Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pinkie Squared Version 1

My brother, sister and I have all had grandchildren born in the last few weeks. This quilt is for my brother's granddaughter, his first grandchild. 
I won a large Michael Miller basics jelly roll at QuiltCon last year. When I knew the baby had been born (insert procrastinator here) I dragged it out and then started searching Pinterest for Jelly Roll quilt ideas. I stumbled upon the Summer in the Park quilt pattern by England Street Quilts. I gave it a go and didn't realize just how perfect it suited these fabrics until I was nearly finished quilting the first quilt. Yes, I am making another because this jelly roll was huge! My only complaint about the pattern is it results in a block that is all bias edges causing quite a bit of distortion in the shape of the quilt. I did my best to quilt it carefully so as not to stretch it more out of shape than it already was.

My favorite go-to quilting motif lately is what I call peppermint swirls. As a semi-beginning machine quilter this is a  relatively easy motif and it adds great texture to the quilt.

I had this Michael Miller pink fabric in my stash and it is the perfect binding fabric.

I took advantage of a few sales this month and purchased some backing fabrics. This sweet double gauze fabric was a good one for this quilt. It is so soft and adds to the squishy softness of this baby quilt.

Here you see the second quilt waiting to be quilted. I also found a cute Cotton and Steel double gauze to use as the backing for this one, too. I've started quilting it and hope to have it ready to bind this weekend.

Both of these quilts are on my first quarter Finish-Along list. 

Capitola Quilter

Quilt Stats:
Quilt Name: Pinkie Squared Version 1
Pattern: Summer in the Park
Fabrics Used: Michael Miller Basics Jelly Roll
Michael Miller Bright White Solid
Binding Fabric:Michael Miller Running Stitch
Backing Fabric: Embrace Double Gauze-Dandelion in Coral by Shannon Fabrics
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil white 50wt.
Quilting: Improv Spirals by ME on my Bernina 820 machine using Essential Thread 40wt. white  by Connecting Threads 
Finished Size: 44" x 58"

Sunday, January 22, 2017

100 Blocks Christmas Quilt

Back in August I saw the #100blocks100days quilt-along starting to pop up in my Instagram feed. Several quilters and shops in Australia put together this quilt-along using Tula Pink's City Sampler book of 100 blocks. I resisted for several days and then I saw my friend's version (Cindy) and knew I wanted to make a Christmas quilt like hers. Cindy had made her 100 block quilt before the quilt-along and it is stunning. You can see it here. Cindy was kind enough to share her block making ideas with me. In the end I chose to layout my blocks differently from hers. 
The idea of the quilt-along was to make a block a day for 100 days, posting your block to Instagram each day, using a bevy of hashtags. Since I joined late I took several days to make multiple blocks each day and then finally got caught up, when my mom died. After taking off 7-10 days from sewing to grieve and arrange her memorial service, I managed to get caught up again. At this time I really went to work making lots of blocks each day so I could stay caught up with posting one block a day while we were gone on vacation to Ireland in October. I managed to keep up with the quilt-along to the end. My sister thought I was sewing on vacation, ha!

I used a lot of Christmas fabrics but I also added several red, green and white prints that are not designated as Christmas fabrics. I asked a few friends who have online quilt shops to put together little bundles for me. These bundles were a great surprise to receive and a lovely addition to my quilt.

Once the blocks were finished I set them aside until I could come up with a cohesive layout. My original plan was to copy Cindy (with her blessing) but in the end came up with a plan of my own. I am really glad I did. I like the way the blocks start in the center with the red/white and green/white blocks and then radiate outward with the different combinations of fabric and colors.

I quilted this quilt with swirly pinwheels using white thread. The pinwheels remind me of peppermint candies, which is very Christmasy, don't you think? The pinwheels gave the quilt a great texture, too.

My favorite bindings right now are made using skinny striped fabrics. I hope I don't live to regret it, but I found this perfect green stripe at Joann's right before Christmas. The backing is a fun print from Robert Kaufman.

It has been raining so much in SoCal lately that it has been difficult to find the right time to photograph this quilt (I am not complaining). In the end, I asked Mr. Romance to hold it up in the house. Not the best light nor the best setting, but at least it didn't get wet. I really wanted a snow photo. It's crazy getting to the mountains in Southern California when there is snow. The snow seems to bring people out of the woodwork and the driving is not the easiest. These photos will have to do.  I did take a few photos of the quilt with the Christmas tree before we took it down.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Tula Pink's City Sampler
Fabric:  New and old fabrics, from stash, in red, white, green
Backing: Sweet Noel by Cynthia Frenette for Robert Kaufman
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. white
Quilting: Quilted by me on my Bernina 820 using the free-motion foot making pinwheels all over the quilt with Connecting Threads Essential 40wt. thread in white
Binding: Mini green stripe from Joann's Fabrics.
Finished size: 60" x 60"

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Seawall Socks

These. Socks. Took. Forever!
I started them when we were in Vancouver in July and just finished them a few weeks ago. I would put them down and pick up another knitting project when I needed something a little more mind-less. The pattern by Tin Can Knits for the Seawall Socks can be found on Ravelry here. It is a beautiful pattern but not one that I could easily memorize, so I was constantly referring to my pattern, row by row. Sometimes it's nice to take it slow and really take my time with a knitting project. I am usually the queen of the quick finishes, but not so with this one. The pattern can be knit toe up or top down. I decided to knit them toe up, my favorite way to knit socks.
 seawall socks

The yarn that I chose to use is a beautiful "limited edition" Incredible Sock from Sunrise Fiber Co. I don't even remember where I bought it, but I probably saw it on Instagram and then was redirected to their Etsy store. It's so soft and squishy and was a good choice to show off this pattern. 

I had a little problem with laddering up the sides. I've been pretty lucky lately, most times knowing how to avoid this problem, but not so with this pattern. There were a lot of knit through the back stitches and I think that might have been my problem. I'm still too new of a knitter to be able to figure out what I am doing wrong in instances like this.

I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern again, because it fits my foot and heel the best. I tried to maintain the pattern through the heel, as suggested in the instructions, but I ended up with what looks like a seed stitch half-way through the heel. I actually like the way it looks. The heel in each sock ended up looking a little different from each other. I'm OK with that.

I have tried so many different patterns for a stretchy bind-off. The next pair of socks I make I want to try this one.  If you have a favorite stretchy bind-off technique I would love to know what it is. I have taught myself to knit using YouTube videos when I need a lesson. I am always learning new techniques and trying different ways to make my stitches look better.

These socks will be very cozy and comfortable to wear, especially this week. We are expecting rain, again. We might see some relief to our California drought if this weather pattern keeps up. I just love these cooler, wetter days of winter.

seawall socks tincan knits

Today was a perfect January California day. It was cool, crisp, perfect sweater weather. These are the days I like to keep secret from those of you freezing in the mid-west and east. January and February are, in my humble opinion, the best months in California.

Sock Stats:
Pattern: Seawall Socks by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: Incredible Sock Yarn 75% Super wash Merino/25% Nylon Color: Unfolding
Needles: Addi Turbo Sock Rockets US size 1 (2.5mm) 24" circular 
Blocked using Soak

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 First Quarter Plans

My ambitious plans for the first quarter of 2017 include the following projects.

1. Quilt, bind and gift this baby quilt to my nephew and his wife. Their baby girl was born in December and is my brother's first grandchild. Any clues for quilting this bias cut quilt.? It is very wonky, plus I chose a double gauze for the backing. Wish me luck, please.

2. With the remaining blocks from the above quilt I need to make another baby quilt for another nephew's baby daughter born in December, too. This one will have a different arrangement and hopefully won't be as wonky.

3. These blocks from my Stitch Tease Bee friends needs an arrangement. I'm planning on adding a circle or two of flying geese to it and then it needs to be assembled, quilted and bound.

4. I started this Find Your Fade Shawl and would love to finish it. I am anxious for it to grow so people don't think I am knitting a bikini.

5. My youngest son has asked me to make him some cactus plants for his baby's nursery. They are using a Mid-Century Modern/Palm Springs theme in the room. The baby is due in two weeks.

The felt and stuffing have been purchased.

6. Lastly, I would like to finish this quilt. I need to assemble this stack of 6.5" blocks into 12.5" blocks. Then I need to assemble the quilt top, quilt it and bind it. This might be an ambitious goal, but I'll give it a good try.

This is what the blocks will look like. The starry blocks were made by my Stash Sewciety Bee friends. I made the drunkard path blocks.

I'm linking up with the lovely ladies of the Finish Along. They all put so much time into organizing and running this fun link party. I really do appreciate each and every one of them.

Capitola Quilter

After some thought, I have decided to turn the comment section back on. Thank you to those who wrote me privately and expressed the enjoyment of my blog. I look forward to your comments and I always reply, so please make sure you are not a "no reply commenter" if you need an answer to a question.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 Q4 Finish Along...the finishes

1. Tropical Sunset 

This one only needed binding, so it was an easy finish.

2. Happy Fall Y'All

This quilt needed to be quilted and bound. I was so thrilled when my eldest son said he liked it that I gave it to him for Christmas!

3. Confetti Socks

Finished and gifted to my friend/hairdresser for Christmas.

4. Flowering Snowball Quilt
I finished this quilt with not a minute to spare. It will have it's own blog post with more photos next week.

2016 FAL

Monday, January 2, 2017

Tropical Sunset Quilt

This quilt came on a whim to me. I was looking at my solids stash and just started pulling pinks, yellows, oranges and reds. I then took out my GO! cutter and started cutting shapes using the drunkard's path die. After sewing together several blocks I decided to add blues and greens and I threw in some neutrals to give the eyes a place to rest.
I had so much fun making this quilt because I had no idea of where it was going or how big I would be making it. 
I decided very early on that this quilt would be named Tropical Sunset because the upper colors are the color of a sunset and the bottom are the colors of the Caribbean Sea.

I really enjoy sewing curves. Placing the 7" blocks in a random fashion created several different circle and semi-circle arrangements.

When it came time to quilt this piece I decided I wanted it to be done by a long arm quilter, so I sent it off to  Sometimes Crafter.  Christina and I exchanged several emails until we came up with a semi-custom quilting motif. The yellow/orange section is quilted with a sort of sundial pattern and the blue/green section is a waves and bubbles pattern. Each section has it's own variegated thread color, too.

I chose Tula's Free Fall wide back print in the Creamsicle colorway. I just love using this fabric as backing. It has a bit of a shine to it and it feels so soft.

The last choice to be made was what to use for the binding fabric. Lately, I am all about the striped binding and my favorite, go-to binding is this narrow black and white stripe from Timeless Treasures.

We took the quilt with us to Arizona over the New Year's weekend and photographed it at the Wild Horse Pass Resort, where we were staying. Some how a quilt named "Tropical Sunset" and the Arizona desert worked well together because neither one is stealing the other one's thunder.

This photo on the wedding lawn is one of my favorites of the photo shoot.

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort

I could not have pulled off this photo shoot with out my trusty helpers...
Mr. Romance

and Martha Stewart Labradoodle.

Quilt Stats:
Name:Tropical Sunset
        Quilt top:All solids from stash
        Backing:Free Fall by Tula Pink, color Creamsicle 
        Binding:Narrow Black and White stripe by Timeless Treasures
Batting:Quilter's Dream wool 
Finished Size: 81"x82"

This quilt is another finish on my 2016 Q4 Finish Along list.

2016 FAL