APQ Quilt Along 2016: Part 1

Friday, February 26, 2016

Today I wanted to post about this year's APQ Quilt Along! The theme of this year's quilt along is "It All Adds Up!",  featuring different plus quilt designs! There are three quilt patterns in this year's quilt along (two in the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, and one in the Spring issue of Quilts and More, both on newsstands now), plus a pillow pattern on HowToSew.com!

I was approached last month by the lovely folks at All People Quilt about sewing up the Easy Addition Quilt by Brenda Ratliff (found in Quilts and More) for their booth at QuiltCon to help promote the quilt along! The fun twist is that attendees had the opportunity to enter to win the finished quilt! It was a really fun project to work on!

I thought ahead and remembered to take lots of progress along the way! I'll share a few of those now, and next week I'll share the completed quilt!

I tried not to overthink my fabric choices since I was on a bit of a tight deadline when I was making this quilt. I used the fabrics that I pulled around my Tidbits thread collection and expanded it. For the plus fabrics I chose fabrics from my fabric collections. For the background I chose a variety of navy prints and a few solids. I don't use a lot of dark colors, so I really wanted to do something different with this quilt.

Chopping up all the navy!

Plus fabrics cut and ready to start piecing the blocks together.

Chain piecing, my favorite!

Blocks before chopping!

I wanted as many unique combinations as I could manage, so I laid out all the block parts and paired them up.

Block pieces stacked up and ready to be sewn together!

I'll be back next week to share more progress photos and photos of the finished quilt!

Happy Friday!

New Aurifil Thread Collection: Tidbits

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Wednesday! I have officially survived QuiltCon and am back home in Wisconsin! I had grand plans to schedule posts while I was gone, but in the rush getting ready to leave, I didn't get to it. I have a list of things to post, and a bit of mandated rest this week to recover physically from the weekend is giving me time to write. I didn't take many photos at the event, but will still share my experience soon!

I'll be sharing more on the quilt in this photo on Friday!

Today however, I'd like to share with you my new thread collection with Aurifil, Tidbits! This new box comes with an updated look that is consistent across all the Art Gallery Fabrics designer boxes. Just like with my Favorite Things collection, Tidbits coordinates with my five fabric collections. Having the experience of curating the first thread collection, I knew exactly what I wanted to do differently for this box. Let's explore it!

Tidbits comes in two sizes, a large box of twelve large spools and a small box of ten smaller spools. This biggest difference between this collection and my last is that this collection features 40wt threads. I still love the 50wt Aurifil thread, but I wanted to do something different for this collection. I have been using the 40wt threads more often for a couple of different reasons. Since I like to sew a variety of projects, including quilts, bags, garments, and home decor items, sewing with a slightly thicker thread has been a more universal option for me. 50wt thread is still my go-to for piecing, but I like the look and feel of the 40wt threads for the quilting, in particular for top-stitching.

The other thing I did differently for Tidbits, was to split the colors into two groups. I chose a range of beautiful jewel toned colors, all of which match my fabrics. I like to think of these as the luxe, indulgent half of the box! The other half of the colors are your workhorse colors. They're a bit more practical for everyday use, plus they match my collections too! They include two shades of tan, two shades of gray, plus black and white. These are colors that we should all have on hand!

I stitched up a little pouch to show off the thread colors in my collection. I found one of my fabrics that coordinates with each color, and pieced them together in a long strip. I added a bit of solid and quilted it using each matching color! I finished the pouch off with a bit of my selvedge in the zipper pull! :)

Tidbits has started arriving in shops, and I am carrying it in my online shop too. Plus, all thread boxes purchased from my shop come with a free pattern! Find my Tidbits and Favorite Things thread boxes here.

Patchwork Essentials: Citrus Peel Quilt

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Monday! I didn't mean to take a week off from blogging, but I had a hard time finding a spare moment to spend in front of the computer. I've been preparing a few more samples for my Quilt Con classes. I can't believe I leave on Thursday already!

Today I want to share one of my favorite quilts from my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle. I'd like to work through the book, sharing in depth about at least one quilt per chapter. The quilt I'm going to share today is Citrus Peel, from the Patchwork Play chapter!

Citrus Peel was based on a quilt I pitched for a collective book back in 2011. I found the PDF I made up to share my idea, thought it was kind of fun to look back on! You can see strips and finished block is a bit different from Citrus Peel, I have learned a lot since 2011!

© 2015 Lauren Hunt for Lucky Spool Media.

For the fabrics and colors, I wanted to challenge myself to use a color I don't use a lot: peach. I started with the peach solid and from there added peach, coral, pink, gold, and light orange prints. 

© 2015 Lauren Hunt for Lucky Spool Media.

© 2015 Lauren Hunt for Lucky Spool Media.

 Citrus Peel was quilted by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. Melissa knocked this quilting out of the park. It is seriously stunning in person, photos really don't do the texture justice. I especially love what she did in the solid areas.

For each quilt in the book, I stitched a sample block or in some cases an entire quilt top in a variation of the design. For Citrus Peel, I chose to stitch up the block in the same way, but in a color scheme with more contrast. I'd love to make a whole quilt in these colors!

Before making this quilt, I had always wanted to make a strip quilt. I really loved the process of making this quilt, and I'd love to make another. I just need to decide what colors to use, and find the time. I also want to make one with just strings, no solid. It would completely change the look of the quilt!

I've added this post and all the Patchwork Essentials posts to their own page, MY BOOK, which can be found at the top of every page! :)

Bunny Slippers

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Thursday! I realized when I was looking back through my running list of things to post that I managed to leave my bunny slippers off the list! I made these in October! I had wanted to knit myself a pair of bunny slippers for a while, and the Eat Sleep Knit Yarnathon motivated me to try out felting last year. I used the Hopsalots Pattern by Tiny Owl Knits.

Of course I had to make black bunny slippers! I wanted them to be super soft, so I used Juniper Moon Farm Herriot, which is 100% baby alpaca. It took a bit to get it to felt, but the resulting slippers are SO soft!

These knit up lightning fast. It took me 5 days from start to finish, which includes sewing on the ears and doing the eyes and nose. I also made two tiny pom-poms for the tail! They were so much easier to make than I thought they would be.

This was such a satisfying project. It was fun trying out a new technique and making something completely different from my usual projects. I will say, the felting was messy! This yarn was sort of furry, so quite a bit came off when I was felting them. I felted these by hand with the help of some Soak.

More info on these slippers on my Ravelry page.

Happy Knitting!

January 2016 Report

Monday, February 1, 2016

The first month of the year went relatively smoothly for us. We got back into our regular routines pretty quickly after being home for the holidays. I think it helped that we came home a few days earlier. It was only a couple days, but it made a difference. I didn't waste nearly as much time getting back into the swing of things as I usually do. Part of that was out of necessity. I actually did quite a bit of sewing this month, but it's under wraps for the time being. Luckily I get to share soon!

I actually tackled my tax organization already! I am normally doing that in late March/early April, so I'm pretty proud of myself. I do very little along the way, so it's a pretty big undertaking when I finally do tackle it. This time around I set myself up with documents and a new organizer to help ensure that I do more to prepare throughout the year. Hopefully I'll keep up with it. I think that I will, it's a bummer to spend so much time at once thinking about and working on tax stuff.

I finished a few knitting projects this month, including a hat using only leftovers from other projects (this one). I'm getting ready to start two new knitting projects that I'm excited about. To keep myself accountable I'm tracking my yardage for both yarn and fabric, so here is how I did in January:

Used up: 12.5 yards
Brought in: 21.75 yards
Net: +9.25 yards

Used up: 942 yards
Brought in: 885 yards
Net: -87 yards

Not bad for the first month! It's amazing how fast some fat quarters and a bit of garment yardage adds up! I need to be more careful in February.

Looking at my other goals, I met my Double Wedding Ring monthly goal by making 16 wedges. I also finally stitched up the bodice muslin for the Emery dress and am hoping to sew up my first one this week! I have everything ready to starting knitting Fiddlehead Mittens (I can't stand waiting any longer!!). I also completed my first month of Project 365: a photo a day using my DSLR camera.

This coming month I'm primarily focused on getting ready for Quiltcon, specifically sewing up class samples. I'm also hoping to launch a fun project using the blocks from the 60 block chart in my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle!

In other news, I was able to visit the newly opened Stitch Supply Co in Altoona, WI! Part of our summer cabin crew went up and attended an open sew retreat there. It was so much fun! The retreat space and shop are lovely, Ann and her husband thought of everything. I actually sewed (which is not my norm, I talk too much), and it was great to catch up with friends and do lots of laughing. I'm excited to be teaching from my book at a retreat there in October. I hope you'll join me! It will be a beautiful time of year to travel! All the information about that retreat can be found here.

(Bags: Jane Market Bag, Super Tote, Sew Portable Tote

George the bunny! I have a George video for you today! I bought him a Trixie Snack Board. It's a logic game made specifically for bunnies! This was his first time using it, and he aced it! I need to order him something more challenging.


Disclaimer: You may end up watching this video more than once. It's pretty crazy cute.