Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WiP Wednesday - Everyday I'm Bubblin'

The theme of my life the past few days has been machine quilting.

Last Wednesday night, when I should have been rolling out pie crust for Thanksgiving, I made the blocks for a Christmas tree skirt instead. By Friday, I had the top put together. So I gathered all my backing and basting supplies over the weekend, and then I hunkered down this week to baste and quilt it.

Tree skirt in progress

I thought about doing something flashy but then reminded myself that this quilt is going on the floor, underneath a tree with poor lighting, and it will soon be covered up by pine needles gifts. Flashy machine quilting would kind of be a bit of a waste on this project. So I opted for simple stippling instead.

Now all that's left is the binding, which might actually be the trickiest part, with all those odd angles and the round center (that I still need to cut).

A few weeks ago, I pulled out my half-square triangle quilt top I started quilting last month. I decided to fill in all the white space with bubble/pebble quilting. I knew full well that it takes forever to bubble quilt, but I'm tackling it in one or two 15-20 minutes sessions a day, and I'm slowly working my way through all the white space. Once I get into a groove, it's actually pretty relaxing to quilt this pattern.

Bubble/pebble quilting

So there you have it, the WiPs that have been consuming my sewing time for the past little bit. If you're curious to check my master WiP status report, here's a link to my nutty spreadsheet.

Be sure to see what everyone else has been working on this week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why I Love the Bloggers' Quilt Festival

There are a few features, where the bloggers' quilt festival definitely has a leg up on in-person quilt shows...

1) You can go to the bloggers' quilt festival in your sweatpants. I mean, I guess you could do this with an in-person quilt show, too. But I try not to roll out of our driveway, unless I'm wearing bottoms that zip and/or button.
2) You don't get dirty looks from the white gloved show ladies when you attend the show with a corn dog in hand.
3) You can step away when inspiration overload hits and come back to the festival a few weeks later with fresh eyes and pick up right where you left off.

I'm a big fan of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, obviously. Here are a few of my favorites from the most recent Fall Quilt Festival...

                                                                    Source: via Megan on Pinterest

I love that this quilt takes the humble, unassuming half-square triangle unit and morphs into something awesome!

                                                              Source: via Megan on Pinterest

All the negative space on this quilt creates a lovely effect. And the blocks really get to take center stage, since there are only six of them. Added to that, the crinkliness from the small-scale stippling embodies coziness.

                                                                  Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Everything about this quilt intimidates me: the curved piecing/applique, the way the white spokes perfectly alternate with the colored spokes in the adjacent wheels, and click over to the post to see some awesome quilting. Ker-plunk. That was the sound of me dropping this quilt into my bucket list. 

                                                                      Source: via Megan on Pinterest

This is one of those quilts that makes me wish I could pop a few creativity pills so I could come up with a fresh wonky design and layout like this. It's so whimsical and fun!

                                                                  Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Again, ker-plunk into the bucket list. This quilt is a great example of how versatile "traditional" patterns can be. Don't scoff at a traditional block just because you don't like the fabrics. 

Did you have any favorites? Are you an online quilt festival junkie? If so, then be sure to check out SewCalGal's Christmas Quilt Festival this week!

And just in case you're here for the food, here's what we're eating this week...

Be sure to check out this week's edition of Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie for more of this week's menus!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Drum Roll Please, the Finished NC State Quilt

A little over three years ago, the Husbatron asked me to marry him Shortly thereafter, he casually dropped hints that he might like a quilt that incorporated his love for NC State. I kind of ignored him/filed away that idea for future reference, since I was busy planning and executing quilts for my bridesmaids.

Stack o' quilts 2

Fast forward to a few years later. Since the traditional gift for the second wedding anniversary is COTTON, I decided our 2nd anniversary would be an ideal time to crank out his NCSU quilt. So we started talking about what exactly he had in mind. Since he comes from a design background, I knew he'd definitely have ideas about what the finished product should look like. His ultimate wish was for a quilt that formed a mosaic of the NC State logo. He was even kind enough to brave a trip to the local quilt shop with me and pick out a few reds that represent that perfect shade of NCSU red. I also grabbed a few red scraps from my stash, including a print that Mom used for one of my childhood dresses.


To make the pattern, I grabbed a copy of the NC State logo from Google Images, blew it up until it filled out an 8x11 sheet of paper nicely, put a sheet of graph paper over top of it, and loosely traced the logo onto the graph paper. If you're handy with photo-editing software, you could also pixellate a low-resolution image like whoa to get a grid of the image. But what can I say? I like to kick it old skool.


Each square on the graph paper represents a 2.5" (2" finished) square. Luckily, I was able to group the squares into a series of 9-patches to make for easy construction. Instead of piecing together long chains of 2.5" squares, I was able to piece together rows of 6.5" (6" finished) 9-patch blocks. If you decide to embark on a mosaic project, I highly recommend looking for a way to turn the pattern into a series of 4-patch or 9-patch blocks. I think it will save you from wanting to poke out your eye later.


Moving on, the background is Kona Ash, the white is Kona White, the black prints came from my stash, and like I mentioned earlier, the reds are a mix of prints from Wish Upon a Quilt and my stash.

After about 4-5 weeks of quilting and a furious session of machine binding that turned out better than I anticipated, I'm happy to say that the Husbatron sits under this quilt while he does a little bit of armchair quarterbacking for his team every weekend.


Vital Stats:
Started: August 2011
Finished: November 2011
Machine pieced, machine quilted, it's even machine-BOUND

Monday, November 21, 2011

W.I.P. Recap

First of all, I'm so thrilled that folks are excited to play along with some strippy fun next year! If you're on the fence because you don't have any official Moda jelly rolls, don't worry, you can still play! I'm planning to cut up some of my yardage to make my own strip sets for a few months in there.

Moving on to current events. Weekend before last, I got to go on my first ever quilt retreat with TMQG over in Wrightsville Beach, NC. It was awesome. I didn't finish anything, but I did make considerable progress on a few projects that I've been ignoring for the past few months.

Like this Martinique project. Last time you saw it, it looked like this.

the perpetual disaster 

They finished at different sizes, no matter how I sliced them. Bad quilt math makes me cry.

Now, the blocks look like this (minus the big red thread spot there).


They're still not all the same size, but I shouldn't have too many problems squaring up the snowballs to 6.5" since I have all that extra sashing on them now. For the first time in a long while, I think I actually made this project better, not worse.

Then there's my Habitat project. Officially, it was due at the October TMQG meeting. It's a good thing the guild is lenient about deadlines, since it's obviously not close to completion. I'm making some String-X blocks with the challenge fabrics, with some pieces from my scrap bin thrown in for good measure. I'm still debating on the main background color.


I also worked on my Central Park hexagons while we traveled. I've finished basting ALL of my hexagons, and I'm now in the process of sewing them into flowers.


At this point, I'm ever so slightly regretting this shade of buttercup yellow and wishing I had gone for a more mustard-y shade. But I'm not regretting it enough to baste 100+ hexagons in a different shade of yellow. Pick your battles y'all. I'm hoping that the right background color (maybe Kona Lake or Kona Aqua?) will brighten up the yellow so it doesn't wash out the other colors it touches quite so much.

If you happen to be here for the food, here's what we're planning to eat this week...
Check out today's Menu Plan Monday post at OrgJunkie if you want to see what other folks are eating this week. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Me See Your Jelly Roll!!

Tap, tap, is this thing on?

I have an announcement.

2012 will the The Year of the Jelly Roll for me. I have a ridiculous number of jelly rolls that are lovely and begging to be used. I also have an ever-growing list of strippy patterns on my bucket list. It's high time I put them all to work.

more work to do

So I'm challenging myself in 2012. Every month, I'll at least finish a quilt top using a jelly roll or some of my strippy scraps. Is anyone interested in joining along? 

If so, I'll add one of those linkfest widgets to the bottom of my jelly roll post each month so folks can link up and maybe be eligible for some strippy prizes (Ahem, of the fabric variety. Get your minds outta the gutter.) 

I know it seems crazy to already talk about plans for 2012, but I wanted to give myself as much time as possible to finish up some of my current WIPs and add a couple of extra jelly rolls to my holiday wishlist. 

I even made a badge for my little challenge. Grab it if you want to. 


Then try to get this song out of your head for the rest of the day. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Split Personalities

I'm still working on the Husbatron's NC State quilt. I feel like this is the 125th time I've said that on this blog. But it's true. I'm still working on it. The quilt ended up a whee bit bigger than I anticipated, and the quilting designs I chose are taking a whee bit longer than I anticipated. Oh well, anticipation just sweetens the final product, right?

The few designs that I chose for the quilt are pretty modern - square stippling


and bubbles.


So I think the traditional part of my quilting personality is a bit repressed at this point and kind of bursting at its seams. Exhibit A: My To Do list from work the other day...


I got put on hold a LOT that day, hence all the doodling. Notice the M+Ms. I'd like to take this moment to inform you that we had 4 bags of candy and NO trick or treaters on Monday night. My chocolate stash runneth over for now.

My gut reaction was to start a new quilt with some of my Fig Tree fabrics, since I think they lend themselves well to traditional feather quilting motifs. But odds are, I already have a quilt top that lends itself equally well to my current feather fixation.

Maybe this one?

Disappearing Nine-Patch

A Disappearing 9-Patch from some Peace on Earth charm packs by 3 Sisters.  Just in time for Christmas?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Autumnal Inverted 9-Patch


Two years ago this week, I started this quilt. I finished it over a year and a half later. Let's hear it for quilts that marinate!

The Original Inverted 9-Patch, quilted

The fabric is Gobble Gobble by Sandy Gervais for Moda, with some Tranquility (S. Gervais) and Fabulous Fall (Deb Strain) thrown in for good measure.


It's been the crowning autumnal glory of our family room this fall. We'll replace it with the Christmas version in a few (short -eep!) weeks.

Want to make your own version? You can find the tutorial here.

Grab your favorite beverage and some leftover Halloween candy, curl up on the couch, and be sure to check out the other entrants for this fall's festival over at Amy's.