Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Blood, Sweat and Tears Bulls-Eye Quilt

Last month, I finished the Bulls-Eye Quilt in Carolyn Friedlander’s Savor Each Stitch book as part of the Quilt the Book challenge. While the previous project, the Arcs Quilt, used only convex curves in the needle turn appliqué, the Bulls-Eye Quilt features both convex and concave curves. I really liked how the Bulls-Eye Quilt built upon the technique of the Arcs Quilt, although in the end I prefer convex curves over concave ones. I was surprised to find that each quadrant had its own unique template to trace, but since I was only making one block the tracing and cutting was over quickly.

While the main goal of the Quilt the Book challenge is to sew all the items in one book, my own additional challenge is to use my stash for these quilts as much as possible. Due to my year-long participation in Pink Castle Fabrics’ Cotton + Steel club, I have more fat quarters than I know what to do with. For this quilt, I picked four low volume prints for the background and paired them with solids from my stash. While none of the prints is my favorite, I’m really pleased with how they all work together. I left off the borders because nothing in my stash felt right.

In two of the quadrants I machine quilted vertical lines, and in the other two I quilted horizontal lines. I really enjoyed the process and may use it on a bigger quilt some time. It definitely makes for a nice crinkly quilt after washing.

The back of the quilt is made entirely out of scraps from the front. I don’t usually like making pieced backings, but at this small scale it was a breeze. I couldn’t let the extra wedges go to waste, so I appliqued them on the back, after the quilting was finished but before the binding was attached. A couple of them are a little puffy, but it’s the back. The binding is another low volume Cotton + Steel fabric from my stash.

If I liked making this quilt so much, why did I include “Blood, Sweat and Tears” in the title? Well, when I was pin basting the top, I pricked my finger something fierce and bled on it in several spots. At the suggestion of a fellow quilter, I used hydrogen peroxide to remove the stains. Then I threw it in the washing machine for good measure, which had the added bonus of making it nice and crinkly. The sweat came from the unusually warm summer we had in Seattle this year. Turning on the iron without the benefit of AC was torture, so I was glad to have a needle turn appliqué project to work on during the hottest days. The tears were from the convergence of several icky things going on in my personal life last month, most of which are better now. After that, I needed a pick-me-up and finishing this quilt filled that need.

Quilting my way through Savor Each Stitch has been immensely satisfying so far and I am looking forward to the next project!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 2015 in Review

This August was a month of high highs and low lows. While I enjoyed the events I attended, like Epic Meet-Up 2015, there was a lot going on at work and in my personal life, so I didn’t get as much sewing time as I would have liked. Still, I managed to complete my first composition book cover, a gift bag, three blocks for the forest themed Seattle Modern Quilt Guild improv charity quilt, and another mini quilt from Savor Each Stitch. Hopefully September will be less busy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Scrap Happy Arcs Quilt

Last month, I finished my first quilt after starting the Quilt the Book challenge. The Arcs Quilt is the first project in Savor Each Stitch and I really enjoyed making it. I love how Carolyn provides three examples of the pattern, each with their own thoughtful write-up. I made mine out of some of my favorite Cotton + Steel scraps. Before having a daughter, I avoided pink like the plague. I am drawn to it more now because it is my daughter's favorite color and reminds me of her.

Some people consider needleturn appliqué to be time consuming and tedious, but I find it relaxing. It’s also very portable, which is a huge draw for me as I have long bus commute with unreliable wifi. Since I averaged four blocks a day, I was finished with all the blocks in a couple weeks. Because it’s such a small quilt, I was done with the machine piecing before I knew it and was on to the quilting.

For the hand stitching around the arcs, I used a dark pink perle thread that my daughter had picked out ages ago when I made her visit the fabric store with me. While working on this quilt, I learned to appreciate why stitching in the ditch is so common. Stitching outside of the ditch, as I did in a few places, proved awkward and not as neat. Still, I really enjoyed the handwork.

For the border, I chose to machine quilt a few simple lines to make the border recede and the handwork pop. The binding and backing were from my Cotton + Steel stash. It was super satisfying to make this mini quilt completely out of scraps and stash and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made this year. I’m looking forward to sewing up more projects out of this book.