my very first quilt

Thanks to the Craftsy Block of the Month class, I learned how to quilt this year.  Thursday night I finished my very first quilt!  I am so very proud of myself!  I’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt like my Mema and now I have.

finished Craftsy block of the month quilt 2

I blogged about each block as I got them done each month.  If you want to read about them individually you can check them out here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

labeled Craftsy BOM quilt

I learned how to make each block by watching the videos provided with the online class.  Each block was pieced together on the machine (except the hexagon blocks – I did those by hand); I also used the machine to sew the blocks together with sashing in between and sew the back.

quilted string block

quilted flying geese

I then put the back, batting, and top together and basted the layers together using safety pins.

back of quilt

 

quilted wonky pound sign

The quilting was done by hand and took FOREVER it seemed.  Seriously, people who sell hand quilted quilts should make thousands for the amount of hours spent doing the quilting.  Not to mention the callouses on the fingers, the many pricks of the needles, and the constantly-aching back.  But those are all worth it!  I actually really enjoyed hand quilting once I got the hang of it.  I would have like it more if I hadn’t had myself on a deadline to get it done by the end of the year.  It seemed that every spare moment of November and December was spent working on my quilt.

quilted wonky log cabin

quilted octagon

The binding was sewn on to the back of the quilt with the machine and then hand stitched down on the front.

finsihed Craftsy block of the month quilt 4

quilted hexi stripe

quilted chunky chevron

I finished the quilt off my embroidering my name and the year on the back.  I’d like to also label it so that I remember it was part of the Block of the Month Class and that it was my first quilt, but it was hard for me to embroider what I’ve already done so I may take a break for a while.  It’s been probably 15 years since I’ve embroidered anything so the label on my quilt looks pretty bad, but at least it’s labeled.

embroidered signature

quilted sunny with a chance of hex

I am so very proud of myself and I love my quilt!

finsihed Craftsy block of the month quilt 5

By the way, if you want to learn how to quilt you can still participate in the Craftsy Block of the Month class – it’s free and the videos will be accessible past 2012.  I’ve heard there will also be a class in 2013 if you’re interested in that one.  However, that particular class doesn’t teach hand quilting so I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to teach myself (I didn’t keep the links and I watched so many that I can’t remember which ones I used).

finsihed Craftsy block of the month quilt 3

October block of the month

I’ve finished my October blocks of the month…which means I’m finished with all the blocks for my very first quilt!  I’m so proud!  This month we learned how to do paper piecing.  Once I’d done one section and got the hang of it, it turned out to be so easy!  I loved it!  Paper piecing with a template was so much easier for me then trying to cut out precise shapes and then make sure to sew the seam not too narrow and not too wide.  I’m definitely a fan.

Craftsy block of the month October - friendship circle

Craftsy block of the month for October - circle of geeseI just love how crisp and neat each block looks, thanks to the wonders of paper piecing!

Now that I’ve finished all 20 quilt blocks, I laid them all out to get a feel for how they will look once they are put together.  I’ve just had them in a stack and this is the first time I’ve laid them all out side by side…seeing them all at once makes me so excited to finish the quilt!

(Pardon the bad picture – our bed was the only place big enough in our tiny apartment to lay the blocks all out at once…and it’s hard to get up high enough to get a good angle!)

Craftsy block of the month quilt blocks

I laid them out by month for this picture (starting in the upper left hand corner, the first two are January, then the next two are February; on the second row we have March and then April, and so on).  I like the idea of grouping them together by month since this was a Block of the Month quilt, but I don’t think I’m going to end up leaving them in this order because there are clumps of similar colors that need to be spaced out, like the five blocks toward the bottom right that are predominately pink and turquoise.

Next month we will learn bordering and sandwiching, and then in December we finish it off with binding and quilting.  I am a mere two months away from completing my very first quilt!  Hooray!

Wanna make your own quilt?  It’s not too late – the class is free, all the past videos are still available, and they will continue to be available even after the class ends.  Check it out here:

September blocks of the month

Another month, another set of quilt blocks.  This month in my Craftsy Block of the Month class we learned how to do curved piecing using the Drunkard’s Path templates.  When I first started trying to pin and sew these pieces together, I got super frustrated.  In fact, after I botched the first one, I had to just set it aside, go to bed, and try again the next day.  After a little bit of practice the next day, though, I finally got the hang of it.  They weren’t all perfect, and this was definitely more time-consuming than many of the other methods we’ve used, but I’m so proud of myself for conquering my fear of curved pieces.

September Craftsy Block of the Month - Chain Block

I really like this chain block – I thought it turned out really cool.

September Craftsy Block of the Month - Cleopatra's PuzzleThe Cleopatra’s Puzzle block wasn’t my favorite we’ve ever done, but I still liked the end result.

I can’t believe it is already September – that means that I only have one more method and two more quilt blocks to make in October!  Then I’ll have all 20 blocks done and it will be time to learn how to bind and quilt my very first quilt in November and December.  I’m so excited!

August block of the month

After a weekend full of canning tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green beans, I had a bit of a break yesterday and got to spend my Sunday afternoon working on my quilt.  I completed my August quilt blocks and, as with every month, I’m already wishing I knew what September’s would be so I could get to work on them!  This month we learned how to do two different star blocks.

Ohio Star

not my favorite – pretty plain jane, and I couldn’t get all my corners to match up nicely

Double Star

I was a little skeptical about this one at first, but I ended up really liking it and it wasn’t nearly as hard to do as I expected

I just can’t wait until December when I’ll have my very first quilt completely done!  I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

(in case you’re new around here, I’m taking a free online quilting class: Craftsy Block of the Month…feel free to join at any time if you want to make a quilt, too)

July block of the month

The July blocks were so fun and so easy to do!  I love how they turned out.  This month we learned how to do Dresden blocks and made a traditional block and a modern block (although I think the traditional one looked more modern and the modern one looked more traditional…)

This was pretty fun to make.  I liked using all the different fabrics, although I think if you wanted it to look more like a flower, you could just use one fabric or several prints that were all in the same color scheme.  Michael and I both thought this looked like a bunch of neckties.

I really liked this modern Dresden wheel.  It was very quick and easy to make.  I think if you used an orange/yellow color and made the middle circle a coordinating color (rather than the same as the background) it would look just like a sunshine.  I can totally picture a whole quilt done with bunches of sunshines!

The only thing that I didn’t like about this block was all the layers – there was the background fabric, then two layers for the big circle and two layers for the little circle, so when they were all seen together there were five layers of fabric in the middle of the circle!  My needle did not like trying to sew through all that.  But I love the final product so it was totally worth it.

As always, these blocks are part of Craftsy’s {free!} Block of the Month class that I’m taking this year.  I think we just have three more types of blocks left to learn (August, September, and October).  After that we learn how to put our whole quilt together.  I can’t wait!

2012 goals and bucket list update – May

I know this is a bit late…I had this post written to go up at the end of May but some stuff came up and then I was at camp, so here I am, halfway through June, finally posting my update for May.

(old updates: JanuaryFebruaryMarch, and April)

2012 goals:

  • read through the entire Bible - New Testament: check.  Old Testament: chugging through Deuteronomy right now.
  • get my healthy lifestyle back, specifically to lose the 20-25 pounds I’ve gained since getting married. - All progress that had been made has now been reversed and I’m back to square one.  I have big plans to tackle that once I get back from church camp, though.

2012 bucket list:

  • make an apple pie from scratch
  • take cake decorating classes - I took the Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 classes in March (see hereherehere, and here) and took Course 2 in April (hereherehere, and here).
  • learn how to make Mom’s homemade Christmas cookies
  • make 72 hour emergency kits for our home and cars
  • make my own laundry detergent
  • bake a loaf of homemade bread – Done!  I made some Amish friendship bread this month.
  • make a quilt - Working on it!  See JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, and May
  • grow something – Well, our little container garden has been planted.  Hopefully something will actually grow!
  • can pickles
  • take some sort of vacationChicago!
  • get at least one scrapbook done for my in-law’s
  • ???start an Etsy shop???

Other notable things:

  • We sold our house!!!  We closed on it right before we left for Chicago.  What a relief!  We’re now starting the house-hunting process…much more exciting the house-selling process.
  • I graduated with my masters in library media education.  And we had a graduation party.
  • We went to Gatlinburg for work (for Michael) and Chicago for fun.
  • I finished working as a graduate assistant at Western and started the job application process for next year.
  • My women’s Bible study wrapped up for the year.
  • We celebrated three wonderful years of marriage.

June block of the month

After the super fun Wonky Log Cabin block from last month, the June blocks just weren’t quite as exciting.  However, they were easy and pretty cute. This month’s “theme” was to learn 9-patch blocks…which are basically just 9 squares sewn together to make the quilt block.  We really didn’t learn anything new, though, we just used our knowledge of half-square triangles and sewing multiple square blocks together (by nesting the seams) from February‘s lesson.  I will have to say that I’ve gotten much better at making more precise squares and even seams since then, because the edges of this block matched up much better than the ones I did in February! I think it would be pretty easy to whip up a whole quilt out of either of these blocks, but especially the octagon.

Greek Cross

Octagon

 I think I say this every month, but I’m still loving Crafty’s Block of the Month (which is free) and it has really helped me learn lots of quilting techniques.

May block of the month

Another month, another two quilt blocks.  I am LOVING this block of the month class!  The only problem is that each month when we learn a new technique, I want to make a whole quilt just out of that type of block…and now I have several quilts floating around in my mind that I want to make!  Not to mention all the beautiful quilts I’ve found on Pinterest that are on my to-do list.

So this month we learned two versions of the log cabin block: the modern log cabin and the wonky log cabin.

This modern log cabin block is one of my least favorite blocks that we’ve learned.  I think it’s just boring.  Although, I think the main reason I don’t like it is because of how much white space there is; I think if it was more colorful it would be better.  Also, it’s supposed to be very improvisational and uneven, but it kind of bugs me and I wish I had made the squares more uniform.

Now this one I love!  I had so much fun with the wonky log cabin!  I adore all the color and it was just a really fun block to make because it didn’t require precision.  This was also a good way to use up almost all of the scraps of fabric that I’ve been saving from the previous months’ blocks.  I think this is just so so cute!

It’s hard to believe I’m already halfway through all my blocks (we only do 10 months of blocks then the last two months we learn how to bind and quilt).

I can’t wait for June to see what we learn next!

If you want to check out the other months: January, February, March, April

If you want to check out the class (which is free), go here

April block of the month

The two blocks we did for April were totally different from any of the others we have learned.  The main difference was that these were done almost entirely by hand.  To make the hexagons we used a method called English paper piecing where we cut hexagons out of card stock, wrapped the fabric around them to get it in the shape of the hexagon, pieced it together, and then stitched it to the white fabric.

 bunches of little hexagons

after we loosely basted the fabric onto the hexagon-shaped card stock so the would hold their shapes, then after we had sewn them together we removed the basting stitches.

Here’s my first one – I love how it turned out!  Even though it took a while since I had to hand stitch everything, I kind of liked that because I was able to carry it around and work on it wherever rather than being tied to my sewing machine.  I think I’d really like to make a while quilt out of just hexagons – it would be perfect to keep in a tote bag and work on it wherever and whenever is convenient.  Maybe that will be my next project.

The Hexi Stripe worked out so perfectly because we needed 13 hexagons and I had exactly 13 different fabrics that I’ve been using for my other blocks so I was able to incorporate them all into this one block.  Very fun!

This one is not my favorite block.  It’s cute and all, but I much prefer the blocks that have a bit of a pattern rather than make a picture.  I thought about not doing it, but then I figured that the whole reason I’m doing this Block of the Month thing is to learn about lots of different quilting techniques so I should give it a try.  Our instructor gave the option for us to create our own block using hexagons that was not a sunshine, but I just decided to do one like hers.

For some reason, this one was much harder for me to sew than the hexi stripe block.  There were some options for how we could stitch the sun and the rays to the background (blind stitch, straight stitch, zig zag, satin stitch, etc.) – I chose the blind stitch, which is by hand and more time consuming.  I chose that one because all the other options (that used the machine) would have resulted in the stitch showing, which could be kind of cool except I’m still so new at this that it’s hard for me to sew in a straight line and I thought that would be really obvious if the stitching showed.  But man, was it hard!  The hexagons didn’t want to lie flat and kept bubbling up.  And my hands/wrists/thumbs were killing me!

Anyway, so Sunny with a Chance of Hex wasn’t my favorite, but it is cuter than I thought it would be and it was a good learning experience.

New here?  Not sure what I’m doing?  Let me fill you in.  Craftsy is a website where you can “take” tons of online craft classes.  There are classes on quilting, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, crocheting, and more.  From what I understand, all the classes are videos that you watch.  Most of the classes cost $30-$60 to enroll, but they offer the Block of the Month class for free.  I have been wanting to learn how to quilt, so this was the perfect opportunity for me!  Each month Amy Gibson (our instructor) teaches us how to do a new quilting technique and then has us use that technique to make two quilt blocks (so I guess technically, this should be the Blocks of the Month…).  We’ll do two blocks a month for ten months, and then the last two months will be spent learning how to put the blocks together and quilt them.  In addition to her videos, there are written instructions, patterns (if needed), and a discussion board where you can talk to others in the class, ask questions, and post pictures of finished quilt blocks.  If you’re interested in learning how to quilt (it’s not as hard as I expected!  And I just learned to sew this fall so if I can do it anyone can.) I think the class is still free.  You can sign up for it and then just do the blocks at your own pace and get caught back up.  It’s been really fun!

Check out my other blocks: January, February, and March

March block of the month

I finished up my two quilt blocks for March last night – check them out!

I know I said the chevron block from last month was my favorite (and I still really love it) but I think this is my new favorite!  I love the color combination and I just think it looks very traditional (not the colors necessarily, but the pattern).  I’m really proud of this one – I could totally see myself making a whole quilt out of this pattern someday.  It was pretty easy to do, it doesn’t require a bunch of precise measurements like some of the other, and it’s a great way to use up scraps (if you have them, which I don’t since I just started quilting so I had to just buy a bunch of fabric and use a little from each).

And here’s the other one.  I like it too, not quite as much as the first one, but I am very happy with how it turned out.  The lighting is pretty bad on this one and you can’t really see all the beautiful pinks, so just trust me that they are quite lovely.

It’s not too late to sign up to make your own blocks of the month.  The class (online video tutorial, discussion board, and class notes/handouts) is free so take advantage of it – Craftsy Block of the Month.  I am a sewing novice who just learned how to sew in October and have only made a few things prior to this, so if I can do it so can you!

Want to see more?  Check out my blocks from January and February.