Thursday, March 23, 2017

Holiday Projects...Already?

I've been putting off this project, and the fabric's been collecting dust, so it was time to do something about it. I know it's still March - though barely - but Halloween fabrics are hitting the market soon, so I'm in the mood. When this happens, I have to get to work or the feeling fades pretty quickly.

I've had this bundle of fabric for a while, Spooky Delights by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabrics, and I'm finally putting it to use. I didn't even really have a real design idea when I sat down in front of the machine, but sometimes that's okay. Today it seems to have worked out, judging by block one anyway.

I decided on a cream spider print from the Happy Hauntings line by Riley Blake. Fun, right? Or creepy. I'll take fun or creepy.

I cut some 5" x 2.5" pieces from strip sets (which always feels like it takes foreeeeeeevvvveeer) and used a Dresden ruler to cut them.

Cutting is the worst part of quilting for me. I'll take ironing over it anyday, but pairing up the different fabrics for each block alleviates some of the boredom that task manifests. To lessen that monotony even more, I turned on one of my favorite Halloween films...

Halloween II. It's one of those movies I can recall seeing for the first time, and it's stuck with me all these years later. But back to the fabric!

Chain piecing the units through the machine is the fun part for me. Once I'm in the groove and let the machine do it's work by gobbling up each piece of fabric, I can feel the project coming together. A string of Dresden petals is kinda festive, like a series of pennants. Except even better, because they're Halloween pennants!

🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃

After that the Dresden plate comes together rather quickly.

It's cute enough on its own I think, but I figured I was going to be bored with just a plain circle in the center of the plate. That's when the idea clicked to add a Halloween-themed applique to the middle. It was also partially inspired by Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie sew-along. I had too many projects in the hopper or on hold (this being one of them) to participate, but I think this will fill that void. I'll to an a few different appliques to the center circle, but this is the first fella that came to mine.

Isn't he cute? My embroidery skills are really pretty basic, but I'd have to put them to use to give this fella some eyes and a mouth.

There he is in his final...resting place? I opted to applique him with black thread to give him a little more definition and make him stand out from the cream background fabric. His eyes aren't as even as I'd like them to be, but I shan't stress about it. I'll figure out some friends for him to be the center of the other blocks.

This is a quilt I'm looking forward to finishing. I just have to make sure I don't make it all up as I go along.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Present to You - Aunt Gracie's Garden

I am done with this quilt top. DONE! Over three months in the making, and I'm so thrilled to be done with it. Not only because I love it, but because it was a challenge. Piecing the blocks wasn't terribly difficult and, in pieces, the applique itself wasn't either. However, there are a lot of applique pieces and getting them on was so time consuming.

At first, I wasn't sure if I should attach the borders and then add the applique or add the applique to the border and THEN attach the borders. I'm glad I did the applique first. It's quite a chore cajoling a queen-sized quilt around the sewing table. The corner flowers on the border had to go on last after the borders were attached. Honestly, I was about 60 seconds from throwing things at one point. I'm pretty even tempered, but the moving all the fabric around - and, at one point, getting a grease spot from sewing machine lubricant on the white fabric (gone now, thank goodness) - was frustrating.

By the end of it, I had to trim up the outer border because it had frayed quite a bit after being moved around so much. Mitered borders aren't my favorite and they're far from perfect, but I'm mostly happy with the outcome. Next, she gets quilted. I can't wait for this one to be done! It's the first, and probably last, queen-sized quilt I'll finish. Famous last words...

The quilt is 83" x 105" so it's too big to get a flat shot of the whole quilt in my small house. Here are some photos. Enjoy!

I'm also linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts! She does beautiful work and I love her fun patterns!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chug Chug Chuggin' Along

Small aside: whenever I say "Well, hello!" - which it's often - I say it just like Brenda Dickson in her infamous Welcome to My Home video. Now that you know that...

Well, hello! Look at me offering TWO updates within the same six-month period. Trippy, right? Anywhats.

While I'm not finished with my Aunt Gracie's Garden quilt, I have made some final decisions. Finally. I'd been waffling back and forth between following the pattern and using rick rack for the vines and stems or going with traditional 1/4" bias strips. Let's explore the advantages.

Rick Rack

1/4" Bias Strips
Looks better
Lasts longer
More options

Yeah, rick rack was only offering me one advantage -- laziness. I threw that idea out the window and got all my bias strips ready for applique.

Pretty cute, eh? Before I did them, I made a test bias strip with one of my fat quarter scraps. I also used it as an opportunity to test the layout of the applique flowers and leaves.

I'm in love with it! I'm also in love, it seems, with putting it off as long as humanly possible. I'm not a hand-appliquer, but even doing it by machine can feel monotonous and never ending. I'll have to stop planting those seeds in my brain and just get down to it. I know that once I do, I'll enjoy the process. It's the mitered corners I'm really dreading, but one step at a time.

In the meantime, I was procrastinating yet again and made this little cutie pie potholder.

Almost too purty to use...almost. It was my first time binding with bias strips, and I'm mostly happy with the results. The part I'm not too pleased with is partially hidden under the loop. I'm not taking part in Lori Holt's most recent sew-along, but I wanted to put some of her fabric and templates to use. Hopefully, I'll have some actual progress on those applique borders to show you in my next update. year from now? No! Next week! 😀