Friday, June 24, 2022

I'm Actually Quilting! / Beauties Pageant 178

I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath since last week’s cliff hanger of a blog post, wondering, What will it take for Michelle to quilt one of those projects already?!

The answer was simple: bribery. I want to cut fabric for a new quilt and decided I couldn’t touch my rotary blade until one of my four to-be-quilted projects was done. (I have no shame!)

Because my ombre Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt was already basted (and had been for, like, six months), it was the logical candidate.

I’ve never spray-basted a project and let it linger for so long before, but after a good ironing, the sandwich was ready for quilting. Using my Hera Marker, I marked some straight lines that reinforce the chevron pattern of the piecing. (Take a look at my previous post to see the full flimsy and the chevron design.)

It’s proving to be a messy endeavor. I used a dark navy solid for the background, and there’s a solid layer of white batting fluff all over the quilt top. A swipe with a lint roller will remedy the problem, but the situation has me convinced that as an owner of two Golden Retrievers who shed constantly, I should not keep this quilt for myself.

I also encountered a novel dilemma: I can see spray baste on the back of the quilt. The fabrics on the quilt top are from Moda and American Made Brand. The back is almost entirely Art Gallery, and I’ve encountered issues with spray baste not adhering well to the fine hand of AG fabrics. As a result, I was liberal in the application on the back. (Otherwise, I basted the way I always do: spraying the batting, not the fabric, and dry-ironing after basting.)

I’m expecting the issue to resolve itself in the washer. Fingers crossed that I am right!

Swing by next week for pics of the finished project!

To make your own Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt, visit my Etsy shop. : )

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Friday, June 17, 2022

Proof of Progress / Beauties Pageant 177

Hello, dear readers! I have to admit, today’s post is more for me than it is for you. I need a reminder that the work I’ve been doing at my computer and my sewing machine will eventually come to fruition.

I’ve gotten really good at spending more time at my computer in design mode this year. This might come as a surprise to you, considering the only pattern I’ve released has been in the pages of Love Patchwork and Quilting! When will another pattern see the light of day? School in my town let out yesterday, so it’s likely not to be anytime soon!

Meanwhile, the quilt tops are piling up. At the top of the post, you’ll see my Rain or Shine Quilt, designed by Camille Roskelley and featuring multiple fabric collections designed by her and her mom. It’s a simple pattern to follow, but it requires a ton of sewing. (The star sashing alone required snowballing 336 corners!) The finish line is far away, though: Before basting/quilting/binding this project, I need to finish the top with a border. Blerg!

And below is my Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt, which I spray-basted last November and have yet to begin quilting. The first step in completing that project will be dusting it off—yes, literally.

There are two other projects that are pressed and ready to go to a longarmer. Fingers crossed I can drop them off soon. A finish would be welcome right now!

Part of this plight is my own doing. Yes, pattern writing and quilting are time-consuming endeavors to begin with, but I also like to have many balls in the air at a time.

I suspect you feel the same at points with your own projects. Any advice for staying energized and optimistic? Share your thoughts in the comments below. : )

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Fast and Easy Gifts for Teachers / Beauties Pageant 176

The start of this year’s teacher gifts

I’m still trying to get my brain around the fact that school vacation is almost here. I guess it doesn’t matter whether I’m successful in this endeavor: One way or another, my kids are out of school in another week!

Last year, I was so on top of things, mainly because I had to be. My younger son was finishing up his last year in elementary school, and deciding to do something special to mark the occasion, I made eight quilts to give to his teaching team. (This is my kiddo with special needs. He has many, many teachers and therapists in the school system working with him.) I loved giving away these quilts. I took pictures of all of them and asked the recipients which ones they’d like before determining who would be given what. It made the process less stressful for me and increased the possibility that these educators would receive a quilt they liked. (Read more about these quilts here.)

The pile of quilts I gifted last spring

Fast-forward a year, and I’m flying by the seat of my pants! I saw an Instagram reel from Crosscut Sewing Co. about the shop’s key fob kits on Tuesday. On Wednesday I placed my order of kits and standalone supplies, and on Thursday I had received it. (Crosscut is an online retailer with in-person sewing classes; it’s about an hour from my house, so the shipping is super speedy.) Now it’s Friday, and I’m in go-go-go mode. I think 10 key fobs will suit my needs, but I’ll likely make a full dozen to be on the safe side.

Supplies for my next key fobs

New England schools always get out so late—the first holiday of our summer is the Fourth of July, not Memorial Day—so this gift idea likely doesn’t come in time to help out those of you who also have kiddos in school. But keep these gifts in mind for the future They are the simplest ones I’ve ever made. They’re also inexpensive. I’m making all of mine with jacquard ribbons, but you could just as easily use scraps that you have on hand. (The ribbon in the picture at the top of the post is designed by Kaffe Fassett for Renaissance Ribbons.)

If you’re making teacher gifts—or have recently gifted some—add them to this week’s linky. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. : )

Check out other simple From Bolt to Beauty gift ideas here.

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Gracie, Enemy of Textiles Everywhere / Beauties Pageant 175

 
Congratulations to Sandra, the winner of the fabric and pattern giveaway!
 

A certain someone celebrated her first birthday here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters recently. I’ll give you a hint who it was: She’s the smallest and cutest member of the Cain family. She is also the naughtiest!

I wish I could say that with age has come wisdom, but Gracie still specializes in making foolish decisions and causing mayhem. The most frequent target of her antics is older sister Rose, who regularly has to remind Gracie who is boss. The other victim is my house!

To date, Gracie has caused damage of all sorts. Who chewed on my beautiful wood staircase, spilled the contents of a ballpoint pen on the new carpet, has scratched up too many doors to count? This little ball of floof, that’s who.

My sewing room has not escaped unscathed. Despite my attempts to keep things up and out of her reach, the list of items Gracie has absconded with include spools of thread, scraps of fabric, and the cap to my 505 spray. Months ago, when she was teething, she developed a penchant for chewing through cords, which was not only destructive but also potentially dangerous. Before I was in the habit of moving cords out of the way, she chewed through the pedal cord to my sewing machine. I resumed sewing on my backup machine. Alas, she chewed through that, too. Thank heavens I have a backup to my backup!

Most recently, Gracie damaged the Cosmo Bag I sewed in Amy Butler fabrics. (Amy also designed the pattern. Read more about it here.) This was not the most costly destruction Gracie has caused, but it was the most painful for me. This bag stretched my sewing skills back in 2014 when I cut all 50-plus pieces out of fabric and interfacing, and repeatedly pinned the project into submission. Now there are tiny holes on the handles where Gracie got to nibbling. : /

 
Up to this point, I’ve used the Cosmopolitan Bag only to carry quilts to guild meetings or retreats. As a dedicated quilting bag, I can put projects in it without worrying that they’ll get something on them other than loose threads. Now that its handles have been desecrated by Gracie, though, all bets are off, and I’m looking for a new large bag project to tackle and take the Cosmo’s place. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments—thanks!

More dog posts:

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

My Blogging Birthday and a Giveaway / Beauties Pageant 174

I reached a notable milestone this past week: I’ve been blogging here at From Bolt to Beauty for eight years! Back in 2014, I was less than a year into this hobby and, wanting to connect with other quilters, started posting about my sewing adventures. Would I have thought then that I’d still be writing here in 2022? I’m not sure, but I’m glad I do. Both quilting and sharing about my projects have been rewarding.

To celebrate this little milestone of mine, I’m giving away a fat quarter bundle of Acorn Woods by Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio and a PDF of my Pretty in Pluses pattern. This is the same fabric line I used to make my most recent version of Pretty in Pluses!

The bundle includes the pieces pictured below: six fat quarters and a snippet of a seventh fabric.

You have two opportunities to enter to win this fabric: (1) Upload your link to the Beauties Pageant below (just one link, please) and/or (2) leave a comment on this post about whatever you’d like (just one comment, please). Also: If you read my posts through Bloglovin’ or another blog reader, be sure to click through to my original post to comment. 

EDIT: The giveaway is closed. The winner of the fabric and pattern is Sandra of Musings of a Menopausal Melon. : )

This giveaway is open internationally through 12:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4) on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. The winner will be notified via email, so if you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.

And perhaps most important, thank you for reading. If it weren’t for you, I would have stopped blogging a long time ago. It’s the interactions I’ve had with you that make it worth my while. Thank you, thank you! 

BTW: I won’t be posting next week, so after entering the giveaway, come back on June 3 to read my next post and to learn who won. 

Good luck!

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Irish Twist in Love Patchwork and Quilting / Beauties Pageant 173

 

If you didn’t receive a 2021 holiday card from me, please do not take offense—I didn’t send any!—because back in December of last year, I was busy sewing a little bit of sunshine that I’m finally able to share.

Here you see Irish Twist, a bold and beautiful remix of the traditional Irish chain quilt block. Made up in an array of Bella Solids and quilted to perfection by Narda Junda, of Maz Q’s Sewing and Quilting Studio, it’s a quick project to usher in the summer.

The pattern for my Irish Twist quilt and the accompanying pillow appears in Issue 111 of Love Patchwork and Quilting—available now! Click here to go to the Love Patchwork and Quilting website, where you can buy a printed magazine, digital version, or subscription.

See? I had a good reason for skipping items on my holiday to-do list! What can I say now other than … Merry belated Christmas? Happy not-so-new year? Perhaps it would be best to cover my bases and wish you happy holidays 2022—ha!

This was my first go at submitting to a magazine. (Hmmm ... Is that accurate? Maybe I submitted to one of the past QuiltCon magazines? I can’t recall.) If you’re interested in working with a magazine and would like more information, let me know and I’ll write a future blog post about my experience.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Baby-Size Pretty in Pluses / Beauties Pageant 172

 

So I did something I’ve never done before with a quilt project: I tried to track how much time I spent on each step of the quilt-making process.

I never had a reason to keep tabs on my quilting time. I know that some people who sell their quilts like to know the time they’ve devoted to a particular project, but I’ve never sold a quilt. Plus, I thought the exercise might take the fun out of quilting. I don’t really care how long this pattern or that takes, because I like what I like and I’ll make what I want to make—and I prefer to work on multiple projects at a time, which makes keeping track of the time I’ve spent on each difficult. My latest finish, however, is my Pretty in Pluses design, and I’ve specifically promoted that pattern as a quick-to-sew project. It was time to put some hard numbers behind my claims.

Of course, after conscientiously writing down how much time it took to cut out this particular project and piece the top, I cleaned up my sewing space and, in the process, misplaced my recorded times. Figures! This is what I do remember, though: A baby-size Pretty in Pluses is doable in a weekend. I recall that it took me an hour and 15 minutes to cut out the fabric, and I spent about 4 hours piecing the top. I call that a day’s work. The quilting and binding require another day.

 

This quilt is going to a baby boy who was born in December. I fell in love with the sweet animal prints in Acorn Wood, a collection by Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio. I paired these fabrics with a Bella Solid called Dusty Jade and quilted the top with a simple 3-inch grid. The binding is the sweetest stripe from Paper + Cloth’s Little Ducklings line (Moda). The stripes are broken intermittently by little gold stars, which I love, and I have more yardage of it on hand for future bindings!



As I make more and more quilts, I’ve come to realize that I prefer faster, easier projects, and I like designing projects of that same vein. I’m more than capable of working on fiddly, more complicated quilts, and I usually have one of those going at any given time. But fast and easy is my sweet spot, so Pretty in Pluses checks all the right boxes—especially for a baby gift that, I hope, will be used much. Does that resonate with you?

To read more blog posts about Pretty in Pluses, click here. To purchase your copy of the pattern, visit my Etsy shop!

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Click here to enter

Friday, April 22, 2022

Pageant Highlight Reel: Designer Edition / Beauties Pageant 171

As much as I enjoy making quilts from my own original designs, I sew plenty of projects from others’ patterns. I always appreciate a novel take on a well-known block or a clever construction. I think the highest compliment I can give a fellow quilt designer is exclaiming an honest “I wish I had designed that!”

In that regard, I thought I’d compile a Beauties Pageant Highlight Reel that features some of the designers that frequent this linky. Here are three beauties that popped up recently ...

Yvonne Fuchs’ Sequenced Quilt

Yvonne launched her Sesen quilt pattern just last week. It’s a beautiful, modern design, but the attraction for me is that it comes with a bonus pattern, called Sequence, constructed with large scraps from making the main pattern. Clever, right? There’s something about those secondary shapes in Sequence, combined with Yvonne’s meticulous quilting, that pulls me right into the quilt.

To learn more about Sequenced, click here. Read about the primary pattern design, Sesen, here.

Melanie Meyer’s All the Diagonals Quilt

Melanie’s All the Diagonals pattern received a makeover recently, and now I’m reconsidering the to-do list in my near future! The design has always been unique and modern and hexie-laden—all qualities that make it a good contender for a future project of mine. I could easily envision All the Diagonals in solids or more modern fabric collections, like those from Guicy Guice or Alison Glass. But the same pattern in a collection from Sherri and Chelsi or in Christmas fabric, as Melanie has mocked up here? That’s a game changer for me. I have plenty of stash that is up for that challenge.

Read more about Melanie’s rainbow gradient version here.

Susan Arnold’s Wildflower Table Runner

I appreciate Susan’s designs because they’re such a departure from what I usually sew. Her Wildflowers table runner is no exception. But there’s so much to like here—from Susan’s simple (but definitely not simplistic) quilting to that super skinny inner border to how the applique pieces lie on top of other elements in the design. That runner may not have a place in my more modern home but it’s on my list of small projects that would make great gifts.

Read more about Wildflowers here.

What do you think? Leave these ladies some love in the comments or, better yet, visit their blogs for more information about these beauties.


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