Thursday, July 31, 2008

Block for Liz

Here's my July block....

I had planned on using only the chestnut fabric with little squares of the others (like this) but soon realized I did not have enough so I alternated layers of the chestnut and tan floral print.

(I tried to load another picture but couldn't - I'll try later)

I totally messed up on the size (meaning: I did not read the rules carefully!!) - it's 11" x 12" instead of a 12.5" block but I emailed Liz and she's going to work with it somehow.

Monday, July 28, 2008

block for Liz

Here's my block for Liz:

Squares, rectangles and straight lines I can do! I was browsing quilts on flickr yesterday and based my design for this block on this quilt block that I's a very very close copy. This chestnut fabric is so adorable in person. I think I might need to acquire some for my personal stash now!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a cross block for liz

i wanted short, easily finished projects today, so i finished my common threads block. i couldn't decide between a "red cross" design and a log cabin, so i sort of combined them and came up with this:

it was a bit scrimp and pinch on the fabric (i think i had less than 4 square inches of fabric leftover at the end) so that took some creative piecing on my part, but i enjoyed the challenge. i didn't enjoy realizing that i needed to rip off seven strips and re-do them when i slightly altered my design plan, but i do think i like the final result better for changing it. i am a huge fan of the "red cross quilt" that was the inspiration for one of the inspiration quilts and maybe someday i'll make one of my own. i hope you like this block, lady harvatine!

p.s. you can't see it in this photo, but you'll laugh when you get the block and realize that since i was short about a quarter of an inch on one side, i pieced this tiny little strip onto one edge. my guess (my hope!) is that it will be hidden in a seam, but at least it won't be the wrong size. hopefully.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Ahhh!!! It's official. I am the lamest member of this bee. I am so sorry to keep all of you ladies waiting for this months fabric! Sometimes the days just get away from you.
I didn't want to be even later and order new fabric so I delved into the stuff I already have and came up with the following.

The main inspiration was the chestnut fabric. If I'm lucky I will be finishing this baby up in the fall so I thought the chestnuts were appropriate. The palette is much subtler than my typical style but I'm trying something different. Calm and subtle but not boring. At least I hope not. Is this boring?
So. The rules. Blocks should be 12.5" square. They will be bordered with something neutral, maybe the khaki fabric. I think I'm going to steal Rebekah's idea for the layout, maybe change it up a little (if she doesn't mind!). If you need more of any of the fabrics or a larger piece I would be happy to send it to you so let me know. Just keep in mind that the bitty pieces are bitty for a reason. They're just accents.
As for design, I'd like horizontal and vertical seams only. No diagonals, no curves. Of course, your seams don't have to be perfectly perpendicular. A bit of natural wonkiness is fine, just keep it subtle.
These photos are purely for inspiration purposes only. You can certainly base your designs on them but don't feel like you have to emulate anything here.

1. Quilt for Keara!, 2. Finished Miniature Quilt for Whiplash, 3. Yellow pillow, 4. Crazy Log Cabin quilt... HPIM0342, 5. BB Quilt 3, 6. red cross quilt top

And one last thing, please no additional fabrics! Like I said before, if you want more of one I have extra and I'd be happy to send it.
Sorry to be tardy! Good luck!

Wonky Curvy Block

Here is my block for Melissa, a few days late, but in the mail now!
Common Threads Block - Melissa
I loved her inspiration photo, especially the one that I pretty much copied (bottom right). I sort of used Pink Chalk Studio's Wavy Seam tutorial, and went from there. I have to admit, I did go a little crazy with the curves... next time I'll aim for gentle waves instead of tsunamis.

Compared to some of the other blocks in the group, this one is pretty boring, but I like it anyway. Hope you like it Melissa!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Melissa's birthday today!

Hi everyone, it's Melissa's birthday today! Won't you email her a happy birthday? I know she'd love it!

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Melissa
Happy birthday to you

love of love,
your quilting friends.

Friday, July 11, 2008

another birdy block

i decided to work on my common threads block-o'-the-month today. i wanted a quick project that i could finish in one day and since everyone's been posting such fabulous blocks, i decided i needed to make mine before someone else had the same idea! here's how it turned out:

i loved the leafy ribbon melissa used to tie the bundle together, so i decided to incorporate it into my block (hmmm.... hope it's washable!)

and lotta's printing book has been inspiring me lately, so i wanted to do some printing/painting on this block. i traced the bird pattern onto freezer paper and then used that to stencil the bird onto the dark gray fabric. the tail kind of blends into the gray and his head might be a little too close to the seam, but.... other than that i'm pretty happy with the way this block turned out. maybe next time i try printing, i'll do something a bit less literal.... i do like the way the scattering of "birdseed" turned out on the white fabric.

(oh, and i also got the selvedge dots on my cut of the bird fabric and couldn't resist incorporating them into the design!)

thanks for the fun fabric, melissa!


Melissa emailed and echoed my concern about the sturdiness of the 1/8th inch seams on the curves. I didn't fret about it even though I've never done anything like this. I just sat down at the machine, experimented a bit and went for it. I wanted something more on the seam, but they all looked sloppy unless I stayed exactly on the seam line which was hard on the curves. So, this is what I chose. I think it adds a bit more stability to the seams while not overwhelming the block. I think with this and her quilting it should be fine. Hope you like it Melissa!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Birds for Melissa

I finally bit the bullet and pulled out the fabric for Melissa's quilt block. This was my first time experiencing the performance anxiety that goes along with creating blocks for the bee.

Ideas had been stewing in my head for weeks and I sat down to make the block this afternoon and completely changed my plan.

After a quick search for piecing curves and circles, I found this tutorial link. I should have listened to step 3 a bit closer because I now have a little burn on my left ring finger from an iron attack. Don't worry...stuff like this happens to me all the time!

And, after sewing some stripe strips together I pinned the circle to the base and machine appliqued the circle onto the square. I partially used this machine applique tutorial from Elizabeth of Oh Fransson! that was just posted at Sew, Mama, Sew. She makes applique look so easy! I guess I just need more practice!

Here's the completed block. I hope you like it Melissa!

Triptych Maybe?

At least that was the idea behind this block. I also wanted to give free pieced curves a try. I used the Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterson for help on the curves. I definitely got better each time I did one. I did two on practice fabric before I attempted it on the block. I'm a bit concerned that the first one I did on the block may not be laying as flat as it should. Melissa, just so you know, the technique in the book said to use 1/8th in seams so I did. If this quilt gets a bunch of use I'm wondering if that's sturdy enough. I thought about adding some decorative stitching on those curves. If you think that's a good idea. I could easily do that before I send it on.
Lastly, I've signed on for the "Be Brave" project on Jessie's blog. It's all about living life a little more bravely...taking chances, trying things we might not do, and putting ideas into action. This is my first "be brave" act. I was totally going to wimp out on the curves in the inspiration quilts. I was also inpired by our compatriot, Betty Ninja's, post on failure. I know I like to stay in that comfortable place. Thanks to all of you for including me in this virtual bee so I can be brave and explore those uncomfortable places with supportive people.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cross Posting

I already posted this on my blog, but I wanted to add it here also. This is the 2nd month of the virtual quilting bee and it has been a lot of fun so far. I think that it's such a good challenge to take ourselves outside of our comfort zone.

This block has been finished for weeks, but I didn't send it until last week because I was unsure about it. Isn't it funny that everyone seems to be unsure about the blocks they made? It made me feel a bit of relief to know that other people feel the same way. And you know what? I love what everyone else has made and I don't know why that they don't like it. We are all our own worst critics. I just want everyone to know that I think they have all done a terrific job so far.

Just a suggestion, but if the future participants wants a big quilt block, like beyond 10 inches square, can you guys send a wee bit more fabric when you ship out the fabrics? I had difficulty making this last block 14 inches. I barely had enough fabric and I didn't have any similar colors in my fabric collection. Thanks!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Melissa's block

I'm having a hard time even posting about this...I feel like a quilting failure. And if I had a new set of material, I'd throw this block away and start over. Which you are welcome to do if you do not like it, Melissa!

I think that's one of the best things about this project. It forces you to create outside your little "safe" box.

I'm pretty sure I didn't stick with the inspiration quilts - which I feel horrible about. I had planned to but man, those curves are tough. There are a few small curves in the block but not as many as I had first planned.

So yeah - it's supposed to be a branch with looked much better on my paper :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

dear Rebekah...

Um, excuse me, quilter blog land. So, I did my block. It's complicated (not the block; my feelings). Really complicated. Not only was I late, but I was so late, that now the birdcage, in all it's gorgeousness, has posted. I just can't put my red and black on top of the yellow. Won't do it. So, I invite you to look here. If you're into a quilter with complicated feelings, that is. Cheers Rebekah!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

a birdcage block

so I finished my block for the next month of the quilt bee.

block for common threads quilting bee

I had good intentions to follow the guidelines Melissa shared. I like the gumdrop-esque quilt from her inspiration photos, so I started with the bird fabric as a feature for the center. somehow as I went, the block evolved to be less modern or wonky, and a lot more literal. I let it sit half finished for a week as I debated where to take it and ended up going with a more traditional sort of design. the border and overall look is good bit more precious than I intended. this is my worry with the quilt bee, that I will have the loser block that doesn't match with the others. I hope it ends up working with the rest.

on a more positive note, I have to say that I really enjoy working under the constraints of other people's fabric and suggestions to make a block. it's a little like Project Runway or something, it pushes me to be more creative and try new things I might not try on my own. for this block, it was the first time I tried to piece a shape more complicated than a square or diamond with that center piece. it's not perfect, but I might dabble with the approach in future quilts.