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Looks like we made it!

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Summer Solstice Quilt Top - By Stitchified

Well this quilt has been quite the fun long term project. I designed this quilt in May. I ordered the fabrics in June. I messed around with my plan in Evernote until the first week of July, and three weeks later I made the first block. I finished the last block just before Thanksgiving, and then this weekend?

A quilt top was born. Boom.

Summer Solstice Quilt Top - By Stitchified

It feels so good to see it come together that I’m almost speechless. Did I mention this thing is gigantic? Because holy crap. Right now it measures 90″ x 90″, so it will probably finish around 85″ x 85″ once it’s quilted and bound.  Yikes!

A huge thank you to Nellie from MamaPeaches who encouraged me across the finish line. I am so happy to have finished the quilt top before the New Year. Hooray!

Summer Solstice Quilt Top - By Stitchified

I have no idea how I’m going to quilt this thing yet. Any ideas out there? It may be time to learn a few new FMQ patterns, but I have a slow learning curve there. Any and all tips are appreciated!

WIP Wednesdays – Holiday Edition

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Tumbling blocks

 Holiday sewing is in full swing over here. I’ve completely taken over the house with my projects — there are stacks of fabric strewn all over the place, two ironing boards covered in WIPS, and thread snippits everywhere. Yeah, I’ve made a mess.

My first project is a small dog quilt for a family member. My poor dog will never have  a handmade quilt to call her own, but I know this quilt will make one person (and maybe one dog!) very happy on Christmas morning.

Since it is for a dog, I went with colors that would hide dirt — grey, tangerine, gold, and a touch of cream. Next I pulled coordinating prints from 2wenty Thr3e and Comma, and added Bella Solids in Tangerine, Mustard and Etching Stone.

I cut the tumblers using my new Accuquilt Go Baby, which I bought just for this die. In general, I prefer my Sizzix fabric cutter, but the Accuquilt Tumbler die includes special cut outs for the dog ears. At any rate, the Accuquilt made quick work a huge stack of fabric.   My little one helped randomize the tumblers for chain-piecing, and we had ourselves a quilt top in no time.

I followed the shape of the tumblers with some straight-line quilting, and ta da! We’re ready for the binding!

Tumbler Quilt in Autumn Colors

Linking up with WIP Wednesday’s at Freshly Pieced.

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Whriling Star

Whirling Star

Woohoo! The very last star in my Summer Solstice Quilt is complete! This one is entitled “Whirling Star” and is from the Solstice Stars Series over at Fresh Lemons.  This quilt has been so much fun to piece, and I have learned so much. Even if it did take me six months, heh.

And now for the big final layout reveal. A huge thank you to everyone to chimed in with their suggestions, they were so kind and helpful! As it turns out my sister saw my last post, and graciously put me out of my indecisive misery. Can I get a drum roll please?

Summer Solstice Quilt Final Layout

Final Summer Solstice Layout in grey and navy, with gold highlights

This one definitely qualifies for a whoop, whoop!

 

 

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Yeah, so this isn’t the “Another Square” block that I had planned on. In fact, I hadn’t planned on including a Lone Starburst block at all. But… I found myself with a couple of free hours and had a change of heart. I’m not sure how this block will change my final layout, but I’m happy to have the extra flexibility.

The only thing that was a little tricky for me was knowing how big to cut the pieces for the foundation paper piecing. Here is how I cut mine for anyone struggling with the same issue:
Pattern Piece (templates from craftsy, here)
Piece Number to cut Shape to Cut Color/White
1A/B  Cut 8  3″ strips, then cut into 60 degree diamonds
(this was a little tight)
 Color
2A/B + 3A/B Cut 16 1.5″ x 4” White
4A/B + 5A/B Cut 16 1.5″ x 5″ Color
6A/B Cut 4 5″ x 5″ squares, then cut diagonally White
7A/B Cut 4 6 x 6″ squares, then cut diagonally White
I started this quilt without any foundation paper piecing experience, and today I managed to make one of my all time favorite blocks. I am so proud of myself for conquering this one!  Like the Arkansas Traveler block, the Lone Starburst feels like a real milestone. I can’t wait to make another one! I’m already planning a scrappy rainbow with fussy cuts. No idea what I’ll do with it, but I absolutely have to make it 🙂
And, lastly, a little progress shot. These colors are outside of my usual color palette, but they remind me so much of my sister. I’m so excited to give it to her. Three more blocks to go (for real this time)!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday’s at Freshly Pieced.

Summer Solstice Quilt: Evening Star

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I was finally able to get back to my sewing machine this week. It felt so good to add another block to my Summer Solstice Quilt, this time the Evening Star.

This block led me to this quilt’s color scheme, so I’m really happy that it turned out just as I imagined. The color transition from yellow to grey makes me smile every time I look at it. But then again, I’m a sucker for rainbows, no matter the color palette 🙂

The most difficult blocks in my Summer Solstice Quilt are behind me now. In fact, here are just three blocks left and only one of them involves paper piecing. It feels especially good to be making progress since this one has been in  the works for awhile.

My next star is appropriately titled “Another Star.” I’ve spent hours agonizing over the color selection. I even stole the toddler’s crayons and experimented with the blocks, but I still can’t decide. Hopefully I can pick a direction and work up the courage to cut the fabric soon!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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I am fortunate enough to have my daughter enrolled at a fabulous preschool just a few minutes up the road. She spends her days playing *hard* under the watchful eye of four amazing teachers.

In just a few weeks we’ll be moving up at school, but I wanted to give each of her teachers a token of our appreciation. So this week I’m taking a mini-break from my Summer Solstice Quilt, and starting a few “quilt as you go” panels. I haven’t settled on exactly what I’ll be making with them. Pencil bags? Makeup bags? Gift card holders? Yeah, something like that.

This isn’t my first time using the quilt-as-you-go-technique, but I think I’ve improved since my first mis-adventure. I took Tara Rebman‘s “Quilt-As-You-Go-Bags” on Craftsy, and picked up a lot of great tips there. I just love projects like this – lots of improv fabric play, and a great excuse to visit the scrap bin. I’m excited to pull colors for the next two bags!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 🙂

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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I fell in love with the Arkansas Traveler block the very first time I saw it over on Freshly Pieced.  Since then I’ve seen so many beautiful versions pop up in the blogosphere, but I knew I needed more experience before I attempted it myself. Paper piecing and diamonds — whoa. I feel like I’ve been practicing for this very moment for months. Well, ready or not, I went for it!

As you may know, the Arkansas Traveler combines traditional piecing with paper piecing. You begin by cutting 60 degree diamonds (measured to the eighth of an inch!), and assemble them in groups of four. I went through a lot of layout variations in my head, but in the end I went scrappy.

This was my first time doing diamonds, but it was easier than imagined. I used my Perkins Ruler to show me where the scant quarter inch seam would fall, and used that to gauge where the dog ears should go. That seemed to work really well for me. I definitely still had to pay attention when lining up the diamond sets, but I only had to rip out a few seams.

Once the diamond sets are complete, they are set into the background via paper piecing. I’m happy to say that paper piecing came more naturally this time, and passed more quickly. It took me just a few minutes to do the paper piecing and trim up my four mini-blocks.

Matching up the points was definitely the toughest part of this block. I’m happy to say that my little Janome was able to push through the center seam with the papers intact. Thank you, Acufeed. That’s a lot of fabric and a lot of paper, but we chugged through it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I matched up all the seams that I realized I had an error in one of my four mini-blocks. See that one in the upper left of the finished block? The paper must have slid on me while  I was paper piecing that bit. By the time I noticed it was way too late to fix.  I’m a little disappointed, but my sister made me promise not to go crazy making her quilt. So I’m resisting the urge to rip it all out and start over. Have I mentioned that my sister is amazing? Because she is.

Here’s a little status shot of my three blocks so far. I’m really pleased with how it is turning out!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced, which seems extra appropriate this week. I can’t thank Lee enough — this really is an amazing block, and it comes with a perfectly clear tutorial. Always an inspiration.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 

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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This week I finished the second block (“Ribbon Star“) in my Summer Solstice Quilt. Not going to lie – even though I’m in the middle of this project, it’s hard to keep myself focused on it. I keep getting distracted! So, I’m linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced to keep me moving forward.

This particular block wasn’t too challenging, which was nice change of pace after sewing up that tricky dragon softie. The block definitely came together quickly and easily, thanks in no small part to my new Perkins Perfect Piecing Ruler. I can’t say enough good things about that fluorescent yellow beauty. Love love love!

It’s nice to see the color palette starting to emerge with this second block, and I’ve really been enjoying working with the Art Gallery’s Pure Elements. They are so soft!
My next block is the Arkansas Traveler, which will be a bit of a sewing milestone for me. I’ve admired that block for a long time, and can’t wait to tackle it. Wish me luck!
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You may be familiar with the now classic “sleeping baby dragon pattern” by Naomi @ NimblePhish. You can find sewists selling dragons made from the pattern in the $100 range all over the place on Etsy and Facebook. I love the pattern, and hope to make it one day for an adult recipient since the appendages are all sewn by hand (using a ladder stitch or button joints). The resulting dragons are gorgeous, but I would fear for their safety if they ever met up with my two year old.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that NimblePhish was introducing a new toddler-friendly dragon, “Doughnut.” Unlike his older brother, Doughnut is entirely machine sewn in a single structure (except the wings). I picked up the pattern in a heart beat, and pulled out some dark purple cotton velour that I had been holding on to. About twenty-seconds in to pattern cutting I realized that cotton velour is a delicate beast, so I applied fusible fleece to each piece (for the record, that step takes forever!). Then I added a few splashes of corduroy in lime green and orange for contrasting details. Finally, I ended up with a beautiful pile of pieces.
And then came a sewing extravaganza, which actually took place a few weeks ago before our home renovation projects. The sewing went smoothly once I got his feet sewn on in the right direction, but I would certainly consider this little guy an intermediate level pattern. There are some tricky seams, and generally very little detail or explanation. But, that said, anyone with modest sewing experience (or a lot of drive!) could make their way through this one.
Even though I finished his “skin” awhile ago I wasn’t able to stuff him until now, thanks to the arrival of new eyes from 6060 and a new batch of wool stuffing. Unfortunately, while I was stuffing him I realized that something was funky. As you can see, he is a little slimmer and a little taller than the pattern picture. My best guess is that I misinterpreted the cross-grain/length-wise symbols on the pattern pieces, and ended up putting the stretch in the wrong direction. Easy enough to do since I was also compensating for the nap direction. But still, argh. Add in the fact that he is/was intended to be a special birthday present for an amazing friend’s son next week? Double argh.
I debated sending him to the Island of Misfit Toys, but thought better of it (for now!). I’ve been assured that he is presentable, just different than planned. 
 
Even so, I decided to add a little more personality and charm where and if I could (read: I lay awake for hours trying to figure out ways to redeem him) So, I fashioned a snap-on diaper for him, and made a cut-out for his tail. I also added sleepy eye-lids, which are a feature in NimbleBit’s other patterns. And lastly, I added a little bling to his under-wings in the form of dark purple silk. I had to hand-baste the wings before machine sewing, top-stitching was a @%&$@$ challenge, and the silk didn’t photograph well, *but* it feels lovely. I think little hands will love it. But for my sanity’s sake, I’m never ever sandwiching (real) silk and cotton velour together again. I promise you that much.
But for now, he is done, though I might decide to pin his ears down. I am probably going to vacillate between exiling him to the Island of Misfit Toys and giving him as a gift about a dozen times between now and next week.  It stinks when you work on something and it doesn’t come out how you expected. Especially when it’s a gift for someone special. I’m hoping that he’ll grow on me if I just step-away. Step away! 🙂

Summer Solstice Quilt

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I’m officially dubbing this WIP the “Summer Solstice Quilt.”  As I mentioned in my earlier post, my plan is to combine several stars from Faith @FreshLemon’s Summer Sampler and Solstice Stars Series. See what I did there? Summer Solstice Quilt. Mmm hmm.

Well, after weeks of procrastinating I finally broke ground on my project. This was my first time foundation paper piecing, and I was so intimidated! I am a creature of habit and paper piecing seemed completely counter-intuitive.  I’m happy to report that everything went smoothly  despite my worrying, and I had a lot of fun! I think paper piecing might be my new favorite thing — it was so satisfying to watch the little bits come together.


My first star in my Summer Solstice Quilt is the Star of Mystery. I am so thrilled with how it came out! Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time getting a photo that is true to color. The midnight navy is reading as black… maybe my camera is trying to tell me something about 2AM photo shoots.

I will say that this block was hugely time consuming. It took an hour and some change to cut the pieces, and then another couple of hours to complete the various sections. After investing all that time I decided to baste the segments together first — just to make sure that  my points matched before joining them more permanently. I think the extra step paid off 🙂

Star of Mystery, all finished!

I’m feeling reinvigorated on this project. I can’t wait to start up my next block!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced