Can you believe it’s August already? If only the winter went as quickly as Summer seems to. Oh well..I spent the weekend finishing up my July’s “Quilt of the Month”.July’s quilt is Cluck Cluck Sew’s “inside out” pattern, which I … Continue reading
One of these days I will get around to posting in between the “Quilt of the Month” posts…but for now it’s been hard to find the time! ( I am making a quilt a month after all!!)
For those of you who are new here, I have been working steadily though a goal to make a quilt every month this year. I’m on #3 (March) but if you’d like to read about #1 (January) you can click HERE, or #2 (February) you can click HERE.
For March’s quilt I chose “Stash Stars” a great pattern by Terry Atkinson.
We were lucky enough to have Terry come teach at our store a few years ago, and I was so impressed with the clear way she is able to both teach and write patterns. If you have never made one of Terry’s quilts, you should! They are so easy to do and come out beautifully. I chose my favorite Andover Textured Solids for my stars, and just plain white Kona cotton as the background- it was such fun to stack all those colors together and play with combinations. The basic block construction was very simple, and the beauty of the stars is that the points are floating, so if you are a little bit off with your accuracy (which of course none of us EVER are), you can easily hide it!
You essentially make a whole bunch of flying geese with fat bottoms (fat bottomed geese?) and then arrange them around your center block.
Because I am a serial chain piecer, I made all my geese at once and then sewed as much as I could at once (maybe I was trying to avoid the quilt aerobics, you know cut, sew, press, pin, repeat- all while running circles around the sewing room).
Once you have all of your blocks done you have to figure out how to arrange them…
I wish I had taken more photos of the various layouts I played with, but I eventually decided on this one, (looks like I need a bigger design wall!)
By now you know that the quilting is my favorite part of this whole project, and after last months heartbreak of not seeing all the quilting I did because it got lost in the busy background- I was determined not to let the quilting get lost on this quilt! I conducted a quick Facebook poll on what color thread to use to quilt this with- I didn’t want to change colors in every block (I’m not THAT crazy), and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of using monofilament. The internet and I decided that using a light grey thread would be the way to go this time, although I debated using off white, yellow, or even a pale green- I don’t think there’s a right answer to the thread color question, but it’s what I decided on!
I used white thread for the white borders and filled them in with a random pattern of lines, bubbles and stars. I haven’t done a whole lot of marking on my quilts up to this point, but for the stars in the borders I cut out a card stock version of the big star and traced it with a water soluble pen. I use a 1/4″ thick acrylic quilters ruler for my line work- it’s one of my most used sewing room items!
This quilt is on display at our East Aurora location..stop by and see!
And as always- here’s a sneak peek of next month’s quilt!
What are you guys working on?
Two quilts down and ten to go! I am still excited to be doing my “Year of Quilts” project and am thankful to have a job where I stress about what quilt I will make next! Believe me, this job has many stressful aspects, but I am truly lucky that I love my job, and to be able to make things and write about it as part of my job…amazing!
So on to February’s Quilt of the Month. As some of you may already know, I chose “Science Fair” by Jaybird Quilts for this month. I really wanted to try and do something different that I had never done before. Believe it or not, I have not worked with any specialty rulers before and I certainly have not made anything with hexagons. This quilt utilizes a ruler also designed by Jaybird Quilts called the “Hex N More”.
This is a great ruler and Julie at Jaybird Quilts has a ton of awesome quilts designed using this ruler. I’ve got plans for making another one up my sleeve. To make this quilt you start by cutting strips and making pairs of those strips into stripsets.
You use one end of the ruler to cut those strips into little wedges, one strip set makes two opposing colors of the hexagon. For example, this blue and yellow set will make one hex with a blue outside and a yellow inside and one hex with a yellow outside and a blue inside.
Ta-Da! It’s so tempting to sew these pretty little wedges into complete hexagons (which I was this close to doing) but if you stop and read the directions (something I have to often remind myself to do) you learn that you only get to sew them into half hexagons, and the gratification of seeing them all done will have to be delayed a bit.
The next part of cutting involves flipping the Hex N More around and using the fatter end to cut the background half hexies. For some reason I did not photograph this process as I was having a battle with myself about the background color. Here is my original color choice for the background which I was totally committed to at the time:
Yikes! I promise it wasn’t quite so harsh in real life, but obviously the pink wasn’t working either. In the end I settled on this:I ended up using a text print from Allison Glass’s “Sun Print” collection for a few reasons. First, I love these prints and I loved how it lightened up my quilt. It reminds me of a summer day with all the hot citrusy colors. Another reason I made this choice is that I wanted to show that you can use a print like this as a background fabric and that it would read like a neutral. These patterns are nothing to be afraid of! They are much more versatile than you might think. To see more of Allison’s “Sun Print” line click HERE. We carry many of these prints at both locations of the Aurora Sewing Center.
Julie even explains just how to line up your half hexies to make them all behave when sewing them into strips.You can see that the background fabric has the tip of the point snipped off where you line it up with the colored piece, which makes for a perfect match when it’s all pressed. This quilt calls for you to press all of your seams open, which is not something that I normally do, but it helped reduce bulk when sewing in those areas where all of the little wedge points come together. I didn’t do any stitching in the ditch on this quilt so I’m really not worried about those areas becoming weaker because of the seams being open.
After your strips are all ready it’s time to sew them all together. I was excited to try out a new kind of pin we got into the store, Clover Fork Pins. These little guys are pretty handy for helping make sure all your points end up matching. I will often put a pin on either side of my seams to make sure they stay lined up, and these are two pins in one!I haven’t thrown out my standard glass head pins or anything, but these guys are pretty cool!
I did a little TV magic here and voila! Here’s the whole top assembled and spray basted! This was the first quilt I have ever spray basted and while I do not mind the pinning process, I have to admit, spray basting rocks! I used THIS video as guidance and sprayed with another new product we have at the store, Mettler Web Bond.As you can see in that picture above, I prepared myself well for quilting this quilt by marking my straight lines with a blue water erasable marker. As I’ve said before, one of my goals in this Quilt of the Month project is to learn new things and with this quilt, one of the BIG things I’ve learned is that if you want your quilting to stand out, then picking a more subtle background is key (remember how happy I was with my background fabric choice?)! I still love the fabric I chose, but it’s pattern combined with the low loft batting I used (Quilters Dream Blend) makes it very hard to see the custom quilting I did. As soon as I started quilting I knew it was not going to be as pronounced as I would have liked, but I considered it good free motion practice and finished it that way anyhow! Here’s a finished product picture taken with the contrast tweaked a little bit so that you can see the quilting.
This quilt is currently hanging at our Williamsville location and because of the way the light hits it, the quilting is almost invisible. But I know it’s there, and now you do too, so come see it and Ooh and Ahh over it for me –OK? All in all, this quilt was a BLAST to make and quilt and Julie’s pattern was wonderfully written and easy to follow. I highly recommend it and all of the Jaybird Quilts designs. So there you have it, February’s quilt of the month! Want a sneak peek of March? Here you go…
I can’t wait to show it to you!
I won’t mention the fact that it’s been a few weeks (ah-hem….months) since I last blogged. I’m hoping you will all forgive me. You know how it goes…time gets away from you. In any case, and without further fanfare I’d like to present my grand plan for 2014. My PLAN (you all will hold me accountable right?) is to finish a quilt for the shop every month in 2014! I guess this is not an uncommon resolution for quilters, because as I told people of my resolution I got a few “Me too!” replies. I’d LOVE to get your ideas for the kind of quilts you’d like me to do. I told myself that I would push myself to learn something new with as many of the quilts as possible. Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board where I’m collecting inspiration.
I’ll let you in on a little secret- I’ve actually finished my first quilt for the year! I’m not going to show it to you quite yet but I hope you’ll come back and check it out in my next post. In the mean time I’ll leave you with this sneak peek! I bet some of you may have seen it up at our East Aurora location.
So…weigh in! What kind of quilts would you like to see done in this great Year of Quilts? Would you like to join me? Have you ever resolved to do something similar? I can’t wait to hear…