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.

#TBT: Farm Fresh Frenzy

Progress has again been slow on my “What the Hex” quilt. I am happy report that I have finally begun quilting the borders; which means I am getting to close to the finish!

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Since I have not posted in awhile, I thought another #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post would be nice.

From what I’ve seen on other blogger’s sites, my fabric stash is pretty small. Most of my initial stash was leftover cottons that came from my mother.  One of the first fabric purchases I made myself was of the Farm Fresh by October Afternoon for Riley Blake Designs.

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I found these three fat quarter packs of Farm Fresh at my local Tuesday Morning (honestly one of my favorite places to browse for discounted fat quarter packs).

I have since made two baby quilts with the Farm Fresh collection and will soon be starting a third with the scrap remnants I have.

The first quilt I made (and one of my favorites) was for the niece of my friend Lisa, named Olivia.

I used EQ7 to create the pattern and layout, inspired by a baby quilt one of my other friends had made.

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The backing was pieced together using the remaining scraps and pale yellow from the front.

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Applique is still not my strong suit nor my favorite thing to do; however I decided that Olivia’s name was needed on the quilt back.

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The allover floral quilting was done with a multicolor cotton thread on the medium-arm machine and frame at my job.

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The second quilt I made from Farm Fresh was for my niece, Emma.  Again I used EQ7 to design the front (which incidentally ended up being the back).

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Originally the front, but became the back

For the back, which ended up being the front, I decided to use HST to make a herringbone pattern with 1″ strips between.  The quilting on this baby blanket also used the same multicolor cotton thread.

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Originally the back, but became the front

 

Since I completed this in Costa Rica, the quilting was done on the domestic machine using a walking foot.  I do enjoy how the thread colors pop against the off-white triangles.

Again, I decided to applique the baby’s name, this time using an off-white lace I had in my stash.

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The last Farm Fresh baby blanket in queue is for a boy, Maximilano. While I have an idea in my head for this quilt nothing is set until the seams are sewn and pressed.

Gallery

#TBT: Star Quilt

Quilting on my “What the Hex” quilt has been slow going. It’s very time consuming and almost overwhelming to quilt the intricate designs for a twin size quilt with only a walking foot on a domestic machine. While I am excited of what has been accomplished and that I am nearing the final stages, I’ve also become a bit impatient with how slowly progress is made. Still I ” just keep quilting”.

I thought it would be fun to do a “Throwback Thursday” post and show one of my projects that was completed before creating this blog. It’s a nice reflection for myself as it’s easier to see how my quilting designs have evolved over the years.

I have been technically quilting for over 10 years, yet the number of projects I have finished is embarrassingly low. Being a mostly self-taught quilter, learning the tips, tricks & techniques have come from avidly reading quilting blogs, Craftsy classes, and advice from my few quilting friends.

Like many quilters, I started quilting with learning to assemble the traditional “Log Cabin” block.  This was great for learning how to chain piece and allowed freedom in layout choices by not needing a set design at the onset of the project.

This “Star Quilt” is actually the second quilt top I ever assembled, but I did not get around to the quilting part until many years later. I had an Eleanore Burns “Quilt in a Day” book to guide me and played around with the layout many times.  Why I settled on this layout, I cannot remember and if I had it to do over again I would definitely change it.

Top pieced and ready to quilt

Top pieced, borders attached, ready to quilt

 

It was intended to be a quilt for my X-Long twin bed in the dorms at the University of Arizona; however it was not finished until 2013 (almost 5 years after I graduated). It kind of reminds me of a Lisa Frank inspired quilt, the colors of which were determined by the star fabric I stole from my mother.

Inspiration fabric

Inspiration fabric

 

This was one of the first quilts I did any “free” motion quilting on on a “medium” arm machine. I say “free” because I followed a set swirl pattern and the “medium” arm machine was a PFAFF set on a large frame that was available at my workplace.  It was a learning experience in speed, getting comfortable with the motions and making sure to always put the presser foot down (I can’t tell you how many times I had to tear out a section of stitching because of this).

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Contrasting with the colorful front is a plain blue backing. Not quite navy, not quite royal, but somewhere in between.

Simple blue backing

Simple blue backing

 

The binding was pieced and then cheater sewn with a zig-zag stitch. I just wanted it done and since this was for personal use, it did not matter to me that the stitching would show. Plus I think with all the crazy colors in the top and the variegated thread, it worked just fine.

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch

 

The binding was finished on a trip to my parent’s ranch in New Mexico and that is now where the Star Quilt lives. It’s nice to have something so bright and colorful in such a muted landscape.

Quilted and bound

10 years in the making, quilted and bound.

 

Looking back, I am pleased with how quickly the top came together and still love the versatility afforded by the Log Cabin block. Perhaps one of my future projects will incorporate it again, but with the more modern twist.