Monday, 29 January 2018

The Jess Quilt (or....The Bee Tranquilt)

Back when I was in thumb jail...wait.  Did I mention I'm out of thumb jail?  I'M OUT OF THUMB JAIL!!!!  There is still a very disturbing "popping" that occurs whenever I hinge my wrist forward but the pain is gone.  I'm freeeeeeeee! November when I was in thumb jail, all I could do was collect and curate fabrics for projects that I would work on in the future when I was better.  One of these projects was for my brother's girlfriend (Jess) who is one of my current housemates.  Most evenings she wraps herself up in the VERY loved quilt that my grandmother made for my brother.  Its the one he drags back and forth in his car when he does extra long surveillance trips for work.  Needless to say, its a stinky boy quilt and she is not a stinky boy.  So for her birthday at the beginning of November, I pledged to make her a quilt of her own so she no longer had to resort to the stinky boy quilt.

These pretty fabrics were cut by my mom and destined for Jess.
Well, when my parents came home for Christmas, my mom helped me out by turning the stack of fabrics I had collected into a great big delicious pile of of charm squares that I could sew into a quilt. It was my mom's first time cutting fabric for a quilt.  I don't think she had fun.  She approached this project with the same get-'er-done, waste-no-time approach she takes with everything.  She was sweaty at the end.

After consultation with my mom and others, I abandoned my original plan for a selected random layout and decided to go with a gradation.  I got stuck though when I tried to figure out how to do it in a way that was balanced but that didn't have clear demarcations from one colour to the next.  Pinterest to the rescue and I found a knitting pattern I could turn upside-down and use.
This is the knitting diagram I used to plan the gradated layout
I also knew that my thumb/wrist would be on FIRE with all the pressing so I tried a new-to-me method of sewing the quilt.  I chain pieced vertically without snipping between the blocks.  Once the vertical seams were all together, the rows were pieced but the un-snipped threads held all the rows together.

See progress on vertical seams
This is the end product of having all the vertical seams sewn -- complete rows.  Rows are held together by thread. 
The great thing about piecing this way was that when I got to this point, I no longer had to pay attention to what went where.  In fact, once I got to this point, I didn't have to get up from my sewing machine at all until the top was completely pieced.  How efficient!  It was super easy to ease the seams to nest into each other and I didn't have to pay attention to which rows needed to be pressed in which direction.
See?  Ironed the whole thing all at the end.  

I would definitely use this method again if I was doing simple patchwork. Less thinking, more sewing!
This is what the top looked like once it was pressed the one and only time I took it to the iron.
I ended up backing the quilt in minky -- it was my first time doing that too.  It was a little persnickety as the backing had stretch and the front didn't but after one small re-baste to pull the backing tighter, we were in business.  I kept the quilting simple and echoed 1/4 inch away from each seam.  The quilt was machine-bound and gifted at the beginning of the month.  

There you have it -- The Bee Tranquilt

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2017 - A year in review

So pretty good year in the creative department considering I have been in thumb jail for the last four months.  It feels good also to track my progress.  I had no stated quilty goals for 2017 so everything on my list here puts me over and above all expectation!  Lol.

I'm breaking things into sections for this review...

New Skills:
I like to set myself a goal to learn something new every year.  As examples, past yearly learning goals have included getting a motorcycle license, learning to knit, and taking Spanish lessons.  This year, I learned two new sewing skills.

The first was English Paper Piecing.
Not too shabby for my first attempt - with thanks to a workshop at the Workroom
The second was to draft a Foundation Paper Pieced block:
Not a great picture but I drafted this for quilty friend A's "Shine Brightly"travelling quilt
These are awesome little projects to make you feel like you accomplished something in a relatively short amount of time.  In other words, great projects for a newly minted high school principal with not a lot of time on her hands.  The first was a gift.
Made this for my niece's 10th birthday - she might be more rainbow obsessed than me!
The second was my sneaky attempt to convert my brother's girlfriend into a quilter.  Note: it didn't work.
It's pretty nonetheless and gets used on the daily
The third was to use up scraps for the first quilt I was paid to make.
I couldn't waste any fabric since my friend had paid me.

Finished Quilts:
This was a pretty good eight months worth of effort.  Got a little sidelined in the fall with an injury but I will be right as rain again soon!  This was a last minute gift for a new baby boy -- got the call on Friday that I was going to get to meet him on Sunday and went to work.  36 hours later...BAM! Fast finish!

Used up some long hoarded Reunion by Sweetwater fabric and a construction print on the back that I'm not quite sure why I owned.
The second was the recently blogged birthday quilt for my friend and VP partner K-Dubs.
Oh Tula and purple - how I love you.
And the third was my long awaited aviatrix which was always destined for me and which has lived happily on my bed since it was finished.
This is still one of my favourite things I have ever made.
Other progress:
I also made a dress this year in an attempt to keep making progress on my garment sewing skills.
The Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven - obviously I used a Tula Pink fabric.
And I finished a few quilt tops which will quickly be making it into the 2018 quilty finishes column.  The first was the snail quilt I made as part of an instagram sew-a-long with my friend L.
Yet another project which heavily features Tula Pink fabrics.  Yes, I have a problem.  No, I won't do anything about it.
The second is destined for my brother's girlfriend and which WILL be a finished quilt by the time school starts again on January 8th.
I really like the gradient happening here.
And the final top - also which WILL be a finished quilt by January 8th is for the new grandson of someone who works in my school.  This little guy had a rough go in the first few weeks of life but is getting stronger every day.
Sleep Tight fabric and a quilt hack from Kitchen Table Quilts
And that's it!  

I've never set intentions for the year ahead but looking at this list of accomplishments from 2017 makes me kind of want to.  Who knows, I just may.  

Stay tuned!