18 December 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed...

I haven't really done any sewing in at least 6 weeks due to, well, life. However, for the last two weeks I've been sick and don't want to leave my house so I am fighting what will hopefully be the last epic battle with the Fly South quilt.

Loki was "helping" as per usual...

So far, I've ripped out yet another set of quilting, re-ironed and starched the top and back into submission, spray basted, regular basted, and even bled on this quilt.

I'm not kidding about the blood: I stabbed myself basting

As one of the first tops I started after buying a sewing machine back in January, I very much want to add it to the list of finished quilts for 2013. The funny thing is that I actually made two versions of this quilt and never posted the finish for the other one because I wanted them to go up together. So I've had what I consider version 2 completed and gifted for months while the original has been sitting around mocking me all this time. *sigh*

25 October 2013

A Feminine, But Not Girly, Finish

This week I finished my second Korea-inspired quilt! Woohoo! The specific inspiration for this one was a railing at one of the palaces in Seoul, which is why I'm still calling it Gung Mun which means Palace Gate. I suppose I should call it Palace Railing but my Korean vocabulary is quite limited...

The inspiration

Anyway, here's the finished product:

It was finally sunny this morning so I could snap a pic!

Pattern: Designed by me! I made a tutorial for it and everything.
Finished Size: 45"x60"
Fabric: The center of each block is a fabric I got in Korea and the design was sort of made to showcase it. The peach, aqua, and white are all by Moda and found at my LQS. The backing is from the Perfectly Perched line by Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman, and for binding I did a two color magic binding deal with the peach and a marbled pink that I had lying around from another [currently unfinished] project.

You can see the quilting lines pretty well from the back

Quilting: straight line quilting to mirror the lines in the white using a variegated pink for the top and an aqua for the bobbin. This is the lightest quilting I've ever done by a long shot! In fact, at some point I might end up popping a few more lines in for good measure.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Puff - I haven't washed it yet, but I am expecting an epic crinkle.

magic binding and straight-ish line quilting

My favorite thing about this quilt is the way the colors turned out. It is the most feminine quilt I have made so far, but it doesn't feel girly. This is a grown woman's quilt!

Now if only I could convince the cats of that fact...

Linking to Finish it up Friday at crazymomquilts! For some unknown reason, I'm also entering this quilt into the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Throw Quilt category.

16 October 2013

Gung Mun (궁 문) Tut

This is my first tutorial/pattern whatever so sorry in advanced if it's a little... scattered. Anyway, I'm going to show you how to make this:

So that you can make this:

What you need for each block:
1 4.5" square of center fabric
1 1.5"xWOF (minmum 28") strip for inner color (aqua)
      -cut 2 1.5"x9.5" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x4.5" strips
1 1.5"xWOF (minimum 35") strip for outer color (peach)
      -cut 4 1.5"x2.5" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x2" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x10.5" strips
1 5"xWOF (minimum 24") strip for background (white)
      -cut 4 2" squares
      -cut 4 5"x2.5" rectangles
      -cut 4 4.5"x2.5" rectangles

It should look like this:

For piecing, I find it easiest to work from both ends at once.

1. Sew all the short outer fabric strips to their corresponding background pieces. Iron seams open for best results (I didn't, but I should have!).

2. Sew those units to their respective inner or outer fabric strips, again pressing open the seams.

3. Attach small side units to the center square

4. Attach top and bottom

5. Attach the sides and you're done! (Finished size 10"x15")

If you want to make more than one block at a time, strip piecing works great, especially for the pink and white pieces (outer and background). If you wanted to use a charm square for the center (and not trim it) the measurements for each block would be:

1 5" square of center fabric

1 1.5"xWOF (minmum 31") strip for inner color (aqua)
      -cut 2 1.5"x10.5" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x5" strips
1 1.5"xWOF (minimum 36.5") strip for outer color (peach)
      -cut 4 1.5"x2.5" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x2.25" strips
      -cut 2 1.5"x11" strips
1 5.25"xWOF (minimum 24.5") strip for background (white)
      -cut 4 2.25" squares
      -cut 4 5"x2.5" rectangles
      -cut 4 5.25"x2.5" rectangles

For a finished size of 10.5"x16"

30 September 2013

Stress Sewing

I just spent the last 4 days stress sewing (I've decided that's a thing, according to my landlady "it sounds different" so I think it's real). As a result I pieced my second Korea-inspired top (still calling it Gung Mun) and started yet another project.

I don't know why I put these on the wall since they're all the same

This went together really fast because I made the first 15 blocks with strip piecing. In the end I made 18 because I wanted it to be a little bigger. I pieced the top on Thursday and Friday and then went over to my LQS on Saturday to get backing, batting, and thread. I picked out a binding as well but I'm feeling iffy on it so I might use something else. I know what I'm going to do for quilting, but I need to vacuum my floor before I can baste so on Saturday night I got my scrappy nine patch on instead.

This is what 432 2.5"  squares look like

This morning I started on layout. Pi doesn't like it when I spend too long messing with the design wall because it crowds her spot. She also makes super sad faces when a square falls off the wall and lands on her. Poor doggy!

She's a pretty good sport usually, though. 

This is slightly more than half of the DNPs. The empty spaces between the DNPs are going to have scrappy HSTs in them. I cut the fabric for these as well but I want to make some spray starch before I start sewing up all those HSTs.

Loki didn't feel disturbed by my sewing in the least

If I remember, I'll link this up to WIP Wednesday...

23 September 2013

WIP Wednesday: Epic Fail

This weekend, I decided to finally finish my Fly South quilt that has been waiting to be quilted for months. So, Sunday morning I sat down and made some squiggly lines for about 2 hours.

I was quite pleased with how it was going. (ignore that chopped off point, we're talking about quilting here!)

Then I looked at the back.

T_T x 10000000000000000.2

For the first time in a long time (possibly ever) I managed to quilt in a whole slew of wrinkles and folds. I spent the entire afternoon un-quilting. Then I folded this sucker up and stuck it in the closet where I intend to leave for another few months. I think this might fall into the 'better luck next year' category...

And now, since there are only 44.5 days until my qual (eep!), I'm afraid I may have to stop all things quilty until 45.5 days from now. Possibly that whole "No Science on Saturdays" nonsense as well...

20 September 2013

Broken Herringbone QAL Complete!

Yay! Tonight I can give this quilt to its new mom for her soon-to-be baby.

I hope she doesn't hate dogs...

Pattern: Broken Herringbone in what I'm calling the diamond layout
Fabric: mostly Puppy Park by Bella Blvd for Riley Blake Designs with white for the blocks and the ever present Kona Coal for sashing. The back is some adorable polka dots from Moda (one of the Bungle Jungle ones) that I am definitely going to get more of. For the binding I did a mix of navy blue solid and stripes because 1) I didn't have enough of the stripes and 2) I thought pure navy would be too dark.
Quilting: relatively large stippling with grey variegated thread on top and steel gray for the bobbin
Finished Size: about 38"x50"

I guess it's more like rambling squiggles than true stippling, meh

I don't have a ton to say about this quilt other than I'm surprisingly pleased with it in a number of ways. Surprised that I finished it in time. Surprised how much I like the final layout. Surprised how cute the two-color binding turned out. Surprised how even though a lot of my blocks don't line up it still looks okay. Let's just hope my coworker will be equally as pleasantly surprised as me!

I completely LOVE these polka dots!

Check out the flickr group to see how everyone else is doing on the QAL and, of course, go on over to Finish it Friday at crazymomquilts while you're at it ^_^

UPDATE: She liked it! Also, she has a dog so puppies were appropriate, lucky!

11 September 2013

Spoke Too Soon

On Friday, I posted my 100 Quilts for Kids finish. Also on Friday, I was invited to a baby shower on Sept 20. I had decided to donate a quilt because I didn't have anyone with a baby coming up, or so I thought. It completely slipped my mind that one of my fellow anatomy TAs was not only pregnant, but due this fall (late November it turns out). Since I have already committed to donating the quilt I just finished, I am going to have to make another. Oh no, what a tragedy, I just hate making quilts... Wait.

So anyway, I'm jumping on the Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along bandwagon! Hurray!

Only 2 more strip sets to go!

I'm doing 12 blocks and not really following the QAL schedule or color scheme... Does it still count if I don't do it rainbow and finish in 2 weeks? I feel as though this violates the spirit of the QAL, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Step 1: add sashing
Step 2: make strip pair
Thanks to 'No Science on Saturdays' I have gotten 2/3 of the way through making the blocks. I'm doing all 12 at the same time so after I decided on strip set orders it went pretty fast. Laying out all the strips took up my entire floor but it was important to me that I get a sufficiently scrappy feel and that every block has 6 different fabrics. Shockingly enough, I have managed to keep everything in order so far (chain piecing really helps!).

06 September 2013

100 Quilts for Kids Finish

I am very excited to share my 100 Quilts for Kids quilt! This is my first charity quilt and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I'm strongly considering writing up a pattern for it, but first I want to see if it works well in a larger size.

It looks much better when the rows aren't upside down...

Pattern: I'm calling it 'Window to Seoul' because the inspiration came from my trip to Korea
Fabric: the background is Kona coal and the animals are a Michael Miller I believe (I tossed the selvage so now I don't know for sure...). Anyway, I got the baby animals and the green swirls as remnants from the LQS and everything else was leftovers (hence the two color binding)
Quilting: I tried out the honeycomb thing with a variegated grey thread and I love it! I will probably be doing this again
Finished Size: 38" x 48" (kind of small, but it's for a kid so I figure that's okay)

The back. Sadly, I no longer have any of those cute animals, that was the last piece *sigh*

After a quick run through the wash, I will be sending this quilt to the local children's home. It turns out they give every child that stays there a quilt so they're happy to take my donation!

And now, some links:
     Finish it Friday at crazy mom quilts
     TGIFF at quokka quilts
     100 Quilts for Kids at swim.bike.quilt

03 September 2013

WIP Wednesday - A Long List

This semester I am implementing a strict 'No Science on Saturday' policy for my general health and well-being. This means that I now have one day a week when I'm almost guaranteed to be able to sew! This is especially nice since I just took an 11 day vacation in Denmark with my sister and have thus been neglecting my duties both in the lab and quilting. I have a lot of things to do in both arenas, but in the interest of not boring people with science, I'll only be discussing the quilty list...

1. Texas Teardrops QAL:
-top is finished!
-backing and binding are prepped
-completely undecided on quilting and open to suggestions (please!)

binding rolls are awesome ^_^

2. Window to Seoul (100Q4Kids):
-fixed the two upside down rows and then made additional changes
-finished quilting
-in the process of attaching the binding

3. Trinity Celtic Knot (wedding quilt):
-started cutting the strips!! (the whole thing is going to be strip pieced so cutting is a cinch, I could actually see jelly rolls working really nicely for a scrappy version of this quilt)

4. Gung Mun (self-designed, Korea-inspired pattern):
-I have fabric and a plan but haven't started cutting or anything yet

5. Fly South:
-basted and waiting to be quilted (it's been in this state for a few months now...)
-made the binding!

I'm trying out scrappy binding, we'll see how it goes

Hmm, that list wasn't as long as I thought it would be. Doing 5 projects at once is totally manageable, right?

13 August 2013

Korean Inspiration #2

The other night in lab, while I was waiting for the centrifuge (bleh!), I finished designing my second Korea-inspired pattern and did all the yardage calculations. I'm calling it Window to Seoul.

The Inspiration: a window shutter in the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung

The original plan

As soon as I got home from lab I pulled the fabric. I had already decided this fabric went together and was just waiting for a use to come along. After a short nap, I dived right in and started cutting. Let's just say I was a little excited ^_^ Of course, in my excitement I managed to mis-cut my Kona Coal. The directions I wrote were right, but it doesn't help if you ignore them... Luckily, I love Kona Coal so I just used this as an opportunity to replenish my supply!

Cut and organized!

I decided to sew it in rows so there are 1-4 repeats of 5 different rows. I made a small change to the middle row, but it didn't really change the piecing much. Yesterday I put the top together and stuck it up on my design wall only to find that I had sewn two of the rows in upside down. *sigh* I probably should have put the pieces on the wall as I was assembling it instead of on the floor/chair/my lap...

Other than those two flipped rows I'm pretty happy with it

Because I don't have any friends, relatives, or acquaintances with a baby on the way (that I know of) I thought this would be the perfect quilt to donate for 100 Quilts for Kids campaign hosted by swim.bike.quilt. I want to donate it to either the local children's home or the Center for Women in Transition, whichever I can get in touch with/wants it first. If all else fails I will just drop it off at my LQS for Project Linus. The current size is about 32"x42" so I'll probably add some borders to make it child sized instead of baby sized.

Better Off Thread

11 August 2013

Sunday Stash: New Project Prep

Yesterday I got fabric for two new tops that are in the works from my friendly neighborhood quilt store. First up is my landlady's daughter's wedding quilt. I'm making Deborah Cohen's Trinity Celtic Knot in red, blue, and gold. Not particularly original, but I think it will look nice.

The second is a Korea-inspired top that I am tentatively naming "Gung Mun," which means palace gate. I walked in with one of my Dongdaemun fabrics that I would say is primarily turquoise, red, and orange and came away with a light blue/turquoise and a peachy pink. I'm quite surprised but also pleased with the choices. If I had bet beforehand, I would have said I would get a dark blue/turquoise and maybe a red or yellow. Good thing I'm not a betting person!

The fabric and my block design plans

Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations that will surely arise from these projects! And, look at everyone else's pretties on Sunday Stash!

09 August 2013

Finished! "Lost at Sea" a DNP Sampler

I've been referring to this project as the "Disappearing Nine Patch Sampler", the "seascapes quilt", or the "blue ocean one" but, since these are all excessively unimaginative names, I've officially decided to call it "Lost at Sea".

Get it? - ocean theme fabric, disappearing...

Aaaaand, moving on. Finishing this quilt was the second thing I did after getting home from Korea. The first thing was grocery shopping. I think my priorities are straight ^_^ It turned out that I only had an afternoon's worth of work remaining: 4 sea creatures to FMQ and one side left to bind. Maybe if I had known there was so little left I would have done it sooner!

The front. It's very blue ^_^

Pattern: Disappearing Nine Patch, Double Disappearing Nine Patch, and variations
Finished Size: 63" x 84"
Fabric: Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda charm pack (my Christmas present!) with Kona Coal and Charcoal for the background in the nine patches and some blues and teals for sashing/borders/settings. The back is a light gray map/sailing novelty print, some of the stripes from the front with a super awesome quote block, a gray batik, a bright red strip to separate the grays, and some Kona Ash to fill it out. I went with a black print for the binding.

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." - Isak Dinesen

Batting: Quilter's Dream Wool - it's so cozy and fluffy!
Quilting: This is definitely the most complicated quilting I've done so far. I had to draw out a little map beforehand because I couldn't keep it all straight! I used a blue called marine for the top and a steel blue for the bobbin.
  • Middle panels: free motion meandering swirls of various sizes
  • Top and bottom panel: echo quilting of the diamond shape made by the two on point blocks but skipping the square blocks in the corners. There is also a seahorse in each on point block and a shell or starfish in each square that I FMQed using a freezer paper template

Seahorses! and the echo quilting

  • Stripes: a figure-8 thing for the middle one and nothing for the other two
  • Borders: just in the ditch between the two
  • Other: I also did some simple outlining of each panel and those corner squares
New Techniques: mitered corners (in the outer border), pieced backing, FMQing (swirls, figure 8's, and the sea creatures)

This quilt was born out of my extraordinary indecisiveness and need for symmetry. Why are there 2 different grays for the background? Because I got one, worried that it might be too dark, got another, and then couldn't decide which to use. So I made two of every block so that there would be equal amounts of light and dark gray. Why are some blocks set on point and others not? Probably because I couldn't decide which way looked better. Why are there DNPs, double DNPs, and other weird arrangements? Again, because I couldn't decide on one pattern. At least my indecision allowed me to use all 42 squares of the charm pack unlike in the baby blanket where I only used 40 out of 42.

I really like the back, but lining up that stripe across the middle was a nightmare.

The quilting for this was very difficult to decide on as well. I wanted something nautical, but when googling "nautical quilt motifs" everything seemed waaay too complicated. Of course the most obvious ocean thing would be waves but after some practice on paper I affirmed that I am physically incapable of drawing a pleasing wave. Seriously, it was pathetic. So I originally planned to make freezer paper templates but in the end left the waves out altogether. When I finally decided that I wanted "some kind of spiral" to cover the majority of the quilt I started a long process of finding just the right spiral. How big should it be? How sharp should it be? In the end I just sort of did whatever with the spirals and ignored any vision I may have started with.

Shell, seahorse, and echo quilting from the front. I'm real proud of this quilting, if you couldn't tell...

The only thing I ended up not liking was the center DNPs. I wanted them to look like they were emerging from the background but I didn't cut the corners off enough so it kind of just looks like I'm incompetent. Oh well. If I did it again I would make the the top and bottom points into HSTs and take an equally sized triangle off the sides. Not that I'm planning on ever making this quilt again, but I might want to attempt the emerging effect in the future.