Friday, June 29, 2012

June Jelly Roll Party!

Link up any strippy projects you worked on this month. Entrants will be eligible to win a summery bag of scraps.

Natures notebook scrap

I think these scraps come from Nature's Notebook by April Cornell - I LOVE all the blues and yellows together in this group. It screams Classy Southern Summer to me, reminiscent of porch swings, iced tea, and big, juicy homegrown tomatoes. 

Hope everyone's enjoying the summer! Sorry to be late to my own party, but I'll be back in a few days to show you what I've been working on this month. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Little of This, A Little of That

I wish I could claim that I've been laser-focused on finishing one project this month, but I've spent most of my time dabbling here and there on projects in various states of progress.

Central park hexagons
I finished all the handwork on my Central Park hexagons project. All the flowers are pieced. I'm planning to applique them onto a solid of some color that's yet to be determined.

In the meantime, we still had small weekend trips to visit family and friends, DVR to keep up with, etc., so I still needed a hand project to keep me occupied. I dug out the scraps from my Oasis quilt and my recently completed H2H quilt and started making hexagons.

To be paper pieced
These are the pieces left over from the end of the strip unit after cutting the units at a 45-degree angle. I've been able to eke out one, sometimes two, hexagons from these leftover strips.

Pastel hexagons
Here are the hexagons I've completed thus far.

I also finally got crackin' on my swap blocks for TMQG. They're due at the July meeting, so I'm breathing a little easier, now that I'm 1/3 done.

Tmqg swap block for Patricia
First I made Patricia's block.

Tmqg 2012 swap block for Valerie
Then Valerie's. Also, notice the ghetto, weeded-over monkey bars behind the clothesline. We keep it klassy in our yard.

tmqg 2012 swap block for Meg
Then Meg's, using leftovers from Patricia's block.

tmqg swap block for Cathie
And then Cathie's.

I'm working up the courage to try paper piecing on a few of my next blocks. Wish me luck!

may booty
Also, before I forget, the winner of the May jelly roll party is Sharon, who made an awesome variation on a jelly roll race quilt this month. Sharon - I've sent you an email to confirm your address - be on the lookout!

Is anyone else dabbling this summer? Or have you been getting it done?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Check One Off the Bucket List

A couple of months ago, my mother in law asked if I'd quilt a baby quilt top she made. I wasn't too worried about the request, until I asked what kind of quilting she wanted. Her response: "Oh, well, I really like the quilting that's on the cover of the pattern. Maybe you can just quilt it like that quilt." Even though I had never quilted a quilt for someone else, I wasn't all that worried. That is, until she showed me the quilt top.

carnival pattern by jaybird quilts
I recognized it immediately - it's Jaybird Quilts' Carnival pattern. You see, this development worried me because Angela, the same Angela who quilts most all of Tula Pink's masterpieces, quilted that quilt. Go on. Go ogle her work. It's pretty incredible. She's one of my machine quilting idols. Intimidation much?

So I took a few deep breaths, zoomed in on all the photos in Julie's post about the Carnival pattern to get a better look at the quilting, and decided I'd do my best.

Carnival leaf quilting
I started with the leaves in the chunky pinwheels.

carnival pattern by jaybird quilts
Then I moved to filling in the background space with lots of layered scallopy loopy things. And kept filling and kept filling.

border quilting detail 2
With the border, I did some large-scale loops, mixed in with some flowers. It's kind of tough to see here.

variety-machine quilting on the back
Uou can see it a little better on the back. I was pretty nervous about quilting with a solid backing fabric, since it highlights everything, including your mistakes, but in the end, it all worked out alright.

machine quilting from the back
Thus ended my first commissioned machine quilting project. My mother-in-law's piecing is pretty spot-on perfect - no puckers or wavy borders anywhere to be found. The process, however, deepened my respect for longarm quilters. Quilting for other people can be nerve-wracking. I definitely cut myself a lot of slack on my own projects. I didn't really feel that I had that luxury, working on someone else's quilt. I also understand why custom machine quilting is so much more expensive than an allover pattern or pantograph. It takes some serious time and close attention to make sure you're quilting "inside the lines" and filling up as much space as possible with the background filler designs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

H2H 2012 Quilt - Finished

For my May jelly roll quilt project, I decided to double-duty it and use it as an opportunity to also complete my H2H charity quilt. My swap partner sent me this palette

I chose these fabrics to go along with the palette
h2h palette finally

(Thimble Pleasures in Chapel Hill was the perfect place to shop for fabrics to match the palette. Since they arrange their store by color, it was easy to hone in on one color at a time without getting too distracted.)

And then I started flipping through my Jelly Roll Quilts book to find a quick! and easy! pattern. I settled on "Garden Trellis." Here are a couple of other great versions of the pattern. I made my own jelly roll on this quilt, by cutting 2.5" strips from all the yardage I got to go along with the palette. Since I didn't have enough "light" strips to follow the pattern exactly, I got 3 yards of a white tone on tone and cut that into a bunch of 2.5" strips and considered the palette colors my "dark" strips.

Maybe my brain was a bit slow in May, but I had a tough time translating the pattern instructions to real life, since once again, I refused to shell out the money for a specialty ruler. Not wanting to repeat the fiasco from January, I decided to turn to the Internet for advice. The pattern uses a basic "strip tube" technique. Luckily, Missouri Quilt Co. posted a whole video on how to use this technique for strippy quilts with a regular square ruler. They used 3 strips per unit, instead of just two, but you can watch the video to get the basic idea.

the whole she-bang 
This quilt top came together so incredibly quickly. I knocked most of it out in a weekend, while watching cinematic masterpieces, like Leap Year and Steel Magnolias. It's definitely a pattern to keep in your queue for when you need to pull together a project quickly.

variety of colors 
I opted to lay out the blocks so that the "lights" and "darks" formed their own small and large diamond shapes. There are endless possibilities for the layout with this strip tube method. I might try out a different layout option later on in the year.

my favorite block 
FYI - This pink and gray is my favorite block.

scrappy block 
Some of the blocks ended up scrappier than others, since I was trying to use up as many block units as possible. (I'm on a mission to reduce my project leftovers as much as possible this year.)

machine quilting 
For the quilting, I machine-quilted an allover medium-scale loopy stipple. It finished up pretty quickly. From the pink and gray block photo (above), you'll notice I used up the last of the background fabric. (no leftovers!)

embracing solid backing 
I used Kona "Prepared For Dying" fabric (PFD) for the backing. It's not as white as the tone on tone I used for the background and binding, but maybe if it gets dirty, it won't be as noticeable. The Kona White was way too bright white to use as a backing.

This quilt will be on its way to Sarah next week so her church can add it to the distribution pile for the kids in St Bernard Parish, La later this fall. This community was especially hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina. I hope whomever receives knows I was thinking about and praying for them and their families while I made it!

Just under the wire, I'm linking up to Sarah's H2H linky party. (nothing like being the goddess of the last minute, eh?)

Vital Stats:
Started: May 2012
Finished: May 2012
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted, machine-bound
Fabrics - various.

Friday, June 1, 2012


It's finally happened. I've lost temporarily misplaced my avid desire to start a new project. After I finished my H2H/May Jelly Roll quilt last night (pictures to come after the the torrential downpours pass through), I realized that I have no idea what I want to work on next. This is very strange. Normally, the whole time I'm quilting and binding a quilt, I'm plotting my next project. Don't get me wrong. I still have a crazy spreadsheet, listing all my jelly rolls and all the jelly roll patterns I'd like to do, but after perusing the list and spending some quality time searching pinterest, nothing's jumping out at me for my June project.

It might be that work stress is seeping into my quilting life. Normally, I'd like to think I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing (I dunno if the Husbatron would agree with me), but it's the time of year when work starts to get a little bit out of control. The ordeal of deciding on a new project, making a list of needed supplies, and shopping for them is just about enough to push me over the edge right now. Normally, all the preparatory research and list-making is the piece de resistance of the quilting process for me.

Source: via K on Pinterest

So, in order to soothe my apparently fragile psyche, I'm not going to start any new strippy projects in June. I'm going to try and finish at least one of the four strippy projects on my WiP list. Here are the projects currently in my queue:

daisy chain in happy campers
The Happy Campers quilt I made at the last minute for the May jelly roll party

granny squares quilt top
The Etchings quilt that still needs about 21 feather blocks quilted

A spiderweb quilt I started last winter for Quilts of Valor

joyous strings
A string block project I started from some free scraps TMQG received from Kate Spain (QuiltDad is my homeboy!)

Repeat: I'm not planning to finish all these projects. That would just make me crazy. But I would like to finish at least one, and I'm thrilled to have multiple projects to choose from that are in various stages of the process.

After all, I haven't started yet on my quilt blocks for the TMQG summer block swap, unlike some diligent members. If I make 3 blocks a week between now and the end of the month, I'll be set for the July meeting, when the blocks are due. When we received all the fabrics for the block swap, I thought to myself, if I make one block a week, I'll be set for the July meeting. Now I'm up to 3 blocks/week. Am I the only one who does this kind of deadline math in my head but doesn't always follow through?

Alright, does anyone out there have a roadmap of their next few projects? Spill!

Also, if you're looking to enter the jelly roll party for May, check out this post.