Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Modern Quilt Guild Challenge

It's April 1st on the east coast, so I'll go ahead and post pictures of my Modern Quilt Guild Challenge quilt. I'm calling it "Relative Values".  It ended up being 50 x 50 inches.
I was inspired by a quilt in Emily Cier's new book, Quilt Remix.  I had been playing with monochromatic concentric squares in my Framed Squares quilts.

They were just feeling too traditional and not modern enough for me.  I liked the center squares, but not the border I needed to bring it up to the size required by the challenge.

I was flipping through Quilt Remix, looking for ideas for another project when I realized, Emily Cier's Trip Around the World quilt, played with those same concentric squares, but in a much more modern way.  I sat down with some graph paper and simplified the design and changed a few things.  "Relative Values" was born, so named because in color, everything is relative, including value.

I quilted it by echo quilting the seams, but making sure that I quilted it as if the quilting continued where the square was overlapped by another.
I bound it in a black with dark brown dots and the back was simply pieced with a single piece of chocolate and white damask, split off center with an light beige stripe.  I do LOVE a damask, particularly one I got for $2 a yard.

Lily's Quilts QAL

I made great progress today.  I got all 4 circles sewn together.
I'm only making a cuddle quilt for Baby Girl, so I'm going to stick with 4.  I'm also going to omit the framing, so it doesn't get too big.  I have a piece of minky that is 60 x 60 to use for the backing.  Each circle is 25 inches across.  The QAL is currently on the sewing the inner circles part.  Unfortunately, I can't get the templates to print in the correct size, so I'm going to have to follow Lynn's directions on making my own, which will slow me down a bit.  Plus, I still have to decide what fabrics I want to use for the inner circles and the filler around the edges.  Flickr opinion is leaning towards the green.

Just had a great idea.  I should embroider something in the centers.  The green wouldn't be the best choice if I want to embroider.  This is pretty busy, so leaving it a solid field, might be better. I'll have to think about it.  Of course I still have to decide what to use on the outside.  I think the pink blends too much and doesn't set off the circles very well.  White might be a better choice.  First I have to make those templates.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dresden Plates

I got all my wedges cut out for Lily's Quilts: QAL.  I used 7 fabrics left over from the BGBGB quilt.
The three remaining fabrics, the blue paisley and the pink and green with white dots I'm auditioning for the centers, along with a medium floral from the Sugar Flowers line.
 I like the big cabbage roses from Sugar Flowers, but the background seems rather yellow.  Fussy cut roses would make a nice center.
 The blue paisley pulls all the colors in, but it has no impact.  It seems to get lost.
 Pink is nice and simple.  The simplicity seems to open up the center.
The green is also simple and opens up the center.  I think it has more impact than the pink.
I just don't know.  Opinions?

WIP Wednesday and I submitted my quilt

I finished my quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  I'll post pictures on April 1st, the day after the deadline.  I agonized over my written description for days.  It's rather like writing a cover letter for a resume.

My mother has been visiting for the last week, so I haven't gotten much sewing done and I had zero time for posting.  I did get my mom to help me finish up 2 big projects.  I got Happy Robots bound.  We ended up machine sewing the binding.  Well, I did the long sides and hand finished the corners.  I'm so glad I had some help.  I double bed sized quilt is really hard to manipulate on your own.  I also got the BGBGB quilt top finished, the backing sewn and it's off to the quilter.  I picked a paisley pantograph, that I think should work perfectly.  It will be feminine, but not over the top cutesy.  The paisley pattern will also pick up the paisley from the corner blocks.

Finally, I got my wedges cut for the big dresden plates in Lily's Quilts: QAL.  I'm only a week behind.  I should be able to catch up, since I'm only making a 4 plate cuddle quilt, instead a bed sized quilt.

I got a few more blocks sewn for MIL's framed squares quilt.  I think everything is cut for the top.

I need to get the blue and yellow disappearing nine patch basted.  I think I need to do a back, it's probably wider than a width of fabric.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What have I been up to?

1. I've been trying to figure out the massive dresden plates in Lily's Quilt A Long.  I can't get the templates to print out the right size. I keep getting new ideas of what fabrics to use, so I haven't cut out anything.  In the Flikr group everyone already has all their plates sewn together, so I'm feeling behind, even though we haven't officially gotten to cutting yet.

2. I've been trying to finish up my Modern Quilt Guild Monochromatic Challenge quilt.  I hate that I don't feel comfortable posting pictures yet.  I'll post pictures April 1st, after the submission deadline.  I spray basted the quilt a week ago, but didn't get around to quilting it until Friday.  The layers held together nicely and it was the most pleasant quilting experience so far.  I didn't get any ripples or puckers.  Here is a little teaser of the back.  I echo quilted on either side of every seam, with the occasional stitch in the ditch to move from one area to another.
It took me 4 movies to finish this 50x 50 quilt.  The quilting is an inch to an inch and a half apart.  I got the binding sewn on the front last night and I'll finish hand sewing the back tonight and tomorrow.

3. Hubby and I met with a personal trainer on Saturday.  The workout didn't seem so bad, but part way through my right leg started to feel like it was going to give out.  The rest of Saturday, the wobbly feeling stayed with me.  Sunday, the tops of my thighs were in agony and I could barely walk.  Yesterday was even worse and when you add in slamming on the breaks to avoid someone who pulled out in front of me without looking, I thought I might throw up from the pain.  Today is better, but the basement stairs are still a torment.  I did go down once yesterday, to do the binding and work on #4, but when the dog wanted out I just shut everything down for the night rather than face the stairs a second time.

4. I got the rest of the pokka dot fabric I needed for BGBGB quilt and now have only one seam before the top is done.  I just have to finish piecing the back and off to the quilter it goes.  This will probably be my last professionally quilted quilt of the year.  It gets pricey, but for double bed sized quilts, it's really my only option.

5.  Potty training Baby Girl is coming along.  My MIL had the kids for the weekend and she is always good at getting them back on track behavior wise.  All the grandkids get sent to Grammy's when they need a tune up.  Kid not sleeping or eating, is acting out, whining, whatever; don't you worry Grammy will fix it.

6. While the kids were away, I did a bit of shopping.  I got a few things for Baby Girl's birthday in May and then stopped at Pier 1.  I NEVER go into Pier 1 with the kids along because the aisles are narrow and there is just too much breakable stuff.  I didn't really see anything I liked, until I started looking some BIG vases.  Then I started thinking about my mantel. We have really high ceilings and the fireplace is floor to ceiling stone, so it's rather dark.  Here is the before picture.
The vase is clear glass and just disappears.  I like the layering of pictures, but it needs a pop and some more height.
How much better does that look?  The lime green vase pops against the stone and pulls out some of the green from the pastel in the center.  I switched the dog print for a photo I took in Poland.  I'm not sure about the switch, having 3 different subjects worked pretty well.  The peacock feathers sort of disappear too, maybe some more greenery?  The big blue nude is a Matisse poster from college.  The pastel in the middle was done by my dad's wife, Jean Hirons, and is my grandmother's house.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My first quilt along

In an effort to keep up with my resolution to keep challenging myself technically and creatively, I'm doing my first quilt along.  Lily's Quilts is running a dresden circle quilt along.  I've never done any curved piecing and the scale is quite large so I should be able to fudge any mistakes.  She made this mini quilt with one block which is what I think I'll start with.
Her mini quilt is 30 inches across.  I could add some sashing and get it to baby sized.  I haven't decided yet.  I've been trying to think about what colors and fabrics to use.

ETA- It just occurred to me that I could use the extras from the BGBGB quilt and do 4 blocks for the matching cuddle quilt that I wanted to make anyway.

WIP- MIL's quilt

I'm waiting on more fabric to finish up the BGBGB quilt.  Happy Robots is back from the quilter and awaiting binding and I'm awaiting the arrival of my mother to help hold this monster as I sew the binding on.  The Modern Quilt Guild Challenge quilt is still awaiting quilting.  This seemed like a good time to start a new project.

At the beginning of the year I bought fabric for a couple of quilts that I knew I wanted to make during the year.  The first was the zigzag quilt for my SIL and the second was the Happy Robots and finally a quilt for my MIL.  My MIL LOVES harvest colors, yellow, orange, brown etc.  I found the awesome brown print as a jumping off point and added fabrics that pulled out colors from the print.  I'm using a vanilla colored solid as the neutral.  White was too stark and natural too dark.  The French vanilla color I found was perfect.
The blocks will be 10 inches finished and I think I'll make it 5 x 6.  I've got enough fabric leftover that I might also do a bookshelf quilt.  MIL is an English teacher and I think she'd really like a bookshelf quilt.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can I have ketchup with that?

Today I get to eat my own words.  Back in January, I commented on the wrongness of spray basting.  Well, I just tried it today.  I tried it on my Modern Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt.  I can still smell the adhesive and it wasn't a total success, but I see the merits.  That stuff is STICKY and smelly.  I did it on the front porch, so I didn't have to worry about stinking up the house and exposing my small creatures, human and otherwise fumes.  Ok, mostly I was worried about the smell and the thought that something small would dart in to investigate at the wrong moment and I'd have to bathe them.  I have no idea how dog groomers avoid the wet dog smell.  The one time I tried to bathe the dogs myself, I had to get them groomed the next day to get rid of the stench.

Back to topic.  I'm going to start quilting the challenge quilt tonight.  I stopped by the LQS this morning for some advice and walked out with a new thread and new needles, plus a few yummies that just grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

While I was outside spraying things, I thought I'd finish up a project from the fall, that got put aside when cold weather hit.  I used regular spray adhesive, not the fabric stuff I used on the quilt.  I've been saving this old calendar I got in Italy many years ago.  The illustrations were plates from a neoclassical furniture design book.  I always thought they would look lovely framed, but never wanted to spend serious money framing them.  A friend of mine showed me a great solution.  She had made color copies of old illustrations of coral and mounted them on foam core board and hung them in her son's nursery.  They were perfect for hanging over his crib, because if they happened to fall, they wouldn't hurt anyone.  I thought this would be a perfect use for my old calendar and a great solution for hanging pictures on the wall over Baby Girl's bed.
My self healing cutting mat and ruler with a lip on it came in handy cutting the foam core board.  I used a utility knife with a new blade in it to do the cutting.   Tip from my friend, cut the image to the size you want, adhere it to the board and then cut the board to size.  That way all the edges line up easily.
I did four total and used tacky glue to cover the edges in cheapo 1/4 inch satin ribbon from Michael's, just to finish them nicely.  I might use some more ribbon to hang them, or I might just use command strips to do the job.  I had the illustrations, but bought the adhesive, foam core and ribbon for much less than $20.  Pretty cheap way to do art and totally safe for hanging over little heads.

Friday, March 11, 2011

BGBGB quilt

I need to start keeping better track of the school calendar.  We got to school this morning to find an empty parking lot.  Hmmmmmm,  I guess Spring Break started today.  The Wee Monsieur wanted to just come home and watch movies, fine by me.  I got cutting on my new half yards of the pink and green pokka dot fabric for framing the focal blocks.  I got enough for 12 blocks out of the first half yards.  Since I need 25, I was really hoping to get 13 out of the second set of half yards.

I think I did it.  Those are strips 12 and 13 on the left.  OK, maybe 13 is a little thin, but I think if I press it well and use a scant 1/4 inch seam, I should be fine.  Right?  Yeah, over to etsy I go for more fabric.

Just so we have something upbeat today, I give you the Wee Monsieur and Baby Girl getting ready for their swim lessons.

Progress on the BGBGB

I finally got some real sewing done tonight.  Potty training is not going well, but once Baby Girl is in bed, I don't have to watch her like a hawk and can concentrate on something fun.  I put together the top and back of one of my Shoo Fly placemats.  I also sewed together the backing of my Modern Quilt Guild Challenge quilt.  Then I got to the good stuff, the BGBGB.

I went to a small quilt group last night and got all the fussy focal squares cut from the second crib sheet.  Surprisingly, I got 14 squares out of the second sheet too.  I guess that makes sense, they were the same size to start.  Tonight I starting sewing the framing strips and actually got 3 blocks plus their sashing done.  I couldn't resist sewing a few together just to see.
I love the alternating framing colors.  This is just going to be gorgeous.
The bad news is that I think I'm going to end up being short on the framing fabric by a piece 1.5 by 26 inches.  In other words I'm going to have the framing for all but one of the 25 blocks.  Do you know how badly this sucks?  I'm going to have to order another 1/4 of each of the green and pink pokka dots to get a strip 1.5 inches wide and not even the whole width of the fabric.  It's not like it won't get used up, but I'll have to wait even longer to get this finished.  I'm going to wait until I get the fabric all cut, before ordering more.  Maybe these two half yards will be cut a little generously and I won't need more.  A girl can hope?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP wednesday

I've got a whole lot of nothing.  I finished piecing my Modern Quilt Guild challenge quilt.  I love it, but for obvious reasons I can't show it yet.  I'm taking it to my first quilt guild small group meeting tonight for some advice on quilting it.

Speaking of quilting, I got Happy Robots back from the quilter.  She found a pantograph with stars, rockets and flying saucers that just look perfect.  I'd show you a picture, but I haven't had time.  I rather impetuously started potty training Baby Girl.  We're trying the miracle 3 day potty training, which involves watching the child like a hawk.  On top of that she's come down with a cold.  I've spent all day with her sitting on my lap.  She still hasn't peed on the potty, but she's only peed on the carpet once.  We started around 2 pm yesterday.  She did pee in her overnight diaper, but not very much.  I can't decide if this is successful or not.

Other WIP's
Baby Girl's Big Girl Bed Quilt-got fabric I needed, need to finish now that MQG challenge is pieced
Shoo Fly placemats- need sashing and backing

Projects where I have the fabric now just need to start
MIL's burnt orange quilt
MR's red and aqua with tufted tweets

Monday, March 7, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch

I've been working on a little disappearing 9 patch project in between other things.  I finally have all the blocks sewn and cut.  I only used yellow and blue prints and solids.  I did two different 9 patch sets, one with 5 yellow and 4 blue squares and the other with 5 blue and 4 yellow, both in alternating grids.  Now I need to figure out what arrangement of the blocks I want to use.  How do you like to arrange your disappearing 9 patch blocks?

I have an even number of blocks with large yellow and blue squares.  I tried this arrangement with the blocks all oriented the same way.

Then I tried mixing them all up.
They look totally different.  I might have to meditate on the different versions before committing to sewing.

The fabric is all charm squares from Connecting Threads.  I love how they sell precut sets of all their fabrics.  It's fun to get a bunch of different colors to play with patterns.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


My mother in law came to visit.  I spent some time organizing in anticipation of her visit.  She lives less than 2 hours away, so we see her fairly often.  This visit was specifically to help me organize the closets.  In order to be efficient I did some of the easy stuff before she got here.  We did the linen closet, the hall closet, the storage closet, the coat hooks and cubbies as well as the laundry room.  Then we sorted toys.  I'm just amazed at how much we got done and how much better I feel about the house.  Today we went to Home Depot, BB&B, and Target to get a few more bins and other odds and ends.

Now we just need to install a shelving system in the storage closet.  This house has two coat closets that are around the corner from each other.  It's excessive, so we're turning the smaller one into a storage closet with shelves, as no one could ever need as much hanging space as we have.  I want to do something like this, but with more shelves.

Other than organizing the house, I've been working on my Modern Quilt Guild challenge quilt.  I'll share pictures when it's submitted.  I've been working on a few different ideas and finally I feel like I'm on the right road.  It's modern, it's energetic, it's me; hard to get better than that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WIP- Shoo Fly blocks

This week has been filled with quilty goodness.  I took a class at my local quilt guild on Monday.  The teacher was Kathleen Tracey, the author of  Civil War Sewing Circle.
 We worked on the Shoo Fly doll quilt.  I used a different color scheme than she recommends.  Hers is chocolate and pink.  Those are usually two of my favorite colors, but I just wasn't feeling the fabrics I have in my stash.  Clearly I need to buy more pink fabric.
I used another of my favorite color combinations, aqua and green.
 I after getting half of the blocks done I decided that it doesn't have enough contrast.  I added some extra sashing and I think I'm going to turn it into a pair of placemats.  My quilt guild donates placemats to Meals on Wheels.  I think these would brighten someone's day, and I hate ufo's.  These will be great for practicing some quilting techniques.
I'll definitely have to try this again when I've got the right fabrics.  I'm thinking pink, green and white.  The little HST's are fun to play with.