half-rectangle quilt

half-rectangle quilt

My mom and I are new members of the New England Quilt Museum.  Last month we went to check out a couple of exhibits and as we entered, we were asked “Are you here to see the quilts or the fabric sale?”  Fabric sale?!?  Apparently we picked the one Saturday they have each year to hold a gigantic fabric sale.  We checked out the exhibits and yes, went to the sale – it was for a good cause, after all :-)  The idea was to fill a bag for $X, with all the money going back to the museum.  This was one of the most exciting and overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had as a quilter!  So much fabric!  So many decisions to make!  I’m so picky!  And I didn’t really have any quilts on my to do list, so I couldn’t imagine what I’d do with all of the fabric!  We each ended up with ~7lbs of fabric and as a testament to how stressed it made me feel to have that much fabric in my home, I bored my bf to tears with taking about my anxiety over it all weekend.

So I did what any self-respecting quilter would do – I whipped together a quick quilt just to get some of that 7lbs of fabric out of my house!  It’s a half-rectangle quilt and due to the fabric that was available at the sale, is kind of a throwback to all those calico quilts the pioneer women made.

half-rectangle quilt

I swapped a couple of rows to make them upside down just to make the quilt a little more interesting.

half-rectangle quilt

half-rectangle quilt

Isn’t this backing wild?  It’s from IKEA and I just love it.  I love how traditional the front of the quilt it and how modern the back is.

half-rectangle quilt

If you look in the upper right corner of this picture, you can see a stack of fabric on top of a plastic bag.  The bag has all of my quilts that are ready to be turned into Project Linus; the stack of fabric is just *some* of what I got at the sale.  Eeep – time to make more quilts!

quilting guilt

Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not working on a super complex, thousand piece quilt, with the latest and greatest fabrics. Or maybe it’s not all guilt, but envy too. The truth is, that I can’t run out and buy fabric whenever I want to; I kind of have to work with what I have and use what I have, which tends to be leftovers from previous projects. This means that I plan my quilts around what I have and what’s possible with the materials available to me without buying yardage because I need it or just because I like it. As a result, my “want to make” list is a lot longer than is currently feasible (seriously – lately I’ve been obsessed (obsessed!) with making a lonestar quilt!) with what I have and that means that I end up making something simple because fabric limits are well, pretty limiting.

On the other hand, sometimes making something quick and easy is just what I need – something that I can work on while letting my mind process everything else that’s stressing me out.  Like this quilt:
fat quarter quilt

I’m almost embarrassed at how easy this quilt was to make – I just used scraps and fat quarters.  The larger squares are 8″ and the smaller triangles started out as 4″ squares.  Green is my least favorite color but oddly, I had a bunch of green fat quarters that I’m not sure I would have ever found the desire to cut into them, had I not had the blue scraps to match with.  I kind of love how it turned out.

fat quarter quilt

The binding is mega-scrappy.  Seriously, there must be close to 30 separate pieces in that binding!  They all match the fabric on the front of the quilt.  I did the double-fold method of binding and I’m much happier with how it came out this time.  It’s such a neat and tidy finish.

fat quarter quilt

I had nearly a solid piece of yardage for the back that I’ve had for a long time, but it wasn’t quite enough.  So I cut it up and added the veggies in the corner.

fat quarter quilt

The black has a really cute button pattern on it!  And the veggies are left over for some napkins I made as a gift for Christmas.

fat quarter quilt

I tried a little “free hand straight line quilting” on this one.  Yikes.  Not my best work.  I need to think more about planning out how I’m going to do the quilting before I feed it through my machine.  I took an intro to longarm quilting class recently and it totally blew my mind!  I’d never even seen a longarm machine before the class and only had a rudimentary understanding of what longarm quilting meant.  I’m hoping to transfer some of those skills to what I can do on my trusty Janome.

fat quarter quilt

This quilt is for Project Linus.  I’ve only made four quilts for Project Linus since last summer.  I can’t believe last year around this time I was finishing up my 10th!

Scrappy Trip Around the World – done!

About two years ago, my Instagram feed exploded with quilters making scrappy trip around the world quilts.  Seriously, I think every quilter on the planet was making them.  And honestly, I wanted to make one too.  This was the first time I ever felt the need to jump on a quilting bandwagon, and the need was strong.  It’s a cool quilt and is really easy to put together.  Why did it take me almost two years to finish it?  Well, it’s a “scrappy” quilt so I had to wait until I had enough scraps to make it!  I’m so glad I took my time with this one and I am super glad that I used all scraps from previous projects.  I can look at the fabric in every block and remember the original project, kind of like a memory quilt.

This is the largest quilt I’ve made and it’s the first one I’ve made since I started quilting that I’m keeping for myself.  I love it and I love looking at it and thinking about all that I’ve made and all that I’ve learned since I started quilting.

scrappy trip around the world quilt

scrappy trip around the world quilt

The quilting is a simple straight line grid which I did on every other row.  The quilting was a beast!  There was too much quilt to wrestle with in my sewing room so I ended up putting my kitchen table in the middle of my living room and quilting it there.

scrappy trip around the world quilt

scrappy trip around the world quilt

The back is random bird fabric that I got from IKEA a few years ago and never used.  It fit the entire quilt perfectly, with no cutting or weird geometry needed.  Have I mentioned how much I love using IKEA fabric for the backs of my quilt?

scrappy trip around the world quilt

scrappy trip around the world quilt

I am so in love with this quilt!  I almost – not really! – wish the weather would stay cool so I could use it.  But summer in New England can be super short (unfortunately), so I’m sure I’ll be using the quilt daily soon enough.

scrappy trip around the world quilt

My next multi-year scrappy quilt is now in progress :-)

fabric challenge

My quilting guild participated in a fabric challenge over the summer (yes, I am waaaay late in both making the quilt and posting about it). I’d never done one before but I was excited about the prospect of getting free fabric and seeing what I could come up with.  I have to confess that when the fabric came in, I was a little underwhelmed.  The fabrics were a lot lighter (ie more pastel-y) than those that I usually use and there were also some very clear patterns in the fabric that I was nervous about chopping up. We received 1/8 yard of five fabrics so there wasn’t a lot to work with. I ended up making a fairly simple quilt.  The hardest part was figuring out the size of the half-square triangle stars so that, finished, they’d be 5″ blocks.  Quilt math can be tricky!  The grey stars were my test ones so they’re a little off.
Michael Miller fabric challenge

The fabric grew on me as I worked with it, especially the two orange-y fabrics.  I kind of love the back of the quilt more than the front (you can see the fabric patterns a little more clearly here too) but on the whole, I’m a little ambivalent about the quilt.  It’s going to Project Linus so maybe there’s a kid out there who’s going to love it?  I hope so!

Michael Miller fabric challenge

The most exciting part of the quilt was that in the middle of working on it, I got a walking foot for my sewing machine!  I’ve been using my regular sewing foot for all my quilting and it’s been a bit of a bear – uneven stitches, puckering, fabric pulls and other problems.  I could never understand how other quilters get their quilting to look so perfect on a regular machine and thought it had something to do with my basting process.  I’ve only figured out how to quilt straight lines with the walking foot, but it was an absolute dream to work with!  While I have yet to master quilting in a straight line, you can see in the close-ups my even stitches and pucker-free quilting.

Michael Miller fabric challenge

I even used the walking foot on the binding and it was the first binding I’ve sewn where I wasn’t wrestling with my quilt the entire time!

Michael Miller fabric challenge

The walking foot is a bit of a game changer – I totally feel like I’ve cracked the door open to the top secret, members only, secret quilting club just a tiny bit :-)

Michael Miller fabric challenge

Economy block quilt

Every once in a while, my instagram feed explodes with millions of pictures of the same quilt.  Some quilter will latch on to a pattern and start making an amazing version and then suddenly everyone else is on the bandwagon.  I usually sit on the sidelines and admire the pretty pictures but have never participated.  That is, until the #economyblockalong came around.

economy block quilt

 

It’s a pretty easy pattern – a block within a block within a block – and I saw people making them in two sizes, one that had 5″ squares and one that had 12″ squares.  I went with the 12″ squares to use up some of my leftover fabrics.

If you’re a little tired of seeing the same fabrics being used over and over in all my quilts, join the club!  I cannot wait to see the last of some of these scraps go.  The good news is after this quilt, my scrap pile is rapidly dwindling :-)

I’m slightly torn over whether I think this quilt is super ugly or kind of bright and funky.  Like all my quilts, they sort of grow on me as I work on them and by the time I’ve finished, I’m usually madly in love with the quilt and want to cry with sadness at the thought of giving them away.  But then I get a grip and put them in the pile of completed Project Linus quilts.

 

economy block quilt economy block quilt

I used the last of the chickens for the back.  I love these chickens!

economy block quilt

This is Project Linus quilt #4.

I other news, I made an impulse fabric purchase in February!  I never do this.  Other than fat quarters, I mostly buy fabrics with specific projects in mind.  But I was at an event at Gather Here with my quilt guild and another member was carrying around a bolt of the most lovely chambray.  She was going to use buy some yardage for a quilt back.  I politely asked if I could see the bolt for a second and zipped right over to the register and bought a couple of yards.  It’s been a long winter and a long time since I’ve attempted sewing clothes so my plan is to make another Laurel dress to get back in the groove.  I’ve already cut out the fabric; I just need to sew it together and let the weather get a little warmer!

chambray fabric

chambray fabric