Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hex River Quilt Finished

This quilt went together quite fast for me. Since my husband designed this quilt, I made a special effort to get it made up for him ASAP. It ended up being longer than I expected; I'm thinking we probably should have just done three repeats of the hexes, but once I realized how long it was going to be I had already made all the panels and I didn't want to "waste" the fabric.
Hex River Quilt designed by Jeff Kidder
Hex River Quilt Center detail
I am going to send this one out to be machine quilted; I didn't like doing the last one. I don't have the right set up/space to deal with these large quilts.

By the time I add a backing and binding, this quilt will have used almost 11 yards of quilting cottons. The large funky parallelogram pieces around the outside "border" didn't use the fabric efficiently and I ended up with some large pieces of leftover fabric going into my scrap bin. Oh well.

I seem to be up to 26 yards on my quilting cotton stash busting efforts, so I clearly set the bar too low; I'll make my annual goal of 30 yards probably before the end of the first quarter! The 60 yards may be the goal I need to shoot for, but I didn't expect to spend the entire month of February piecing quilts when I made the goal.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hex River Quilt

Every year or two, Jeff gets inspired to design a quilt for me; this is his fourth. I, of course, do my best to make it. This is his current design (inspired by my recent project). He calls it the hex river.
For the last quilt he designed, he gave me precise cutting directions and numbers of pieces. For this one, I'm mostly on my own. The hex is more or less the same as the last project, but I need to construct it differently. I'll also have to figure out some of the specific lengths of the long pieces after I've gotten things sewn together.

He did make me some convenient assembly plans so I could build it with strips.
I was planning to start this today, but I've got a head cold. I'm thinking that may not be the best time to start something this complicated. Here are the fabrics he's chosen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Space Crystal Quilt Finished!

I made this quilt for the LOVE challenge for Jeff. I think this might be the fastest quilt I've made, start to finish!
I machine quilted this myself—my first—and also probably my last. I didn't like doing it. At least not with my current sewing machine. It was quite a job shifting this quilt around to change sewing direction. But, I did want to get this finished by Valentine's Day and if I sent it out for quilting I wouldn't have it done now.

For folks who also want to make this quilt design, it appeared in ABC 3-D, Tumbling Blocks and More by Marci Baker. The pattern turned out to be much easier than it looked; everything is strip pieced. The real challenge is cutting all the odd-shaped pieces; for that, you NEED a triangle ruler. I bought mine from Fabric Depot which looks like they have them on sale right now.

The instructions were a slight challenge in that they referred to all the fabric colors as light, medium or dark and you had to figure out from the context which color group they meant. And I managed to get a couple pieces switched around in the sewing, which I went back and fixed. But overall, I pieced the quilt in just a couple of days. I recommend working on just one hex at a time.

The instructions called for a rectangular shape for the finish, but my husband wanted the hex shape. I was a little intimidated about finishing the binding because I wasn't sure how to deal with the 120° angles. But then I found this blog post, and it helped me work up the courage to finish. I think it went pretty well.
Now, as far as stashbusting, this quilt used (by adding up the strip measurements) just over 4 yards of quilting cotton. No scraps in this one, except if you count the batting. That was a remnant leftover from one of my big quilts. I had to piece it and everything.

For this year, I am just under 15 yards on my 30 yard pledge. Perhaps my pledge was too low, but really once the weather gets nice, I'll have to start working outside. This fun time in my sewing room won't last much longer.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Space Crystal Hex Quilt

The Stashbusting Love Challenge seemed like a good excuse to make this hex quilt for my husband.

I first finished it rectangular like the pattern said to . . .
. . . but then my husband admitted he'd prefer it to be hexagon-shaped. So, at his request, I remade the borders.
But, after making two sets of borders, I really didn't have enough of the navy blue for the backing, so I decided to be a little more creative.

I actually had a center hex block that I originally made for the front, but then wasn't happy with, but it was fine for the backing. And the blue border around the center hex block was made from the "scraps" from the first border.
This project uses up another 4⅓ yards from my stash.

I'm going to try quilting this one myself, if I can. I'll practice first and if I don't think I can do it, I'll take it out to my local machine quilter.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bonus Project: Market Bag

I had a bunch of squares I had incorrectly cut for an earlier project and when I spied a handmade market bag on Pinterest, I had an "ah ha" moment and rushed upstairs to make this bag.
I lined it with a second fabric, from my stash shelves, but the rest of the project is built entirely from my scrap bin. This also uses up another 2 yards for my pledge.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February Stashbusting Project

Cation Design and EmSew announced the plan for the February stashbusting challenge. In February, I am supposed to sew for a loved one. Again, I was just thinking about starting a project for Jeff, so this totally works for me! He wants me to try making a quilt with triangles so I can see how difficult they are to work with. He's designing another quilt pattern (separate from the one below) with triangles and wants to make sure I won't go buggy working with odd triangular shapes.

So, as practice for the bigger event, I'm going to make this small quilt. It's called "Space Crystal, Too" and appears in the quilt book ABC 3-D, Tumbling Blocks and More by Marci Baker. This project is supposed to use about another 5 yards.
Space Crystal, Too
I've already got the fabrics picked out and I'm ready to start. Wish me luck!

January Stashbusting Report

I finished both sides of a double-sided lap quilt. It's long and skinny because I'm trying to make it long enough to cover both my husband and I while sitting on the couch with a dog between us. It's roughly half the size of a twin-size quilt, but since it's double-sided, it's an equivalent number of squares.
Front of Quilt
Back of Quilt
These are ready now to get quilted up. I'll send it out to be quilted as soon as I finish my next quilt (in February).

This pattern is called "Sunny Lanes" and is from Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth.

This project used just under 9 yards of quilting cottons total—close to half of it came out of my scrap tub. Nothing new was purchased for this project.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Joining the 2013 Stash Busting Challenge

Tonight I ran across a blog, Cation Designs, who started (with Em Sew Crazy) an ultimate sewing challenge of 2013! Given my current oversupply of fabric, this is something I want and need to do, so I've decided to join the group. To start, I'm supposed to publish my pledge:
I, Sharon, commit to reducing my stash fabric by at least 30 yards in 2013. I also commit to not buying any new fabrics or notions—except those explicitly needed to finish a current project—until the end of the year.
I'd actually like to commit to use more yards, but I'm not sure once the weather turns nice how much time I'll have in my sewing room. I'll try to use 60 yards, which is 5 yards a month, but I don't want to commit to that much. Also, I'm supposed to show a picture of my stash. This is most of my quilting cotton yardage.
There are some more big chunks—purchased for quilt backings—hanging in the closet. And some small cut squares and fat quarters in tubs. And a large scrap tub that I've made a dent in this month.

By accident, I managed to do the assigned project for January, which was to "Sew up those remnants left over from another project, use up some of those tiny scraps that you've been long as it's less than a yard of fabric, it counts!" Check!

I'm also going to try and figure out a stash counter for the sidebar. I'm down at least 5 yards already with my latest project and it will soon be 10.

Jeff persuaded me to make the lap quilt double-sided so I'll be making a second panel, basically the same, for the backing. I will need to put larger borders on it for the machine quilting, but most of the excess will ultimately be cut off when I finish the binding.

I spent today cutting out all the pieces so I could get right to work tomorrow. I actually had to cut into some non-scrap fabrics to get some more variety in the fabric selection.