Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com

This Spring I signed up for my first Instagram mini quilt swap! When I saw that the Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap opened up, I couldn't resist joining. I was paired with the fabulous Colleen, aka @busybean. After factoring in her preferences for pinks and blues, low volume, and things that are traditional with a modern twist, I decided to make another NY Beauty circle of geese.  

Last fall I bought a fat eighth bundle of Cotton + Steele's first collection, so I had a good base of fabric scraps to choose from. I supplemented with a few pink and blue selections from the Spring collection. 

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com

I added my own twist to the pattern by taking the scraps from paper piecing and making itty bitty flying geese for each corner of the quilt. 

I also had fun making labels for the quilt with Melody Miller's Wordfind fabric. I made one that spelled out COLLEEN, and another that spelled out BUSYBEAN.

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com

I let loose and completely improvised the back, which was SO MUCH FUN.

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com

I also put together a fun box to send off the mini with a pack of rainbow tissue paper and my 1 inch circle punch. 

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com
Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap www.hoorayforrain.com

In the middle of the swap process, the swap organizer announced that the finished minis would be entered into a contest, and Cotton + Steel had generously agreed to donate fabric to the winners! I was beyond honored to be included as semifinalist.  

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap - www.hoorayforrain.com

There were so many lovely mini quilts created for this swap. I was lucky enough to receive an absolutely gorgeous mini from Kelly of @islandgirl_4. I just love it and it looks so pretty on my wall.

I'm up to my ears in secret sewing, so I haven't been able to sign up for another swap yet...but it's only a matter of time. 

A Quilt of Many Names

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star.

I have long felt equal parts love and intimidation toward this pattern, which I will call Lone Star going forward for the sake of simplicity. My obsession with this quilt finally helped me swallow my fear and figure out how to make a Lone Star. I'm really glad I did. It was not without a zillion bias-edged challenges, but I did not end up with a big bubble in the middle or a diamond section too wonky to salvage as I had feared. It's certainly not perfect, but I learned a ton (Y seams!!) and it looks good enough to me from a distance. 

I worked on this quilt on and off for the better part of a year. I strip-pieced, cut, and sewed together the diamonds, and then I deliberated on whether the center should be green or red. 

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com

I was having a really hard time deciding, and asked family and friends to weigh in. The votes were about 50/50, so that was no help. Finally I decided to just go with the red center and I have not regretted it.

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com
This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com

The star is made entirely from Heather Ross's Briar Rose collection. I like how the pink, white and purple sections seem a little sparkly. The gray solid is Kona Silver. I auditioned white fabric behind the star as well, but the colors popped better against the gray. I used my leftover strips to make the border. The quilt is backed and bound in April Rhodes' Triangle Tokens in Agave from the Arizona collection. 

Luckily, both cats seem to approve of the quilt. I was pretty worried. 

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com
This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com

I already have my next two Lone Star quilts planned out in my mind, and some thoughts on a comprehensive tutorial, but I need to finish about eight other projects first. Until then, I'm just happy that I finished this very summery quilt just in time to take it outdoors and enjoy it in the fleeting Northwest sunshine! 

This is a quilt of many names. Lone Star. Morning Star. Radiant Star. Star of Bethlehem. Texas or Texan Star. Other than the fabric, my version is not a particularly modern take on the pattern, but I feel like a good modern name would be Big Star. www.hoorayforrain.com

New York Beauty Mini Quilt

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I'm so happy to have a new finished quilt to write about! The pattern for this 22-inch mini is called New York Beauty Circle of Geese. The finished quilt consists of four quarter-circle blocks,  with eight different colored triangles in each curve. The pattern is designed by the very talented Better off Thread and is available for purchase on Craftsy

I laid out my cut rectangles before I started sewing to make sure I was happy with how the colors flowed. 

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

This quilt gave me the opportunity to earn my paper piecing chops back. It had been a while. It is a somewhat wasteful way to sew, but the perfect points look awfully nice. 

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com
New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com
New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com
New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

One of my favorite things about mini quilts is the opportunity to push yourself to try new things without making too much of a crazy commitment. On this mini, I was inspired by this pattern and made up a similar repeating quilting pattern for the areas outside the largest circle. My free motion quilting skills are still fairly non-existent, so I quilted this mini with my walking foot. 

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com
New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I was tempted to add even more quilted detail, but my dwindling thread decided my stopping point for me!

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

This quilt was a birthday gift for my dear quilty friend Grayce, who likes rainbow quilts as much as I do.  I hope it will be a cheery addition to her wall!

New York Beauty Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I'm happy to show you my first finished quilt of 2015!  This cute little mini measures about 14 inches square.

Back in October, Lauren and i went to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and had an amaaazing time. We blogged about it here and here

Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta - www.hoorayforrain.com

Shortly after we returned home, I found this sweet hot air balloon fabric at Bolt.

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

These little hot air balloons were just begging to be made into something for Lauren. The balloons were small enough to fit inside one-inch hexies, so I decided to do a mini landscape of hot air balloons taking off over the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque at sunrise.  

This was the first time I glue basted my hexies. What a revelation! I don't think I will ever thread baste again. Glue basting was straight-up zippy in comparison. I've always considered English paper piecing to be adorable but awfully time consuming. It's still time consuming, but much more doable with glue basting.  I used an Elmer's washable school glue stick. The only trick I learned was that it worked much better if I started with a hexie-shaped piece of fabric  with a 3/8-inch seam allowance rather than starting with a square piece of fabric.  With the fabric squares, there was an excess of fabric that got in the way of my gluing efforts.  

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I took this picture right after I popped all of the hexie papers out. I love the stained glass look of a quilt top with sunlight filtering through the window. 

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I finished it up with some simple quilting lines spreading out from the rising sun, and bound it in tiny shimmery hearts.

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

I saw Lauren the week before Valentine's Day and gave her the mini. Speaking of Valentine's Day, check out the card she sent me. She is the best card giver ever. And the best sister ever. 

Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt - www.hoorayforrain.com

Blue Hawaiian Anniversary Quilt

Hawaiian Anniversary Quilt - Hooray for Rain

Hello friends! Happy New Year!

As Lauren mentioned in her last post, our parents celebrated their 40th anniversary in December. I would post a picture of them here, but Dad is too camera shy. You’ll have to settle for pictures of the anniversary quilt I made for them. It occurred to me about a year and a half ago that while I had made quilts for Lauren and many other family and friends, I’d never made one for the people who raised me, loved me, supported all my aspirations, and bought me my sewing machine!

It was time to remedy that. I thought long and hard about what kind of quilt would be meaningful and what kind of design would compliment their tastes. I settled on a Hawaiian quilt because Mom and Dad honeymooned in Hawaii, and we’ve had several memorable family vacations there. Also, Hawaiian quilts usually consist of only two fabric colors, which I thought would suit the somewhat minimalistic design tendencies of their home. The majority of their walls are white, so I chose white for the background, with navy blue for the quilting design and binding.

Next it was time to pick a pattern. I selected Holiday Heleconia by Poakalani Hawaiian Quilt Patterns. The pattern comes with detailed instructions. The basics are that you first trace the pattern onto freezer paper.

Hawaiian Quilt Pattern - Hooray for Rain

Next, you carefully fold your fabric into eighths, much like making a paper snowflake. The pattern is wedge-shaped, as is your fabric when folded correctly. The pattern is then traced on to the top layer of your fabric wedge, and then you carefully cut the pattern out through all the layers at once.

Next, you unfold your fabric and carefully lay it out and pin it to your background fabric.

Hawaiian Quilt - Hooray for Rain

Then you thread baste all the way around. At this point you can remove your pins, hooray! Then, you needle-turn applique the edges using your thread baste lines as your guides.

Thread Basting - Hooray for Rain

This wasn’t my first trip to the applique rodeo, but it still took a good long while (read: months of intermittent applique) to finish. It was incredibly satisfying to pull out all of the basting threads when I finished! My celebration was short-lived though, because this was the point where the REAL work began. Hawaiian quilts are traditionally hand-quilted. Hand-quilting was the part of this quilt that made me nervous. Last summer, in preparation for this quilt, I learned how to hand-quilt with chunky perle cotton on my Ample Curves quilt. I gained a bit of experience and confidence from doing so, but I was still a hand quilting newbie when I started quilting the Blue Hawaiian. I had to accept that it wouldn’t be perfect, and that I had to start somewhere to get better. So, I spray basted the batting and the backing to my appliqued quilt top, and got to work. Here's a shot of the back of the quilt while I was in the middle of the hand-quilting.

Hawaiian Quilt - Hooray for Rain

After completing this quilt, I don’t think I can get away with claiming I am a hand quilting beginner anymore, but I have a long way to go before I can squeeze 12 stitches into each inch like the amazing Amish quilters!

Luckily, if anyone will love your big sloppy stitches, it’s your parents. I finished Blue Hawaiian on their anniversary, and gave it to them on Christmas Eve. It felt really good to surprise them with a quilt. There’s a lot of things I’d do differently if I made another Hawaiian quilt but I’m happy with the overall effect.

Hawaiian Quilt - Hooray for Rain

Here's a shot of the back of the quilt.

Back of Hawaiian Quilt - Hooray for Rain

Blue Hawaiian is hanging proudly on my parents’ wall, and I am happy to be diving into new projects!

Hooray for Rain