Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I went shopping...

I went shopping at Intown Quilters, the quilt shop near my extended family in Atlanta. I've been doing more and more color experimentation lately, and today's shopping exemplified that (THANKS, MOM!).

The top 4 bolts will become a HST quilt of some sort - there are SO MANY patterns out there that sneakily use HSTs to make something incredibly complex. Thanks to Pinterest and Flickr, there are lots of inspiration quilts, and I'll probably go through 4 or 5 iterations before I choose my final design.

The bottom two bolts which are much harder to see in this picture are stash builders. I've realized that I have very few reds and pinks in my stash. That clearly needed to be remedied.  It's also surprising since I really like red and white together, and red/white/black combinations.

Anyways, I won't be back with my sewing machine until the evening of January 2nd, and then I start major studying for the Nursing Licensure Exam (NCLEX), so I'll keep planning out quilts in my head. I'm sure I'll piece as a destressing tool leading up to the exam, but most of my time will be spent at school or Starbucks up until mid January. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

See you in the New Year

I'm on my way to Atlanta and DC for the next 9 days. I'm sure I'll take a field trip to Intown Quilters in Atlanta, but otherwise no project work for me until I'm back in Boston.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bound and About to be Gifted.

Since I'm leaving town on the 24th, and I'm seeing A tonight, the yellow/green helix quilt is going to its new owner this evening. This past week of studying for an hour-ish a day, going running, and quilting has been great, but that's ending soon with traveling to Atlanta and DC for the holidays then full on hobbit hole hiding while studying for the boards once I get back to Boston.

Quilt Stats:
Top: Riley Blake Cotton Stars in Green and Yellow, Robert Kaufman Kona Coal
Backing: Minky Dimple Dot in Oatmeal
Quilted: Meandering loops & double loops inside the green and yellow areas with Aurifil 50

 I took the quilt outside my apartment, the wind picked up that corner. The light sucks, but it's winter, and I didn't finish before 3pm, so c'est la vie. 

 The binding is pieced from the yellow and green star fabric. I still have just under half a yard of each of those left. I also have it in gray, so I see something with the green/yellow as accents to the gray stars. 

This is to show the Minky Dimple Dot in Oatmeal. 

Rolled up and ready to be gifted. Especially key that it's easy to carry since I'm taking the T to dinner tonight since it's in an area of Boston with limited parking (oh wait, that's all of Boston). 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Free Motion - Double Loops

Today was quilting day on the green and yellow helix quilt. I'm on a kick for backing with the minky I got a few months ago when it was on mega sale on (it was only $8/yard and normally it's $11-13). Since it's 60" wide, it's whole cloth backing which makes my life a lot easier. And I'm also in love with spray basting, so it's super quick with whole cloth and spray basting to get a top and a back ready to go. I fully assembled the center area of the quilt this morning. I had already gotten all the rows joined, but then I had to join the rows vertically. I did it in sections of 4 rows at a time, then connected each of those three sections to get this - my points matched up quite well, so I was pleased when everything was fully joined how crisp the corners were.

This is fully quilted, so the fact that it's not laying flat is okay, because I was just being a little lazy in smoothing it out. There aren't any puckers on it. The gray areas are just regular meandering loops. The quilt is 60" x 70" - perfect for sitting on the couch.  

The green and yellow helix parts have double loops for their quilting. And I did it continuously within each color. It was easier to handle that way.  This was a new free motion pattern for me; I have the book Beginner's Guide to Gree Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner, and it's fantastic for learning the basics, and this is one of those patterns. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Working on a Present

I have been working on a quilt for the past week with all the blocks made and ready to be assembled. It's a Christmas present/thank you for listening to me complain about nursing school for the last year and a half present. I'm making this one right now and a second one will be made in January for the other good buddy (these guys are also on my rowing team, but we go out as a trio off the water quite frequently). These are for two of my close friends in Boston. The first one is a pattern I've been itching to try. It reminds me of DNA and I'm making for someone who is a Post Doc in infectious diseases and immunology. He works in a lab and actually discovered a new strain of the disease he's researching. So this pattern just made sense to me for him. Also, his high school and undergrad university have the same colors, so I used those as the basis for the color scheme.

The only blocks not in this picture are the green and gray HSTs. The overall quilt will be 60"x70". the helix pattern is 6 blocks by 12 blocks, with each finished square coming to 5". I used the stack two squares, sew around the edge, then cut diagonally for the HST making, so 4 at once. Then I squared them up to 5.5". Didn't take long at all, and the solid areas on either side will be whole cloth, so no block making other than the helix - and the helix/DNA thing is why I thought of this pattern this buddy.

PS I graduated from Nursing School this past Friday. I am now a BSN and will be taking the boards in January with a big move to DC immediately following become a member of the US Navy Nurse Corps. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The quilting has begun on Asterisk

Last night I pieced all the rows together to finish the top and this morning I spray basted it to a minky dimple dot backing.

Now is the big reveal of which layout I chose, it wasn't either of the ones shown initially, but it is an organized one; I couldn't get any random ones to look right.

The quilting itself is an all over stipple, and I'm using a turquoise to white variegated thread from Aurifil.

Update (8 hours later): The entire top is quilted. There's one small pucker on the back, but since it's Minky it's not very noticeable. I'm quite pleased. Spray basting is definitely my new, favorite quilting tool. If Only I'd learned of it sooner. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flannel Fun Time

Last week during the snow row, one of my teammates was complaining that you can't get a decent scarf for less than thirty bucks. He is not a fashion connoissieur, not by a long shot, but apparently he cares about scarves. To that end, I told him for a lot less than $30, my sewing machine and I could produce something he would be happy to wear.  Today with $8 of flannel and some HSTs later, there is a scarf for him.

I used the layer two squares on top of each other method to make the HSTs. 

 Here they are, still folded. 

And voila, a scarf was born. I actually made it into chevrons first, then folded it over to end up with the candy cane striping. It's top stitched around the edge to stop the tube from being anything but flat. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Green Baby will be handed off tomorrow!

As mentioned, I was making Green Baby for one of my nursing school classmates. Well, tomorrow is our last day of classes (holy crap, we graduate in 8 days!). I will be passing the quilt off to N and baby AJ. This sweet little girl will be getting a cuddly quilt. I finished the binding this evening so that next week when we have finals, I'm not stressing about a quilt, because I know I would.

Here are the fully finished pictures. Apologies for the poor lighting, but it's nearly 11pm, and I don't have sun here in Boston at these hours - if only. These are all of the quilt rolled or folded - go back a few posts and there are plenty of it open wide. For any keen observers, this is the same binding that I used on the Irish Road (pink and green quilt).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Decisions, decisions - which layout to use?

I have finished all the Asterisk blocks as of about half an hour ago. This means it's layout time. I did the first layout organized by pattern and the second random-ish which would still need some blocks moved around (mind you this is in the area under the stairs on the first floor of my apartment building since it's the only open, unused large, flat space so I didn't spend a ton of time on the random-ish).

Note that in the random-ish layout, there are three of the plaid 
diagonally together, so those would need to be swapped
with one of the dotted patterns - too much of a pattern there. 

Let me know in the comments which one you like better. I'm leaning towards the random layout, and so far the couple votes I've already gotten off the blog go the same direction. I'm looking forward to finishing this one up since it's one I'm actually keeping for myself. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2/3 of the the way there

I have finished (and squared up) 20 of the 30 asterisk blocks. I really want to finish this one since it is going to be the quilt for my couch. I'm backing it with minky, just like the green baby squares so it'll be super soft for movie watching.

And now it's time for my rowing team's holiday party - we had a snow row this morning which was a lot of fun, even if my toes were numb by the end. We even had candle hats to make one of the boats a menorah since the masters coach and I are Jewish. Plus a Santa and some reindeer scattered in the other boats on the water.

Friday, November 30, 2012

5 more asterisk blocks

The polka dot blocks were finished today. I had a paper due and an exam yesterday which is why there was a lack of progress, but now I only have one assignment due in a couple weeks and one final on the 13th before I graduate.

So now 1/3 of the blocks are complete. Doing them in 5 block chunks is nice; it's easy to do one group at a time and not have it feel daunting.

Green Baby - Spray Basting I LOVE YOU!

I was bad in taking process photos once I had assembled the green baby into the top, but now I've got pictures of the front, the back, and a detail on the all over loopy quilting. I used minky as the backing without any batting. Minky has enough heft to it for the quilt to be plenty sturdy. And it's still soft and moveable, good for wrapping around baby.

I used spray basting as I'd read on other blogs that it was great for minky. Initially I added in some safety pins, too, but I really didn't need them. There are few, if any, puckers, and it didn't get anything on the needle. I am completely sold. It also took a whopping 10 minutes to lay out the backing entirely flat, spray, then smooth the top over it. I could get used to that. Also, the meandering loops quilting took about an hour for the whole top.

Quilt facts: 36"x48"
Top: Kona Solids and Pink Castle Stash Stack Club for the patterns, I didn't pay too close attention to the selvege edges (oops!)
Back: Minky in Lime
Here it is! All that is needs is binding. 
 I think it's fantastic how the quilting shows up in the loft plush of the Minky. So even though it's solid, there's definitely interest on the back. And PS that is one continuous quilting design over the entire top, no stoppage during the process, and it used exactly one bobbin. 
 A close up of the meandering loops. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Groupons are a Great Thing - Stash Building with a Purpose

I bought a 50% off coupon to one of the fabric stores near my mom's house a little over a month ago knowing that I'd be home for Thanksgiving and able to use it then. Well, I am now home for the holiday, and I went to G Street to use my coupon today. I've been using Pinterest lately as an inspiration source. And I won't let myself start on either of the projects for which I purchased fabric, until I finish the Asterisk and the Green Baby Quilt. The Green Baby is coming along nicely, and I will be assembling the rows this week - I brought it home with me, the beauty of having a mother who also has a sewing machine at home so I didn't have to bring mine.

I bought three brown batiks and a rich brown Moda Bella solid to use for the helix around a pole in color gradation. The deep wine color and the puple/pink batik will be used for the other, interwoven helix seen on the right with a charcoal as the background to let the saturated hues pop. This is just a sneak peak at what's to come since it'll probably be December/January time when I start on one of these. But since it's all squares/half square triangles, should come together fairly quickly.

Happy holidays to you all, and now I'm off to the dentist. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coming together!

Because of the layout I chose for the green squares baby quilt, I'm going to have to make two more blocks - one of the striped and one of the darker solid. That said, I have my lay out done and all but one row are ready to be joined.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

48 blocks of baby quilt

All 48 blocks of this baby quilt are done ready for full assembly some time in the next few days. Although I've got an overnight at the hospital tonight, so my guess would be Saturday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chain Piecing :)

I had never chain pieced before today. I can tell you, that it will be happening a lot more now. It was amazing. I got 24 blocks sewn with their first seams in under half an hour. There are another 24 to go with the first strips, and I can tell you that will end up happening this evening because it goes so quickly.
Here you see the first 24 blocks so far and the stack of other green squares + white rectangles. These are for a baby that's due in March. The back will be lime green minky. 

In other news, I'm participating in a Color Wheel Swap. My assigned color was purple. This is the fabric I'm sending. The rules were it had to be high quality quilting cotton (duh, like I would get anything else), patterned, read as your assigned color, and not be batik. I have sent in my 8 fat quarters as off today, and sometime after Thanksgiving I'll get 8 fat quarters that are the whole rainbow back. 

And remember a week or two ago how I made a field trip to Ikea to get an actual coffee table. While there, I also stopped in the market place to get these .89 metal flower pots for scraps. They are now along the back of my sewing desk. I had never had a good way to organize. There are a few more pots not shown so I can have more color separation if needed (right now yellow and orange are together, but pink and red are separate, so depending on numbers for future projects, I could move stuff around). 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Irish Road Finished

This is a quilt top that I made in August, start to finish in 2.5 days. I had just finished the summer semester of an 18-month accelerated nursing program that encompased pediatric, OB, and community nursing (PS I graduate 38 days from now). At the bar after following our last final, the entire cohort was convinced that we'd all have to retake the semester. The next week turned into lots and lots of quilting to destress. We only got 3 weeks of summer and most of mine was spent with my sewing machine.

Here is the quilt in pictures through all its stages from August until this past weekend when I finished it on Saturday. I was delinquent in blogging because I didn't have light for taking pictures, and my cell phone's camera is severely lacking (and it only works about half the time).

Here are the blocks arranged on my floor before being sewn together. 

This was after the top was fully pieced, and with the backing fabric. 

The beginning of the quilting where I show that I'm outlining each of the big areas - this is my first quilt where I'm not just doing stitch in the ditch - doesn't hurt that I purchased a new, meant for quilting machine just before starting this. 

A close of up the quilting. You can see that each large area is outlined next to the green steps, then I did a line on either side of the all the long seams. 

Here is the full quilt outside my building.

With the back flipped up - pink and green are good complements. I didn't want this to come off as too girly because of the pink, and the green was the way to do that. 

 The binding is a slightly darker green that echoes the circles on the pale green on the top with little, round starburts all over. I also top stitched the binding down when I couldn't find any hand needles. This was a first, as well, and I'm quite pleased with the result. I slowed down the maximum speed of my machine and used the walking foot, and I can see myself doing that again in the future. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

All Squared Up

I have now squared up all the Asterisk blocks. They are currently 8", and then once I set them on point, the blocks will be around 12". In other news, I also acquired an actual coffee table which will also be my cutting surface, it's perfect height to my couch for that and it's 30" square so it's got a nice amount of space. Previously my "coffee table" was a storage tub with a non-flat lid. It was finally starting to bother me, so a field trip to Ikea and $30 later, I've got an actual coffee table. What's great is it has a shelf under, and I can store quilt blocks in progress there, my cutting mat, rulers, etc. In an apartment that's only 284 sq. ft, every little bit of storage is key!

That is 30 blocks right there, and all the trimmings plus a small glimpse at the new table. I'm pretty pleased with how the blocks are right now. Since the rowing season ends after this weekend's trip to Philadelphia, I'll have quite a bit more time to dedicate to this and other projects that are crying out (3 baby quilts for two friends who are expecting - one of those friends has twins on the way). 

A Quilting Tool Kickstarter

Hi Readers,

I have a mac, which is great 99% of the time. But I can't use EQ because they don't seem to like macs (ie they're lazy and don't want to hire programmers to make a unix based system that fits into the OSX kernals). From the last sentence you can see that I'm a little bit of a geek, and I won't deny that which is why I'm super excited for what the people over at Threadbias are up to.

I saw this over on Freshly Pieced, there's a Kickstarter campaign for a WEB BASED quilt designing tool. That means it doesn't matter what kind of computer you have, all that matters is that you can get onto the interwebs. If you have interest, please consider donating to this group.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fabric Additions

Last week was having a sale. It included Minky, which at 60" wide is a bargain when found for less than $10/yard. I now have a few yards of it in my life. I intend to use it as backing fabric for an upcoming baby quilt for one of my nursing school classmates. It will also serve as the back to my asterisk quilt to make it snuggly. These quilts won't have batting as the Minky adds enough heft. I also ordered a bunch of Aurifil thread since the 1300 yard spools were only $8.50, and they are normally in the neighborhood of $10.50-$12 depending on the shop.

The silver will back the Asterisk. The blue is a question mark. The green for the baby quilt. 
Also, for the asterisk quilt, all of the asterisks are done. It's time to square those up so that I can set them on point, but that is a task for after the Head of the Charles Regatta. Friday I'll be a marshal for the visiting crews from 9a-6p, then Saturday I'll be racing, and Sunday I'll be catching up with rowing friends who are in from across the country for the event. 

I have also joined the Pink Castle Fabrics Stash Stack Club, I get a half yard of 6 different prints (which is a half stack, a full stack would be 12  color coordinated prints) with one color theme each month. For October, the theme is lime green. These came yesterday along with the Minky arriving. This photo doesn't do the colors justice, but my apartment is on the 1st floor of a 4 story building facing the courtyard - ie very little good lighting.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quiet Week on the Sewing Front, Big Week on the Rowing Front

Last week and this week are quiet on the sewing front. The rowing season is gearing up for its big finish. This past weekend my team went to the New Hampshire Championships, and we came home with some bling. The men and I double rowed (well, I rowed one and drove the boat for the other). They got medals for the pairs racing ( 2 person boat where each rower has one oar: one port rower, one starboard rower), and I medaled with them in the 4+. My other event was in the 2x, a two person sculling boat (each rower has two oars). 

Here we are sporting our Silver medals from the 4+, 
and the guys have their silver and bronze from the pairs, as well. 

This coming weekend is the Head of the Charles, it's the biggest regatta in the world with 9,000 competitors and 300,000 spectators. We will be rowing the same 4+ lineup (that "+" means there's a coxswain who drives the boat, and that's my spot in the line up). Friday, I'll be a marshall on the course for the out of town crews who want to get a chance to see the course before they're racing it. So I'll be on the river from 8a-6p. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hello, Wednesday, it's WIP time!

This week has been very productive. For one, I've finished the quilting on the Irish Road baby quilt that I made in August. All that's left is the binding. I already have the fabric, I just need to do the requisite ironing to finish this one out. I was full of fail though and didn't think to take pictures while the quilt was in my new machine which makes the quilting so smooth. A reminder of what the top looks like:

But, aside from that, I started on an Asterisk quilt and have gotten decently far. I've got 20 of the 30 blocks ready to be set on point. I've used the Moda A Stitch in Color in pear and turquoise for these blocks.

This is a big deal that I've ironed ALL the seams open. The blocks are so pretty. There are 15 that are the prints with white asterisk lines, and there are currently 5 that are white with the turquoise/pear dots. There will soon enough be another 10 that are in the plaid and big dots as seen below. All of these will be set on wonky point with whatever the asterisk lines are - either white for the print blocks or the respective prints for the white blocks.

 Can I repeat: SO MUCH IRONING!!!
 Oooh, pretty, the inverse blocks from each other. 
Oooh, look, all three prints from a coordinating line.