Projects, projects…

I started working on a quilt for a friend’s daughter. She’ll be transitioning into a big girl (twin sized) bed soon, so she obviously needs a quilt! This has been the most collaborative quilt I’ve ever done, which has been such a fun experience. Her mom picked out the fabric, and this is what she chose:

Isn’t it so cute? Once the fabric was decided, we started talking about patterns. She showed me a lot of patterns that she liked, which we narrowed down to a few, and she told me to pick from the final contenders and surprise her. It’s been a lot of fun to work with someone who has had so much input into the whole process.

If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen these progress shots:

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IMG_5499 I’ll share more as it comes together!

In other news, after I got the Gammill all set up and in its proper spot, I was able to get the rest of my sewing studio assembled around it. IMG_5431 IMG_5428 The walls are bare, so I’m really looking forward to getting some mini quilts made up to give some color!

Hello, world!

That is what my Gammill would be saying if it could talk right now. In fact, I stitched it out:

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Finally, after buying this thing two-and-a-half months ago, it is assembled! The past couple of months have been very busy, with the move and then home improvement inside the new house. Not having the long arm assembled was driving me insane, so this last weekend, we finally got to it!

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I’ve only just begun to play around with it, and it is much, much different than the FMQ I am used to. The momentum of the machine is something that will definitely take practice to master handling, but that’s okay… all I want to do is practice anyway!

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Fun fact: we had to move this baby in through that little basement window in that picture. Good times.

Project Kitchen: Complete!

Ever since we got the keys to the new house, we’ve been working away like busy little bees on the downstairs. Mostly painting, just trying to get the house to be more “us”… our style. We painted all the trim white, and painted all the walls Perfect Taupe by Behr. Then, we turned our eyes to the kitchen. To give you an idea, this is what the kitchen looked like before:

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This photo is from the listing for our house. You can see the border at the top that we removed (it was a cute border! Coffee themed, which of course warmed my coffee-loving heart, but alas! Borders aren’t really my thing. If they were my thing though, I would totally buy that border!). The cabinets were builder grade oak, and the counters were a hunter green laminate.

Here’s another angle, after we painted trim and walls:

IMG_4700 The oak cabinets made everything feel really dark to me. And the light in the kitchen… oh boy. It’s a fluorescent box. It matches the cabinets but I felt like it was drawing your eye to it, and it really wasn’t anything worth looking at. So! We got to work.

I did the cabinets with Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformations in Quilter’s White (haha, right?), and the counters with ArmorGarage’s epoxy kitchen kit in Absolute Black (a review on this product to come in the near future- I have many thoughts, and a lot to say). I had originally planned on glazing the cabinets to give them an old world, antique look. However, once I got the Quilter’s White on them I loved the color so much as it was, I decided to skip the glaze entirely. I also added some hardware to the cabinets. I got a satin nickel spoon foot pull that I used on both the doors and the drawers. It’s clean and simple, without being contemporary and modern (which wouldn’t have gone with my overall theme and decor). Without further ado, here’s the after:

 

IMG_1296  I even painted that fluorescent box the same Quilter’s White that I used on the cabinets. That light is not long for that kitchen, but while I’m searching for one that I love, I figured I’d cover the oak (especially since it doesn’t match the cabinets anymore). Now it really seems to disappear into the ceiling, and I don’t even notice it.

After weeks of painting and polyurethaning and sanding and on and on and on, I am happy to take a break on home improvement projects for now. In a couple of weeks I have plans to refinish the dining room table, but first I’d like to finally, finally, play with my longarm.

All in all, I completely changed the look of my kitchen for about $550 (and it could have been less- I got the large kit for the cabinets and could have done a small. I will find a use for the extra though!).

Thanks for checking out my kitchen!

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Christmas Star (Blogger’s Quilt Festival)

Hurray! The Blogger’s Quilt Festival is back!

The quilt that I am entering was a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law, and you can read about the details here, if you’d like.

DSCF1251 The centers of the blocks are Kate Spain In From the Cold mini charms, and I used Moda Bella Solids Christmas Red and Kona White as well. I used Mountain Mist Cream Rose batting (100% cotton), and doubled it up. I wanted to combine straight-line quilting with free-motion, and I love the result!

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I quilted this on my Brother PQ1500s. The two layers of batting made this quilt quite heavy when it came time to quilt it, which was challenging! Even with the Machingers and Sew Slip, it was hard to move around.  All of the quilting is in the negative space and border so that the Christmas Stars would puff out.

I absolutely loved making this quilt, which was the final quilt I made in 2013.

DSCF1252 Thanks for stopping by!

 

2014 Quilt Goals Check-In

At the end of 2013 I hosted my Inspiration Palooza, and part of the whole idea was to make a list of quilt goals for 2014. So far 2014 has been filled with a lot of busy-ness and distraction, and now that we’re packing and dealing with the move I’m looking ahead to all of the projects I want to do. I thought it would be a good time to check in and see what my list actually was since it’s been so long since I made it.

Quilt Goals for 2014:

  • Try trapunto
  • Do some appliqué. Try different methods.
  • Make something with hexies
  • Get a sketchbook and sketch out some FMQ designs, and practice them
  • Make a binder of FMQ design samples that I like and can do
  • Donate a quilt to Project Linus
  • Make a quilt for our bed
  • Make quilts for family & friends

 

Well, Andrea… you were certainly ambitious in your youth.

I did get a sketchbook which I’ve filled practicing FMQ designs, so that’s good. I made a quilt for a friend, and I purchased the fabric for a quilt for our bed. If you follow me on Instagram, you might recognize it as this:

IMG_4509 Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille, of course. I’m deciding between Swoon or Fireworks for the pattern. Both are so lovely, and I love this fabric line so much!

Anyway, back to the list! Some things have been worked on, but there’s a lot left that I haven’t done. I need to get busy! I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate the items on the list into the projects that I have lined up for myself. And then I have the new long arm I want to play with… One thing’s for sure: when the move is finally over (will it ever be finally over?), I will be a busy, busy bee.

In which I buy a long arm machine.

When Mark and I were house-hunting, a “sewing space” was definitely on my wish-list. And when we found the house we ended up buying, I knew the finished basement would be a perfect space for that. I couldn’t help but notice that it was also a very large space. Perfect for say, a long arm frame. So, I scoured the internet looking for a machine in my price range. After doing some research on different types of machines, I decided that I wanted a machine that had an all-metal head (APQS, Gammill, Nolting, etc.), and an all-metal frame. A stitch-regulator was something I definitely wanted, but not an absolute requirement.

When a used Gammill Premier popped up for sale within a reasonable driving distance for a price I was totally comfortable with, I pounced.

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This machine is no-frills, so there’s no stitch-regulator. That’s pretty in keeping with the sewing machine I have now, which is no frills as well. The important thing (to me) is that it’s solid, as is the frame, and according to Gammill it’s from 1999, which is much newer than I was expecting to purchase.

And of course, all that throat space.

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My Brother has 9″ of throat space, and the Gammill has 18″. I’m so excited about that!

Seeing the machine in my house and not being able to play with it is torture, though. It will have to wait a few weeks until we’re all moved over into the new house, but I can’t wait!

Gimmick or Great?

 

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Spoiler alert: I think they’re all great.

As I was packing up my sewing gear for our big move, I was thinking about some of the quilting products I’ve purchased that have had a big impact on either the ease of my quilting or the finished result. I thought it would be fun to make a list with five of my favorites and do a post about them. I know that sometimes products like these can seem gimmicky, but in my experience all of them have been worth it. The best part is that most of these things are relatively inexpensive- the most expensive thing on this list is still less than $30!

Invisi-Grip. For less than $10, I think that Invisi-Grip is a great investment. It’s a clear material that you stick to the underside of your rulers. Accurate cutting is so important for accurate piecing, and I’ve found my cutting to be so much more accurate since I’ve added these to my most-used rulers. It really, truly keeps the ruler from sliding around while you cut.

Bobbin washers. These Little Genie Bobbin Washers help your bobbin thread feed more evenly. I have noticed that things seem to go more smoothly when they’re in my bobbin case.

Machingers. Before I tried these quilting gloves I wasn’t sure if they would make much of a difference, but I’m totally sold. They give me much more control over my quilt sandwich, and really do help me grip the fabric better.

Supreme Slider/Sew Slip. I use a Sew Slip personally, and I think it’s great. The slippery material helps your quilt sandwich slide freely over it, which is really, really helpful during FMQ. Just remember to disengage your feed dogs before you start, or you’ll sew right through it. Ask me how I know.

The Binding Tool. No surprise here- I love my binding tool. It makes binding completely painless, and you get perfect continuous binding every time.

And there you have it! My five favorite (inexpensive) quilting tools.

 

Christmas Star Quilt Guide

I’ve gotten a few requests in the months since I’ve made the Christmas Star quilt for a pattern. Since it’s been awhile since I actually made the quilt and I can’t find my notes on the top in the craziness of packing and moving, a full pattern is just not in the cards at this point in time. However, what I can do is give you a guide with the basic info you will need to make your own. It isn’t as detailed as a pattern would be, but I hope it helps nonetheless.

For starters, it’s made of 6 slightly modified Memory blocks.

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That is the basic layout. I say “slightly modified” because instead of a solid center square that matches the background fabric, I had a mini charm pack that I wanted to use, so I made a four-patch in the center. The blocks finished at 12″, so each of the HSTs and squares that go into that block must be 2.5″.

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When I assembled the blocks, here’s how I did it:

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I first assembled grey V’s and red corner darts into little squares all their own, then simply pieced them into rows, then pieced the rows together. Again, this picture was from an earlier planning stage, so the center square was solid here but ended up being a four-patch of mini charms. What I ended up with was this:

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Ta-da!

You’ll need 6 of those if you’re following my quilt, and each block has:

-4 solid white squares

-4 solid red squares

-8 red/white HSTs

-16 grey/white HSTs

All of those, again, at 2.5″.

Now for the tricky part- the sashing and border. The white sashing between the blocks finished at 3″ (so 3.5″ unfinished). The border was 2.5″ unfinished. As for lengths, I’m sorry to say I don’t remember off the top of my head, but you could easily figure it out or even adjust the size of them to suit your own tastes.

I hope that is helpful to at least give some direction for the top, and of course I’d be happy to answer any questions. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but after the move is over if I uncover my notes, I’ll come back and add more info.

Bear Quilt Finish!

Hurray! The Bear Quilt is done and on its way to its new home with baby Elijah.

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I love how a quilt looks when it’s all crinkly in natural light. The stippling gave it such an awesome texture, and I’m so glad that I decided to go with that when it came time to quilt it. The back is just as crinkletastic:

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Here’s a shot that more clearly shows the top:

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And of course, in the focal block I quilted Elijah’s name:

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I really love how this turned out, and I think it’s such a fun quilt for a little boy. The prints are so cute and colorful!

 

Quilt Stats!

The fabric is S’more Love by Eric and Julie Comstock for Moda, and some Mini Series Cream Bears yardage by Timeless Treasures. As always, I used Warm & Natural batting, Aurifil thread for piecing, and Isacord thread for the quilting.

 

 

Bear Quilt Progress!

I really got underway on the bear quilt over the weekend. It is for the newborn baby boy of a very good friend of mine. The theme of his bedroom is bears, and I found a really cute bear print. When I saw S’More Love by Eric & Julie Comstock for Moda, I knew the outdoorsy prints and bright colors would be a perfect complement. Here’s what the top looked like before I added borders:

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That center square that the diamond HSTs echo is adorable, and when I found it in the charm pack I wanted to make it a focal point. Here’s a close-up:

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If the print is too tiny to see, it says: “Guess who loves you!”

I’m still in the quilting stage, and deciding how to quilt it was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to do something new, and I feel like so many boy quilts end up stippled. I had some ideas but ended up scrapping them, because they were all too elaborate. The top is very busy, and the prints are as well. There isn’t really any negative space or low volume prints in this quilt, and I didn’t want the quilting to compete with what was already going on. In the end, I decided that stippling really did fit best. I really want this to have a nice, crinkly texture when it’s done, and this just seemed like a quilt that was made to be stippled. So, that is what I’m doing.

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I can’t wait to see it finished. I love the binding fabric I have picked out so much. This is shaping up to be one of my favorites!