Monday, March 11, 2019

A Most Versatile Pattern

Happy Monday Guys!

Have any of you been participating in Instagram Quilt Fest (#igquiltfest) this year?  This is my first year participating, and it has been so much fun!  I love seeing everyone's personality come through in sharing their version of the prompts.  It's been a great way for me to learn about new-to-me quilters as well and help jump back into the amazing community of quilters we have out there.

This week I'd like to talk about a quilt pattern that I find myself making over and over again.  I actually showed a quilt made with this pattern a few weeks ago, but I have some more examples I'd like to share today. 

I love this quilt, because it's the perfect "gift" size; great for snuggling on the couch, using at the office, or even for a baby.  Also, it works great with feature fabric and large scale prints that have been so popular in recent years.

The pattern is "Girls Best Friend" by Mountainpeek Creations (found here).  I never felt like the quilt on the cover of the pattern did the pattern any justice, as almost every quilt I've seen made from this has been more attractive (in my opinion) than the cover quilt.  However, that could just be the photography, which can sometimes be difficult on quilts that don't have a ton of contrast in the piecing.

I'm glad I gave it a chance while working at Quilts Plus, in Kalamazoo MI, because this quickly became one of my go-to patterns and most made design.

Here is the first one I made (9 years ago already!) while working at Quilts Plus:

I loved the softness of the blue and green in this quilt (try and ignore my icky orange carpet), and to this day this is one of my favorite quilts to leave out in my living room.  One way I like to manipulate this pattern is to use a different fabric for the 4 corner blocks.  The pattern calls for this fabric to be the same as the center and border, but I always felt that it made the other blocks look they were floating weirdly in the middle of the focus fabric.  Changing the fabric layout a little bit helps me feel like the piecing is more intentional.

Another example I'd like to show is a quilt I actually have for sale in my Etsy shop right now:


I love that each one of these quilts is so different thanks to just a fabric change!  I have seen many others make this quilt and they always turn out great!

What about you guys?  Do any of you have a favorite quilt pattern that you've made multiple times?  What pattern is your favorite and why?

Until next time!
Cristina
The Quilted Mitten

Monday, February 25, 2019

My Favorite Quilt I've Ever Made...For Now

I love all of my quilts in one way or another.  Sometimes I love them for the fabrics, sometimes I love them for the memories they bring to the forefront of my mind.  Sometimes I love them just because they were fun to make.  Every once in a while though, I love one for all of these reasons, and when I look at it I am immediately happy.  This is one of those quilts.

For now, this is my favorite quilt I've ever made.  I don't know exactly why.  Maybe it has to do with the unique pattern (from Livin' Large 2 by Heather Mulder Petersen).  Maybe it has to do with the Fabric (Parisville by Tula Pink), which I hoarded for YEARS before I finally decided what to do with it.  Maybe it has to do with the colors, modern yet not too loud.  In reality, it is probably all of those things.





























Piecing for this quilt was more difficult than I anticipated.  If you look closely I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find where the trellis pieces don't match exactly.  I think the difficulty was that you need to match diagonal seams with perpendicular ones.  Thankfully it isn't largely noticeable and the overall affect is really fun.


I love this fabric so much.  I don't know if it's due to my love of historic dress, but as soon as I saw the "Marie Antoinette" wigs I knew I needed this fabric in my life!!!  How fun are these ladies!?





























I had considered putting a border on this quilt, but by the time I finally got the center of the quilt done, the fabric was long out of print.  In the end I think I actually like it better without the border, and it's still a large full size quilt which works well on a bed or to snuggle on the couch.

If you read my last post, you might recognize the backing for this quilt.  I've been trying to shop my stash first, especially for backings, but I didn't have enough of any one fabric.  I DID have two pieces of yardage that were the same color though, and they both blended well with the pink on the front of the quilt.  An extra strip of purple gave me enough fabric for the back, and it felt GREAT to use up these pieces of yardage that had been hanging around a long time.  Both of these salvages were dated 1999!  20 years after they were printed, they finally found a use.  


The binding was from Tula Pink's True Colors collection.  It blended great, and I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg to get fabric from the Parisville collection.  Sometimes I find it's easy to get caught up in the "need" for fabric from the same line, but often I can find another choice that's more economical.  

Do you have a favorite quilt?  What makes it your favorite?  Do you find that your tastes change over time, or are you loyal to your favorites long term?

Happy Monday!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten



Monday, February 18, 2019

Putting your "Stash" on a Diet

Happy Monday everyone!!!

This week I'd like to chat about my stash.  I know many of us stash fabric (it generally doesn't take long to have a collection of fabric), and I always think it's interesting to see how other people use theirs, so I thought I'd share my "stash" philosophy with you!

I have been lucky enough to work in not one, not two, but THREE different fabric stores as I've moved around the state.  As I'm sure no one would be surprised to hear, all three of them had beautiful fabric tempting me to take some home with me nearly every time I worked.  Also, I have an amazing grandmother who not only generously taught me to quilt, but in the past has shared some of her "stash" with me when she decided she needed to downsize how much fabric she had.

Also, as many quilters know, most projects have scraps or small yardage amounts left over once the project is finished.  I do like to cut my scraps down into usable pre-cut sizes like Bonnie Hunter (check out quiltville.com for details, this lady is a genius), but after a while that leaves me with a TON of pre-cut scraps.



All of these things led me to having a MASSIVE stash of fabric.  Something needed to be done.  WE SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR THIS TO CONTINUE!!! haha.

So, in the last 5 years, I have been on a "Fabric Diet".  What does that mean, you might ask?  It means I shop my stash first for a project, and only purchase new fabric to finish a project.  For the most part, this has worked out really well.  Most of the time I stick to this, and I am able to make a small dent in the fabric I am storing each time I start a new project.  HOWEVER, just like any diet, sometimes you might have a "cheat" day. ;)  Overall, my occasional cheat days have balanced out the diet days, but at least I haven't been "gaining weight".

One way I have been especially good at dieting is shopping my stash for backing fabrics.  Generally I don't worry as much about being "matchy-matchy" with my backing as long as it's close to matching.  Also, sometimes I will piece different pieces of yardage to make a "scrappy" backing.  In the end these pieced backs end up being some of my favorites because they make use of older fabric that has been collecting dust in the cabinet.  Here is an example of one of my pieced backs.

Whenever I do a back like this I feel like I have really accomplished something, and most people don't look at the backing anyway.  However, I tend not to follow this approach if I plan to put a quilt up for sale.

In a recent finish (coming to the blog soon!), I was able to use up two pieces of yardage that were the same color, but different patterns.  Both prints were from 1999!!!  It felt so great to use these and see these fabrics finally find a purpose.  I used a strip of purple in the middle to help distract from the fact that they were different prints, and also because I needed a little bit extra width in the backing. Who cares that they are different prints?  The color matches well with the front and it turned out great. :)

Guys, I have to be honest with you though.  Accountability is part of any successful diet, you know?  

I totally BINGED on fabric this weekend.  Check out the stack below...


The worst part of this picture is.....this is only HALF of what I bought!!!  What have I done!?

It isn't all bad.  There is a great fabric store chain in West Michigan, Fields Fabrics.  They have the best clearance section in the entire world.  I'm not kidding.  There were tons of Freespirit prints from designers like Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, etc. for $2.97 to $4.97 a yard!  How could I say no!?

Although I went nuts buying fabric, I will say that most of what I bought followed my "fabric diet" rules.  I was able to pick up a number of quilt backings for existing projects at an unbeatable price.  Also I was able to rebuild my stash with fabrics from my favorite designers for a lot less money than buying yardage full price.

So tell me!  What are some of your favorite ways to bust your stash?  Are you on a "Stash Diet" like me?  I'd love to hear what you guys are doing to keep your hoard...I mean STASH...under control?

Have a good one!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten






Monday, February 11, 2019

All in the Family - Part 2 of 2.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thank you for the kind response I got on last weeks post!  I know the Tula Troops are out in full force, and it's always so fun to see what people do with her beautiful fabrics.  I have more Elizabeth fabric, and I am trying to decide if I can part with it or not, or if I want to keep it for myself (I know I'm being selfish haha).

This week I'd like to share another quilt that went to live with my Aunt K.  This is a quilt top I had already pieced for myself out of long hoarded Joel Dewberry fabric (I feel like fabric hoarding has become a theme of my life).  This top had been awaiting quilting for quite some time, but it had never been on the top of my priority list.

 I loved this quilt, but I knew it would find a good home with my aunt, and quite frankly I have plenty of quilts already.  I had only recently brought home my long-arm machine, so this was a great smaller project to practice on.

This pattern is one of my all time favorites for large prints.  It's a great lap size for the back of a couch, office, or wheelchair quilt.  It is also great as an over-sized baby quilt.  The pattern is "Girls Best Friend" by Mary's Cottage Quilts (found here).

I have made this quilt AT LEAST 6 times, and it always turns out great.  It especially works well if your local shop only gets a few bolts out of a collection.  You can highlight some great large prints, and this quilt goes together SO SO QUICKLY.

I've always loved the Deer Damask from Joel Dewberry.   I was sad to see this fabric go, however I recently saw on Freespirit Fabric's website that he is releasing a new collection soon with new colorways of the Deer print.  I might just have to make another one of these in a new colorway!!!

So what are all of you working on!?  Have you ever made something using this pattern before?  I would love to see what you have created!!!  This pattern is so versatile!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten


Monday, February 4, 2019

All in the Family - Part 1 of 2

Hello Everyone!

I have 2 quilts to share with you in the near future.  Both of them were finished quite some time ago, however I am just now realizing that I never got the opportunity to show them to you!

I think it was about 3 years ago now (sheesh I'm behind), my Aunt K contacted me about making her a quilt.  Originally she was interested in finding one that I had already finished, or had a finished top, but in the end I didn't really have anything ready made in the style and colors she was looking for.  Ultimately we decided that I should make her a quilt of her own.

She really loved a quilt that I was working on with Parisville fabric by Tula Pink, however I had been hoarding that fabric quite a long time, and it was long out of print.  Luckily, Elizabeth by Tula Pink had just been released which was similar in color story and style.

Because there were so many prints in this collection, we decided to use pre-cuts to get all the color variety and pattern into the quilt.  We also used one of my quilt patterns "When in Rome"  which works great with charm packs or a layer cake.

This picture shows my "design wall" (aka a quilt hanging on the wall), as I laid out the blocks for the best color placement.

It feels weird to review my own pattern, because I'm obviously biased, but I do really like the way this plays with charm packs AND yardage.  It's a good way to use a whole collection while also highlighting larger prints.  The center block and the border are bigger cuts so that you can show off the feature fabric without losing design.

Here is the center of the quilt with all of the blocks and sashing.

 After the center, there are a series of borders including a pieced border of half-square triangles.























I love the way this quilt turned out.  The hardest part was letting it go, because I love Tula Pink so much!!!  I quilted this all over with a floral pattern, and even backed it with Tula's extra wide fabric.

 My favorite part was that she loved it. :)  That's always my favorite part.

Ooh!  I almost forgot!!!  I stashed more of this fabric!!! ;)  I haven't started it yet, but there will be a version 2.0 of this quilt added to the Etsy shop at some time in the future.  If you are an Etsy user, favorite my shop to stay in the loop.  :)

Thanks everyone!!!  Hoping for an early spring!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Playing Catch Up

Hi Everyone!

It has been pretty silent around here for a good long while now.  Life got terribly out of hand, and it has felt as if we are only now getting our feet back under us.  I have still been quilting since the last time you heard from me, and I have a lot to share with you over the next few weeks or months.  You may hear more from me for a while since I have a lot of backlogged projects to share.

Up first are the quilts I made for our nieces at the end of 2016 (I know that was a long time ago).

The first quilt is a low volume quilt from the book "Beyond Neutral" by John Adams (aka Quilt Dad).  The quilt pattern is actually the cover quilt from this book even though it has a very different vibe.  I LOVE the colors in John's quilt, but I wanted to tone it down to fit the girl that was to receive it.  Her room is teal and grey, so I thought this was a fun geometric pattern that would work well with a low-volume color palette.


The colors look even softer in the picture due to the lighting, however the teal fabrics actually are rather vibrant.

I love the background fabric that I used on this quilt.  It is a cloud 9 organic cotton, and it almost has a shot-cotton look to it.  The fabric also has a very nice drape and hand.  It is definitely something I would love to snuggle with, so I knew it would be perfect for a young lady.

I quilted it all over with swirls.  I am still learning to be more effective with my long-arm machine, and this was quilted early in my quilting career.  I did do some larger swirls in the open areas of the quilts and it gives a great motion to the quilt.  It almost makes the background fabric look like smoke or clouds.

We photographed this quilt when the girls came to visit us in the fall of 2016.  They have grown up so much since then!  I love looking at these pictures and remembering that weekend.  (if you're wondering why she is standing like this in the photo, it is because she is only wearing one shoe, and wanted to hide her bare foot, haha!)

Her sister received her quilt at Christmas of the same year.  She has decorated her room with a NYC feel, so I wanted to give her something that would fit her style.

This quilt is from the book "City Quilts" by Cherri House.  Again, I made the cover quilt from this book!  I love every quilt in this book.  I love her use of solids, and the way they can make an dramatic impact.  This quilt is supposed to mimic the way light reflects off the windows of a sky scraper.  I love the effect, and it worked perfectly in T's room.

This photo more accurately shows the colors of the fabric.  This was also quilted with swirls because I wanted something curved and soft to play off the straight lines.

The girls loved them which is my favorite part!  Have you made any quilts for gifts lately?  What did you make?

Hopefully I will have more to share with you soon!  I have made so many quilts!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten

Friday, January 27, 2017

Patches and Pinwheels

Most of the quilts I have made in the last 2 years have either been sold or given away.  I've reached a point where I have to be selective with what quilts I keep as they are starting to take over my house.  The quilt I have to share with you today is another gifted quilt.

I pieced this quilt back when I was still in college, like 2009 or 2010.  In fact I blogged about it way back in the day when I finished piecing it (see post here).  I have been holding onto this quilt for a while because I wanted to give it to my father and his fiance' for their wedding gift.  Well, it seems that this lovely couple is destined to be perpetually engaged.  I know they are going to be together forever, and yet wedding plans are still not seemingly in the works.  Nonetheless, I got tired of waiting to give this to them, haha.

 I finished the binding on this quilt this past summer on a work trip, hence the photos taken in a hotel room. :)  Finishing this quilt was so therapeutic for me, because it felt so great to finish an older project, and also there were some nostalgic fabrics in this quilt. 



The pattern that I used for piecing is "Patches and Pinwheels" which is a free pattern by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com (pattern here).  It is really a 2 block quilt, and even though there are some small pieces, it goes together quickly.  I love the movement of this pattern, and I am sure that I will used this pattern again.  It is a great way to use up scrap strips of fabric.

I broke from my quilting norm, and tried to do something a little different.  I quilted free hand maple leaves in a random all over design.  I love how it turned out, even if some of the "leaves" are a bit wonky looking.  I haven't tried quilting with pantographs yet, so I am always trying to find new designs to use.  I can't use swirls on EVERY quilt, ya know?!

It made my heart happy to give this quilt to people who have been so supportive of me.  My dad is the kind of person who cares about listening to what you have to say.  He is intelligent, and open minded, and he can always give good advice without making you feel stupid in the process.  My Stepmom, in perfect contrast, is warm and caring and a little bit sassy.  These people, despite being family, have often been some of the only people I can always count on.  I wish I had more than just this quilt to give them.  It certainly doesn't begin to pay back all the things they have done for me.

Thanks for letting me share this quilt with you. :)

Have a great weekend!

Cristina
The Quilted Mitten