Thursday, March 29, 2012

Finally Finished - Lisa's Baby Quilt!

I'm so relieved!  I finally finished Lisa's baby quilt.  I made the top a month ago after learning about this tutorial from She Can Quilt, in which she shows you how to piece curves easily and quickly.  I always loved Drunkard's Path, but I hated pinning and cutting the pieces. Once I learned this technique, this quilt came together very quickly.  Finishing the quilt, though, is another story, but I didn't have a choice since Lisa will be on maternity leave after Friday.

The arrangement of the blocks was inspired by this quilt that I found on Flickr by Sewcraftyjess:

I love this bright version, but Lisa requested the colors for her quilt.  She doesn't want to know the sex of her baby until it arrives, so everything needs to be gender-neutral.  I never understood that since I read endings of books in order to decide whether or not to read it, but hey, whatever the mom wants! 

Like my other baby quilts, the backing is made of fleece, and each block is 5".

Hope Lisa's baby enjoys it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Evening in Swoon City

I've been intrigued with the Swoon pattern ever since I saw the Flickr photostream of the Swooning Quilt Along, but never really focused on the pattern until I saw this version of it, Sunny Day in Swoon Town:

Using this block as an inspiration, I created Evening in Swoon City, which combined my love of making houses with the Swoon pattern:

A close up of the center star block:

I used Michael Miller's Prom fabric for the center.  I've used this fabric in many of the Wonky House quilt blocks.  I use it sparingly because I love it so much!

Here is a close-up of an apartment building:

and of a house:

I worked out the design of the block as I went.  The most difficult part was the selection of the fabric for the houses, but once I chose the star fabric, it made selecting the house fabrics a lot easier.  The house pattern gave me a few problems as well since I kept changing it.  The only part of the house that I was sure about was the sashing for the window.  I thought it was a nice detail to add. 

I'm very happy with how this block came out.  Now I have to decide whether I want to keep this block as a standalone or as a center for a wall hanging.  Decisions, decisions ....   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Inspirations ...

I've been a little distracted lately.  I figured that once I finished all my bee blocks for the month that I could work on projects without interruptions.  But I can't seem to stay focused on any one project.  I've been spending a lot of time looking through Flickr to help figure out my next project, but there is so much out there that I want to try that I can't limit it down to one.  These are my top 9 choices:

1. Cherry Star!, 2. The start of something small., 3. DUDQS11, 4. pretty little posie blocks!, 5. Hip to Bee Square - April, 6. Mod Mood Quilt, Summer 2010, 7. 3.5" bitty block - Birdies - Group 2, 8. Sunny Day in Swoon Town, 9. Latest idea

I've tried block #7, the Birdies, which is adorable, but I don't think I want to do a paper-pieced quilt right now.  I'm considering #8, Sunny Day in Swoon Town, which is a clever version of the swoon block.  I love how the blocks are made into houses, and since I really enjoy making wonky houses, I'm thinking of making this a wonky swoon block with the center being a wonky star and the houses made freeform. 

Hmm...I'm loving this idea the more I think about it.  It will be interesting to see if the wonky design will make the swoon block look awkward or fun.  

I guess the next time I'm stuck, I'll write a post to clear my head.  Who knew blogging would be so helpful?  :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sewing Machine Shopping

I was supposed to go to Puerto Rico for a vacation, but my sister bailed on me, so I decided to use the vacation money for a new machine.  I love my Pfaff Grandquilter, and it will still be my primary one, but I need a machine that can do the zig zag stitch for machine appliquing.  At first I thought I would buy a cheap machine since I only need that simple stitch, but then I decided that I need more features in case I decide to try out some new things in the future. 

Working out how much I'm willing to spend on a machine is always iffy - do I want to go high end and buy one of those machines that can embroider anything, including scanned pictures, or do I get one with fewer embroidery options?  I tried to think of all the ways I could use the embroidery function and realized that it is highly unlikely that I would put any kind of embroidery on my clothes or quilts.  In fact, it is extremely rare for me to wear any printed patterns!

Since I didn't have a clue about what machine to buy, I went to visit my favorite sewing machine store and told them all the things that I wasn't looking for, and they came up with the recommendation of the Pfaff Smarter C1100 Pro machine.  It's similar to the Grandquilter, very sturdy and quiet.  It has a built-in walking foot and there's a promotion now in which the quilting kit is free (comes with an extended work space for the machine and various quilting feet).

I really liked it when I tried it out, but I've been reading the reviews and they're mixed.  Either people love it or hate it.  I'm going to try it out again, but this time bring some sample quilts and fabrics with me and see if I have the same problems that the people who didn't like it did.

Unfortunately, when you buy a machine, you won't really know whether it is a good fit or not until you've used it for a while.  But the people at this store have always been on target with their recommendations, so I trust them to help me find the right machine.  Still, fingers are crossed with the next visit ...