August 22, 2012

Another WIP Wednesday, Another Tetris Block

Week 3 for me and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
Last week I posted about my Tradewinds quilt and runner getting finished and you can see more final results here. Love how both projects turned out although I'd like to get some better photos.

Also finished up my Stitch project and it's ready to ship. Wish I didn't have to wait till spring 2013 to see it in print and share it with you. I'm very excited.

Last but not least is the ongoing Tetris WIP. Week 6 of the Tetris QAL by Melissa over at Happy Quilting and this is the last block. Melissa has done a great job of mixing up the shapes and colors every week and this week was no exception. Staying true to playing by the rules of the game, I tried several arrangements before settling on this one.

With the other blocks already done, I was able to see which layout played nicely with the rest before I committed to sewing up the final block. At first I wasn't too happy with having 2 blue squares right on top of each other and tried several other block possibilities. There seemed to be just a little too much dark blue going on near the top half of the quilt. But after consideration, I realized these 2 blue squares provide a valuable resting spot for the eye amidst the randomness of all the other shapes. So stacked blue squares got the go ahead and it's just right. Now all I have to do is sew the blocks together.

Next week will be border considerations and after that quilting and finishing up. I already have  good idea of how I'd like to finish this up. Looking forward to my final quilt and seeing what everyone else does with theirs.

I've also got piles of fabric on my counter as I try to decide what to do for an upcoming tutorial for the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop by Plum and June.  This blog hop has been a great way to get to know more newbie bloggers like myself.

Keep quilting   : )

August 21, 2012

Tradewinds, a quilt and table runner finished!

I posted earlier about buying a layer cake of the fabric collection called Tradewinds made by Moda. Now I rarely buy a whole line of anything. Not so much because I don't want to, more because my budget just doesn't allow for all my wants. Besides, I keep telling myself I need to work with all the glorious fabrics I already own. But this time I splurged. And then, instead of adding it to my stash, I made the top and actually quilted it! Probably no big deal to many of you but quite out of my norm. I tend to be a topper all too often instead of a true quilter. Working on breaking that bad habit.

I used a variation of my own pattern called Cascade (available here) to make the quilt. The fabric with the lattice design said napkins to me and the triangles in the quilt design made me think of folded napkins tucked under a plate. I bought additional yardage of the lattice prints and used the layer cake squares for the main blocks. Didn't plan on a border when I started but once the blocks were pieced they just wanted to be contained and given a little breathing room to set them off. Plus adding a border made the quilt finish at a better size for a tablecloth. I used a 2-color extra wide binding to echo the colors in the corners of the quilt. A little red check for the backing finished off the summery tablecloth/picnic feel.

One of the extra features in the Cascade pattern is the use of leftovers to make a second project. I thought I'd use the bonus blocks to make some coordinating napkins but just wasn't feeling any of the layouts. The thing about the bonus blocks is they are a result of the trimmed corners from the larger quilt blocks. Easy peasy to make as you sew the quilt blocks, but what you get is a result of the fabric combinations used for the quilt. Lots of layout options to consider with these extra blocks but I just didn't like them as napkins. When I abandoned the napkins and tried a zigzag layout I knew a small table runner was the answer. Love how the chevron design fell into place.  I decided to skip the border on the runner once I realized it fit perfectly on my side table as is, plus I had just enough leftover quilt backing to back the runner. Gotta love when that works out.  : )

Then my daughter pointed out how well the fabrics went with my colored vase collection. She's got a good eye for design don't you think?

I also posted earlier about the frustration of trying to quilt the top.  : (   Since I envisioned this as a tablecloth, I thought I'd make it lighter weight and thinner than a normal quilt. Didn't quite turn out as I imagined though. I used a piece of flannel instead of batting. Thinner, yes . . . lighter weight, not so much. As a matter of fact, it's rather heavy which was part of my quilting frustration. That and a kitty who wanted to help by sitting on top while I tried to move it around under the needle. The two just do not work well together. But she sure is cute. Meow!

The frustration level went down when kitty left and I had a day to regroup and relax. I quilted a grid on point in the inner red/pink area and then straight lines around the blue/green outer edge. The border got some free motion loops that echoed the design elements from one of the fabric prints. The eclectic bazaar feeling of the prints seems to call for some hand work as well. Now I'm not one to do hand quilting. As a matter of fact I've never done any hand quilting. But there are so many beautiful things being done by some of you that I feel inspired to give it a try. I might try some pearl cotton hand stitching in the borders. What do you think? Red? Blue? Green? Pink? Small pointed half circles between every two loops?

So this about sums up my Tradewinds experience:
Loved the Tradewinds collection and all it's variety.
Will definitely look for more fabric collections to work with.
Won't use flannel instead of batting again unless it's something small.
May try hand quilting but for now other project deadlines take priority.

All in all, I'm very happy with how both these projects turned out. Now it's time for afternoon tea in the backyard. Ta Ta . . .

August 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday

My biggest WIP continues to be the Tetris QAL quilt. We're on to block 5 this week with just one more to go so the end is in sight. 

Tetris quilt in progress with 5 blocks done

My Tradewinds quilt and runner are finished up so one less WIP on my plate. Will be posting the finished photos as soon as I take them. 

Tradewinds quilt straight line quilting

My other WIP is now a high priority. I got a project accepted to Stitch magazine and need to get it done ASAP. This will be my first ever published project so very exciting. Won't be published until spring 2013 so have a while before I see it in print for real. Here's sneak peek of the fabrics.

I'm always amazed at just how many things the rest of your are working on and getting done. Very impressive to say the least. Hop on over to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and see what everyone else is working on. Keep on stitching . . . 

August 12, 2012

Tetris Block 4

Week 4 of the Tetris QAL and I had a little catching up to do. I'm so addicted to playing each Tuesday that I can't wait for Melissa to give us our shapes of the week. And since I have it set up in Illustrator it's so easy to keep playing with different layouts that sometimes I don't stop myself and move on to sewing. That's what happened last week. So this week I caught up and sewed both blocks.

week 3 block

week 4 block

Sewing two blocks isn't really a big deal but it did make me realize it's much better to keep up. Procrastination is usually my middle name, so the fact that I'm keeping up is pretty satisfying if I do say so myself.  : )   I even have a pretty good idea of how I'd like to finish up the quilt top. Here's what all 4 blocks look like together. I love how the white pops.

All 4 blocks so far

How about you? Are you keeping up? From what I've seen it looks like there are going to be lots of very nice quilts as a result of this fun QAL. For those of you using black instead of white for the empty spaces I think it looks very striking. Looking forward to seeing everyone's finished quilts. Keep going, the end is in sight!

August 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This marks the second week for me of WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. There are so many wonderful projects in the works by the looks of it. Hop on over and check out a few for yourself. You're bound to be inspired. I know I am when I see all the new WIP's each week. Please leave a comment or two when you visit. It really helps turn all these WIP's into finished projects. Gotta love that.   : )

My WIP for the week is my Tradewinds tablecloth and matching tablerunner. I used my Cascade pattern (see pattern here) for the main tablecloth and posted about the trouble I was having with the quilting. It was heavy and I had a lot of drag. Hhmmmm . . . do you suppose it had anything to do with my helper who wouldn't get off the quilt? Oh the things I put up with.

Originally I was going to make matching napkins with the bonus blocks that are created when the top is sewn. But I just didn't like any of the block arrangements. What I did like was this great zigzag layout. So instead of napkins, the extra blocks became this tablerunner. I added a border to the main quilt so might do the same with this. Can't decide. What do you think?

I finished the quilting on the main quilt today and will bind later this week. Hope to finish up this little runner too. Then maybe I'll make some napkins from extra yardage if I find more Tradewinds on sale. Love this line. Here's the main quilt before border. I used a layer cake plus a little extra yardage of the bamboo lattice print. This pic was before the border was added.

I've also been working on my Tetris QAL blocks. Still having lots of fun with it and looking forward to the finished quilt. You can see my blocks here. Stay tuned next week and I'll share the finished Tradewinds quilt. Some weeks are better than others at finishing and there are times when I think everyone but me is getting lots done. Hope you're getting lots done too.

August 1, 2012

Tetris Block 3

Week 3 of the Tetris QAL and it just keeps getting better. This week I had a harder time switching Melissa's colors over to my color scheme. It just got confusing for a bit between shapes and colors. I should have made my little color chart right from the beginning. Plus, it would have helped if I had kept her blue and green my blue and green. But alas I didn't start out that way so now just need to be very careful about which color goes where without getting confused by the shapes.

I know this might seem too exacting, but I'm determined to play the game for real. No switching shapes, colors or the order to suit the design. That way I have to work with what I'm given and have less control. Not something I'm used to.

But I must admit I was awfully tempted to cheat this week. I did more layouts than in the previous 2 weeks and at one point came up with a way to fill all the squares . .

Did anyone else notice that there were 2 different L shapes? The blue and orange L's read like an uppercase L no matter which way you turn them. The last 2 L shapes in green and red are the mirror image or backwards L's. Maybe this shape has been flipped before and I haven't noticed?

Oops. Just checked and sure enough, for week 2 the L shapes were flipped. Oh well . . . I'm learning. That's what I get for using the shapes in Illustrator and assuming they were all the same just in a different order. Probably won't bother to remake the block but at least I know to pay more attention. 

Anyway, if only that last red L shape (my dark blue L shape here) had been flipped I could have filled all the spaces. I even considered flipping it just so I'd have a full block. It would look like this:

But once I looked at the 3 blocks together I realized how much the empty spaces are adding to the overall design . . . so no need to break the rules after all. Here's my block for week 3. Haven't sewn it up yet so this is my photoshop image. Yes I have 4 empty spaces. I'm definitely not going to win any real Tetris games that's for sure.

Now that there are 3 blocks, I'm beginning to see the whole quilt top come together and have some ideas for how I might finish it up. Glad this is a quick 6 week QAL because the end is in sight and I'm excited for the final results.

This is my WIP of the week too. I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's for the first time. Hop on over and take a look at what everyone is working on.

Fresh Tossed

Another month of summer begins and it's time for another fruit/veggie quilt in my kitchen. August around here is when the gardens really start to produce all their bounty of veggies. I have friends who have the most amazing garden every summer. Tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, onions . . . you name it they probably grow it. As for our garden, I'm more of a flower gardener than a veggie gardener, but we do manage a couple of tomato plants every year. They produce enough for us and the tomato worms. Can not believe how big tomato worms are. ICK!!! Sorry but I am not a worm girl. Have to have my husband pull them off when I see one.

The design of this quilt is a mix of all kinds of salad goodness. I foundation pieced the blocks using a juicy tomato print for the center that I wonky cut. Then I added varying width strips of green veggies followed by colorful veggies and ending with another border of green. For the center block I switched up this order. I used the leftover scraps of all the colorful veggie to piece an outer border.

And what better way to serve up some fresh veggie goodness than in my veggie dish collection. You know I love my fruit and veggie dish collection. : )  Here's some of the veggie dishes.

A very colorful quilt to say the least. It's perfect as a tabletopper when serving some fresh veggies to snack on. I love eating fresh garden salads this time of year. Makes me feel healthy. So here's to eating well. Now go eat your veggies.