Friday, July 13, 2012

favorite thing ever...fabric selection

My favorite thing about quilting is choosing the fabric.  If I could create stacks of fabric al day long for people to make into quilts, I would never be bored.  I'd go work in a quilt store, except I'd get really frustrated that people wouldn't take my very good advice.   When the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild president sent around an email with a list of talk topics and asked if anyone would choose one for the monthly meeting, I volunteered for fabric selection before the metaphorical ink was dry.  I'm giving the talk at the DSMMQG meeting on July 19th.  Come check us out if you are in the area.

This had made me think about how I choose fabrics and what I plan on telling people about how to choose their fabrics.  I've been thinking I should have a few example stacks to show people.  Yay, I get to play with my stash.  I'm wrapping up my latest project, which I can't show here yet because it's a gift for someone who knows about this blog.  This made me think about what my next project should be.  I need to finish up my grey and yellow bed spread, but before I haul that out, I think I can squeeze in a new pillow for Wee Monsieur.

Since we are trying to sell our house, I've been really good about making the beds and generally keeping things tidy.  The Happy Pirate Pillow is still much loved, but doesn't really coordinate with his room very well.  I'm hoping if I make him a new pillow, then we might be able to put the pirate pillow away until we sell the house.  I pinned a pillow from Pottery Barn Kids with the word EXPLORE appliqu├ęd on it.  I'm trying to decide if I should applique the letters from different fabrics on a solid ground like the pillow, or do stripes of different fabrics with applique letters from one fabric on top.   

Here is the stack I pulled to start. 

When I looked it with the bed spread, I realized the bed spread green was more sage and the blue was more periwinkle than the fabrics I selected.  I edited down to this stack, but the colors still aren't dead on.

Being dead on isn't necessarily the goal, but I'll need to think on this one a bit more.  I am happy with the mix of print sizes and types and I think I did a reasonable job of picking a relatively "masculine" selection of prints.  We'll see where it goes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Swoon Finished

I got Swoon back from the long arm quilter and it took me a while to get it bound.  It looks awesome.  I went with the grey with light grey dot from Ruby.  It even looks awesome on the back.  I hand stitched the binding and I don't think I'll ever machine finish a quilt again.  It really is lovely to have a perfect binding on a quilt you've worked so long on.

 I'm really proud of this one, but at the same time, since it's someone else's pattern, it's not totally my own.
I finally got a decent shot of the quilting.  Love the contrast of the straight lines with swirly feathers for the quilting.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Over the last year, I have made quilts for the oldest and youngest daughters of good friends of ours.  It seemed like the middle daughter needed a quilt too.  It's hard enough being the middle child, without not getting a quilt.  Once I heard that Rapunzel was her favorite princess, I knew just what to do.  I got my hands on some Heather Ross Rapunzel fabric.  It came all the way from New Zealand and I might have gotten a bit extra to justify the postage.  This is the sort of fabric that must be fussy cut, so perfect time to throw together some improv log cabins.  I also wanted to use some Castle Peeps that I had been holding on to for a while.  The Castle Peeps is so saturated in contrast to the muted colors of Heather Ross, but I knew I could make it work.  

 The yard long cut of castle peeps towers determined the dimensions.   It ended up about 50 inches square.  I pulled bright pinks and yellows to coordinate with the tower print.   The puce people print, in the corner blocks, doesn't play that nicely with everything else, but thematically it was too perfect not to use, so I did.  Sometimes a fabric just needs to be used and especially for a quilt for a child, who will enjoy the images more than she will notice the not quite perfect color coordination, I just went with it.
 Once I had everything laid out it felt like the border needed some separation from the center blocks and the teal in the towers seemed to come from nowhere, so I pulled the dot print with teal, pink and yellow to frame out the components and bring in a bit more teal.  The binding is a pink, yellow and orange stripe that just seemed perfect.
 The back is chunks of pink and white florals with an off center improv piece that used up almost all the   scraps from the front.  Love it when a plan come together.  I cut a piece fo the main backing the length needed, then slice it off center and piece in the second background fabric and the improv section.  Works every time, with minimal waste.
I just love improv piecing, but it feel like cheating, it's too easy.  I'm so pleased with the color combinations that I might not send this off right away so I can use it as an example at a fabric selection talk I'm giving to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild in July.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Star Pillows

My good friend B was showing my blog to her mother a few months ago and they stumbled upon this post about my first attempt at paper piecing.  They decided that star block would make great pillows to give as a housewarming gift to a family friend.  I was pleased to help them out and extra pleased that their timeline was flexible.  I finished the pillows and they are on their way to their new home in California.

 They sent me the fabric and and requested the fabric placement.  I think they turned out great.
For quilting I just did some simple echo quilting of the shapes with two rows of quilting inside the red star to emphasize the shape.  I choose not to traditionally bind these, as I just didn't have enough fabric to make them all the same.  I sewed the envelop backing to the front panel right sides together then turned them right side out.  I poked out the corners nice and square and top stitched the edge.  Perfect pillow finishing.

I hope the recipient likes them as much as I enjoyed making them.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bucket List updated

Here is the bucket list.

HST-  so many options, so little time

Drunkards Path-  not yet

Improv stripes bed spread-  Must finish this before summer.

Interlocking wonky stars wall hanging-  So many stars  I've lost count of how many, debating one star from each fabric, or more than one.  I have enough for wall hanging but I'm debating if I should keep going.  These things are addictive.

Dutch windmills- have a stack of fabric put together, but am debating using it for On a Whim.  I don't think On a Whim looks like much fun, but I should try at least one block before I change my mind again.

Rainbow charm squares

Flying Geese

Perfect the zippered pouch

New Patterns- working on 2 different ideas, have prototypes, but need to work out the kinks.


Swoon- 100% done and I've slept under it.

Postage Stamp Quilt-  100% done and living in it's new home.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Postage Stamp QAL

More than a year after the QAL finished, I finished up the Postage Stamp Quilt.  A funny thing happened, I discovered that in addition to the two jelly rolls I had bought last year, I also had a layer cake and a bunch of yardage.  I brought the lot of it with me to show to a friend to get her opinion and while we were discussing it, another friend saw it and fell in love.  She didn't need a bed sized quilt, which is what I had been thinking of making, but she could use a lap quilt, so that's what I made.  Yay for my second quilt sale.

 The front is totally traditional postage stamp quilt.  I had to cut a few extra patterned fabric strips to make up for the duplicate strips that I didn't use.  I used some coordinating fabrics from other lines to round out the jelly roll collection.
 I quilted it very simply with a straight line on the diagonal through the patterned squares.  I pinned this one instead of my usual spray basting and it went really smoothly.  I didn't have enough pins to do the whole quilt at once so I pinned half of it really densely and the other half loosely and then laid it out and repinned when I had quilted the first half.  It worked surprisingly well.  I have now purchased more pins so hopefully I won't have to do that again.
For the back I sewed together the layer cake in a big patchwork and threw a border on it from the yardage I had to bring it up to size.  Again, considering this was something like 70x80 it all went surprisingly smoothly.  It is now gracing my friend's home and I hope it brings her many years of warmth and joy.