Jeweled Mariposa Quilt

Story time! img_1676

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!

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.

20161003_131828

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!

img_1141

 

A Happy Accident

No, I’m not talking about my son. (Even though he was.) I’m talking about a baby quilt! I’m not actually naming the quilt “A Happy Accident”- No, wait, I’m totally naming the baby quilt/wall hanging that. That is hilarious.

This quilt came around because I made a mistake on a much larger quilt I was making that required me to buy a new jelly roll. But I hate wasting fabric, so I was trying to figure out what I could make with the rest of the jelly roll instead. And since it was all sewn together, I decided to cut some off-center blocks from the strips.

I went with a simple black to border the blocks, and used 9 of the 10 I cut in a roughly rainbow arrangement. I absolutely adore how it turned out! It’s going to be a perfect wall hanging or a baby quilt. It’s already up on Etsy.

img_0869The backing is black as well, which really shows the quilting off to advantage. The quilting was done using teal thread to create whimsical dragonflies and lightning bugs. I really enjoy how much it stands out on the back of the quilt!

I’m pretty proud of how my corners and the binding turned out too. I machine bind all my quilts now, because I actually like the look if it much better than hand bound, and I think it is much more secure than when it’s hand bound.

A Happy Accident is pretty special to me. Even though it was a relatively quick and painless quilt (if only because it wasn’t planned), it holds a special place in my heart. Every time I see this quilt, I’m reminded that just because something didn’t go the way you wanted or planned it to, you can make something wonderful come from it.

My kiddo really wanted to help hold the quilt, and who am I to tell him he can’t help out?! He definitely makes the quilt better. 😉

Reach Out and Touch the Sky!

Yeah, you’ve got that song stuck in your head now, don’t you?img_0795

This is another quilt kit I found at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show. I was intrigued by it because even though it isn’t my normal style, I had never seen so many colors on one panel! Apparently the fabric is created using a new method, allowing for all these colors and designs. I really, really like it. And the fabric is great to work with as well!

I enjoyed making this wall hanging, and it was a pretty quick one to go together.

The other big news I have is that I’ve officially opened shop up at Etsy. I don’t know what will come of that endeavor (it may just be that nothing does!) but I will be happy enough just to say I’ve tried! Feel free to take a look-see over there.

Check out Lemon Quilts on Etsy!!