Saturday, December 31, 2011

Baby Bird Quilt, finished!

Whew, I just barely finished this quilt (last blogged here) in the nick of time to meet my 2011 goal of making 11 quilts!

I really struggled with this quilt.  The layout I had planned I ended up not liking at all.  And then I didn't like the way the blocks looked next to each other.  And then I got fed up with the whole thing and didn't touch it for a week or two.  Then this week, with the New Year looming, I got to work and finished it up this morning!

Here's the final layout, with the thin sashing I finally decided on:

And here it is, all quilted, bound and washed! 


For the back I used some fabrics from my stash and left overs from the front.

The finished size is about 48" x 58", which makes for a nice baby quilt.

Close up of the quilting.

The quilting seen on the back.  I started with the straight rows with my walking foot, and really didn't like them alone, so  I added the vines with my free motion foot and like it a lot now!

Label and close up of the binding.

Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.  Originally I was making it for my baby due in March, but now I'm not sure.  Guess I'll just see what happens.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Landscape Quilt, finished!

I have been waiting an entire week to post these photos (last update here), but wanted Jennifer (you can read her reaction to the quilt on her blog: Miller Musings) to be the first to see it.  Now that she's had it for a couple of days, I'm happy to share the photos with everyone else :-)

The front

A close up of some of the hills to see the quilting detail  The pumpkins were my favorite!  The hills were layered onto each other (from the mountains down) doing raw-edge style applique.  I love that it gives them more depth.

Close up of the sky.  There are two types of white fabric--plain white and a slight off-white with pale blue images from Peter Rabbit.  You can also see how I used a satin stitch to attach the mountains to the sky.

The fun pieced back will be a lot more entertaining to a baby/toddler.

I love that this quilt used fabric I already had in my stash!  The only thing I had to buy for the quilt was batting.  I'm so happy to have this quilt finished (my 10th this year!) and already at it's new home.  Happy Birthday Henry!  I hope you get many enjoyable years of use from this quilt :-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Landscape Quilt binding?

Last updated here.  I finally got my roll of batting on Saturday (luckily right before our snow accumulation got to 15 inches!), and started quilting on Monday.

I placed pins every 4-5 inches since the front and back are a little wonky and I wanted to avoid wrinkles in the quilting.

Quilting it was a lot of fun.  Each area was different, so I never got bored of any of the patterns.  Here's a sneak peak at one of my favorite ones (the Pumpkin Patch design from The Free Motion Quilting Project):

The other designs I used aren't nearly this fun or involved.

I finished all the quilting yesterday.  Today I trimmed the quilt and pulled out some possible binding fabrics.  I'm not sure which one to use, so tell me which one is your favorite!

Fabric #1

Fabric #2

Fabric #3  (a plain navy blue, sorry the colors are terrible!)

Hope to get some feedback soon so I can get this quilt bound tomorrow!  Woo I'm almost done!  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baby Bird Quilt

For my 11th quilt this year, I'm making a Cartwheels (link to the tutorial) baby quilt with some birdy precut fabric I got at Joann's.  I bought it on clearance months ago, and have been holding onto it for the right quilt.  It has almost been used for several quilts, but then something better came along.  And well, I rather like the fabric and think it will make a very nice gender neutral quilt (we're not planning to find out the sex of this baby).

All the strips sewn together and ironed

I was pretty disappointed with the precut fabric.  The cuts were inconsistent in length and more than a few were not straight!  It's frustrating to spend a fair amount of time and effort to make 20 straight strips, only to pair them with a bunch of crooked ones!

Quilting while pregnant is different than when I'm not pregnant.  I have to put more forethought into things.  Like if it's going to take 45 minutes to iron open the seams on all 21 strips (I added an extra), then I need to do them in batches and do it sitting down so I don't strain my back.  And I have an ever growing pile of snacks on my quilting table so I don't have to run downstairs to get food when I become hungry.

Cut up and ready to sew back together.

Anyway, that's where I'm at with my quilting.  I'm still anxiously waiting for my roll of batting.  I hope it will get here tomorrow so I can spend all day Saturday quilting.  But there's a storm a comin' and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get here until Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grandma's Stacked Coins

For Thanksgiving this year, we had my family out to the house.  When I heard my grandma was coming, I asked her to bring the quilt so I could photograph it.  So here is this quilt's finished photo shoot (a month late):

Front--the fold line must be from how she is storing/displaying it.


Glad to finally be able to share some photos of it!

Landscape Quilt update

Last updated here.  I got a lot done on this quilt before Thanksgiving, and finished the back yesterday.

Finished sewing on the hills!  Now to trim/square up the quilt top.

One of the piles of trimmings.

The other pile of trimmings.  This quilt seemed to produce a lot of scraps!  But I also used a lot of scraps.

One hour later (with my husband's math help), I was a very tired and hungry pregnant lady.  But happy to have this quilt near square!

Then the back:

Fabrics from my stash.

Cut into lots of variable width strips.

The back is an I-Spy (with a few strips for newborns--high contrasts and black whites).

Finished sewing the back together Friday night, I think.  I had planned to use some scraps of batting for this quilt, but I didn't have any pieces big enough (and refuse to have more than two seams in my batting).  I decided to buy a whole bolt of batting (90"x40 yards!), so I'm waiting for it to be delivered before I can do the quilting on this quilt.  I can't wait for that part!  The sky, mountains, and hills will all have different quilting, and texture.  It's really going to transform it and make it more alive, I guess.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Landscape Quilt

I've been pretty lucky lately and have had quite a bit of time to work on this quilt (first blogged here).  I spent about an hour cutting strips of fabric for the mountains:

Browns, dark blues, dark greens, grey and some dark orange.

After sewing together 3 mountains, I laid them out to see where to add more layers:

The fabric scraps on the bottoms are to help visualize where the hills might go.

I didn't really think about how much longer each additional strip would need to be (about 2 inches, I think), so the mountains don't go down quite as far as I wanted.  But I like them a lot so far.  I sewed each mountain to the sky piece using a satin stitch (without using any stabilizer, though I've since learned about an adhesive that comes out when you wash it).  I ran out of the dark brown thread I was using and had to wait until this morning to make a trip to town to get more (so frustrating!).

All three mountains attached to the sky, ready for some hills!

I did some internet research and decided to attach the hills using raw edge applique (again, without any stabilizer or adhesive--just lots of pins).  This simple tutorial sold me on it.  I hope that the hills end up with that great fuzzy texture.  I think it will look really neat, plus what baby doesn't love good texture?

Not done quite yet, had to stop somewhere for dinner though.  BTW, this photo shows all the colors the best.

I want to add a few more small green and brown hills, and one more orange hill.

And that's where I'm at now!  Hoping to finish the quilt top tomorrow and get started on the (fun pieced) back on Monday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quilt #10: Landscape Baby Art Quilt

I'm not really sure what to call this quilt.  It's a landscape quilt based on this one, and is being made for my friend Jennifer's baby, due in February!  While making it, I've been alternating between thinking of it as an art quilt and as a baby quilt.  Art quilts have so much freedom, they are the way they are, there aren't any rules on how to make it, or how it should look.  And baby quilts are made to be loved and used, so they need to be sturdy and fun.

After spending last night thinking of this quilt every time I tossed and turned (many times now with a 23 week pregnant belly), I thought of this quilt, and started making sketches when I got up:

My goal is to make this quilt approximately 4' x 5', though since it's an art quilt I figure it'll end up the size that it ends up ;-)

During nap time I got a chance to go through all my fabrics and pull out colors:

Light blues and whites for the sky, dark blues, greys, browns, and greens for the mountains, and greens, oranges, and browns for the hills.

I have a very, very small collection of oranges (only one, actually, the other two shown are smalls scraps!), though thankfully the ones I do have are perfect for this quilt!  My selection of light blues is pretty small too, but I decided to just make it work anyway:

These are some of the blues and whites being laid out for the sky.  I decided to cut some paper to the size of the finished quilt, to help get some perspective on the size the pieces need to be and how many of them I will need.  It has really helped!

Sewing them together was a breeze, and this is the finished sky piece!  I haven't measured it yet, so I may need to add another row.

So far my biggest issue has been getting past the mental image/expectation of it looking exactly like the one I'm basing it on.  I just don't have the same, or similar, fabrics (or the time or energy to get them) that that one is made from.  But I think the quilt I'm making will feel more usable, and I know it will be more fun for a baby!  :-)

Bear Claw Quilt, finished!

I last updated on this quilt here.  I put the last stitches in last night, and washed, dried and photographed it today.  I'm hoping to deliver it on Friday!  So happy to have this quilt done, and so pleased with the way it turn out!  It is a Birthday present for my twin brother, Liam (our birthday is in August, but I told him not expect it until Christmas, so I'm a month ahead of schedule, ha!).

I think it's twin sized, the last time I measured it was just before putting on binding and it was 67" x 82.5".

I really like how the back turned out too! 

I used all the left over squares I had.

Here are a few detail shots:

The label reads: Happy Birthday Liam!  Made with love by, Renee Hoffman, 2011

This is the only "easter egg" (hidden fun thing to find) I put in this quilt.

I machine sewed on the binding, I love how quick it is!  I used the same variegated thread that I used for the quilting.  Not thrilled with the thread (Isocord), so I felt like using more of it up.  

Putting this quilt together was really great, and it came together really nicely.  I'm glad I took the time to be as precise as possible with the cutting, piecing, ironing, etc!  This quilt was really gratifying because it was so smooth to put together.  Glad it's going to a good home!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just One Star

Back in March, I decided to participate in the Just One Star challenge by Moda.  They were hoping to get 1800 stars from quilters, then they would turn them into 100 awesome quilts to be given to injured service men and women.  I made two stars, one to honor each of the veteran Marines in my family:

Signed with my name and state.

I hadn't thought about them much since I sent them in.  Then today I came across this blog post saying how the Just One Star challenge had received 12,000(!!!) stars!  Enough to make 1,000 quilts!  How amazing is that? I just love hearing little stories of generosity.

Bear Claw Progress!

In my last post, I mentioned my trouble with finding a good layout for this quilt.  I hate bending over, kneeling, and crawling around a lot to rearrange them a lot (I do it though).  When I told my husband this, he said we should design a program that can easily rearrange photos of the blocks, which was the same idea I had come up with too!  So maybe some day that will be a reality.  But until then, my husband played with the blocks and came up with a good layout.  I spent the weekend thinking about it, and came home sure it was the right layout.  Yay!

And finally yesterday my kiddo actually napped and I got to start sewing on the sashing.  It's a lot darker than I originally intended, but I still like it.

Dark brown sashing and green corner stones that match the squares in the center of the bear claw blocks.
I'm hoping to finish the quilt top by the end of the week, and start the quilting next week!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sewing Updates

Oh dear, I did not mean for an entire month to pass before posting again!  :-/  Oh well, here I am with some updates.

October was notably busy for me, so I didn't get quite as much sewing/quilting done as I would have liked.  I did finish my grandmother's stacked coin quilt, but forgot to take completed photos!  Oh well, maybe next time I see her I can get some full quilt photos.  (Update: full quilt photos here)

I put the Bear Paw quilt on hold for most of the month.  I had a mental block on how to layout the blocks, then finally decided to just make a 4th brown block, but didn't actually get around to making it until yesterday!  So anyway, here's the current layout of the quilt, though I'm not sold on it at all:

The more I look at this layout, the more I don't like it and now I'm back at square one. 

I also worked on some other sewing projects:

Dinosaur Halloween costume!

I followed this tutorial for the tail, and this tutorial for the hoodie, and just winged it on the shoe covers.

New ironing board cover!  The old one was tearing a lot, and I hated it.  I'm not a big fan of this fabric, but it was the longest, widest piece I was willing to put on an ironing board.

The best part (to me) are these straps I added to keep the cover in place!

I followed this tutorial for making an (easy!) double sided cover.  Then I saw the straps she reused from her old cover and knew I wanted them on my new one too, so I just kinda winged it with some stuff I had on hand.  Love the straps!

I also made a third project, but it's a Christmas present for someone that reads this blog, so I'll share it another time :-)

I've moved my sewing setup around quite a few times, and finally took a photo of the most recent one:

It's not perfect, but from the sewing table I can see the door, any quilts laid on the floor, the toy area, and the computer desk.  All of which are related to making sure my toddler stays out of trouble! 

So far I like it...but that might not last long, I tend to move everything around in this room every month or so depending on my sewing needs, the lighting, and current temperatures.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stacked Coins update & Quilting Mistakes

I've been working on this quilt whenever I can over the last several days, and have made a lot of progress.  I love that it is a small, simple quilt to put together.  Because of that, I was able to choose a more detailed quilting pattern that required more time than straight line, stippling, or loops, etc.  But I still made a lot of mistakes along the way:

Sometimes the needle and the quilting get away from me, and before I know it there's a big ugly mistake.  And of course it happened on this red square, where (to me) it is pretty glaring.  I make a lot more mistakes like this when I am mentally or physically tired, or when I'm not paying enough attention. 

Here's a good looking red piece for comparison.

This is a wrinkle (two actually, the second is in the top left corner, but out of focus).  It happened because I ripped the sashing material, rather than cut it.  I usually do this though, and it has no ill effects.  I rip the longer lengths of material because no matter what I've tried, my cutting comes out terribly crooked .  After I rip, I iron to get everything nice again.  But with this muslin, the ripping pulled/gathered the edges along the whole length, and despite my aggressive ironing, it still did weird things to the quilt top.  Once I started quilting, the quilt top start puckering, and then wrinkling.  Luckily the many wrinkles/puckers on the quilt are small, and I doubt most people will even notice them at all once it has been washed.

This happened twice on this quilt, though this time it was much worse!  As I am quilting near the edge, the backing material somehow flips under, and gets quilted in.  The only fix is to rip out all the quilting there and re-quilt it.  My only solutions are to use a spray baster near the edges, or pin the backing to the batting so it can't flip under.

I'd say I make at least one of this mistakes/accidents per quilt, though with some quilts it's all of them.  I finished all the quilting yesterday evening.  I love the way the paisleys look on this quilt, but am so glad I'm done!  They are a lot of work.

Sneak peak at the front.

Small piece of the back.

All that is left for this quilt is to trim/square it and put on the binding and label!  Then I can get back to the bear claw quilt :-)