Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Month of January 2014

January was a very productive month.  I was able to meet my January goal (link #19) for A Lovely Year of finishes and exceed my expectations. 

My January goal was to "make something with my blue fabrics." 

And I did make something... I made a whole STACK of blue quilts and runners.  That counts as just one project, right?  ;)  They all came from the same pile of fabric.  In fact, my blue stash now looks like this...

I estimate that there is about 14 yards of fabric in the stack.  (The top part will be made into a blue and yellow quilt sometime.)  And I have probably about 3 yards of blues cut into strips/scraps left over from the projects that I did finish.  Check out this post to see how I decided to cut up a lot of my blue fabrics.  It is a system I will be using throughout the year. 

Here are pictures with links to each of the quilty goodness from my stack.  I will go from the top to the bottom of my stack.  :D

"A Winter's Day" table runner.  It used up 1.75 yards of fabric. 

"Bit of Heaven" baby quilt.  It used up 2.5 yards of fabric.

"Winter's Joy" baby quilt.  It used up 5 yards of fabric. 

"A Winter Night" table runner.  It used up 3 yards of fabric.

By the way, does anyone know how long a poinsettia is supposed to last?  Mine is about six weeks old and still doing great!  It is probably the longest I have ever kept a house plant alive.  It seems like such a seasonal plant that I don't want to keep it forever, but I wouldn't want to get rid of it while it is doing so well.  I am pretty proud of myself. 

"Warm Winter Mittens" wall hanging.  It used up 3 yards of fabric. 

"Blueberry Juice" lap quilt.  It used up 5 yards of fabric. 

"Seeing Double" lap quilt.  It used up 8.25 yards of fabric. 

"Solstice" reverse star twin quilt.  It used up 10.5 yards of fabric. 

So, that is my "one project" for the month of January.  :o)  But if I had to pick one quilt... I would say that "Solstice" is my favorite. 

In addition to the above, I made two more wall hangings and another twin quilt.  In total, they used up another 14.5 yards of fabric.  One wall hanging will be shown after someone's birthday.  I just wanted you to know that I can count and add. 

These quilts also used up some of my blue fabric, but it came from the bright colors stack in my stash. 

So here is my stash report for the month of January...

January Stash Report
Quilting Cottons
Fabric purchased:  0 yards
Fabric used:  53.5 yards
Net used:  53.5 yards

That is a lot of fabric used in completed projects! 

I also made two window treatments and some tied baby blankets.  However, I decided not to count my baby flannels.  I always use 3 yards for each blanket and then buy a ton more fabric on Black Friday.  But I did use 18 yards this month, just so you know.  ;)


P.S.  I am linking up with the January Finishes Party for A Lovely Year of Finishes, and the Sunday Stash Report at Patchwork Times

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

American Hero Quilts Finished

I finished these two quilts in three days of sewing.  I talked about the piecing of them in my last post

I have decided to call them "American Hero."  I was originally going to call them "American Star,"  but the fabrics were so bright that it reminded me of super heroes.  The large one will be given to a friend whose husband is in the service, and he really is a hero.  Cheetah, my connoisseur of quilt names, agreed that it is a good name.  ;)

The backing for the large quilt is a chunky, uneven plus, to use fabrics from my stash.  I laid the quilt top on the floor, and kept moving fabric around on top of it to plan out my backing.  It was a lot of fun, but my boys were wondering what in the world I was doing. 

I quilted the large star in a loose stipple with three different threads: blue, red, and cream. 

I love the way it turned out. 

Quilt Stats #86
Name:  American Hero
Pattern:  Altered from Jeni's Giant Star
Fabric:  Old Jinny Beyer fabrics from my stash
Amount used:  10.5 yards
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20
Finished size:  about 72 x 90 inches
After washing: about 68 x 86
Date finished:  January 2014
What I learned:
  • I love the modern look with the borders on only two sides. 
  • It is like a puzzle to piece a backing with fabric from the stash. 
  • The Hobbs 80/20 seemed to shrink 2 inches for every 30 inches.   

On the small quilt, I Frankensteined my batting together for the first time. 

It worked a lot better than I thought it would. 

On a side note, I had to put my scissors on the batting to take this picture, because my camera could not focus on just the batting.  But they are my favorite scissors for clipping threads, because they are small with rounded tips.  They are the Nifty Scissors brand. 

I used a new to me quilting pattern.  It is that line wiggling back and forth.  I love the texture it gives the quilt. 

The backing, a cream star print, looks really cool with all the quilting.  I used the three thread colors on the small quilt, too. 

I am excited to have this as a reminder of the quilt I made my friend.  It will be such a fun seasonal wall hanging or table topper.  (I think I need to buy a fun patriotic centerpiece this summer.)

Quilt Stats #87
Name:  American Hero Mini
Pattern:  Eight pointed star made with HST
Fabrics:  Scraps from the giant American Hero
Amount used:  2 yards
Batting:  Frankensteined Hobbs 80/20
Size:  about 28 inches square
After washing:  about 26 inches square
Date finished:  January 2014
What I learned:
  • Frankensteined batting work very well.  I will be sure to do it again. 
  • I love small versions of larger quilts I have made.
On another side note, I consider this quilt a wall hanging.  I once read that mini quilts for a challenge had to be smaller than 24 inches square.  So this would technically not be a mini.  Is that correct? 

I used the same Jinny Beyer fabric for the bindings on both quilts.  I cut the smaller quilt's binding at 2.25 inches and the other at 2.5 inches.  I bound the small one by hand and the large one by machine. 

As I mentioned in the quilt stats, it seems like the Hobbs 80/20 batting shrunk about 2 inches for every 30 inches.  Does this seem like a normal amount?  I must admit that I love how crisp new quilts are, so I don't normally wash them right away.  I do LOVE the crinkled look too, but I was surprised at how much they shrunk. 

I washed them, because I didn't want my friend to be surprised at the crinkliness after the first wash.  Also, I wanted to see if the reds bled.  I am happy to say that two out of three color catchers turned dark pink, but there was no bleeding on my fabric.  :D

This is what they look like after they were washed...

And a close-up of the larger one. 

I took these pictures inside, because I didn't want them to get dirty outside again.  LOL.


P.S.  I will be linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Finish it up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts this week.  . 

Giant Star in Progress

My friend Jen of Glinda Quilts recently posted about a soldier's quilt which needed a home.  (It doesn't any more.)  It got me thinking about servicemen that I know.  After thinking about it for a couple days, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt for my friend whose husband is in the service. 

I looked at the blues left over from my month of blue, and realized that I didn't have any navy blue fabric left. 

So I went to bed.  However, the thought of making her a quilt would not go away.  So I went back to my stash and decided to make a bright blue and red quilt.  I had plenty of fabric for that.  ;)  I wanted to make it quickly and decided to stick with a simple pattern.  I had made a giant star quilt (mentioned here) earlier, and decided to make another one.  It uses Jeni's Giant Star Quilt Tutorial

I cut my squares out at 18 inches for the half square triangles, and trimmed them to 17.5 inches square.  To do this I used the lines on my large cutting mat. 

I don't use the lines on my cutting mat very often, because I don't think it is super accurate.  However, I used what I had for something this large.  (Although the 21" square ruler from Omnigrip is on my wish list.) 

It was accurate enough for my center point to look like this.  :)

I was able to get the entire top laid out on my design wall in less than two hours. 

Then I decided to make a smaller one for myself out of the scraps.  I cut these squares at 6 inches. 

It is crazy how much smaller it is cutting the squares at on third the original size.  The bigger one finishes at 68 inches, and the smaller one finishes at 20 inches. 

I ate lunch with the munchkins, and decided to add borders to both quilts.  I added a 2 inch border of the cream star fabric all around the large star, and a 1 inch border of the cream star fabric all around the small star.  I kept the smaller one square by adding side borders with cornerstones.  Then I added borders to two sides of the large one to make it a rectangle.  I love large rectangular quilts.  I pieced the backing with fabric from my stash and got them basted.  It took a day and a half.  Then I had them quilted and bound after another day and a half of working on them.

My next post will have more pictures of the finished quilts, because they are already done. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Solstice: A Reverse Star Quilt

I am so excited that this quilt is finished.  It turned out exactly the way I pictured it in my mind.  It was inspired by this Rainbow Reverse Star quilt and made entirely from my stash.  The only thing I had to buy was thread.  It is part of my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. 

I am naming it "Solstice," because of the name of the backing fabric.  Plus, Cheetah and I can agree on that name.  ;) 

I had a little over four yards of the Winter Solstice fabric, which wasn't enough for the entire backing.  So I added a strip of navy with gold specks to the top. 

I talked about the piecing of this quilt in my last post.  It went together very fast.  :D

I was really excited to get my Janome back this week so I could quilt this quilt.  I am so glad that my machine got serviced, because the disturbing squeak is no longer there.  ;)  However, it reminded me of getting your car serviced and all your preset stations on the radio have been changed.  I had to adjust the tension on my bobbin case to work with the threads I like, I had to adjust the top speeds on my machine, and had to adjust the foot pressure.  So it took me a little bit longer to actually get to quilting. 

The first part I quilted was the stars with a white thread. 

I used my Hera Marker to crease the white square in half vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.  Then I quilted the star like it was pieced with eight diamonds.  I love the effect on the front and the back. 

Then I quilted with a dark navy thread with a pointy spiral. 

I found it more difficult than the last time I quilted pointy spirals, because I had to quilt around the stars and not all over the entire top.  It changed the way I had to think about where to quilt next, but it worked.  It also made it harder to keep a consistent density of the spirals, but the pattern is very forgiving and I don't think anyone else would notice. 

I don't normally like darker thread for quilting on lighter fabrics, but I like how it turned out on this quilt.  It gives the quilt movement and darkens the "sky." 

I bound it in the same navy with gold specks that I used on the backing. 

While it is twin size...

It will live on my sofa in the family room as a large throw for now.  It will be a fun January and July seasonal quilt. 

Can you see my layer cake lemonade quilt peeking in the background?

It is so much fun having two quilts made from the same fabrics so close together.  (Plus the table runner on top of the computer desk.)  And if you ever come visit, you can park your truck, car, motorcycle, or wagon with these.  LOL.

I just love this quilt!  Wait, have I already said that?

Quilt Stats #85
Name:  Solstice
Pattern: inspired by this Rainbow Reverse Star
Fabric:  Blues from my stash
Amount used:  10.5 yards
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20
Size:  about 72 x 90 inches
What I learned:
  • The Hera marker worked lots better marking quilting guides than HST guides. 
  • I sometimes like darker thread on lighter fabrics. 
  • I love using my stash (even if it is from the 90s).

P.S.  I will be linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Finish it up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reverse Star in Progress

I have made a lot of progress on my Reverse Star quilt made out of 5 inch blue squares from my stash.  This was my first test block on the design wall.  I tried using my Hera Marker to mark the lines on the back of the white fabric.  It was hard to see, so I decided to draw the lines on. 

When I write on fabric, I use sandpaper glued on an old board.  It holds the fabric in place while I write.  It also helps keep the fabric from stretching. 

After drawing lines on all of the squares, I made the star for each block.  I used white thread so it would not show through the stars. 

While sewing the points onto the blue fabric, I also sewed on the second line.  I ended up with this stack of half square triangles.  I will probably use them for a little doll quilt.  FYI:  These are scraps, not another WIP.  ;)

Then I switched to a grey thread, and sewed strips of three and five squares for each block.  It went a lot faster than I thought it would. 

So after my boys went to bed, I pieced all the blocks.  (You may notice that I have one extra column of squares on the right to make the quilt slightly larger.)  I made two blocks with the star in the center, four blocks with the star in the corner, and six blocks with the star centered on one side. 

This morning I was able to piece the entire top.  It is about 72 x 90 inches. 

While planning this quilt, I figured out that if I alternated dark and medium blues for the background it would work well.  Each block has 24 blue squares: 12 darks and 12 lights.  I pressed towards the dark all the time.  Every other block has dark squares in the corners instead of light squares in the corners.  This made piecing the quilt super easy.  Some of the darks are more medium, and some of the mediums are a little dark.  This made it blend together better, so it is not a complete checkerboard with stars.  ;)  I love the way it has turned out. 

The backing is mostly this fabric with a strip of plain navy with specks at the top.  It is nice to use this fabric up. This fabric is also providing a name for the quilt which Cheetah and I can agree on.  (He still thinks that he needs a say in naming all of my quilts.)  We are going to call the quilt "Solstice."  That way it can be a winter/January and a July quilt. 

Cheetah and Monkey were being so good that I was even able to get the quilt basted today.  All I can say is thank goodness for Legos and Duplos!

I am excited to start quilting this because I have my Janome back.  I will use a white thread on the stars, and a dark navy/black on the blues.  I am thinking about quilting pointy spirals again to give movement in the "sky." 


P.S.  I am linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.