Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Squares and Oblongs

Another quilt in the planning/soon-to-be-started phase is the Spring Squares & Oblongs quilt. It's also from a block featured on Marcia Hohn's site The Quilter's Cache, and again, I just noticed now that she gives instructions. Too late yet again :)

The only difference in my planning here is that I'll be strip-piecing and that my blocks will be 16" instead of 12".

I played around with some colours, which is always my greatest challenge in making a quilt, as it's the only step (apart from designing a pattern variation and quilting patterns) that requires creativity and can't be undone if it turns out ugly. Well, it can, but that'd be a HUGE waste of time and effort.

I like the blue-green leafy fabric tying the other colours together. I bought it at a quilt show and have been wondering ever since what I could possibly use it for... I matched the green and turquoise/blue, and once again opted for a non-pure-white variation: muslin. I had first envisioned a gradient of greens or similar, going from a dark center to a light outside, but the fabrics in my stash didn't really work for that. I was also missing a bit of a kick in the block, with just blue-green-white as colour scheme, so I played around with some orange-yellow colours, and that really gave it a boost. I didn't want to use the same fabric throughout, so I've scooped out 9 different yellow-oranges that'll be the center on the different (30) blocks. I think I can picture that in my head and like the final product. And because all the colours are so fresh, I'm calling it my Spring Quilt. Here are just three examples of the different centers, and I'll decide later if I'll use the second fabric, as it doesn't pop as much as the others (which might be nice in the final quilt, we'll see...).

Finally, I have to admit that I find it very difficult to start a quilt, i.e. make the first cut. I usually buy fabrics I like, so if I use them up, I won't have them any more if I really want to use them for another quilt. It's a dilemma, and probably explains why I hoard and never use. That has to change though, because I tallied up how many meters of fabric I've bought since September, and I'm approaching 300m. Someone else can figure out how many quilts I could make from that ;)

Cheerios and thanks for visiting my blog!!! I appreciate all your comments!

Snow Day Fabric Shopping

Spring has come and gone, Winter has returned. After a 10 C degree, sunny weekend, we were pounded by 30 cm of snow yesterday. It never stops, apparently... at least not in Canada.

It was a short day at work, thanks to the storm, so I spent the extra time - what else... - fabric shopping. I've started a little design book and doodled around with ideas for quilts. Now I'm motivated to get going on some new patterns, as well as finishing the disaster quilt and the oriental quilt.


In fact, I have a question about the oriental quilt. The only thing missing is some applique pieces on the quilt top sashing. Is the general way to applique before or after quilting? I will probably stipple the quilt, unless I go for a straight line design, and am wondering if it's easier to quilt first, then applique, because that way the quilting won't be interrupted by the applique (i.e. it will disappear below it instead of going around it). Any ideas?

Anyway, the fabrics I bought are mostly solids as I am planning a bento box quilt like this one, and also feel inspired to copy this quilt from a quilt-along on Elizabeth's blog Oh, Fransson!

The solids are coarse, because they're pure cotton sheeting, but I like them as backing or for a heavy-fabric quilt.

I think I'd like to use this ones as the solid colour in the quilt-along quilt - I like Elizabeth's colour scheme so much, that I will reproduce it instead of choosing new colours. From looking at her other variations of that quilt, I will probably make the quilt at least twice! I like to make quilts that don't have the same pattern throughout, though there are many gorgeous ones out there.

I also found one black and white fabric I liked. I could kick myself now, because I've often walked by nice b/w fabrics because I didn't think I'd ever use them, too much contrast for me, but now I wish I had bought just 1/4 m of each...

Along with the other solids I bought and already had, I'm getting quite a decent collection:

I have a quilt planned for the four colours below:
It's based on a block I've seen on The Quilter's Cache website, called Crossed Road to Oklahoma. When I just looked the site to cite it here, I realized that Marcia Hohn provides the pattern. Oh well, I had fun spending a couple of hours last night figuring out how big I want to have my finished blocks be and how I'd do the pattern. I will actually do it slightly differently from Marcia's instructions. As you can see, I'm pretty much following her colour scheme, except with solids and beige instead of white. I may still substitute a pattern for one or two of the fabrics, if I have enough.

Oh, I also found another fabric for my friend's character quilt: Wine

And then I bought a few fabrics that will be nice for binding or in a baby quilt (the dots), and borders on quilts like these ones.

All Done (Vampire Quilt)

Well, I finished the binding on one of the quilts last weekend - there's only so much you get done when the weather is nice.
Easter weekend, this quilt will go to the little fella - it'll probably be an early birthday gift, since I want to see his reaction when he gets it, and his birthday is not till June...

Friday, 27 March 2009

Time For Some Binding

I'm going away this weekend but am taking the vampire and soccer ball quilts with me to bind. I just have the hand stitching part left, oh, and I guess the label... can't forget that!

The vampire quilt is getting black binding, but for the soccer ball quilt I've pieced all my leftover strips together for a multi-coloured binding. No idea how that'll turn out :)

Monday, 23 March 2009

It Was A Hoot To Make This One

And one quilt that I actually finished last weekend, binding and all, is the owl quilt.
Loved doing this one, too, though I have to say that quilting cotton is more satisfying that quilting flanelette... I look forward to quilting my unfinished cotton quilts :)

Nonetheless, this is another quilt that turned out to my liking. I got to experiment with my first disappearing 9 patch, got to use the cute owl print (of which I have very little left now) and one of my friends will have a lap quilt in the near future.

I was "uncreative" on this one and just did stippling, but I like it for the wavy 3D effect it gives the quilt. Did paralell lines again for the border (top and bottom).

(haha, what luck that I happened to photograph a section of the quilt where all the points are lined up nicely :)

And here's where all the lovely owl print ended up...

Vampires Almost Ready For Take-Off

Though I didn't know that March 21 was National (US?) Quilt Day, I spent a lot of it quilting. Before fixing the soccer ball disaster, I needed to do something easier and straight forward, so I finished the quilting on the vampire quilt for nephew nubmer 2.

I started by outlining all the blocks with wonky loopy-loops - very easy and have a great effect on a kids quilt I find. On the border, I just did paralell lines all the way around like a frame.

I decided to machine-quilt bat outlines on each solid colour block; just drew them on by hand as I couldn't be bothered to make a template.

The blue construction zone fabric is so busy, that a bat would just have been lost, so I did snail shells instead, basically spirals with an oval at the end, so they look more like snails.

The overall effect is quite satisfying for me, and I have to say that this quilt definitely came off without a glitch.

One of these nights, I'll test the full effect of the glow-in-the-dark eyes on the back :) I like how the spirals and border lines came out on the back.

Now all I have left if the black binding - it'll have to be single layered because the flanelette is thick enough as it is. I even split the polyester-batting in half to make it thinner, but the seams are still quite thick to quilt over and I was struggling to squeeze the quilt underneat my walking foot...

Ah, it feels good to finish something and have it turn out to your liking! Welcome Spring!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Game Is Saved!

Thank you so much for your comments, the foot/leg was an excellent idea and I've whipped one up this weekend. I also liked the idea to use thread and lots of stitching to create the motion "bouncing" bands. I had experimented with black flanelette, but it was to crass and I don't have gray. So I'll use a zigzag stitch back and forth and will outline it with a straight stitch, probably about 3 strips, staggered up and down going in the space between the ball and the foot do indicate direction. I'm much much happier with the quilt now! Now there's a reason for the ball to be on that quilt ;)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Ball of Despair (Help!!)

Ah, the more I look at my last entry, the more I'm horrified about the quilt top. What was I thinking? If you have suggestions how to save this that don't involve undoing the soccerball quilting I've completed already or unpinning the rest of the quilt, they'd be incredibly welcome.

Maybe I could gift it anonymously??? ... ??

The Process Of Going To Bed

So, the little fellow whom I'm making the soccer quilt for has a birthday coming up soon. Therefore it was time... time to get this quilt done and get the quilt to him, especially since his family also just put their house up for sale and will move a 15-hour drive away. So I plonked myself on the couch yesterday evening and finished stitching on the soccerball. Don't know if it just looks wonky on the photo, I thought it looked pretty round yesterday...

I zoomed right along and pinned the whole quilt. Now, I'm not really happy with the top, it's totally empty, and I think I might add some applique, but to be honest, I don't want to make this quilt a year-long project, and I wonder if the little guy will just think it's a cool soccer quilt, anyway? Just because the quilt doesn't satisfy my grown-up feminine aesthetic doesn't mean a kid won't like it, right? I'm thinking about maybe adding a 3 or 4 curved strips to add some flying motion to the ball, you know, like you see in cartoons. But the coolest thing would be a person on the lawn of course, a main player so to say. Oh, but will I get this done on time?

[Wow, I just looked at this entry on my page, and when you scroll medium-speed up and down the soccerfield and soccerball-sky fabric have this really weird effect of coming at me. That indicates to me that it's a bit too busy, so maybe a large appliqued person would calm it down a bit? Oh gosh, the work though... I like machine piecing so much better... Sigh. I guess I have a couple of weeks to add to the quilt, and it can always be a going away quilt instead of a birthday quilt...]

Here's the backing, just pieced out of left over flanelette from all my kiddie-quilts.

Ah, and then the true quilter came through... it was 10:30 pm, and I just wanted to carry the quilt from the living room, where I pin, to the little quilt room I have. It was all neatly folded to be added to the other pile of pinned quilts waiting for quilting. That pile is growing because my machine doesn't have a way to lower the feet, so everytime I want to do free-motion quilting, I have to take the machine apart and remove the whole structure with the feet. Bit of a pain, therefore I try to do as much free-motion as I can at once before switching back to directional sewing.

Now, because of all the pink-quilt sewing and flanelette sewing, there was a lot of fuzz in the machine, and it was time to clean it, so when I put down the quilt, I thought: "Oh well, I might as well clean and oil the machine tonight and switch the quilting foot and then I'll be ready for quilting tomorrow."

Then I thought, maybe I should quilt the soccerball with the machine instead of by hand, because it'd be faster and look the same as the rest of the quilt, and they're straight lines and it's a small quilt so turning isn't as much of a problem. So I went ahead and did that...

I quilted once around the ball, then on each side of the seam using cream-coloured thread that would show up nicely on the black.

My poor camera didn't know what to do exposure-wise with this black and white contrast...

It went pretty quickly, and I'm happy to say that I made some progress on dropping the perfectionism - weirdly enough, quilting is helping me do that :) The lines aren't all the same distance from the seam and not always perfectly straight...
Okay, this ball is really much rounder than in this picture...

I like the effect on the back. (See, round after all)

Then I took the machine apart for cleaning and oiling... look at all this pink fuzz!

Cleaned and oiled:

Free-motion (darning) foot attached:

And I almost, *almost* started to do free-motion quilting around the soccerball, but it was close to midnight, and the next day, i.e. today was a workday, so I refrained, barely dragging myself away, and closed shop for the night...

Yep, and that's the danger of entering the quilting room on my way to bed!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Round And Round

My soccerball is shaping up nicely! (Don't be deceived by the wobbly look of the quilt top on my knees)

In true quilting fashion, I took the quilt top with me to do some hand stitching in the hotel last night (part of that worktrip I mentioned in the last blog entry).

I have 4 patches done (i.e. white-black-white-black), and though I was debating whether it would have been better to pin it for now, then quilt it and THEN stitch on the edges to shape it (to avoid any bunching from quilting-related tugging), I think it will be okay, as I pinned it pretty well

and am planning to hand quilt around the hexagons and pentagons anyway.

I'm In Moda Love

So for months, I've been awed by quilters blogging about the beautiful fabrics they bought with Kaffe Fassett or Moda designs. An out-of-province work trip let me discover a new quilt shop, this one specializing in quilts as opposed to general fabrics, and though I had promised not to spend a fortune, I couldn't help myself when I saw 9 bolts of the Bistro line of Moda fabrics and went for it. Ah, I'm dreaming of a quilt, and this one is definitely for myself... so far everything else was made with the intention to give them to someone else or ended up going that way anyway...

Here are my treasures:

I'm afraid I might get sick of panels if I ever go through with all my panel quilt plans, but I'd like to use this fabric for a quilt like this hopscotch one by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. I bought the red fabric to be the stand-out fabric similar to Amanda-Jean's orange block amongst all the pinks.

If anyone has better suggestions for a quilt, please send them my way. I have 1/4 m of each fabric.

I also found these cute flanelettes for future baby quilts:

The sheep for the backing, and the flowery fat quarter might be combined with the bugs and critters flanelette at some point, for a summer baby :)

Ahhh, fabric shopping makes me happy!!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

So Many Good Blogs!

Oh dear, I just checked out one of the updated blogs on my links (to the right of this), and looked at a comment, and followed that link, and found a new quilting blog, which recommended two good quilting blogs, which had comments and links to more quilting blogs, and now my list of blogs I check out has doubled, oh dear. Soon my quilt blog-reading and -blogging will compete with my quilting :) I'm so impressed by AmandaJean's Crazy Mom Quilts blog - I've seen so many recommendations for her blog on my browsing sprees, and I honestly don't know how she manages those 100+ comments she gets on her entries. The last time she had a question about a quilt pattern idea, there were 183 comments (last time I checked, anyway). That's just so impressive!

Anyway, in terms of quilting, I'm in the process of making the soccerball into a round shape and sewing it to the (very very simple top). I've put a back together also, just from some leftover flanelette pieces - love the colours, and almost like it more than the top ;) Photos to follow.

Friday, 13 March 2009

One Soccerball Coming Up!

I spent last night busily sewing away. My first time piecing, hmm. I think I overdid sewing the corners together for the mitering, but I guess there's no harm in that. I like the result, I think it'll be pretty flat once I iron it, as well.

The plan now is to attach it onto the green soccer-field flanelette I have,

and I've changed my mind on the blue soccer ball fabric, that'll be a border or worked into the back (I had planned to use as the light patches on the soccerball, but I like this realistic version much better).

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Some Progress On Owls, Soccer Balls and Vampires

Two of the three small quilts I was planning/working on are nearing completion!

I pinned the Owl Quilt...
The overlap of the backing flanelette will be folded around for a border on the top and bottom, and binding.
I also finished the backing for the Vampire Quilt, as well as the borders around the top, and pinned that all together.
I checked, and the eyes do glow in the dark, it looks pretty cool!

For both of these quilt, I ended up piecing batting together, and I tried CrazyMom's method of stitching the edges together instead of simply overlapping them. It's working okay so far.

A big thanks to turning*turning (Mal?), who responded to my query about hexagon-quilting by listing a bunch of useful sites/tutorials on her blog. I used the paper method to piece a soccer ball. When I was halfway through it, it struck me that I could probably have googled it instead of drawing everything out by hand, each piece individually because for some reason, hexagons and pentagons fit better on a curved object than a flat surface, so none of the pieces ended up being quite the same (so no cutting of multiple pieces at once...). I think it worked though, either way, and hopefully I'll manage to sew them all together properly. My first time piecing...

(If only my former supervisor new what good use I've put my MSc thesis draft to...)