Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Bluebell Constellation, Part 2

As you know, I've been working with Ribbon Star blocks made for me by my bee group a couple years ago.  The blocks were a thank you gift - so sweet of the group to do that!
To get this off the UFO list, first I needed to make 4 more blocks so I could have 6 complete rows for the quilt.  I pulled scraps and got busy cutting and stitching.

The Ribbon Star block was part of the Summer Solstice quilt along and the tutorial for the block can be found HERE on the Fresh Lemons site. The block isn't difficult, but it is a tad fussy with lots of points to match. It's a very pretty block! After I made the blocks I shuffled them in with the blocks the Bee girls made and kept shuffling until I was satisfied with the layout.  
If you've ever participated in a bee, you know that 12 quilters often turn out 12 blocks that are all be a different sizes.  My set of blocks had a lot that were spot on 12.5 inches square, but with the remaining blocks there was nearly 3/4 inch difference between the largest and smallest.  To make a quilt top work I needed the blocks to be the same size.  I debated on the best way to do this for a while and finally decided to sash each block on all four sides with oversized sashing strips and then cut them down to the same size.  I wanted to distract the eye from the size variations so I opted to sash every other block in silver grey.  Since I wasn't sure this was the best answer so I put together the top row to check out the effect. 

It was LOVE at first sight!

Here is the finished quilt top! 
Isn't it so scrappy happy?
Makes me smile every time I look at it & makes me think of all the lovely ladies who participated in our bee during 
The quilt top is 72.5 x 87.  This one will go out for long arm quilting as soon as I get the backing ready.  I'm planning to bind it with more of the silver grey solid. 

Yesterday I pulled this one off the design wall and started working on another UFO.  I'll show that one to you soon!  Oh my, is the next UFO very different! LOL

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Redwork Mini Quilt Swap

MQTS, Mini Quilt Trading Swap, recently held a swap of Redwork Mini Quilts.  40 swappers participated in this round.  It's so much fun to see what kind of creativity comes out with each theme and this one was no different!

jm1122, aka Jodie, was my swap partner for this round.  As I got to know Jodie a bit better I learned that she loves foxes, simple but precise patchwork, ivory backgrounds and minimal straight line quilting.  The hunt immediately began for fox motifs for the embroidery.  Soon I found a darling little pattern, but couldn't find it available anywhere.  I contacted the designer Julie Campbell and she was kind enough to share the pattern with me.  I pulled out a selection of several different reds in Presencia #12 Perle cotton, a cut of Ivory Essex Linen and got to work.  The embroidery reached this point when I discovered I had a problem.  When I had read over the swap guidelines I'd missed the one that said "only ONE SHADE of red for the stitching".  Yep, that was a big ooops!  So, I set this little fella aside and began again.

In fact, I started over with a new pattern, with a new little foxy!  This pattern is called Winter Fox and comes from The Awkward Niche.  I thought he was a charming fella and perfect for this winter time swap.  I stitched this fox with Presencia floss #1915 on Ivory Essex Linen using one or two strands of floss depending on how dark the lines needed to appear.

I chose the floss color based on the red solid fabric that would make up the patchwork portion of the quilt: Kona Cotton in Crimson.  A simple patchwork border was decided on before I even took the first stitch.  I think redwork quilts look best when the patchwork portion is kept quite simple, keeping the focus on the embroidery.  These little bits make up the 1/2 inch squares for the border.

The label was embroidered, too.  The lettering got a little wonky, but really my penmanship is ALWAYS wonky, so I just went with it.  I call my mini quilt "Keeping Warm" since I know Jodie was feeling the full effect of the winter storms and struggling to dig out of the snow. 

Finally, all the elements were combined into the finished mini!

"Keeping Warm"
Size: 9 inches square
Fabrics: Ivory Essex Linen & Crimson Kona Cotton
Stitched with Presencia floss #1915

And the back!  Love the print I used on the back. That fat quarter was my first fabric purchase this year. 

Now it was time to get back to my original little fox.  Couldn't leave him unfinished, and I really wanted him to live with Jodie, so I made a little bit of hoop art!  It is about 5 inches across.  

To complete the package I added a selection of solid red Kona fat quarters, a note pad with Jodie's initial, and a magnet to remind her how far the foxes had traveled.  

Now, I'd like to show you what dear Jodie made for me!  Jodie is new to embroidery, but you'd never know it.  She did such a lovely job on this very charming mini quilt.  I just love the added touch of the yoyo's and buttons.  This mini quilt is about 12 X 13 inches.  

Jodie sent along all kinds of red goodies, including a cut of red and white fabric, DMC floss and perle cotton threads, a Redwork design book, a zipper, buttons, stickers and a little birdie ornament.  I feel quite spoiled by this lovely gift.

As I was trying to decide where to hang up my new mini quilt I realized the perfect spot was right in front of my sewing machine.  Could you tell I just love RED?

I am amazed how much I enjoy this swap group!  Working small is a new and wonderful challenge and most often I find myself struggling to make my quilts meet the minimum size guideline of 9 inches.  Like I said, I'm loving small quilts these days!
Another bonus: this is another 1st quarter finish for the FAL!

Happy Stitching, Bloggy Friends!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Bluebell Constellation, Part 1

This week I've been working really hard to finish up a mini quilt for a redwork swap.  It's all but finished, and of course I can't show it to you until it's in the hands of the recipient.  Next week I can show you!  

Between sessions of working on the mini quilt I've been working on another FAL project, this time a UFO.

In 2012 the wonderful ladies of Sew Blues Bee gave me a Thank You gift for hosting the bee.  The ladies made Ribbon Star blocks out of rainbow colors.  It was such a surprise when these blocks began to arrive!

I was ready to whip out a quilt top right then, but a little lost star showed up the week after Christmas. Suddenly I had 26 blocks.  That meant I needed to stitch up 4 more blocks to add another row.  I'm quite ashamed to say, I procrastinated making those blocks and here we are over 3 years later with this box full of pretty blocks and it is time to finish this!!

The blocks went up on the design wall over the weekend and shuffled them around until I was happy, and scraps for the four new blocks were chosen and cut to size.

There were a few minutes before church Sunday morning so I quickly sewed up all the HST's.  The HST's are all trimmed down to the proper size now.  
The units are pinned together waiting to be sewn into the last four finished blocks.  All the blocks on the design wall have had a good pressing and have been squared up as best they can be.  Hopefully I'll squeeze in sewing time to move this project along over the weekend!  I'm eager to get this one finished and off the design wall.  

Here's my quality control expert.  Daisy is always on hand to share her opinions. She certainly is a quilt lover!  

Hope you have a great Thursday!  Stitch On!!