I went to the international quilt festival a couple weekends ago with my cousin.  It was the first time I’ve ever been to a quilt show and the amount of things to see was overwhelming.  The venue was huge and there were aisles and aisles of booths for shopping with anything quilt-related you can think of.  I got to try a long arm quilting machine.  I want one so much!  I can’t even begin to tell you how much easier it was to free motion quilt on the machine.   Quilting a quilt is definitely my least favorite part of the quilting process…its so hard to do on a regular sewing machine, I get really frustrated and have never been  completely happy with how it turns out.  The long arm machine is so fun to use, and the results are awesome.  Its a shame they cost thousands of dollars, and I live in a one bedroom apartment.  As you can see, they are huge.

long arm machine

long arm machine

At the quilt show, I came across a booth with all these little 16″x24″ art quilts of dogs.  Of course, I was in love.  They were selling the patterns, and surprisingly she had a papillon pattern!  I had to buy it, I’m excited about making a Foxy quilt.  I think it will be so fun, and it will be my first time paper piecing, so a small project will be good for learning.  If you click on the picture of the papillon, you will be able to go to the designer, Sharon Malec’s website.  She has patterns for over 100 dog breeds, and other animals too.

So cute.  Cant wait to make one that looks like Foxy.

So cute. Can't wait to make one that looks like Foxy.

I also loved the quilt gallery.  They were all beautiful.  A quilt show has a lot of rules.  Don’t touch anything is probably the biggest one, but also you are only allowed to take pictures of quilts that do not have a “no photography” sign next to them.  Unfortunately there were not many I was allowed to take a picture of, but here are some pictures of some amazing work that I was able to photograph.  Seeing them up close was so amazing, the quilting and piecing skills these men and women have are so incredible.  It was really inspirational to see these beautiful quilts.  It really inspired me.  I finally started on my “thank you” quilt for my friend Christine for making the logo for my etsy shop.  She wanted pink and orange, so I really hope she likes what I’ve been working on, I’m really happy with it so far.  Anyway, here are some of the amazing quilts from the 2009 International Quilt Festival:

The fabric for this was handpainted.

The fabric for this was handpainted.

this quilt blew my mind.  ithe detail is amazing

this quilt blew my mind. the detail is amazing

based on Klimts The Kiss.  They used a lot of shiny fabrics.

based on Klimt's The Kiss. Loved the gold lame.

definitely more traditional, but i liked the kalidescope effect

definitely more traditional, but i liked the kalidescope effect

I thought this was really modern and fresh using the shirting materials

I thought this was really modern and fresh using the shirting materials

Chicago Landscape! The detail was incredible.

Chicago Landscape! The detail was incredible.

a close up of a very complicated quilt, each tiny piece there was sewn together

a close up of a very complicated quilt, each tiny piece there was sewn together

a beautiful antique quilt from the 1850s. I love the eagle and vine motif. All done by hand!

a beautiful antique quilt from the 1850s. I love the eagle and vine motif. All done by hand!

they called this a variation on a dresden plate. I love the flowers and on point blocks.

they called this a variation on a dresden plate. I love the flowers and on point blocks.

i love these birds. and the hand quilting on it is incredible.

i love these birds. and the hand quilting on it is incredible.

the brick path quilt

February 20, 2009

I finally finished my brick path quilt last night.  I will have to wait until tomorrow to get some good pictures, hopefully there will be sunlight, but I was so happy to finally have it done that I did my best with my limited photography skills and got some pictures so I could post.

It was pretty straightforward to finish this, and thankfully there was no binding to do, although I had a terrible time getting those pom poms sewn into the corners.  And as you can see from my close up, one little pom pom thread still escaped.  Also, when I washed and dried the quilt after I was done, the pom poms got all linty.  I tried my best to get the lint off, but they still look a little dirty, which makes me a little sad, because I was really into those pom poms! I guess if I make another one of these quilts, I will leave them off.

Its becoming increasingly apparent that until I move into a house or bigger apartment, I’m only going to be able to make lap-sized quilts or smaller.  I dont have the room to lay out the quilt to baste!

That’s the biggest open area I have in my apartment, after I move the coffee table.  I live in a one bedroom apartment so there’s only 4 rooms, the living room being the largest.  As you can see, after laying out the batting and the backing, there’s not room for much else.  I am standing in my windowsill to take this picture. ( I have a huge windows at the far end of my apartment that fill this entire wall, with a low wide sill.) You can also tell I quilt with the tv on.  Shameful, I know!

I really like how the top turned out, even though my “random” assembly ended up having a lot of repeats in the end.  I laid it out on the couch for this picture so you could see have soft and pretty all the colors are.

Squaring up the quilt was really easy.  You can see my sewing table is really an old crate and barrel desk, I wish it was wider, but at least its long enough to get the job done.

In then end, I am happy with how it turned out, problems and all.  After washing it there was an issue with the pom poms and a seam on the edge of the quilt that I had to fix, and I also noticed that I forgot to quilt one of the rows!  After correcting all the issues, it turned out so cute.  I think its a perfect springtime quilt, and I am so over winter right now, its just the thing to perk up this grey time of year.

snow day!

January 28, 2009

the view outside my apartment window

the view outside my apartment window

Today I got to “work from home” because last night it snowed 12.5 inches in Indianapolis.  I started out the morning trying to dig out my car but gave up and called my boss.  She said to stay home, and I was more than happy to do that.  I sat around most of the morning working remotely, but it didn’t seem there was a lot going on so I started working on my Ohio Sky brick path quilt.

I got all of the rows done!  I really felt revitalized and happy today.  A snow day does a body good.  I decided to just use some unbleached muslin I had in my stash to make the extra blocks I needed. I ended up only needing 6 extra blocks so I guess I miscounted before but still –  I shouldnt have needed any.   I’m also really happy that I was finally able to take a photo in natural sunlight so you can really see how pretty the fabrics are.  They really are my favorite colors and I cannot wait to get this thing done!

its getting there!

its getting there!

I did get about 3 of these rows sewed together.  I may do more later, or I might wait until the weekend.  I’ve got some other things I need to do around the house today now that I have time.  I’ll see how it goes.

Also tomorrow, I am so excited to share with you the awesome banner and avatar my friend Christine made for my etsy shop!  Snow day was nice and all, but really it was seeing what an amazing job she did for me that really got my creativity flowing again.  Thank you Christine!  You are truly amazing.

new fabric!

January 22, 2009

All the fabric I ordered finally came in that I ordered from fabric.com and equilter (neither of which sent me the aformentioned wonky fat quarters).  After new years, they both had really good sales on their designer fabric, so I kindof went crazy.  I got some Michael Miller, Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope – yay!, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Heather Ross and some other random things.   I haven’t yet really accumulated a stash, so this was my beginning.  I have random fabrics left over from projects, but I wanted to have more of a variety so I can do things more on the fly, giving me more options  and room to experiment.  Until now, I have worked by deciding a project, picking out the fabric specifically for the project, then making it.  But I think I like having the freedom of having options right there when the mood strikes me to start something.

I got quite a lot of “cute” fabrics because I will start making some baby quilts soon.  I’ve been drafting some patterns for some baby quilts I am really excited about and I think will be a good start to my etsy store.  I have so much to do before I can open it, but at least things are moving forward.  I’ve been reading the book Craft, Inc and it has been really inspirational as far as giving a lot of insight and direction on how to organize a hobby business.  So right now I’m in the process of picking out and having made fabric labels, creating a logo and banners with help from my amazingly talented friend Christine, making business cards, tags…and I’m sure there is something I am forgetting.

I guess I am just a perfectionist at heart, and I have been considering opening this shop for a while.  So I am committing to doing it “right” – whatever my definition of that is.  And I want to have all of that ready and done before I open the store, because for me that is the best way to do it.

steady as she goes

January 21, 2009

its a start

it's a start

I did finally start sewing my ohio sky brick path quilt.    I’ve only done 2 rows so far, so there’s 16 more to go before I can start piecing the rows together.   I think besides my January blues and crushing unmotivation to do much of anything, I’ve had a lot of problems technically with this quilt.  Funny because I was just saying a few posts down how easy and fast this would be!

The first problem was that the fat quarters of fabric that I ordered from a fabric website to do this were cut totally crooked, and once I squared them and started cutting blocks instead of getting 12 blocks per fat quarter, I ended up only getting 6-9, with the rest being like 4″x7″…so there is a lot of blocks that are too small to use on this.  They won’t go to waste, I’ll use them to do baby quilts, but it was super irritating.

Then after I had sewed these two rows together, I didn’t really trust my randomness in picking the fabrics out of a bag to sew together, so I decided to pick the rows and have them ready to sew ahead of time.  Thats that large stack of blocks above my lonely rows.  Well , when I counted the number of stacks I had, guess what…I’m one short  I’m so angry!

So that pretty much halted everything as I was so disgusted at these stupid crooked fat quarters and all those wasted blocks I just lost any sort of inspiration I had to continue on this thing.

So I have two options, go to a joanns and try to find a fabric (a solid maybe?) that would coordinate  that I could mix into the other blocks to finish, or the other idea  I had was to just use the too small blocks and make a top and bottom row, but I think that will look kindof stupid, so I dont really want to do that either.  So any advice would be greatly appreciated!

will I ever finish?

will I ever finish?

I try to appreciate the irony in a project so simple has become this completely arduous task, but right now, its hard to find the humor.  I just wanted to get this done…hopefully after this weekend and a trip to joanns, I will be back on track.

a slow start

January 6, 2009

I have had a hard time getting motivated after Christmas.  The beginning of the year is never a good time for me, I have a really hard time and don’t really feel like celebrating.  This is a craft blog though!  But I guess part of it may be that after all of the joy of the holidays, and stress and excitement, I just hit a valley, emotionally speaking.  So even though I have lots of projects in mind for this year, its been hard to get started.  Plus I got two new games for the Wii and that can always be a huge time sink and easy distraction.  So to start the new year off nice and easy, I thought that I would start with a project  that has been pushed off to the side for a long long time.

pattern and fabrics

pattern and fabrics

The camera distorted the colors of the fabric in all these pictures, mostly because I was photographing at night.  Its not so yellow. I bought this Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric a long time ago to make a quilt for my bed.   Unfortunately with all the babies being born and weddings I had to go to, and Christmas, and birthdays…it got sidetracked.  So I decided to start the year with a project for myself.  I finally started it, and now I am really excited to get it finished.  Sometimes the hardest part is just starting.

the last few fat quarters I needed to cut

the last few fat quarters I needed to cut

I bought fat quarters of all the Ohio Sky colorway fabrics in Midwest Modern.  The blues and greens she uses are some of my favorite colors, very soothing and vintagey.   The quilt itself is fairly simple, 198 4.5″ x 7.5″ blocks, sewn into 18 rows, which are then staggered to create the brick path look.

cutting was fast, nothing complicated here!

cutting was fast, nothing complicated here!

It should come together fairly quickly, but I have had the hardest time finding matching pom poms that the pattern suggests sewing into the corners.  I may leave them out.  But I like pom poms, so I may try searching again or tea dying some white ones to match the creamy colors in the fabric.

ready to start

ready to start

I think getting this done will motivate me for the other projects I have planned for this year.  There are 2, maybe 3 more quilts I have sketched out designs for. This will be the first time trying something without a pattern.  I ordered fabric from equilter.com for one of them which I can’t wait to show you once it arrives.   They were having a huge clearance sale, so I picked up a lot of stuff.

Besides my 2 quilt ideas, my goal is to complete about 4 baby quilts and a bunch of tie dye baby onesies and open up my first etsy shop this year.  I am aiming for a may opening so I think that gives me plenty of time!  There’s a lot to do before that happens, including learning how to take better pictures of my work, and hopefully getting one of my talented friends to help me design a logo and banner for my shop.  I am really excited about doing this so I hope I follow through!

rail fence

December 10, 2008

quilt close up

quilt close up

I actually finished this quilt last weekend, after the tie dye onsies, but I was debating wether or not I was going to post about it because I made this for my mom for Christmas.   But since I haven’t given my mom the link to my blog yet, I figured I would just wait until after I  give it to her to let her know I have a blog.

This quilt is the first “bigger-than-a-baby-size” traditional quilt I have made.   Before I started my blog, my first “big” quilt was actually for my friends Mischa and Chrystina as a wedding gift.   Since Mischa is such a video game fan, I tried making the ubiquitous video game quilt.  If you want to know more about that you can read about it in my craftster.org post.  It was a fun project and I would like to do more video game quilts in the future.   Maybe BurgerTime, my all time favorite classic video game.

somehow, i dont think this would work

somehow, i don't think this would work

More likely, I would like to do Q-Bert.  I have seen many awesome Q-Bert inspired quilts, and I would love to try now that I am getting much better at piecing and I think I could handle the tumbling blocks that the Q-bert pyramid is made from.   A particularly inspiring and awesome Q-bert quilt can be found on this girl’s Flickr page.

But back to my mom’s rail fence quilt.  Since I am still relatively new at quilting, my confidence can be lacking, which is why I haven’t ventured into making quilt blocks quite yet.  This was done using strip piecing, which essentially is sewing long strips of fabric together and then cutting blocks from that to sew together to make the quilt top.  It went really fast, which is nice, because I like to see progress before I get too frustrated or discouraged and give up.

the finished quilt front

the finished quilt front

I am really happy with how the “rails” line up, one of the biggest challenges in quilting is the precision involved.  It can be a pain in the ass, but I feel like at the same time I’m getting something out of having to be that meticulous.  It really puts you in the moment, applying those Buddhist principals of Mindfulness, being present, paying attention…everything I was taught in all my yoga classes that I never really understood how to use outside of the yoga studio.  Making this quilt has helped me to understand those principals, and I find when I am sewing I really just enter the “flow” I lose track of time, and I am happy.

back of quilt, i love the scrap strip to ad interest

back of quilt, i love the scrap strip to add interest

So while this quilt was made as a gift, the process of making it gave back to me.