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!

Lizzy House Meadow Quilt

Lizzy House Meadow Quilt

In October, I took the Meadow Quilt class from Lizzy House.  It’s not a pattern that’s sold commercially – you can’t make it unless you take the class directly from Lizzy House.  Lizzy is a fabric designer and pattern maker.  I jumped at the chance to learn how to make this mysterious quilt and learn some new skills.  Boy did I learn A LOT!!  Scroll down beneath the pics of my awesome (seriously, right?  I love it!) quilt for more details on what I learned :-)

Lizzy House Meadow Quilt

Planning stage

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Half way there – note all the puckering in the finished blocks

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Top is done!

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Finished!

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It’s a big quilt – covers the entire top of a queen size bed

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Close-up of the petals

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The color block on the left is IKEA fabric from a few years ago.

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I love the way the longarm quilting came out.

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On the longarm

-This was a really fun class. We met four nights for three hours each night. It was intense but I really loved sewing with my classmates.  I’d like to do more sewing with others.

-Lizzy teaches the class in a very thoughtful way. It’s not the typical “here’s the pattern – go for it!” type of class. We talked about color and fabric selection and she’s very hands on with the complex construction of the blocks. It was suggested that we bring 24-48 fat quarters or fat eights so we’d have enough variety in our petals. I think I brought 20ish and thus had some repeats. I was a little overwhelmed by all the fabric on the table when we all started testing fabric for the layout. I actually bought some new fabric for this quilt (amazing, right?) and then used a lot of what I had. I knew I was going to keep this quilt, so I just picked colors that made me happy and it all worked out. Lizzy helped with the layout so the colors of the petals “flowed”. I am super happy with the fabric colors and patterns I used!

-The construction of the blocks was not for the faint of heart and was quite time consuming. We did some magic involving freezer paper, glue, starch and a lot of ironing. I learned that I don’t iron correctly – not the old “press to one side! no, press open! argument, but I’ve always ironed from the back of the quilt and Lizzy did it from the front and I have to admit, it really cut down on some of the seam puckering.

-Sewing curves is no joke, as in, I just about cried when I got home and had to finish my blocks. It’s so clear to me now that quality and weight of your fabric matters, especially when sewing curves. I used something lightweight and it was a nightmare to work with and created a LOT of puckering in the center of the blocks. I even tried to trim the pieces before sewing them together but it didn’t really help.

-Because of the puckering, I longarm quilted it. The owner of the shop actually had to move the fabric around the needle as I quilted it so as to reduce the puckering. It was insane, but really, any other option would have resulted in a super hot mess and a very upset me. I used yellow thread and chose a fairly open quilting pattern and it totally worked out! I love it so much!!

-The yellow/green/brown fabric on the back is some fabric from IKEA I got a a long while ago (the selvage says the design is from 2007). I’m not sure why I bought it but I kind of love how it came out – so dramatic and bold.

-I moved in December and I don’t really have somewhere to photograph my quilts outside yet.  There’s no natural place to hang them.  I’ll have to figure something out – now that spring is here, the outside is starting to look so green and pretty and it’s going to be the perfect backdrop for quilt photos.

-Though this was a tough quilt to make, I’m really happy I took the class and persevered.  I love how it came out and I absolutely love seeing on my bed every night :-)

IKEA charm quilt

longarm quilting

I’ve been working on a top-secret project that I’m hoping to finish soon.  Actually, I’d be pretty psyched if I just finished it!  It’s a ginormous project and it’s been really hard to work on it in my tiny apartment.  It’s so big that there’s no way that I could fit it through my sewing machine for quilting and I’m pretty sure that it would take forever and I’d totally lose my mind in the process.  I looked at hiring someone to do the quilting for me and was flabbergasted at the cost.  A few people in my quilt guild suggested that I learn how to do my own quilting on a longarm quilting machine at Laurena’s Longarm Quilting.  I took an intro class a few months ago and it kind of blew my mind.  I’d actually never even seen a longarm quilting machine before!  We went through the basics in the class and I went home and promptly threw together two quilts with which I could practice using the longarm so when it came time to quilt the secret project, I wouldn’t be a total novice.

The first quilt I made was from a “charm pack” from IKEA.  I think it cost me $5 :-)  True charm packs are 5″ squares but these squares were closer to 8″.  The fabric is lightweight canvas and I’m pretty sure they’re scraps from yardage that they couldn’t sell (some of the fabrics are a little weird).  I traded some squares with my mom and mixed in a few cuts from some random stuff that I bought in IKEA’s discontinued area.  It’s kind of a weird looking quilt (look at those faces!) but it was perfect for my first attempt at the longarm.

IKEA charm quiltIKEA charm quiltIKEA charm quilt
IKEA charm quiltThis was a perfect quilt for the longarm. Because of the canvas fabric, it was tough to sew through, tough to iron and tough to work with. I used an old white sheet of my parents’ for the background and chose a swirly pantograph for the background. It took way longer to get the quilt set up on the longarm than it did for me to do the first few rows! Eventually, I managed to get into a rhythm, where I did the set up, sewed a couple of rows, rolled the quilt to the next blank section, did more set up and then sewed more rows. It was ridiculously fun!  One of the things that I like about sewing/quilting is that there are always opportunities to learn something new and after spending close to four hours (I did two quilts) at the longarm quilter, my brain was overloaded with new information and I was totally pumped about the day.

IKEA charm quiltIt’s a little tough to see the quilt pattern on the white backing but I think you can see the swirls better on the close-ups.  My swirls are far from perfect, but as Laurena said this is my “artistic interpretation” of the pattern.  I chose this pattern because I thought a lot of squares need circles for balance.

IKEA charm quilt
IKEA charm quiltI absolutely love how it came out.  And like all of my other ugly duckling quilts, I love this quilt :-) The quilt is so dense and thick with the canvas fabric and all the thread used in the quilting!  It will be perfect for a cold fall day when I refuse to turn on the heat – a day that will be here too soon I’m afraid.  And I love that I have a new skill in my sewing toolbox.  I never really thought about the quilting process while I was making a quilt but I can really see how quilting like this can really compliment a quilt pattern.  I’ll share the other quilt I finished at the longarm in my next post.

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 :-)