Friday, July 31, 2015

Quilt Top for my Dad.


Do you ever have problems visualizing what something will turn into? I really struggle with scrappy stuff. I'm always certain it's going to turn out looking like absolute junk because it always seems to at the beginning. When I laid out the first two or three blocks I received from my lovely bee mates (Hive 8, yeah baby!) I wasn't sure it was going to look as I imagined. I had wanted scrappy navy and blues and was it going to come together?

But when every block had arrived and I put them side by side, I couldn't believe how well they worked. It was crazy! It was chaotic! It was scrappy! And yet, the end result was exactly what I had hoped for.


I needed one more block, but one of the girls had included some extra bits (which was SUPER nice), so I didn't have to cut fabric for the center star, excepting the navy corner pieces. Searching through scraps, I discovered that bit of Darth Vader fabric, and that bit makes this block my favorite of the entire quilt.

I had flirted with the idea of getting this one quilted by a local long armer, but when I spoke with them last week, things were backed up until October! And I'm kinda hoping to deliver it when I see my dad in October, so I will have the pleasure of quilting this one myself. That means I need to get my derriere moving!

Here are some details if you're interested: the block is the Autumn Star block by Faith of Fresh Lemons Modern Quilting. I had my hive mates use navy and white fabrics. Some of the white is white on white, some is solid white. I sashed the blocks first in Kona White, then in Kona Navy to finish it off. I have no idea what I'll be backing it with, but I'll figure something out. (I always do!) And binding...hmmm. I think it measures 52" by 69"? Something like that.

Happy Friday, Friends!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Checking In.

There is something about starting a new quarter that really makes me review what plates I have spinning. (And wow. Do I have a lot of plates spinning!)

I have two major long-term projects in progress--my Gypsy Wife quilt and my City Sampler quilt. As I'm handquilting my GW quilt, I imagine it won't get much attention until the fall. It's just too hot to sit underneath it and stitch away. My CS quilt needs 4-5 yards of background fabric to set the blocks, and I don't want to start setting them until I can devote my full attention to that project. Since both of these projects are for me, they are low on the priority list.

I have two quilt tops waiting for action. The first is my Memaw's quilt top, pictured above. Call me crazy, but I'm considering tying this one. As for the second, my daddy's quilt, I just finished it--pics on Friday!--and I'm waiting to make a decision on how to quilt that one as well. It might be headed to the long-armer to save me some time--I'd like to have it finished before I see him next.

I have a bunch of small projects in the works, including this pair of socks--my first!--that I cast on a couple of days ago. I also have an EPP table runner, a set of four placemats, and a small pincushion to finish up.

Then there are the new projects waiting in the wings. My fabric for the Midnight Mystery Quilt is almost ready. (I need to purchase and cut a bit more lime.) I have another baby quilt to start. I have a dress, a shirt, and a couple of bags to make. My oldest son will be attending a homeschool co-op that starts in a month--should I make him a backpack?

Eep! There is never enough time, but I'm definitely feeling it today! If your to-sew/WIP list a kajillion miles long?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Messenger Bag Finish.

I haven't had a lot of sewing time lately--and that's okay, because there are plenty of awesome reasons why I've been away from my machine. However, I feel like what I've been producing in my limited time hasn't been fun and exciting. I feel like Studio HPQ has been a little boring of late!

But FRIENDS. That totally just changed. I finished THIS bag. And it's one of my favoritest things I've ever made.

And it's not for me. *Sigh.* I told my husband many many many many many months ago that I would make him a messenger bag. And a button down shirt. And some bowties. And the other day he asked if I'd make him a smaller bag for his iPad. And I said YES. Because I love that dude, and when he asks me to make him something, how can I say no? But it's time to knock out some of that list, and I started earlier this week by making him a sweet bowtie out of a small bit of Juliana Horner fabric that I was saving for a mini quilt. Then it was bag time.

This bag was a struggle in some regards because I couldn't find a pattern that had everything I wanted. And my bag making skillz trembled at the prospect of drafting one from scratch. So! I used this tutorial by Heart of Mary and this tutorial by Crazy Little Projects and then used my own measurements and added some other stuff that wasn't in either. My bag has three exterior pockets, one interior zipper pocket, and one slip pocket designed for pens.

First, the noticeable mistakes/problems/things I'm not 100% pleased with:
1. The handle is probably too long. But I didn't have my husband to measure it by.
2. I placed the slip pocket a little too high in the interior.
3. Also, I used fusible fleece, but it doesn't have a ton of structure--I think next time I'd want to use something like Soft and Stable to give it a bit more oomph.

As to the things I DO like, oh man. That lion fabric! The placement of the lions on the front was a complete accident, but I heart it something fierce. I also love that it looks like a bag, not like something I threw together in a hodge-podge manner. (And since it took about a KAJILLION hours to make, it had better.)

I would love to make another...but I need a bit of a break first. (Also, I have a bookshelf bee block I need to churn out and a mystery quilt for which I need to cut fabric.) One day, there will be a snazzy cool messenger bag for me too.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Q3 FAL List.

I can't remember when I first joined in with the FAL, but I do know that it's been a really positive thing for me. I love making lists--the longer and more complicated, the better--and checking items off of them makes me positively giddy. Whenever I'm unsure of what to work on, I pull up my list and pick something off of it. What I mean by all of this is that I've found something that keeps me accountable, and quilty friends, you know that's a good thing.

I managed 7 finishes from my proposed list of 14 for Q2. Since that list was gigantic scary, I'm pretty stoked about my results. I also managed to make decent progress on some of the other items on the list, so all in all, Q2 went well. NOW. Q3. I have SERIOUS plans to rock your socks off. (You know, if I can ever find time to use my machine!)

1. Shirt for my Husband.
Have pattern and materials

2. Small bag for my Husband
Have pattern and materials

3. Dad's Quilt
Blocks are done, need to sash

4. Placemats for my Mama
Have pattern and materials

5. Quilt for my Memaw
Top is done

6. EPP Table Runner
Have pattern and materials

7. Gypsy Wife Quilt
Hand quilting is 65ish% done

8. Dress for me
Have pattern and materials--Take 2 of Felicity Dress

I'll cap it at eight. I have four other quilts in the wings, but I'm 98% sure I won't start them in the next three months. I'm linking up!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Quilt for My Nephew.

My younger sister is expecting a baby, and that baby should be making an appearance this month! I'm hoping my quilt will arrive in time to welcome him in my stead. I finished the Andy Warhol-inspired quilt top in May, and y'all will have to forgive me, but I'm exhausted due to a teething baby, and I'll let you visit that link if you're interested in more specific fabric information or more details on my inspiration.

I had thought about incorporating straight line, FMQ, and handquilting into this bad boy to mimic my niece's quilt, but in the end, I kept it simple and did straight line quilting on the diagonal. HOWEVER, I did shake it up a bit and did 60 degree diamonds. It was my first time quilting with a guide, and I really really really appreciated not having to mark every line. Full disclosure: my lines are a little wobbly. However, I sincerely doubt my super cool nephew will be concerned with that business.

I managed to finish this one in time to mark it off my FAL Q2 list, which is all sorts of exciting! It's finish 7 of 14, so I got halfway through my list. I'll take that as a win.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Memaw's Quilt(top).

My grandma turned 90 this year. I figure she needs a quilt.

My grandma is an amazing lady. Her life is exciting, and the stories she has told me about her past are incredible. (And true!) In her home, there is a gigantic quilt hanging on the wall of her great room that was pieced decades ago out of clothes from members of our family. When I was a kid, I always loved when she would point to pieces of the quilt and tell me where they came from. 

This quilt looks nothing like the one on her wall. It's all from one fabric collection: Bonnie and Camille's Happy Go Lucky. But whenever I would see these fabrics in a project, I always thought of my Memaw, and I held on to my FQ bundle for a couple of years until inspiration struck.

As you can probably tell if you've previously been here, using this line is a bit of a stretch for me. I like extremely bright colors and large scale prints and TULA. And while I can't say that B&C will be my future go-to when it comes to a new project, I can say that I like this finished top a lot.

I considered hand-tying this one, which is something I've never done before, but I'm leaning towards machine quilting. Simple, straight lines on the diagonal, aka, Audrey's favorite way to quilt a quilt ever. (No, really.) But there are a few other projects that will demand attention before then--my nephew's quilt, eep!--so I have time to muse.

Oh, if you're interested, the pattern for this is a free tutorial called the Squares and Strips Bed Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.

Friday, June 12, 2015

This is not my most glorious finish.

A ringing endorsement to start off this post, amiright? But it's true. This is not my most glorious finish. But it's a finish nonetheless, one that I am thrilled to remove from the queue, and one that has been plagued with frequent pauses throughout its creation.

Last fall, my son asked me to make him a quilt. He has one me-made quilt, an i-spy patchwork affair that I made very early in my quilting career. (I think it was finish #5?) But Banzo is growing up, and it was getting a little too small for him, so he asked if he could give it to his baby brother and have a new quilt for himself. How could I say no? He wanted trucks, and I pulled truck fabric and rainbow blenders, then axed the trucks because the pile sat on my table for weeks without inspiration. Axing the trucks was necessary, even if the only truck will be a label on the back of the quilt.

I FMQ'd the entire thing in a pointy meander, mostly as practice for my nephew's hedgehog quilt. This is the first quilt that I've ever used an all over FMQ style for, and I did not enjoy it. It took forever. It used up a ton of thread. I started with a partially full spool of green thread for the backing thread, thinking, that will be plenty for the bottom bobbin. Nope. I ran out. I could have waited until I made it to the store, but there was no way that was happening, so I switched to blue thread and kept going because apparently I only like to keep one spool of green thread in my house at a time. I probably should have waited. I had to switch to blue thread in the green section on top too, which is horribly noticeable, but I thought if I stopped working on this quilt, when would I get around to it again? (I'm not sure if I will actually use this pattern for my nephew's quilt. The jury is still out. I will say this quilt has a very nice feel to it and my skillz definitely improved.)

I backed it in a green flannel with bits of other flannel scraps to bring it up to size. For binding, I had hoped to use kona black, but I was completely out of black solids--I apparently need to have an epic shopping trip to the LQS--but I did manage to find this black pin dot in my stash. And I had just enough! Except, I cut one strip at 2" instead of 2.25". SERIOUSLY. I almost threw in the towel then and there, but I pulled out my binding scraps, grabbed a handful that would work, and stitched them up. The final product is a non-matching binding with non-matching quilt thread with no trucks, but the quilt is done. You better believe I machine-sewed that binding because I wanted to get this quilt done.

What went wrong with this quilt? Should I have picked another pattern? Gone bolder? I still really love the improv-y quilt I made for my middle son. What made this one go flat? There may not be answers to those questions, but I do know that Banzo loves his new quilt. He loved watching me work on it. He snuggled it the other day in 90 degree weather. Whether or not I've created an epic quilt here, it will be loved, and that's the part on which I'm choosing to focus.

This is finish #6 of 14 from my Q2 FAL list. In April, I had an incomplete stack of blocks, so this one really did come quite a ways.


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