Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gold + White Baby Quilt

The first time I tried sushi I hated it. I hated the smell, the taste, and don't even get me started on the textures. Ick. The second time I tried it, I hated it too. There are lots of people who LOVE sushi. And a few of those people, upon discovering that I am not a fan, have told me that it is an "acquired taste." Every time I hear that phrase, I can't help asking--Why on earth would you keep eating something you don't like to the point that you finally acquire a taste for it? I totally don't get it. Needless to say, I probably won't be acquiring the taste for one has been able to talk me into a third time. ;) 
So what does this have to do with quilting, you ask? Maybe nothing. It's just that, lately I've realized that my taste in colors has changed in a way I never thought it would. Apparently if you eat something enough times, even if it is revolting, eventually you can come to love it.  I guess appreciation of a color can be similarly "acquired." Who knew? Not by eating it of course, but by trying it giving it a chance (or two or twenty). Gold has never been my favorite color. I have always thought of it as kind of gaudy...I don't wear gold jewelry and I never, ever thought I would use it in a quilt. But here we are...

Last month, my cute friend Abbey had a sweet baby girl. I wanted to make her a quilt, but I knew it had to be one I could finish fast (sound familiar?). I decided to use the same concept as this easy as pie zigzag baby quilt - but with a different design. I was going to surprise Abbey, but I wanted her to love the quilt, so I asked what colors she was doing for the nursery to get an idea of what she liked. Gold and white, she said. Gold and white? Gold? Eh, I thought. Gold must be trendy right now. I was slightly resistant to the idea at first--remember--gold has never been my fave. But then Abbey started texting me pictures of some of the stuff she liked, including this darling white and gold polka dot quilt from Pottery Barn...

(image from Pottery Barn Kids)

Once I saw Abbey's vision for the room, I knew I could easily make a gold quilt. After all, I wanted to make something she would love, right? And gold is what she would love. So I spilled the beans and told Abbey I was going to make her a quilt (so she wouldn't buy one). I used the PB quilt and crib bumper as inspiration and got to work. I mocked up 6 or 7 different designs and we both liked this one the best.

The applique on the front was designed in Inkscape. I've got loops on the brain right now, so this design fit right in with my current personal quilting trend. The gold metallic fabric is from the collection "Hope and Love" by Whistler studios for Windham fabrics. I found it at Hawthorne Threads and it was exactly what I had hoped-it's metallic, but not so much that it's tacky. I used fusible web to attach the shape to the background and then stitched around it in metallic gold thread. It really sparkles, sadly you can't really see that in the pictures. 

For the quilting, I was trying to echo the applique design and the feel of the inspiration crib bumpers. I thought this lovely panto fit nicely- it is called Chantilly Lace. I added the small circles in as well using a groovy board. I was pleased with how it turned out, but as as usual, there was a lesson to be learned. When I planned to use the panto, I neglected to take into account that I would run into the applique design, and it doesn't line up perfectly. Thus, it looks a little goofy in a few places, but overall it works.

Of course the backing had to be gold polka dots! The fabric is Spot On Metallic in Blanc by Robert Kaufman. It matches the gold on the front perfectly. The tiny dot binding is from the same line and is also metallic. I love it!

I really love the way this quilt turned out. I think the gold makes it look dainty and perfect for a new baby girl. Abbey loves it too! So I guess the moral of this story is...just because you dislike something right now, doesn't mean you always will. Under the right circumstances, your tastes may change! Maybe I'll give sushi another try...maybe. :) Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chalkboard Christmas Wall Hangings

Here are some little wall hangings I made as Christmas gifts for some friends. I had seen lots of adorable (real) chalkboard signs online and thought I could make a cute quilt that looked like a chalkboard. I was right. :) In the beginning I was going to make just one bigger quilt (and probably still will next year!), but then I decided to make a bunch of smaller ones. Lines from Christmas songs seemed a festive and simple choice, so I asked a few of my good friends to tell me their favorite Christmas song. It was fun to hear all their different favorites and I thought it would be so easy to just make a little design for each one. Boy was I wrong! I downloaded a bunch of fonts but then realized I was way out of my league. So I called my amazing design goddess sister-in-law Michelle and begged her to have mercy on my poor chalkboard-art-challenged soul. So she did the layout of all of these for me. (Thank you, Michelle!) I thought I would applique all the letters on-until I saw how small some of the letters were...holy cow. So on to plan B...I printed them on fabric at Spoonflower instead. Love love love spoonflower! Didn't love the rush fee I had to pay to get it done quick, but that's what I get for not figuring all this stuff out sooner. Live and learn. 

The dimensions of each is 12 x 15 inches. I made them this size to match the size of the quilt hangers I had my eye on. I ordered them from Nancy's Notions, and they were pretty reasonably priced and super cute. Yay! They had lots of other styles and sizes too. Anyway, this quilt was for my sweet and calm friend Christy. For the quilting...this is the one where I pretended I knew how to McTavish. He he he--I don't. ;) My brain doesn't think very far in advance so I either stop every 3 seconds to figure out where to go next, or I don't stop and then make it look goofy. Luckily, I don't aspire to be a free motion quilting superstar, so my self-esteem is still intact. 

These were so easy and fast since all I had to do was quilt and bind them and attach a hanging sleeve. This one was for my fun lawyer friend, Maren. Her favorite song is a beautiful one titled, "Were you there on that Christmas night?" It took me a bit to figure out which line of this song to use-I wanted a meaningful line that didn't require a lot of explanation. The first draft of this one was missing a couple of words a second draft was made. Unfortunately, I accidentally used the first draft and didn't even notice until after the fabric was printed (dang it!). For the quilting on this one I just did simple 1/2 inch straight lines and echo quilted around most of the letters. 

This next one was for my always well put together and highly amusing friend Valerie. I was glad she chose this song--it is one of my favorites as well! So classic! I quilted this one with a simple feathery design-which I was not awesome at, but it was so much more forgiving than the McTavishing!

This one comes from the song, "Do you hear what I hear?" It was for my cute friend Tessa. This was another one I had to think a bit about to choose a good line to use. For the quilting, I did a random tight crosshatch that I made by zig-zaging diagonally in both directions. I loved the way this design turned out so much I used it twice!

This one was for my friend Christine. She is my quilting buddy and knew what I was up to, so it wasn't really a surprise for her. Can you spot the typo? Another one I didn't catch until after the fact! Let's just hope that most people don't really know how to spell! :)  This one was quilted with simple echoing wavy lines.

And the last one was for my friend Kellie, who I am trying very hard to turn into a quilting buddy! :) She loved hers so much, and I was glad! I did the cross-hatch quilting on this one too. 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Olive + Eggplant Wedding Quilt

Holy cow, I forgot I had a blog! Ok, that's a lie...I am fully aware that I have a blog and that I haven't posted anything for months. True confession: I have a love hate relationship with blogging. It takes me HOURS to choose and edit pictures and prep a post. I'm just slow like that. So if too much time passes between posts, it starts to feel like housework...the longer I wait to do it, the less I want to do it. The nice thing about housework is that the piles of dishes and laundry just keep getting higher until you finally have to force yourself to do them. Not so with blogging! :) And sad to say, after all this time slacking, I don't exactly have a huge stack of quilts waiting to be featured. I have just been playing the last few months and doing a lot of quilt planning, but not a lot of finishing. And so of course now I have like 5 quilts I want to make in the next six weeks (we all know that won't really be happening). Oh well. On to the most recent quilt!

This quilt started as many of my quilts do, with an email from a friend or family member about a wedding or baby shower. This one was for my cousin Natalie, who is getting married in a couple months. I knew I wouldn't be attending the shower since I live in another state, but with wedding colors and a deadline, I impulse bought fabric the same day I got the email. I have been wanting to make a purple and green quilt forever, so I definitely had fun shopping! :)

The wedding colors were eggplant, lavender, olive and charcoal. Several of the eggplant fabrics are from lines by V and Co. - Simply Color and Simply Style. The green dot print is an Amy Butler and the rest is stuff I had in my stash. I couldn't find charcoal fabrics I loved, so I decided to use a white text print (never done that before) and this adorable bird cage fabric that I bought at Joann years ago. I must say that one of the fabrics in the quilt was new to me...I had never bought the brand before. I won't call it out by name (it was NOT the one from Joann), but it was awful to work with. It was very tightly woven so it was unforgiving! Every time I had to sew it to the other pieces, I couldn't get it to match up as well. Guess I won't be buying anymore of that!  

The adorable bird cage Heidi Grace

I used my Alex's Wedding Quilt Pattern for this one...'cause it's super fast. But funny enough, I can't seem to follow a pattern...I always end up changing something! On this one I swapped the spots of a couple of the pieces for aesthetic reasons, and had to make a couple of the blocks out of two fabrics instead of one because I didn't have enough fabric. I cut and pieced this whole thing in about 4 hours total...not bad considering I made a couple of mistakes I had to fix (measure TWICE, cut once).

For the back, I decided to piece it using some solids I had with a bit of the leftover fabric from the front. I really love the way this one turned out. And I just barely had enough fabric for it!

For the quilting, I went with a fast, fun pantograph. This one is by the talented Anne Bright. It's called wonderland. I bound it in the matching purple solid. 

I sent the quilt to my sister to take to the shower last weekend and my cousin loved it! :) So glad! More quilts to come soon hopefully! Also going to make a 2015 calendar today since Zazzle is having a 60% sale through tomorrow (11/11/14). I didn't even come close to making enough quilts to fill a whole calendar this year, so I think I'm going to use a few pictures from this year and the rest from last year...nobody got last year's calendar but me and 2 other people. They don't have a lot of sales on calendars in January-March and I was too cheap to buy them full price! :)

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 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 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 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!! :)