Friday, December 13, 2013

Presenting: Ronquilt!

Finally, at long last, here it is: my favorite quilt I've ever made! Checking in at 1200 2.5" squares on the front and 45 hand-traced Pyramid of Greatness blocks on the back, this was definitely a labor of love. And boy do I love it. :)

Nope, not photoshopped. The state capitol has all 93 counties listed around the top, and there is a Pawnee county in Nebraska.

Last year, Happy Zombie hosted a "Ron Swanson Along" in homage to the great Ron Swanson of TV's Parks and Recreation and generously released this pattern into the internet wilds. It's been on my list ever since. I created the back based on Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness and I traced every one of the pyramid blocks to create what I hope will be a long-lasting effect. 

I did a basic meander in matching thread on Ron's face, and then I tried paisley quilting on the turquoise areas. I love, love, love how it turned out.

Once Ron was finished, I took him on a photo tour of Lincoln, Nebraska (again based on a similar idea from Happy Zombie.) I took things a step further and tried to mostly pick locations that emphasized Ron's personalities and tastes or funny moments from the show, and I think I succeeded pretty well.

"Your work is appreciated. Eat some corn."

"You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of bacon and eggs, but what I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have."

"I have so many ideas. Some are simple like take down traffic lights and eliminate the post office. The bigger ones will be tougher, like 'bring all this crumbling to the ground.'"

"My dream is to have the parks system privatized and run entirely for profit by corporations like Chuck E. Cheese. They have an impeccable business model."

"I buy my burger ingredients at Food N Stuff, a discount food outlet equidistant from my home and my work. I came here for the same reason people go to the zoo... Nature is amazing."

You can see Ron's full photo tour here.

This is the first quilt I've made for myself, and boy is it a doozy. I might have to quit quilting--I mean, where does one go from here? :)

Linking up with Finish it Friday!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Finish One, Finish Two!

I have not one, but TWO finishes this week! (Actually, I have three, but the third will get its own post next week--it is that awesome.) Both were overdue projects that I finally finished.

Dirty Bubblegum

This is a terrible name for a baby quilt, but once it popped into my head, I couldn't think of it any other way, so "Dirty Bubblegum" it is. I made this for a friend of mine who had a baby this summer, and who came back to visit a couple weeks ago, forcing me to finally finish it!

This might be my least favorite quilt I've made. I love the herringbone design (mine was inspired by Erica at Crafty Blossom) but I didn't end up digging the pink and gray. I based the color choice on the nursery of the recipient, but I just didn't love it. I think it would look nice with some white in it, but that just didn't work with this design.

Not sure why this looks so neon--it isn't!

I was happy with my idea to add the monogram (based on Amy Smart's tutorial). The nice thing about the quilt being late is that I knew the baby's name and could actually do this. :) I think it adds a bit more interest to the quilt, as well as personalization. My satin stitching could use improvement, but so it goes.

The backing is a print from Aneela Hoey's "Posy" line. I've seen the quilt pop up in numerous facebook pictures of the recipient, so I think it was well-loved, even if it wasn't my most favorite quilt of all time! And that's what ultimately matters.

Covet my apartment carpet, I know.

Joy to the Squares

I started this quilt for my brother and sister-in-law last Christmas. Then I didn't get it done. So I tried again this year, with success. They're as into Christmas as anyone I've ever met, so I wanted to get it done well in advance of Christmas so that they could enjoy it for several months. :)

I bought a layer cake of Kate Spain's "Joy" line last  year, and cut it into charm squares. This is half of the layer cake (I'll get around to making my own Christmas quilt out of the rest... someday.) The border fabric is some I found from Joann's that has blue glitter on it. I'm not sure how well it will hold up, but for a seasonal quilt, I thought it would be fine. Blue glitter sparkles fit my sister-in-law to a T, so I knew it was the perfect choice! I also love the red and aqua swirl fabric on the back--I believe it's Laurie Wisbrun's "Perfectly Perched."

I photographed this quilt on two different occasions, and got bad pics each time. Sorry!

Though it's a very simple design, I tried a few new things on this quilt. I did a dogwood quilting design in the squares, and I have to say, I loved it! Many of them are pretty wonky, but the overall effect is so cool. I also decided to go with rounded corners to spice up the squareness a bit, and really love how it looks! Consequently, this was also my first bias binding--it made doing the corners a dream! I'll definitely keep this in mind again.

My one frustration with this quilt came in the border--I used a variegated blue thread I got at my LQS, a 50 wt cotton, I believe. I just did simple loops (meant to evoke snow), but I had SO MUCH thread breakage! It was really frustrating. I tried all the usual fixes, to no avail. I think my machine just must prefer Aurifil for FMQ.

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmastime is here...

Well, maybe not quite yet. But I did whip up this pillow this week for a silent auction/homebrew tasting/football watching/s'more eating fundraiser at my church this weekend. Sounds like quite the event. :)

I used the very easy tutorial from From the Blue Chair to make the pillow. It's 20"x 20" and has an envelope closure. My binding was leftover from a quilt I haven't shown on my blog yet, and the backing is from Maude Asbury's "Tinsel" line--I got a couple yards for a steal somewhere last year, and I love its retro vibe. I did notice that Joann's is carrying a really similar knock-off this year. They seem to do that a lot.

Apologies for the terrible phone pics again. I finally bought a new camera card, so my photography may marginally improve soon. :) Pin It

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ronquilt Quilting

Ronquilt is all quilted and ready for his binding! I'm pretty excited. :)

The paisley quilting was a new one for me. I really, really, really like it, although it was a bit tricky given that I had to fill some odd square spaces. Ron's head is done in simple meandering, which worked well for filling odd spaces and matching thread colors. Pin It

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Cute and Quick Clutch

I whipped this up last night, ostensibly for part of my Halloween costume tonight (you can tell you're getting old when your Halloween parties are no longer on Halloween night, but instead on the closest weekend night), but I hoped it would be cute enough for future use, and it is!

The nails are for Halloween too, I don't usually go so overtly Cruella. :)

I used this tutorial and it was really quick and easy (took me about two hours, including cutting the pieces--but I'm not the fastest sewer in the land.) I was a little nervous about the zipper, since I only remember putting in zippers for garments in 4-H, and I recall them being hellacious experiences, but apparently, they're not too difficult in a clutch.

I used a teal linen from Joann's, and the lining was some "Notting Hill" by Joel Dewberry that I had on hand.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Ron's Glorious Back and the Resurrected BOM

I started the Skill Builder BOM at Pile O' Fabric back in January. I completed those blocks right on time and then... didn't do any more. Not sure BOMs are a great fit for me. ;)

However, this week, I decided that I'm going to try to catch up a little bit. I didn't really have a place for this finished quilt (it's almost a queen size), but I've decided to put it in the room where I stay at my mom's newly purchased house (this is relevant, I promise!) That room has orange carpet. Yes. Orange. In fact, that orange carpet is all over the basement, so replacing it isn't really an option due to cost. So, I thought maybe I could tie in some orange to this quilt so it would look like it belonged there.

But I don't know that I'm loving it. It's not quite as neon as it looks in this photo, but it definitely stands out (it's a rich red-orange, really). So I haven't put the borders on that block, because I think there is a chance I rip it apart and put in something less jarring. I know that a quilt in all blues and greens will look nice--it's a safe choice. And it will look much better in the orange bedroom than whatever is there now (a light blue and yellow comforter--gorgeous!) ;) The full layout looks like this, and theoretically, I could put the dark orange wherever there is white in Alyssa's mockup:


I've also fully discovered the danger of late-night piecing:

Haha, oops. How is it that those things go totally unnoticed until the whole block is together?

Ron quilt is also proceeding rather nicely. Both the front and back are fully pieced, and I'm hoping to get it basted today (it's fellowship application season, however, which is both extremely sucky and extremely time-consuming... so things aren't going as quickly in the sewing realm as I'd like.) However, here is a preview of the back. I'm pretty dang proud of it. :)

Hope the rest of your Wednesday is grand!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2013: Love on Nantucket

If you regularly read my blog, you're sick of this quilt, but no apologies, because I "love" it and it's my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival this fall!

This quilt was made for a good friend's wedding last month in Nantucket. Her wedding colors were navy and "Nantucket Red," a salmon color I was decidedly unenthusiastic about using. But then I made the quilt, and I've since decided that the combination of the two is really dynamite and I need to set my color skepticism aside more often.

My favorite part of the quilt is that I managed to find a camera print fabric in salmon, which was just perfect, as the groom is a photographer. It was the kind of happy coincidence that thrills me to no end. :)

My apologies for the somewhat poor photographs--I traveled to Nantucket for two weeks and forgot my camera, so I had to use my phone for all of these. But that's why they're not entered in the quilt photography category. ;)

Quilt Stats
Pattern:  LOVE by Tula Pink
Finished Size:  Approximately 50" x 60"
Fabric: Kona White and an unidentified navy. Then bits and pieces of salmon and navy fabrics from the stash, including 2wenty Thr3e, Les Amis, and Echo.
Backing: Gridlock in White Navy by Dear Stella
Binding: Unidentified navy stripe
Pieced and quilted by: Me, on my Bernina 930

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Memories of Now: Ron Swanson Lives

I'm pretty excited about this one. :)

He's Ron F***ing Swanson. :)

Ever since I saw Monica's "Swansonalong" last year, I've known that I needed a 100% cotton Ron of my very own. And now that is tantalizingly close to coming true. Bully for me. :)

1200 2.5" squares is no laughing matter, so I was pretty thrilled to finish the blocks last night. You know, I used an AccuQuilt cutter for the squares, because I thought it would be nice to have them perfectly accurate (my mom had bought the cutter on sale, so I got to take it for a test run.) I wasn't... overwhelmed by it, to be honest. (I know that's practically blasphemy in the quilting community!) For starters, the squares weren't always perfect. I assume that was in part because I started with too many layers of fabric (six seems to be the absolute max) and that threw the cutting off. So that was disappointing. Honestly, if one is just cutting squares or rectangles, I think cutting with a rotary cutter is just as fast as aligning your scraps of fabric in the cutter and rolling it through, and with a lot less waste. That said, I'd be willing to give it another shot for non-square shapes, because I think it could save time and effort with those.

My grade: B-   For the price, I don't think it's worth it, especially as it did seem to have some accuracy issues (possibly user error, however.) That said, if I were doing a quilt with circles or other applications with more finicky shapes, I would probably love it a lot more!

In other news, I'm also sewing the binding on a Christmas quilt from last year (oops) and trying to finish a baby quilt for a baby who is now three months old (oops again) and who is coming to visit this weekend. I'll post pics of those when I'm finished!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday. Pin It

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finally, a Finish: Love on Nantucket

You may recall a few weeks back that I finished a quilt top from Tula Pink's "Love" quilt pattern, and that it was destined for a friend's wedding on Nantucket. Against every one of my natural inclinations, I finished the quilt on time, and even delivered it to the couple a few days before the wedding! (I forgot my camera on my two-week trip! :( So almost all of these are from my phone.)

I pebble quilted the inside of the letters, then did wavy rays radiating out from the center, matching the thread in each quadrant. Very, very easy to quilt, and I think a good match for this design. I did, however, do something very stupid--I forgot to lower my feed dogs, so I got some bunching on the back. I'm actually surprised it didn't mess things up worse, but it probably made me work a lot harder at quilting it than I needed to. :) Clearly, it had been awhile since I FMQ'ed something!

This was my first time pebble quilting, and I was surprised at how easy it was. It really is a wrist workout (especially when you don't lower your feed dogs...) but to fill in small spaces like this, it's amazing, and I'll definitely do it again. It looks so cool!

I found the navy link fabric in my stash, and had just the right amount for this quilt. I couldn't believe how well it worked out! The wedding photographer even used the back of the quilt for one of his photos. :)

via awesome photographer Sparrow and the Crow

 Oh hey, this is the house where the Maid of Honor and I got to stay for the whole week by ourselves. Pretty tough, right? The bride's family was INCREDIBLY generous to us. I'm good friends with the MOH (I was in her wedding as well), but now she lives in Philly and I don't get to see her much, so it was awesome to have a week hanging out with her in this terrible place:

Yeah, Nantucket is one of the best places I've ever gone. I highly recommend it!

Boyfriend unfortunately missed the wedding due to a randomly cancelled flight by United (they were not our favorite airline that day!) though he did make it to most of the reception. The next week we hung out in Boston and also traveled up the coast to Maine, which was gorgeous and resplendent, and another place I can highly recommend.

This is in Acadia National Park from the top of Cadillac Mountain. It was pretty stunning. It got really cold, cloudy, and windy that afternoon, so we were glad we chose to go up there first. After we got tired of taking pictures of God's natural beauty, we decided that the best thing to do would be to take senior photos of ourselves on a mountain top, as one does.

In Boston, we saw all of the historical sites, including my favorite, the U.S.S. Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. It never lost a single battle, was one of the first six ships commissioned by George Washington, and revolutionized boat-making because there was better/more available timber in the U.S. than in Europe, which was pretty deforested by that point. Touring the boat is free, and the tour is always really fascinating. There were a lot of British tourists in our group there, and I always wonder if it's strange to come to Boston and hear about the one time that the U.S. was super mad at Britain to the point of leaving their country, because (aside from the War of 1812, which no one remembers) we've gotten along quite well with them ever since. It's such a weird relationship. But I digress. :)

I got to go on the boat tour twice in two days, because right after boyfriend left, two of my college friends who live on the East Coast came up for the weekend, and we re-toured some things. Good thing Boston is an interesting city! Our favorite accidental find was a 5k called "The Running of the Bridesmaids" wherein women dressed in old bridesmaid dresses for the 5k. I was sad I didn't know about it before--I just so happened to have a bridesmaid's dress along!

It was a really incredible two weeks, and our timing was so fortuitous-- it was right after peak tourist season, but the weather was still great. And the day after I arrived home, the U.S. government shut down, and a lot of the places we went (the boat, the National Park in Maine) were closed! Sometimes, you are just lucky, and I sure was with this trip.

Linking to Finish it up Friday and Fabric Tuesday.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday: The Man, The Moustache

Here's what I'm working on this week:

Know what it is? Here are some hints:
--"I’m a simple man. I like pretty, dark-haired women, and breakfast food."
--"Turkey can never beat cow."
--"You had me at meat tornado."
And of course...
--"Give me all the bacon and eggs you have."

Monica at the Happy Zombie had a "Ron Swanson Along" last year and thus instantly became my biggest quilting hero. I've known I must make Ron ever since I saw it, and I've finally steeled my resolve to face all of those tiny squares, and start on the greatest quilt of my career thus far.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this one. :)

Linking up for WIP Wednesday.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Dirty Bubblegum, Drunken Lucille, and a crazy little thing called Love

Hey there! I hope the three remaining readers I have are enjoying life and having a good time sewing and whatnot. I haven't been around much this summer, but such is summer sometimes. It's been good! I've had adventures in Michigan, Kansas City, and Nebraska, and I've enjoyed them all. Follow me on Instagram if you'd like to get a taste of them! (@  c m b husker --with no spaces)

I've actually been stitching up a storm this week. I hate when people have weddings and they just spring them upon you at the last minute. Wait, what's that you say? Weddings often have months and months of previous warning? I'm actually just a procrastinator, so it seems like they are sprung upon me?

I guess that's true. :)

I'm headed to yet another wedding where I will be a bridesmaid next week on the lovely island of Nantucket (fancy, schmancy!) I decided I should start the quilt a few days ago. Inspired by Kelly of Jeliquilts' LOVE quilt, I thought that was just the thing for this particular wedding.

It looks black in the photo, but it's actually navy and Nantucket red--the wedding colors.

I really like the fabrics I chose for this, even though I wasn't pumped about the Nantucket red at first--it's grown on me. My favorite fabric is the "Les Amis" on the left side of the "e". I also really like the salmon-colored camera print--the groom is a photographer, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to stumble upon that one!

The letters aren't paper-pieced, and this top goes together SO quickly (if you don't make three mistakes cutting the large pieces because you are terrible at math, like I did). It's a Tula Pink pattern, available here.

I also started cutting (optimistically) on a quilt I'm calling the "Drunken Lucille." Its real name is "Drunk Zebra," but the back is going to be done in a fabric line called "Spa" and if you're an Arrested Development, hopefully you can figure out how I combined those two. :) The pattern for that is available here. While the design of the quilt is stunning, I'm disappointed in the quality of the pattern. All four pattern pieces are shoved onto one piece of paper, and when it's printed, it cuts off the side of one of the pieces! Since lines are just a little bit important in paper piecing, it's disappointing to have to redraw 56 pattern pieces, especially when I paid $8 to NOT have to do that! Not sure why the designer didn't just use an extra piece of paper and make sure that the pieces had adequate room to breathe. Oh well. The world is an imperfect place.

And I finally finished trimming all of my Dirty Bubblegum squares. Here's the layout:

Not sure when I'm going to get this one done. The baby it is intended for is already a month old! Good thing she lives in Arizona, so she shouldn't be freezing quite yet. ;)

On a serious note, it's hard to believe that 9/11 happened twelve years ago today. It seems so long ago, and looking at the world today, it's had such far-reaching and negative repercussions on such a large portion of the world. It is amazing what an impact a few evil people can have. But I also remember the incredible unity and caring that happened in the days afterwards. All we can do is pray that we will someday see peace, for the wisdom of leaders, and that we will do good where we are able.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP: Back in the Saddle

After a month of sleeping at my own apartment for a grand total of one night, I finally returned this past Saturday, and am enjoying having a place to myself again (though probably not as much as my cat is enjoying having an other-cat-free dwelling!) A couple weeks visiting the boyfriend and a couple weeks at my mother's house trying to help her move, and here I am, almost in August, feeling like I've done nothing this summer! But such is the nature of summers.

My mom's move was an immense project--she and my dad bought that house in 1979, so I'm one of the few people I know who didn't move at least once during their growing-up years. My great-grandfather built the house in 1921, so even though it is almost 100 years old, it has had only two owners! So it's been an emotional move--not to mention a difficult one in the physical sense, since houses tend to accumulate a lot of things in 34 years. :) It is really strange to see the house emptied out. Luckily, she is only moving one block away--to the house my grandparents built. I guess we are a family that prizes familiarity!

Last night I finally returned to the sewing machine for a bit. I've got a baby quilt I need to send to Arizona, since the baby was born, um, last week. (It's not like there's no warning on these baby things, yet I never seem to get them done in time...)

My first instinct was to name this quilt "Dirty Bubblegum" but I might have to rethink that one.

This is my first time using triangle paper. I think I like it, though I hate tearing off paper. Overall though, I do think it streamlines the process. I'll evaluate fully once I get them all done.

I've also started cutting for a quilt that is going to be the best, most amazing quilt ever. I'm really excited!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Finish It Friday (Yes, really!)

I started this quilt last summer (see here, where my completely unwarranted optimism is hilarious in retrospect.) My problem is once I miss a deadline (like a wedding) my instinct is not to finish it as fast as possible, but to be like, "Oh well. It's already late." And so I end up finishing wedding quilts many months after the wedding. :)

The building in the background is the courthouse in my tiny hometown. I love it. A more skilled photographer could do more with that backdrop, but I was in a hurry. And my mom's arms were tired of holding up the quilt. :)

The recipient was visiting her family in Nebraska, and I got to go see her for her birthday. That spurred a hurry to finish. My best friend helped me baste it, as she is interested in learning to quilt. We accidentally pinned half of it to the carpet and had to re-baste. Rookie mistake. :) Anyway, at the recipient's birthday party, I found out she'd be in Grand Rapids the following week for business. Coincidentally, I also happened to be going to Grand Rapids the following week to visit my boyfriend. This bought me another week to work on the quilt.

And I finally finished it!!!

It's nearly Independence Day, so please enjoy how I went all 'Murica! with this photo, capturing a waving flag with my quilt.

We had lunch together and she loved her new quilt! Just in time for the hottest part of a midwestern summer, of course. ;)

 The backing is a Simon + Kabuki print (from the line "Nesting"--not bad for newlyweds, eh?) that I got for super cheap on eBay. I've never ordered fabric from eBay before, and it is a little scary since you don't have some of the assurances you have with other online retailers. And I admit that this did smell faintly of cigarette smoke (urgh) when I got it, but it wasn't overpowering and seemed to dissipate over the year (urgh) that I had it sitting around waiting to back the quilt.

 I was very nervous about quilting the stars. I thought I'd use the walking foot, but the idea of all of that turning and shoving the quilt through my machine's throat made me want to cry and throw things. So I marked it and FMQed it. SOOOO much easier. Seriously, it went very quickly and it turned out, if not perfectly, pretty darn good. I did do something very stupid, which was sew around the perimeter of the quilt way too early in the process. It meant that I had no room to ease fabric as I did some of the lengthwise quilting, and there was some bunching and puckers. Oops. Lesson learned.

 In other news that makes me feel productive and accomplished, I ground down and refinished my super-cloudy headlights myself and they look AMAZING.

One down, one to go. Or, before and after. 
I've had Sebring for 10 years, since I started college. He's 11 years, 151,000 miles young, and is still a champ!

Scary-competent. And try not to covet my socks too hard.

This is long already, but if you are a Google reader person you should switch over before July 1st but you already know this and if you want to use Bloglovin' the link is on the side of my blog etc etc. :)

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Linking up with Finish It Up Friday, because I finally did, darn it!

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