Happy Juniper

Sunday, May 29, 2011

While she absolutely hates when I quilt (because she can't sit on my lap), Juniper definitely enjoys the benefits of quilting!

Disappearing 9-patch

I've never done a block of the month before, so when my cohort Bobbi at AMGQ suggested doing one, I thought I would give it a try.  One of the blocks, the disappearing 9-patch, I quickly decided I wanted to make a whole quilt top out of.  I liked the look of using only two fabric in the disappearing 9-patch, so I wanted to stick with that.  I was so excited that I started piecing right away.  Then.....

...I realized I did not have enough fabric from the print.  And not only did I not have enough fabric, but the fabric I bought was OUT OF PRINT!  Yikes.  I did manage to find some on ebay, but not enough to make the size top that I wanted.  So, plan B.  I bought a complimentary fabric from the same line, Pillow and Maxfield.  
The second print fabric is also out of print, but, again, I was able to find some on ebay.  It was enough to make the top I wanted.  The only question was, how to arrange it, now that I already had pieced and cut the first print.  Here were some options that I thought would work, but wasn't 100% happy with.

My husband liked the left one better.  I had been leaning towards the right one (yes, i realize there are two pieces turned wrong in the middle on the left side).  What I didn't like about the left was that I my eyes didn't know where to rest when looking at it.  The left layout just seemed a little chaotic, and as an engineer, I prefer structure!  But, there also seemed to be something about the right layout that did not convince me to start piecing it.

So I kept at it and finally settled on this..

There is movement, yet my eyes don't hurt when I look at it!  Now, onto piecing....

Twisted Sister

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I am in love, L.O.V.E., love with this quilt pattern.  It's so quick and easy, but looks complex.  I was introduced to this pattern by my AMQG quilt comrade, Heather.  She showed me how to make it at last months AMQG sew-day at Valli and Kim.  You can buy a template to make this pattern, or just make one of your own out of cardboard.  Actually, I think Valli and Kim sells the plastic template....I, however, did not notice this until after I had finished with the top!

At first, I was very confused by how this would work, so I took a picture at each step:

You just sew all the squares together, then use the twisted template to re-cut the squares, then simply re-assemble.  So quick and easy!  I was able to get it done in an entire weekend.  My only complaint is that there was a lot of wasted fabric, but i think I will be able to use it on the back somehow.

I'm so in love with this pattern that I'm already planning my next one.  This time I'll used a more structured layout and only four fabrics.  I found the coolest space invaders and pac man fabric at Fabric.com.  They have a May coupon code (DOD511) that's good for a 15% discount.

Tokyo Subway Top Complete

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Tokyo Subway quilt top is finally complete! I started to work on this quilt at the inaugural AMQG quilt retreat, shortly before leaving for a month long trip to Japan, where I would be working the majority of the time in Tokyo. I thought it would be a fitting reminder of the time that I spent there. Little did I know, it would be a trip I would never forget! One day before I was scheduled to leave, the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history occurred just 200 miles north of where I was living. Prior to that week I had never been in an earthquake in my life. By the end of the week I had been in four earthquakes (all greater than 6.0, including the 9.0) and several dozen aftershocks. I was extremely lucky to be far enough away from the epicenter that the Tsunami did not impact where I was. The devastating images that came out of the area north of us were unfathomable. My heart goes out to all those whose lives were impacted by the quake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster.

This past weekend we held the 2nd AMQG quilt retreat at the Wimberley Quilt Ranch and I was able to finally finish piecing the top. With the exception of two fabrics (I'll never tell which ones!), I used fabric that was from my stash. My fabric addiction, ok hoarding, finally paid off!

Two things that I did on this quilt I will likely never do again. The first is that I did not chain piece. While I felt it was appropriate for this particular top, because it would have been impossible to keep all the blocks straight had I chain pieced, when you don't chain piece, the start point for every seam is not locked as tightly as when you do. This lead to several spots where I had to redo the seams because they were coming apart. (I'll try and post an example image of this later.)

Second, I pressed the seams open. While the modern art movement has embraced pressing the seams open, I do not like it. First of all, it is cumbersome to do. Secondly, it made matching the seams difficult. Thirdly (is that a word?), when you insert the pins to match the seams, you have to put the pin heads on the outside of the fabric (see image to the left). This makes it difficult to sew over the seams with your quarter inch foot. It also caused me to break many, many needles. Normally, when I pin, I put the pin head on the fabric side, and make sure the tip of the pin is just about 1/4 inch from the edge. This way, when you sew over the pins, you are barely sewing over the tip of the pin, which can move out of the way if need be. When you put the pin heads outside the fabric the pin seems less free to move around. Next time I will stick to pressing seams to one side.

Checkout some more pics here.

Now, onto quilting it....

Equal Rights

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

While my mom was in town last Christmas, we decided to do a quilt shop hop - my first shop hop ever! Myself, my mom, my sister, a friend of my mom's as well as her daughter all piled in a car and drove all over Central Texas.  While many of the shops were closed for the holidays, we were able to find plenty of fabrics at the stores that were open to empty our pocket books!  First stop was the Quilt Haus in New Braunfels, where I picked up a bundle of fat quarters from the Henry Glass's Summertime collection.   I had no idea what to do with it, but knew I was in love.  Miles down the road and hours later, while at the Honey Bee Quilt Store in North Austin, I picked up a pattern for Swirly Girl's Equal Rights quilt, and a match made in heaven was born!  After searching far and wide for the template for this pattern, which I finally had to order on-line, I got started on the top and didn't stop until it was done.  I had originally decided to save this top to piece at the AMQG inaugural retreat in February.  I thought I would cut out the pieces ahead of time and then work on the layout and sewing during the retreat.  But before I knew it, I had pieced the entire top...weeks before the retreat!  I still have yet to quilt it.  Any suggestions?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Finished Supernova Top

Monday, May 02, 2011

My finished supernova quilt top! I'm still working out how I'm going to quilt it, but think it will be something geometric to compliment the straight lines of the design. I'm also leaning towards white or light gray thread and a white backing.

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