Monday, December 29, 2014

Curry Favor

Have you ever dated someone who, you knew in your heart, was completely out of your league? 
I did.

Say hello to Curry Favor... 

When I saw this Fresh Connections quilt pattern, I knew that this would be a very challenging project for a newbie like me. But the design was so attractive, I was TEMPTED!!!

The pattern was FREE. It was DETAILED. And I was ready for the next challenge. ALMOST.

I was also nervous and therefore I proceeded with utmost caution. I agonized over the fabric choices. After mulling over several days, I decided to go with the following colors:

Fabric Strips, numbered!!!
1.    Carrot (CT)
2.    Maroon
3.    Apricot (CT)
4.    Brick (CT)
5.    Orangina (CT)
6.    Red (Kona)
7.    Curry (CT)
8.    Yellow
9.    Crimson (CT)
10.  Rosewood (CT)

Most of these solids, the white and the gorgeous autumn border fabric came from Connecting Threads (CT). 

I organized them (see picture above) and kept them organized like it was a religious thing. After they were cut to the specified sizes, I put them back on the design wall where they belonged. 
As I proceeded with the cutting instructions, I worried - What if I cut all the fabric and then the blocks don't come out correctly. Wait, may be I should make one block, first. Here is the first block.

First Block, untrimmed

Trimmed First Block

Wow! it looked so beautiful, I love this block. Completing this one block gave me the reassurance I was looking for. I cut up all the fabric and proceeded with gusto and caution (a lot of caution). 

Preparing the Corners
I cut several at a time
Assembly Line...

I did a little at a time. When I felt tired or sleepy, I stopped. I followed the instructions to a fault. 
According to the pattern, I pressed to the dark side. When it came to joining the blocks, the seams, pressed to one side was an obstacle. It would mean too much bulk towards the colored fabric and too little towards the white – causing the seam to slip resulting in offset seams.
I LOVE how this is coming together...
I had to fiddle with the seams, turning them this way and that as I tried to make them nest and gently coax the fabric to do my bidding. As a result there are a hundred turned seams in the back (good thing it is hidden). This is something I have accepted. 


Making seams match - By hook or by crook
Look at this picture above. I allowed the white fabric to fold a teensy bit to match the red seams. Yes, it is not an ideal situation. But it will be indistinguishable once it is quilted and washed.

If When I remake this pattern (in a different color way, most probably), I will press the seams open. Yes, I love how this pattern comes together. I am sure I will make it again. 
Piecing in Progress

In the end, it was totally worth it. I believe this experience gave me fresh appreciation for matching seams. I am sure I am now better (marginally at least) at following complex patterns and matching seams. 
Were my fears unfounded? 
No and yes. 
Because I was nervous, I paid attention to every step. And because of that added care things fell in place, almost. A little bit of apprehension is a good thing. 
Autumn Glow from Connecting Threads
The border fabric, Autumn Glow from Connecting Threads, is my absolute favorite.

The whole process of piecing the top seemed laborious as I held my breath while sewing and then heaved a sign of relief when I opened and pressed.

Spray Basting

It took a while to baste this beauty...

Quilting in process

Rolled sandwich to manage the bulk
I quilted with my favorite squiggly stitch on my JANOME, following (trying to follow) the lines of the pieced pattern and continuing to the end of the quilt sandwich. The backing is flannel and the quilting makes a zig-zag pattern on the solid brown.
Flannel Backing

I used a very bright orange to bind the quilt.
Bright Border, Eye-Popping Binding

Here are the good things about this pattern
1.    You have to make only one type of block - it is complicated, but it is only one. 
2.     There are only 12 blocks in the whole quilt (not 36, 48 or 92).
3.     Once you organize and cut the fabric (making sure it is organized), it goes together quickly.
4.     The directions are very good, with many helpful pictures.

Binding - Stitched to Back, Squiggly Stitched to the Front

There are two things that I would have added to the instructions.
1.     Press the seams open
2.     The size of each block is about 17”

If it included a way to make it larger, that would be priceless. Unlike most other quilts that are based on a square block, it is not just adding more blocks that would turn this into a queen size quilt. One would have to figure out exactly which four colors, the correct order and the placement to make the next block.

For the level of detailed instructions included, I am VERY surprised that it is a free pattern. Thank you Windham Fabrics and a very big thank you and hugs to you Jean Katherine Smith. Here are a few more pictures.

Border Makes it POP!!!

Interlocking Squares Design - Pure Genius

Love these warm colors!!!

Pattern Detail
This is my 16th finish of 2014. My dear friend Jake helped me pick the name, Curry Favor.

Curry Favor - My 16th Quilt of 2014

What started apprehensively and cautiously ended successfully and beautifully. Yes, Curry Favor is my best work so far. 
Is there a quilt pattern that you have been eyeing and wondering - Can I make this? Is it too hard? Please share your thoughts. I love hearing from you!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My American Dream

November was a slow month for me. I had no quilt finish to share. It is because I was working on (distracted by) many small items. I was working on two quilts simultaneously. As a result, a lot happened but nothing got finished. Sounds like the holidays - running helter-skelter with many loose ends. But then miraculously it all comes together on Christmas Eve!!!

My American Dream

Magical December will have two finishes to make up for Lethargic November. I think it is appropriate - it is finishing (2014) in style or at least with a big ta-da!!! Here is the first finish of December. Meet My American Dream!!!

"My American Dream" started in July with the QST tutorial. I got some AAAHMAZING feedback from you guys!!! It also resulted in a few blocks.

4-patches and QSTs

4 QSTs at once!!!

More QSTs

And some more...

The idea was to use the leftover charm squares, remnants and scraps to develop the tutorial. I had no intentions for the finished blocks. Frankly, I did not think much of the blocks. They were just blah...
I decided to make a charity quilt. That is when the miracle happened...

QSTs pieced and quilted

I pieced the blocks trying to distribute the reds and whites all over, succeeding marginally. I added a light blue skinny border and a wider navy border.  The batting is Warm and Natural. I used a sheet for backing. Yes, it is 100% cotton. I quilted it simply using a wavy stitch - stitch over the ditch method. The blue binding came from leftover wide backing.

Paul, the Model
100% Cotton Sheet for Backing

Red, White & Blue, Some Purple too...

Forgive me for gushing, but I had no idea that all those blah blocks would come together and look so good. It is a very simple block, uses very ordinary fabrics and yet the finished look is so chic and so modern. I am going to have some serious separation anxiety as I part with this baby.

Lights up my Yard...
The quilt uses 54 QST blocks, arranged 6 by 9. The finished quilt measures 41" by 58".
Here is the label, because all quilts must be labelled.

This is my 15th finish of 2014 and I am very happy with it!!! Do you like the quilt name - My American Dream

I had a hard time naming this. I muddled over it so long that I decided to put the label sans the title. Here are some of my initial thoughts - "Independence Day", "Free & Brave", "Star Spangled", "Patriot's Crossing" all based on the quilt colors. I also considered "Crossing Over" and "Coming Together" based on the QST pattern. What would you name it and why? I would love to hear from you!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Just like potato chips...

November went by in a flash. There were trips and Thanksgiving potluck at work. I did so much and accomplished so little. Well, all I accomplished was little things. I did not finish any quilt in November but I have several small finishes to share.

These pillowcases are just like potato chips - you cannot eat make just one.
Remember Jenny's tutorial on making the tube pillowcase? Here is a link to the video tutorial.

I was going to see my sister for a weekend and decided to make pillowcases for the kids. I chose the navy blue Christmas themed fabric for my nephew, Divik and ultra bright floral fabric for my niece, Divya. Also made one for Kavya, their neighbor's kid. Hope Kavya liked her pillowcase. I have not heard a thing.

for Divik
for Divya

for Kavya
When I finished, I felt disappointed. No, not because I did not like the finished product. But because I wanted to make more. And I did... one for Ashni, a dear friend Manveen's daughter.
for Ashni (my favorite)
The kids loved their pillowcases and then I was asked to make cookies and repair a torn bag. I happily made the cookies. I agreed to repair the bag.

If you have not tried this pillowcase, I encourage you to give it a try. It is simple, fast and the results will have you wanting to make more.

On my trip back I met with Sylvia, my quilty friend in Pennsylvania. As usual, we did a show and tell, exchanged scraps and had a good time.

with Sylvia

Mug Rugs
Continuing the theme of potato chips (cannot stop at one), the mug rugs are a lot like potato chips too. I have been on a mug rug spree. I have made a few for my co-workers and friends. Here are some of my favorites.

Hard working MugRug!

I recently took the Craftsy Class - Walking Foot Techniques by Jacquie Gering. The mug rugs are the best places to try out those techniques. 
For Tamara - Small & Simple

Love this Poinsettia fabric on the back
for Leah - White on White Quilting Lines - Very Subtle

for Ted - Gentle Curves & Echo Quilting

for Carol - Echo Quilting with a bit of Oomph!!!

If Jacquie saw these, do you think she will like them? May be I should upload these pictures to my Craftsy project page.

Now, if only I had the patience to do such detailed quilting on a whole quilt...