Monday, February 25, 2013

More BOM blocks

I made some small progress this weekend; small but steady! That's the way to get back into the swing of things.

First, I ripped apart my horribly unsquare mini-Valentine wallhanging, squared it up, and repieced it with three layers of my thickest cotton to make it into a potholder. Were three layers necessary? Who knows, I've never made a potholder before, but it's about a cm thick now so I bet it can withstand any heat!
Before, in all its un-square glory
After: much poofier (look at those curved corners!) but hopefully much more square

Next I completed the April block for my guild BOM (we are following the 2010 layer cake BOM from Moose on the Porch quilts). I also typed up instructions for it (they have to be shortened to fit on a page or less in our newsletter). This one was a fun design, although that purple stripe was a much more busy background choice than I realized.

Side note: my cat is trying her best to prevent me from blogging! She settled on my lap, placed her head on my hand, and now stretched her arm out to block the keyboard. Thanks a lot! Definitely doing it on purpose. Here is photo proof:
Kitty blog block!

Finally, I completed the May block today. This was a great block. It only required two colors and it was incredibly simple. I was actually really impressed because it started with a simple nine patch, and a single cut turned it into something totally different!
normal nine patch

Look at how cool these blocks are when you cut the nine patch in half!

orientation 1

orientation 2

Finished block. I wanted to highlight the pink more than the gray.

Working with a layer cake has been a fun challenge. I am used to picking out all my own fabrics and thus am never challenged to "make it work" as Tim Gunn would say with fabrics or colors that I don't consider perfect. Figuring out color pairings has been interesting in this quilt, and it's also been a learning experience to see which colors end up standing out the most in each block (for example those purple strips in the April block...I thought just because they had white in them they would be a good background but I didn't think about that bold pattern!)  I think I would enjoy working with more layer cakes in the future as I find them more versatile than jelly rolls or charm squares.

Onto the next block!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Teeny Progress

All I've done lately is the March BOM block as a sample for my guild, from the Moose on the Porch Quilts 2010 layer cake BOM.  This block had in my opinion pretty awful instructions, so I spent a long time puzzling over how to make the block and trying to rewrite instructions that are simple but will still come out with a correct block. This was not a good layer cake for a BOM because of all the many directional fabrics, which make my errors REALLY obvious. Oh well.

 I decided my next project will be knocking out the rest of these BOM blocks. I have done 6 (although one got lost in the mail...) so only 6 left. I decided to prevent being stuck with a really awful color combination on the last block, I would take my colors and divide them into six rough groupings now.
 Above are the fabrics all laid out in color order, below are my rough groupings. I am still not completely satisfied with the dark blue, yellow, and orange block. I am honestly not finding any colors that I think completely go with that mustard yellow. It goes okay with the purple, but the green and orange look so much better with the purple. That yellow just doesnt go particularly *great* with anything as far as I can tell! Oh well.

Last night was my quilt guild meeting. Our speaker was Mr. Quilt, Don Linn. I enjoyed his presonality greatly, what a fun guy! He wasn't afraid to speak his mind. :) I was also impressed because it turns out that in addition to quilting he excels at woodworking, carving, metalwork, you name it!

Anyways, we have a freebie table at every meeting and this time somebody left a ton of quilting magazines that were actually pretty recent. I am definitely a fan of quiltmaker for it's focus on patterns that I actually want to make, and when I saw this pattern I jumped for joy.
 I have seen it on pinterest and it is just adorable! But I when I got home with the magazine I saw the following:
Part 1 of 2!!! Those tricksters!!!  So now at the next meeting I will have to scour the place for the Jan/Feb '12 issue of Quiltmaker so I can get the second half of this completely adorable pattern!

That's about it for now. Every time I sit to sew the kitty tries her best to distract me. These blocks are quick and easy so I think a very modest goal is one per week (if I can't make that than it will be pretty embarrassing!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentines Twister

I knew a fun new project was just the thing to get me back into the swing of sewing. Last week, Connie posted this tutorial for making a twister heart, and it was just the thing I needed.

For Christmas I received a set of three different sized twister templates and I have been looking for a project to try them out on. Due to my immense love of bright pinks, I was able to do this project entirely with supplies on hand. Now that did mean using muslin for the background because I didn't have enough of any other pale fabric, but hey, so it goes.
laying out the color arrangement
all stitched! (forgot to take a photo before I started cutting)

Here is the first step all sewn together.  I chopped out the twister squares during the Superbowl blackout.  Cutting the squares out was tricky with the rotary cutter because I was only at the correct angle for two of the four square sides.  I ended up cutting one side out with my left hand and just sort of contorting around to get the last side of the square. Cutting went off without a hitch aside from all that twisting into weird positions.
all cut and ready for round 2 of sewing!

(Side note: I learned the Lil' twister is perfectly sized for charm squares! How awesome!)

top assembled
I poked around the internet a lot for quilting ideas. Conveniently Connie posted a shot of the back of her wallhanging so I could see what she did and how she traveled around the top.  Rosemary has also been finishing off a twister recently, so I was inspired by how she chose to quilt hers.

I ended up doing these little singular feather nodes across it.  It was good feathering practice. I remember from last February's FMQ challenge Diane's phrase that they should always look like teardrops and not tongue depressors - well, I had a lot of tongue depressors.  For the background, I love the texture that pebbling would provide but I knew I would find it tedious, so I did jester hats since I enjoyed those so much from the FMQ challenge.  And the borders have fun (and very imperfect freestyle) hearts on them.
Here is a shot of the quilting. I know I should take some close-ups but there is a really cute kitty in my lap right now!
Now I know people like to read about mistakes, and I am definitely not perfect.  The biggest mistake is that I used pink thread to sew all my squares together, which looked great on the pink blocks but make the thread VERY OBVIOUS through the white muslin. Oh well.  I also caught up the background fabric in some of my border stitches.  My totally awesome solution? Just trim around it like a reverse applique (I am way too lazy to rip out stitches unless I really care.

Where the quilting caught the background - oops. But who wants to do those freestyle hearts a second time?
Anyways, next up it was time for the mini version, using the scraps from the first. One problem I noted was that most of my squares had slash marks in them from the rotary cutter. I don't normally make "mini" things, but this was a ton of fun! And so cute! I sewed in silver this time to prevent the thread from being so obvious.
This is the point where I should have said "hmm, I should really square this off"
Now the big problem with this one is that it is blatantly not square. I realllllly should have squared it off before I sewed on the borders.
This photo is to show you how horribly un-square this is!
But by that point my laziness kicked in and I said "oh well, whatever."  But it is realllly off. Plus I'm thinking now it would be a very nice size and shape for a potholder, but I would need to put my thick cotton batting in instead of the current batting that's in theere. For now, it will be a little mini wallhanging for my cubicle at work. I didn't really bother to do any quilting on it for now, I assembled it in "pillowcase" fashion.
Big guy and little guy together!

All in all these were very fun to make and I'm proud that I got them done before Valentine's Day! (unlike those owls I tried to do for Halloween but didn't finish until December...)

Thanks again to Connie for the tutorial.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How is it February already?

Okay, I have basically done no sewing in January!

There are two reasons:
1) Our new wiiU
2) This adorable new addition. All she wants to do is snuggle and I can't say no!

I did do a tiny bit of sewing: some baby pillows and the February block for my guild's BOM.
Feb BOM Block

The pillows were on fabric to match the curtains in the baby's nursery.  The critters are from the pattern for my Animal Alphabet quilt.  I had fun with the colors on the giraffes.  The pillow shapes came out odd because the pillow forms are 14" across the center but only 13" along the top and bottom.  Oh well.

In other news, the post office lost my January BOM block! I asked someone else to present it at the January guild meeting because I had work, and I figured it would be super easy to just pop it in the mail instead of driving 30 minutes to hand it over in person.  And it never arrived! Here's a photo of it.

Farewell January block! You looked so good too ;_;