Friday, May 1, 2015

Rainbow Mini Swap 2015

A few months ago I came across a mini quilt swap that I wanted to participate in.  Kate Basti over on Instagram was hosting and I hadn't done a mini quilt swap (well, not a successful swap).  Seemed like the perfect opportunity to dive right in. I grabbed this charm pack filled with a rainbow of prints and did a bunch of thinking.
Here are the rulers I used for the basic block-making.  Nothing fancy here.  How to make the results fancy with only one charm pack?  I like to challenge myself.
Each charm could be cut into two 2.5" squares and two HST pieces.  I played with layout and ended up here.  This isn't where I stopped, though.
This collection of fabrics does not include a purple, so I had to pull this purple out of my stash.  I think it complements the rest of the colors nicely.
I wanted the colors to march across the quilt and give the impression of a rainbow.
I made enough of these blocks for two little quilts.  (Yes, I made myself one, but I think that is a good thing.  I will likely mix these up throughout the blog post.  Don't let this bother you.  The one intended for my partner ended up in her hands and the other on my wall.)
Next was adding a border to make these minis a little less mini and still meet the size requirements.  I went with an off-center layout from there.  Narrow and wide borders gave the little arrows some room to fly.
I quilted both of these mini quilts on my long arm.

I went with Angela Walters' hook swirl design as an all-over design for this quilt.
I put some of the left over charms into the backing.
A quilt like this needs an special label.  I found out that most embroidery fonts do not include a # as part of their character set.  I had to search through my collection until I found one.
Chevrons are one of my favorite fabrics for bindings.  I like stripes, polka-dots and chevrons for bindings.
The hardest part about this swap was keeping this little quilt under wraps until it was finished, shipped and received.  Swaps really challenge me because I have to wait to share and I'm just so excited about the project.

Have you joined any fun swaps recently?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thread Thursday (on a Wednesday)

Yes, I'm a day early with the Thread Thursday.  I just didn't want to wait to share my new thread colors.
This month I got some new great colors of So Fine!  Look at that red, and rose, and brown!
This month I joined Massdrop.  I don't need most of what they sell, but I decided I needed this gauge by SimFlex.  I do recommend you shop around when you see a deal on Massdrop.  Not all deals are created equal.  In the end I only saved a couple dollars on the sewing gauge.

As always, none of these links is paid advertising.  I include links in case you are interested not because I am compensated in any way.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Stringing Along

I'm a member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.  In April we had a new mother in our guild.  Usually someone comes up with a plan and the guild works together to make a quilt for the new baby.  We decided that a string quilt would be a great quilt for a new baby.  Each block was supposed to finish at 8" by 8" and be sewn onto a muslin backing.
I broke out my bins full of scraps and strings and got to work.  I have entirely too man bits of fabric.  Great for projects like this, though.
It didn't take long for me to end up with a couple finished blocks.  All the blocks were handed over to our assembler at the March meeting.
She brought me the assembled top for quilting.  The first step was to trim batting and put together a backing.
We had a few blocks left over so we pieced in some of these blocks to make the backing wide enough.
I set the embroidery machine up to stitch out the baby's name.  I quilted it with this great flower motif I learned from Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.  This is a motif I really enjoy quilting with.  I think it is a great all-over design.  I need to take more close-up photos of the things I quilt.
Trimmed and ready to go back to the assembler who also volunteered to attach the binding.
For the record, sewing these onto muslin is not a great idea if you plan to use pieced blocks on the front and the backing.  Too many seams can pile up making quilting difficult or even impossible.  I usually sew my string blocks onto a paper foundation that gets torn away after trimming the block to size.

The finished quilt was presented to the new mommy at the April meeting.  I think it was a great project that allowed everyone to participate and created a great finish.

If you're looking for a good tutorial on string blocks I highly recommend Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville.  Her blog is full of free patterns, tutorials, photos of her quilts, stories about her travels, and you can buy her books directly from her.

Has your guild done any fun group projects recently?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flower Garden

What do you do when you look through your stash and find all these floral prints?
You plan a quilt that will take advantage of these fabrics.  I used my Accuquilt Go! die cutter with the 6.5" tumbler die to cut all these pieces.
The label was a great opportunity to use a set of embroidery designs by Urban Threads.
All the embroidery designs used in this quilt are from Urban Threads.  The set is called Miniature Menagerie.  I recommend you check out their great embroidery designs.
I used several from this collection to add detail to some of the blocks.
As a larger quilt I had to take this one out to my three-season room to the long arm on the 10' frame. Some day I will have room in my house for a 12' long arm.  Someday.
I decided to quilt this one with a motif I learned from Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters:  Choose & Use Quilting Designs on Modern Quilts called Flower Power. 
Flower Power is one my favorite motifs.
It scales easily and you can use it as a great fill with little effort.  You can add more petals if you need to fill in an area.
I couldn't think of a better quilting design for this quilt than this one.
The texture created was just perfect.
Scrappy binding is the best!
I really like this one.  For the record, it didn't make much of a dent my collection of floral print fabrics.

Do you have a go-to quilting design that you love to free-motion quilt?