Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skill Builder BOM Finished!

I am spending the first part of the year finishing up loose ends. It is so refreshing to finish off projects! It is also refreshing to walk into the sewing room and ask "what do I want to work on today?" instead of being in the middle of a huge project that I feel I have to complete.

So, one of the first loose ends was last year's Skill Builder BOM from Pile O' Fabric.

I have to say, I was dreading the final assembly, but it was super easy!

This was my first "quilt as you go" quilt. Each block is quilted individually, then joined together with batting and sashing.
It was a little
 nervewracking because everything needs to be stitched with the seam just so in order to fit together properly, but all went smoothly. And I must admit that the finished quilt has far more intricate quilting than it would have had if I had tried to quilt it after fully assembled - it's just too hard and tedious.

Here are some close ups of the blocks:

I probably won't be doing future skill builders...the teaching style and my learning style didn't match up. But I do like the finished quilt. However, I used 80/20 batting (Can't remember the brand at this point) that ended up being super thin. I don't think it would be a very snuggly quilt. My mom suggested hanging it on the wall of my sewing room, which would be perfect, but my sewing room has slanted walls and the quilt won't fit. So I'm sure what to do with it now. (Oh and then my boyfriend said, "why did you make it if you didn't have a plan for it?" Quilters must create, sir!)

Oh, in addition as you might have noticed the batting shrunk like nobody's business! It's really noticeable on the blocks where I left portions unquilted, like the iron and sewing machine. It's funny because I know some people like the shrinkage because it provides that "heirloom" sort of look, but am I the only one who would prefer my batting not to shrink at all? I guess that's the one advantage of the polyester batting, it doesn't shrink.

After this guy was finished, I did a few odd jobs on my list. I hemmed a pair of pants that have been waiting over a year for my attention, and whipped up these cute Yosemite pillow cases for our bed.

We both really love Yosemite and have been many times, and this flannel fabric is so nice and soft! I know they don't match and they aren't particularly attractive, but they're special to us. The top one features lots of Yosemite landmarks, and the bottom one just has so many fun camping items. Do you see the campfire popcorn? Or the ranger hat? Too cute! It's fun to have them.

The next big unfinished project to tackle is the 2013 Celtic Solstice Mystery quilt. This is a biiiig quilt and I am using wool batting, which I am pretty eager to test. Instead of trying to figure out a freehand design, I got some stencils and am using my pounce pad to transfer the designs to the quilt.

Here is the quilt with the stencil laid out:

All marked up: (Not perfect but close enough to follow)

Aaaand stitched!

In general the pounce pad has done a fine job marking up the quilt top. I like the stencils but I must admit, they are less forgiving than your typical free motion filler. With free motion if I make a mistake I can hide it or make it look like part of the flow. Here any wibble wobbles or inconsistencies are really obvious. The design I picked is also leading to little raised areas in the center of each block. I think if I pulled the fabric tighter it wouldn't do that as much. I'm also facing the usual tension issues when trying to quilt.

Now this quilt alternates two blocks to create an overall pattern. I have quilted all of the one type of block, but the stencil I bought for the other block doesn't look quite right:

I can see what I was going for but since the diamonds don't really follow any of the lines in the quilt, I think it's too incongruous. I am thinking of other design ideas and might just make up my own stencil, by printing something out and stitching through the lines with no thread in the needle. I've done this before and these work great with the pounce pad as well.

On a side note, at our guild meeting this month we had a tutorial for how to use instagram, so I finally signed up a quilting-specific account. You can find me @chibibenz. Instagram has a lot of appeal because it's so fast and easy. Writing blog posts usually takes me an hour and getting all of the photos added takes quite some time. With instagram you click one button and you are done! So I will probably start being more active on there than on here, just for time management purposes.

One last note! This month at our guild meeting we also did our pincushion swap. It was a huge hit! This was a relief because I am on the challenge and swap committee, and our last challenge was a flop.

Remember my pincushion? It was a teapot!

And I came home with this super cute "hot toddy" pincushion, which came with actual hot toddy recipes. I just love the detail with which she made the accessories of the lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and star anise. 

Okay that's it for this update! Back to stitching!