Ambleside Picnic- a 4 year old UFO done!

The Ambleside fabric collection came out in 2015. I loved it and immediately bought myself a layer cake of it. I tried out one of the quilt postcards you see floating around. It was the perfect pattern for a beginner like me at the time- I had just started quilting in earnest for about a year by this point. The pattern is made up of squares and HSTs, and it came together quickly and easily.

mvimg_20190608_1350362-1Full of soft florals and plaids, I absolutely adore the overall look of the quilt. It’s springy and feminine, which was perfect for our current time of year. I added a pink border to pull out more of the pinks (which were my favorite in this quilt).

However, once I finished the top, I put it aside with the intention to have it quilted soon- but then life and other quilts got in the way and I forgot about it. Until this year, when I saw it peeking out from underneath my fallen leaves quilt top.

It was like finding a whole new quilt! I sent it off with the falling leaves quilt to get quilted at the same time.

I chose a GORGEOUS edge to edge pattern full of loops and swirls and circles that did a wonderful job showing off the happy, whimsical fabric. For the backing, I used a light blue wide-back fabric that I got from Connecting Threads. I used it for the binding too.

Also, I *love* the look of a contrasting binding and border. Especially pink and blue. Is that just me? It almost looks like there’s a second border.

I decided this quilt was perfect for a friend of mine I met last year when we moved to our new place. Over the time I’ve known her, she has been such a great friend and a huge help; picking up my son or dropping him off at preschool, watching my daughter when I was parent helper, being a friend when I needed one… the list goes on. It’s a wonderful coincidence that she has a daughter L’s age who will be in his grade next year as he enters Kindergarten.


I really love this quilt. It’s soft pastels made it really hard to give away as a gift, even to someone as deserving as my friend. But I really wanted to give her something special, not anything run-of-the-mill for everything she’s helped me with. I’m happy it’s with a friend and now I can start another one!

Tips and Tricks for Mitered Corners

As you probably know, I’m attempting to complete the 365 Challenge. Its a quilt along challenge run by Kathryn Kerr every year for the past few years where she gives you a block a day for you to complete and at the end of it you have a GORGEOUS quilt.

As you also probably know, I started this challenge in January 2017. It is not 2017 anymore, and in fact we are almost done with 2018. This may be a 2.5 (possibly even 3) year challenge for me.

However, it has been a lot of fun (mostly) and I have already learned SO MUCH from doing this challenge! Possibly the one thing that has taken me the longest to achieve are successful attempts at mitered corners. As I was doing it, I thought to myself- maybe I should write up a few of the tricks I found that help me get a smooth corner every time.

Please don’t judge my old nail polish- I decided to do this on spur-of-the-moment and obviously was not prettied up!

 

 

  1. Sew the first pieces together and stop 1/4” from the bottom (as seen in picture 1). **It is better to stop a stitch BEFORE the 1/4” instead of a stitch AFTER.** Backstick a few times. Press open. 

  2. Add the next piece, and sew to just before the first added strip (pink in this block). **DO NOT sew onto the added strip! It is better to be just short of it than too far!** Again, back stitch a few times. You can see in pic 4 that when you pull it back they shouldn’t be attached at all yet. If they are, rip a seam or two until they aren’t.  **DO NOT PRESS OPEN YET.** 

  3. This next part is the trickiest. Move the newest strip so that the corners match up with the second strip. Take a look at pic 7- the blue corners should match up and the purple corners should match up. When it is correct, you can fold the first piece (white) in to make a neat bundle. (Picture 12 is what I mean; the strips will line up.) 

  4. Now is the diagonal seam line. (Pictures 13 & 15) You can draw a diagonal line if you’d like; I was on a roll and being lazy. **Sew just off to the right of the diagonal seam, NOT directly down the diagonal.** Just like you do with covered corners, this helps so the block lays flat so you don’t lose your point at the end. Stop before you meet your prior seams. (Pictures 14 & 15) **Again, super important; DO NOT oversew this! Rip out a few stitches if you have to!** Back stitch a few times. 

  5. Press open; I let my block lay whichever way it seems to want to go, unless I have a specific direction in mind. Once its open I check my block, iron the back, and trim the excess. And viola! You have completed a mitered corner. And like anything else, practice makes it easier!

I hope this helped! Good luck completing your 365 Challenge, or any other quilt that has mitered corners!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I started writing this blog post right after Thanksgiving. And then I left my computer charging cord at my mothers house… so now it DEFINITELY looks a lot like Christmas and I cannot believe it is only a week away!!

Luckily, I have all my presents bought and… thats about it. I still have to wrap them all. I hate wrapping presents. Its not even that I’m bad at it- I just don’t like it!! Fairly often, I wrap very last minute. But now with two kids, an exchange student (so basically three kids), and my husband (okay, four kids) to wrap for, I don’t have the luxury of delay anymore. Guess I have to put down the rotary cutter and put away my quilting gloves for the next few days.

…Yeah, right. Gonna be a last-minute wrap job as always! Quilting comes before wrapping, that’s what I always say!

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Anyways, in keeping with the holidays, I’m showing off a quilt I actually completed LAST Christmas, but wasn’t able to photograph/write a post about for the past year since I had my daughter one day after completing the binding on the quilt!

IMG_2061I used the pattern Scattered, sold by Freemotion on the River on Craftsy. If you want the pattern, feel free to click here. I chose this pattern because I wanted something to show off the beautiful collection of Christmas fabrics I’d been collecting (*ahem*hoarding) for the past few years without cutting them up too small. This pattern allowed me to do that, and came together quickly and easily. It’s a variation of a disappearing 9-patch, with sashing in between the blocks of the nine patch.

Below are some of the fabrics I used; this quilt is the closest I’ve come to fussy cutting my fabric… and I think thats the most I ever WANT to do!


For the border, I used a fabric by Robert Kaufman (I LOVE his Christmas collections), and for the binding a red and gold stripe I found at Joann’s. The backing was another fabric I found at Joann’s. I adore poinsettias, especially with Christmas colors.


IMG_2054The quilting is snowflakes on the main part of the quilt, to mimic the sashing fabric, with holly leaves and ornaments on the border. All in red thread. I adore this quilt! It is perfect for cuddling under during a cold night, with my snowman mug full of hot tea and a book beside me.

…While that’s a nice mental image, the reality is I use it when I manage to grab a couple minutes of shut eye during the day when my son is at school and my daughter goes down for her nap!

ALSO: If you want to see more of my day-to-day quilt and sewing shenanigans, follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@lemon_quilts). I post more often on there- my WIPs, sneak peeks of finished quilts, and I’ve also started practicing some free motion quilting!

I’m so excited to be getting back into my quilting groove. What Christmas projects have you finished recently (or not so recently? I love seeing them all!) I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. See you all in the new year!

 

Falling Leaves All Around

Yesterday, our magnolia tree in our yard had almost all of its leaves. This morning, it had two. TWO. My 5 year old kiddo had a BLAST jumping in the piles my husband made. My husband did not have a blast making the piles. Meanwhile, I made cookies inside where it was warm while the baby napped.

I also just recently finished a very topical quilt called Falling Leaves, from Connecting Threads. I love them because their fabrics are always super soft and the kits are always reasonably priced.

When I saw this quilt I fell in love with the soft, warm colors of the leaves and the plaid (which I immediately bought 7 and a half yards for the backing).

IMG_2140The kit isn’t actually available anymore, since I bought it in fall 2017 and just this year got around to making it. This turned out to be an issue because Connecting Threads didn’t give me enough of one of the fabrics needed (although when I called they let me pick a replacement fabric and sent it to me ASAP) and there almost wasn’t enough for yardage for the backing even though I bought exactly as much as they said to buy. The lesson I learned is check your kits when you get them. (Not that I’ll ever follow that lesson…)

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My quilting mom (my mother-in-law who taught me to quilt) was extremely generous inletting me steal her long arm and use it to quilt this quilt. At first, I envisioned doing some real fancy quilting, but when it came down to it… I chickened out and just did an all over loopy meander. Which, to be honest, I loved the look of once it was finished. I’m pretty proud of how “circular” my circles actually turned out.

I bound the quilt with a yellow plaid and borrowed one of my new neighbor’s front yards (and their mums and their pumpkins) to take a few photos of the quilt before the good weather disappeared for good! I was trying to hold out to find a tree with low hanging branches and beautiful leaves, but… I didn’t find one in time. I also stuck it in our magnolia

I’ve been doing a few quilts in the past few months, but life is finally starting to slow down enough where I can find a few moments in between life to quilt a bit more. Hopefully I can pick up posting them as well.

Bonus picture of our cat enjoying the quilt just as much as us (if not more!) Enjoy the rest of your fall and stay warm!

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My “Special Snowflake” Quilt

I’m baaaack! It’s been a long time since I’ve made a post! Almost a year, in fact. Life was quite busy, what with moving from Virginia to Ohio and having a baby 6 months after that. Quilting took a back seat for awhile, due to my pregnancy making me super tired and taking a little bit  to set up my sewing room. But I finally got back at it… just in time for my daughter to be born. And Athena loves to be held and is a light sleeper, so quilting fell by the wayside a little bit after she was born. But I have a couple completed quilts to show over the next few weeks and hopefully will have more as time goes on!

And yes, I’m referring to my husband when I named this quilt “Special Snowflake.” He loves me anyway. Mostly because I made him this quilt!

This quilt was done using Rob Appell’s take on the 3 Dudes Quilt. It’s a really great tutorial, and he’s pretty precise on his directions. I like it because you only need one jelly roll of your choice and one 1.5” roll of your choice of solid color. I chose white because husband asked for a winter-esqe quilt, and I thought the white would stand out nicely against the blue. Plus it reminded me of snow with the blues representing ice.

While Rob makes the quilt look easy, it was definitely a learning experience for me (and not always a fun one!) When you put the blocks together, the seams meet up and get VERY bulky if you aren’t careful. As well, I had some blocks that weren’t quite the same size, and had to be stretched a bit.

I’ve never done a border like the one on this quilt (and no, I’m not talking about the solid border, but the pieced one.) I knew from previous quilts I had to be really careful about the strips stretching when I ironed them out, but they still weren’t even.

By the time the quilt was done, when I tried to lay it flat on the ground, the borders were so wavy they wouldn’t lay flat. I was a bit bummed but sent it off to the long armers anyway… and the quilting helped. It was near perfect when I got it back!

I’m really happy with how it turned out at the end, and got it done just in time to give to my husband for Christmas! He enjoys it, and uses it often (at least when I’m around!)

I’ll try to get the next post up in a week or so. See you then!

Elephant Baby Quilt

IMG_2011Another baby quilt; this time it’s for another little boy and my instructions were as follows: navy blue and lime green colors. The rest was up to me.

I had recently obtained a tumbler template from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and hadn’t had a chance to use it yet, so I decided this would be a perfect time to do so! Using some different shades of white/grey/off white fabric from my stash and some navy and lime green yardage, this came together quite nicely! (Especially since it was my first time using the template.)

Originally I had wanted to do triangles instead of the tumbler block, but I don’t have a triangle ruler and it was shaping up to be pretty confusing. (I’m sure, eventually, I will wind up doing a triangle quilt and I will find it much easier, but today is not that day!)

It turned out looking pretty modern – I have to say, when I heard the colors “navy blue” and “lime green” together, I was a bit nonplussed – I had never thought to put them together before.IMG_2013

But after this quilt… yeah, this is high on my color choice combos for boyo quilts from now on. It’s so striking, I absolutely love it! Not to mention the quilting, which is elephants marching from row to row. My LAQ even managed to get them marching around the corner instead of doing a simple edge-to-edge.

Fun story- I actually didn’t have this quilt finished in time for the baby shower, which actually turned out perfectly! When I went, the theme was green, blue, and elephants, so that decided me on the quilting pattern! (Oops!)

I’m just head-over-heels for this quilt! I think it turned out absolutely stunning!

It’s hard to believe we’re just a few weeks away from our move. I’m about two weeks behind right now on my 365 Challenge, but I’ve been feeling really under the weather lately, so hopefully when that clears up I can get caught up again!

365 Challenge – Weeks 10 through 12

So I’m behind on keeping the blog updated on the 365 Challenge. I’m actually up to date on the actual challenge, so I have all my blocks, I just fell behind on the photography part. Don’t even get me started on the Solstice Challenge- I’m ACTUALLY behind on that one. Only by two blocks, but still. Feels like a lot more.

The good news is that since this is my spring break week (yay!) I had time today to take pictures of all of my blocks and I’m going to post three weeks at a time. Since we’re on week 14 right now, that’ll catch us up in just two weeks or so. Maybe three, I don’t know, I’m not a math teacher.

My to-do list as far as quilting is SO long. I’ve got a baby quilt I’m finishing up and then a doggone (this is a pun, you just don’t know it yet) commission to work on!

And this on top of working and getting ready to move. We’re moving back to the Midwest in less than two months, which is crazy town! I can’t believe how fast time has flown by this year!

Anyways, to the whole point of this post- you get three weeks of blocks today! Although I’m super excited for this current week – we’re finishing up the center portion of the quilt! It’s really quite pretty! I may have to sneak it in with its own post so I can show everyone.

Week 10
March 5 – 11

My favorite this week was either the Art Square or the March Basket. The toughest was definitely Birds In The Air (first one) due to using the techniques used for the large black triangle. It was pretty tricky to get the hang of, but by the second block I had it down pretty well. The tiny HSTs of the March Basket (last one) were… actually kind of fun.

Week 11
March 12 – 18

I can get mitered corners pretty well, but when it comes to Y-seams, I cannot get it to come out flat! There’s always a little ripple! You’ll see what I mean in some of the blocks coming up this week and in later weeks.

However, I do really enjoy the mitered corners method. For some reason I can get those to lay PERFECTLY. God only knows why. That being said, my favorites this week were the Pinwheel Star and the Lattice Square (1 & 5 respectively).

Week 12
March 19 – 25

There were so many classic blocks that I got to try for the first time this week! Log cabin, pineapple block, snail trail… also, this week I happen to have no less than 5 favorites that  I can’t choose between. I guess my top two are Sarah’s Favorite and the Buttercup blocks (1 & 3 respectively). I absolutely love checkerboard patterns, and the flower is just darling.

The log cabins are a struggle for me, because for some reason I can’t get them straight. It could be my cutting or my piecing. I’m not sure and I can’t figure out why. This week also came with a bonus block, so there’s eight this week instead of 7!

Anyways, time to finish up that baby quilt.

End of the Rainbow

This was a scrap quilt made with leftovers from another quilt (that I have yet to get quilted haha). I was able to finish the binding in time to take some truly gorgeous photos with the cherry trees outside, and I love them.

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I’ve long admired the Irish Chain quilts I’ve seen; I’ve loved their simplicity. And so when I realized I had enough scraps for my very own Irish Chain quilt… I simply had to. I designed it on EQ7 first, and then cut out the pieces for it.


It was so much fun. I really wanted it scrappy, so instead of doing long strips and cutting pieces out that way I did it individual piece by piece. Took a lot longer this way but I’m happy with how it turned out. I did decide however to not go with a white border around it and just went with the Irish Chain

img_1708I got the backing from Joann’s with a coupon so the cost was quite reasonable, which made me happy since it was a scrappy quilt. However, this batik is so bright and colorful; I think it really goes well with the quilt overall. It makes it so happy! I love the colors of pink/orange/yellow together, so this was absolutely perfect for me.

 

The quilting is adorable little flowers and bees. It’s pretty simple, and the layout of the quilt means that quite a few bees and flowers are framed in the centers of the chain links.

While taking pictures it was quite windy, so in order to get the whole quilt I had to lay it out on the ground. It worked pretty well, actually, and I was able to get the whole quilt in. But I’m short, so it’s on an angle. Still, I love it!

Only a couple more days until the end of the week! Thank goodness!

365 Challenge – Week 9

Do you remember when I was shocked to be working with pieces as small as 1”? Now imagine how HAPPY I am when I get to do easy measurements like that.

I know I said I was going to go to a bi-monthly (every other week) post for the 365 Challenge quilt blocks, but I can’t. Besides, I’ve started doing a block a day instead of 7 on Fridays so they were ready for pictures and a blog post today.

Plus, this week I got to make the CENTER MEDALLION block, and I really wanted to show it off.

img_1752To make this center medallion block, I first drew it up using EQ7 and tried a BUNCH of different color combos to find one I liked. I finally settled on using pink, blue, and purple with some teal. My most recent quilt may have had a small influence on the colors.

Then I played around with which color went where. In total, the design alone took about an hour. Then, same night, I cut out all the pieces. That way, the next night when I went to piece them all together it went really quickly. This one took me the longest (which only makes sense since it was waaaaay bigger) but I like it the best out of all the ones I’ve made so far- which is a good thing, since it will be in the CENTER OF THE QUILT.

The center block was a doozy for one reason only; it required measurements to the 16th of an inch. So things like 3 5/16, or 1 15/16 of an inch… my rulers don’t even have that marked! I had to GUESS. Do you know how SCARY that is for a quilter? I DON’T ESTIMATE, PEOPLE.

But, surprisingly enough, it worked out just fine. (Somehow.) The pieces came together nicely, and even my points were pretty… well, on point.

Here’s the other blocks (including the center) for week 9. We’ve now done two whole months and have finished 63 blocks! (Crazy!)

Days 4 & 5 have the same colors because we used the scraps from day 4 for day 5. I love using up scraps, which is why I save most of them from this quilt for use in later blocks. I figure, since there are so many small pieces, that I’ll be able to use them later on!

If you’d like to join, it isn’t too late! Click here to go directly to the block instruction page!

I’m still trying to keep up with the Solstice Challenge, but between this 365 challenge and the fact that I need to make two baby quilts and a commission I’m finding that that is the project falling by the wayside, sadly. I’m only two weeks behind (HAH) so hopefully I can rectify that sometime soon!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Jeweled Mariposa Quilt

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One of the things I’ve really started to love doing is photographing my quilts in really pretty locations. And we have cherry trees right outside our apartment. This past week or so, due to the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here, they have been in full, fantastic bloom. All week I’ve been telling my husband, “These would be so pretty to use as a backdrop to photograph quilts with!”

Luckily, I just recently got two back from the long arm quilter, and all I needed to do was bind them. But I was so tired Friday night that all I managed to do was cut the strips for binding and not much else.

Well, I woke up Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. and realized that at 9:45 there was supposed to be thunderstorms rolling through, and that they would probably strip the cherry trees of their gorgeous blossoms. So I spent the next two and a half hours binding the quilts, and got them done by 9:45 to take pictures of them out by the cherry trees! Unfortunately, it was pretty windy out, so sometimes we had to lay the quilts on the ground instead of holding them up. But I absolutely LOVE how the pictures turned out!

img_1684This quilt was a purchase during a stressful time. But the colors absolutely pulled at me. I love the jewel tones of purple, blue, and green. The main fabric (center panel) in the quilt is so gorgeous and soft I want to cuddle in this quilt and never get out again. I really enjoy the way the black background enhances the colors; really makes them “pop”.

Also, by the way, “Mariposa” means butterfly in Spanish.

This quilt was supposed to have black for the binding, but I had put the quilt top together up in Michigan over the holidays and accidentally left the binding strips up there. Luckily, I had bought enough backing to make binding strips from it, and I’m actually MUCH happier with it this way! It looks like another border; and I really think it works with the rest of the quilt.

I bought a TON of King Tut variegated thread to use for the quilting (which is, of course, butterflies), but because I didn’t know how much to buy I way overbought. Now I have 5.5 spools of unused King Tut variegated thread.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to make another jewel quilt! Darn.

Also, just LOOK at that backing fabric. Isn’t it GORGEOUS?!

See you soon!