Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zig Zag Value Quilt ... Well, my attempt at a value quilt

My last quilt of 2011 is completed as a birthday gift for my sister.  I used a Moda Origins layer cake and just matched light to dark for half square triangles.  Many, many layouts ensued but I settled with the classic zig zag.  You can NEVER go wrong with the zig zag.

Hand quilted with #8 Perle cotton in black and cream.  Since I learned how to trim half square triangles I have to say my points came out much pointier.  I always say that points don't matter ... but when you get a few sharp ones in a row you really want to brag a little. 

I backed it with the top sheet from my son's set.  Thanks trusty Assistant for ripping up his bottom sheet.  You and I make a great team!  

 I'm looking forward to getting my sewing area set back up and starting something new.  Better get back to scouring Pinterest for some inspiration.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes simple is so much better

I've been wracking my little brain trying to think of exciting blocks or new patterns for an adorable fat quarter bundle of Michael Miller fabric.  Finally it occurred to me that nothing at all is wrong with a simple patchwork quilt. How could it be any sweeter?

36" x 46"

Five inch squares sewn together.  Guilty glances at my Accuquilt Go Cutter that is still sealed in the box with a 5" square die.  Five inch squares are so easy to cut ... why did I pick that die??

Hand quilted with straight lines through the blocks.

 Easy and not complicated.  Just like a baby.   Now .... on to dresdens.  Come join me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Assistant is on the job

I'm all set to pin baste a sweet little patchwork but can't decide on my quilting lines.  Diagonals lines to make diamond shapes?  Straight lines to make squares on the squares?  I don't know just yet and can't pin until I commit to a design.   

Jada and I were discussing this and she said she was going to "sleep on it."   Alas .... no pinning for a while. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kallie Lou

Hand quilted, freshly washed and out on a photo shoot.  May I introduce Kallie Lou,  my kaleidoscope quilt.
50" x 70"

I am probably the last finisher of Betsy's quilt a long but a finish is a finish.  And a finish is pretty exciting over here at the Bailey Girl household.   I was a little nervous starting a project that involved templates, points and lots and lots of cutting but doing this step-by-step with a fun group really kept me going.
I'm still in love with hand quilting. If you want some of my tips click here
I loved picking out the fabrics.  Anna Marie Horner, Tufted Tweets and Denyse Schimdt in all their quilty glory.    Was that a little dramatic?  Nah .... I didn't think so either.  I  backed it with a duvet cover that I bought at a garage sale.  It was so nice to not piece a back.  

I'm entering Kallie in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted Amy.   Pop over there and enjoy the beautiful quilts and read their inspiring stories. Make sure you have a drink and some snacks nearby ... you'll probably be there for a while!

I'd like to thank the stage crew.  
They make a photo shoot in wildlife refuge a little less ridiculous 
and a lot more fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Let's make dresdens!

This beautiful dresden is by the leader, Deb Robertson.
Sometimes it takes a quilt a long to push me out of my comfort zone and to try something new.  The Old Red Barn Company on Flickr is going to make dresdens soon.  No fancy rulers or templates required! 

I have decided to try and go for a baby quilt but if that is too daunting maybe just two pillows (errr.... one pillow?).  Anyone else in?  Hop over and check it out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Second Place? Ok, I'll take that ..

Is anyone subscribed to the Generation Q on-line quilting magazine?  It's a fun read and full of great quilting news.  They had an essay contest last month to try and define what exactly is modern quilting.  I never really thought about it before but it really is an ambiguous term.  What exactly does makes quilting "modern?"

I entered an essay and was the second place winner.  I haven't got my prize yet but am anticipating my second place winnings and imagining all sorts of booty .... new rotary cutter?  super funky fabric?  new sewing machine??  All expense paid trip to the Sewing Summit???  If you are interested in my take on what modern quilting means here is my second place essay. 

To me the adjective in modern quilting has little to do with the aesthetics of a quilt.  Take a look at the primitive solid quilts of the Amish and Mennonites and the free form and wonderfully abstract quilts of Gee’s Bend.  You can’t say that what quilters are making today is new and uncharted territory.

So what is it then that makes a modern quilter?  One common trait I’ve noticed is unabashed creativity.  Originality and untamed lines are applauded over perfection.  There is NO FEAR in the modern quilter.  No fear of shame for not having perfect points, no fear of seam allowances being measured, no fear of angles or colors.  When the fear of breaking rules is gone the creative juices flow with much more force.

But what if you want to make traditional blocks with perfect points?  That’s OK too!  Another attribute is the acceptance and embracement of all styles and methods of quilting.  Sometimes making a classic block is a rewarding challenge.  Hand quilting?  Machine quilting?  Both are cool.  The modern quilter moniker is more about attitude and less about construction.

You can’t overlook the new social networking aspect of quilting either.  Blogs, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and message boards are the new quilting clubs.  My own introduction to quilting was a blogger’s quilt-a-long with the participants joining a corresponding Flickr group.  I was able to ask questions, show my work, get feedback and see what everyone was doing all while on my laptop in my living room.  I became friends with several people in the group and we became mutual blog followers.  Some of these friends live halfway around the world and, yet, I feel like we are in a virtual quilting guild together.  Even if you live in an area with no quilt shops or associations you can grow in your skills, get advice and tips, and feel kinship within the global modern quilting community.    

So my interpretation in a nutshell:  No fear.  Acceptance.  Social Networking.    Degrees of these three elements combined in one quilter = one modern quilter.  What do you think?

Well ...what DO you think? And if you'd like to check out the other essays go here.  They make some interesting food for thought.  

Since I hate to have a post with no pictures (how sad), I leave you with a glimpse of my almost completed, hand quilted kaleidoscope quilt. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Looky looky what I got today!

Just last week I won an Accuquilt Go! Baby fabric cutter from the super cool Audrie on her blog Blue is Bleu.  When I came home from work today the carton was at my house already.  Wow!  I haven't had the nerve to take it out of the box yet (when I got my sewing machine I couldn't touch it for two days).    I also chose three dies so, being no fun at all, I picked the three most basic I could find.  The 5" square, 4" half square triangle and 2 1/2" strips.  I figured these were the sturdy work horses of the dies and I'd get the fancy, fun ones later.

If you have an Accuquilt  and have any advice or tips you'd love to share I'd really appreciate them.  I'm going to be staring at the box all tomorrow and may have the nerve to open it Sunday. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

And they're off ....

My first bee block packets are making their merry way to various locations on the globe and ten people I've never met will be making me blocks for a quilt.

I found some Michael Miller fabric at my LQS

I find this whole bee concept fascinating now that I'm part of it.  Twelve women (well, eleven in our case ..  one dropped out) from all over the world (one is in Germany) have joined together to make twelve quilts.  We've never met, we don't know much about each others' lives, but yet we will each have a quilt that was crafted by the combined effort and creativity of us as a group. 

I can't wait until these start coming back

Really remarkable when you think about it. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sugar and Spice Baby Quilt

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of .... 

38" x 50"

This was a fun and easy quilt to sew together for a new baby girl.  I was inspired by this baby bento box tutorial by Wendy Lou.  I started with a 8.5 " square and just sewed on border after border after border until I had a giant square.  I quartered it and rearranged and then sewed into a block.  Pretty easy and fun!

Check out my son's tan lines

Hand quilted with perle cotton #8 in white.  Hand quilted during a heat wave in July I may add ....   

 Since it's summer and it's fair season I'm entering this quilt in the Gen X Quilter's Summer Fair Quilt Show.  Click over there to check out all the cool quilts at the fair without having to leave your porch and your ice tea.  Now if only someone would bring me a funnel cake .....

Gen X Quilters Summer Fair

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Does this look hot?  Well, it is! 

Remember when I said if I continue to hand quilt I wouldn't have anything new to report for long stretches other than "still hand quilting?"  Well, here I go .... STILL.HAND.QUILTING. my bento box baby quilt.  May I add that my previous post of how much I loved quilting on the couch in the evenings with my dog nestled sweetly beside me does not apply during a humid heat wave in July.  A damp quilt touching my sweaty skin and a hot, panting, annoying entity sprawled near me is not a pleasant experience.  I wouldn't be working on this at all if the baby-in-question wasn't due at the end of this month. 

My other work in progress is a kaleidoscope quilt that I'm making with Betsy.  I've got all the patterned triangles cut and attached and now need to cut the background triangles and get sewing. I've given up on any hope on getting this done with the rest of the group but will be plugging along at my own pace.  Now that I've taken the pressure off myself to stick to a timetable I'm actually enjoying it more.  I don't know why I let those self-imposed deadlines stress me out. 

An exciting mail delivery last week has got me dreaming of a new project.  I won a complete set of fat eighths of Maison de Garance by French General from Lesly of Pickledish.  Seriously!  That was ME!  Due to my less-than-stellar housekeeping they have been sitting right on the edge of the dining room table since I got them and I've been stroking and rearranging the fabric each time I pass.  What should I make?  The possibilities are simply endless before I start cutting.  I think these are way too pretty to mess up with nasty old cutting so I'll leave them for a while.  

These are so much more beautiful in real life

Ahhhhh .... when the chaos of my house overwhelms me I can just gaze upon these beautiful, perfectly neat stacks.

These aren't many works but I don't find summer's hot months conducive to quilting.   (... or cleaning, ... or cooking, ... or shopping)  I guess until fall you'll find me on my porch reading with a cold drink nearby
[insert mental picture of fabulously interesting book and a cold sweaty beer bottle 
on a sunny porch railing]

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bento Box Baby Quilt

I'm currently working on a bento box quilt for a soon-to-arrive baby girl. I love the ease of making only twelve squares and getting to use such pretty pink fabric. I'm not a girly girl so I don't have much pink around my house, especially with all boys, but it's fun to see such feminine fabric touching each other every whichaway.

I varied the strip sizes just a bit because my original idea was to have a sort of fractured windowpane look. I like the idea of the soft, pretty fabrics being slightly mismatched and really defining the squares in the block. If I was keeping this quilt or giving it to one of my family members I'd sew it up in a minute.

Bento Baby Quilt
Forgive the blurry phone picture

Now my self-doubt is kicking in ..... I'm making this quilt for my boss's daughter and I don't know her or the rest of their family at all. Will everyone else get it or will they be fingering it and shaking their heads sadly over the seams?  Now I'm thinking I might change my layout to something different. Making a gift for someone I don't know is hard for me and I'm sure I'm thinking about it too much. Anyone have trouble making gifts? Part of my problem is that I think my quilts have feelings and I don't want them to be ostracized and banished to a closet never to see the light of day.

This is my first time linking up with Lily's Sew Fresh day and I realize I'm a day behind but this isn't a school project with a due date so I'm sure she won't dock me any points. Will you Lily??

Fresh Sewing Day

Monday, May 16, 2011

BQF Baby!! Hand Quilted Log Cabin

My Bloggers' Quilt Festival 2011 quilt is fresh out of the dryer and it's still warm as I post this.  It's 100% hand quilted and I can say one thing about hand quilting for sure .... it's NOT a quick process.  I've been working this quilt for months and am so happy with the finally finished results.
Rainy day photo shoot.  My son is standing in about three inches of water. 
These are some hearty, chunky log cabins and I love the added texture and color the perle cotton #8 added with the hand quilting.   I figured some hearty squares needed some hearty quilting.  I used all the leftover strips to add a border and the final size is 48" x 62" ... perfect for a cozy couch quilt.
I hate to choose favorites but I just love the blue square in the lower left corner.

Looking back I see I was working on the squares in February and quilting in April .  If I continue with the handwork I guess my blog postings will be far and few between unless I write "still hand quilting" updates once a week.
I love the way the quilting shows up on the back
Attempted close up of the back
Thanks to Amy for putting this Festival together twice a year.  It has to be a monumental task but it sure it a fun way to meet other quilters and see some amazing quilts!  Click on the link below to check them out.

Amy's Creative Side

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lucky me times three

You know how they say things happen in threes? Well I've just had a lucky string of threes and my mailbox is the happiest place in town lately.

First, I won a giveaway at Gen X Quilters and got a $20 gift certificate to a fantastic new fabric shop The Crafty Girls Workshop.  I'm usually not into the pre-cuts because of the cost but since I had money burning a hole in my laptop I went for a layer cake of this beautiful Origins fabric.  Yes, they even had a Sherbet Pips layer cake and I had it in my cart (hurry people if you are still trying to get one!) but had to switch it at the last minute because something about this fabric line just called to me.  I think anything I make with it will have to be beautiful because the fabric is so gorgeous.

Next, I just won a crib size roll of Hobbs fusible batting  from Cherry House Quilts.  I can't wait to try this batting and I'll be sure to do a full review on  how it works.  I've never basted any other way besides the safety pins and I've dreamed of an easier and less painful method.  I know there is spray basting but I have such a small house with wall to wall carpets that I can't think of a place where I could spray all that adhesive.  I shudder to think of all the dog hair that would be stuck to everything too.   This batting comes with a heat activated adhesive that you iron and it washes out later so I am going to use it on my next quilt and hopefully fall in love with it.  I'll let you know.

This last bit of serendipity is perhaps my most amazing.  I found a talented  and extremely generous woman in England named Lizzie Allen who was GIVING AWAY perle cotton balls on her blog.   All you had to do was ask! I just received a package with sixteen balls of the prettiest perle cotton #8 you've ever seen.   I just sent her a little package in return so this is my first international swap.  Fun!  And I love getting to say the word "international" because it makes me feel slightly important that I have friends all over the world.

The colors are so beautiful.  I can't wait to see them in a quilt :)
There are lots of giveaways going on now so I hope my lucky streak keeps up.  If I win anything else in the near future I'll have to share the wealth and have a giveaway myself.  Karma ya know.  Don't want to get too much goodness without giving something back!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What could be better?

Hand quilting a cozy, warm quilt while snuggled on the couch with your best friend.  Netflix on the television, snacks to share nearby and the ability to be part of the family unit.  Ahhhhh..... 

How can I ever go back to being hunched over a machine by myself while struggling to feed (jam) a large quilt evenly through a small space? This is definitely more time consuming but I am loving the chunky look of the perle cotton and the accent it adds to the overall look.   For a while I had a feeling I was in a self imposed contest to see how many quilts I could produce, but now I'm enjoying the slow process and the added personal touch.

Today I made my second ever bee blocks and Jessica chose a ticker tape block.  These were fun and reminded me of fitting a puzzle together.

I hope she likes them!  Being in a bee is such a great way to connect with other quilters and get to experiment with new blocks.  I'm debating about joining another bee but don't want to overextend myself and start freaking out at piles of envelopes.  How many are you in and how do you handle them?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My first ever bee block

It's done. I guess I'm an official real live member of the quilting world now.  Do I get a badge or something?  I kind of want to keep it but will be sending it off to Texas tomorrow to live with Jenni and become part of a super cool quilt.  I'm in love with this color palette and can't wait to make myself a quilt with these bright and brilliant colors.
The color is really a bright turquoise, my indoor photography lighting is horrible
I have been wanting to be in a bee for a while but have been too intimidated by the intricate blocks I've been seeing and not trusting my skills.  I finally felt more confident in my sewing abilities but I've only ever made improvisational type quilts on my own.  And by that I mean I sit down and start making blocks and see what starts developing.  If I want more of a fabric I order it quick and if I'm not digging another one I put it away for another project.  Having to pre-figure out all the fabric and know the specific quantity to divide up and mail out to eleven people seemed impossible.   In the Twitter Bee we mail one fat quarter of fabric to each person and then use our own fabric to supplement.  I love being able to audition my stash against the main fabric and come up with an eclectic but cohesive mixture and I love not having to buy all the fabric for my blocks beforehand.  It will be so fun to see what the others come up with!

My first attempt ....
I really, really hope that Jenni likes this block and that she gets a nice quilt at the end of this.  I'm already searching for fabric for my month.  Come on August .....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Snowy day project

Spurred on by this tutorial on organizing your stash, the arrival of a fat quarter for my first ever quilting bee block, and the overnight fall of a foot of wet snow I decided to dedicate today to sorting and folding my printed fabrics and putting them in some sort of order.  Of course, I have no idea how to store these lovely piles yet but am determined  NOT go to Walmart today.  That would definitely ruin my whole fun snow-day-in-the-house project. 

Here is the fat quarter that Jenni sent and some of the fabrics I pulled so far to make her block.  I'm kinda liking this mixture and am having a swell time pulling fabrics and trying them out.  So much easier now with them all together and in color piles.   Now I'm off to fold all my solids and stack them up neatly.  What are you doing today?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A tale of two baby quilts

Can you tell how cold it is from these pics?  Brrrrr .......
 After the holidays I was in a mood to use up some of my pink stash and practice hand quilting so I used nine fat quarters and made 36 crazy nine patch blocks.  Paired with some kona ash I made up two identical quilt tops pretty quickly.  The first one I used some hand dyed variegated perle cotton size 8 and made squares inside the gray blocks and one the second one I used white, pink and lilac in a grid pattern.  I definitely like the texture and the color accent of quilting with the perle cotton.   I think that I am going to use a combination of machine and hand quilting on the log cabin quilting I'm working on now. 

My sewing machine had to go into the shop for service so I got my old machine out but have apparently been spoiled by the luxury of needle up/down and a quiet whir as opposed to a loud vibrating clank.  I'm going to take a little break until my girl is back next week.  I miss her .....

Monday, February 21, 2011

One block at a time sweet quilter

Is it wrong to rework the words of a hymn?  Well, that's the soundtrack in my head as I'm plugging away one block at a time ....

I've been enamored with some pictures I've found recently of brown quilts and I've always wanted to make another log cabin quilt so I'm combining my two wants and working on a wonky log cabin quilt that will have brown sashing with blue corner squares (that's the plan anyway).   I'm loving these colors and each one is almost like a little work of art for me.  I've come to accept that I will never be able to produce quilts at the speed and volume that one probably should have to justify a quilting blog, but I'm determined to plug away methodically.  One.Block.A.Day.  

At night I'm finishing up the hand quilting on the second of two baby quilts.   I have one finished but just haven't had the gumption or stamina to trudge outside to the neighbor's clothesline after work for any pictures. I'm now thinking that I might as well finish them both and have one photo shoot.  Especially since I've never really confirmed that my neighbor gave me permission to use his clothesline.  Ummmm .... better not make too many trips out there until I get some acknowledgment of OKness. 

It's bitter cold today and I'm tucked into my warm, cozy house in honor of President's Day.  Thank you great Presidents!  I'm making a dinner and sewing and watching Housewife 49 while hand quilting.  Perfect :)
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