Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wipey Box Quilt Pattern

Remember this little gem? Well here's the pattern for it finally! Get it HERE! Go get quilty!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Watermelon Wedge Quilt

Here's a fun summer quilt I finished last month. I'm on a roll with finishing my seasonal quilts before or at least in the right season! Yeah! This is a quilt I have been wanting to make forever. Well, not this quilt specifically, but some kind of watermelon quilt. I don't know why but I think watermelon quilts are so fun...I love the greens and pinks or reds together. So five or six years ago I decided I was going to make a watermelon quilt. I even bought the Timeless Treasures watermelon seed and rind know the ones I am talking about. Then I tried to decide on a pattern...but I wasn't in love with any of the ones I I decided to just make up my own. This also proved difficult. Every spring I would pull out a notebook and try to draw up something I liked...but to no avail. Guess I am just too picky! Well one night last spring I couldn't sleep so I was Google searching quilts and still trying to come up with a good idea for a watermelon quilt. I started looking at black and white quilts and saw a great abstract one (that of course I can't find now) I started toying with the idea of making the watermelon quilt more abstract. I started messing around in Inkscape at about 4 am and by morning I had come up with this design. 

I bought a bunch of fabric and started working on this quilt last summer. I got about 1/3 of the way done but then got frustrated with it and put it away because for some reason it wasn't turning out quite right. I really wanted to finish it for this summer, and actually had planned to try to finish it for the Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival (success!). Anyway, toward the end of February my older sister sent me an email announcing that the HMQS quilt show was 7 weeks away and she said I should enter something. She's been trying to get me to enter something for the last few years. I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time and in need of a really good distraction so I didn't go I told her that if I could finish my watermelon quilt, I would enter it. Nothing like a deadline to motivate a quilt finish! Good thing too...this quilt got so frustrating at times, I never would have kept working on it without that deadline!

This quilt is 70 x 70" finished. All the pink, white and dark green fabrics are pieced. The black "seeds" and the light green accents around the edges are appliqued. So to construct this, I first printed my illustration out in Inkscape and figured out the scale (i.e. 1/4 inch on the picture equaled 1.75 inches on the quilt). Then I had to measure every single piece separately, multiply the measurements by 1.75, cut the pieces out and sew. I have done this on other quilts (this one) and it worked out OK. Well on this one, the angles were killing me. I later discovered that the reason it wasn't working out in the beginning is that I had messed up a couple of the first measurements and it was off from then on. So frustrating! And once I sewed the final 2 pieces together to make it a square, the edges were fine but the center was way too I had to take in several of the wedges in the center and fudge everywhere to make it work. There was lots of unpicking...I think I said, "Are you KIDDING me?" about a hundred times...or at least every time I realized that it still wasn't fixed. Eventually I got it to the point where it laid flat enough that I could applique the center circle on. The rest got worked out once it was quilted.

I intend for this to be a picnic blanket, so I wanted the quilting to be simple and something I could finish quickly--I started quilting it with about 4 days until my deadline. I decided to make a grid, but change the size in the different colors of the quilt. The biggest squares are 2 inches (in the pink), the black and green are 1 inch, the white is 1/2 inch and the light green are 1/4 inch. I marked just the 2 inch grid in water soluble ink and used a ruler as I went for the rest. I really like the way it turned out!

Here's the friend Lissa gave me the idea of making stripes on the back. I decided to make them wavy so it looked more like a watermelon rind. The lighter colored stripes were cut out freehand with a rotary cutter. Then I just pinned them on and used a zigzag stitch to tack them down. I think the green is kind of perfect...since this is going to be a picnic blanket, the grass stains will blend right in! 

I entered this quilt in the quilt show as I promised my sister I would. Luckily they extended the deadline for entries an extra week, or I wouldn't have made it. Normally finishing a quilt like this would have been no problemo, but by the time I finished it I was about 38 weeks definitely moving slower, and swelling (so I couldn't stand at the quilting machine for very long)--and not feeling very well some made it a little rough there at the end, but it was a great distraction--made that last couple months of pregnancy fly by! And I'm just glad it's finally done. So it had to have a label on the back for the show. I had a little too much fun with this label. Too bad we are moving soon so the address on it will be wrong...guess I'll have to make another one! 

Yay for fun quilts!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flower Wheel Quilt

Yay for Blogger's Quilt was the motivation for me to start this blog 3 years ago--and it keeps me posting! So here's a fun spring quilt I finished recently! This quilt has been waiting patiently for about 3 years to be completed! I don't generally have a lot of unfinished quilts lying around--this was one that I just couldn't let go of, but couldn't quite finish either...until now! 

I kind of love how this quilt turned out...but it definitely didn't start out looking like this! The original plan was MUCH different. Shortly after I made my first stripey quilt (which was the quilt from my first quilty blog post ever!) I got all excited about stripey quilts and wanted to make another one. I also wanted to make a spring quilt with cute applique flowers on it, so I decided to make a quilt that had diagonal stripes and flowers appliqued over the top...a little spring wall hanging. It sure seemed like a good idea at the time...but sadly, it wasn't. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until I had sewn all the stripes together and made 8 applique flowers. The stripes were just too busy and it didn't look good. Need a visual? Don't worry, I took a picture of the diagonal striped failure before I hacked it all apart! :) 

So the picture above shows the original plan...cute in theory, but once I tried to put the flowers on top, they just got lost. I didn't know what to do with it, so into a box it all went. I pulled it back out a couple of times and tried some different layouts...

...but I wasn't in love. So back into the box it went. Fast-forward to February of this year. After a quilt idea drought that lasted from September til January (likely brought on by pregnancy) all of the sudden the ideas were just flowing! I had been wanting to make some kind of quilt using my 9 degree wedge ruler. I bought it to make the Freebird circle quilt and Freebird wedge quilt but hadn't used it since. In the middle of one sleepless night I started thinking about that wedge ruler --and then I remembered this quilt--and inspiration struck! (Thank you insomnia!) The next morning I pulled it all back out and started plotting!


I wish I could say that this was as easy as just cutting apart the diagonal stripes and sewing it all back together...but it wasn't. I had to break out my (rusty) geometry skills and figure out what size to make the white wedges. I somehow figured out that I needed nine 31 degree wedges. Too bad I didn't have a 31 degree ruler. Instead I just had to wing it...I made myself a little fabric template by sewing three of the 9 degree wedges together plus about half another one, and adding seam allowances. It almost worked perfectly. Once I sewed it all together, the circle was only short by about 1/2 an inch, so then I just fudged it. Go me. :)

I appliqued the flowers to the white wedge sections before I sewed it all together. And I just love these flowers so here are some close-ups. They come from the book Flower Festival by Kim Schaefer. There are tons more flowers in the book too...I just picked a few of my favorites and added my own embellishments here and there.

The quilting on this one was super fun! I did a radiating zigzag around the outside of the circle with loops in every other row and echoed the zigzag in the center circle. Once again, my loops are all crazy...but I've just accepted the fact that I can't make uniform loops. Oh well. The white sections around the flowers were filled with a swirly flower meander.

Most of the cute fabrics in the wedge sections are from the line Ivy Trellis by Gabriella Hunter. It is a super old Riley Blake line...the first Riley Blake fabric I ever bought. The rest is just random stuff I had that matched. 

The backing is all pieced together from the leftover yardage and stripey scraps I had. Not my favorite back ever...but waste not want not, right?

I bound it in the cute stripe fabric and I added a label on this one...I don't normally label my quilts, but my older sister talked me into entering a couple quilts into the HMQS quilt show last week in Salt Lake City, and this was one of them. Since they had to have a label, I thought I might as well make it cute! I entered this in the Wall Hanging category (it's 50 x 50") and though it did not win, the quilt got mostly positive comments back from the judges. Yay! They thought my loops needed help...but then I already knew that! :) 

I was planning on just keeping this one, but instead I'm giving it to my cute friend Jami who saw it and loved it. She has been a bright and happy part of my life here in New Hampshire and I will be sad to say goodbye! We're both moving away this summer to start our real lives...(our husbands are both finally going to be REAL doctors!). I'm glad she'll have this little reminder of her crazy, neurotic, quilt making friend. 

Have fun checking out all the other great quilts at the festival!