Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finding My Style

I've officially been quilting for over a year now! I feel like I have struggled over the past year to define my quilting style, asking myself where exactly do I fit in? Finally I feel I have the answer to that, thanks to Sarah Fielke and a recent post on her blog, I guess I am considered a traditional quilter who likes to use modern fabrics. Yes, that description fits quite nice.

Material Obsession was the very first real quilting book I purchased and I fell head over heels in love with their quilting style and all of their quilts! As soon as Material Obsession 2 came out I just had to grab it and it is now my favorite quilting book. I dream of making each and every quilt in there...sigh!

Of course I've been following Sarah Fielke's blog The Last Piece and was thrilled to bits to find out she has released a new book "Quilting From Little Things" and had to order my copy from The Book Depository because it will not be released until August here in the US and I just couldn't wait until then ;D BTW it is FANTASTIC and filled with so many lovely and inspiring quilts!

And then I discovered she had a gorgeous quilt pattern in an Australian Quilters Companion special issue "Quilts From Precut Fabrics" (also a cute pattern from Kate Conlkin is in there) and I went on a desperate search to find and order one...disappointingly I was unable to find a retail source ~ drat! So how is it that I have one you ask? My sweet "Flickr Friend" Susan was kind enough to answer my plea (an email begging her really, ha ha) and she quickly ran and purchased a copy from her newsstand and mailed it off ASAP. In return I sent her a couple of magazines ~ swap fun! I am seriously drooling over half a dozen quilts in to find the time and energy (oh and lets not forget the $) to make a few of them up. My quilting cue is already bursting!

Oh and I mustn't forget the heat. My sewing loft is upstairs and it has been crazy hot here. What is a girl to do when one is not motivated to go upstairs and quilt in a sweat shop? Why try hand sewing blocks of course!

Here is a little sneak peek at a project I have been working on...

And I love this little tip ... cut a square of quilt batting and pin your pieces to it so you can roll it up and take it wherever you go. Genius right? You will find me lazily stitching away today in my nice cool bedroom, and the best part of the project is that it will be going with me to all of R.'s soccer practices and games, piano lessons, etc.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! And happy quilting too!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bird Brain?

Finished just in the nick of time, allow me to introduce you to this delightful mini quilt, "Love Bird", made with love for my Gran's birthday.

This sweet little birdie quilt (made by ruthiequilts) was my inspiration. As soon as I saw it I just knew my Gran would love it to pieces. The center block is a paper-pieced pattern from Paper Panache. It looks extremely difficult...admittedly I was a trifle intimidated...but in the end it was really NOT so hard as I imagined. I photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper (for ink jet printers) and it worked extremely well at holding all of those little pieces of fabric. Just make sure you check your block for accuracy (that is, to make sure all of the quadrants line up good and proper) before squaring it up, wink wink. Lesson learned!

That lovely pink fabric used both on the front as well as on the binding is Moda Grunge Basics in Duchess. I can't tell you just how gorgeous this fabric really is! All but one of the blues for the bird are from the Greenfield Hill collection from Denyse Schmidt. Those brightly fantastic greens are from Kaffe.

I absolutely love the Lecien Flower Sugar fabric I used on the just makes we want to get dressed up and have a tea party!

And a little sneak peek of what I will be free motion quilting over the next few weeks...

Oh look at that...more birds! I guess you could call me a bird brain, ha ha, or rather I'd prefer to say that I have birds on the brain! When I get around to finishing it, this lovely cushion will be for R's room. After showing her the four and a half hour BBC mini series "Emma" (Jane Austen) she is decidedly set upon redecorating her room "Emma style". She is sooooo my daughter ;D

Happy quilting,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wild Imagination

This bright and fun dresden plate mini quilt "Wild Imagination" is on its way to its new home in Australia. And yes, I joined another swap despite my promise not to, because I just couldn't pass up the Mini QT Swap April theme "Circles and Curves".

The great thing about this swap is that it is NOT a "blind swap" swap. It was super fun because you get paired with your partner in the beginning and you each get to create a mini quilt for the other and share sneak peeks.

After searching through my swap partner's "favorites" on flickr, I came up with my design idea, the Dresden plate, and chose these lovely fabrics. This photo was her first sneak peek.

I only recently discovered the fabulous line of Creative Grids rulers and had the Water Wheel House Quilt Shop order this Dresden ruler for me. The thing I love most about the Creative Grids line is the sticky little feet (or rather circles) on the bottom of the ruler that grip your fabric and prevent the ruler from slipping while you cut. When I cut the petals for this quilt I used the ruler, an 8" rotating cutting mat, a 28mm rotary cutter, and a charm square, and all 20 pieces were cut in a jiffy.

Shelley over at the Water Wheel House Quilt Shop is super sweet and helpful, and is happy to find, order, and ship any Creative Grids Ruler you'd like :D Ha ha, I had her searching for a ruler just from a photo in my favorite quilting book Material Obsession 2! Ok, I was really naughty and had her order me 5 other rulers too ~ yes, I love these rulers that much!

After choosing the rainbow spectrum of colors for my dresden plate, I simply followed the instructions that came with the ruler and voila my dresden was ready to be hand appliqued to the text background fabric! You could of course machine stitch them on instead. The instructions were super easy and I loved the technique they suggest for turning under your petal edges. You take a dull embroidery needle and sort of emboss the curve using the round ruler and you have a perfect little curved line to turn under.

I couldn't quite decide what to do with my flower center and spent several days playing around with ideas when I came across this lovely old dresden on Pinterest that was from a post on Design Sponge and thought the center was genius. I love how inspiration will find you if only you sit and think on it awhile :D My flower center was also hand appliqued and then I did a decorative blanket stitch around both center fabrics. That same floss was used to do a single line 1/4" around the petals on the background fabric.

And can you see that little decorative border of FMQ I did around the edge of the quilt? Probably you can't see it on the front ... it comes across as a nice texture though ... but you can definitely see it on the back. Some straight lines of quilting also were added to continue the line from each petal segment.

And to top it all off I added a double heart label that was fused raw edge to the quilt using Steam-a-seam 2. Again, I used a blanket stitch around both hearts.

I hope she loves this little cutie as much as me! Maybe someday I will get around to making myself one??? The petals for another one were cut when I made hers ... but the funny thing is, I don't think I'll need too, because from my sneak peek it looks like she made me a dresden too! Yippee! Its been shipped and should be here soon :D

Happy quilting,