Showing posts with label Quilt Along 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quilt Along 2015. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Finished Wall Hanging!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The last block is completed, the last stitch has been sewn, templates have been drawn, and the pattern has been written! The 2015 Summer Garden quilt along is altogether finished, and it's done way ahead of schedule! This feels so good!

I must have taken 20 photographs, but this was my favorite. 

I've included the fabric requirement and instructions for assembling the quilt in this last block pattern. It's done very simply with 1" sashing and a border of the same size. 

The creation of a trellis block came as a complete and total surprise to me, but it was a very welcome surprise. It completes the quilt and it is unique. I've searched the web, but nowhere have I found another trellis block on a quilt. I'm sure that others exist out there, but I wasn't able to locate one. I do detest creating something and finding that it looks very similar to another designers quilt. 

Originally I had planned to use primary colors to make this quilt. Red, blue, yellow with a bit of green sounded happy. Somehow, though, that didn't happen. Without intending to at all, I slipped back into my comfortable pastels. The wheelbarrow and trellis blocks with shades of pink and purple changed everything, so I had to remake two of the small blocks. The dark blue butterfly was exchanged for a brighter, paler blue, and a red heart was replaced with one in yellow and pink. 

But, I know that I like this much, much more than I would have liked the original color scheme. Best of all, my hubby enjoys looking at it. "Beautiful," he says. I'm such a happy camper today.

I may make a combined pattern for all of the blocks eventually, but for now the patterns for separate blocks will have to do. With all of the full size templates and layout plans the combined pattern would have so many pages! The main advantage to this is that people can purchase and download one pattern at a time as they are ready to work on each new block. For me it's a time issue more than anything. I have so many projects in the works right now, and that's a really wonderful thing!

Hope your weekend is filled with glorious sunshine, both in the sky and in your heart! 

Happy Stitching!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Choosing Applique Thread, and Switching Fabric Colors

Choosing Thread

I've had much more experience with machine applique in the past two years than I had during all the previous years of quilting.  I no longer grab the nearest thread of the right color, but I've learned to choose from a variety of thread types to attach applique pieces. The thread choice depends on the effect I want to create.

If I want the edges of the applique to blend in or disappear, I will use a matching 60 weight polyester thread. This thread is so fine that it becomes nearly unnoticeable.

Here it is on my Spring Table Runner. With any zigzag stitch, this thread will come closest to looking like hand applique.

If I want the applique to have the old fashioned appearance of a blanket stitch made by hand, I'll opt for black in a 50 weight cotton thread.

This is how it looks on the Elephant Walk bib and in this mug rug from Alphabet Soup.

Lately, I've been using a 40 weight rayon thread more and more. Sometimes I want the stitching in matching thread to stand out and be noticed. This heavier weight thread with it's lovely, silky shimmer does the trick.

This is a section of the trellis block I'm working on for this year's quilt along.  To make the trellis recede into the background, I stitched that piece with 50 weight cotton in an exact color match to the fabric. In contrast, the thicker rayon in the flowers and leaves gives texture and dimension to them making them pop out from the background trellis.  

Color Switches

When I made the wheelbarrow for the 2015 Garden quilt along I found myself using pink and purple fabrics. It totally changed the appearance of the whole quilt.  As you can see in the closeup photo of the trellis block above, I've added another large block in pink and purple. Now a couple of the first pair of blocks seem to clash. I think I will likely need to remake one butterfly and one heart so the colors are better balanced.

That's what happens when I design as I go, and it's the way I usually work. I'm very often surprised by my finished project, but for me, that's one of the most exciting elements in designing. I love discovering something lovely that was completely unexpected. It does call for a redo of some parts now and then, but if it makes a positive difference in the outcome, I don't mind reworking things at all.

The color clash is much more evident in real life than it is in the photo. Can you see which two blocks may need to be remade?

I'm determined to finish this little quilt completely before I start something new or work on any of the other projects in progress.  I have way too many irons in the fire right now, and that can be stressful. I'm retired! I can set my own goal and deadlines. And, who could possible want to create more stress in their life?

Today is the first day of spring!!

Wishing you a 
VeryHappy Spring!
(in purple, of course)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Early Quilt Along Block for April

Whew! It's done!!

I've been hurrying to get Blocks 6 and 7 for the 2015 quilt along finished up and published this week. If you recall, there are two little 5"x5" blocks that fit above the wheelbarrow in this little quilt. I'd originally planned to put a watering can in one of them, but I had no idea what might fit in the other.

Then I looked out of my window a few days ago. A brazen bunny was looking in at me! What am I? An exhibit for the entertainment of cute lagomorphs? (Not rodents. I had to look it up to be sure.)

Well, that was it. My garden has no shortage of bunnies. There are bunnies hopping through my yard in any of the four seasons. In fact, I finally gave up on planting strawberries because I couldn't keep the bunnies out of them. Between the bunnies and the birds there were never any berries left for the people.

Well, then, that finalized the choice for the second of the pair of blocks. Strawberries! There are two watering cans in last year's quilt along, so I've already done that. I put my strawberries into a basket. I like baskets filled with yummies, don't you?

So this is where the 2015 quilt is now.

And then, it connected. Bunnies, baskets ... Easter on the way ...

That explains the rush to get this pattern out early. Someone may want to sew up something cute for Easter. Like a mug rug.

So there are two baskets. Mix and match at will. Make a mug rug, make the blocks, make both.

I have to admit it. I adore these new bunnies!!

Do I have a new favorite block this time around, too.
You bet! Move over wheelbarrow. It's all about bunnies and baskets today!

Happy stitching!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fifth Block for Quilt Along 2015

Photo Gallery for Quilt Along 2015

 Hannah sent in photos of her first two blocks for this quilt along, so a gallery of photos has been started. I would love to be able to share everyone's work, so if you are taking part in this quilt along, please send your photos to me via email or on my Facebook page.

To see the gallery, visit this page, "Quilt Along 2015 Gallery of Photos", found at the top of my blog.

Th block for March: "Wheelbarrow"

I thought February's pair of blocks in this little wall hanging were my absolute favorite, and I still think the birds and the spade with those adorable, tiny garden gloves are pretty special.

But that was last month's choice.

March's wheelbarrow overflowing with blossoms has now taken the lead. Is it just because it's the newest one? Maybe, but maybe not. I suppose I'll have to wait and see how I feel in April.

It's always the detail that captivates me. When I see something that really catches my eye, I like to get close up so I can examine those little things that make it stand out from the rest.  These little add ons, while not absolutely necessary, can make the difference between something looking ordinary and something that really looks finished. Besides, I do love adding in tiny little details. They always make me smile.

This time I pulled out my embroidery floss and added a few simple stems, three little bits of orange satin stitch, and a bunch of French knots. I didn't do anything complicated with the embroidery. I worked only with the simplest, most basic of stitches, probably the first three stitches I learned.

I'm not an expert on embroidery, but I find this particular type of handwork very relaxing and enjoyable.

I'm planning the pair of 5" x 5" blocks for April, now.  I think one will be a watering can, but nothing is completely decided until it's done. I'm still debating the other one, and I'm playing around with three ideas that I like.

This is where the quilt stands now. I'm pleased with the progress so far. I hope you like it, too.

Happy Stitching!! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Second Pair of Blocks for Quilt Along 2015


With February's blocks finished, the top and bottom sections of this little wall hanging are now complete! I'm really excited about these new blocks. 

I've moved the hearts and butterflies around again. Who knows where they'll end up.
I love this stage where experiments with placement can still lead to surprises.    

I fell in love with these adorable little blue and yellow birds.  I wonder if he's singing to her or if he's singing just because he's happy. 

These little guys completely captured my imagination. In fact, I couldn't let them go. I had to play with the idea one more time. The result was the "Sun's Up" mug rug pair that I posted earlier this week. 

After making the birds I began work on the spade. I definitely wanted a spade in this spot, but, my goodness, it was plain! Downright bland and boring. What could I add to liven it up? 

I started digging through my scrap basket and my eyes landed on the polka dot fabric. There was my splash of color. Problem solved. 

Here's the truth. Much as I love the birds, it's the itty-bitty gloves that have completely stolen my heart. 

The background fabric for the quilt is white, and the background of the polka dots is also white. With my old eyes, I knew I'd run into problems when I was trying to see exactly where to place my needle for the blanket stitching. So, I pulled out my favorite marker and drew a line all around the edge of the gloves. It really made a difference. The Frixion ink disappears with the touch of an iron, so I didn't have to worry about permanent marks.

All stitched! I used a triple stitch (jean's stitch) to define the fingers and the thumb.

If I were to do this again, I would make one change. I'd use a slightly wider blanket stitch on the gloves. If I had any plans to launder this wall hanging, I'd make this block over. As it is, though, when I've finished the quilting I will likely use a bit of fray stop along that edge just to be sure nothing pulls away from the stitches. 

Now, I need to go to work on the March block. I'm debating choices. Flower pot or wheelbarrow? It will be one or the other for sure and it will most definitely be colorful!

Have a super February! 

 And, please save some of those chocolates for me!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New Quilt Along for Spring of 2015

I enjoyed last year's quilt along so much that I've embarked on a another similar, but much shorter journey. Last year's project was huge! I know some of you were exhausted with trying to keep up.

Others were moving so fast that I couldn't keep up with you. Glenda, for instance, finished up her blocks within hours of the patterns coming out! She was one of those whose enthusiasm was just enormously contagious. The quilters who participated, who sent emails, made comments on my facebook page, and shared photos, were the driving force that pushed me along and kept me from losing momentum even when I was facing other challenges. Thank you all for helping me to keep my sanity during some very bleak moments.

This time around I'm giving us all a break and creating a wall hanging that will be much smaller and finish up much faster. I've named it "Summer Garden". Before adding borders, the finished quilt as planned will only be 22" x 26", and it will be completed this May. There are ten blocks altogether, but some of them are so quick and simple that I'm publishing them in pairs.

New patterns will come out at the first of every month. Some months I'll publish one block, other months a pair of blocks. January's pair of blocks is free, and the four upcoming monthly patterns will be priced at $2.00 each.

I'm working with scraps again. Not only am I trying to use my stash, but I really do like the scrappy look.

I hope you can tell that I'm using my favorite white background again. I can't seem to get the whites to look white in my photos. They always come out gray. If you know how I can achieve whiter whites with my little point-and-shoot please send me your advice. Doesn't this remind you of those commercials for laundry detergents and bleach? Yes, please. Tell me how to "Get whiter whites and brighter brights in one easy step".

One of these days I'll step out of the white background comfort zone and solve the photograph problem, but not quite yet. I like white.

But, on to the pattern ...

These are the January blocks. Each of these first four finishes to 4" x 4".

This is how the first four blocks fit into the quilt layout.

Did you notice the mystery 5" x 5" block? Five inches square isn't very large, but right now it's just a big question mark.  What on earth should I do to fill it? I love this layout, but I honestly don't know what else the quilt needs. Garden gloves? Lady bugs? A big blossom? A watering can? Please help me come up with the perfect idea! Suggestions would be so very welcome!

For now my layout features one-inch sashings, but that could change. I'm considering two-inch pieced sashings as well. I'm not quite ready to limit my options. If I were to enlarge the sashings the quilt would grow to 26" x 31" and a border would still have to be added. I wonder if pieced sashings would clutter it up too much. Thank goodness there's plenty of time to decide before we have to put it all together.

Starting tomorrow I'll be working on sketches and choosing scraps for February's pattern.
Look for birds and a spade next month.

Wishing you a super-duper, extra special weekend!!

And, don't forget to send in ideas for the empty five-inch square!