Summer Sundays

Thanks for all the quilt name suggestions!  There were a lot of great ideas, but in the end I went with "Summer Sundays".  One of my goals this year was to name more of my quilts.  I don't think I need a name for each baby quilt I make for my store, since that might stretch my brain just a bit too much.  But for the bigger quilts or ones which I especially love, I want names more imaginative than 'blue squares quilt', or pink and red log cabin quilt'.

And yes, this is currently my favorite quilt!  It was so much fun to put together.  It does take a big of figuring to get all those blocks put in their place, but I just took it one segment at a time.

I used Kona Essex Linen in Natural for most of the background, but added in a few other prints just for added interest.  OK, I'll admit that it started out because I was afraid I was going to run out of the linen.   In the end it's one of my favorite elements in the quilt.  In the bottom of the above photo you can see the cream colored polkadot which is meant to read as part of the background, but kind of just adds to quirky randomness of the whole thing.

That long strip of aqua is Moda Crossweave in Aqua.  It's a woven fabric made from two different colors of thread, so it gives for a neat effect.  The binding is Girl Friday by Cosmo Cricket, and yes I did just use it on another quilt, but it seemed to fit here again.

It's backed with Alexander Henry Farmdale Blossom in Turquoise.  Yes, I do love this quilt but I know that I'll have a new favorite very soon.  It's a good thing quilts don't have feelings, or I'd have a lot of former quilts really hurt!

And one more picture cause I like the way it looks hanging over my daughter's crib.

Loads of Blogs

If you read quilting blogs, you've probably stumbled across this Liebster Award, which is basically a really nice way of finding some of the smaller blogs out there.  The rules are that you reveal who nominated you, then choose three more smallish (under 300 followers) blogs that you like.  Thanks to those who nominated me, and because this took me awhile to get this written, I have a few links here.  Thanks to Bry, GreyCatQuilts, Cindy, FabricAddict(so sorry, I lost the link to your blog and cant seem to find you.  If this is you, please raise your hand and I"ll add the link), and ButterflyQuilting for nominating me.  It always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling!

Here's a few more blogs that I think are great.  Since I can't always tell how many followers someone has, I'm not strictly abiding by the 300 followers rule.  I'm simply choosing a few that I love, and that I don't see mentioned as often as I think they should be!  And I think I'm going to update my favorite blog list and add these right away!

Greenleaf Goods - Ok, I know this is on my favorite quilt blogs list already, but I wanted to make sure you go check her out.  She has made many beautiful quilts in a relatively short time, and her photography makes them all look extra yummy too.

Stolen Moments - Love all her projects, and she's a profesional photographer as well, so of course her photos are stunning.  (And I realized later that she also nominated me for this award.  Thanks!)

The Joy Cottage - Loads of yummy stuff and stacks of fabric that make you drool.

It's so hard to choose, and I know that later I'll think of all those others that I wanted to nominate as well, but we'll stop with these.

Three Books Reviewed

Saturday morning.  Husband took the three year old with him.  Baby Girl is playing {sort of} happily.  The house is {sort of} cleaned up.  So now we will have the book reviews that I've been planning.

This year for Christmas I had quite a few quilting books on my list.  Think 10 or so!  Now I didn't expect to get them all, but I had never seen any of them in real life, so couldn't decide which I wanted most.  My sis-in-law bought me Liberated Quiltmaking ll by Gwen Marston, and I was given money from my aunt with the instructions to pick out a couple more.  FuN!!  So that began the research.  I found a few reviews on blogs and some Flickr discussions, and in the end I decided to go with The Modern Quilt Workshop, and Denyse Schmidt Quilts.

Because I found these reviews helpful and interesting, and there wasn't any too many of them, I decided I'd do my own little comparison thingie.  This isn't going to be any in-depth analysis, but rather my impressions and overall likes and dislikes of each book.  I think to keep it simple for my wording challenged brain, I'm going to do pros and cons of each one.

Let's start off with Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking ll

Pros:  Just read that little blurb above and you'll understand why I absolutely LOVE this book.  I read it through from cover to cover, and I've since found myself looking at it again and again.  There are lots and lots of quilts in this book, and some serious inspiration.  Cheryl wrote a review of one of Gwen's other books, and what she found is SO true of this book as well.  It's plain fun to read.  It made me more enthused about quilting than I was before (if that's possible)  There's not a single template in this book, (Yaaay!!)  There is lots of encouragement to have fun and make it up as you go.

(my favorite quilt in this book)

Cons:  I honestly have a hard time finding any downsides, so the one I do have seems really nitpicky and inconsequential.  I'm not a huge fan of her fabric and color choices.  She seems to make her quilts totally in solids (which I like better, since most of her quilts are quite "busy" design-wise)  or else they have many different patterned fabrics with few solids to rest the eye.  OK, so that's completely my personal opinion, and really doesn't affect the awesomeness that is this book.

If you don't have this book, please get it!  I think that Gwen must have FUN quilting, because that's what totally reads through in this book.

Next up:  Modern Quilt Workshop

Pros:  When I found the FunQuilts website, I knew I had to have this book.  They have designed so many wonderful and original quilts.  I had seen this Love Beads quilt (pictured above) on Flickr, but never realized that it came from this book.  Same with the Plain Spoken pattern.  I think finding out that both these patterns came from this book tipped me over the edge and MADE me buy it.  And yes, I'm definitely making both of these quilts!  So this book has quite a few patterns that I love and will definitely make some time.  With each quilt they show small computer-generated images of the quilt in quite a few different color schemes.  They also have charts on how to make each quilt in everthing from wall hanging to king-sized.  For me, this isn't a major bonus since I tend to look at the picture and then figure it out on my own anyways, but I think quite a few people would find this helpful.  Overall, there are some seriously great quilts in this book, and I'd buy it for that fact alone.

(I'm thinking this would be great in different shades of green)

Cons:  This book definitely has a more "serious" tone.  An inexperienced quilter might find it a bit intimidating. Although there is lots of good instructions and some good diagrams, it doesn't have quite the "go for it, you can do it!" that Gwen Marston's book has.

Lastly:  Denyse Schmidt Quilts

Of all three books, this one has the hippest, coolest, (I told you I'm no writer so I can use words like that) anyways, the hippest, coolest layout.  The overall design of the book and the selection of projects as well as the colors and fabrics used give for an overall modern and unique vibe.   Although I would never follow these instructions to make the projects, many of these patterns are the basis for a lot of the quilts I make, so somehow it just feels right to own this book.  If nothing else, it makes me happy just seeing it sitting on the shelf!

Cons:  I'll have to admit I was a teensy bit disappointed in this one.  Although if I had first seen this book three years ago, I would have been entranced.  I've seen so many of these patterns or versions of these patterns all over Flickr and blogland, so I didn't feel like I found anything new.  I've read and heard this before, but it is interesting that Denyse's patterns all use complicated templates (OK, I call all templates complicated) when the quilt could be easily made in a more free form manner.  I suppose though, that there are enough people out there who want to make that 'exact' quilt, so if that's what you want to do, then the instructions here are perfect for you.

So there's my little review.  I'm sure I'll think of more later that I wanted to add, but Baby Girl has decided to empty out the bottom shelf in the pantry. (the middle drawer in the bathroom got a little boring since all the contents are on the floor)

Furthermore, these are all my OPINIONS, and I would definitely recommend all three books to anyone wanting to expand their quilt book library in a more modernish direction.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books, or any others you think I should be getting!

I Can't Think of a Title!

I have so many things to blog about.  Two finished quilts, at least two more in progress, some linky love for other blogs, a couple book reviews, and some favorite fabrics.  I even have the photos, which can be the challenge some days.  This time my problem is that every time I sit down here, I don't have any words.

I'm not sure if there's too many thoughts in my head and I can't get them out, or if my brain is empy!  I wish my mom could read my thoughts and write it down for me.  OK, let's amend that:  I wish my mom could read the part of my mind that thinks about quilts and bloggy stuff ;)  cause she's a great writer and knows how to translate the thoughts to words.

I think part of my problem is that I don't want to be as dry as sawdust here, and sometimes describing a quilt does feel a bit dry and flaky.  I was into it and enjoying it while I was making it.  Now it's completed, and I'm onto the next project.  I still really like it, but I SO don't feel the excitement anymore.  I guess I have some serious crafting ADD!

More Progress!

I'm doing it!  I'm showing my process, or progress is more like it.  I'm too lazy right now to go on and on about the whys and hows.

Another quilty goal this year was to give my quilts some proper names.  So far I'm stumped on this one.  It seems summery and yummy, like icecream but the perfect name hasn't occurred to me yet.

In Progress

I mentioned in my last post how I didn't enjoy the process of making that quilt.  But I realized that it maybe wasn't the improvisational part of it that I didn't like...

All I know is that yesterday morning I dove into some new piecing, and I suppose you could call it improv?  and I'm luvin' it!  But what I'm doing here is mainly liberated log cabins and strips and such, which is what I do LOTS of, so maybe it's just that I'm back in my safe little comfort zone!!  Oh well, I think I'm gonna stay in my little box for a while...

I'm trying to show more in-progress of my quilts, but it's hard.  I think it's partly because my sewing room is in the basement which has very little natural light.  Which equals terrible photos.  But I really enjoy reading about other folks progress, so I'm gonna try.

These two Heather Ross prints, the tadpoles in jars, and the horses, were two small scraps I had.  They suddenly called out to me, and I started adding random strips from my scrap bin.  I didn't think about specific colors or theme, but somehow it's ended up being mostly warm colors with a few greens thrown in.  And I had to try out my Essex Linen in natural.  I'm likely going to use it on the back of a custom quilt, so wanted to work with it a bit more.  And it's beautiful besides!

Moon Tree

This quilt has put a lot of different thoughts in my head, and I'm not sure I can get them out cohesively, but I'll try.  I think I've learned a few things about myself, my style of quilting, etc...

For Christmas I received Liberated Quiltmaking II (which I absolutely love!!  I'll give a little review sometime), and I also received some money to purchase a couple more books, so I was busy researching.  I snooped around FunQuilts a bit, and saw one of the quilts on this page, called Leaves.  I think it must have been the inspiration for the quilt you see here.

So, after reading Gwen's Liberated Quiltmaking, and having dived into some of this other heavy discussion on improv quilts, art quilt, etc., I decided to make this quilt with NO planning.  I started out by making my own template for the ovals, originally planning to use a layout similar to the Leaves quilt.  Then it somehow morphed into a tree idea, with the leaves going up both sides of the trunk.  This entire time, I MADE myself work as I went along.

But you know what I found out?  I don't like making quilts this way.  I normally start out with a picture in my mind of what the finished quilt will look like.  Now, the finished product rarely resembles this first picture.  In fact, I often don't even remember what I was thinking of originally, but I always have a goal in mind as I work.   I felt out of control the whole time I was working on it.  Now, maybe that's a good thing, but it wasn't really fun or relaxing.

So, this quilt makes me feel good in the way that when I look at it, I know that I made myself come up with something completely out of my comfort zone.  But, as a finished product, I can't say that I LoVE it.

(my favorite spot on the quilt)

So, here's what I learned:  it's OK for me to make quilts that are 'cookie-cutter'.  It's OK to make quilts from patterns.  It's OK to take inspiration from other's quilts (just DONT pass it off as your own super-duper new idea)

It's also kind of fun to come up with something wierd looking, like a Moon Tree, but I'm not gonna make myself do it unless I feel like it!

But here's the one thing I really do LoVe about this quilt.  It's hanging in my three-year-old son's room.  Wonder why?  While I had these leaves up on the design wall, I asked my husband what he thought.  He mentioned a few things, but just couldn't see that they looked like leaves.  He just didn't "get" the tree thing. (He's very appreciative of my quilting and all, I'm just saying :)

 The other day, I had just finished quilting this quilt, and had it folded in half over my sewing room chair.  The "trunk" of the tree was folded underneath so it couldn't be seen.  My little boy came into the room, noticed the quilt, and said, "Mommy, is that a tree quilt?"   I paused in slight amazement and said yes it was.  Then he asked,  "but where's the stick part of the tree?"  (meaning the trunk)  I picked up the quilt, held it up for him to see, and asked him if he could see it.  Without hesitation he pointed to the vertical strips which were indeed what I had meant to be the tree trunk.

So he effectively made my day.  And now he's pretty pleased with his new wall art!

P.S.  I haven't forgotten about the giveaway.  The winners have been contacted and I'll post them soon!

A Full Brain

I have such a backlog of things to show, but I've decided I really want to start recording more of my process and 'in progress', so I'm just gonna open the chute a bit here and see what comes out of my brain (and picture folder of projects)!

First of all,  here's the quilt I received in the "My Favorite Little Quilt Swap."  Here's the quilt I sent, and here's the Flickr group (they're having another round right now.  It's a great group to join if you're interested in trying out a swap!)

This little cutie was made by Nellie of Nellie's Niceties, and it's looking pretty happy on my sewing room wall!

A custom quilt order.  It's a twin size, with 6" squares of Hope Valley.  I'm waiting on backing fabric right now.  The customer requested a linen or linen-look backing, so I'm hoping I'll find a compromise between the look she wants, and something that I can work with and not leave me bald from hair-pulling!

I ordered these fabrics a while back on a complete whim,  and they've been nagging at me from the shelf.  I wanted a design that would showcase the big lovely prints, but still be a little interesting and cottagey all at the same time.  I find that although I love some of these bold printed fabrics, they don't work as well with the designs and types of quilt that I like to make.  Hmmmm....

And now, the best for the last!  Project Modern's second challenge is monochromatic quilts.  I'm so disapointed that it's only for US residents,  (I was really bugged, till I found out that it's because of some kind of crazy laws about contests that some countries have, not because they thought it was too expensive to ship internationally)  But I think I'm gonna play along just because I'm so INSPIRED with this idea!  I read the word monochromatic, and BOOM!  I knew I had to make one.

 I don't know how I'll build it yet, but I know it will be green, since that's my all-time favorite color.  I pulled out every green fabric in my stash and completely fell in love with the stack.  Here are only the monochromatic prints, and I may add a few more with dashes of other colors,(a smidgen of hot pink?) just for interest.  I made a gallery with some quilts that inspired me, but we'll see what happens.

A Pillow for Grandma

First, a few notes about my Grandma.

*I won't reveal her age here, but she's a great-grandma to my two little kids, and she just babysat my 1 1/2 year old for three nights!  Yes, she is very spry and ambitious.  I got lucky!

*She has packed our lives with wonderful memories, because she spoiled each of us silly! (and still does)

*She is a wonderful cook.  Likes all shades of purple mauve and burgundy.  Does NOT like yellow!  She's very ticklish.  That was one of the only rules I remember from her.  If I tried to tickle her under the arms, she'd turn 'no-nonsense' pretty quick!

Now a few notes about the pillow.

*This was my Christmas gift for Grandma.

*I realized I had more purples in my stash than I thought.  It helped that I just won that FQ bundle of Innocent Crush!

*I used Essex Linen in Sand for the background and back.

*Used a purple invisible zipper, and hand quilted with perle cotton.

*Here's the tutorial for the Dresden Plate.

And it just so happens that Rachel of Stitched In Color is having a Blogger's Pillow Party, so I'm entering this pillow in the contest.

Give Away!

I love the New Year.  The idea of starting fresh just sits well with me.  Ok, I know it's all in my head, but I like it anyway.  Maybe this is the year that all my resolutions will turn into lifelong habits.  Daily exercise?  Check!  Organization?  Check!  Finish up all projects before starting a new one?  Check!

A girl can dream, right??!!

So now to the fun part!  I've had a giveaway planned in my mind for weeks and here it finally is.  There will actually be two giveaways;

Giveaway #1:  Leave a comment on this post to be entered.  I'll pick one winner randomly.

Giveaway #2:  I really appreciate everyone who leaves comments on my blog, so this one is a little thank you.  I'm gonna go back through the comments on this blog, all the way to the beginning and include every comment.  I'll pick two winners randomly from all these comments.

Next:  Prizes!

I have five different prizes to be won, and each winner gets to choose two!

Set of four fat quarters

Bliss charm pack

Pin cushion

Set of four fat quarters

                                                          another pin cushion.

Now, there's only one charm pack, and one of each of the pin cushions, but there's a few of the fat quarter sets, so here's how it will be.  The first and second winners from GiveAway #2 (the one with comments from past posts) will get first choice on which prize they want, then the winner from GiveAway #1 (comments on this post)  will get what's left!

I'll leave this open till Friday, January 7.  But I'm gonna go find the winners from the previous comments right now.  (so if you were thinking of being sneaky and commenting on every past post, don't waste your time!:)

and I'll announce all three winners on Friday!!  So leave me a comment, and you may win two of these smallish prizes.  (but don't grump, cause they're free!)