Thursday, September 26, 2013

I've got the blues...

After my last post, I went through my green fabrics, thinking I had something I could use.  But apparently I used the last of my medium-dark greens on the forest quilt.  I use a lot of greens I guess.  Well anyway, no blue fabric + no green fabric = trip to fabric store.  I went with Andrea, the person I'm making this quilt for, so she could help choose what to get, and I came home with this:

I had one decent green and blue to add, plus one I forgot to put in this pile.

Then I ironed the blues and cut them into strips around 2.5" wide.

And then sewed them all together (this is starting to sound rather familiar, isn't it?  I'm afraid my blog may be 70% blue fabrics for a while!):

I ended up with five blocks(?) of 8-12 strips by dinner time (hurray for long naps for the smallest!):

And spent a fair amount of time pressing them all flat after the kids were in bed:

Looking good, huh?!  Needs more wonky stars...

The blocks I cut out earlier this week I sprayed with a DIY spray starch made from water and vodka (I think it is a 4-1 mixture, with some lemon essential oil mixed in--makes me think about martinis while I iron, haha), the new strips I went ahead and sprayed before cutting.

I'm pretty sure this isn't going to be enough for the 32 blue blocks I still need.  With all the weird angle cuts I have to make I haven't even tried to estimate how much fabric I will need.  Ah well, at least the fabric store is only a mile or two away now...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

Yesterday I finally got around to cutting up my strips of blue for the Starry Night Quilt.  I procrastinated on it for a while because I ran out of blue and realized I needed a LOT more for the sky portion.  So instead of just starting with block #1 and then continuing numerically until I ran out, I kind of randomized which blocks I cut out so they would (hopefully) blend better with the new fabrics I get.

Blocks 1, 11, 33 and 44.

Blocks 7, 8, 15 and 16--which will actually be next to each other like this (some are upside down while I try different configurations), and will have a large crescent moon appliqued on them.

Blocks 4, 22, 29 and, I think (one of them is mismarked! :-/  )

I'm glad those blocks are coming together finally!  I need about 30 more blue blocks and 20 green ones--this quilt has become quite a project!  I think I have enough left overs to finish one more star block and then I will work on green blocks until I can get more blue and green fabric.

Here's the beginning of yet another quilt:

Cutting out circles in the car to make more hexies.

I didn't finish making all of the hexies from this IKEA fabric, but we have another (much shorter, thank goodness) road trip next month, so I will be able to work on them some more!

I picked up my quilts from the fair yesterday and was delighted to see only positive comments on the quilts I entered!  Here are the categories for the judge to consider (each bullet given an outstanding, excellent, good or needs improvement grade):

Design & Visual Impact
  • Color- Makes an overall statement, pleasing graphics.  Fabrics are suitable for use in the design.
  • Quilt Design- Innovation and/or original interpretation, good balance and continuity, produces desired effect.  Includes use of borders in proper scale and complementary to overall design.
  • Back of quilt- Smooth, no knots, no tucks.
  • Quilting- Motifs enhance overall design.  The amount of quilting is sufficient.

  • Piecing/Applique- Precise piecing or applique stitches appropriate to style, matched threads.
  • Quilting Stitches- Small, even, knots hidden, no pickers, tension even for machine quilting or even top and bottom for hand quilting.
  • Finishing- Border straight, binding smooth and even, corners well turned.  Batting fills the binding to the edge of the quilt.

General Appearance
  • All elements in balance, quilt is clean, all marks removed.  The quilt lies or hangs flat.

The Lone Star quilt got outstanding in every category, with a note saying, "pink thread for machine quilting enhances overall design." Since I won first in the wall hanging category for quilts less than 40x60, I won a year's membership to the NM Quilter's Association and $10 to the Quilt Works (my LQS), with a note from them saying, "Congratulations on being awarded a blue ribbon for your wallhanging. You quilting is outstanding. I am not brave enough to use a contrasting color. I love you wallhanging." A lady at the fair said my star quilt was the one they based the displays around!  How awesome is that?!

The ChrisBob quilt got outstanding in every category except quilting stitches and color--they only got excellent, haha. A note at the bottom says, "Quilting enhances visual impact, excellent piecing, beautiful design." I was so pleased to see the note about the piecing!  That quilt is SO many HST and 3" squares!  I pinned the crap out of that quilt as I was putting it together!

And both quilts have the "Hold for consideration" circled--I wonder if that means they were considered for the grand prize?  That'd be cool.

I'm so glad I entered these quilts and got to show them off to more people!  I'm already planning to enter something again next year.  :-)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A little vacation sewing!

This week my family is on vacation in Oceanside, CA!  Which of course means no sewing, not even a little while we are here.  The drive to here and back, on the other hand, I am able to do some hand sewing.  I decided to try out making hexagons for the first time, following the simple instructions in Quick & Easy Hexie Quilts.  You start with a circle and then pull in the edges to form a hexagon!  It is fast and simple.

Some of the goodies I won in a giveaway from Pat Sloan!

I started with those little circle up there, they were so fast!  So I sewed them together:

So not my colors!  I think it will be a part of a giveaway in the near future.

It's a 14 hour drive with the kids and our many stops.  But the stops are like little islands of fun in a sea of cranky driving.  I usually drive in the areas that I'm familiar with, and then navigate in the places we're not familiar with (I grew up in the Boy Scouts, so I have a good feel for directions and like maps and memorize things like that easily, husband...not so much).  And only once have we gotten lost and accidentally gone to Mexico!

So in the quiet in between times, when the kids are magically occupied and happy and quiet, I decided to make some little hexies, for the first time ever!  Luckily I also had packed a couple of pieces of fabric with circle already drawn on them, so I cut them out and made more hexies:

Not sure what I will make with these yet.

And now I am out of fabric!  I was hoping this meant I could sneak in a trip to a local quilt shop (right?!), but no.  But we did hit up IKEA today, so I grabbed a yard of fabric just to make hexies with!  It's a large-ish maybe I should make BIG hexies?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Place!

I am so happy my Lone Star quilt got first place in the wall hanging, machine quilted (under 40 x 60") category at the New Mexico state fair!

Hung in front of the hand appliqued quilts for some reason.

I started this quilt on a whim, just to play with the lone star pattern.  I wasn't a big fan of the colors of the star, and intended to give it away.  But then I added borders and background colors and spent a LOT of time on the quilting (including research, measurements, calculations, marking, etc) and somewhere along the way realized it could be worthy of showing.  Once that idea took hold I started doing things more carefully to impress judges.  I spent a lot of time on the quilting, and made sure it hung straight and flat when I was finished.  I'm so glad that extra time and energy paid off!  I'd like to enter it in other shows...but have no idea where to start.  How do you even find a show worth entering??

The ChrisBobSquarePants quilt took third place in the machine quilted bed quilts, full size and larger.

My quilt on the far left--not sure if those other quilts were in the same category or not.

I entered it knowing that some of the quilting would probably not get good reviews.  On this quilt I chose the quilting in terms of how much I liked the pattern with the quilt and how much I enjoyed quilting the pattern.  Even though I hoped to enter it as well, I decided not to worry about judges and points.  I wanted it to be a nice bed quilt--for snuggling under, not to impress someone I'll never meet.  So even though I hoped it would get first (that's everyone's secret hope, right?), I'm not surprised it didn't...though I wasn't that impressed with first or second.

I will get a judges note sheet (and my winnings!) with the quilts when I pick them up on the 23rd.  I'm certainly curious to see what they said about my quilts!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Two by two, strips of blue...*

My husband worked a bunch over the weekend, so I had some unexpected time to work on the Starry Night quilt.  I spent Saturday afternoon ironing fabrics and cutting strips, mostly at 2.5", though quite a few are smaller and some are 3" to mix it up some.

The pink tags mark how long they are.

Then I sort of randomly sewed them together.  I wanted a good distribution of the fabrics and shades.  I did sew them together in pairs, and then together until I felt like the panel was large enough.

And then I did a lot of ironing, of course.  And then this:

The good news is a friend on FB said this reminded her of Van Gogh!

Next I will cut 11.5 x11 blocks out of them at weird angles...which means that all that work will only make about 10 blocks, and I need about 30.  And I'm out of decent navy blues.  Y'all know what that means!  ...(fabric shopping, of course)....

*Bonus Browncoat points if you get the title reference.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dazzle pattern testing

Dazzle pattern by ipatchandquilt

About a week ago I came upon ipatch blog through some linky party.  And she (Esther), was looking for people to test out her new pattern Dazzle.  I've always been kind of jealous of pattern testers--they get to try out these new cool patterns before anyone else!  So of course I volunteered right away.  The deadline to get feedback in is next Thursday, but next week is kind of crazy, so I got started on it asap.

I finished all 12 wedges in a day, despite the normal chaos around here!   And I only add to rip out three seams!

Color coding the wedges helped me stay on track when I got distracted.

Sewing together the wedges went really well...up until I had to sew together the two halves and that center area is kinda of a [insert profanity here].  The first try it was okay, but I could tell where I'd messed I ripped out the center 2-3 inches and tried again.  This was, by the way, a BIG mistake, and the result was a much worse aligned and bumpy center.

But, I gotta say, for a first try at this block, it went really smooth and easy!  I did have to review my favorite paper piecing tutorial since the last paper piecing I did was in April.  The process was really fun, and I have quite a few other ideas for colors and layouts, so I'm sure I'll be making more (and hopefully improving on those center points!).

The back lays pretty flat.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seeing Stars

After the whole rethinking of this newly renamed Starry Night quilt, I decided starting with the stars would be good.  Wonky stars are always fun!  Actually, I had forgotten how much fun they are.

I am on a roll now!  I need 10 or 11 stars, and then I'll add borders to them to make the blocks the right size.

That middle yellow is a left over from my lone star quilt--it is perfect for stars!

I love using scraps and reminiscing about all the quilts I've made with the fabrics.   But when I pulled out that lower left, two-fabric square...I had no memory of using/making it.  Hmm.

So, do you wonky-star?  I'm pretty sure a whole quilt of scrappy wonky stars is in my future!

Hanging out with the only full block I've made so far.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

The randomly chosen winner for my giveaway is Hilary from Young Texan Mama, who said she was most excited about the thread and watch fabric.

I was delighted to see so many people enter this giveaway!  Thank you for participating, I really enjoyed reading about everyone's favorite thing!