Sunday, February 20, 2011

Laffy Taffy Basket with Borders!

Yesterday was the second, first official meeting of the Rock River Modern Quilt Guild.  There were four of us:  myself, Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts, Melinda of Quirky Granola Girl, and Beth of A Wandering Mistrel I.  I love that my group of fellow, local quilters is expanding.  Melinda and Beth are great, and I look forward to getting to know them better!

Don't get me wrong - I love the online quilting community.  It's expanded my horizons so much!  There's just no substitute for being able to get together and chit chat while we work on our projects.

So, while we sat and talked, I worked on adding the borders to the Laffy Taffy Basket.  I ended up buying three more fabrics for the borders - it was just too boring with the selection I had.  Really, there wasn't enough randomness to the strips comprising the corner triangles.

I'm really happy with the progress thus far, but now I'm waiting...

Waiting for what?

My Accuquilt GO!

Yeah, I gave in.  It was on sale at Joann's for $199, along with some of the dies that I wanted, so I gave in.  I'm just waiting for it to arrive at my home now, and then I can start on the applique portion of Laffy Taffy Basket.  Now, I just have to watch for die sales - I still want the Double Wedding Ring, and a few others, but I'll hold off for a bit yet.  There's other things I need to buy - like a new vacuum.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Laffy Taffy Basket

A particular print is often my starting point and inspiration for a new quilt.  I draw from it the basic shapes and color palette that will be used.

The fabric to the left is just such a print.  I was growing increasingly frustrated with my creative side for not rising to the DQS 10 challenge.  My swap partner seems to have far more traditional taste than I do, and I was stymied.  Finally, I gave myself permission to buy some fabric at my local Joann's.  This print is what I found.

I was still at a creative impasse, though, so I quite literally slept on the issue.  My sleeping brain had obviously had enough with my waking brain, and I woke up with the final image of this quilt.  It obsessed me, and I needed to make another trip to Joann's.

Yeah, that's what I came home with.  Okay, so there was more, (I mean, I spent $100 - bad, bad me!!) but this stuff is what's important at the moment.  The other stuff isn't ready for a reveal yet ;)

Some playing and drawing, cutting and sewing, debating sizes and borders, and options...  A decision to simply let the quilt do what it wanted and to stop second-guessing my instincts occurred, and it was freeing.  I have to remember that feeling - and that I actually do know what I'm doing.

Apparently, my signature design element is going to be including a New York Beauty blog in every swap quilt I do from now on...   What can I say?  I love that block and its potential for variety.

This will eventually have appliqued flowers and a basket handle.  The on-point block will be squared off with stripes of the bright colors seen in the second picture.  I'll probably include more from my stash for an increase in palette options.  The binding will be the small brown print, and the backing will be the inspiration print.

This mini already has a name - "Laffy Taffy Basket".  Thank you to Sandi for inspiring the name with your comment about the fabric looking like taffy!  With any luck, I can the top done and ready for quilting very soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Finish of the Year

I finished my first quilt of the year just before the end of January. We'd been invited to watch the Royal Rumble (that's a wrestling pay per view event), and knowing that I had three hours of me being planted on a couch in front of a television, I brought a quilt to finish hand-stitching the binding down.

You know, I think that last step is quickly becoming my favorite step. It's that sign to myself that I've finally gotten through all of the snags that I typically run in to (including remembering HOW to correctly connect the two ends of the binding).   I can finally stop fretting about the quilt, and just stand back and let it be.

I had to borrow the railing at work to take these photos - mine is three feet outside my sliding glass doors, but there's also about three feet of snow between me and the railing.  I have to get the snow cleared before I can even think of draping quilts over it.

I decided on a simple straight line grid, with the lines being about 1 1/8" apart.  I say "about" because I used my walking foot and simply aimed to go from corner to corner of each square rather than drawing guidelines all over the quilt.  I DID mark guides all along the borders.  Quilting took about eight total hours and almost 1000 yards of thread.  

So, my lines aren't perfectly straight.  You know what, though?  It's done, and no one will ever know but me! I'm super in love with the polka dot fabric (it's a Joann's print) I used for the backing.  I'd been debating what to do with it since buying it.  I think it brings just the right amount of whimsy to this quilt!

All of the fabrics for this quilt came from my stash, something that makes me very proud of myself.  I have a lot of fabric - not as much as some people I know, but I'm probably lining my nest with at least 100 yards of fabric.  If I'm not going to use it, why buy it?  The unstated portion of my quilting/creative resolutions for this year was to use as much fabric from my stash as possible.  I have a very limited budget this year for my hobby, so I really need to be able to justify buying anything.  The way to do that is to use it!

Now that this project is out of the way, I have to figure out my back for the Basket Block Sampler top, finish tracing my paper piecing templates for another project onto tracing paper, and figure out my design for my Doll Quilt Swap partner.

I'm actually feeling frustrated by the DQS... My partner seems to like far more traditional fabrics than I'm used to using anymore, so it's an odd stumbling block to run into.  Especially considering that I used to be the definition of a traditional patchworker.  This weekend, I'm going take some time and really ponder my fabric stash and start sketching.  I'm sort of thinking that I'm going to challenge myself to make this a truly miniature quilt, which will mean a lot of paper-piecing.  We'll see.  It's all about what the fabric tells me it wants to be.