Monday, April 29, 2013

TARDIS Quilt Beginnings

If you're unfamiliar with a TARDIS--it is the British police-box-time-machine from the Dr Who television series.  This is a commissioned quilt from my brother's girlfriend, Andrea, but I am pretty excited to be working on it!

Early on I found a cheater TARDIS on Spoonflower, and Andrea agreed to it.

Took about 2 weeks to get here, sheesh!

I liked the cheater quilt idea for a few reasons: it was faster, simpler, and would be fun to quilt!  But it wasn't until after we ordered it that we started really talking about the back of the quilt.  And the idea of densely quilting the TARDIS went out.  Andrea wanted a Starry Night inspired back, from the season 5, episode 10,  which I haven't seen yet.  In the episode Van Gogh paints the TARDIS into his Starry Night painting, which you can see here.

So I started with some sketches, and it quickly became apparent to me that fancy quilting on the front wouldn't complement the back:

Top left: basic sketch.  Top Right: trying to figure out how to translate it into squares and HST.  Bottom left: trying to figure out scale.  Bottom right: scale and grid of blocks. 

As I was working on the small scale sketches, my husband inquired about what I was doing.  I explained and complained about issues I was having, and he suggested making larger, scrappy-esque hexagon blocks like on the rainbow quilt.  After thinking about it for a while, I realized that that style of piecing would give the quilt a nicer swirl-y feel, while also adding a lot of texture (which was seriously lacking when compared to the real Starry Night).

So I worked on a new sketch, with general colors and scale (the blocks will be a vague interpretation of this):

The blocks will be 10.5" x 11" finished, making a nice full sized quilt about 84" x 88" (minus quilting and first wash shrinkage).

So last week I decided to practice my paper piecing on a mini-TARDIS for the back of the quilt (I used the TARDIS v2 pattern from this site.):
The TARDIS is about 6".  

I know I said I was done with paper piecing for a long while (it can be rather frustrating, especially with small children constantly distracting you!).  But then I found the pattern maker's tutorial for paper piecing, and things went so much smoother!  Something about the paper folding and fabric positioning finally made sense to me!  I had no issues putting together the mini-TARDIS (aside from forgetting the 4th window, oops).  The only thing I don't like about that little TARDIS is the missing light on top.  I've since turned it into something more functional than an unfinished quilt block, and added a little light to the top.

So far it's been kind of slow going.  I kinda burned out on quilting after my rush to finish the SquarePants quilt last week.  In the meantime I've been making a bunch of zippered pouches though!  I got my order of 30 zippers from ZipIt today, so I'm ready to make some more!  I will post them soon.  :-)

Giveaway winner and the favorite quilt

**Edit: sorry for the weird formatting and mix ups today!  I've been having some issues with blogger or formatting, or maybe just the constant distractions by children.**

I drew a winner for the giveaway last night--Michelle won! Yay! Her favorite quilts are my postage stamp and cesarean quilts. You can see all of them on my pinterest.

I thought it would be fun to tally all the votes for the various quilts, here are the results:

landscape 5
rainbow 6
postage stamp 1
cesarean  2
airplane 1
trees 3
rainbow hex 2
king's corner 2
squarepants 4
triangle 2
wedding 6
stacked coins 1
bear claw 1
log cabin 2
aspens 1

It was interesting to hear such a diverse list of favorites!  The wedding quilt is SO simple, but visually striking.  and the rainbow one was just a scrap buster!

These are my favorites (though I really do love quite of a few others!):
Cesarean (one of these days I will revisit this quilt and talk about the process and words I quilted onto it.

 I would love to write more, but I have a very cranky, teething (?) baby yelling at me!

Friday, April 26, 2013

100th Post & a Giveaway!

**Giveaway now closed!**

My first giveaway, what fun!  And my 100th post, wow.  Plus, my blog's two year anniversary is in about two weeks.  Plus I have a bunch of new followers!  So those sound like a good reason for a giveaway!

Open Wide Bag pattern by Noodlehead, using some Grand Hotel fabric by Jenean Morrison.

So what is it?  Well a bunch of stuff I thought some fellow quilting/crafting ladies might like.  And if you're a quilting/crafting guy, then you might know a lady that will enjoy what you won't!  Want a closer look?

About 4 years ago I convinced myself to try being a Mary Kay consultant.  I gave it a good try, then got pregnant and realized it wasn't what I wanted to do with a baby on the hip.  So I gave up...and still have a load of product!  Ugh.  What a waste of money, for me anyway.  At this point I just try to give it away to friends and family occasionally.  Here's what's in the giveaway bag:

Two eye shadows: raisin and sienna, a bronzing powder and a blush in colden copper.  Plus a little brush, a compact to put them all in, and  a tube of eye primer!  And I'll include some foundation, assuming I have the right color for the winner!

Two sample size packs of Satin Hands--you will love these.  It's a super lotion, then a scrub, then a light lotion.

About 25 bobbin tamers--you can see how they wrap around the purple thread.

And a few little pieces of fabric!  I've been getting the scrap packs from various websites when  I make an order, and these just aren't my style, but they are cute!  I almost used them to make the bag instead.

 So how are you interested?  Is this a good package for a first giveaway?

Here's how to enter: go to my pinterest board and tell me in a blog comment what your favorite quilt is that I've made:

I will draw a winner Sunday night!  Thanks for being apart of my quilting community!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

ChrisBobSquarePants Quilt Finished!

Well, I got my cone of thread on Saturday, about 1pm.  I worked on the quilt for 6 hours, between tending to the kids, and got it all finished by bedtime.  Today I threw it in the washing machine and dryer, then delivered it to my brother's house after he had left for a camping trip.  He will get home tomorrow (his birthday) to find his nice new quilt (and matching pillow!) waiting for him on his bed!

Now, how about a bunch of photos to celebrate this timely finish?

I used the last of my Salt Water fabric to make a scrappy border.  The quilt measures about 80" x 97", before I washed it.  The quilt pattern is from Lily's Quilts, it is the LynneBobSquaresPants pattern.

Detail of the border some stray threads and dust.

The back!  Paper pieced airplane with free pieced contrail.  I love the simplicity of this back, and how well the quilting is shown off.
Better detail of the airplane.
It reads [ "Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." -Leonardo deVinci, Made with love by Renee Hoffman, 2013 ]

Here's the border quilting on the back.  Some of the feathers got a little crazy...I was tired.

Here are some photos of the quilting I've posted before, for those who haven't seen them:


This morning I also managed to squeeze in time to make the pillow too!  It turned out cute! 

Scrappy airplane and binding, plain blue backing.

Airplanes side by side.

My mom suggested I enter it in the state fair.  It's definitely one of my nicest quilts yet, so if my brother's willing to give it up for a couple of months this summer I think I will.

So...what's next?  :-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Quilting Progress

After some more doodling on the quilt print outs, I settled on some organic swirls in the blue blocks:

For some reason my swirls/spirals almost always go counter-clockwise.  Even when doodling, even on almost every quilt I've made!  Maybe it's like left or right handed--built in, ya know?

From the back.

There are 12 of the blue blocks and 14 half blocks around the border.  The swirls are a lot faster than feathers to quilt, which I was happy about!  I love that all the quilting has an air and water movement to it.

What I finally chose for the center of the aqua blocks.  It reminds me of a compass.

I had read in more than one place that Aurifil is nearly lint-free...but I did not find that to be the very true.

I had to remove lint from the needle shaft area 3-4 times during this spool (nearly all 1422 yards of it).  It seemed like a lot of lint!  Overall I did like the Aurifil thread though: it quilted smoothly, I had ZERO tension issues, and it didn't break or have any problems in the thick seam areas or places I quilted over repeatedly!  The cone I bought is from Follow That Thread, it had the best price and shipping cost out of the many other websites I checked.  And the selection of colors is awesome.

I only have 3.9 of the center squares to quilt, but ran out of thread!  Now I must wait for my cone'o'thread to arrive...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SquarePants Feather Quilting

The feather quilting is going smoothly, minus one broken needle and the thread breaking for no reason once. I only have 7 more of these to go for Phase 1 of quilting!

I like how the quilting kind of disappears on the prints, but adds a lot of character to the navy.

View from the back.

Still not sure what to quilt in the other areas of the quilt (you can see my doodles on yesterday's post).  I am continually amazed at how much thread quilting requires!  I ordered a cone of this Aurifil grey thread...hope it gets here before I run out of the large spool I got yesterday!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What's keeping me busy

Since my last post, I got the back of the SquarePants quilt put together, and the whole quilt basted.

I had to un-baste my star quilt to have enough pins.  I'm planning to spray baste the star quilt anyway.

And it has been patiently waiting more than 4 days for me to figure out how to quilt it and what color of thread to use.

Definitely going with the pattern in the bottom-right for the aqua blocks.  Undecided on the blue blocks.

My husband and I have been doodling on some print-outs I made using Quilt Design Wizard software.  I created the SquarePants block using the HST block from the software....tedious, but it worked.  I find the program to be sooo limiting, but still very helpful, and definitely worth the $23!  Better than trying to do the same thing in Excel.

A lot of these are designs from my husband.

Which designs do you like?  I still need to figure out what to quilt in the blue blocks...but I can start quilting on the aqua blocks while I wait for inspiraton.  I originally thought of using a medium blue thread for the quilting, but then my husband suggest a medium grey, and I knew it would be perfect.

Today I had the urge to do some quilting, so I quilted the prototype airplane.  The quilting came out pretty wiggly, but I had a babe hanging on my apron strings, so to speak.

I pieced together the batting scraps from the quilt.  I think it will make a cute little pillow.

And now I wait for my order of grey Aurifil thread to arrive and keep talking myself out of starting another quilt!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Airplane #2

This block took about the same amount of time as the first, mostly due to ripping out more than a few seams to redo, and remaking one section.  You can read about my first airplane (and where I got the pattern) here.

This one is about 24"x 14".

The paper piecing mostly went better, I tried to be very aware of the seam allowances, yet still had issues and had to redo a couple.

I had a lot more trouble with the curve piecing for the nose of the airplane this time:

I decided the left one was worth re-making.

First one on the right, new one on the left.

Despite some of the issues I had while making these blocks, they were worth it!  Aren't they cute?  I'm even thinking of adding some (very simple) embellishments...but we'll see.  I'm anxious to get the back finished so I can baste the quilt already!  Here are the two side by side to see the size difference:

The makings of a fleet here! 

Hoping for another productive day tomorrow!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Airplane Prototype

Today I worked on a practice airplane block for the back of the squarepants quilt, I blogged about the finished quilt top here.

Today I dove into the airplane block for the back.  I came across this awesome block/tutorial a while ago and have been saving it for my brother's quilt.  Part of it is paper pieced and fairly simple.  But I've only made one other block using paper piecing and was not thrilled with the process or the results.

So for the prototype of this airplane block I used only scraps from the quilt top, hoping it would come out nice enough to be a pillow.


When I printed the templates, I just right clicked to print them, and it turns out they printed too small.  For the second airplane I downloaded the templates and printed them from picasa.  The templates should just about fill an 8.5x11 paper, FYI.

There are a few places where the seam allowance is less than 1/8", and one spot where the seam opened when I took the paper backing off.  :-/  I put a little piece of interfacing on the back to keep it together for now and will get some of that no-fray glue soon.  Still pretty shoddy though!

Trimmed to 11 1/4" x 19 1/4"

Hopefully the next airplane comes together better!  I don't have enough of the background fabric to make a third! :-/  I'm hoping to get the quilt back finished pretty quickly and the quilt basted by the weekend though!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Quilt Top Done!

All of last week I kept expecting house showings, so I didn't get much quilting done.  Then on Friday I woke up thinking about the quilt top, and how quickly it would come together.  And then my daughter, she just turned one, took a 4+ hour nap!  And I got the all 20 blocks put together and half of the border!

So flat!  Very pleased with how well it has come together!  This is the LynneBobSquarePants block, for those that haven't seen it before.

Before picking up the blocks and then sewing them all together, I forgot to take a photo of the layout I had decided on.  The photos don't show it, but there are one or two blocks that I wish I had rearranged!  I even seriously thought about undoing a couple of rows (many many seams, ugh) to fix the issue.  I talked myself out of it, and hope that the mistake is not too glaring--especially to the recipient!

6" borders to make it a nice queen size quilt--the top is about  82" x 100".

I've been planning an airplane themed back for a while, but didn't know what colors to use.  Naturally I wanted to use blue for a sky feel, but when I asked my brother what color he'd like it to be, he said earthy tones, relaxing colors.  So that threw me off, but I finally just decided blue was the right color anyway (plus it is a relaxing color, right?).  I didn't want to piece the back, except for around the airplane, so I looked into broadcloth and sheets.  Today while at Walmart I came across a light blue king sized sheet, on clearance for $7!  I hope it is nice enough after washing and quilting.

I've been thinking about how to quilt it, and am completely undecided still!  Nothing seems right so far.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quilt Progress Update

The last week of sewing has been pretty slow, mostly due to everyone having a cold to some degree.  We seem to have picked up one that just goes on and on and on!  Ugh!  I did finally finish all 20 of the ChrisBobSquarePants blocks!

From the LynneBobSquarePants tutorial.

Still working on the layout.

Once I finished those block I went back to my lone star quilt.  

I'm kind of stuck on how to quilt it.  I know how I want to quilt it (like this, thanks Pinterest for setting my expectations for this quilt way too high).  The problem is I don't know how to execute that on this double sided quilt, especially without the template/ruler.  And I only want the grey star to be quilted like that, and there is also the issue of the quilting on the both stars interfering with each other in the middle of the quilt.  This quilt got so complicated!

I decided to at least outline one of the stars, that way it's easier to see where it is on the other side.  But what I realized is that the basting is not good enough.  I think this is a quilt that would really benefit from using spray basting.  So it's on hold until I am able to get some tomorrow!