Saturday, February 26, 2011

Drunk Love Quilt - Finished!

Yeh! It's finished! I'm so happy with how it came out and boy, did I learn a few lessons along the way! Here it is this morning pre-washed in the snow. I couldn't wait to take a picture of the finished product:)
As I was getting it ready to be washed, Miss G had to "jump" all over it and insisted I take a picture of her so this is for her...
Where to start with all of the "lessons" I learned or "things to be considered"....

Concentric Square Quilting

I started off with quilting these squares working from the centre of the block and outwards. My biggest mistake was in not rolling my quilt tightly enough while quilting and maneuvering it. I found I was stuffing the quilt through the arm of my machine and it was take an excessive amount of time to quilt each block with all the twisting and turning - especially working from inside the square and outwards. What I realized after struggling with over half of my blocks in this manner was that if you rolled your quilt tightly it was a lot easier to pass it through the arm of the machine. Duh! It seems obvious but I think it's worth repeating for those of us out there who have done the same thing!
Once I started rolling it more tightly, it became a lot easier to quilt the actual blocks. The second thing I changed was that I began to quilt from the outside of the block and worked my way inward. I preferred this method much more as it was easier to maneuver around the block at first and you could envision your overall concentric square quilting (hope that makes sense). I found I started to not quilt as densely and left the centre block (especially if it was a big square) unquilted so that the pop of colour was left untouched and you didn't see a bunch of white thread. Again, just a matter of personal taste, not necessarily a right or wrong thing.
I wished that when I began quilting it I had left some of the centre blocks untouched.
Having said that there are some blocks that I think really look cool from the back - ones that were densely quilted.
I also think it's important to consider what effect you're wanting to achieve in terms of the concentric square quilting. I decided not to free motion the squares and used my walking foot so that I could achieve a more straight line effect. One is not better than the other - again just a question of personal taste. Since I decided on straight quilting lines, I wish on some of my initial blocks that I quilted parallel to the seam lines. When I look at some of the first blocks I quilted, my eyes are distracted by the quilting instead of some of the last blocks I quilted.
Wow, I must sound really picky:) Don't get me wrong! These are just some of the things I felt that next time I wanted to think about first before I tackle concentric square quilting again. (I do have another drunk love quilt in the making...)

Machine Binding Tips

My two "go to" tutorials for bindings are CrazyMomQuilts and RedPepperQuilts
Rita at RedPepperQuilts actually talks about not only bindings, but tackling machine bindings. I too am not a fan of sewing anything by hand. That's probably taboo of me to say (haha) since I know a lot of you enjoy the process of sitting down and hand sewing a binding. I admire you! I have tried both methods of first attaching the binding to the back and machine stitching the binding to the front and also attaching to the binding to the front and stitching in the ditch to attach the binding to the back (Rita at RedPepperQuilts' method). I thought I would try Rita's method for this quilt and I love the result! I used my Accuquilt Go Fabric Cutter to cut out the 2.5 inch strips (my favourite is 2 1/4 strips but heh, I have the cutter and it's nice and convenient). Once I had my binding strips attached using Amanda's method
I then pressed them in half and using a 1/4 inch seam, attached the strips to the FRONT of my quilt. Once I ironed this, I then pinned the back so that the fold of the strip just barely overlapped the sewing line that you had just sewn. I flipped it back to the front as Rita suggests and stitched in the ditch along the binding. Now, I have to say there were definitely some spots that I didn't always catch by stitching in the ditch so I had to go back and attach....but that was just a matter of paying attention to how I pinned it. I found that at first I was folding back the binding to much and then once I stitched in the ditch, the sewing line was almost in the middle of my binding and not at the outside edge. I ripped this out, made sure that I didn't over fold my binding to the back and voila, a much better result!

The corner were sometimes tricky but I know that once I'm able to practice a bit more, they will become easier. The trick to corners are to pin, pin, pin.

Piecing the Back
Can anyone say....make sure your back is big enough before you pin and quilt! Sure, I know this is quilting 101, but I ignored that little voice inside my head that said, I think it might be a little too small and proceeded anyway! Ah...those voices are there for a reason aren't they!! haha While I didn't do this before on any of my other quilts, I did on this one - and let me tell you what a pain in the you know what it was to correct. I won't bore you any longer with this story...enough said:) I'm happy to say that after all of that correcting, the end result is still really nice and you can't tell as I simply added a few extra seams here and there of the same fabric so it's pretty continuous! Lucky!! I'm done! Hope these little tidbits were in some small way helpful to any of you out there. I guess each quilt is a journey!
I want to say a big "THANK YOU" to all of the ladies from the Pieced Together Quilting Bee 2 who helped me to make blocks for this quilt! Without them, there would be no Drunk Love quilt!!
I can't wait to give it to my stepson tonight!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

13 Weeks and Counting

I'm obsessed with baby photos...can you tell?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Single Girl Quilt Along

I've joined the Single Girl Quilt Along! I'm excited to use my DS pattern as I've had it for some time. At first I was going to use some of my Fresh Cut fabrics, but decided to do something totally different at the last minute. I've been swapping for some plum/purple fabrics recently and decided to use those in combination with some light pinks and fuschias. I really like my choices so far (except for the AH print and MM dots(brown/pink) as I think the scale is too big). Taking pictures of your fabrics really gives you a different perspective - so it jumped out at me once I saw the photo. I think I'm going to do this more often.
I used template plastic to trace out my pattern pieces and instead of tracing them onto fabric and then cutting them out with scissors, I opted to use my rotary cutter and proceeded carefully as the top and bottoms of the pattern pieces have slight curves to them. Way easier as I hate tracing things out. I'm making the baby size quilt so I need four pieces of fabric for each pattern piece. I have half of my fabrics cut out so far...marathon last night while the baby was napping and Miss G was visiting her Grandma's for an overnight for the first time! That's a whole other story:)
My plan is to intersperse the colours throughout the rings. I'm finding I don't have enough plum/purple fabrics and I really need to be on a fabric diet these days! I put a posting about this on flickr as I'm willing to swap for some scraps. Each pattern piece is roughly 3.5-4 inches square and I'm needing 4 pieces in total of each piece of fabric. I'd love to have some Anna Maria Horner as she has quite bold colours in her lines...Chocolate Lollipop, Bohemian for example. The SG pattern doesn't really call for great quantities of fabric (at least for the baby size), just a variety.
You can find the Single Girl Quilt Along flickr group here
Just ask for an invitation and take a look at all of the inspiring photos!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's to you! Hope everyone has a wonderful day - treat yourself and others well:)

Here's Little Miss P who is 12 weeks old today...hard to believe! We feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

Little Miss G is all excited about Valentine's Day and specifically Tinkerbell. Her Dad recently took her shopping to a hardware store and came home with a Tinkerbell sleeping bag. For the past few nights, she's been "camping out" in her room - all I can say is "whatever works" when it comes to bedtime routines!
Amidst our Tinkerbell Valentine's all over our dining room table, I made her some Valentine's barettes that I saw here. I have to say they are the easiest things to whip up and they are so cute! All you need is a little bit of felt, a 3/4 inch barette, some pinking shears and a tiny bit of emroidery thread.

I'm thinking I might make some for the girls in her class and attach it to their Valentines and maybe some lollipops for the boys. Seriously, these barettes are so cute!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quilt Story Block Party

I'm so excited to submit my quilt block to Quilt Story's Block Party! I've never entered any type of contest for my quilting/sewing before!

I have had a fascination and love for all things circular when it comes to quilts. I'm also a huge fan of Denyse Schmidt so when I came across her "What a Dish" baby quilt a few years ago, I fell in love! I loved the palette and best of all the design! I was lucky enough to have met her and Heather Ross in August 2009 when I attended the Weekend Sewing Workshop in Vermont. Of course I had to ask her, how did she make the What a Dish quilt. She said that it was bias strips that were appliqued on to the quilt blocks. In my mind, I kept that is a lot of work....just look at how many concentric circles there are in that quilt! Beautiful, but a lot of work!!

I know a lot of people make their circles a la Dale Fleming (six minute circle technique) and I loved Dioramarama's Tutorial that I came across a few years ago. Personally, I love the finished look of a pieced circle. I looked around the internet and through Flickr but I never came across a pieced circle that had more than two rings in it. This is when I happened to see Quilt Story's posting about their Block Party - I knew this was the inspiration I needed to make a block with concentric circles - something I've never done before!!

Here is my submission...what do you think? I'm thinking this should be made into my first tutorial. As for this block, I think I'm going to turn it into a pillow for my daughter to go along with this quilt.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dilemma...need your input!

Remember this quilt?

Notice the leaves on the ground? That's how long it's been since I've tackled the quilting on it!! It was supposed to be given to my stepson as a present for him LAST YEAR and it still isn't completed! Now, to be fair, I have been busy with having another baby and all, but I can't hide behind all of my excuses anymore:) Ahemmmm..(embaressed look on my face)

I'll be totally honest, I have been avoiding it! The quilting process is driving me crazy and I've run into a few problems! I'm turning to all of you and the Workshop in Process participants (over at NaptimeQuilter) for input.

I'm having a heck of a time quilting it because doing concentric squares on my machine is a killer! I'm having to stuff the whole quilt through the arm with each turn of a ends up taking me way too much time. I feel it's a completely daunting task. I can't imagine having to still do another 15 squares of this quilt! At this rate, it will be a present for my stepson next year! Ahh...

Here is a pic of the quilting:
Now, I have to say, I really like the look of this particular square but they're not all like this one.
I guess the issue I have is that if it's supposed to be linear it should look that way....

Another issue is the back. I must have pinned it a bit off. I know I could still fix it by adding a few extra rows on the side and bottom but I'm afraid when I finally square it up before adding the binding, it's going to look funny.

I have found the name of a woman who has a long arm machine that I could rent. I have to say I'm seriously tempted to rip out all of my quilting and just stipple it. That's one solution.

Another thing I've considered is to rip out the quilting and do free form concentric squares a la Malka Dubrawsky ( Here is an example from the cover of her book (bottom right):

I bought one of those Heras Quilt Markers and thought I would give it a go before I do anything rash - like ripping out the entire quilt. If that works, I could always free form my squares following the marks giving the look of using a walking foot (hope that makes sense).

So, what do you think? I'm leaning towards the Heras marker route first....ripping it out, fixing the back and freeform square quilting would be my second option. Of course the thought of all of that seam ripping makes me cringe and then I'm wondering if ripping it out, will you see the old marks? Would love to hear your thoughts!!!