Friday, December 31, 2010

Ah... The Mystery!

So, Bonnie over at released the sixth part of the mystery quilt today.  It's obviously not finished, but it is the main part of the quilt.  I think I love it, and I would've never put pink, brown, red, and green together like this.  That's what makes her a genius, I guess.  Here's the link:

So, I'm so far behind on this guy!  I'm still back on step three, but I'll keep you all updated as I get fiished with the steps.  I know that the step that includes 600 tiny half square triangles is going to take FOREVER, so that should be a few days of blogging on it's own.

Well, I'm going to go work on the 8.5" neutral scrap squares... Whew!  Quilt five is intense!  I might work on quilt six just to mix it up a bit.  I could probably finish another quilt before I finish the 600 tiny half square triangles!

Roll Roll Cotton Boll Mystery

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Step two of mystery quilt!!

So, here are the beautiful little squares for the second step of they mystery quilt!  Pink and Brown...  I have my favorites, but they are all going in!  Each stack is four identical squares.  One thing that I noticed is that the bias stretch on fabric makes keeping squares perfectly square.  They sort of torque to one direction no matter how you press them.  I tried pulling in the direction contrary to the stretch while I press them.  It seemed to work... Any thoughts on this?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Mystery Quilt

My very first quilt mystery!!! This is step one. I had to make "pink, green, pink" 2.5" strips which were cut down into 2.5"rectangles. 172 of them. Yeah. The idea of the quilt is to get rid of fabrics in your stash and make it scrappy as possible. I think I'm achieving that.

I'm done with step one!!

Here's a link to the mystery:

Quilt Four - Square in a Circle

This is a quilt using only fabrics picked out by KBC. This summer in Marshall, MI (where I worked for the summer doing dinner theatre) Kevin and I visited the quilt shop there at the Shops at Marshall House (the best boyfriend ever... going to the quilt shop with me?! Are you kidding?!) and he picked out these fat quarters. I decided on a modern geometric pattern to accentuate the fabric selections, and the first border is a corduroy scrap from the coat I made him for his birthday... I love it The pattern is from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Here's the full photo album:

Quilt Three - WoW Logo Quilt

The World of Warcraft quilt was commissioned as a Christmas gift for a wonderful lady in Michigan. I did an applique "W" in the middle, which could stand for her last name, or for her favorite past-time. I think it turned out great!

Here's the full photo album:

Quilt Two - Bordered Blocks.

Quilt number two... An urban quilt on the theme of "Batman". It was a Christmas gift for my brother from my Dad and Step-mom. Making this quilt was very simple. I used six fat quarters in gray fabrics, six fat quarters in black fabrics and two yards of Batman. I cut the fat quarters into strips of random widths and then stitched the grays and blacks into panels. I cut the panels into 6.5" strips. All of the Batman fabric was cut into 3" strips. I I stitched a batman strip to a gray strip, then another batman strip, then a black strip, and so on until I ran out of fat quarter strips. I ended up with 3 black and 3 gray. I cut this giant panel into 6.5" strips and then sewed 3" Batman strips between the new strips, turning every other strip upside down to create a checker-board effect. Then one last border of Batman, and voila!! It sound complicated, but it's pretty easy to do and went together pretty quickly.

Here's the full photo album:

If you guys are interested in full instructions on this one let me know!

Quilt One - Trip Around the World.

I've known that I was making this quilt since summer... or some version of this quilt. Let me start this story by saying the I was trying to make version of the trip around the world inspired by Bonnie's pattern on ( ) but not exactly like it. First of all, I knew I wanted it to be just "trip", no borders. Second, I found this beautiful "jelly roll" (a roll of pre-cut 2.5" strips) that I thought would be perfect for my cousin Julie. This quilt was for Julie for Christmas, and the quilt you see above is a second attempt and not a thing like my original inspiration...

The first jelly rolls were pink (the picture on the right). I got it all pieced together and realized that the quilt would be incredibly tall and skinny... It'd be something like 40" wide and 120" long. I couldn't figure out anything to do with the strips of messed up quilt, and after working on that quilt for days I scrapped it and started over. I went out and bought new fabric and just started sewing like a crazy lady.

While I was stitching away in my unemployed haze, I had a thought. I would finish this quilt in just a few days. Granted, I don't have a permanent full-time job at the moment and can dedicate immense amounts of time to just quilting... but the idea of the quilt challenge happened while quilting this quilt.

I ended up screwing up a few times. For example, when working a Trip Around the World quilt that is rectangular you can't always start with the same fabric in the corners... learned that one the hard way. It's pretty tough to rip seams when you are strip piecing... lots and lots of resewing.

So, the end of the story is that I finished the quilt and got it sent off in time for Christmas, and Julie opened it with me on the phone. She seemed to like it and I hope it brings her warmth and comfort and is of good use. Much love went into it.

Here's a link to the full album:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Working on "Mystery Quilt #1"!

So, I finished four quilts in two weeks. That is a great start to my resolution! Three of them are above. I'll upload my information in a blog entry for each quilt.... probably tomorrow.

I have a few issues at the moment with my quilting...and a few possible solutions. I got some Christmas money and I have enough to buy one of two items. I'm not sure which to get. I could get a level tabletop to make my stitching surface level, or I could get a quilting frame. Here are links to each. If any of you have experience with either one I'd love input. Here's links to the quilting frame:

And the tabletop:

Opinions are WELCOME!!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A great quilting day!

So yesterday I cranked out my "Logo Applique" quilt. I cannot believe I powered through to finish it! This quilt was my second attempt at this technique. My original vision had a lot more detail and had more words. Unfortunately I found that I couldn't do the quilt the way I wanted without really upping the price point, so to stay within budget for materials I went with a different plan. I made the central applique and then simply did borders on it until it was HUGE! The thing turned out to be a full size easily. The photo above is a bit of preview... you can see a bit of the logo, and some of the borders... Isn't that wizard fabric awesome?? I got it from J&O Fabrics and it's printed by Quilting Treasures. Love! More photos will be posted on boxing day, along with instructions.

While I was tying the quilt last night I had the TV on, and "Skating With the Stars" was on. Now, I love the occasional episode of "Dancing With the Stars", but I think that the Skating equivalent must lack a certain... something. Figure skating is a different type of animal. When I took my breaks from tying (my poor knees on my hardwood floor!!!) and looked up at what was happening it just seemed boring. There didn't seem to be any of the thrill of competitive figure skating, and the only accomplishments by the "stars" that seemed to be worthwhile were athletic in nature. It did not engage me.

If it did I probably wouldn't have gotten quilt number three DONE!

The fourth quilt project is a quilt that looks like it has round piecing, but it is really an applique. I call the pattern "Square in a Circle", and I found it in an issue of American Patchwork and Quilt... I'll look up the Issue #, etc... Well, I'm going to tidy the house before I get started on quilt number four... Whew!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quilt number two - Bordered Blocks. FINISHED!

I have published a photo album of quilt number two on facebook:

You don't have to be a member of facebook to look at the pictures.

Quilt number two is a Christmas gift for my brother. He wanted a Batman-themed quilt that was still grown up and sophisticated. I think I met that challenge. I also think I'll get into a rhythm with this posting thing once Christmas is over. I am ten days into the challenge, and I've finished two quilts, but I cannot post pictures or stories about the first, and I really really want to! December 26th expect this blog to EXPLODE!

On an unrelated topic, I found enough fabric lying around to start my mystery quilt blocks. The beginning of they mystery quilt is two quilts from now, and I have a feeling that I'll be very glad for how ahead I'm starting when I start working of the Mystery Quilt. My first quilt mystery of the year, but not my last is 's "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll". Here's a link to part one:

Take a look. It's wonderful fun!

So, where else are we on quilts? Week one's "Trip Around the World" is being set to be shipped for Christmas, as is week two's "Bordered Blocks". I have started work on week three's "Logo Applique", but had a disaster that will have to be related after Christmas... Oh, silly surprises...

So week four is "Square in a Circle", and it's going to hopefully be ready by Christmas as well... I expect to spend the next five days in an absolute cloud of batting, thread, and bits.

Can't wait!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Eating Eggs in Bed...

So, here we are... Having a bad day.

I ran errands today, and dropped by Hancock's to pick up some clearance fun for a project (a Christmas Secret... shhhhh!) that I'm hoping to get nearly finished this afternoon. So I ran to the bank before I got there and was told that my deposit would be available, and after I had all my little tiny fabric pieces cut, I went to the check out. I wasn't buying a lot of fabric, and my total was small, but my card was declined. It was depressing, and embarassing, and I guess my funds weren't available. Called the bank, and it'll be MONDAY before I've got access... This is a fiscal low-point.

Last week while I was in the middle of quilt one (which is finished, but is also a Christmas Secret, so you'll meet Quilt one after December 25th) my sewing machine broke down. It just wouldn't stitch. Usually my BEAUTIFUL Viking Huskvarna Emerald 122 sews wonderfully, but it was stuck... I lost half an evening of quilting, and I had a mini-breakdown. Called Mom, and she saved my life and we made a plan so I could finish the quilt in time... Mom has been a huge help since November 1st when I left my last full-time acting contract.

So, I don't have a permanent full-time job right now. I'm scraping by, but it's really tough. I've been temping, but haven't gotten a pay check from them yet. I'm in a show that pays a stipend and It'll be enough for January's rent, and I know it's going to be okay. Money is coming in, all will be well... It's just a tough time to get a full time job. I'm applying, but there's not a lot out there... I'm not getting a lot of interviews, etc, etc, etc, bad economy, blah, blah, blah...

What I CANNOT do is let this drag me down. I got embarassed at Hancock's today. "Embarassed" is not a big deal, right? And I've got support, and I'm so so so blessed, and I have gifts. I KNOW that I'll be okay... It's just a part of my life right now, and a part of quilts too...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Grand Plan.....

In my quest to make 52 quilts this year, I need to set out some ground rules. First of all, I'm giving myself one year to make 52 quilts starting from December 10th. I will have 52 different "themes" or "challenges". There may be some pattern overlap, but each quilt will focus on one theme. I'm going to make different kinds/sizes of quilts:

1 King Size
3 Queen Size
3 Full
10 Twin
17 Lap
6 Baby
1 Doll
1 Pet
1 Handbag
1 Charity
6 Wall Hangings
2 Table Runners

I've been brainstorming the 52 themes, and here's what I've come up with so far:

Charity (these usually have strict requirements)
Trip Around the World
Cheaters Applique (black yarn outlined)
Stained-glass look
Double Irish Chain
Hand Quilted
Mystery Quilt (Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll from
Harry Potter Theme
Farmer's Daughter Block
Existing panel center
Log Cabin
Logo Applique
Music Theme
Word Quilt (or "quote quilt")
Two Solids
Twist and Turn Bargello
Scrap / Crazy
Urban Asymetrical Blocks
Bordered Squares
Square in a Circle
Civil War "Double Pink"
Star Pattern
Cherry Blossom Applique
Sun Bonnet Sue
Delectable Mountain (Quilt in a Day)
Rail Fence
Crumb Pieced
Basket Weave
Four Patch and Furrows
Amish-Inspired (Bright colors, black background)
Hidden Pinwheels
Hidden Spools
A Jelly-Roll Quilt

I'm leaving six weeks open to creative inspiration... Maybe a second mystery quilt...
and... A Retrospective Quilt containing pieces of all the quilts from the year!

I will also seek guidance. I'll be talking to my Aunts (who are amazing quilters) and imparting their knowledge, I'll be visiting my local quilt shops, and I may go visit one of my friends in the Amish community... that one is still a maybe, but this year is about research and learning new quilting techniques. I really love the "Quilt in a Day" books, and, Bonnie Hunter's website. I find a lot of inspiration from these ladies, so I'm sure you'll hear a lot about them this year too...

The real purpose of all this is that I want to be a better quilter. I want to learn new things, and this seemed like a fun way to do that! I'm not a great quilter. I know that, I'm not super-precise, and I don't have a huge expensive machine, and I think that mistakes build character. So, I know that I want to find my quilting "voice", and that I really want to get better at all this.

The count-down begins!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Inspiration...

Every year I try to come up with something for my New Year's Resolution that trascends the usual "lose 10 pounds." or "eat right." One year (1998) I made all my clothes for the entire year (really, I ended up just buying less and not making as much...) Last year I didn't let a scissor touch my hair. I didn't eat meat for all of the year 2000. But what to do this year?

So, as I was sitting working on this trip around the world quilt I was hit with a brain wave... This quilt will have taken me three days to make. This is not the fastest I've ever made a bed-sized quilt. What if I endeavored to make one quilt per week for the entirety of 2011? I have been madly quilting for all of 2010, and I've been posting all those pictures on Facebook... I'm told that people enjoy seeing my quilting progress, and I've had a lot of people order quilts for loved ones because of this. It's wonderful fun, and I think that 2011 needs more WONDERFUL FUN than 2010 had.

Don't get me wrong... I had a great year in 2010, but I must confess to a bit of malaize this year. I don't know why. Nothing was "wrong"... In fact, it was a great year! I met my boyfriend (whom we shall call KBC to protect the innocent) in February, did four stellar shows out at Cornwell's Dinner Theatre, successfully completed many many quilting and knitting projects, had the privledge of living with the greatest dog on Earth, found a wonderful new apartment, had bonfires, wine, chocolate, amazing mediteranean food, karaoke, experienced art, and beauty, and music... it still felt like something was missing.

I'll confess a bit of lack of focus... like I don't have a goal. My career is in transition, and I cannot for the life of me think of a new career ambition that I really get fired up about. Perhaps this is the malaize? A lack of "fire"? Maybe, but one way to combat boredom is to challenge yourself.

Like a good friend of mine once said, "If you're bored, you're boring."

So, here we go... I may fail dismally at this goal, but I am going to make 52 quilts in 2011. Of course, it would be cheating to make 52 wall-hangings or table runners, but it would be insurmountable to make 52 king sized bed quilts... So, I have devised a system... I think it's pretty fair. I'll make a number of sizes and purposes, and each week will have a theme. For example, week one's theme is "A Trip Around the World", and other themes will be things like "Hand Quilting" or "Tying a Quilt" or "Twist and Turn Bargello". I'll post my patterns when I can, and when I can't, I'll link to them, or tell you what book they are from. In my next post I'll outline my grand plan...

So, here's to a happy and warm 2011... With 52 bits of quilted joy by the end!