Around the World Blog Hop

Last week I was tagged by Jo for the Around the World Blog Hop. Jo and I met when I left a comment on her blog. That’s all it took. Now we’re participating in the Friendship Supernova Swap together. And emailing each other constantly. And I’m still marveling that I have a friend on the other side of the world in Australia. Miracles of technology.

A drawing Jo did of our quilt - Isn't it fantastic!?!

A drawing Jo did of our quilt – Isn’t it fantastic!?!

But you’re not here to listen to me wax not so poetically about modern advances in communication and their impact on society. Well, maybe. I guess I shouldn’t presume.

There’s four questions everyone on this blog hop has been answering, so I should probably get to that, hmmmm?

1. What am I working on?
I just finished a large workhorse of a quilt, so I’m sailing through the doldrums a bit. Catching up on bee blocks. Cleaning my sewing space. Planning ways to finish some WIPs. Buying fabric. Always seems to be the way, right? Not really sewing means lots of fabric purchases.

Bee blocks and a do.Good quilt top

Bee blocks and a do.Good quilt top

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
So, I asked for some help with this question. I’m not so good with the retrospection and inner reflection sort of stuff. So I asked my husband over breakfast what he thought. Apparently, I’m very well thought out, to the point of near obsession. Also, I’m very loud with my color selections. He might have a point there. Also, turns out he listens more than I thought.

Bright colors do make me happy....

Bright colors do make me happy….

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
Simple put — because it makes me happy. Creating something I love, and getting to wrap up in it nearly every day is absolutely wonderful! And then I write about it here, and other people love it (still shocked by that one). And we get to share in fabric-y and quilty news and gossip, make new friends, keep up with old ones. It beats shoe shopping by several nautical miles.

A baby quilt (my first one!) and a few more bee blocks.

A baby quilt (my first one!) and a few more bee blocks.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
Occasionally, because of a deadline, or a bug in my ear, I’ll work continuously on one project. But most of the time I flit around depending on my mood. If I’m a little brain dead from work, I like simple piecing, or improv. If its Saturday and I’ve had 2 too many cups of coffee, and think I can take on the world, I start a new project, or baste a quilt top. I’m not really sure I have a process. I pretty sure I’m more like a toddler jumping from one activity to another leaving a wake of crafty destruction. But my wonderful husband puts up with it all, and it works for me.

And here’s the part where I tag a few people to keep the party going.

Jennifer from Secondhand Dinasoar
I met Jennifer through a Triple Zip swap earlier this year. She was my assigned partner, and I had so much fun stalking her, I just keep doing it. And luckily, she hasn’t issued a restraining order or anything yet. She has a great mix of projects, and gorgeous pictures — go check her blog out!

Stephanie from Simple Sewendipity
I’m trying to recall the first time I met Stephanie, but failing miserably. It’s like I’ve always known her. She’s one of the few “online” friends I have that I met in person first. We’re in a few of the same guilds together. We geek out over the same things. Her quilts and projects are always fun, happy, and just a little bit quirky. And frankly, I’m surprised I’m willing to share her, but since I am, you’d better take advantage and go visit.

Confessions of a Quilter

There’s a new phenomena spreading through quilty blog land – 10 confessions of a quilter. Amy at 13 Spools started it, and others have been chiming in, including my friend Chelsea (isn’t her blog adorable?)

So, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and share a few (well, 10) of my dirty little quilting secrets.

  1. I usually don’t iron before I cut. Unless its excruciatingly wrinkly.
  2. I really dislike Quilter’s Dream batting. It sheds as badly as my cat, but doesn’t look adorable and purr.
  3. I ask my husband’s opinion on nearly every design choice. Yes, he doesn’t really care.  And yes, I do usually ignore any opinion he gives.
  4. White and I don’t really get along. We had an argument about chocolate….
  5. I have an unhealthy unwavering addiction to novelty prints.
  6. I use my rotary cutter as a seam ripper.  Not some of the time, but the majority of the time.
  7. I don’t like AMH, Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, or Cotton and Steel. There are one or two exceptions for each, but not many.
  8. Spray starch for $0.99 a giant can? Yes, please. More money for fabric.
  9. I machine bind quilts 99.9999% of the time. I always stab myself with hand needles, so why risk the blood stain at that late stage?
  10. I don’t bury quilting threads. I take a few stitches back and forth. Sometimes I get lucky and catch a low bobbin so I can finish that way too!

Can we still be friends?

What if I share an adorable kitty picture?

 

These are mine now.

These are mine now.

Friends now?

 

WIP: Bailey Squares

Lately I’ve been chugging away at my first commissioned quilt – that’s right someone is PAYING me to quilt!!! It’s a friend of my husband’s cousin, and she’s asked for it to use in her wedding. So I’ve got just over a week to finish. Time to put the pedal down!

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I’ll go into more detail when its finished, but as a PSA: not all charm squares are the same size! I didn’t realize this till after I had a fair portion pieced. So with some gnashing of teeth, and strategic trimming, I got the top together. Now its time for dense, dense quilting as an added safety measure – just in case some of those less than perfect seams start to unravel, they won’t get far.

As of last night I have 48% of the quilting done. Almost there!

apologies for the late night iphone photo...

apologies for the late night iphone photo…

Time for quilting, quilting, quilting, quilting….

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Finished: Aerial Quilt

I recently participated in the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap. There were over 600 participants!!! That’s a lot for anyone to keep track of, but Kristi and the moderators have all done a wonderful job. I was hoping to share the mini I received, along with this posting, but I’m still waiting. But that just means the awesomeness coming my way will need it’s own post!

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My recipient was Crystal at Two Little Aussie Birds — and let’s just say there was a bit of panic when I read that her favorite color was pink! Pink! Luckily, Stephanie talked me off the cliff and said to just treat it like yellow…. Not super helpful, but it did remind me that pink is just another color, and I COULD make this work. Crystal’s other favorites were teal and gray; she wanted very modern and said she was allergic to “nana florals”. After a little friendly sleuthing/stalking, and lots of thinking, I decided to go with the Aerial pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.

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Now that decision on its own is pretty intimidating — I knew I was going to hold my work up to my favorite versions. Both Mel from Melintheattic and Daisy from Ants to Sugar did absolutely gorgeous versions, and I wanted to love mine as much as theirs. Lucky again for me, Mel was very helpful and responded to my cry for help on Instagram. I was originally going to go with only 4 fabrics, and she suggested having more variety. So thank you Mel!

After all that hemming and hawing in the planning phase, the piecing actually went together incredibly smoothly. If you’re looking for a beginner friendly paper piecing pattern this is definitely one. Since its all geometric, there’s no worries that your feather (or bird, owl, moose, etc) will actually be recognizable. And you can precut all your strips which makes it go very, very fast. Though I did manage to make a mistake in the final layout (and 10 points if you can find it!), but unless you study very very hard (or are Carolyn Friedlander) you can’t really tell.

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I used as much variety in textures and colors as I could get my hands on locally. Peppered cottons, Andover’s textured solids, Moda Crossweaves, Kona, Free Spirit, and Essex Linen all made an appearance. And you may have noticed, I had trouble constraining myself to only pink, teal, and gray. Afterall, if I treat pink like yellow, what looks better with yellow then more yellow? And yes, those bits of yellow were leftover scraps from Take the A Train. Just in case you were wondering.

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For quilting, I originally thought of doing FMQ, but I couldn’t find my FMQ foot, so straight lines with the walking foot it was. Of course, that gets a little boring, so I threw in a few angles and changed directions. I don’t know if it was the changing directions, a poor basting job, or all the different textures, but I had more puckers and extra fabric issues with this mini than any other quilt ever. I think I’m going with the poor basting job, and a lack of starch. I’ve learned recently that starch is my friend. Not my best friend, but it at least deserves a card at the holidays.

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The back is a Tula Pink print (one of Crystal’s favorite designers) and the colors happened to match fairly well. I recently got a logo (!) and had a few labels printed at Spoonflower. I think they’re going to work out very well for future labeling needs. I bound it using Ashley’s fabulous tutorial, though if I ever use peppered cotton as binding again, I’m going to starch the stubbornness out of it.

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Whew, that was a lot of talking for such a small quilt…