Monday, December 14, 2015

Soccer/Wrestling T-Shirt Quilt

I just finished stitching the binding on this t-shirt quilt and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! My aunt's friend gave me a bunch of her son's t-shirts and said she trusted me with the layout and the design. I had 16 shirts/squares that I could work with, but I really didn't want to do a big 4 x 4 square layout because I just imagined the (college) kid laying on the couch with his feet sticking out of the bottom. I also didn't love the idea of a 3 x 5 layout because I didn't want it to feel too long and skinny. In the end I decided that I needed the length, so I added some plus blocks on the sides as a border to make it more proportional. I used scraps from the shirts for the plus blocks and I got really lucky when I found a gray cotton chambray in the clothing fabrics section of JoAnn's for the keystones and the background of the plus blocks. It matched everything perfectly and really pulled it all together. I pre-washed all of the fabrics so nothing would shrink out of proportion when they washed it. 
I love the quilting pattern that I found. I tried really hard to make sure the quilt stayed masculine in every way, so I think the squares really accent the shirts nicely.
The plus blocks on the borders are made from leftover shirt scraps.
Again, I was trying to keep things masculine, so I had a really hard time finding a backing fabric that wasn't too girly. (I don't think I've ever made a quilt for a guy before!) Luckily I found a really cool sweatshirt fleece that was super soft and not too thick. My longarm quilter actually quilted it without batting and it's just as thick and warm as any other quilt I've made.
There was one more shirt that got relegated to the back when I decided to use only 15 shirts on the front. It blends in perfectly! 
After initially agonizing over this quilt and how to make it "special", I'm really happy with how it turned out. T-shirt quilts are surprisingly quick and easy, considering the blocks are huge (I think mine were 14" finished). I wouldn't mind making a few more in the near future! I hope this quilt gets used and loved and brings back lots of great memories. :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

"Radiant Blues" Police Officer Wedding Quilt

My cousin Chelsea is a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas. She got married on November 8th, so I got to head down to Texas and see my family for the first time in almost a year! I knew I wanted blue to be the main theme of the quilt, so when I found a Moda turnover full of rich blue, turquoise, and gray solids, I knew I had to use it! (A turnover is a layer cake cut in half on the diagonal.) I used two turnovers, so basically one whole layer cake.

The best part about taking the pictures for this quilt is that I gave my husband a break from being my quilt holder and had my brother-in-law do it instead. (Is it wrong of me to admit that I enjoyed seeing him suffer for the sake of my art?) Haha. :)
This is the face of suffering and frustration after I kept telling him, "Hold it up higher! I can still see your head, duck down! Now it's crooked, hold it up straight! Why are your arms shaking? This isn't that hard!" Poor Abe. :)
In his defense, it was really windy. This is me attempting to help.
This picture perfectly sums up our photo shoot and makes me laugh every time I look at it. Abe is looking at my sister (his wife) wondering when this is going to be over, I'm trying to get the quilt to lay flat and look nice for the pictures, and Wes (my husband) is just leaning against the wall, smirking, because this is normally what I put him through and now he gets to enjoy it from a distance.
Again, windy. I can't really complain about the weather though because the day of the wedding was 65 degrees and sunny. Perfect!
We took these pictures at the rehearsal luncheon, which was held at a retirement community. We spent a good deal of time in the courtyard taking pictures, and I can only imagine what the residents were thinking as they heard me calling out directions and laughing maniacally...
I found the backing fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, of all places. It matched the colors on the front perfectly!
I didn't realize until I was editing the pictures that this label is EXTRA crooked. Oh well. I love the binding though! I used the same gradient gray/black fabric that I used for my sister's Black and Gray X-Plus Quilt.
I was telling my sister to get a picture of one of the spots where the points matched perfectly. I used a glue basting method with these triangles and I think it really helped to keep the triangles from stretching out as I was sewing them.
My sister's photography skills (and camera) are much better than mine. Had to take advantage of it while we were together. :) 
I hope you enjoyed looking at this quilt as much as I enjoyed writing about it! I love the final product and how it just radiates light. I wish Chelsea and Jeffrey all the best and can't wait to head back to Texas to see everyone again! I'll leave you with a picture of my family (and yes, my dad is the king of the selfie stick) and my siblings!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Overexcited Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry #2

From my previous post: "Oops! I got so excited about submitting some quilts for the online Blogger's Quilt Festival that I submitted them without reading the directions! My apologies to the organizers. Hopefully you're feeling generous enough to give me a chance to redeem myself." ;)

My second entry is my "365" Wedding Quilt for my OTHER sister who got married this past December. When I started thinking of what kind of pattern to use for her wedding quilt, I asked her how long she and her then-fiance will have been together on their wedding day. She told me they were getting married on their one year dating anniversary. After that, I couldn't get the number 365 out of my head and I knew I had to find some way to incorporate it into a quilt. Luckily, I stumbled across the Bartow pattern on the Robert Kaufman website, designed by none other than Carolyn Friedlander. I just tweaked the dimensions a little bit to end up with the right number of strips and left a little space at the end where I could add a heart with their initials and the date. I love how this quilt turned out and I hope it inspires someone else to think of a unique way to add that perfect personal touch to a gift for someone special in their lives. :)

Overexcited Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry #1

Oops! I got so excited about submitting some quilts for the online Blogger's Quilt Festival that I submitted them without reading the directions! My apologies to the organizers. Hopefully you're feeling generous enough to give me a chance to redeem myself. ;)

My first entry is my Black and Gray X-Plus Quilt. I made this quilt for my youngest sister after she asked for a white, gray, and black quilt. I had to put a call out to my Instagram quilting friends to get all of the scraps I needed, but in the end, I love how this turned out. I feel like it has an iridescent, three-dimensional quality to it. Usually with scrappy quilts, you think of lots of different confetti-like colors, but I think this quilt uniquely fits into the Scrappy category because of its muted palette.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Flight Suit Diaper Bag: Round Two!

I'm back with another flight suit diaper bag! This one is for one of the wives in our squadron who is going to give birth any day now to a baby girl. This project is so fun and special because I get to use the dad's flight suit to make the bag. I hope she enjoys using it as much as I enjoyed making it! (If you'd like to read about the first flight suit diaper bag I made, click here.)
All of the zippered pockets are still totally functional. There is no shortage of storage with this bag! This former leg pocket is now the back of the bag.
Here is a view of the flap. I found this adorable fabric at a great quilt shop in Watkins Glen when we went on vacation in August.
This is the view of the inside front of the bag with the flap open.
Here is a view of the inside pockets. If you look closely, you can see that I used an iron-on vinyl for the inside surface so it could easily be wiped down in case anything leaked inside.
These side pockets are great for water bottles or baby bottles.
Overall I didn't have any major problems putting this bag together. I realized after it was done that I had forgotten to add on one extra piece of velcro on the side so you could add an extra patch, but it was purely a cosmetic feature and the bag looks fine without it.

Let me know if you've ever made anything out of a uniform or if you've seen a similar flight suit diaper bag out there! I'd love to see pictures. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trying To Be Cool

I finished this quilt in mid-August, so I don't know why I haven't posted about it until now! My husband's birthday was August 19th and we took four days off of work to go on a road trip up to Niagara Falls. On our way out, we stopped in Philadelphia and had our pictures taken by Autumn Kern. I found Autumn on Instagram and loved her style of photography. I thought it would be fun to commemorate his birthday and our almost-two-year anniversary with some pictures. 

As I started to brainstorm the setting for our photos, I knew I wanted to include a quilt somehow. This quilt began to formulate in my mind after I bought a fat quarter bundle of Kim Andersson’s Tidal Lace collection for Windham Fabrics. 
How's that for some inspiration??

I pulled some other complimentary fabrics out of my stash and started searching for a pattern. I wanted something with big blocks, both to accentuate the fabric and to speed up the assembly process (I was working with a deadline after all). I finally settled on the Stacked Squares pattern from Moda and used My Quilt Infatuation's cutting calculations so I could use fat quarters instead of a layer cake and jelly rolls.
I call this quilt "Trying To Be Cool" because I felt like this color pallette was really mellow and bohemian and as I was picking out fabrics, I was sort of thinking, "Would a really cool and hip person like this?" If the answer was yes, it went into the quilt. Don't ask me to explain the logic behind that one. Haha. :)

Here is the final product!
I pieced together some gray and blue-green fabrics for the backing. 
Overall, I'm really happy with how this quilt turned out! It has become a regular "couch quilt" in our house already and when it gets really cold this winter, the colors will remind me of summer. :)

Here are some pictures from our trip:
Watkins Glen State Park in New York state was BEAUTIFUL!! I liked it even better than Niagara Falls because you could walk around and through the waterfalls. They even had a great quilt shop in town called O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts. I can't wait to go back!