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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Heartbeat

You’ve seen this one before. But now it’s done! Quilted, bound, and done! This one was so much fun- I designed it myself on my EQ7 software and then ordered the exact fabric line for it.

img_1492I call it heartbeat because the pulsing of the red and black reminds me of the pulsing of a heartbeat. Kinda lame name for such a cool looking quilt, but eeeeeh, what can you do? It really is what it reminds me of, and I just followed my heart on this.

For the quilt, I simply made a LOT of HSTs using a layer cake (and a couple extra prints since it was light on the reds) in the two-at-a-time method. I didn’t square them or trim them either. (I really, REALLY hate squaring up HSTs.)

I used the Weeds fabric line from Me and My Sister Designs. I love the little flowers and poppies in this fabric choice- and they fabric is  a wonderful quality- it really was a joy to work with!

I backed and bound heartbeat in bright red fabric and had it quilted using little curved rectangles and squares.


Heartbeat is up for sale and posted on my Etsy page.

Tomorrow is Friday! TGIF!

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Kaffe Fassett Quilt- Sunshine Daisies

img_1501Yellow quilts. Never thought I’d make one. But one thing I’ve always wanted to do was to make a quilt using the over saturated fabrics from Kaffe Fassett. Last February, I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show and there was a booth that sold pretty much exclusively K.Fassett fabrics. They also had a bunch of kits you could get that used his fabrics. I fell in love with one in particular, and when I had the choice of pinks/reds, green/blues, or yellows, I chose the yellows, weirdly enough.

And I am SO happy I did! I absolutely adore this quilt. The best part was that I found out that after quilt assembly, I had more than enough leftovers to make the baby size quilt too. (Which I did, and you can find here.)

img_1509For this quilt I did the same quilting pattern as the baby quilt- flowers. (I think they’re daisies? I don’t know, I’m a quilter, not a gardener!) Although this time I left the color choice up to my longarm quilter, and she sent me a special surprise- variegated thread! I’ve always wanted to use variegated thread in my quilts and this will be the first one! It’s a yellow/orange combo, and I am so over the moon happy!

The backing is a simple yellow that matched with the yellow in several blocks. THIS one I’m keeping for myself, since I talked myself into selling the baby quilt.

I love how happy, bright, and vibrant this quilt is. It’s perfect for those long days when you just want a bit of sunshine in your life! I’m calling it Sunshine Daisies. For pretty apparent reasons. Whelp, it’s almost Friday! Yay!

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!!

Pinwheel Perfection!

Got another completed quilt to show you! It was a lot of fun to put together- it went quickly and easily, and I LOVE how it turned out!

I actually designed this quilt based off of a picture I saw on Pinterest, and used a fat quarter bundle from Connecting Threads that was on sale. I cut out four 8.5 inch squares from each fat quarter and used the four-at-a-time method to make HSTs for each one using white fabric.

And then I cheated.

I didn’t trim my HSTs before sewing the blocks. Somehow, my blocks still came out beautifully! My points were, well, on point. Either luck or skill was responsible for that, but we’re going to pretend it was all skill and no luck.  img_1253

Got it quilted with a swirling bubble pattern that I really enjoy. It’s backed and bound with a gorgeously lush purple that matches the sashing/borders in the quilt top. (It doesn’t look like it, but it does match!)

We’ve had some snow recently (Thanks, Helena!) so I coerced the hubs outside in the cold to hold it for me while I snapped a few pictures. I really enjoy this quilt, and it will be up for sale on my Etsy shop! Check it out here.

I’ve also started a weekly quilt along with Pat Sloan called The Winter Solstice Challenge. Each Wednesday, Pat posts the directions to a block and we make the block. I’m using up fabrics from 13 fat quarters I bought at my local quilt store. They’re themed with Asian motifs (think Koi/blossoms/cranes/etc) and in shades of green, pink, blue, and grey.

Here’s the first three blocks I’ve finished! I’ll keep updating each week. If you’re interested in joining, I’ll always link to her page so you can find the directions for the blocks. Happy sewing!

 

Christmas Pu- I mean, Fun Time!

Alright, this post is snow joke. Also, if you don’t like Christmas-themed puns you should probably leave because otherwise yule be sorry. No getting incensed on this blog, y’hear?! Buckle into your sleighs, because this one is going to be one wild reindeer ride!

A friend contacted me and asked if I would be willing to make her a Christmas quilt. Being the lover of Christmas (really the whole season) I am, I eagerly accepted. Especially since I have had the mistlefortune to never finish a Christmas quilt myself. (But, side note, JoAnn had a huge sale back at the beginning of the month and I got myself about 12 yards of Christmas fabric for about $35. Woo!)

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You’ll be happy to be informed that I had the presents of mind to design this quilt myself, and didn’t make it from a kit or steal an idea off Pinterest (although that is where we started looking at first).

img_1113I took a simple Irish chain design and added a couple of borders. The Irish chain was the part that was the easiest. It went sledding rapidly down the hill from there. It’s not that the design was hard, it was just time intensive. 238 2.5” HST meant a LOT of cutting, trimming, and line drawing. I used the 8 at a time method, and it STILL took longer than the applique and main part did together. It was snow frustrating. Honestly, the worst part wasn’t the time it took, it’s that because it is a holiday quilt I had a deadline to get it done, so I had to do it quickly.

img_1148When arranging the border HSTs I did it in such a way that it almost looks like a DNA strand. Yes, I will be doing this again in the (very far) future, when I’m not on such a huge time crunch. It’s the same arrangement for each row, you just flip the rows each time. I made 9 patch blocks and then put them together. The HST border is separated from the Irish chain by a simple 2.5” red border. I think it grounds the design.

At each corner, instead of doing more HSTs, I did simple but cute applique designs. The four designs were candy canes (sweet and to the point!), a poinsettia (also, right to the point-setta), Santa’s hat (blanket stitching the white part to the white background was ho-ho-horrible), and a Christmas tree (fir god’s sake, it’s definitely my favorite one!). As mentioned, I just used a simple blanket stitch on the outside of each design.

I learned a valuable lesson, however. I used some of the interfacing that helps the fabric stick on the quilt while you sew it on, and I forgot that I need to put it on the WRONG side of the fabric. I didn’t even realize it for the first few parts because they were all solids so it didn’t matter. But I had to re-cut the candy canes and the tree. I based them loosely on designs from EQ and then modified and freehand drew them on the interfacing.

For the quilting I picked a snowflake design in white to make it look a little bit like there was snow falling in front of the quilt. To be quite frank(incense), I really, REALLY like how this quilt turned out. And the design was pretty easy! I’m thinking about making this into a pattern for people to use in the future.img_1115

I guess this wraps up this post! Hopefully nobody got too incensed, and instead found quite a bit of myrrh-th from all these puns. I’ll take a bough and see myself out. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who don’t celebrate Christmas!

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