52 Quilts 2016 · Pattern Test · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 6 – Geometric Millenium Falcon

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Last year I went down the Rabbit Hole of online craft swaps, and found it an excellent way to try new things I might otherwise never do. One of the projects that seemed so far out of reach was foundation paper piecing, which is sort of a paint-by-numbers method of creating complex images from fabric. I have done quite a few paper-pieced projects since I started last summer, and one of the pattern designers I absolutely adore is Kristy from Quiet Play. I love how well-designed her patterns are and they are so cute too. When I decided to host a swap myself, a May the 4th Star Wars mini quilt swap, I admit I got a little fan-girlish when Kristy not only signed up to participate in the swap, but she designed a handful of new Star Wars inspired patterns inspired by my swap.

When she asked for testers for these patterns, I squealed and raised my virtual hand yelling “Me! Me! Me!”

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I got to test the new Geometric Millennium Falcon pattern. (Free download from Craftsy) There is also a solid version, as well as geometric and solid versions of AT-AT and TIE Fighters.

First of all, the Millennium Falcon is a huge favorite of mine so I loved making this. I plan to make one for my son to match his new Star Wars Quilt, but this one is for me. I participated in a fabric swap last year where each participant sent in 5×5” squares of Low-Volume prints and we each got back an assortment. The grey and beige and text and patterns were perfect for the Falcon.

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I love the texture the low-volume adds and I was excited to find a project for this assortment of fun prints. (I am also delighted that I have a much left!)

The pattern was easy to follow and went together very smoothly. There was only one issue I had and that was with a font printing weird on one of my computers, so I think it was totally me, not the pattern. If you’re new to paper piecing, don’t worry about jumping in with these patterns, they are easy to follow and the one thing that I struggled with most was weird angle pieces, but Kristy has this awesome tutorial for those too!

I had a tiny bit of scrap of this Millennium Falcon fabric, just wide enough for the backing. I did a simple wavy-lines quilting treatment on it, practicing for another quilt project. It’s simple but I like it.

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I love my new mini quilt, the fabric, the design, but most of all that it’s MINE!

If you have a Star Wars lover in your life, you should definitely check out these patterns, after all, they are awesome and FREE!

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52 Quilts 2016 · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 5 – JiJi Mini Quilt

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The third swap I shipped out last week was for an awesome Birthday Swap I am in all year. Each month has a birthday girl and all the people in the group send a package to that person. January’s recipient is a big Studio Ghibli fan so I made this little JiJi the cat mini quilt and some other fun Ghibli-inspired goodies.

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Jiji is the cat in Kiki’s Delivery Service, which is such a cute movie. I am a big Ghibli fan too, so I had a great time with this one.

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The pink background fabric reminded me of Japanese fans and the flowers on the back of Cherry Blossoms. They’re like hints of Japan without being overly Japanese I guess. I also really like the bright color contrasting with the black cat.

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As an additional project I used the Silhouette machine to cut vinyl and make this mug to look like the one in the movie. I think it is a pretty good homage to the movie. I added the outline of Kiki and Jiji on the broom to the back and couldn’t resist a little Soot Sprite on the bottom. (I made a couple extra Soot Sprites and now they’re on my sewing machine.)

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And finally, I made a Tortoro zip pouch. The fabric is from Spoonflower. I had some left from a Ghibli Swap last year, and I used the Noodlehead Wide Open Pouch tutorial, which makes a great little travel pouch. The bottom portion is navy linen and it is even lined.

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I rounded out the extras with a Totoro Polaroid block, since the birthday girl was also in the Polaroid swap I did a couple months ago, a Kiki’s Delivery service Key Fob and some birthday cake gum.

#swapaddict · 52 Quilts 2016 · Craft Swap · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 4 – Princess Peach Video Game Swap Quilt

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Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what I am going to do with a project but for the Video Game Craft Swap, I read my partner’s info and knew right away what I was going to do: Princess Peach Pixel Quilt. I found a pattern on Pinterest for a Perler bead pattern and used that to plan the quilt.

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The design has 700 squares, which I cut 2”x2” from mostly tonal fabrics I had in my stash. I did debate whether to make a mini quilt or a lap quilt, but I think the design would have lost something if I cut down the number or squares and if I just made them each 1” I might have gone insane.

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I used a shortcut method for the design. Once the squares were cut, I divided the pattern up into 20×20 pieces and arranged them onto fusible interfacing. After they were fused, I was able to fold each of the columns and stitch. It kept everything aligned and made stitching together 700 pieces much more manageable.

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I used this awesome Mario fabric for the back, which I made slightly wider with some fun polkadots on the edge and bound it with pink hearts.

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When I am starting a project, I usually have an idea of what the end product will be, but it’s not terribly often that the outcome is even better than I imagined. This one was really hard to send off, though I am confident it will be loved in its new home.

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I usually try to include a few extras with swap packages. Some of the swaps require them, others are optional. I think it is fun to find or create small things on the theme that the recipient will enjoy.

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I found the Mushroom and Question Block candies last month, and I did the Princess Peach decal with my new Silhouette Cameo machine. I made Pacman magnets with Perler beads and even made a little Pacman Keyfob.

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#swapaddict · 52 Quilts 2016 · Craft Swap · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 3 – Winning Love Rainbow Mini Quilt

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I actually finished this the first week in January but since I made this spectacularly rainbow-y mini quilt for a mini quilt swap I waited to share. Last year I signed up for my first (of many) craft swaps and I got crazy addicted to swaps. I have enjoyed swapping so much, I have made lots of virtual friends in this awesome swapping community on Instagram and had a lot of fun. I even hosted my own little swap, the ROYGBIV charm swap, where each participant sent in 56 five-inch squares of an assigned color and everyone got back a rainbow assortment. This little quilt is mostly made from those fabrics, they were perfect.

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The Winning Love Mini Swap is inspired by last year’s Marriage Equality ruling and it shipped during No Name Calling Week. It’s honestly a little intimidating making something for someone who is talented and creative. I enjoy the opportunity to try out things I might not make otherwise and I hope that my work is appreciated by the recipients.

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I love the colors and I hope my swap partner enjoys the mini quilt. I found this super colorful, rainbow swirly fabric last year and I knew it would be a perfect back for a rainbow quilt. I had a tiny bit of the rainbow stripes that I was thrilled was enough to bind it.

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52 Quilts 2016 · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 2 – Batman Lap Quilt

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Would you believe I actually made two quilts in a week? I finished the first quilt as a last-minute baby gift and I decided that the newly minted big brother needed one too. It was sort of a cheater quilt, as I already had the fabric pulled for another project I didn’t end up doing. I only had a half yard of the Batman fabric, so I added in a yard of the dark blue polka dots. I think a lot of people don’t think polkadots are for boys, but I sort of love this combo for this quilt. It makes me think of the retro comic book effect. I used the superhero comic fabric for the back with all the “Pow” and “Zoom” bubbles.

The real secret to this quilt being done in a single day was it was quilt-as-you-go. To be honest, I have read tutorials about making table runners and the like with the quilt as you go technique, but I don’t know if I have ever seen it done with a lap-sized quilt. The backing is width-of-fabric by about a yard and a half. Then I cut strips, also width of fabric, from each of the other fabrics. My not-very-scientific plan was just take the measurement I had of the Batman fabric and divide it in thirds. Then I did 3” by WOF for the orange and actually did 9” by WOF for the dots, which I ended up cutting one strip in half to even out the pattern. Non-scientific indeed.

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If you haven’t done quilt-as-you-go, there are certainly no shortage of tutorials and videos online, but the gist is that you have the backing and batting already sandwiched, and as you’re piecing the front, you’re quilting it to the back. In this case, I arranged the stripes the way I wanted them then figured out the middle and started there. The middle-most fabric went wrong-side-down with the orange stripe that would be next to it right-sides-together. Then I stitched the width of the fabric with the 1/4” seam allowance, folded the orange strip up and pressed. I repeated with each strip until I reached the end then rotated it and started back at the middle and worked out toward the other end. Really, it’s only 9 sewn stripes the width of the fabric.

One thing I did to try to keep things lined up was lay out the backing and the batting, and then I basted around the edges so nothing got folded over or too wrinkly. I think that made a huge difference. Like I said, I have only really seen this done on a much smaller scale.

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52 Quilts 2016 · Quilts

52 Quilts: Number 1 – Baby Quilt

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I finished my first quilt for my 52 Quilts in 2016 Project, and it is already in the mail for its intended recipient. I wanted to do a quick quilt from fabric I had on hand as a baby gift. It’s a pretty basic 4-square design, I didn’t really follow a pattern, just did some quick math on squares and seam allowances. I added the construction vehicle with my embroidery machine after I had it all pieced, somehow that bright orange square really needed something. I used scraps from the rest of the quilt for the appliqué. The back is just the same orange, no piecing.

I just started doing free motion quilting and I admit I am not very skilled at it. I am trying to get it to be a little smoother and less jerky looking but I do love the texture it has when it’s washed.

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52 Quilts 2016 · Projects · Quilts

52 Quilts

52 Quilts in 2016
52 Quilts in 2016

It’s already January 2nd, so I am not off to a great start for any year-long project launch, but I am going to do it anyway! I started a baby quilt a couple of days ago for a friend’s new baby boy and as I was digging though my cache of fabric I though, gee, I could really make a lot of fun quilts from some of these. What if I made a quilt a week this year? Once I had the idea it just kept festering until I knew I had to at least try.

I sat down to brainstorm what I thought I could make just from what I have on hand or what I had already planned. I quickly came up with more than 20 projects just from my fabric stash.  My fabric stash is a little different from a lot of quilters. Until last year, I had been making primarily kids’ clothes and doing custom embroidery. I have a ton of character fabrics, kids’ fabrics, novelty and bright colors. (Which is actually what I love in fabrics, bright colors and fun designs.) I don’t have a ton of high-end designer fabrics, though I think I have enough fun stuff on hand to make at least a dozen baby and kid-size quilts.  I do have some quilt-shop caliber fabrics I can make a couple lap quilts and I am also signed up for about ten craft and mini-quilt swaps so far this year. I know I  can easily come up with 52 quilt projects. I already have some works in progress for Mini quilt swaps, and have been planning a twin-sized bed quilt for my nephew.

For the purposes of this initiative I am defining a quilt as anything larger than 12″x12″ so I plan to count any of the mini quilts I make for swaps. I plan to make some quilts for friends, new baby gifts and hope to donate at least 20. If I finish it this year, I am counting it, even if I started it last year or many years ago. I hope that I can complete at least half of the quilts with fabric I already have on hand.

There will be some weeks when I don’t finish one, I am sure. I’ll keep a running tally on this blog. (Which I will try to be better about updating, too.) I don’t have a lot of time to sew, Sunday is the only day when my husband and I are both off so I can lock myself away without fear the kids will tear down the house, but that’s also the day we do family activities. I have summer mostly off work, so hopefully I will have more time to create, but less money to spend on supplies I might need.

I know I will need batting and backing for most of the quilts, I have a lot of cuts that are 1/4″ to 1 yard, but not much that I have enough to back a quilt. Hopefully I can find a bulk deal on batting and stock up. I figure I can work out the details along the way.

Let the quilting begin!