Cavorting Colors

img_20190702_105243Cavorting Colors is an older UFO that I discovered around the same time as the Ambleside Picnic Quilt– although not as old. I bought 13 batik fat quarters a long time ago, with no real plan in mind, but I couldn’t pass up the fabric; especially the backing, which is probably one of my favorite batiks that I’ve ever seen.

I finally found the pattern in 75 Fun Fat-Quarter Quilts and saw this one. The quilt is pretty simple to construct- it’s two different blocks (alternating) made of half-square triangles. It was a fun, pretty quick quilt to make and I love how to colors just seem to be dancing around the quilt.

This quilt is intended to be a wedding gift- but I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure I can img_20190702_104517give it up! However, I am starting to run out of space (that’s a lie, but I tell myself that so it’s easier). But, also, I do actually enjoy gifting my quilts- as long as I know that I’m giving it to someone who can love and appreciate the time, effort, and emotion that went into making it. And since this particular couple is one who commissioned a  Christmas quilt from me several years ago, I know they’ll treasure this one too.

I wound up backing the quilt with my favorite batik of the collection; a multi-colored, butterfly-adorned batik. I had it quilted with flowers and swirls, and bound it with the orange batik from the collection. It’s a lighter batting in it, so it’ll be a perfect quilt for spring and summer nights when it gets a bit cooler.

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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Caribbean Waves Quilt (Craftsy Kit)

A friend of mine from Virginia was getting married; and so of course I had to make her a IMG_2099quilt! I met her at work, my last year. (Of course). And over that year, we hung out several times a month outside of work; she quickly became my best friend. I was so sad that I was leaving Charlottesville after JUST finding her!

But after she got married she moved down to New Orleans, and I’m sorry love, but no matter how much I like you, I am NOT moving to where you walk outside and it isn’t air but humid soup you walk into.

I had gotten this kit for myself in purple (still isn’t finished, of course), and loved it so much I got it in the blue as well. I *almost* kept both of them.

This quilt is a pretty simple design, made out of just two IMG_2100blocks that alternate; but the result is a gorgeous effect that gives an insane amount of depth to the design.

The purple quilt makes me think of space, and I almost did quilting to reflect that in this quilt, but the blues put me in mind of the crystal clear waters of the caribbean. So I chose a swirl to try to mimic the waves, and I’m pretty pleased how that turned out.

IMG_2090The fabric line was a new one that I haven’t worked with before- Boundless Fabrics from Craftsy. I love how soft they are, but MAN do they put out some crazy lint! I had to clean my machine pretty much each bobbin change there was that much lint/fuzz. But the fabric was easy to work with and the colors were oh-so vibrant. I’d definitely buy them for another project in the future.

Since I had met this friend down in Virginia and her wedding was there, I knew on the way down there was a scenic overlook that I knew would be PERFECT place to take the photos of the quilt. And indeed; both quilt and backdrop are spectacular.


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This quilt was also one of the first times I put my tags into the binding, and I have to sayit was much faster and easier than hand sewing them on afterwards. And I think they turned out well! Maybe for future quilts I’ll have more professional looking labels made for the corners from Etsy.

 

Hopefully I get the purple version done soon so I can show you both versions completed! (Although the background for that one will not be nearly as gorgeous as this!)

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365 Challenge – Weeks 13 & 14

Yay! After this we’re all caught up! Just in time for me to fall drastically behind again! (Really, though, I’m not planning on it. But it’ll happen at some point again this year, I’m sure.)

This post is a little late- life has been crazy and I’ve been absolutely exhausted after school each day, so not much gets done at home! But there’s only 4 weeks left of school so that will be a nice break soon.

As always, you can find directions for the daily blocks here.

Week 13
March 26 – April 1

This week was a bit interesting. Finishing off March and starting on April – officially a quarter of the way through the challenge! Hopefully I can keep up with all the moving and whatnot!

Week 14
April 2 – 8

This week we finished up the borders for the central medallion! And I put it all together; I really enjoy how it turned out. I actually picked the colors in the corner blocks to match one color each from the adjoining borders.

Because of that, though, my center medallion doesn’t quite match up with the directions for a couple of reasons. A) I did the grey differently in one of the borders to match the first flying geese border. B) Because I picked the colors each day, the arrangement of the borders and corner blocks is different than in the directions. Oh well.

Here’s a picture of the final center block all put together!

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Solstice Challenge – Week 8

Woo! Our first block larger than 12 inches! This block will be the yellow one on the top right in the asymmetrical layout, apparently.  (If you forgot what that looks like, wander over to THIS post for a quick refresher!)

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I did stop by my local quilt shop and pick up a few more fat quarters. I will probably be stopping by there again, since this block used up almost all of 3 of the new ones. When I was at my LQS, one thing I really tried to grab was fabric that wasn’t quite as busy, so that going forward my blocks can be a little bit calmer- and hopefully the design will be a little bit more clear.

These new fabric additions to the pile available to me has renewed my excitement for this quilt. For awhile, I was getting down on it because I really did not like how my blocks were turning out. Maybe I should go back and redo some of the worst ones… we’ll see. In all my copious spare time I’ve got.

img_1590This one I decided to really break from the mold; instead of doing pink or green I decided to do blue and white. And in the pattern for the blocks I used the white as the “dark” fabric, and the blue as the “light” fabric.

Also, I absolutely love the applique hearts in the middle! The smallest one was the PERFECT size to get some koi and turtles in there. Love it!!

Anyways, happy Valentine’s Day! I have a table runner for my next post that is even more VDay related than this one (‘cuz this one had the heart, so it works!) but I haven’t finished binding it yet so I can’t take pictures. Whatever, as long as it’s in February, right?

I’m also going to create a couple “Beginning Quilting” posts. Topics will range from a list of all materials you NEED to quilt (easily) to tips and tricks of the trade, and even tips for taking decent photos of your quilts! (I’m not a professional photographer by ANY means, but my photos ARE getting better… so, y’know.) I’m excited to put those out. Maybe on Thursdays?

Solstice Challenge – Week 7

Week 7 is here and gone! Week 8 will be put up in two days. I can’t believe this year is going by so quickly!

img_1543My post is a day late due to me being sick on Friday and therefore getting no quilting done; normally I do all my weekly stuff on Friday evenings and instead I spent the whole day sleeping on the couch. I had absolutely no energy and no drive to do anything! I hate how being sick puts you on your butt.

But I did manage to get it done by the end of the weekend. So here’s the update! This one was a fun block. I think Pat Sloan called it Tidy Rows. You can click here for the link.

BUT! Perhaps the most exciting thing she shared last week was two possible layouts for the quilts! One is a simple symmetrical block-by-block layout with sashing between the blocks. The one I’m going to do is asymmetrical and SUPER exciting! (You can click here to see the whole post.)

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I absolutely cannot wait! This is going to be a wonderfully scrappy-looking quilt! I’ll definitely have to pick up some more fat quarters for this. Probably some calmer fabrics for the backgrounds of the bigger blocks. Can’t wait!!

Make It Rain(bow) Bargello Quilts!

Before we start off, I have to admit after writing that last post, I feel a little lame writing this one with no plans of inserting any rainbow-inspired puns into it. Oh, the hue-manity! (HAH, now I feel better. Carry on.)

Yes, you read that title correctly. Quilts, as in the plural form of quilt, as in I was crazy enough to make more than one of these insanely glorious quilts. BUT, I’m really happy I did, because now I can compare and contrast what works best and what to avoid if YOU ever choose to do this!

Back in my quilting infancy, when I thought I’d do this blog for more than just me, I found a post by Krystal Jakelwicz over at Lets Quilt Something.And seriously, when I mean in my infancy, I’m talking… 2 and a half, almost 3 years ago. But I’ve always, ALWAYS been a huge fan of colorful things, especially quilts, and I just couldn’t get this one out of my head. So I bought the two jelly rolls that you need for this quilt, opened one jelly roll and… didn’t do it for 2 years.

But, this year my quilt guild started a “UFO Challenge” where you put in a fat quarter into a pot and for every UFO you complete you get one entry into possibly winning the pot. So I pulled it out finally and started putting it together.

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Here’s a word of warning- when sewing strips together, of ANY length, make sure to switch the side you start sewing on every other strip. What I mean by that is that if you sew down the right side of a strip first, when attaching another strip to that first one, make sure you’re sewing from the OPPOSITE end. Otherwise, you wind up with a strip that bows out in the middle. And when the quilt calls for putting ALL 42 of the jelly roll strips together, you get a HUGE bow.

This was an issue because when I went to go cut the strips for the quilt, they weren’t straight. And when I say not straight, I mean the rainbow strips were more curved than a real rainbow. You can even see the puckering of the already attached strips where they didn’t meet up well- it was SO BAD. It made sewing the strips together unbelievably frustrating!! I wanted to quit 10 different times! But I’m no quitter.

It became a huge problem; to the point that by the second jelly roll I could no longer use the strip set. (Fear not, I found a different use for all that bowed fabric, as seen in my earlier A Happy Accident post!) I ended up using what I could from the second jelly roll and then just buying a 3rd one to use. Take a look at the difference below from when you sew them all the same direction versus when you sew them on in ALTERNATING directions:


Do you see the curve of those strips in the first picture?! It was awful. Learn from my mistake. Don’t do it. But the 3rd time was the charm; they went together very prettily and were MUCH straighter than the first two times. They weren’t perfect, but I think that just was because when you’re putting together 42 strips, the sheer weight of the fabric will cause a little bowing.

But, finally, the quilt came together, and I posted it on Facebook, so proud of myself. I chose a pink backing (because I love pink) and a swirling quilting pattern. I have to admit, I thought the pattern would be smaller to hit more of the top’s pieces, but it’ll be alright.

Not twenty minutes later after posting my finished quilt on Facebook, a friend contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to make her one too. And even though I wanted to bang my head on the wall, curl into a fetal position and cry, I agreed- and I am SO glad I did!

She chose to have her quilt backed in a gorgeous deep blue that matched one of the strip colors perfectly. And for her quilting pattern she chose a wave; this pattern had a much higher density, and I think really matched well with the “flow” of the quilt top. Hers is a stunning, STUNNING quilt, and if I didn’t have to give it to her because she paid me for it already, I’d keep it and put it in quilt shows. Want to see?

Having the chance to make the quilt again, I was able to avoid all the mistakes I made the first time around and make a much better quilt! Rather than posting the whole set of directions (just go to Krystal’s blog for the main directions), I will post just my “tips” for a quilt that comes together much more easily.

Tips for an Easy(er) Rainbow Bargello Quilt

  • On her website, Krystal tells you to start with the 1” strip. I found that starting with a 1” strip meant that the seams weren’t long enough, got stressed/pulled/unraveled super easily. So I recommend starting with a MINIMUM of 2”
  • For quilt #2, I started with 3.5” strips and worked down to 1 1/4” then back up. This way you get two ‘waves’ instead of just one. I enjoy the overall pattern of the second quilt more than the first one.
  • I got rid of the 1” strip altogether. The lowest I went was to 1  1/4” strip; I found that that helped prevent the seams from pulling apart.
  • If you DO wind up having a small strip where the seams are pulling apart, you can always attach a couple of strips to that side instead of the end. That is why the first quilt has 5 strips in front of the smallest part; I put those on at the very end to help keep that darn 1” strip from entirely coming apart!

Also, I got some quilt labels made on Etsy; and I absolutely LOVE them! Take a look! Ignore the stray threads; I clipped them after the photo… Oops!

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