Friday, April 15, 2016

Finish Along: 2016 Q2 Goals

Rhonda's [Quilt] Ramblings

During the first quarter of the year, I finished two projects on my finish-along list--the purple and gold jellyroll race quilt, and the My Small World quilt.

So here are my Q2 finish-along goals:
Three of these were also on my Q1 list. Clockwise from the top left they are my scrappy pillow, Alabama Chanin skirt, my Weekender bag, and disappearing 9-patch quilt. The Weekender has been intimidating me for a while, and I need to just do it. I need to buy cord for the piping, the zipper, and a solid fabric for the handles and maybe the bottom panel of the bag. I have been wanting to make a Sew Together bag but feeling like I ought to finish this Weekender first. I can do it!

Additionally, I'm also planning to work on:
Finish all the 12" leaf blocks for my leaf quilt
2 more orange leaves. #modernmaples
I started this quilt back in September. I got the idea for the scrappy blocks from Lynn at K&S Design Girls. I'm planning on making 25 of the 12" maple blocks and alternating them checkerboard style with off-white blocks. With a few small leaves for fun. I have 16 of the leaf blocks done and hope to finish the remaining 9 and most of the background blocks by the end of June.

I'm also continuing to work on my hand pieced trip around the world quilt top. Hopefully I will blog about some of these projects over the next few weeks as I get things done!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Finished Quilt: My Small World

I finished!

finished My Small World

My Small World--quilt pattern by Jen Kingwell, this one made and quilted by me. 53"x33".

This was a big project. I started sewing it in May 2015 and finished it earlier this week. I kept track of my quilting time--8 hours and 25 minutes of machine quilting, and 95 minutes of hand quilting. The orange peel blocks and the two appliqued circles in section 2 are the only parts that I hand quilted.
My Small World detail3

The back of the quilt is made of mostly fat eighths of a Momo fabric bundle I bought a while back.
My Small World Back

Overall, I'm happy with it. I'm also tired of it and maybe will be more enthusiastic about it after some time not working on it or having it in my list of ongoing projects. There are a few places where I don't love my fabric choices and also a couple parts of the quilting that didn't come out as well as I'd hoped.

But. I love a lot about it. I like the sky and the green background on the left side. I love how section 5 turned out. (All rainbows and sunny with the hexagons, dresden block, rainbow, and New York Beauty.) I'm very happy with almost all of the machine quilting. I feel like I learned and improved my needle turned applique skills. And I improved my fabric selection over time as I made the different sections of the quilt. Scale and value are really important when working on such small pieces.

Just so you know, the only place where I didn't follow the pattern is the 4"x2" heart in section 2. I made that heart back in the year 2001 when I was just a baby quilter. It was an extra leftover from my flag/star mini quilt, which was probably my first mini quilt ever. 

Most of the binding pieces are from my binding scrap rolls. I cut 2 new pieces for binding the sky section.
I'm so happy to have this quilt done, and I'm planning on getting it up on my front room wall really soon. 

This quilt is one of two items I completed from my Q1 Finish-Along blog post. It feels good to get long term projects finished!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

My Small World--Finished Quilt Top

I finished my My Small World quilt top!

finished mysmallworld quilt top

I started this project back in May last year. It's been fun to work on, and challenging. Choosing colors and making the applique portions in part 5 have been the hardest parts. There are a few color/fabric choices I don't really love, but overall I am really happy to be to this part of the project.

A few tips for anybody thinking of making this quilt: follow along with the hashtag on Instagram--#mysmallworldqal and/or #mysmallworldqal2. There are people there who have done blog posts with details for completing each section. Sarah at Sew What, Sherlock, has free paper piecing templates she'll pass on if you send her a ransom photo of you with the pattern. I don't know how it's even possible to do the New York Beauty block in section 5 without them, so thank you, Sarah!

I made the pinwheels, quarter-square triangles, churn dashes, and flying geese using traditional piecing methods and good old quilt math, rather than make templates for every size of square, rectangle, or triangle. I did use the pattern templates for the hourglass rectangle/triangle blocks, the orange peel applique blocks, the circles, the rainbow, the Dresden, the little doors, and the scallops. I found a website and printed my own 1/2" hexagons on cardstock.

When I appliqued the hexagon section to the background, I used a water soluble marker to draw the semicircle pattern onto my pieced hexie chunk, then pinned it in place. I turned the edges under as I sewed it to the background, and then cut out the backing behind it and trimmed the bulky hexagon excess. I had thought about staystitching and trimming it before appliqueing it, but the way it did it worked ok.

Pattern info: the pattern is by Jen Kingwell and is available here. The finished quilt top is around 33" x 53".

I'm taking a little break from this project but soon I'll be figuring out the back and getting it ready to quilt. If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer in the comments.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Finish Along Q1 Goals

A few weeks ago I counted up my UFOs, quilting and otherwise, and the number is bigger than I'd like it to be. So I decided to participate in the Finish Along that's been going on for the past few years.

Here are the projects I'm hoping to complete by March 31:

My Small World quilt
I don't think I've blogged about this project at all. I started it last May as part of the quiltalong on instagram. #mysmallworldqal is the hashtag. I need to finish piecing part 6 and applique one more section onto part 5. Then baste, quilt, bind.

Scrappy pillow
scrappy pillow
This is based on a tutorial by Amanda Jean, with some changes. 
Needs more hand quilting, maybe some machine quilting too to speed things up. And then to be made into a pillow cover.

Alabama Chanin skirt
AC skirt
I started this way too long ago. Maybe close to three years ago. I think part of the reason I haven't finished it is I'm apprehensive about how it will fit and/or look on me. I need to just get it done, it is so close. I think it will turn out better than how I've been worrying it will be. I need to finish the stitching and cutting on this panel, and then sew the 4 panels together and attach the elastic.

Disappearing 9-patch quilt
disappearing 9patch
I made this quilt top from a layer cake along with my sister-in-law and the kids a while back. It's going to be donated, probably to the children's hospital. I'm waiting for batting to arrive, then it needs to be basted, quilted, bound.

Jelly roll race quilt jellyroll race Also for the children's hospital. This is not really my style--I got the kit during the year I was a member of a traditional quilt guild here. Needs to be basted, quilted, and bound.

Finally, this won't count for the finish-along, but I also want to complete 6 more rounds on my hand-pieced Trip Around the World quilt. And I'm also going to make some more x+ blocks.trip around the world 

I'm linking up at A Quilter's Table, and looking forward to finishing lots of projects in 2016!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Little House Pillow

At the end of October I came across this blog on Pinterest and couldn't get those little house blocks out of my head. I had a Winterberry charm pack on hand, so I did some quilt math and made a block that wasn't quite right. I redid my math and template drawing, and made 9 little houses.

I decided to sew them into a pillow, because I have more space for pillows at this point than I do for Christmas wall quilts.

house pillow

The houses are free motion quilted with an orange peel style corner-to-corner curve design, there's a wavy stitch in the sashing, and the loopy border quilting is a variation on, and my first attempt at the Beginner Loops design from the Inbox Jaunt. You can tell I didn't mark any lines to guide the width of my motifs... I think it looks ok anyway.

I made some little log cabin blocks with the scraps and put a row of them on the back. I used some of the leftover charm squares too. The back isn't quilted, it's a double layer of quilting fabric.

house pillow back
The pillow is 18" square and the house blocks finish up at 3 3/4" square.

I'm really happy it's done and looking forward to sewing something with larger pieces of fabric next.
house pillow front

Monday, September 28, 2015

Big finish

I finished up my #apqquiltalong quilt, back in May. This was the quiltalong hosted in 2014 by American Patchwork and Quilting on instagram, called Tone it Down.

#apqquiltalong finished quilt

I had such a good time making this quilt. I was inspired by Svetlana at SOTAK's pastel version of this quilt but changed it up a little bit, ending with pink (on the coral/peach side), golden yellow, turquoise/aqua, and mint green along with a variety of grays. The background is all kinds of low volume fabrics; white or gray toned along with creamy off-whites. I think it worked. Some of my individual blocks, a couple of the yellows actually, were kind of uglies on their own but I knew that they would add to the quilt as a whole even if they were never going to be anyone's favorite.

#apqquiltalong detail

I machine quilted it on my Juki with waves and swirls. This quilt is big and quilting it was a challenge. I started and stopped a few times and that made it take forever. But I did eventually push through and complete it.

I have one construction tip for next time (yeah, maybe) or if anyone reading is considering making one. Don't cut the long sashing pieces until the blocks are all sewn and measured. With so many small pieces, seam allowance is critical for this pattern, and while I was very consistent with my seam allowance, I was a tiny bit too scant and my blocks ended up about 1/8" bigger than the sashing measurement given in the pattern. And then, most of my sashing pieces were cut with the long side along the grain of the fabric, which means I couldn't really stretch them to fit. So I mostly eased the blocks to fit the sashing by sewing those seams with the block on the bottom. It worked out fine in the end, but would have been better to just cut the sashing a tiny bit longer to fit.

#apqquiltalong back

The back has a long pieced strip, a couple of Kona solid fabrics, and a Violet Craft doily print in gray-brown. Binding was a kona pink that coordinated with most of the pinks on the front.

Overall, I had a great experience making this quilt. Each block is an accomplishment in this pattern, and completing the whole quilt (75"x93") is something I really feel good about! It's on my daughter's bed now, and I love the feeling the soft colors add to her bedroom.

#apqquiltalong back

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rhino Quilt 2

I'm sharing this quilt as my entry to Blogger's Quilt Festival. As always, many thanks to Amy for hosting the festival! Please stop by Amy's Creative Side and look at all the quilts!

My first rhino quilt was finished in early 2014 and given to my brother. By the time I finished it, I was sad to see it go, so much so that I decided to make another one to keep.

rhino quilt 2
This time I made the rhino from squares cut from a Kona Summer 2013 rollup (minus 2 colors I didn't care for), and the background is mostly a cooler white/light (except for the pink and yellow bits) where the first rhino had an off-white background.

rhino quilt 2 back
(My quilt holders are not equal heights. This was taken in a hurry in a little bit of rain.)

The back has a strip with the leftover pieces of the rollup, a scrappy turquoise strip, some gray flea market fancy seeds, and a stripe fabric from the Basic Grey PB&J line.

The machine quilting on this quilt was similar to how I quilted the first rhino quilt. I quilted swirls in the rhino again:
rhino quilting

And this time I quilted the background in a sort of vertical finger-like stipple. Does anyone know if this has a name?
rhino quilting 2

I was asked how I made the rhino on my last rhino quilt post, and I didn't ever get around to answering, until now. There are a lot of steps and this is not a real tutorial but I wrote up the process I went through to make my two rhino quilts. Let me know if you are using this technique and need any clarification of these instructions.

To begin with, the main idea is to enlarge a shape onto fabric: when I was a kid, my mom had some pattern books that had small versions of a pattern overlaid with a grid; you were supposed to enlarge the pattern manually by drawing the image onto a larger grid following the line in one square at a time. See the image on this blog post for an example. Here is how I got my small grid image and enlarged it onto fabric.

1.   I had my smart teenager remove the background of a rhino image in photoshop.
2.      I uploaded the photo into EQ7 and started the process for a photo quilt, and then copied a screenshot of the rhino image with a grid overlay before clicking the preview button to make the image go pixelated for a photo quilt.  (If you don't have EQ then you need to figure out a way to get a grid overlay on your image.) Carefully consider the size of your finished applique and the size of squares you want to use. I used 2.5" squares (2" finished) for my rhino quilts.
3.      I printed out the screenshot image and then used it to draw the outline of the rhino for my project on graph paper.
4.      I used the graph paper drawing to determine how to piece the rhino. I pieced it in 5-square-wide columns, then sewed the columns together. I pressed seams open (normally I don't but it was helpful in this project.) I learned the hard way that anywhere there is a tiny fraction of a square included in the rhino shape, that square needed to be sewn onto the big rhino.
5.      After the whole rhino was sewn together, I used the graph paper drawing as a reference and drew the rhino edges on the right side of the fabric with regular pencil.
6.      I trimmed the whole rhino edge about 3/8" from the pencil line.
7.      I clipped inner curves and hand basted the edge under.
8.      I arranged the rhino on the prepared background, and hand basted it to the background. It was a little challenging to make sure the rhino was straight.
9.      I carefully machine appliqued the rhino to the background, sewing a scant 1/8" from the edge of the rhino.
10.  I removed both sets of basting stitches.
11.  Then I asked for some expert opinions and was told I should remove the background fabric from behind the applique. So I did, carefully cutting the backing away, about 1/2" from the stitching line.
12.  My quilt top was ready for basting, quilting, and binding!

I hope this helps anyone who wants to make a quilt like this! Please let me know if you decide to make your own large format applique quilt with this technique. :)