Friday, December 30, 2011

Valentine's Day Block Swap

I'm a member of Quilting Board, an online message board for quilters, and I'm participating in a couple of swaps, one of which is targeted for Valentine's Day.  For this swap, you can swap sets of 6 blocks that represent the holiday, and the block size has to be a multiple of 3" plus seam allowance.  I decided to do 3 sets of 6 1/2" blocks.  Two sets are machine-appliqued hearts of my favorite red and pink fabrics.  The third set is foundation-pieced hearts from patterns that I found on Ula Lenz's blog.  She has some really nice foundation-piecing patterns, much more elaborate than others that I found online.  I found her blog accidently, and it was a great find!

The appliqued hearts:

The paper-pieced hearts:

A close-up of 2 of my favorite blocks:

These blocks were mailed out today, and I made it just under the wire!  I can't wait to see what blocks I get in return!

Check out Quilting Board, it's great community of quilters!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Queen of the Sewing Room!

While I was working on the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt, my cat, Ms. Lola, decided to remind me who is Queen of the Sewing Room!

Luckily, my sewing machine is very sturdy since it is becoming one of Lola's favorite spots.  But Lola's my constant companion when I'm in the sewing room, so she deserves the title.

Wonky House, take 2!

I'm still playing with the fabric selection for this block.  This time, I tried a lighter background and added a different window for the lower portion of the window. 

Shhh ... don't tell anyone that this block is a lot of fun!

I love how changing the fabrics changes the look of the block altogether!

Take 3 on its way ...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wonky House Swap Pattern!

I finally figured out my block for the Wonky House Swap.  Whoo hoo! Thanks to the ladies of the Wonky House Block Swap who put together galleries of different wonky house blocks, I took parts of different blocks that I liked and came up with this:

The block is foundation pieced, and since I drafted it on the computer, I can print the pattern on vellum, which makes the piecing much easier.  (See my post on why I print patterns on vellum).  Since the pattern was fairly simple, I decided to make windows with sashing:

This was my prototype block so there will be some changes for the next one.  The background will be lighter since this background doesn't contrast with the tree enough.  And I will probably add another tree.  Whatever changes I make will be minor because I'm loving this block!  Can't wait for Christmas break when I can work on it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Productive Quilty Week!

I got a lot done this week, well, as least quilting-wise.

First, I completed 2 more Japanese x and + blocks:

Then, I cut out the squares for the Cherrywood fabrics block that I need to make for the NYC Metro Mod Quilters before the next meeting:

With the left over pieces from the Cherrywood fabrics, I made this little X-mas quilt called, "Hoots' in the House":

A close-up of a block:

And finally, I started to work on the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville.  I completed steps 2, 3 and am working on steps 1 and 4.  Here are some blocks from it:

I'm still trying to figure out the third color family I'm going to use for this quilt.  My mind changes each day.  Sigh.

Of course to be this productive, I had to ignore tasks like Christmas shopping, preparing for the family get-together on that day, finishing up Christmas gifts, etc. but I just had to try out these things!  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rainbow Waves

A while ago, I participated in the mini quilt challenge hosted by AmyLouWho.  I made the Wonky House in Queens little quilt as a wish that the construction on my house would be finished by the holidays.  (It looks like it will be!  Whoo hoo!)

One of the entries for this challenge caught my attention because it was 3-D.  The quilt came from the blog, thimble + bobbin.  I thought the design would be perfect to showcase some of the fabrics that I dyed, but there were no directions.  With some trial and error, I figured out the quilt. 

Here's Rainbow Waves, my version of thimble + bobbin's quilt:

Some close-ups:

The design of this quilt reminded me of the book, The Art of Manipulating Fabric, which I bought years ago and actually just opened yesterday.  There are some seriously cool effects with fabric in this book that would translate well to quilting.  During Christmas week, I'm going to try making a little quilt with some of these fabric manipulations.  Will post when I do!

Love the Japanese X and + block pattern!

I just joined a block swap based on the Japanese x and + block pattern.  The flickr block swap begins in January 2012 and I wanted to try out the pattern.  I love it!  Making these blocks is becoming addictive, maybe because I find the process of making it really relaxing.  When I first started making the blocks, I just happen to be watching Law and Order.  And every time I worked on the blocks, the show just happen to be on.  Now, when Law and Order is on, I feel the need to make these blocks.  I've become the Pavlov dog of quilting! LOL

Here are the first four blocks:

And the four blocks together:

I've been using fabrics from my stash and the fabric selection has been pretty painless since I spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend sorting and organizing my fabrics.  I'm loving how the blocks look together so I'll probably make a quilt as well as blocks to swap. 

Have a quilty weekend!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baby Quilt #4 - Long Overdue!

While I was blog-hopping, I saw a quilt that used the Dream On fabrics from Urban Chiks.  I loved the vintage patterns and bright colors and wanted to try making a quilt with the charm pack.  I've never used a charm pack before since I don't tend to use fabrics from only one collection.  When I googled this fabric, I saw that the Quilted Castle had the fabric on sale.  It was meant to be!

I bought the charm pack as well as fabrics from the Dream On collection.  With the addition of a yard of white Kona cotton and a couple of fabrics from the collection, I made this simple, but pretty quilt:

Some close-ups of the quilt:

I left out the striped fabrics from the collection so that I could use it for the sashing.  As I was putting together this quilt, I thought it would be perfect for my niece, who was born this past April.  Her baby quilt is long overdue and I'm happy that she's getting such a bright and cheerful one.

I'm going to try to quilt it this week.  Maybe I'll even finish it in time for Hannukah for her!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hexie Quilt in Progress

A while back, I made a hexie kit and finally had a chance to use it.  I'm at a conference in Chicago and in my spare time, have been making hexies.  I'm making an aqua and red wall hanging, and am happy with the progress I made.

A close-up of the fabrics used:

The center of the hexies and the background fabric are by Keiko.  The aqua fabrics are from my stash.  I was a little worried that the background fabric might be too busy, but I like the contrast.

Now I just have to get more aqua fabrics ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Swap Block - Done!

This is a banner day!  I participated in a block swap for the first time and I just finished the block.  It is the pattern for Block Four of the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along.  The pattern is called "Fiesta Star" and the colors requested from my swap partner were perfect for the pattern.  Here is my version of "Fiesta Star":

A look from another angle:

I love the combination of these colors.  The chartreuse fabric is Theory from Anthology Fabrics, and the hot pink fabric was dyed by me.  The black and white fabric is from my stash.

I hope my swap partner likes it.  I love what she sent me:

It's perfect for the aqua and red quilt that I want to make. 

I wanted to get my block out before I leave tomorrow for a conference.  It's almost midnight and instead of packing, I'm quilting and blogging.  Priorities, priorities, priorities!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and shop 'til you drop!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wonky House in Queens Little Quilt

I was reading the In Color Order blog, and there was a reference to AmyLouWho's Mini Quilt Challenge.  This challenge sounded interesting and it motivated me to make a little quilt.  Part of the challenge is to respond to her post about this challenge and to share a Christmas wish.

My house has been under renovation for the past year and a half.  I'm really pleased with the renovation, especially my sewing room, but it is such a slow process. We're finally at the finishing stages, but it's uncertain if everything can be finished by Christmas.  So my Christmas wish is for the renovation to be finished.  I made this quilt hoping that it would bring good luck!

Wonky House in Queens Quilt:

A close-up of the wonky house:

This quilt makes me smile.  My house is far from wonky, but that's how it felt this past year and a half.  While I was making this quilt, my carpenter was working on some finishing work, and this quilt made him smile too. :)

The quilt measures 12" X 14" and was machine-pieced and quilted.  I used a foundation piecing template for the wonky house that I bought at a quilt show years ago.  Unfortunately, the pattern wasn't entirely accurate since the piece for the roof was too small for the rest of the house.  I made some slight adjustments and all was fine.  The trees are made from fabric that I hand-dyed.

The other reason I loved making this quilt - the cross-hatch quilting.  I forget which blog I got this tip from, but I used painter tape to guide my quilting lines.  I have never had such perfect cross-hatching before.  Best yet, there are no marks to remove because once your sew your line, you can remove the tape.  And there's more - painter tape comes in different widths so it can be used for any size quilt.  For this quilt, I used the 1-inch tape.  I LOVE this method.  Here is a view of the back so you can see the quilting (forgive the stray thread!):

When the house is done, I'm going to make a little quilt to celebrate titled, "Best Little House in Queens!"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Design Board

I finally got it done - the design board!  There are some projects that I want to start, but have been delaying since I need a design board to help me make some design decisions.  I had decided a while ago to make the design board using artist stretchers and canvas.  I figured that since I was going to use flannel or batting, I would need something firm underneath it to give it some structure and support.

Unfortunately, the stretchers I bought were too big for the wall I wanted to hang the board on.  My sister finally suggested that I buy a pre-made canvas since they come in all sizes now.  I decided to start with a small design board and leave the larger one for when the carpenter working on my house renovation can trim the stretchers down to fit the wall. 

Here is the front of the design board (30" X 40") with flannel stretched over it:

The back view:

A close up of the flannel stapled to the frame of the canvas:

A close-up of a corner:

It's really important to make sure that the corners on the design board are taut and firmly secured to the frame of the canvas.  The tighter you can stretch the flannel over the frame, the flatter your surface. 

This design board is now literally a blank canvas and can be hanged like any other painting.  Thanks to the sis for working on this board!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

J's Baby Quilt

Well, it's finally done!  The third baby blanket this month! 

Before it was quilted:

Close-up of the quilting:

All ready to be wrapped and given to J:

Like my other baby quilts, the backing is an alpine fleece.  This quilt was smaller than the other two quilts; it measured about 30" X 40".  For some reason, I was convinced that J was having a boy, so I made the quilt for a boy.  At the baby shower, I found out that she still doesn't know the sex of the baby, so I felt sheepish, to say the least.  Must be early onset of senility or confusion since everyone seems to be having a baby around me! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dyeing Process Completed!

Well, here it is - the completed dyed fabrics!

The yellow to blue fabrics:

The yellow to red fabrics:

The red to blue fabrics:

I think the last set of fabrics was my least successful because although the blues were beautiful, the red and purples were too light.  But I'm pleased with my first attempt at dyeing in years. 

My next attempt will be more successful because I won't be as impatient to see the end results.  This batch of fabrics only sat in the dye for about 6 hours.  Next time, I'm going to let it sit for 24 hours to see how much deeper the colors will be.

I'm thinking of creating a 9-patch Sampler Quilt Along with these fabrics.  I'm going to try some patterns and see how well these fabrics contrast with the black fabrics I'll be using for the background.  Another idea is to use these fabrics in the Circle of Geese pattern. 

Hmm ... what to try first?

Dyeing in Progress ...

I finally had some time to dye fabric.  I decided to do the color wheel and used an 8-yard piece of Kona PFD fabric left over from my previous dyeing attempts to try out this process.  I also ordered additional fabric and had to use a yard from it.  I have a feeling that the fabrics won't be as vibrant as I want because the Kona fabric from my stash was cream-colored, which will probably have a muting effect on the dye colors.

Here is the red to yellow range:

The red to blue range:

And the blue to yellow range:

Each baggie contains a 1/2 yard of fabric, and there are six colors in each container.  Tomorrow, when these fabrics are ready to wash, I will have 18 different colored fabrics from this process. 

It's like being a little kid again waiting for midnight on Christmas Eve! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pretty Goodies!

What a lovely surprise awaited me when I arrived home today!  A box filled with the fabric that I had ordered arrived and it was sooo pretty! 

First there were the Christmas fabrics that I'm going to use for a Christmas Sampler Quilt Along:

Then there were the fabrics to add to my aqua and red collection:

And of course, in every order there are fabrics for the black and white collection (appropriately named Coffee Beans since I've been existing on caffeine for the past week! :)):

And finally, the "just because I like them" fabrics:

All are freshly washed and pressed and ready to join their compadres in the fabric closet until I'm ready to use them.  Some might be included in fabric or block swaps, but all are equally cherished!