Arrows Quilt

I’m so excited.  Today is my day to share on Christa Watson’s blog tour for her new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

I chose to make the arrows quilt a bit smaller than the one on the book.  I left two rows off the side and a row off the bottom so my quilt ended up being 66″ x 72″.  I used 7 fat quarters from Alison Glass 2015 & 2016 Sun Print collections and about 4 yards of various Grunge whites for the background.  Even after making the arrows, I still had enough of the fat quarters to make a scrappy binding.

yes I laid on the grass to take this picture

The quilt was super quick to cut and piece.  I think I have no more than 5 hours total in making the quilt top.  Quilting it was another story.  I chose to quilt it the same way Christa quilted hers – with free motion arrows and cursive L’s.  I had not tried either before so I decided this was a great time to learn something new.  The instructions provided in the book were very clear and made learning these two new forms very simple.

Look! The points match! A little bit of extra work, but so worth it in the long run

Her book mentions that both free motion designs are fairly intense so she suggests doing short sessions at a time.  I would agree.  The maximum time I could sit and quilt the arrows was 45-60 minutes.  And even though the L’s seemed easier to quilt to me, I could only keep the motion going for about 20 min before they started looking funky.  In total it took me about 10-12 hours to quilt the entire thing on my domestic machine.

I backed the quilt with this fabulous Allison Glass print from her Ex Libris collection that perfectly matches the front.  So three different Alison Glass collections in one quilt and they all go together like they were meant to be. It also shows some of the quilting.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED.  MaryD is the winner ** GIVEAWAY #1 **  I’m giving away an electronic copy of Christa’s new book here on my blog courtesy of Martingale Publishing.  Just leave a comment telling me your favorite quilt from Christa’s new book, and if you have a private account be sure to leave your email as well.  Giveaway open through August 31.

Or you can buy a copy of Chrita’s book from her shop.  Trust me  You’ll love it.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED ** GIVEAWAY #2 **  On my Instagram account, I’ll be giving away a fat-quarter bundle of the Allison Glass prints that I used for the arrows.  Check out my Instagram feed for info on how to win.  I am @monkeyneedle.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you need to check out the other great bloggers that have participated in this fun blog hop.  A full list is below.

FRIDAY AUGUST 18 – SQUIGGLES

Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore
Kate Colleran Blog: Seams Like a Dream IG: @seamslikeadreamquilts
Sharon Parcel Blog: Yellow Cat Quilt Designs IG: @punkydoodle53

Click here to see Christa’s version of Squiggles.

SATURDAY AUGUST 19 – GRIDWORK

Sandy Maxfield Blog: Sandy Star Designs IG: @sandystardesigns
Joanne Harris Blog: Quilts by Joanne IG: @turtlequilterjo
Teresa Mairal-Barreu Blog Sewn Up: IG: @teresadownunder

Click here to see Christa’s version of Gridwork

MONDAY AUGUST 21 – FREQUENCY

Nancy Scott Blog: Masterpiece Quilting IG: @masterpiecequilting
Martingale’s Blog: Stitch This! IG: @martingaletpp
Lorinda Davis Blog: Laurel Poppy & Pine IG: @laurelpoppyandpine

Click here to see Christa’s version of Frequency

TUESDAY AUGUST 22 – S.W.A.K.

Sherry Shish Blog: Powered by Quilting IG: @poweredbyquilting
Michelle Bartholomew Blog: Michelle Bartholomew IG: @michellebartholomew
Allison Dutton Blog: Allison Sews IG: @allisonsews

Click here to see Christa’s version of S.W.A.K.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 23 – STARSTRUCK

Lissa LaGreca Blog: Lovingly Lissa IG: @lovinglylissa
Sherri Noel Blog: Rebecca Mae Designs  IG: @rebeccamaedesigns
Sandra Healy Blog: Sandra Healy Designs IG: @sandrahealydesigns

Click here to see Christa’s version of Starstruck

THURSDAY AUGUST 24 – DOT’N’DASH

Laura Piland Blog: Slice of Pi Quilts IG: @sliceofpiquilts
Cheryl Brickey Blog: Meadow Mist Designs IG: @meadowmistdesigns
Jen Frost Blog: Faith and Fabric IG: @faithandfabric

Click here to see Christa’s version of Dot’n’Dash

FRIDAY AUGUST 25 – TWINKLING DIAMONDS

Jessee Maloney Blog: Art School Dropout IG: @jessee_artschooldropout
Jessica Caldwell Blog: Desert Bloom Quilting IG: @desertbloomquilting
Anjeanette Klinder Blog: Anjeanette Klinder IG: @anjeanetteklinder

Click here to see Christa’s version of Twinkling Diamonds

SATURDAY AUGUST 26 – WINDOWS

Terri Vanden Bosch Blog: Meanderings Along Lizard Creek IG: @lizardcreekquilter
Suzy Webster Blog: Webster Quilt IG: @websterquilt
Katie Joy Church Blog: Wild Prairie Studio IG: @katie_joyquilts

Click here to see Christa’s version of Windows

MONDAY AUGUST 28 – KITES

Pam Cobb Blog: The Stitch TV Show IG: @thestitchtvshow
Jen Rosin Blog: A Dream and a Stitch: IG: @adreamandastitch
Rashida Khanbhai Blog:  No. 3 Quilt Studio IG: @no3quiltstudio

Click here to see Christa’s version of Kites

TUESDAY AUGUST 29 – ARROWS

Lynn Kline Blog: Monkey Needle IG: @monkeyneedle
Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore

WEDNESDAY AUG 30 – SPOOLS

Jen Shaffer Blog: Patterns by Jen IG: @patternsbyjen
Sandra Starley Blog: Textile Time Travels IG: @textiletimetravels

Thanks for visiting!

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #2

I have finished a second UFO on my list.  Yippee!  This is another charity baby quilt for our local quilt guild.  They provide the fabric and batting. I provide the thread and labor.

It was simple to piece since it was just 6″ squares.  But it was plain.  It needed something that would soften it up a bit.

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So I decided to take this opportunity to practice another FMQ design.  This is a simple paisley.  It was fairly easy and probably the first time I could honestly say I enjoyed FMQ on my home machine.  What I found difficult was trying to get myself out of tight spaces and filling in spaces that were too small for a paisley.  I tried several things… some worked, some didn’t.  But that is how it goes when you’re trying something new and practicing.  This was a good square.  It’s so pretty!

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As much as I like this design, it is very thread heavy.  It took 2-1/2 spools of thread to quilt this 36″ x 42″ baby quilt.  So, although I really like this design, it might work best featured in a smaller area rather than as an overall design.

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One more UFO down… many more to go.

Wonky Star

A couple of months ago, March I think it was,  I took a class at Spoonflower with Nicole at Mama Love Quilts    Nicole makes beautiful quilts, so not only was it an opportunity to possibly learn something new from a great quilt maker, but I was intrigued by the sample quilt.  Here is her quilt.
8568723788_18519fb6fbAlso, if you’ve not heard of Spoonflower, check out my post here.

None of the seams for the stars lined up so I was very interested in how this pattern was written.  And the class was free, so I really had nothing to lose.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that it used improv piecing and wasn’t a pattern in the typical sense.  I have never really done any improv piecing, but it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it.  And it was quite fun and freeing.  There are no rules, and no pattern — in fact, the wonkier, the better.

I decided to use scraps rather than cut up some of my stash, so I pulled out all my bright scraps from past projects.  I also decided to make my quilt large enough to be a baby quilt.  What’s really exciting about this quilt is that I have fabric from at least 8 other projects represented here.    I still need to bind it, but that should be done later tonight.

DSC_0278I used scraps for the back.

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Also, one of my goals this year was to practice my free motion quilting and get somewhat better at it.  So I used 4 different free motion quilting techniques on this quilt.  By the time I got done with the quilt, I was certainly better at the FMQ patterns I had decided to do.

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DSC_0285DSC_0286Now to start the binding.  Have a blessed weekend!

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

 

 

 

 

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…

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I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.

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Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.

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Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)

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This is the back.

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I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.

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I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted

Scrappy Trip Along

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Even with working 65 hours a week, I have been able to finish a small project.  One of my goals this year was to do a Scrappy Trip Along quilt.  This quilt pattern has really taken off — there is even a Flickr group.  Apparently this design has been around for 14 years.  Wow, I feel like I’m so behind having just recently discovered it.  But it’s still very popular, and pictures of new quilts made with this pattern are being uploaded daily.

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I used a 1/2 jelly roll of Moda Birdie that I had left over from a baby quilt I made a few years ago.  I had just enough of the jelly roll left to make this quilt 40″ x 40″, which is also a good size for a baby quilt.  I did have some problems with the strips of fabric stretching, so not all my seams line up correctly.  I hate that — but sometimes I have to tell that perfectionism thing to take a back seat.

I also used this opportunity to practice some free motion quilting.  I chose a design called Paisley Flower by Leah  Day and then adapted it for a larger quilt versus a 6″-8″ square.  My flowers ended up being 3″-7″ in diameter, with the average being about 5″, and it still took quite a while to quilt.  I still need to practice sewing over the same line more than once, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

DSC_0701And look at the colorful pile of fabric scraps I had left over.  I think I might put this outside and lets the birds use them to decorate their nests.  Or maybe I’ll make one myself similar to this.  DSC_0683

 

This would be a great quilt to use with scraps.  I might just make another one another day. They all look great when done

 

Losing My Marbles

Well, this past week has been pretty bad for work. I’m working lots of hours; but it is tax season, so I guess it comes with the territory.  In fact, in the last 3 weeks, I’ve had just one day off.  If they were normal 8-hour working days, it might not be so bad.  But these have been 10-14 hour working days.  And I think I’m about to lose it – my marbles, that is!  So therefore, I think tomorrow will have to be another day off for ‘my sanity’.

Due to my crazy work schedule lately, I really haven’t had much time to sew.  I did finish up a baby blanket I was crocheting for a co-worker.  She is due in just 4-days so it really had to be done.  I forgot to take a picture of it though, so I guess I can’t show it to you.

However, I will share with you a project I designed and completed before things got crazy at work.  I am working on a pattern for a quilt and I wanted to make a few test squares.  They turned out really nice so I decided to turn them into a pillow.  I had it designed and made in part of a weekend, so I was very thrilled with how quick it all went together.  The flowers inside each circle are machine embroidered.

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I also decided to practice some free motion quilting.  This is an area I really need to work on, but I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out.

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