happy bench monday from trigger (it’s a flickr thing – click through the photo to see). what’s funny is that he would go up on the bench no problem, but he wouldn’t turn and look at me while he was up there. probably far too embarrassed for that kind of thing. and i don’t really mind, since he looks like a funny little dog show pup in this pose, although i’m guessing dog shows don’t often feature leashes. but there were birds to be stalked, so i needed to have a handle on him. have a good week, with lots of standing on benches.
These are a few of my favorite (non-quilt) flickr photos this month. Here are the links I’ve bookmarked this week:
Coffee arabica plant We ordered some blueberry bushes that will be planted in containers so we can take them with us if we move. Of course while I was ordering them, I saw a tropical plant segment on Martha that had me dreaming of other things to grow, including a coffee plant. I’m thinking that will have to wait until we actually have a house with a bright window or a greenhouse. But fun.
Tissue-fitting vlog For some reason I don’t often watch web videos, but I’m interested in learning to fit patterns better, so I’ve filed this one away for when I’m sewing something and need it.
Bleach resist dyed scarf Um, I need to make this project. So cool.
Mocha Silk Pie I’ve made similar recipes to this, but this one looks just perfect.
Originally uploaded by megrje
I asked friends and family who came to my wedding shower and came from out of town to paint fabric squares to be included in my wedding quilt. The squares are 5″ and the quilt is a wall-hanging over our couch. I hand-quilted it with perle cotton in free-handed circles. I didn’t have much time while I was engaged to spend time on handmade touches, but I love having this memento from our family and friends.
(Better pictures can be seen by clicking on the photo and going to flickr).
I was one quilt shy for Christmas gifts with time running out, and I devised a couple throws that I could make quickly with just a little effort. These were really the simplest things to put together.
I had stocked up on some Denyse Schmidt County Fair fabrics on clearance from Hancock’s-Paducah and fabric.com a few months ago. They’re home dec weight, so they’re also 60″ wide. I cut each yard length down the middle to get 36″x30″ rectangles, and sewed four together to get a a slightly smaller than 60×72″ total blanket. The red blanket is reversible, and the blue is backed with two yards of the same print.
No time spent fussing with binding for these, I sewed the top, and bottom right sides together with the batting on the outside and left an opening to flip the whole things right side out and then top-stitched around the edge.
I also wasn’t quite sure about quilting through the layers of heavier fabric (and really didn’t have that much time), so I hand-tied these with wool embroidery floss. And voila! The easiest way to put together a throw blanket to give.
Apologies to those of you who don’t love fabric quite as much as I do, but there are fabric prizes at stake here! Plus there’s a chance to talk about my favorites from the last year, so here goes:
-Favorite Quilting Weight Cotton Collection
Joel Dewberry’s Deer Valley. Joel’s prints are so unique among the variety of designs available. I underestimated the fact that many quilt shops wouldn’t see these the same way I did, and by the time they were marked down the slightest bit they went fast. I got a few of the prints, including a yard of the tarragon antlers, but the smaller scale prints only grow in my appreciation of them and are pretty tough to find now. So I’ll just have to wait for the next Joel Dewberry collection and buy sooner this time! And hopefully more shops will carry the line!
- Favorite Under the Radar/Sleeper Collection
I loved Josephine Kimberling’s Hot Blossom line and especially the clothes she had made up to show it off (she has a background in retail apparel design that really showed in this line). Now how about if her next collection could be made in apparel weight fabrics and not just in quilting cottons? Cute clothing prints in quilting cottons are not making it easy for me to move on to other types of fabric.
- Favorite Digitally Printed Fabric
Betz White has written a couple great books and design great new craft patterns. I love this fabric line, Indian Summer, probably because the colors exactly match my living room. She has a commitment to green crafting and this line is printed digitally on demand.
- Favorite Handprinted Fabric
I went over to ink and spindle to find this fabric to post and almost couldn’t find it – looks like I need to buy some quickly before they’re all out and they’re not printing this design any more! There are other great ones too – this and this and this. The problem with the fabrics from these designers is that I have such a hard time cutting into them because the pieces are all so precious.
- Favorite Trend (Motifs)
I loved basics like polka dots showing up in all sorts of lines (this one’s from Paula Prass’s Woodland Delight) so that there are fabrics that can be used in any type of quilt without tying too closely to any one designer. Sometimes the fabrics from different designers don’t play well together, but these are an exception.
- Favorite Trend (Colors)
I was glad to see “new” colors on the market (this is Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley, which was full of new colors). Muted tones, neutrals, gray! Anything that moves beyond the bright, clear, conversational prints.
- Favorite Overall Designer
I’m not sure if I can pick just one, but looking at this mosaic, I’m not sure if I can argue with Anna Maria Horner for being so prolific at least!
- Favorite Novelty Print
Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile. This is “novelty” without being cutesy. AMH always has great prints and colors for playing around with. I need to use up a little more of the Good Folks I have laying around before I can move on to these.
- Favorite Floral Print
- Favorite Solid/Nonprinted
I may need to save my pennies for these (hm, this post is kind of turning into a “if money was no object wish list), but the French General Rouenneries are just gorgeous and total stand-outs in the market.
Gasp! A quilt made from pre-cuts, all from one line of fabric! I made this quilt (started it this summer and gave it to my mom for Christmas) from a Moda Sweet Jelly Roll (that’s the 1 1/2″ one, right?), and added some Amy Butler solid orange because it coordinated so well and toned down the pinkiness for me. The quilt is bound in Amy Butler solid green, which brought the peas and concept.
The piecing was pretty simple. I sewed together groups of five strips with an orange solid in the middle, all the way along the 44″ length. Once the long strips were finished, I cut them into squares (roughly 5.5″), and then grouped them into blocks of 9 with white sashing in between. I tried to make sure the groups of five were all different prints and colors, and that each group of 9 was unique without repeats. Amazingly enough, with no advance planning I was only short one of the smaller squares for the layout, so I just used a solid orange square there. If I’d have been straighter with my piecing that probably would have been avoidable.
I have to say, even though using just one line can be less interesting than choosing my own fabric combinations, there’s something to be said for being able to sit down with a new fabric and sew right away, without having to do any first steps.
I quilted this in an all over, dense “scribble” design – loops that cross over themselves everywhere. That helps keep it from feeling too traditional. It measures about 44×70″, which is perfect for using a two yard cut of fabric as a backing, which I did since this line of fabric went on sale before the quilt was completed.
This is the last of my completed quilts to post – I have a couple cut, but not even tops put together, so I need to get back to work!
Well now that Christmas has past, I can post the Christmas gifts I made! This one went to my sister. I wasn’t sure when I started, but as it went along I realized that this would fit well into her tastes (she loved the border fabrics, and that the patchwork squares were still my style, but not “old-fashioned”).
This quilt was a lot more of a process than a lot of quilts are for me. I cut out all of the strips and then they sat that way on my dresser for a long time. I started with fabrics that had aquas and yellows, and then wasn’t sure that I liked that combination so much. I cut strings because there were a couple prints that I didn’t love, and I knew they’d blend in fine with the prints that were stronger.
I had a couple problems in designing the quilt, though. One was that I could not get my head around what I wanted to do with the strips. I didn’t really want to do a log cabin or set-in-squares design, I’ve just done enough of that recently. I kept thinking string quilt, but didn’t want it to be too pastel or too busy, and couldn’t excited by cutting muslin foundation pieces or paper to be ripped off. I knew I didn’t want to put white in the middle of each square, but wasn’t sure that linen would be substantial enough of a contrast. I tried to look at other options for strip-pieced quilts, but diagonal designs were definitely stuck on my brain. The first idea was to use linen on half of the string square, and then I realized that brown would set off the aquas nicely and take care of the problem of the pastels.
I didn’t get more excited about the individual prints that weren’t my favorites as I went along, but I was pretty happy to see that these two Chocolate Lollipop prints that I’ve been holding onto for awhile would work well as borders, and I used another for the binding. The quilt measures around 45×60″.
The backing is pieced from the leftovers (a patchwork strip and larger blocks), the green solid is a shot cotton. And here’s a glimpse of the biggest fan of my projects in process – no matter what fabric I lay out, he has to be right there (or chew on the pieces of batting sticking out), which makes basting extra fun!