Baby Boy Neptune Quilt

Here’s the companion baby quilt to this earlier quilt. I took the rest of the charm pack and made little improvisational log cabins that I thought I would just stick on a gray background and call it a day. Except it looked oh so boring when I did that. I decided it was a good chance to stretch my quilt designing muscles. I was inspired by Victoria‘s approach to putting pieces of a quilt together, and was reading Gwen Marston’s Collaborative Quilting and liked the idea of a parts factory that I could move around and make different arrangements from. The zig-zags seemed like a good way to connect the different sections of the quilt and break up the solid ground of fabric.

I went to a quilt show in February, and I’m not sure if I thought of the jumbo ric-rac before I went or saw it and realized it would work with the zig-zags, but I did buy colors that would work with this quilt.I tried to follow the general shape of the ric-rac when I sewed it on, but it’ll still curl up in the wash.

I finished it up with curvy, wavy quilting lines which echo the shapes and work well with the Neptune theme of the fabrics, and put a little patch of scraps on the back.

Some friends of ours had a baby in January around the time I started working on this quilt, so I finished up the binding and was able to give it to them last week when they hosted us for a quick trip to the beach.

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to remember Summer 2010

  • saturday morning early garage sale-ing
  • trigger jumping in bed & licking our faces to wake us up, chewing shoes if we don’t respond quickly enough
  • lots of craigslist searching to find strollers (check) & armoires (double check) & minivans (not yet)
  • the jungle garden of tomatoes that took over, until we got tired of picking them
  • finally winning one battle with the hoa, thanks to carl’s hard work
  • time sitting outside in the evenings stitching til the sun goes down
  • a couple trips down to the beach to watch the sun set
  • hot hot heat in june & july, followed by a nice break in august & september
  • (finally) getting productive around the house & figuring out ways to clean it up (not done yet, but we have two more months!)
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Baby Jonesie’s Quilt

I have two friends here locally (plus many more far away) who are pregnant at the same time as me, and due within a month of each other. I’ve been working on quilts for their babies to make sure that I was ready in case I got distracted by my own life events first! Both of these families have chosen to be surprised by the gender of the babies, so that calls for unisex quilts, (which gives me permission to use bright colors!). Tarah’s shower was this weekend, so I can show her quilt here now.

The design of this quilt comes straight from color coding the fabric in my stash closet and noticing that these colors and patterns looked good together. I bought the solid green (Kona Kelly) to give the eye a resting place from the patterns because I didn’t want to use white. I cut strips from the 44″ width of the fabric in various widths and laid them out until I was happy with the design and the size. The only problem with this kind of pattern is that you need at least a half yard cut (a fat quarter won’t work) because you need the strips to be the full width of the bolt.

For the back, I just took the leftover strips and laid them the other direction so there’s an interesting design on the back, too. I quilted with diagonal lines (I marked in one direction but not the other, which is why they’re slightly off) with single lines in one direction and double lines in the other. I used a scrappy binding instead of focusing on just one of the prints. The quilt measures about 43×30″.

This is the first of my quilts that I’ve actually labeled, and of course I left that step until I was walking out the door for the shower. I  just wrote on some white fabric with pinked edges with a fine tip Sharpie and used embroidery floss to secure it to the quilt. Since I attached it after I washed it, the edges will curl up somewhat the next time the quilt is washed.

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Craft Novels

Here’s the point that it’s gotten to: even when I don’t have the energy to craft, I’m reading novels that have crafting as a major plot point. These are a couple I’ve finished recently:

The Aloha Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini. This is the most recent in a series of books about a quilt guild in PA called the Elm Creek Quilters, and I saw it pop up on audiobook at the library. I got frustrated with it as an audiobook because it went too slowly, so I returned it and exchanged it for a book that I could read as quickly as I wanted, because it’s pretty light fare. It’s definitely aimed more for the median-aged quilter (who is 59 years old, as I recently read in Quiltmania). I enjoyed the material about Hawaiian quilts, though, so it was pretty enjoyable overall.

Leaving Gee’s Bend, by Irene Latham. This was in the young adult section of my library, but it sets a good historical context for the Quilts of Gee’s Bend that have been touring so many art exhibits over the last few years. It’s weird to think of how they’ve become a commerialized product after reading this story about the hard knock life of sharecroppers in that community in Alabama in the 1930’s. It was a pretty heart-breaking story at times, but I enjoyed what it has to add to the beauty of the quilts.

I also read Kathy Cano-Murillo’s (the Crafty Chica) novel Waking up in the Land of Glitter this summer, which was super fun – chick lit about girls who have crafty ideals is right up my alley! I just worried that I was identifying with the characters too much, so it was good to read in the back that Kathy sees herself a little bit in each of them, too.

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Screen-printed stuffies

There’s something I really love about 2D designs on stuffies – I can’t explain it, but I love them every time I see them. Click on the pictures below to see where you can buy them.

I came across this one this week through a link on craftgawker to http://blog.indiehandmade.com:

I have this one from artgoodies:

(and so far have saved it from Trigger’s paws)

and I’m thinking this one would be great for baby Will, considering his bedding has boats on it:

How fun are these guys? (Vintage Jane)

And this one is pretty cute too. (Robin and Mould)

Junecraft is on vacation, but she makes great ones, too.

I have a tree-hair girl from mypapercrane.com, but it doesn’t look like she’s making anything similar anymore.

I have this book sitting on my shelf just for this idea:

even though I’m pretty unlikely to make a design myself. But you never know.

Actually it might be a possibility for all those threadless t’s that have cool designs but have shrunk too much for me to wear them again…

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Inspiration Quilts

I’ve been making some good progress toward finished projects today (and been good about not starting anything new so far) but I want to keep track of the quilts that I’ve been putting in my favorites folder on flickr before they get lost in the depths when I add new things. Click through to flickr to see the photo credits and each one at a bigger size. I think it’s interesting for how many prints I buy and have, how many of these quilts are solid colors! Some of these are the quilt backs, too, which I liked better than the fronts.

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Charm square quilt

Sometimes I just need an quick project that doesn’t take a lot of design decisions. I don’t mind cutting fabric as much as I did when I first started quilting (although I think I was more afraid to mess it up, and I don’t really worry about that anymore, because I don’t worry so much about following the “rules”), but I still keep a few charm packs around for a quick start to a project. They’re also great when I’m not sure if I like a line of fabric or not but I want to play around with the prints and see which ones are good looking in person.

This quilt was made from a Moda “Art Nouveau” charm pack, and I added 5″ squares of an Amy Butler dot (the gray and pink squares) to be able to make it a square and calm down all those florals a bit. The four corners of the quilt are from the one print in the line that I happened to buy, not even realizing it was the same until I started making this. The outer border and binding are different colorways in the same print (from another line) that again, I just happened to find in my stash.

I had a little more fun with making decisions on fabric placement for using some scraps for the back. I had to do those extra strips on the edges because when I started basting I realized that I had made the backing exactly the same size as the front, which left me no room for error. I guess that’s why you make the back a couple inches bigger than the front, even if you’re not going to be clamping into a frame.

This quilt is pretty small, approximately a 36″ square, but I think it could make a pretty play mat for a baby girl or a table topper for a feminine dining room. I’ve added it to my shop.

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