Wednesday, April 20, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Putting the Pieces Together

Putting together my list for Q2 of the 2016 Finish Along reminded me of these pinwheel blocks I made back in February.  I'm not one of those quilters who picks a pattern or completely draws out their quilt in advance...  coloring on graph paper, taking a picture of a block than using a collage builder to layout a design, following a pattern - all great ideas just not the way I work.

There's nothing revolutionary about a bunch of pinwheels so I just threw them up on my design wall...  simple and classic but a little small.

How about if I stagger them?  I like the diagonal lines that creates

Not enough white left for the alternate blocks though so how about a print?  Blech!!!

OK, what if we set the blocks on point?  With sashing? Cornerstones?

And so it goes until eventually I pick a winner and go with it.

With yet another finished flimsy I threw on my sweat pants for a basting day...  and now I've got a stack of quilts ready for a quilting marathon.  Hopefully I can go the distance and actually have a few finishes:-)

Are you a planner or does your design process grow more organically?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

2016 Finish Along Q2: Hope Springs Eternal

It's hard to believe we're kicking off Q2 of 2016.  I didn't do too badly Q1...  I made My Special Snowflake with my Sherbet Pips hexies, made a Sew Together bag to coordinate with my Sewing Circle Tote and got Urban Window and Keeping it Together Again out of TBQ pile...  on the other hand there are still 7 quilts languishing in the TBQ queue with 2 new additions and I still haven't done anything with all those Bonnie & Camille charms.  Bust since hope springs eternal and I definitely do better with a list here goes the plan for Q2:

Tackle the TBQ tower:  1. Mash Up  2. Stair Steps  3. Sloops  
4. Spellbound  5. Houndstooth  6. Here Comes the Sun  
7. Toes In the Sand  8.  Swoon   9. Frenchie

I took this Going Coastal bundle on retreat but didn't get to it.  The plan is to make a Magic Numbers beach blanket.

I whipped up these pinwheels back in February when it seemed like summer would never arrive.  It's time to turn them into a quilt.

I'm also dying to break into this re-released Mendocino bundle.  I'm just waiting for my clamshell templates to arrive.  Nothing says summer like some mermaids and it would be the perfect justification for a beachy vacation/photo shoot;-)

It's a long shot but I finally got enough linen to make the background squares for my Blue Plate Special Dresdens.  It's pieced together so I just need to attach the Dresdens and quilt it.  I'm planning to hand quilt this one but with enough trips to Maine I may be able to get it done.

And then there's all that Bonnie & Camille.  I don't know why I'm so stuck by how to use this but if I keep talking about it eventually it'll happen, right?

Can you tell I'm dreaming of summer?  What are your plans for Spring?  Check out what everyone else will be working on for Q2 at the 2016 Finish-A-Long.

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's All About Me!

Pretty much every week is Selfish Sewing Week at my house so I decided to dedicate this week to refreshing my spring wardrobe.  I bought this Melody Miller Cotton + Steel Mustang the minute it came out intending to turn it in to a border printed skirt but it's been languishing on my shelf.  Last summer was all about the Everyday skirt but I didn't want to fuss with matching the print on the side panels.  After a trip down the Pinterest rat hole I found this awesome tutorial from Cotton + Curls.  Since I had absolutely no confidence in my ability to get this right on the first try I decided to use this Anna Griffin Carmen print for a wearable muslin.  It has a Lilly Pulitzer vibe but I wouldn't be devastated if I messed it up (and could always just cut it up into quilt blocks...)

Luckily, the skirt went together seamlessly;-)  Other than my complete inability to understand how she did the waistband it was easy to whip together and the sizing was perfect.  Did I mention it has pockets - love it!!!

Since it was practice anyway I tried a few new skills...  I took a page from Lilly's book and used this perfectly matched lace hem tape that I scored at Marden's last summer.  I love how professional it looks and it's so easy I'm finishing all my hems this way from now on.

With a few lessons learned I dove into my second one with the border print.  I went with french seams and divided the waistband into 2 pieces and then used the same technique as in the Everyday skirt.  I made this one a little less full, and a bit shorter.

alidiza: It's All About Me!
And because I couldn't resist this seersucker lobster print I had to make one more...  yes, with bow:-)  Shameless knock-off credit goes to Smitten by January Hart...  I LOVE her style!

alidiza: It's All About Me!
In my original plan for the week I was also going to knock out some pjs and a couple of Washi dresses but I realized I really don't enjoy making clothes as much as I enjoying making quilts so I'm taking a break and letting my pin pricked body heal.  Next week is going to be all about quilting but hopefully before summer arrives I'll add a few more handmade items to my closet.  I'm off to an excellent start!

Thank you so much to Rachel at Imagine Gnats for hosting Selfish Sewing Week and pushing me to get out of my usual quilty grind:-)

Also making an appearance at this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

alidiza: Anna Griffin Carmen Full Skirt alidiza: Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel Full Skirt alidiza: Seersucker Lobster Full Skirt with Bow

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Getaway

I went on a girls' getaway weekend to NYC last weekend, a perfect time to make some progress on my neglected La Passacaglia.  Not only did I get lots done but sewing keeps me from annoying Aimee with my backseat driving;-)

I kicked things off with this ring of Tula Pink tigers...

and then moved on to another round of stars.

I also finished up the flowers ring of this large cog.

This one was a lesson in what NOT to do...  Visually it made sense to assemble these as flowers but that meant having to inset the green diamonds.  I made it work but a smarter construction approach would have been to pair the pentagons with the diamonds and build out.

While I'm keeping it real, I might have gotten a bit distracted by the conversation on this one;-)

Here it is all laid out on my design wall.  April vacation is next week so there are some more road trips in my future...  I better start prepping!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mod Log Cabins

My photo shoots have been rather uninspired lately, I blame the weather, but the pics of this one are long overdue.

This isn't really my usual style but I pulled this one together so I could practice FMQ on the longarm at Laurena's.  It wasn't intentional but it kind of feels like I just ran down the MQG's modern quilting checklist...  "These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work."  Yup, I hit them all:-)  You can read the whole backstory on the construction of this quilt here.

This quilt is really all about the quilting.  Some of my favorite sections are the Sunburst in the center...

And these swirls and bubbles.  I definitely need to work on making my circles round but I think this is one I'll use again.

I also love the effect of these overlapping boxes.  This is a design I find very challenging on my domestic but it was really easy on the longarm.

I was lucky enough to get a well timed gust of wind to show off the back.  It was serendipity that I spotted this Deer Valley print from Marden's in my stash.  It really is the perfect backing for this quilt!

Amy of 13 Spools has a great tutorial on Free Motion fillers that work well together so next time I'm going to try to add a few of those to my repertoire.  What's your go to FMQ filler?

Checking in at this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 48" x 62"
Fabrics: Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids: Canary, Raspberry, Wisteria, Iris, Opal, Cloud, Periwinkle, Powder Blue, Kryp, Dirt, Ginger, Sailor, Caribbean, Seafoam and White.
Binding: Kaffe Fasset Serape.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: Signature Mint.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

W.i.P. Wednesday: Obsession

I don't think anyone is going to be shocked to hear that I can be a wee bit obsessive.  It started out innocently enough...  I just grabbed a fat quarter bundle of Briar Rose I'd had for ages to sew something on retreat with the Boston MQG.  I was intending to make Jedi Craft Girl's Stair Steps quilt but things veered a bit of course when I realized my HST print was directional and half my strawberries would be upside down if I stuck to the pattern.  After a few twists and turns on my design wall I came up with an alternate layout and this flimsy.

While I was waiting for backing fabric to arrive to finish it off I decided to make a coordinating Economy block pillow - totally normal.  I had enough of the strawberry print leftover for the back but didn't really like any of the prints for the binding.  I turned to my stash and that's when the trouble began...

First I pulled a couple pinks I thought would work, then found a couple of yellows, by the time I hit the oranges things were totally out of control.  In 20 minutes I had a whole stack pulled that would work and I knew another quilt was going to have to happen.  I should also mention that when I was cutting for Stair Steps each strip left me with some spare 5" and 2 1/2" squares.  I threw the 5" squares up on my design wall and started adding in what I'd pulled from stash.  As I looked at it I realized I was going to get bored just sewing together 5" squares so I started throwing together some 4 patches then railfence blocks and then some HSTs which are really just a gateway block to hourglasses.

I just kept making and mixing until 99 blocks later I had something I really liked.  I even deliberately sized it so I could use the perfect Caleb Gray Groove print I found in my stash for the back.  It was genius until I realized I didn't have any batting...  Did I mention it was also snowing?  You know my motto, "If it snows I don't go!"  Foiled again.

But wait, I still have those 2 1/2" squares!  I threw those together into a basic patchwork pillow which I was able to quilt and by some miracle had a matching zipper in the right size and I actually got to have a finished something to show for all my sewing.

There are a few bits and pieces left for the scrap bin so it may pop up again here and there but for now I think the Briar Rose bonanza of 2016 is done... and that means I can dive in to my Mendocino bundle;-)

My friend Aimee is a "one and done" fabric user.  I think the first project is just a meet and greet to see how the fabrics and I are really are going to work together.  What's your stance on getting back together with your fabric?

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 18" x 18"
Fabrics: Briar Rose by Heather Ross.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Natural White (2021).

Friday, April 1, 2016

Busy As A Bee

I've been trying to keep up my momentum from retreat...  this week I really wanted to play with my new bundle of Mendocino but I stayed focused and finished up a few things.

alidiza: Busy As A Bee
I sewed the binding on Let It Go and just need a sporting event or two to get it tacked...

alidiza: Busy As A Bee
Made these awesome Happy Zombie Block Buddies...  A huge thank you to the amazing Aimee for picking up the supplies AND cutting the boards for me!!!

alidiza: Busy As A Bee - Briar Rose Flimsy
And finished piecing this Heather Ross Briar Rose flimsy.  I might have even pushed thru to finish it if I'd had enough fabric for the backing (This is where Aimee gets to say "I told you so":-).  While waiting for that to arrive I decided I should whip up a matching pillow.

alidiza: Busy As A Bee - Briar Rose Economy Block Pillow
This collection is perfect for economy blocks.  I had so much fun fussy cutting the center squares.  There are a million ways to make these and while many people prefer to paper piece them I went with the pieced version.

alidiza: Busy As A Bee
I had enough of the Strawberry print for the back, complete with zipper closure - thanks to S.O.T.A.K. Handmade for this awesome zipper closure tutorial.

If I'm really good I'll quilt Spellbound and Houndstooth before moving on but it's going to be hard to resist the siren call of the mermaids...  Are you a compulsive finisher or do you flit from project to project?

Buzzing by this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 18" x 18"
Fabrics: Briar Rose by Heather Ross.
Pattern: Based on the 6" Economy Block tutorial from Mack and Mabel.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Natural White (2021).