Hop, Skip and a Jump!

So as mentioned previously, I am part of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers. The focus of this group is for seasoned bloggers to provide technical advice and support to us newbie bloggers. Part of the support is participating in my first blog hop and the Sew Fabulous Hive!

It’s fun for me to have new visitors to Chopping Block Quilts, its fun for the visitors because you get to discover some amazing new quilting blogs and are eligible to enter to win a slew of amazing prizes from our fabulous hosts!

Super Quick & Random facts about me:

On the Line, Ready to Play

On the Line, Ready to Play Ultimate Frisbee

Name: Carrie
From: Arizona
Currently Resides In: Costa Rica (the Central Valley near some Volcanoes, not the beach)
Husband: 1, married 6mo or 2.5mo depending on which wedding you count
Puppies: Bernadette Shiva Garbage Disposal (9mo), IsaDora Paulina Gozer Sombra (7.5mo)
Scared of: Balloons, Needles/Knives/Blood (I got 4 stitches from a rotary cutter accident in college)
Began Quilting: 2002

My First Quilt made in 2003, loved by Dora today

My First Quilt made in 2003, loved by Dora today

Check this out if you really want to know more quick facts and my quilting history.

Blogging Tip:
Get involved! Whether your goal is to increase readership, get sponsors or simply have a better blog, the quilt blogging community can help. I joined the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers on a whim and fairly last minute. While the technical aspect appealed to me most, I have been overwhelmed with the new followers, generosity of advice, and support related to all aspects of blogging and quilting.

As part of being more involved in the quilting community, I am starting my first Quilt Along on the Midnight Mystery Quilt from Meadow Mist Designs. Fabric has been selected (and I am toying with the idea of making a second colorway).

Midnight Mystery Quilt Fabric.  Print from 2012 Palmer Collection by Anna Griffin

Midnight Mystery Quilt Fabric Selection.
Print from 2012 Palmer Collection by Anna Griffin

I am anxiously awaiting the release of the first block in July. There is still time for new members to join this QAL and I encourage you to do so!

Meadow Mist Designs Mystery Quilt

Quilting Tip:
While quilting is fairly popular in Costa Rica, most of my quilting supplies have come from my stash in Arizona lugged down on various trips. Batting is included in said supplies. A few years ago I learned about the proper way to join pieces of batting from the Encyclopedia of Quilting (I just don’t remember if it was this one or this one)

To reduce bulk, you overlay the batting by a few inches and then cut along the overlap in a wave like pattern. The pieces are then joined together using a flat stitch.

Joining batting pieces

Joining batting pieces

The result when quilted is batting that does not have bulky seams where it overlaps. I must apologize for not having better photos but I am now inspired to create my first tutorial! Check back soon!

Confession:
I love musicals. Live, in movies, and on TV. Disney, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more. They are my go-to background noise when sewing. I can’t help but sing along.

Often times I wish life were more like a musical. I can make a song out of almost any situation. Usually they take the tune of some popular song with original lyrics. Sometimes they are awesome, sometimes they are awful. My brother can do the same, although he keeps his talent hidden. I think we learned it from our father as children. It makes life a little more joyful.

Hop! on over to the other members of my Sew Fabulous Hive this week:
Erin @ Twin Mom Quilts
Anja @ Anja Quilts
Adrian @ Quilting Fabulous

New Blogger Series
Skip! to our wonderful hosts:
Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter (our Hive “Queen Bee”)
Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Terri Ann @ Childlike Fascination

Jump! at the chance of winning some great prizes this week (and in the upcoming weeks). See our “Queen Bees” above for giveaway entry details!

Thanks for stopping by!

#TBT: High School T-shirt Quilt (for keeps)

The majority of the quilts I make are given away to friends and family.  I have only kept two for myself. For me, it is the best way I can show my love and support for others; even when I can’t personally be there.  When I make a quilt, my hope is that it will be used and enjoyed, not “preserved” by stuffing it into a closet.

Not surprisingly, others feel the same way.  One of the quilters from the 2015 New Quilt Blogger group share a post the other day highlighting a new initiative from Amy Smart, Quilt for Keeps. (I can’t remember who it was at the moment and am kicking myself so hard for not book marking their post. I will find it and link back. I promise.)

For Keeps Pledge

The only two quilts I have kept for myself are the first quilt I ever made (stored in the closet at the moment), and a t-shirt quilt made from my high school tshirts.

This quilt was the third quilting project I undertook. I started sewing it in college.  I would lay out the squares on the floor of the dorm room common area.  I even bled over this quilt; slicing my finger with a rotary cutter, going into shock (I don’t deal well with blood), and getting 4 stitches.  I lack feeling in the part of my finger to this day.

Original Tshirt Quilt

Original Tshirt Quilt

The actual quilting was a simple grid spaced 4″ apart.

Original quilting with part chewed out by parent's dog

Original quilting with part chewed out by parent’s dog

I followed the instructions and a free pattern found at Wal-mart.  Like most t-shirt quilt patterns I have seen, it required the use of sashing between the shirts.

Poor binding on corners

Poor binding on corners

When I first finished the quilt, I was please with the final result.  However; as my quilting improved over the years, I became less and less thrilled with the project.  Out came the seam ripper as I tore the whole thing apart.

Tert-Butyl helping figure out a new layout

Tert-Butyl helping figure out a new layout

Gaia approved the final layout

Gaia approved the final layout

In the second iteration of this quilt, I removed the denim sashing between the blocks. I added in a few more shirts I was finally willing to part with, and tried my hand at free-motion quilting for the first time.

FMQ for the first time

FMQ for the first time

Again, I was happy with the end result.

Revised quilt

Revised quilt

Revised backing

Revised backing

Better binding

Better binding

The past few weeks this t shirt quilt has been getting a lot more use. The rainy season has started and weather is cooler here in Costa Rica and it is the perfect weight blanket for curling up on the couch.  My puppies have been enjoying the quilt as well.

The FMQ job that I was happy with before began to show its flaws. Uneven stitch length and not burying threads has cause much of it to come loose.  Because this quilt has been getting more use (and washes) I once again decided it was time for a redo.

Berna snuggled up on a chilly morning

Berna snuggled up on a chilly morning

So now I am in the process of quilting it all over with 1/4 in spacing to make it more durable.  Taking a short cut, I have decided to simply quilt over the existing quilting.  I am sure that sentence will offend many a reader since it is no where near the proper way to fix a quilt.

Third time quilting

Third time quilting

For the time being, I am happy with the look and progress that is being made. I really love the texture of the 1/4″ quilting. I plan on redoing the binding yet again and joining the end pieces properly instead of layering and causing much bulk.

Personal disatisfactions aside, the quilt has been made to be used and it is for keeps.  Here’s to hoping that 3rd time’s a charm.

Inspired Designs

The internet is such an amazing resource for finding not only quilting tutorials, but also inspiration.  From Pinterest to Instagram to the multitude of blogs, the ideas are endless.  Last week, I was accepted into the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers group being hosted by Quilting Jetgirl, Late Night Quilter, Meadow Mist Designs and Childlike Fascination.

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

See who joined in on the fun!

 Already I have already connected with an amazingly talented group of quilters from around the globe.  The goal of the group is to improve the technical aspects of our blogs and increase our social connections; however. I look forward to learning from everyone and improving my quilting skills as well.

While many of the projects on my “To Do” list have been inspired by other quilters, there are also a few projects that have come from everyday inspiration.One of the interesting things about living in Costa Rica are the fences people have around their homes and the bars they have on their windows.  I know this sounds like miniature prisons fill the city, yet riding around in the passenger seat all I see are potential quilt designs.

Bubbles in Granada, Nicaragua

Bubbles in Granada, Nicaragua

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to capture a (blurry) photo on my phone, sometimes I sketch out blocks while waiting in line at the immigration office or the bank.

House Fence in Heredia, Costa Rica

House Fence in Heredia, Costa Rica

To me, the country is filled with inspiration. Or maybe it’s just my one-track, quilting obsessed mind.

Window Bars in San Jose, Costa Rica

Window Bars in San Jose, Costa Rica

One of my other hobbies that also feeds itself into my quilt inspirations, photography.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the website design-seeds as a source of color palette inspiration.

Design-Seeds Fresh Brights

Design-Seeds Fresh Brights

A few months back I discovered an app on the Sherwin-Williams website that allows you to upload your own personal photos and break out the composite colors.  While design-seeds is a great site, I enjoy the personalization offered of the Let’s Chip It! app by Sherwin-Williams

It’s fun to upload your own photos and see the color breakdowns the app generates.

Sarchi Ox Cart Wheel

Costa Rican Sarchi Ox Cart Wheel

New Mexico Wild Poppy

New Mexico Wild Poppy

Costa Rican Land Crab

Costa Rican Land Crab

Being part of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers has  energized me to finish up my WIP’s and start making real progress on my “To Do” list, incorporating the everyday inspiration that surrounds me.

Start looking for the inspiration surrounding your life!

**Disclaimer: This post does NOT contain any affiliate links.  All words and opinions are my own.**