It’s done.

After what, two years, it’s finally done – the green, yellow and gray block of the month sampler quilt I started with a group on livejournal in 2012. I’m not going to link all the posts I talked about it on here, but you can check the tag at the bottom if you are interested in the very slow progress I made on it.

14276122748_7be245021b_z

I’m really happy with this quilt. I enjoyed doing the different blocks, and learned a great deal. I think the fabrics are fresh and summery, and I think the quilt managed to stay away from being super feminine, which was one of my original goals. The quilting I chose may make it less masculine than I intended (this was supposed to be the “boy” and the brown and pink one the “girl” of the two), but  I don’t regret any of the decisions I made.

14276632539_d7aba2cb46_b

What I’ve learned, or how this quilt has made me a better quilter –

I need to take so much more care piecing and cutting. I had lots of oopsies that I didn’t correct both in cutting and in piecing. I am not a perfectionist by any stretch, and I’m pretty lazy, so when a mistake happens, unless it’s just terrible, I don’t go back and correct it. As a result, I’ve got a lot of chopped off corners in the blocks. I know myself pretty well, and I know that experience is really the only way I would learn this lesson (and most others). I just have to learn the hard way why some people are more fastidious with their construction techniques.

holy wonky piecing and chopped off points, batman!

holy wonky piecing and chopped off points, batman!

Anyway, so for next time the lesson is definitely follow the saying “measure twice and cut once”, and work on my 1/4″ seams.

The same could be said for my basting. I now know why pin basting on a floor isn’t a great idea, at least for me. I just could not get the fabric taut enough, and so I have some areas on the quilt where I’ve got puckering. It’s not super awful, but enough so that I do wonder if I should bother putting this up for sale. I wouldn’t want someone to spend decent money on this and see those puckers and be upset. I  know we can be our own worst judge, but I am not happy about the puckers. I don’t have a great space in my house to baste quilts, especially anything larger than lap size, but my MIL just bought a house and now has a 17’x19′ sewing studio, so I can take my quilts there to baste.

soooo many puckers

soooo many puckers

In making this quilt, I found several traditional blocks I think I love, and a few I definitely do not.  The card trick and churn dash ended up being my favorites, and I’m considering doing a quilt in the future of just one of those.

14462354352_b0ca6420d8_b

What I’m really pleased with is the quilting. Perfect it is not, but I’m a fan of “good enough”, especially for a serious first try. I had some hiccups – I had to buy a new table so my machine could sit flush with the sewing surface because I had gravity issues, but once I did that, quilting was much easier and very enjoyable.

14284476671_797f37724e_z

I’ve taken two classes on craftsy by Cindy Needham, and she has a wealth of great quilting information on a domestic machine. I stuck with simple techniques – an easy stencil in the center of each block, a small stencil in each cornerstone, and repetitive lines everywhere else. I think the repetitive lines create enough shadow and contrast to be quite striking. My favorite are the stencils I used in the corner of each border.

I loved using this stencil.

I loved using this stencil.

Some stats:

Name: “Jun”. I started it in June. I finished it in June. It’s named after a special little boy I met (through the wonders of the internet), who died in surgery on his heart. He was just 8 or nine months old.

(P.S., if you get a chance, please check out the organization that took care of him during his time here, Little Flower Projects. They are AMAZING, and I truly love those children)
Size: 54″ x 54″
Design: Blocks sourced from Quilter’s Cache
Quilting: Bottom Line thread, 60wt, by Superior Threads, light yellow.
Favorite part: The quilting. I rocked it (for a first attempt, at least). Also, having some sort of inspiration helped me finish this, because before I decided to dedicate (at least, internally, prayerfully) these quilts to the babies in Little Flowers and Love Without Boundaries, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore, and I didn’t know if I would finish. But after the loss of some particular precious children, I used this as a way to constructively work through some feelings. If this quilt sells, part of the proceeds will go to one of those organizations.

14276658030_aa8b072380_b

14459912521_57f68f17cf_b

 

Head here for this week’s TGIFF!

Advertisements

Finished up another flannel rag quilt

It only took nearly a year, but I finally completed the last of my flannel charity quilts. I cut the fabric for two quilts ages ago, before I realized I hated flannel. So I made the first one, hated it, and put it aside. Then I made a rag quilt in a quilt class, which wasn’t as awful, but still bleh. And then I remembered I had this box under my quilting table with this last cut quilt ready to go.

It was a pretty quick project for me. Since the original pattern called for 1/2″ seams for a rag quilt, and I didn’t follow that last time and had some awful piecing, I decided to actually follow the instructions. So this one is another rag quilt.

rag quiltThis one is the “boy” version of the girly one (about halfway down) I made a few months ago.

I didn’t do any quilting, except an “X” here and there to anchor the front to the back. I haven’t yet found the charity I’m going to give it to, but it’s done. And now I’m done with flannel quilts. I still have a ton of flannel, but I might just go back to making diapers and prefolds, because sewing those didn’t irritate me.

Moving on, I took the plunge and signed up for a class on craftsy. I had a free voucher from the International Quilt Festival, and used it to sign up for Cindy Needham’s FMQ designing and quilting class. Let me just say – if most of the other classes are like this one, they are absolutely worth the $40 (but usually $25 because they are always on sale). I haven’t even finished the lessons, and my fmq has improved by a factor of about a thousand. I’m still such a noob, and what I’ve done is nothing to write home about, but my quilting confidence has gone way up, and for once I can quilt something that doesn’t scream “IM AN AWFUL BEGINNER AND PRACTICING” to “I’m not so good but this is presentable and someone who doesn’t know what they are looking at would think it was pretty”. Since I’m still firmly in the second group, I think what I’m quilting is pretty. And I’m only on background fillers!

I have a set of six placemats and a table runner I am practicing on. Here is what I’ve done so far.

007Like I said, not amazing, but just by doing the exercises Cindy Needham recommends, I’ve learned an awful lot and am beginning to pay a lot more attention to the actual quilting, instead of it just being some hurdle or afterthought to a finished quilt. In fact, just doing these small exercises on these placemats has been really enjoyable, and I’m actually excited about more than just the fabric and piecing of a quilt. In fact, after watching these lessons and looking through her gallery, I’ve even entertained the idea of, maybe someday in the future, doing a small wholecloth quilt. I even have an occasion and the recipient in mind.

008

 

Here is the back of the same piece. Just so you know, this is the FIRST piece – my very first attempts, but I’m still proud. I’m also becoming a fan of the thread she recommended in class – Superior Thread’s Bottom Line 60wt polyester thread. She recommends stitching in the ditch for everything, before major quilting, and this stuff really does just blend into the background. I haven’t had any tension or breakage issues, and because it’s such a fine thread, even a small spool will last a little while for me. Unfortunately, I can only get it online, because none of my local sewing and quilt shops stock the finer weight threads, although they are all full of the pretty, colorful 40wt threads, but I haven’t made it to those yet. Feathers are the next lesson and I’m SO EXCITED.

 

 

 

July has been so slow

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, I’ve just been out of sorts with my crafting. To try to get back in the swing of things, I took another quilt class at Joann’s. This time we did rag quilts. Rag quilts aren’t exactly my favorite (I may or may not have written about this before), but I thought the class would be fun and I could get rid of more flannel.
I was actually the only one taking this particular class, so I spent a good deal of time playing with the sewing machines and chatting with the instructor. We talked about future class ideas that I’m really excited about.

There aren’t any process pictures of this quilt, but I didn’t see the point of photographing cut squares, since making a rag quilt is so darn simple. Anyway, here ya go!

This turned out a lot less obnoxious than I thought it would. The pink and lavender are kind of cute together. It’s about the size of a crib quilt, and I’m going to give it to my church to sell for The Feast of St Michael (Michaelmas). That’s where I may send the other flannel quilt I’ve finished, too. I’ve got the fabric cut for a boy version, and I *need* to get to it, but I can only stand so much flannel at once. I know some people love this fabric, but I… don’t.

Back to crafting

I finally got around to going back and adding a few pictures from my little vacation, so if you get a chance, go and see!

Most of the sewing I’ve done lately is for my etsy shop. I’ll do my best to not go on and on about it here, since I would like to keep the two mostly separate. I can’t promise I’ll succeed though, especially when I’ve purchased so  many cute fabrics that I’m trying to get ready for listing.

Those are just a teeny sampling of some of the fabrics I have available in my shop – www.etsy.com/shop/golubchick (/end shameless plug)

Before I left, I was able to cut the fabric for the first flannel baby quilt, but I haven’t been able to start sewing.

I picked up the batting for it today, but I have no idea what I’m going to do for the back.

I’m also working on a few more projects that I’ll go into later, and I’d like to write a bit about my ceramics (another project!!), but that’ll have to come later, when I’m not sewing so much.

Bria

flannel stash busting quilts and a sad story

I wanted to get another entry out before I went on vacation in a few days, and having this blog has given me the motivation I need to get the project ideas floating around in my head on paper (and hopefully, eventually in fabric).

A little backstory though. Last October I miscarried for the first time. Our baby left us sometime around 7 weeks, but I did not actually miscarry until what would have been ten weeks. It was a rough time for my husband and me, and I had a hard time bouncing back (as if to say one ever goes back to exactly how they were before; a sentiment I do not believe). I felt the need to create to work through it, but I didn’t really have an outlet that seemed to fit. I shut my etsy store down for a little while to focus on myself for a bit, and stopped sewing for a few months.

Then I started to have friends fall pregnant, and while it was bittersweet, I did feel happy for them, and looked forward to meeting their new babies. I started looking through quilt ideas again and planning. Then I decided to make a quilt for my son’s godfather, and for the first time in several months, I actually dug out fabric and started working. I opened up my shop again, and put my machine back to use.

This February my husband and I found out we were expecting again, and so I started to get really excited. I was on a good sewing groove by that point, and looked forward to making items for this baby.

But it was not meant to be, I guess. I miscarried again. Right at seven weeks. Actually, I started to miscarry just a few hours after having a sonogram that showed a healthy heartbeat and an embryo that measured just as it should. The cause is still a mystery, and I am doing what I can to get to a healthy place should we be given another child (and I am so fortunate to have the help of both an ob/gyn and midwife of the same faith and who understand charting so well). Whatever the reason, the baby still suddenly died.

This time, however, I didn’t go to such a dark place, and I actually have the energy and inclination to work through my feelings by sewing and quilting. With all of that in mind, I decided to hit up my flannel and baby fabric stash and start making blankets for women with at risk pregnancies, and perhaps Project Linus (I still need to look up details about donating to the crisis pregnancy centers).

Here are some ideas I worked through last night –

This flannel was all originally purchased to make diapers. I made a few and then stopped. If I have the chance to make diapers again, I totally know I’m not going to use what I have, and get all excited and just buy more, so this stuff HAS GOT TO GO.

I picked this out of a magazine I had from a few years ago. I didn’t want to make the same old Random Blocks of Scrap Fabric blanket I see over and over. I wanted the flannel ones to be a little more interesting, at least. But goodness I hate those fuzzy blankets, so I’m not going to do that with these.

Some rough ideas I had. I wanted to do a boy and a girl quilt. I’ve got so much dang pink I don’t know what to do with it. I tried to make the girl one pink, but I couldn’t bring myself to use more than one pink fabric. I hate pink 😦

The top left are my fabrics for the girl quilt, and on the right are my choices for the boy quilt. I’ll get better, more detailed pictures as I get started on them.

Sorry for such a bummer of a post! I promise I’m not a Debbie Downer 🙂