Sunday, October 13, 2013

introducing...

... Easton, born 9.23.2013 at 7:50 am, weighing 8 lbs 4 oz & measuring 19.5" long ::

One day old & getting ready to head home

Cousin Ella, holding Easton

Sleeping on his side

Showing off his Dad's nose ;)

Favorite sleeping position, despite my best efforts to get him to lay both ways

 Tensley loves her baby brother very much, as do her dad & I.  I'm starting to get a routine down & hope to get back to quilting & blogging soon!

-V

Friday, August 30, 2013

karianne's baby blanket

My friend & former co-worker recently had her first baby.... a beautiful little girl with big eyes and lots of dark hair, whom they named Karianne.  I wanted to make her a baby blanket for when the weather turns cold, which it will eventually do...  (I have to keep reminding myself of that because it is 90°F here today, with a real feel of 101°F.  And I'm 36 weeks pregnant...)
 

I took Tensley to one of the playgrounds in town this morning so she could play while it was still relatively "cool" and I could get a few pictures of the blanket.  One side of the blanket is a pink & brown, paisley patterned, minky fabric and the other side is one of the pieces from Aneela Hoey's 'Posy' fabric line.  I rounded the corners on this blanket, which I really liked.  They don't match perfectly, which bothers me, but now that I have done them once, I think I will be able to do them better the next time.  I forgot to measure the blanket, but I'm thinking it was close to 40" x 50" after washing & drying.  I like the larger size because it works well for laying on the floor, can be doubled up for use in the stroller or car seat, and is large enough to be used into the later toddler years.  I also like to choose fabrics that are not super "baby-ish" for the same reason.  I think this blanket will be a good size, and still age appropriate, even when Karianne is 4 or 5. 

Not a quilty finish today, but a finish nonetheless.  And now I am finally starting on my baby boy's quilt....  We'll see if I can get the top pieced in 3 weeks or less... Wish me luck!

-V

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Katy Jones' Blogger's Choice Bundle quilt top

 
Oh hi there!  Yep, I'm back already with another finished quilt top.  I'm on a roll!  It took me about 2 months to finish the swoon quilt (which felt like for-ever!), then I finished the accidental quilt top, which really only required me to put sashing between the "coins" on that quilt...


And I had fully intended on starting on the baby's quilt next.  But then something happened...  I won Katy Jones' Blogger's Choice Bundle from the Fat Quarter Shop!  I usually don't enter giveaways because I like to see fabric in person and am finding that I enjoy the process of curating fabrics for a quilt.  However, I really loved the fabrics Katy chose for her bundle.


Katy blogs over at I'm A Ginger Monkey in case you don't already follow her blog.  Her blog was one of the first 3 or 4 that I found when I started sewing.  In fact, to win her blogger bundle, you had to guess what her fabric choices would be.  Since I've been following her for quite some time I had no problem guessing what she would use.


Once I received the fabrics, I could not resist cutting into them.  I tried to resist, I really did.  But that lasted for all of a day or two.  I almost immediately knew what pattern I wanted to use.  My sister has a really cool antique quilt that I admire every time I am at her house.  I thought that the blogger bundle fabrics would work perfectly with that pattern.  I asked her to send me a picture of her antique quilt and so she did:


From there, I estimated the size of the block and then calculated what dimensions the pieces would need to be cut at.  If I had been more patient, I could have waited until the next time I was at her house & measured the quilt block components, but I was so excited to get started I just couldn't wait!  After I calculated what size pieces I would need, I figured out how many pieces I could get out of each fat quarter.  I then decided that I wanted to add 5 fat quarters from my stash so I could make the quilt top a bit bigger and also so I could add just a little bit more variety.  I'm finding that the more fabrics I use in a quilt, the more I like the quilt.  I don't know if it is that I like the look of the quilt more or that I like the process more because I get to use more fabrics.  Maybe a little of both.


From there I cut out the fabric to make a practice block.  I wasn't sure how it was going to come out, but it actually worked!  I made just a few adjustments to my dimensions.  The block ended up being 9.5" unfinished.  I was shooting for 10" unfinished, but the math just worked better for the 9.5" block. 


I ended up doing a 6 x 8 layout, which worked perfect for having the X's not get "broken", and gave me a final quilt top of 54" x 72", which I think is a great size of quilt for me.  Yeah, that's right, I'm keeping this quilt for myself!  I just love it too much to give it away.


I finished this quilt top in about 10 "working" days, which is really fast for me since I typically only get about 2 hours of quilting time a day - and that's if I'm really lucky.  And that 10 days included making the calculations and the practice block.  I'm sure part of the reason this quilt top came together so quickly was that I never pinned a single thing.  Really the only time you would need to pin is at the end when you are joining the blocks.  Even without pinning I am pretty happy with how everything lined up.  (We have had overcast skies since yesterday, which is when I finished the top.  However, I was too excited to wait for a sunny day for pictures, so hopefully you'll forgive me for these less than stellar photos.) 
 

As much as I really want to dive in and start quilting this top, I know I need to piece my baby boy's quilt first.  So this quilt top will just have to join the queue of tops that are waiting for quilting. 

Quilt Top Stats:
Fabric: Katy Jones' Blogger's Choice Bundle for the Fat Quarter Shop (click on link above to see the names of the fabrics included in the bundle) + 5 fat quarters I pulled from my stash 

Pattern: Replica of an antique quilt my sister owns... I don't know if there is a name for this pattern....
Dimensions: 54" x 72" 
Started quilt top: August 8th, 2013
Finished quilt top: August 21st, 2013

-V

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the accidental quilt top....

I didn't set out to make this quilt top....


Originally my plan was to take the scraps left over from my Starry Christmas quilt, sew them all into strips, cut the strips to 6.5" tall & 70" long and use them on the back of that quilt.  I didn't calculate anything out, I just started sewing scraps together, figuring that I'd maybe be able to make 2 or 3 rows of strips.  Well, it turned out that I had more scraps than I thought!  Not only did I have enough scraps to sew 10 rows of strips, I ended up having a giveaway for the rest of the scraps!  In fact the entire "back" could have been strips sewn together, had I wanted to keep piecing them.  Instead, I decided to use some grey fabric from my LQS to separate the pieced strips with rows of grey.  Once I did that, I realized this quilt "back" might as well be used as a quilt top rather than making it "share time" with the Starry Christmas quilt.  I also thought about using the grey fabric as a border, but decided I preferred the look without the border.  It's kind of like a coin quilt, only the coins are giant and all different sizes!  Haha.


The quilt measures 69" x 83" after being squared it up.  Random dimensions, I know, but again, this was supposed to be the back.  The only drawback of calling this a quilt top is that it brings my total to 3 quilt tops that need a backing & need to be quilted!  And I have 2 more quilts I want to start on very soon!  I think those 3 quilt tops might just have to wait a little longer to be finished....

-V

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

vintage modern swoon quilt :: update

So, I guess I should reserve judgement on my quilts until after they are washed & dried...


I washed the Vintage Modern Swoon quilt in cool / lukewarm water with 6 Shout Color Catchers.  Yes, 6 of them.  Remember, the backing is red and there is quite a bit of red in the rest of the quilt as well.  I had washed the backing fabric before I pieced it together, actually I had washed it about 4 times, each time with 2 color catchers, and every time the color catchers came out pink.  So I didn't want to take any chances.  I closely inspected the quilt after it came out of the wash and I didn't see any signs of the red bleeding.  All 6 color catchers were a very pale pink.  Then I threw the quilt into the dryer on the lowest heat setting.  


After I pulled the quilt out, I was in love!  I don't know if it was the fabrics or the quilting, but this quilt is the softest / drapiest quilt I have ever made.  The quilt is 100% Moda fabrics, and I think this is the first quilt I have made that is all Moda fabrics; top, backing, binding - it's all Moda.  The quilting is about 1" apart at the widest and 1/4" apart at some of the narrower spots, so I don't think the quilting is much different than I have done in the past.  The only other difference that I can think of is the batting - to my knowledge this quilt is the first one where I have used Hobbs Heirloom.  In the past I have always purchased Warm & Natural for my batting, and pre-washed the batting.  This time I really wanted the quilt to crinkle up a lot, so I didn't pre-wash the batting.    


Regardless of the reason why this quilt turned out so soft, I officially love it now.  It was so stiff prior to washing, that it was really awkward to move & fold.  Oh, and I did measure the quilt.  Before the wash & dry, it was 80" x 80" and now it is 76" x 76".  So, 5% shrinkage, just like all my previous quilts have done.  All that is left now is to get it packaged up and shipped to my friends!

-V

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

vintage modern swoon quilt :: finished

Warning: Long winded blog post to follow....  If you are interested in my thoughts on the Swoon pattern, read on.  Otherwise, feel free to just scan through the pictures.  ;)
 

I'll say it again, I am thee worst at naming quilts.  This quilt is getting called the "Vintage Modern Swoon Quilt", since it was made from the Vintage Modern fabric line by Bonnie & Camille and the pattern is called Swoon, by Thimble Blossoms.  It could also be called "Erin & Tom's Wedding Quilt" since I made this quilt as a wedding gift for my college bestie & her husband.
 

Let's see, what do I want to say about this quilt....  It measures 80" x 80", so it's kind of huge.  It's the largest quilt I have made so far.  Sadly, it is not quite large enough for a queen size bed.  I know because I tested it out on my own bed.  ;)  I had contemplated making more blocks & making the quilt larger to fit on a full or queen bed, but in the end I decided that didn't make a whole lot of sense for my friends.  I thought it would be best to make them more of a "throw" quilt.  However, 80" x 80" is a helluva "throw" size quilt.  Each block measures 24" finished, so if I had done 2 blocks across, the quilt would have been about 55" wide.  Then, you have shrinkage from the quilting and washing, so I wasn't sure that it would be wide enough.  Plus, I wasn't in love with the look of the quilt being 2 blocks across & 3 blocks down.  So in the end, I decided to just go with the pattern as written and did a 3 x 3 block layout, with final measurements of 80" x 80".  The quilt is in the wash as I type.  Once it is washed & dried, I am going to measure again & see what the "final"dimensions are.  In the past I have found my quilts to shrink about 5% from quilting + washing & drying, so I usually try to account for that when making a quilt.  (I don't pre-wash my fabrics, because I think the sizing helps when cutting & sewing and also because I'm just plain too lazy to pre-wash and then have to press them.  Plus, I like using pre-cuts & fat quarters.)


This is also the first time I have made a square quilt.  It seems that quite a few of the patterns I have seen lately are square.  When I started making this quilt, I thought that was no big deal.  It turns out, for some reason it bothers me.  Maybe it's just me.  I think I just prefer the look & functionality of a rectangular quilt.  I think if I was snuggling up on the couch watching TV or reading a book, I would be somewhat annoyed by the extra width of the quilt.  Hopefully my friends are less picky than me...


I know this post is probably coming off quite negative.  Don't get me wrong - I like the fabrics and I thought the pattern was really fun and fairly quick & easy to make.  (Non-directional prints work best and can be chain pieced, which makes it even quicker.)  I think I learned quite a bit about what I personally like best when making a quilt, and I'm glad for that.  


After choosing the beige colored background fabric (which I am still so glad I did), I had thought I would use the same beige fabric for backing & binding.  However, once I had the quilt top pieced, I just felt that there was a 'wow' factor missing and that the quilt needed something more.  So I went with the matching red fabric for the backing & then also as the binding.  (Since I machine stitch my binding, I like to match the binding & backing so you can't see my binding stitches as much.)  I think the red binding really frames the quilt well and I'm so happy with that choice.  



I used the long arm at my LQS and quilted a pantograph called "Oh My Feathers".  I was a bit nervous about the quilting motif and thought about doing something more abstract, but I think the feather design turned out really well.  It's always amazing to me just how much impact the quilting has.  

Photo taken by my Uncle John - I love how the quilting stands out in this picture
I wish I was going to be giving this quilt to Erin & Tom in person, but I will be 34 weeks pregnant at the time of their wedding.  The wedding is in California, and I live in Iowa, so I've decided to stay home just in case.  I was 6 days "overdue" with my daughter, so I'm not sure how likely it is that I would go into labor out there, but I guess better safe than sorry.... 


More about this quilt here, here, here, here, here, and here (in order of newest to oldest posts).  


Quilt Stats:
 Fabric:  Quilt top - Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda & coordinating beige background fabric, also Moda
                Batting - Hobbs Heirloom
                Backing - Red Moda fabric
                Binding - Red Moda fabric

Pattern: Swoon by Thimble Blossoms 
Dimensions: 80" x 80"  
Started quilt top: May 2nd, 2013 
Finished quilt top: July 13th, 2013 
Quilted: on long arm at Quilt-N-Kaboodle by me, with help from Kim Barrett  
Made for: Erin Steenblock & Tom Chia for their wedding on August 10th, 2013

-V

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

final swoon blocks & Christmas in July giveaway!


I finished the last 2 blocks for my Swoon quilt this week!  I really like how they turned out and am so, so, so glad that I decided not to use the block with the striped fabric.


I hesitated to use the red fabric in the block above for the center, but I am so glad I did.  My friend's wedding colors are red & aqua and I really love that the red takes center "stage" so to speak.  Don't get me wrong, I love this fabric line (Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda), but after I started cutting into it, I realized just how heavy it was on the floral & more feminine designs.  The red & aqua colors perfectly match my friend's wedding colors, so that is great, but I do worry that her husband might find the quilt a bit "girly".  I also think that this block looks better with smaller scale patterns.  Hopefully once the quilt top is together, the larger scale florals won't look quite as "bold"...?  I can dream anyway...

By the way, my friend sent me paint chips of her red & aqua colors - not to match quilt fabrics, but to pick out my bridesmaid dress.  I'm not sure if she realized the paint chip was going to have a dual purpose.  Sadly, in the end, the paint chip is only going to be used to pick quilt fabrics as I have decided not to travel to California for her wedding.  :(  I will be almost 34 weeks pregnant by her wedding date, and have decided that although I *could* fly there for the wedding, it might not be the wisest thing to do.  Fortunately I have a great friend & she is very understanding. 

In other news, I missed my 1 year blogiversary!  It was back on June 26th, but I wasn't paying any attention.  Oops.  So in honor of that, I am having a giveaway!  If you read my blog regularly, you may remember this quilt top.  I finished that quilt top just before my horrible pregnancy nausea and vomiting kicked in.  I almost have the pieced quilt back completed.  Once I get my Swoon quilt completely finished, I am going to finish that 'Starry Christmas' quilt as well as my 'It's a Hoot' quilt!

Since I know I don't need any of the remaining fabrics that I used to make the Starry Christmas quilt, and because it is July, which is a great time for 'Christmas in July' events, I have decided to give away the fat quarters & scraps that I had left over from making the quilt & quilt back.  So, without further ado, this is what is up for grabs:


12 fat quarters of Blitzen by Basic Grey for Moda.  (I had 1.5 fat quarter bundles to make my quilt with, but only used 48 of the fat quarters, in case you are wondering why I had so much extra.)  Also included in the giveaway are these:


Miscellaneous scraps.  Some are quite small & can probably only be used as strings, and others are fairly decent sized. 

To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post about anything you'd like.  For a second chance to win, follow my blog (I like Bloglovin' for following other blogs, but you can follow however you prefer) and tell me that you are a follower in a 2nd comment (if you want to tell me how you follow as well, that'd be cool as I am interested to know what others use to follow blogs).  Please be sure that if you are a "No-Reply Blogger", you leave an email address where I can reach you!  US entries only please since I am shipping these myself. 

I'll pick a winner on Sunday evening, say 7 pm CST, and update this blog post with the winner.  Good luck & thanks for reading!  Giveaway is now closed.

Update: Thank you to all who entered!  Random.org has selected a winner:
 And #4 is....
Congratulations to Chrissie!  I have sent you an email.

-V

More about my Swoon quilt here, here, here, here, and here.
Latest house update here.  

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