Third Time’s a Charm!

How is it already July? For some reason, my crazy brain had me thinking that June follows June.

I am excited that July is finally here. My little brother’s birthday is today, I turn 30 at the end of the month and Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs has released the first set of instructions for the 2015 Midnight Mystery Quilt!
Meadow Mist Designs Mystery Quilt

Of all the things going on this month, I am most excited about participating in my first QAL. I’ve got some (careful) fabric cutting in my weekend plans.

To keep the number of WIP’s at a minimum, the past two weeks or so have been focused on finishing my High School T Shirt Memory Quilt “quilt-over” and the “What the Hex” quilt for my friend Rommy. The actual quilt has been finished for a few weeks, but I am stuck on how to quilt the coordinating pillow shams I made from the scraps.

The memory quilt has undergone three transformations. I started it back in 2003 but did not finish it until many years later. After a few years of use, I  realized I was not happy with the layout and wanted to include a few more memories I was ready to stop wearing. I also wanted to fix the corners on the binding.

Quilt Version 1

Original Finished T Shirt Memory Quilt

The second life of the quilt had my first attempt at Free Motion Quilting on a “medium-arm” machine. Unfortunately, the stitch length regulation did not work so well and after a few years of use and washing, the quilting was starting to come undone. Additionally, the “cheater binding” method I had used did not have a proper join of the ends that was very bulky and not at all pretty.

Quilt Version 2

Quilt Version 2

So I decided to do a “quilt-over” and rebind the quilt again.. Using my trusty walking-foot and 1/4″ spacing, I quilted a simple square spiral in each t shirt block.

Quilt Over

Latest “Quilt-Over”

I also redid the binding, joining the ends seamlessly. It is much prettier and finished by handsewing the back. I think it might be my favorite part of the quilt.

Detail of Final Binding and Quilt Texture

Final Binding and Quilt Texture

I am extremely happy with this third (and final) iteration and love the texture of the quilting. When will they invent “Wonka Texture” so others can feel quilting through the computer screen???

Final Quilt Back

Final Quilt Back

Final Quilt Front

Final Quilt Front

The puppies are also excited to have the couch quilt back.

Dora snuggling with her favorite quilt

Dora snuggling with her favorite quilt

I declare this “WIP” (that has been years in the making) done!

Confession: This has been one of the most dangerous quilts I’ve worked on. I sustained a rotary cutting injury and needed 4 stitches back in 2004 and when hand sewing the binding, I sliced my chin with the needle and then proceeded to poke myself in the lip a few hours later. Who knew quilting was so dangerous!?!?!?

Linking up to:
Quilt for Keeps

#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.

Gallery

Finished Farm Fresh #3

After taking lots of feedback from family, friends and blog readers into consideration I finally decided on a design for my Farm Fresh baby quilt #3.

Winner: #6 Off-set Diamond

Winner: #6 Off-set Diamond

Close-up of stitch in the ditch & straight line quilting

Close-up of stitch in the ditch & straight line quilting

To make sure everything was pieced correctly (avoiding my mistake from the previous layout) I used the half wall outside my craft room to layout the rows while sewing them together.

Piecing the rows together

Piecing the rows together

The back was pieced together with a braided herringbone strip made from scraps from my previous Farm Fresh quilts.

Braided Herringbone pieced from scraps

Braided Herringbone pieced from scraps

Personally, I like quilts with a reversible backing that is as interesting, thoughtfully laid out, and beautiful as the front.

Herringbone Backing

Herringbone Backing

The binding was mainly denim, with a few scraps from the herringbone backing thrown in as well.  I know I cheated by machine sewing the binding, but my goal was to get this project done and have it nicely secured.

Scrappy Binding

Scrappy Binding

The denim softened up and faded nicely after being washed and thankfully the indigo dye did not run.

Cozy and ready for a new home

Cozy and ready for a new home

Finished size ended up at 48in x 33in.

Despite taking apart the quilt top, this was one of the quickest quilts I have completed.  I even managed to make an extra gift with dad in mind.

It’s great motivation to finish up my other WIP, the “What the Hex” quilt that I’ve been working on for about 10 months now, and to start on the rest of my “To Do” list for the year.

Linking up to:
Michelle’s Romantic Tangle
Fabric Frenzy Friday #64

Gallery

One little block, So many options.

On Friday I decided I was not happy with the direction of my Farm Fresh baby quilt. I spent the afternoon taking out the little quilting I had done and ripping apart the blocks.

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While I thought I had decided on a new design, the half square triangle is such a versatile block. (I must apologize in advance for the dark photos- they were taken at night on my cell phone)

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Original Alternative Layout

I laid out a few different arrangements and now can’t decide which I like best.

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Alternative #1

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Alternative #2

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Alternative Layout #3

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Alternative Layout #4

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Alternative Layout #5

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Alternative Layout #6

I am asking for help! What layout do you think is best for a baby boy? My original layout or one of the alternatives?