Urban Blooms

It’s been far too long since I sat behind my sewing machine and created., far too long since I’ve started a quilt, and far too long since I’ve finished a quilt.

Sewing and quilting is cathartic and peaceful.  I love the creative process and the accomplishment.

And so we start a new year and 2012 promises to be filled with lots of quilts! Yipee!

2012 musts:

  • Make quilt for a bff who moved recently
  • Finish quilt for a cousin’s wedding (ahem…she got married a long time ago…gack!)
  • Make quilt for another cousin’s upcoming wedding present
  • Make baby quilt for a cousin’s first baby
  • Finish Ellie’s quilt
  • Make a quilt for myself

First up is called Urban Blooms (unless I come up with a more creative title 😉 ).  I’m loosely using the Lemon Squares pattern by Fresh Lemons.  More than a year ago I bought a quilt kit that was on sale.  It didn’t have the pattern with it, but that was fine, because I bought the kit for the fabric anyway.  I loved the colors and I loved how the colors were out of my normal repertoire/comfort zone.  I’ve been waiting for the perfect occasion and perfect recipient, and I found it.  This one’s for you B:

City Blooms by Benartex

Block “A”

Lavender Fields?

I’m making a baby quilt for my cousin’s friend’s baby.  The colors are purples, greens, and browns, and these are the fabrics I came up with.

I’m having a heck of a time coming up with a name for this quilt.  Sometimes names can be so hard!!!  So far I’ve come up with Lavender Fields.  Do you have any other suggestions?

Hoping to “Catch” Some Color

I’ve worked fast and furious on the Hawg Wild quilt.  Here’s a peak at the layout:

I put the quilted and bound quilt in the washing machine along with 4 color catchers (yes, 4!) and said a little prayer: oh please, color catchers do your job and let the white stay white.  I hope it works!  I will be devastated if it doesn’t, because I won’t have enough time to make a new quilt before Amy leaves.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Be Giddy

My Be Giddy quilt has been complete for some time, but it took awhile to actually snap some photos.  I absolutely love this quilt (don’t I say that about all of them?!?), because the colors are so cheerful.  I used the Piece of Cake 2 Pattern, by Camille Roskelley @ Thimble Blossoms.  It’s a great layer cake pattern, and I love how the pattern shows off the fabrics.

The post wash measurement is 56 x 66.

And this yumminess is all for me! :)

When I washed the Black, White, and Red All Over quilt, a bit of the red bled onto the white.  I was able to get most of the bleed out with stain stick and multiple washes, but ever since that experience I’ve used 2 or 3 Shout Color Catcher each time I was a quilt (especially quilts that have red and white).  Boy am I glad I did this time.  The backing for Giddy is red with pink dots and the front has lots of white.  I’m certain had I not included the 3 color catchers, some of the white would’ve turned pink or red.

2 color catchers from the wash load sandwiched between a fresh out of the box sheet.  They definitely caught lots of color!

Thread Breakage

Nothing irritates me more than thread breakage while I’m quilting.  Why?  Because I have to stop what I’m doing, rethread the machine, and pick out the last few stitches before the thread broke off so that I can secure those threads.  That all takes time.  And to me, that’s really time wasted.

I have been using Essential Cotton Thread from Connecting Threads, and I’ve had very good luck and very little breakage.  The great thing about this thread is 1) it’s cotton, 2) little breakage while quilting and piecing, 3) each spool comes with a lot of thread, and 4) it’s inexpensive for how much thread you get.  But the last 2 spools I’ve used have been giving me trouble with breakage.  Perhaps I just got an off lot, but it’s irritating enough that I ordered the Essential Pro Thread from Connecting Threads to give it a try.  One of my really good friends is a long arm quilter and swears by the polyester thread.  So I’ll try it out and see how I like it.

Summer Lovin’

Two years ago I was very much a newby at quilting.  I had been quilting for all of 2 months, and we had a terrible ice storm.  We were in the house for an eternity and my hubby who was out of town on business could not get home because of all the ice.  So what’s a quilter to do?  I ended up making 54 blocks.  My seam allowance consistency was awful, but hey I was new and I was having fun.  When I finished the blocks I had all the intentions of making a nice quilt with them, but away they were stashed in one of my drawers for the last 2 years.

I took the blocks out recently and studied them.  I love the cheerful colors and the mix of of small and large squares framed.  Each block was *supposed* to be a 12.5 inch square.  Ha!!!  I don’t think any of them (ok, maybe a few) actually turned out that size.  So I decided to trim the blocks down to a 12 inch square.  Now the one thing I absolutely loathe about quilting is squaring my blocks.  These days I generally don’t have to since my seam allowances are quite consistent, but these blocks needed it or else the quilt would have been a disaster!  Squaring the blocks actually took less time than I thought, and now I wish I had done this long ago and not waited 2 years!!!!

Fabric Trimmings

Anyway, the squaring is done, and I now have a nice new quilt top, which will be a later wedding gift.  Hmmmm, late wedding gifts seem to be a recurring theme….  I will also be creating another wedding gift quilt, which is, you guessed it, late.

Variety of fabrics, but lots of Summer in the City by Urban Chicks for Moda

Ethan’s Quilt

Today was Ethan’s turn to layout a layer quilt for his quilt.  Boy did he have a blast!  I helped him out in the beginning by talking to him about mixing up the squares so that not all the yellows are together etc.  Once he got comfortable with the idea of randomness (he’s pretty linear and really wanted to make a pattern with it like, one green, one yellow, one red, one blue etc, but I told him that was a great idea, however, we didn’t have the same number of each color), he did awesome, and loved it!

Ethan’s layout.
(Fabric is Make Life Sweet by Sweetwater)

Helping to pin the fabric.
(the black on his right forearm is from last week’s swim meet with his heat info)

Helping to sew.

I will never hold back on buying layer cakes and just having them.  It has been wonderful to just pull one out and have the kiddos design their quilt without having to wait for them to arrive in the mail.  So here’s to not holding back on fabric buying!!!! 😉

Ellie’s Blush Quilt

My 5 year old princess has gotten really interested in quilting, and she said she wants to make a quilt.  Wanting to nurture this interest I decided to pull out a layer cake (Blush by Basic Grey for Moda) I already have and let her arrange the squares any way she wanted.  She’s helped me arrange blocks before, but she was so excited about this being her quilt.  I did give her a few tips about not putting all the squares that are similar in color together.  She wanted me to help her with the first few squares, and then she wanted me to go back to my sewing machine and work on something else while she finished arranging the squares.

Princess Ellie’s layout.

She loved every minute of it, and she did a great job!!!

She “helped” me sew the squares together into rows and then sew the rows together, and by “help” I mean she stood right in front of me as I sewed.  One of these days I’m going to give her some fabric and let her practice sewing.

Thinking About a King Sized Quilt

A queen sized quilt is the biggest quilt I’ve ever made.  It was a lot of work, but it was also very rewarding.  It’s been about 1 year since I’ve finished that quilt, and now I’ve got the itch to do something big all over again.  But this time I’ve got my eyes on making a KING sized quilt for my bed!  Am I crazy?

So here I am curled up under a quilt, with the fire in the background, and reading up about quilting large quilts.  I must admit it is intimidating, but I think I may just go for it.  I toyed with the idea of just making the quilt top and sending it out to be quilted, but part of me wants to accomplish this daunting task so that I can say this quilt is made 100% by me (and my beloved sewing machine).

I started collecting the Al Fresco line by Marcus Fabrics about 18 months ago.  I got the fat quarters and yardage that I have out this morning and looked at them (and petted them 😉 ), and then I went through one of my over flow drawers (read: hubby doesn’t utilize one of his dresser drawers to its capacity, so I sort of stash fabric there) looking for something else and discovered that I have an additional 16 fat quarters!  I did a happy dance!!  Not to self: look at fabric more often to have a better idea of what I actually have.

Fat Quarters

So here we are.  Do I attempt this task?  I just may, and since I just ordered some extra wide backing just for this project, that may be the incentive I need to actually do this!

Now I’m asking for a little bit of help.  I’m using a pattern by Atkinson Designs in the Happy Hour pattern book, and the cover picture is of the blocks that are 14.5 inches, but there’s also a pattern for 9 inch blocks.  Shall I go the 9 inch route or 14.5 inch route?  The 9 inch blocks would mean I need 143 blocks and the 14.5 inch blocks would mean I need 56 blocks.  I’m thinking that the 14.5 inch blocks would be easier because there would be fewer seams, thus less quilt weight, but I do love the look of the smaller blocks.  So what do  you think I should do, the 9 inch blocks or the 14.5 inch blocks?

Giddy Goof

I completed the Giddy quilt top a few nights ago, and on Tuesday evening while we watched the Sugar Bowl (and sadly watched the Hogs lose), I decided to pin paste the quilt.

I got to the very last corner and finished the pin basting and realized this:

The top right block was sewn in the wrong direction!  I let out a very loud “Oh, no!!” It was PG since my kiddos were still awake.  This seems to be a recurring problem for me…sewing directional blocks.  I did the very same thing with the Ellie Fun quilt.  My hubby kept telling me not to worry about it especially since Giddy is for us (really, it’s for me 😉 ), but I couldn’t, because I knew it would bug me, and I love this fabric so much I wanted it to be “perfect.”

So I unpinned that section and got out my handy seam ripper, and I got to work.

I then rotated the block and sewed everything back together, and then repinned that section.

Now that looks better, and more importantly I feel much better!