Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Ribbons Finished!

At long last, Christmas Ribbons is all finished up!  I wish I could've taken better pictures, but it was dark when I left for work and dark when I got home... I took advantage of some afternoon sunlight in my office but it wasn't as nice as I would've liked!  I need to turn one of my office walls into a quilt hanging wall for photos :)

This post is my last-minute entry into the Christmas Quilt Show!  Stop by and take a look at all the other pretty Christmas quilts and enter yours if you have time!

All laid out on my office floor - the only place I got any natural light today...

The finished quilt measures 75" x 60" and it was made with one jelly roll and a little bit of print yardage from Basic Grey's Jovial (all my Christmas fabrics have been stashed away since last year!) and Kona Ash solid.

The Christmas Ribbons pattern is from the book Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett.

Just a little bit of piecing on the back!

The back is made with two different poinsettia prints - the main fabric was used on the border on the front of the quilt, and the black and red fabric was also used for the binding.  I love a pieced back to break up tiled look of the print - I think maybe I want to start using solids for backing.

Close up of the quilt top

I had considered placing all the ribbons randomly instead of making single-color diamonds.  I'm glad I kept them together, it gives the quilt a different look.  There's a couple on the one end that were the "odds and ends" ones since there wasn't necessarily an even amount of each color.

One of my favorite parts of the quilt

I didn't realize these three like patterns came together at a point until after I'd sewn it together.  I tried to keep things spaced out pretty well, but this one slipped past.  It ended up being one of my favorite parts of the quilt!

Back of the quilt

The quilting is difficult to see, but I quilted around the "ribbons" in the quilt - a diamond in the middle and then a lot of 45-degree angled stitch in the ditch.  I keep thinking I want to try some of the patterns from Angela Walters' book that I recently purchased, but I'm afraid of ruining it since I don't have much practice.  And it's going to be a Christmas gift so I don't have much time to practice!  So it will stay as-is :)

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you like my take on Christmas Ribbons!  Don't forget to visit all the other beautiful quilts in the show!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Swoon Block 3

My Swoon blocks are moving along quickly!  This weekend I finished up Block 3 and cut all the background fabric for the rest of the blocks.

Swoon Block 3
The points aren't as sharp as in the first block, but it's still darn good for how mine usually turn out :)  I've been Best Pressing the hell out of the fabric before I start.  It helps!

My trusty Fiskars rotary cutter has been working for me for over five years now - it started springing back into the safety position while cutting.  While cutting for Block 4, I finally had enough and went to Joann for a new one.  I thought about springing for the Olfa brand one, but the one I got was much cheaper and will accept the spare blades I have...  I also picked up a copy of Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. You can expect to see some of her designs in my quilts soon!

Then after buying a new rotary cutter, it was time for a hiking adventure!  I went to Ohiopyle and checked out the Cascades.  It was a little chilly, there's still plowed snow piles that haven't melted yet, but it was sunny and warm enough.  The waterfalls are so pretty!  I could've sat and watched the water all afternoon.  Cucumber Falls was also nice.  There weren't too many people around, which made it even nicer!

The Cascades at Ohiopyle

Hopefully Block 4 will come together tonight!  And the binding is partially finished on Christmas Ribbons - you should be seeing the finished product soon.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Simply Awesome

My half yard bundle of Simply Color is here!!! Its going to be so difficult to do any more Christmas sewing now that this has arrived...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Swooning and a Little FMQ

The Flurry of Swoon blocks has begun: two down... seven to go!  So far, I love it!  There have been a few headaches.  Especially with the directional prints.  The seam ripper has been my go-to tool for a few nights.  But I think I finally have the hang of it - and most of the mistakes are due to working too late at night.  Stop quilting BEFORE you get tired.  If you don't, you'll just end up tired and frustrated.

I shared my first block the other day.  It took me two evenings to finish my second block.  One night was cutting, the second night was piecing.  And ripping out stitches.  And piecing.

Swoon Block 2
 You can see that all the diamonds are aligned the same way - but the way the cutting instructions for the pattern are written, you can't get everything to line up properly (not an issue if you're using more flowing, floral type fabrics).  I found that out the hard way... but I managed to use the scraps to fix my problem!  Rather than use one big rectangle (with the diamonds going the wrong way), I sewed two smaller rectangles together to get the directional pattern to line up.  It's not the prettiest, but it's way prettier than having ONE rectangle going the wrong way.  It was so distracting to look at!

How to work with directional fabrics and the Swoon pattern:
two pieces oriented the correct way, sewn together.

So that's my Swoon Block 2.  It looks so pretty with Swoon Block 1!

Swoon Blocks 1 and 2 - so pretty!
I've got my other 14 fat quarters all paired up and ready to go - two of them aren't really in this photo...  But I'm really excited to see them all come together.  Especially now that I've got a grip on the whole directional fabric pattern thing!

Lovely Flurry fabrics all ready to Swoon!

I've been a little slow at work lately, so I wasted spent some time watching Leah Day FMQ pattern videos on YouTube.  I really liked one of her paisley patterns - I forget what exactly she called it.  But it looked fairly simple, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  First on paper, then with the sewing machine!
Paisley design - pen and paper

Paisley FMQ design
As you can see, it can use some work!  But I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt.  I was planning to use it on the Swoon quilt, but I'm considering incorporating it into Christmas Ribbons.  More to come on that as things come together - I have been doing some more straight-line quilting on it, but it's going to require a little something else - too many straight lines!

I'm linking this post up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced - be sure to stop by and see some beautiful projects!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Swooning Over Flurry

Last fall, I snagged a fat quarter bundle of Flurry and stashed it away.  Christmas Ribbons really put me in the mood for some more Christmas quilting and the infamous Swoon quilt has been on my mind for quite a while now.

Last week, the pressing and cutting began for Block 1 and yesterday evening, I finished it up!  It's the most perfect block I've ever made - all my points are sharp (as sharp as they're getting for me).  The only thing that's a little sloppy is that the edges didn't exactly match up, as you can see.  I never take time to square things up as I go, that's probably why.  That and pieces probably stretch when I press them.  I know I do it wrong all the time!

Flurry Swoon Quilt Block
Swoon Block 1

As I began cutting my two fat quarters for Block 2, I realized I was going to have a problem.  I'm using this diamond print where the red is in the above block.  It's a more directional print than you realize at first.  The way the cutting instructions are, this is going to present a challenge.  Today's free time will be spent combing the Swoon Along for information on how others dealt with this.  If you have any tips, please save me some time and share them with me :)  I only have FQs to work with, so that makes it a little more difficult. 

Needless to say, Christmas Ribbons has been sitting idle for a week or so...  I'm so excited about Swoon though!  But I should buckle down and finish up Christmas Ribbons - Swoon might not even be finished by Christmas.  Plus I have two other quilts to baste and quilt that are just sitting around.  UFOs just aren't as fun as starting up a new project.

Linking up at Plum and June - click the gray button on the sidebar to check out the other great projects this week!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Quilting!

It's hard to believe that Christmas is almost here (yeah, I know we still have another major holiday between now and then, but I don't have time to hold my Christmas sewing off until after Thanksgiving).  There's less than 50 days to go.  And unless you're lucky, you won't be sewing on all 50 of those days!

I told you about my Christmas Ribbons quilt a while back.  It's now all pieced and basted.  I even got a little bit of quilting in last night!

Christmas Ribbons on my floor at about midnight on Friday - completed top!
I used the same white/poinsettia print on the back as I did for the border.  There's a strip of the other black poinsettia print down the back and that will be used for the binding, too.  Right now I'm quilting all of the big "diamonds" that I made with the colors - just stitch in the ditch around them.  And then I thin I'll go in and do the inside diamonds and then maybe do some kind of design in the center?  I'm not sure, and I'm still open to suggestions!

Have you ever had the needle come out while you are sewing? It doesn't break, the needle holder-inner thing isn't loose, the needle just rips right out of the machine and the thread stays intact and you have to loosen the needle thingy and put it back in?  That keeps happening while I'm quilting this thing!  Anyone have any ideas?  I think I read once that there's a front and back to batting and that can cause problems.  Could that be my problem?  Help is appreciated :)

I've also been doing a little retail therapy (we haven't seen the sun in Pittsburgh since before the hurricane - the hurricane was just annoying for us, no major damage, but it's been rainy or at least cloudy ever since... spending money on fabric is my way of adding sunshine to my life? maybe?) and I just ordered a FQ bundle of Bella and also 50 fat eighths from Lizzy House.  The fat eights won't ship until December 1...  it's going to be tough to wait it out!  The Bella FQs are in the mail today!  Now to figure out how to use them...

UPDATE: Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced! Be sure to take a look at all the other great WIPs this week!  Oh and I started cutting into my stash of Flurry last night for a Swoon quilt!