A Quilt Story

A Sad Story

This time last year I went to a Girls Night Out at my favorite quilt shop, The Fabric Dock and bought a jelly roll. With a little encouragement from the owner I completed my first quilt top. I left with another jelly roll that very night. I may or may not have stayed up that night making another quilt top. The next week I was back in the shop with a one yard bundle I’d been hoarding, begging Natalie for a pattern that a beginner could handle, and I’d obviously been bitten by the quilting bug.

Although I was turning out tops pretty quickly, I didn’t actually finish an entire quilt until springtime when I made the Sweet Charlotte Quilt from the 2nd edition of One Thimbe ezine. I’m still much quicker at finishing tops and moving on to the next top before I complete a quilt. (Basting and sandwiching the quilt is my least favorite part and boy it’s expensive to buy backing fabric, right??) I still managed to finish ten quilts last year and hope to make even more this year.

I thought I’d had pretty good luck with this quilting thing. I have pretty much stuck to simple patterns but that is more my style anyway. I even had pretty good luck with my first free motion quilting project, which was this lovely quilt!

2014-12-29 13.02.14

I thought I was off to a great start. On New Year’s Eve I basted and sandwiched a quilt top I’d finished sometime in the fall. I was so happy that I was on my way to working on my quilting goals for 2015! I’d had such good luck free motion quilting the quilt above I decided to give it another try.

I used some thread someone gave me. I know nothing about it. I didn’t even think about it, really. My thread kept breaking and I was constantly having to re-thread my machine. I quilted approximately a 15 x 20 inch area when I had to replace my bobbin and noticed the sad news.

2015-01-08 21.51.50

I checked underneath the quilt when I first began quilting. I was really trying to get a lot done because I knew I’d be going back to work in a few days. I suppose I was distracted and forgot to keep checking under the quilt.  I ended up with about three spots like this.

It was pretty heartbreaking to look at so I decided to do nothing at the time. I folded it up, went to bed and decided to save the mess for another day. Last weekend, I pulled it back out and in front of the last season of The Voice, on Hulu, I did some serious seam ripping.

2015-01-08 21.52.05

It went surprisingly fast. I suppose the tension was so off that it made it easy to rip out. I finished and decided to give free motion quilting another shot.

It did not go well. My thread kept tangling like the pictures above. I played with tension. I re-threaded my machine. I pulled my machine apart and cleaned it out really well. I finally decided it must be the thread! (Why didn’t I think about this before??) In frustration I went on a search for more thread. (I had a ton that someone gave me but now I’m a little scared of it!)

I finally found some and went to re-thread the machine with the new spool. I was a bit frustrated when I was moving my quilt out from the machine and moved it too violently carelessly and it caught on my darning foot which partially broke and went flying across the room. Yes, the plastic piece had split in half.

So, for the rest of the weekend I ripped out the decently quilted part so that I can just straight line quilt this baby. I thought about putting it away. I thought about waiting to get a new darning foot. I also thought of my goal to finish 12 quilts this year and here is one with backing fabric, already sandwiched together (my least favorite part, remember?) I’m too close to finishing it to put it away into the UFO pile.

So there is my sad story.  I know it’s bound to happen. Every quilter is going to have stories like this (okay, maybe not angrily ripping a quilt from their machine like an idiot but something I’m sure!) I’ve decided, however, not to let it stop me. I still have a bit of seam ripping to do. I’ve spent hours working on it this weekend. The tiny little needle holes are breaking my heart even though I know they should look okay after a washing. I plan to have this quilt finished in January. I’ve also pretty much caught up on The Voice.

It’s all good. I will conquer this quilt!

A Quilt Story

2015 Quilting Resolutions

It’s that time of year again – everyone making resolutions to eat healthy, exercise, stick to a budget and stay off social media. I’m not a huge resolution maker at all. When I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions in the past I rarely stuck to them. Sometimes I would get through January but by springtime my resolutions were something I rarely ever thought of. I am, however, planning to make a list of quilting resolutions, or challenges, that I’d like to tackle in 2015. I’d love to hear any challenges you are planning in your sewing life for the new year as well!

My Quilt Challenges for 2015

  •  Finish five projects that have already been started. (These are quilt tops that have been sitting around for ages needing to become quilts.)
  •  Make a quilt/quilt project with curved seams. I’m actually very nervous about this. I’m hoping to begin with a pillow top or a mug rug but I am determined to add this to my skills list.
  •  Make a selvage quilt. I’ve been saving…by the end of the year I’m certain I’ll have enough. Oh, I’m happy to take donations if anyone has some they’d like to get rid of.
  • Make a sampler quilt. I received two books for Christmas with a collection of blocks. I need to made a sampler (or two or three) to show off some of those fun techniques!
  • Make an assortment of mug rugs for gifts throughout the year. This has been a plan of mine for some time yet. Mug rugs are fairly quick sews and great for practicing my FMQ techniques (which is in dire need of being practiced!) and perfect for sewing nights with friends. I need to go ahead and get this done!
  • Make a quilt for my son, Landon. I have made a quilt for my parents, my in-laws, both daughters and my husband. I even have one for myself. I think he deserves one soon. 🙂 Fortunately, he has a great attitude and is not worried about it – although he does want one. I’ll be on the lookout for lots of nerdy fabrics (Sudoku, crossword puzzles, periodic table, equations, etc.) to complete this project.
  • Make an Eye Spy Quilt. I really, really want to do one of these and I have a great design in mind – just need to collect the correct bits of fabrics. Once again, I’m taking all donations of novelty scraps!
  • Make more quilts than I did last year. I made 10 quilts and 1 mug rug in 2014. With five quilt tops already complete and several other quilts in various stages of quiltedness I do not think this will be too difficult but just in case I wanted to make it an actual challenge. 🙂
  • Use my stash. I’m not making any promises not to buy more fabric – just the thought makes me a little insane. I love new fabric so much. That being said, I have a pretty decent stash. I do not want the idea of not having enough money for a new project to keep me from quilting. I have a great stash of yardage and scraps alike.
  • Pick a quilt from a magazine or book that I do not like and use different fabrics to make it something I love. I have a friend that made a quilt I admired tremendously and she was telling me that she got the pattern from a magazine I had a copy of. When I went back and looked I was shocked at how the fabrics changed the look of the quilt. I’d flipped past the quilt so many times and here my friend is with a gorgeous quilt using the same pattern. I want to try and learn to see past a color I do not like for a lovely quilt design so I’m hoping I will be able to challenge myself to look beyond a few things when making a quilt.

There are a few other things I’ve thought of – styles of quilts I’d like to try, fabric/color combinations I’m dying to work with but I want my list to be manageable time wise and money wise. I’d love to hear what your quilting/sewing/crafting plans for the new year are.

Looking back on 2014, it was a good year for quilts. I started quilting in January of 2014 and immediately became slightly obsessed. I am proud to say that I completed ten quilts and have a pretty good head start on several projects for the new year already!!

Below is my very own quilt stack. I gave away two baby quilts so they are not pictured and my daughter was wrapped so tightly in hers that I didn’t want to unwrap her to take the picture. It may or may not have been nearing midnight on Christmas Eve when I took this. I meant to take a gorgeous picture of them all out in the yard but the rainy weather and the fact that the bottom quilt was not quilted or bound when this picture was taken prevented that. 2014-12-24 23.23.19

I did, however, finish the bottom quilt before the end of the year. It was my husband’s Christmas gift and I finished it two days after Christmas. He is very happy with it.

2014-12-29 12.05.31

He is a big University of Arizona Wildcat fan so I purchased these licensed fabrics some time ago.  It was his idea to incorporate a monogram in the middle. I was worried about three layers of applique before I realized the Wildcat A has a gap underneath so I didn’t need to layer at all. Yay!

2014-12-29 12.05.23

My husband also requested a really thick batting. I couldn’t find anything as thick as he was wanting so I actually repurposed an old comforter and it was the batting for this quilt. It was rather cumbersome and a beast to quilt but it is nice and thick and heavy.  I imagine I won’t ever do that again except for him maybe.

2014-12-29 12.08.04

Right before I began this quilt (oh…a few days before Christmas) I finally finished my very first free motion project. I’d posted a sneak peek of this quilt weeks ago but when I had about four inches left to FMQ my machine decided it would do nothing else until it had been serviced. I had to pack it away for three weeks while I didn’t have a machine but finally finished. I absolutely love how it all came out. Free motion quilting was not easy but I really enjoyed the process and love the outcome. I still like straight line quilting but am very glad to have added this skill to my quilting abilities – even if it can use some polishing! Here she is!!

2014-12-29 13.02.07

This was such a simple pattern – piecing took no time at all. I do love these April Showers Moda fabrics by Bonnie and Camille.  I used a charm pack (with a few cut up layer cake pieces to have enough blocks) so most of the work was done for me. I used some yardage I had as well as some more pieces of a layer cake to make a pieced backing.

2014-12-29 12.54.42

And, well, I do love picking a pretty fabric for the binding. I do not know why this is one of my favorite things to do in quilting but I am a bit obsessed with selecting binding fabric!! I stitched this binding by machine instead of by hand because I’m trying, very much, to improve my machine binding. This has been my best attempt so far so maybe I’ll get the hang of it soon!

2014-12-29 12.57.31

Here’s a few close-ups of this gorgeous fabric just for fun.

2014-12-29 12.54.11 2014-12-29 13.03.08 2014-12-29 13.01.31 2014-12-29 13.01.26 Happy New Year!!