Sneak peek of Will’s quilt

I was going to post this to show how I baste my quilts without having a large un-carpeted space to tape my quilt backs to, but in the process of rolling this onto the ironing board the back got bunchy so it needs to be basted again. So don’t follow my example, even though it’s the method that works best in the space I have. If quilts are slightly larger and I can get the table cleared off enough, I use the dining table instead.

Anyway, this is a sneak peek of the quilt I’m making for our quickly coming baby, which hopefully will be re-basted and quilted soon. There are a couple projects for other people’s babies that are on hold until I can get this under control.


Less thinking, more doing

I tend to overthink things. Lately I think of a lot of blog posts, but I think of reasons not to write them. I don’t want this blog to be an obligation, but I also think I have the potential to be a real blogger if I could just sit down and write things on a regular basis. Getting myself organized enough to take and post pictures on a schedule is probably the biggest hurdle for me. Last week I uploaded a bunch, though, and this one has sat on flickr without me writing anything. (I have the other issue now too of writing things on my pregnancy blog, but not having crafty things to write – I may need to figure out how to just combine them already). I have a bunch of things that are either in progress or like this that are done and ready to post, but the 3rd trimester tiredness means that I get home every night from work ready for a nap and to put my feet up, not use a sewing machine or tempt carpal tunnel by using the sewing machine or hand-stitching. I have big hopes for the weekend, but I’m also trying not to get my expectations up because I may also need to rest. Even if I don’t have the chance to make a lot of things, I’d like to keep writing about all the stuff I’m thinking about crafts and creating, and to find ways to fit that into my current schedule. We’ll see how likely that is 🙂

So this pillow…I’m still not really sure what to say. I made the front about a year ago when I was making some things for my shop and wanted to do some playing. I cut out motifs from fabric (inspired by Bari J’s quilts) and put them down on fusible web onto a blue linen background. I did some free motion quilting all over the same thing, made a pillow back with a zipper, stitched on some binding, and let it sit for 9 months before I finished it off. It’s a little too time-consuming to make a lot of these for the shop, not the style of my house, and I’m not sure who would like it for a gift. Maybe if I ever do a craft show I’ll take it along. I think it’s fun that the flowers and leaves are from different fabric lines but still work together to make a pretty little garden.


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.


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.


Quilt 1 of 2010

I was beginning to feel like my stack of unfinished quilts would stay that way forever! I made 9 quilts in 2009, my first year of quilting, and while I had at least 7 in progress for this year, I knew I’d never catch up if I didn’t get moving. The problem was that all of my basting pins were tied up in this quilt (and have been for most of the year), and it would have been cheating to just go out and buy another set of pins. Well, going with the saying that finished is better than perfect, it’s finally done. The free motion quilting leaves something to be desired, but practice makes perfect and I’m sure the next one will be an improvement (besides being a long ways away – my other strategy for getting quilts done is to use lots of straight(ish) lines). My frustration with the quilting turned out not to be the needles falling out of my machine as much as it was that when I pushed the quilt away my stitches were fine, but I skipped stitches every time I pulled the quilt towards me, no matter how steady I thought I was in my motion. Side to side wasn’t as big of a deal, either. Hopefully it’s just an issue that practicing moving the quilt around and keeping my foot steady on the pedal would solve, and not a weird issue with the machine. From a distance, it does have a nice crinkly effect, though.

That being said, I do love the design of this quilt! I had a charm pack of Tula Pink Neptune that I used for the center of these squares, and pieces other little bits of them into the frames. The struggle I have with designing quilts is that I’m drawn to simple, modern, designs, but they aren’t challenging to make, the tops can be completed almost too quickly to be fun, and I don’t want to stay in the beginner place forever. However, all it takes is looking at Denyse Schmidt quilts like this one and this one that I love and I’m reminded that it’s worth it to make quilts that I love instead of making them to show off in some way. Plus, if I’m bored, there’s always free motion quilting to throw me for a loop! So I used lots of solids here, I think this is Kona khaki, which I bought a whole bunch of for a gender-neutral project last year that went a different direction.

The binding is a Japanese polka dot print (from superbuzzy, I think) and the backing is just two prints that I can’t see working into a top anytime soon. The finished project measures about 44″x65″, so it’s a snuggle on the couch quilt.

There’s a baby-sized companion quilt in the works for this one, that might be the next to get quilted (besides the three already quilted just waiting for their binding) if I can figure out how I want to back it. It feels good to be getting a stack of finished objects – I buy plenty of fabric that I need to actually use it sometimes, too!


I’ve been stitching, sometimes

I’ve been carrying around these works in progress for awhile, now.

The cross stitch was started last fall, and the flowers in March. Sometimes you feel like following a pattern, and sometimes not, you know? I don’t do as much handwork at home, though, because I’m afraid of the puppy getting into needles and things. The cross stitch will probably be a gift, but I don’t know who for because I really don’t want a deadline on it. I’ll fill in the initials and date at the very end. The flowers may go into a mini-quilt. I started with the french knots and then made the petals freehand, never really knowing the shape of the next one.

This hooped tea towel is in my stitching bag, too, just in case inspiration strikes or I want to make a few stitches with the end of a thread. I love the print so much that I’m sure I’ll like whatever comes of it.