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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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.

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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365 Challenge – Weeks 7 & 8

I think I’m going to move the weekly post to bi-monthly and just do two weeks at a time. Y’know. To keep it a little easier. We’ll see. Things have been really crazy, so I think I’m going to try to do these blocks each day they come up, instead of all at the end of the week. That being said, I’m done with weeks 7 and 8! It is absolutely CRAZY how fast time is flying by.

Whew! Week 7 was a bit difficult. And it’s not because the blocks were hard- they were actually pretty straightforward. My issue has lain with the fact that this week I was getting into the groove of things and did NOT read the directions the whole way first. I assumed I knew what to do based just on the cutting directions and the picture.

Learned my lesson. Read the directions first. I’m probably going to wind up redoing the first two blocks later on, but for now… I have a lot on my plate! I’ll tell you about it later.

Week 7

For week 8, the very first day had a bit of a snafu- when I clicked on the directions, it gave me the directions to sew it together but no directions on what to cut! I wound up figuring it out, but it took me a little bit. I’m super excited, because (spoiler alert) Week 9 contains the center block, and I am SUPER stoked about how it’s turning out!

Week 8

Remember how I said I had a lot on my plate? In the next month I need to complete the following: bind three quilts, put sleeves on two of them for our local guild quilt show, create two baby quilts, and a really cute dog quilt commission. So I have to really work to get these done!

Here’s the complete collection so far!

The 365 Challenge – Week 5 & 6

So I was sick last week, and because of that I wasn’t able to get my blocks done in time to put them up before my week got started. So this week I’ve had to play a little bit of catch up.

Week 5 slowly had us using smaller and smaller HST’s… and more of them. The toughest block of that week was day 6- I had to create and sew together twenty 1” (unfinished) HST units. (Meaning they came out at 1/2” finished.) Luckily, I had cleaned between the feed dogs finally, so the seams went through the machine much more easily than they had previously. Honestly, it wasn’t so bad! I just had to take my time.

The last day of week 5 introduced us to a new technique. We made a HST but then put another square on top. This would lead to the classic quarter square triangle blocks (QSTs). My favorite of this week was day 3. I just love these colors together.

Week 5:

Week 6 was all about QSTs. We made several fun blocks, including a new favorite of mine, The Ohio Star block. Actually, my favorite block of the week was the Chained Ohio Star (the purple and yellow one).

Week 6 blocks:

At this point, we have made 42 blocks. Still more than 300 to go! (323, to be exact.) They all look good together, though!

As always, you can find the 365 Challenge at https://www.365challenge.com.au/ or just click here to go straight to the blocks.

365 Challenge – Week 4

Yay! Week 4 out of 52 complete! Still loving this challenge. Still somehow on track and not falling behind. I bought a couple of Kona layer cakes in some colors I didn’t have very many of (or any) to supplement my supplies, and I’m REALLY enjoying the purple one I got!

So far, even though the HSTs have gotten down to 1 1/2”, I haven’t had too much trouble with them. Even though you’re working with units as small as 1”, it seriously hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

The biggest trouble I’m getting is from my machine. I’ve had issues with it being able to sew over some of the thicker seams, and so I went troubleshooting. I found out that not only can I clean my machine, but I’m supposed to replace the needle after every project or after every 8 hours of sewing. I did not know that, and so for the past (almost) three years, I’ve been using the same needle and I have NEVER cleaned my machine.

Needless to say, after doing both of those tasks my machine works a lot better- but the issue STILL isn’t fixed. Is it the size of the pieces I’m working on? Is it that the machine just can’t handle these thicker seams? The thread will bunch up because the feed dogs won’t pull it through, which makes the seams VERY bulky. Could it be that I need to clean the feed dogs? I’m so frustrated- it’s making sewing a lot less fun and a lot more frustrating. Thoughts?

Anyways, onto the blocks:

I just LOVE these. The last two are made with NO black- just a really dark purple and a really dark navy, respectively.

I can’t tell if January 27th or January 29th are my favorite. My husband also likes Jan 27th but he likes Jan 26th better than the last one. (I secretly call that one my Caution block).

The 365 Challenge has given me a wonderful chance to play with colors together- the challenge also gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to play with color combos I normally wouldn’t put together. Like the third block this week- the red was leftover from the previous day and the green was something I grabbed randomly. Anyways, have a great week!

The 365 Challenge!

Okay. I know quilters are known for taking on too many projects at once, but I may have just crossed the line. “But Jess, you’re just so talented and wonderful and incredible, surely you could handle ANYTHING!”

No. Not this time. This time I think I really might have bitten off more than I can chew. Let me explain.

See, there’s this wonderful lady down in Australia, Kathryn Kerr. And she has something called the 365 Challenge. You can probably already guess the direction this is headed based off of that name. But yes. Every day, a new block is posted, and by the end of the year, you have 365 blocks you put together to make a wonderful quilt. The one above as the feature image is one that she did last year. I especially enjoy it because she also tells you a little bit about the history of the block and some of the alternate names. I’m learning as I quilt!

I decided to do this after seeing someone who made theirs last year in batiks. Except I’m going to do it using solids. All shades of every color, backed by either black or white (or maybe some other dark colors). Hopefully it will be a colorful quilt full of happiness!!

Here’s the trick- these blocks are SMALL. Some of the pieces she uses are 1” square. But she promises to not go below 1” in measurements! (Ha! I’m crying from terror.) At least at the end of this year I should be REALLY comfortable working on small pieces, huh? So far, every block I’ve completed has measured in at 3.5” unfinished.

I do have ONE confession- when I did the first 10 or so blocks I didn’t realize they needed to be a “dark” theme. So some of them are pretty bright. Oops. I’ll just mix them in and hope they don’t stand out.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to go to my very first quilt retreat, and I was able to get caught up on the January blocks. They go pretty quickly, since they’re so small, so even though I don’t have much time to work on them during the week, the 4-5 I miss during the week come together in just a couple of hours on Fridays. Honestly, the hardest part so far has been picking the fabric!

I think I might make this into a weekly post where I post the 7 blocks I did that week. Y’know. As a way to keep myself responsible. (It’s like a diet or exercise blog, except for sitting, eating junk food, and sewing! It’s basically the same thing.)

Annnnd, here are my first few blocks! (1-21) I have more done, but I’ll start posting them in batches of 7 every week on Sundays. When I post their picture, I’ll put the name of the block and give a link to the block instructions, just in case you want to do this with me! Please note, I am cropping the pictures so they do NOT include seam allowances. So if you make them your blocks (particularly the 4-patches) will look kinda weird since they will still include their seam allowances.

Now onto the quilt retreat. It was so. much. fun. And so much sewing! I started on a quilt for my husband, as well as working on these blocks. I figured he’d been more than patient, being married to a quilter for 2.5 years and not having his own quilt yet. So when I asked him, “If I ever WERE to make you a quilt- now, mind you, I’m NOT- what colors would you want it to be?” and “Would you- again, just hypothetical- prefer a more modern or traditional look?” He told me a modern winter theme. I’ll share that one when it’s done… hopefully soon. It was going to be for Christmas but… well… it’s frustrating. So for now I’m doing other projects and letting my mind rest and reset on that one.

Well, at the retreat I almost had TOO much sewing. I’m not used to sewing for two days straight, and I was there the LEAST amount of time! (I came a day late because of work and had to leave a little early unfortunately. I’ll just leave you with the only photo I took that weekend- the room where I worked! This was room 1 of 3 (although it was the biggest)! If you look closely to the table to the right, you can see the blue and white beginning of hubby’s quilt. A sneak peek, as you say.

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Anyways, I had a fantastic time, and if we weren’t moving to Cleveland in just 5 and a half short months, I would DEFINITELY be going again next year!!