Schnitzel and Boom Mini Quilt Swap

I’ve joined my first Schnitzel and Boom mini quilt swap! I enjoyed my last swap so much I joined this one and another.

My partner this time has very different tastes than I do, so I hope she likes what I’ve come up with.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/15865684299/

I decided to use the charm pack I won from the Celestial Star QAL, Birch Farm from Joel Dewberry, and really just made it up as I went along. I cut a bunch of half square triangles and rearranged it until I liked it.

My partner also said she likes hand quilting, and while it’s not my favorite (I haven’t done it in YEARS and when I did, it wasn’t that well), I would like to use these mini swaps as opportunities to try techniques that I might not otherwise use.

It’s not taking as long as I thought it would, and I can see some improvement in my stitch consistency. Still, not something I’m going to do often.

Linking up with Fiber of All Sorts’s goal setting party, as this needs to be done before the end of January.

Celestial Star Mini Quilt – Done!

I finished! And about a month ahead of when the QAL ends, but  I was on a roll and needed to finish it before my enthusiasm ran out.

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I really like it, and learned a whole lot. It was my first paper pieced anything, and my first mini! I finally have something to put on my wall.

I love the way these corners look
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Some stats:

Completed in August 2014 for the Celestial Star Quilt Along by Fromblankpages.
18″x18″, made with primarily Kona solids and prints from my stash
Pieced and quilted with Gutermann polyester thread
I was originally going to call it something like “Diamonds in the Sky” or something, because, to me, the pattern looked like looking at a cut diamond from the top down, but then I thought the name was kind of lame, so I’m calling it “Toclafane”, from the Doctor  Who episodes at the end of season 3. You know, because that’s somehow less lame. 😀
(The Toclafane were humans who came back as little metal balls of spikes that the Master brought from the future. They had been searching for, and did not realize that they would become the “diamonds in the sky”)

This was such a great side project, since I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed by my other quilt projects, AND I even won a prize, which is a first.

Celestial Star QAL update

Here is the progress I’ve made on my celestial star. I’m enjoying the paper piecing, although it’s a bit more tedious an involved, especially the cutting, but that might be because I’m new at this and don’t really know what I’m doing.

After we got home from vacation, I was able to get all of the pieces cut

Last night I was able to get some pieces put together (not much)

I’m pretty happy with how things are turning out. The host has some great tutorials and detailed explanations, and it’s been fun starting to get to know some of the other people participating.

I hope to make a lot more progress tonight, so I’ll get pictures of the finished top soon.

This is completely off topic, but when we got home one of our caterpillars had come out of it’s cocoon, and it’s so pretty I wanted to share. It’s called a black swallowtail, and the caterpillars live in parsley plants. Next year I’m planting a ton more.

Oh oh! And switching directions AGAIN, here is my Sunday Stash.

Ever since I’ve started hanging around modern quilt circles, I’ve come across Tula Pink now and then. I wasn’t sure if I was a fan at first, but the more I see her designs the more I like them, so I’ve been trying to pick up my favorites. Unfortunately, some of them are out of print and it’s been a little difficult to track down some pieces that don’t cost a million trillion dollars, and I don’t have the money to become a “collector”. It’s a real temptation, because the fabrics are pretty and I want them, but they are expensive if they are no longer in print, and when I get them I worry about picking out the *perfect* project for them, and I hope I never get to the point where I think “But I paid $$$ for these, I *can’t* cut into them!!” because I need to remind myself fabric is made to be used. Fabric is made to be used. Yes it’s inspirational, and I don’t need to chop everything up, but getting pretty fabrics can be addicting and it’s tempting for this to get out of control.

Molli Sparkles

Celestial Star QAL update

I’ve spent the past few days sitting, sleeping, and ruminating on my fabric choices for this mini quilt (I might also be procrastinating and putting off the actual sewing and cutting, since I’ve never done anything like this before). Fromblankpages (the host), has put some some great posts about color, value, and choosing the right fabrics for the most appealing end result, and I really want to take what she’s written into mind as I make this. My husband as always told me I seem to do well with color (and I believe him, first because it makes me feel good, and second because he is a degree’d artist. He might just be telling me to make me happy,  but who cares), but  I do want to take color more seriously. I can’t go and take college classes on color and design right now, but some craftsy classes and helpful blog posts will have to work.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is I’ve never really been so intentional about how I thought about color in my quilts. I just put stuff together until I thought it looked nice. This is really the first time I have taken a lot of time to sketch and color – and I’m totally seeing how beneficial this part of the process is! With my first quilts I was just so excited to cut into that fabric and get to sewing, and now I see how necessary taking the time to plan and imagine is for making something I could consider art.

Back to the QAL – I’ve taken a couple of pictures of a few different fabric auditions I did, although these are just a small fraction of what felt like a million different fabric pulls.

Let me apologize for not having pictures here – the few I took are terrible quality because I took them at midnight, and so there was no natural light.

In my original sketch, I have navy and a lighter blue next to each other, with a yellow orange and red orange set in between. I knew right off that the navy and the other blue would be solids, and since I had been working with navy and an aqua recently, I pulled those. Now came the hard part; deciding on my oranges. I wanted to use prints here, but the problem I found I kept having was that every single yellow orange I placed next to the navy and aqua fell completely flat. Bright fabrics were completely dulled. I tried so many combinations thinking I didn’t have enough contrast between the red orange and yellow orange. I had to sleep on it a few days, but when I came back to it I realized my problem was not with my yellow oranges or red oranges, but my insistence that I keep the aqua. The aqua and navy looked so nice together I didn’t even think about changing either, but what needed to go was the aqua, so I switched the aqua with a robin’s egg blue, which next to the robin’s egg looked downright green. After making the switch, the yellow orange was so much easier to place. I could actually do better and use this blue, but I’m currently all out of it and I won’t have time to order it before I need to  make more progress on this QAL.

 

fabric acquisitions and several WIP updates

I recently discovered a quilt shop near my house that sells modern fabric, so I’ve stopped by a couple of times to see what they have, and I have been most impressed. They’re getting new fabric in every day, and they have several classes that I’m looking forward to taking, including an into to long arm quilting (required to rent time on the house longarm machine, which I am curious about). They’ve also got free open studio time which I hope to take advantage of this week, because it’s becoming nearly impossible to make much progress on my work at home with the boys.

Here are some fabrics I’ve picked up recently

@urbanspools was having a buy four get one free fat quarter sale, and they just got in some gorgeous #kaffefassett #fabric, so of course I needed to get some #urbanspools

I don’t have any plans for these as yet, but I’m glad to finally have a few brand new pieces from some modern designers in my collection.

I also grabbed this little bundle, after Molli Sparkles showed it on his blog. These particular fabrics have been the inspiration for my progress in the Celestial Star QAL I’ve been working on at From Blank Pages.

I’ve printed out some pages to color to see what I like, and so far I think I’m going to go with something similar to this –

Of course, whether or not I actually *use* the fabrics in the mini quilt is another question entirely, but that’s really beside the point. That’s pretty much par for the course for me, in my experience – start with some fabric I really want to use, plan and plan, and then when the time comes to re-audition fabric to make sure everything works together in the pattern, I pick something completely different.

Besides the QAL, I’ve got a quilt I’m working on for my mom, and another for some friends. I really want to show both of them, but they are gifts and I don’t want the surprise ruined. Oh, and I still need to finalize the pattern and make some fabric decisions on that baby quilt for my friend. Sooo much to do..

Molli Sparkles

A Quilt Along!

I think I might do something I’ve never done before, and join a Quilt Along! Here’s where the information is. I’ve grabbed the pattern and I’m printing it out right now to color and play with. I’ve never done any paper piecing before either, so this is all going to be so new.

It’s so timely, though. Just the other day my husband started doodling a beautiful set of stars that he said he thought would make good quilt blocks. I told  him he was probably right, but as I’ve never done any foundation paper piecing it would be a while before we could try them out, and then viola! This pops up on my instagram feed.

I’ve always wanted to meet some other quilters and participate in these QALs and swaps that I see all over the place, so maybe I’ll make some friends! Hope so, at least.