Friday, January 28, 2011

Quilt Motivations

Let me be clear. I LOVE making quilts.
I love finding inspiration, designing, cutting (yes, I said cutting), piecing and eventually quilting.

Yet, I struggle.
I would love to be one of those people who makes a quilt, just because.
Yet, I’m not.
I struggle because my biggest hurdle is always the Why? and How?

Why being…why am I making this quilt? Is it for a baby shower, raffle, challenge, swap, gift, etc.
How being…how big is the quilt going to be?

The why is the driving force behind why I’m able to finish the projects that I do. It gives me a purpose for doing the craft that I enjoy.  Yet, it also means that I can never just make a quilt because.
The how is mysterious to me and I blame it on my inner voice. I can only seem to grasp 3 sizes of quilts.

1- Doll Quilt…Something to be put on your wall or given to a child for her dolls
2- Baby Quilt…Something that measures about 36x48
3- Bed-Size Quilt…Something that measures 60x80 or larger

Most of my work falls into the Baby Quilt size, I’ve NEVER made anything larger then like 48x48 because I hit a wall. I lay out the blocks that I’ve made; but my inner voice says. Who is this going to keep warm? Make it larger.

I make it a little larger and then my inner voice says. Well, if you’ve made it this big, why don’t you make it fit on a bed.

After a while I get tired of making the blocks and “give up”, putting the blocks away and turning the quilt into a never-ending WIP (Work in Progress).

When I was younger, my Mom had and still might have this quilting book whose cover included an old armoire that was filled completely with quilts.  I clearly remember telling her every time I saw that book. I want to have that. I want to have so many quilts that they are overflowing and filling a closet or cabinet.

If you’ve read this far, you can see that’s going to be a challenge.

So, I ask you.

Are you crazy like me and must have a reason to make a quilt? or are you one of the lucky ones that does it just because?

Do you struggle with a quilt's size? or don't care and make it whatever size the design needs to be.

Do you have any advice for me on how to break this cycle.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fabrics, Fabrics, Fabrics...yes, again

I received today from FabricShack some yummy fabrics.  80% of these are for swap projects that I'm working on and because I'm still growing my modern fabric stash, it was necessary (hehehehe) for me to buy something, rather then use what was in my stash.

Okay, enough talking...pictures now

Here's some more black and white prints to add to my stash.  I have enough now that I can get started on the Elizabeth Hartmann Snapshots quilt that I've been wanting to make.


The left (Soul Blossoms) and right (ModernAffair) piles are for swap projects, the middle one is just for me.

And finally...I choose green.
These colors in person look tons better, I promise. 
I want to thank the lovely people at FabricShack because I contacted them after I bought a 1/4 yrd of the 4 green shades above and asked if they wouldn't mind labeling them, so I knew exactly which
ones to order yardage of.  Isn't that great customer service?

The green fabrics will be used in my Project Modern: Challenge 2 Quilt...if I can start and of course finish it.

I'm putting myself on a fabric diet now.
Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sewing Bee Saturday

I finished two blocks for my fellow bee members this past Saturday afternoon.  First up is Alison's hearts for the Simply Strings Bee.  We were able to get started on her month a little early since our January member was MIA. 

She sent us fabric strings; but asked if we could include at least 1 string from our stash because it "would be great to look at the finished quilt and not recognise at least one bit of fabric from each heart".  I think that sounds like a great idea.

Next up was Amy's block for the Sew Scrappy Sew Happy bee; which I moderate.  She asked us for a Bullseye block using the tutorial found here.  She sent us 3 honeybun lengths and some linen.  While she only asked for 1 block, I went ahead and made her 2...mostly because I enjoyed working with the Moda Arcadia that she sent.  It was so lovely.



That's it for my bee blocks...I won't have to make more of these until March; which is good because I have enough on my plate with all of the swaps I'm in.

Fabrics, Fabrics, Fabrics

Here's some new fabrics I've picked up over the last week or so. 

The above were purchased from Jackman's Fabrics on Lindbergh

The above was purchased as a quilt kit at Jo-Ann's in Affton


Some of this does actually have a purpose, it's not all stash-building.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pincushion Tutorial "Ride-Along"


I first discovered this type of pincushion over at Lily's Quilts.  Yet, I couldn't find a tutorial for it, so I figured I'd document my process along the way in the hopes of helping others who wanted to make one.

While I am calling this a tutorial, I'm not going to walk you through the entire process from start to finish...think of this as a "Ride-Along" instead.  So, let's get started.

This pincushion is based off of a soccerball; which if you look closely you'll notice both hexagon (6-sided) and pentagon (5-sided) shapes.  When you mix both of these shapes in a certain manner, it automatically starts "folding-in" on itself and creating a rounded shape. 

If you are not familiar with English Paper Piecing and/or making hexagons, I would encourage you to Google "Hexagon Paper Piecing".  There are tons of demonstrations and directions out there.

In order to get the shapes, you'll need to find a template, create your own, or use the one here which I created.  The important thing is that the sides of the pentagons and hexagons must be the same length, otherwise it won't work.  This template I created isn't 100% perfect; but darn near close and is what I used to make my pincushion which measures approx. 4" tall.


I would encourage you to print the templates on cardstock; but I imagine regular paper might work too. 
Now let's cut out the shapes.  You'll need 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.  The template includes extra.



Now collect several scraps of fabric and start covering the shapes.  Again if you don't know how to do this, make sure you Google "Hexagon Paper Piecing".

Don't these look pretty.  Let's "set" the shape, by gently pressing with an iron.


As I mentioned earlier, in order for this to work the shapes need to follow a pattern.  Remember that you are essentially making a FLOWER shape at all times with a pentagon in the center, surrounded by 5 hexagons.


Now that you've done this, let's continue adding shapes to this base remembering that you want a pentagon surrounded by hexagons.  One additional point to remember is that the hexagons along the sides will be shared between two "flowers".  Check out the pic below to see what I mean.


Just keep adding on and you'll notice that "walls" start to be built and a ball is beginning to take shape.
You'll also notice that you are building this from the inside out, meaning that the right side of the fabric is inside.  I found that it's easier to whipstitch from the back or wrong side of the fabric when it is on the outside of the ball.


Eventually it starts looking like this and might be getting harder to get your fingers inside.  Let's start removing some of the paper pieces so it doesn't get too stiff and hard to manage.  A word of advise, don't remove paper from any piece that does not have all it's sides whipstitched to another piece.


Once you have closed up all but the last few seams, Stop. 


Let's carefully turn this pincushion inside out and admire your work.  See, I told you it looks like a Soccer ball.


Find your favorite stuffing and carefully stuff this ball until it holds it's shape and is somewhat firm.


Now, this part was a little tricky for me; because as you'll quickly realize you still have some paper pieces inside the last few shapes.  Carefully unpick the basting stitch, remove the paper and try to reshape the fabric into it's hexagon and pentagon shape.  Let's finish whipstitching all remaining seams being careful to not distort the fabric.  **Mine got a little distorted; it happens and will get better with practice**


Clip the loose threads and admire your work. 



Thanks for riding along on this experiment of mine. 
One last pic.  Here's the lovely little mess that I made.

Thanks for visiting
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Swaps, Swaps and more Swaps

They say the first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem, right?

My problem, I have an addiction to Flickr Swaps. 

What is the cure?  Why, more swaps of course.


Above is my inspiration mosaic for the Doll Quilt Swap (DQS10)


Above is my inspiration mosaic for the {Urban} Home Goods Swap, Round 3

These two are just the latest in a handful of other swaps that I'm participating in so far this year. 
I have even created a list in chronological order of their due dates...
and you'll also be happy to know that I have never missed a due date. 
In fact, I'm usually done at least a few days earlier.


Why are these so swaps so much fun?
  • I get to make something that I might not have attempted before. 
  •  
  • I usually end up adding a few new pieces of fabric to my stash, because you all know that if we need a 1/4 yd; we might as well just order a 1/2 yd (in case of mistakes, right?) 
  •  
  • You meet some interesting people along the way.
  • Some swap members are selected purely by lottery, so there is the fun of wondering if you'll get in.
  • There is also the anticipation of waiting to find out who your swap partner is, will it be the person who loves Cathedral Windows, Applique, Wonky Blocks, etc.
  • Then once you find out who your partner is, you "stalk" them.  You check out their blog, you take a look at their Flickr Favs, you see what comments they have left on discussion threads, etc.  All of this is done in an effort to learn more about their fabric preferences, taste in pattern and style, etc...so you can make something for them that they will truly enjoy.
It's all alot of fun and, okay, maybe a little addicting; but that's part of the rush.
If you aren't already participating in a Flickr Swap, what are you waiting for.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project Modern Challenge: 2

Although I have a Solids Only Challenge that is pending for the STLMQG, it's not due until June.

The Project Modern Challenge on the other hand is due in March.  Last time, I wasted too much time trying to be inspired, that I lost track of time. 

This time, I actually have my design sketched out; but need to decide what color palette to use.  I have to love the palette; because I'm going to be using ALOT of it.



So what looks better in your opinion? Orange, Green or Pink.
Monday, January 10, 2011

New Fabrics

Look what I got in the mail today from Fat Quarter Shop,
some Innocent Crush from Anna Maria Horner.


I think I'm going to make a version of Elizabeth Hartman's (Oh, Fransson!)
Small Plates Quilt from her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork.

I say version because I'm going to use more solid fabrics, I just haven't decided
which color solid to use.  
Sunday, January 9, 2011

Challenge, Challenge, who loves a Challenge

So at Saturday's meeting of the STLMQG (St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild) I revealed the rules and requirements for a Solids Only Challenge.

Robert Kaufman Fabrics graciously provided each of our due-paying members with a Classic Palette Charm Pack and you would not believe that hoots and hollars that were heard when I said "Free Fabric".


You can read all about the Solids Only Challenge here, including the official rules, faqs, etc. 

The quilt is due June 11th, it sounds like a lot of time; but when you haven't a clue what you are going to do...that's not very long at all.