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
I love my design wall. It’s a twin-size flannel sheet that’s held to a big blank wall with thumbtacks, and things stick to it very nicely. It’s come in quite handy for two projects I’m assembling right now.
The first is a quilt following Ricky Tims’ “Kool Kaleidoscope” design, which is remarkably simple. I’ve tried one of these before from my scrap bin with mixed results, so I decided to order a bunch of 1/2 yard cuts from Connecting Threads in assorted coordinating shades of blue and green. Having a bunch of colors that work well together helps a LOT, and the end result is much more harmonious, I think, than Version 1.0, which had purple and yellow and green and orange all next to each other, urk.
The finished medallion will be framed in navy, have a skinny border of pale blue, and then an outer border of navy with some sort of green pattern to it, maybe random narrow stripes thrown in here and there around the corners or something.
Quilt number two is a design that sort of came up out of nowhere. I found a jelly roll of Kaffe Fassett prints at the LQS, which was hand-cut and apparently intended for one of their “Strippers’ Club” custom designs. I decided to turn it into hexagons instead, and started cutting pieces to semi-randomly arrange on the wall.
I’ll admit that Kaffe Fassett (along with Amy Butler) is a designer whose popularity surprises me. I love bright, cheerful colors, but so many of the quilts I’ve seen using that fabric turn out garish and overly busy. Not to say that the fabric isn’t fun or could be used well, but most of the time the patterns and color combinations are ones that I’m just not interested in.
The hexagon quilt is going to be lap-sized or so, I figure I can add another dozen hexagons or so and stretch it out a bit. Ideally, I’ll get it assembled on Friday night and quilted on Saturday, that way I can send it out Priority Mail and have it arrive in Washington state in time to be given as a door prize at my 10-year high school reunion. (Can’t say I have much interest in attending, but at least I can play nice and send something pretty to be given away. I can only hope it doesn’t go to any of the a–holes who pushed me around when I was growing up. Nope, not bitter at all!)
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
So far, I’m really happy with the way this one is turning out. I’ve done one light and one dark block using the same two pink and black fabrics, so now it’s time to pick another pair of prints and see how the next set turns out.
I was worried that the busyness of the black/white fabric would distract from the look of the block, but I think it works surprisingly well; the plainness of the pink really balances it out against the solid white.
10 more of these babies to do, and then it’s time to sash (ugh, I’m terrible with sashing) and add borders. If I really set myself to it, I could have the top finished in the next six or seven hours, before I head off to hang out with my gaming buddies tonight. Hooray, motivation!
Having lots of fun with the hand-sewing! This is a HUGE change from being tied to my machine, so it’s nice to be able to pick up a few pieces and stitch in bed while I watch TV with my husband. It takes TONS more time, though, so it’s given me a solid appreciation for the quilting skills of my ancestors. So many itty-bitty stitches, and it takes such care to keep them from showing up on the right side of the fabric!!
I’m hoping to get one “ring unit” done by the end of the weekend, especially if I can sew while playing with my GURPS buddies tonight. I’ll need roughly 6 of these, plus a few connector pieces, to do a lap-size quilt. This is only a test, so I’ll have to re-do it, and the “actual” piece may be 150% bigger in order to make it a queen size with the same number of pieces. (Don’t even want to THINK about how many pieces are going to be hand-cut for this thing, though I suspect it’ll be far fewer than some other projects I’ve done.)
The design process on this one has been absolutely fascinating. Dad came up with an idea for a “triple ring” quilt, and I realized how insanely difficult it would be to use so many curved pieces. He then took it into Visio and broke it down into 5 simple shapes, giving us the diagram above. I first tried to break it down into units for regular or paper piecing, but that was a no-go… until I came up with the idea to do it with English paper piecing. EPP is used mostly for hexagon quilts, and it works well for cases where you have a lot of Y-seams and bent seams…. and boy do we ever have lots of those here! It’s requiring me to learn how to do all the fun of hand sewing, but the results so far have been definitely worth it.
The more work I get done on this project, the more excited I get about it. And that’s the best kind of project, right??
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!
Last night was the second half of my “mystery quilt” class at The Quilter’s Market. It’s bright, but I love the way it turned out!
Extra-big thanks to the lovely employees who helped me pick out the fabric. I locket onto the multi-color print, but wasn’t sure if I’d use it as a dark, medium, or light (I went with the latter) or the two contrasting colors.
I still have a few hours’ work left to get the top finished. I ran out of HST’s to finish the corner pieces, and the rows aren’t sewn together yet; these are just laid out on my living room floor.
Overall, I really love the pattern, and the effect is great– the multicolor print gives it a great feeling of motion and sets off the green and pink really well.
This one turned out a lot better than my last mystery, and I can’t wait to finish it! I have no idea what it’s “home” will be, but I’m sure it will find a good home, perhaps on Etsy, since it’s kind of big for a donation quilt (except for Quilts of Valor, but I’m not sure they’d appreciate the colors), I’m not entirely sure. I’m sure SOMEBODY will appreciate it, hopefully!
One of my best friends, who I know through World of Warcraft, has a birthday coming up. She loves Hannah Montana, so I initially thought I could find some fun fabric and make her a fuzzy pillowcase as a birthday gift. Then, I hit the motherlode: 5 yards of HM fabric on eBay for cheap! Looks like somebody is getting a quilt… only this time, I’m taking it a step further and making a “quillow,” a quilt that folds up into a pillow.
I have the top completed, but I’m trying to figure out how to do the pillow-pocket bit right now. All of the instructions I’m finding online basically have you stitch a square to the back of the quilt that you can fold it up into; the quillow I had as a kid had a pocket that hung off the edge of the quilt, and that’s the design I’d like to use instead. Problem is, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to finish all the edges and have it turn out nicely!
I *think* I have the logistics of the pillow-pocket figured out. I’ll construct a pocket using two sandwiched panels, quilt both sides using the free arm of my sewing machine, and then attach binding to just the side with the backing. The raw edges at the top of the front of the pocket will be stitched to the raw edges of the not-yet-bound quilt, and then I’ll finish it like normal.
We’ll see how it turns out. I’ll figure it out *somehow*, and when I do, I’ll make up some drawings of the whole process and then post them for others to use
I’ve been trying to come up with something to do for a graduation quilt in pink, white, and black for quite a while now, but nothing’s really struck me so far. Cue some early-morning surfing for block designs, some leftover Thangles paper, and a beautiful inspiration quilt on Flickr to help me come up with something awesome using the “Lady of the Lake” block:
I’m super-excited to put this one together! My only hope is that I have enough fabric for the blocks (I know I’ll need more for the border); I have about two yards of white (plus six for another project that I’d rather not poach), three yards of black, and two of bright pink.
We’ll see what I can put together today, and I’ll be able to come up with something really cool in the next few weeks!
My one-block-wonder quilt is coming along very nicely! I was originally afraid that the fabric had too many colors in it, and I will admit that this is a lot more bright than some other quilts I’ve seen using this method, but I’m really happy with how it’s turning out so far. I never would have imagined something so pretty could come from this original fabric!
Now all that remains is stitching the half-hexagons together to complete the top. I think I’ll save that for tomorrow