Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Auntie and Grandma Baby Quilts

I decided to make a quilt for my best friend, Erin, who just became an auntie! I love being an auntie and am so excited for her to become one! This is a baby quilt she can keep at her house.

This pattern is a Dutch Pinwheel and I played around with the sizing before I started so I could make big 20 inch blocks. Since I used 4 prints in each block and needed 4 HSTs of each, starting out with the 4 at a time Half Square Triangle method was perfect! In this method you do the math for your finished block to find your starting square size' (If anyone wants the formula I can look it up, it's in a book in my room somewhere). Take your two different fabrics in the starting square size, put them right sides together and stitch around all four sides. Cut on the diagonals and you have 4 HSTs that you can then trim down to the exact size needed.

When I was finishing the quilt up I happened to find this argyle fabric in the clearance room at Fabric Depot that worked perfectly for the backing!

And I've been loving black and white stripes for binding lately, such a fun contrast to the bright colors I like to use!

I gifted this quilt to my friend a couple weeks ago, here it is all wrapped up in ribbon, ready to go!

Your keen eye may have noticed there are 2 quilts there. Well, while I was at it I made a quilt for the new Grandma as well! My mom received a few quilts and other baby blankets when she became a grandma and I know how special those are to her, so I thought Reggie should have one too.

I made a "new Grandma" quilt for my best friend's mom, who just became a grandma. I also made one for my best friend since she is a new aunt!

I just did some simple modern cross blocks and used an Essex Linen for the background. I really wanted the blocks offset and at first was going to add in some half sized blocks (rectangles) on the ends to make it an offset rectangular quilt, but I couldn't decide. I went to Instagram with my two designs and this one was overwhelmingly the winner. I love the partial pink blocks!

I did a fun free motion quilting pattern that my friend Rachel came up with that is like beads on a string. You sew straight for a few inches and then go around in a circle about 3 times and then continue a few more inches. Each row is slightly offset from the row before as to where the beads go. Not sure if you can see it at all though, my camera broke and I can't get any decent pics from my stupid phone.

I used one of my favorite Patty Young prints on the back. I've said it before, but you can definitely tell how much I like someone by which fabric I'm willing to use on them. I like Reggie quite a bit. Luckily, a few days after I used this up I found some more in the pink colorway on clearance.  Yay! Some yellow polka dots for binding and I was good to go.

And, in case you're like, um, how about making a quilt for the actual baby/Mom? I did do that, I promise! That was my Offset Arrows Quilt I did a while back (in time for the baby shower in fact, and that's always a feat to be proud of!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lasagna French Bread and Mustard Green Beans with Walnuts

With the tomatoes made ahead of time and refrigerated, this easy meal comes together in just the time it takes to saute green beans!

I made some of batgirl's Oven Roasted Tomatoes a few days ago and am so in love! I've seriously been eating this stuff with a spoon. Which is kinda nuts, since in general I'm not a fan of cooked tomatoes. I'll eat them raw all day long, but hate chunks of cooked tomatoes in soup and pasta sauce. But these tomatoes are nom! For the tomatoes I used overripe grape tomatoes, smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh chopped Italian parsley, and dried oregano.

For the Lasagna French Bread:

Oven roasted tomatoes, re-heated if made ahead of time (see link above)
French bread, sliced and toasted or broiled
Ricotta cheese (mix with garlic and/or parmesan if you're fancy)
Parmesan or Mozzarella, shredded, (optional)

Toast or broil bread, top each slice with a couple Tablespoons of Ricotta and a generous helping of roasted tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add some shredded cheese, if desired.

For the Mustard Green Beans with Walnuts:

Lately I've been pretty obsessed with Jennifer Prince's book Eat Like a Farmgirl: 3 Ingredient Plant Based Meals. This is my take on an idea from the book.

Fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
Olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
walnuts (about 2 T per 2 cups of beans, or whatever looks like a nice amount)
Grainy mustard, I like Plochman's (about 1 T per 2 cups of green beans)

Saute your green beans over medium high heat in a little olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add your walnuts and cook until tender-crisp, or to your liking. If you get impatient you can throw in a few tablespoons of water, place a lid on the pan and let steam for a few minutes. When they are done, stir in the grainy mustard.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Medallion Center

Did I mention that I decided to stay on as a guild officer this year? I actually stepped up as President...a little bit scary but I guess being VP last year helped me prepare for it! It's really exciting to be working with another fabulous group of officers! We have a lot of fun things in store for the year, but we're super excited about doing a Medallion Along!

Medallion quilts are muy caliente lately so we are joining the trend and doing a Medallion Along instead of the Block of the Month program we did last year. You can see the PMQG blog for introductory details, but basically a Medallion Quilt starts with a beautiful focal block and then adds various borders until the quilt is the size you like! We will be introducing a new border every month.

I found a paper pieced block I liked, called Birthday Star Block, and started working on it.

If you want to create Birthday Star Block, click the link, then click the picture of the paper pieced pattern to be taken to Photobucket. While there, download the picture to your computer with the "dowload" option. Print the picture out (I used Windows Gallery to view it first) and choose "full page" option. this printed the sections at 8.5 inches exactly for me, so I ended up with a 15 inch block. You'll need 4 of them to make the block (I always print extra in case I biff it up!)  I'll either adjust the first border to fit (make it an extra inch bigger), or put a separate, 1 inch border on my block before I do the first official border.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Quilting Finishes

Here's what I made in 2013 as far as quilting goes! I suppose there were a few more projects of the soaping, cooking/baking, and crochet variety. Here are my 5 mini quilts, 2 quilted pillows, 10 baby quilts and 4 lap quilts I finished this year! This counts finishes, some may have been pieced last year. It does not count in progress, ie the tops I have sitting around right now!

I need to work on my list for 2014, but I have a good amount of projects on my 2014 list already! If you would like to join my "14 Projects in 2014 QuiltAlong" on Craftster, now in its fourth year, it's a really fun way to keep track of your projects and discuss them with quilty people throughout the year!

Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Christmas Present

I joined the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along earlier this year and was working on two sets of blocks. One was this colorway of purple, aqua/turquoise, yellow, pink, and gray with a medium gray sashing. I didn't really have plans for either one, but was having fun working on them. I got behind in the QAL at the end of the summer though. A month or two ago I decided that this one would be a nice Christmas present for my boyfriend's parents, so I started working on it!

I had some problems with the borders and ended up just doing a single border. Also, the quilt is upside down in all the pics. D'oh! Not that it matters that much, but since I was following a pattern I've been used to seeing it the other way!



Close-up of Crossword puzzle fabric on the back and quilting:

The quilt is about 52" x 77" which is a little bit bigger than I care to quilt on my machine at home, so I quilted it on the quilting frame at a local shop. It was my second time quilting a quilt on the frame and my first time doing so by myself (my friend who teaches there was alongside me last time!) My boyfriend paid for my time on the frame, and the batting) so the quilt was from both of us.

A couple close-ups of the blocks:

This was my first time using a flange binding and although it was more work than my regular binding, I do like the little pop of color. You make it by stitching two strips of fabric together lengthwise for the binding, the part you want to be the flange should be wider than the other strip by about 1/4-1/2 inch. After folding in half to make the binding the flange side will pop out just a tiny bit! It's machine sewn to the back of the quilt and folded to the front and machine sewed down just like my regular binding method.

The quilt was a big hit and his mom cried a little bit when she opened it!

I still have another one in bright pink, bright blue, black, lime green, orange and white. Not sure when I'll finish it but I think that one will be for me.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Vintage Boho Star Baby Quilt

I made this baby quilt for a friend from a Moda Bake Shop pattern. It's meant to be a lap quilt and should have a charm square border, but it's already pretty huge for a baby quilt so I didn't really want the extra 10 inches on width and height. The border is pretty cute though, so it was a hard decision to make.

I started with a charm pack of the Little Red Riding Hood fabric from Riley Blake and some yardage from the same line, plus other prints that I liked. I had to buy a good amount of red since I apparently don't use it that much!

The basic design is making a 9 patch, then turning it into a giant half square triangle with a square of a solid. I miscounted and had two extra 9 patches (D'oh!) so I used them on the back.

I also pieced a mini boho star on the back to mimic the front, and then just kind of filled in the rest with some of the other cuts of fabric from the front and others that worked.

I love using diagonal stripes on bidning and love that this line had diagonal stripes. I bought extra to use on a few more quilts too, since I use gray quite a bit. I know I could make bias diagonal stripes from any stripe...but I'm too lazy to make bias binding!

A Few Soaps

These are my most recent batches of soap. And by "recent" I mean made several months ago and mostly sold out. I have just a few of the Tomato Leaf left.

I made my usual Oats 'n Honey with honey and ground oats, but added some Snickerdoodle Buttercream fragrance. Smells like dessert!

This Tomato Leaf fragrance smelled soooo amazing in the bottle. Unfortunately it was not quite as wonderful once it soaped up, but it still had a nice green fragrance.

This is one of my favorite bars, Shea Luxury, with 60% Unrefined Shea Butter. I leave it unfragranced and uncolored, so the creamy color and the slight smokiness is just from the shea butter.

The next bars I need to make are more Shea Luxury, Black Raspberry Vanilla, and Gardener's Scrub!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Offset Arrows Baby Quilt

This is a baby quilt for my best friend's niece! She is due in January and will be the first grandbaby, so everyone is very excited. The baby shower was last weekend so I can finally show this! I designed it using the Threadbias Design tool and it was really fun to use (although a bit of a learning curve). I've seen lots of arrow quilts, but none of them were offset and that's what I really wanted. This is just made up of simple rectangles and half square triangles.

The baby's crib set is black and cream and the mom wanted to add in pink and green. As soon as I heard that, I thought of the Comma line of fabric by Zen Chic. I'd been wanting to use that, so this was a great excuse! The colors in the line were orange, yellow, and a brighter green, so I opted to just use the black and cream prints and add in some solid Kona cotton--Bubble Gum and Tarragon are the shades.

I pieced the back from leftovers from the front. I had already run to the store twice for fabric (which is what happens when you buy fabric before you nail down your design!) so when I ran a little short I definitely didn't want to make a third trip. I made it work with a small strip of solid Kona black. You can see the quilting best here. I did quilting in the ditch down the length and width of the squares, and then did double diagonal lines in just one direction.

The cool thing about designing in Threadbias is that they have tons of actual fabric lines in their database, so in my digital mockup I could put the actual fabric, instead of just a solid color. This is what my mockup looked like:

And this is the original I designed with Allyssa Thomas' line of Critter Patch fabric. It's fun to see how different a pattern can be with different fabrics.

Here is the blank pattern if anyone wants to make their own, I found it easiest after filling it in, to name each color A, B, etc and then just make a chart of how many rectangles and half square triangles I need to make of each one. The rectangles were 7.5 x 4 (I believe) and the half square triangles started at 5 inches and were trimmed down to 4 inches after being made. I can double check my measurements if anyone is interested in making this pattern. With these measurements and amount of rows and columns it's a decent sized baby quilt, I want to say about 42 inches square?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Converging Corners Charity Quilt

I'm excited to enter this quilt into the Bloggers Quilt Festival! This is a Converging Corners pattern that I made with the Faith Circle of do.Good stitches.

I chose this pattern for my month and everyone in the group made 2 squares in the color palette of purple, aqua, and periwinkle blues. For a slight twist on the regular pattern I asked members of the group to use some gray along with white for the background colors.

After I stitched the top together, my friend Rachel at 2nd Avenue Studio generously quilted it for me. Then it was off to our charity, Restore Innocence, which helps girls that have been rescued from human trafficking.

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Mini Modern Art Quilt

I've decided to enter this quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, by Amy's Creative Quilts, one of my favorite quilting blogs!

This Mini Modern Art Quilt was for round 7 of the Mini Art Quilt Swap on Craftster. I organize this swap once or twice a year and love doing so! We each provide our partners with 5-10 themes and we go to work, making a quilt with dimensions anywhere between 12" x 12" and 24" x 24." This one is about 18" x 21", I think?

My partner listed modern, modern/traditional, and funky and bright as a few of her themes. I decided to play with all solids and a few other techniques like string piecing and foundation piecing. I also bought a really cool tool to make the quarter circles, the Corner to Corner Curve Strip Ruler by Creative Grids. I picked this up at Fabric Depot and was really pleased with it.

The colors are all a little brighter in person and the coral/orange is a wonderful color, very bright but at the same time just a bit muted so it's not quite obnoxious. It's a Bella Solid.

I found this fabric in my stash and decided it was perfect for the back. It's a little heavier weight than regular quilting cottons, but not quite home dec weight. I'm not sure if it's a vintage fabric I got from The Knittn' Kitten or maybe it's an Ikea fabric? Either way I really like it.

My swap partner had this quilt pinned on her Pinterest and I started with that for some inspiration. From there I drew a sketch and refined it and fiddled with the measurements and colors until it was just how I wanted it. The actual quilt is fairly similar to my drawing, although some changes ocurred due to measurement issues and my whims.

I quilted it with some paralell pairs of diagonal straight lines. I like the way this seemed to bring the quilt together and made the disparate sections of the quilt seem a little more cohesive.