Sunday, March 20, 2016

Finished! Berry Bravo Quilt (and what I learned while making this quilt)

I have finished a quilt!  I took pieces of fabric, some batting, thread, and a sewing machine and made a quilt.  I am still surprised by it.  I don't have much quilting (or even sewing) experience, and I knew the only way I could get experience was to do.  So I decided to use the fabric that I had ordered a YEAR AGO and make a quilt.

***This was one of my Finish Along 2016 projects for Q1***

I wasn't sure what kind of a pattern I wanted to make, and if you really get into my head, you'll know that I'm not a "pattern" kind of girl - I just get an idea and go for it.  I figured I would just use my rulers and easy math, but how?  But when I saw this quilt by Maureen Cracknell, I knew that the answer was to turn the fabric and make diamonds...

And here is the result:

I've named it the Berry Bravo quilt because I used YARDS of Kona Berry (purchased at JoAnn's) and the prints are from Pat Bravo's Bazaar Style line.

fabrics, before cutting started...

I trudged through snow taller than my boots, and often above my knees, to take pictures this morning.  It was cold, but worth it.

On to what I learned by making this quilt:

1.)  Don't stop creating.  I need to keep on practicing if I'm going to improve.  I felt that I did a good job on the projects I did in December, but I also did a lot of smaller projects at that time, so more frequent practice at each step of the project.  By the time I got to quilting this thing, it was as if I had never done it before.

quilt blocks, production-line style...
the center fabric was cut 8 inches square
berry solid was 4 inches wide
the light color sashing around the squares was 2 inches wide

2.)  Take your time.  I really wanted to get this done in time for the 2016 Copper River EMS Auction, which starts on the 22nd.  Zoinks!  I spent a lot of hours recently working to get this thing done.  The problem with that is that now there are flaws and I won't be donating it.  I was working so fast that I forgot to really look at the thing once it was quilted (pre-binding) to trim it where necessary.  That's resulted in 3 spots on the left side where there is no fabric covering the batting.  If I was buying something via radio auction, and then it had those flaws, I would be very unhappy with my purchase.  Plus I don't want to be associated (outside of my home) with that kind of quality.  So I've decided to make something better to donate next year, and to get done in time so that I'm not rushing.
I used pink/purple/teal variegated thread.

3.)  Know your limits.  This is the largest quilt I've made.  And I was so not ready for it.  It's really just a large lap quilt (large describing quilt, not describing lap), but I struggled so much with it.  When I started, I just made all those squares (that turned in to diamonds) and made the quilt big enough to use up the squares.  I wasn't thinking of how in the world I was going to squeeze that darn thing through the super-small throat of my sewing machine...  I need more practice to move up to that.  And speaking of practice...

seeing the quilt held up like this - I really like it!
most of the binding is berry, but it is slightly scrappy, on the left...

4.)  Practice a bit first.  I love the look of wavy quilting in one direction.  I wanted to do that on this quilt (because I knew that straight line quilting would really point out the flaws).  But I didn't practice it first.  And I really hope that a good quilter never takes too close of a look at this thing, because my quilting just isn't pretty.  Had I not been on a time crunch, I could have practiced the technique first, and hopefully done a better job on this one.

the back of the quilt consisted mainly of some fabric I had purchased at JoAnn's.
I didn't have enough for the entire back, so I used up most of the fabric scraps.

5.)  Follow the advice of smart people.  I heard, shortly before I started piecing this quilt, that some smart quilter at some point said something like "If we worry about our points matching up, we'll never get anything done."  I know that's so not the quote, but that's what I took from it.  And I'm so glad that I heard that, because my seams did NOT match up on this thing.  But it's okay.  I'm okay with it.  And if I wasn't, it would have probably just been put away never to be heard from again...

And so, while I am not happy enough with my results to donate it to the auction, I am happy with the learning process.  That and Jeff had even said that he was going to buy it from the auction, so I know that this Berry Bravo Quilt with get used in our home...

I was playing with the editing, and fell in love with the photo in black and white.
Holy cow, I think I'm going to need to make a black and white quilt...
Linking up with:
Sew Fresh Quilts
My Quilt Infatuation
Fort Worth Fabrics
Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Off the Wall Friday
A Quilted Passion
A Quilter's Table

Friday, March 11, 2016

Finishing up December 2015

I had posted pics from a trip to Anchorage, from Christmas and the day after, and some crafting.  I had just a few pics left that I want to share.
Mt. Drum, 12-10-2015, 12:13 PM

Mt. Drum, 12-17-2015, 12:03 PM

Mt. Drum and the moon, behind the steam coming off of the Copper River

Rhy sent us Slippery Rock Rugby sweatshirts - the team she played on this fall

And we checked out The Rock, a pizza joint in Anchorage (which I think is a chain)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

November 2015 in photos

Go and read the last post about how October was uneventful and under-photographed, and apply that to November...

yeah, of course it's on sale - who wants to drink smoked salmon vodka?!?!?!?!

we bought 4 cords of wood so Jeff built a saw buck to make cutting the logs easier

FINALLY - SNOW!  a month later than we got it in 2014

first fire in our new house.  may all the fires be contained within the stove...

And, of course, Mt. Drum.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

October 2015 in photos

October was one of those uneventful, under-photographed months...

the sunlight hitting this tree was really beautiful

Halloween is the best day at work.  I dressed like a Packer fan.
Also known as the day I wore pajama pants and slippers to work...

another photo of Mt. Drum from my favorite spot on the road home

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The rest of September 2015

the fireweed near the dryer vent kept their blossoms way longer than the other plants

Dad and his new BFF, a Musk Ox

yep, I still take pictures as we drive between home and Anchorage

a shot from along the Glenn Hwy

Moose!  One day on our drive from Anchorage to home we saw a LOT of moose!

There is a spot on the road down to our house that has a great view of Mt. Drum.
If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you were already aware of this...

Monday, March 7, 2016

9-7-15: a walk in the woods

The visitor center for the Wrangell St. Elias National Park is very close to our house.  Mom & Dad and I went to take a walk there while they were visiting.

Believe it or not, but in that year that I'd been living in Alaska, I had never really stepped on tundra.  Well, we stepped off of the trail, and man, that tundra is bouncy!  So soft and squishy!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

9-6-2015: Fall Colors in Alaska

So I'm trying to finish sharing photos that I wanted to share many moons ago, but never did.  I've been super busy at work ("Thanks, Obama!" she types, wishing there really was a sarcastic font...) and sometimes watching a TV show is more fun than sitting on the computer.  But for myself, I want to get my photos shared!

So here are some photos from the day after we took our bus ride into Denali; it was another long day spent travelling, driving from Denali National Park all the way back home.

um, I'm pretty sure this one is from along the Glenn Hwy...

Matanuska Glacier

from somewhere over by Denali

awesome colors over by Denali.  I took this photo from the truck as Jeff was driving.

Hey, look!  Mt. McKinley!  Or, Denali, as it was renamed...

another shot from over by Denali.  Do you see the train?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

3-5-2016: The ceremonial start to the 2016 Iditarod

Jeff was in Anchorage this week in training for work, and I was able to get a ride in to town on Friday from my boss.  Since we were there, we decided to go and check out the ceremonial start to the 2016 Iditarod!

Fairbanks sent a bunch of snow down to Anchorage on the train.
That snow was then put down on the roads so the dogs would be able to run on snow.

But it actually snowed in Anchorage the day before!  Shocker!  They've had to haul snow in a lot of recent years, and have had to move the official start due to lack of snow.

everyone was cheering on the puppies, including this little cutie!

This is Dallas Seavey, who has already won 3 Iditarods.

And this is me taking a selfie with Dallas's dad, Mitch Seavey (also an Iditarod winner), in the background.

very fashionable puppies running in orange booties

After seeing a few dog sled teams, we did our shopping and headed home.  We bought sandwiches and salads at the Fred Meyer, and stopped at the pull-off after Caribou Creek to have our "picnic" in the truck.  Not a bad view!

Almost home - all the mountains had at least a little big of clouds, but they are impressive, nonetheless.