Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

So I was really hoping to have something new to put on for the Quilt Festival, but alas, my life got busy.  (as usual)  So after much debate, I decided to show an oldie, but a goodie :)  I actually touched on this quilt just a few days ago when I was writing about designing.

This is my "I Spy" quilt. This quilt is one of the few, and I mean very few, quilts that I have made for me or my family.  Meaning it still has residence in my home.  About 5 years ago my mother introduced me to the idea of an "I Spy" quilt and I was hooked.  I decided that day that I was going to make one large enough to take up the living room floor and allow for hours of play :)

 So I started collecting fabric.  It took a long time (especially as we were on a super tight budget while in school) to find 98 different "spying" blocks in assorted background colors. (Orange, it is a killer).  A little over a year (I wanted all the holidays represented), and a trip to my Mother-In-Laws fabric stash (thanks again Mom!)  and I had rounded up all my squares.  Then I began putting it together.

This quilt holds the record for longest time taken to put together a quilt top :)  I don't know if that is something I should be proud of, but it is true none the less.  Lets just say it took me "a while" to make it.

But oh, how happy I am with it.  My kids love to play "I Spy" and they run around in endless circles trying to find things. As they get more familiar with the quilt the "finding" gets more complex.  I am talking like "I Spy a frog that only has 2 toes" specific.   It is especially fun when it is my husband's turn and he always manages to have his hand conveniently covering exactly what the kids are spying :)

So that's my quilt!  EDIT **  I have had so many sweet requests for instructions on this quilt I just finished up a tutorial for it.  You can find it here, or under the tutorial tab at the top of the page and there is a printable version that can be found for free here :)  I hope you have enjoyed your visit here at Happy Quilting and feel free to return often :)  I love visitors!!

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Designing Details - Day 2

Okay, so even though it is late, it is still "tomorrow", so onto the second installment of Designing Details.  Basically, these are just  a few little tidbits that I have discovered along my way of learning to design patterns.  Nothing big, and they are probably not for everyone, but here it is, my 2 cents :)

Tidbit #1 - You don't have to have EQ 7, or even 6 for that matter, to design. (Since this post I have gotten EQ 7 and love it, but still find, for certian patterns, I prefer good old excel.  Probably because I am used to it :)  I wish I had them, but I don't, so what do I design my quilts in you ask???  Excel would be the answer.  I know, crazy huh.  I think it was all of those classes I was required to take that made me learn the spreadsheet program inside out.  So naturally,  I found a way to use it in my "now" daily life.  I wouldn't suggest this unless you are familiar with the program.  I love it though.  Graph Paper gets the same effect just not some of the pluses I will mention next.

It tends to work best when you shrink down the rows and columns, make them square, and then consider them each to be 1" then you can get a good idea of proportions.  Triangles tend to be a bit of a pain as you have to get creative with the "auto shapes" but it works.  The thing I like best about Excel (verses graph paper) is that once I have the design input, I can play with the colors and patterns and be able to compare my options.  Just use a lot of Copy and Paste :)

  For Example . . . .Here is the same exact Disappearing 9 Patch pattern, but each has it's own set color scheme, I don't mean just different colors, but pattern of colors.

Excel also makes it easy to play with sizes of shapes and then you can compare as well, picking your favorite. Here is that Table Topper design I mentioned in yesterday's email.  Anyone care to guess which design I went with :)

So that is where my designing takes place once I have a good idea of a pattern in my mind. (For now at least, I really do hope to upgrade some day in the future :)   

Tidbit #2  - Inspiration can hit at any time, so be prepared!  I find that there are many nights that I lie in bed just thinking about ideas.  One will hit me and then I just sit there and think about it over and over so that I don't forget it by morning.  I eventually end up getting out of bed to go write it down.  So I finally got a little wise.  I went and bought a $1.00 notebook and put it on my nightstand, now I don't have to get out of bed.  I also got a second notebook and put it in my purse, it is great for when I am sitting at soccer practice and am daydreaming of designs.  Just something simple, it is a great place to throw down a little inspiration!

Tidbit #3 - If you can't figure it out in your head, just try it!  Sometimes I can make my head spin with the math trying to figure out if things are going to match up. (Especially when triangles are involved.)  So now, I just give it a go.  I have a bit of clearance fabric that is perfect for this. (I am talking the 75 cent a yard stuff that they can't get rid of at Wal-Mart)   Simply, cut out the sizes that you are wondering about sew them together and see if it works.  If it doesn't work, adjust and try again. Honestly, sometimes this is much faster than killing your brain over the math :)

Okay, so that is all the tidbits I can come up with right now.  I thought I had more but it is getting late and my brain is tired.  If I come up with more I will be sure to add them in the future.  Happy Designing to you all and may it bring you Happy Quilting!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Designing Details - Day 1

Okay, so obviously, from my Moda Bake Shop ventures, you know that I have been dabbling in designing.  So I thought today I would share how that came to be and  then tomorrow I would share a few little designing tidbits that I have picked up and find very helpful.

I have always loved "playing" with patterns.  After about a year of quilting I really began to understand the math of seam allowances much better. (mostly learned from making errors :).  So then I started to have more freedom in my creations.  I would see a pattern or tutorial and think that would be perfect if only . . . . and then I realized, I could play with it to make that "if only" into that would be perfect!!  The great thing about quilting is that there are so many ways to make a pattern work for you!  Okay, so now it sounds like I am just babbling so let me share my first "playing" around quilt story.

5 years ago I decided I wanted to make an "I Spy Quilt".  I wanted it to be big enough for the kids to lay it across the entire floor and run around finding squares and I also wanted it to have color groupings.  So I started looking for a pattern and came up with nothing.  So I then stated to just look for something with "big squares" where I could put the "I Spy" blocks and some sort of border.  I found a pattern that is no longer is on-line but it looked a lot like this.  (Ya, it was a Christmas one)

I thought, perfect, I can work with this.  So I changed the big blocks into a set of 4 I spy color blocks, Added more blocks and changed the size of the current blocks to make it the size I wanted, and played with the colors until I got what I was looking for.  (I happened to be an accountant before I became a mom so when I say "play" with sizes, it really is like playing, I find the math in designing to be so much fun :)   In the end I had the design for my perfect "I Spy" quilt.

It took me a year or so to collect all the fabric (It is really hard to find fun prints in orange that have things to "Spy" on them that aren't always Halloween themed) and then a little longer than that to make, but I was, and still am, so happy with the result.  The kids never get tired of this "I Spy" game.

So that was the first time I strayed from the pattern.  I found myself doing this more and more.  I would not have enough of a particular fabric so I would change the design to fit how much I had, or I just really liked a part of the design but not another, so I would change it again.  Until one day, in the not so distant past, it hit me that I was changing more than I was keeping and I thought to myself, "I wonder if I can do this from scratch??"

So I gave it a go.  I started with a simple Table Topper that I made for my mom for Christmas, (Which I never got a picture of, Mom, can you take a picture of that this year and send it to me :)  Then there was a baby quilt after that, and then another, and then I thought, I love the  Moda Bake Shop I wonder if I could do that.  So I made my first Moda Bake Shop Pattern and Tutorial.  (Followed by hopefully many to come :)

 And that brings us to today.

Check back tomorrow, I am going to tell you some of my little tidbits that I have learned over the last bit that help me with my designing.

(P.S.  Just a little disclaimer - I find designing a wonderful and fun part of quilting but that is not to say I design everything I make.  I still find great joy in making up other patterns from other amazing designers :)
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And The Winner Is . . .

First Off, I have to say, WOW!!  Thank you for all of the wonderful and sweet comments about my quilt.  I am blushing!!  And thanks for the giggles as well, some of you are pretty funny!!  Second thing I have to say, I need to find out how to put numbers in my comments.  Hoolay! that was a lot of counting.

So without further ado, the winner of the beautiful Maison de Garance package is . . . .

#142 who is  . . . BARB!!!!  She said, What a lovely quilt and great instructions!

True Random Number Generator  142Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Thank you all for entering and for becoming new following friends.  I am sorry everyone can't win but I hope you find hanging out here just as much fun!
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Monster On The Go

Okay, so I was just so excited about the cute little templates that Bonnie made me that I couldn't wait to get them cut out and attached to my quilt top.  Now I just have to decide how I want to quilt it and in what color.  I have been going back and forth a lot.  Any suggestions???

Getting the applique done on this quilt was my goal for the One Thing One Week Challenge at Amy's Creative Side.  Ya!!!  I made my goal!

Oh, and if you have never been to Amy's Creative Side, you probably haven't heard of her Bloggers Quilt Festival.  This year will be my second time participating and I am so excited!  It is so much fun.  Take a second and check it out!

Oh, so I guess I should stop sidetracking and show some pictures now.  Here they are!!  I think the name of this quilt will be Little Monster On The Go, I know, super creative huh?

Here is a close up on the Monsters, Thanks again Bonnie!  They turned out great!!

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