Friday, July 18, 2014

Coral + Navy Herringbone Quilt


My quilt collaboration skills could use improvement. LOTS of improvement. I came to this unfortunate realization during the planning phase of my latest quilt. Originally, there was a team effort to make this quilt but then I did what I do best (irritated the crap out of my older sister) and the team was reduced to ME. Let's blame it on the fact that I almost always make quilts by myself. Yep, that's it. That's my excuse. Usually when I make a quilt, I choose the pattern, the fabric, the quilting design, the thread--I make all the decisions. Occasionally I ask for outside opinions, but in the end I have complete creative control. I like it that way. Who doesn't like to be in charge? And of course I generally think everything I make is wonderful and brilliant...so there's that. (Did I mention I am conceited too?!) :) With all that said, it should come as no surprise that while working on this quilt, I hit a couple of snags in the collaboration department.


This quilt was made for my little sister Juli...luckiest girl in the family because this is her second quilt in less than a year (first one is here). Normally I like to spread the quilty love out a little bit but Juli got married last month so she NEEDED another one! Yay for weddings! It was lovely, and Juli was a beautiful bride!

(Photo courtesy of sister-in-law Samantha!)

When we found out about the upcoming wedding, my older sister Allison (who also quilts) suggested making Juli's quilt together. I had been planning on just making one myself, but I was a busy girl, so I thought a little teamwork would be a faster, smarter way to get it done. Allison and I have made quilts together a couple times before: once with a quilt from a kit, and once when Allison chose the fabric and pattern, pieced the top and then I quilted it. We'd never done one quite like this before...you know, one where we had to agree on the fabric and pattern. In hindsight, I probably should have just told Allison in the beginning that I wanted to do my own thing, because I think that was my real problem. Though I didn't have anything in mind, I knew I wanted it to be something Juli would like, and I wanted it to be awesome (read: I wanted it to be my idea).


After tossing a few ideas around, (ok, it was more like me just shooting down every idea that Allison suggested) I finally just quizzed Juli about what kind of quilt she would like. She told me she liked the style of this stripey quilt and this other quilt I made a few years back. She also told me she wanted it to be mostly coral but a little bit of navy blue too. Yikes. The color combo sounded a little daunting, but luckily those colors are both trendy right now so fabric wasn't hard to find. A stripey quilt would have been super easy, but I wanted to do something I'd never done before. I thought a herringbone pattern would work well because it would have the look that Juli liked and make the color scheme doable. So I mocked it up in inkscape (I know...I'm so predictable!) and showed it to Allison. She thought it was ok, so we started talking fabric.


To make a long story short (too late) about 3 weeks before the wedding we decided that Allison would buy the fabric, piece the top and then send it to me so I could quilt it. Brilliant plan, right? Wrong. It would have been brilliant if I hadn't been trying to micromanage the entire process. Anyway, Allison went to 8 or 9 different fabric shops (lucky girl lives in the Salt Lake valley so she has the luxury of being able to hit several amazing shops in one day). She sent me pictures of what she was finding and I gave her my opinion on most of the fabrics. In then end we had a wide array of print styles and shades of coral and a few navy blues. Some of the fabrics I really liked. Some...not so much. I suggested we not use a couple of them. Then we decided to get Juli's opinion...and Juli didn't like a couple more of them. Understandably, this totally frustrated Allison, because after all her time spent shopping, there went half the fabric. Of the fabrics that were left, there were 2 I liked more than the others and they happened to be from the same line. It was called Iconic by Camelot Fabrics. So I looked it up online and saw that there were a whole bunch more coral and navy fabrics that were coordinating. So I offered to just buy a bunch and have it sent to Allison so we would have more choices. But by that point, she was done. She said, "Why don't I just send you the stuff I have and you can just do it yourself." I don't blame her. I'm sure she was probably envisioning me telling her where to place every single piece of fabric in the quilt, which is, no doubt, exactly what I would have done.


So Allison sent me all the fabric she had, I ordered the Camelot stuff and it all arrived one week before the wedding. I ended up using mostly the Iconic fabrics with a few others thrown in. I lived in front of my design wall for the next few days and got it done. By the time I was finished, I never wanted to see the color coral again! I kept saying "It looks like a flamingo threw up in here!" (Beaches...such a good movie). Seriously though, it was a lot of coral. Good thing Juli likes it so much! And thankfully, Allison has forgiven me for being a quilt Nazi. We've decided to try another collaboration in the future, but with a better time-table and more compromise from yours truly. I think we can do it! :)


For the quilting, I just needed a fast, all over design. I chose to use an Aztec groovy board--gives it a crazy zig-zag look. But the best part of course, is that it was done in a couple of hours. I went with a solid navy blue binding and the back is a coral stripe that I found on clearance.



I took it to Utah with me for the wedding! I had hoped to find a good spot for a quilt picture, and believe it or not, I was actually looking for a wagon wheel to use as a photo prop. I hit the jackpot with this one right around the corner from my sister-in-law's house! Old wood, piles of junk, a no trespassing sign and...an old rusty wheel! Perfect for a quilt photo. Love it when that happens!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Scrappy Hearts Quilt


My daughter attended her last day of kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. It was a sad day. Most kids are probably so excited for summer to start that they aren't that sad when the school year is over. But my daughter loved her teacher so much, she never wanted it to end. I am usually not super sentimental, but even I teared up a bit as we got in the car to go home on the last day. And 2 weeks later she is still talking about her teacher...making up songs about her and writing her notes. It is amazing the difference a great teacher can make in the life of a child! And I couldn't think of a better way to let a fabulous teacher know how much she is appreciated than by making her a quilt!

 

The idea for this quilt actually came from a picture of a rug I saw on a facebook swap group! It was black and white, but I thought the design would look cool as a scrappy quilt. I don't know why but I have been loving this type of quilt lately. It is a lot like this quilt I made last year. Since I have a slightly one track mind, I'm plotting a couple more that are similar. :) 


Since this quilt was for my daughter's teacher, I let her help as much as she would. I consulted her on the design ("Looks great, mom"--that is almost always what she says when I ask her what she thinks of a quilt) and then once I had most of it laid out on the design wall, she came in and said, "I really want some hearts on it!" Well luckily there were already hearts! I like that they are kind of broken so they are not super obvious! :) 


The fabrics for this quilt are Lottie Da and True Colors by Heather Bailey for Free Spirit. I love all of it! I love the colors and the prints are just fun. Plus, I think busy, multicolored but coordinating fabrics make great scrappy quilts, so this line was perfect. And I found a sweet deal on a fat eighth pack of Lottie Da so fabric selection was a no-brainer. I threw in the True Colors because they matched and because the more fabrics you have, the easier it is to make it random! The solid is Bella Apron strings Ivory. It looks a little yellow on it's own but was the perfect color to match!


Piecing this quilt took a little longer than I thought it would! It is made up of 4 different blocks, but to make sure the fabrics were evenly dispersed I had to lay everything out first and then sew each block individually. Thank goodness for design walls...that made it a little easier! I thought I might be able to strip piece some of it, but that didn't really work since the print fabrics were 3 different lengths and I had no idea which size I would need where and whether it would need a white piece sewn to it or not. I ended up just unpicking all the strips I sewed together. I had originally planned to make this a rectangle, but due to time constraints (and sheer laziness) I decided to cut off the last row and make it closer to a square. It ended up about 60 x 63"--still a good sized throw!


For the quilting I chose a fast feathery swirly pantograph. It is called "Oh my Feathers" by Lisa Calle. I think it was perfect for this quilt! 


I ended up piecing the back...I don't usually love pieced backings that much, but I wanted it to match and was trying to clearance shop for the fabric, and let my daughter pick it out, etc. etc. so I just had to take what I could get! I didn't have enough of each fabric to do what I had originally planned so I decided to put a heart on the back to fill some space! My daughter helped pick and arrange the fabrics for the heart!


I photographed this quilt at my father-in-law's swanky new condo. I was excited when he moved in because the place is a quilt picture goldmine! The pool area had this great iron gazebo--so fun!


I bound the quilt in green since green is the teacher's favorite color. And I don't usually label the quilts I make, but this one had to have one! I made the design in Inkscape, printed it out and traced it with a fine-point sharpie marker onto fabric backed with fusible web. I had my daughter write her name on a piece of paper and then traced it onto the label. Sharpie markers bleed super easy, so I didn't want to risk ruining it with big black bleed marks! The little hearts are appliqued on and I stitched the whole thing down by hand once it was ironed on. Kinda fun.


My daughter took the quilt with her to school on the last day. Her teacher loved it and said she would keep it forever! Good! We will love her forever!! :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Firework Quilt


Here's another quilt! This little guy is my Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry...I had planned to finish that rainbow quilt I've been meaning to make for my daughter...but no, instead I'm indulging this weeks obsession with wedges. Just go with it...sometimes I get an idea for a quilt and I just make it 'cause it's in my head...even when I have other quilts that should probably be done first! Remember I had this problem with circles? Yeah. But it all worked out in the end! :) 


So here's my firework! When I was a kid my dad used to take us to see the fireworks every 4th of July. We would park right next to the field where they shot the fireworks off so we would be right underneath them. They were LOUD and they were HUGE and I loved them! Good memories! So a few months back I was talking to one of my friends about summer quilts and she suggested I make a 4th of July quilt...I happened to be looking right at my Watermelon Wedge quilt while we were talking and I started picturing those wedges in red, white and blue and a firework popped in my head! So one thing led to another, and here we are! I mocked it up in Inkscape (as usual). I have decided I like seasonal and themed quilts in a table topper or wall hanging size so this quilt is 36" x 36". It is completely appliqued, so it was fast and easy! Have I mentioned how much I love applique? :) 


In my mind, I had pictured this in completely different fabrics. I really wanted some sparkly fabric. Or some super cute blue polka dots and red stripes or...something. But I couldn't find what I was picturing anywhere I looked. This is a struggle I often encounter when planning a quilt--I have a certain fabric in mind...but nobody sells it. I thought about just designing my own and printing it on Spoonflower, but I just don't have time for that right now! But I still wanted to make the quilt...so I settled for these fabrics I found at Hawthorne Threads-- they are from the "Dreaming in Pearle" line by Timeless Treasures. They aren't fabrics I would have normally chosen, but they are kind of shimmery, so I went with it. 


I won't lie...when I finished the top, I wasn't in love. But then I quilted it...and it is true what they say...the quilting makes the quilt!! I used 2 layers of batting so the design would really pop and I quilted tiny pebbles with random swirls thrown in here and there. I thought of adding the stars right before I started quilting and they are my favorite part! I quilted straight lines in the wedges using glittery silver thread and though it is hard to see in the pictures, it looks pretty cool! I want the quilt to really sparkle, so I have plans to bedazzle this thing within an inch of its life! I bought some hot-fix crystals but decided to take a few pictures before adding them since I've heard the crystals don't photograph well.


I bound it in blue and now I can't wait to put it on my wall in a few weeks! :) 
Enjoy the Blogger's Quilt Festival!


AmysCreativeSide.com

Friday, May 9, 2014

Screamin' deal on batting!

Warm and White batting TWIN size for $10.51!
I love a good deal and this one is too good not to share! I shop online a lot...it's easier. And often, it's cheaper too. Sorry, but my inner thrifty girl (and my bank account) can't afford a sense of loyalty to any store...so this killer deal is at my favorite big box retailer that everyone loves to hate...Walmart.


It would never have occurred to me to buy batting here...but I came across it and did a double take on the price of the TWIN batting--I'm not sure how great the price is on the other sizes--twin is usually the size I buy and I have never seen it this cheap! And bonus...if you spend $50 the shipping is free too! And at this price, it's easy to buy 5! Or 10. Or...a year supply! So if your conscience allows you to take advantage of this kind of deal...hop on over to walmart.com and get some before they change their minds and roll the price back up! Happy Friday! :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Little Watermelon Quilt


Watermelon quilts are fun...so here is another one! After I made the original Watermelon Wedge Quilt, I had no plans to EVER make the quilt again. Several people asked if I would make them one or if I was going to write a pattern for it...and I told them all the same thing: NOPE! (I hope you are all hearing Olaf's voice when I say NOPE!--we are a bit obsessed with the movie Frozen right now!) Anyway, the original quilt was a kind of a nightmare to piece--and it took way more time than I usually like to spend on one quilt! Of course it was worth it in the end...but I had no desire to ever make another one and could not imagine how I would make a pattern for such an obstinate quilt. But then one day a couple months ago I started really trying to think about how I could pattern it...and it finally occurred to me to just make it smaller! :) The larger size is fun, but seriously, I haven't been daring enough to use it as a picnic blanket yet, and it is hard to display the whole thing. The smaller one will be more useful for me I think!


So this little quilt is the same design as the original...just half the size and about three thousand times faster to make! And I figured as long as I was making it smaller, I might as well make it easier too...the angles on this make it very easy to mess up, so rather than pieced, this one is entirely appliqued using fusible web. I'm sure it could be made using other applique methods, but since fusible web is my go-to method, that's what I did. And while normally I might be concerned about the stiffness of the quilt using fusible web, with this one I don't think it is a big deal--since the size is perfect for decor. It makes a great table topper or wall hanging--and stiffness on those types of quilts isn't necessarily a bad thing!


I made this using fabric I had in my stash...since I collected fabrics for a watermelon quilt for almost 5 years, I had several to choose from! :) And I just can't help myself...that black Alexander Henry dot fabric is my favorite! I seem to use it every time I need a black accent! 


And for the back I finally got to use that Timeless Treasures watermelon rind fabric!! Haha! It's perfect!


And for the quilting...I agonized for days. I don't know why I make this so hard every time. I'm just too picky I guess! :) So I had planned to do something entirely different. I had the whole thing loaded on the quilting frame, had just put the baby down for a nap and was on my way downstairs to start quilting it when I passed the neglected pile of clean laundry. I stopped for a minute to fold some of it and in the process, came across one of my kitchen towels that had a raised square pattern. Inspiration! I guess there is a good reason to work before play sometimes! :) These spaced squares were easy too since I had already drawn a 2" grid on the quilt--I just stitched inside each grid square, 1/4 inch away from the lines. I love it!


And of course the good news is that finally everyone can have their own summery watermelon quilt because the pattern is done! You can get it HERE