Friday, August 30, 2013

Star Surround quilt top

This week I finished the top for the Star Surround Quilt Along. Thanks Melissa for this fun project. This will be a great quilt to add to my gift/charity stash. Perfect for any little girl needing something to brighten the day!

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

LE surround Part 3 finished

I have finished the appliqué for part 3 of LE. I am finally feeling pretty confident about my colors here and am really excited for Part 4.

I am finding that I am usually finished with each part in 2 weeks or less and am trying to fill in my "down" time with other UFO hand work. Since beginning LE I have finished 3 more of the bird blogs for my Birdsong quilt.

And I have also done a few more hexagons from Sue Daley's This Goes With That BOM.

But I am starting to run out of prepared handwork and am wondering what else I might work on during the LE journey. Hmm maybe it is time to get another hand quilting project ready!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Using quilts in my home

I am a frustrated interior designer. Ok, I have now admitted it! I wish when I was younger I had understood that it was something I loved to do but It wasn't until I had my own home that I realized how much I loved putting fabrics and colors together. I began by sewing curtains and pillows to add color into the rooms in an economical way. I had always enjoyed needlework as a young girl and began stitching crewel pictures for the walls and pillows. This was in the late 1970's and early 80's and some of you may remember the store LeeWards. Oh my, I spent lots of cash there on my needlework kits! Anyway, eventually my love of interior decorating and sewing lead to quilting. The quilting revival was just getting on its feet and I was swept in. What a perfect combination - playing with fabric and sewing pretty things that I could use in my home!

Fast forward 30 plus years and I am still quilting and still looking for ways to use them in my home. Of course, I do use them in bedrooms,but I also like to spread them around the house and am always keeping an eye out as to how others use quilts in their decor. Since I have been working on a project that I can't share just yet, I thought I would show you a quick tabletopper I whipped up the other day and how it fits into my decor.

This pattern came from the book Sizzlin' Sixties by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures. It was made for the center of the round table that is in my kitchen eating area which is open to the main living space in the house. I like to have something decorative on this table as a way to add color in the area and, since we usually eat at the snack bar, I don't have to remove it at every meal.

I have't yet decided on window treatments here so this color was really needed especially with those white walls. We painted the walls white before even moving our furniture here 6 months ago as the house is quite dark. I love the white but do miss color so this weekend we picked out some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to paint that china cabinet that you see in the background. The color is Provence and it is a wonderful teal color that should look beautiful against the white. And the interior of the top will be painted in old white so my collection of transferware should stand out too. I know this is not a decorating blog but I will let you know how the painting goes!

And here is what inspired the color. My new teal velvet sofa!

It has already been seen here as a prop for LE, but I just wanted to show how it looks with my butterfly quilt. The pillow fabric on the sofa was a 3 yd remnant that my DH just loved. This time it was a quilt that inspired the decorator fabric purchase. It looks like a collage and has birds, butterflies, and palm trees as well as stamps from various places and also some text so goes with our eclectic travel "theme". And that is why I used the text print in the table topper, sorta pulls them together. And the green and red in the topper pull the dishes colors in. And you might also see a few quilts folded in the cabinet below the TV. I think it is time to change some of these now that the new furniture has arrived.

Finally a shot of my new chair. We have a pair of these and I frankly can't believe I agreed to leather recliners! They remind me of my parents as in their later years they too sat side by side in matching recliners. Lol. You might notice LE is on the table in front of the chair. This is where I do my hand sewing. The little apple is my pin cushion and that small dish beside it is for my thread scraps. The table has a drawer where I keep my scissors, thimble and thread that I am working with. And the pillow on the chair can be used as a prop for my arm when sewing.

If you are still reading, thanks for indulging me. I love seeing how people use their quilts and hope you do too!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LE Cross

First of all a big thank you to everyone who commented on my difficulties selecting the fabrics for LE. What I have discovered is that I am not alone. I think that with such a special quilt many of us are just wanting to make sure we are happy with the result. I am picturing the spirit of the original maker guiding me along, clearly she wants me to do her quilt justice! Ok, I know that sounds crazy but something about this quilt and its story has really grabbed me in a bit of a crazy way. ;)

Anyway, I have completed one of the cross sections, as I am calling it, and here is the result.

I like it up close but sadly the details of those dots get lost from a distance. But they are staying. They will just be one of those surprise details that you notice when you look up close. And here it is with the details of the compass and one of the heart circles.

Looking forward to Part 4!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Star. Surround, building block surrounds

Wow, just finished this weeks part of the Star Surround Quilt Along hosted by Melissa at her blog Happy Quilting. This was a bit more time consuming than previous weeks, especially since I had a few directional prints that I was hoping I had done correctly in the previous steps. Here is my finished work from the 9 blocks.

Not so pretty like this but done. And the directional prints worked, yippee!! I was so tempted to just sew all these together but I really would prefer to do that after I have had a chance to arrange them on the design wall. And I decided to go completely random with the corner triangles so I need to be able to arrange those as well. But here is a preview of how a block will look.

Isn't it pretty. And I couldn't help showing off those stripes all going in the same direction! I will wait to share the rest of the blocks til next week when we put them together.

And just for fun I thought I would share what my design wall looks like right now. My random bright sampler and my Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along blocks.

Sorry for the blurry photo. My new sewing room is working out well but sadly it is impossible to get a straight shot of the design wall. Most of this comes down tomorrow morning so I can use it to assemble a quilt that I am pattern testing for my son. Hope to share that soon!

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Selecting fabrics Part 3

So I slept on it. And realized that the teal paisley border might look fine but it will pull me away my original plan. Which really is to use the reproduction Dutch chintz as my inspiration. When I bought all my chintz I imagined doing the border in red but was beginning to see too much red and started re thinking too much. I had also purchased 1/2 yard of another chintz thinking I could use it for broderie perse flowers along the way. Hmm maybe it could be used as the tiny border.

And here is more of that inspiration fabric.

And now I am leaning this way. Or there is another chintz that I used in the compass which is much like this one but a smaller print, but I would have to order more of it and at $40/yd for the chintz I want to be sure? And maybe instead of adding the aqua, I could add a bit of the darker blue that is in the chintz. So many choices but at least now I feel more comfortable with my choices for part 3 and know that I don't need to make the final decisions yet. Ok, feeling better - for now!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Selecting fabrics Part 2

I have been struggling with this all day hand finally realized that my most successful quilts are the ones that come together without a struggle. I was clearly trying to add a color that just doesn't quite work and the quilt was screaming at me to just stop! And then I remembered a fabric that I had in my stash and I had previously eliminated. Hmm, perhaps this used as the tiny border will be the better direction and I can just embrace the teal that is already there and forget about the aqua. Better sleep on it!

Happy stitching!

Selecting fabrics for LE and a completed heart circle

Usually selecting fabrics for a project is my favorite part of appliqué. I select a pile that seems to go together, picking out many more than I will need, and then delight in picking out just the right fabric for each element. I rarely second guess myself and find this part of a project just so fun.

So what is it about LE that is causing me so much stress?!! I am not sure if it is because I want the quilt to be just perfect, or because I want an aged look (which is not quite In my comfort zone), or because I am only able to select colors one part at a time. Whatever the reason I am struggling with this much more than normal. Not so much with the hearts. I have known from the beginning that I want this quilt to have a controlled scrappy look and that I wanted to incorporate some Dutch chintz fabrics. I used 4 fabrics in reds and pinks in the hearts and one of the reds is a chintz.

So far, so good. But here is when the trouble began. I purchased the teal chintz that is in the center and the zigzags and was so thrilled to be able to use it as I had just ordered a new sofa in teal and was sure they would look great together. I have plans to hang the finished quilt on the wall in that room as we have 20ft ceilings in the room and I think it will be a beautiful piece of art in the room. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate some lighter greenish aqua in the quilt as I just love the color and have that color in the room as well. Not as easy as I imagined. First the couch came in a tiny bit greener than I remembered and now I really need to add that aqua to help everything blend better in the room. But I do not want to compromise the quilt to just fit into a space, so I am trying to get a balance. I tried several options and came up with this.

I struggled with this as I was planning to use a brighter gold inside those Oak leaf type shapes but changed that out after stitching one down. But as you see, no greenish aqua. I wanted to do the pointy shapes in that color but they looked wrong too. So after getting this far I had a rethink and went back to the stash for more ideas and cut out this version.

Aqua is added and looks good. My DH was much happier as he felt it was going too pink. But I looked back at the picture of the overall quilt in grey scale and knew the aqua was not strong enough to make these design elements stand out the way I would like. So I started taking photos against the new couch with a potential border fabric next to the zigzag. Here they are.

I have discovered that looking at things once they are posted to my blog really helps clarify things and often errors jump out so I am hoping that works this time. I have lots of time to add this aqua if I decide not to here and certainly the border fabric is not yet a lock, hey I have already changed my mind several times. I really want to make a decision soon as I think that will help everything fall into place.

I wonder, is anyone else having these sort of dilemmas?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

LE Heart Circle sample

This morning I woke up to the exciting release of the next part of LE. Each month seems to present a new challenge and this month is no exception so I decided to make a sample of the heart circle for my "brights sampler" quilt. I really wasn't sure how well I would be able to get those points to meet in the center but figured that I could always appliqué a circle in the center if necessary. I am actually really pleased with how it turned out.

So here is how I did it. As always, I am just showing what worked for me and by no means suggesting that this is the only way to approach these hearts. First I cut out the pattern of the heart from freezer paper. Using the same piece each time, I ironed the pattern piece to each piece of fabric, on the right side, and then traced around the pattern using a Frixion pen. Oops, I did not take a photo of this step or the next but nothing new here. I then put my background fabric over the pattern on my light box and glue basted each piece in place making sure not to glue near the points. I did make sure to mark the center point of the background with the pen so I knew where the point of the first heart should be sewn.

Before I began stitching anything I pinned all the points back before I started stitching. I didn't start taking photos when I first started but hopefully you can see what I mean.

I made sure to stitch hearts opposite each other as I went as it is much easier to match the center that way. I pinned each point in place before stitching and began my stitching about 1/2 inch or so before the point so keep its location under control. I am left handed so it is quite probable that these photos look backwards to you, no worry you would just be starting form the opposite side of the point.

The tiny football shapes in the center of the hearts were done in reverse appliqué as seen here.

For my brights quilt I may just appliqué this little circle in the center as I love the look of turning these hearts into a flower. So cute!

And finally here is how the sampler is coming along. I finished the EPP yesterday and love how it looks.

Now that I feel more confident, it is time to get busy with LE. I am truly amazed at how this quilt has taken hold of so many quilters around the world and once again want to thank Esther for sharing this pattern with us. I can't wait to see these little hearts in my LE fabrics but am delighted with how much this block will add to my Brights Sampler.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Stars

These bright and happy stars are part 4 of the Star Surround Quilt Along. I tried different pressing strategies when making these stars and ended up doing a mixture of pressing to the side and open which seemed to work out for me. I have always pressed to one side in the past but I can see the advantage of pressing open, especially in all those seams that meet in the center. So do you press to the side, open or a combination?

Happy stitching!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Waiting for LE

While waiting for the next part of LE to be released I have been keeping busy with some other projects. Since I know I want to keep up with LE, I am wanting these other projects to be just fun and happy and totally different than LE so that I am able to jump back and forth without getting bored.

Here is what I started yesterday.

This is just pulled from scraps and will be used in a fun project inspired by a quilt made by a swap of bee friends and which can be seen here. I hope this link works as I have not done this before.

That quilt was inspired by this pattern.

I love this pattern but also love the idea of making things my own so I decided to just make blocks whenever I want to either as test blocks or just cause I feel like it, and hope I can turn them into something fun at the end. Here are a few more I made this week. The stars are from a tutorial on Bee In the Bonnet's blog and the circle is a color reject from a patten I am testing for my son. I trying to make the blocks in increments of 3 inch units so that I can fit them all together in the end. The stars finish at 6" but that circle is a 7" finish so it will need some tweaking if it is to be used.

And finally another block from the Aiming For Accuracy Quilt Along.

It is really fun using these modern fabrics in such traditional blocks and I am really trying to let myself go when selecting fabrics for this new project. Thanks for all the inspiration out there in blogland. :)

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Star surround quilt along Flying geese

It has been a busy week. A bit of traveling and then a minor eye infection but I did get my flying geese done today.

I am loving these bright colors.

Happy stitching!