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 grey...so 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...

Plus Quilt, finished!

This quilt came together so quickly, I'm so happy to have it done two weeks ahead of my schedule!

I had a rough time getting the back to come together as nicely as I wanted.  I really didn't have a plan for it, except to use a road panel I had in the middle of it.  I chose a bunch of other fabrics from my stash that coordinated.  I calculated how much I would need, and cut them out.  But was short quite a bit, so I added more (I had a big bundle of fat quarters to choose from).  Still short and didn't want to use any of the remaining fabrics I had, so I ended up buying some fabric to bring the back together.

In progress, ended up taking the rainbow chunk apart and the adding strips to the top and bottom and buying some road fabric for the sides of the panel.

I was so happy to start the quilting on it!  Every plus quilt I've seen online has straight line quilting, but I really wanted some curves to help soften it.  I finally chose orange peel quilting on the seams after seeing this tutorial.

The quilting went really quickly, I finished it in less than two days, even around my kids' schedules.  It helped that my daughter was taking huge afternoon naps, so the quilt went from 3 pieces to finished in about 3 days.

I was so happy to give it to my son--he sure deserves a quilt of his own from me.  This is the 16th quilt I've made since he was born 2 3/4 years ago.  I told him if he ever needed a mommy hug and I wasn't around, to wrap the quilt around himself and it would be like I was there hugging him.  At almost 3 years old, he believed me and thinks it's a magical kind of quilt, and loves it.  <3

Fresh out of the dryer, ready for story time!

Here's the official photos of it:

It measures about 74" x 64", and I used solid grey binding.  Seeing it now makes me wish I'd spaced the orange and bright greens a little better...but oh well I don't notice or care the rest of the time.

The back.  I got the straight road fabric from Joann's.

On his bed.  It's too short to be a true twin-size quilt, but it's perfect for a toddler and crazy positions he sleeps!

Detail of the "orange peel" quilting.  It was fun watching the circles appear while I quilted it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 Quilts in 3 Months

I now have 3 quilts in progress and hope to finish them within 3 months.  Not sure if it is possible, but I'm going to give it a good try.  The first one I started last month, and is a baby quilt I hope to finish by the end of next month (more on that one in a later post).  The second one is a twin size for my 2.5 year old son.

I wanted it to be a quilt he could grow into (for at least a few years), so I tried not to choose fabrics that were super baby/childish.  Actually I just used all the boy fabrics I had accumulated over the past two years and then dug through my stash for coordinating fabrics.

Ironed and ready to cut!  Is it just me or does that shark fabric make an appearance in a lot of boy quilts in the past couple of years?

I decided to make a plus quilt, following this tutorial, since I figured it would be fairly fast and easy, and lend itself well to large prints, and be baby-rolling-on-the-floor-friendly.

Once I got cutting I realized I needed more fabric, so I dug out more coordinating fabrics.  Still needed more...so on a belated birthday present fabric shopping spree I bought a couple more fabrics to add.

320 four-and-a-half inch squares later... (the top fabric is my favorite!  Wish I knew what it was called, but I just bought it at a local shop).

Then I laid them out on the floor during a nap time.  Luckily I got it all laid out and started picking it up (each row was numbered and then stacked in a pile) before Miss Rolly Polly woke up.

I tired not to stress over it too much considering the abuse it's sure to go through in the near future!  So glad I took a photo of it though, as sewing each row together without seeing where it lays in respect to the other rows gets a little confusing for me.  The photo has helped make sure I'm sewing everything together correctly!
The pile of stacked rows.

My goal is to finish this quilt by the end of October, so I thought 'oh I'll just plan on sewing one row together each day, that's doable!' but the rows take only about 5-6 minutes (or 2 rows per episode of Dinosaur Train, haha) each to sew up, so it went a lot faster than I expected!

The first 7 rows--I made an 8th row then sewed them all together

Yay a little less than half done already!

So this plus quilt takes a lot more fabric than I thought (not that I had done any measuring to begin with, but that's okay, happy to use more of my stash!), and it is super easy and fast to put together!  Already looking forward to working on the back.

And then there is the third quilt I hope to finish by the end of the year: a king sized quilt for my Dad.  Making a quilt for him has been on my list for a year or two now, and although I had hoped to give him one for his birthday in November, I'll be pretty happy if I can finish it by the end of the year!  He has gone out of his way to help us with house improvements this year, without asking for anything in return, so I bumped him to the top of the list (just under the quilt for Arden anyway ;-).  

For some reason I decided on it being another grey quilt (bought a bolt of grey with a coupon at Joann's--why is buying an entire bolt so much fun?).  And since I have SO many green and brown scraps, and scrap quilts are easy to deal with through showings, babies, toddlers and a (possible) move, it seemed like this scrappy quilt tutorial would make for a good on-going project. 

147(ish) green 3" squares, which is just about all of my large green scraps!

On-going project, what does that mean?  Well I need about 200 blocks for this king size quilt, and each block is 3 squares of fabric.  I just don't want to sit down and cut and then sew and then iron 600+ squares all at once, so I've done about a 1/3 of the cutting and am sewing a colored square onto a grey square every time I get to the end of the a row for the plus quilt so I don't have to break thread (have I lost you?).  Then I'll cut the next 1/3 of the fabric and sew a second colored square onto the grey squares.  

The grey squares are 6.5" and the colored squares are 3"

While doing research for this quilt I read a comment from someone saying that they would sew a second seam 1/2" from the first one, then cut between them and have a bunch of half-square-triangles for a mini quilt.  Maybe this photo will help make the concept clearer:

I'll cut between the two seams, then iron them open.

I'm going to have a ton of scraps, so I decided to do it too--I'm expecting to get a cute little baby quilt from the left over HST.  Surely there will be a baby boy born next year in need of a quilt!

So those are my latest projects on my sewing table (and the floor and ironing board).  I will try to post updates as I make progress on each one!

Rainbow Quilt finished!

Last posted about here.

I actually finished the quilting about a month ago, but then it sat around while I procrastinated on trimming the edges and then deciding on and making the binding.  I considered several binding options, but never really liked any of them enough to do anything.

And then we went on vacation to California for 9 days (including three days of driving), and the quilt got pushed aside in the preparations.  When we got back I wanted to finish it up fast so I could get on to the next quilt(s)!  Since our house is still on the market I try not to have more than a couple of projects going at once so they're easy to make look presentable should there be a showing.

Anyway, I dug around in my stash and found this perfect stripey fabric that matches the back so well!  But in my excitement I didn't calculate the binding correctly and was short about 10 inches.  So, in following with the rest of the quilt too-short-add-something-else form, I added a little piece of scrap binding I had.

Well anyway, I finished the quilt a week ago and it took until yesterday to remember to photograph it.

The finished quilt measures 58" x 72".  You can see the mis-matched binding bit on the right.

The back really shows off the quilting--I did straight lines in the sashing with my walking foot and free-motion spirals in the blocks.

Used my new fabric pen for the label--I got a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric and it works great.

The block that started it all.

Close up of other blocks.

A better look at the binding.

Happy to have my second quilt of the year finished!

Still not sure what to do with this quilt.  I've been thinking of donating it, or giving it away to someone, or just keeping it on the couch....until I decide it will continue keeping the chair in the corner warm.