Modern Quilt-as-you-Go pattern book

I first tried quilt-as-you-go sewing as part of a Bee-swap a few years ago and REALLY liked it. Basically, it’s piecing your fabrics directly onto the batting and then adding more quilting if you like. Basically quilting the quilt by blocks and then assembling the quilt blocks and adding a back. My Quilted Table Runner tutorial is a method of quilt-as-you-go piecing. The only thing I’d ever really done with q-a-y-g piecing was improv log-cabin blocks. 
So when Jera offered to send me a copy of her new book,Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, I was intrigued to see what could fill a whole book with this method. I’m so glad she sent it – it is such a great resource! First of all, it’s full of great information about supplies, techniques for quilting, piecing, batting, using fabric, etc. as well as clear instructions and multiple options for piecing the q-a-y-g blocks together, which is sometimes the trickiest part for me.
It also has 12 different quilt-as-you-go (q-a-y-g) patterns and projects to experiment and play with this method with multiple variation ideas for each project. Which means lots of inspiration.  I love this red, scrappy, improv log cabin look.
This is one I want to try – making a large-scale scrappy log cabin quilt.
The most inspiring part of the book for me was the way Jera took other quilt patterns and designs and made quilt-as-you-go options for them. I’ve seen lots of log cabin variations of quilt-as-you-go blocks, but was totally inspired by some new looks and options. This Emerald City quilt is going on my to-do list.
I was so inspired, in fact, I decided to start a new project my self. I’m continuing to try and push myself, not only out of my usual primary color palette, but to only pull from fabrics I have on hand. This is the colors I’m channeling for this project. Best part is that a lot of these are scraps! (Which is another great reason to love q-a-y-g = awesome way to use up not only fabric scraps, but batting scraps as well!) 

I think one of the reasons I like the quilt-as-you-go technique is that I am not a confident machine quilter. I love the look of dense, heavy quilting but I don’t like the basting process and I tend to loose interest in quilting part way through a project, multiple times (like on this quilt that took almost a year to finish.) Making q-a-y-g blocks seems to hold my interest a little longer because of the piecing involved too.

Here’s where I’m at so far. I’m thinking this will turn into a baby boy quilt. I’m itching to get more done.
So, if you’re looking for more inspiration for quilt-as-you-go patterns, or just looking for a great resource with lots of helpful information to get started with this new technique, than I highly recommend Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern. I think it’s a great buy for a really useful book!  

Nested Churn Dash block and quilt-along

A little while back I saw Jane Davidson’s adorable nested Churn Dash block (meaning a churn dash inside a churn dash inside a churn dash…) and thought it was so clever. (Clearly, we’ve all had churn dash quilts on the brain.) So when she asked if I’d like to be a part of a tour of Nested Churn Dash blocks I said sure! Aaaand …. here is my version.
I had in mind the colors that I wanted to use and had a great time pulling fabrics from my stash that fit that vision. I love how it turned out. I played with scraps for the smaller, inside blocks. The matryoshka dolls were a little scrap from my pink scrap bin that had been waiting a few years now for just the right project. It seems fitting to have nesting dolls in a nested churn dash block. (It’s a Japanese print that I bought about 6 or so years ago. I’m not sure what it is.)
I quilted my mini quilt using my new favorite machine-quilting method on my BERNINA. It’s so fast and easy. (Which seems to be my style lately.) I like how the quilting gives texture to the solid areas. I also like how the solid fabrics contrast with the bigger prints. Those two outside churn dash blocks are great areas for showing off large-scale fabrics
I did my quilting using these two shades from Aurifil. I tend to use neutral threads constantly, but I’m trying to break out of my neutral-rut and add more color to my quilts. I love how these two colors blended in with the quilt – still kind of neutral, but with some color too. The blue is #2805 and the green is #1231.
The pattern for this 24″ x 24″ block can be purchased and downloaded from here and here.
Look at this beautiful version made by Jane using Moda collections April Showers and Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille.  Jane has a post with measurements for different quilt sizes using the nested churn dash block as well as tips and ideas for choosing fabrics.

Be sure to check out the rest of Jane’s posts each day this month – there is so much good information, hints, and tips such as how to match up points, choosing fabric, half-square-triangle techniques, etc from other quilters who have made their own blocks. 
You can also see other versions of the blocks on these blogs:
June 9th – Carrie Nelson – http://lavieenrosie.typepad.com/lavieenrosie/
June 10th – Kim Niedzwiecki – http://www.gogokim.blogspot.com.au
June 11th – Pat Sloan – http://www.blog.patsloan.com
June 12th – Lissa Alexander – http://www.modalissa.blogspot.com
June 13th – FatQuarterShop - http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com.au
June 16th – Frances Newcombe – http://www.bellybuttonsboutique.blogspot.com
June 18th – Sherri McConnell – http://www.aquiltinglife.com
June 19th – Sara Lawson – http://www.sewsweetness.com
June 20th – Amy Smart – http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/ (moi)
June 21st – Katy Jones – http://www.imagingermonkey.blogspot.com
June 23th – Making a quilt using the Nested Churn Dash block.
June 30th – Finishing the quilt.
July 30th – Winners selected from the Flickr group.

At the end of the month, Jane will be sharing tips on finishing your block. If you want to play along, you can upload your finished blocks or projects to the Flickr Group to win some beautiful Aurifil thread packs and other great prizes. Use #NestedChurnDash on IG, FB, Flickr and twitter. Winners will be announced 30th July 2014.

Quilting giveaway from Sew Shabby Quilting

I have mentioned Melissa from Sew Shabby Quilting many times on my blog. Melissa has quilted numerous quilts for me. I am not ashamed to say that the actual ‘quilting’ part of making a quilt is my least favorite part of the process. It’s the part I am least confident in and as a result, I just don’t enjoy it. Plus I find I get more of my projects actually completed if I turn them over to someone else for quilting.
So I am SO grateful when I find a professional long-arm quilter who I can trust with my quilts. Melissa has been that for me – she’s been a lifesaver for me many times over.
Melissa has multiple options when it comes to quilting – she has the capacity to do the computer-programmed all-over quilting, which I’ve done on many of my quilts (like the giant Indie star quilt above) because it’s such a reasonable price and I like the all-over texture it gives. You can see the variety of patterns she has here. (Keep in mind the all-over computer programmed patterns can be sized to different scales, so if you choose one, help your quilter and be sure to specify how open or dense you’d like the design scale on your quilt.)

Melissa does beautiful custom work as well, such as on my Safari Moon quilt. I love the pebbles in the borders and the free-hand swirls in the big blocks. You can see more of her free-hand quilting for Elizabeth and Maureen on Melissa’s blog.

Melissa also has an etsy shop with popular fabrics marked 10%-50% off.
Today Melissa is generously offering a $50 gift certificate towards quilting to one of my readers! To enter leave a comment on this post sharing what you’d use it towards. Giveaway open until Monday, April 14 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED I’ll randomly select a winner.
I would use it towards having My Fat Quarter Shop Mystery 2012 BOM quilt quilted
Melissa frequently gives great deals on batting, quilting, and fabric. To keep up on the latest offers, you can follow Sew Shabby Quilting on Facebook, or sign-up for their newsletter on their homepage.

New blocks + new machine quilting technique

I feel like I’ve been working like a crazy-lady behind the scenes around here, but don’t have a lot to share right away. I have been staying caught up on my Bee Blocks though, so I’ll share those. This is the latest block from the 2014 Aurifil Block of the Month, this time designed by Emily Herrick. Here is the tutorial for this specific block.

I am still totally digging this color scheme and I’m having fun watching this quilt start to grow.

 Another Bee block for my friend Nedra from the Bees Knees.

This block was made using Triangles on a Roll papers to piece the flying geese. They were really cool! Nedra has the tutorial for this block here and explains more about Triangles on a Roll.
Basically, it’s another method of machine paper-piecing, but this time you are working and sewing on the same side as the markings, which eliminated that flip and match-step. This kept the same accurate piecing, but there was less fabric waste because you can see where you were sewing. It took me a few minutes to get used to a new method, but then I really loved it. And the results were awesome.

A few more projects in the works behind the scenes that aren’t ready to share yet. This quilt is for an upcoming quilt-along on the We All Sew (BERNINA) blog later this spring. For this quilt, I tried a new quilting technique and I was so happy with how it turned out. I am still not very confident in my free-motion-quilting skills. I know I just need to practice – it’s finding the time to do it that’s my problem, but definitely something I’d like to become more comfortable with in the future.

In the mean time, the only kind of quilting I’ve been comfortable with is straight-line quilting. So, if you’re like me, this was a good step outside my comfort zone, but not TOO scary since I was just using my walking foot, going in straight lines and letting my needle do all the work. I love that it gives the quilting more of a stipple-organic look, without having to free-motion it. I’m not perfect yet, but the overall quilt looks really great. (Full reveal soon.) I have to admit the giant throat space on the BERNINA 710 has also given me more courage to quilt a big quilt myself.
I used stitch #4 on my Bernina 710. I think it’s a pretty standard stitch for all newer Bernina’s. (I think it’s stitch 3 on my old Bernina Sport 801 – it looks like a wavy line.) The width is set to 5.5 and I used a stitch length of 3. I think I’d like to try it with a longer stitch next time and see how that changes things. Chime in if you know what stitch this is on other machines. 

And one last bit of eye-candy because it’s just SO pretty and makes me want spring. A new quilt design in the works with this new Kona solids New Bright Palette roll-up. I’m itching to get started!