stash of quilt tops, and pulled out Love Letters.

Love Letters is based on the pattern Glitter Pen by Cheryl Arkison. Or, more precisely, I think I read in the blurb that the design came from her daughter who was only 6 at the time. (How amazing is that?) It's a black-and-white with a pop of color type of quilt, which I love. For the pops of color, I used the Love Letters fabric collection by AGF Studio.

For the quilting, I decided to play with the geometry of this quilt by doing lots of straight lines, but spice it up with some free-motion quilting. I picked a few curvy favorites from my arsenal (feathers, serpentine lines, ribbon candies, wishbones, swirls) and mixed them up all over the quilt along with the straight lines.

White is undeniably one of the colors that show off quilting the most, but the downside is that it is extremely prone to varicose veins (darker threads on the back of the quilt showing through). I definitely had some issues with that in this quilt, but once off the frame, they become much less noticeable.

One thing I really like about this quilt is that at certain angles (or when I squint) I can only see the beautiful and striking pattern, but when I get to a different angle, the texture on the white fabrics really shows. It reminds me a bit of those billboards where the picture changes at different angles.

This quilt was relatively stress-free and I really like the end result. I was planning on making this quilt for my guest bed, but I love it so much that I've decided to steal it for my own bed!

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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.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Minikins: Charm School Wallet

The Charm School Wallet is my 3rd wallet of the year, and possibly my favorite so far. It is designed by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness as part of her Minikins Season 2 collection. I absolutely adored the fabric I used, which is one of those rare finds in a quilting store when I wasn't even looking for it. It's from Starlight by Katia Hoffman, and my only regret is that I didn't buy more at the time. I paired it with a black Moda grunge, which is a lot more interesting than a solid black fabric.

Making this wallet was a bit of an exercise in frustration. The difficulty of this is probably beneath the Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet ... well, actually it is supposed to be a lot easier, if only I could stop and listen to the instructions. But I didn't, and I ended up putting the snaps in the wrong place ... twice. The 2nd time, I didn't want to rip it out again as I was very close to damaging the fabric, so I improvised a bit and trimmed some pieces. But it worked out, and at the end everything still lined up ... whew!

This is definitely my most practical wallet so far, as it's able to fit a lot of cards, and there's a zippered pocket for my phone. And though it wasn't part of the pattern, I had to add a wrist strap to make it really useful for me. I used some leftover cork that matched the grunge pretty well, and any excuse to pull out my rivet press is a happy occasion!

I'm so in love with this wallet, and it is such a great way to show off a piece of fabric that otherwise would be hidden in my stash. But now, back to quilting!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Black (and White) Beauty

I absolutely love black and white, and I've been looking to make a black and white quilt for a long time. The only problem is that black and white, while great to look at, feels a little boring for me to work with. I would miss the prints, the fun colors ... or so I thought until I set my eyes on Sedona.

Sedona is a pattern from the geniuses at Sew Kind of Wonderful, and it's a row-by-row pattern in black and white featuring 11 different blocks, about half of which involve curved piecing. I love the look of curved piecing, but I'm really awful at them. Luckily, this pattern allows for a ton of trim-down, so even I can end up with curves that look decently good.

I started Sedona as part of a sew-along, but very quickly I realized that I don't have the patience to follow along in a sew-along. Once I really get into the project, that's all I really want to work on. Watching the rows come out one by one on the design wall is also really encouraging, because the look of this quilt is just so graphic.

After a few weeks of working on little else, I finally finished piecing Sedona. I kept it hanging on my design wall for a few days even after I finished it, because every time I see it, the impact of it strikes me. I just love it!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fremont Tote

I'm about to go on a 2 week trip (including a 14-hour flight with a 7 year old ... wish me luck) to Shanghai, and I wanted to make a bag for the trip. I wanted something that was roomy, versatile, and able to withstand the rigors of weather and travel.

Enter the Fremont Tote designed by Ellie Lum of Klumhouse. I was in love with this bag as soon as I saw it, because there's lots of hardware (which I love), it has a great look, but feels very hardwearing. That's probably due to the materials it's made out of: waxed canvas. Oh, and that mustard yellow? One of my favorite colors, for sure.

I've never used waxed canvas before, and it's probably one of the heaviest fabrics I've worked with, but surprise surprise, this is probably one of the easiest bags I've ever made. I suffered no broken needles, no screaming in frustration, no tears, and I didn't even break out into a sweat. This bag is that easy, and thanks to the materials and the hardware, it looks really professional!

I purchased a kit which meant the leather / hardware is all there, which is very helpful as I did not want to have to source all that, considering I don't use this kind of material all that often. The only tools I had to provide was a rotary punch, a hammer and screwdriver. Putting in the hardware is very, very fun.

I'm super happy with the end result. You know how sometimes you make something and it just doesn't look like the picture in the pattern? Well, I think mine looks about as close as I could expect to the picture in the pattern!

There are other colors this bag kit comes in, including a black on black that I'm eyeing. All I need now is a coupon and an excuse.

***

I'm currently on vacation and both my email and blog access is blocked, so I won't be able to reply until I return. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Reel Window

If I rated my quilts based on the amount of time they spent on the frame, Reel Window would rank at the top. By a long shot. I think this quilt spent a record of 10 weeks on the frame. I had a lot of other fun things in my life distracting me, and I just kept procrastinating on working this quilt. Actual number of hours that went into quilting this quilt is ... probably ... 16? 18? I don't really keep track. Maybe I should.

The pattern is called Open Your Window by Zen Chic, and the fabric is also by Zen Chic (have I mentioned yet that she's my favorite designer?) called Reel Time. So I combined the two to name this quilt Reel Window. When I finished piecing this, I thought to myself that this quilt feels very retro and simultaneously techy. Swirls would be so wrong for this.

So of course I had to quilt swirls. But they are embedded into a network of circuits, which is also why this quilt took forever. My machine, as fabulous as it is, just doesn't like this design. No, let me rephrase that. My machine hates this design. So it was a rather frustrating process, even if the end result is pretty cool.

I quilted the focal fabrics with some simple geometric designs and filled in the empty blocks with ghost blocks. I used two designs, a dot-to-dot design and a piano key-type design.

The back of this quilt shows off the circuit design even more.

In conclusion, I really love this quilt and I think this is some of my best quilting yet, but it completely exposed a major shortcoming with my machine. I don't want to make this post any longer, so I'll probably write about "the defect" in a future post. For now, I'll enjoy this new addition to my quilt collection and enjoy adding a new design to my arsenal.

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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.

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