January 7th, 2015

Opal Owl Quilt + First Finish of 2015

by Julie Hirt

It’s snowy, freezing cold and overall bad weather here.  But I am desperate to share my Opal Owl quilt so I apologize for the shoddy pics. I’ll get better pics once the weather clears up.

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This is my 2nd quilt to go on the long arm and I tried a wood grain pattern.  The spacing is around 3/8″ and smaller.   After a quick wash the texture is AMAZING.

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Click on the pic above for full size. DO IT!  Look at the crinkles. *sigh* I could just lay around with this for days.

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The finished quilt measures 70″ x 80″ so it would work for a twin size bed.

As much as I love the quilting, the fabrics and pattern, I don’t know if I’ll keep it.  Maybe sell it?  Not sure yet because there are some serious man hours in this.  The piecing took a surprising amount of time.

You can the pattern for free at Moda Bake Shop.

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This summer I was at a local quilt shop and they had 5 yards of the backing fabric on clearance!  I couldn’t believe my luck as I think the Opal Owl line is hard to come by. That’s when I bit the bullet and cut into the bundle.

 

Oh! Want to see my official “First Finish of 2015″?

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My arrowhead stitch cowl. It was destined to be a scarf but I ran out of yarn and I wanted to get it off my list.  I was sick New Years Eve so I sat at home and finished it shortly after midnight.

I started the scarf this fall and it got lost in the shuffle of other projects. This is my first tunisian crochet project and I really like that it has a knitted feel, because I suck at actual knitting.  The yarn is a self striping wool blend called Sheepish.

Also got around to quilting this mini .  You can find the free Paper Piecing pattern HERE.   Gave machine binding another chance… again, I don’t know if it’s for me. It’s quick and looks okay but there’s something about hand stitching that does it for me.

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Just basic straight lines but it’s another WIP to cross off my list.

In my last post I mentioned I have to cross off at least half of my To-Make and To-Quilt lists before I can add a new project.  I’m well on my way with these three.

 

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December 31st, 2014

DANGER: Long Post! Year End Projects + Thoughts on 2015

by Julie Hirt

Lots of little projects to share and I’ll start with this:

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It’s a birthday mini for SimonSaysSew.

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I love how it turned out and I wanted to keep it for myself!  It’s really the first time I’ve played around with using a variety of low volume scraps for the background.

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The feathers are an awesome paper piecing pattern from Quiet Play.

Next up are the pouches I made for Leona‘s birthday swap.

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I just love that little deer.

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And a smaller velcro pouch:

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This one is a pattern by Michelle Patterns.  I love her patterns. Like, a lot.   It’s available in 3 sizes and the smaller one is perfect for storing tea bags or other miscellaneous things to toss in your bag.

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Next up is my quilt for the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap.  Ohmygosh I hope she likes it.

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I know these are fabrics she likes (Alison Glass, Handcrafted) and I just hope the pattern and quilting are her style as well.  It’s surprisingly nerve wrecking making something for someone else.

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Just in case she hates the quilt, I think she will like this.  Etsy never ceases to amaze me.  I sent my image over and a week later, here it was.

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Okay……… now here is where I’ve started with my 2015 plans. I will not use the word resolution, but I do have some ideas.  I’ve cleaned up my sewing space and updated my to do list.

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After organizing my fabrics I realized I need to stop buying it.  Easy to say, hard to do – you all know that.  So my plans are to go light on buying fabrics. Like only if I really, really, really have to have it – and I have to wait a week before buying it so I know I still really, really, really want it.

That list on the wall of To-Make and To-Quilt has to be at least cut in half before I’m allowed to start anything else.

Nothing harsh, just a plan of sorts.  I’m not sharing my to-make and to-quilt lists so you won’t know if I cheat!

The plan is already working – I’ve finished up a few WIP’s:

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I started this earlier in the year (or maybe last year?).  It’s a full size thrifted sheet, ripped into 3/4″ strips and double crocheted, the last round is reverse single crochet.  Can you believe an entire sheet only makes a 2′ round rag rug?

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I decided to stop at this size  because 1) I’s finished.  2) If I make one again, I’ll use skinnier strips and a bigger hook. It was a little tight.  3) It’s a good size to put under the dogs water bowl.

Next up is what I keep calling my Foxy Boxy bag and I don’t know why. They are obviously raccoons.

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I’ve had the fabrics cut, interior fabric laminated, ribbon and zipper pulled since this summer. They’ve just been sitting there mocking me.

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I like that the bag holds it’s shape (I think due to quilting and the laminated interior fabric) and it’s a fairly large size. I’ll either use it or give it away sometime soon.

Next is something I hope will help with my free motion quilting ideas (actually USING that new Long Arm is part of my 2015 plans) and open my mind for new patterns.

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Every time I see people  making pretty doodles or doing this thing called zentagling, I’m jealous. My brain just doesn’t work that way.  So I decided I should do what makes me uncomfortable and give it a try.

After reading about the ‘Zentangle’ process and watching videos, I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s actually a little structured, there are tons of existing patterns to try (with instructions – sweet relief) and eventually you can create your own. Unless you’re a natural doodler and off you go on your own from the beginning.  Just know I’m jealous.

Way back in the dark ages I took design classes, so I pulled out my old Rapidograph set. The pens need serious cleaning but I knew I’ve been keeping them around for something.  They are perfect for this.

Anyway, I purchased a blank book with 100 pages.  My goal is to fill it by the end of the 2015.  That’s only like 2 Zentangles a week, so not a lot of pressure.

And I’ll end by sharing this nightmare:

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If you follow me on Instagram you know I hated this process. I am SO glad I didn’t pre-cut a bunch of fabrics before attempting Cathedral Windows.  Pain.In.The.Ass.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Here I come 2015 with my plan to tackle you.  I will…

Grow Creatively by:

  • Using the Long Arm more – even just to practice on whole cloth
  • Won’t be afraid to try different FMQ patterns, even if I don’t think I’ll like them
  • Finish the To-Quilt list
  • Work on the To-Make list
  • Don’t add to these lists
  • No new projects until the above lists are halfway done
  • Fabric Diet – to use more of what I have
  • Keeping my space clean, I work better this way
  • Stay minimal on swaps this year
  • More selfish sewing so I can explore without being nervous
  • Weekly Zentangle
  • Trying what makes me uncomfortable (cathedral windows, zentangle, sewing curves, etc.)

So…  that’s about it.   Writing this post is another thing I can scratch off my to-do list!  I’m looking forward to 2015 and making it a year of finishes.

Happy New Year to you!

 

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December 23rd, 2014

Christmas Stockings

by Julie Hirt

After seeing Sarah’s gorgeous stockings on Instagram, I knew I had to make my own.

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You have to see her versions – they are amazing.  I love her style and how she works black or navy into projects.

I had a vague idea of how she put them together, but the binding was puzzling me.  Luckily she put together a tutorial and it’s super helpful. I think the binding gives an old fashioned feel to new fabrics.

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I used a Moda charm pack and some Kaufman linen in natural to make these for Tori and Liz.  Before this fabric is hard to find I’m going to pick up another charm pack and make a pair for Paul and myself.

Did you get all of your holiday sewing projects finished?

 

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December 18th, 2014

Christmas Mini Quilt

by Julie Hirt

Isn’t it cute?!

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As soon as I saw the free pattern from Bunny Hill Designs I knew I had to make it.   I used the same line of Moda fabrics Bunny Hill used, which is 25th & Pine by Moda.

This is a great base pattern – I’d like to try it with a different center motif and other fabrics so I can look at it all year.

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I did change up the deer shape a little but used the same style of quilting for the center.  In hindsight, I would add the deer AFTER quilting.  That was a lot of starting, stopping and tying off.

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Going outside my comfort zone I tried something new with quilting around the charms.  I’m really proud of myself! Since it’s on the small side I used my regular machine for the quilting.

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This was really fun to put together and it’s surprisingly quick. I think it took me 11-12 hours from beginning to end, including the binding.   If you’re out of time to make one this year, save it for next!

 

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November 7th, 2014

A Quilt Finish! Equally Fancy

by Julie Hirt

I love this line of fabric! It’s called Fancy by Lily Ashbury for Moda. There are so many great stash builders in here.

When I first started quilting I had a jelly roll and didn’t know what to do with it. I liked the look of the rail fence but not the jumbled-ness with all of the fabrics. I realized using white gave it a crisp and clean look that I liked.
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The first version I made was back in 2010 and I called it Big Whimsy, it was the 3rd quilt I made.

When I was thinking of ideas for the Bake Shop, I remembered Big Whimsy.  It’s beginner friendly and uses 2 jelly rolls so I put together a quick tutorial.

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It’s such a simple, basic block but I really enjoy it.

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This is also the first quilt I finished up on my newly acquired longarm.  I was soooo freakin nervous and now I have an overall better feeling for the machine and it’s not so scary.  The pattern I tried is kind of a swirl then echo it a few times, then swirl and echo, repeat.  Eventually I got in the flow and it went fairly well. I love the final texture!

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Kind of hard to get pictures of the quilting, but there it is.

Next week I’ll be heading out of town for a few weeks (Bahamas, here we come!) but I do plan on getting quite a few things crossed off my to-do list when I return.

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November 5th, 2014

Beginnings of a 9 patch

by Julie Hirt

As soon as I saw the Mimosa fabric line I *had* to have it.

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Since I’m having a love affair with this line I wanted to make a new bed quilt for myself.   KING SIZE!  143 x  7.5″ blocks!  Yikes, what have I done?

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It should look something like this and it will be a smaller size king using 143 blocks. I may need to add a little border but as long as it covers the mattress with a small overhang it will be fine.

I’ve only just started but I do have a handful of blocks finished.

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In other news…….. Guess who now owns a longarm?!

YES!  I can’t tell you how excited I was when my husband gave me the “ok”.  I ended up with a HandiQuilter Avante 18.  It’s a few years old but less than 120,000 stitches (which is like 2 quilts I think) and she’s a beauty.  The lady I purchased her from is retired and having back problems so she never got around to using it.

So now that I have a longarm, I have decided to step up the game and make myself a king size quilt that I can quilt all by myself.

I finished my first quilt on Suzie (that’s what I’ve named her, it was the name of the lady she was purchased from) a few weeks ago.

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I played around with a cheater panel a little but figured the best way to learn was to jump right in.  I saw a similar technique on YouTube and it was a good beginning pattern for me.

I’ll be sharing pics of this quilt soon, I just wanted to show you a bit of the quilting.  The quilt is a pattern for Moda Bake Shop that will be posted in the next few weeks – and I have another holiday pattern coming up right after that.

So I’ve been a little busy even though it’s been kinda quiet around here.

 

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