Friday, December 26, 2014

Lucky Stars Table Runner

Over Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of visiting a LQS close to LaCrosse, WI called Olive Juice Quilts. On Black Friday, they had a BOGO yard of fabric.... Someone did some damage, but talk about a deal. I bought LOTS of fabric at low prices, and we all know that I needed it and that I will use it, so I can't get too mad at myself.

This is what happens when your LQS had a Black Friday BOGO sale. Oops.

I went with my girlfriend and her sister and brother in law, so to keep the girls busy and engaged while I oogled and shopped and Doug went to the auto shop, I tasked them with picking out fabrics for a project that I wanted to make for their mom. They did a great job and provided me with a nice palette to work with. I knew I wanted to do some paper piecing because I haven't done it in awhile and I love the intricacy it produces. I have been eying several of the Lucky Stars BOM blocks and thought that would be a great set of stars to choose from.

I started with this one, I was not happy with it. The corners did not match up and I pretty much lost confidence and felt like I failed at life after this attempt.

100% complete after 4x ripping out the middle. F paper piecing star centers. That's just as good as it's going to get. This is why I don't show quilts, I don't have the patience for perfection. Improv is way more my style. #mplsmqg #luckystarsbom

The next one I tried went much better, I was happier with the corners and the color choices were more bold as well. I took the paper out before I sewed the individual wedges together. That helped a lot. I do wish that I would have altered the coloring in the center star with the orange so that the shading showed better, but hey, you can't win them all.

The Arcadian Star is complete!! Such a better experience. 1. I used tons of starch. 2. I tore out the paper after the first round of sewing pieces together. 3. I used a pin to match the points and checked before I sewed. Much better I would say since ther

The next one I tried I felt even better about. It was simpler and had less pieces so I felt more confident. I did scorch one piece of it, but you can barely tell so I let it pass.

Galactic Star complete!!! So many perfect points!!!! Happy dance!! I have learned so much in just three blocks. Starch is my new bestie for the pressie. #luckystarsbom #Christmassewcial

When I put those three blocks together they just didn't look right. The color placement didn't work so I decided that I would need to make another block to even out the coloring.

Marlow's "mom we are usually in bed by now" face. #catsofinstagram #Christmassewcial
3 pretty blocks but I'm not sure they are pretty together as a table runner. Should have left the navy out of the corners on the bottom one. Looks like a 4th block will need to be made... Sigh. #Christmassewcial #luckystarsbom

This is the last block I completed. I needed to bring the navy into the outer parts of the block to even everything out. This was my favorite block. I finally got color placement, piecing, and patience combined to make a beautiful block.

Sparkling Star complete! #luckystarsbom #mplsmqg

I put them all together and felt good about the placement. Because this was a table runner I wanted to challenge myself with the quilting since the piece was smaller and very maneuverable in my machine. I did very dense quilting in the negative space and accentuated the star shapes with lines and FMQ.

Love the look of the dense swirls in the negative space.
That one time I decided to challenge myself. :) I should do this more often. 😄😄😣 #mplsmqg

I am very happy with how the piece turned out. Jessie's mom loved it. Here is the finished front of the runner:

Never got a full picture up of the finished runner with the FMQ on it.

Here is the back of the runner. The fabric on top is the inspiration fabric. It is actually my favorite one out of the entire set but unfortunately I couldn't use it in the paper piecing because I feel like in order to have successful paper piecing you need fabrics that read certain colors, and this fabric had such a large scale print, it was very hard to get pieces that read as one color instead of many.

Does anyone know what line the top fabric is? I love it and would really like to use it in something else that could showcase it more next time.


Linking up to:
Sew Cute Tuesday

Scrappy Fabric Cards

I have seen lots of scrappy projects floating around this year and after realizing how many itty bitty scraps I have collected due to Amanda Jean's inspiration, I decided that I needed to use them in more than just the traditional quilting ways. I wanted to write my friend a card and instead of pulling out one from the drawer that I already had, I decided to try using some scraps to spruce up a card and make it more personal.

I used fairly blank cards to begin with and then just cut scraps and placed them on the card, sewing them down with about 1/8 in seam allowance. This is very similar to tickertape, a technique I absolutely LOVE doing.

First fabric scrap card. This might be a new thing. :)

When picking fabrics, I tried to pick ones that were more graphic and/or allowed me to fussy cut to give more interest to the individual pieces. I was able to do 4 cards in less than an hour, pretty quick I would say for something that gives a much more personal touch than a pre-made card.

4 more scrap cards. :)

I definitely see much more of these in my future. Great use of scraps and fun to make and quick to complete on a day you need an easy finish or don't have enough time to make some progress on another project.


Improv Triangle Quilt

When I saw the quilt "Didn't Get the Memo" by Alissa Carlton, Los Angeles, CA (shown below) I knew I wanted to make one.

February Example
I thought it would be a great bee block so this February the Harmony Circle of do. Good. Stitches. took on this challenge and created some wonderful improv blocks. My directions were the following:

Background: True white
Triangles: Black/grey solids

Please make 2 12.5in blocks with 16 squares each, 4x4. Each square will be trimmed to 3.5in before being sewn together into a 4x4 block.

Make sure that the squares are made as shown below:
- Triangles facing the left
- Wonky triangle should only cover one corner, the other 3 corners being open, allowing for the "floating" look of the triangles

I pieced the top back in May, but it took me a while to actually find the time in the summer to quilt it, so hence the delay in posting the finished product. :)

Harmony #dogoodstitches February top done. I think I'm going to do wavy line quilting on this one. Any other suggestions? #mplsmqg

Here is the finished quilt. I bound it in a multi color stripe to add some pizzazz and color to it.

February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Front

I also wanted to add a pop of color to the back so I did some solid piecing with scraps down the middle.

February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Back

We had a bit of trouble with the wind while we were trying to take pictures. Here are some of the outtakes.


Overall, great block and great quilt for a bee. Thanks to Alissa Carlton for the inspiration and to my Harmony Circle mates for great execution!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Minimalist Stripes Improv Quilt

I am really getting into improv quilts. I feel like I am myself when I do them, that I can be free, that I can mess up and no one will judge me. No one will notice that my work is not perfect, for the imperfections are part of the design. I also love the fact that when you do improv pieces, every single piece you create is so unique that it cannot be replicated, every piece is one of a kind. Just like me.

I have shared before how I enjoy use improv blocks for bees due to the unpredictability that comes with bee piecing, but I had to show this quilt on it's own because I am so in love with it.

For the Harmony. do. Good. Stitches. circle we recently completed our Minimalist Stripes Improv Quilt.This quilt was inspired by this block that I found on the Modern Quilt Guild website:


I instructed the group to create 2 blocks based on the following guidelines:

- True white backgrounds
- Bright solid of your choice for the inset stripes
- Please piece the stripes horizontally or vertically, NOT diagonally
- Leave at least 1.5 inches of the white background around the edges so that the stripes appear to be floating
- Other than that, have fun, be creative, and let me know if you have any questions!

I got absolutely beautiful blocks that I put together in alternating directions to create this quilt top.

Latest quilt top finish! Better pic once my official quilt holder aka @jessiekember comes over. #dogoodstitches #harmonydogoodstitches

I decided to quilt it in wavy lines, a technique I had never tried before, to keep the design focus on the bursts of color and play with the wonkiness of each block.

My favorite part of making a quilt. Best way to start a Sunday morning.

I decided to bind it in black to frame the quilt in a bold way. Below are the finished pictures of the quilt. I am totally in love. So much so, that I feel like I will have to make another one since this one is bound for Project Linus!!

August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes

On the back I utilized some solid scraps that I have had around for years to mimic the stripes on the front in a larger scale. I feel like the back could be a quilt by itself!

August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes Back

I will definitely continue to explore improv quilting and can't wait to do more designs in this style. Like I said, this is me, and it is AWESOME.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Celebrating Doing Good Stitches

I'm a bee addict. I admit it. But one of my first bees was the Harmony circle of do. good stitches. If you don't know what do. good. stitches. is, please go here and take a look at what this group creates. I remember when I finally got accepted and I was so nervous because I had only quilted one quilt on the machine in my entire life and they wanted me to be a quilter.... FML. Rachel believed in me and sent me on my way and boy have I learned since then.

I have had the opportunity to make quilts with this group since 2012 and am now the Queen of the circle, which I have a great time with. I saw a post by Debbie of A Quilter's Table and loved the idea of chronicling the work we have done over the years with this bee. It was such a good idea, I am going to steal it and chronicle mine as well!! Thanks Debbie!!

The first quilt I made back in 2012 was Converging Corners. A great block for a bee because of all the different scraps you get from a large set of people. This is still one of my favorites. :)

Harmony. do. good. stitches. Finished Quilt

The next one I made was Simply Woven. A quick and easy block that I wanted to make in gender neutral colors. This is when I learned to never request a bee block that needed the seams to match... everyone's 1/4 in is different and it makes it a pain in the butt to piece. :)

Harmony. do. good. stitches. Woven Quilt

Taking the lessons I learned from my previous quilt, I went wonky... then I never came back. This is my Wonky Churn Dash quilt. I have always loved the churn dash pattern and I think it is striking with solids and this wonky twist.

Harmony. do. Good. Stitches.

Keeping on the wonky theme, here is the first quilt I finished in 2014, Improv Triangles. I love this one, and inspiration was taken from Didn't Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton, in Los Angeles, CA.

February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Front
February 2014 Harmony. Do. Good. Stitches Quilt Back

And here is the last quilt that I finished in 2014 for do. good. stitches. As you can tell I fell onto the wonky train and have never come back. And probably won't :) This quilt is by far my favorite one I have completed for this bee. I call it Minimalist Stripes and I am so tempted to make another one of these because I love it SOOOO much!!!

August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes
August 2014 Harmony. do good stitches - Improv Stripes Back

As you can see I have grown a lot in my design, my color choices, and my quilting. I have to thank all the wonderful ladies I have worked with over the past 3 years and continue to work with today. They inspire me to keep creating and I couldn't be more appreciative.

There are so many stunning quilts that have been made this year and all for such a good cause. Jump over and take a look for yourself at the beautiful creations these wonderful groups have made. We would love for you to go here to cast a vote for your favorite as well!!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Take on Commission Quilts

I very rarely do commission quilts. Most of the quilts I make are just quilts and then I give them to someone. I am now getting to the age of lots of babies in my life (not mine) that sometimes I make baby quilts, but I better really like you... The thing I am apprehensive about when it comes to commission quilts is that I quilt for fun and this hobby is my creative outlet. I do not want to be constrained and/or told what to do. If that's the case then I am just paid labor and we all know that no one will pay you enough for how much work truly goes into a quilt, so it is not even worth it.

I will do commission quilts every once and awhile if the party allows me creative control. I will ask for a color palette and then will specify two degrees of difficulty which will determine how intricate the design will be at two different price points. They give me those two choices and then I deliver them a quilt for said price by said date. I have found that if I do that then I still can create something I enjoy making and that is "me" and can also make sure that they get what they want within a set of expectations.

With all of that being said, a good friend of mine approached me about making his new niece a quilt and we decided on a color palette and price and he let me go. Men are so much easier in relinquishing design control than women. :) The below quilt is what I created and it was a custom design, my first one in my new EQ7 for Mac software!!

Her wanted her name on the quilt and I am not a fan of applique on baby quilts due to high use and washing, so I wanted to paper piece the name.

Two down, six to go. #sewingsunday

This took longer than normal but I think the durability of it is worth the time. I used the My ABC's Complete Set by Diane Bohn and LOVED the result. There are several heights to choose from and then of course you can always customize the size on the printer for whatever you need.

I wanted a scrappy, but modern look so I went with a stacked coins type piecing that I think looks great in this color way. I simply cut my strips, sewed them together in random rows, then sewed those rows together, and cut to the width I desired.

Strips all cut and ready to go for my newest quilt. First one I've ever designed in EQ7!
Three more to go! #vacationdayquilting
The most tedious part is done. Up next...sashing! #mplsmqg

I set the name into the quilt along the bottom part and decided to do it in a dark brown so it would show up clearly. Here is the finished top.

Top finished! Now the back. Can I get it sandwiched tonight? #sewingsunday #mplsmqg

I actually never got a picture of the quilt after it was completely bound, but here is one with the simple loop-de-loop quilting and before the binding has been sewn down.
Quilted and the binding sewn on! Now to hand sew the binding down. So proud of my progress today! #sewingsunday #mplsmqg

They loved it and it is being well used, just like a baby quilt should be. :) I hate it when people won't use the quilts you make them because they think they are too pretty. The whole point of a quilt is that it is useful. I guess at the end of the day the recipient can choose how they want to use us and that is up to them. That's another blog post for another time. But I do love to know and see that it is being loved like I intended. :)

And Uncle Jason was so sweet to get a picture of Brooklyn on her quilt over Thanksgiving. :) Baby cuteness alert!!

Brooklyn on Baby Quilt


Ella's Pink and Grey Modern Baby Quilt

My former boss recently took a job out of state and he and his wife were expecting right around the time of the move. I wanted to make sure they had a homemade quilt to welcome their new one home with so I asked for the nursery colors and went about trying to think of what style I wanted to make it in.

About the same time, Megan from City Stitches asked me to test a new pattern for her and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the perfect quilt for Ella. :)

I used two Kona pinks for the contrasting starts and set them in a grey essex linen. I love the texture of the linen and the durability it will provide for a quilt that hopefully will be well used.


The stars are paper pieced, and I just rotated the color placement to give more interest to the stars. I think these would be great in a myriad of colors as well.

At the beginning of the straight line journey. My bottle of wine and I will see you on the other side. #mplsmqg #citystitches

I quilted it in straight lines about a 1/2 in apart, but rather than just one set of straight lines, i altered the direction to help give some of that negative space some movement.

Radiance baby quilt is complete and ready to be bound. #mplsmqg #citystitches

We tried to get a good picture outside in the sun but as you can tell it was quite windy that day. :)


And finally, here is the back. It is a sweet flannel print I found at Joann's a couple of years ago that is just perfect for a little girls quilt.


This is a great simple and modern quilt to make for a new edition. Megan also has a larger throw size as well but I could see this star being used in tons of different types of projects as well. It is not too complicated and it great for a beginner paper piecer. You can find the pattern to Radiance here at Craftsy!

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