Friday, October 31, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival:Gathered Ghastlies

I'm just dying to share my latest Ghastly creation for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I have been obsessed with this fabric line since it came out.  With each new release I add more to my collection so I have to keep coming up with creative ways to use it.

I've had this one in mind for a while...  it's sort of a mash up of my Cracking Up quilt and this Beachy Wave quilt.  I started with a simple strip pieced quilt using the fabric repeat to determine the width of the strips.

I pieced the strip quilt and quilted it using a simple broken glass pattern before adding the ruffles.

The ruffles are a little tricky.  I cut two strips 5" by the wof and joined them end to end then sewed them right sides together along the long side to make a really long tube.  When gathering I find it easiest to set my stitch length to the longest length and turn my top tension all the way up to the highest setting.  I sewed two rows of gathering stitches down either side of each ruffle.  The key for easier gathering is NOT to catch the seam allowance in your basting stitches.  I pinned each ruffle to my quilt adjusting them so the gathers were fairly even and then top stitched down the center of each ruffle using coordinating thread.

And I got to indulge my other obsession, Tula Pink!!!  The Absinthe colorway of NightShade coordinates perfectly with the Ghastlies:-)

It's the perfect addition to my absolutely Ghastly foyer:-)

My undying admiration goes to Amy for once again organizing the Blogger's Quilt Festival!!!  I've entered this in the Small Quilts category.  The end is near, today is the last day to enter your quilt.  Don't be left behind!

Also linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 40" x 68"
Fabrics:  from the Ghastlies collections by Alexander Henry, Heath. Backing: Absinthe Spider Blooms from Nightshade by Tula Pink.  Binding: Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander.
Batting:  Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo
Thread:  King Tut Rosetta Stone 978, Aurifil Victorian Rose(2445)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: It's been a Ghastly Week

As soon as October rolls around I always have to break out my Ghastlies stash.  I already had two Halloween projects hanging around from last year that I'm trying to finish up for this year but I couldn't stop myself from starting something new...

I've been obsessed with this incredible pineapple variation quilt made by the insanely creative Alexis.  I used this awesome pineapple block tutorial by Crazy Mom Quilts to make these blocks.  Cutting all the strips took a while but from there the blocks go together fairly quickly.  I don't usually work with a lot of black and grey but I was able to pull all of this from stash.

As I mentioned in my Around the World Blog Tour post I don't really plan things out preferring to work more by trial and error.  My original vision for this quilt was to have additional fussy cut Ghastlies blocks in the negative space.  I tried a few different ideas but it was way too busy and just looked like a hot mess.

 I'd also deliberately made the blocks wonky so it was going to be a challenge to fit them together since the outer rings wouldn't match up.  Eventually I came up with this configuration...  I like the way the cornerstones in the sashing echo the center diamonds.  From a distance it creates an interesting vibrating XO effect.  Now the race is on to get it quilted before Halloween is over and it gets banished to the UFO pile until next year:-)

Speaking of the Around the World Blog Tour, I tagged my fabulous friend Tina of ModGeometry.  Hop on over to her blog to get a glimpse of her creative process and awesome quilts!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Quilting it up with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Meet Murray the Whale

It's that time of year again... time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I've been on a bit of a nautical kick this year and preppy has always been my thing so the minute I saw Oh, Fransson!'s Preppy the Whale pattern I knew I had to make one.  As luck would have it Elizabeth was looking for pattern testers and I begged offered to help.

I wanted to make a single block to test the pattern before committing to cutting all my fabrics.  This pink whale was inspired by the Vineyard Vines logo.  I named him Murray in honor of Shep & Ian, the brothers who founded Vineyard Vines.  He was so cute I knew I had to put him in his own quilt.  What could be preppier than stripes and a kelly green binding?

I used the thicker 12 wt. Aurifil thread to quilt this.  I love the extra definition it adds!!!

Of course I couldn't resist the chance to take a trip to Martha's Vineyard for a photo shoot!

A huge thank you to Amy for once again organizing the Blogger's Quilt Festival!!!  I've entered this in the Small Quilts category.  For a whale of a good time check out all the participants:-)

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 42" x 52"
Pattern: Based on Preppy the Whale by the fabulous Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!
Fabrics: Kona Nautical and Carnation, Bella Solids White.  Binding: Bella Solids Kelly.  Backing: Riley Blake large gingham in Navy
Batting: Quilter's Dream Wool
Thread: Aurifil  50wt and 12wt in White (2024) and Very Dark Navy (2785)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stadium Seating

On any given Sunday in the fall you'll find me in the football stands cheering, usually while working on something quilty:-)  Given that those bleacher seats can be cold and hard (and occasionally wet) I decided we needed something warm and soft to sit on.  The result, my stadium seating blanket.

I wanted the bottom to be water-resistant so I started with this awesome Joel Dewberry laminated cotton that I picked up at Marden's last summer.  For the top I went with a coordinating felted wool.  In between I added 2 layers of Quilter's Dream wool batting (a single batting folded in half) for cushioning.  I made this in the same way I described for my Anthropologie Hack Chalkbaord Table Runner but here are a few more tips if you want to make one for yourself.  If you've never made a mitered edge start by reading my Self Binding Napkin tutorial for complete instructions on this technique

Supplies Needed:
1 yard 60" wide laminated cotton
1/2 yard felted wool (wool usually comes 50" wide)
1 Craft Sized (36" x 46") wool batting

I started by quilting the felted wool and wool batting together using simple straight lines.  It's hard to quilt through all that wool but as long as you pin heavily and roll your edges up tightly it will work.  Also, I used a coordinating thread and masking tape as a guide so it didn't have to be perfect.  It's easier to quilt your wool sandwich and then trim it down to the size you want.  In this case 15" x 49".  I also recommend basting around the edges 1/4" from the edge to make it easier to sew it to the laminate.

Cut a piece of laminate 6" x 30" for the strap.  Fold the strap in half lengthwise wrong sides together and sew along one short side and along the long raw edge.  Turn the strap right side out and sew it to the center of one of the short sides of your wool sandwich.  When sewing with laminate it's helpful to use clover clips rather than pins which will leave permanent holes.  Also, you should increase your stitch length  to 3.0 and use a denim needle.

Cut the laminate 22" x 56".  Mark the center point of each side of your wool sandwich and your laminated cotton.  Start with one long side and match the center points, wrong sides together.  Stitch the length of the wool sandwich using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Repeat on the remaining 3 sides starting and stopping where you meet a seam allowance.  Make sure your strap is tucked inside and leave a small hole on one of the long sides for turning.  Miter the corners by drawing a line from the folded edge to the sewn seamline.  Stitch along this line and trim to 1/2" on all 4 corners.  

Turn your blanket right side out through the hole.  Push out your perfectly mitred corners with a chopstick.  I used a  whip stitch to sew the hole closed by hand rather than topstitching as I would normally because I didn't want holes in my laminate to let water through.

The finished blanket is 17" x 50", plenty of room for two adults, and rolls up easily for storage.

It's hard to believe that after 7 years this is Audrey's last year of cheering for our local Pop Warner league.  Never fear, I expect this will still get plenty of use... she's planning on trying out for the high school cheer team next year:-)  Go A-B!!!

Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

The lovely Shauna of lovinquiltin tagged me in the Around the World Blog Tour and since it coincided perfectly with my 4th blogiversary this seemed like the perfect time to reflect.  I had no idea what I was getting myself in to when I started blogging but I wanted to become an active participant in this amazing community which has given me so much creative inspiration and support.  Along the way I've made friends with some of the most fabulously talented quilters in the world, served as President of the BostonMQG, been featured in Quilting with a Modern Slant, and made more quilty things than I ever imagined possible.
Why do I write/create what I do? Quilting keeps me sane!  I am incredibly bad at doing nothing so having something to sew while I watch TV, attend a sporting event, ride in a car, or wait for practice to end keeps me occupied.  Even my non-quilty friends don't blink when I whip out a binding to tack while we're hanging out.  I love the way that I can express myself creatively through fabric and since I'm always cold have something useful to show for it.
I started blogging with this simple goal: "I hope I can do for you what so many others have done for me: make you laugh, show you how to do a thing or two, and ignite your creativity."  I love how my blog documents my creative journey and reminds me to keep it fun.

How does my writing/creating process work?I'm a bit ADD when it comes to quilting.  I usually have a bunch of projects going on at the same time and flip between them depending on what I'm in the mood to do and what works with the block of time available.  Most of my quilts are inspired by another quilt I absolutely loved.  Then I'll start thinking about how I would have done it differently.  In most cases I start with an idea but not a fully formed plan.  I work largely from trial and error.  My husband built me this fabulous design wall which is constantly in use as I move things around and try different designs.  I'm really messy and there's usually fabric everywhere.  Once I start it generally evolves away from the original and takes on more of my style.  

Choosing a quilting design is the hardest part of the process for me.  The texture of the quilting can really make or break the finished quilt so I've really pushed myself the last few years to expand and improve my machine quilting skills.  I almost always make a small sample with the fabrics I'm using in my quilt which I use to test my tension, thread colors, and quilting ideas before tackling my quilt.  Later I bind them and use them as mug rugs that end up scattered around my house.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? Quilting has been around for hundreds of years so it's almost impossible to come up with anything "new".  It's fun to see traditional patterns become trends as everyone jumps on the latest must make bandwagon.  While I'm not immune, I try to change things up a bit...  

When left to my own devices pattern testing Preppy the Whale for Elizabeth Hartman I made a single block and set it in a striped background.  
Inspired by Katy's Hexie MF I used child labor willing sixth graders to make this end of year gift for their teacher.

Oh, and I use a lot more pink!
What am I working on?
Binding my latest Ghastly creation...
Pondering what to do next with this Out to Sea Penny Patch...
Wondering where I'm going with this nautical medallion idea...
Procrastinating scheduling time at Laurena's to quilt these finished tops...
Panicking because there are only 65 days until Christmas and there all those gifts to be made:-)
To keep the fun going I'm inviting two of my favorite fellow BostonMQG members to join.  Tina from ModGeometry is not only one of the sweetest people around she has an amazing eye not just for quilting but for actually designing her own fabric.  She's busy finishing up projects to take to Quilt Market (lucky duck) but graciously agreed to take time to share her creative process.  Rebecca and I have been friends since the earliest days of the BostonMQG.  We've had so many fabulous adventures together and I am always awestruck by her quilts.  Take a peek at her absolute color genius on her blog Parsley is the New Black.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: Inspiration

A few weekends ago our local community art center, ArtSpace Maynard hosted an open studio.  I mainly went to support my dear friend Whitney Heavey who creates these amazing oil paintings inspired by her time on Cape Cod. What I wasn't expecting was to stumble across so much quilting inspiration!

Also in residence is mixed media artist Jeanne Williamson who created these beautiful monoprinted fabric panels.  For 7 years Jeanne challenged her creativity by creating a small quilt each week.  365 quilts later she published The Uncommon Quilter which provides a whole year's worth of projects to try.

I was completely blown away by the work of Merill Comeau.  Merill creates murals with cloth, often discarded clothes and sheets which she then paints and stitches together to create these amazing scenes.

Of course there's no reason to constrain yourself to using fabric when quilting.  This Hardware Quilt #1 by Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch is made with repurposed radiator covers and CDs.

This fall has been crazy busy so I haven't had much time to actually quilt so it was nice to have some new inspiration while I dream of all the projects I can start once I get back in my studio.  I'm not sure I'm ready to switch to metalwork but maybe I'll give painting on fabric and some collage work a try.  For now I'll just be happy if I can finish up something Ghastly before Halloween:-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Quilting it up with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Haunted Hexies

Things get totally Ghastly around here in October and while you'd think I wouldn't need another quilted Halloween decoration last year I started working on even more.  I got this table runner completely pieced but then Halloween came and went and I never got around to quilting it...

My original plan was to FMQ spiderwebs across the whole runner but after looking at it awhile I decided the quilting would just get lost.  Instead, I just outlined the rows of the hexagons and then did spiraling triangles on the connectors.  I love the effect, it almost looks 3D!

Of course the minute I put it on the table I realized I should have added another hexagon to each end:-(  Maybe this one will be gifted and I'll have to make another one for myself...

 Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 28" x 60"
Fabrics: Haunted Mansion by Sanae Jellyroll.  Green Grunge by basic grey.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo
Thread: Green Olives, King Tut #990