February 25, 2016

Quilty Randomness

I'm still here. Still sewing. You just wouldn't know it by my lack of blog posts lately. Today I just want to catch up a little with what I'm making.

Right now I'm playing with this group of mostly Amy Butler fabrics. I've had them pulled aside for awhile and am so happy to finally be cutting into them. Aren't they luscious?

Here is what's taking shape on my design wall . . . a new variation of my Cascade pattern. Hopefully I'll be ready to sew it together this weekend at our guild sew day.

Yesterday I sent this wall hanging off to my longarm quilter. The queen size quilt is also finished as is the massive pieced back. You can read more about that here. Don't think I'll piece a back that big again anytime soon. It felt like making an entire second queen sized quilt. ugg. It will be sent off for quilting soon too. I'll post about both quilts when they are completed.

I've also been making bee blocks. In January these beautiful blue blocks were made for Elizabeth/OPQuilt. I can't show the entire block because she's creating a pattern from the design. It will be very graphic and bold.

This week I finished up February's blocks for Cindy/LiveAColorfulLife. She's making a sweet quilt for her newest granddaughter Ella. My stash doesn't contain much novelty fabric for kids so I bought this cute panel fabric. The images were a bit too big for the block size but with some careful cropping I think I managed to make it work. The pattern is Books for Baby found in Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi. It's a really cute pattern.

That's about it for now. Lots of plans . . . not enough time.
Hope all your sewing plans are moving forward.


February 24, 2016

Quilty Goodness

I didn't go to QuiltCon this year. Didn't get the chance to be there in person for the quilty good news . .

The Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild, Twisted Sisters, won an award at QuiltCon.
We took third place in the group category. WaHoo!!! Way to go DMMQG!

Twisted Sisters plays off the game Twister with several members, myself included, making circle blocks. A huge credit goes to Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, Christina Perrigo @ccpquilt, and Wendy Bermingham @wendybzquilting for the inspiration and a great finish. Thanks to them we had an amazing quilt. Thank you ladies!!!  Well done.

I know you've probably seen this one already but I wanted to share it here on my blog too. This is my quilty journal after all. My place for recording what I'm making. You can see all the winning entries here.

Did you go to QuiltCon? If so, what were your impressions? I'm planning on Savannah next February. Hope to see you there.


February 10, 2016

Pieced Quilt Backings

Do you like a pieced quilt backing? I think some of them are absolutely amazing. They can easily rival the front for attention.

As a matter of fact, my friend Cindy of Live a Colorful Life used the leftovers from the quilt (below right) to make the fabulous quilt back (below left). You can see this graphic quilt at QuiltCon 2016 if you're going. She entered the back. Isn't that great?

I have seldom made a pieced back. Once I've gotten to the finishing stage, (sadly something that doesn't happen often enough) I'm usually ready for the quickest, easiest back possible. Sometimes even piecing a couple of widths of fabric can seem like pain. In my humble opinion, wide quilt back fabrics that don't need any piecing at all are a wonderful quilting invention.

With my two leafy green checkerboard tops nearly finished, I started looking for backing fabrics. I have a large enough piece of fabric for the smaller wall hanging, but nothing big enough for the queen sized bed quilt. So I searched a lot of online shops looking for just the right backing. I admit to being pretty darn picky about my backing fabrics. It has to continue the look of the front in terms of both coloring and feel. And of course the price needs to be right too. Backing a quilt can be a costly addition to the overall project.

Then I reminded myself of my 2016 goal to use my stash. I didn't really think I had enough green leaf prints leftover to back both quilts but figured it was worth a try. I also had some extra blocks leftover that could be used.

The big question was how to determine if I had enough fabric. The first thing I did was to get out all the large pieces of leftover leafy fabrics, then I measured them and put them on my design wall. Next I turned to the computer.

Graph paper would work just as well, but more and more now I use the computer. It's quick and easy to try different options without redrawing everything. I drew up basic shapes in the size of my fabric chunks and played around with layouts. Here's a few of the arrangements.

Working with the chunks, I realized I actually did have enough fabric to back both quilts. And the more I played the more excited I got about the back of the bed quilt having a design of it's own. The idea that I can flip the quilt over for a second look is quite appealing. That idea led to a more designed look for the back like this drawing below.

Today, I started cutting the pieces. The only thing I hadn't considered was the amount of white I'd need. More than I thought, so I did have to buy a little more white on white print from my local shop. But buying 1 yard is way better than buying multiple yards for the entire backing.

I'm going with the layout you see below. It uses up all the extra blocks and most of the large chunks with enough leftover for the wall quilt. The wall quilt will also be pieced but more simply with four big chunks.

I feels so good to know I'm using my stash and saving money in the process. I'll be sending these two quilts to a longarmer, so money saved on backing just means more put toward the quilting. I like that!

I also like visits from my helper. Now if only she would actually do more than sit on whatever I'm working on. I think she knows her eyes match the quilt.

Do you like pieced quilts backs? Have you ever done one? Craftsy has a good class by Elizabeth Hartman called Creative Quilt Backs just in case you'd like to learn more. She walks you through different ways you can approach piecing your backing and best of all it's free.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.


February 4, 2016

2016 Planner Cover

A couple of my 2016 goals, sew from my stash and use a planner to help me  accomplish more, were the focus of my sewing earlier this week.

True confessions . . . I've never really used a planner before. I buy them. Every year. I just don't keep up with using them. This year I decided it was time to truly use one . . . for real.  To actually have a day-to-day plan to help me stay on task. To get more done. So I bought the Quilter's Planner by Late Night Quilter.

Admittedly I got off to a very bad start as far as January is concerned. But with February here, it's time to get in gear. I chose these fabrics. Modern leafy prints that tie in nicely to my blog name and identity. All from my stash. I even found a zipper in my stash so the only thing I needed to buy was the fusible fleece and elastic. So far so good at working from my stash.

Motivating to sew non-quilty things is usually a struggle for me. I think it has to do with following directions. Silly isn't it? After all, I write directions for quilt patterns so following directions for other things shouldn't be that big a deal. I used this tutorial by Amanda of What the Bobbin that was resized specifically for this planner.

I customized the inside front and back pockets to hold three business cards. One pocket for me in the front, two pockets in the back for my daughter and husband's cards. You never know when someone might be interested in jewelry, graphic design or fine art.

One thing that didn't work out quite right was where the elastic fell. I followed the directions but wish the elastic was set just a little farther in. It doesn't catch the pages to hold them open very well without adjusting the planner. I'm disappointed with this part.

I also made a couple of ribbon markers from paper clips. Aren't they cute? I think I'll make a couple more of these. They work better than the ribbon marker the pattern called for. I need to move it into the center so it doesn't pull when I open the planner to different pages. Right idea, wrong position to work.

Now that I have such a pretty cover, I have no excuse for not using my planner.

It also has a zip pocket on the front. Nice for holding extra pencils and miscellaneous items.

I'm thrilled to have this done and excited to put it to good use. I can honestly say that having a written plan for this week helped me stay on task. Yeah!!!

How about you . . . do you like to sew non-quilty things? Do you use a planner? I'd love a tip or two on how you make it work. I can use all the help I can get to stick with my planner goal.   : )

Linking up with WIP Wednesday,  Let's Bee Social,  Needle and Thread Thursday,  Really Random Thursday and Finish it up Friday.