Monday, November 23, 2015

An Army of 241 Totes.

I feel like I'm building an army of 241 totes. Slowly, the count rises, and each addition is near and dear to my heart. Then I send them off into the world, and...that's where this analogy crashes and burns.

(But I like the idea of a 241 army, so I'm sticking with it.)

This is the latest version, made for one of my favorite quilty bloggy people, Michelle. (Isn't she just fabulous?) She sent me a lovely zippy bag a while back--I honestly can't remember the name of the bag, but it has four total zippers and is apparently a pain in the tuhkis to assemble?--and I knew I wanted to make her a 241, but then I arrived upon the conundrum. What fabric was good enough to use for my friend?

The problem bothered me for weeks, until I pulled this print (Edelweiss by Juliana Horner) to use as backing for a baby quilt. After that was decided, it took me about thirty seconds to pull the other fabrics. The pink and white print on the outside pockets is by Sarah Watt for Blend Fabrics, and the charcoal is either Kona or Bella, I didn't mark it. The inside pink and white is Bonnie and Camille--maybe from their Ruby line? (I'm not really in the know on B&C lines.)

I used plain ol' white Aurifil thread for my topstitching, but I liked the contrast. I made this one similarly to my other 241 totes, but I lengthened the handle a bit and didn't make an adjustable strap. I wasn't pleased with the way my hardware worked on the last one, and I need to find some better hardware before attempting another.

I did finally find a magnetic snap with which I was pleased. On my first 241, I used a magnetic snap that was too large and too aggressive--if an inanimate object can be aggressive--that has managed to tear the fabric because it put too much stress on the fabric. I made a few without the closure, then found some snaps randomly on amazon. They are smaller and work much, much better.

I also used flusible fleece instead of a thick interfacing on this one, and man, I LOVE the result. I will definitely be doing that again, because yes! That's right! I have another 241 in the works.

In other news, THIS is my current view, and let me tell you, I'm none too pleased. I LOATHE snow with all of my being, and while I will admit it can be kinda pretty to view from a window, at the end of the day, I still hate that white stuff with a serious passion. Whine whine whine. I'm done. (For now.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

FF: A Peach and Blue Quilt.

So, the plan around here at HPQ is to quilt my way through a book. Now, I have waaaaay too many other projects going on right now to just focus on this undertaking, but I love the book Modern Rainbow so much that I pretty much want to make every quilt in there when I can.

I decided to start with Bubbles, especially when I realized I could use scrap strings that I had waiting around for a purpose. I also needed a new baby quilt, so everyone was happy! Mine is a little--okay a LOT--different from the book, but I totally used Bubbles as my inspiration. This little number is smaller and peachier than its inspiration. I also didn't use strips cut to the same width. I used what I had on hand and trimmed the blocks as I went along to get them up to the proper size.

I bound it in this navy print, which made a few sneak appearances in the log cabin blocks. This is actually a print from a friend's stash that I inherited and is definitely vintage. Kinda fun. Something old in a brand new baby's quilt. There are also prints from so many other quilt projects, including a lot of baby quilts that I've made over the past three years.

That pic also gives you an idea of the quilting. I did a cross grid in the peach sections and straight lines down the center of the log cabins. Nothing in the white "hearths". I should have probably done something there. They're a little poofy. I thought about doing hand quilted hearts. But that would have been too much contrast. Except...what if I had used WHITE thread. Oy. I totally should have done that. Well, too late now! It's been gifted! But next time....

And a shot of the backing. I used two different prints, including that gorgeous blue Juliana Horner print. YUM. I wish I had bought a lot more of that. When I bought it, I was like, I'll only buy a yard because I don't want it to linger in my stash, and now I've already used up most of it! Seriously, I have a couple of small scraps left. That's it. But it was used well, so I can't complain, right?

This was a fun quilt to make. I really enjoyed the improv-y nature of the log cabins. Improv tends to make me nervous and tense, but in this sense, it was completely okay. Controlled improv might be more my game? Or maybe I'm just growing as a quilter? Hmmm. Something to consider.

This is finish #3 from my Q4 FAL list.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November is done.

And by November is done, I certainly don't mean the month is done. Just my block commitments. No, no. That bad boy seems to just be getting started! (Is anyone else having a superbly crummy month? UGH. I pretty much hate this November. But maybe this means all of the junk of the month is finished and the rest will be a breeze? Fingers crossed.)

These are my November offerings for the Midnight Mystery Quilt. I am really excited about the way these are turning out, even if I'm not entirely in love with the way my scrappy greens are behaving. I know it's still early, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this quilt when it's finished. November blocks for Stash Bee. Jacqueline pretty much gave us free reign to use whatever fabrics we wanted, and I obviously took her up on it, which made these blocks so much fun! My favorite is the one on the bottom. I'm done with Stash Bee blocks for 2015! (As a Hive Mama, I have a *few* more responsibilities to tackle, but honestly, my hive this year was full of super awesome wonderful ladies who made my job extremely easy.)

And now, I'm off to take care of my clients, and by clients, I mean my three kiddos. Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Friday, November 6, 2015

FF: EPP Table Topper.

I've been slowly plugging away at this epp table topper for a few months now. When I saw Rachel's star blossom tutorial, I fell in love with her table runner and knew I wanted one for myself, and I opted to make one to fit my small kitchen table. Of course I used hot pink and navy as my jumping off point, expanding to additional shades of pink as necessary.

As a pretty recent EPP convert, I found the blocks enjoyable to piece. I made my blossoms first, then added the navy diamonds before putting them all together. I like (not love, but like) the finished product, but when I put it on my table, it just looked...weird. The wrong size or something. So, I walked around my house putting it on a bunch of other surfaces. My table topper does not have a home yet. But I trust I'll find one soon! (Or I'll rip off the binding and make a pillow cover out of it.)

I used a navy print from my grandmother's stash, and I hand-tied it, which was a new thing for me! I have no idea how you're actually supposed to do it--I just went for it and did my own thing and it was probably terribly wrong or inefficient, but I got the job done.

This is my second finish for the Q4 FAL. You can see my original list here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

392 pieces.

When making a quilt, I really enjoy tallying up the number of pieces I will be working with. I know it's not necessarily the best indicator of complexity or anything like that, but there's just something concrete and fun about saying, "My current project uses 392 pieces."

It's true. The quilt I started cutting this morning for my quilting sensei's baby has 392 pieces. Normally I cut all in one go, but for this quilt, I'm breaking it up because a lot of those 392 pieces are tiny, and oh la la, I need a break from all of that intricate cutting. Maybe I should have waited to count up the pieces until after I'd cut them all? Probably so. (The above fabrics are not involved in this project, but aren't they fabulous? Y'all know I love a good polka dot and a good rainbow and a good ombre, and those FQs incorporate ALL THREE.)

Sadly, as my quilting sensei frequents this blog, I can't actually show you any fun pictures of work in progress. But the full reveal will be all kinds of fabulous. In the meantime, I *can* show you what else I've been working on.

I've basted the quilt for Baby H, and I was even responsible and picked up the thread I needed so I can start quilting. I have tossed around a couple of ideas on this one, so we'll see what I ultimately settle on. I hope to get this one quilted this week. I'm thinking of binding it in a navy print.

And I've worked more on my EPP tablerunner. I'm actually pretty close to finish up the top of this. I think I only have a few more solo diamonds to attach? Which is exciting. The plan has always been to put this on my kitchen table, but do I honestly want it anywhere near my children and their grubby hands? Maybe no...

On top of those three projects, I seriously need to baste my daddy's quilt and get moving on that one. I verified that my backing is large enough and I have the batting for it and even the quilting thread. Why am I stalling? Because I hate basting. I really really do.

So that's what's on the HPQ to-do quilty list this week. How about you?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Wrote a Book.

Hi Friends. I'm not gonna lie, this post has nothing to do with quilting. Or sewing. Or even anything crafty. It has everything to do with this book I wrote that I promised a few of you I would share upon publication.

I WROTE A BOOK. For realz. It took a very long time, mostly because I had to learn a lot a long the way. But it's done now, and if you're so inclined, you can read it! It's a YA (young adult) fantasy novel, and it's the first in the series. I recently finished the first draft of the second book, and I'm hard at work editing that bad boy, you know, when I'm not quilting. (Or being a mom.)

If you want to know more, book info is available at:
Amazon (for Kindle ebooks and paperbacks)
my website (for signed paperbacks)
eGenCo (for non-Kindle ebooks)

Mucho love, and thanks for reading this. Know that I am extremely grateful for all of the support that y'all have given me, even in my non-quilting endeavors!

Friday, October 30, 2015

FF: Gypsy Wife Quilt.

My Gypsy Wife Quilt is complete. It's been such a long-term project that it honestly feels odd to have it done! 

I thought I'd been working on it for over two years, but come to find out, it hasn't been quite that long. I bought the pattern in February of last year.

The first time I saw the pattern, I knew that I wanted to make it and that I wanted it in AMH fabrics with a handquilted finish. I don't always have such strong feelings, but this quilt definitely did that for me.

This pattern...wooboy. It was an effort of love, let me tell you. And since I handquilted it, it took about a kajillion years to finish. So now I have a new system for measuring my love: if I'm willing to make someone a Gypsy Wife quilt, it means I love them A TON. (That being said, I have absolutely no desire to repeat this pattern. Ever.)

The handquilting took forever, but it was totally worth it. I mostly straight line quilted it using perle cotton, but occasionally I got fancy and tried something else out.

When I got ready to back it, I pulled some of my favorite fabrics from stash that hadn't found the perfect project. Some AMH prints I hadn't wanted to cut into, some Kate Spain, Lizzy House, Alison Glass, and I can't remember who designed that yellow print, but that made it in there too. It's a total mish-mash, but I love it.

I had pieced some HRTs incorrectly for one of the blocks, so I used them to form a diamond and added it to the back. At some point I'll add a label. One of these days....

The binding is a fun stripe, also by AMH. While my original plan had been only AMH fabrics plus a few solids thrown in willy-nilly, I expanded that to include a large number of other designers, including a precious bit of Tula's Parisville line.

With that project finished, it's time to move on to clearing out some of the other WIPs I have waiting. (And maybe even start a new quilt or two??)

This is my first finish off my Q4 FAL list. After sitting on that list for what feels like a year, I can finally cross it off, woo!


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