Wow, has it really been almost a year since I posted? Plus even longer since I’ve put up anything substantial, geez.
It’s been a crazy interim. I’ve been laid off, adopted a new dog, started volunteering at the animal shelter, and I’ve FINALLY got my mojo back. Life is good, and I can’t wait to start sharing pictures and photos again!
What’s on my plate right now?
- Wedding quilt for my little brother. This one has had several designs in progress, including one with half of the blocks completed before deciding it just wasn’t “family heirloom” material. I still think it’ll look great, but I’ll set it aside for another day.
Instead, I’m going to try a log-cabin-based pattern I’ve been eyeballing for a while, this time with purple to match their wedding “theme color.” Still waiting on fabric to arrive for this one as well.
- Graduation quilt for my cousin. My cousin is graduating from high school and heading off to college in the fall, with the goal of becoming an ESL teacher. With a stack of pretty FQ’s and some Thangles paper sitting around, I completely improvised this one and I’m loving it so far. The blocks are pieced and trimmed, and I’m currently waiting on an order of fabric (dark purple) to use for the setting triangles.
- Marriage equality quilt. Inspired by all of the pink = icons on Facebook, I’ve ordered some strips of brightly-colored batiks to make some equals-sign blocks. I love the colors, and I can’t wait to put it together, though I have no idea what to do when it’s finished.
I’m also toying with the idea of putting together another marriage-equality-slash-quilting project, though I have no idea where to begin. I got to thinking, when another state votes in gay marriage, how neat would it be to have a bunch of itty bitty quilts, maybe just 4″ x 6″ or 8″ x 10″, to hand out to newlyweds as they leave the courthouse? Everybody deserves a little wedding heirloom, and I think this would be a really neat way to lend support.
So that’s the state of things, more or less. Hopefully I can get back into the groove of sharing pics and the like, but it may take a while
It’s been a rough few weeks for our family, and sewing has fallen by the wayside. Our dog Max, who has been dealing with valley fever that settled into one of his leg bones, had surgery to amputate the leg, and never managed to recover; he went to Doggy Heaven about a week and a half ago. I did some sewing before the surgery to make him a shirt so he wouldn’t chew on the stitches, but I’ve been so worried about the surgery and saddened by his passing that I haven’t done any quilting in weeks.
I’m feeling a bit better, though, now that some time has passed and life is getting back to normal. Part of that healing process is getting back into quilting, which helps make life feel a bit more normal, so I headed off to the quilt shop for some inspiration and shopping time this morning and came home with a fun project in mind.
On a whim, I picked up a Dresden Plate ruler a few weeks back and tried a sample block using some Amy Butler scraps I had sitting around. The pattern was much easier to execute than i thought it would be. While it didn’t lay 100% flat, it was certainly close enough that there were only a few puckers when it came time to stitch the spokes down to the background. I even had a decent enough time figuring out what quilting design to use, which is normally one of my biggest challenges when working on a quilt!
So for lack of any better inspiration (and since there were no quilt kits at the LQS that really piqued my interest), I picked up 10 different reproduction prints in a variety of colors and textures, so I can use each print twice in this 20-blade Dresden block. I also snagged a few yards of Kona solid in “snow,” which is a soft enough white to go with the old-timey prints. I forgot to get any yellow for the plate centers, but there’s a Kona solid that’s just the right color of yellow that I can pick up once the plates are assembled– which could take a while since there are so many pieces. (Then again, the sample block I did took maybe 2 or 3 hours, and if I’m able to assembly-line-sew the blades in sets of 20, it’ll probably take less time overall.)
Once the blocks are assembled– and I have no clue how many blocks there will be, I figure I’ll just make as many as I can with 1/4 yard of each print and go from there– I’d like to do a traditional “ice cream cone” border, like in this antique example:
I’ll probably do that in another Kona solid, since I don’t want the print to distract from the Dresden blocks, but I think I’ll probably wait until the whole thing is put together to start worrying about that.
Overall, I’m super excited to get started on this pattern. My super-quilter Great Grandma MUST have done at least one Dresden Plate in her quilting career of over 500 projects, and probably around the 30s for sure, so she would have used these sorts of fabrics too. Granted, I don’t think she did much (if any) machine quilting, so this will probably take much less time, so I’ll have one on her for that! I think it will be tons of fun to recreate something that she did, even though I’m sure she would have done a much better job, but it gives me something to strive for
I’ve had a copy of Wonderful 1 Fabric Quilts on my bookshelf for a while now, but I was just waiting for the perfect fabric to test it with! The basic idea of the book is that you can take a wallpaper-stripe fabric, cut it into matching triangles, and lay things out to create intricate patterns using only a single fabric. And boy oh boy does it deliver!
I found myself at Hancock Fabrics this morning, and absolutely fell in love with some M’Liss Christmas fabric. So what if it’s over 100 degrees outside and only halfway until Christmas? The teal, red, and chocolate color scheme really worked for me, so I took everything on the bolt (hopefully it’ll be enough!) and proceeded to chop it into itty bitty pieces.
My only complaint about the fabric is that the print wasn’t quite as even as I hoped; in order to get identical repeats, I had to do some creative cutting and wasted a fair bit of print in order to get everything to match up. Luckily, the print worked out so that I was able to get everything cut appropriately!
In a nutshell, you cut out large squares of the print repeat, then cut it on each diagonal to yield large triangles. You then re-position the resulting triangles to make two different block designs. Makes more sense when you see it laid out, so I put it down on my carpet and snapped a pic to preview the actual layout:
Depending on how much fabric I have left over for the borders (and/or whether I’m willing to drive to the other Hancock on the other side of town to get another yard or two), the finished product will probably be nine blocks square and measure about 40″ square before adding the fat 6″ – 8″ borders.
When I decided to do a stripe quilt, I intended to do it as a gift for my 10-year high school reunion next month for a door prize. I don’t quite think Christmas will work, though, so I’ll be finishing up my last Mystery Quilt over the next week or so and hoping that turns out nicely instead
I’ve had a copy of Ricky Tims’ “Convergence Quilts” sitting on my bookshelf, and I finally had the opportunity to try the pattern out today. I’m making throw pillows for my parents’ living room, and only had 3 colors to work with, but everything I found on Quilter’s Cache in the right size used more colors than that. So out comes “Convergence Quilts,” and about an hour and a half later, I came up with this:
I love how it looks, and I think it’ll only look better when I get a border on it. (It’s currently about 15″ square, and I know the pillows will need to be bigger than that.) I love the method, it was quick and easy, and I look forward to making three more of these!
The biggest problem with the Hildebrandt poster is reducing the number of colors to a point where there aren’t a bajillion little pieces and hundreds of colors of fabric. Lucky me, my dad has some good Photoshop skills and came up with a method to take care of that! He started by doing Luke and Leia’s clothing, which has the most shading of anything in the picture.
- Eye-dropper the lightest, darkest, and two “in-between” colors
- Gaussian blur at .5 pixels
- Save as a .GIF with a custom palette (and a few other settings)
I could TOTALLY try this out on a small scale using the width of my appliqué fusible, which is about 20″ wide (I think) by printing it sideways on a few pieces of printer paper and taping them together.
Finding the right colors should be a snap with this method, too. I hit up ConnectingThreads.com, one of my favorite quilt-shopping sites, and easily found four colors to match:
This is super-exciting! I have a few other projects that need to be finished before I tackle this, but it might be fun to play with just a little piece of this, say Leia’s skirt, but a project of this scale will probably take me about a year to finish
I guess having bipolar shows up in my blogging patterns… sometimes I post a lot, other times I don’t, and it’s either one or the other. I want to get good about posting, especially with my exciting news coming up (see next post!), so here’s a bunch of info on the things I’ve been working on lately.
Ya know, I’ve never been good at making up my mind about sewing projects, and this past few weeks has been no exception. I’ve started and aborted probably three or four projects for Quilts for Kids, since I was at a loss as to what to make for my “test run” for the charity. In the end, I found a nice set of 10″ squares at my LQS, a lovely pattern on Etsy, and spent about eight or nine hours putting this one together. QFK has a particular need for quilts for teenage boys, and I think this one will fit the bill perfectly.
I love the pattern, the execution is great… but there’s a bit of a problem. Every 3′ of stitching or so, I got big loops of thread on the backside of my stitching, which is okay until there’s any tugging on the seam, in which case you can see a 1″ or so section come loose. Baaaad news if I’m trying to prove that I know my stuff. So I’ll have to go back over this with a fine-tooth comb and check the strength of ALL the seams. But after that, I can do a quick meander quilting in beige thread, and it’ll be all set to go. I know some guy in the hospital is really going to like this one
In addition to doing some sewing at home, I also got to take a class this past weekend. This was another “mystery” class, and the fabric I had initially picked out was kind of, well, bright.
Very happy, very springlike, very cheerful– and definitely colors that I love! But with any uncertainty about the final design, I decided that it’s a risky scheme with the potential to be WAY too busy. So instead, I decided to add this stuff to my stash and make another trip to the store for something a little more sedate. And sedate I was– in fact, I don’t think I’ve EVER picked out a color scheme this calm in my entire quilting career!
That turned out to be a great choice. I have many hours of sewing left to do after Saturday’s class, but I think it’s going to turn out really well, given the results of this single block. The finished will have very wide pieces of the Asian flower fabric between pieces like this, with little accents of red between the blocks. I think it’s going to look great! I think I may end up donating it as a door prize to my 10 year high school reunion, which is happening this summer, so people can at least have SOME fond memory of me back in those days. (Kidding. Mostly.)
In addition to doing quilting, I’ve also been doing some non-quilt sewing over the past weekend. I found the neatest pattern for a book-style e-reader cover on Etsy that uses only two FQs, so I made one of those as a test run and I love the way it turned out! I had to get a bit creative because it was designed for something a little bigger than my little Kobo, but I think it still works just fine.
I’m making at least one more, with a “Day of the Dead” skull theme for a friend from college, and I’m going to see if any other Facebook friends are interested, since I have enough of the batting/stabilizer/Peltex/etc. to make two or three more at hardly any additional cost. Since they only take about four hours to put together, I’ll probably make a few extras and stick them up on Etsy; I imagine people would be willing to pay $25ish for one of these, since a boring old plain one at the bookstore is $30+!
Also on my plate are a set of throw pillows for my parents’ living room. My mom picked out three pieces of batik fabric in tan, sage, and eggplant, and I’m going to use them to make a set of four 18″ throw pillow covers. I’m thinking of practicing my paper-piecing skills and using this block design, courtesy of Quilter’s Cache:
I think that should cover everything that’s sitting around finished or in-progress for the time being, so I feel “all caught up” on that front right now. Huzzah!
I stopped by the local quilt shop to pick up a pack of thangles, thinking I needed no fabric. Then, I remembered that QFK needs quilts for teenage boys, and I didn’t have anything appropriate in my stash! Lo and behold, I found some really neat geometric fabric in neutral tones, and two yards came home with me.
The pic is located above due to some sort of WordPress bug that I can’t figure out, go figure!
I’ll work on this one once the “Lady of the Lake” project is done, but that’ll probably be at least next weekend. Not sure which of these will be my sample for QFK but we’ll see how that one turns out first.
With just four fat quarters, > 1 yard of additional fabric for backing and binding, and about three hours of work, I’ve successfully come up with my first table runner design, which I call “Pepper Patch.”
I already went ahead and wrote up some directions for it, and I’m passing it by the lovely people on the LiveJournal quilting community to proof for me. Once that’s done, all that’s left to do is bind the runner (my least favorite part, ugh) and list the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop.
The only difficult part is figuring out whether or not I should go ahead and sell this one, or hang onto it. Some publishers require that you physically mail in every project in your book before they accept a proposal, others only require one or two, and others just want photographs. This is definitely a project that I would lead off in “Table for Four” (which I think I’m gonna title the book, makes sense because they use 4 FQ’s, right?), so I’d want to keep a copy around… but, on the other hand, if it only took me three hours to make and quilt, why not go ahead and sell it, make a $10 profit off the cost of materials, and make another one if/when required for a book proposal? Guess I’ll go ahead and finish it, and see how the final project turns out, and then I’ll decide
Good news: After many months of unemployment, I got a job this week! While this means I’ll have less time to sew, it means I’ll have money for my crafting budget, so I did a little bit of celebratory shopping.
Once I’m finished with a wedding quilt, a baby quilt, and a project for Quilts of Valor, I’ve decided that I’m going to try shifting my focus to doing table runners.
I sent a table runner to a family friend a few months back, and she thinks they’d be great sellers. She sells her handmade dolls at craft shows, and she’s offered to put out some of my quilting pieces for sale at her booths. (How sweet of her!) I think I could easily work up a few simple patterns using fabric from my stash and sell them for ~$25, since most of the ones I see on Etsy are going for at least $35.
I ordered a couple of kits from my favorite online shop, Connecting Threads, to get myself started. I figure I can use this fabric to make a few, and then use the patterns with some other fabric combinations to come up with a wide variety. They only take a few hours to make, from start to finish, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I could put together half a dozen for her and get started with my business on that end. Initial investment for four pieces, including three patterns, is about $35, which means a potential profit of almost $70 if I can successfully sell all four. The rest is pure profit if I can work from my stash (which takes up two 40-gallon plastic tubs, so there’s plenty there)!
I also ordered a kit to make another baby quilt. I think the one with the turtle fabric will but cute, but it’s probably a bit more bold than the mom-to-be would like (just a guess), so I picked up this kit for cheap, and I think it’ll be super-cute. It looks like it uses pieces of folded fabric, which should give a neat effect, and I’m looking forward to trying it out.
The cow quilt top is almost finished– I just need to add borders and it’ll be ready for quilting. This means it’s time to sketch out my next project!
This one is for another one of my friends from high school who’s expecting her first baby in January. She requested something in neutral colors, yellow and greens, so that it’ll work for this baby and future ones as well. I headed to the fabric store, looking for a fun print, and found this awesome kid-friendly fabric with turtles on it!
I needed to come up with a design that could feature such a large print (the big turtles are about 2″ long), so I decided to try my hand at a big-block medallion quilt. A bit of doodling later, I came up with this design. The colors aren’t quite right, they’re actually bold primaries in person, but this should give a good idea of how it’s going to look when it’s finished.
I can’t wait to start this project, once I get caught up on a couple of older things in the sewing queue.