Show Me Something Purple Linkup

When my friend Sarah Goer let me know about her new monthly Show Me Something linkups, I was super excited to start participating. I loved that I could link both new projects and old ones that fit the monthly prompt. And I was especially excited when I saw the theme was purple this month, since I just finished a quilt that was purple and blue and was going to be a perfect fit for the linkup!

That being said, I still wanted to make something new for the month in response to the prompt. I didn’t have much time on my hands last week because I was sewing up two quilt tops (more on those later!), so I chose something small and quick.

Have you seen the amazing Sew Tiny Sampler from Kitty Wilkin? If not, you need to take a look at this pattern! I love making these teeny tiny blocks. I chose to go a little outside the box and make some purple trees, because why not?! Sometime you have to just do things just for the fun of it.

I chose vivid purple for the trees with a brown-tinted purple as the trunks on each tree. Add in a grey background that has a purple undertone, and you’ve got yourself a fun little set of blocks.

I have no plans for these as of yet. They will get added in with all my other tiny blocks from this pattern and eventually I’ll use them to make something fabulous.

Happy Sewing, ~L

All People Quilt UFO Challenges

Here I go again with the joining things- what has happened to me this year?! I decided it would be a good idea for me this year to do the All People Quilt  2020 UFO challenge. The great part about this one is that it doesn’t add any actual projects to my list, it just encourages me to finish things I already have planned. My LQS has their own drawings as well for customers who are doing the challenge.

So, in order to keep myself accountable to you as well, here is my list for the year and my starting point for each project.

1- Sister Sampler Quilt: This is a quilt top waiting to be quilted, bound, and gifted. I want to gift it in September, so if this number doesn’t come up before then, I’ll have to finish it early.

2- Crazy Blocks Quilt: I only had one of six improv blocks done and had no idea how to lay them out. This is January’s project, so I have been working on it this week. I want a finished top by the end of the month and expect to gift this in October.

3- Low-Volume Patchwork quilt: This is a quilt top for my daughter that just needs completed.

4- Full-sized quilt for Nathan: I have nothing done on this other than knowing my son wants a larger quilt than what’s on his bed right now. I have not even chosen a color palette. Whatever month this gets drawn in is going to be busy! I hope to have a finished top at the end of it.

5- Full-Sized quilt for Isaac: Like project number four, this is still in planning stages. At least for this one, I know it’s going to be black, white, and grey.

6- Rifle Alice quilt: This will be made with Rifle Paper Company’s Alice in Wonderland fabric and the Shimmer pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew. I have two blocks made and want to have a finished top.

7- Riley Blake Alice quilt: Another Alice quilt with only two blocks made. I’m using the 2020 Quilter’s Planner Sampler pattern for this one and a bundle built around the Wonderland fabric collection from Riley Blake.

8- The Quilter’s Planner 2019 BOM Snowflake layout: A top that needs to be finished up.

9- Mom Vintage Apron: Not a quilt, but a project my mom asked me to do years ago. Making an apron out of a vintage table cloth that belonged to my grandmother. I think I’ve been avoiding this one because I’m scared to mess it up.

10- Fall Berry Season quilt: currently just a couple of layer cakes that I plan to make into a quilt. Not sure of a pattern yet, but hope to have a finished top at the end of the month.

11- 16-patch scrappy quilt: I have several 16-patch scrappy blocks that I’ve made over the years and would like to make some more and assemble a quilt. Not sure what size I’ll end up with, but it’ll probably depend on how busy that month is!

12- Low-Volume Blue log cabin- This is a charity quilt that has been lingering for much too long. The blocks are mostly done and it just needs to get finished and get out into the world. I would like to have it completely finished by the end of its month.

And of course I have some over-achiever projects too. There are five spots for those projects, and all of them are By our Side quilts for my best friends. I’ve been re-writing the pattern to adapt it for teaching classes, so it’s the perfect time to get these made.

So there you have it. I’ll be sharing more about my progress on January’s project early next month.

Happy Sewing, ~L

What I’m working On: 2020 Temperature quilt

I always say I’m not really a joiner. I’m know my tendency to over-commit and then feel obligated, and as a result I avoid commitments when I can. That being said, this year I am doing my best to join in on some of the fun things going on in the quilting community.

One of the things that I decided to do this year is the Quilting Mayhem Temperature Quilt-along. Quilting Mayhem is my favorite local quilt shop (and past place of employment!). While I was still working at there and heard we were planning a temperature quilt-along, I realized it was something I really wanted to do. But, I would need to make it very easy on myself to keep my commitment through the whole year!

Let me pause for a moment for those of you wondering “What in the world is a temperature quilt?”. Many in the knitting and crochet world have been doing something like this for a while, but it seems to be new to quilting. The basic premise is that you choose several fabrics, each one representing a range of temperatures. You then make a quilt with a block to represent each day, recording the temperature for that day. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want. You could record highs only (like me), high and low temperatures, average temperature, and even the weather. I had customers come in that were recording the high, low, and weather for the day. Some people are adding embroidery or a special background fabric to indicate a snow day. Some people are choosing special years in their lives and recording data from that year. You can get as creative with it as you like! I suggest you check the hashtag #qmtemperaturequiltalong on Instagram to see all the wonderful ideas people are coming up with. If you decide you want to join in, there’s no sign-up. Just use the hashtag on your Instagram posts of your quilt so the other participants can cheer you on!

So, for my quilt, I decided to only record the high temperatures and not do a pieced block. I have hexies for each temperature range (mostly 4 degrees for each color) and am stitching an offset strip of hexies for each month. After the end of the year when all my strips are done, I’ll be applique-ing them in chronological order to a solid background, probably a light grey. I figured this was a simple way for me to do the bulk of the work (making a bunch of hexies) at the beginning of the year and then it’s very easy for me to add hexies as the year goes on and my patience for the project wanes.

I chose a pretty tight color range of mostly greens (with a few blues and yellows) for a couple of reasons. First, I love green and want a predominately green project this year. Second, I thought it would be a really nice way to let the temperature extremes really stand out. When I look back at the year and see a blue or yellow hexie, I’ll know it was a pretty extreme weather day (at least for Western Washington!)

I’m looking forward to seeing how this one progresses. I both love and hate that the nature of the project is forcing me to take the whole year to complete it. It’s an exercise in patience for sure!

Happy Sewing!  ~L

 

Finished Quilt Orange HST Sampler

Last week, I shared some of the quilts I gifted for Christmas. And I have another fun one to show you today!

This quilt uses some of the blocks I made for the Modern HST Sampler QAL hosted by Blossom Heart Quilts waaaaayyyy back in 2016.

   

Yep, this one was a LONG time in the making. The blocks were easy enough, but then they kept getting continually set aside so I could work on other things.

Finally, I pulled the blocks out and created a rectangular, non-gridded layout on my design wall. But something wasn’t sitting right. And it lingered there for another couple of months!

I decided I needed to simplify and put a selection of the blocks in a square grid layout with a simple, straightforward white background. And boy was a pleased with the result! It has such a nice, clean look to it.

Once the top was done, it was only a matter of time before I got it onto the long arm. I did a simple stipple to let the design of the fabrics and quilt blocks shine.

I chose a wide binding for this. It’s a fun technique to really (literally) bring the design of that gorgeous backing fabric (from Mister Domestic) to the front of the quilt.

Thankfully, in the years that it took me to finish this quilt, my recipient has not changed her favorite color! I honestly was a little worried about that. I’m happy to have it out in the world being loved by a special young lady.

You an read past posts about this quilt here, here, here, and here.

That was the last of the ‘secret sewing’ Christmas quilts I’ve been waiting to show! Later this week, I’ll start sharing a bit of the quilts I have planned for 2020.

Happy Sewing, ~L

Finished Quilt: Blue and Purple Hidden Wells

The second quilt I have to show you this week is this my Purple and Blue Hidden Wells quilt.

I wanted a simple and easy block with big pieces for two reasons: First, Christmas was fast approaching and I needed to get it done quickly! Second, I wanted all those amazing fabric patterns to really show. The Hidden Wells block was a great solution. It looks more complicated than it is and I could easily adapt the blocks I was seeing online to make some large quilt blocks.

I had to show my hand a bit to my recipient by asking what their favorite colors were. It is was for my nephew and his new wife and I honestly had no idea what their style is! He told me blue and purple so I went to work pulling fabrics from my stash.

 

It was then that inspiration hit. I remembered that my Arrowhead baby quilt was still waiting for a recipient. It’s blue and purple with chartruse. Oh, and did I mention my nephew’s wife is expecting?! Serendipity! I decided to coordinate the Hidden Wells and Arrowhead quilts and send them both to this sweet little family for Christmas.

 

The long arm schedule at my LQS was completely full in December, so for this quilt I went back to free motion quilting on my domestic machine. Oh boy! I didn’t realize how spoiled I had gotten with using the long arm. I did an easy stipple design- navy in the blue sections and lavender in the purple ones. The quilting looks amazing from the back (although I didn’t get any good photos before I sent it off…. you’ll have to trust me!) Phineas the cat decided to help me by sitting on the quilt as I was working. This is becoming a bad habit for him!

The quilt is bound in solids that also appear in the quilt top.

 I was really happy with how beautiful this one turned out. It was quick to make, but with these gorgeous fabrics, the visual impact was so great!

I have one more finish to share with you next week before moving on to showing you what I have for 2020!

Happy sewing! ~L

 

Edit: I’ll be linking this project up to The Show Me Something Purple Linkup at Sarah Goer Quilts

 

Finished Quilt: The Quilter’s Planner 2019 BOM Pyramid

How in the world are we already halfway through the month of January?! The last month has been a whirlwind of activity with some big changes for me. Besides the usual holiday stuff, at the end of the year I left my job to more fully focus on teaching. It was a hard choice, but my passion truly is in guiding people to the joy of handmade, so this was a good move for me! I am developing some fun classes and now have time to bring on more one-on-one sewing students.

Now that Christmas gift-giving is done and I’ve finally settled into the new year and my new routine, I can share about some of my recent finishes and move onto talking about my 2020 projects. Over the next week or so, I will be showing off some of the things that I sent off as Christmas gifts. After that, I’ll share my ‘to-sew’ list for 2020. In short, you’re going to see a lot of posts from me in the next few weeks!

So, to get started, I’d like to share one of my quilts from The Quilter’s Planner 2019 BOM Sampler!

I started working for The Quilter’s Planner in early 2019 writing blog posts each month sharing tips and tricks for the 2019 Sampler blocks. Helping BOM participants work through their blocks each month has been so much fun. As I said before, teaching sewing is my passion… this was a perfect fit for me! And the bonus was that it kept me on track with finishing not one but TWO sampler quilt tops.

About halfway through the year, I decided that my pyramid layout quilt needed to go to my sister-in-law. The colors are perfect for her, and since she was planning to move across the entire country to Maine, she was going to need some love from home at Christmas!

The fabric collection for the 2019 Sampler was Smitten by Bonnie and Camille. I backed it in Kona Poppy and quilted a free motion swirl design using Aurifil 2250. Right before it was time for me to quilt it, we got the new Bonnie and Camille collection (Early Bird) into the shop I worked at. There was a perfect little red and white polka dot in the collection that I chose for the binding. One thing I absolutely love about their fabric collections is how well they all work together!

Lately I’ve been working on perfecting my machine binding skills. There are a few reasons for that. First, I have arthritis. This is a new development (about a year), and honestly it really sucks. I was dealing with a lot of pain through fall and winter and hand binding was just not a good option. Second, I was pressed for time on several of my more recent quilts to get them out before Christmas. That being said, my machine bindings in the past have always looked pretty messy. So, I’ve learned to take my time and use my quarter inch foot to make a machine binding that looks really top notch! As a bonus- machine binding is very sturdy! I’ll still hand bind when I can, but for baby quilts and things that need finished quickly, this is my new go-to method!

As a bonus to this post, I thought I’d share a couple of pictures of my BOM Snowflake layout quilt top. The second picture is one of my favorite quilty photos I’ve ever taken. My husband was being so sweet trying to hold this top for me, but the wind kept making it billow. We were both laughing and yelling at the quilt to behave. The way the sun was hitting the quilt top creating the stained glass effect was so beautiful, I had to grab a photo! I love that it captures such a wonderful moment in time.

I’m in love with this top too, but it’s going to hide in the cabinet until it’s number gets called on my All People Quilt UFO challenge (more on that later!).

Happy sewing, ~L

What I’m up to: Long Arm

Earlier this year, I took a class on using the long arm machine at my work. It’s been something I’ve wanted to try for years, but being in the shop regularly, I find it easier now to get down there for a day to work on a quilt.

I realized right from the start that it was going to take several quilts (I’m thinking ten?) before I feel like the long arm and I are buddies. And I am totally ok with that. I want to take my time, troubleshoot every problem and really learn the ins and outs of quilting on a long arm. Here is the rundown of what I’ve done so far:

My first quilt was my Scrappy Rainbow and it went beautifully. This project was all about me just getting used to loading and threading the machine… no real expectations. And because it’s such a busy quilt, I knew mistakes would be harder to see! I used a loop design, which is one of my favorites when free motion quilting on my domestic. I was surprised at how natural it felt switching from my domestic to the long arm, but I think it was because it’s an easy motif that I knew really well.

 

 

Next up was my scrappy version of the By Your Side quilt. I decided I wanted straight horizontal lines at random intervals about 1-2 inches apart.

I had a particularly hard time with this quilt. I kept having issues with thread tension, looping and breakage. And then I ran out of time and had to take it off the machine to leave for the day… I was so frustrated. Like, crying in front of my co-workers frustrated. So embarrassing.

Being hungry and in a rush did not help either. I have since learned to EAT before starting and not set unrealistic time expectations on myself! Nevertheless, that quilt had to go into time out.

 

My next project to quilt was the Arrowhead baby quilt. Again, I had relatively few problems with this one. Just little bit of of looping once or twice in the quilt. I’ve since added a thread net to help alleviate that in the future.

 

 

With my palate cleansed, I went back to the Scrappy By Your Side quilt. This time with a full tummy, no time constraints, and a positive attitude.

Unfortunately, none of those things helped my issues! My coworkers and I tried everything- thread net, change needle position, new bobbin, adjusting tension, changing spools of thread, on and on….  nothing helped. Or, I would get one good pass and think, “Awesome! We fixed it!” Only to have the same thing happen again on the following pass. Thank goodness I DID go in with a positive attitude, because the thing was trying my patience. I kept trying to think what was different about this quilt from the two I has done that quilted up beautifully. Why was this one giving me so much trouble?  And then it hit me… my batting was wrong side up. DARN!

Oh my goodness…. all that trouble, just from the batting? YES! In fact, I went to a co-worker who hadn’t been involved in trouble shooting with me and told her I accidentally had my batting backwards, and she described every single problem that I had been struggling with. Well, how’s that for a learning experience?? Certainly won’t make that mistake again! And if you want more information on finding the right side of batting, Suzy Quilts has a fabulous post on the subject!

So, this quilt was mostly quilted by the time I figured out the underlying problem. My best option was to baby it along and fix problems as they arose (and they sure did!). In the next month or so, I will unpick the lines of quilting where the looping was the worst.

 

 

The most recent quilt I finished was my scrappy Kayak Point quilt. This quilt top was originally made (quite a long time ago!) to test my Kayak Point pattern for Quilt Theory.  I love the look of this one- subdued colors, but still bright and happy. My first instinct was to quilt this with white thread since there is so much white in the thing. But, I had almost a full spool of a purpley/pink Aurifil and I was wanting to try Aurifil on the long arm anyway, so I figured “why not?” I’m really happy with that choice, as it adds a lot of personality to this quilt!

I didn’t really have any technical issues with this quilt, which was WONDERFUL! I feel like the long arm and I are becoming friends. I did struggle a bit with accuracy on the straight diagonal lines I was trying to quilt, but I know those are skills that come with time and practice so I was ok with the job I did.

The whole process of learning this new skill has really reminded me how important it is to be willing to be new at something, to not be perfect, and to not be afraid to ask questions. I relied heavily on the expertise of several of my amazing co-workers. They helped me troubleshoot various problems, offered bits of advice that came in handy, and above all encouraged me that it’s ok to struggle. I’m learning to love the struggle because I know it’ll help me get better!

I have several more quilts to finish up before Christmas, so I’m hoping after those, I’ll feel fairly comfortable on the long arm. Definitely worth the time and effort to learn!

Happy quilting!

~L