Saturday, March 29, 2008
I did start on the back ground of one of the swap quilts today. I have once again dug into my large blue stash. I'm not much of a blue user, so it feels good to rid the stash of some of this. I ordered a fair bit of fabric this week (I know, shame on ME!!) - it is from Ebay and is largely Kaffe Fasset, which I LOVE!! I also did a little shopping at Borders this morning, picking up one of the Civil War Quilt Diary books. I don't really like Civil War prints much, but I do like the book and the patterns, perhaps done with a more modern approach.
More pictures of Lucky & other projects soon (hubby took the camera skiing!)
Friday, March 28, 2008
Here's the purple turtle, Lucky in his water home (not yet sewn down). There are just a few sea-weeds and fun circular bobbles in some of my favorite batik scraps. I rarely do a satin-stitch applique because it looks so amateurish and tends to buckle and not lay flat. But Lucky needed this to designate the lines on his shell. There was no way I was going to stitch all of those pieces on separately. The other items on the quilt are needle-turn appliqued down.
And here is one of the dragon-flies I drew.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Actually, I began by first making some "ocean" from my many blue choices of fabric. My blue stash is enormous because I made this a couple years ago. It was only after the ocean was created that I dreamed up that a turtle would look cute there, so I sat down with my pencil & paper and sketched Lucky. This will likely be a swap quilt. Ocean creatures are sort of personal. Some people like tropical fish, others like dolphins or sea horses. I don't particularly love any all that much, but I thought that the turtle might have wider appeal. He's going to be a purple turtle too...rather whimsical.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I came across this website of mini quilts today and I love them. They are awesome! I know I cannot make something quite like these, but I plan to adapt the concepts somewhat.
I have pulled out many of my blue scraps and I am assembling a quilt background that I hope to look like ocean. From there, I'm not entirely certain what will be on it. Possibly fish, possibly sea-greens...the details will be determined in the future.
BTW...I just found out that I am in !! I was #50 though, so the swap is closed. Hope I didn't get your hopes up too high. Now I am off to brainstorming what technique or pattern I want to try. This swap won't necessarily pair us up based on any preference so I just have to hope for the best. It's a different feeling being on the other side of the "swap-fense"!
Friday, March 21, 2008
First, this project is to keep me from hitting the bottle of red wine this afternoon. I'm not a winer (as opposed to a whiner, which I know plenty about), and I never drink without dinner consumption. But I have been having lots of problems with my almost 6-year old's behavior and today was an all time low. I work 3 mornings a week. He is home with our awesome nanny 2 of those days. She says that he practically waits until he sees me drive off before he starts his antics. We have spoken to him repeatedly, given reasonable timeouts, even made him write "I will listen to Jen" 20 times. It is just not getting through to him. He's enticing his three and a half year old brother to be a mis-behaven brat too. I got home today to a list of a dozen things they did from spitting to taking off their clothes to absolute rudeness. The prize was his room, which they refused to clean - ALL toys everywhere, books & clothes strewn about and about 7000 tiny plastic fuse beads on the floor. I nearly died. I promptly had my 3 year old help me clean all the toys into a big laundry basket and I have removed them from his room for several days. He can get the beads himself! The bedroom is now purgatory for him. Long story...I needed some sewing therapy!
Second and third reasons for this project are shorter & simpler. I wanted to see this pattern in action & I wanted to try another project using what I think are very cool fabrics, but just not in my comfort zone of colors. This is me taking a leap of faith outside of my box, so to speak.
So I made these 5-8" blocks, constructed of nine 3" squares. They are mostly in shades of aqua, turquoise and accents of brown and green. I'm not much of a blue person. And now that it is complete, I am not so sure about the orange either.
OK, step two...hack the 5 blocks into 20 blocks.
And lastly, voila...sew 20 blocks together and add a 3/4" border of the blue. I plan to add a wide (maybe 4") ivory border around the entire piece. I will also use this as another vehicle to work on my free-motion/machine quilting.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
A close up to show the hand quilting (and the residual chalk pencil marks!...)
I love the batik dots that I found in my stast to use in this project.
Here's the Fall quilt I gor from Luisa, although I mistakenly hung it upside down! That's part of our newly painted hallway.
And the other hall wall shows the spring quilt I made and the Winter quilt I received from Maria. I have more of the upstairs awaiting the swap quilts from the Spring session of the 4-Seasons Quilt Swap and the Spring Fling Round Robin, and the others I have started and vowed to finish before I die!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This border is bold and expressive, and I hope (fingers crossed) that the next recipient is able to do an effective 2nd border that the final recipient of the quilt will like.
Here's the block with border on 3 sides:
And here is the block with all four sides of the border completed. I am very pleased with how the curves pieced together and the row of diamonds in the turquoise. I did initially think that would be a nightmare, but also fully believed that it would be a key to pulling off this concept of a design. I plan to go back and take out one piece of the brown squares and try to better match the squares (see lower left corner of block). The fact that the 2 pieces of patterned brown do not match on the pattern drives me crazy!...I am pleased with the colors. Sometimes the softer green I am less sure of, but that is life. I found a small piece of the pale aqua that Carol used in my stash to utilize in my border to make it more cohesive. Also, I wonder if the dark brown inner border that I added might have been better done in a softer color?...
Should I put another narrow border around the entire block, or leave that for the next person?
Any suggestions for what fabric to send with the block to the next quilter to use on the 2nd border??
BTW - I have loved and appreciated all of the comments that people have left as I started on this wild & whacky border, so now that I am finished, what do you think?
I am torn. I have seen people's comments on what fabric they think I should forward to the next person. The orange is good. The deep green is good. My inclination is the brown with squares. Why? It carries forward a key design element and a color that is in the center of the block. The person doing the next border can always coordinate a shade of orange. I don't know; this inclination may change before I actually mail the block!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
My block arrived yesterday from Carol, along with the deep turquoise fabric shown at the top left. The turquoise is nice and has a marbled effect with little speckes of gold. I immediately went through the pieces of fabric I'd bought on Sunday, locating those that coordinated best. I find that her block style is hard for me to design an effective border for. I want it to look good, but don't want to make a ton of those corner-stones on point in order for it to look cohesive.
I have decided to stick with the design I sketched and showed last post. The colors are a tad different though - less blue & more green. Here are 2 sides of the block's border. Two more to go this weekend...(after I get through a busy school week).
Thoughts??! ...and you won't hurt my feelings :-) Is it too bizzarre? too retro & funky? Would you croak if this quilt came in your mail??
Sunday, March 09, 2008
So, the hubby and boys took off for a hockey game this afternoon, accidentally awakening the little princess as they departed. So...I took advantage of the easy shopping window and took off to Joann's. I'd much rather go to a more chic quilt shoppe, but what's a gal to do on a Sunday? I swore not to increase my fabric stash this year, but OMG, they actually had some very nice and NEW fabrics. I might grow to like turquoise & brown, eventually. Take a look...
There's 16 small (4-6") pieces of different fabrics, totalling 2-1/2 yards. I am pretty sure that the turquoise on the bottom left stack is the one Carol used in her block. What I do not know is what fabric she is forwarding to me.
This reminds me of something our grandmothers might have made from decades of worn out, outgrown clothes. It's not lovely, but there is officially less ugly in my sewing stash, and that alone makes this a good thing. Plus it gives me something to practice my machine quilting on. I have found that the busier patterns are more forgiving to my bad quilting!
Here's the finished flimsy at 40"x48". I can't say I am over-the-top thrilled with it, but that's life. Next time I think I would stay in a couple of color families rather than the entire rainbow, and keep the lights lighter, and darks darker.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Lisa has shown us that we can basically take rags & make riches. Take your ugly leftover scraps in any and every color and piece them together into the most lovely scrap quilt. This is the Jacob's Ladder pattern, which is very simple and works well for those pesky leftovers.
I, like so many other quilters, have TONS of scraps. Many were given to me from other quilters so you know that they are the least wanted pieces of ugly material around. I have taken the challenge to see if I can create something equally as pretty. OK, I'll just settle for nice & usable. This will likely be a Project Linus giveaway this year. Lisa's is (in her defense) done in mostly shades of pink, blue & green, whereas my quilt uses all colors.
Here's what I did...
- cut LOTS of 2.5" strips of whatever length you have of all colors
- separate into light and dark, pairing a light with a dark
- sew strips together, press, and rotary cut to 2.5" x 4.5" light-dark pieces
- randomly piece 2 light-dark rectangles together to get 4.5" 4-patch squares of light & dark (piece A) - need 60 of these for my quilt
- cut 4.875" squares - need 30 light and 30 dark
- pair one light and dark together, mark diagonal line, and sew 0.25" on either side of line. This makes 2 half-square triangles that are light-dark. Cut on line and press. Piece B - There need to be 60 of these (should be 4.5" half-squares)
- Piece parts A & B into 4-patch squares. There will be 30 of these.
- Pray that it looks good now...
dontcha just love my assortment of UGLY fabrics?? I have everything from apples to batiks to stripes and dots and checks, to hearts, flowers, ocean squid and my personal favorite, the cow! Hopefully this quilt will in fact weed out some of my uglier scraps.
Monday, March 03, 2008
That picture is a touch washed out by the flash. But what says "spring" better than a few hyacinths and a nest of robin's eggs?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Despite how it looked outside, in between an unusually heavy working period with my 2 classes (Statics & Dynamics- do I hear an "Ew..."?), I have been making headway on my 4-Seasons Quilt Swap mini quilt. It's actually further along than this; I'm building the suspense.
I love how it is turning out. It will definitely be the hardest of the 3 I have done to give away. It is 100% done by hand, needle-turn applique. So far I have put about 30 hours into it. I ordered some lavendar and pale green quilt thread because I think I'll be close to ready to hand quilt next week. I sure wish there was somewhere around here that sold colored hand quilting thread in more than 3 colors. So who's this for, you wonder??? You'll have to wait and see. As head swap Mama, I am omnipotent. I can select the fates of all quilters.... (do you smell the witch's brew cooking...he he). Naw...I chose a partner for myself that is a creative, talented and spirited quilter. That describes too many of you, I know. She is whimsical, yet still somewhat traditional. She is mindful of small details. She puts good thought into her sewing, and wanted a partner that would do the same. I know...it still sounds like most of you. If you want more, you'll have to wait a while...
So is the burning question in your minds, "Where's she gonna use those tea leaf blocks?"... wait and see (grin).