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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Improv Composition Book Cover

Tonight at the #Epicmeetup2015* there will be a composition book cover swap. Normally, I’m not one for swaps, but since I intend to experience as much of the event as possible, I decided to give it a try. While it didn’t turn out quite like my vision, it’s my first ever composition book cover, so I’m cutting myself some slack.

I used the suggested tutorial by Amy Dame. It worked well enough, but if I make one again, I would use a much smaller patchwork piece to start. The tutorial recommends making the piece 27”x17”, while I think 27”x12” would be sufficient. I lost a bunch of my focus fabric when I cut down my patchwork piece, which is the main reason I’m not thrilled with what I made.

For the patchwork panel, I knew early on that I wanted to use the improv strip piecing technique. I found a cursive print in my stash for my focus fabric, added some black, white and blue fabrics and went to town. My initial fabric pull wasn’t varied enough, so I raided my mom’s never ending scrap basket for more pieces in my colorway. (Thanks, mom!)

I enjoyed the improv process and liked the fabrics I picked, especially the black and white stripe. If I ever make a composition cover again, I’ll be more mindful of the finished size and maybe sketch out a more detailed plan for the patchwork. Sometimes going with the flow is good, and sometimes a project could benefit from more forethought.

*Formerly known as the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meet-Up

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Quilt The Book Challenge

A few months ago, I read a couple of posts at Blue Elephant Stitches about a new sewing challenge. The idea was to pick a quilting book and sew every single quilt from it. As a book lover, this challenge really appealed to me. Since it's a casual, deadline free challenge, I decided to join in. For my book, I chose Savor Each Stitch, by Carolyn Friedlander. Here are a few reasons why I chose that particular book:

  • I took a class from Carolyn at QuiltCon and am now a huge fan.
  • The book is very thoughtfully written, and I keep coming back to it again and again.
  • Most of the patterns are small, or have a smaller option, such as a wall quilt, a table runner or coasters. I don't have time to make eight full sized quilts, on top of everything else I want to make!
  • I've been craving handwork recently, and four of the eight patterns are needlepoint appliqué. (I am also tempted by Carolyn’s Collection Quilt pattern.)
  • I previously made the Aerial Grove pattern and loved it. (I also want to make another one!)
  • I started the Emphasis pattern in the aforementioned class at QuiltCon and could use some extra motivation to finish it.
  • This book includes a whole cloth quilt, which I have not done before.
I'm also layering on an additional level of challenge. As much as possible, I'm going to try to make these projects with fabrics already in my stash. I've already completed the Arcs Quilt and will post about it soon. So far, I am loving this challenge!

If you'd like to join the Quilt the Book challenge as well, it's super easy. All you have to do is post pictures of your projects on Instagram with the hashtag #quiltthebook or upload them to the Flickr group. I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

Monday, August 3, 2015

July 2015 in Review

This June, I did not complete a single project, although I made progress on several. That progress was rewarded with a spate of finishes in July. I already blogged about my Trials and Triangulations quilt, Bittersweet Shards quilt and Gemstone Geranium dress. (Also, I finally wrote a blog post about my Swoon Baby Quilt the Second, which was done months ago, but gifted in July.) At the end of the month, I finished up my Arcs Mini quilt, and three super speedy knit garments, which I will blog about in the weeks to come. All in all, I’m elated about everything I’ve finished so far this summer and excited about what I’m currently working on. Stay tuned for more sewing goodness!