Friday, April 29, 2016

TopHop 2016: The beginning

A few weeks ago, I popped in with a little sneak peek of a project I was working on, promising to show more by the end of the week. Well, I finished the project on time, but the blog post fell off my radar (as they so often do). But its time has finally come!
Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. So, a couple months back, Kristy, a sewing friend and President of the St. Louis MQG, reached out to me and a few other friends to see if we were interested in starting a traveling quilt bee. I enthusiastically jumped on and immediately started debating what I wanted to do.
We started with a color pull, and though I tossed around a number of options, in the end, I decided to stick with some of my very favorites: a selection of blues, teals, and navy, along with lots of low volume. This quilt will be just for me, and while my house and closet may be filled with these colors, I don't really use them all that much in my quilting (at least not all together, and with the obvious exception of my Fading Star quilt), so I decided to fully embrace it and go for something that would be all me.
The next task was to choose a theme and design the central block. The idea is that every member designs their central block, and then it gets passed to the next person, who will add on a new block or section (depending on the design), and then pass it on to the third person, who will add on some more, and so on. In the end, each of us will get back a finished quilt top to which all of the members have contributed. Such a fun idea. I decided my theme would be "Angled." Any angle would do -- think triangles, hexies, arrows, "x" blocks, etc. -- but no curves in sight.
For my starter block, I decided to do a paper-pieced kaleidoscope block with a fun play on fabric placement. The idea and design were heavily inspired by minis by @keystonecharmquilts and @kelcieo. So, from the sneak peek you saw a few weeks ago, I kept building and building.
And then, boom!

I'll admit I'm kind of obsessed with this block. It turned out exactly as I envisioned and is just so fun, plus I think it provides a good example to my beemates of my aesthetic and where I'd like this quilt to head. I'm so excited to see what they do with it!

In addition, we could ask for some sort of signature block from each of our beemates, and I requested that they each make an envelope block using Carolyn Friedlander's pattern. The envelopes are supposed to be in their own "signature" colors or fabrics, and then they can add their name or initials however they want. I made an example in my favorite teal and citron colors. I used a super pale gray thread to embroider my initials, but I suspect I'll redo it in a more visible color when I get it back. Finally, I couldn't resist putting together a little color card, mainly because I had a lot of tiny scraps and couldn't bear to throw them all away. (I also kept a pile to make into cards. I may have a fabric-hoarding problem.)

For the first round, I got my friend Krista's quilt! I've already decided what I want to do with it and am itching to get started. Let TopHop 2016 begin!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ebb quilt pillows

On to today's topic: pillows! If you follow me on IG (and a bit here on the blog, here and here), you've seen these pillows come together slowly over the last few months because they're filled with my current hand-sewing obsession: needle-turn applique.
I loved Carolyn Friedlander's Ebb Quilt the minute I saw it (which could basically be said of everything Carolyn does; seriously, that girl is amazing), but I debated for a long time over whether to make a wall hanging like the pattern cover or something more "useful" like pillow covers. But after considering the fact that my couch is desperately in need of a facelift, pillows won out. And then I couldn't stop at just one. I had two 18" pillow forms ready to go, so it was clearly a sign.
I appliqued two covers, one in warmer tones, the other in cool tones. All but one of the fabrics (the citron green leaf print, which is from Denise Schmidt) are from Carolyn's collections: Carkai, Doe, Architextures, and a splash of Botanics. The solid background is Moda Bella Snow (similar to the Kona Meringue Carolyn used in the original).
After many nights of stitching away on the couch, I finally finished the tops and got ready to quilt them. I originally wanted to hand quilt them (which would have been lovely, I'm sure), but I knew in my heart of hearts that if I went with that plan, they probably wouldn't be finished for several more months, and I was ready to start enjoying them, so I went with the machine instead.
I quilted the fronts in a randomly spaced crosshatch, enough to add some interest but not so much that it completely smashed the "puffy" appliques. For the backs, I used four of Carolyn's prints from the fronts.
They're so happy on the couch, and I'm so happy to have them done. I already know what my next applique project will be...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fight cancer, win a quilt (the Cascade Quilt finish)

We had a beautiful day here today, so I was happy to get some shots of my latest finish, the Cascade Quilt!
This bright, happy quilt is a special one, and it could be making its way to your home soon because I'm giving it away! My good friend Jennifer has been working tirelessly the past few months to raise funds for leukemia and lymphoma research. She lost both her father and her grandfather to leukemia, and now she's fighting to help a precious little girl named Lucy win her battle against this dreadful disease. You can read all about her story and her goal right here.
Doing what I do, I thought a quilt giveaway might be the best way to help her get closer to reaching her goal. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. (Due to the laws of Missouri, I cannot require a purchase or donation for the chance to win the quilt. However, I strongly encourage you to make a donation to Jennifer's page before entering the giveaway. All of the donations will go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is working hard to rid the world of blood cancers. Every dollar helps, and donations of any size are gratefully accepted.)
If you're interested in the details of the quilt itself, scroll down past the widget. Otherwise, let's get to the fun stuff. Good luck! (The giveaway will run through 12 am EST on May 15, 2016. The drawing will take place on May 15, and the winner will be announced here and contacted via email shortly thereafter. Due to shipping concerns, the giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.)

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who donated, and congratulations to Jacqueline F. on the big win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Cascade Quilt pattern was designed by Kristi Schroeder of Initial K Studio, who graciously agreed to let me use the pattern to make this giveaway quilt. The quilt is made of 100% cotton solid fabrics (32 Kona and Moda Bella colors, plus a Moda Bella white) and 100% cotton batting. The backing is a Doe wideback by Carolyn Friedlander. I quilted it using Aurifil white thread and bound it by machine for durability (the binding fabric is Libs Stitches in Iron from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis). The quilt measures approximately 52" x 64", a wonderful throw size. Thank you for donating!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Blocks for Em

A few weeks ago, a fellow member of the STLMQG announced she had been diagnosed with cancer, just weeks after giving birth to her fourth child. She's not much older than me. Cancer really sucks.
Some of her friends quickly assembled a group with a plan to hold an auction to raise funds for her and her family. One of the items to be auctioned is a quilt, and they asked members of the guild and other friends to contribute umbrella blocks for it (we used this tutorial from Craftsy). These three cheery blocks will be making their way into the quilt in the coming weeks.
If you're on Instagram, you can find out more about the auction, which will be taking place in May, by following @dropsofloveforem.

Friday, April 8, 2016

April do.Good Stitches blocks

After finishing up this week's big paper-piecing project, I managed to knock out my April blocks for the EMERGE circle of the do.Good Stitches charity bee as well.
Kelly chose this super simple cross block, and these babies went together in no time flat.
We could use any solid we wanted, paired with a multicolored print that had a "tight" design (which would help disguise the seam). Done and done. This should be one fun, colorful quilt.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday mini

Just a little sneak peek of a project I started last night. More to come later in the week...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Checkerboard Cross quilt: A finish!

I've got another fun finish for you! This time, it's the February quilt for the Emerge circle of do.Good Stitches, and I'm calling it the Checkerboard Cross quilt.
As I talked about last week, I had some big issues getting this quilt to come together. You can read all about it in this post, but suffice it to say that I couldn't figure out a layout that worked with the styles and colors of the blocks. That is, at least, until I posted about it on IG, and a lovely commenter suggested a checkerboard design.
I decided to place the two colors on opposite "dueling" sides because interspersing them just didn't work. When I first requested these blocks from my beemates, I had a very different idea about how this quilt was going to turn out, but I'm still pretty pleased with the final result. (The original post includes all the details on the block design, including a tutorial for the blocks with the scrappy backgrounds.)
I'm also quite smitten with the crazy pieced backing. I incorporated the four blocks that didn't fit into the front and then surrounded them with a sea of blue and yellow fabrics. Those Lizzy House characters peeking out in the middle are my very favorite.
I chose a simple quilting pattern, quilting 1/4" on each side of the outside of the blocks and 1/4" to the outside of the crosses. I used white Aurifil thread so it would blend into the solids used. I bound it in Grid Bits in Blueberry from Carolyn Friedlander's Carkai collection because the blue and yellow combo in the print matched perfectly. 
All in all, it's a fun quilt for a little kid or teenager (like the others I quilt for do.Good Stitches, this one will be donated to the local chapter of Project Linus).