Monday, December 24, 2012

King's Corner quilt, ready to quilt!

Last updated here.

It took me a while to finally getting around to putting the border on the quilt.  I don't know why I always procrastinate on putting borders on.  Oh well, I did it and it turned out fine.

Then I got to thinking on the back of the quilt, which I had not thought about at all.  A month or so ago I stocked up on some Kona solids I use a lot (brown, purple and grey), so I decided to use the brown and then add some easy pieced blocks to it.

I thought I had 3 yards of it, which I though was perfect.  So I got started on picking some fabrics for the blocks.  Here are the blocks all sewn together, ready to be ironed:

Then I pulled out the brown fabric and read the little note I had left on it: 2 yards.  Oh no, why did I think there was 3?!  Ugh, time to make a trip to Joann's.  The good news is I had a huge stack of coupons since Christmas is right around the corner, and was able to get the fabric I needed for 50%.  Luckily I recalculated how much I needed before getting there and realized I need 6 yards of brown!  Also luckily they had that much.

So my new brown fabric and strip of blocks laid on the floor next to each other for a while.  Then I realized we have company coming in a few days, and having a quilt on the floor of the room they would be sleeping in isn't very hospitable.  Finally, some motivation to get this quilt back finished and the quilt basted!

Here's the quilt back, over the couch while I pieced together some batting on the floor:

The large lump is pillow or something.

Thankfully we had a quiet afternoon at home today and Arden had a bunch of new Christmas presents to play with, so I finally got it laid out and basted!  I only had enough pins to put one in the center of every 6" block and about every 6" in the center of the border.  I think as I quilt it and take out some of the pins I will lay the quilt out and put some pins along the very edge of the quilt too.

Current size is about 95.5" x 101"

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to do the quilting, and have finally decided on feathers on the grey area, and then stitching in the ditch around the colored triangles.  I had originally planned on doing feathers around the border, but now I think that would be too many.  How would you quilt the borders?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ticker Tape Doll Quilt (and a tutorial for my method)

One of my husband's coworkers has a daughter named Parker that just turned 4 years old.  We were invited to her birthday party, but missed it due to the kids being sick.  Before I knew we wouldn't be going, I made a doll quilt for her.

Funky lighting on a snowy day.

I was inspired by this ticker tape tutorial I'd seen quite a while back.  But after making a large wall hanging ticker tape-type quilt, I've come up with my own method.  First, I pre-sort my scraps into colors (in one-gallon ziplock bags which are kept in one of my big bins), and I put the smallest scraps in a separate bag (all the colors together).  Most of those small scraps are square/rectangular, but with the funky shaped ones, I just trim them down to the right size/shape I need on the quilt:

I using pinking sheers so there is less stray threads over time.  I keep that middle piece and finally throw away those other pieces.

For this doll quilt, I made a basic quilt sandwich using muslin on the top, scrap batting and some brown and pink fabric I've been hoarding for a girl project for about 3 years.  I think it measure about 16" x 20".  

I can't remember which blog I read it on, but using a glue stick works fabulously for ticker tape quilts!  

This is the kind I use.  It goes on smooth, sticks well with fabric, and dries quickly.

I put a little smear in the middle so it doesn't gunk up my needle.  Then stick it in place.

I do a basic placement, then move things around to space out colors.

I wanted my son to help with this quilt, and he was quilt happy about it.  At first I asked him to pick out fabrics and place them on the quilt, but I don't think he quite understood what he was supposed to do (he's almost three, and I didn't prepare him very well).  Then I just had him pick out fabrics, then I trimmed and placed them.

For this quilt I glued all the pieces down, then sewed them down.  For a larger quilt I would only glue and sew down square-foot sections at a time.

The tutorial above uses a walking foot, and I've tried it, and I hate having to rotate the quilt 90 degrees at every corner of every piece!  So tedious, and a pain for larger quilts.  So I use my free motion foot so I don't have to rotate the quilt (just move it side to side and back and forth).

Once I'm done stitching them all down I trim the little threads.

Here's the back--I used brown thread in the bobbin and grey on the top.

Then I bound and washed normally.  I always check for stray threads after the first wash.  I love how washing it softens the edges of all the pieces and makes them look fuzzy!

My son loves looking for the animals and for the helicopter and airplanes.

Instead of adding a label to the back I wrote on one of the pieces on the front.

It was fun working on a little quilt, and it was fun using my tiny scraps!  This is the 4th scrap quilt this year!  I'm feeling quite proud of myself for using so many of my scraps.  I think these will be my go-to gift for little girls, they are small, fun, easy, and fast.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

King's Corner Progress

Last updated here.

I finished up the rest of the blocks pretty quickly, and then procastinated on laying them out on the floor due to toddler and baby that was quickly figuring out how to crawl.  Thankfully over the weekend I had two afternoons (aka naptime for the crawling one) to work on the quilt layout.

All of the brown blocks.

One block short!  This is the 15 x 14 layout I wanted.

 My husband (he's my color and layout consultant) and I decided we didn't like how the browns didn't really mesh into the greens, so I moved a bunch around to mix up the last brown circle and the first green circle.  After looking at it for so long it all started to look the same and I called it good enough.

The final layout, rows numbered in case I had to pick them all up.

Luckily I also had some time to start sewing them together.  It went so quickly and smoothly I was motivated to keep going.  This morning I finished!

It measures about 89" x 84"

Next is a large border to make it big enough for a king size bed.  I've started to think about the back, since I'm so close to needing it.  I will also need to piece the batting so it's wide enough (my roll of batting is for queen size quilts up to 90 inches wide).

What would you do for the back of quilt this big?

Friday, November 30, 2012

King's Corner Quilt

Last posted about here.

For now I've decided to call this quilt King's Corner, since I intend it to be a king size quilt, and all I've done is sew colored squares onto the corner of grey squares.

I decided to sit down and sew on this quilt during an entire quiet time (about an hour) the other day, and made some decent progress.

Lots and lots of this.

Behind my sewing machine: a pile of squares.

I finished with all the green squares, woo!  I try ironing mostly in the mornings when it's a little cooler, so I waited until today to iron and trim them:

About 147 of these.

And while I was at it I pressed the little by-product HST.  I sure dislike pressing seams open, especially when they are so small, however I know it will be worth avoiding the bulky seams down the line.

I think they will finish at 1" or 1.5"

They need safe keeping until I get around to this mini HST quilt!

And then I cut out another 60 or so brown squares from my scraps.  I was hoping to deplete my brown scrap collection, but I have a lot of large brown scraps still left for another quilt.

Once I get these sewn on I'll be ready to work on a layout!

I've been thinking a lot about the layout lately.  There are a bunch of layouts that would require a triangle in opposite corners of all the grey squares.  I like those layouts, but kind of dread having to cut, sew, and iron another 210 pieces.

I decided to have my Dad decide, since it's his bed it will ultimately be on, and he's the one that will have to see it every day.  I created this board on Pinterest to collect all of the options for him to look at.  These are the two he liked best:

This one is from A Few Scraps.

This one is from LollyQuiltz.

And then my Dad mentions he likes spirals too.  I have not seen a spiral layout at all, but thought it might be possible.  So I finally broke out my Quilt Design Wizard software I got for my birthday.  I was quite disappointed to find out it didn't have this very simple block, nor could I make it myself or download it from the website.  Turns out I need Electric Quilt 7 to be able to make my own blocks.  Hurrumph!  So I fudged it by using the HST and a bunch of blank blocks, and after several hours got a possible spiral layout:

These are pretty close to the colors of the quilt, though there will obviously be some browns in there too.

So, which layout do you like best?  I'm leaning towards the first or last so I don't have to add another triangle to the 210 blocks.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Tree Quilts

The quiet month of November was due mostly to my friend Jessica's fight with cancer.  She died November 17th.  It was a very sad, frustrating, depressing, and anger filled month as she slowly lost the battle to the cancer.  I made it a priority to see her at least twice a week while she was in hospice.  It was emotionally difficult to see her in her ever more frail condition, and I'd spend the rest of the day sad, angry, and depressed.  Not very conducive to creating and quilting (at least for me).

I did however manage to finish three mini tree quilts as belated wedding gifts:

They each measure about 16" x  20"

I actually finished them weeks ago, all but the hanging sleeve on one and labels on two.  I don't remember when I finally sewed them on, but I'm glad they're finished.  All I need to do is cut dowels for hanging, find some mailing tubes, track down all three addresses, and then take them the 9 miles to the closest post office.

The backs--two have hanging corners sewn in with the binding.  The middle one I forgot to put the corners in, so I added a small hanging sleeve.  The one on the left I wrote the label on a hanging corner.

Hopefully it doesn't take me all of December to mail these out.  All they do is shift around in my sewing room as I try to finish my currently quilting/sewing projects so I can start some new ones.

This was the first one I made, to see how it would go.   I decided I liked it better with just the first initials, so that's all I put on the other two.

I got my original idea from here, and then saw several other copy cat quilts, here and here.

This one doesn't lay as flat as it should due to the slightly thicker batting.

I didn't have enough solid brown or tan (which I've since remedied) for the third one, so I used some faux bois print fabric I already had from Joann's.  W is not a fun letter to quilt.

From left to right: finished, done with the quilting, and ready to be quilted.

Well, here's to new beginnings (and getting my sewing table cleaned off)!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rainbow Hexagon Quilt finished!

Very, very glad to have this quilt finished (a whole a month early too)!  It has been a very frustrating quilt to work on, though not because of the quilt.  

It measures about 42" x 60"

The back is some cute fabric I've been hoarding for a couple of years.

My sewing machine, which I bought last March-ish, continued to have issues with tension while free motion quilting, so I got out my mom's sewing machine (an older, very basic Janome) and spent a lot of time getting all the settings good enough to quilt with it.  Unfortunately good enough isn't actually up to my usual standards, but considering the issues I've had to deal with, and the huge amount of time I've tried fixing and then settling with my current working conditions I'm calling it acceptable and DONE.

Lots of hearts.

I finally took my sewing machine (a Janome MC 6300) in to be tuned up and fixed--last I tried to use it, it would turn on but nothing else worked--it wouldn't sew, the buttons did nothing (not even beep at me).  My husband and brother both thought it sounds like a circuit board problem.  When I told the guy at the shop the issues, he plugged it in and the buttons worked!  BAH!  I hate when machines/cars do that.  Hopefully they give it a good look over (and tune up) and can tell me why it didn't work for me...I would hate to get it home and have it happen again.

Lots of stars.

Anyway.  The quilt.  My mom's machine chugged right through it.  It has a standard 6" throat, and I've been pretty spoiled with the 9" throat on my machine, so I'm glad this was only a baby quilt.  My biggest complaint (other than the tension never being perfect) was that the machine would be going along just fine, then all of the sudden bunch up a some stitches and then carry on normally again.

A dragonfly.

I'm so glad to be done with quilt!  And glad to be giving it away, it's got too much emotional baggage for me now, ha.

A few flowers.

I hope all these cute little things I quilted in are entertaining for a baby to look at.  My son loved looking for the buggys and stars.

Love how the colors turned out on this leaf.

Sorry for the inconsistency in photos.  Some were taken inside and some were taken outside.

Some butterflies

Quite a few pumpkins, which are lots of fun to make.

Various clovers.

 Instead of putting a label on the back I quilted it in.  I wrote it on with a disappearing marker, but like most words I quilt it quickly got away from the marked words and became "free hand".  At least I practiced a few times and didn't make any mistakes.

It says: For JNO made by Renee Hoffman 2012

And now I plan to wait until I hear back about my sewing machine before doing any more sewing.  Reeeeally hoping all it well or reasonably cheap and easy to fix!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rainbow Hexagon Quilt

This quilt has been in the works for a while, but up until last Friday it was a little side project I worked on wherever it fit in.  After finishing my last quilt I had a lot of quilting steam/motivation so I got this one out to finish up next!  I was so excited to get two quilts done in a week (and a month and a half ahead of schedule!).  But it was not to be...

It doesn't look so bad...right?  Baby quilts aren't supposed be perfect, are they?

I already had the rainbow hexagon finished, so I added the grey pieces to start making it the size and shape I want.  I noted the wavy-ness of it, but kept going.  When I added a second strip of grey to one of the sides, the waves became so bad I took the strip off again.

Here it is smoothed out, the waves focused on seams so I could attempt to take the seams in a bit.  I marked each wave, then flipped it over.

I marked a line from the closest intersecting seam to the edge mark.

 Then pinned, sewed a new seam, ironed, trimmed and...

Ta da!  Looks better, right?  I took in three seams, then added more strips of grey until it was the right size and shape.  I did have to take in a few more seam along the way to keep it relatively smooth/flat.

Once I was ready to make a quilt sandwich I dug through all my batting scraps and found two that would fit together.  I got to try this Batting Seam Tape for the first time:

Line up batting edges, lay tape over the seam.
Press for 10 seconds.

Yay, nice big piece of batting to use!  Faster and easier (and more accurate) than sewing them together, I think.

Man, I was on a roll getting this quilt all put together and ready to quilt.  I was thinking I could maybe finish the whole quilt by the end of the weekend!  I even had a whole Saturday to work on it while my husband wrangled the kids.

Ready for pin basting.

Ready for quilting, yay let's do this!

I had decided a while ago to use rainbow thread.  I got the same brand and type I had used before (it's  Coats and Clark machine embroidery 100% Trilobial polyester--whatever that means).  But when I went to test it out on some scraps, the back came out looking awful.  

Looks great on the front!  Loving the look of rainbow thread on the excited to start on the quilt.

This is the back, and shows all the "fixes" that didn't fix anything.  The bobbin thread is the same type as the top but in a spring green color,  so everywhere you see rainbow thread is bad.

Even with every "fix" I knew it still was creating really bad "eyelashes" on the back.  So I put in the cheapo 100% cotton thread I had just used on my son's quilt.  Same problem (though not quite as bad), and still no fix worked.  I spent more than 3 hours fiddling and changing things and trying again, and then looking online for more possibilities, trying them, all to no avail!  UGH!  What a waste of time!  

So finally I put the quilt (and all the quilting stuff) away while I work on a bag and a halloween costume (everything works fine in a straight line).  When I'm done with those I'll try free motion quilting again...if it still doesn't work I'm going to take my sewing machine in for some maintenance.  I've had it a year and a half and have finished 14 quilts on it, so I think it's time!  Wonder if I could get my mom's machine to free motion quilt smoothly?  It's overdue for some maintenance too...