Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October accomplishments, November goals

It's that time again!  I feel like I got a lot accomplished this month, even though I don't have any big finishes.

These were my top three goals for October:
1. Finish the cloth book (before the baby gets to old for it).  Done!  Although the baby has pretty much ignored them.

2. Move and adjust the quilter.  Done!  Thanks to my parents, it didn't take very long.  It is now in an alcove in the basement so that it is out of the play room (but still easy to watch the play room) and can be sectioned off if there is company.

3. Finish the girl baby blanket. Sort -of done.  The top is done and the pattern review comments were sent back to the author.  Another quilt got on the frame first though, so I didn't completely finish this.

I was also hoping to work on:
4. work on the heart quilt.  I restarted this a few days ago after a hiatus.  The block went together much better.  I made a few more tweaks, and we'll see shortly if that broke it or make it better.

5. make a pattern for the heart block.  Well, I worked on the paper piecing templates.  Does that count?
6. work on the I-spy quilt. 
All of the I-spy parts are sewn together and I'm starting to add the background.  This made a great leader/ender project for a while, but now I need to do more thinking.

7. make the wall hanging with fabric I won. 
No progress
8. pretend to work on scrap quilt.  Actually, I cut out a few pieces.  So I exceeded my goal.
9. work on duvet cover.  Moving along!  Tomorrow I'm going to see my parents and hopefully get a layout plan so I can figure out how many more pieces I need.

10. finish green coasters No progress
11. wall hanging for grandmother Almost all pieced.  She ended up away from her home for the next several weeks, so I moved up the priority on this because I want to make her something to hang in her new room.

12. Aunt's throw.  I've been reading the Value series and thinking these would be great fabrics to do something like that with.  No plans to start soon though.
13. Quilt blog hop giveaway winner quilts.  I got one of them and am getting close to done!

14. Quilt quilt for mother-in-law.  Haven't received these yet.
Addition #1: Pillow or table runner.  I was going to try really hard to not add any projects, but I won some fabric!  I think I made lots of progress on the rest of my goals though, so I'm making net progress.

My top three goals for November:
1. Finish quilting the kaleidoscope quilt for the blog hop winner.
2. Finish Grandma's wall hanging
3. Work on duvet cover - at least start to get all the pieces put together.

And some other things that I hope to work on:
4. work on the heart quilt
5. make a pattern for the heart block
6. work on the I-spy quilt
7. make the wall hanging with fabric I won
8. pretend to work on scrap quilt
9. finish green coasters
10. Aunt's throw
11. Pillow for family room
12. Finish Adding Up Nicely baby quilt

Other things that might happen if I get them:
13. Quilt blog hop giveaway winner quilts
14. Quilt quilt for mother-in-law

Linking up to WIP Wednesday, Just Three, and Fresh Sewing Day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Giving Quilt - book giveaway

Earlier this month I was contacted to do a review on The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I really enjoyed her last book, Sonoma Rose, and happily said yes to this too.

Photo from amazon
I'm not going to copy the summary sheet that we got, but you can go here to read the synopsis if you would like.

My review may contain some spoilers, so if you just want to enter the giveaway for the book I decided to give those details first.  Please leave a comment with what you are currently reading.  The giveaway will close Friday morning.

On to my review.

The book tells the individual stories of five ladies that have come together for a week to make quilts for project Linus.  I think that Ms. Chiaverini was trying to show how there no matter what your circumstances, there is always something you can do to help.  While I agree with that, I found most of the book to be rather depressing.  All the stories had hope and cheerful elements, but to me there was a thread of sadness through the stories.  The stories did feel real to me though...maybe that's what many lives feel like right now with the economic depression along with the normal sadnesses that can be found in life.   The good news is that things get mostly resolved in the last ten pages, which I found to be a little too convenient.  Overall I'd probably give the book a 2.5 on a scale from 1 to 5, where a 2 is "I'm not sure why I finished that book" and a 3 is "that was a decent book."

The other very minor thing that disappointed me was the front cover.  In the last book I read, Ms. Chiavernin's characters saw lots of different quilt blocks, referred to them by name, and then I could look to see what they looked like on the cover.  In this book the blocks weren't mentioned.  I sort of understand why some of them were shown on the front cover, but some I have no idea.

I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed here are (obviously) my own.  If you would like a chance to tell me that it is really a heartwarming story of people overcoming adversity, enter the giveaway! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival again!  Thanks to Amy at Amy's Creative Side for putting this together.

This time I'm showing my Tetris quilt.

It was the first QAL that I've done (with Happy Quilting) and I had such a fun time making it!  I also met several new friends while along the way.  The border is made of the pieces that I used in the quilt, in order.  Since they're not on the top or bottom I think it gives the quilt a downward feel, like Tetris.

The back is how my Tetris game would have played out if rows were deleted like an actual game of Tetris

I quilted a double echo around all of the Tetris pieces in matching thread, which had the wonderful effect of giving them a slightly 3D look.  The grey border was left unquilted, and the outer boarder was quilted only on the black part with squares and rectangles.

The back shows the quilting a little better, although you might need to enlarge the picture.

And finally, here is the quilt trying to climb a tree.  (Curious about why?  Check out the original story.)

Needless to say, quilts can't climb trees very well.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Linky number: 161
Finished quilt measures : 94″x 65″ (long twin)
Quilted by : Amanda Hilldore (myself)
Best Category : Bed Quilt, Group Quilt (if QALs count), Home machine quilted

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Half way done

I'm about half way done with the quilting on the kaleidoscope quilt.  This area had several lighter areas in it so you can see the quilting better.  Can I tell you how excited I was to be quilting with purple thread?!

Also, I find myself analyzing my stipple and other pictures of stipple that I see now.  There are three main areas: movement across the quilt, consistent density/size, and shape.  I feel like I do well with movement, my density is getting better, and my shape is ok.  I find it interesting to look at other stipples and see how they are formed...such a normal thing, but there is so much variety!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Layout options

I'm continuing work on the helix quilt, but have two different layout options. Which do you like better? (I know, they're a little hard to see...but please try to look past that.)

A: Points of the same color hit in the middle

B: points of different colors hit in the middle

note: the counts seem to have reset. :(  Last I looked, it was about 10 for A and 21 for B.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I mainly worked on two things this week...

1) Grandma's wall hanging.  She's in the rehab facility for a while, so I'm still hoping to get this to her before she leaves.  (Or by Christmas.)  It started pretty slowly, but I'm now moving along at a nice pace.
Based on Helix, I originally saw it first here.

I also started quilting Beth's quilt.  It's a quarter of the way done, and it is really hard to see the quilting on the front.  So here's the's really easy to see everything on the back.  (Maybe too easy!)

I'm using three different sized stipples.  The largest for the border, medium for the diamonds, and smallest for the square centers.

Joining up with WIP Wednesday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome back to Behind the Seams, a monthly party with a random topic.  The idea is to give us something to post about that isn't progress related, since so often I don't have enough interesting things to talk about.

This month is talking about an interesting place that you have found a thread or scrap piece. 

Threads get stuck to my clothes all the time, but they usually stay on my clothes until the wash.  But one day I found one on the toilet paper.  This isn't even something that I might brush up against to transfer the thread, so I have no idea how it got there.  But it made me smile.

Action shot recreated.
So what about you?  Where is an odd place that you have found threads?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Fabric

I found out at the beginning of the week that I won 1 yard of fabric from Fat Quarter Shop courtesy Richard and Tanya Quilts.  How exciting!  Except do you know how hard it is to pick one, and only one yard of fabric?  Especially when you're trying really hard not to add any projects to your list?

I narrowed it down to four and then to two.  I almost went with a blue one, but ended up with Bespoken Passion by Pat Bravo because I though it might match the green walls we have.

It does!  It is actually a really nice match.  So now I'm trying to figure out how to use it, even though it might be a while before I get to it.  A pillow or two?  A runner?

I also realized that I never showed the fabrics I got from my aunt a few weeks ago.  She bought them several years back intending to make a watercolor quilt.  She got as far as picking the fabrics (although I think there are a few other random fabrics in there too.)
I'd like to make her a throw out of the fabrics, but haven't quite come up with anything that I love yet.  That's's low on the list right now so I have a while to figure it out.  It's nice to be able to mull it over for a while.

Linking up with Finding Fifth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I worked on many things this past week...

1) Quilting design for a spiderweb quilt.  This is for one of the people that won the back to school giveaway that I had.  I'm excited about how it turned just to put it on the quilt!

2) Grandma's Quilt.  I wasn't going to start this quite yet, but she recently fell and is now in a rehab facility for about two months.  I'm hoping to finish before she leaves so that it can beautify her room.  This is what my normal "about to begin" sketches look like.

3) Duvet.  I have pieces in all sorts of stages, from only two pieces sewn together to blocks cut.

4) Baby quilt.  Piecing is finished and it's waiting to be quilted.  I'm going to try backing it with minky...I really like piecing backs, but I wanted to try something soft for once.  (And yes, I know that it is inside out for the picture.  Backs can be interesting too, right?)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interlocking Pinwheels

About a month ago I receive an email from Cheryl wondering if I'd be interested in trading pattern reviews.  I jumped at the chance.  I just finished up her top and will show it once I've completely finished it and her pattern is available, but in the meantime here is the one she reviewed for me!

It's called Interlocking Pinwheels...all the triangles are part of a pinwheel, but the thing I find interesting about the design is that my brain can only pick out one color pinwheel at a time. The rest of the colors fade into the background.

Cheryl made this with three different fabrics from Puttin' on the Ritz for Moda, Lily and Will for Moda, and the white.  It is bound with Puttin' on the Ritz Pink Plaid.

If you're interested in the pattern, you can get it here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meandering Stars

I finished up quilting my mother-in-law's quilt this weekend.  For the most part, I really like it.  But I'm going to start with the things that I would have done differently if I had to do it again.

1) I would not have used a variegated thread.  (Or I would have used a variegated thread that didn't blend in at all.)  I felt like some of the lines of the stars blended in too well with the blue fabric, so some of the star points disappeared.  To me it looked like I just goofed in the meander and added some straight lines.

2) I would not have put large stars in the outer border without using a ruler.  I have to remind myself that straight lines are hard to get straight.  Now, all the stars have a few waves in them so they're at least uniform, but I don't love them.  I think that small stars in the red border and something else in the blue border would have been better.

But, as far as the main quilt design went, I think it turned out really well.  The stars were nice because if I found myself making a line too straight I could just put a star in.  It also matches the theme of the fabric well.

So that I remember some of the tricks I've learned (or if you wanted to try), here are the things to keep in mind.

When making a star, the second straight line (after the first point) should go away from the direction that you want to go in the end.  (For the pictures below, you want to go in the direction of the arrow.)
Then you add the other legs and voila!  A star.

One common problem I had was forgetting to go the opposite direction for the second leg.  It isn't a big deal, you just need to be a little careful at the end.  Try to touch the line on the first leg without going over it too much.

The other common problem I had was ending up with a four pointed star.  You need to aim for the green circle, not the red circle.  The red circle seems like it should be correct because it is where two legs intersect, but it doesn't really work out.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sept accomplishments, October goals

So I finished my top three goals for September!  Hurray!
1. Quilt the Tetris quilt (hopefully finish by Sept 10).  Done and on time!

2. Do "Let's Get Acquainted" Blog post and tutorial (Sept 25) Done!

3. Finish the shower curtain.  Done!

The other things I have in the back of my mind.  I was going to try really hard to only add one thing.  I almost added four, but was able to combine two of them.  Hurray again!
 4. work on the heart quilt.  I worked on this for a little bit and then took a break for most of the month when it wasn't going well.
5. Make a pattern for the heart block. No progress.
6. Work on the I-spy quilt.  All the I-spy pieces are cut and I've started sewing them together.
7. Make the wall hanging with fabric I won  I have a design with dimensions figured out.
8. Continue working on cloth book No progress
9. Pretend to work on scrap quilt  Check!  I did a lot of pretending and no work.
10. Work on my parent's duvet cover  I've started cutting and sewing
11. Quilt quilts for my mother-in-law  One is done (post to come soon) and one I didn't receive yet

12. Quilt quilts for blog hop winners.  I didn't receive either of these yet.
13. Finish the green coasters. They're close
Addition #1: Make a wall hanging for my grandmother The fabric was purchased
Addition #2: Make a girl baby blanket Pieces are cut and sewing has commenced.
Addition #3: Make a blanket with donated fabric My aunt gave me a bunch of fabric that she was going to use for a quilt but decided that she doesn't have the time.  I'd like to make a throw with some of it for her.

My top three goals for October:
1. Finish the cloth book (before the baby gets to old for it).
2. Move and adjust the quilter.
3. Finish the girl baby blanket.

Really, those three things should be pretty easy to finish.  (I like to set easily accomplished goals so I can check them off!)  This month I'm also going to try really hard to not to add anything to the list.  We'll see how it goes...
4. work on the heart quilt
5. make a pattern for the heart block
6. work on the I-spy quilt
7. make the wall hanging with fabric I won
8. pretend to work on scrap quilt
9. work on duvet cover
10. finish green coasters
11. wall hanging for grandmother
12. Aunt's throw

Other things that might happen if I get them
13. Quilt blog hop giveaway winner quilts
14. Quilt quilt for mother-in-law

Lily's Quilts
traceyjay quilts