Blocks 1 and 2

It’s week 2 of my block of the week challenge, following SewMamaSew’s Modern Block of the Month.  Blocks 1 and 2 are done!  Here is a pic of the completed block 1: photo-68

And block 2, which was super-easy:

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The process: cut three fabrics into strips of various sizes, sew them randomly together, cut into fourths, and sew back together till you have a piece approximately 9.5 x 12.5.photo-65

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Then, sew a 2.5 x 12.5 strip of a fourth fabric to either side.

photo-67 Voila, complete!

-Allison

B-O-M!

My sewing has been characterized by a complete lack of discipline in every respect.  In an effort to improve, I have decided that I need a task master!  And so I am trying something new: Block of the Month.  Of course, there are pros and cons to this endeavor…

The Pros:

  1. A set timeline: though I’m going to speed it up and attempt to do it at a Block a Week!
  2. Someone else calling the shots
  3. Some of the blocks will force me out of my comfort zone (if I even have one)
  4. Planning is already done- none of my usual running out of fabric, too many or few blocks, layouts that won’t work, etc.
  5. Someone has already figured out the cutting measurements- one of my weakest points

The Cons: 

  1. I hate sampler quilts
  2. Some of the blocks are ugly
  3. Some of the blocks will force me out of my comfort zone (okay, so this one cuts both ways)
  4. No creativity (though I did get to pick out the fabrics- ALL from my stash)

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Since the pros seemed to outweigh the cons, the next step was to find the right Block of the Month quilt.  After looking at several, I settled on Sew,Mama,Sew! Modern Block of the Month from 2011-12 with Alyssa Haight Carlton.  I liked the simplicity of many of the blocks, which would really allow force me to focus on technique, since mistakes are hard to hide in a simple block.

Half-way through the first block, I’m really enjoying her crystal clear instructions, digital pictures and actual pictures.  Each block is also made in a second colorway, and digital pictures are given of an entire quilt of that block in all different layouts.  Can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Here’s a pic of block #1, ready to be assembled:photo-55

-Allison

 

Still in the Shadows

I find myself still totally unsure about this Golden Shadows quilt (that really doesn’t have shadows anymore, if it ever even did).  I find it uninspiring and yet the actual construction is coming out quite well.  I had framed all the blocks in gold; 3 were narrow frames, 6 were wider.  I then framed the frames with a speckled beige and evened them all out at 12 inches square.   These are the three narrow ones:

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And these are the six wider ones: photo-49

And then I got bored and started to sew the blocks into big blocks.  And then I wanted the quilt (now apparently it’s to be a quilt, not a large pillow) to be bigger.  I added four solid blocks of the gold.  Now I have three sets of four blocks and no idea what to do with them.  Obviously, at a little short of 6 ft by 2 ft, it needs to be widened.  I’m out of gold fabric, out of charm squares and out of ideas!photo-53
photo-48So instead of something beautiful to share today, I’m sharing my frustration.  But, on the bright side, I have found a recipient for this quilt if and when I ever finish it.

 

Meet our new foster dog, Diego: He’s a Chiweenie!  Sweet, good with the kids, well-mannered and best of all, he’s totally housebroken.  So if you know anyone looking to adopt in South Florida, Diego is looking for his forever home.

 

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-Allison

Golden Shadows

For my next project, I had pulled out a set of charm squares with the intention of making a shadow quilt.  I loved some of the examples I saw online and thought it would be a great way to highlight some pretty fabric.  Here’s a sample of what I chose.  photo-44

 

I pulled a marbled gold from my stash for the shadows and bought a speckled beige to do the sashing.

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Cut, measure, sew and the first two blocks came together easily.  Except, they didn’t look shadowy at all!  In fact, my husband thought they were rather ugly.

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So, I decided I would simply frame the squaresphoto-45
in the gold color and wing it from there.  I carefully measured and even more carefully sewed the one inch borders before I realized that I could make my job so much easier by cutting larger and trimming after they are sewn.  That should have been obvious from the get-go, but oh well.  At least I only did two before I picked up on that!

 

Here are all nine squares framed, but not yet trimmed, along with one of the original shadow blocks that I might use on the back.  If you are comparing my photos, you might notice that the butterfly squares in the first picture didn’t make the final cut.  This was a charm pack of twenty; two each of ten different patterns.  All of the patterns look Spanish or Moroccan to me, except for the butterflies.  The colors match, and the scale of the pattern matches, but the pattern itself just didn’t seem to fit.  So, realizing that I had many more layout options with nine squares as opposed to ten, the butterflies (along with the other leftover squares) went into the scrap box.  photo-42

 

Still not sure what kind of layout this will wind up in.  Or if it will be a mini-quilt or really big pillow.  I’m kind of leaning towards pillow today.   Any ideas (or tips on where I went wrong with the shadows), please send them my way!

 

-Allison

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea…

photo-28I had started playing around with my SpongeBob fabric when I decided I needed to make some half square triangles laid out like flying geese.  Really what I liked about the SpongeBob fabric was the colors- shades of blue with orange, yellow and salmon pink accents- mostly from SpongeBob and Patrick, but also from some random circles.  I picked some fabrics out of my stash that matched those coordinating colors and went to work on the HSTs.  As they all came together, it became clear that the blue of the SpongeBob fabric was the background and the accent colors were the stars of the show.

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I found a light blue fabric that complemented the blues for the border, and then laid it out on the floor to be basted.

 

 

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image-13As you can see from the picture, my backing would have required a bunch of cutting and piecing to make it fit.  So, I decided to add a little design from some scraps to it.  Funny how the same fabric looks so much brighter in the photo above and washed out in the one on the right!

 

 

 

 

Once that problem was solved, it was time to do the quilting.  I first outlined the colored triangles, and then realized that they would “pop” a little more if the blue background was more heavily quilted.  I wanted to stick with the nautical theme and quilt bubbles on the blue.  I changed out the foot on my sewing machine to a quilting foot and then discovered that circles are REALLY haimage-10rd. I should have reimage-8membered from the ugly Christmas quilt!  And those had been done with traced lines!  After doing the first row, I realized that this was now becoming another practice quilt.  So, I thought I’d try a whole bunch of quilting patterns: a new one for each row.  Surprisingly enough, it was the stippling that was the easiest.  Funny, since thatimage-12
was the one I was really afraid to try.  Of all the others, only the curved back and forth lines came out even half-way decent!

After finishing up the quilting, I wanted to try the machine binding again.  Quick and easy!  I ignored my own advice to use a larger binding and went with what was already cut and sewn- the plaid I loved from my hearts quilt.  The colors were just right and- it was already rolled up and ready to go!  If I were making this as a gift, there were a few places I would take out and redo, but overall, the few mistakes are an easy trade off for the ease of the machine binding!

image-9image-11Totally bound in less than two hours! And now ready to be donated somewhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Allison

A Quick Baby Gift

Last month, my daughter’s former cheer coach gave birth to her first child.  We’ve always made blankets for the new babies at the gym, and even though we haven’t seen them for a while, we knew that this little guy needed one too.

photo-36 Lately, my daughter has been in love with Eeyore (yes, she is twelve years old), and I have been holding onto a Winnie the Pooh panel, which I knew would make a super baby blanket.  The time was right to pull it out.

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Around each part of the panel were some drawn stitches, and at each corner, a drawn, sewn on button.  We backed the panel with a plain piece of muslin and then stitched over all the hand drawn lines.  image-3

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Next we found an almost perfectly matched piece of sky blue and white checked flannel.

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We taped it to the floor to baste it, did some quick stitching to hold it together, and then made a scrappy binding out of actual scraps of matching fabric.image-7

The binding was sewn down by hand and the baby blanket was shipped up to Connecticut in less than two weeks!  Definitely a new record for me, though I realize it is totally cheating to use an entire panel and nothing else as the quilt top!

Either way, DONE!

-Allison

Look Ma: No Hands!

Machine Binding a Quilt

Because I have such a fondness for quilting shortcuts, I just learned to machine bind a quilt!  I used this great tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew, and for my first time, it came out pretty well!  It was definitely quick and easy, and definitely came out as nice, if not better, than my hand-sewn versions.

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Here is what I learned to pay attention to for next time:

  • Use a larger binding.  She recommends 2.5 inches (before you fold it in half).  I had already cut my binding at 2 inches, and I could have used that extra 1/2 inch (ophoto-34r more) to work with!
  • Use a binding that is a different color than either the front or back fabrics you are sewing it to.  My binding is orange and white which was easy to pick out on the front green and gold fabric.  The backing fabric though is red and white, and whenever the whites were on top of each other, I couldn’t really be sure what was directly under the machine.
  • Finphoto-32ally, until I get better at this, I should consider doing it backwards: sewing on to the back first and then the front.   I have trouble keeping the second set of stitches out of the binding that has already been sewn on one side, so it would probably look better having that side on the back.  photo-35

Either way, the M&Ms Christmas quilt is now finished!  Can’t say I love it (or even really like it) but it was so great to have a “practice quilt” to try out some new things.    After finishing some of the other projects that I’m in the middle of, I think I’m going to do another practice quilt!

In the meantime, I’m looking for someplace to donate this one and/or an ugly Christmas quilt contest to enter it into (they have those, right?).

Allison