Have you ever seen something and just instantly fell in love, knew “this is the one”? That’s kind of what I felt the first time I saw a dahlia quilt. Curvy, colorful, big and beautiful.
Of course, it’s also the kind of project that makes me think, “Can I do this?”
When I came across the Dahlia quilt pattern from Prairie Grass Patterns, I knew I’d found my entre to the quilt of my dreams. It took me a little while to get to it, but when I did, I couldn’t stop until it was done.
I used largely Tula Pink fabrics with a bit of Timeless Treasure’s Studio Basics blender and a wee touch of Cotton + Steel. It’s all machine pieced, then hand appliqued to the background fabric. I machine quilted each blade of the dahlia, echoing the lines of the piecing. Then I echo stitched around the dahlia on the background fabric.
The finished mini quilt is about 25″ square and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It was a good learning process without the level of intimidation that is the Giant Dahlia pattern. And now that I’ve done it, I know I want to follow through and make the dahlia of my dreams.
Now that I’ve gotten past some big deadlines, I’ve suddenly found myself able to sew things just for fun. Just because I want to. It’s liberating and intimidating, all at the same time. Some days, I can’t figure out where to start so I end up doing fun things like laundry. Others, I head to the sewing machine and don’t move until it’s time to get my daughter from the bus.
My session with Allie the Owl fell under the second scenario.
I’ve been in love with owls since forever and I knew I’d take a crack at Elizabeth Hartman’s pattern at some point. We had some beautiful bolts of Shimmer 2 at the shop, so I started there and pulled in a gorgeous blue linen/cotton blend (Mochi by Moda) for the background.
I was in such a hurry to make this thing, that apparently I could not be bothered to either cut or sew a straight line. As a result, some of my matching is … off. Some days, you just accept the imperfections and this is one of those days.
I’d originally planned to do a loose, all over quilting pattern, using a light gray thread over the owl and a matching thread to the background. But then I got in the groove and went a little crazy with the background. OK, a lot crazy.
I found a quilt on Pinterest that used a similar free-motion quilting design and just ran with it. I didn’t do much marking: I used the width of my palm to help with spacing the first line of quilting (the long, wavy line) and I did use chalk to mark about halfway between those lines to give myself a stopping point for the scallops. Other than that, I just winged it.
It’s a pretty dense amount of quilting and I probably should have taken more breaks than I did because my shoulders and upper back were killing me the next day. But I’m happy with how it turned out and maybe the quilting helps keep people from noticing all those mismatched seams!
A couple of months ago, Sarah and I were trying to figure out the whole Block of the Month thing for the shop for 2014. Our regular BOM teacher is taking a break this year, so we decided that the two of us will lead a Block of the Month. Or possibly she suggested that we do it and I dove in, feet first, and dragged her along with me before she changed her mind. (If you’ve met me, you probably can figure out which is the correct scenario.)
We figured out pretty quickly that we were on the same wavelength when it came to choosing a quilt and decided to take different approaches to the fabrics. She chose a beautiful neutral Essex linen for the background of her blocks and a scrappy assortment of fabrics, leaning pretty heavily on ones from the Kaffe Fassett Collective. I went a little more…crazy. LOL! Here’s a sneak peek:
The background is from the Collage line for Windham Fabrics and I used a mix of dots, chevrons and solids for the stars. I know the fabrics aren’t for everyone but I was so thrilled to see it come together the way I saw it in my head.
Ultimately, I think our quilts really reflect our styles. I absolutely love how mine turned out and I can’t lie: I think Sarah’s is pretty darned awesome. Hers is off with the longarm quilter and mine is waiting for me to get the back pieced but I’ll share pics when they’re ready to be unveiled. (Plus links to sign up for the BOM, just in case you’re interested.)
I am not a test-the-waters kind of gal. I’m more of a jump-in-with-both-feet person, which probably explains all the half-finished projects in my life. And craft supplies. And this year’s completely overboard Christmas redecorating.
But I digress.
I had heard of Don’t Look Now! patterns but it wasn’t until I saw them at Market in person that I really “got” it. They were so cool and so different from what I’d seen before. Over time, I started thinking, “Hey, I could totally do this!”
Now, most people might think this and decide to try a pillow before diving into a quilt. I am not most people. My life would surely be easier if I were most people but probably a whole lot less interesting. Behold my take on the Don’t Look Now! White Christmas pattern:
The tree is Kona Bright Pink; the background is a white-on-white snowflake fabric from Timeless Treasures. The binding and backing are from Kaufman (Tinsel Tree, maybe?).
I traced, cut, fused and stitched around every. single. one of those snowflakes. Some of ’em are a little wonky looking and I really need an extension table and a class on machine quilting. But I did it! I did the whole thing! (With some fantastic advice from my friends Taffy and Patty, I should mention.)
Because of my complete lack of quilting experience, I enlarged some of the snowflakes (another suggestion from the dynamic duo) and quilted around them on the white. I probably should have done more quilting in between but it ain’t happening.
I definitely learned a lot from making this (those grippy gloves are a must! you can’t have enough thread!) and actually am looking forward to making another Don’t Look Now quilt at some point. Just not anytime soon.
I’m so excited to have finished this quilt! It’s not perfect but that’s OK. I did change the pattern a teeny bit and used the pink gingham/cherries as an inner border with the aqua version of the fabric as an outer border, instead of using the two equally in the border. I still need to pick out the backing and binding but I’m not in a huge hurry right now, especially since I’ll be sending it out to get quilted.
One down, 11 to go!
We’re still snowed in down here in Hothlanta, so I ventured to my poor, neglected studio to spend some time with the quilt I started right after Christmas. I fell in love with this Oh-Cherry-Oh! fabric by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda as soon as I saw it and promptly bought the fabric I needed to make the Simply Sweet quilt pattern that was released with the fabric.
And then ignored it. For two years.
I’m not big on making resolutions but I have decided to work through my stash this year and actually make some of the projects I’d planned with the fabric I bought. This quilt seemed like a good place to start, especially during these dreary, gray days.
My intention was to get back to work on it as soon as the kids went back to school in January but that didn’t happen quite like planned. This week was starting to look like a bust, too, but then Miss L spent yesterday afternoon at a friend’s house around the corner — ideal time for doing a little sewing.
Today’s been a little less productive but I’ve at least got the block centers planned and even managed to sew a few of them before the dogs chased me back upstairs. (And what is up with that? They’re both asleep on their bed again but I know they’ll be at my heels the minute I set foot on the stairs. Bossy puppies.) It’s just the pick-me-up I need right now, between the cold temps and the icy roads.
I find it nearly impossible to accomplish much of anything crafty from Thanksgiving until the new year. There’s just so much on my plate and then the kids are home more, so I just don’t seem to get much done. This year’s time crunch coincided with another crafty slump, which was a little discouraging, because I actually had the time and desire to make something — I just couldn’t get motivated.
After spending most of a day cleaning up my studio (the clutter tends to adversely affect my crafting), I decided to run over to the shop and pick up some new fabric I’d been admiring and a new quilt pattern to go with it. The new V&A line from David Textiles had me all ga-ga at Market, so I picked out a few fat quarters of it along with some of Tula Pink’s Parisville and a couple of shot cottons. I thought all of it was perfect for the Coming Soon… pattern by Thimble Blossoms, which is actually meant to be a baby blanket but I’m thinking it’s a nice size for a throw.
This is really my kind of pattern: quick, cute and easy. I did make an error in cutting and had to add a couple more of the green-and-cream strips in the middle of piecing but that wasn’t a big deal. I’m toying with the idea of pulling off the border and making a wider one, which is something Sarah suggested. And I still need to pick out a backing fabric (leaning towards flannel or Minky/Minkee) but I’m pretty sure I’m going to bind it with the green.
One thing I will do is orient the quilt differently. I used directional fabric so all my books and wine bottles are sideways! LOL!
Hey! What’s that thing hanging from the tree in my front yard? Could it be … a quilt top? Why, yes. Yes, it is. And I made it.
I made it! I made it! I literally wrapped it around me and danced around the living room when I finished it. Because I’m kinda nutty like that sometimes. (Like you couldn’t figure that out!)
It was such a big deal to me, that I told pretty much no one that I was making a quilt. Seriously, if it hadn’t turned out, no one would ever know I had even tried. It did, though, so now I’m going to be a total show off. Tee hee!
We’re all friends here, right? So you’re going to be nice and sweet and completely ignore my goof ups (which I’m not going to detail myself). I think it’s not half bad for my first attempt at making a quilt. I used my favorite beautiful Sugar Snap fabrics (with the exception of one print, which we could not find anywhere in the shop that day).
The pattern I chose because I thought it would be well suited for my temperament (i.e., lack of patience). It’s called Piece of Cake and it’s by Thimble Blossoms. Really met my expectations, in a good way. I think I did all the cutting one day and the sewing the next evening while watching TV. It probably came together in maybe three hours. That’s my kind of project! LOL!
I now totally get what everyone was telling me about quilting being addictive. I seriously can’t wait to start my next one and have a stack of patterns picked out for probably my next six quilts. No idea when I’m going to sew them because I can’t even come close to keeping up with my current sewing to-do list as it is.
I’m not sure about doing the actual quilting part of it. It’s part equipment, part skill and part time. Fortunately, there are plenty of folks who are willing to do that part for me, although I think I may do the binding myself, just because I love sticking myself in the finger repeatedly with a needle. OK, not really. But I do want to have that closure of finishing it. At least my first quilt.