I stopped by the fabric shop today because I needed a spool of invisible thread to finish off binding two almost-complete projects. Of course, I had to take a quick swing through the fabric section… would you expect me not to?
This fabric store has a little more eclectic selection than Jo-Ann, and sometimes there are very neat things hidden in the clearance section. Today was no exception! I was on the lookout for a fun kid-friendly print that I could use some of the rainbow scraps from the Tetris quilt, but instead I found something else fun: a Hello Kitty quilt panel!
This will be a great way to get some practice at free-motion machine quilting, which I have sort of a love-hate relationship with. I’ve become very good at doing different size meander patterns, but I’ve only ever attempted to do any sort of planned design once. I really need to stretch myself and try something a little less free-form, and I think this will be a great way to do it. I can trace the shapes in Hello Kitty’s body, do echo quilting of the outside silhouette, “stitch in the ditch” around the square borders, and maybe do some sort of large, loopy pattern in the open spaces and border.
I tend to dread the machine-quilting bit of projects, preferring instead to do the planning, shopping, and piecing, but I’m actually looking forward to playing with this one. If that’s not a good motivation for learning, I don’t know what is!
This morning, I decided to take a break from the Tetris quilt and pull out some blocks that I hadn’t touched in months. Nothing like needing a break from a big project to reduce the number of UFO’s sitting around, huh?
These are simple pinwheel blocks I made from a sampler-pack of 1930s reproduction prints. I decided the pattern would be something my great-grandmother (who was an amazing quilter and made many hundreds of quilts in her lifetime) would have made with similar fabric. Granted, it probably would have taken her much longer, and the quilting would be much nicer than what I have planned, but I still think it’s a neat sort of tribute.
As it turns out, I had just enough blocks to make a top just the right size for a Quilts for Kids project. The workmanship isn’t quite up to snuff for something I’d want to sell on Etsy, though I imagine I’m being much too particular; there are a handful of spots where the pinwheel “arms” don’t match up to one another, even though you can’t really notice unless you’re looking for it. Regardless, I’m sure this one will keep a kid warm in the hospital!
Interesting note: the quilt that’s hanging in the background was actually made by Great-Grandma, probably sometime in the ’50s. I love the way it brightens up the room, and it’s very inspirational!
I got an embroidery machine as a late Christmas gift, and up until now I haven’t had much of a chance to mess around with it. I’d eventually like to embroider designs onto the center of plain squares to offset with pieced blocks, but that would require buying some design cards or the software to make up my own designs. So for now, I can play around with the various alphabets that come standard on the machine (and the bonus fonts that came on a memory card) and try my hand at making quilt labels.
This one is 4″ square, and I think it’ll work nicely to be appliquéd onto the back of my Easter egg stack-and-whack project. I’ll try making some with different colors of thread and other fonts, and play around with the text size a little bit, but overall I’m pleased with the way it turned out. The whole thing took maybe half an hour to do, so maybe tomorrow I’ll take a few hours to make labels for all the quilts I have in progress.
Finally got all of the blocks completed! Nothing like seeing something close to a finished result to make pushing through the repetitive tedium of piecing worth it, huh?
I was unsure about some of the extreme color contrasts for a few of the colors, but seeing the whole thing laid out makes me feel much better about how the whole thing looks. Now I’m very excited to get the blocks put together and start getting borders on it!
A poster in the Livejournal Quilting Community made a post about Quilts for Kids, a charity that provides donated quilts to sick children. I plan to donate one of my Easter-fabric pinwheel quilts to the cause.
Not only do they accept donations using fabric from your stash, but they’ll send you fabric to turn into a quilt to donate. They get scrap fabric from major designers and use it for quilt donations rather than sending it to landfills.
If you need yet another project to keep yourself out of trouble, work up a quick baby quilt for the charity!
Finished the first set of colored blocks last night, and I’m definitely pleased with the overall effect. (Not sure what I think about the colors here, the bottom is probably too dark, but I think I’ll just roll with it.) I’d say it’s not quite as impressive as the original beveled-square design, but it worked up a heckuva lot faster!
I’ve already started in on writing up instructions, and thanks to the lovely folks at the LJ quilting community, I’ve gotten some great feedback on the pattern so far. I have instructions for fabric shopping, cutting, and block construction completed, so I’ll have to wait until I’m ready to assemble the top in order to finish the rest.
While running some other errands today, I decided to stop by Jo-Ann to check out their selection of fat quarters for the Tetris quilt. I really lucked out: I was able to find fabric in three shades for each of the colors I needed!
I also did a test-run with the new block-construction method this afternoon, using some scrap fabric I had sitting around. (I think black, grey, and white will be a good method to show the different contrasting fabric pieces when I take the “final” pictures for the printed pattern.) Unfortunately, I messed up the math; I can never get the calculations for half-square triangles right! In this case, I think that to have 4.5″ finished blocks, I’ll need to cut the initial squares at 6 1/4″ in order to cut down the squares twice.
This leads to another bit of math– and to think I hated math in school– as I figure out how many pieces I can get out of each fat quarter, and whether or not I’ll have enough fabric to construct all the blocks. If my triangle calculations are correct, I may be short on the “medium” fabric for several colors. I’m reasonably sure I can finish the necessary pieces out of my stash, but I’ll need to account for that when I write up the pattern.
In all, I’m very excited that the fabric shopping went so well, and I’m looking forward to creating another geeky video-game quilt!
I’m currently working on a nicely-formatted written version of my Tetris quilt pattern, hopefully to sell as a PDF on Etsy or somesuch. The more I work on the pattern, I realize that my initial design was awfully complicated, using 1″ half-square triangles in each of the block corners, which made for an overwhelming amount of work overall.
So instead of using the complicated version with lots of itty-bitty pieces, I’ve decided to simplify the design a bit. This new version still gives the blocks a 3-d appearance, but will ultimately be a lot less work: 5″ squares sewn into triangles, cut in half, and then resewn to create the four-piece blocks shown here. The result is just as impressive, I think, and will require both less effort and less fabric shopping– only three shades of fabric per color instead of the original five.
The additional benefit of making the pattern easier to create is that it makes me a lot more motivated to craft a second one. My first quilt wasn’t the greatest, craftsmanship-wise, as I hadn’t been quilting for very long when I started the project. Now that I have several years’ experience under my belt, I’m sure this one would turn out a lot better.
Who knows, given the popularity of the first one, I could see about making several of these to sell and probably make a good profit on them. Maybe if I’m lucky, I could even see about getting one accepted into a Child’s Play benefit auction or something like that.
At bare minimum, I’ll need to create a single set of colored blocks using the new pattern, since I’d like to take pictures to include in the written instructions. If it turns into a full quilt, then that’d be an added bonus!
A friend posted this dog-bed on Facebook a few days ago, and I really like the design. I think this would work up very quickly using a jelly roll, and I just happen to have a jelly roll of blue, green, and purple batiks sitting on a shelf in my sewing room.
Just what I need, more projects down the pipeline!