Saturday, February 28, 2015

January/ February Blocks and a birthday.

Bee recaps for January (a bit late, not in finishing my blocks, just in sharing them).
Haven at do.good stitches
using this pattern
Aquas and grays

and February.
scrappy low volume, pinks and reds

If I'm keeping it real, I whined (to myself and maybe a little on IG) about the 81- 2.5" blocks that had to be cut for this months block. All scrappy (which in my case means rooting through my scrap bin, again). BUT, I did plow through and this block (is large) became one of my favorites so far. Heartfelt and seasonal and pretty. I cannot wait to see this quilt done. I mentioned to a bee mate that with some of the text print, it reminds me of love letters. Check out all those gorgeous blocks here.

And birthdays (Birthday Bandy)
January for Myra 
Sticking to 2015 sew my stash resolution I opted for some improv piecing (surprise) using colorful 100% cotton scraps and surrounding it with Kona snow. Added some of my inset seams in black. (For scale the inset seams are just over 1/8th of an inch wide). Cap it all off with color matched free motion and matchstick quilting using both Aurifil 100% cotton, 50 wt and Superior Metallic threads for a bit of sparkle.
pillow front
pillow back with hidden hot pink zipper
Zipper from zipit.
Some FMQ with matching Aurifil and Superior metallic threads

matching matchstick quilting and a inset seam
inset seam with right around 1/8th of an inch

front and back (Back/ binding fabric by IKEA)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Keeping it real, part the first.

I made a few new years quilting resolutions which I will briefly recap
1. two quilts made from stash only (tops from scraps only), back from stash
2. Submit quilt to Marsala Pantone Quilt challenge
3. Surrender quilt top and back to a long arm quilter

All doable for sure.

My progress so far has surprised me. Happily I might add. I guess I didn't contemplate seriously my scrap bins until now. So here goes- when you make as many quilts as I did in 2014, you accumulate scraps. Especially when you are quilting from inside your head. I save what I think might be usable pieces and I have scrap bins for prints and solids. Since I quilt with both I have a healthy supply of both. BUT could I actually make a quilt with scraps from just my scrap bin?
The answer is yes!
The "Before" working scrap pile. I found a few more solids gray when I cleaned out my scrap bins further. I had already started  piecing (I had a 12 x 20 inch piece going)  when I remembered to take a photo, but I wanted to show my starting point regardless. (One of my last years "resolutions" was to document more, so I'm documenting). Note:  What looks whites are actually very pale grays.
 I did several quilts last year that prominently featured gray. In many shades (perhaps even 50). I got them all out and realized that most were from quilts that used various widths of cut straight of grain strips. And some squares.  I got started by sewing the longer strips together in 2's. Usually in contrasting grays. I didn't have that many longer strips so that lasted for a little bit. Then sewing the shorter pieces together, also in pairs. Until they were done. Then cobbled as many grays together as I could in the improv piecing spirit of the project. I was also lucky to be in the midst of a great, creative Bee called Bee Sewcial, and one of my bee mates (thanks Hillary) sent loads of scraps along with her bee blocks. In that pile of lovelies was several long thin strips of yellow. I used a wee bit of that too!
working in grays and a bit of yellow. (The Bee Sewcial blocks sneak peek on the right)
The gray pile dwindles (not yet vanished/ vanquished) but what I have is not yet big enough for a quilt. (At this point it's probably 30 x 48 and if you know me even a little, you understand that I  like my quilts to be functional, so unless I was making this for my dog, it hadn't yet reached a size I could call done).
So, last year I also made a few quilts that featured whites, off whites and varieties of near white prominently. So, I dug out those scraps and got to work.

I think if you look closely you can see I had all kinds of solid "whites" .  I know for sure there is Kona white, snow and oyster. There is also a RJR solid "white" from the Cotton & Steel collection (I'm pretty sure that had a much more creative name than white for their fabric, but the name escapes me). Who knows what else.  I began piecing the remainder of the quilt top. Like with the grays, I start using the larger pieces first. I had so many, piece of cake.

Throw in the orphan grays and a pit of yellow and of course the "lifeline" in black. Oh, look how far I got with the big pieces! What! no more big pieces. But there is still more to do.

So, little by little the remainder of the "white" scraps are cobbled together and added to the quilt top.

Until the top is done! All with scraps. Not an additional piece cut. And a very real sense of making do. Improv at improv's roots. Short of trimming the larger areas square, there was very little that remained. Nothing to salvage. No more scraps to use. Scrap bin in gray and white truly vanquished.
I really love how all the seams and the fabric variations on the top make this interesting despite it's rather humble and unimpressive origins. I stopped with a top that measured 64x80" because I really had nothing more to use. That's a size I can live with.

Stay tuned for part 2,  The back, the quilting and the reveal. Remember I have NO scraps left and my backs (for the last several years)  are cobbled from those leftovers. I have had several offers of additional scraps from dear quilting friends but I think I NEED to use what I have on hand and no other. I guess if I make another quilt before I get to the back, I could have some scraps to use, but I'm pretty sure the current color palette for my "next" quilt top is not what I have in mind.

Yet, another challenge and I've picked up the gauntlet.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

All you need is LOVE

Happy Valentine's Day everyone……

"All you need is LOVE"
The details:

56 x 59.5"
Fabric top: LOVE Panel from Wooden Spools, Denver, with the addition of 100% quilting cotton Rendezvous by Moda Kid, Two x Two by Windham Fabrics, High Society by Moda Kids, Nora Mae Gaulden Dots by Jenny Eliza, other fabrics from my stash.
Fabric Back: Tula Pink Laminate Birds and the Bees by FreeSpirit.

Batting: fusible fleece, 100% polyester
Binding: 2" straight-of-grain cut from front fabric remnants.
Quilting: spaced, modified Bernina #4 stitch, on a Bernina 180 with a walking foot
the spaced quilting is seen best here

Things I've never tried before:
1.Laminate fabric in a quilt. It's a great idea for a quilt back and protects the quilt if you picnic surface is a bit damp or perhaps even dirty. Wipes clean, but can also be laundered, gentle cycle.
2.One piece back, first time ever for obvious reasons.
3. 100% poly fusible fleece batting since I had to keep the pin pasting to a minimum and this batting will keep the shrinkage to a minimum after laundering.
4.The binding was attached backwards so I wouldn't have to hand stitch through the laminate which can be difficult.
close up of the laminate fabric on the back. I LOVE this fabric!

All-in-all a really fun, quirky and quick quilt!! (Say that 3x fast!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Every little bit helps

On my 2015 must do list is a personal commitment to use not only my stash fabrics, but all those scraps from quilt tops and backs of the past. Fabric bits that are too big to toss, but too small to cut into any consistent shape.

Some of the fun things I've attempted so far

Valentine hearts- 2 types

Improv piecing (you get a very different look depending on what kinds of scraps you are working with. I like both looks!
    Chihuly inspired scraps (most of these were in odd shapes of all kinds).


    Black and white (and shades between) scraps (most of these were strip cut scraps of varying widths).



More on the Chihuly and black and white Sew my stash 2015 adventures as these become quilts….