Saturday, July 27, 2013

Charlevoix tablerunner

One of my summertime goals this year was to make a runner for our dining room table. Check that off the list...and before the end of July with a few weeks of summer left. Yes!!! A good feeling to finish something on time.

A charm pack of Charlevoix by Minick and Simpson has been in my charm pack collection since some time last year. (love the blues and yellow!) I knew I wanted to make a tablerunner for our table but couldn't settle on a pattern, which is my usual stumbling block. Inspiration overload? Fear of picking the wrong pattern? Whatever it is, I pushed forward, opened up that charm pack, cut the squares in half, laid them out in rows, and started sewing.  I do wish I had thought to use my walking foot when piecing and maybe took a bit of time to pin. My rows would have matched up better and not shifted like they did. (Note to self: Your walking foot does have a 1/4" foot.) At the time of piecing I just wanted to sew and didn't really want to put too much thought into it. Think I had myself convinced this pattern was too simple for pins and worrying about pieces matching up.

For the back initially I was going to just use natural muslin (don't have much fabric in my stash for backings) because we all know you can't see the back and front of a tablerunner at the same time (reasoning here trying to stay within budget : )  Then I remembered this piece of fabric I bought about 12 years ago just because I liked it.  Tried it out with the binding (Bella solid Sea) and felt it would work. Finally, a way to put a small piece of fabric to use where it can be enjoyed, and yes, I still like it after all these years. 

It wasn't quite wide enough so I inserted a couple strips of muslin. 

Overall I'm quite pleased with this little runner. Love the color on the table and still really like straight line (organic straight line since technically it probably isn't really that straight?) quilting.

Inspiration sources:
Patchwork tablerunner at Narioka
Charm Street Tablerunner tutorial at Prairie Point Junction

Finished dimensions: 14" x 47" (tip to tip)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Starting a Civil War log cabin quilt

For Christmas I received an awesome fat quarter bundle of Civil War period fabrics. These are destined to become a log cabin quilt for my Dad. Progress is slow but at least I'm started - grouped by lights, darks, then a few mediums and ones I'm choosing not to use. Tonight I get started with cutting strips. As of right now I have 48 10.5" blocks planned.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Terrain table runner finish

This lovely tablerunner has been in the works for over a year.

Purchased a Terrain charm pack fall 2011 (I think?) with plans to make a runner for my sister and her husband for Christmas 2011. Yup, you guessed it. That didn't happen, but I persisted, stuck with my plan, and got this runner made and finished as a spring gift 2013. 

The colors are bright and bold. I had my doubts about how the finished table runner was going to feel. But no worries. The more the quilt top hung in my crafting corner waiting to be quilted, the more it grew on me. All the colors and prints work together for a welcoming bright, cheerful splash of color. 

Photo courtesy of my sister
Most importantly, the recipients were surprised and are very pleased to display it on their TV stand. 

They like that it is reversible. The reversibility wasn't planned but was a surprise turn in my plans for this little quilt. My selected backing fabric ended up being way too small (hmm, that happens when there is over a year between initial plans and finishing : ) I improvised, added some solid borders, and voila! - a reversible runner. Couldn't have planned it better. I like how the runner now has two different looks.

I really like the finished quilt and love the quilting. So very glad I went ahead and used this charm pack and bit of yardage as planned. Another moment that is truly better late than never.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wintery quilt quilted and in use

My first "big" quilt finish and I'm so glad it is for us. I like it so very much and the rest of the family does as well.  It was meant to be finished when the Christmas tree went up after Thanksgiving, but it didn't get done. It wasn't even done for Christmas morning cuddling.  But that's okay because about two to three weeks ago (can't remember was right after I finished the tree skirt) I finally got the quilting and binding finished.  Alleluia!!! Just in time for some serious deep winter cozying! (is that even a word?)

The children couldn't wait to use it.

This is seconds after I presented it for everyone's approval or disapproval.
I think they approve (and it wasn't even washed yet : )

On the recommendation of a couple of kind quilters, I checked out Quilter's Dream Select batting. Oh my! I really want to try this stuff. It sounds like a very lovely batting.  For this quilt though I ended up using what I had on hand - wool. I'm very happy with it. It is lighter weight than some baby quilts I have batted with cotton yet it is cozy warm. After a gentle wash it fluffed up and got all pillowy, almost like a comforter. With the brushed cotton top and the flannel backing this quilt is like cuddling up in an old flannel shirt. Heavenly!

Initially I was going to quilt diagonally one direction and then the other to get a hatch design, but after completing one direction it seemed to say that was enough. I liked it, really liked it. At first quilting a quilt this large (largest quilt so far for me) was a bit of a struggle.  Once I figured out how it drifted behind the  machine after being quilted and compensated for this, it went much smoother, especially if I made sure it didn't drag too much in my lap.  My new method of basting without taping down the back again also proved successful - not a single pucker in the backing or top! Ah! quilting heaven : )

All in all another awesome finish for the new year.

I told my husband I made it to be used, and used it is -
: ) 

PS:  I washed it in cold on gentle with three Color Catcher sheets. Whew! So glad I did. All the sheets were a lighter shade of the red of the backing flannel.  All the colors on the front remained their true color.  I don't know how they work, but Color Catcher sheets work.

Quilt stats:
Fabric:  Frosted Memories for Moda brushed jelly roll
Size: 53 x 73 after washing

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Favorite Schnibbles

and the first one I have ever made.  I present my version of Speck (pattern purchased here).  I picked this Schnibbles pattern because I have been wanting to try the X and O block for a while now. It's not finished finished but I am waiting for the perfect blue fabric to arrive for the binding.

This little project was a roller coaster ride of emotions. By the time I was halfway through cutting I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. The pieces are soo small compared to everything else I have worked on.  Was really wondering if I wanted to continue. But, I do my best to finish what I start so I got through step one and started piecing. OMG! Not much better. It seemed tedious and I wasn't getting very far very fast at all and the pieces didn't want to stay lined up. Ugh!!!

After I got the first block together, I got excited!! It was so cute and pretty. I must continue! The piecing is not the greatest but it did get better as I went along. Loved the second block even more.

Came back the next evening to finish and blah!!! Pieces just didn't want to go together well at all. And the layout of the remaining blocks just didn't seem right. Rearrange and rearrange and rearrange some more. Was ready to put it in a bag and call it quits.  Why oh why didn't I just sew some squares together and call it good?!? ("Because that's boring," says my dear husband who came and checked in on me.)

 I really wanted to participate in this Schnibbles parade though (and I do like to impress my husband : ) so I gritted my teeth and kept going. Got to the sashing and things improved.  I am really surprised it came out somewhat square. I thought for sure with all my barely passable piecing that it would be way off. It's wasn't (whew!)

I really like this little blue square.
I think this is my favorite block...really like those little white dots and the blue and coral and brown.

It really was lovely working with these spring colors.  I used a couple of candy bars of Buttercup fabric by Fig Tree. It feels really good to have those little bundles of prettiness made up into this table topper/wall hanging.  I am very pleased with how this little quilt top turned out. I just have to decide how to quilt it.

I did make six blocks.  My master plan is to kill three birds with one stone (is that even possible?) 1) finally participate in a Schnibbles parade 2) make something springlike for our kitchen wall or dining room table and 3) make a little bit of spring to be gifted to a very kind great grandma.  These two blocks I kept separate to make into a little table runner to gift. I must say that the plan is progressing fairly nicely. 

A big thank you to Sherri and Sinta for hosting the Schnibbles Parades. I have really enjoyed them the beginning of every month over the last year or so.  I am thrilled to finally be able to participate.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Two weeks late...or 50 weeks ahead: Christmas tree skirt

My first official finish for 2013 is this Christmas tree skirt I made using less than two charm packs of Reindeer Games and a little bit of yardage for border and binding and a piece of Merry Medley for the backing.

I'm going with 50 weeks ahead of schedule with this one, folks.  I so very much wanted to have it finished for this Christmas (did have it pieced).  That didn't happen as there were other more important things to tend, but as I still felt like working with Christmas fabric, I went ahead and finished it over Christmas break.  I'm so very glad I did.  Making this little tree skirt was a lot of fun and without a doubt next Christmas season I'll be very happy to pull it out and have it ready.  (Whoohoo! I've never been ahead with any project. : )

Tree not so naked any more.

This tutorial by Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Co. was my inspiration. Her tutorials are among the best.  Added button loop closure and some wooden buttons I had on hand. I thought all the little corners would be a challenge, but really they weren't (maybe even a little easier than a true corner, to be honest).  It wasn't until I had my binding made and was getting ready to put it on that I realized, "Oh, yes, I have a tight little circle to bind. Hmm, guess I should have made bias binding." Too late. I went ahead with my straight binding, did the circle first thing and took it slow. I think it turned out fairly well. Oldest daughter A assures that no one is going to crawling up under the tree to inspect so I needn't worry. One of my biggest cheerleaders that girl is.

With this project I tried a new way of basting my quilt layers - no tape, no spray, no boards. I had my doubts, worried I would have a lot of puckers, but not a single pucker. Can hardly believe it. It quilted up beautifully. (I love how the quilting turned out!)  I simply placed the backing fabric face down, smoothed my flannel piece over that (didn't use batting), and then smoothed my quilt top face up on the flannel. Starting in the middle I pin basted out from middle to edge smoothing with almost every pin. It was so simple, seemed almost too simple but I couldn't be happier with the results. I used this same basting technique on a lap size quilt next in line to quilted. It is quite a bit bigger so we shall see how it turns it (fingers crossed : ).

Have I said how happy I am with how the quilting turned out?  Here is a shot of a few of my favorite prints - poinsettias, holly, and the little wreaths & candy canes. Yup, I made sure when I laid it out and before I cut up the back that my favorites were in front.

PS: Must say it did take some courage to cut into this little quilt after it was quilted. It was so nice. Would have made a very nice table topper.  Daughter R didn't want me to cut it at all. In her opinion we could just set the tree on top of it and it would look perfect. Almost did this, almost...then decided, no, I can do it. Cut it and bound it late one evening and had it under the tree to surprise everyone the next morning. They all love it and are happy I made something quilted for us to keep.

Blessings, everyone.