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!

Baby quilt from a panel!

So my wonderful brother- and sister-in-law were expecting their very first. Baby, that is. They already have three cats. Now, normally my wonderful step-mother-in-law (the same incredible woman who taught me to sew and started this whole addiction- I mean passion-) makes quilts for all the coming babes.

But because this was Dan’s brother, he asked me to make a quilt as well. Of course, he asked me this about 3/4 weeks before baby was due. And we didn’t know the gender.img_0844

So I went to my LQS for some inspiration (read: I was going to buy something or drop of a quilt and… well… we all know how those quick trips turn into something else…) and happened to see this adorable panel of little birds, bugs, and insects. It had some matching colorful fabric that I thought would be perfect for either a boy or a girl. Made the tree fabric into borders and BAM- had img_0830my little quilt. I backed it with another colorful fabric and had it quilted with little dragonflies in teal thread.

I absolutely, unabashedly, wholeheartedly LOVE this quilt. Love, love, LOVE this quilt. I was so tempted to keep it!  It turned out SO darling, and it was quite large! Hopefully that means it’ll last the little (who turned out to be a girl, btw) quite a long time!!

I might start updating a couple of times a week- once for the Winter Solstice, once for any completed projects I’ve finished, and once for the 365 Challenge.

 

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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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. 😉

New Design and a Visit to Ann Arbor Sewing Center

It’s been awhile!

I was fooling around on EQ7 and was really getting in to some very colorful designs. Well, I came up with a quick and easy jelly roll design that I absolutely loved! Check it out:

Sunset on the Water

This would be a great quilt for someone who has a stash to get rid of or someone who has a bunch of batik (or Kona) jelly roll/bali pops. In my head it looks like a sunset reflecting off a lake or large river. Someday I will definitely have to make this quilt!

Also, even though it has been awhile (roughly two weeks… oops!) since I visited this store, I wanted to let everyone know about one of the most fantastic sewing stores I have ever been to. (Not that I’ve been to a ton, but this one was beyond cool!)

Its the Ann Arbor Sewing Center, which is located- you guessed it- in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The building was originally the area’s schoolhouse, and has since been expanded a number of times as the business grew. It is a fantastic place that has plenty of wonderful quilt samples around, but also many, MANY different fabrics, from Civil War-era reproductions, to the whole Kona Solids collection, to Kaffe Fassett fabrics and other prints. Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped!

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IMG_0088 This was some of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics they had, as well as a few others.

Here are some of my favorite display quilts I saw there; I wanted to buy all the rainbow ones! (Their kits, I mean). Luckily for me, my husband was with me and he helped me keep control of my wallet! You can always click on the image to see it blown up. 

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This was a fabulous store, and I still can’t get some of the quilts I saw there out of my mind (or off my wish-list!). If you are ever in the area, or even passing by, this is a MUST visit store!

I also picked up their row by row, but forgot to grab a picture of it, so you will have to wait until I am all done. Unfortunately, due to a death in the family, I will be back in Michigan over the weekend. Enjoy the rest of your week!