Thursday, November 12, 2015

Double Gauze Mini

Some time ago I caught the Instagram Mini Quilt Swap bug. I signed up for four all within a few weeks. I did a Favorite Designer Mini Swap, a Text Me Mini Swap, a Spooktacular Mini Swap and this last one, called the Cut Up and Quilt Mini Swap.

The parameters for this one were fairly broad so I decided to use the leftover Emilia fabric from the Double Gauze Bohemian Baby Quilt that I did for Camelot fabrics for Quilt Market. Here's what I ended up creating:
You know by now that I really love negative space. It's really the most modern aspect of my quilting. I don't always gravitate towards solids or starkly geometric designs but I do adore negative space.

Having worked with this fabric on the previous quilt I knew I couldn't quilt that space too densely so instead I used it to create a large scale image with the quilting. Come to think of it, it's actually quite similar to what I did with this quilt, a few months back:

Only this time I chose a lily rather than a daisy. The mini is called Gauze Lily.
Since it was headed toward Council Bluffs, Iowa, which I imagine is much cooler than Las Vegas, I threw in some various flavored herbal teas along with two batik FQs and some thread spools and bobbins.
Due to a last minute partner change I actually received a mini package from the same woman that I sent mine to!  She couldn't make up her mind on a design and ended up making me two minis. What a bonus!
And so many extras that she needed a big box to send them all to me.
Patterns, Auriful thread, a cute lunch bag, a small scrapbook and over a pound of my favorite buttered popcorn jelly bellies. So I hope she liked the package I sent her, because I certainly was tickled with mine!

Other than a small holiday mini swap within our local modern guild, I'm done with swaps until after the bustle of the holidays are over. But once spring hits, I'm likely to get the fever again!

Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday at Kelly's,
Finish It Up Friday at Amanda Jean's,
and Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Sarah's

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Star Bright Baby Quilt

I love me some baby quilts! After minis, they are the near-instant gratification of quilting projects. And this great pattern by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter is particularly quick and easy while still being absolutely adorable. Follow the link and check out Amy's two versions. They are darling! I was inspired to look through my own stash to find some fun brights and low volume sweetness to put together "Star Bright" for a friend's brand new baby girl.

This star can be made with 10 inch squares or fat quarters. It's also a good one to throw in a few of those larger scale prints like these fun tea cups that I've been saving for a while:
I also included a solid to give the eyes a place to rest and to showcase the quilting design. I stitched cowardly feathers (they're spineless) in each star point. 
A quilting tip - if you know one area of your quilt is going to show the quilting more than the rest - stitch that area last. It will give you a chance to practice and prefect the design in the less noticeable regions. 
The quilt finished at 41 inches square and was quilted with my favorite threads - Superior Threads Magnifico and Sew Fine. Can't beat that stuff!
Two fun things here: my border was fairly narrow but I didn't let that stop me from quilting a much larger border swirl chain. Letting it spill into the center of the quilt worked because I had all low volume prints and the design was flexible enough to avoid quilting it on the star points. I also wanted just a wee bit of color to pop out of all that low volume background so I did a flange binding, also known as Susie's Magic Binding from 52 quilts in 52 weeks. It's a great way to machine bind (which I recommend on a baby quilt).
One last shot of my yellow star baby quilt. (I couldn't resist). Thanks for coming by today!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bohemian Baby Double Gauze Quilt

Today I finally get to show you a sweet little quilt I've been working on for Quilt Market from the double gauze Emilia line by Camelot Fabrics.
Have you ever worked with double gauze? We quilters are pretty particular about our fabric, aren't we? Good quality cottons are what we like. They are predictable to sew with, dependable to launder, and guaranteed to age into delicious softness. But ever once in a while, it can be fun to veer off the beaten path.
Camelot's double gauze is just what it sounds like - two layers of gauze put together.
The two layers are actually basted together with thread. If you look carefully, you might be able to see the small holes in the upper corner where the basting thread pulled out when I separated the layers. The fabric has a tighter weave than you would expect from a gauze while still being looser than cotton.

Since the pattern I was asked to use was entirely composed of HSTs, I had to be very careful to press and not iron to avoid distorting the bias edges. The pattern, called New Bohemian, is available on Camelot's web site here. It is a well written pattern with two exceptions. There is an error in the cutting instructions for Fabric A. You are asked to cut a 5 1/4 by WOF strip and then sub-cut it into 5 1/2 inch squares. Not possible. It should read sub-cut into 5 /14 inch squares. The second error is the finished size is listed at 34x40. But my finished quilt was a dainty 28x33.5. Some quilt math errors there. If I had been making this quilt for a gift I would've added a border to beef the size up a bit. Aside from those two errors, which I'm sure they will correct, it's an easy pattern and goes together quickly.

The big question was how to quilt it? Would I be able to machine quilt a gauze fabric without issues? The answer was surprisingly yes! I did a practice sandwich from leftover fabric and tried it out. I decided to go with a large scale all over swirl.
This gave me enough space between quilting lines that I wasn't worried about bunching, tucking, or pulling the fabric out of shape with the quilting. I also opted for a thin thread - Superior's So Fine 50wt.
This 403, called Putty, is one of those magic colors that just blends. Across the pink, the peach and the gray it just melts into the quilt. And So Fine is a great thread. My machine loves it.

I had enough left to piece a mini quilt. I went a totally different direction with it and focused on the bull's-eye prints in the light and dark colorways set into the mid value solids. Still undecided how I will quilt this one.

If you are heading to Quilt Market, visit Camelot Fabrics and visit my Baby Bohemian. And don't be afraid to pick up some of this lovely Emilia double gauze. Step off the beaten path and sew on the wilder side!

Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and
Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, September 25, 2015

Poulsen Peanut - an Overdue Finish

Remember way back in May when I started two elephant quilts? And then in July when I finished the mini version first? Even though the baby quilt size was for a baby that was already born?

Yeah - I thought you were keeping track of my procrastination and distraction. But now - NOW - I'm done with the baby quilt. (Hurray, yippee, wahoo,  etc. etc.)

 Yes, I know the baby is already like six months old. But I'm really hoping mama (who is a dear friend of mine from our time in Turkey) will forgive me.
So just to refresh your memory, in case you don't have time to click through those previous posts, the fabric line is Figures by Zen Chic and the free pdf download pattern is Paisley Splash by Windham Fabric and is available (still, I checked) at this link.

I always like to try something new with each project and my goal for this one was to get comfortable with graffiti quilting. The result might be on the severely over-quilted side but it was super fun.  Actually, I'm thinking of starting up a support group for over-quilters. The addiction is real, people!
It was super fun to work on fitting different quilting designs and fillers together into all that delicious negative space. And also around and between the splashes.

I found the most darling peanut fabric for the backing. It goes well with the quilt's name which is Poulsen Peanut.  My friend's last name is Poulsen and she has called each of her babies a little peanut.

This is my favorite shot.  I was all done taking pictures and had placed the folded quilt on top of a chair. I came into the room a bit later and found the sun shining onto the backing and lighting up all that gorgeous texture. This shot has no filter.

Poulsen Peanut will be going into a mailing box on Monday along with these three minis that I made over the summer for peanut's older siblings.
If you want to see more detailed shots of these, just search Oliver, Violet, or Henry in my search bar. There is a post for each.

One last thing that will be going in the box:
Once upon a time, I was the mama of a very difficult toddler. So difficult that I sometimes got very angry. Have you heard the expression, "You will never know the depths of your anger until you become a mother." Of course you also learn much about the depths of your love, which is why I never wanted to hurt my difficult son.  So sometimes I would put my darling little hellion to bed and then take a plate from the cupboard and smash in on the back porch concrete as hard as I could. Then I would get the broom and sweep up the mess. Hey - don't judge. It worked.

Well, Peanut's mama is also the mama of a darling, but difficult little boy. So I shared my secret parenting tip with her. And just in case she wants to save her nice dishes - I'm sending her a couple of ugly, Goodwill plates. Just for emergencies.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear your best parenting or coping tips in the comments.

Linking with Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday and
Amanda's Finish It Up Friday

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Urban Sunrise" - My version of ChristaQuilt's "Technicolor"

Did you know that when I moved to Las Vegas two years ago I made a fantastically serendipitous decision? Completely obliviously (is that a word?) I moved into the same neighborhood as Christa Watson, aka Christa Quilts. Really, I can walk to her house without even working up a sweat.  Unless it's summer, when I can't lift my right arm without working up a sweat and I drive to the mailbox two houses down with my AC maxed out. But I digress.

It wasn't too long before church, neighborhood, and guild functions brought us together and we've been BQFs ever since. (Best Quilting Friends)  So when Christa invited me to be a stop on a blog hop to introduce her new book, Machine Quilting With Style, I just hollered out the back door "You betcha!!"

Another fun factoid about me - I love pieced backings. Christa knows this, so she asked me to take Technicolor, the pieced backing of her Color Crystals quilt, and turn it into a quilt front.  Christa's Technicolor is made up of randomly cut and pieced solid 2.5 inch strips with bold black borders and is quilted with some awesome intersecting radial quilting.

 For my version, I started with a half yard bundle of Gelato Ombre by Elite and played with the colors a bit more to see what kind of movement and light effects I could get.

Following Christa's great directions, I cut 2.5 inch strips but instead of piecing them randomly into 60 inch strips I grouped similar colors, moving from one color into the next. When I finished piecing the center I thought it looked like rays of sunlight coming up over mountains and buildings and breaking through pink and purple clouds.  I named it "Urban Sunrise" and chose a concrete gray for the top and bottom borders.

Christa has been a great help to me in my free motion quilting education. A lot of that help is contained in this book.  Once I was finished with the quilt top, I got a crazy idea and decided to use several of Christa's fmq motifs to quilt in the mountains, clouds, and sunrise that the colors evoked.

It's hard to see on the front but on the back you can see triangle texture, pebbles, and spirals on the mountains, with switchbacks defining their edges. All these designs are taught in Christa's book in a section called Free Motion Favorites.  

I also used a simple stipple inside irregular boxes on the gray borders to give an urban, architectural look. 
My spirals are different than Christa's spirals.  While trying to conquer the FMQ spiral, I was given some good advice by another BQF, Vicki Ruebel of Orchid Owl Quilts. She told me to find my own spiral. That eventually, as I practiced, something would start to feel natural. And that is what happened. I think that is great advice for all types of FMQ. If you practice, not only will the motion feel more intuitive and less awkward but you'll find your own pebble, your own spiral, your own stipple. And then you will start to feel more confident in your quilting. 

So much of Machine Quilting With Style is about developing confidence as a quilter. Christa is a great champion of being the maker of your quilts, from start to finish. Her book has 12 great projects and tons of wonderful information about both walking foot quilting and free motion quilting. You can read my Amazon review of the book here

Something else I love to do, that makes a quilt mine - is to do a pieced binding. I did this on my Fall Out Quilt and my Set Sail Quilt. With Urban Sunrise I was able to use the ombre fabrics to echo the color progression in the quilt. That made me pretty happy. 

Be sure to visit Vicki at today to see her version of the front of this quilt as it appears in Christa's book. And of course, Christa will have the original versions of both Color Crystals and Technicolor.  You'll find the schedule for the rest of the blog hop on Christa's blog as well. 

And be doubly sure to order the book. Machine Quilting with Style will help you with your FMQing whether you are a trepid beginner or a fine tuning expert. You can order the book from Amazon here or from Martingale Press here.  Or if you want a signed copy, you can order one directly from Christa here

Thanks for stopping by-whether from ChristaQuilts or elsewhere, I'm happy to have you visit. 
Stay Wonky my quilty friends!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Urban Sunrise

So I'm SUPER excited!! Christa Watson's book, Machine Quilting with Style, came out yesterday. I'm lucky enough to be friends with Christa and she asked if I would be a part of a blog hop to celebrate her new book. So next week I will be showing you a quilt from Christa's book. I'm just about done with it and I thought it would be fun to do a Work In Progress post and give you a little teaser.

The quilt she invited me to make is actually presented as a pieced backing to another quilt in her book. But I could see it as a fabulous quilt in its own right. I hope I pulled it off.

I've been trying to perfect my FMQ swirl.  My uber-talented BQF Vicki of gave me some advice - don't try to copy other people's swirls, find your own.  Well, I think I may have just done that. I was looking at a piece of fabric and decided to try copying the swirls on it. What do you think?

The body of the quilt is just 2.5 inch strips. But I'm working with ombre fabrics which add some really wonderful movement in the color gradiation.

The borders are a concrete gray and I went with a very angular quilting design trying for an urban feel.

I'd better stop blogging on get back to work so I can bury all those threads you can see in these photos and get the quilt bound and labeled by Monday.  I hope you come back to see the complete quilt then.

In the meantime, pop over to Amazon or Christa's blog,, and get a copy of her book. I got an advance e-copy  and it's fabulous.  Here's a link to my Amazon review of her book. 

And here's the book. You can purchase it at this link or on her blog.  See you Monday, September 14th!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, September 7, 2015

Finished Halloween Mini

Howdy quilty peeps! I'm currently working on a large quilt and while it is going well (sneak peek to follow), I've decided that I really love minis. They are so easy to quilt because you aren't dealing with the dreaded drag of a large quilt's bulk.  I have a long armer friend who has been whispering tempting phrases in my ear about the joys of long arm quilting. And while life circumstances dictate that purchasing a long arm is not a prudent choice for me right now, I have to say it does sound enticing.

Here is my latest mini:
I have to admit, those quilted spider webs make me squeal!
The tutorial for the 3D pinwheels can be found in the previous post. The fabric line is Monster Bash by Moda and the quilt finished at 21 inches square. I had a half yard of one of the prints in this line so I pulled out an old pattern and made this cute hobo sling bag.
It's actually quilted but I just outlined each of the monsters in orange thread so it's fairly subtle but does give a nice weight to the bag. Perhaps it will make a good trick or treat bag for my partner's kiddos. I also included some scraps and a bit of yardage from the backing, along with a Las Vegas magnet and two bobbins of clear thread for her to try.
 I also made a non-quilted version of the hobo bag to include with my text me mini quilt swap along with two clear bobbins, a charm pack and a Vegas magnet. Pictures of the mini can be found in this post.
Here they are all ready to go out - one to Oregon and one to New Jersey.  The Halloween one is early but that is so I have time to work on a special project. Here's that sneak peek I promised:
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Halloween 3D Pinwheel block tutorial

Hi quilters! I've been searching for a design idea to use on my Spooktacular Mini Swap quilt and recently came across this cute block tutorial at Little Thunder Lizard.  This is a great way to use your pre-cut 5 inch squares. I love the movement of a pinwheel block and the 3D effect in this block takes that movement to a whole new level! Ashley Eaton wrote great instructions for creating this block.  She created some darling baby quilts with it. So pop over and read her tutorial - or stick around and see how I made a fun Halloween mini quilt using the same technique.

Here is what your finished 3D pinwheel block will look like. 

I started with a charm pack of Monster Bash by Moda. I knew I wanted a 2 by 2 arrangement of this block for a mini quilt so I chose 16 of the charms and arranged them in 4 rows of 4.

Then I chose 16 charms for the pinwheel blades. These each need to be pressed on the diagonal:
And then pressed again on the diagonal to create a quarter square triangle.
Now place these on the edges of your charm squares to create a pinwheel. The 4 raw edges of the triangle will line up with the edge of your charm square.
Unless you are using all the same fabric for the background charms and the same fabric for the pinwheel blades, this is a good time to snap some quick phone pics to keep track of which charm/blade goes where.
Now use a couple of pins to secure each QST to its charm. Even if you are not normally a pinner for small seams, you're working with 5 layers of fabric here so the pins are helpful. Set your needle position to give you a smaller than 1/4 in seam allowance. Then sew the blades on the charms. Now adjust your needle position back to a true 1/4 inch seam. When you sew the charms into blocks your seam should lie just outside the previous seam.

 Ashley recommended pressing seams open but I found that too difficult. The seam wants to lie in the opposite direction than the pinwheel blade is pointing. (So that thick QST is actually lying flat rather than being bent back onto itself.) But pressing the seams this way ends up giving your abutting seams when you sew the block together so it works nicely.

When joining blocks together you can easily press the seams open because you won't be dealing with any pinwheel blades in those seams.

Four joined blocks will finish at 18 inches square. I'm planning on adding a 2 inch border of one of the dark fabrics before quilting and binding it.  This one has to be done and sent to my partner by September 20th. But I've got several other projects with deadlines coming up so I'm hoping to finish it up soon. Thanks for stopping by today. I hope your projects are going well.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Don't Block Me" Text Me Mini Swap

My friend Vicki of Orchid Owl Quilts and I have been running a mini swap on Instagram this summer. It's been a fun and educational experience. And way more work than we initially thought it would be. We've reached the point in the swap where the shipping deadline is fast approaching so both of us have been forced to turn our attention from the administration of the swap to participation in the swap. In other words, we needed to get off the computer and get sewing!

The rules were simple. A mini created with a minimum of two fabrics which depicted letters, words or numbers.

I'm still in love with the Figures line by Zen Chic that I used to create the Eleplay mini for the favorite designer swap. And fortunately, that line has several fabrics with numbers and text. I added just one fat quarter of a text fabric and some plain white and created this:
I loved the idea of stacked blocks in both the piecing and the quilting. And the double meaning of blocking a text sender so I named it, "Don't Block Me."

I used some of my wonderful Bicycle fabric from Turkey, which also has text on it, for the backing.

 I used clear bobbin thread when I was quilting with the coral and navy thread on the front. I'd never used clear thread before but it worked out quite well. I like that all the quilting blends well on the back.

I also cut my binding on the bias to avoid the difficulty of the text not running exactly parallel or perpendicular to the quilt.

I still need to make something handmade for an extra and decide what store bought items I will add to the package. But I have until September 1st so I'm not panicking (yet).

Today I mailed Eleplay off to my Favorite Designer Swap partner.  She had asked that I spend my time on the project rather than extras so I just added a few snacks and some bobbin minders. But there is one fun surprise that you might spot. It's not available to buy for another month or two so mums the word. I'll only say that I have my sources. And that I hope my partner will like it.

Linking up with:
 Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts